The Letter and the Spirit

"How can I progress most rapidly in the understanding of Christian Science?" This question, asked on page 495 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, is answered in part thus: "Study thoroughly the letter and imbibe the spirit."

The student of Christian Science soon realizes the necessity of studying our Leader's writings, together with the Bible, if he means to master the letter of Christian Science, for in this way only can he learn how to change thought from a material to a spiritual basis. But one cannot become a true Christian Scientist merely by knowing the letter of Science. Spiritual understanding, we are told (ibid., p. 505), "is not intellectual, is not the result of scholarly attainments; it is the reality of all things brought to light." This understanding is not gained through mere human reasoning, but by inspiration and revelation.

It may seem easier to attain the letter than the spirit of Christian Science, but as our Leader tells us (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 158), "the letter without the spirit is dead." We must not only work diligently to attain the letter of Christian Science, but also pray earnestly to imbibe the spirit of Love, that we may be able to practice what we preach. We may be carried away in an ecstatic contemplation of the perfection of Mind's universe, may theoretically argue for the allness of good and the nothingness of evil, may be rejoicing in the harmonious condition of man's relationship to Mind, and yet be unable to bring out this truth in demonstration. Should this seem to be the case, either we are not understanding thoroughly what we are contemplating, or in some way we are not obeying thoroughly the rules laid down for us; for if we were doing so we should certainly vanquish the so-called evil confronting us.

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Our Greatest Need
November 11, 1933

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