Giving up the Spectral

Mrs. Eddy writes on page 353 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "We must give up the spectral at all points." And a few lines farther on she continues, "When we learn that error is not real, we shall be ready for progress, 'forgetting those things which are behind.'" What does she mean by "the spectral"? The beliefs of material sense; evil; error. It is important to observe that in the words just quoted our Leader points out a condition antecedent to progress, a condition to be fulfilled before the spectral can be given up, namely, that we should possess the understanding that error or evil is unreal. Without this understanding it is impossible to shake off the incubus of evil, whether it may seem to be active in the present or to remain as a memory of the past.

In his epistle to the Philippians Paul writes, "Brethren, . . . this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Is not Paul here referring to his giving up of the spectral; and this, through pressing toward the ideal which had been set him by Christ Jesus? Can we doubt that part of the spectral which Paul was leaving behind was the recollection of those days when in ignorance he had persecuted the first Christians? It included that; but, indeed, the things which were behind were to him all evil, all thinking that was ungodly. The great Apostle to the Gentiles had become one of the most childlike of men. Christliness was his goal, Christliness which embraces every good and righteous quality — compassion, charity, affection, faith, hope, meekness, honesty, temperance, purity, wisdom, holiness. Paul was inspired by a great ideal, the Christ-ideal, and as he was faithful to it he forgot the evil things which were behind him.

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April 9, 1932
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