As the clear notes of truth begin to make their way into our awakened consciousness through the teaching of Christian Science, as given to this age by Mrs. Eddy in our text-book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," we begin to realize what a thorn is the flesh. We very soon learn we have a "thorn in the flesh" as did Paul, and though we may rebel at times in the struggle to overcome it and the many ills to which flesh is assertedly heir, yet we have to know that God's grace is sufficient for us, that our strength is made perfect as we overcome mortal weakness, the belief of life in matter. To beseech God to take us out of the flesh before we have done our work thoroughly, is not the way to eternal life, for we have to "work out" our own salvation by overcoming every temptation as it presents itself.

Our Leader says (Science and Health, p. 254): "The human self must be evangelized. This task God demands us to accept lovingly today, and to abandon so fast as practical the material, and to work out the spiritual which determines the outward and actual." The belief in the flesh is our great temptation, and we must overcome it by the understanding of Spirit and spiritual law. Our advance will be steady and sure if our work is well done, and when the battle between the flesh and Spirit is ended, we shall be rid of our "thorn."

Paul caught a glimpse of the perfect spiritual man, and he wished to manifest at once the true reflection, thinking he could do his work better out of the flesh. He failed to realize that he had work to do first in purifying the human element in himself; that then and then only could the "thorn" depart from him. It is well-nigh impossible to believe that Paul suffered from some incurable disease, as the material interpretation of the text would lead one to infer, when we know that Paul had so great an understanding of Truth that he raised the dead and healed the sick, and would certainly have been able to overcome any physical trouble in himself.

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October 30, 1909

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