When the flood of 1913 swept over a great part of the state of Ohio, the thought presented itself to some of us who were not in the flooded districts that we had much to be grateful for, and there was the temptation to attribute this exemption from so terrible an experience to our having awakened to the truth of Christian Science. This mental attitude was confronted, however, with the recognition of the fact that many who were just as enlightened in the teachings of Christian Science, and equally faithful in its practice, found themselves right in the midst of all this trouble. Could we say that they had less cause for gratitude than had the Christian Scientists who were living in parts of the state untouched by the onrush of waters? Since God is everywhere, He must have been just as available to the people that were in the flooded district, and who knew how to rely upon His presence, as He was to those that were not there. It is the scientific knowing how to call on God, thus placing ourselves and our circumstances under His spiritual law of safety, that is the real cause for gratitude.

The ability to apply the law, not exemption from the necessity of applying it, furnishes the real ground for rejoicing, since the fundamental consideration of the Christian Scientist is not so much the changing of material conditions, as it is the realization of God's presence in the midst of the seeming discord or calamity. We realized that this truth had been demonstrated when we learned that, notwithstanding the hardships which necessarily accompanied the experience, the Scientists who were in the midst of the Ohio flood actually rose with the tide and floated above sense testimony, in the ark of spiritual understanding; and in every instance their lives were preserved and their property was afterwards restored. Christian Science is here to teach us how to do this, and one of the scientific rules laid down for us is expressed by Joshua in his command to the children of Israel, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell." He must have considered that the gods which their fathers served on the other side of the flood were the laws of spiritual being that could render the people secure from dangers right where they were, right where the gods of the Amorites were claiming to hold sway. Their responsibility was one of choice, choice of a governing Principle, of God.

Have we ever intimately considered the fact that the remote cause of our present experience is in our choice of a god, and that, in its last analysis, the choice rests with us? Either we are being guided by the one God, who is Principle, or else we are being dominated by some one of the infinite variety of so-called gods that hold us in bondage to a false sense of God and man. Upon this fundamental choice rests the responsibility for the very thing we are undergoing right now, whether it be joy or sorrow, sickness or health, sin or the ability to resist its temptation. To release ourselves from the fetters imposed by "the gods of the Amorites" is our individual necessity, and our recognition of the condition to be overcome is two thirds of the battle. The remaining third, the changing of our convictions from the false to the true, is now a present possibility, although it is a task that may not be accomplished in a moment. Here the practice of Christian Science becomes an art, the art of intelligent choosing.

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August 9, 1919

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