I feel that I am long overdue in expressing my gratitude to God through the periodicals for all the good that has come to me through the study and application of Christian Science.
During military service I gained a greater appreciation of the Manual of The Mother Church by Mary Baker Eddy. Mrs. Eddy was divinely guided to provide in the Manual every law needful to the eternal defense of the Cause of Christian Science, including the church offices, officers, and individual church members. On page 148 of "Miscellaneous Writings," Mrs. Eddy, speaking of the Rules and By-Laws in the Manual, says in part: "They were impelled by a power not one's own, were written at different dates, and as the occasion required. They sprang from necessity, the logic of events,— from the immediate demand for them as a help that must be supplied to maintain the dignity and defense of our Cause." The By-Laws of the Manual must be obeyed by members of The Mother Church even as they obey the Ten Commandments and Beatitudes, if their divine protection is to be enjoyed.
An angel-like reminder of the Manual's vital role in an individual sense proved a blessing in one instance when I was faced with the last enemy. Military duty on one occasion required me to leave the Netherlands East Indies on a flight into the Philippines. The flight was to be made in two laps. On the first lap motor trouble developed in the right engine, but we succeeded in reaching our first landing strip. After a hasty inspection emergency repairs were completed, because the urgency of our mission made it necessary to continue our journey. While still some four hundred miles from land and our final destination, the right motor stopped running. The plane was heavily loaded with cargo, eight passengers, and a crew of five. This type of plane was not noted for floating long once it had crashed into the sea, and we had sacrificed lifesaving equipment for a capacity load.
Immediately after the motor stopped, the plane started to drop. The order was given by the pilot to throw out everything we could put our hands on, including our shoes, to lessen the load and keep what altitude we could. This was done immediately, but we continued to descend slowly. The suggestion and fear of death became so strong that I began to declare the truth aloud. As I asked God for guidance, I suddenly thought that under the provisions of the Manual I had been accepted for class instruction by a loyal teacher, but that military duty had intervened a few months before I could partake of this privilege. Since Mrs. Eddy had said that the By-Laws in the Manual came from a power not her own, I therefore had a God-given right to have this experience, and I vehemently declared this aloud.
The ship fell from ten thousand feet to within two hundred feet of the water before the proof of demonstration came. When it seemed we would crash, I still clung audibly to my Manual-provided right, and suddenly the physical manifestation became evident in that the right motor started to operate. It did not run smoothly, but it ran well enough to enable us to make our air strip and land safely. Upon examination of the plane by the crew, the opinion was expressed that "God brought us in that time." I knew that divine Mind had overcome a so-called law of matter and saved our lives.
During four years and eleven months of military service I was guided, protected, and kept in good health through the practicality of Christian Science. Upon my return I had the blessed privilege of class instruction.
From a small child I have been protected from injury in accidents and helped in finding lost articles. Glass was removed from my foot without surgery, a sudden attack of malarial fever was healed in less than twenty-four hours, and many other blessings have been received.
Mrs. Eddy wisely counsels us in the Manual (Art. XVII, Sect. 2), "Gratitude and love should abide in every heart each day of all the years." Gratitude fills my heart for Christ Jesus, the Ensample, and for the unselfish revelator of Truth to this age, Mrs. Eddy, for through her we have been given God's final, complete revelation, Christian Science.— Davenport, Iowa.
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