"Thou shalt call me, My father"

That a man's true status is determined by his thought of God, becomes a commonplace in the light of religious history. In thought-building, not only does the structure erected rest upon its foundations, but its character is given form, its worth measure, by its foundations; and this for the reason that in all logical procedure there is a necessary governing relation between one's premises and his life-shaping conclusions. It is therefore in what we are, what we do, what we aspire to, that we disclose our knowledge of or our beliefs about God, and thus, as Mrs. Eddy says (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 170), "we make our own heavens and our own hells, by right and wise, or wrong and foolish, conceptions of God and our fellow-men." The words from Jeremiah, "Thou shalt call me, My father," show the need of a clear recognition of the divine fatherhood.

A list of these concepts which men have held of the overruling power would disclose the most astonishing contradictions. Every phase of thought as to the divine character and will, every degree of superstition and fear as well as of spiritual apprehension, has appeared in the rites and sacrifices by which men have sought to appease or honor Him. Moreover these contradictions are come upon not only when various religious beliefs are contrasted, but in individual concepts. As compared with other ancient peoples, the Hebrews were peculiarly well instructed about God; nevertheless in reading the Old Testament from a material viewpoint, one finds that its writers, though they declare God to be wholly righteous, yet speak of Him as punishing the innocent in violation of even a human sense of mercy. They refer to Him as supremely just, and yet as the author of laws which are iniquitous in their effects; as patient and loving, yet irritable and apparently vindictive.

Of the greatest representative of the Hebrew nation, however, it is said that he taught "as one having authority, and not as the scribes," and this is distinctively true in that he constantly affirmed and made manifest the integrity and consistency of the divine nature,—that it is entirely free from contradictions, without variableness, or "shadow of turning." Moreover, he taught that this God not only is perfect but is perfect Love; that He is the ideal Father, forever kind and dear, and that He is to become for each an abiding comforter and joy. Jesus' recognition of the fatherliness of God, his tenderness toward even the stumbling and wayward, was continuous, and nothing could exceed the naturalness and directness with which he approached the Supreme Being, and encouraged all who were humble and well meaning to look to Him. Indeed, he taught that we can get near to God only as we are sincere, simple, childlike, ready to take Him, fully and unhesitatingly, at His word; that the spiritual idea is to be gained, not through intellectual perception or the finespun analyses of dogmatic theology, but rather as a vision of light, as the dawning of the day to the open-hearted who have been waiting for the morning.

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Time Limitation
February 8, 1919

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