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THE STRANGER WITHIN OUR GATES

From the November 1955 issue of The Christian Science Journal


Christian Science corrects humanity's material concept of man and reveals the man of God's creating—the spiritual, ideal man, who is God's likeness. The Christian Scientist learns to identify himself as this spiritual man, who coexists with God and is held intact, sinless, in a state of perfection by his Maker. It is obvious that the physical senses do not behold the real man. Their conception of man is that he is mortal and faulty, a creature of flesh, subject to evil influences, and often imparting fears and errors which add to the burden of mankind. But the spiritual senses behold man as he exists in Mind—incorporeal, controlled by the divine will, immortal because fearless and sinless.

To prove the fact of his real selfhood, one needs to keep clearly in thought the distinction between spiritual man and his mortal counterfeit. To accept the fleshly concept as one's real self obstructs the demonstration of health and of spiritual power. Equally obstructive is the tendency to ignore the false self and leave it in a state of unregeneration. Mary Baker Eddy makes the purifying method of Christian Science clear in "Retrospection and Introspection," where she says (p. 86): "Art thou still unacquainted with thyself? Then be introduced to this self. 'Know thyself!' as said the classic Grecian motto. Note well the falsity of this mortal self! Behold its vileness, and remember this poverty-stricken 'stranger that is within thy gates.' Cleanse every stain from this wanderer's soiled garments, wipe the dust from his feet and the tears from his eyes, that you may behold the real man, the fellow-saint of a holy household."

This passage shows the great mercy which our Leader taught. Through tenderness and compassion, not through harshness and recrimination, the mortal sense of self is to be made to disappear. Christ Jesus said to Nicodemus (John 3:6, 7): "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. ... Ye must be born again." Christian Science brings about rebirth. A new sense of self appears. This Science is the friend of mortal man, even while vigorously denying the reality of the flesh and its conditions. In fact, the merciful friendliness of this great Science toward the mortal is best expressed in its insistence that material existence with its pains and sins and frustrations is unreal. It is this understanding of error's unreality that makes healing possible, that destroys the pains and sins which mortals entertain.

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