"And greatly to be praised"

"Wonderful ! How wonderful!" All were looking out of the car windows, feasting upon the beauty that lay like a radiant sunset upon the woods. Even the scraggly undergrowth of the wayside swamp had arrayed itself with indescribable splendor of color, and as one traveler heard approvingly the oft repeated ejaculations, he recalled Isaiah's use of the term "Wonderful" to describe the appearing of that divine idea which, alas! has ever been "despised and rejected" by the great majority of men. How different the subjective state and sequent vision of the prophet from that of those who "led him away to crucify him." To him "The mighty God, The everlasting Father," was made manifest in the divine idea, while they saw what they believed to be but an insufferably presumptuous Nazarene of whom they declared with bitter word and cruel deed, "We will not have this man to reign over us."

This historic failure to honor or even recognize the divine revelation is essentially repeated to our loss whenever we fail to identify all beauty, truth, and goodness as the expression of infinite intelligence, of the activity of divine Love. This wrong finds pertinent rebuke in the scientific declaration of Christian Science that "no wisdom is wise but His [God's] wisdom; no truth is true, no love is lovely, ... no good is, but the good God bestows" (Science and Health, p. 275). Spiritual education begins with the issuance of the first commandment, which demands that we know and honor Truth and true things alone, and both perception and judgment are corrected as we begin to see, as St. Paul puts it, that every thought and thing is to be brought into captivity "to the obedience of Christ." This right sense of God and His infinite and perfect expression must surely embrace the wondrous beauty so prodigally displayed these autumn days, but which for those who have eyes to see is ever present and abounding. It is expressed not only in exquisite refinements and associations of color, but in that beauty of form and tracing, found no less surely in the heart of an agate crystal than in the heart of a rose; in the harmony, the order, the coordination and adjustment to ends which are to be seen in the little things as well as the large all about us, so that the psalmist was impelled to say, "Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined." How true it is that everything becomes wonderful the moment it can be dissociated from matter and recognized as "of God," and this because the perfection of His beauty can never become commonplace, nor its inner wealth exhausted.

A mote floating in a sunbeam seems a very center of scintillation, and yet we never think of this radiance of prismatic color as pertaining to a speck of dirt. On the contrary, it is always known and honored as none other than a child of the sun. In this we make no mistake, and yet how grievously and universally men have stumbled in failing to identify the ideal and the inspiring as a revelation of the infinite good. It is here that the fundamental teaching of Christian Science expressed in Mrs. Eddy's statement, "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter" (Science and Health, p. 468), relates itself to the right understanding and interpretation of experience. If there is no life in matter, then matter certainly cannot give expression to any manifestation of Life; hence wisdom, goodness, and beauty should be forever divorced from it in our thought, and all that quickens and delights our higher sense, all that inspires us to seek after nobleness and purity, after God, becomes for us a revelation of the nature and the presence of Him in whom man, and all the things that appeal to man, consist.

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Among the Churches
October 30, 1915

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