Standing Orders

When a soldier takes his first step in the profession of arms, he learns that his orders are classified under various headings. First there are what are known as the "routine orders," which set forth the daily round of his profession; then there are the "operation orders," which are given when he is to meet the enemy; and lastly there are the "standing orders," which remain constant and need not be repeated to him day by day. To one who has endeavored to learn the constructive side of a soldier's experience, these different types of orders, when considered metaphysically, have been found somewhat helpful and have thrown a fresh illumination upon the wonderful story of the healing of the centurion's servant as recorded in the gospels of Matthew and Luke.

Here was a captain of the Roman guard, trained in the school of perhaps the sternest militarism which the world has ever known, yet with a love so sincere for his suffering servant that he sought out the great Jewish teacher and implored his aid. Perhaps this brotherly love had been the first step to draw him to the healing Christ and enable him to perceive the spiritual truth which healed his servant. "Speak the word only," said he, "and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it." The record states that Jesus marveled at his faith, and that "his servant was healed in the selfsame hour."

"What is this healing prayer?" Mrs. Eddy asks on page 12 of Science and Health. In answer she says, "A mere request that God will heal the sick has no power to gain more of the divine presence than is always at hand." It would seem that the centurion had come to realize something of this fact. He knew that a request, however earnest, made to a corporeal deity had not the power to bring his servant back to health. It must be an order backed by absolute divine authority and spoken by one who knew on whose authority he spoke. One of the reasons for the astonishment which our Lord's teaching produced upon the Jews is said to have been his method of teaching. "For," says Matthew, "he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."

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The Reading Room and the Children
May 24, 1919

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