Faith and Works

No highway into the heart of the Andes is more noteworthy than that which leads up the valley of the Rimac. The walls between which the river lashes its way are often well-nigh perpendicular, always precipitous, and yet here, there, and everywhere, upon even the steeper inclines, one finds unnumbered stone-faced terraces, where the teeming Inca people raised their sufficient food. Each peon evidently had his patch, and in this rainless region every little plant from the base to the summit of these tremendous acclivities must have been nourished by water carried day after day from the stream far down below. The seeds were dropped in every least plat of soil, and until the harvest time they were watched and watered unfailingly. And this is the lesson of faith and works which these so-called pagans, who later became the victims of the avarice and cruelty of so-called Christians, have traced upon these Andean slopes for our inspiration.

The management of the mental conditions with which Christian Scientists today have to do call for no less trustfulness and patient labor than did the physical difficulties confronting these simple Indians. True, the adamant of material belief is being disintegrated by many forces, and the débris is abundant at the base of every cliff of dogma; but the bulk of this human sense which has thus broken away from creeds and traditions supplies a relatively scant soil of spiritual responsiveness, and its cultivation demands the same patient continuance of effort which won a rich and richly merited return for these denizens of the Rimac. Happily their valley cradles a continuous summer, and what with the unfailing flow from far-away snowfields, nature brought them a compensation for every disability. The sufficient ground of their industry and assurance was their faith in these heavensent gifts. When this is true of us, when, "having done all," we are relying unhesitatingly upon the divine presence and power, we too shall reap, "if we faint not." As Christian Scientists, we have come to know with St. Paul that, despite our human inadequacy, God "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us."

The seed of Truth planted in the little experiences and contacts of every-day life, and nourished by that ministry of love which is always knowing and expecting the good,—this constitutes the true harvest asset. From the possibilities of doing what would be called great and impressive deeds, we may be quite separated by the simplicity and retirement of our service. Nevertheless, the fruitage of a life devoted to the expression toward all of courtesy, compassion, unselfishness, and loving good will is measured by the phrase, "an hundredfold," and its influence grows to be as broad as it is beneficent among men.

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"Durable riches"
February 21, 1914

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