One of the distinguishing signs of the study of Christian Science is an eager desire upon the part of those who read its literature for the spiritual interpretation of the Scriptures. Most of these people have found for themselves, before coming to Christian Science, the truth of Paul's statement, "the letter killeth,"—a statement based upon his own experience as well as observation. Before the Christ illumined his consciousness, Paul very likely knew all there was to be known of the letter of the Scriptures, but he lacked that spiritual sense of their meaning which Christ Jesus possessed, whereby he used the word of Truth as a weapon of defense on every occasion,—that spiritual sense by which he also healed the sick and the sinful. Saul of Tarsus was a very religious man according to human standards, but not only did he never attempt to bring life or health to others through his religion, but he actually sought to kill those who were doing this in the Christ way. When, however, his illumination came, he was able to see that it is the spirit which "giveth life."

Mrs. Eddy says (Science and Health, p. 320), "The one important interpretation of Scripture is the spiritual," a statement whose correctness none surely would question; the only question being how this spiritual interpretation is to be gained. Some seem to think that it may be gained by learning the views of others as to the meaning of the Scriptures, hence a good many requests to the editors for the spiritual meaning of one passage or another. It would almost seem as if the significance of the "Explanatory note" read at all our service, which speaks of the "spiritual import" of the Word, "uncontaminated and unfettered by human hypotheses" (Christian Science Quarterly), has been overlooked to some extent. As we study "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" we begin to see that material belief must be given up before we can understand God, man, or the Bible. Our text-book says (p. 356), "Material thought must become spiritualized before the spiritual fact is attained." When our thought is spiritualized, the Scriptures glow for us with the light of Truth and Love, the light which brings hope and healing and inspiration to those who have long dwelt "in the land of the shadow of death."

While each one should seek for himself the spiritualization of thought which opens up the Scriptures, it is true that a new and vital sense of the meaning of some passage may come from another's thought, but this can hardly come in response to a demand that another shall interpret Scripture for him. The spontaneous reflection of Truth's idea is that which blesses most; and, like mercy, "it blesseth him that gives, and him that takes." Many there are who have had the light shine upon a darkened path through a few words from our revered Leader, which illumined some passage of Scripture; and yet even the lowliest may share this privilege of realizing and expressing, in another's hour of need, the spiritual sense of the Word. A Christian Science child once heard her mother express a sense of fatigue. The child said quickly, "Mother, didn't Christ say, 'I am the vine: ye are the branches'? Now, if you are one of the branches, you must be fresh always." This was just the thought needed, and it was recognized as a message from divine Love.

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April 4, 1908

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