"In the first instance"

That we should be ever alert to error's claims is stressed on page 234 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," where Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of this Science, writes, "You must control evil thoughts in the first instance, or they will control you in the second." An evil thought is any thought which would lead us to believe in a power apart from God, manifesting itself in sin, disease, and other forms of discord. Therefore the only means of controlling evil thoughts is to know the unreality of evil. Evil thoughts are not, then, true thoughts. That is why no time should be lost in dismissing them, in refusing them admittance to our consciousness.

The proverb, "A stitch in time saves nine," applies to our thinking as certainly as to our garments; and if heeded may save much in the way of time and energy. Surely we should exercise as much wisdom regarding our spiritual needs as is generally displayed in regard to our material needs. There is nothing of a negative nature in the art of true watchfulness. True watchfulness or alertness is the intelligent affirmation of divine Love's omnipresence and of evil's absence. Paul counseled the Thessalonians, "Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober." The awakening from the slumberings of mortal belief is twofold, throwing light upon the true nature of God as Spirit, and of man as spiritual, and revealing the possibility of abiding forever within the realm of spiritual consciousness where mortal fears, pains, and limitations have no place.

If we fail to watch our thinking, mortal mind may lull us into indifference as to its approach until error's whisper is greatly amplified. For instance, that which might be termed a mild sense of prejudice towards another, if not arrested, may widen into envy or hatred, just as yielding once to social drinking may beget the tendency to indulge habitually. Or a slight interest in the so-called law of heredity may ripen eventually into a tormenting fear of what is thought to be some incurable disease. Yet Christian Science teaches that these are but false beliefs, which claim us only so long as we admit them. God gives man dominion over all the earth. It is by thinking spiritually that we exercise this God-given dominion, which brings into our lives peace, health, and harmony.

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Establishing One's Identity
September 11, 1943

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