Self-restraint

The Bible contains many admonitions to mortals regarding the necessity continually to practice self-restraint, to refrain from thinking and doing wickedly. The Ten Commandments are so many explicit prohibitions forbidding sinful acts of a kind which bring punishment to the evildoer. The book of Proverbs sets forth many wise sayings,—"thou-shalt-nots" in effect,—restricting various acts commonly regarded as natural to mortals, which, if committed, lead to certain and often to swift disaster. "He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls," declares the writer of the book of Proverbs. This wise man clearly saw the danger of mortals' following their natural bent, of giving free rein to their desires and passions,—a course which inevitably leaves them defenseless, as it were, against the certain results of the wickedness. Like a city without walls, they are, indeed, open to the encroachment of false beliefs, the nomadic mental marauders which are the enemies of mankind.

The need to exercise self-restraint, then, may be said to extend to all the natural tendencies of mortals, not to the extent of complete abstention from all the demands of the flesh, to be sure, for mortals should be clothed and fed; but it requires moderation even in those indulgences not positively prohibited by the moral law which are deemed necessary to human well-being. Mrs. Eddy has summarized the situation with her characteristic directness in "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 79): "Be temperate in thought, word, and deed. Meekness and temperance are the jewels of Love, set in wisdom. Restrain untempered Zeal. 'Learn to labor and to wait.' Of old the children of Israel were saved by patient waiting." The student of Christian Science learns that right thinking must precede right acting; hence, to set one's thought right is the first and prime necessity in the practice of self-restraint.

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Editorial
Application of Christian Science
January 20, 1923
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