The account given in the 9th chapter of John of the healing of one who had been born blind, is peculiarly interesting in that it sets forth the vital purpose of the Master's work, and also because it marks an era in his ministry. Prior to this the great Teacher had, as it were, taken away from scholastic theology every prop on which it relied, in the way of "doctrines of men," and had shown that the foundation of his Messianic teaching and practice must be purely spiritual.

As to how this teaching and this practice were received by those who claimed to be looking for the coming of God's kingdom, we are not left in doubt. Luke tells us that when Jesus announced to the people of Nazareth his complete program, for which he had paved the way by his healing work, "they thrust him out of the city" and attempted to "cast him down headlong" from a precipice. In spite of this, however, he pursued his appointed course, healing the sick and uncovering the false foundations of mortal belief at every point. He was rejected in Galilee, and John tells us that "he would not walk in Jewry [Judea], because the Jews sought to kill him." We find, however, that he did go up to Jerusalem at the time of the feast, that he went daily the temple and taught, and that it was at this time he gave one of his most wonderful lessons, when he turned the light of Truth upon the accusers of the sinful woman so that they were at once self-convicted. Then it was that he said, perchance in the hearing of this woman, "Ye shall know the truth, and truth shall make you free,"—words which echo down the long years to this glad day when their full meaning dawns upon the world in Christian Science. These words were scarcely spoken before "they took up stones to cast at him," even within the sacred precincts of the temple.

As he passed out, unharmed by their malice, he saw the blind man to whom reference has been made, and concerning whom the disciples asked whether this man or his parents had sinned. This question implies that they had been led to see the intimate relation between the moral and the physical; but it also shows that they were still influenced by their former theological teaching, which led them to believe that such an affliction must have resulted from some special moral offence, and Jesus hastened to disabuse them of this mistaken belief. He had just been confronted by the most dangerous and obstinate form of sin,—that which in the presence of light chooses darkness, which not only refuses to enter the open door of spiritual opportunity, but which will not suffer "them that are entering to go in." He had already told them that it would be "more tolerable" for the men of Sodom, in the judgment, than for those who rejected the truth which he offered the world. And wherefore? Because, without Truth, sin and suffering cannot be overcome. So long as material belief claims to usurp the place of spiritual truth, the "law of sin and death" will prevail, to mortal sense; the innocent will seem to suffer for the guilty, for innocence which is ignorant of the power of Truth is not sufficient to protect from suffering and death.

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December 8, 1906

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