True Happiness

One of the things which seems particularly to impress and is frequently remarked by visitors at a church service of Christian Scientists, is the general air of peace and happiness with which they are surrounded. This was well expressed by a woman who, in describing her experience at the first Wednesday evening meeting she attended, said that her first sensation was one of astonishment, because on looking around her she saw fifteen hundred happy faces—more happy people than she had supposed there were in the whole city in which she was then visiting. This recalls to memory the expression so often heard, "I would know you were a Christian Scientist by your happy face," and the opening sentence of our Leader's Message to The Mother Church in 1900, "Methinks even I am touched with the tone of your happy hearts, and can see your glad faces, aglow with gratitude;" in fact, one might be justified in naming happiness as the hall-mark of Christian Scientists.

Now, it is fair to ask why Christian Scientists impress people in this way. Is it because they are in expectation of some great but unattained good that is to come to them, or is it because they have received such rich and bountiful blessings that they cannot help but express gratitude and joy? An answer may be found in the experience of the woman to whom we have referred, and her experience was by no means an exceptional one. She was a member of a Christian church in the small city in which she resided, her family relationships were such as should have brought her happiness, and her husband's business was on such a footing as to assure her comfort. She was, however, extremely unhappy. She was ill, and had been ill and in pain for years. She had been under the care of physicians who were kind and earnest in their efforts to help her, but without success. All that her church had been able to do for her was to counsel patience under affliction, and to hold out the hope that after this earthly existence she would enter into a realm of peace and joy, a realm in which she would suffer no more. She was led to believe that healing such as our great Master had done in far-off Galilee was not for her, nor for any one in this age. She was even taught to believe that God had sent affliction upon her for some good purpose of His own, and that she must bow to His will.

Fortunately Christian Scientists have proved for themselves the fallacy of these beliefs. Thanks to the teachings of Christian Science they have learned that "death is not the real stepping-stone to Life and happiness" (Unity of Good, p. 37), that "happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness" (Message for 1902, p. 17). It is not at all surprising, therefore, that after this woman had seen these happy-faced people, and had heard them tell of their healing from all manner of diseases, that her own hope of health should have revived. Then and there she resolved to learn for herself how she might be restored to health, and to that happiness she had so long been denied. When, in a short time, her efforts were crowned with success, and she had learned that "God does not cause man to sin, to be sick, or to die" (Science and Health, p. 206), she became one of the happy-faced throng which had so astonished her on her first visit to a Christian Science church.

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Freedom from the Letter
April 4, 1914

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