AN ASCENDING PATH

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Thus spake he who came that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly, and whose birth announcement was the angelic message of great joy. Ignoring the promise of life and joy, the world has for many generations preferred to read this passage as though it were a sad restraining call, away from gladness into the gloom of self-denial, cross-bearing, penance, hatred of life, and all but complete renunciation of the joys of existence. The weight of superstituous dogmatism has so colored it that even the many glorious gospel texts which glow with confidence, hope, and triumph, could never have lifted the shadow had not Mrs. Eddy's inspired insight caught the note of dominion underlying the Nazarene's whole career.

If Jesus was "the best man" and "the most scientific man that ever trod the globe" (Science and Health, pp. 52, 313), his words should not be considered from a merely emotional, sentimental, or superstitious view-point; they must be regarded as the statements of a universally active law, helpful indications toward a fuller understanding of a positive and scientific rather than a haphazard mode of life. This enhances their value to us, and we gain the right to expect and probe for their more practical meaning. Wherever a text may gain this scientific significance by a more expansive interpretation of its wording, we can assert our right to it, even though it become necessary to gain it by a better understanding of the original Greek, since words disclose in their construction the history of their developed meanings. The verb "to follow," for instance, generally understood to mean a coming-after with sheeplike stupidity, thoughtlessly, resignedly, may include the more dignified thought of succession, which not only means to follow in the footprints of a predecessor, but to succeed to his activity, to be guided by the Principle by which he was actuated, to do the acts he inaugurated, to expand and improve the work instituted by him, increasing the fruits of his initiative by demonstration and logical development; all of which seems to be justified by the Greek word employed, as well as by Jesus' own reference to "greater works."

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IDEAL AND IDOL
January 25, 1913
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