The account of the creation of man given in the first chapter of Genesis, ending with the statement that "God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good," and Paul's exclamation, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" present so much of incongruity that they seem to point to some great change having taken place somewhere. One is led to ask, "How can such a change have come about? has God altered His method of creation?" The Bible reveals to us a God "with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." We cannot therefore believe that the change is in Him: that in the first instance He created man in His own image and likeness, and now creates men mortal sinners, subject to sickness and death; that in the first instance He gave man dominion over all things, but has since taken from him that dominion, leaving him so unprotected that he is subject to every evil chance, his very life (may be) at the mercy of a pin prick. But if God has not changed, what has? Is it man who has so changed that he has lost the likeness to his Maker with which he was originally endowed?

Some years ago I had an experience which made a deep impression on me at the time, and it has been of value to me since coming into Christian Science in helping to clear up this question. I was visiting in the house of a relative who had but recently added to his already large collection of beautiful pictures three of especial interest and value as being the works of so-called "old masters." After his acquisition of these pictures the authenticity of one of them was questioned, and in order to satisfy himself as to whether or not the picture was really a genuine example of the great artist's work, an expert was called in to pronounce judgment upon it. This gentleman had made such a close and exhaustive study of the works of these old painters that he was capable of discriminating between the true and the false and of detecting spurious imitations with unerring skill, his judgment in such matters being considered final. It was my privilege to be present when he inspected the picture, and as I recall the incident the whole scene comes vividly before me, the studio, with the usual artistic properties and implements about, an empty frame or two, a few unfinished sketches, and untouched canvases of various sizes and shapes leaning against the walls. On an easel alone in the middle of the floor, with the light from the large north window falling upon it, stood the picture under consideration, while its owner and one or two friends and members of the family, a little apart, anxiously watching the keen and eager face of the expert, silently awaited the verdict.

After some minutes' close examination he looked up with a smile and said, "It is all right the picture is all right you have here a really fine specimen of the work of Sir Joshua Reynolds!" "But this bit of coloring," began my host, stepping forward and pointing. "Oh, Sir Joshua never painted that," interrupted the expert. "And this dark shadow in the background?" "Was added later," came the immediate answer. And then, after discussing the various points in the picture which had been called in question, he told us how it frequently happened that a great work of art fell into the hands of one who was not educated to appreciate its beauty, and who thought it would be more pleasing to the eye with a little added color here and there, and who gave it to some one equally ignorant of its real value, to deal with as directed.

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October 24, 1908

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