through purifying the affections

On a visit to an art museum I was particularly intrigued with a large exhibit devoted exclusively to the art of restoring paintings to their original state. For the purpose of demonstrating what could be accomplished by restoration, each picture displayed had been only half restored. One half had been left with dust and grime—the dirt of years—making the picture dull and uninteresting, its details almost indistinguishable. The other half had obviously been given loving, patient, painstaking care by the restorer. Vivid, fresh, colorful, it was practically as sharp and distinct as the day it was painted. The painting's beauty had been there all the time. However, its worth needed first to be recognized. Then the canvas had to be cleaned and the layers of foreign matter removed before its beauty could appear.

I was especially impressed with this exhibit, for it hinted to me what really needs to be done by the student of Christian Science who desires to bring to light his spiritual identity, his true selfhood, his original individuality. He is faced in some measure with a distorted picture of himself—a picture clouded by the material beliefs he may have allowed to build up. He recognizes and acknowledges that there is a beautiful self to be discovered. And he is willing to work at it with the kind of love and patience that the restorer applies to a painting. The Christian Scientist sets about mentally removing the accumulated layers of impurities, and day by day he is able to see a little more of his perfect selfhood as the child of God.

Instead of restoration, he thinks of this process as spiritualization or purification. To bring forth the perfect selfhood that is there all the time, and needs only to be revealed, he knows he must spiritualize his consciousness. And he does this through purifying his affections. Mrs. Eddy refers to this when she writes: "I had learned that thought must be spiritualized, in order to apprehend Spirit. It must become honest, unselfish, and pure, in order to have the least understanding of God in divine Science. The first must become last. Our reliance upon material things must be transferred to a perception of and dependence on spiritual things. For Spirit to be supreme in demonstration, it must be supreme in our affections, and we must be clad with divine power." Retrospection and Introspection, p. 28;

September 29, 1973

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