Science and Health (1881)/04 Recapitulation

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2207307Science and Health — IV. RecapitulationMary Baker G. Eddy



Questions and Answers.

This chapter is from our class-book, first edition, 1870. At the commencement of the study of metaphysical science you should acquaint yourself with the basis or Principle that supports this science and controls it to certain results in demonstration. God is the Principle of metaphysical science.

Ques. What is God?

Ans. Jehovah is not a person. God is Principle.

Ques. What is Principle?

Ans. Life, Truth, and Love, substance, and intelligence.

Ques. Is there more than one Principle?

Ans. There is not. There is but one Life, one substance, one Truth, and this is God, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. The varied manifestations of science, and the different terms for it, have but one Principle, for there is but one intelligence, and nothing is real but God and the idea of Him.

Ques. What, then, are spirits or souls?

Ans. In modern phrase, and according to belief, they are supposed mixtures of intelligence in matter, of Life and death, substance and essence, good and evil, Truth and error. These opposites cannot assimilate or dwell together. The one is immortal, the other mortal; the one limitless, the other limited; one is intelligence, and the other non-intelligence. Yea, the one is real, and the other unreal. But this last statement is the point you will admit last, although it is the most important one to understand first and last.

The term souls or spirits is as improper as the term gods applied to the Supreme Being. Soul or Spirit signifies Deity and nothing else. There is in reality no souls or spirits. Heathen mythology and Jewish theology perpetuated the fallacy that intelligence is in matter, Soul in body, and God in man; and idolatry and ritualism are the results of this belief. The science of Christianity comes with the fan in the hand that shall separate these tares from the wheat. Science will state God aright, and Christianity will demonstrate aright this divine Principle, and it will make mankind better; proving that truth heals the sick, and improves the physical condition as well as the morals of mortals.

Ques. What is the science of Soul?

Ans. The first statement of this science is, Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. This Me is Spirit, hence the command is, Thou shall have no intelligence, no Life, no substance, no Truth, no Love, but the spiritual. The second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. It shall be understood that man, and and all that is real, is formed and governed by one Mind, one Life, Truth, and Love, and will become perfect in proportion as this becomes apparent in the brotherhood of man. When all men are of one Mind, having no other gods, man will present the idea of the substance of Spirit, and be pure and eternal. Recollect that Spirit, Soul, is not in the body, for God is not in man; we cannot put the greater into the lesser. This leading point in metaphysics, that the Principle is not in its idea, forms a strong portion of its foundations in science. Intelligence is circumference, not centre. Spirit, Soul, is unconfined, it is neither in man nor matter; it is not in its own idea immortal man, neither is it in mortal belief called mortal man. When we reason from effect to cause, it is from man to God, from idea to the intelligence or Principle outside of its idea. When we reason from cause to effect, we start with the Principle, thus getting nearer the Truth or intelligence that evolves its own unerring ideas. The Scripture saith, “The Soul that sinneth shall die.” If Soul sins it is mortal; and because Soul is immortal, sin, sickness, or death is no part of Soul or Spirit.

Ques. What is the scientific statement of being?

Ans. There is no Life, substance, or intelligence in matter; all is Mind, there is no matter. Spirit is immortal Truth, matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal, matter the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness; hence, man is spiritual and not material.

Ques. What is substance?

Ans. That only which is eternal and incapable of discord and decay. Truth, Life, and Love, are substance, as the Scripture defines this word, “The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Spirit or Soul is substance, for God is the only real substance. The universe and man are shadow or idea.

Ques. What is Life?

Ans. Life is Principle, without beginning and without end. Life is eternity and not time; and time is no part of eternity: one ceases when the other is recognized; one is finite, the other infinite. Life is no part of matter, for what is termed matter is unknown to Life that is eternal, and Life is ever thus. Matter is finite and Life is infinite. Life is not limited. Death and the finite are unknown to Life. If Life had a beginning it would also have an ending.

Ques. What is intelligence?

Ans. Intelligence is omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, the infinite understanding; yea, it is Life, Truth, and Love, — the triune Principle called God.

Ques. Are doctrines and creeds a benefit to man?

Ans. I subscribed to an orthodox creed in early youth, and strictly adhered to it the majority of my years; but when I was given up to die I gained a higher sense of Life, a ray from the divine science of being, and it healed me. Since then my highest creed is Science, Christianity, and God. I learned of this sacred science that God is Truth and Life, and this Truth and Life, understood instead of believed and feared, reveals the “strait and narrow way that leads to Life,” that heals the sick and casts out error; that all that really is proceeds from God, and is harmonious and eternal; that sickness, sin, and death, being inharmonies, originate not with God, and belong not to His government, insomuch as the law of God, understood, destroys them. Jesus furnished this proof.

Ques. What is error?

Ans. A supposition of pleasure and pain, of intelligence, substance, and Life in matter, and this supposition an error. Again, error is neither Mind nor a faculty of Mind or Soul. Error is a belief, and belief without understanding is error. Why error is unreal is because it is untrue, — that which seemeth and is not.

Ques. Is there no sin?

Ans. As we have before stated, all that ever was or is or shall be is God, and the idea of God harmonious and eternal. That which He created was “good,” and “He made all that was made.” What reality, then, hath sin, sickness, or death only as beliefs? We learn of science they are error, illusion, to which there is neither reality nor identity, and then dispose of them in the words of our Master, “You were a liar from the beginning, and the truth abode not in you.” We are taught that Christ came to save sinners. But Christ is God, omnipresence and omnipotence. Then how can there be any other power or presence, when God is ever present? Jesus was the name of a man, but this man presented the idea of God, and He was the Life and intelligence of that idea. Jesus was the man, and Christ (God) the Principle of the man. Jesus' mission was to introduce to an age of creeds, beliefs, and ecclesiastical despotism, the divine principle of Christianity in statement and proof. But to reach this Christianity and prove it unerring science, a better understanding of God is required. Jesus established what he said by demonstration, making what he did of higher importance than what He said. Jesus taught and demonstrated the science of Christianity; he proved the divine Principle that heals the sick and casts out error. Few, however, except his students understood in the least his teachings and their glorious results. Jesus came with Life, Truth, and Love to save sinners, and they were the Principle of his unacknowledged science. The reception Truth met at that period history will repeat. Whatever approaches the science of Christianity will be scoffed, and its followers scourged by the age in which it first appears; it is a miracle to the age in which it is not understood; and what are termed miracles can be misinterpreted, and generally they are. If evil is as real as good, the coming of Jesus was in vain; for in that case evil must be immortal, despite the hallowed influence of Truth, and Truth spares all that is real or true. If evil is real, it is not temporal, for all that is real proceedeth from God, and is eternal. But evil is illusion, an error: and Truth and error, like light and darkness, cannot dwell together; when one appears the other disappears. “God is too pure to behold iniquity.” To Truth there is no error, all is Truth. To Spirit there is no matter, all is Principle and idea.

Ques. What is man?

Ans. Man is not matter, brains, blood, bones, etc. The Scripture informs us that man was “the image and likeness of God,” and that “God is Spirit.” Now the reflection of Spirit cannot be unlike itself, even matter; therefore man is perfect and spiritual, and because he was once that, he will be understood that again. Error, urged to its final limits, is self-destroyed and ceases to claim soul in body, and life and intelligence in matter. God is the principle of man, and man, the idea of God; hence man is not mortal or material, and all that is material is mortal. To what is termed the five material or personal senses, man appears matter and mind blending, but science reveals man the idea of God, and personal sense but a material belief and error.

Ques. What are body and soul?

Ans. The spiritual body is idea, and God the principle, substance, life, and intelligence of the idea. But Principle is not in its idea; Soul is not in body, in matter, or man. Soul is God, Spirit, while the expression or the entity of Spirit is man, and man, parted for an instant from Soul, would be nonentity, and vice versa. Man is co-eternal and co-existent with God, and they are inseparable in divine science; but the belief of a material body or what is termed mortal man will be destroyed, and this would annihilate man if Soul was in body or matter that is mythical.

Ques. Do not brains think, nerves feel, etc., and is there not intelligence in matter?

Ans. No! Not if God is true, and material man a liar. Pain or pleasure in matter is an error of statement. Man is spiritual, Soul and body are inseparable; man is the idea or image and likeness of Spirit, and cannot misrepresent this Principle by matter, mortality, or sin. Mortal mind is a belief that names itself intelligence or brains, but matter is non-intelligence, and brains cannot think. Nerves are another belief of sensation and life in matter, but matter is without sensation or life. Action is caused by mind, and not matter. Mind constructs all form and produces all results. Harmonious action proceeds from Principle, alias Soul; inharmony has no Principle. Error presupposes body cause instead of effect, and man an intelligence or soul separate from God. Man is not God, and God never made man capable of sin. He is not the author of evil. The Scriptures declare “All things were made by Him, and without Him there was nothing made that was made”; and divine Science responds, Amen; therefore let discord, sin, sickness, and death be denied and disappear, on earth as in heaven. As vapors that pass from before the sun, let evil disappear, and the realities of Being come out. The sun to which man is tributary is Soul, God, that guides him to infinity and freedom, harmony and boundless bliss. Again we repeat, there is no sensation in matter, and what is termed material sense never helped man understand God or Spirit. Spiritual sense alone comprehends and loves Deity; the varied contradictions of metaphysics by the schools change not the truth of being. Physiology, the forbidden fruit “of knowledge,” against which Truth warned man, would have Life, alias God in matter, and death admitted the master of Life: hence the Scripture concerning this “tree of knowledge,” this growth of belief, — “Thou shalt surely die.” Physiology insists on the reality and necessity of sickness and death, and theology on the necessity and the existence of sin, despite of God; and these beliefs would make soul and body mortal, for “the soul that sinneth shall die.”

Ques. Is it important to understand these explanations to heal the sick?

Ans. It is; metaphysical science is the sure way of exterminating sickness. It exceeds all other systems of healing disease, and will ultimately supersede them all. What is herein written, and much more on the same basis, is embraced in metaphysical science, and you cannot understand it and be ignorant of its most important points, for a moral ignorance, and especially a sin, tells on your demonstration that would not come up to the standard of metaphysical healing. In the nineteenth century I affix for all time the word Science to Christianity, and error to personal sense, and call the world to battle on this issue. I know the discovery of this science has arrayed error against me, notwithstanding its Truth heals the sick, for it dishonors the schools; but I also know it honors God, and I shall perform my mission on earth without fear or dissimulation; for to be well done, it must be done unselfishly. Not until it is understood that Christianity is science, will Christianity be based on principle or God, and found unerring. Neither pride, prejudice, bigotry, nor malice can wash away the superstructure reared on the rock of truth, Christ being the chief corner-stone.

Ques. Does metaphysical science include medication, hygiene, mesmerism, or mediumship?

Ans. Not one of those is included in metaphysical science. What are termed laws of matter yield to the law of Mind in metaphysics; drugs and hygiene are opposed to the science, and act against its Principle. Drugs are inert matter, producing results only through faith in them. Mesmerism, manipulation, or mediumship is the right hand of humbug or of crime; they are delusions, or frauds. When we commenced teaching this science, we permitted students to manipulate the head, ignorant that it could do harm or hinder Mind, acting in an opposite direction, viz., spiritually, while the hands were at work and the Mind directing material action. We regret to say it was the malpractice and terrible crimes of a young student that called our attention to this question for the first time, and placed it in a new moral and physical aspect. By thorough examination, we learned that manipulation hinders instead of helps mental healing; it also establishes a mesmeric connection between patient and practitioner, that gives the latter opportunity and power to govern the thoughts and actions of his patients in any direction he chooses, and with error instead of Truth. Mesmerism injures the patient, and must always prevent a scientific result. The crimes of that student have since reached beyond his patients, and, without manipulating, gone forth on their errands of envy and revenge, to draw others into the vortex of ruin, through a mesmeric influence known only to himself. Mesmerism is a direct appeal from error to error, diametrically opposed to metaphysical science, or the power of Soul over sense and Truth over error. Before we discovered, in 1872, the malpractice aforesaid, our convictions had been that it required the consent of the individual to be affected by mesmerism, and we knew that it was impossible to harm any one with our system of metaphysics, therefore we had given no thought to the subject of a counteracting mental malpractice, and had it to meet unprepared. The power of Truth over error must settle this question, as it has done all others when the reward of their hands shall be given them. We now understand that never another of our students would have gone astray from the strait and narrow path but for the continued mesmeric influences of that one, employed months, and even years, upon certain individuals whom he wished to turn away from Christian science, until at last they yielded to the hidden agent, and thought and did as he directed, and he boasted of his power over them. Future history will reveal him, and his inauguration of a power which, if it be not discovered, is fatal to the health, life, or prosperity of the individual. The solution of Salem witchcraft has come, and its remedy is metaphysics instead of a gibbet. We have discovered this year that the mesmerist aforesaid makes people sick, and causes them and their doctor to believe that another did it, and they can be helped only in accordance with that belief. This is to render the metaphysical tests difficult, and prevent, if possible, his own detection. He has now carried mesmerism to its maximum of crime.

Ques. Is not materiality the concomitant of spirituality, and personal sense necessary to Soul?

Ans. If error is necessary to Truth, it is; but not otherwise. Personal sense says the unimportant appears and afterwards disappears, because of its uselessness or iniquity. If there are ephemeral views of error, Truth closes forever upon them. Then why retard the science of being, or think to thwart the spiritual ultimate of all things, and its coming naturally without a struggle, through better health and better morals, the result of spirituality, and without the supposition that death and a certain amount of sin and pardon are necessary to this end? Not death, but the understanding of Life, makes man immortal. “The wrath of man shall praise Thee, and the remainder thereof thou will restrain.” The belief of Life in matter, of Soul in body, and God in man, and man starting from dust, from races, or from an egg, is the brief record of error. Christ, the Truth of man, came, fulfilling the only laws of being, which are spiritual: and these laws healed the sick, and made man the image of his Maker. The heathen gods in mythology were as real, and controlled war or laughter as surely as nerves control sensation or muscles strength. Life or intelligence in matter is without foundation or fact, and we have no faith in a falsehood when we learn it is a falsehood. I have found out nerves, and learned that intelligent matter is a myth. Supposing an accident happens to the eye, another to the ear, and so on until every personal sense is put out: what is man's remedy? To die, and get his senses back again? But this sudden improvement is impossible unless this preparatory school is improved to its utmost. Jesus proved by the prints of the nails that he was the same immediately after death as before it. If death alone can restore sight, sound, and sensation to man, and in Life he has lost those, death is a better friend to man than Life, and no man could be blamed for committing suicide to get back his senses and be a man again. Alas! the blindness of belief that makes matter the condition of man, and mind unable to control its own body. So long as this belief remains, man will be deemed mortal, and at the mercy of accident, chance, and change. Sight, hearing, and all the senses of the Soul are spiritual and cannot be lost, but their only reality and immortality is in Spirit and not matter: if this be not so, man is not the “image of God,” and will be annihilated. To make matter, or the five personal senses, the medium through which to understand God, would place man in a shocking purgatory in the interval of his belief between what is termed material and spiritual existence. Life being Spirit, God, this origin and ultimate of man were never attained through death, but the footsteps of Truth before and after what is named death. There is more Christianity in seeing, hearing, etc., spiritually than materially, more science and more God in spiritual sense than in personal sense, where sin is; and to understand this gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, etc., hundreds of years ago, and will do it again.

Ques. You speak of belief: who is it that believes?

Ans. Soul cannot believe, for it understands all that really is; body cannot believe, for it is matter to belief, and the idea of Truth is reached through science. Immortal Mind cannot believe, for it is Soul, where all is understanding, and there is in reality no mortal mind. There are no believers, and belief is a blindness, without basis or Principle whereby to explain its own phenomena. Mortal belief is not Truth, but error, calling itself a mortal man, sentient and intelligent matter, etc. James said, “Show me thy faith without works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.” Nothing but the proof of these sayings can confirm them; but when you destroy a belief of disease on their basis, you can understand better and will know the benefit of their meaning. Belief in the original Hebrew implied not what we employ it to express: it signified to “understand,” to “be firm,” etc. What are termed believers are beliefs; the entity of man's being is not in them.

Ques. Do the five personal senses constitute a man?

Ans. Personal sense says they do, but science sustains the impossibility of material sense with immortal proof, and names it error; and recollect error is unreal, the truth of man is his only reality and immortality. Nerves have no more sensation than the fibres of a plant. Mind alone feels, sees, tastes, smells, and hears; therefore our faculties remain when organization is destroyed, and the worms unfashion material man. If it were possible for the senses to be injured for a moment when Life is understood, Soul would reproduce them in all their perfection. The lowest species of what is termed life in matter gives the better idea of Life; if a lobster loses his claw, it grows again. If the science of Life was understood it would be learned that the senses of Spirit are not lost, and there are no senses of matter. Material sense is a myth. The strange hypothesis to the contrary is only an educated belief, in infancy not equal to guiding the hand to the mouth or to seek nourishment after the manner of belief, and in old age it fades into more apparent nothingness and final extinction. Personal sense defrauds, lies, cheats, commits adultery, kills, etc., according to belief, to meet some demand of this depraved sense, and can take no cognizance of God; then how is this sense the means of blessings or of understanding God? or how can man, “the image of God,” be dependent on this sense to reach Him, and ought man to follow the dictates of this depraved guide, and who shall dare say the senses are the medium at one time of learning God, and at another of serving Satan or sin? The affirmative to these questions would contradict James in his sayings and demonstration that “the same fountain sendeth not forth sweet and bitter water.” Personal sense is the only source of evil or error. All is harmony outside of a personal sense of things; a wrong sense is not right, and is worse than non-sense. Belief would have personal sense a good and a bad sense; but belief says a man can be intoxicated, in obedience to a call of personal sense, find pleasure in it, and afterwards be a man! But the science of Soul and the grand facts of being are exempt from such error. Will-power is one of the false beliefs of personal sense that commit depredations on harmony. The human will is not a power because it is not a faculty of Soul, and cannot govern man aright. Reason governed by Wisdom should be the motive power in place of headlong, blind, and stubborn will, the result of appetites and passions. Our scientific statement of mind and body must be understood before God and man are learned aright, and the Principle of immortal man understood in science. If error enters the statement of man, it will be continued in the conclusions of him. Opinions, theories, and doctrines are of no avail to make man harmonious or immortal, for he is this, and ever was. This suppositional existence is not the reality of being. Let this be found out, and reject not the science that reveals it. Our useless knowledge explains man as mind and matter, or, rather, intelligent matter, having sensation, life, etc., and then by fair logic annihilates man at the death of matter. The spiritual evidences of Soul and body destroy the evidences of personal sense with immortal testimony and proof. Sleep and mesmerism explain the mythical nature of personal sense. Sleep reveals it either oblivion, nothingness, or the illusion of dreams; that last infirmity of evil, mesmerism, shows personal sense a belief only, without foundation or fact. The supposition of life in matter is but a sleeping or waking dream, for any supposed sensation of matter is a belief alone: change the belief and the sensation changes, destroy the belief, and the sensation disappears. Material man is a phenomenon of belief, a state of voluntary and involuntary mesmerism, a negative right and positive wrong belief, hiding for a little and only to itself the majesty of man. The belief that matter and Mind are one, that matter is awake at one time and at another sleeps, presenting no appearance of Mind, culminates in another belief, namely, that man dies. Material man, or what is deemed life and intelligence in matter, is but a dream at all times, and not the fact of being. The dream, or belief, goes on with closed or open eyes; in sleep it is a loss of memory and consciousness, and awake a dream of pain or of pleasure in matter. But who will admit, not understanding its science, that this dream of personal sense is not man, not a dreamer, but a dream? To reason right there should be but one issue before the mind, namely, spiritual existence, for there is none other. Life is not united to an opposite mortality. The metaphysical statement of being leads to realities, the conception and possession of harmony, health, and immortality. It begins at once, when understood and adhered to, uplifting the physical and moral standard of mortal man; it increases longevity, purifies and elevates character, and we know it is correct in statement, it being correct in proof. The ignorant will scoff at this science, — for such has been the case with every scientific discovery,— but it never has hindered the grand result. New thoughts are constantly obtaining the floor. The two opposite theories — that all is matter, else that all is mind — will occupy the ground until one is acknowledged; and, according to the saying of a great general when planning his campaign, science will “fight it out on this line.” To mix mind and matter is not only impossible, but an error made known in sin, sickness, and death, and these must eventually yield to harmony and Life. Let us, then, begin this result in science. We are ready to meet the profound thinker on the statement That all is Mind; and if this is divine science, as will be proven, it will at length destroy all human error, whereas the conservative theory that there are two, even matter and Spirit, and they unite on some basis, would forever keep Truth and error at war, as it has done, without a victory on either side.

To personal sense the sun appears to rise and set, and the earth to stand still, but science refutes this belief with opposite evidence, and explains the solar system on another plan. The evidence of personal sense is mutable and mortal; therefore, this so-called sense, and its frail evidences, must finally yield to science and the immortal senses of Soul.

Ques. Please explain sickness, and how it is healed.

Ans. Like a surgeon bandaging the limb and preparing plasters before amputation, we have been getting thought ready for this question, the solution of which brings out the demonstration of metaphysics, proving Mind superior to matter, and able to destroy the ills that flesh is heir to, or rather the beliefs that life is in matter include. The false evidences of personal sense would make sickness real, but not eternal; but if it is one it is the other. Sickness is not in matter, and man is spiritual; he has no material body to suffer. Sickness is a belief and illusion; its only fact a fable that comes not of Truth, God; hence, sickness is a suffering of mortal mind, — matter cannot suffer, — and caused by a belief that is made manifest on the body, whether this belief is cancer, consumption, small-pox, or a broken bone. The image of this belief is reflected on the body, as pain, inflammation, etc. That the body is sick and a material substance seems perfectly real, even as the images of dreams seem real and substance; but metaphysical science reveals the great fact that God is our substance, and sickness and error are seen and felt only as beliefs. That matter endures, suffers, feels, sees, etc., is a self-evident impossibility that shows the fallacy of sense and beliefs. Reason ought to correct the senses; but until the spell of belief is broken, sin, sickness, and death will seem real, as objects in the dream of sleep seem real. The illusions of the senses have their origin in the belief that Life and intelligence are in matter, while immortal man's eternal harmony has its reality not in body, but Soul. The great difference between these two testimonies of man is that one is the unreal mortal evidence, changing and dying, while the other is real and eternal, bearing the signet of Truth. Man is immortal because of his deathless Principle or Soul, outside of the body, evolving forever the idea man; and Soul cannot be lost because it is Life, and Life is not in man, Principle is not in its idea, and the idea is governed by spiritual and not material law. You cannot learn metaphysics solely from study and accepting our experience and explanations: you must practise what you are taught, enter into the understanding of being through our instructions and your improvement of them, and gain the Spirit of your demonstration. It is recorded that our Master cast out devils (error) and healed the sick, and it should be said of his followers, They are governed by Truth and Love; for God will heal the sick through man when man is controlled by God. Truth casts out error now as it did over eighteen centuries ago. But Jehovah is not understood, and Christian science demonstrated, through a belief or doctrine. If sickness is Truth, or the idea of Truth, you cannot destroy it, and it would be an error to attempt to do so. Then let us classify as Jesus did, who healed the sick with Truth, — that sickness, sin, and death are error, and the Truth of being, understood, destroys them. Hold steadfastly on to God and His idea, that if the belief of sickness or sin could tempt you, no image contrary to His likeness shall steal into the thought as real. Neither a fear nor a doubt shall shadow your clear sense and calm trust that the recognition of being as it is can destroy any painful sense or belief of that which it is not. Let Science instead of personal sense govern your thesis of the body, and it will supplant error with Truth, mortality with immortality, and discord with harmony understood.

Ques. How can I progress most rapidly in the understanding of metaphysical science?

Ans. After you have learned the scientific statement of being, to adhere to its Principle and follow its rules, abiding steadfastly in Wisdom, Truth, and Love, remembering you cannot with error destroy error; and your proof of this will be when you attempt to heal the sick. Metaphysics teaches you that Life is God. Then ask yourself: Am I living the life that is approximating to God? In the language of Scripture, “Is my life hid with Christ in God?” If this be so, the harmony of Christian science will come forth brighter and brighter unto the perfect day, and our explanations, requisite to guide you in healing and in “the strait and narrow way” will grow clearer until the truth of all things shall finally appear. Thus will your path grow luminous, and your good works finally prove what the understanding of God brings to man. We never dismiss a student until he understands sufficiently the rules of metaphysical healing to base his demonstration on the Principle that takes him forever onward, that underlies, overlies, and encompasses all true being.