Looking at the immense distance between present attainment and the perfect ideal, there may come to the student at times a feeling akin to dismay at the relatively insignificant portion of that distance which he has covered; or he may go to the extreme of regarding his problem too indulgently, excusing himself with the thought that he has all eternity in which to do his work. Mrs. Eddy has well said of the "neophyte in Christian Science," that he is inclined to be "too fast or too slow" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 78); hence one's aim should be to find that happy medium wherein he can work undisturbed by the fear of delay, and untempted to slight his work in the desire for haste. Absolute thoroughness is demanded of the Christian Scientist, else his work will not stand. It is a most commendable desire to "gain good rapidly," but if one feels that he is unable to hold his ground, it may lead to a more enduring progress to "attain slowly and yield not to discouragement" (Science and Health, p. 254).

If the student is always faithful to what he has, his progress will be as rapid as his knowledge of Truth permits. It is the unfaithful disciple who should be alarmed because of mental stagnation, which is ever a breeding-ground for trouble. To be discouraged over apparently slow growth is better than to be indifferent as to whether one is progressing at all. The supposition that mortals have all eternity in which to work out their salvation tends to induce a sense of self-satisfaction with present experience and achievement rather than to stimulate the effort to reach a higher consciousness. If it is true that mortal man has eternity in which to correct his wrong thinking, it would also be true that erroneous thought might, in some degree, sway mankind forever. But the very falsity of error ensures its total self-extinction, and to postpone unnecessarily the corrective process on our part, for the sake of prolonging the belief of material ease or pleasure, will only add to the pain of our awakening.

It is not wise to be continually measuring progress, but there should be sufficient concern over this question to see that the demands of Truth are fulfilled according to each day's requirements. It is the duty of all Christian Scientists to grow and bear fruit according to their opportunities. There is no encouragement in our Leader's writings for the student who does less than his best at all times. When it is remembered that freedom from error must come through one's own and not through another's knowledge of the truth, and that the demand of divine Principle for perfection is no respecter of persons, it will be seen that for the Christian Scientist there are no legitimate occasions for idleness. Every moment of the day demands that the Father's business be attended to in keeping thought perpetually true to God and man, and every desire centered in holiness. It may be that not many have reached that point, but it is humanly possible, and until thought is wholly given to the demonstration of Christian Science the student's progress will not keep pace with his opportunity.

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October 30, 1909

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