From the Scriptures as well as from all our human experiences we learn that the mastery of anything which to material sense seems difficult is the surest way to reach perfect joy. Throughout the New Testament the idea of overcoming is practically synonymous with that of mastering difficulties of any sort, and experience proves that this is true in all we attempt; for it matters little whether or not mortals recognize this great truth, the demands of Principle and the result of obedience thereto are unvarying. Knowing this the great Teacher might well say, "Every one that is perfect shall be as his master."

         To the student of Christian Science it is of the utmost importance in all our activities to gain the right viewpoint, and thus it is well to remember our Leader's statement in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 427), "The belief that existence is contingent on matter must be met and mastered by Science, before Life can be understood and harmony obtained." The difficulties which are apparent to material sense in all our endeavor are the result of belief in matter and in material resistance to the divine demand for perfection. If we take by way of illustration the efforts of great artists, there is the belief that it is nearly impossible for them to express the splendid ideals which inspire all their efforts, because, for instance, of the solidity of a block of marble in the work of the sculptor, and also the belief that his own mentality is confined within the limits of a material body so that, as Paul once said, he cannot do the things that he would.

         It cannot, however, be denied that in all these lines, even of which we are accustomed to think and speak as human effort, the joy which follows, which indeed accompanies, all brave and faithful effort, is the true reward of the work; and it matters not how lowly that work may seem to mortal sense, the worker cannot be deprived of his joy if he is seeking mastery aright and proving step by step that the real master is divine Mind. At this point it is well to ponder Paul's words to the Corinthians, his conclusion being reached from watching those engaged in the Roman games. He says, "Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things." To this he adds, "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection." This mastery of the body means much more than it could ever have done to Roman soldiers or athletes, because the aim of the Christian Scientist is much higher than that of anyone who works from a material basis. In his efforts toward the mastery of the body he begins with thought, and often finds to his sad surprise that he has on his hands something which closely resembles a large family of uncontrolled children.

         A man who was once receiving treatment from a Christian Science practitioner remarked that he had never before had so many evil thoughts as he had at this particular time. He was, however, led to admit that he had never before watched his thoughts, but had allowed them to run riot in any and every direction. He soon learned that the reward of this new activity was far above and beyond anything which could be accomplished on the material plane, because even the earlier efforts of students carry with them a reward in the way of greater health and happiness at all times and under all circumstances. One proves this even in the midst of a so-called epidemic of disease, when many who might be relatively calm on a battlefield would be filled with fear that they were meeting in disease an enemy over which they had no power. It might be well for such to recall the experience of Daniel when he stood calm and fearless in the den of lions, and to learn from his experience the great need for the kind of understanding of God and His law which the prophet possessed. We read that when Daniel was taken up unharmed from the lions' den, the king commanded that his accusers be cast to the lions, and as these men had not been operating in accordance with divine law, but under the belief that they could trample upon its requirements, we are told that "the lions had the mastery of them," and so they all lost their lives.

         It is hardly necessary to say that Christian Scientists, whether children or adults, are taught to master fear, because fear has no place in the divine Mind, and God's idea can, therefore, never reflect it. The overcoming of fear is practically the overcoming of disease, and this is proved daily and hourly the world over by all sincere students of Christian Science. At this period it is also being proved that through the understanding of Mrs. Eddy's divinely inspired teachings sorrow is being wiped out, because it has no more a place in the divine consciousness than has fear or sin. All Christian people are, or should be, familiar with the wonderful words found in the twenty-first chapter of Revelation, where we are told that "there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain;" but these glorious words seem to have been largely lost sight of through the belief that their truth can only be proved after death. This, however, would be to evade the direct meaning of our Master's words, "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." On page 304 of Science and Health we find the assurance "that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy;" and this rests upon the Master's promise, "Your joy no man taketh from you." On page 216 of our textbook we read, "If man is governed by the law of divine Mind, his body is in submission to everlasting Life and Truth and Love."


"Mastery" by Annie M. Knott, CSD
Christian Science Sentinel, April 5, 1919

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