The concept of truth and of religious duty presented in the Gospels was manifestly destined and designed to replace the Mosaic order of thought. The teaching of the Master, as a whole, makes this clear; yet it makes equally clear the fact that all the moral requirements of the law were not only to be honored by his followers; they were to be exalted. Instead of being respected in the control of selfish and sensual impulses, they were to be fulfilled by the elimination of these impulses. Love for God and for our fellow-men is to transform and sanctify human character, so that a dominating right sense shall do away with the need of extraneous requirement.

It is to be noted, however, that on many occasions Jesus seemed to inculcate a regard for the literal requirements of the Mosaic law, as though this were advisable during the transitional period of spiritual growth. Think not, said he, that I am come to destroy the law, for "till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." To the ten lepers he said, "Go shew yourselves unto the priests;" and it is added that as they went, in accordance with this Mosaic provision, "they were cleansed." In the instance of another leper, he counseled him to go and show himself to the priests, as Moses had commanded, for a "testimony unto them." All this evidences that, while recognizing that his teaching would ultimate in the passing of the old order, Jesus was careful to impress upon the people that the moral ends of the law were to be preserved intact, and that it were better to err on the side of conformity to the letter of the law than to hazard a lapse, in any degree, from its ethical standards. Christian liberty was never to degenerate into even the semblance of license or selfish indifference. While Christianity was to supplant the Mosaic order, it was to revitalize and fulfil its ethical requirements.

Paul's appeal to the Galatians, that they use not their liberty "for an occasion to the flesh;" and to the Corinthians, that they give heed lest their liberty "become a stumblingblock to them that are weak," hints at the extent of the temptation in this line to which the early Christians were subject; and the fact that this temptation still lies in wait for the unwary is clearly indicated in our Leader's uncompromising and suggestive words, "It is Christian Science to do right, and nothing short of right-doing has any claim to the name" (Science and Health, p. 448). Those who stand for the highest spiritual concept of Christian truth are individually called to be, indeed, "the salt of the earth." It is theirs to emphasize every jot and tittle of moral rectitude, by maintaining that purity, humility, and unselfishness of thought which blossoms in an unfailing honesty, kindness, and integrity of conduct. More than this, it is theirs to see that the law is honored at the hands of those for whom they are responsible. To secure the obedience and bring about the right-doing of children in their home and in their school is often a far more serious undertaking than to conform to the law ourselves; and it is here that the weak may be impelled to make God responsible, by endeavoring to condone the offence of their failure to win and maintain that obedience which the moral law and the child's best interests demand. What ought to be done, here, with God's help surely can be done, but there is need of great wisdom, patience, and firmness for God and the right. To bring into demonstration a home in which spiritual understanding and insistent love effect moral orderliness is of supreme importance; it is to accomplish great things for the world's redemption, and we may well deem it an enterprise worthy of profound and prayerful thought, and of the most earnest endeavor.

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November 17, 1906

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