The Government "upon his shoulder"

The shoulder as the burden bearer of mankind has long been a commonly used figure of speech. Atlas, in the ancient concept, upheld the pillars of heaven on his shoulders, and Atlas became the synonym for burden bearer. Putting one's shoulder to the wheel has come to signify the setting of one's self vigorously to work to the accomplishment of a definite purpose. The prophet Isaiah uses this figure in foretelling the joy to be experienced in the coming of Christ's kingdom. These are his words: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder." Here shoulder, as the seat of government, manifestly signifies God's assumption, through the Christ, of the righteous rule of His universe, since as the Redeemer of mankind the "Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace," would bear all burdens.

Apparently the prophet clearly understood God's relation to man and the universe, and mortals' great necessity to gain a like understanding, since thereby they would learn of the seat of authority and power. The tendency to assume responsibility in a personal way is almost universal. Firmly believing in the potency of their own human capabilities, arising from circumstance of birth, native endowment, education, environment, and experience, mortals arrogate to themselves responsibility for their individual careers, as well as the credit for successful accomplishments. "Self-made and proud of his maker" is more than a smart saying, for it accurately expresses the conceit of the so-called "self-made" mortal. Yet, illogically it seems, although one take to himself the credit for successes, failures are more often laid at the door of an unkind fate, to some circumstance over which it is believed one has no control. The difficulty with this line of reasoning, pro and con, is that it leaves God entirely out of consideration, and furthermore it utterly ignores the presence of His Christ, to whom Isaiah attributed such all-inclusive qualities and powers.

Christian Science is rapidly clarifying this situation, through disclosing the facts regarding God's continuous government of His universe. Men, learning that the divine power does control, are coming to recognize that they need to know how to utilize this power. To substitute God's will for mortals' vacillating desires, however, is not a task easily accomplished. The so-called mortal mind does not readily relinquish what it believes to be its attributes. The Master's words, "Not my will, but thine, be done," represent an advanced state of self-abnegation; but Christ Jesus was so keenly aware of God's presence and power and of man's relation to Him as to make perfectly apparent the futility of mortals' claim to selfhood apart from God, to personal capabilities and the assumption of responsibility.

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November 29, 1924

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