"Why should the work cease?"

Many centuries ago a little company of workers decided to attempt something apparently so far beyond their power of accomplishment that they were the object of much derision among their neighbors. They were starting to rebuild the great wall of Jerusalem, which, because of neglect and selfish indifference, had broken down in so many places that the holy city itself was no longer safe from marauding attacks. The story as told in the book of Nehemiah is of peculiar interest to the student of Christian Science, because he, too, is building, in consciousness, his strong wall of defense, and he finds as he studies the narrative, and particularly the sixth chapter, that the methods employed by those who would hinder and obstruct the work are largely identical with those which the adversary to-day uses in attempting to stay the progress of any right endeavor.

Again and again were false arguments sent forth, all with the one intent, so to worry and harass the workers that the work should be hindered. Letters were written, messengers sent, the real motive underlying the undertaking intentionally misjudged, lies told about the one in charge of it, and even bodily injury threatened. Nothing daunted, however, "these feeble Jews"—as their enemies mockingly called them—worked steadily on under the wise guidance of the intrepid Nehemiah, who proved his wisdom in no way more plainly than in his absolute refusal to be drawn into an argument. So intensely was he imbued with the spirit of a mighty purpose that he could see in every form of the enemy's approach just one thing; and that one thing was an attempt to stop the work, which was precisely the one thing which Nehemiah had determined should not happen. Four times in desperation Sanballat and his fellow-conspirators urged Nehemiah to make a temporary truce, just long enough to come down to the plain of Ono and talk things over, as we would say in modern parlance; and four times Nehemiah stopped only long enough to send the following reply: "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?"

That simple, sane, unanswerable question should surely kindle a responsive chord in the heart of every one who loves the Cause of Christian Science; for we have to-day a work before us compared with which the building of the wall of Jerusalem was but child's play. Our work is the establishment of the kingdom of heaven on earth through the "signs following" which the Master promised. It is the most stupendously important work in all the world; and it is going steadily on, thanks to that great company who have themselves felt the transforming touch of Truth, and are consecrating their lives and their best efforts to bring the glad tidings to others. Yet does it not sometimes happen that an otherwise faithful worker is cleverly beguiled into listening to some modern Sanballat? He allows himself to become so stirred by what he hears that, before he realizes it, the tool with which he has been building slips idly through his fingers and he finds himself in the plain of Ono, arguing the case with great heat and vigor. He seems quite oblivious of the fact that in the meantime the work has ceased, at least so far as he is concerned—which is, of course, exactly what the adversary desires!

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The Song of Angels
May 15, 1926

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