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The other day some one, arguing that matter was really substantial, struck the arm of a chair in which he was sitting, with the remark, "Do you mean to tell me that this wood is not substance?" The Scientist, to whom he was talking, quietly said: "No, it is not substance. It can be burnt or destroyed, but real substance can never be destroyed; it is that which underlies all outward seeming." Even the dictionary says that substance is "that which constitutes anything what it is; ... that which is real, in distinction from that which is apparent." Mrs. Eddy says, in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 468), "Substance is that which is eternal and incapable of discord and decay."

The conversation then turned upon the misuse of words, and the necessity of exactitude in their usage; and one wondered at the mental laziness which oftentimes accepts the common meaning of a word without striving to find the correct one. Words should paint a mental picture; but as beautiful scenery does not convey to some mentalities anything of beauty, but consists, to their unenlightened vision merely of obvious landmarks, in the same way literature to some appears as little other than sentences strung together; and they are unconscious or unobservant of the beauty which may be expressed. Thus the true substance and motive of literature is apparently hidden; the beauty of construction, unappreciated; and the reader may rise from his task unrefreshed by the broader outlook which characterizes intelligent thinking, and which is the hall mark of scholarly attainment.

March 1, 1924

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