The earliest version of Praise that I find is in the September 1900 issue of Unity magazine, on pages 110-115. Here is a link to the PDF for that issue. The subtitle says "A portion of a paper read before a meeting of the Unity Society of Practical Christianity, Kansas City, Mo."
God is my help in every need,
God does my every hunger feed,
God walks heside me, guides my way,
Through every moment of this day.
I now am wise, I now am true,
Patient, kind, and loving too;
All things I am, can do, and be,
Through Christ, the truth that is in me.
God is my health, I can't be sick,
God is my strength, unfailing, quick;
God is my all, I know no fear,
Since God and Love and Truth are here.
A A Pearson - Praise
SURELY no one knows better than I the potency of praise. Before I came into this understanding I was a chronic grumbler, and the whole atmosphere about me was colored and steeped with the essence of fault-finding and complaining. So. perhaps, my own experience in demonstrating the power of praise to drive awav so-called evil and bring forth good, will add another testimony to the truths spoken by Solomon: "Praise is comely for the upright" (Psalms 33:1) "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me." "So is a man to his praise." "All thy works shall praise thee." "I will praise thee with the spirit and with the understanding."
praise is but another name for prayer
So it would appear that praise is but another name for prayer, or one of the forms of prayer. It is that form which recognizes the object of our desires as already in existence. We should pray as if we had already received, and praise is acknowledgment of possession. I seem to have stumbled upon this hidden spring, or to have come by the tedious route of evolution through trying experiences, to a knowledge of the power of praise to eliminate not only pain from the body but trouble from the mind; and, in fact, I have proven to my satisfaction that it will work along all lines. I have known praise to even change the face of nature and work what the ignorant call a miracle.
Solomon says, "With all thy getting, get understanding;" so let us try to understand the nature of praise. We know that God is Love, and that God is Spirit, therefore Love is Spirit. God is Good and God is Spirit, therefore Good is Spirit. So we may go along the whole list of names for good, the truly good, and know that they are the names for God. "A cheerful countenance doeth good like a medicine," for a cheerful countenance shows a hopeful spirit, for the Spirit back of it is God. Hope, for Hope is Good. Praise is Good, like all the other names for God, and therefore it is like Love, Hope, Faith; and taken collectively they constitute the One Grea,t Source of all that really is—the All-Good.
According to Webster, "praise" is from the Latin word pretium, meaning to commend, to magnify, to glorify, to extol. These all denote Spirit and Mind in activity, not in repose; therefore, it is a positive quality, it is affirmation in the highest form. Denial is a tearing away from the stream the debris that hinders the peaceful flow of the Good. Affirmation is the flowing on of the waters to the sea. Praise is positive, while condemnation is negative and tears down or destroys; praise builds up the good. Praise loosens up and carries away all the debris that censure and blame accumulate in our affairs and environment.
To praise a thing which we know to be a part of the Universal Whole, but which is yet in the invisible, brings it forth into visibility
To praise a thing which we know to be a part of the Universal Whole, but which is yet in the invisible, brings it forth into visibility. I can attest the truth of this by relating an experience which convinced me that praise has as much power as faith, and is as important a factor for us to consider as faith, in our work of demonstrating the truths of Being. Praise might be said to constitute the latter part of the definition of faith — "the evidence of things not seen." Faith is the substance; praise, the evidence.
I came into a knowledge of this through the avenue of pain. After losing all faith in doctors (of course their drugs did me no good), I sought a healer somewhat as a drowning man would catch at a straw. Like Nicodemus, I marveled much, for at the spoken word the pain disappeared. The healer then ministered to my mind. I accepted the teaching gladly, and felt myself daily being born again, for the old things were passing away and the new world presented so many good things that the old one knew nothing about. I felt myself healed, and stood quite proud and boastful upon my new pedestal. But I was yet to learn the truth of the old proverb, "He that thinketh he standeth, let him take heed lest he fall." Suddenly the old condition returned. I was cast down, discouraged, utterly at sea, and was disposed to listen to my Job-like comforters, who said, "I told you so. It is hypnotism." I could not go back. I could not go forward. So I stood still. I kept up my affirmations and denials, and read all the literature on this subject that I could get, and made very strong statements. Still the old pain stayed with me. One day I lay upon the couch holding the Noon Thought as best I could, while the pain held me with a much firmer grip. Suddenly it occurred to me that the pain was good, for without it I would never have come into a knowledge of the Truth. A feeling of gratitude took possession of me, and in my thankfulness a song of praise sprang from my heart to my lips. In my ecstasy I forgot myself, and when I returned to myself the pain was gone, and it has never returned to that locality again.
To say that I have never stumbled or fallen short of the perfect realization since that time would not be true; but, thank God, I can say with David, "Though a just man fall seven times, yet shall he rise again."
The Bible is a great recipe book, and is full of recipes for both mind and body
"But," says one, "how can I possess myself of the spirit of praise?" The Bible is a great recipe book, and is full of recipes for both mind and body which you can use without fear of indigestion either mentally or physically. When you are at a loss which one you are most in need of, just open the book at random, and if you ask in the Spirit, your eyes will fall upon the right one. I have tried this method and always found it effectual. Another method I have adopted to educate my perceptive faculties that I may perceive the good, and realize it, is found in the following homely lines:
"In the morning when you first awake, and before you turn yourself in bed, first praise, then count the blessings on your head. Forgive, forget, call down a blessing upon all, and if you can't do that, just stay in bed and don't get up at all."
Let us consider this from a medical-scientific standpoint. Physicians say that the pulse beats slower in sleep, indicating the repose of the body, the letting go of the nerve tension. Scientists say the soul retires during sleep to a point called the solar plexus. It at such times lets go its hold upon the nerves. Now, when we first awake, before we turn ourselves in bed, the body is supposed to be in perfect repose, the soul just taking hold of the nerves (walking through the garden in the cool of the day). Now, if the great I AM, or the spiritual consciousness, can get possession of the mortal consciousness before it has begun to feed upon the husks of materiality, or if the Spiritual Man can get hold of the mortal man before he has wandered from his Father's house, the mortal mind will have something to lean on — a wonderful prop. But the soul must also recognize that there is a covenant, or contract, to be entered into in order that it be enabled to hold on to this prop through the day. What is it? "Forgive, forget, call down a blessing upon all."
"Oh, but," says some one, "I can't forgive, for when I try to do that the memory of many wrongs comes up, and I cannot forget." Give for, or instead of, the memory of the wrong, a thought of the good which has come to you through this experience; then you can see that "even the wrath of man shall praise him." Then can you see that this one has been but the instrument in the hands of the Good for your salvation. So let your honorable purpose strengthen your weak efforts every day, till you awaken some bright morning with a new song in your heart, even praise to your Good.
Watch the effect upon a child when you praise it. See its countenance brighten and the glowing light of satisfaction come into its eyes.
Take a common-sense view of praise and that will be proof enough. How do you feel when you want to praise everything? Joyful, free, open-minded. Watch the effect upon a child when you praise it. See its countenance brighten and the glowing light of satisfaction come into its eyes. Even dogs and horses will respond to words of praise, and rebel at blame or censure. Yes, the rule applies to all animate and even so-called inanimate things. Chastise your little girl, and then look into the playroom an hour after and you will catch her whipping her doll severely. Blame your son and hold his faults up to ridicule, and then wonder why the neighbors call him a bad boy! You have given them the clue, you have named him. Praise the qualities you would like to see your son possess; nay, even declare aloud that he does possess them, and see how quickly nature responds to your demands, and how quickly your son will try to help you to bring them into manifestation. Since I have adopted the praise method there has been a great change in all my household; and especially is this true of my domestic help and my children. I no longer censure my help for apparent carelessness and for accidents, but I excuse the accident in some pleasant way and praise them for their good intentions and their faithfulness and goodness. Thus I call into activity the very qualities I recognize, and I make them strong and potent and abiding.
Knowledge brings power. Everything is simply and easily done by the one who knows how. With the little knowledge of this Principle that I now possess it seems astonishing how I could ever have failed to realize the benefits of that act of worship, which I now recognize to be not only the most noble and natural impulse of the human heart, but the simplest, most efficient and direct dictate of nature. Look at the birds and all winged creatures; their lives seem to be one continual praise. The old saying, "Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise," might find its correlative in this: "Go to the birds, thou dissatisfied one; consider their ways and rejoice."
If prayer, of which praise is the counterpart, can be neglected, if the knowledge of dangers to be avoided, of necessities to be provided for, of desires for good to be gratified, of things hoped for to be brought forth, be not sufficiently strong to excite earnest prayer, yet it is surely ungrateful not to acknowledge benefits already received. What we are already possessed of ought to render us grateful to that Universal Good which has bestowed them upon us. "What characteristic among men is so odious as that of ingratitude?" says Robinson. But that any one who understands the nature of praise should neglect so delightful a duty, or fail to acknowledge this divine attitude, or be insensible to the benefits from it, is most astonishing. Solomon early found this secret spring, and touching it, opened wide the door to the storehouse of his priceless wisdom. All the sounds in nature are one grand paean of praise, from the rolling of the thunder to the tiniest song of the tiniest insect.
The Song of Solomon and the Psalms abound in praise, and from them I imagine was framed that article in the Shorter Catechism which says, "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever." Then, in the name of all that is good, why do we not do it? We will when we shall have awakened in his likeness. This we will do when we have put off the self and put on the Christ.
He whose heart is full of gratitude and truth,
Who loves mankind more than he does himself,
And cannot find room in his heart for hate,
May be another Christ.
We all may be the Savior of the world if we
Believe in the divinity which dwells in us, and worship it,
And nail our grosser selves, our tempers, greeds,
And our unworthy ambitions upon the cross.
Who gives love to all,
Pays kindness for ingratitude, smiles for frowns,
And lends new courage to the fainting heart,
And strengthens hope, and scatters joy abroad,
He, too, is a Redeemer—Son of God.
Society of Silent Unity
UNITY BLDG., 913 TRACY AVE.
KANSAS CITY, MO.
Twenty years ago some people in Kansas City were moved to try the statements of Jesus Christ, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them"; and "Ask what ye will in my name and it shall be done unto you." They found that a law was involved in the union of many minds in faith, and a higher power brought into action for the healing and uplifting of the human family.
So they set their thoughts daily upon the presence of an Omnipresent Healing Power, even the Holy Spirit, and in prayer, invocation, and thought concentration brought themselves and all those who believed into the same mind.
This little band has gradually increased until now over a score give their whole time to helping people in all parts of the world, through the Silent Power of the Spirit.
Over 20,000 members' have joined and are helping to spread the glad tidings.
Much literature is being published by this society, teaching the law through which the healing is done. Inquirers are requested to subscribe for the monthly magazine Unity ($1.00 per year, sample copy free). This magazine has a department giving extracts from letters from those who have been helped. Here is a sample:
"I call this instantaneous healing. About five years ago I lay in my bed suffering with a cyst tumor, which was getting worse and filling with poison matter ready to burst open, which it had been doing for the past three years or more every four or five months. I could not get up or down, and the doctors had said that nothing hut an operation would do me any good. Now, I had not seen any of the members of Silent Unity at that time. All of a sudden, on Sunday evening I thought of Silent Unity. I had been taking the magazine, Unity, for a year or more, and I scribbled a few lines to them begging for help. The letter was sent at nine p.m. I had faith in God's Word, "Ask and ye shall receive." So I expected help; but all night the pain continued as it had for a week nearly. On Monday I knew that Unity would get the letter about ten o'clock or near that time. At 12:30 o'clock the pain shot out of my whole body and I jumped out of bed. I then lay down again; was neither asleep nor awake — but such perfect peace and rest filled by whole being. When I got up and dressed it was nearly three o'clock. The tumor disappeared completely inside of two weeks without any further trouble. I expected help, but it came like a shot and frightened me for a moment. 'Ask believing, and ye shall receive.'" — N. R. B.
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