All Christian people are supposed to be familiar with the Master's admonition, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness," but not all lay the needed emphasis upon the "first," which relates itself very naturally with the demand found throughout the Old Testament for the rendering to God of all the firstfruits. In the earlier time it was, "The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God." In Proverbs we read: "Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase." When we come to the New Testament, we find the command to give priority to spiritual realities, and we also find the assurance (in that wonderful eighth chapter of Romans), that those who possess "the firstfruits of the Spirit" are ready to press on to the redemption of the body. This surely means that those who become conscious of man's spiritual nature and origin must turn to God for healing, and that they must acknowledge His supremacy in this and every other respect by seeking His help "first," not after all other means have failed; although it is never too late to seek divine aid.

The Christian world has long since given up the belief that men can please or propitiate God by material sacrifices or offerings, but few would deny that there rests upon all mankind an obligation to love and obey God, and to give this service priority over all other considerations. The student of Christian Science cannot plead ignorance as to how he can best show love and loyalty to the infinite creator, whom he is learning to know as Life, Truth, and Love; also as divine Mind. He knows that his offering must be mental or spiritual, and that it must be a perfect offering. It will not do to offer the "lame," the "halt," or the "blind," neither will it do to serve self and mammon first and then bring a tardy offering of the dregs to lay on the altar of God.

Strictly speaking, mortal man cannot rob God, but he can and does rob himself and his fellow mortals by forgetting what is due to God and His law. Let us make this an individual question; let each take account of his own thoughts and words for even one day, and let Principle be the arbiter to decide whether he has rendered unto Truth and Love the firstfruits of each hour, the "best of the oil," the corn and the wine, in the presence of that high demand, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." If one fails to do this, if, when error presents its plausible arguments for consideration, its truthless and loveless arguments are heeded, there cannot fail to be a weary wandering in a pathless desert till the straight and narrow path of spiritual obedience is found and followed. Even Paul accepted the popular belief that the fleshly man was "first," but the great Teacher declared that the last should be first and the first last. If, when temptation to believe in sin or sickness presents itself, we would quickly realize and declare that "man is not material; he is spiritual" (Science and Health, p. 468), error could not be voiced, and needless suffering would be averted. Mrs. Eddy also says (p. 234), "You must control evil thoughts in the first instance, or they will control you in the second."

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July 13, 1912

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