"Shibboleth"

In the twelfth chapter of Judges is found an account of the test applied to the fleeing Ephraimites, who by denying their nationality sought to escape from the victorious soldiers of Gilead and regain their own land. Each fugitive was commanded to speak the word "Shibboleth," but the alien tongues had not been educated to frame these syllables aright, and none who attempted it could get sufficiently near the correct pronunciation to deceive the Israelites. It is not recorded that the unfortunate men recognized the difference in sound or knew wherein they had failed; but to the trained ear of their judges the slight fault of speech instantly exposed the attempted deception and convicted the culprits of being enemies of Gilead. Thereupon, under the unmerciful code which governed the wars of that period and decreed the execution of captives, they were put to death.

Is there not in this episode a lesson for all who seek enrolment under the banner of Christian Science? Are there no Shibboleths by which thoughts can be accurately tested, whether they be loyal to Truth or emissaries of the enemy? Doubtless many such can be drawn from the Bible and Science and Health, but one in particular presents itself and seems of striking appropriateness. "Thy will be done" is a phrase frequently on the lips of every professing Christian; but according to the thought from which it arises, it is capable of meanings wider apart than the extremes of the solar system. Is it glibly spoken, with wandering thoughts, a bit of hackneyed ritual, the mere utterance of habit? Then it is simply inert, having no more power to win divine favor than have "moonbeams to melt a river of ice" (Science and Health, p. 241). Is it murmured in bereavement, with bowed head,' in token of broken-hearted submission to the stern decree of a God too powerful for resistance, too remote for appeal, and too arbitrary in judgment for either anticipation or comprehension? Then it is only the maimed and meaningless "Sibboleth" of the trembling Ephraimite. It has no virtue to heal or to console.

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Divine Intelligence Ever Available
April 18, 1914
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