Who among Christian Scientists has not suffered as a result of the concept of friendship entertained before the corrective influence of Christian Science entered his life—the poignancy of his disappointments being usually commensurate with the warmth of his attachments or the idolatrous element entering into his thought of those he loved. Much has been written and said concerning the influences and obligations of friendship, and it has been quite generally agreed that no name is dearer to the human heart than "friend," while to say of one tried and found worthy, "He has been a friend," is regarded as sincere praise. A thoughtful student of Science and Health soon grasps its promise that the truth declared in this book will eventually redeem every false sense of human relationships and establish instead the ideal peace and changeless harmony in which God's ideas abide. As thought adapts itself to this higher standard, the conclusion is reached that the idea or spirit of friendship remains an undisturbed reality in the truth of being, while the mortal concept alone is fleeting and disappointing. Mrs. Eddy tells us that "Science speaks when the senses are silent," and when spiritual sense rules, "pure humanity, friendship, home, the interchange of love, bring to earth a foretaste of heaven" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 100).

The strongly gregarious tendency of the human family seeks satisfaction in personal companionship, and until there comes perchance a sting from its falsity, mortals are wont to deem this earthly treasure too beautiful to be exchanged willingly for the divine idea, although it may be dimly perceived and somewhat reluctantly admitted that sometime the spiritual must overcome the material at every point. The counterfeit sense of friendship, dependent as it is upon personal presence, in time discloses its frailty and finiteness, and the suffering sense turns at last from the fable to seek refuge in the spiritual fact. It is not the scientific way to learn spiritual lessons through suffering, yet retrospection often points to a seeming rift in a prized friendship as an instrument by means of which thought has been divinely driven to seek the spiritual ideal. We read in Science and Health (p. 48) that when there was no response to his "human yearning, ... Jesus turned forever away from earth to heaven, from sense to Soul." It is well indeed, when there has come the spiritual strength to accept quickly the lesson hidden in these experiences and, following the Master's example, turn without bitterness to seek surcease of sorrow in a higher realization of Truth.

The sense gratification resulting from dependence upon a select few or upon many personal friends must be laid down for the spirit of friendship, and a joy and willingness to walk with God alone is at last attained. Abraham learned how to be a friend of God, and from this eminence how genuine a friend he has been to all who have sought to realize the supremacy of good. Jesus said: "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you ... I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." What a perfect model of friendship and conversation! All things I have heard of my Father! How speedily should we find our conversation on heavenly things were this standard accepted,—friends because we were making known to each other the things we had heard of our Father! How soon would vanity, self-seeking, and love of popularity, with all their hollow mimicry in the name of friendship, be abased!

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December 30, 1911

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