The question sometimes arises as to how far one is governed by his past history and religious inheritance; how much is due to established customs, and to what degree the past should be allowed to weigh against the privileges of the present. A member of the Jewish race especially needs to ask himself these questions in order to define his position in the world of progress. To be a member of the Jewish race, according to definition, "is the state of belonging to a particular group or family, descendants of a common ancestor." This, it will be seen, is a physical inheritance, not a mental state. Hence, a Jew born today need not necessarily think as his ancestors thought, nor does the fact that he is of Jewish race debar him from being progressive and enlightened in all fields, spiritual as well as intellectual.

For generations past, in spite of persecution, the Jew has clung to the Jewish religion, which to him has stood for monotheism. Now, it may be said, he is gradually awakening to the fact that his old-time religious form, with its ceremonial, is inadequate for present-day needs: it is historical, rather than practical. It would not be strange, therefore, if the Jew of today were found to be more receptive to new influences than others, especially if he is seeking that which will illumine and vitalize his own cherished ideals. He would thus be compared with the "poor in spirit," those receptive of the truth, as well as with those who "hunger and thirst after righteousness." Farthest from his thought is any desire to deny Jewish racehood, name, friends, etc. But just here, in many cases, enters the conflict between the past and the present. The past argues for loyalty to his people and to formal religion, whereas the present appeals to the dictates of conscience, which would acknowledge the revelation of Truth to our age. Paul asked the Galatians, "Who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?" and this is the question which we, too, should ask ourselves. In Science and Health it is written: "Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity." "Will you open or close the door upon this angel visitant, who cometh in the quiet of meekness, as he came of old to the patriarch at noonday?" (Pref. vii., p. 224). With God "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female." His message is to the individual and must be answered by the individual, irrespective of so-called race or station. The one Mind and creator, who is Love, is the Father of all. He places no barriers between His children, and knows no distinctions.

January 4, 1913

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