The Elements of Christian Science

William Adams

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Excerpt from The Elements of Christian Science: A Treatise Upon Moral Philosophy and Practice

Naturalists tell us that the oak has a northern circle, beyond which it does not grow. It has also a limit that is set for it towards the south Thus it has a region, marked out by definite limits, upon the surface of the earth, within which it grows, and out of which it cannot live. In the language of natural science, this is called its Habitat. Within that habitat it lives, varied in vigor and appearance according to circumstances. The same tree, in sheltered valleys, shoots up a taller and more slender stem than the oak that braves the storm upon the mountain-side. The timber also of that oak, that has grown slowly in the clefts of the rock, has a roughness and a knotty strength that is never found in that which has started up rapidly from rich and cultivated soils. All these differences, and a thousand more, may be produced, and exist in oaks that have come from acorns of the same parent-tree.

To explain this, we know that all of these trees had, each of them, a constitution, a germ of vegetable life peculiar to the oak, suited to take up supplies from external things, and to grow thereby, because it is a life.

To use the example again, - wherever the tree grows, in the North or the South, in the valley or upon the mountains, from the elefted rock or in the fertile plains, - there, amidst all variety of circumstance, the constitution is the same, - if the tree is anywhere capable of living, it is as an oak that it lives, and not as any other tree. Position modifies, but never wholly destroys or wholly changes the nature.

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