Our Right to Progress

 

Lenore D. Hanks, C.S.B., of Portland, Oregon

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

During the last war as the American troops swept over the island of Okinawa, a war correspondent, who was following the action, related an interesting story of a small group of people, a story which is particularly pertinent to our discussion this evening − our right to progress.

The villages of Okinawa were found to be much alike, except for one − Shimmabuke. Thirty years before, this village had been visited by an American missionary. He had left two Christian converts and a Bible behind. These men had made the spiritual truths contained in that Bible come alive for the whole village.

Every man, woman, and child in Shimmabuke became a Christian. And there developed a Christian democracy at its purest. Then came war, and the American Army. When its advance patrols approached the village with guns leveled, the GI's stopped in their tracks as two little old men stepped forward, bowed low, and began to speak. An interpreter explained that they were welcoming the soldiers as fellow Christians.

The GI's sent for the chaplain and officers of the Intelligence Service. They toured the village and were astounded at what they found − the intelligence, poise, and gentility of the villagers, the spotlessly clean homes and streets, the high level of health, happiness, and prosperity. They had seen many other villages in Okinawa in direct contrast to this. What had made the difference? The answer came from the people themselves: "We have, honored sirs, tried our best to follow the Bible and live like Jesus."

One tough old army sergeant remarked, "I can't figure it − this kind of people coming out of only a Bible and a couple of old guys who wanted to live like Jesus." Then he added significantly, "Maybe we've been using the wrong kind of weapons to make the world over."

When the war correspondent was shown the weather-stained and frayed Bible which the people had used for thirty years, they handled it as reverently and lovingly as if it were the original Declaration of Independence. And no wonder. Through the spiritual truths contained in the Bible they had come to learn that all men "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights" and "that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

These words from the Declaration of Independence clearly establish on a spiritual basis the individual rights which are a fundamental condition for universal progress. This is their significance for our discussion.

These rights have their roots in the moral and spiritual truths which have come down through the ages. Their seed can be traced to every effort everywhere to open to all the door to progress, greater individual expression and experience of good. Benjamin Franklin, one of the signers of the Declaration, has said, "He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of Christianity will change the face of the world." This is what happened in Shimmabuke.

It's encouraging that the rights acknowledged in America's historic document are finding recognition in all corners of the earth. The twentieth century has brought the basis of progress − the rights of the individual − into clearer focus than ever before. It has also seen the danger which comes from subjugating these rights to the state. A free society is the only climate in which progress for all can be attained. We need to guard our individual rights. We can only do this as we see their basis in man's spiritual nature.

Progress comes not so much from seeking more freedoms and greater liberties as from claiming and using those that have already been divinely bestowed upon us. The Bible points again and again to these rights listed in the Declaration. Paul tells us, "To be spiritually minded is life" (Rom. 8:6) and "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (II Cor. 3:17). The Psalmist promises, "Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord" (Ps. 144:15).

Now a great many people believe that, while we're all entitled to these divinely bestowed rights, they're not truly attainable by all because of certain human limitations − limitations which are beyond our control and which automatically hold us back. These restrictions may take the form of lack of intelligence, of limited opportunity due to social or environmental conditions, or of physical disabilities. Material means alone can't overcome these difficulties because a material view of life is their source.

Does any material remedy for disease promise permanent health? Or can you be assured that just because you're happy today you won't be unhappy tomorrow? No. This is because the generally accepted means of progress has its basis in materialism, mere human efforts to achieve a specific end, reliance on human intelligence and human abilities alone. Sooner or later such reliance lets us down. We have to go deeper than that. We need to understand man's divine rights.

The widespread skepticism as to whether progress is possible for everyone is silenced as we take our stand for the true nature of man as spiritual, endowed by his Maker, by God, with life, liberty, and happiness. This understanding opens to all the opportunity and ability to go forward.

Here then is the key to real progress − to see that it stems from understanding the nature of man and his relationship to God. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, saw progress as "the law of God." She writes in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "Every day makes its demands upon us for higher proofs rather than professions of Christian power. These proofs consist solely in the destruction of sin, sickness, and death by the power of Spirit, as Jesus destroyed them. This is an element of progress, and progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil" (p. 233). This is the kind of progress we're talking about. We need to realize that as a divine law it reaches everyone, everywhere, it's irresistible.

As we meet God's demands for higher proofs of Christian power in the destruction of sin, sickness, and death, we find the true concept of progress. It's the effort to recognize and claim man's spiritual heritage, his divine right to express the Life which is God, the liberty of spiritual enlightenment, and the happiness which results from this spiritual activity. But to fulfill the demands these rights impose requires a progressively deeper understanding of what God is. Take this first right − the right to life.

 

 

 

Progress Through Seeing Life as Spiritual

There's a verse in the Bible which reads, "The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation" (Ex. 15:2). Here's the way to bring our sense of God as Life into clearer focus − prepare a habitation within ourselves for the understanding of Him. The more we know of God, the more we're going to know of our real selfhood as His expression.

Don't most of us want to live more fully than we're doing? With more assurance of freedom from disease, from sin, from decrepitude, and even from death itself? Why don't more people experience freer, happier, fuller lives? Why do so many people just exist? Because they don't really know what Life or God is. They haven't made room for Him in their thinking.

God, Himself, is Life. He is without beginning and without end. He is omnipotent, the only cause and creator. Moreover because God is good, everything He has created is good. As Christian Science makes plain, He knows nothing of discord or decay, disease or death. There aren't two creators. There is only one source of life, namely, God, and the life He gives is all good.

As these facts become more meaningful to us, we begin to see that whatever is good and spiritual in the life we're now living must in reality express the divine Life. There is no other. What appears to be material life with its accidents, diseases, and fatalities, is the outward expression of a false concept of man. It's this false concept that impedes progress and needs to be outgrown. It springs from misunderstanding, from the mistaken belief that life and intelligence are in matter. This leads to the further mistaken belief in a mortal man with a will and purpose apart from God. Referring to progress, Mrs. Eddy says, "It is the ripening of mortal man, through which the mortal is dropped for the immortal" (Science and Health, p. 296). This mortal has no real existence, but is just a shadow of what is true and eternally present.

There's an eastern proverb which reads:

 

"The shadow of a dog cannot bite.

The shadow of a sword cannot pierce.

The shadow of death cannot kill."

 

Why should we be afraid of a shadow? A shadow has no actuality, no power or substance. In the physical realm shadows are simply the result of the partial blocking out of the sunlight. The sun hasn't disappeared. But something gets in its way and a shadow is cast. We know shadows have no consistency or permanence. They're only the result of some degree of darkness. At high noon there are no shadows. And of real being Science and Health says, "Manhood is its eternal noon, undimmed by a declining sun" (p. 246).

So instead of accepting dark, shadowy fears about ourselves, we need to remember that in our real nature we're the offspring of God − sustained by Principle, created by Mind, beloved of Love, expressing Truth, Life, Spirit, and Soul. These are names with which Christian Science identifies the nature of God. And man in reality is the individual expression of God's nature standing always at the point of perfection, not advancing toward it but in the full sunlight of all that God is. The recognition of this fact is bound to enrich our lives. There's a definite relationship between our present experience and what we know about real being. The more we know about our true selfhood, the better our experience will be, and the more progress we will make. As we give up our belief of life in matter, our whole human experience, including our bodies, is going to be improved. Wherever any discord may seem to exist, there's a place where something more of God and of man's relationship to Him needs to be seen. The understanding of this can lift us right out of the fear of decrepitude, poverty, and old age.

When we make a place in our thinking for Life as God, ever present, all powerful, supreme, infinite, and always expressing Himself in man, we're going to have a body that can't become disabled, decayed, or worn out. Such understanding is greatly needed today. Many people have a dread of old age because of its implications. There's a gnawing fear that in spite of everything, they're up against something beyond their control − something neither willpower nor money can help them avoid. But God's demand is that we accept our right to the life which expresses God and recognize its indestructible nature.

When we're living up to this demand, we're daily and hourly rejecting the common fear that sooner or later everything disintegrates. There's a story about a little boy who was spending his first summer at the beach. He also had his first experience with sunburn. No one thought to tell him that the peeling process was a temporary thing. So with much concern he said to his mother, "I didn't think I'd start wearing out at six years old."

We don't have to start wearing out at six or sixty. We don't have to accept fear of old age. Advancing years can be just as progressive and fruitful as any other stage of existence. Maybe we can't do anything about the calendar, but we can govern our reaction to it. By holding steadfastly to eternal Life, and knowing that the qualities of true being are immortal, we can maintain vigor, freshness, alertness, and health. We can progress beyond the fearful acceptance of life as limited into the deeper realization of man's immortal existence in Spirit. This realization will keep us safe from all that materiality can claim to do to us. We can stand in the full sunlight of ever-present Life.

Death can only come as the result of believing that life and intelligence are in matter. This is a basic claim of all evil. Jesus referred to this devil, or evil, as "a murderer from the beginning" but concluded that "there is no truth in him" (John 8:44). There is no truth in the claims of evil. They are illusions, lies, shadows, unreal and untrue. They are the opposite of Life and always false. Really the only death there is is the destruction or death of this false material sense of existence. And this is deliverance which we accomplish not by dying but by daily denying the reality of all destructive forces, by refusing to put up with weakness, lack, or incapacity in any form. We can do this by overcoming each limiting belief as it appears through applying our growing understanding of imperishable, immortal Life. We have the right to come out from under the shadow of death and dread of old age into the realm of God, the radiance of eternal Life. This is progress.

 

The Christ Is the Way to Eternal Life

Isn't this the lesson to be learned from the crucifixion and the resurrection? Because Jesus so clearly understood the truth that real Life is God, death couldn't conquer him. He was constantly progressing beyond the limiting material sense of things into the spiritual. As we learn to know the nature of the Christ and progressively respond to it, we too can experience the freedom this knowledge brings.

The Christ is the spiritual idea of God, His divine image and likeness. Jesus consistently expressed the true Christly nature. He saw himself as the image of God expressing all of God's qualities. He was living those Christian ideals which Benjamin Franklin realized would change the face of the world. And he showed us the way when he said, "The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him" (John 8:29). This was how he made a habitation for God. He was fulfilling his Father's will. Therefore God's promises were fulfilled in him.

Jesus was able to assert his right to perfect life because he saw so clearly that the Christ, Truth, constituted man's indestructible nature, inseparable from Life, or God. This was the basis for all his work. His discernment of the perfection of man, his indestructibility, his freedom from disease, his likeness to his Maker was what he used to heal everyone that came to him. We can accept the fact that this Christ, Truth, is here today and can appear as constituting our nature. Whenever we make the effort humanly to express spiritual qualities, we are putting on the nature of the Christ. And there is no greater progress than doing this. It's the only way out of the material limitations of sin, disease, and death. The thing we must see is that our true selfhood, the only man there really is, has nothing to do with matter and its limitations. Really the point of our whole human experience is to prove this − to daily put off some claim of matter and materiality so that more of our true spiritual nature can shine through.

Then in our present experience we shall have freedom from these limitations and liberation from all the evil that is so often accepted as a part of human experience. Instead we shall have better health, more abundance, and increased opportunities, all symbols of progress based on the spiritual understanding that God is the only Life.

 

Liberation Is a Divine Right

True liberty is a God-bestowed right based on a recognition of spiritual causation. And "spiritual causation," Science and Health states, "is the one question to be considered, for more than all others spiritual causation relates to human progress" (p. 170). Sooner or later we all have to meet and overcome the mistaken belief that there's a cause apart from God. We need, really and truly, to accept God as the one and only Principle, as the true basis for everything. We need to recognize this Principle to be divine intelligence or Mind, the governing and controlling cause of all that is or that occurs. This is a wonderful way to understand God. When we make this sort of habitation for God, we're not going to be limited or blocked by any lawless and destructive material forces that might claim to have power over us.

We begin to see that things aren't beyond our control. We don't have to be buffeted by chance or circumstance, lack of opportunity, limited supply, or helplessness. We have a right to come out from under these shadows into the sunlight of God's complete control and find true liberty. This purified thinking marks the human progress of each one of us into the reality of eternal being.

Our body is part of this human consciousness that must be seen in a clearer light if we're to be really free. Do you remember Robert Louis Stevenson's little poem which starts:

"I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,

And what can be the use of him is more than I can see"?

 

A limited mortal sense of body isn't much use to us. What is required is to see ourselves in our original perfection and completeness, the effect of spiritual, not material, causation. It's only the misunderstanding of true creation that casts these shadows. Mrs. Eddy says, "What seems to be of human origin is the counterfeit of the divine, − even human concepts, mortal shadows flitting across the dial of time" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 71). Any degree of turning away from God produces these shadows. The demand is that we stand in the full sunlight of Truth where God's rays of love beam warm and bright on us and on our fellowmen.

Every physical healing we have is the result of seeing more clearly what is the truth about the shadow. For example, a Christian Scientist I know was taking a graduate course at night with a professor whom she admired very much, but who for some time had been absent. One evening my friend learned that the teacher wouldn't be returning because of an incurable illness. She was so shocked to hear this that as soon as her classes were over she went to the professor's apartment. She found her extremely discouraged and ill. Eventually the whole unhappy story poured out of the years of sickness and vain searching for health through material means. And now this greatest blow that nothing further could be done for her. My friend told her she didn't have to accept this sentence, that Christian Science could help her.

The next day she returned with a copy of Science and Health. She found the professor studying her Bible in a new light. The first of the week she was back in school and there was steady improvement. Because her physician had been so kind, she made an appointment with him to explain what had happened. His first words were of delight at her appearance and gratitude for her recovery. She granted him permission to examine her. He found no evidence of the disease.

This woman began to apply the truth of spiritual causation to her entire experience. For years she had worn glasses. But in a very short time they were no longer needed. Because of an allergy she had carefully watched her diet. Soon she was eating any type of food with no bad effects.

Such progress, such liberation, is possible to all of us as we accept and use the premise that God is the only cause and creator. This is to pray scientifically. When we recognize God as the only Mind, we have to admit that there can be no other mind to create or cause discordant conditions. Therefore they are uncaused and uncreated. When we accept God as Spirit, the substance of all reality, it becomes clear that the only substance there is has to be spiritual, indestructible, and diseaseless. Because God fills all space, there's no room for anything unlike Him − no place for incurability. As we realize that He is eternal, without beginning and without end, there can be no interruption of His perfection. There can be no states or stages of disease. Since God is the only lawmaker, there are no physical or material laws to support a cause or effect apart from Him. Therefore any claim of evil has no mind to create it, no substance to consist of, no place to be, no time in which to exist, and no law to govern it. This is the prayer of spiritual understanding. It strips evil and its effects of all reality or power, and brings healing.

 

Mary Baker Eddy Discerned Man's True Liberty

Mary Baker Eddy had the spiritual insight to discern the progressive liberation which comes as spiritual causation is recognized. So sure was she of this that in the early days of her practice of Christian Science she ran a small advertisement over her name in a Boston weekly paper which read in part: "Any person desiring to learn how to heal the sick can receive of the undersigned instruction that will enable them to commence healing on a principle of Science with a success far beyond any of the present modes." Here was conviction based upon spiritual understanding. Many were taught and many were healed.

One of the most progressive things Mrs. Eddy did for mankind was to make it plain that God isn't the cause of the ills which confront humanity, and that He is the only cause. That this understanding is our protection from these ills. She had to prove this for herself. The Baker family were all good people living up to their highest concept of right. Yet they hadn't been spared the calamities which at one time or another confront many of us. Mrs. Eddy's dearest brother had died at the commencement of a brilliant career, her husband in the first year of their marriage. Mere human goodness has never guaranteed exemption from misfortunes. And Mrs. Eddy began to glimpse the reason why. People were believing in a cause apart from God and in addition to Him, which could restrict and enslave them.

There was a time when she seemed to lose everything worthwhile in human life − health, home, and income. However she had seen her prayers answered before. If this hadn't always been so, she was certain that the failure was with her. There was something more about God's nature she needed to learn. One of her biographers says, "Hers was a desperate attempt to break the fetters of disease. In proportion to her weaning from human dependence came the necessity for leaning upon the divine. The more she leaned, the more strongly she felt the support of the everlasting arms." At last the spiritual cause of everything became clear. Then step by step she rose above adversity. Most important she was able to help others see God as good and the only cause.

During a period of difficulty she once reassured those around her, "Since God is omnipotence, there is no power or person that can hinder His healing work."

However it soon became clear to Mrs. Eddy that a permanent means of imparting and promoting this revelation of the healing truth of God and real being was needed. So she established the Church of Christ, Scientist. She went beyond the Declaration of Independence in its efforts to change the face of the world. She showed us how to do it.

The more she came to recognize spiritual causation as the Principle of Christianity, the greater was the good, the freedom from limitation, that came into her life. This is the way to a full life. We have only begun to prove a little of the good in store for all of us. We have just glimpsed the glories of heaven on earth. There's so much more. Mrs. Eddy understood this. In the Preface to Science and Health she says of herself that "to-day, though rejoicing in some progress, she still finds herself a willing disciple at the heavenly gate, waiting for the Mind of Christ" (p. ix).

As we gain something of this Mind of Christ, liberation from material limitations is experienced. Shadows that claim to hide man in God's image are seen as nothing and are dispelled. This spiritual insight is our salvation, our happiness, and our heaven.

 

The Spiritual Nature of Happiness

As we come to know God as Life, we experience the liberty of Spirit and realize the deep-down inner contentment which is real happiness and completely satisfying. But as long as people are seeking happiness in materiality, they are pursuing it in the wrong direction and never quite finding it. There is nothing more restrictive to human progress than a false material pursuit of happiness.

Sacrificing our beliefs in materiality, in what the physical senses would try to tell us, turning away from the shadows, this is a necessary part of seeking the Christ. It is the Christ that reaches the human consciousness. God doesn't come down into the shadows to rearrange them, but the Christ leads us gently out of the shadows into the reality of what is true. This is the pursuit of happiness which is a divine right and represents true progress. To express happiness consistently we need to see it as a spiritual quality. "Soul," it is stated in Science and Health, "has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul" (p. 60). This is because God, who is Soul, is constantly bestowing joy as the intrinsic nature of all that He has created. And through Soul we have the spiritual insight to see this. We might say that this inner contentment is in proportion to the use we make of our spiritual sense. Through such discernment, we see beyond the shadow of the human personality into what is really there.

Professor Einstein saw something of this when he said, "Arrows of hate have been shot at me, too, but they never hit me because somehow they belong to another world with which I have no connection whatsoever." As we progress in our understanding of the true nature of man and his relationship to God the arrows of material sense can neither find us nor hurt us. We're beyond their reach when the truth of God and man becomes established in our thinking. Isn't this the answer for all human relationship problems, for living together harmoniously whether it's our immediate family or the entire question of integration? Mrs. Eddy points this out when she says, "In the order of wisdom, the higher nature of man governs the lower. This lays the foundations of human affection in line with progress, giving them strength and permanence" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 287).

When we make a habitation for divine Love, we find that Love is giving us strength, intelligence, and freedom to face and overcome any material condition. As we make room for Spirit, our true self, our own spiritual identity, becomes clearer. Constantly entertaining the thought of divine Life protects us from accidents, sickness, and the deterioration of old age. Abiding with Soul, we have more spiritual insight, deeper understanding, and greater inspiration. A consciousness of Truth as the basis of all reality reveals the unchanging perfection of creation. Opening our thought to Principle as the foundation upon which all creation rests brings God's control into focus. As we hold to only one Mind, we have the unerring direction which makes progress, health, and well-being a natural part of our human experience. Most of all as we make a habitation for God, there comes the desire to express more of the Christ-spirit, to make our contribution to changing the face of the world through living our Christianity. Then we can't help but be happy. For happiness is spiritual, and we possess it in the degree that we're living such qualities as expectancy of good, obedience to moral and spiritual demands, and unselfishness.

Every right desire can be fulfilled. But we often seem to lose our happiness or pass it by. It we were to check our thinking, we would be amazed at how much of the time we're closing the door on the fulfillment of our right desires by believing they're impossible to attain.

I have a friend who years ago learned to keep the door of her thought open to the infinite possibilities of man and to her own expression of these abilities. It has brought her a great sense of fulfillment. One day as she admired a portrait, she was tempted to indulge in envy because she didn't seem to be talented that way. But she instantly reversed the thought declaring that, as the individual expression of infinite Mind, she had been endowed in her true nature not only with the appreciation of beauty, but with the means to express it. Because she truly wanted to use this particular talent, she bought a supply of art materials and went to work knowing that nothing could impede her God-endowed ability. Three years later her charcoal drawing of the head of Albert Schweitzer was chosen from a large exhibit to be displayed in the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. Through the correction of her lack of expectancy, and through refusing to limit her abilities, much happiness came to her.

This reasoning can be applied to any situation. Greater achievement is possible for all of us in the degree that we understand the spiritual nature of progress and act accordingly. We need to see that in spiritual reality all good is here for us now. We need to keep increasing our expectancy of it in our human experience. Mrs. Eddy writes, "Science reveals the possibility of achieving all good, and sets mortals at work to discover what God has already done; but distrust of one's ability to gain the goodness desired and to bring out better and higher results, often hampers the trial of one's wings and ensures failure at the outset" (Science and Health, p. 260). A limited outlook results in limitations. A wide horizon of expectancy based on spiritually scientific understanding brings the fulfillment of these desires into our lives.

So we need to stop limiting ourselves and see that the power which supports us, the divine Principle which underlies all causation and every effect, is greater than any difficulty facing us. Because God is omnipotent, evil and limitation are impotent. But in order to see this proved we need to line ourselves up with divine Principle. We must live up to God's moral and spiritual demands. Obedience is liberation not restriction.

If we think our enjoyment is being curtailed by not participating in the indulgences of material living, we're being very shortsighted. We're not taking into consideration that the indulgences of the material senses involve the pains of these senses also. They go hand in hand. Whenever we look solely to matter for our satisfaction, we're going to have to accept its less pleasant aspects too because they're from the same source. But whenever we take our stand on the side of Spirit and spiritual existence, when we live up to our highest sense of right and the demands of divine Principle, we're started on the way to true happiness. We're being liberated from the dissatisfactions and unhappiness that materiality brings.

This turning away from material sense is a demand made upon us if we're to enjoy our divine right to the pursuit of happiness. But Love only demands that we give up the things that hold us back. Moreover there's the greatest reciprocity in divine Love.

When my daughter was small she had a serious accident and broke her arm. We called for help from a practitioner, but the child was still sobbing when her father came home. He wasn't a Christian Scientist, but because he'd seen similar conditions in the family healed through scientific prayer, he didn't demand medical attention. I sat by the child's bed all night declaring her freedom from material laws. By morning the acute pain was gone, though she was afraid to move her arm.

We hadn't been up long when a call came from an elderly neighbor. A member of her family had passed away. She was alone and desperately needed someone. I knew I should go to her and help with all the things that had to be done at such a time. But I didn't want to. I wanted to stay home with my daughter. Here was a challenge of my trust in the Christian Science treatment that had been given. I asked the youngster if she thought she could go to the nursery school she attended. Well, she thought so if they wouldn't make her do anything. So I took her and requested that she not be asked to participate in the usual program. Mentally I left her under God's control and in His loving care. Then I went to my friend and had a full day of being a good neighbor.

Late in the afternoon when I returned, I found the child hanging from a jungle gym with both arms. Of course, I couldn't have been happier. And I learned a useful lesson. By surrendering a personal sense of love and completely trusting my daughter to God, I had opened the way for material laws of time, reconstruction, mending of bone, and so forth, to be overcome. And the child had her freedom. It's experiences like this that bring true happiness. They give us the assurance that we're seeing something of man's unity with God, and feeling God's power in our lives. This is our proof of progress.

And this can be true all along our way. For the way of progress isn't difficult but a completely satisfying daily kind of thing. Each time we relinquish some cherished material belief more freedom, is realized. Every effort to be obedient to God's will brings greater liberation and happiness. Every selfless act gives us a surer confidence in God's provision for us. Every effort to know God better helps us to know ourselves and yield our bodies and our environment to His control.

 

Progress Can Begin Now

There's perhaps no more familiar symbol of the opportunity for progress than the Statue of Liberty at the entrance to the New York harbor. But behind that statue stand the great truths of the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming to the world that "all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights" and "that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Christian Science brings an even clearer understanding of man's heritage. Mrs. Eddy writes, "Discerning the rights of man, we cannot fail to foresee the doom of all oppression." In the next paragraph she adds: "Christian Science raises the standard of liberty and cries: 'Follow me! Escape from the bondage of sickness, sin, and death!' Jesus marked out the way. Citizens of the world, accept the 'glorious liberty of the children of God,' and be free! This is your divine right" (Science and Health, p. 227).

Here's the way to real progress − to see it as based in spiritual rights; to recognize it as liberation from all that would impede our spiritual growth. Such progress is universal and possible to everyone in the degree that its spiritual nature is understood. This is progress from the human to the divine, from material sense to Soul, from limitation to Life, from matter to Spirit, and from lack to Love. It's leading us from the bondage of ignorance into the freedom of divine Mind, from the shadows of limited, false thinking into the sunlight of Truth, and from insecurity of material foundations to divine Principle. It opens the way to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for everyone. It gives a fuller human life all the way to the understanding of God as divine Life, constantly more liberation all the way to complete liberty, and greater happiness all the way to the certain joy of spiritual understanding. When we really set out to exercise and enjoy the spiritual rights with which we have been endowed, we find it's heaven all the way to heaven. And this is progress.

 

1964 Lenore D. Hanks

All rights reserved

 

 

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