The Alert Sentinel

         A soldier on guard at a particular place has the definite responsibility of challenging with his "Who goes there?" every person who comes, — allowing to pass those who have the right of way, evidenced by their giving the password, and checking or resisting those who have no right to pass, or giving the alarm to the whole garrison in case of an attack. Two words used by the apostle Peter are peculiarly applicable to one on "sentry go." He says, "Be sober, be vigilant." Vigilance is forbearance from sleep at ordinary hours for rest, and sobriety is forbearance from drunkenness at all hours. The reliable sentinel maintains an alert mind. He is vigilantly attentive to duty, his faculties unimpaired by drunkenness or drowsiness. Upon his faithfulness rests the safety of the trusting camp.

         The Manual (Art VIII, Sect. 6) indicates that each one of us must be a sentinel on guard to defend consciousness from intoxication and sloth. It is entitled "Alertness to Duty," and proclaims the necessity for daily defense against the aggressive mental suggestion which would poison and intoxicate the mentality till unreason and perversity prevail; or bring on self-pleased stupor, wherein the victim can both forget and neglect "his duty to God, to his Leader, and to mankind." Anyone who intends to be a Christian Scientist must understand these things. If he were joining any other religious denomination, it would be sufficient to express agreement with certain formulated beliefs or doctrines, or agree to take part in certain recurring ceremonies; but becoming a Christian Scientist means more than a mental concession. It means the whole life consecrated: it means enlistment on the side of Principle; and from the moment of enlistment the new soldier of Christ must fight all that expresses enmity to Principle, — in other words, the carnal mind which "is enmity against God." Where is the battle ground? It is within, because the battle of error is against the coming of the kingdom. "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

         Is victory assured? It is assured, because already won by "the firstborn among many brethren." Speaking of the struggle preceding the victory, Mrs. Eddy says of Christ Jesus: "Forsaken by all whom he had blessed, this faithful sentinel of God at the highest post of power, charged with the grandest trust of heaven, was ready to be transformed by the renewing of the infinite Spirit. He was to prove that the Christ is not subject to material conditions, but is above the reach of human wrath, and is able, through Truth, Life, and Love, to triumph over sin, sickness, death, and the grave" (Science and Health, p.49).

         Now, to guard a mentality and keep it pure, so that it is sincere and stainless, a transparency for Truth to shine through, is far better than St. Anthony's wrestlings, or Luther's contests with the devil, which depend upon the fact that the tempter has been admitted. Better far the scientific way, which admits only good as reality, and, resting in Truth, finds therein defense from every aggressive lie and liar. The more the worker is a man of truth, the more vigor he has. He prays, "Lead us not into temptation," and expects to walk the upward way devoid of any necessity for giving place to the devil. The tentative Christian Scientist opens a door to temptation, and dallies with mental suggestion. Curiosity makes him think he will miss something if he does not listen to the story of error and learn the ins and outs of a material method. Then when the need for prompt action comes, he is drowsy and heavy with the mesmerism, and becomes the victim, not the victor, unless he vigorously protests, and as a protestant wins his freedom.

         This periodical was established by Mary Baker Eddy in 1898, and "entitled Sentinel, intended to hold guard over Truth, Life, and Love" (Miscellany, p. 353). Fulfilling its mission, it will help each earnest-minded reader to sentinel his own life.


"The Alert Sentinel" by William P. McKenzie, CSB
Christian Science Sentinel, September 1 , 1917

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