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Enduring to the End
WILLIAM P. MCKENZIE, CSB


         Many poets have sung of the weariness of waiting, and the wisdom of the human mind has been put into the proverb which declares, "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick." And yet men have waited through many years and have been patient in their work, and in the time of gray hairs have seen the hope that in early youth they cherished bloom into fruition. How do men of faith endure? Just as Moses did, who is the type of meekness due to strength. "He endured, as seeing him who is invisible." The true character of a man is never justly estimated until one knows his inner vision. There was once a clerk in a court who though unnoticed by neighbors was a great astronomer, astonishing the world with his discoveries of double stars. People sneered at the unadorned mother of the Gracchi, but her sons were her precious jewels. To the eye of criticism the life of a drunkard's wife might seem discouraging, perhaps, but she has the vision of her noble son and consoles herself with thoughts of recompense to be through his fame and goodness. Thus far do better mundane views carry men. What then when heavenly vision breaks in upon drab and dreary lives, making patience thrill with meaning, showing the enrichment of generosity, and the might of meekness? We learn at once in metaphysics that goodness is not futile. Delivered from fear by divine Love, we are able to say, "Where is the fury of the oppressor?" For it goes by us like the raging of the storm heard by one who is safe in a sheltered place.

         One who endures is able to think of God as his refuge and strength, and so is delivered from any other reliances. "Trust in Truth," Mrs. Eddy said, "and have no other trusts" (Miscellany, p. 171). This she spoke standing above the multitude assembled, and speaking as a prophetess exalted in thought and testifying to mankind regarding the things of God.

         Meet it rightly and temptation comes to an end. In the wilderness Jesus met the series of mental arguments aimed at spiritual vision and life, and the graphic record says, "When the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season." But let us remember later the triumphant word indicating the termination of the adversary's power. Our Master reached the place in demonstration where he said, "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me."

         There is an end to error itself, and this conviction arrives as we meet errors one by one, uncovering their baseless braggadocio and discovering the truth they reverse and pervert. A practitioner once had a peculiar experience with a patient who, being through Christian Science beautifully healed of one sickness after another, was grateful for each healing but kept returning with new troubles. In an endeavor to find the explanation of this recurrence of evil, the patient was questioned as to her theological beliefs and confessed to a conviction regarding eternal punishment. This cherished belief being analyzed was seen to be faith in eternal, active evil. When assurance came that evil is temporal, and the conviction that goodness is eternal was gained, the fear of active evil disappeared and health was established. Error in this case had an end. Every practitioner should maintain his quiet assurance regarding the end of error in all cases.

         Every worker should be encouraged to continue unto the end in his work. When Elisha's life work was nearly done, the king of Israel came to visit him, and well did he apostrophize the prophet as "the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof," for Elisha's sense of Principle had been the great protection to the kingdom. Witness the occasion when the "great host" of Syria that surrounded Dothan had been rendered harmless and taken captive; witness also the prophecy of the raising of the Syrian siege of Samaria when famine was succeeded by plenty. When, therefore, the prophet bade the king take his bow, and then "put his hands upon the king's hands," and after the eastward window had been opened bade him shoot, saying, "The arrow of the Lord's deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria," he was giving the king by means of an object lesson his spiritual guidance. Then continuing, he said, "Take the arrows." And when the bundle of arrows had been taken by the king, the prophet said, "Smite upon the ground." The king "smote thrice, and stayed." Then "the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldst have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it." Too many are satisfied with work that is, as they say, good enough, when the occasion requires work that is thorough, which in its completion would make an end of error.

         What have we to fight as error? Our Master puts it graphically in naming false prophets as the misleading influence and indicates how we must reach the termination of our false beliefs in order to be saved: "Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Notice also how this same point of overcoming what mentally perverts and misleads is brought out in Hebrews: "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To-day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end." Sometimes in the very midst of struggle and conflict, when things are at their worst, we seem to hear such a call as Jesus gave to his followers when he said, "When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."

         Mrs. Eddy's reassurances, likewise are comforting and encouraging, and when we respond there comes to us a resilience of hope, a steadfastness of faith, and the comfort of trustworthy and reassuring love. Speaking about the distressing conditions which seem to be affecting every one in the world, she says: "The breaking up of material beliefs may seem to be famine and pestilence, want and woe, sin, sickness, and death, which assume new phases until their nothingness appears. These disturbances will continue until the end of error, when all discord will be swallowed up in spiritual Truth" (Science and Health, p. 96). And her advice to the individual worker is clearly brought out when she says in continuance, "As this consummation draws nearer, he who has shaped his course in accordance with divine Science will endure to the end."

 

"Enduring to the End" by William P. McKenzie, CSB
The Christian Science Journal, March, 1918
 

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