THE REWARD OF FAITH

In my garden the annual miracle had begun. The slender red spire of the tulip, the rounded yellow spatula of the narcissus, and the green fascis of the hyacinth had gently yet persistently forced their passage through the clodded earth, and were being changed into the lovelier shades of leafage by the wonderful chemistry of sunshine. When, months before, the bulbs were planted in what our Leader so graphically terms their "cloistered cells," and left to the seemingly inhospitable care of a bed soon to be frozen and snow-covered, it required an act of faith; and this faith was "the substance of things hoped for." Our hope was for a springtime gladdened by beautiful flowers, and the essential thing to be done in order that our hope should be realized was an act of faith, an assent to what we have learned regarding the ordinary growth of tulips and narcissi. We knew that, according to this material order, bulbs must be placed under certain conditions in order to eventuate into flowers, and we seemingly condemned them to death and the grave in order that they might later provide us with a higher type of beauty. In observing this order of human belief, we may find many hints of a higher law, the law of Life.

Speaking accurately, gardeners do not term the autumn and winter a period of rest in the vegetable kingdom. Even a superficial examination of root and bud will disclose the fact that both autumn and winter are periods of growth and preparation. If we were yet more accurate, we would not say that the tulip which had just disclosed its presence above the ground was now any more of a manifestation of life than it was when lying in the ship'e hold, the previous summer, on its joureny from Holland. Surely life as God's idea is as complete and perfect in the bulb as it will be later in the flower. To our limited and fettered human understanding, the life of the bulb cannot be seen; it must needs be manifested in a different form to be apprehended by our mortal sense; but life—full, complete, and perfect—is the true law of being, to which the seemingly inert bulb gives suggestive assurance. Do we do wrong, then, to project faith, which we usually term a quality of understanding into the vegetable kingdom, and say that the bulbs teach us a lesson in its application? Is it not true that they do give an illustration of what our perfect and unresisting assent to the truth of life as an idea of God would effect?

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JOY
December 26, 1908
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