Descending and Rising

THE student of Christian Science is impressed with the importance of going forward, his gaze fixed on the goal of perfection; he learns the necessity of going upward, maintaining the resurrection or spiritualization of his thinking in daily living. And, sooner or later, he discovers yet another phase of progress not to be neglected by the Christian pilgrim, namely, going down. Paradoxical as it may appear, he cannot ascend without first descending. Between the starting point of his journey and his objective, the highlands of Spirit, lies the valley of humility. Mrs. Eddy states a necessary condition of spiritual advancement when she says in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 356), "One can never go up, until one has gone down in his own esteem."

In olden Bible days lived a Syrian captain, a valiant soldier, who was a leper. Having heard that healing was possible for him at the hand of the prophet in Samaria, he departed thither with a retinue and arrived at the abode of Elisha. "Go and wash in Jordan seven times," were the simple directions given by the prophet. This prescription, not being the method he had outlined, disappointed and enraged the Syrian. But at the solicitations of his servants, he reconsidered the situation, overcame his foolish anger, and obeyed. Thus it was that the proud Naaman did one of the wisest things of his career, for we read, "Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan," with the result that "his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean." Could there be a clearer instance of the benefits of humbly going down in one's own esteem?

Everyone requires cleansing, not only of beliefs of disease and sin, but of all the falsities of materiality, and this can be effected only as, with the simple obedience of childhood, we go down from self-esteem and wash in the waters of divine Truth. As we lay aside preconceived notions of cure and redemption, our going down consists in overcoming selfwill, self-love, indeed, the mortal sense of existence, thought by thought, even dipping seven times in the river of Life, that is, continually, until eventually complete purification shall have been accomplished. Thus with a correct and truly humble estimate of ourselves, as little children, we are ready to enter the kingdom of heaven

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Appreciation and Giving
October 1, 1932

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