From Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy
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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
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
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
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
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
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
1 devotion whereby to enter into the joy of divine Science
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
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
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
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—
25 Among the manifold soft chimes that will fill the haunted
chambers of memory, this is the sweetest: “Thou hast