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My first thoughts were a reaching out for divine protection. I knew that God's child could not be harmed. I asked the man, "Who are you, and what do you want?" He told me that he was after any money that was in the house. He asked if I had any, and if there was any in the house, how old I was, and how many there were in the family. I answered him that I had no money there, told him my age, and to his last question I said, "We are just a family." I then turned my face downward on the pillow to realize the truth for just a moment. When I lifted my head I turned to him and asked, "Do you know whose presence you are in?" His reply was, "No." I said, "Would you like to know?" "Yes," he said. "Well, you are in the presence of God, and your true selfhood is God's child," I went on. He seemed much surprised at this, but was ready to listen to what I proceeded to tell him of the truth. He left the room saying, "You are a Christian." I worked to know the truth as well as I could and without fear of losing my earthly possessions, realizing that it was a great opportunity to help a brother.
Presently the man came back and gave me my purse, which contained some change, saying, "I think this is yours; I cannot take it." He then said, "What are you?" and I replied, "I am a Christian Scientist," to which he answered, "Well!" He took out a bottle of something and said, "This has been the cause of it all, whisky." I told him that man could not fall, since he is God's child; that this material sense of life is only error, or mortal man, and not the real man. He came and sat down by the side of the bed, and as he listened he said, "Such wisdom for a young girl!" My answer was: "I have studied Christian Science. It is God's wisdom." I then repeated the words from one of our hymns (Hymnal, p. 168):
His sight is never dim;
He knows the way He taketh,
And I will walk with Him.
He rose to go for the second time, and when he reached the door he said, "You are an angel; I am a devil." "No!" I answered, "you are not a devil; man is God's child, pure and unfallen." He came back again and wanted me to talk to him until morning. I asked him to give me his hand and to promise to rise above the curse of whisky, and to stop this other error in which he was seemingly engaged. He promised me that he would try. I asked him again why he had done this, and his answer was, "I was hungry and could not get work that I could do, for I cannot shovel." I told him about my brother's experience; how he came to town, having no position, went to work willingly with a shovel, which he only had to do for one week, when he found a position, and had since been promoted.
The man seemed very grateful for what I had said to him, and he also asked if he had frightened me and if I would go and tell the police as soon as he was gone. He said he knew he had broken the law by entering the house and doing this, and it would mean fifteen years for him. I said, "No, I will not tell the police; if you go out and do what is right, you will not be caught." He gently passed his hand over my brow, saying, "I know I must have frightened you." He then told me how bad he had been; but I asked him to look away from the dead past, or think of it as a stepping-stone to better things. He had said before that to face me would be harder than anything he had ever done in his life, and I recognized this as the error shrinking away from what of truth I had uttered and thought. My little sister and I could hear him sobbing as he went through the hall.
When he went downstairs, we found everything in its place, although there were signs of searching. There was over twelve dollars in my handbag on the table, a gold watch and chain lying near the electric lamp, and other things which might have been taken. My mother's purse on the kitchen table was left open, and its contents were untouched. Father was aroused and saw the man making his exit through the pantry window.
In our family circle the morning was spent in a happy consciousness of the wonderful manifestation of the dominion of spiritual understanding over mortal error. I cannot express my gratitude for this proof of ever-present divine Love, taught so beautifully in Christian Science.
Anna O. Gibson
Referring to the foregoing experience of my daughter, I desire to state that I was at home, but was not awakened until the man was about to take his departure from the house. I pulled on the electric light and saw him face to face, when he disappeared quickly. My youngest daughter, aged eleven, sleeping in the same room with the older one, was awakened first, and heard the whole conversation without any fear. We were all very thankful for our experience, and for what we have learned through the teachings of Christian Science.
John S. Gibson
The Christian Science Journal, September, 1914
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