There are some beginners in the study of Christian Science whose efforts are marked by a failure to understand at once its text-book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mrs. Eddy. We believe ourselves to be reasonably well-educated, fairly intellectual, at least not below the average in quickness of perception, and yet we find ourselves suddenly confronted with a book which to many of us seems about as intelligible as if it were written in Sanskrit. To be sure we recognize our own native tongue, we note familiar words and phrases, but so strangely are they employed that they seem to convey no meaning, and what are stated as "self-evident propositions" (Science and Health, p. 113) appear to us illogical. We persevere for a while, and then some possibly do as I did, close the book with a superior smile and announce that it is "perfect foolishness," not happening to remember that Paul tells us "the foolishness of God is wiser than men," and that He "hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise."

Perhaps, however, the beginner has reached what may be called the second stage of progress; he is ready to look again into this new religion, but only that he may overthrow it. I recall with what delight I entered the intellectual arena, sniffing the battle with every sense alert and every wit sharpened. My weapons seemed to me quite sufficient,—preconceived human opinion, prejudice, manmade theology, natural conservatism, and a love of argument for its own sake. The conflict was prolonged (lasting about a year, to be accurate), and at its conclusion I proclaimed myself victor, remarking to a friend that now I knew nothing could ever again interest me in Christian Science, for I had given it a thorough investigation, and had made up my mind about it, once for all. "My mind!" My little human mind! No Scientist will be surprised to learn that even after such a statement as this I turned to it again, six years later, in the midst of a great sorrow. It was hard to lay aside my pride, to fancy the old taunting cry repeated, "Is Saul also among the prophets?" It was hard to feel that in these past years, wherein I thought I had known so much, I had really known so little; to lay aside much of the education of a lifetime and become as a little child, simple, unspoiled, ready to be taught. But I knew that I must do all this, and I did it.

Humbly and reverently I again opened the pages of Science and Health, but this time with no other motive than an honest desire to find the God who is Life and Love, and not the source of death and sorrow. I said, "He is here; others have found Him, and I can find Him, too." As in the case of our dear Leader, "the search was sweet, calm, and buoyant with hope" (Science and Health, p. 109). It is true that the old obstacles often seemed to come up as before, but instead of stopping to argue, I would say, "I do not understand that now, but I know I shall;" and go straight on. This is the one thought which I long to impress upon all discouraged beginners in this study: Take the advice of one who has been over the same road, and go straight on. Do not stop to argue about what seems too deep for your present comprehension, but just know that you can know it, and you will know it after a while. Soon you will come to a place that you do understand, and right there is your opportunity. Read the phrase or sentence or paragraph which brings you light over and over until you feel sure of it; then lay it away, as you would some rare jewel, and some day when you least expect it you will find that its soft radiance has illumined some other thought which you once deemed hopelessly obscure. When you have finished reading the book, you will be astonished to discover what a goodly collection of these pearls you possess, and better still, you will then understand that you have only to continue the search to find more, for there is no limit to their supply in the inexhaustible realm of Mind.

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July 20, 1907

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