Forgetting One's Self

A reproof sometimes administered to a child or young person is this: "You are forgetting yourself," words which have a much deeper significance than appears upon the surface. They distinctly point to an ideal of conduct which one is supposed to keep ever in view, and none would be willing to admit themselves unresponsive to this ideal.

Every civilized man wishes to be considered a gentleman, though few are ready to live up to all that this involves in the way of high thought, speech, and action. Too often do mortals lose sight of the ideal and admit some "intruding belief, forgetting that through divine help we can forbid this entrance" (Science and Health, p. 393). In the epistle of James we find a sharp contrast made between "hearers" and "doers" of the word. The first he compares to a man who looks at his own face in a mirror, then turns away and "straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was." Then we find the apostle presenting quite another type, the spiritually awakened, the one who has looked into "the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein." Of such James says, "He being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."

This teaching is wonderfully in accord with Christian Science, in its declaration of "the perfect law of liberty," which is realized only as the perfect man—God's reflection—is seen in the mirror of divine Science. A material concept of man fails to give freedom, hence Mrs. Eddy's insistence upon the fact of man's spiritual nature as God's likeness. This is no mere theory to be contended for, but an eternal fact, the knowledge of which is indispensable in gaining dominion over the body as well as over sin and disease. No one can deny that it was Jesus' spirituality which distinguished him from those about him, and which called forth such astonishment, when he stilled the tempest with a word, that those with him asked, "What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!" The Master did not forget man's divine endowment, even in what seemed the greatest danger, as did the disciples, who cried out in terror, "Lord, save us: we perish." Had Christ Jesus believed man to be material and governed by material law, his question, "Why are ye fearful?" would have been uncalled for. In view of man's spiritual selfhood, which includes "dominion over all the earth and its hosts" (Science and Health, p. 102), we can see why Jesus not only "rebuked the winds and the sea," but also the forgetfulness of the disciples, when he said, "O ye of little faith."

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Perceiving the Ideal
June 20, 1914

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