Religious history has a value as a repository of the archives of human experience. It has a further value, in that it furnishes a basis of prophecy, it shows the trend and sequence of ideas and impulses, and thus supplies us the material for a philosophy of racial and religious movements. It has yet another value in its disclosure of the significance of the individual life, the potency of an exalted manhood in league with Truth. Its greatest value, however, is found by those for whom it illumines and illustrates the moral struggle going on in the arena of individual consciousness. For these the sweep of the centuries is but an enlarged outline and foreshadowing of their own inner life. They find history's vital worth as they are enabled to interpret it in the terms of personal experience. An altogether new interest in the Bible is thus awakened. Through the recognition of a common enslavement, a common struggle, and a common means of escape we are linked to the truth-seekers of all ages, brought near to the heart of humanity, and a sense of fellowship with all men is established, which makes us more loving, more kind, and more true.

This awakening may be noted in the progress of the 107th Psalm. The writer begins with the citation of grounds for thanksgiving which are long past, but he speedily falls into the enumeration of present and personal circumstances, which are not simply illumined by the historic situations, but which in an important sense are identified with them. The larger significance of his reference to the past is discovered in this parallelism, if not identity, of experience which he establishes.

The history of the children of Israel in Egypt, of their wanderings and of their final entry into the promised land, has been peculiarly serviceable to sacred writers, in keeping with this thought, since its every salient aspect is paralleled in the story of individual serfdom and emancipation; but, to a degree unknown to all other historic events, the birth, the life struggle, and the triumph of Christ Jesus have revealed the nature and the order of that individual transformation and overcoming which was defined by the Master as the new birth, and it is this fact which in Christian Science determines the higher values of the Christmas story, and which should determine the character of its celebration. When Israel's Messianic hope is felt in our longings for spiritual illumination, and the Christtruth is born in us, as Christ Jesus was born in Bethlehem,—when his presence is known among the hills of Galilee, in the overcoming of sickness and sin, then we have compassed the vital elements of all Messianic history. From this vantage-point we see that all essential truths are universal, and that the travail of the new birth epitomizes every important fact of sacred history. "When a new spiritual idea is borne to earth, the prophetic Scripture of Isaiah is renewedly fulfilled: 'Unto us a child is born, ... and his name shall be called Wonderful' '' (Science and Health, p. 109).

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December 21, 1907

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