Taking Up the Cross

Those who have come to Christian Science for physical healing and have received the relief they sought, are apt to feel that since that which seemed to be their chief difficulty has been met, the rest of the way will be smooth and easy going. They soon discover, however, that what they thought was so momentous a transformation was but an initial step in the journey from sense to Soul. The physical healing is really a mental development which opens to their vision views of life of which they had never before conceived. There are two ways open to them. On the one hand is the temptation that since they have gained such physical freedom they are able to indulge in many of the material and sensuous pleasures from which their former infirmities debarred them. The other way is that of opportunity and activity, which is discovered when, on turning away from the gratification of the senses, their attention is devoted to the attainment of a better understanding of Truth. These two ways will continually confront them, and they must constantly be making their choice between them.

It is apparent that these ways lead in opposite directions, one toward matter and the other toward Spirit. One presents itself to our mortal sense as pleasant, innocent, easy, and attractive, and its choice is supported by many quite plausible arguments; as, for instance, that it gives one a sense of freedom to do what he wishes, and that Christian Science means freedom. To mingle with others in social enjoyments and entertainments is to express a spirit of kindness, liberality, and love for one's neighbor. To enjoy the bright and happy side of life will evidence that Scientists can enjoy themselves, and so attract the thought of others to it. But freedom does not mean the indulgence of fleshly desires; kindness does not mean concession to the erroneous demands of society; and to seek happiness in the ways and modes of the world is rather a poor indication that one has found higher joys. This way always leads toward matter, and following it one is led to an attempt to mingle the material with the spiritual, which of course is impossible. Moreover, this tends to obscure and confuse spiritual vision with attendant discord and disappointment. On page 156 of "Miscellaneous Writings" Mrs. Eddy says, "It is their materiality that clogs the progress of students, and 'this kind goeth not forth but by prayer and fasting.'"

From Bondage to Freedom
July 15, 1916

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