Things that Remain

The more one thinks upon St. Paul's statement that "the things which are seen are temporal," the more he is impressed with the truth and fitness of this terse characterization of the objective world of mortal experience. From youth to age this life may be said to be a passing temporality. It is made up for the most part of awakenings to false estimates of value, of escapes from the enslavement of some distorted sense.

The little child finds entire self-forgetfulness in his play with a marble, and utter heartbreak, perchance, when it drops beyond his reach into some convenient hole. His judgment is all awry, unbalanced. In a kindred way, youth attaches great importance to affairs which not long hence will be seen to be amusingly trivial. Later the young man enters upon business or professional life with the conviction that now he has to do with serious matters, and relatively speaking he has. Nevertheless, as he grows more thoughtful, or is instructed in Christian Science, he gains a higher sense of spiritual selfhood and responsibility and vaster issues make appeal to his thought, for he has begun to see that all concepts, relations, and experiences of mortal belief are unstable; they are the play-acts of mental immaturity, of which the Preacher has said long since, "Vanity of vanities; all is vanity."

The path of history is strewn with dust-heaps which are all that remain to tell of what were thought of in their day as wonders of achievement. Cities and palaces, kingdoms and thrones, the greatest monuments men have built,—all have lapsed into nothingness! What was erected to an eternal permanency has vanished as a shadow, so that men have to dig through depths of débris to find the tracings of what was designed to be imperishable. Even the so-called physical elements are now known to be but the momentary phenomena of forces which are themselves a part of some vast unknown cycle of change.

Among the Churches
March 14, 1914

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