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Acknowledging God
FROM THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR

 
         In many ways and by many incidents the Bible teaches us that if God is forsaken or left out of human calculations altogether, the people perish. In the downfall of Sodom and Gomorrah, for instance, this lesson is paramount. Likewise in the insanity of Nebuchadnezzar. The latter is of more than usual interest at this hour. Babylon had evidently reached the zenith of her power and glory and, as the Bible record indicates, a well defined opportunity had come to Nebuchadnezzar to express his gratitude. But he spurned it. Overlooking the great city from the walks in his palace, he declared, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?" His words, boastful enough in themselves, meant far more than is indicated on the surface, for they were evidently spoken with the intention of denying a most important fact, as recognized in Christian Science, namely, the power of accomplishment. Nebuchadnezzar's denial was complete, for, excepting himself, it included everyone, even God. It was mortal belief, which cannot know God, good, and which was ready for self-destruction; that is to say, ready to revert to its original nothingness. The acknowledgment of God's omnipotence, or of good as All-in-all — the true basis for all understanding — having been forsaken by Nebuchadnezzar, his reason fled.

         There is a close counterpart to this story of Nebuchadnezzar's insanity in the self-adulation and cruel egotism of Herod Agrippa I. He, too, allowed himself to be carried away by so-called mortal sense, until no good desire seemed left in him, no acknowledgment whatsoever of God, good, remained. His awful and sudden destruction as depicted in the twelfth chapter of Acts came upon him because he had forsaken God, good, willfully and completely.

         In these incidents there are important lessons to learn. Do they not teach us, for instance, that when mortal belief has reached such a state of depravity that it is mere wickedness without any apparent desire for good, a man has no glimpse of Truth and therefore mortal belief is self-destroyed? Do they not show clearly that a false belief knows nothing and really is nothing; no law of being sustains it and it cannot make a sustaining law for itself? This is evidently also what Mrs. Eddy means when she tells us that "the nothingness of error is in proportion to its wickedness," or, to quote the entire sentence as found in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 569), "The Scripture, 'Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many,' is literally fulfilled, when we are conscious of the supremacy of Truth, by which the nothingness of error is seen; and we know that the nothingness of error is in proportion to its wickedness."

         Now if the acknowledgment of all power of accomplishment as belonging to God was necessary in Nebuchadnezzar's time, much more so must it be accepted for today, — as much more so as the world today has advanced in spiritual understanding over the world of ancient days. Much is being said about mine and thine in this hour, but that question can never be settled until due acknowledgment is given to the source of all that is good. No man or group of men can afford to deny that "the kingdom, and the power, and the glory," belong to God alone, to Mind, and until this fact, which both David and Christ Jesus emphasized, is more universally acknowledged, discord will seem to abound in the world. Society, when it forsakes, like Nebuchadnezzar, the true foundation for all understanding, like him is bound to be punished for its arrogance; that is, it will have no true basis for the settlement of its difficulties until God is acknowledged as supreme. All that it builds will turn into ashes until Principle is taken into consideration and the proper acknowledgment is made that is due the supreme name of God.

         There is, however, still another and different lesson to be learned from the Bible incidents just related, and that is that a man's life is not at all dependent upon a state of so-called health of the body. Both of the men referred to seemed until stricken to have an abundance of physical health. Rather is a man's existence entirely a condition or state of thought; it is a condition that depends for improvement upon the extent God or Principle is acknowledged as supreme, as All-in-all. "Health is not a condition of matter," we read on page 120 of Science and Health, "but of Mind; nor can the material senses bear reliable testimony on the subject of health." In other words, our true health may be said to be manifested by us, according to the degree of the understanding of Principle, God, which we possess, or according to the sincerity of the scientific acknowledgment of God that we make. In this understanding, however, we should remember that a grain of Truth understood outclasses an entire universe of material error or false belief. Even a little of this spiritual enlightenment, therefore, will preserve life and lengthen our days here upon earth. It is not an empty bit of phraseology, then, which the psalmist declares in so many places where he says that it is God that preserves our life from destruction; or, to use his own beautiful words from the fortieth psalm: "Let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me." Whether it be, therefore, in the days of ancient kingdoms or in our own time, the acknowledgment of God as All-in-all is of prime importance.

         The acknowledgment of God as supreme is most important because it is always the very first and simplest step by which we turn from matter to Spirit, from error to Truth, from chaos to Principle. It is one of the first proofs, as it were, of spiritual enlightenment, or that Truth has been accepted. No more comforting or scientific promise could be given us, therefore, than the one in the third chapter of Proverbs which Mrs. Eddy quotes with so much approbation. "Godliness or Christianity is a human necessity," she says in her Message to The Mother Church for 1901 (p. 34): "man cannot live without it; he has no intelligence, health, hope, nor happiness without godliness. In the words of the Hebrew writers: 'Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths;' 'and He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.'"

 

"Acknowledging God"
The Christian Science Monitor, October 24, 1919


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