[Translated from the German]

"Blessed are the poor in spirit"

The modern thinker often fails to find an interest in religious questions, as a result of having grown up with a strong prejudice against everything which cannot be cognized by the physical senses and grasped by the human intellect. His strongest argument against religion is that it requires blind faith. He is striving after mental freedom, and as a proof that religion imposes restrictions upon the mind, he quotes the Master's words, "Blessed are the poor in spirit."

Christian Science has completely refuted the argument that religion and reason are incompatible, and furthermore has proved that religion, in order to be religion at all, must be founded upon Truth, upon eternal, immutable law, the knowledge of which constitutes science, the only science there is or can be; for in the last analysis Truth and its laws alone, the facts of being, can be considered science or true knowledge. That Jesus in saying "Blessed are the poor in spirit" could not have meant that dulness and ignorance lead unto salvation, is clearly evidenced by the fact that he made the salvation of mankind dependent on knowledge of the truth. "Ye shall know the truth, he said, "and the truth shall make you free." Knowledge of the truth results in mental emancipation, and therefore is the exact opposite of ignorance and narrowness of mind. When Jesus spoke of the "poor in spirit," he cannot possibly have meant people whose thought was narrowly circumscribed.

Our current conception of the poor is of people who are destitute, who lack the necessities of life, and who, because they are conscious of this fact, accept alms in order to relieve their want; indeed, they consciously go where they believe they will be given what they need, and when they do not receive where they have knocked, they proceed until at length they find elsewhere that wherewith to satisfy their hunger. Therefore the "poor in spirit," in the sense Jesus used this term, may be assumed to be those who recognize or are conscious of their lack of things needful, things spiritual; that is, of an understanding of the truth, and who earnestly seek to receive that for which they are yearning. They are striving to attain to spiritual apprehension, and are quite unlike the Pharisee, who takes the position that he does not need to receive because he has knowledge, and who, instead of being desirous to learn, is incensed when others do not accept from him gratefully and reverntly what he thinks he is bestowing upon them as a favor. The "poor in spirit" are the meek, to whom Mrs. Eddy refers in Science and Health (p. 34) as those who have a "receptive thought."

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Love's Ministry
August 14, 1915

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