PERSISTENCY

The experiences of Jesus, prayerfully considered, give hope and encouragement to struggling hearts at all times. The healing of the blind man at Bethsaida reads into the practical, demonstrable work of Christian Scientists a deeply significant lesson. Error whispers no more subtle falsehood into our consciousness than discouragement. After weeks and even months of successful work, we often find ourselves inclined to doubt that we have sufficient understanding to meet certain claims of error which present themselves to us. We may then be helped by recalling the Master's experience. Jesus had healed the man with the unclean spirit; he had healed the leper; he had healed the paralytic; he had restored the withered hand; he had stilled the waves of the sea; he had even raised the little twelve-year-old girl from the dead, and yet when he made the first attempt to heal the blind man at Bethsaida he was not successful.

It is recorded that "he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town." A town suggests the idea of a number of people, governed by mortal-mind laws, rituals, ordinances, beliefs, and creeds. It would seem that Jesus, realizing that mortal mind considered blindness a stubborn form of error, led the man away from the town, as far as possible from false beliefs. Then we are told that he spat on the blind man's eyes. Now the word spit means "to reject," "to thrust out," "to deny." Taken metaphysically, this demonstration began by the rejection of the man's belief in blindness, not by actually spitting on his eyes, as the story has been literally interpreted by many. Although this false claim had been denied by the Master, who knew Truth's power, the demonstration was only partially made, for when the man looked up he said, "I see men as trees, walking." After this first attempt Jesus put his hands (symbolic of spiritual power) upon the man's eyes, and when he again looked up he "saw every man clearly." In referring to this incident our Leader has said, in "Miscellaneous Writings," p. 170, "Jesus' first effort to realize Truth was not wholly successful; but he rose to the occasion with the second attempt, and the blind saw clearly."

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June 8, 1907
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