Sunday, June 20, 2010

Deep Draughts From God's Pierian Spring

In one's pleasant and optimistic moments he may see himself on wings of pure "Thought [that] soars enraptured, fetterless and free" (Hymn #64), but as Shakespeare wrote in "King Henry IV, Part II" it may only be but a wish that was father to such a thought. Mrs. Eddy tells us that there is only "the infinite, perfect, and eternal All." (S&H 280: 3) That would seem to be an impossible fact and truth to get around or muck up, but Paul knew animal magnetism has its devious ways: "I mean this: if you are guided by the Spirit you will not fulfil the desires of your lower nature. That nature sets its desires against the Spirit, while the Spirit fights against it. They are in conflict with one another so that what you will to do you cannot do." (Galatians 5: 16-17 NEB) Though many of his gristly entrees may get firm "non"s, Satan's tempting desert tray may still get enthusiastic "ooh la la, mais oui"s.

Mrs. Eddy's oft-quoted statement in Science and Health that "The time for thinkers has come." may be one of those many statements which are more honored in the breach than in the observance, yet a failure to think deeply, prayerfully, and patiently about the thousands of inspired truths with which the Bible and writings of Mary Baker Eddy are liberally garlanded could well be the cause of many students' piffling progress in Christian Science. Woolgathering is not the same thing as bringing in the sheaves. It may well be necessary for more of us to be like the hedgehog and know one big thing [at a time] rather than to be like the fox and know many things [imperfectly]. (Archilochus)

19 comments:

Best (CA) said...

Like this very much, though I shall have to look up "pierian".
Thanks, Christian.

Regular viewer said...

Happy Father's Day to you. Have been checking your website each day and bingo, found a good one today.

Near Boston said...

A good blog post. Metaphysically sound/well-presented.

Thanks (Ohio) said...

You make a good point, that demonstration in divine Science calls for deep and consecrated praying over the statements we read. One thing our religion is not and that is superficial. Fluffy feel-good truths do not get the job done, I am finding.

Cambridge said...

A rather short (for you) essay. But a pithy one.
Enjoyed reading it, Christian.

Anonymous said...

Thanks blogger. A refreshing title you've chosen. (Will be interesting to see what your Oriental commenter has to say this go round!)

NYC said...

Your little essays are so fresh--never stale like so much CS writing I've read in my day.
Well done.

Helen said...

Our Leader's words calling for thinkers makes me glad you are doing what you are. You definitely are thinking deeply about CS topics, and for this I thank you.

LowlyWise said...

To Best (CA):

A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
--Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism, 215-218, c. 1711

In Pope's day (and down as late as MBE's) it was expected that any reader would recognize the classical allusion to the spring from whence the Muses took their inspiration. Pope is skewering dilettantism and being satisfied with a quick fix. He goes on:

... more advanced, behold with strange surprise
New, distant scenes of endless science rise!

I like Christian's idea of
God's Pierian spring--God, then, being the muse which inspires human creativity as a reflection of Soul's creation. This is no place for a shallow draft. Pope describes the big pitfall a few lines earlier:

What the weak head with strongest bias rules,
Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools. …
Pride, where wit fails, steps in to our defence,
And fills up all the mighty void of sense.
If once right reason drives that cloud away,
Truth breaks upon us with resistless day.

Thanks, Christian, for sending me to an old favorite author I had'nt visited for a long time.

Best (CA) said...

Thank you, LowlyWise for putting my wondering to rest. You and Christian are obviously both well-read gentlemen? Or perhaps lady in your case?

Anonymous said...

Dear Christian,
As you obviously are well-read in poetry, and find it worth working into an essay, when are you going to favor us with another poem of your own?

Impressed said...

Thanks for a steady stream of well thought out and certainly well written essays. If you make just one of us out here think about our wonderful religion and its saving truths a bit more deeply, then that's reward enough, I should think.

Phoenix, AZ said...

Dear Writer,
Did you mean "grisly entrees" in place of "gristly"? If not, an interesting choice of words I find.

L.R. said...

Thank you for being the blessing you are!

Pensacola, FL said...

Excellnent little essay, Christian, as yours just about always are. You make a very sound point in this one.
Thanks!

LowlyWise said...

Best (CA): You remind me of the old joke: "Who's that lady you're with?" "That ain't no lady, that's my wife!"

Actually, most modern women would prefer to be called "women" inasmuch as "lady" can have pejorative overtones: it may connote someone ornamental or useless, or (contemptuously) what she shouldn't be, or (with awe) someone of august presence and gravitas. All I can say is I hope, like Emily Dickinson, you'll "think tenderly of me."

Anonymous said...

I get such a kick out of reading your essays. You manage to express our metaphysical musings in such a fresh way. I know when I open your blog, I'm not going to be bored.
Thanks much,

N. J. said...

Enjoyed seeing your latest blog post, Christian. Such a pleasure to read something on CS so clearly expressed as your essays are.
God bless your giving,

林奕廷 said...

期待你每一篇文章......................................................................