No one can read the history of the children of Israel without noting the extent to which their thought of possession was determined by material appetite. The command of earthly satisfactions and of militant power largely flavored their interpretations of the prophetic promises, and shaped their history, and it explains the continual plaint of their spiritual leaders, that "they forgat God their saviour, which had done great things." Jeremiah voices this in the very beginning of his long and tearful appeal. Speaking for God, he says: "My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."

In all this the likeness between the ancients and the moderns is distinctly traceable. Not only is the endeavor of the world centered in the possession of that which is immediately related to earthly appetites and ambitions, but the acquisitiveness of Christian people is largely material. Money madness, the desire for wealth not as a means for doing good, but as a means for satisfying sense, the love of luxury and the pride of life,—this is the dominant factor in every economic and communal problem today; and yet all who are thoughtful know full well that with every increase of this desire there is not only a corresponding forgetfulness of God, but a corresponding increase in the unrest and dissatisfaction of all, for whether they succeed or fail they find out for themselves and make manifest to others the sage's saying, "All is vanity and vexation of spirit."

All this gives present pertinence to the old-time call of Truth, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, . . . come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." The intimations of this appeal were expressed by the Master in definite form when he said, "A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth;" and Christian Science is forever emphasizing this simple but eternal truth, a knowledge of which is the basis of all happiness and right living. This truth was glimpsed by the prophets of Israel, through whom it was revealed that the Levites, the priests, were to look to God direct for their sufficiency. Thus the word of the Lord was spoken, "I am their inheritance; . . . I am their possession," and in his teaching that every believer is to become a priest unto God Christ Jesus enlarged the compass of this thought until it includes every aspiring heart. This is a distinctive feature of his gospel, that each is to find in the realization of the divine nearness and availability his fulness of satisfaction and power; that each shall not only believe that God is "omnipotent, supreme" (Scienceand Health, p. 17), but be able to say and prove it true that God is his All-in-all, his eternal possession.

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September 16, 1911

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