A careful study of the Bible reveals a widely different concept of poverty and riches than that popularly entertained, a truly metaphysical sense of these terms and others related to them, indicating mental rather than material conditions. In some cases, where the material is considered, the mental cause is carefully explained, as, for instance, where the wise man says, "Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction;" also, "Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread;" and again, "He that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough." Christ Jesus made a fine distinction between the true and the false concept, when he spoke of those who had great material possessions but who were not "rich toward God." In Christian Science we would take this to mean that one would be poor indeed if he did not realize the possession of man's God-given dominion, and of the mental and spiritual qualities which cannot be ignored if we would claim Godlikeness.

There are those who in some way have gotten very incorrect views of the teaching of Christian Science repecting the question here considered. They seem to think that what they term "supply" is to be gained in quite a different way from that indicated by the great Teacher, who insisted that if we sought "first" the things of God, all our real needs would be supplied by the divine bounty. He, however, urged his hearers to "search the Scriptures," for well he knew that thus each would gain the wisdom required in working out every human problem. One man might have to guard against avarice and penuriousness, and another against prodigality and improvidence, while all should remember, above all else, that the moral demand for justice must never be forgotten: "Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbor, ... the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning."

The entire teaching of our beloved Leader is an insistent demand for righteousness as the true basis for riches, and in the Manual of The Mother Church she makes this statement: "God requires wisdom, economy, and brotherly love to characterize all the proceedings of the members of The Mother Church" (Art. XXIV., Sect. 5). A wonderful lesson may here be gained from the story of Jesus' feeding of the multitude. Although he was able to prove the infinite source of supply by meeting the need of five thousand men, besides women and children, yet he gave us a never-to-be-forgotten lesson of thrift when he commanded his disciples to "gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost." Following this example, it should truly be said of us, "As poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things."

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May 6, 1911

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