Mountain Climbing

        In reading the Bible, one is impressed by the numerous references to hills and mountains, these being mainly used to symbolize mental and spiritual exaltation. Thus we find the psalmist asking, "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?" And the answer begins, "He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart." Humanly speaking, the ascent of mountains is usually undertaken by those of a brave and adventurous spirit for the pure joy of the experience, and those best fitted for such attempts gain their fitness by heeding in some measure Paul's advice about keeping the body in subjection. The enervated, sluggish thought would be ill qualified for mountain climbing, or any other brave endeavor, either on the physical plane or the spiritual; therefore we need to get rid of the tendencies which hold mortals down to mere earthliness, and at any cost strive after the attainment of man's divine endowment of purity, health, hardihood, strength, and endurance, for without these the higher altitudes cannot be gained.

         In this upward journey from sense to Soul the Christian Scientist should ofttimes pause to recall our revered Leader's words respecting "them who love God," namely, "Stately Science pauses not, but moves before them, a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, leading to divine heights" (Science and Health, p. 566). Many who come to Christian Science are in the plight of Lot and his family, when the call of Truth aroused them in the face of impending destruction, with the warning, "Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, . . . escape to the mountains, lest thou be consumed." In many cases the cry of kindred would urge that there be a longer tarrying on the plane of material experimentation, which had failed to bring health or happiness, but the command comes anew in gentle yet insistent tones, "Flee as a bird to your mountain."

        As we begin the ascent in Christian Science, we find new and unexpected aids, which we appropriate as material belief is left behind. The children of Israel were afraid even to approach mount Sinai; but Moses went up and communed with God, infinite Mind, and returned with his face shining so that the people could not look upon it. Then we read that as the years went on, up to one hundred and twenty, his vision was undimmed and his strength unabated. In Science and Health (p. 174) we read, "The thunder of Sinai and the Sermon on the Mount are pursuing and will overtake the ages, rebuking in their course all error and proclaiming the kingdom of heaven on earth." The moral law, materially interpreted, is prohibitive and restrictive, but when we ascend to spiritual heights and commune with the infinite source of all law, we find the freedom wherewith Christ makes free, freedom from sin, disease, and death.

        Strangely enough, mortals complain of the process by which the heights of Truth are gained. They deprive themselves of the mountain climber's joy because they fail to heed the apostle's admonition to "lay aside every weight" and to look unto Jesus, who went bravely forward, enduring all things for "the joy that was set before him," and Paul adds that we should consider this, lest we be "wearied and faint." Here we may remember that the ordinary mountain climber finds both joy and strength in breathing deeply the higher, purer air, and so should we on our spiritual journey. Even if we are forced to take the earlier stages to seek relief from suffering, we should press on for the pure joy in it, until the weight of belief in fleshliness is dropped and we shall "mount up with wings as eagles."

        St. John tells us in glowing words how he was carried up to "a great and high mountain" and shown the city of our God descending to men, and in its foundations were the names of those men who wrought with the Master in healing the sick. John also heard a voice from heaven which declared that sin, sorrow, and death should be no more. The Master said that in the great final struggles of humanity we should flee to the mountains, which surely means that we should press on till the mists of mortal belief, hate and fear, are left behind, and we enter upon our heritage in the realm of Spirit.


"Mountain Climbing" by Annie M. Knott, CSD
Christian Science Sentinel, October 17, 1914

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