A Peculiar People

Speaking to the Christian believers of his day, St. Peter uses the word "peculiar" in a way which lifts its meaning quite above the state of being queer, or daft in some degree, about some things. He says, "Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;" and he straightway adds this very significant statement, "that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." St. Paul also dwells upon this idea of the contrast which the "followers of God" should naturally present to the habits of the unbelieving; and it is saddeningly true that in their failure to measure up to this divine requirement, the standard set by Christian men and Christian nations was never at a lower ebb than it is today. This is strikingly revealed just now in the comments which are made by Orientals respecting those who have presumed to instruct them how they should think and live.

No demand is more elemental or more logical than this: that a Christian man shall be consistent, that his doings shall comport with his sayings; in other words, that he shall not be a liar. He who is without reproach in this regard cannot avoid being "peculiar," and to every earnest Christian Scientist this thought must make continuous appeal. In view of what he stands for, inconsistency at once becomes his chief exhibit if he is not eschewing the ways of the world. We constantly affirm that "there is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter" (Science and Health, p. 468). What therefore shall be said of us, or how shall we think of ourselves, if we are evidencing great content if not an engrossing interest in material things, if we are so absorbed in money getting and money spending as not to be scrupulously careful regarding the fairness and justice of the means by which it is acquired?

We dare to give voice to our Leader's stirring call on page 227 of Science and Health: "Citizens of the world, accept the 'glorious liberty of the children of God,' and be free!" Shall we be enslaved by any inducements to get rich quick, by any unchaste habit of sense indulgence, by the evanescent follies of fashion in dress, or by the lure of "cheap" amusements? How wholesomely "peculiar" and helpfully inspiring would we be if the avoidance of everything that is at all questionable distinctly characterized every one of us!

Elemental Thought
August 14, 1915

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