There are many who have a peculiar and quite unwarranted concept of Christ Jesus' moral teachings. They apparently believe that he manifested an easy toleration for wrong-doing, and differed from the Pharisees mainly by holding a more flexible standard than theirs,—an opinion which is indeed wide of the fact. It is true that the standard of the master Christian was different from that of the religious leaders of his time, but the difference was due to the greater spirituality of his ideals and teachings, which of necessity made a greater demand for righteousness than did their material requirements. Christ Jesus said that he had not come "to destroy the law, or the prophets: ... but to fulfil;" and throughout all his teachings we find the demand for obedience to God's law in thought, word, and deed.

There is something almost startling about the test which the Master gave in his sermon on the mount, already quoted, when he said, "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." He then proceeded to press the absolute demands of Principle for that righteousness which alone can meet the requirements of spiritual law. He declared that the indulgence of hatred is a violation of the command, "Thou shalt not kill," and that lustful looks and desires constitute adultery. At this point some one may ask, "What about the sinful woman brought to Jesus for judgment?" to which it may be answered that in this case the sin was admitted by the woman and condemned by her accusers; but the Master's condemnation of the sin went deeper than did theirs, for he pointed to its utter annihilation when he bade the woman "sin no more." No mere surface morality did he teach or live, but that which expresses in ceaseless endeavor the perfection of our Father-Mother God, and no lower standard than his can find any place in Christian Science.

Any plea for error, however disguised, is but the "thief" which the Master declared comes "to steal, and to kill, and to destroy." Any phase of error which would rob us of our sense of true and complete obedience to divine law would next rob us of health and even life, whereas obedience brings health, happiness, and long life. Our revered Leader declares that "chastity is the cement of civilization and progress" (Science and Health, p. 57), and this applies to married and single, and is above, not beneath, the moral standards of the scribes and Pharisees of our time. It does not trifle with temptation under the guise of "platonic friendship," or anything else which leads from the straight and narrow path of duty. The poet's note of warning may well awaken thought:—

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February 4, 1911

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