Although reared in a strictly religious way, I early began...

Although reared in a strictly religious way, I early began to do my own thinking, and I soon saw that religion, as I knew it, was sadly out of touch with humanity's needs and distresses. It was clearly impossible for me to continue to pray to God for blessings when I saw that, if He were omnipotent, He must be responsible for good and evil, and thus omnipotence was destroyed. This led me to become an agnostic. I sought happiness in material things, and cherished the hope that some day a great chemist or scientist would eventually fathom nature's secrets and tell us how and why we were created, giving a rational and logical explanation of first cause. Just to live on, working hard for subsistence, suffering sickness, sorrow, and despair, and having no certainty in life or death, brought a great discontent and rebellion that such things should be.

My lot was cast to live inland on this great continent, raising stock and tilling the soil. The struggle for existence was keen, and the powers of nature seemed hard and cruel, snatching success from my grasp when it appeared just at hand. The desire to get on in the world was so great that big risks were continually taken, and the time came when a greater one than usual seemed to be the end; and the loss of the means so laboriously accumulated over many years appeared impossible to avoid. Just at this stage a Christian Scientist crossed my troubled path, and I was led to ask him what this new religion was. I had just vaguely heard that such a religion existed, and that it claimed to heal the sick. The statements he made were so wonderful, as he recounted the story of healing and regeneration in his family, and his earnestness was so impressive, that I decided to buy a copy of Science and Health. I began to read it more from curiosity than with any thought of deriving healing from its pages. The idea of a book healing disease seemed preposterous. I had read scores of books by the world's greatest minds, and all I had gained was doubt and despair.

I had chronic stomach trouble, and had suffered for years from as skin disease which appeared whenever I was overworked or worried. This disease was carefully studied and worked on by a clever medical friend, who took a special interest in the case, but he could not clear the disease out or give me any satisfactory explanation of the reason for its appearing. The best he could do was to say that I would always have it, and he gave me two powerful drugs to allay the suffering when it appeared. Besides these ills I had several minor complaints, necessitating constant drugging. Financially I was in deep water, and appearances were very much against my success.

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Arising at Dawn
June 27, 1914

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