There are many who recognize the beauty of the Christian life and would enter upon it, who do not count the cost nor see the necessity for absolute faithfulness at every step of the way until the goal is reached. Christ Jesus told his would-be followers of the steps which had to be taken, saying, "Which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it." To this he added, "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." Again he said, "He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Mrs. Eddy tells us that all who are healed in Christian Science find it "sweet at its first taste," but she goes on to say that when the "digestion" of the truth comes it may be similar to the experience of the Israelites who partook of the "bitter herbs" with their passover. (See Science and Health, p. 559.) It is very evident that the great Teacher did not warn people with any intention of hindering them from starting on the journey from sense to Soul, but instead to prepare them so that each seeming barrier in the way would but call forth new energies wherewith to surmount it.

In his epistle to the Philippians Paul hints at some of the trials which beset him on his way to the goal, but he triumphantly assures us that he counts the loss of all earthly things as less than nothing compared with "the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus;" and he goes on, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." This epistle was written when Paul was a prisoner in Rome, awaiting trial under Nero. He was chained to a soldier (usually a member of the imperial guard), and these men had to listen to his teaching, probably witness his healing work. History makes it very clear that they carried back to the palace the message of the life-giving truth, and that some of the inmates came to Paul's "hired house" to hear it for themselves, for at the close of the epistle we read the astonishing statement that the "saints ... of Cæsar's household" sent greetings to the Christians at Philippi. It is noteworthy that joy was ever with him while he was pressing on toward the mark, and that he never paused to measure his pains, but only his progress, for he meekly tells us that he had not yet attained to the final victory.

It is surely clear that all must be tested at each stage of their progress by the demands of divine Principle, and that each test will require more of the student than has the preceding one, but this should occasion no more fear than it would on the part of a scholar who is gaining in understanding as he advances. He who faints or falters has not his gaze fixed on the goal, for that must be nearer each day to the one who is truly following Christ. The burdens of sense must also be lighter each day if we are forsaking the material for the spiritual, and the strength be infinitely greater. Paul said that he could do all things "through Christ which strengtheneth."

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March 5, 1910

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