The Ninety-first Psalm

Much has been written by Christian Scientists concerning the wonderful helpfulness of the 91st Psalm to those who are trying to demonstrate, in daily life, the exact and purely scientific teaching of the Holy Scriptures. I am moved by the helpfulness of these publications in my study of the word of God, to tell of the inspiration which came to me one evening from that Scriptural masterpiece, during an hour devoted to the treatment of an absent friend, who is seeking the light of perfect healing in Christian Science.

As every one knows, the 91st Psalm begins with the uplifting declaration, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty;" and in Christian Science we learn that the "secret place" is divine Mind, and that they who dwell in this Mind "abide" (live uninterruptedly) "under the shadow of the Almighty." Passing on from this thought, to which I had been a stranger until my attention was called to the teaching of our beloved Leader, Mrs. Eddy, my eye was caught by the words in the second verse, "I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God: in Him will I trust," and the thought arose at once, against what is God a fortress? from what do we flee to Him as a refuge? He is Truth, Life, Love, He must therefore be our defence against, not wicked persons, not fleshly enemies, only; his defence would go deeper than that, even to defending His child against mortal error of every sort, and with this thought there comes a new consciousness, that this Psalm is addressed to each individual man or woman who is seeking the "way of the Lord," and that it bears directly upon the conduct to be pursued in the ordinary affairs of life. Can one imagine a more effective shield and buckler against the malicious lies, the midnight designs, the pestilential inventions of business and social competition, than is afforded by the blessed influence of the truth lived and demonstrated in the every-day affairs? As the arrows of error strike against the bucklered arms of spotless integrity and fall broken and incapable of further harm at the feet of the innocent, as the "adder" of darkness and dark purpose bites ineffectively at the mailed heel of one clothed in "the whole armor of God," so the one who seeks valiantly to combat error with Truth, to meet material evil with spiritual rightness, this one will see, in his own personal experience, a thousand (errors) fall at his side, and ten thousand (errors) fall at his right hand, but none shall come nigh (to hurt) him, nor pierce his armor of Love and understanding.

This thought helped me surprisingly to see the nothingness of the several errors which I was combatting at the time. Previously, possibly like other Scientists who have been members of the orthodox churches before coming into Christian Science, the seventh and eighth verses of this Psalm had seemed to refer to mortal personalities. "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked." In the old thought, these verses had presented the mental picture of a vast army in battle array, out of which army thousands of the wicked had been stricken down to every righteous man who had escaped. In Science we are taught, however, that man is the perfect child of God, and that "It is the sense of sin, and not a sinful soul, which must be lost" (Science and Health, p. 311). This teaching proves the old picture to be false, because, in Truth, no individualities are slain. What, then, is the real meaning of this passage of this helpful and uplifting song of David? What dies? The sense of sin. What lives and conquers? He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High. With what does he contend in every waking hour in which he realizes that God is his refuge and his fortress? Error, only.

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December 3, 1904

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