"What is man?"

The question, What is man? has often been asked by thinkers since the Psalmist propounded it, and the comprehensive answer given to this infinitely significant query on page 475 of Science and Health leaves no point untouched as to man's origin and destiny, and shows how the apprehension of the truth of his being solves all problems. Christian Science encourages us to think rightly. It leads us to think of a perfect creator, and to reject the sense-testimony which would argue an imperfect creation, including man. Our text-book scientifically and devoutly points to the life of Jesus, from his immaculate conception to his victory over death and the grave, as the exemplification in human history of the ideal man. It shows us that as his victories were gained by unwavering obedience to Spirit and spiritual law, so also must our triumphs over the flesh and over evil be won. Christian Science is emphatic in declaring that there is salvation in no other way.

Human sense has made the mistake of presenting a counterfeit of man, and has expected to realize from this false concept results which can be predicated only of the ideal man, — the divine image and likeness. St. Paul saw clearly that the false concept — the mortal — is not the real man. He says, "They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God," and he therefore insists that the "old man" must be "put off." That this is a practical as well as a vital question, is made very clear in Christian Science, and the right understanding of it heals both sickness and sin. Our text-book teaches that the true man is governed by spiritual law, not by asserted material laws, and this statement is supported by the teaching and practice of the Master. Why else did he say, "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink"? Did he not direct thought away from subservience to the body, and point the way to dominion over it; viz., by obedience to "the law of the Spirit of life," — which makes "free from the law of sin and death"? No one would deny that he who follows most closely the example of Christ Jesus best understands his teaching: indeed his teaching can be understood only as it is practised.

The service of the material body is not the service of God, and it does not bring freedom. Divine service, —mental obedience to moral and spiritual law, — this alone can give freedom, including dominion over the body. It also reveals the infinite possibilities of the ideal man.

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Letters to our Leader
March 10, 1906

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