There is, probably, no word about which more nonsense is talked, unless it be love, than the word sacrifice. The truth is that the more the individual understands of Principle, the less he is likely to talk about his sacrifices, for the simple reason that he realizes that these sacrifices are getting him into the kingdom of heaven. Reality, it is quite obvious, cannot be sacrificed. No matter where a man may build his house, whether in the serenity of heaven or the storm-filled abysses of hell, God, Principle, is there. But there, too, so long as he permits his human consciousness to be laden with material hopes and fears, passions and ideals, will he find the prince of this world. "Paul and John," Mrs. Eddy writes, on page 459 of Science and Health, "had a clear apprehension that, as mortal man achieves no worldly honors except by sacrifice, so he must gain heavenly riches by forsaking all worldliness. Then he will have nothing in common with the worldling's affections, motives, and aims. Judge not the future advancement of Christian Science by the steps already taken, lest you yourself be condemned for failing to take the first step."

At the same time, it is tolerably certain that Paul and John, one of whom sacrificed life, and the other liberty, because they would not be disobedient to Principle, did not go about parading the sacrifices they had made, or even thinking very much about them. That is the privilege reserved for the trafficker in the microscopic. "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ," Paul wrote to the Philippians. It is this confusion of substance with materiality which is exposed through and through the New Testament. Christ Jesus was never tired of dwelling upon it. It was that against which he warned the rich young man, and it was against that that he aimed his parable of the landowner who sought security in building larger barns. Did the rich young man take the advice offered to him by Jesus? The story does not tell; it merely says that "he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions." What Christ Jesus thought about those possessions, his very next words showed: "Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Thus he did not exactly say that the possession of riches was incompatible with an understanding of Principle, for the needle's eye is, of course, only the wicket of the great in the wall. But he certainly did mean that a belief in matter as substance made, in its degree, an understanding of Principle an impossibility.

For the moment the disciples were swept off their feet by the terrific implication of the saying. Could no one, they asked, be saved? or, as they put it, "Who then can be saved?" Every one, Jesus answered, in effect, every one, through an understanding of Principle. "With men," as he explained himself, "this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." Then was it that Peter, always putting into words the unspoken thoughts of those about him, did hazard a reference to the sacrifices he and his fellow disciples conceived themselves to have made. "Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?" The answer was as metaphysical as perhaps it was unexpected. "Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." The disciples' reward was clearly to be in the measure of their individual demonstration. The tribes of Israel, the blessings of Jacob had made clear, were typical conditions of thought. Judgment itself was the ability metaphysically to separate truth from error. The reward of the disciples, then, was the power, born of the very sacrifice the world is so apt to deprecate, to judge between good and evil, between the real and the unreal.

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"The desert a resting-place"
November 19, 1921

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