"A THORN IN THE FLESH"

Who has not heard from childhood the familiar phrase, "A thorn in the flesh"? and does it not call up a memory picture of some good man (or woman) carrying, perchance, for many years, a burden of bodily suffering which he was ever fastening upon himself with the thought that his heavenly Father had sent, or was at least permitting, it for some wise purpose? To invest it with further sacred authority, did we not often hear some expression like this, "It is my 'thorn in the flesh.' Paul was a better Christian than I, but he had it to bear." Though to be counted a fellow sufferer with Paul may invest the case with somewhat of a religious halo, have we ever stopped to ask ourselves what right we have to do this, and, further, where Paul's thorn in the flesh really originated?

In his second epistle to the Corinthians, Paul says, "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure." How clearly may we see in this statement that Paul does not in the remotest sense imply that God had sent this thorn. Could divine Love impart to His child aught which was the opposite of His own nature? No! Discord of every nature has but one source, and Paul recognized this when he declared that his affliction was a messenger of Satan. Satan, who is defined as the "adversary" of man; "the prince of darkness," is shown in the glorious light of Christian Science to be only another name for a belief in a selfhood apart from God.

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A PURIFYING PROCESS
November 25, 1911
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