"Perfect models"

MRS. EDDY tells us that we "must form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives" (Science and Health, p. 248). A glance at the Concordance to Science and Health shows us where to find a number of deeply interesting and helpful references to this topic, all of which point away from the material to the spiritual. Close self-examination reveals the tendency of the human mind to cling to mortal and material concepts instead of laying hold upon the spiritual and perfect, and this explains the slow advance made by mankind in their efforts to escape from the bondage of material belief. The student of Christian Science who attempts to spiritualize matter, to his own sense or that of others, can find nothing in the teachings of Christian Science to support his views.

In one of Mrs. Eddy's classes, a student remarked that she always endeavored to have the perfect body in her thought when giving treatment. Mrs. Eddy at once asked where she found her authority for such a method. The student unhesitatingly responded that it was from Science and Health, and after a little search she triumphantly read the statement on page 407, "Let the perfect model be present in your thoughts," etc. Smiling, as one would at the mistake of a child, Mrs. Eddy then asked if she regarded the body as the "model" here referred to, and the student said she had so believed up to that moment. With the utmost patience Mrs. Eddy then explained to her students that we can only perceive the divine and perfect model as we are, to quote Paul, "absent from the body" and "present with the Lord."

Humanity has been slowly yielding up the belief in a corporeal God, but it still clings to the belief in a bodily model for man, while accepting the Scriptural statement that he is God's likeness. Its model is therefore that of the sculptor who studies the human anatomy, with some regard to the emotions, passions, and tendencies of the carnal or bodily mind. Strictly speaking, we can have but one model, God's perfect idea, with countless reflections, all governed by the one divine Principle. This does not, however, authorize us to say that there is only one eye, or foot, for when we begin to talk of these we are getting away from the perfect, spiritual model. While it is true that mortals are at present dependent upon the body for the outward expression of their thought and activity, it is none the less true that the eye does not see, nor the ear hear, but that Mind and its idea alone compass seeing and hearing; and because this is true, our revered Leader bids us "look away from the body into Truth and Love, the Principle of all happiness, harmony, and immortality" (Science and Health, p. 261). Thus we shall find perfect models, and "carve them out," not in bodily consciousness, but "in grand and noble lives" (p. 248).

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Suburban Lectures
January 10, 1914

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