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Cleansing Processes
ANNIE M. KNOTT, CSD


        In all religious teaching the need for purification has been given much prominence, even if the appeal did not extend beyond the ceremonial forms which symbolized the spiritual demand for the cleansing of the very springs of our conscious life. The necessity for physical cleanliness has been greatly insisted upon in late years, and it is deeply interesting to read of the changes which are coming so rapidly in Palestine since it has been occupied by the Allied forces, especially the free supply of water in Jerusalem and other cities. This may well recall the entry of David and his followers into that city somewhere about 1049 B.C., of which we read in the twenty-fourth psalm. After the declaration, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof," the question is asked, "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?" The answer follows, "He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart." Well might such a one make the demand which follows for the opening of the gates so that "the King of glory" might come in.

         More and more it is being felt and admitted that those who today enlist in defense of right the world over must themselves have clean hands and pure hearts, and from the Christian Science viewpoint this text takes on a very broad meaning. The one whose thought is stained with avarice and self-seeking is unworthy to serve in the hosts which uphold the cause of Truth against error, and as it was required of all the worshipers who went up to the temple at Jerusalem that they be cleansed ceremonially for the services there, a much greater demand rests upon all today who would rid the earth of the deceits and tyrannies of evil that they cleanse themselves from all that is tainted by mammon worship and its service.

         In the first chapter of Mark's gospel we read of the cleansing of a leper, and the instruction given by Jesus to this man after he was healed is deeply significant in the light of Christian Science. The Master said to him, "Go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them." Now the work of the master Christian was far above that outlined in the ceremonial law because it was the perfect demonstration of spiritual law, and yet we find his wonderful wisdom displayed in requiring of the man obedience to the law of Moses, although the man's healing had been complete without this. It was in line with his requirement that we render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's. At this hour it rests with all those who love the appearing of God's kingdom on earth to cleanse their hearts and hands before addressing themselves to any task, either for their own uplifting or for the advancement of the human race. No one dare deny that God's law requires of us the overcoming of all sensuality, even in what would be considered its more refined forms, if we would secure the world against further outbreaks of evil such as that which characterizes the present hour.

         The apostle James was right when he said that "wars and fightings" spring from the lusts which are allowed to dominate human thought, and among these we find envy mentioned. This, however, is followed by the admonition: "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded." These admonitions do not, however, point to mere deprivation. In fact, they do not hint at loss of any kind, for the giving up of materiality means enrichment in every true sense. In Mrs. Eddy's inspired and inspiring article entitled "Pond and Purpose" she presents the subject of baptism and says (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 204): "The baptism of the Holy Ghost is the spirit of Truth cleansing from all sin; giving mortals new motives, new purposes, new affections, all pointing upward. This mental condition settles into strength, freedom, deep-toned faith in God; and a marked loss of faith in evil, in human wisdom, human policy, ways, and means." To this she adds: "By purifying human thought, this state of mind permeates with increased harmony all the minutiae of human affairs. It brings with it wonderful foresight, wisdom, and power; it unselfs the mortal purpose, gives steadiness to resolve, and success to endeavor." Here we have presented to us the cleansing process by which Truth permeates everything on the human plane and makes of each task a glad opportunity to give ourselves and what we possess to bless and help others.

         At this time we have special opportunity to give in larger measure than ever before of our earthly goods, and it may be well for each one of us to apply to himself the test which Christ Jesus brought to the rich young man. This young man was, according to the record, a noble character; but when he was asked to give up all that he possessed in a material way so that he might be better fitted to advance the cause of Truth on earth, he failed to meet the test, and went away sorrowful. Never before in human history have the demands been so great as those which are now made for the establishment of God's kingdom on earth, and the cleansing processes instituted by divine Love and wisdom make no reservation on behalf of personal sense or any of its appetites and desires. In the fifteenth chapter of John we read: "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." If we have been cleansed to the extent that is here indicated, then we shall take to our hearts in full assurance the promise which follows: "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." No matter how great the undertaking may seem, those who are cleansed by obedience to the word of Truth will not shrink from the stupendous task of going into all the world as Christ Jesus said his followers should, clad in the stainless and invulnerable armor of righteousness, knowing that thus and thus alone can they be sharers in the glory which Christ Jesus said should belong to those who were one with him in purpose, desire, and effort.

 

"Reflection" by Annie M. Knott, CSD
Christian Science Sentinel, November 9, 1918
 

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