CSEC ON-LINE REFERENCE LIBRARY
ANNIE M. KNOTT, CSD
In the Old Testament the ninety-first psalm stands out with great distinctness; and as we read it, we almost wonder at the marvelous understanding of spiritual law disclosed in all its statements. At the present hour, when thought turns lovingly to the men who are so wholeheartedly giving themselves to the high task of establishing justice and mercy in the earth, we find in almost every verse of this psalm a promise of protection which specially applies to these men. First of all, there is the "secret place of the most High," which no invader can ever enter, the refuge and the fortress of those who put their trust in God, not as an expression of merely formal religion, but because of their deep conviction that God is the source of all right, of all justice, and that He unceasingly defends those who are allied with divine Principle in the high and holy effort to establish right with all it implies the world over. The weapons of the enemy are mentioned, the "terror by night" and the destruction at noonday, but there is nothing uncertain about the promise which immediately follows. It is this: "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee." Here we must not forget that a fine discrimination follows this statement of protection, which implies consecration on the part of him who would be safe in time of danger, and it assures us that no evil shall befall the one who has made God his refuge.
We are not told that those who are fearlessly serving God and humanity are to be spared the most trying experiences which can come to mankind. In this psalm their enemies are typified by the lion, the adder, and the dragon, but these are declared to be powerless because God's angels are with His own continually to prove the ever presence and omnipotence of good. Here we may recall the definition of angels given on page 581 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," namely, "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality." Divine Love promises to be with man in trouble, and to deliver him; and we cannot cling too closely to the closing words of the psalm, "With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation."
A man who was in service throughout the American civil war was told when he entered the army that it would help him greatly to study the ninety-first psalm and look to its promises for protection. He did so, with the result that in spite of many hardships and continuous service, he was never wounded or even ill, and he came to rely implicitly upon these divine promises and to consecrate his life because of their influence upon him. Years after, he told a Christian Science friend of this experience, and said with deep regret that he had drifted away from this study of the Bible when the war was over and there seemed less need of special protection; but in hearing a little about Christian Science he felt the deepest sorrow that he had ever forgotten how God stretches out His hand toward His children, wherever they are, if only they are ready to respond to its loving grasp.
In reading the eleventh chapter of II Corinthians we find in Paul's experience, as therein recorded, that which cannot fail to awaken the heroic spirit in ourselves, and make us ashamed if ever we are tempted to listen to the whisperings of cowardice. We read that again and again he was cruelly beaten, and twice he suffered shipwreck. He was in perils of every sort, "in weariness and painfulness," enduring hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness, but he was consecrated to the high task of doing his part toward the establishment of God's kingdom on earth; and instead of lamenting over these experiences, he tells us that he gloried in them. It is self-evident that his consecration was to him an assurance of man's immortality, and a ceaseless reminder that God never forgets His own. We cannot for a moment think that the cause of right, the cause of justice, could possibly fail today, for this would mean disloyalty to infinite Truth and Love. In her Message to The Mother Church for 1900 (p. 10) our Leader says, in speaking of the world conflict between right and wrong, "Such conflict never ends till unconquerable right is begun anew, and hath gained fresh energy and final victory."
Christian Science Sentinel, February 23, 1918
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