Unceasing Progress

All civilized peoples as well as individuals undoubtedly desire progress, but few are willing to pay the price it demands in the way of tireless effort and unshrinking self-sacrifice. This does not mean, however, that progress involves suffering; indeed without progress there must be suffering, for men and nations alike, for the reason that "progress is the law of God," as we are told on page 233 of Science and Health. The command given to the Hebrews at the Red Sea is no less applicable to us today than it was then: "Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward." Oftentimes there is a sense of waiting for God to work out our problems for us, when the requirement of Love and wisdom is that we remove from our own consciousness the hindrances to progress and go forward, even if to human sense this may call for a tremendous effort.

In Paul's letter to the Philippians, written during his first imprisonment in Rome, he says, "I press toward the mark," and in the same epistle he goes on, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Not a few things, be it observed, but "all things," and this should be remembered if we are ever tempted to excuse ourselves for slow progress on the ground that circumstances are against us. Paul planted the standard of Truth in Philippi when he was in a dungeon, his body lacerated by cruel stripes, but never once do we find a pitiful complaint from him because of many experiences of this sort. On the contrary, he tells us that if he must glory it will be because he was able to pass through such experiences unscathed, his ardor for the cause of Truth undimmed, and his purpose to serve God and humanity whetted rather than dulled by the efforts required.

In no other respect perhaps is watchfulness more needed than in the effort to progress steadily. Intermittent activity will do very little toward enabling us to reach the goal. While it may be true that we take only one step at a time, there should be delay in taking the next, especially if the delay is due to a backward look at the things which should be left behind. Concerning this we have an impressive warning from our Leader on page 339 of "Miscellaneous Writings," where she says, "One backward step, one relinquishment of right in an evil hour, one faithless tarrying, has torn the laurel from many a brow and repose from many a heart."

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A Saner Sense
January 22, 1916

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