THE directions contained in the Manual of The Mother Church are for protection and upbuilding of the cause of Christian Science, and for the guidance and assistance of each individual Scientist as well. We find this to be true as we are obedient and recognize that these "Rules and By-laws in the Manual . . . were impelled by a power not one's own, . . . They sprang from necessity, the logic of events,—from the immediate demand for them as a help that must be supplied" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 148). Again, on page 156, Mrs. Eddy tells us that "experience and, above all, obedience, are the aids and tests of growth and understanding."

One of the rules which has been of very great benefit to the writer, in individual as well as church work, is that relating to "Prayer in Church," Article VIII, Section 5, of the Manual, which reads, "The prayers in Christian Science churches shall be offered for the congregations collectively and exclusively." Before learning of Christian Science and striving to live in accordance with its teachings, this had not been the rule and practise of many people. The man worried with his business has often taken those cares to church with him, and has thought best to pray over them there; but upon leaving the church it is often found that the burden is at least as heavy as before. He has perhaps been told in the sermon or prayer that God, in His inscrutable wisdom, sends our troubles upon us; and this surely has not tended to make them any the less real to him. In the case of the mother who has gone to the service much depressed because of the illness of her child, she, too, would return home uncheered, if to her was given only the cold comfort that God will raise up those who are sick—if such be His will.

This questioning qualification regarding the will of our heavenly Father does not bring to any one that sense of Love which casteth out fear, but rather intensifies that fear. We who know of Christian Science have not as yet outgrown our business cares entirely. We may have attacks of sickness and periods of discouragement to meet; and ofttimes these may be uppermost in sense when we go to our church service. Then comes the test of our sincerity and obedience, since we are told that our "prayers . . . shall be offered for the congregation collectively and exclusively." And what will be the resultant effect on all concerned if we are obedient to this injunction? Will our business be harmed at all by having our thoughts turned from it for a season? Will not the little child be relieved to have the mother's anxious thought removed? Many a faithful Christian Science practitioner who has gone to the church service with perhaps an unconscious sense of responsibility over a seemingly serious case, by obediently offering prayer for the congregation, has thus transferred the responsibility to God, and been enabled thereby to see Him and His harmonious creation so clearly that the patient was healed.

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September 28, 1912

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