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Purity – claim it, exercise it,  and see the blessings of a Soul-controlled life
A lesson-met for the week of August 9-15 on Soul.
Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, CS of St. Louis, MO

As you work with this week’s lesson, watch for references to the varied aspects of purity, as well as to sight, seeing, discernment, evidence. Purity in man is requisite in order to see the purity of God and experience the freedom of the Kingdom.

 Golden Text:  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
The Amplified Bible defines “blessed” as being “in the state in which one enjoys and finds satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of his outward conditions.”  It requires being a thermostat rather than a thermometer – not reacting, but determining one’s happiness based on one’s state of thought.  “Pure in heart” has been translated as “utterly sincere” by J.B. Phillips and as “get[ting] your inside world – your mind and heart – put right” by Eugene Peterson.  Peterson concludes the beatitude with, “then you can see God in the outside world.”  So… it begins within and is seen without.

Responsive Reading:  Pure trust in God
As you read, look for what God does for man.  Check out all the places it says, “thou _____.”  God preserves, maintains, and makes things pleasant (among other things).  How do we feel this power?  Ps. 18: 26 says that God shows His purity to the pure.  It is by being pure in heart (sincere in seeking God in all that we do and think) that we are able to see and experience all the good that God is and does.

Section I:  Purity of Soul defined
Look in this section for the definitions of Soul and soul, as well as the action of Soul.  Soul with a capital S is synonymous with Spirit and indicates the oneness of Mind that cannot be broken down into parts, but is one harmonious whole.  Soul with a lower case s is the counterfeit of Soul.  It is that which is defined by the testimony of the physical senses and is totally undependable.  Next to the marginal heading, “Soul defined” we are told, “Human thought has adulterated the meaning of the word soul through the hypothesis that soul is both an evil and a good intelligence, resident in matter.” (S&H 481)  But, we get the straight story on p. 466:  “Soul or Spirit signifies Deity and nothing else.”  And on page 467 we see the relationship of man to Soul:  “Man is the expression of Soul.”  The action of Soul:  doeth great things, converts the soul (sense), rejoices the heart and enlightens the eyes. For our part???  We respond to the action of Soul as we seek, remember, desire, commit, and strive to build high on the corner-stone of purity.

 Section II:  The eternal, unchanging, and unlimited nature of Soul
Habbakkuk speaks of God as being from everlasting and having eyes that are too pure to behold evil.  This defines the eternal nature of Soul – identity.  Man being the expression of – coexistent with – Soul, man’s identity is eternal.  Time is not an issue.  According to the Jerusalem Bible, Ps. 90 reads, “To you, a thousand years are a single day, a yesterday now over, an hour of the night.”  This is helpful to remember if we are ever in a difficult situation that seems to drag on. As we think in terms of the nowness of Soul and put our trust in the preserving force of integrity and uprightness, we can rest assured that “the relations of God and man, divine Principle and idea, are indestructible in Science.”  In order to “uplift the physical and moral standard of mortals”, “increase longevity”, and “purify and elevate character”, all we need is even a slight understanding of the fact that “Being is holiness, harmony, immortality.”  The words holy, whole, and health all come from the same root.  Health is not something we need to get, or something that can be taken from us.  Health, or wholeness, is innate to one’s being.  Harmony stems from a Greek word meaning a closure or seam, and can be defined as “the just adaptation of parts to each other, in any system or composition of things.”  This is the truth when there seems to be a laceration or ripping apart of anything – whether in body or relationships.  Immortality, life destined to endure without end, encourages us to never give up and to bear witness to the continuity of good – regardless of the sense testimony.

 Section III:  As reflection, perfect man serves as witness to Soul.
Isaiah identifies man as God’s witness. (B #1)  A witness “furnishes evidence or proof.”  In Science, the perfect man is governed by Soul instead of sense, by the law of Spirit, not by the so-called laws of matter (S&H #15).  Thus, the real man is that which furnishes evidence of God’s being.  We must not be fooled by the counterfeit report of a limited, diseased, or sinful man.  We must not be satisfied until we “awake with [God’s] likeness.” (B #12)  How do we reach this high goal?  The Bible tells us that we must have “clean hands, and a pure heart, who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.”  Other translations may make it clearer:  “the man of impeccable behavior and pure motives; the guiltless in act, the pure in heart,” “whose soul does not pay homage to worthless things and who never swears to a lie.”  Time wasting, gossip, talking about disease and accident, getting so involved in the affairs of the world that they become mesmerizing rather than a jump-start to prayer…. all of these things come to mind as some of the tendencies that need to be traded in if we are to fulfill our role as God’s witness.  Have fun being alert and adding to the list.  Then, counter the counterfeit by putting off the mortal and putting on the real man by “realiz[ing] the Science of man and seek[ing] the true model.”  In this way, we find ourselves “unfallen, upright, pure, and free,” opening gates of opportunity which would otherwise be closed by human belief.  (S&H #14)

Section IV:  Childlike receptivity requisite to see man’s perfection in Science.
The gates of opportunity open to the kingdom of heaven.  Rather than being a locality, heaven is a state of thought where harmony reigns in divine Science.  It is the “realm of unerring (no mistakes), eternal (never short on time, strength, ideas, or opportunities) and omnipotent (nothing too hard) Mind. (S&H #16).  Healing takes place in the kingdom of heaven.  We don’t beg a corporeal God to let us in to the kingdom or to heal us; we don’t outline how a healing is going to take place (as Naaman tried to do); and we can’t waffle between faith in matter (or even just being willing to live with a problem) and faith in God.  Rather, we must follow Naaman’s example of childlike willingness to be obedient to the Christ.  We must have the humility to go to the Christ (in Naaman’s case this was going to the prophet (or spiritual seer), Elisha.)  Sometimes this means for us just being willing to ask for help.  And then, we must submerge ourselves in the Spirit (symbolized by the river Jordan) to purify our soul (sense) and educate mortal mind out of itself.  Look carefully for what this section says about what we must leave and where we must turn and then be willing to follow, in order to allow that which needs to be washed away in one’s own experience to be loosened and lifted.  Our job is to know God.  (S&H #19)

 Section V:  Purity of Soul delivers man from sin and disease.
Jesus made no real distinction between the healing of sin and the healing of disease.  When he was called to heal the sick of the palsy (B #19), he acknowledged the man’s purity by forgiving his sins.  This greatly disturbed the scribes who saw this as out of the realm of authority for any man.  What they didn’t realize is that Jesus felt free to forgive sins because he was serving here as a witness to Soul, seeing only the purity of Soul.  Undaunted, Jesus healed the man of the belief of palsy as evidence to the fact that he indeed did have the authority to forgive sins (to reclaim man’s innocence as the reflection of Soul) and restore this man to his natural state of perfection.  Jesus proved for all mankind that anything unlike God is but an illusion.  If sickness or sin were part of Truth, Jesus would not have been able to heal them – nor would he have tried.  If they were of Truth it would be absurd to want to destroy them, whether through the use of drugs or prayer.  But they are not true.  They are illusion, and “the awakening from this mortal dream, or illusion, will bring us into health, holiness, and immortality.  This awakening is the forever coming of Christ…”  (S&H #23)  Soul controls the body now. (S&H #24) So, rather than spending time considering diet, exercise, and the newest health theories – or digging around analyzing human behavior – we would be better served to purify thought as we discover our co-existent relationship to immortal Soul.

Section VI:  Purity and perfection linked.  Give up pleasures and pains of sense and receive the salvation of Soul.
No matter where we seem to be at the moment or how long we’ve been there – no matter how low things seem to have gotten, God is right there.  All we have to do is turn with a pure heart in the direction of right to find God’s mercy saying, “Fear not.” God’s “compassions fail not.  They are new every morning.” (B#21)  The grace of  Love teaches us how to find salvation, “teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (B#22)  More references to purity and seeing.  Here is how some other translations put it – we are to give up: godless ways and worldly cravings; irreverent thoughts and worldly appetites; irreligious ways and worldly ambitions; and we are to live discreet, upright, and religious lives; live a life of self-mastery, or integrity, and of piety; to use good judgment, and to live right and godly; a life of temperance, honesty, and godliness.  Mrs. Eddy teaches us that we have to “give up the belief that soul can sin or that immortal Soul is in mortal body.” (S&H #25)  She tells us that if we even had half the faith in “the study of the Science of Mind” that we “bestow upon the so-called pains and pleasures of material sense” that we would be redeemed. (S&H #27)  We must surrender “all merely material sensation, affection, and worship” and recognize “only the divine control of Spirit, in which Soul is our master, and material sense and human will have no place.” (S&H #28)  Truth will ultimately force us all to make the trade (S&H #29).  What in the world are we waiting for?  The kingdom of heaven is keeping the light on for us now (like the ad for Motel 6 talks about keeping the light on as a welcome sign).  Let’s trade in those cherished “pleasures and pains of sense for the joys of Soul” now! (S&H #29)  Purity is the natural state of man!  Accept it and fight for it!

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