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FREE, BECAUSE SPIRIT-BOUND

From the May 1927 issue of The Christian Science Journal


THE great longing of mankind is to experience freedom. All, in greater or less degree, think of themselves as bound. The business-man seems bound to the demands of his business, the professional man to the duties of his profession, the housekeeper to her routine of service in the home, and the school-teacher to the curriculum of the school in which he teaches, and so on. In fact, the entire fabric of human relationship is built upon ties and obligations. Nevertheless, without them, there would appear no congruity, no stability in human society; there would be no order, no unity in action—all would be at variance; selfishness would dominate, and human society would be an expression of innumerable conflicting desires and whims. Therefore it is fitting that every vocation, every walk in life, should have its definite standard, its specific demands, which should be fulfilled. Then, we may ask, why this yearning for freedom? Why should we even desire freedom, if being bound to fill our place in the scheme of things is necessary to the good of all?

It may be well, at this point, to question our concept of freedom. What do we mean by the term "freedom"? Wherein does our freedom lie; and from what do we really need to be freed, in order to enjoy happiness in our present sphere of action? At this point it may be instructive as well as interesting to look into the life of the Apostle Paul, and to ponder the nature of his thinking. Here is an outstanding Bible character who wrote frequently of freedom. One of his commands was, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Now Paul must have had a unique concept of freedom,—something that transcended the limitations and bonds of material sense,—a concept of freedom that could not be interfered with by circumstances or time; for as we examine his human experience, we find that not only was he bound, as other mortals regard themselves, to the bonds of human environment, but he endured actual imprisonment —he was literally bound with chains. It is encouraging to note that even at such times his sense of freedom was marked; and we learn from his own pen that his freedom was in Christ, because to Christ, Truth, he had become truly bound. He says of himself, "Am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?" Again, he says, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

Therefore, from Paul's experience we learn that in order to gain real freedom, which is a spiritual quality, we must become acquainted with and find our real selves as bound to "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." We learn that this freedom consists in being "free from the law of sin and death," or from the belief in matter and its supposititious concomitants. Then we can understand that our present experience serves as an opportunity to begin to exercise this freedom from matter; or, that in our present environment we can begin to demonstrate our unity with "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus."

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