Christian Scientists are not engaged in building up a material sense of existence, nor in governing their affairs according to material standards, but rather are they concerned in learning the spiritual meaning of all that pertains to their well-being. In this spiritualization of thought is naturally involved the outgrowing or abandoning of their former material views, and the transfer of their affections from the things of material sense to the things of Spirit. Much of what had formerly been considered as of prime importance, and worthy of human ambition and attainment, is giving place to a clearer apprehension of the spiritual realities of existence, and of what constitutes the true substance of happiness and enrichment. Neither earthly experience nor the teachings of Christ Jesus warrant the belief that the acquisition of worldly wealth is essential to prosperity, or that it ministers, in any true sense, to human need. Christian Scientists do not ignore or despise the utility of money as a medium of exchange, or as representing the quid pro quo of mental or manual labor, but they are awakening, however slowly, to the fact that the substance of all that mortals hope for is in spiritual and not material consciousness; therefore to become spiritually wealthy, to lay up "treasures in heaven." should be their chief care.

The "love of money" is defined in Scripture as the "root" from which springs all evil, a view which human experience corroborates and which should warn mankind against its mesmeric spell. The inordinate desire for gain becomes mere idolatry when one forgets that "the earth is the Lord's" and that good can be derived from God only. In the belief of mortals money is endowed with almost supreme power; but it is admitted that it can work evil as well as good, that it often works ruin and havoc upon one while enriching another; it cannot, therefore, proceed from the divine nature or government. In their passion for its possession many have been willing to barter the fairest things in their keeping,—their purity, justice, honesty, self-respect, brotherly love. If one lives for mere money-getting, the heartless hoarding of unearned millions through the deprivation of many will stand only for poverty, so far as those things are concerned which are worthiest in the sight of God, and whose accumulation brings their possessor nearer and nearer to the divine image.

The modern tendency towards large monopolies, the attempt to bring the world's supplies under the control of a few, with its manifest injustice and oppression, is the natural fruit of human selfishness, nourished by the belief in the sovereignty of wealth and grown abnormally large through opportunity and indulgence. The possessors of large fortunes may derive a transient sense of pleasure in the ability they confer to gratify material desires, or from the adulation of a fickle money-worshiping world, but when they are surfeited of all that money can provide, with what shall they appease the unstilled hunger of the heart? Money gives no abiding satisfaction to the millionaire who revels in it, to the thief who steals it, or to the toiler who sweats for it. If houses and lands, stocks and bonds, fine raiment and jewels are men's chief needs, then indeed is the millionaire rich and the toiler poor; but if goodness and love, kindness, charity, and truth are the necessities of man's being, then the toiler and the millionaire might change place and neither be the richer nor the poorer. The belief that riches consist of material things has made criminals of men, while the knowledge that all that makes life worth living is gained only through Christlikeness and spirituality, makes men benefactors of their kind, whose gains of goodness enrich the world and impoverish none.

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December 22, 1906

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