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Read the directions

MANY of the products we purchase today are accompanied by the words ``Read the directions.'' Manufacturers spend much time and effort on the details of the booklets accompanying their products. The directions are usually precise, instructing us how to use the product safely and cautioning us how not to use it. Recently I traded in my old typewriter for a new one. There was considerable difference between the two. The new one included a booklet with all the instructions. I needed to use the machine promptly but didn't have time at that moment to read all those directions. So I proceeded using the new machine in the same manner as the old one. This didn't work. Next I began with the trial-and- error method and found out a few things but not all that I needed to know. I knew what I wanted to do but couldn't find out how to do it. Eventually I was forced to read the directions. This incident reminded me of the way we sometimes try to live our lives. We attempt to live them mostly by the trial-and-error method, although there really is a guidebook to instruct us. The Bible has for centuries been a universally recognized spiritual guidebook, but mortals in general are disinclined to read its directions and follow its provisions. The Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, helps us to understand the Bible's inspired message, to recognize the Bible's indispensability and enduring truth. Mary Baker Eddy1 writes in Science and Health, ``Acquaintance with the original texts, and willingness to give up human beliefs (established by hierarchies, and instigated sometimes by the worst passions of men), open the way for Christian Science to be understood, and make the Bible the chart of life, where the buoys and healing currents of Truth are pointed out.'' 2 In the Bible we can find answers for all our daily needs. Of course, this necessitates studying, pondering, and understanding the truths of the Bible, including the teachings of Christ Jesus, who specifically said, ``I am the way.'' 3 The master Christian not only pointed out the correct path but cautioned us how to avoid the pitfalls. It is important to know both--to know how to walk with the divine currents and, on the other hand, how to beware of the subtle traps and temptations of the carnal mind. Study of the Bible in its spiritual sense enables the student to lift thought out of imprisoning materiality into the horizons of spiritual freedom. In this way we are able to lay off sickness and sin through a perception of divine power overruling the supposed power of evil in its various forms. And this is the central, spiritual message of the Bible. Of course, it's also vital that we live our lives in harmony with the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount in order to experience the

blessings conferred by our creator. Lethargy, impatience, and reluctance to being instructed would hamper our search for direction, but these deterrents can be overcome through a resolve to trust in divine direction and to be governed by the divine will alone. And the very power of God supports these efforts. The shortest route to knowing how to live our lives and how not to live them is revealed by following the directions of our authorized guidebook, the Bible. The Second Epistle to Timothy says, ``All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.'' 4 1 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 24. 3 John 14:6. 4 II Timothy 3:16.

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