The Gathering of the People

In the early days the man who conquered himself and was called Israel, a soldier of God, declared, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be."

In this day, and throughout the past few years, when people have been gathering in small groups, large groups, committees of all sizes, audiences and congregations, also mobs, one has been moved to consider the meaning of this coming together of the people. What do these gatherings portend? Are they an organized effort for destruction, or is it the beginning of a movement for a standardizing, equalizing endeavor expressing the desire for brotherhood among men? The recent victory of Principle over the destructive forces of evil in the war would indicate a movement toward harmonizing and unifying people in one common cause of righteousness against unrighteousness. The breaking of old chains of bondage and long continued, iron-clad laws of oppression, however, place many in the position of one in the streets of a strange city, not knowing whither to turn or whom to trust. Feeling ignorant and confused, they are the more easily swayed by human will and passion. The effort to organize and standardize human thought uncovers false, reactionary elements; yet order is manifest among mankind by organization when it signifies brotherhood and harmony.

In the twelfth chapter of Luke we find these words: "In the meantime, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trod one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." As growth in numbers accrues to an organization, human opinion, or human will, would endeavor to become a moving influence. In "The Life of Mary Baker Eddy" by Sibyl Wilbur, a chapter entitled "Conflict of personalities" shows the result of differing human opinion, human will, and personal ambition endeavoring to tread "one upon another," culminating in a competition which in its selfishness heedlessly would bring about a movement for destruction, but, unsuccessful in having no foundation in Principle, eventually goes its own way or works its own destruction.

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Practice and Theory
June 5, 1920

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