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Are We Kicking Against the Pricks?

From the December 1968 issue of The Christian Science Journal

In various parts of the world where oxen and donkeys are utilized to help men with their work, it is not uncommon for a driver to walk to the rear and to one side of his animal, carrying a long pointed goad. When he wishes to have the animal move forward, he pricks and prods with the pointed stick. If the animal is willing to obey, it will immediately respond to the wishes of its master and suffer no discomfort. If it is stubborn, it may, to no avail, kick out at the pricks; but its kicking will only add to its discomfort. It has no final alternative but to be obedient to the wishes of the driver. Indeed, the animal would find it much easier to obey in the first place.

The Pharisee Saul, later to be known as the Apostle Paul, was a young man of zealous conviction. His Pharisaical background, together with his lack of understanding of the true teachings and purpose of Christ Jesus, had made him a most bitter persecutor of the Christians. The Bible records the time he was on his way to Damascus with authority to make prisoners of the Christians in that city and bring them back to Jerusalem for trial and sentence. But on his way the enormous wrong of what he was doing came to him in a blinding realization, and he heard the voice of the Christ, Truth, speaking to him and saying: "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? ... It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."Acts 9:4, 5;

It would appear that the divine purpose of Christ Jesus' teachings was revealed to Saul's willing heart in that moment and that the revelation showed the complete goodness and rightness of those teachings. But the revelation also included the absolute irresistibility of those teachings; Saul saw there was really no other way to go. So honest was Saul in his wanting to be right, so sincere was he in his willingness to see and follow the higher direction, that he yielded to what became clear to him as divine purpose. Within three days he was baptized, and before he left that city he was preaching Christianity in the synagogue.

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