The Changing Viewpoint

In Paul's beautiful discourse on charity, or "love" as it is better rendered, he says, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child; . . . but when I became a man, I put away childish things." In this he declares for the law of progress, in the light of which every stage of unfoldment has a value. A man is not to be condemned because, when he was a child, he thought and acted as a child, and yet there are some who make this mistake and who condemn others that are striving to take the advanced steps demanded by scientific progression, because these steps have not already been taken.

It is sometimes gratuitously assumed, when a change is made by some requirement relating to all the adherents of our Cause, that since a new order of things is introduced the former must have been wrong; but we are sure to learn, sooner or later, that this is a mistaken sense. In our advance as Christian Scientists we have been eager to avail ourselves of everything which seemed to offer help in our work, and in some instances these helps had much to commend them, but it was found later, that continued dependence upon them was not advantageous. It was Lincoln who said, "The foolish and the dead, alone, never change their opinions." Whenever we find it necessary to give up anything, or to change our methods for the sake of progress, it should be done with the knowledge that divine Principle never takes away any good thing unless it be to replace it with a better.

Surely there are many "stepping-stones . . . to higher things." These serve their day, and though we must needs leave them far behind, we can never condemn the things which have helped us onward. We thus think with tender tolerance of the plans, the pleasures, and the pains of our childhood days, for we remember that these experiences furnished a "nutriment of wisdom" in after years; nevertheless, when these lessons are learned we have no further need of their repetition. If our supreme desire is to advance the Cause of Truth and thus serve humanity, we shall certainly be divinely guided to what is nearest right in all the changing conditions of human experience. If one cannot at once demonstrate perfectly scientific conditions, especially where the interests and opinions of others are involved, he can always choose the least of two evils, and avoid all caviling over the seeming difficulties of the situation. The most truly scientific method is that which best meets the need of the hour, and it should be adopted with the assurance that Divine wisdom will reveal higher means when progress shall have prepared the way for them.

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Letters to our Leader
December 3, 1904

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