When the highly educated and cultured young Pliny, a...

Concord (N. H.) Monitor

When the highly educated and cultured young Pliny, a pagan Roman, served as governor of the province of Bithynia, in the early part of the second century of our era, he found spreading there what he termed a crude "superstition," a sect whose followers, although not guilty of any flagrant violation of law, were accounted possessed of a strange and dangerous religious "fanaticism." In country places, as well as in cities, the temples of the gods had almost become forsaken, and victims for sacrifice found few purchasers. Pliny desired special instructions from the Emperor at Rome respecting the method of dealing with this deluded and ignorant and dangerous sect. I refer to this instructive historical incident not for the discomfiture of the eminent scholars and preachers who are reported in your columns as delivering before the national conference of Unitarian churches held at Washington, D.C., hostile denunciations of Christian Science, couched in such vernacular as "fanaticism" and "fad," "the offshoot of religion," but as a former Unitarian clergyman, familiar with the honorable traditions of that church, I may surely point to the similarity between second-century Pliny and the two twentieth-century clergymen whose observations we have here under consideration.

My purpose is to ask what the basis and object of Christianity is in the world, and why people whose religion is based upon the testimony presented by the physical senses are always so mistaken in their observation and judgment respecting the fundamental teachings and effects of primitive Christianity. The phenomenon of spiritual blindness was explained by Jesus when he said: "That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God;" "Ye cannot serve God and mammon;" "It is the spirit that quickeneth." And Paul reiterated the same truth when he said: "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God," and that spiritual things (religion) can only be spiritually discerned, or known.

Those who go no farther, but rely implicitly upon the testimony of the finite human senses, will of necessity find the activity of spiritual consciousness in its healing, regenerative work to be foolishness, as Paul declared they would. The Bible, which is acknowledged to be the world's greatest treasury of spiritual wisdom, explains why mere human education and culture, deduced from sense testimony, is so mistaken in its estimates and attitude toward Christianity as applied to the practical solution of every-day problems.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

January 6, 1912

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.