Right Results

On page 57 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mrs. Eddy says, "Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love." This expression is the antipode of the well-known couplets from Burns comparing pleasures to the short life of a poppy or to the evanescent nature of the snowflake on the river. Happiness, unlike "pleasures," is not born of the belief in the reality of the senses or their kingdom; happiness is of the nature of its source, being spiritual, true, loving, pure. Happiness is an effect or result of knowing and loving Truth and Love; therefore one does not set out as on a journey to seek for happiness, nor does he outline the road by which it must come to him. No limited idea of one's rights or one's place or one's work will result in happiness.

Sometimes one desire, one condition, or one position seems to loom so large that it fills our whole horizon, skyward and earthward. "That is the only right thing," we see emblazoned on our limited space, and, "Everything and everybody must yield to that one idea," we argue; "they must see it so." And we try to arrest every thought that would see the matter in a different light. One has a farm to attend to; another has just married; another is bound by a sense of duty that looks straight enough, narrow as it is. Curious to say, oftentimes the one thing we are outlining is a good thing, a good way, perhaps the best,—for instance, building a church,—but we block the whole way if we offend in one thing or look to one thing—if we work in limited sense instead of through the limitless intelligence that comes with rightly knowing God, man, and the universe, and declaring positively the truth of a given situation from that boundless basis.

Teachers of mathematics are often confronted with this poor method of working, by pupils seeking the answers to problems rather than the understanding of the fundamentals and process involved. Indeed, textbooks now no longer place the answers to drill problems where the pupil may easily see them but at the back of the book, to be used to confirm the pupil's independent effort; or, they are placed in the hands of the teacher altogether, so that confirmation may be used with skill. Thus the pupil is trained to depend on his understanding of the rule by which he is to work and to look to it, step by step. His power to reason is thus called out and when he finishes his problem and finds that his answer is correct, this proof of his understanding of the rule develops true self-reliance. It may be that he meets with many failures before he understands the rule so thoroughly that every example is to him confirmation, but if he persists in following the right method, he will win out. I have known a pupil to gaze at an answer in wistful and idle speculation as to how to obtain it. I have seen him sit pondering over some 5 or 6 that blocked his way. Dear me, how big that figure looked—larger the longer he gazed and chewed his pencil. "That 5 is all that keeps me from having my lesson for to-morrow," he mutters. But this is not true; his lesson is to know the rule and process, and if a shaft of wisdom strikes him, he will turn from the 5 to the rule. We cannot hope to wring happiness or harmony from a situation by such schoolboy methods. Looking for an outcome is fixing the gaze on the answer; it is outlining for Principle, when Principle is not circumscribed.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

"Excellency of speech"
June 5, 1920

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.