It was a mistake for the editor of the Centerville Independent...

Centerville. (S. Dak.) Journal

It was a mistake for the editor of the Centerville Independent to say that the parts of the Bible which he esteems most vital, Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, waives aside as interpolations of men. Nothing in her writings can be fairly given such a meaning. It was also a mistake for him to say that he differs from Christian Science, not because of his deductions or opinions, but because he "accepts all of the Bible as it is written, and every bit inspired." It is to be observed that the editor of the Centerville Independent himself esteems certain parts of the Bible as "most vital." Reading the Bible with bare literalness would disregard its essential meaning. Prof. Charles F. Kent, of Yale University, has illustrated this fact as follows: "The declaration that Jehovah talked face to face with Moses or wrote with his finger on tablets of stone reflects the primitive, anthropomorphic conceptions of God. But this is only the early, graphic manner of stating the eternal fact that God communicated His truths directly to His prophets and people, and inscribed a knowledge of His law, not with His finger on perishable stone, but by means of individual and national experiences, upon the imperishable consciousness of the Israelitish race."

Nor are all parts of the Bible equally inspired. For example, compare Genesis 6:5 with Habakkuk 1:13. One of these passages declares, while the other denies, that God has knowledge of all evil. Or take Exodus 32:14 and Jeremiah 15:6, which present God as changeable and even "weary with repenting," and compare these passages with James 1:17, which presents Him as one "with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." So also we may read that God sleeps like a human being (Psalms 44:23), or that he neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalms 121:4). The facts are, of course, that the Bible consists of perhaps a hundred documents, which were written by almost that many persons, and they wrote from various stages of spiritual development. Didactic from cover to cover, the Bible includes almost every method and form of teaching, from the most allegorical to the most simple, from the most abstract to the most concrete.
No religious teacher has approached the Bible more reverently than did Mrs. Eddy. Her writings abound with evidences of her dependence on its contents. Thus she has said (Science and Health, p. 547): "The Scriptures are very sacred. Our aim must be to have them understood spiritually, for only by this understanding can truth be gained. ... It is this spiritual perception of Scripture, which lifts humanity out of disease and death and inspires faith."

When a Christian Scientist told the editor of the Centerville Independent that the latter would be a Christian Scientist if he understood Christian Science, the former made a statement which is perfectly true, but which may require explanation. To understand, according to the Century Dictionary, is "to interpret the signification of; seize the idea of; comprehend as resulting from a thought, principle, or rule." Whoever truly interprets the significance of Christian Science, whoever really seizes its infinite idea, whoever fully comprehends what necessarily results from its divine Principle, will be, sooner or later, a Christian Scientist. Whether he will take that position at once may depend on his willingness to give up human beliefs for spiritual understanding.

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September 21, 1918

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