"Chiselling to higher excellence"

Observation shows that progress in any undertaking usually requires the formulating of a model or the holding to an ideal which, it is hoped, can be appropriately developed. This is also true in regard to character, since the mental model or ideal which is habitually entertained leaves its impress on the individual, the nation, the race. The Bible supplies the supreme model toward which humanity must inevitably advance, a model even the limited discerning of which explains whatever spiritual or permanent progress has been made. In Moses' exhortation, as recorded in Deuteronomy, the divine good is proclaimed in majestic strain: "The Lord he is God; there is none else beside him." Christ Jesus accepted this supreme affirmation and demanded the practical application of the divine rule, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

To think of accepting divine perfection as a model to be wrought out in the midst of human imperfection might seem wholly discouraging, were it not for the merciful revelations of Christ Jesus and Christian Science which show how this work can be begun at any point in human experience, and patiently pursued toward successful achievement. Accepting and applying the fact of perfect God and His perfect man is the way through which alone divine good can be realized and experienced. The individual, however, must constantly remind himself of the model, consecratedly hold thereto, and watch that his thinking be not turned aside to accept as real the imperfections of materiality. In her sermon "The People's Idea of God" Mrs. Eddy says (p. 7), "We are all sculptors, working out our own ideals, and leaving the impress of mind on the body as well as on history and marble, chiselling to higher excellence, or leaving to rot and ruin the mind's ideals." If we recognize this we shall often turn, as she says, "from matter to Mind, to beautify and exalt our lives."

That this effort to spiritualize thought and purify character is being made through Christian Science is evidenced in the innumerable instances of healing which have resulted from accepting and applying the true idea of God and man. Precious, essential, and inevitable as is this healing, it is nevertheless not the complete purpose of Christian Science, but the sign that human thought is beginning its great task of surrendering the human to the divine, of "chiselling to higher excellence" its newly accepted ideal. No one can avoid the eventual fulfillment of this complete exchange of the unreal for the real, the imperfect for the perfect; and God, the holy One, is ever at hand forwarding the fruition of each effort to spiritualize thought. In his exhortation to obedience Moses said: "Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him. Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee.... Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else."

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September 16, 1933

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