On Caring for the Body

No sign, perhaps, is more characteristic of our presentday civilization than the greatly increased attention given to the care of the body by civilized peoples in general. With many, observance of the rules of hygiene is thought to be life's greatest necessity; and, in consequence, attention centers upon matter and its conditions—that is, upon the belief of a material body as man. This tendency, well-intentioned in its inception, is having the consequence of specifically turning thought away from the spiritual, the true concept of man, to the material, the false sense. In many cases the care given to the body amounts almost to worship of it; and with not a few "the god of this world" has come to be what common consent has set up as the standard for physical perfection; and many there are whose worship of their idol is both constant and consecrated.

Christian Science is rendering a valuable service to mankind in correcting this mistaken tendency; for Christian Science in setting before the world the truth about man as the son of God, His perfect image, is turning thought away from the worship of matter to contemplation of things of the Spirit, of God and of His Christ. Mrs. Eddy makes no more direct statement on this subject than is found on page 383 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," where she emphasizes the fact that a clean body is the expression of a clean mind; and, regarding care of the body, she declares that "the pure and exalting influence of the divine Mind on the body is requisite." And this vastly significant statement is added: "The Christian Scientist takes the best care of his body when he leaves it most out of his thought, and, like the Apostle Paul, is 'willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.'" How closely do our Leader's words conform to the saying of Christ Jesus: "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?"

In these words Mrs. Eddy accurately conveys the scientific attitude toward the body. Thus she turns thought away from a material body to the contemplation of God as Life, and of man as the true reflection, the embodiment of perfect ideas. How completely do these admonitions deny and refute the commonly accepted thought of the day! They are based upon scientific understanding of Truth. Since man is not material but spiritual, mankind's need always is to lessen the seeming reality of body as matter and lay hold of the spiritual facts of being. Obviously, this cannot be accomplished by giving constant attention to the false belief of body. On the contrary, insistent care intensifies the false belief, the error, of which mortal thought must be divested in order to win salvation and to realize permanent health. This does not mean, however, that the body is to be entirely ignored. The standards of cleanliness, of wholesome food, and of proper clothing are to be observed. To set one's self counter to these standards before one's grasp of the spiritual truth warrants such a position, is neither wise nor practical. This, however, is far from an agreement with the extreme view to which modern hygienists adhere.

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Infinite Progression
April 20, 1929

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