"Thou shalt not covet"

Whether we were privileged to attend the Christian Science Sunday School or not, we nevertheless have the "first lessons" to learn: and one of these is, "Thou shalt not covet." As Christian Scientists, we perhaps think we are now immune from covetousness, because we see the folly of setting our hearts on material objects, certainly on those of our neighbor. We have come to see in a degree that true substance is spiritual, and that material objects, such as money, clothes, and so on, cannot bring enduring happiness.

But what of our neighbor's spiritual attainments? Do we covet them? When we see some one's enlarged capacity, his freer step, his more joyful outlook, do we not think, Why cannot I attain these? Here the error is a little more subtle and, unconsciously perhaps, we long for the good which our neighbor has attained. The possible struggle through which he went, the evil which he forsook in acquiring his spiritual good, we lose sight of, and vainly wish that his good might come to us. How impossible such a desire! The reward he has received, he has earned. We may be sure he did not get it by chance or by special favor, for "God is no respecter of persons." Even though our neighbor were willing to transfer his reward to us, he could not do so. Good is not transferable from one person to another. The good which an individual can gain comes to him from God. He gets it, moreover, not as a special gift from the "Father of lights," but as the effect of righteous living. Good has always existed; it lies at hand—is ever present; but it comes into one's experience only as one allows evil belief to be dispensed with

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September 29, 1923
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