History repeats itself

The Christian Science Monitor

"History repeats itself. The Pharisees of old warned the people to beware of Jesus, and contemptuously called him 'this fellow.' Jesus said, 'For which of these works do ye stone me?' as much as to ask, Is it the work most derided and envied that is most acceptable to God? Not that he would cease to do the will of his Father on account of persecution, but he would repeat his work to the best advantage for mankind and the glory of his Father" (No and Yes, p. 41). Those are Mrs. Eddy's words. Her appreciation of the meaning of Jesus' sayings is the result of her clear spiritual understanding. Her writings, in consequence, taken in connection with the Bible, are the most valuable possessions of humanity to–day. Christ Jesus revealed the truth, the truth which every Christian acknowledges must eventually save the world. This truth, taught in Christian Science, is even now saving the world, but only in the degree that the world turns from sin and seeks an understanding of Truth. Mrs. Eddy says, "History repeats itself," because she found sinners in her day no more ready to accept the truth that destroys sin than they were in the days of Jesus. She rediscovered spiritual law, the law that destroys materiality, and she wrote it down, knowing as she did so that it was indestructible. She understood why Jesus had said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away;" and she affirms in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 99), "In no other one thing seemed Jesus of Nazareth more divine than in his faith in the immortality of his words."

"The Pharisees of old warned the people to beware of Jesus,"—these were materialists who found that the truth was troublesome to materiality, that it undermined it, and aimed at destroying their pleasure in it. They were incapable of appreciating the full power of divine Principle; nevertheless they felt the rebuke of Truth and instinctively desired to blot it off the face of the earth. Imagining it to be Jesus' own invention, by stoning him they thought to get rid of Truth. Without knowing it they attempted to persecute the divine idea—eternal fact. Christ Jesus asked, "For which of these works do ye stone me?" because he knew they stoned him for that which brought discomfort most rapidly to the mortal senses. They were annoyed because he had broken all kinds of man–made laws—the law of incurable disease; the law of gravity; the law that food sustains life; the law of poverty, as when he got his tribute money from a fish's mouth; the law of birth; the law of death. He proved these things to be not law, for law cannot be broken. Which of these, he asks in effect, have you all, as exemplifying mortal sense, found most disturbing?

We of the twentieth century have a habit of looking back to the first century and, considering the reception Christ Jesus was given, of wondering and being astonished at the blindness of the men who stoned, spat upon, derided, and crucified him. We scarcely remember that the small things of everyday life, the immediate surroundings of the Pharisees and the people, blinded and confused them, just as we may be blinded, limited, and confused to–day by the things of sense. Yesterday's events, to–day's the possibility of to–morrow's, which always loom so large in the human mind, closed them round in a dense fog of littleness, even as they do us to–day, and they did not know that they were trying to destroy eternal Truth. They only perceived the wretched policy, the gain or the loss of to–morrow. Their accusations, suggested by malice and personal sense, were absurdly trivial. For instance, when the Pharisees saw Jesus enter the synagogue, "they watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day." He healed the man with a withered hand. This great action was used against him, for they took counsel with the Herodians how they might destroy him. When the multitude came round the house where Jesus was, in such numbers that "they could not so much as eat bread," his friends laid hold of him, "for they said, He is beside himself," and the scribes said, "By the prince of the devils casteth he out devils." These are only a few of the accusations flung out wildly against him. The accusers, swayed by the passing passion or mood of the moment, were utterly careless as to the truth of what they said. They went with a multitude to do evil, and passed the lying tales on from mouth to mouth. Even his own follower, the daily witness of his life of love and sacrifice, went to the chief priests and asked, "What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?"

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July 26, 1919

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