Testing Times

We are all familiar with the phrase "trying times," but very few pause to consider that this means in the strictest sense testing times. It is also too seldom remembered that all who would graduate with honor from earth's school of experience must be well prepared for the highest tests of their faith and understanding. We may be sure that none can evade these trials, and that none can pass muster until the human problem has been marked perfect. In the third chapter of Revelation we find everything to inspire and strengthen the one who has entered the glorious contest, the purpose of which is to prove against all opposing evidence the supremacy of good as revealed in Christian Science. Can we ask more than is here offered: "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." This testing time must undoubtedly come upon men and nations alike, and it implies the purpose of divine Love to fit all mankind for citizenship in God's kingdom on earth.

On page 251 of "Miscellany" Mrs. Eddy says, "What God gives, elucidates, armors, and tests in His service, is ours; and we are His." Then she adds (p. 252): "Have one God and you will have no devil. Keep yourselves busy with divine Love." The assurance that "we are His" calls for unceasing obedience to this requirement, and we must not forget that not only ourselves but the things around us are being tested, and unerring wisdom will tell us whether we are to continue with patience and thankfulness in our present earthly surroundings, or obey the command, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate." This bidding may mean that we are to give up the delusive and blinding pleasures of sense and its equally unreal pains, but in any case the readiness of our obedience will be tested by its results. Well may we in times of trial—at all times, indeed—heed the angelic warning: "Be watchful, ... for I have not found thy works perfect before God," and nothing less than perfection will pass the bar of Truth.

Whatever be the requirement of the hour, it is vain to plead the right or wrong influence of another, for the test is individual, and this gives high dignity to the one who truly meets his test. Nothing apart from one's own unfaithfulness can in the final sense mar his problem. The one who was given two talents was not blamed at the final test because he did not bring back ten. No, he received the same commendation as the one who had doubled the five talents given him. Having proved what it means to master self through "endless toil and endeavor," the faithful servants were each ready to be made "ruler over many things;" and even more than this, each received the gracious invitation, "Enter thou into the joy of thy lord."

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Among the Churches
June 24, 1916

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