An enemy is never conquered by running away from him, for we thus acknowledge him to be the stronger. When next we met, it would be with greater fear and trembling; and thus fear would grow, in increasing ratio, until in the consciousness of our God-derived strength we rose up and overthrew him. It is only our belief that evil is power which prompts us to flee from it. Fearful shrinking from our difficulties serves to increase them and to weaken our position, while a determined stand in the face of opposition will often vanquish the foe and redeem the situation.

Mrs. Eddy writes: "Evil is not something to fear or flee before, or that becomes more real when it is grappled with" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 284); "It is neither person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief, an illusion of material sense" (Science and Health, p. 71). Since evil is not a real something, and has no existence or action separate from human belief, there can be nothing in it to fear except the mistake of believing in it. Strong men are sometimes terrified by mere shadows, but when the unsubstantial nature of these shadows becomes apparent, then their terror disappears. Even the most timid are not afraid of a shadow if they recognize it for what it is; but if unaware of its nothingness, they may run away from it. One who tries to grasp a shadow, thinking it is something, sharply realizes its utter blankness, its absolute lack of being anything; but often we fail to recognize that the evil confronting us is as unsubstantial as a shadow, because we lack the courage to grapple with it.

Our trouble, to a large extent, comes from the fact that we face our difficulties as stubborn realities; we accept them for what they seem, not for what they are. We think it is a personality that persecutes us, a material disease that afflicts us, the lack of money that impoverishes us, etc. Is not the root, or fundamental evil, underlying all human discord, the supposition that there is something real besides God? Then, if we believe that God is All, infinite, we should know that such a supposition is false, in whatever shape it may appear. That which opposes our progress or our welfare is not a thing nor a person, but a belief in the reality of evil, an erroneous sense of being as separate from God, and of itself it is nothing, no one. This view does not imply that we have no work to do in removing our difficulties, but that this work is to dispel an illusive belief and not to destroy a reality; to overcome a sense of evil and not an evil person. Facing our problems thus, we shall not be so easily discouraged or discomfited, for though complete success may seem distant, we know that we are steadily winning our case in the degree that we are gaining in the understanding of Truth.

September 19, 1908

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