Reading and Studying

Those who know much of Christian Science are commonly those who want to know more. Those who have most thoroughly demonstrated its truths are those who are striving most earnestly to do still better work; but before we can demonstrate we must understand, and prerequisite to understanding in Christian Science is study. The study which leads to progress in Christian Science does not demand a high degree of intellectual proficiency or supernormal mental development. It is not necessary that we be intellectual giants like Macaulay, who could recite long poems word by word after a single reading, and who knew "Paradise Lost" and "Pilgrim's Progress" by heart.

Many of us approach Christian Science without having a mind trained to studious application. We may not have the advantages of a thorough education, or we may have neglected our early opportunities to learn how to think, which is the chief end of education. Our reading, perhaps, was made up of such spicy diet as the daily newspaper, the popular magazine, and the passing novel, which like the tippler's cocktail, stimulates but does not satisfy. So when we discover that continuous progress in Christian Science implies thoughtful study, we naturally deplore our lack of ability to read studiously, and, as it were, to travel mentally on unfamiliar roads. We find it difficult to make the mileage we should on the highway of understanding, and unless we firmly reject the silent proposals of error, may go back to our intellectual dram drinking, shelve our textbook for the printed stuff we formerly relished, and turn to Christian Science only when error pinches hard enough to make us uncomfortable. Or if not quite willing to put away the book whose pages have done so much for us, we may resolve to read dutifully a certain number of lines or paragraphs each day that we may sometime say, "There, I have read it through from cover to cover." But between perfunctory reading and studious reading there is a world of difference in results. The former may still a shallow sense of duty; the latter alone makes for spiritual growth.

The Higher Patriotism
May 25, 1918

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