When Jesus said, in his sermon on the mount, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect," he placed a high standard before his followers, a standard seemingly impossible of attainment, from the human view-point, and yet one entirely in keeping with the Master's teaching and with his own demonstration of spiritual understanding and power. Again, in the same sermon, he rebuked the sense of anxious thought for that which is merely temporal, and bade his followers seek first "the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;" indeed, throughout his ministry we find him enforcing and pressing home the teaching that no lesser endeavor than the attainment of that perfectness which is of the Father is permitted to pass as the ideal of Christianity.

There is no hint, in this demand for perfection, that any concession will be made, any excuse accepted. Whatever the obstacle that seeks to interpose itself, to hinder or prevent the desired accomplishment, it must be overcome. When, after that indubitable proof on the mount of transfiguration of the divinity of him whom they knew as the great Teacher, the Master, Jesus the Christ, the disciples failed to accomplish the healing of the epileptic boy, doubtless some of them excused their failure with the thought that anyway they had done the best they could with the case. It will be observed, however, that their work received no commendation from the Master; there was only the implied rebuke that were their faith even "as a grain of mustard seed" nothing would be impossible to them. It will also be noted that Jesus showed them that this so-called best could be improved upon, and demonstrated the truth of his declaration by his own healing of the boy.

That which has ever wrought for lofty accomplishment has been the holding fast to a high ideal. The great sculptor spoke truly when he said to the friend who could see "only trifles" in the touches of the chisel which brought out new beauties in what already seemed a masterpiece, "Recollect that trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle." So, too, in Christian Science the perfect ideal of full obedience to the Master's command—the healing of the sick as well as the sinning—has been set before us; the commonplace plea, "I did the best I could," has been lifted to a higher plane of endeavor, and is no longer accepted as a just excuse for mediocrity or indolence in the accomplishment of the task to which we have set our hand. Mrs. Eddy sounded the key-note of this daily striving for perfection when she encouraged Christian Scientists to "work—work—work—watch and pray" (Messages to The Mother Church, p. 20), and it is only through unceasing prayer and persistent right thinking and doing that any one will be able to justify even his own conscience to believe that he has done the best he could.

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December 9, 1911

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