Undiscovered Abilities (Summary)
William Henry Alton
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
"Undiscovered abilities" lie deep in every individual, a Christian Science lecturer said Monday evening, April 27th in Peekskill.
He described these abilities as basically spiritual, requiring prayer and "reliance on God" before they can be used. To the man humble enough to develop such abilities, he said, all things are possible.
William Henry Alton was the speaker, under sponsorship of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Peekskill, N.Y. The lecture was given in the Church Edifice.
Greater demands are being made upon all of us, Mr. Alton noted.
"The restrictions of time and space are disappearing," not only through the use of inventions, but because "people are increasing their capacities and abilities in every aspect of human experience."
These are indications of the "breaking down of the mental barriers which have so long bound mankind," he said. But they are only a hint of the deeper "spiritual capacities" which are inherent in each individual as the offspring of God.
The extent to which we develop these talents determines "how well we fulfill our divine purpose here on earth and become masters of our destiny," Mr. Alton told the audience.
Grasp Jesus Statement
"Of prime importance," he said, "is to grasp more fully Jesus' statement, 'The Son can do nothing of himself but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise'." (John 5:19)
This profound statement, commented the lecturer, "reveals the rule underlying Jesus' abilities — complete reliance on God . . . to meet every situation in God's way.
"This is the Christ way," he said. "And this is what we can and must do.
"We must come to know our Father as the one intelligence or Mind directing and controlling His own creation, His sons, to the fulfillment of His perfect plan."
We must understand "the nature of God as infinite Spirit, as tender Love, and as divine Principle, the source of all being and doing.
"We were never meant to do anything as of ourselves," Mr. Alton declared. "It's the power from divine Mind that really does everything.
"Our first step is to know Him, to seek that state of consciousness wherein God is supreme and all is under His control."
Capacities to Solve Problems
It's a "regeneration process," he said, a way of prayer.
"This prayer brings the spiritual intuitions which provide the answers to every conceivable human need.
"We don't necessarily have fewer problems," he added," but we have the God-given capacities to solve them. Most important we have the light of spiritual understanding to live by."
The result is that "one finds spiritual capacities appearing in this human experience in ways that are tangible."
"The Bible gives many concrete examples," he noted, citing Moses and the Apostle Paul among others.
"Paul summarized it simply but profoundly in just ten words: 'I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me'" (Phil 4:13).
We must all learn to practice this "total reliance," said the lecturer. God "is directing each one of us to the fulfillment of our divine purpose." As we learn to obey His plan, we find the "usefulness and spiritual capacities" which belong uniquely to each individual.
It calls for great "selflessness and humility," he added.
Even as a ray of sun can claim no credit for its qualities, because they are reflected or derived from the sun, so God's expression, man, derived from the one intelligent Mind, can do and be only what Mind has forever created and intended him to do and be. Man can take no more credit than the sunbeam. He can only be grateful for his heritage as God's individual reflection.
"It enables us to be a healing influence wherever we find ourselves."
The lecturer told how one man was able to bring healing to a friend's child who had been diagnosed as seriously ill with double mastoiditis. The child's troubled mother had asked the man to talk to her about his religion. "He was so convinced of the spiritual facts concerning the perfection of God and His reflection, man, that he was inspired to share them." The next day, the child was completely well, and the expected operation was never necessary.
Mr. Alton also related the case of another man who settled a complex international business transaction through this kind of prayer.
"There is no problem — no matter how complex or severe it may seem — for which there isn't a right answer known to God," said the lecturer. And the power to solve every problem that confronts us is ours to claim as His children.
He quoted the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy: "Divine Love blesses its own ideas, and causes them to multiply, — to manifest His power. Man is not made to till the soil. His birthright is dominion, not subjection. He is lord of the belief in earth and heaven, — himself subordinate alone to his Maker" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 517).
[Published in The Putnam County Courier of Carmel, New York, May 7, 1964.]