It was a period of great events, as boys thought then, and as men think now, when the vast forests of the middle West succumbed to the woodman's axe. The mighty monarchs thundered their protest as they fell, but nature's appeal was all unheeded; the fires were lit, and winding-sheets of gray ash lent an added richness to golden harvests which have since fed the world.

The cutting and burning of the great trees did not complete the settler's task, however, for every departed giant left a well-rooted relic behind him, which held on to mother earth with the strenuous grip of a bad habit. To rid the fields of stumps meant steady digging for many a year, and though some planting was done, despite their crowding presence, the crops were scant and unsatisfactory until the bulk of the stumps had been disposed of, and hence every thrifty farmer made the business of "stump-pulling" a permanent order of the day. It was the abiding "odd job" so long as there remained a single root to mar the landscape or foul the plow.

Those who are familiar with these frontier facts will hardly need to be reminded of the suggestive parallelism between the early settler's task and that to which every true Scientist is committed in his call and endeavor to control and transform his thought and habit. Like the children of Israel, we enter our promised land to find that it is very much occupied, and that if we are to come into practical possession of our inheritance the clearing out process must be immediately begun and faithfully continued. Sturdy prejudices, impulses, and beliefs must not only be cut down,—their unreality recognized and affirmed,—but every "root of bitterness" must be dug up and destroyed through that continuous right thinking and doing which is our part in Truth's regenerative work.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

May 11, 1907

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.