"Prepare to meet thy God."

THE common acceptation of the Scriptural injunction, "Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel," which is found in the fourth chapter of Amos, is crowned with anything but a halo of light. Rather does it suggest some harrowing death-bed scene, where a poor mortal is being coerced into tardy repentance, or tortured with the assurance of merited future punishment because he has not repented or perhaps subscribed to some particular creed or faith. It has been a weapon of fear in the hands of priest and layman to intimidate many a poor sinner who had not measured up to their standard of profession and piety. It has likewise been a popular slogan during revival seasons, where the same fear and dread of coming face to face with God has been instilled into the hearts of hungering mortals. So intimately associated with the thought of death has it been that most people have very naturally interpreted it, Prepare to die.

But why the fear and dread which it invariably occasions? Because one and all have united in the thought that this meeting with God is to take place only after death; more than this, they have been led to accept the awful uncertainly that perhaps the individual has not lived up to such a standard of righteousness here as to ever make possible his meeting with God in peace. What has been the result of such teaching? Fear, fear,—a shrinking from the thought of meeting God! No assurance of present reward, but much wonderment as to what the future may have in store for him. In this state of fear and ignorance the poor mortal opens his door to the invasion of every disease and discord known to earth, until the schoolmaster of experience finally causes him to question the soundness of a doctrine that would drive people into heaven through fear and death.

At this point Christian Science comes to the rescue of suffering humanity and practically interprets this allimportant command of Scripture, "Prepare to meet thy God." It begins according to the natural order of things, to define the nature of this God they are to become acquainted with, and as the truth of His infinite love, goodness, and mercy, of His omnipotence and omnipresence unfolds, men begin to look to Him as an ever-present help in trouble; as the great Physician, who healeth all their diseases; as the loving Father, who is not willing that any of His children should perish, but that all should repent. They no longer think of death as a stepping-stone to heaven, but that God is "the God of the living," a God who is all Life, with whom they should acquaint themselves here and now and "be at peace." The Christ comes to them with a message of life, not of death; of love, not of hate, and this destroys fear and heals disease. They find the God of Jesus Christ to be a God of Life instead of death, and they no longer dread to meet Him; in other words, they have found the way to heaven now, which naturally relieves them of all anxiety concerning heaven hereafter. Instead of preparing to die a noble death, the fear of which keeps them "all their lifetime subject to bondage," they begin to live a noble life here and now, by walking in the footsteps of Christ Jesus, and thus becoming stimulating and helpful to their fellow-men. They also learn the truth about man, which reveals him as the child of Spirit and therefore wholly spiritual, and in no sense identified with the king of terrors, "the last enemy that shall be destroyed."

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Escape from Delusion
June 24, 1905

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