The Third Commandment

Each demand of Principle is a perpetual demand. The creator saith, "I am the Lord, I change not." Even so, the qualities and conditions expressed through the universe of Truth remain forever the same. To the human concept these demands appear in different aspects in different periods, even as a diamond reflects a different tint when viewed from a different position. Yet a condition of Truth or demand of Principle must remain fundamentally permanent. That is to say, the command, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image," signifying at one period of human experience that the similitude of material objects must not be constructed for worship, at another indicates that no vision or desire must be molded or tolerated in thought that will obstruct a purely metaphysical or spiritual concept of Father-Mother and Son. The basic demand has not changed in any degree; only as human thought gradually relinquishes its errors does the divine admonition require deeper and fuller analysis.

In exemplification of this the evolution of the third commandment is interesting and helpful. "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." When a child, one is informed in explanation of its meaning that sacred words are not to be used lightly, but as experience broadens and the use of the oath to the Hebrew becomes understood, the necessity is realized of performing promises solemnly made. The Hebrew practically considered the oath to be a conditional curse, a self-accepted punishment should he prove false. Jesus reminded the people in the Sermon on the Mount of the old command and adjured them to keep their word from the standpoint of Principle. "Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." To-day the old interpretation is giving way to a more metaphysical understanding of the same. Even in our legal practices we are witnessing the disappearance of the oath in some matters. "And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing it to be true and knowing it to be of the same force and effect as if made under oath."

A consideration of the words of the commandment brings out fresh thoughts. Unquestionably "name" in the Scriptures signifies "nature" rather than a mere designation by means of which a person may be found at his residence. Many are the sons in the canonical writings whose names but indicate the condition of thought or the surrounding circumstances at the time of their birth. The change of name, as in Jacob to Israel, but shows forth an altered and elevated nature. What can be understood from the injunction to baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" other than complete immersion in spiritual understanding, the unconditional surrender of material concepts, joys, and sorrows, and the putting on of immortality, the realization of divine sonship? One meaning of the word vain is "fruitless." On page 2 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mrs. Eddy says, "Asking God to be God is a vain repetition."

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Reliance on Truth
August 2, 1919

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