LOVE EVER THE THEME

Many of those who have since become Christian Scientists were much surprised when they first attended a Christian Science church service, to find there was neither personal preacher nor sermon, in the common acceptance of those terms. That such large congregations could be brought together and their interest retained, without the eloquence and so-called magnetism of a minister, was astonishing to these people, but as they continued to attend they began to realize the meaning of the correlated passages from the Bible and Science and Health, and not only saw the beauty and grandeur of the Lesson-Sermons, but also the reason for the statement that these sermons are "undivorced from truth, uncontaminated and unfettered by human hypotheses, and divinely authorized" (The Christian Science Quarterly, explanatory note). At first, too, it may have seemed to them that only certain passages from the Scriptures were used, but as they continued to attend these services they found that this was not so, and that the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, was drawn upon for instruction. They began to perceive that the purpose of the Lesson-Sermon was to elucidate the spiritual meaning of the Bible text, and that in the church services and in their home study Christian Scientists were consistently endeavoring to follow the first tenet of Christian Science as given by Mrs. Eddy on page 497 of Science and Health: "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life."

In time, we all come to a realization that in appointing the Lesson-Sermon for use in the Christian Science churches, thus making the Bible and Science and Health "our only preachers," Mrs. Eddy must have intended, among other things, that the churches of this denomination should be saved from what has often been a feature of personal preaching, namely, the use of so-called "proof texts" as a dogmatic form of condemnation or theological argument. The committee which prepares the Lesson-Sermons has been singularly successful in keeping them free from everything of this kind, and in making them broad, generous, and loving in their presentation of the various phases of the subjects which were selected by our Leader for this purpose. It is equally important that this breadth of view, this loving guidance, and this freedom from personality should be expressed in the selections from the Bible and Science and Health which are read at the Wednesday evening meetings. Unfortunately, there have been times in some of our churches when it was apparently thought necessary to make these selections fit what seemed to be looked upon as the sins of omission and commission of the congregation, and to use the Bible texts especially as not only in condemnation of these sins, but also in condemnation of the members of the congregation. This mode of selecting the readings cannot, however, work for the good of the Christian Science cause, since it is not in keeping with our Leader's purpose in instituting these meetings, as shown in a message to The Mother Church on page 149 of "Miscellaneous Writings," from which we quote as follows:—

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"THY TESTIMONIES ARE VERY SURE"
August 3, 1912
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