When Mrs. Eddy declared that "growth is the eternal mandate of Mind" (Science and Health, p. 520), she but rephrased a frequent New Testament expression of the need and normality of spiritual increase. We are all subject to the temptation to rest content with an unprogressive spiritual life, and we do well to recognize that, in the whole realm of mortal sense, the moment growth ceases that moment decay begins, and that unless we are spiritually alive we are subject to the domination of this material law. We also need to recognize that growth means the thoughtful control of means, the utilization of circumstance. Increase of wisdom and strength is not a matter to be left to take care of itself in the problem of human redemption, and forgetfulness of this fact is the sufficient explanation of much weakness and decrepitude.

Every thoughtful observer of the living things about him has been impressed with the number of factors and conditions which enter into their nourishment, and with the sweep of the history of their provision. For the plant there must be a prepared soil with its multiplied ingredients, together with air, water, sunshine, a favorable location and temperature. There could have been no soil without the wearing away and decomposition of the rocks, and this again makes requisition for those vast time-consuming changes which crowd the annals of the planet's past. So, too, the moisture and warmth without which the plant would speedily perish, links it to daily events as tremendous as the turbulence of the earth's atmosphere and as distant as the conflagration of the sun. When one thus notes that the growth of things in the realm of human sense is a matter with which the entire solar system seems to have to do, he can but be impressed, and especially when he reads St. Peter's description of spiritual growth as involving a correspondingly large number of factors. He says: "Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Here, however, it is to be noted that in contrast with all other creatures, we are called to determine the bulk of the contributions and conditions which enter into our spiritual progress. The heroisms of faith, the inspirations and instructions of the sages and prophets, especially the words and works of Christ Jesus,—all these will bring us quickening and strength, if through daily study and meditation we assimilate their virtue. So also are we largely responsible for our helpful or unhelpful surroundings and associations; even while the upbuilding life Principle, the vital element of every Christian character, stands at the door and knocks, His incoming awaits our "Welcome!"

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December 16, 1911

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