"What is written in the law"

At some time in the journey of life a man becomes interested in the phenomena expressed around him and concerned about the problem of human existence. Sooner or later the thought of eternal life enters his consciousness, and Job's question, "If a man die, shall he live again?" occupies his thought. He ponders the to him unknown, and instinctively turns his attention to the consideration of God and man's relation to Him, to the doing of some act or the observance of some form or ceremony whereby he hopes to establish his heirship to Him, and his right to share in the estate of the Father, that thereby eternal life may be his by right of inheritance. Christian Science enables each one to learn who he is and whence he came, and draws mankind up to at-one-ment with God. On page 18 of Science and Health was read: "Atonement is the exemplification of man's unity with God, whereby man reflects divine Truth, Life, and Love."

In Luke's gospel we are reminded that men were then, as now, concerned about this same problem, for it is there related of Jesus that "a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" While there may be some uncertainty regarding the words "eternal life" as used by the lawyer, the expression "inherit" would indicate that he held the universal belief regarding this subject. The American Standard Version reads, "A certain lawyer stood up and made trial." The motive that prompted him to make trial of Jesus by his query is quite apparent. In striking contrast thereto is the wisdom, understanding, and tact displayed by the Master in dealing with this subject and with his inquirer. This, with the truth voiced by the lawyer in the following verses, is worthy of the serious consideration of every one, for therein is found a positive statement regarding this universal question, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

The lawyer, a scribe no doubt, familiar with the writing of judicial decrees, versed in the theories of rabbinical law, accustomed to propounding questions and the discussion thereof, and perchance a teacher, would engage Jesus in argument. Contrary to his expectation and quite at variance with the mode of human procedure, Jesus, knowing that God was the Father of all, looked upon this man as a brother, and in love and compassion inquired in simple words, "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" He thus shifted upon the inquirer the burden of establishing the issue raised, thereby bringing him face to face with the fact that man as God's likeness can know God's laws and be subject and obedient thereto. The reply of the lawyer, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself," brought forth the rejoinder from the Master, "This do, and thou shalt live," making final solution of the problem.

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June 24, 1916

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