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"SPIRITUAL BEAUTY"

From the August 7, 1909 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

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IN Science and Health we are told that "it is ignorance and false belief, based on a material sense of things, which hide spiritual beauty and goodness" (p. 304). The love of the beautiful is inseparable from human aspiration; the pity is that ignorance of spiritual reality should ever attempt to separate beauty from goodness, as is too often the case. If it were really possible to do this, beauty would cease to be, for all of God's ideas are so vitally linked together that any attempt to separate them must lead to the loss of all; that is, so long as one entertains this false belief. The recognition of this fact is at least partially expressed in that sense of proportion which is always held to be an essential of all true art.

In Second Chronicles we read that singers were appointed to "praise the beauty of holiness;" and among the prophets we find this truer sense of beauty pervading to some extent all their thought. This is especially true of Isaiah, who with glowing words describes the grandeur of spiritual realities, as the veil of sense is drawn aside. He calls upon Zion to awake and put on strength: "Shake thyself from the dust," he says; then he bids her put on her beautiful garments, and adds, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him…that publisheth salvation." It is also he who tells the afflicted that as the light breaks upon them their "health shall spring forth speedily." Even according to physical belief there can be no permanent beauty without health, but Mrs. Eddy says, "The embellishments of the person are poor substitutes for the charms of being, shining resplendent and eternal over age and decay" (Science and Health, p. 247).

We read that when Moses came down from the mount where he had for forty days communed with God, his face shone so that the people could not bear to look upon him; and we may well ask how this radiance, this glory, came to him. He had been receiving the law of God, which, translated into the terms that humanity could understand, meant the sternest moral prohibitions; but the spiritual sense of this law so purified Moses' consciousness that it was no wonder his face shone with the beauty of Spirit, no wonder that when he was an hundred and twenty years old, "his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated."

A very striking utterance of the Master respecting beauty is this stern denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees: "Woe unto you, . . . for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness." He had doubtless seen that the false sense of goodness and beauty is the grave of human hope and faith. While he did not, as it seemed, say much about beauty, his whole work tended to unfold goodness and beauty, mental, moral, and physical, where disease and deformity had marred both mind and body. The purity he taught was that of the heart, and it made the body pure. The psalmist tells us of the king's daughter who is "all glorious within;" and Peter says that the true woman seeks not "outward adorning," but "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."

We read that on the mount of transfiguration the disciples beheld their Master, with Moses and Elias, radiant with the glory of spiritual being, even his garments expressing the spotless purity of Spirit. The disciples could then but faintly grasp the meaning of that scene, but we rejoice that they have told us of it, and that we, like them, may grow and understand. Christian Science links us to the great, the good, the beautiful, the true, in all the ages, and with the psalmist we pray, "Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us."

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