Significance of the Wilderness

If one reads the Bible carefully, he cannot help being impressed by the many references to the wilderness which are to be found in its pages. Many chapters of the Old Testament are occupied with the account of the wanderings of the children of Israel therein. David dwelt there when fleeing from the wrath of Saul. Elijah, after a signal proof of God's omnipotence, listened to the threatenings of Jezebel, and went into the wilderness apparently overwhelmed by the darkness of the immediate outlook. Even our dear Master spent forty days in the wilderness; and since he was the Way-shower, we may reasonably assume that the wilderness experience in some degree awaits each of us at some time or other in our journey from sense to Soul.

We may therefore helpfully endeavor to gain some understanding of the true significance of "wilderness," in order to reap the full benefits of the experience. In the Glossary to "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 597) our Leader, Mrs. Eddy, defines "wilderness" as follows: "Loneliness; doubt; darkness. Spontaneity of thought and idea; the vestibule in which a material sense of things disappears, and spiritual sense unfolds the great facts of existence." A study of this definition throws a very clear light on the various wilderness experiences recorded in the Scriptures.

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Contemplation of Good
March 10, 1928
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