Fidelity

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2      If people would confine their talk to subjects that are
         profitable, that which St. John informs us took place
         once in heaven, would happen very frequently on earth,—
5      silence for the space of half an hour.

         Experience is victor, never the vanquished; and out
         of defeat comes the secret of victory. That to-morrow
         starts from to-day and is one day beyond it, robes the
         future with hope’s rainbow hues.

10    In the battle of life, good is made more industrious
         and persistent because of the supposed activity of evil.
         The elbowing of the crowd plants our feet more firmly.
         In the mental collisions of mortals and the strain of in-
         tellectual wrestlings, moral tension is tested, and, if it
15    yields not, grows stronger. The past admonishes us:
         with finger grim and cold it points to every mortal mistake;
         or smiling saith, “Thou hast been faithful over a few
         things.”

         Art thou a child, and hast added one furrow to the
20    brow of care? Art thou a husband, and hast pierced
         the heart venturing its all of happiness to thy keeping?
         Art thou a wife, and hast bowed the o’erburdened head
         of thy husband? Hast thou a friend, and forgettest to be
         grateful? Remember, that for all this thou alone canst
25    and must atone. Carelessly or remorselessly thou mayest
         have sent along the ocean of events a wave that will some
         time flood thy memory, surge dolefully at the door of con-
         science, and pour forth the unavailing tear.

         Change and the grave may part us; the wisdom that
30    might have blessed the past may come too late. One


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1      backward step, one relinquishment of right in an evil
         hour, one faithless tarrying, has torn the laurel from many
         a brow and repose from many a heart. Good is never
         the reward of evil, and vice versa.

5      There is no excellence without labor; and the time to
         work, is now. Only by persistent, unremitting, straight-
         forward toil; by turning neither to the right nor to the
         left, seeking no other pursuit or pleasure than that which
         cometh from God, can you win and wear the crown of the
10    faithful.

         That law-school is not at fault which sends forth a
         barrister who never brings out a brief. Why? Because
         he followed agriculture instead of litigation, forsook
         Blackstone for gray stone, dug into soils instead of delv-
15    ing into suits, raised potatoes instead of pleas, and drew
         up logs instead of leases. He has not been faithful over
         a few things.

         Is a musician made by his teacher? He makes him-
         self a musician by practising what he was taught. The
20    conscientious are successful. They follow faithfully;
         through evil or through good report, they work on to the
         achievement of good; by patience, they inherit the prom-
         ise. Be active, and, however slow, thy success is sure:
         toil is triumph; and—thou hast been faithful over a few
25    things.

         The lives of great men and women are miracles of pa-
         tience and perseverance. Every luminary in the constel-
         lation of human greatness, like the stars, comes out in
         the darkness to shine with the reflected light of God.

30    Material philosophy, human ethics, scholastic theology,
         and physics have not sufficiently enlightened mankind.
         Human wrong, sickness, sin, and death still appear in


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1      mortal belief, and they never bring out the right action
         of mind or body. When will the whole human race have
         one God,—an undivided affection that leaves the unreal
         material basis of things, for the spiritual foundation and
5      superstructure that is real, right, and eternal?

         First purify thought, then put thought into words,
         and words into deeds; and after much slipping and
         clambering, you will go up the scale of Science to the
         second rule, and be made ruler over many things. Fidelity
10    finds its reward and its strength in exalted purpose. Seek-
         ing is not sufficient whereby to arrive at the results of
         Science: you must strive; and the glory of the strife
         comes of honesty and humility.

         Do human hopes deceive? is joy a trembler? Then,
15    weary pilgrim, unloose the latchet of thy sandals; for the
         place whereon thou standest is sacred. By that, you may
         know you are parting with a material sense of life and
         happiness to win the spiritual sense of good. O learn to
         lose with God! and you find Life eternal: you gain all.
20    To doubt this is implicit treason to divine decree.

         The parable of “the ten virgins” serves to illustrate
         the evil of inaction and delay. This parable is drawn
         from the sad history of Vesta,—a little girl of eight
         years, who takes the most solemn vow of celibacy for thirty
25    years, and is subject to terrible torture if the lamp she
         tends is not replenished with oil day and night, so that the
         flame never expires. The moral of the parable is pointed,
         and the diction purely Oriental.

         We learn from this parable that neither the cares of
30    this world nor the so-called pleasures or pains of mate-
         rial sense are adequate to plead for the neglect of spiritual
         light, that must be tended to keep aglow the flame of


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1      devotion whereby to enter into the joy of divine Science
         demonstrated.

         The foolish virgins had no oil in their lamps: their
         way was material; thus they were in doubt and dark-
5      ness. They heeded not their sloth, their fading warmth
         of action; hence the steady decline of spiritual light,
         until, the midnight gloom upon them, they must borrow
         the better-tended lamps of the faithful. By entering
         the guest-chamber of Truth, and beholding the bridal
10    of Life and Love, they would be wedded to a higher
         understanding of God. Each moment’s fair expect-
         ancy was to behold the bridegroom, the One “altogether
         lovely.”

         It was midnight: darkness profound brooded over
15    earth’s lazy sleepers. With no oil in their lamps, no
         spiritual illumination to look upon him whom they had
         pierced, they heard the shout, “The bridegroom cometh!”
         But how could they behold him? Hear that human
         cry: “Oh, lend us your oil! our lamps have gone out,—
20    no light! earth’s fables flee, and heaven is afar
         off.”

         The door is shut. The wise virgins had no oil to spare,
         and they said to the foolish, “Go to them that sell, and
         buy for yourselves.” Seek Truth, and pursue it. It should
25    cost you something: you are willing to pay for error
         and receive nothing in return; but if you pay the price of
         Truth, you shall receive all.

         “The children of this world are in their generation
         wiser than the children of light;” they watch the market,
30    acquaint themselves with the etiquette of the exchange,
         and are ready for the next move. How much more should
         we be faithful over the few things of Spirit, that are able


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1      to make us wise unto salvation! Let us watch and pray
         that we enter not into the temptation of ease in sin; and
         let us not forget that others before us have laid upon the
         altar all that we have to sacrifice, and have passed to
5      their reward. Too soon we cannot turn from disease
         in the body to find disease in the mortal mind, and its cure,
         in working for God. Thought must be made better, and
         human life more fruitful, for the divine energy to move
         it onward and upward.

10    Warmed by the sunshine of Truth, watered by the
         heavenly dews of Love, the fruits of Christian Science
         spring upward, and away from the sordid soil of self and
         matter. Are we clearing the gardens of thought by up-
         rooting the noxious weeds of passion, malice, envy, and
15    strife? Are we picking away the cold, hard pebbles of
         selfishness, uncovering the secrets of sin and burnishing
         anew the hidden gems of Love, that their pure perfection
         shall appear? Are we feeling the vernal freshness and
         sunshine of enlightened faith?

20    The weeds of mortal mind are not always destroyed
         by the first uprooting; they reappear, like devastating
         witch-grass, to choke the coming clover. O stupid gar-
         dener! watch their reappearing, and tear them away from
         their native soil, until no seedling be left to propagate—
         and rot.

25    Among the manifold soft chimes that will fill the haunted
         chambers of memory, this is the sweetest: “Thou hast
         been faithful!”




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Love is the liberator.