WHATEVER ails people I don't know. Ned and Grace and I are so happy it seems as if everybody ought to be; but folks don't seem to understand us, only Aunt Joy. She says: "Never mind, children; hold tight to the wisdom of the little seed and let the God likeness, which is the mind of Christ Jesus in you, grow to blossom and fruit."
Ned wondered if Jesus didn't mean that when he said, "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." (John 17:23).
We were out-doors and Aunt Joy said: "Let us go and see what the gardener is doing to our grapevines over there." So we went into the garden and found he was fastening the long, slender ends carefully to the strong trellis.
"Why are you so painstaking with this vine?" she asked. "Sure, mum," he said, "these slinder branches be so full of the settin' fruit belike they'd be after breakin' all off with the lood of the clusters a-growin' ferninst autumn time, mum."
"'I am the true vine, and my Father is the husband-man,' (John 15:1) " murmured Aunt Joy; then she asked us to examine
the grapevine and tell her where the vine left off and the branches began. Ned said he couldn't find any leaving off and beginning; he was sure it was all vine.
"But you can cut off the branches without destroying the vine, you know," suggested Aunt Joy.
"Yes; and I know you can cut 'em off down to the ground and not kill the vine, 'cause I saw one mowed off by accident and it grew up again," said Ned.
Aunt Joy took Ned's face between her hands, looked into his eyes and said: "And so our wise Ned has discovered that vine, branches and all are alike one, with a life-source hidden beyond the reach of the scythe and pruning-hook. Can he apply his object lesson to 'I am the vine, ye are the branches'?"
"Why, Aunt Joy," said I, "do you think Jesus Christ wanted 'em to think that the branches wasn't any more than the vine, when he said that?"
"Don't you see, Trixie, how necessary it is for all this vine here to abide, or stay connected with its life-source, the roots? You must perceive it takes all three—the roots, the trunk and the branches — to make the true and perfect vine."
"Then, Aunt Joy, Jesus meant — 'I am the true vine' — roots, branches and all."
"Then why did He say, 'Ye are the branches'?" I asked.
"We'll see. Tell me what part of the vine is always hidden from sight, Trixie?"
"Tell me the name Jesus gave to the unseen source of all his life and works."
"God or Father."
"That's right. What name would you give to the source of your life?"
"Of course, God or Father."
"Do you always abide in this knowledge, as the vine does in its roots, or as Jesus did in his Father? If you do, you are the true vine, for you have 'the mind that was in Christ Jesus,' and the Father-life flows through you, and your thougths are fruitful branches. Ned was abiding in the true vine or Christ-mind when the living thought fruited into perfect action in his paralyzed leg."
"Oh Aunt Joy!" cried Ned, "I see now how it all was; I couldn't understand how the Father answered me so quickly."
"Well," said Aunt Joy, "let us share your new understanding."
"Of course," said Ned, "I always wanted to be well, but you know papa had tried everything that the doctors could do, and they all said nothing could put life into dead nerves. Papa always prayed that since God had seen fit to afflict us in this way, that we might have grace to bear it. So I settled down into thinking, 'What can't be cured must be endured.' That night you were talking to papa about Jesus Christ, and you explained that we are all sons of God, and papa said it was presumptuous to call ourselves so, and he said how Jesus could have cured me and that was something we could never do; then it seemed, oh, so clear to me, that God loved one son just as
well as another, but Jesus had been the only one who knew how great that love was. Then I went to my room, and I was so sure God was my Father that I talked to him, and oh, how my thoughts seemed alive all through me! And now I know they were the life-giving sap from the Vine - mind within me, and that this is our Father's way of answering us."
Aunt Joy said Ned had touched the keynote of God's Law, and if we would only key our habit of thought up to it, we would realize the ever-present, ever-loving Christ-Self whom the Father "hearest always."
I couldn't sit still any longer. I just clapped my hands, and we all sang —
"Christ alone beareth me
Where thou dost shine;
Joint-heir he maketh me
Of the Divine!
In Christ my soul shall be
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee!"
Then Ned said: "Aladdin didn't have half the show for wonderful things that we have."
Aunt Joy looked a little bit sober and spoke so low when she said: "Dear Ned, after this wonderful revelation was first made to Jesus of Nazareth, and he became conscious of the power given the Son of Mind, he had to meet the old self, with all its ambitions, alone in the wilderness of sense. Can you meet it as he did? Can you refuse mortal vanity the soft creations of delusion? Can you look from the pinnacle of high thought and not
throw yourself down for praise into the crowd below you?
"Ned, dear, when you know the power of your own kingdom within, can you refuse to give it up for the glitter and fame and wealth of the outside world? When you once decide these points and put the old Satan-self behind you, your 'wonderful lamp' will shine with the magic of heaven's own light, and angels will do its bidding, and no evil genii can wrest it from you, for it is the understanding of your own Sonship."