In "Miscellaneous Writings" by Mrs. Eddy, there is a striking paragraph abounding with figurative meaning. It reads: "God is a consuming fire. He separates the dross from the gold, purifies the human character, through the furnace of affliction" (p. 151). It would be difficult indeed to find a more apt material symbol of a spiritual fact than this, for it indicates clearly the order of Truth's activity in the refinement of human character. In assaying metal with the view of ascertaining if its purity is up to the standard required for hall-marking, a certain amount of it is wrapped in a piece of sheet lead, then placed in a small porous crucible called a cupel, and exposed to a bright red heat. The metals melt; but while the pure silver and gold combine, the lead and other inferior metals become oxidized and the oxides are absorbed by the cupel, leaving a small button of pure gold and silver.

Until purified by the furnace, the dross masquerades as part of the pure metal, the evil and the good are apparently mingled and form a whole; but the assayer knows that the only thing which possesses any real worth is the gold, and his fire unerringly and completely separates it from the dross, which shrinks and hides itself, and finally disappears into and forms part of its kindred element, worthless and useless matter. Worthless and useless indeed; for it is a significant fact in physical science that it could not, even were it desired, be recovered from the vessel of bone ash into which it has disappeared. The tenacity of error finds its parallel in the result of the refiner's fire, for the cupel is coated with a layer of shining metal, a pretense of silver, reminding us of the wise man's saying, that "burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross."

March 1, 1913

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.