Progress and Experience

ON page 296 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mrs. Eddy writes, "Progress is born of experience." Salvation is not a gift which may be had for the asking. It involves one's past as well as the future, and in working out his salvation the pilgrim on earth must profit from his past experience. He must learn to know man as God's own child, and to examine his every act, his every thought, in the light of eternal Truth. To mortal consciousness, steeped in the materialism of its selfish idols, the command, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me [God, good]," comes as a shock, and involves in many an instance pain and discomfort, doubt and despair; but Love tenderly and patiently guides the right desire, and through the valley of humility and self-abnegation the feeble steps are led onward and upward into the height where the morning stars sing together and the omnipotence of our God is manifested in strength, beauty, and holiness.

The chastening of Love calls for the surrender of all material beliefs, and the Christian Scientist, as he proceeds in the study and practice of the Science of being, has much to learn. The poet tells us that heaven cannot be reached at a single bound; here is a thought to be considered. When David slew the Philistine, it was not with the first shot which had ever left his sling. He had served an apprenticeship in the mountain while tending his father's sheep. Can we not see the shepherd boy, gaining confidence as he warded off the enemies of the flock, until because of his faith in God he was able with the aid of a small sling to slay the lion and the bear? This was a revelation to the boy dwelling far away from the battles of men. It was a proof to him of God's omnipotence, a demonstration of the power of right over wrong, and a reward for the faithfulness with which David had prepared himself against the evil day. Greater work and larger usefulness lay before him when he was sent down to the army of Israel, which trembled and was sore afraid at the challenge of error in the form of Goliath. Even then the jealousy and contempt of mortal error were made manifest toward David, when he appeared to his brethren. At that moment the wrath of his eldest brother was kindled against this messenger of God; but surmounting all these obstacles David went forth unafraid, knowing that God was with him, and as he said in his own words to Goliath, "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts."

Willingness to Accept the Truth
July 3, 1920

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