The Fourth Commandment

While the writer was preparing a lesson on the fourth commandment for her Sunday school class, she paused at the phrase, "In it thou shalt not do any work," and wondered why the words "in it" were used instead of "on it." Not having made a very deep study of the commandments till I was asked to teach in the Sunday school of the little society of which I am a member, it seemed to me that the words "on it" would have been simpler and clearer, and the command would then have been straightforward enough for the smallest child to understand. But there were the words "in it" facing me from the open Bible and awaiting explanation for the little ones. I turned to the second chapter of Genesis and read, "On the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made." The word "on" being used twice in Genesis, why "in" in Exodus?

Just at this point a text flashed into thought from one of the sections in that week's Lesson-Sermon which had come to me repeatedly during the week: "If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light," and I turned to Science and Health, knowing that the explanation could be found there. Mrs. Eddy says: "The successive appearing of God's ideas is represented as taking place on so many evenings and mornings,—words which indicate, in the absence of solar time, spiritually clearer views of Him." "The numerals of infinity, called seven days, can never be reckoned according to the calendar of time." "Mind measures time according to the good that is unfolded" (pp. 504, 520, 584).

It then became apparent that the six evenings and mornings previous to the seventh day are for us, to whom the commandment is addressed, stages of consciousness or periods of progress which are necessary for each one of us to go through before we gain the "spiritually clearer views" of God; and just in proportion as we are faithful over the "few things" as they are revealed to us, will our understanding be enlightened in regard to the "many things," until we approach the seventh day, in which we shall have arrived at the full realization of God, man, and the spiritual universe.

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Plus and Minus
November 11, 1916

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