Past and Present

As we pause betimes in our mortal journeyings and look around us, we may be led to ask ourselves where we can find evidence of real gain anywhere. Such an inquiry would not, after all, be surprising; for did not the wise man ask of the things about him the same question, and find no more satisfactory answer than this: "One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: ... All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full"? From his material musings he reached the conclusion that "all is vanity and vexation of spirit," and because he could see no difference between the end of a wise man and a fool, he was moved to declare, "Therefore I hated life."

It is tremendously significant to turn from Ecclesiastes to the twelfth chapter of Matthew and read of the healing work of Christ Jesus, including the case of a man who had a withered hand, also that of another who was blind and dumb, and many others. The evangelist tells that the Pharisees at this point held a council to devise means whereby they could destroy Jesus and his work. They also accused him of casting out these admitted evils by the source of all evil, but his majestic response comes down to us through the centuries,—"If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you." Well might he add: "The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here."

No one who admits the validity of the gospel records could well deny that through Jesus' healing ministry the kingdom of God had indeed come nigh unto men, and that its glory was far other than the splendor of Solomon's reign, even if we take into account the learning of that time, and the king's early glimpse of true wisdom which, alas, was too soon hidden by the mists of materiality and sensuous pleasure. Not to the wisdom of this world, which to God is but foolishness, does the kingdom of God come and the domain of spiritual law appear, nor can the understanding of it ever rest upon a basis of material belief. Only to the purest spirituality can the things of God be revealed and the Christ healing be demonstrated. To-day the Master's words ring as true as when they were uttered by him, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God,"—shall see good, and good only, whatever be the evidence of sin, disease, and death.

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"Two baskets of figs"
May 3, 1919

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