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DIVINE GUIDANCE AND PROTECTION
That night we moved to our battle positions. No one, of course, knew the way, as in daytime it was impossible to look out of one's shell hole for more than a minute or so and we were on ground that had been won only a few days previously. On my way back to join my company after having been to battalion headquarters to get final orders, about nine o'clock in the evening, I lost my way. It was pitch dark, raining some of the time, with a great wind blowing and the mud so thick that it was difficult to walk and no one quite knew where the enemy was.
I had not been wandering long in No Man's Land when I suddenly came across my sergeant major, who with eighteen men had also lost his way, so now I had to plod around with these weary men following me. My compass being broken, I had no means whatever to guide me; and at any moment we might be walking into the enemy's lines. After about an hour's wandering I halted the party, got down into a shell hole, and just declared the truth. I declared the "scientific statement of being" (Science and Health, p. 468), and just knew Love was leading me. Having done that I got up and almost immediately found the place I was looking for. Twice more during the course of the night it was necessary for me to go out into the dark and leave my company, and each time after I had completely given up trying to find my way by landmarks, I just worked scientifically and was guided to my destination. This may sound like an exaggeration, but there simply was absolutely nothing material by which one could guide one's self, and without the assistance received from divine Mind I could never have found the places I was looking for.
We were to attack next morning at twenty minutes past five. A shell exploding near me had caused my watch to stop soon after three, and when I looked at it, I thought we had another two hours before the attack; as a matter of fact I learned a few moments later by the "barrage" beginning that it was already the time for the attack. Now the wonderful thing was that all the men of my company were in their right places, although during the night I had only the vaguest idea of where they were to go and had left the getting of them into their exact places to the early dawn. And so at the appointed time we all went over the top in order.
Having gained our objective we had to intrench and wait for the relief which was due that night. It did not come, however, so we were obliged to wait another twenty-four hours, mostly in the pouring rain and with no food. During that whole time we were in mud up to our knees and often were heavily shelled. The material conditions of fear, cold, and despair had to be very insistently denied. At times all I could do was just to repeat mechanically some phrases I knew by heart. Once while I was trying to work mentally, it came to me very clearly that I had no material body to protect, for man's life is spiritual, and I certainly did not have to worry about protecting the spiritual idea of God; that Love was my eternal protector and I needed no other. I saw clearly that Love was the only means of defense against all evil. A clear spiritual sense also came to me in regard to the fears of my parents, even their love for me, the fear of those with me, and other such beliefs. Throughout the whole time after I had done my work, I can solemnly declare that I never felt tired, hungry, or afraid. Supported by these glimpses of the real, of after effects I had none.
Surely, then, it is no wonder how thankful I am to God, to our beloved Leader, Mrs. Eddy, and to all those loving friends who helped me. Since this occasion I have had innumerable blessings in the trenches, at home, and on sea, for which I shall ever be grateful to Christian Science.
Capt. Victor A.
Christian Science Sentinel, February 22, 1919
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