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FAITH AND HEALTH RESTORED
For some weeks previous to this a friend in Chicago, whom I had not seen for a number of years, had been writing to me telling of the illumination and joy which Christian Science had brought into her life, and lovingly begging me to study it. In reply I said, with the flippancy of ignorance, that while I thought there was a great deal that was beautiful in the philosophy of Christian Science, I could not believe in the physical healing. In return she sent me a list of references to New Testament healings, but I tossed the paper aside and did not look up one of them, thinking that I already knew the Bible well. About this time a neighbor brought us a copy of Science and Health, but the book lay on the library table unopened for a week or more. Then one day it occurred to me that I must return it and that it was very discourteous to do so without even having glanced over it; so I took up the book and began to read here and there. If anyone had asked me if what I had read had made any impression on me I should have said, "No."
One Sunday afternoon soon afterwards I lay down hoping to get some sleep, for I was troubled with sleeplessness and had passed a wretched night. I did not sleep, but as I lay there the thought came to me, "If there is a God at all, why should not one trust Him for everything health for one's body as well as anything else? I could not answer the question, so left it unanswered, and I see now that this was "the thin end of the wedge." Later that day some friends dropped in to see us, and as the evening advanced I became more and more impressed with the fact that something had happened to me. It was as if the very outer edge of the pall that seemed to hang over me was lifted a hair's breadth, and faint and far-off, too dim as yet to be even called light, I discerned something. It did not occur to me at first to connect this with what I had been reading in Science and Health or with the question that had come to me in the afternoon; and when this thought did occur to me, I broke in on a musical discussion, to which I had not been listening, by saying, "I believe there's something in Christian Science!" There was complete silence in the room for some minutes, and when conversation was resumed it was with a decided sense of strain. Afterwards one of our guests took me aside and advised me not to have anything to do with Christian Science, but no power on earth could have held me back then. I had to find out if this strange, new thing that had come to me had anything to do with that book.
The next day I began to read Science and Health in a very different manner from that in which I had taken it up before. I commenced at the chapter on Prayer, and before it was finished the light had come. I had touched the hem of the "seamless robe" (Message for 1901, p. 26) I had found God. All that I thought I had lost was restored to me fourfold; all that I had loved in my former church was here, only fuller, clearer, brighter. Oh, the winsomeness, the beauty, the compelling attraction of the Christ-idea as it dawned upon my enraptured vision! I knew how James and John felt that day by the Sea of Galilee when the Master spoke to them and they arose and left all and followed him. I thanked God as never before for the work of the great Way-shower, Christ Jesus, for now for the first time I understood his mission. I thanked Him for every saint and martyr who had held to the light they had and so made the day of full revelation possible; and I thanked Him with all my heart for the one who had brought the light again to this age. What wonder that with such an inflooding of truth sleeplessness vanished? The sweet sleep that came to me night after night was like that of which David spoke when he said, "I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me." A throat trouble from which I had suffered for years, which had defied the skill of one of the best specialists in the country, and which had necessitated several operations; also left me, together with other ills.
Since then I have needed sometimes to remember the Master's words, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God," for at times the ploughing has seemed arduous; but every struggle has meant growth and the joy of overcoming. The light glimpsed on that Sunday evening in January, 1910, has grown brighter and more radiant, and I know that, in the words of the wise man, it will shine "more and more unto the perfect day."
Christian Science Sentinel, October 5, 1918
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