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SELF CONTROL

From the October 1885 issue of The Christian Science Journal


The expression "self control" is daily in the blatant mouths of preachers and moralists, the very cant of emptiness and folly. It means nothing; nor can any play of words, or cunning twisting of conception, ever give it meaning. For the "self" is the divine, imperishable reflection of the eternal God.

I may control my limbs and the strength that is in them, and I may force under the appetites and passions of this mortal body, but I cannot myself, for it is myself that controls, being of nature godlike and stronger than all which is material. And although, for an infinitely brief spree of time, I myself may inhabit and give life to this handful of most changeable atoms, I have it in my supreme power and choice to make them act according to my pleasure. If I become enamored of the body and its ways, and of the subtleties of a fleeting bodily intelligence, I have forgotten to control those things; and having forgotten that I have free will given me from heaven to rule what is mine, I am no longer a man, but a beast. But while I, who am an immortal soul, command the perishable engine in which I dwell, I am in truth a man. For the soul is of God and forever; whereas the body is a thing of to-day that vanishes into dust tomorrow; but the two together are the living man. And thus it is that God is made man in us every day.

All that which we know but by our senses is an illusion. What is true of its own nature, we can neither see, nor feel, nor taste. It is a matter of time, and nothing more, and whatever palpable thing a man can name will inevitably be dissolved into its constituent parts, that these may again agglomerate into a new illusion for future ages. But that which is subject to no change, nor disintegration, nor reconstruction, is the immortal truth, to attain to a knowledge and understanding of which is to be saved from the endless shifting of the material and illusory universe."

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