Competition

THE first approach to any subject is not always easy. The obstacles encountered by the young student of Christian Science are, of course, as varied in kind as they are in seriousness. Some more fortunate beginners indeed see no difficulties at all but rather feel that they have found an answer to all their lifelong problems at once. Others again, while easily accepting the doctrine of Christian Science as the truth, are reluctant to make the sacrifice of some affection which they imagine the new teaching demands of them. Lovers of nature in particular may be heard to lament that they may no longer love the trees and flowers and other beauties of nature, because these are mere counterfeits. But that is a great mistake. Christian Science never takes away anything without putting something better in its place. And if one has prized the trees while having had a material sense of them, a more spiritual sense will only intensify the true value to him. The beauty of all reality will be as apparent as ever, but, as there dawns on one's thought a clearer sense of what the spiritual reality is, the truth will continually gain in significance.

Any lover of nature and its beauties cannot avoid being brought face to face with its ugly side also. The incessant strife, the struggle for existence, the survival of the fittest, are always asserting themselves, though a healthy seeker may turn away to consider happier things. This thought of competition enters equally into human life and is with us from early school days, but Christian Science beautifully transforms it. The one examined, instead of thinking of himself as struggling against his friends and classmates in competition for a place or prize, finds that they are all striving together, each to reflect as much as possible of the divine intelligence. And if each could realize this, each would win a prize in comparison with which the material prize, whatever it is, is in itself a mere toy, for the fruit of each one's efforts would be a gain in understanding and that is a nearer approach to God. Paul gave the injunction, "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain." This was addressed to all; it implies that all should obtain the spiritual prize, which is Christ. Christina Rossetti in those well-known quaint lines, "And does the road run uphill all the way? Yes, to the very end," gives comforting assurance that at the top it will be found that there are "beds for all"—for all. that is. who persevere in the climb.

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