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MARY ALICE McDONALD
I have had many opportunities to prove the practical side of this wonderful teaching, and the following incident is but one of many. Several years ago, while in the employ of one of the transcontinental railroads, I decided to take a weekend trip across the mountains to the other side of the state, to visit a city where I had never been before. It was my custom when walking along the street to ponder the ninety-first psalm, and on this particular day the passage, "He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways," seemed to have a special meaning for me, although up to this time there had been no fear of any kind regarding the trip, which had been looked forward to with the greatest of pleasure. About an hour before train time, however, a great sense of impending danger came over me. I tried to analyze my thought to see what was causing it, but could find no reason for fear; yet it seemed impossible to silence the voice which kept urging me not to go.
As train time drew near, a sense of rebellion began to creep in, for I well knew that unless the fear was destroyed the trip would have to be abandoned. Then the argument took place in my thought that it was only error trying to keep me at home, that there was no reason why I should not go. I was trying to be guided and directed by Truth, however, and might not this be an angel, a spiritual intuition? I had to acknowledge there was no vital reason why I should go, and that the trip could be given up without the slightest disappointment if this was the right thing to do. So I put away all thought of it and went about some household duties. On arriving at the office Monday morning I was met with a great demonstration of surprise, for they all thought I was on the train, which they informed me had gone into the canyon. On being asked why I did not take that train as I had planned, I simply said it was because I had a feeling I should not go. One person remarked: "If you get warnings like that you had better always take them." Can anyone fail to see why Christian Scientists are grateful for a teaching which shows them how to avail themselves of the protection and care of divine guidance? My gratitude knew no bounds, in the first place for having been taught how to listen, and also to be obedient.
The following Saturday I went on the trip, arriving in time for the Sunday morning service. A very pleasant day was spent in company with a friend in visiting the different points of interest in the city, and toward evening I started for the station. On the way, however, a great sense of impending danger again took possession of me; but thinking that it was probably some remnant of thought of the occurrence of the preceding week, I tried to dismiss it as such; but it was not to be dismissed in this way. Again the argument presented itself to me that it was error trying to keep me from doing my duty; for had I not given my promise before leaving the office Saturday that I would be back Monday morning without fail? There was a very important piece of special work to be gotten out, and I had been told very emphatically that unless I could be back on time, I should not go. In Science and Health (p. 385) we read "Whatever it is your duty to do, you can do without harm to yourself," and I tried to know that in doing my duty no harm could touch me. It was with this assurance that I boarded the train. I endeavored to realize the truth as contained in our textbook and in the ninety-first psalm, but could get no clear thought on anything.
After I had declared the truth for several hours, error tried to argue weariness, saying I should go to sleep. But "the angels of His presence" (Science and Health, p. 512) never leave us when we are ready to entertain them, and they were at hand in this instance to encourage me with the assurance that God had never failed me in the hour of need and would not fail me now. Then came the thought of Daniel. He never lacked faith in God, even after he had been thrown into the den of lions, and we are told that he answered the king the next morning with the words, "My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me." He knew that even though he had not been able to avoid being cast into the den, he could be delivered from the lions in it, for his God was everywhere present and all-power. Then the thought came to me that if there was any experience which it seemed necessary for me to pass through when obeying my highest sense of duty, I would be delivered from harm during the experience and that it would be only one more opportunity to prove the teachings of Christian Science. With this thought all fear vanished, and I slept as peacefully as a child all night.
I awakened in the morning just as daylight was making its first appearance, and noticed that the train was standing still. Concluding that we were waiting for another train to pass us, I turned my thoughts toward the night before, and I was filled with gratitude for Christian Science and for what it is doing for the world. While I was thinking thus, the porter rushed into the train and made the announcement that we had had a head-on collision with another passenger train; that all the cars were off the track and he feared many people were killed. I dressed quickly, all the while declaring the truth.
It was rather a new experience for me, as I had never before witnessed a railroad wreck, so was quite unprepared for such a sight. The engines were telescoped through to the cabs; the cars were all ripped to pieces, the sides having fallen out as though they had been kindling wood, and the express and baggage strewn everywhere; but most wonderful of all, no one on our train was hurt! One of the railroad officials was heard to remark that it was the most miraculous thing he had ever seen, that such a terrible wreck should occur without a great many people being killed. I for one knew that a wonderful demonstration of God's protecting care had taken place.
Is it any wonder that we as Christian Scientists are grateful to Mrs. Eddy for having taught us this wonderful truth and shown us how to make it practical? When I related this experience to a friend she remarked: "Do you think God would protect you and not protect the others as well?" I replied: "The Bible tells us that 'God is no respecter of persons;' therefore He is just as much to all as to one; He is always speaking to us, but it is only those who are listening and obeying that hear His voice; and those who follow the divine guidance and direction cannot fail to do the right thing at the right time. It was only the shepherds who were awake and listening who heard the angels sing."
Christian Science Sentinel, January 11, 1919
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