"I Can't" and "I Can"

The character of a man's thought and speech is always a revelation of his dominating sense. So long as this sense is material, doubt and limitation will be expressed, and it could not be otherwise, for the declaration of freedom upon this basis is but the assertion of will-power,—hypnotism. Mortal sense does not deceive when it says, I can't, for in this it expresses its nature. We are befooled, however, in the matter of the identity of the speaker. If we recognize the voice for what it is; viz., the plea of false sense, we may remain serenely undisturbed, however clamorous and insistent it be; the knowing of the truth gives us supremacy, the freedom of the sons of God.

Much religious teaching has reckoned man, the ego, as a compound of the spiritual and the material, and seed has thus been sown of which the harvesting, after its kind, is a conviction of inherent and therefore hopeless incapacity. It is apparent that this sense is regarded by some as the legitimate consort of humility. They seem to parade it as a virtue, a proof of unpretentiousness. The Christian Scientist knows, however, that this habit springs from an ignoble self-estimate, it denies man's kinship to God, it condones weaknesses which should be condemned.

The faltering timidityA correction was made in the December 10, 1904 Sentinel: "In the issue of December 3, page 217, first column, line thirty, for temerity read timidity."  of material sense has always been a serious disability to spiritual progress. In the crises of great events, when, having done all, men are called upon to stand, to sacrifice, to suffer, and to die if need be for a world-redeeming idea, then the champions of incapacity scurry to the rear, they are frightened by a supreme opportunity, and begin to make excuse. This has burdened all reformers, and it magnifies our sense of indebtedness to those rare souls who have been loyal, when we perchance would have compromised, who have been brave when we would have played the coward, who have said, I can, a thousand times when we would have said, I can't. How the lives of these isolated heroes light up the otherwise darkened highways of history!

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The Changing Viewpoint
December 3, 1904

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