Conquering the World

What should be the attitude of every Christian Scientist toward the world, using the term as relating to those beliefs, precepts, and practices which are hostile to spirituality? Where is the line of demarcation, if any, to be drawn between voluntary seclusion, or self-isolation, and that cooperation with and assent to community interests and activities, many of which are necessary to meet human needs? What is the standard ever to be kept in view? How far are we to be in the world, fulfilling faithfully every legitimate obligation, and yet making no compromise with all that is right and true by intimate association with the materiality of the world? Who or what shall guide us to a righteous conclusion? And how shall we be so certain of the wisdom and justice of that conclusion, looking at it not only from a personal standpoint, but from its effect on our fellow men, that it becomes an unfaltering conviction toward which we could never dream of being recreant?

It is possible to determine this question without resorting to anything akin to casuistry or sophistry. There are great truths laid down in the Bible and in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mrs. Eddy, which as emanations from divine Principle we may all act upon without reservation or fear of being misled. But it is necessary that these truths shall be interpreted with that spiritual understanding which becomes the "light of the world" to each individual in proportion to his fidelity to Principle.

Perplexity sometimes arises from the belief that the Christly or spiritual life should be strictly reclusive. It is a temptation often coincident with deep earnestness and a heartfelt desire to do God's will by following loyally in the footsteps of the Master. Men and women of all periods of history have experienced this, and many have been drawn into the bonds of asceticism and mysticism, prompted by the feeling that—"the world forgetting, by the world forgot"—they could live in close communion with God, and thus the sooner overcome the demands of the flesh.

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November 24, 1917

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