The first recorded effort of mortals to commune with God was through the medium of sacrifice, when Abel brought an offering of the firstlings of his flock, and the sincerity of his desire to know God brought him the assurance that his offering was not in vain. He had begun to learn, in his crude way, what Christians of this comparatively enlightened day need also to learn, that honest desire and sacrifice constitute the only acceptable prayer.
Abel's concept of atonement by material sacrifice became the outstanding feature of the Hebrew religion, but the simplicity of spiritual desire seems to have been early lost in the details of the ceremonial; and the willingness to give up the material sense of life for the spiritual, which the shedding of blood evidently typified, was mainly eclipsed by the attraction of thought to the offering itself. Thus that which was at first designed to lift the human into some recognition of man's spiritual relation to the divine, degenerated into the dead letter of material symbolism, wherein the truth about God was not unfolded but obscured.
The Christian Scientist, in common with all mankind, confronts the necessity of gaining such a practical knowledge of divine power as will enable him to overcome evil. The Scriptures imply that one must find this consciousness of good within himself, and not put it afar off. An awakening sense of this universal need is undoubtedly the impulse behind every really forward movement in the world to-day, whether or not it is expressed in these terms. To so realize the allness of God that the naturalness of good will take possession of the thoughts of men, and spontaneously express itself in good will and brotherly love, is the logical desideratum of all right desire. Such a consummation would transform earth into heaven, for it would leave nothing unprovided that can satisfy the human heart.