Mrs. Eddy ascribes to the serpent many firsts. Unfortunately, we haven't yet witnessed the lasts of those firsts. Some serpents need to be decisively handled, taken by the tail. Others have a disarming gift of gab, the mesmerizing and deceiving power of a used (pre-owned) car salesman or a snake oil huckster. If we are not constantly alert and watchful, even the gentlest mesmeric crosswind can deflect our work and intentions by just that much, and even a near miss is a miss. Clinging to God with all our might will enable us to avoid error's subtle deflections with the necessary yaw or Kentucky windage to keep us on course.
"Things are seldom what they seem,/Skim milk masquerades as cream;/Highlows pass as patent leathers;/Jackdaws strut in peacock's feathers." (G&S, "HMS Pinafore") A hopeful, faltering, or wishful effort will not generally suffice, since as the poet says, "Faint heart never won fair lady!" (G&S, "Iolanthe") Ivory Soap's 99 &44/100ths % pure is still not the perfectly pure which may be necessary for our spiritual progress and healing. "Bad language or abuse,/I never, never use,/. . . Though 'Bother it' I may/occasionally say,/I never use a big, big D--/What never?/No, never!/What, never?/Hardly ever!" (G&S, "HMS Pinafore")
I need to remind myself often that the song of Christian Science is "Work--work--work--watch and pray." Scrupulous attention to spiritual detail, which is required of those who have "named the name of Christ", should leave no time for a bit of "harmless" canoodling with the serpent, a dalliance which can only result in being inveigled by its seductive whisperings.