Christian Science: The Key to Happiness

 

Theodore Wallach, C.S., of Chicago, Illinois

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

Genuine happiness is available to all, Theodore Wallach, C.S., of Chicago, said last night in a Christian Science lecture in Boston.

The key to happiness is spiritual understanding, he said. He described this understanding as the consistent recognition of man's relationship to God which blesses and heals.

A member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship, Mr. Wallach spoke in The

Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., on the subject "Christian Science: The Key to Happiness."

In introducing the lecturer, Arnold H. Exo, C.S.B., First Reader of The Mother Church, said: "Health and happiness are of God, therefore they are ever-present and abundant. We need never lack them, and will not when we intelligently seek them through prayer as Christian Science enables us to do."

 

All Strive for Happiness

Mr. Wallach spoke substantially as follows:

Every human action, it has often been said, is dictated by the quest for happiness. So deeply is the desire for happiness implanted in the human mind that all of us strive to

obtain the things we believe will bring happiness. Now it is plain that some men, fired by purely human determination, forge ahead in a manner which can bring them only a fleeting sense of joy, never finding the key to genuine happiness.

In fact, the unhappiest person I have ever known was a young man who had everything. That is, almost everything. As a very young man he had been fortunate − or shall I say unfortunate? − enough to amass a considerable fortune. He decided, quite properly, that this was enough money for him, and so he decided to retire and spend the rest of his days being good to himself.

He took trips around the world on luxury liners, spent much time at the world's famous resort and amusement spots − and came to the conclusion that life really wasn't worth living! He could not sleep; he couldn't enjoy his ample and luxurious food: he became very miserable. What was wrong? He possessed, in abundance, those things for which most persons long and which some people envy. His health was good: his conscience†† reasonably clear. Wherein lay his difficulty?

Centuries before, the great and wise King Solomon also had endeavored to find happiness at first in the pursuit of material possessions and pleasures. In spite of his vast wealth and power and fame, apparently he was not happy. Unlike the man I just told you about, however, he began to realize that happiness is not found by following the will-o'-the-wisp wanderings of the human imagination: neither is it the product of material wealth and the things which money can buy. Surely happiness is not the result of intellectual brilliance, pleasant surroundings, nor even harmonious human relationships. For it is a sadly obvious fact that many who possess the very things we deem most desirable from a human viewpoint are plainly joyless and unsatisfied.

In Proverbs (3:13) Solomon said, "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding." He is evidently speaking of spiritual understanding, for he has just counseled, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Prov. 3:5).

 

Understanding Opens the Way

The road to happiness, then, is the way of spiritual understanding, that consistent recognition of man's unity with God which forever blesses and heals. With her customary clarity, Mary Baker Eddy, in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," says (p. 209), "Spiritual sense is a conscious, constant capacity to understand God." You may be tempted to say that this is impossible, that it is beyond our present capacity to entertain a conscious, constant recognition of the divine presence and power. But some of your neighbors are beginning to take marvelous strides along this line! In every community, there are Christian Scientists whose improved health and morals, whose joyous helpfulness to those around them, bear radiant witness to their increasing awareness of the ever-presence of spiritual good. They are bearing witness to their understanding that material things, so called, may be the expression, but are never the custodian, of happiness. Christian Scientists believe they have a right to good things, if those things are the outcome of good thinking.

Happiness, then, is the natural, reasonable effect of spiritual understanding.

Far removed from the original sense of the word (related to "happen" and "happenstance"), happiness is not accidental, the sport of circumstance. It results from obedience to well-defined and − on the part of Christian Scientists − well-understood law. Christian Scientists study daily a textbook which explains this law which expresses divine Principle. Their textbook is entitled "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." Its author, Mary Baker Eddy, is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and the revered Leader of the Christian Science movement. You have a right to expect that, because Christian Science is Science, its explanations will be logical and demonstrable. You will find, as you read the textbook, that it presents in clear language the proposition and proof that the universe, far from being a hodge-podge of material outgrowth or evolution, is the expression of orderly law. You will also find that this textbook, this "Key to the Scriptures," is also the key to happiness!

Here are a few samples from this great work:

"Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love" (p. 57).

"For true happiness, man must harmonize with his Principle, divine Love" (p. 337).

"Harmony is produced by its Principle, is controlled by it and abides with it . . . Man's happiness is not, therefore, at the disposal of physical sense" (p. 304).

What priceless understanding is this, that there is a Principle to happiness and existence which you can apply in your own experience!

 

Principle Is Synonym for God

You will discover, in studying the Christian Science textbook, frequent use of this word Principle − spelled with capital letter − as a synonym for God. Herein lies one of the greatest contributions to the religious thought of the ages. Those who properly evaluate Mrs. Eddy's mighty advancement of mankind's concept of Deity are immeasurably grateful for her perception of God as Principle.

It is deeply satisfying to know that Scriptural inspiration coincides with clearest logic. Christian Science is based wholly on the Bible, and while various modern translations are often used by Christian Scientists for reference, the King James Version, rich in its sonorous beauty of prose and poetry, is used in our church services and for individual study of the Christian Science Lesson-Sermons.

Plainly the Bible is the record of the advancing unfoldment in human thought of the true nature of God. While the earliest Hebrews believed in a deity who must be satiated with constant sacrifices of sheep and doves, of calves and goats, you and I could never believe in such a god. We could never accept a god who commanded his prophets, his priests, and his kings to exterminate their enemies. But these immature concepts slowly began to give way to recognition of the undeviating rightness and illimitable love of Him whose "mercy is everlasting: and his truth endureth to all generations" (Ps. 100:5), as the Psalmist records.

The New Testament, luminous with its accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus and its writings of the Apostles, forever silenced justification of the dogma "an eye for an eye" and brought infinitely nearer to you and me the realization of God as the tender, powerful Father of all.

Mrs. Eddy brought this maturing concept of God to completion by her discernment of God as Principle. This word "Principle" has the twofold meaning of First Cause, or origin, and the source of basic, unchanging law. In the light with which Christian Science illumines the Scriptures, we leave the shadows of belief in the uncertain, unpredictable nature of God for perception of the fact that "God is love" (I John 4:8), as St. John states − unchanging Love. We leave the shadows of belief in the variable, questionable will and wisdom of Deity for recognition of God as divine Mind, pure, unchanging intelligence, the same Mind "which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5). Yes, we leave the shadows of belief in destructible life for comprehension of the fact that God is Life, even that eternal Life whom to know aright gains for us the consciousness of Life eternal.

 

Man Is Mindís Perfect Image

Thus Christian Science reveals God as the Love, Mind, and Life which may properly be used as synonyms for Principle. Christian Scientists also employ the terms Truth, Spirit, and Soul as synonymous with God, thereby indicating that there is one incorruptible Spirit, one Soul of all, which identifies each child of God as an essential idea in the Father's supreme consciousness; one ultimate Truth, the Rock of Ages, the divine Principle of being.

There can never be a cause without effect. The effect of deific Principle, divine Mind, is pure, orderly ideas. Thus the nature of man, the image and likeness of God, is that of spiritual idea, expressing and utterly governed by the pure Mind in which he exists as Mind's perfect reflection. The search for happiness, then, amounts to a search for the spiritual understanding of one's own true nature and character, the understanding of man's satisfying, indissoluble relationship to Deity, a relationship which Mrs. Eddy characterized as ". . . God giving all and man having all that God gives" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 5).

The Psalmist's sentence, "Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord" (Ps. 144:15),

surely applies to Christian Scientists, for we understand that He whom we worship is not unpredictable, but reliable, for His unchanging goodness and love are truly the manifestations of Principle. Thus viewed, one can never object to the term "Principle" as cold and unloving, for it is synonymous with the unchanging love of divine Love itself. It is as impossible for you to escape from, or be an exception to, the infinite love of God as for some little numeral "2" (two) to escape from, or be an exception to, the universal government of the principle of mathematics.

The average person, however, seems as unaware of the fact that there is a Principle to his existence, and therefore a Principle to his happiness, as is the untutored savage that there is a principle to numbers, or the science of mathematics.

One of the early African explorers, so the story goes, told of a certain occasion in his travels when he came upon a group of natives fighting in what appeared to be a friendly sort of way. The ground about them was littered with coconuts. First one group would rush in and try to gather up all the coconuts it could. Then some others would rush in and try to take them away and make off with all they could manage. After watching this performance for some time, the explorer inquired through his local interpreter what this excitement was all about.

He was informed that the group had been gathering coconuts and now the men were simply trying to divide them equally. So he got these savages to stop fighting for a few minutes while he quickly counted the coconuts and the men. Then he proceeded to divide them and hand each one a certain number. When he finished, the men looked at their coconuts and then at each other, and to their amazement found that each had exactly the same number of coconuts!

And then, do you know what they did? They bowed themselves to the ground and worshiped this explorer as a god! To them, he had performed a miracle! How much easier it seems for human thought to worship a person than to comprehend a principle! Just suppose the explorer had responded to their adulation by saying something like this: "Oh, no, boys, you've got me all wrong. I'll explain to you just how it is done."

 

All Things Are Basically Mental

Wouldn't he have had a fine time explaining to those illiterate savages something of the fundamentals of mathematics − a principle which they could neither touch nor taste nor even smell! Surely, he would have had much explaining to do! He really would have needed to educate, or cultivate, in them a new sense of existence. And doubtless he would have had to destroy many long-held superstitions, prejudices, and fears. Possibly some of those savages would have rejected his explanations, preferring to remain undisturbed in their ignorance.

Even so, mortals are often unwilling, in every walk of life, to face the fact that all things are basically mental, governed by divine Principle. They rush in and try to grab each his own armload of coconuts, so to speak, determined to get his own wants satisfied, unready to learn that right at hand there exists a simpler, surer road to happiness. To mortal thought, compounded as it is of fear, disbelief in the power and reality of good, and conviction in the reality of evil, joy is indeed a miracle.

But when we learn that happiness is a state of consciousness which is ours by reason of our own intimate, indissoluble relationship to all-harmonious, divine Mind, then joy ceases to appear miraculous. As we consciously and consistently reflect divinity we find ourselves in rich possession of every needful thing. Before this takes place, however, we may need to cultivate in ourselves a whole new sense of existence based upon spiritual values, and also relinquish many long-held superstitions and fears. We may need to become disturbed out of our complacent ignorance!

People are inclined to call anything they do not understand, a miracle. That is why so many considered Jesus' healings miraculous. That is why some people call the healings of Christian Science, based on the same law Jesus practiced and understood, miracles.

Do you believe that Jesus clearly comprehended the method by which he healed, that his healings were accomplished by his exact knowledge, or scientific understanding, of the true nature and relationship of God and man? Or do you prefer to think the whole matter was so mysterious that even Jesus believed supernatural power flowed through him at the mere touch of a hand? Would not his statement, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also," preclude acceptance of this latter conclusion?

 

Christian Science Heals Everything

Mrs. Eddy, by reason of her penetrating spiritual insight, not only discovered the Science of Christian healing but proved her understanding to be in complete accord with Jesus' methods.

Now few things interfere more with happiness than disease or ill-health. Of course, discontent and discord are often acknowledged as inducing ailments, while happiness is easily seen to be the best health insurance.

A friend of mine who has a fine singing voice telephoned a practitioner early one morning to ask for Christian Science treatment. She said she was expected to appear in a recital that evening, but had been taken with a heavy cold. The practitioner, saying he would work for her, requested that she go to the piano and sing some of the lovely hymns in the Christian Science Hymnal. "Oh, no!" promptly protested the young lady. "To sing when you have a heavy cold may be harmful to your voice."

"All right," said the practitioner, "then you can at least play some hymns and read the inspiring, healing words." And he added, "Who made such a law, that to sing those glorious hymns would hurt you?"

In about an hour my friend called the practitioner, and her vibrant, joyous voice told at once that the healing had been accomplished. Then she told how she had obediently gone to the piano and played and read some hymns. Soon she found herself humming the hymns and, shortly, singing them softly to herself. Suddenly, realizing what she was doing, she said aloud, "Oh, I must not do that; I may hurt my voice." And then the words came to her with their full import: "Who made such a law, that to sing these glorious hymns will injure my voice?" Then she added, "I just burst into full voice and sang that cold away!"

Friends, I have told you how Christian Science heals one of the simplest of physical difficulties. I would like you to know that this same method can be used − has been used countless times − to cure so-called serious ailments and difficulties as well. It can be used to heal moral problems, financial worries, and all those troubles which would rob one of his rightful freedom.

If there is one thing which mortal mind, or the so-called mind which believes that error is real, cannot abide, it is a singing heart; for such singing indicates confidence in good, and this confidence is an essential ingredient of answered prayer. The song of rejoicing in the presence and power of good, you see, amounts to a rejection of the belief that evil is real. How can evil be real, when the infinite God is good?

 

 

Refuse to Take Error Seriously

If there is one thing mortal mind or error, wants it is this: to be taken seriously − and you know that most folks are quite willing to take disease seriously. When I think of that word "serious," I often think of a series of zeros. If you were to draw upon a blackboard a series of zeros and then ask some small child just how much they represented, he would doubtless answer, "Oh, a whole lot!" But you would know they did not amount to anything − unless you put a figure in front of them. So be careful not to put your own figure in front of the zeros of disease and sickness! In other words, refuse to take error seriously!

This does not mean that Christian Scientists neglect to deal with symptoms or suggestions of illness and discord. We vigorously deny their reality and claim to existence. Like the explorer about whom I told you, we understand that confusion and distress are brought about by ignorance, or a misconception of fundamental spiritual facts. And like the explorer, we set aside these misconceptions by the application of our scientific understanding of the allness of God, Spirit, and the consequent unreality of matter.

The misconception that matter is the basic substance of all things today is rapidly giving way to recognition that matter is but a mistaken, materialistic sense of substance. Some modern physicists are beginning to recognize the mental nature of the so-called objective universe and so are approaching a recognition of Mrs. Eddy's statement that "there is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter" (Science and Health, p. 468).

Therefore, in dealing with disease, your efforts must be directed wholly along mental lines. You must understand that the correction of thought corrects the body, for the human body is but the objectification of mortal thought. How well our great Leader has explained this! Referring first to her own notable healing, she says, "When apparently near the confines of mortal existence, standing already within the shadow of the death-valley, I learned these truths in divine Science;" and then she enumerates the four important points which form the basis for all Christian Science demonstration: "that all real being is in God, the divine Mind, and that Life, Truth, and Love are all-powerful and ever-present; that the opposite of Truth, − called error, sin, sickness, disease, death, − is the false testimony of false material sense, of mind in matter; that this false sense evolves, in belief, a subjective state of mortal mind which this same so-called mind names matter, thereby shutting out the true sense of Spirit" (Science and Health, p. 108).

Careful study of this important paragraph on page 108 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" will repay you well. It will quicken in you that spiritual sense which enables one to perceive the spiritual reality and rightness of all about him. It is this perception which enables one to reject a material sense of existence, to nullify every unlovely, ungodlike characteristic, trait, and desire, to blot out fear and all the falsely educated beliefs in the reality of disease. In this way you leave the field to God, all-harmonious Principle.

Several years ago a friend of mine was healed of a bad anemic condition through reading the Christian Science textbook which she had discovered in a public library. Her healing came swiftly and naturally as a sweet sense of the allness of God and the consequent unreality of evil flooded her thought.

But a few years later she was taken with a severe lung ailment. Her breathing became labored, and she was often so weak that she had to spend much time in bed. She had Christian Science treatment and devoted most of her time to studying Christian Science literature and in declaring the truth constantly and almost fiercely. Later she said, "I tried so hard to get well, I kept myself sick." Certainly she was taking error seriously, sure that she had a big problem on her hands which required herculean efforts to heal.

 

Seekers for Truth Are Rewarded

Then one day her eyes fell on these lines in Science and Health: "Christian Science silences human will, quiets fear with Truth and Love, and illustrates the unlabored motion of the divine energy in healing the sick" (p. 445). Gently the light broke upon her. She had been making too much of the error, sure that it was serious − therefore, real − substituting her own labored energy for the unlabored motion of the divine.

Then she remembered something very important. At the time of her first healing in Christian Science, that of anemia, she had been greatly impressed with Mrs. Eddy's concluding sentence of the Preface to Science and Health, which reads in part, "In the spirit of Christ's, charity . . . she commits these pages to honest seekers for Truth" (p. xii). At that time she had noted that Mrs. Eddy did not say she committed these pages to honest seekers for healing, but rather to honest seekers for Truth. Accordingly, she had read Science and Health with a sincere desire for understanding, confident that this spiritualization of thought would result in healing, which it did.

So again she took up the textbook, reading with the pure desire for increase in spiritual perception. Slowly, but surely and effortlessly as dawn dissolves the night shadows, came her healing. She had learned the great lesson not to take error seriously. She had learned to let the healing come as the inevitable result of spiritualization of thought. This joyous worker is now a consecrated practitioner listed in The Christian Science Journal.

If you look up the words "song" and "singing" in a Bible concordance, you will find a great many references. In the book of Psalms, doubtless the most loved book in the Old Testament, you will note constant admonitions to sing and rejoice. "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands: Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing." the Psalmist cried (Ps. 100:1,2). Yes, that is the only way you can come into God's presence. You can no more enter His presence with a dark cloud upon your face − upon your thought − than a shadow can enter the sunlight.

"It is a comely fashion to be glad, −

Joy is the grace we say to God,"

said the English poetess, Jean Ingelow.

 

Jesus Was the Wayshower

Too long the world has fastened upon Isaiah's prophetic utterance, "He is . . . a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief," as an adequate description of Jesus of Nazareth. He who elected to take upon himself the problems of a world, unquestionably sorrowed and suffered at times because of the world's resistance to the truth he offered. But he chose to take upon himself these problems in order to prove to the world the unreal nature of its sorrows and troubles by his Christly understanding of the pure perfection of God and man. Could he who proved conclusively that God is infinite good have gone about his business of healing the sick, arousing the sinner, and even quickening the dead, with a sad countenance? Were not those moments of sadness the fleeting times when the world's ingratitude bore heavily upon him?

Jesus was the Wayshower, and his virile words of counsel tell us to look up to the Father gladly and be aware of the good all about us. "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full," said he (John 15:11). At another time he promised, "I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you" (John 16:22).

The man Jesus identified himself completely with the Christ, the actual, perfect, spiritual ideal, man as he exists in the divine Mind. This Christ-consciousness enabled him in behold every man in his true estate as the whole and holy child of God. This consciousness of absolute Truth gave him power to triumph over the mistaken beliefs of the carnal mind, beliefs suggesting that man has so fallen from grace that every evil occurrence must be accepted as normal and inevitable. By unequivocally rejecting such thoughts, Jesus healed the withered arm, destroyed leprosy, and raised the widow's son from death.

Now this Nazarene was our Wayshower. If we learn to reject all belief in the reality of sin, disease, and death as emphatically as did the Master; if we learn to love with as deep and broad a vision of every man's inherent Christliness; if we learn to use our God-given spiritual understanding as consistently and joyously as Jesus did − and we have his assurance that we can − then we, too, shall heal, spontaneously, rejoicingly, completely. And we shall illustrate to the whole world, also, that we have found the key to happiness.

 

Mrs. Eddy Taught Us True Prayer

"The prayer of faith shall save the sick," said James (5:15). Here is a clear-cut directive, but one which has not been followed, due to misunderstanding the true nature of prayer. The most commonly accepted manner of praying − that of begging God for almost anything and everything one desires − falls far short of that self-examination and communion with the Father which truly saves the sick and sinner.

Even as Mrs. Eddy has lifted our personal sense to perceive Deity as divine Principle, so she has radically matured our concept of prayer. Not supplication, but resolute affirmation of our unity with the source of all goodness constitutes true prayer.

"True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection," said Mrs. Eddy. "Prayer is the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us. Prayer begets an awakened desire to be and do good. It makes new and scientific discoveries of God, of His goodness and power. It shows us more clearly than we saw before, what we already have and are; and most of all, it shows us what God is" (No and Yes. p. 39).

In view of such noble sentiments, it is not easy to see how anyone ever could have referred publicly to Mrs. Eddy as "the prayerless Mrs. Eddy," as was the fashion years ago. Her life, every corner of which has had the pitiless spotlight of public inquiry thrown upon it, reveals a character of such magnitude that she consistently triumphed over the many obstacles in her path, never losing her sense of spiritual direction, never losing her joy.

Mrs. Eddy's life well illustrated the old adage, "The same stone can be a stumbling block or a steppingstone." She used the stumbling blocks of ill-health, loss of closest relatives, inadequate supply, betrayal by friends, opposition by clergy and press as steppingstones upon which to reach spiritual heights from which she could say, as quoted by one who knew her: "I saw the love of God encircling the universe and man, filling all space, and that divine Love so permeated my own consciousness that I loved with Christ-like compassion everything I saw." I have just quoted from the first of two volumes entitled "We Knew Mary Baker Eddy" (p. 74).

Like others who were closely associated with Mrs. Eddy, the authors of these books tell of her unfailing kindness, of the many instances of healing brought about by her spiritual clear-sightedness, of her sound business judgment, and the splendid order with which she conducted her home and her manifold activities. Moreover, they tell us of her great love for mankind, and that Mrs. Eddy was a cheerful woman in the finest, and deepest sense of the word.

 

Song Is Stronger Than Darkness

Another writer in the same volume, after stating that "her ready wit was well known to all who enjoyed her friendship or sat under her teaching" (p. 26), told the following: Mrs. Eddy "was illustrating the point that 'matter and mortal mind are one' (Unity of Good, p. 35), and that mortal mind is the only factor to be considered. She said, 'It is like the man who said, "My wife and I are one − and I am that one!" ' " Mrs. Eddy's fine sense of humor always was used wisely to brighten explanations of Christian Science or lighten the lives of those about her.

Dear friends, keep singing! An article with this title, "Keep Singing!" appeared a few years ago in the Christian Science Sentinel, the weekly publication of The Christian Science Publishing Society, which Scientists find so helpful. The article told of a tired, discouraged businessman who returned home one evening, to be greeted at the door by his children with the disturbing news that their much-loved canary bird, Cheerio, was lost.

It had long been their custom to permit this pet to fly about the house at certain hours, and now he was gone. A frantic, albeit thorough, search had not revealed him anywhere, and a sad family retired that night without having found their pet.

Early the next morning, however, as the children were dressing, they heard their little Cheerio singing! A quick search brought them to a seldom-used string drawer in the kitchen. When they opened it, out flew their little friend.

Plainly, someone had opened the string drawer the day before. Cheerio had flown in and then someone had closed the drawer. Except for his singing in the dark − and canaries seldom do this − be might have perished. Probably it seemed like a long, dark night to little Cheerio, but his song freed him.

Here are a few lines from the article: "Do you know what the father said when they found Cheerio? He said if a little bird could sing in that black place, he could sing too, even though matters looked pretty miserable for him right at that moment. And he did . . .

"The next time unhappiness knocks at the door of your thought, remember Cheerio, whose song was stronger than the darkness because God gave him his song. God has given you a song of joy, too. Keep on singing it!" (Christian Science Sentinel, July 12, 1944).

Such songs of gratitude invite into our consciousness the angel-thoughts of spiritual vision before which the chains of imprisoning disease and lack fall from us, and our God-given heritage of freedom is seen and experienced.

You recall the experience of Paul and Silas as recorded in the book of Acts. These two valiant Christians, who mightily preached the Word of God, had been beaten and thrown into prison. The magistrates charged the jailor to keep them safely, "who having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God" (Acts 16:24, 25).

Then followed, according to Scriptural account, the inevitable result of prayerful, joyous thinking − namely, freedom. "And suddenly there was a great earthquake, . . . and immediately all the doors were opened'' (Acts 16:26), and Paul and Silas were free.

How beautifully Henry Van Dyke has stated this truth:

 

Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul;

Love is the only angel who can bid the gates unroll:

And when he comes to call thee, arise and follow fast

His way may lie through darkness, but it leads to light at last."

 

Selfishness Called Key to Chaos

One morning in Springfield, Illinois, a neighbor of Abraham Lincoln heard the excited shouting and crying of children. Hurrying to the front door, he saw Mr. Lincoln walking past with his two young sons, who were loudly fussing and wailing.

"What's the matter with the boys, Mr. Lincoln?" called the neighbor.

"What's the matter with the boys?" echoed Mr. Lincoln, "The same thing that's the matter with the whole world! I've got three walnuts, and each of them wants two."

Selfishness − the greatest single deterrent to happiness − that is the greatest single cause of world disturbance today. That was the trouble with the young man I told you about at the beginning of this lecture. Only self-seeking could lead one to believe that happiness can be gained alone − by leaving others out.

Can we ever approximate world peace until we understand that the obedience to divine Principle which brings happiness to one is universal in its applications? We should hesitate to accuse divine Principle of partiality and say that it works for one but not another!

As you yourself spiritually understand and conscientiously affirm that God, ever-present Principle, has endowed all of His children with unlimited good, you will see this increasingly expressed throughout the world in more wisdom, more adequate supply, and more of the will to maintain peace. This understanding and affirmation is true prayer. It is the most potent force in the world today.

During the war a young man I know found himself in this predicament: he was flying a single-engine plane at great height, far from his base, when he discovered that the plane was out of control. He was gaining altitude, yet when he tried to push the control stick in order to change the plane's direction to descend, he found that the stick would not budge. Apparently the controls were jammed. After exerting all the force he could, the stick still failing to yield, he concluded it was necessary to bail out, and made preparations to jump.

 

Power of God Is Demonstrated

But because he was an earnest Christian Scientist, he had been praying, declaring the truth of divine Mind's presence. Suddenly a great thought came to him. He dropped back into his pilot's seat and said aloud, "God controls the universe, including me." He saw this so clearly that he pondered it for a moment until, almost without realizing what he was doing, he pushed the stick. It yielded easily, changing the position of the ailerons, and he made his way down to a safe landing. Examination proved that a small piece of mechanism had broken, making it physically impossible, so the mechanic said, to change the position of the controls.

That statement, "God controls the universe, including me," may be used as a powerful basis for Christian Science treatment. You will note that it begins with "God" and ends with "me." How many times we are tempted to begin with "me'" and end with "God"! In fact, sometimes we begin with "me'' and end with "me," and it is pretty much "me" all through our prayer. This is not the unselfed prayer which brings physical and moral health and happiness.

"God controls the universe." Christian Science unfolds the vast implications of this statement. It promises that all shall be freed from the binding limitations of sin, disease, and death, from poverty, disaster, war, and every distress of the human mind, as we learn that divine Principle, omnipotent Love, controls all the minutiae of our daily experiences.

Dear friends, keep singing! God has given you a song of joy, recognition of the availability of unlimited good. This is the key to happiness.

 

[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 22, 1957.]

 

 

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