Some years ago there was published in the Sentinel an editorial which touched upon the form and subject-matter of testimonies given at the Wednesday evening meetings, and subsequently a By-law on the subject was adopted by The Mother Church and published in the Manual. Since the publication of this By-law there has been an earnest effort on the part of most of those who speak at these meetings to condense the recital of their experiences into as few words as possible, but with some there still remains a tendency toward a prolixity which adds neither to the success of the meetings nor to the edification of those who attend them. The Wednesday evening meetings are not intended primarily for the edification of Christian Scientists, but mainly for the information they may afford those who have come there to learn the truth about the immediate availability of Christian Science as a means of healing sickness, destroying sin, and uplifting the thoughts and motives of men.

It should be borne in mind by those who speak at these meetings that persons who attend a Christian Science service for the first time are not familiar with the technical habits of speech into which so many Christian Scientists unfortunately have drifted, and that these enquirers cannot be expected to understand the rather blind and mystifying way in which such words as "belief," "claim," "error," etc., etc., are so frequently used; also that a lengthy recital of details invariably becomes wearisome to the listeners, and in the majority of cases thus described the point which was intended to be emphasized is entirely obscured by trivial circumstances and conversations which are not essential to the narrative and can have no better effect than to set the stranger to wondering what it is all about. The total time available for testimonies at a Wednesday evening meeting is never more than thirty-five to forty minutes, and to use this short time to the best advantage should be the aim of every one who feels impelled to speak.

Vital questions are pressing themselves upon the attention of the enquirer who has come to this meeting in search of the help which he has failed to find in other systems, and these questions invariably are, Can I be healed of the sickness from which I am suffering? Can I be relieved from the bondage of sinful habits and desires? Can I obtain surcease from sorrow and affliction? It is to the affirmative answer of these questions that the person who speaks at one of these meetings should address himself, and it is only through a simple and concise narration of personal experience that this can be successfully done.

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March 7, 1908

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