Individual Consecration

Into the experience of each earnest worker, at different stages of spiritual unfoldment, the words of Paul will recur with an ever increasing insistence, "Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup." Here we pause to ask, What is this bread, this cup, which should necessitate such careful preparation if we would be partakers? To examine means to search into, and the word search implies an active performance which almost might be described as rigorous, an act which may not be stayed until the desired end is attained. This advice of Paul to the Corinthians seems to have been given at the time when the Corinthian church had allowed the human will and carnal mind to violate the regulations of the church and interfere with their orderly observance. The apostle clearly indicates that the church was a condition of mind, not a material building or organization, for he says later, in the same chapter, "Despise ye the church of God?" and again, "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." Sleep typifies that condition of mind which is dead to spiritual inspiration. Then, as if he foresaw there might be those who would fain enter into the holy of holies, whose spiritual vision was yet dim or perhaps for the time being obscure, he adds compassionately, "Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another."

Mrs. Eddy says in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 518), "The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother's need and supplieth it." Here, then, we have the necessity for that earnest searching into consciousness to see whether we are so rich toward God that we possess that which will supply our brother's need. Jesus said, "Preach the gospel," "Heal the sick," and Mrs. Eddy, in the chapter entitled "Christian Science Practice," in Science and Health, gives us some very pertinent questions for examination if we would do this work aright. On page 364, she says: "Do they [Christian Scientists] show their regard for Truth, or Christ, by their genuine repentance, by their broken hearts, expressed by meekness and human affection ...?" On page 366, she shows us clearly the way to set about preparing for the healing work of Truth and Love which shall bind up the broken-hearted, cleanse the leper, and set free these who are bound by the subtle mesmerism of materiality in all its forms.

What is consecration but the dedication of one's self to the service of the Most High? All the steps leading up to the surrender of self must be taken. Purification from all that opposes itself to the demands of the Christ will be the first step; the exterior of the building may be fair and seemly, but God requires "truth in the inward parts." Here the faithful student pauses in dismay. So much has to go if this work shall be properly done. Such a crop of weeds of unexpectedly sturdy growth have sprung up, different, it may be, from those that needed uprooting in the early days; self-righteousness, self-justification, may be found blossoming, perchance, beside mental apathy and sloth; a sitting down, as was the case of the disobedient prophet, under the tree of work accomplished, rather than the steadfast pressing forward toward new tasks which will beckon us; self-indulgence along many lines spoils, as do the little foxes, the fruit of the vines, if we do not constantly watch and weed it out on its first appearing. Only in the kingdom of heaven can we drink of the fruit of the vine of earnest purpose accomplished, steadfast endeavor fulfilled.

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October 4, 1919

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