Understanding Gained

It was long my desire to understand the Old Testament, as a well-thumbed first chapter of Genesis would testify, but my interest could never survive its seeming incongruities and I repeatedly abandoned the effort in despair, though I did cling to the familiar Psalms and to the New Testament. It may be safely presumed that I have been alone in this unsuccessful attempt, it has no doubt been the experience of many, and I shall be very glad if anything I may say proves helpful to others. In my studies, next to mathematics, the myths of classic literature interested me, because they seemed to point to the real meaning of things. At last it became my privilege to study under a great master, who would often say to his pupils,—"The ministers tell you to be good—I shall only tell you to be reasonable. You may find in the end that it is the same requirement, since there is no virtue without intelligence and no intelligence without virtue." His only were what he called the four great literary bibles, written by Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, and Goethe. From them he gathered and presented what to me then seemed such sound logic. consistent ethics, and so lofty a spiritual ideal, that I became a peripatetic searcher for its equal in the famous pulpits of the city where I live. Different churches were visited, with keen appreciation of the good found therein yet the teaching seemed contradictory and unreasonable; there was always something lacking. Not one of them seemed to bring so much out of the Bible as I had received from Homer's great story of the Odyssey, when our master showed us that it made no difference whether there ever was a man named Homer, or another called Ulysses; because the wandering warrior was not a long-ago hero, but ourselves,—that daily are we required to sail between and Charybdis, beware of Calypso and Circe, and to resist the Sirens; so we learned that daily we should strive for a higher ideal within if we would see it without.

At length I became dissatisfied even with this teaching. Soon after this my health gave way completely, and after three years of invalidism, with the prospect of several more years of suffering and uselessness before me, was healed in five days by Christian Science. I took that blessed book, Science and Health, and studied it from morning until night, from beginning to end, for a year and a half, trying all the time to put the teachings, so far as I understood them, into practice, for we were distinctly told from the first that in Christian Science mere belief counts for little, that Christian Science demands practical demonstration, the actual living of its exalted teachings. I had found a religion sufficiently spiritual and practical to satisfy me, thoroughly logical, consistent and reasonable thoughout. It is impossible for me to describe the joy and happiness which I felt, or my gratitude to God, and to Mrs. Eddy, for this wonderful gift to the children of men.

I had now learned that the Scriptures must be read as records of consciousness, and I got out the old Bible which had formerly seemed such a stumbling-block, when, lo and behold! the study of Science and Health had transformed it for me into the most interesting and absorbing book in the world, and such it has continuously proved for over nine years. I have found that Mrs. Eddy's interpretation of its spiritual truth supplies all that I had been seeking in order to gain that practical inspiration which mankind so sorely needs. Truth, thus revealed, has been in all these years our only physician, and more successful than any other could possibly have been.

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Shut the Door
January 27, 1906

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