by Herbert W. Eustace
America, spiritually understood, is the outward evidence of man’s individual oneness with God.
America, in that sense, is not a nation defined by territorial boundaries, but is the spiritual idea of Mind everywhere present. America typifies the yearning of the heart for spiritual reality. “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.”
The “Pilgrim Fathers” were the “Separatists” who separated themselves entirely from bondage to ecclesiastical and political formulas and founded what is called America, as Abraham founded Israel by going out from his “father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee,” forsaking all for the highest sense of good. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate,” expresses America as the spiritual idea of Mind.
America is synonymous with individualism. Had individualism not been the objective of the Pilgrims, they would soon have been forced to admit that there is no freedom and success without it, as the following historical data show.
At first, the Pilgrims felt that community interest, rather than individual interest, in crops would better serve their ends. But they quickly learned that collectivism was doomed to failure. Complete individuality was essential for true spirituality and prosperity — as it always must be.
William Bradford was the governor of the original Pilgrim colony, founded at Plymouth in 1621. The colony was first organized on a communal basis, as their financiers required. Land was owned in common. The Pilgrims farmed communally, too, following the “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” precept.
The results were disastrous. Communism didn’t work any better 400 years ago than it does today. By 1623, the colony had suffered serious losses. Starvation was imminent.
Bradford realized that the communal system encouraged and rewarded waste, laziness, and inefficiency, and destroyed individual initiative. Desperate, he abolished it. He distributed private plots of land among the surviving Pilgrims, encouraging them to plant early and farm as individuals, not collectively.
The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn, which before would allege weakness, and inability; whom, to have compelled, would have been thought great tyranny and oppression!
The Plymouth governor moralizes upon the failure of a scheme which, in theory, had seemed so attractive, but which in the end had militated not only against self-interest, but self-respect. The results: a bountiful early harvest that saved the colonies. After the harvest, the Pilgrims celebrated with a day of Thanksgiving — on August 9.
Man, as God’s idea, is necessarily individual. The attempt of evil to change America from individualism to collectivism, and all that goes with that theory, is destined to failure. The breath of America is freedom, which means individualism. To surrender its Pilgrim heritage, would be to sell the birthright of America. But this can never be done, for it is America. Mrs. Eddy emphasizes individualism thus: “Is not a man metaphysically and mathematically number one, a unit, and therefore whole number, governed and protected by his divine Principle, God?” This individualism, this oneness is America.
The true sense of what the Pilgrim Fathers, America — Christian Science — really means, may be expressed, “unto me every knee shall bow.” “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” “And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it.”