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JAMES F. GILMAN
Love's treasure consists in the fact that it is our privilege through obedience to its Word to realize its completeness and reflect it. To do this constitutes Life. It makes no difference in the beginning what the occupation, how limited the circumstances, how humble the social condition, what the sex, color, or age, spiritual hearing and obedience of the Word of Truth as it is in Christ, is the influence of real power before which mortal environment becomes as clay in the hands of the potter.
The recent change in our Church service, in the nature of things, works greatly to bring this thought uppermost. It tends to make us cease looking to others for our thought, and to look more to God alone for inspiration and support. Taking God's Word second hand is a substitute for the direct Word, for this latter inspires and enlarges our sense of Being and capacity to express it. We have been too willing that others should do our spiritual thinking, as well as acting, for us.
To hear and obey the Principle of Being directly is to possess and reflect genius in its true and noblest meaning. In this hearing and obedience, Original Cause is finding reflected expression, changing dearth into abundance and darkness into day, transforming by its vitality and beauty, the sense of life at every point.
Honest thinking may seem hard to the human sense because it includes "the rhythm of head and heart;" but not on that account is it less important to every one. The word of mortality, in the presence of the crystal Word of Truth understood as God gives it, disappears. Our difficulty seems to lie in mortal sluggishness. We need to exercise more the listening ability to hear the direct Word which is born of living faith. We then learn to be spiritually sure of the Voice.
It is wonderful how much of this Word becomes audible to us if we are earnestly listening for it. We verily find we are in the glorious company of angels whose voices of Goodness and Truth whisper constantly of heaven.
We need more resolutely and persistently to sacrifice material interests, beliefs, self-illusions. By this we rise to the spiritual atmosphere where its sacred and beautiful stillness enables us to hear with certainty and Joy the voice of God. In this atmosphere Love transforms all things to our sense and we see clearly there is one supreme lesson to learn and this a very precious lesson indeed which is that the correction of mortal thought by Truth through willingness and effort to obey it, makes us aware of the heavenly Presence.
In this consciousness we know we really have all things because we discern the oneness of God with all Life. If sick, it heals us; if beset by the sense of fear of evil, it destroys its seeming; if assailed by the hosts of error and sin, it imparts strength and wisdom to triumph over them, and thereby to live solely to glorify the Truth because we love it supremely.
In the human sense or view we feel that this realization of God is very difficult or impossible, and this because of the seeming power of self-mesmerism through the claims of the suppositional material ideas; but the transforming power of Love once seen and felt reveals that material claims of life are nothing at all but the illusions of dreams. The desire and perpetual need of humanity is the consciousness of the sweet, sustaining companionship of God Love in which God's voice is constantly being heard.
If this is lacking, the sense of the emptiness of life grows upon us as one by one its material supports fail and its sham nature appears as reflected in the falsity of material things, wherein this true Love-sense is lacking.
The Mother-Love beholding the cause of all disappointment and suffering reaches out in her wisdom to urge and compel her children to look alone to God for the precious Word of Truth.
Hence the new order of Church service. No longer may we lean mainly upon others for our thought. We must think for ourselves, hear for ourselves, and obey and act for ourselves. The Bible, with Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is our sufficient guide; our work we ourselves must do.
The living Word is spiritual and always comes directly from God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God," says St. John. It comes from heaven as it must come before it becomes our word. It must to our sense become clothed with the living sense of Love and Truth, before it becomes ours to speak or act or reflect. We then "speak as one having authority," and not as an imitator.
Jesus said, "All things are possible with God." Divine Love is the only reality; is always perfect. In all its seeming variations of expression it is true Love and infinite.
Briefly stated, What is the substance of that which our Leader and Teacher lives to define in demonstration as related to the Way of salvation? Is it not this that we must each individually in the strength of God's Word reverse material sense in order to live and be saved from its emptiness and destruction? In this personal, material sense reversal God's spiritual Word is found to be the "one very precious pearl." We wisely "go and sell all that we have (self) and buy." In the hearing and reflection of this we are "as a light shining in darkness;" "a city set upon a hill that cannot be hid." In this only do we reflect straightforwardness and progress. When we listen for and obey "the still small voice" all other voices become silent. Love's Word is then found present to sense as the only life, goodness and power; and we know then it is immortal and eternal.
Since the new order of service was instituted, we have found the Quarterly Lessons opening the way of Truth impersonally and we remember, with added reverence, words of our Leader wherein we are admonished earnestly to listen for and obey only the Word of Truth as it imparts itself through the reversal of material claims.
The Christian Science Journal, January, 1896
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