As students of Christian Science we undertake to declare daily for ourselves the protecting and governing power of divine Love, and to "watch and pray to be delivered from all evil, from prophesying, judging, condemning, counseling, influencing or being influenced erroneously" (Manual, Art. VIII, Sect. 1). We have all become familiar with the instructions given in the "Rule for Motives and Acts" as here quoted, but it is possible that we do not sufficiently ponder their deep spiritual intent and thus gain for ourselves greater mental freedom and at the same time help others to realize it by leaving them more to God.

Apart from Christian Science, relatively few think seriously upon the question of influence, at least in the way in which it is regarded after one accepts this teaching. Most people pride themselves upon being independent thinkers, uninfluenced by the opinions and tastes of others, but this is very far from being the case. Those who lift their heads above the mists of popular prejudice are few, but they are the great men and women of their time. Christ Jesus appeared in an age when the influence of those in authority, especially in respect to religion, held in check everything that tended toward progress. The rulers failed to see that their personal influence was doing nothing to make manifest man's God-bestowed heritage of freedom, nor did those under their control see that they were blindly submitting to the human will instead of becoming acquainted with divine Mind, man's creator, and the source of all true freedom, which was the keynote sounded by Christ Jesus.

It is curiously interesting to read in John's gospel how the rulers resented the implication that they were either "influencing or being influenced erroneously," when the Master told them that the truth would make them free. They insisted, as most people would today, that they had never been "in bondage to any man," but Christ Jesus discerned everywhere the fetters of sin and disease, and broke them for those who were ready for freedom. We find, however, that the Master refused to influence men in a personal way. His counsel was always on the broad basis of the demands of Principle. When a man came to him, asking him to influence his brother so that he would divide an inheritance with him, Jesus refused and warned him against covetousness. He also reminded him that "a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."

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Among the Churches
September 19, 1914

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