Independent Work

Paul's admonition, "Work out your own salvation," is the motto by which earnest seekers after Truth find themselves ascending the ladder of spiritual progress. But does this mean that one must grapple alone with each problem, never calling for a helping hand from those who have climbed higher? We know that this is not so, for there are hundreds of Christian Scientists who are devoting their lives to the healing of the sick, the sinning, and the sorrowful, all lending a helping hand to those who have not climbed so high on the ladder of understanding. Then, if we are privileged to seek help, how are we to know when is the time to ask?

The relation of a beginner in Christian Science to a practitioner is in some instances like that of the child to its mother. In its early days the child instinctively depends upon that mother for safe-keeping, but a wise mother wishes her child to become strong and self-dependent, so she early encourages its attempts at self-service and self-entertainment. She watches over her child's development patiently, assisting at first, later encouraging only. Her work is inspired with love, and is first that of example only, and later of instruction. Like the mother, the mature students of Christian Science must patiently await the awakening understanding of those who are children in Christian Science, before urging upon them the "letter of instruction." Then, like all other children, if truly interested or ready, these beginners will be eager to know the "whys" and "hows" by which those more advanced have accomplished their work, and will listen with that concentration which grasps and makes knowledge its own. Having once made the fundamental teachings of Christian Science their own, these students will begin to work out demonstrations for themselves and will climb upward along the line of spiritual progress.

Then comes the question in how far the ascent should be made alone and in how far it is wise to seek or give help. Where a problem is faced and met fearlessly, with constant watchfulness, prayer, and work, even if the student feels that his understanding is slight, he will usually find it adequate for his need; for as we work on in Christian Science, we learn that we are not required to meet that for which we have not sufficient strength. And then, each problem met is a step forward, from which the watchful worker will not slip back. But there may be times when the problem seems too great to be solved alone, the step too great to be taken without assistance; then hesitation breeds fear, and faith and understanding seem inadequate. It is then that the beginner should call for help and help should be given. A false sense of pride and ambition, or a sense of shame that one has stumbled where another has climbed successfully, should never keep one from asking for help when it is needed. If help is sought when the fear first becomes aggressive, a renewed courage is given by the assistance, and the experience resolves itself into a desire for greater reliance upon Principle at every step of the way.

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June 13, 1914

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