True Patience

In God's kingdom not one of His ideas is superfluous. Christians are bidden to speak the gospel to every creature, to bring the divine saving grace to each member of the creation. When, therefore, we read on page 515 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy that "patience is symbolized by the tireless worm, creeping over lofty summits, persevering in its intent," we may justly conclude that even the lowly worm is being evangelized by this statement. The quality of patience is indispensable in the taking of human footsteps for the heavenly ascent, so much so that James could write: "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

And why should not patience mark the milestones of human progress, when divine reality is already "perfect and entire, wanting nothing"? Impatience proceeds from distrust of God, and marches side by side with ignorance, doubts, and questionings. The joyous realization of God's work as finished and very good stills the promptings of impatience, resists the temptation to indulge in destructive criticism, and makes possible the brotherhood of man on earth. Nothing short of the spiritual conviction that God's creation is already complete can defeat the tendency innate in men and women to try to force their fellows into a narrow frame of their own outlining. Jesus displayed what seemed to be impatience with the scribes and Pharisees because they would not be evangelized, but rebuking error is not impatience. Jesus expressed the tenderest patience with the sick and sinning, the publicans and harlots, with the rich young man who was attracted to Spirit yet could not sell all that he had of material wealth and give to the poor, and even with Peter, who denied him thrice. This patience of Jesus with his disciples and others was healing in its effect upon them; it blessed them in their struggles against the insensate rage of the carnal mind. Perhaps no patience equal to this has ever since been manifested except in the case of Mrs. Eddy with wayward students who, trying to watch with her in her garden of Gethsemane, fell asleep or were even induced by animal magnetism to join the multitude with swords and staves and give her the token of the false kiss. Yet the fact remains eternally fixed that the real creation is loyal to the core, steadfast, and tender. True patience is the natural outcome of loving intelligence. Socrates was patient with his Xantippe because of his clarified vision. The Christian Scientist of to-day is patient with all mankind in proportion as he knows the truth about God and man.

The question may then properly present itself to the self-righteous: How would they make over their fellow men whom they criticize if all power were momentarily delegated to them. Many of the Bible characters whose names are household words were by no means faultless, and their shortcomings as well as their good qualities are unhesitatingly laid bare in the good Book; yet in spite of their faults they were made to do God's will and glorify Truth. Paul went so far as to write to the Corinthians, "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence." Are we not satisfied that God used the Bible worthies just as He found them and that Mind purified their characters and outlined their experiences? Under the circumstances, and in view of the human proneness to pass unrighteous judgment, the advice to all scientific Christians contained in the epistle to the Hebrews is very timely: "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."

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January 18, 1919

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