A few days since a trifling incident brought to my consciousness a childhood thought which the years had not wholly obliterated, and from which I am learning valuable lessons. As a child, if a piece of work went wrong and I could not bring it up to my idea of perfection, but one thing ever suggested itself to me as a possible remedy, and that was to burn it all up, and begin over again. As the years went on and I began to encounter the real vicissitudes of life, I many times found it in my heart to wish that I might put into effect my childish thought—"burn it all up, and begin over again;" but woe was me, this was not so easily accomplished. I had begun too many things which had so woven themselves into the warp and woof of my life that I could not escape the inevitable consequence, or hinder the work, so poorly begun, from going on and on, as it seemed to me then, in one eternal and endless round.

I was continually tugging away at tangled skeins, and working vainly against what seemed to be an inexorable fate. Weary of the strife, sick, disappointed, heavy laden, I longed for rest and peace. When the Comforter came to me, was I ready to wipe out all of material sense and self; give up my false ideals of life and its joys, let go of matter and its illusions, and live in Spirit, God? Was I ready for this full and sufficient remedy for all my woes? The answer must be tentative. I was ready to be relieved of pain, ready for the benefits of Christian Science, ready for the "loaves and fishes;" but I was not ready for the work of purification; the baptismals of fire; the regeneration of thought; the spiritual purgation which must ever precede, or go on in even ratio with, the true healing of the body; in a word, I was not ready to "burn it all up, and begin over again."

It is well that we have a patient God. It is also well that "our God is a consuming fire;" and that we have only to be willing to part from sin with all its illusive pleasures, and the flame ready to devour,—to separate the gold in human character from the dross, and lead us gently on to the perfect and eternal good. But we must be willing, if need be, to pass many times under the rod; willing; in every event of our lives, to say with the great Wayshower: "'Not my will, but Thine, be done!'—that is, Let not the flesh, but the Spirit, be represented in me" (Science and Health, p. 33); and with the sweet singer of Israel: "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." And it must be an active service; not a simple acquiescence in the divine will, but an intelligent co-operation with good. There is no chance to slip into the kingdom on another's passport; to let some one else gather our honey for us. We must be "busy bees," working out our own salvation, letting God's will be done in us, through us, by us. Then, as we journey on, the hand of Love will separate the chaff from the wheat, and our God will consume, utterly destroy in each individual consciousness, all that is unlike Himself.

March 9, 1907

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