Individual Spiritual Attainment

IN her address before the National Christian Science Association at the National Convention in Chicago, in 1888, our revered Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, said in part (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 98): "We come to strengthen and perpetuate our organizations and institutions; and to find strength in union,–strength to build up, through God's right hand, that pure and undefiled religion whose Science demonstrates God and the perfectibility of man. This purpose is immense, and it must begin with individual growth, a 'consummation devoutly to be wished.'" In the study of Christian Science we soon learn that it is "with individual growth," or with the correcting and improving of the human sense of self, that we are concerned; and, lest we forget and perchance yield to the temptation of thinking that our fellow men need to be evangelized in order to make our own progress possible or our path easier along the line of Christian en deavors, we should ever faithfully remember the paramount necessity of individual self-correction.

Only as the Christian Scientist is seeking daily to erase from his consciousness whatever does not measure up to the test of Paul's exhortation to Timothy, "Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity," will he succeed in ruling out from his thought as real, and hence from his experience, that which falls short of this spiritual ideal. Only so will he become able to demonstrate, at least in part, "the perfectibility of man" in his own case, and be found worthy to assist in spreading the knowledge of this pure and undefiled religion. As he acknowledges, and ever more clearly beholds, the divinely bestowed purity in his true self and in that of his fellow men, and consequently experiences an increasing manifestation of perfection, he will find strength in union, even the spiritualization and coordination which "strengthen and perpetuate our organizations and institutions."

To accept unequivocally the perfection of God's creation is to accept the real; and this is possible only to the spiritually enlightened vision. In this striving after spiritual attainment it is necessary to guide thought continually away from the temporal, material, and mortal, from that which seems constantly to force itself upon physical sense observation, to the heavenly, the enduring, the spiritual and eternal realm, which is ever at hand. To this end constant watchfulness is requisite. Unless we resolutely deny the reports of evil conveyed by the material senses, we may have little harmony to record, so obtrusive does evil seem to be. On the other hand, as we deny error and faithfully affirm the truth of the spiritual opposite, based on a sound conviction of the reality of good, we shall experience in our daily contacts more and more of the manifestations of perfect spiritual man.

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April 22, 1933

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