The word "tert" is derived from the French alerte, originally a l'erte, "on the watch, ... (standing) on a height, where one can look around." It also connotes vigilance, wakefulness, and readiness to act instantly. Standing implies activity in maintaining balance, poise, and uprightness. To stand on a height where one may look around suggests altitude, elevation, a vantage point.

Such a view of the word recalls a picture of those faithful sentinels who, from commanding positions on the mountain tops or other elevated places, keep watchful eyes continually over vast stretches of billowing forest trees. It is their duty to detect the first tiny puffs of smoke which indicate the beginning of a forest fire, and to take immediate steps to quench it. Thus is saved annually much valuable timber and perhaps many human lives.

In the Manual of The Mother Church (p. 42), under the heading, "Alertness to Duty," Mrs. Eddy says, "It shall be the duty of every member of this Church to defend himself daily against aggressive mental suggestion, and not be made to forget nor to neglect his duty to God, to his Leader, and to mankind." Students beginning the study of Christian Science sometimes wonder just how one is to go about defending himself in the most effective manner. In the word "alertness" may be found the key.

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Help Me To Know
February 19, 1927

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