In reading a Lesson-Sermon recently, I was struck with the statement of Jesus as to how the kingdom of heaven is attained. When the Pharisees demanded of Jesus when the kingdom of God should come, he answered, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation." Heaven, as we understand it in Christian Science, means harmony, and the text quoted shows that we can never realize harmony by any material looking for it, or, as translated, by "observation." The Greek word parakleesis conveys a suggestion of stealth, and it is with this meaning that the word is used in Dr. Weymouth's translation of this passage: "The kingdom of God does not so come that you can stealthily watch for it." The same word is employed in describing the watching of the Jews at Damascus to catch Paul as he issued from the city.

The term "observation" in the ordinary acceptation implies mere looking on, watching, rather than doing or performing. Observation like faith (in its lower sense) is not enough in itself, because it implies passivity on our part instead of activity. The disciples had just been asking the Master to increase their faith (Luke xvii.), and Jesus very pertinently replied that faith, or understanding, as we interpret it in Christian Science, is not gained by mere looking on, nor by the efforts of others. It is the constant application to and reliance on Principle by each one individually that leads to heaven, harmony. Nor does observation necessarily infer desire to do likewise. One may draw conclusions from observation in the material sense, but it is of course impossible to observe spiritual things materially. If we continue to observe our brother as in bondage to sin, sickness, and death, we shall never realize the presence of the kingdom of heaven for him spiritually; the very fact of acknowledging our material observation as correct, or allowing it to be so thought of, must obscure for us the real presence of actual harmony.

November 12, 1910

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