In the fourth chapter of the second book of Kings, Elisha is recorded as being importuned for aid by a poor woman whose husband was dead and whose creditors were about to seize her two sons "to be bondmen" in payment of the debt which otherwise she could not pay from her scanty store. Instead of calling down riches from heaven to meet her material needs, Elisha makes her extremity the opportunity for revealing to her the highest law of supply. He ascertains the extent of her possessions to be a pot of oil, and thereupon directs her, "Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbors, even empty vessels; borrow not a few," and to pour out of her little pot of oil into these vessels, until all have been filled. Here are demands calculated to test faith; here is an occasion for strict obedience. Such requirements often come thus united to us all, and when trustingly obeyed bring rich reward, as in this instance, where we are told that the supply of oil only ceased when all the vessels were filled.

The spiritual application of the deep significance of this occurrence elucidates most helpfully the first beatitude: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." The "poor in spirit" are they whose thoughts are unselfed sufficiently to reveal to them the inadequacy of material means and methods to meet their needs, and who, possessing only so small an amount of "heavenly inspiration" (a term used as one of the definitions for oil in the Glossary to Science and Health, p. 592) that they are convicted of their poverty, become beggars, petitioners for a fuller measure of the divine qualities. Pouring out their available understanding, obediently complying with the demands of Truth, they are able to fill many empty vessels, and they too learn that the supply never ceases so long as there is a demand.

November 9, 1912

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