Ruling One's Own Spirit

In Proverbs we read, "He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls." In the days when this wise saying was recorded it was the custom for cities to be strongly walled in order that all enemies might be thereby completely excluded. A city "broken down" and "without walls" was considered entirely defenseless and open to the depredations of every sort of marauder. All its treasures could be stolen, the results of long years of labor demolished, the hopes of its builders shattered, and their ambitions swept ruthlessly away. Consequently no more graphic picture than this could have been drawn of one left at the mercy of every adverse and undesirable influence, condition, or circumstance.

This ruling of one's own spirit is, then, a question of tremendous importance, since through it there is to be gained protection from all that would deplete or rob, harm or destroy, hinder or prevent the good and truly desirable in each one's experience. It was in this dominion over one's own spirit that the wise man of old evidently looked for the place of safety; and it was there that Jesus declared it to be when he said, "They that worship him [the Father] must worship him in spirit and in truth;" for how could one worship "in spirit and in truth" whose spirit was not under the control of Love itself. It is in this definitely controlled spiritual sense that the Christian Scientist must also look for safety.

One might speak of the letter of Christian Science as the material for building one's walls, and of the spirit of Christian Science as providing the process for building. Both the letter and the spirit of Christian Science are therefore necessary if men are to have perfect walls and thus be safeguarded from all the encroachments of evil means and methods. There are few students of Christian Science who do not grasp the letter of its teaching with considerable rapidity. Indeed, in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 113) Mrs. Eddy says: "The letter of Science plentifully reaches humanity to-day, but its spirit comes only in small degrees;" while on page 451 she further declares: "Students of Christian Science, who start with its letter and think to succeed without the spirit, will either make shipwreck of their faith or be turned sadly awry. They must not only seek, but strive, to enter the narrow path of Life, for 'wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.' "

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Among the Churches
July 4, 1925

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