by Ezra W. Palmer
John records this message of the angel to the church in Smyrna: “Ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” If we endure unto the end of error, and prove its nothingness, we shall receive a crown of life. In the same verse the angel comforts us with these words: “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer.” They encourage us to be faithful, to keep our crown, to hold fast to the Christ-vision, just as Paul held to the vision which came to him on the Damascus road.
In overcoming trials, we learn new lessons in Science. Trials are tests of sincerity, tests of understanding. If evil suggestions seem to talk to us, and manifest themselves in financial or physical problems, doesn’t this show that we need clearer views of God and His Christ? When our consciousness is full with the knowledge of God, error’s subtleties can’t gain a foothold in our thinking. Therefore the appearing of error, manifesting itself in fear, pain, or lack, is a bugle call for us to quit our apathy, to wake up and renew the exhilarating strife of resisting evil and gaining a clearer knowledge of God.
John saw the span of tribulation as ten days. To Jesus evil had no power, no habitation, no weight, no time element; he destroyed it instantly. Why, then, are our burdens heavy; why are they chronic, stretching out through endless weary days? Aren’t our problems due to a need of renewed spiritual vision? Our troubles may continue, if we fail to use the power of Mind and gird ourselves with divine omnipotence. The Christ is forever knocking at the door of our hearts, ready to come in to heal us and to illumine us “with the brightness of his coming.” The ever-present Christ declares, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him.”
How can we rise into clearer views of God? By being “instant in season and out of season;” by unceasing prayer for divine guidance and protection, for ourselves and for all mankind; by daily studying the Lesson-Sermon. We must ponder passages from the Bible, and from the writings of Mrs. Eddy. The study of her writings spiritualizes thought, which is our greatest asset. When thought becomes spiritualized, we exchange a material for a spiritual viewpoint. Then we see things from a new and true perspective, and successfully control material sense. When we work from this spiritual viewpoint, the unreality of evil, disease, and matter becomes clear and human consciousness enters the kingdom of heaven.
Spiritual understanding is the gift of God. It comes to us when we are ready to receive it. Work, wait, pray, to be receptive to the spiritual intuition which God sends us continually, to guide, comfort, and heal. Then, sickness will not become chronic, nor poverty entrenched. How do we gain a clearer sense of the nothingness of matter? By denying its reality and knowing that God, Spirit, fills all space, is forever present. The creator of the universe creates nothing unlike Himself. Matter and its laws are illusions, mirages, nothing more. Disease and sin can no more touch the spiritually-minded than darkness can approach the sun. Time and again, Mrs. Eddy denies the belief of the actuality of matter. As we rise to a higher sense of the allness of God and the nothingness of matter, disease and evil will become unreal to us, and disappear from our lives.
The way is clearly pointed out by Mrs. Eddy, “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 faithful.” (Mis. Wr.)