One who has been called "the wise man" said to those who were eager in their pursuit of material things, — the same things for which men today are giving their lives, — "With all thy getting, get understanding." To the multitude this counsel may seem commonplace, not worth disputing, nor worth following to any great length, but to the thinker it embodies all the wisdom of the ages. No one has ever attained distinction in any line of human endeavor who did not possess an understanding in that direction above that of his fellows, whether it were gained from the schools or direct from the primal source of all knowledge. It is too often forgotten that while men may for a season rely upon the understanding of others, and reap its benefits, the time will come when they will be forced to gain it for themselves, for thus alone can man's infinite possibilities be realized. It is the eager desire for knowledge which lifts men above the narrow limits of physical sense and points the way to purer pleasures; and the time has come when, through Christian Science, the understanding of God, divine Principle, is being recognized as the only way by which anything can be understood aright.

         We ofttimes hear expressions of regret that the simple faith of childhood and youth is ruthlessly swept aside by the material knowledge which is considered so necessary at this period. It is not for this reason only that cherished beliefs pass, but because they are found unprovable in the crises of life; and through the failure of such beliefs to meet human need, many religious teachers have, unintentionally perhaps, sowed the seeds of agnosticism by declaring that we cannot understand the deeper problems of being. Such statements are unsatisfying substitutes for the teachings of the Master, who urged the acquirement of spiritual knowledge or understanding, because of its demonstrableness, of which he gave abundant proof in the healing of sin and disease and the overcoming of death. No one would be so foolish as to deny the vital importance of understanding in all human affairs, from statecraft down to woodcraft. In this respect no one would rest satisfied with a mere faith that great things could be, or would be, accomplished in some unknown way and time; but in that which is of the most vital importance, — the great problems of man's origin and destiny, and their proper solution, — men have often taken up undemonstrable dogmas, in theology and medicine, to lay them down with the despair which was expressed by the poet in the lines, —

. . . when faith had fall'n asleep
I heard a voice, Believe no more!
And heard an ever-breaking shore
That tumbled in the godless deep.

         In striking contrast with this are the words in which our Leader tells of the coming to her consciousness of that understanding of God which she has given to the world in Christian Science, — the understanding that has healed and uplifted thousands, who gladly and gratefully echo this sentiment. After telling of her emergence from mortal darkness, which seemed to be without a ray of promise, she says, — "Thus it was when the moment arrived of the heart's bridal to more spiritual existence . . . . The character of the Christ was illumined by the midnight torches of Spirit . . . Soulless famine had fled . . . . Being was beautiful, its substance, Cause and currents were God and His idea. I had touched the hem of Christian Science" (Retrospection and Introspection, page 26).


Editorial by Annie M. Knott, CSD
The Christian Science Journal, March, 1906

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