To every one working out the problem of life there come periods when the demand for progress is so insistent that the human sense shrinks from the task presented. There may even seem to be a loss of the assurance, confidence, and clear perception which had previously been experienced, accompanied by a sense of doubt, fear, and hesitation, lest there may have been some mistake in the course taken; and if one were to heed the arguments of personal sense at such times, he would undoubtedly experience a sense of discouragement. In such an event it is well to ponder these words of our Leader: "Beholding the infinite tasks of truth, we pause,—wait on God. Then we push onward, until boundless thought walks enraptured, and conception unconfined is winged to reach the divine glory" (Science and Health, p. 323). We thus find that so long as we are honest and sincere in our effort to attain righteousness nothing can hinder our advancement. Mrs. Eddy also says: "If honest, he [the disciple] will be in earnest from the start, and gain a little each day in the right direction" (p. 21). Having the requisite honesty and sincerity, we may press forward with hope and assurance, for if our progress is attained through understanding, it is impossible to retrograde.

It is well to know, also, that the condition of our feelings is no criterion by which to measure our growth. How much do I feel? is not of so much importance as, How much do I know? Our feelings may vary at every turn of thought, but our knowledge is constant. When a new rule of mathematics has been learned, the student feels elated, whereas he may feel puzzled and confused when a higher rule engages his attention; but this does not affect his understanding of the first rule, nor is it an indication that he has less understanding of mathematics than when he felt clear. Rather is it a sign of intellectual development, a call and hence an ability to grapple with more difficult problems, although his feeling would testify to the reverse. There may even be things to unlearn, and then our thought is still more perturbed. The unlearning of a misapprehension of things, in order to learn them correctly, is no pleasant task although a very wholesome one.

An experience the writer had when a boy may be useful by way of illustration. He started to climb to the top of a high hill, thinking it was a continuous ascent. He found, instead, that the seemingly unbroken incline was really a series of small hills and valleys; the top of one eminence was reached only to descend into a depression before beginning the ascent of the next higher peak. It seemed discouraging, after having climbed a steep elevation, to descend again into a hollow; still he made steady progress, for if he was not climbing up he was moving forward; each depression was never so low as the one before, and each peak was higher than the last, until the highest point was attained. So there was a continual ascending and advancement after all. To attain the accomplishment of our highest purposes we must all be willing to climb the hill of persistent endeavor. In doing so we may reach points of seemingly clearer vision and brighter views, but we must then patiently put ourselves to the test and prove whether or not we have gained the understanding thereof. The peak of perception may be inspiring, but the plain of demonstration is more satisfying and salutary.

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July 27, 1912

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