From the Christian Science Journal, February 1923, by Ella W. Hoage
Mankind is ever reaching out for that which satisfies. It is ever looking for something which will bring it happiness and contentment. It has known little of the true basis of satisfaction, and consequently so-called mortal existence might almost be defined in two words: I want. So comprehensive seems this sense of things that men spend a large share of their time in thinking about what they want, how to get what they want, and then,—in wanting something else. To be sure, this wanting may be separated into what they call right wants and wrong wants, but it still has to do with human desire, and results in at most but temporary gratification.
Working thus from the standpoint of materiality,—which is acknowledged to be transitory in its nature, —mankind is continually reaching after satisfaction in the unsatisfying, happiness in the elusive, and contentment where there is no stability. Because of this, its concept of life and its activities is as unstable as the shifting sands of a sea where the engulfing waves of mortal belief are constantly washing away the impressions of each recurring day, often leaving little but wreckage to tell of past hopes.
To turn from such uncertainty to the permanency which Christian Science reveals demands a complete reversal of thought and purpose. In this perfect Science of Life, God has given to all men the method whereby perfect satisfaction may always be realized. In place of the changing, restless, temporal basis of matter from which to deduce wants, Christian Science reveals unalterable divine Principle as the source where-from men may win all that is truly satisfying. The psalmist glimpsed this when he wrote, “I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness;” and again, “Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.” Now man, as the child of God, certainly has the right to be satisfied. One could not imagine for an instant that the image and likeness of God, infinite good, could ever be deprived of true satisfaction. From this it follows that men have only to turn from matter to God, divine Mind, and seek therein all good, to begin to taste of the truly satisfying and eternal.
One would think that when the choice between security and insecurity, between true satisfaction and disappointment, between the eternal and the unreal, was placed before him it would not take long to decide on which side he would prefer to be. Men do not quickly see, however, that the enthrallment of evil lies in the claim that it can in some way result in satisfaction. There is no point in the teaching of Christian Science which its Discoverer and Founder, Mrs. Eddy, has made clearer than that which shows that sin always deceives through the belief that it can result in some sort of satisfaction or pleasure. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” (p. 296) she writes, “Mortal belief must lose all satisfaction in error and sin in order to part with them.” And on page 39 she says: “Who will stop the practice of sin so long as he believes in the pleasures of sin? When mortals once admit that evil confers no pleasure, they turn from it.”
Here, then, is the very simple rule to be followed in breaking the bonds of evil, and in finding the true satisfaction which must always result from association with the true and the real,—with the infinite God, who is the alone good. Whether one is endeavoring to free himself from the claims of sin or to help to break his neighbor’s chains, the method must always be the same; namely, through convincing the mortal that true satisfaction can be found only in Spirit and spirituality; hence that all belief in matter and its claim to satisfaction must be denied and rejected as false, and as worse than useless. When one is thoroughly convinced that there is no satisfaction or pleasure in any material belief or indulgence, whatever form it may seem to take, he will certainly relinquish it completely.
Christian Scientists should constantly insist on the undesirability, on the unsatisfactoriness of all mortal beliefs and tendencies. To say to all forms of error, You are without pleasure or profit, without attraction or satisfaction, because you are of the flesh, materiality, and therefore entirely outside of Spirit, hence without Mind or Principle,—this will hasten the loosening of error’s chains. It will open the way to the true satisfaction which inevitably results from giving up evil for good, from relinquishing false belief for the spiritual facts of existence.
We may well ask ourselves frequently, Is not God, infinite Spirit, sufficient to satisfy our every desire? Surely, Yes. Then the more quickly we accept the simple truth that the only claim to power which sin has is in the belief in its pleasure or satisfaction, and work always from that standpoint, the sooner shall we come to realize the blessedness of which Mrs. Eddy tells us in “Pulpit and Press” (p. 3): “The river of His pleasures is a tributary of divine Love, whose living waters have their source in God, and flow into everlasting Life. We drink of this river when all human desires are quenched, satisfied with what is pleasing to the divine Mind.” Therein alone can be found true satisfaction!