"Be ye therefore perfect"

The full significance of these words of Jesus, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect," has been almost entirely lost for many centuries and their meaning will remain obscured so long as we cling to that great error of mortal mind, the belief in the reality of matter. Most religious doctrines, confused by materiality, have reversed the idea which Jesus meant to convey. Though the perfection of our "Father which is in heaven" has not been denied in theory, the imperfection, or sinfulness, of man has been almost universally proclaimed. This is the natural result of accepting contradictory premises. Nominally, God has been called only spiritual and perfect in quality and completeness. The human being has endeavored to hold to this premise and to realize the spirituality of God and His wholeness, or allness. Yet he has indorsed the premise that his own so-called ego, created by God, is in most ways detached from God, Spirit, and, during earthly life, is inseparably bound to and limited by a material body, non-spirit. Moreover, though the average thinker might not acknowledge it, the body is given the dominant place in the daily aims of living on earth; comforts and luxury in food, clothing, and housing being the objects of a great proportion of our activity. This seemingly dominant factor, material body, is universally accepted as something not spiritual, something subject to change and deterioration, or sickness and death, material conditions, which are manifestly imperfect. The three concepts—God, a separate entity man, and a material body—involve the extremes of perfection and imperfection. The reasoning is evidently illogical, for if Spirit is all and perfect, the thing which is detached from Spirit is something more than all. Therefore man has not an entity separate from God manifest. Moreover if Spirit is all and perfect, matter and imperfection are properly thrust out of existence, must be nothing—a dream. God is All.

"The fall of man" and all the doctrines based upon it were the religious errors which accompanied such confusion of thought, and sickness and death became inevitable images in the material dream. Only spiritual man can be perfect as the image and likeness of God—the purely spiritual. The acceptance of materialism reverses the teachings of Jesus in every respect. Think how some of the churches were driven by illogical reasoning, based on a false concept of man, to attribute to their God unloving, unforgiving, and unfatherly characteristics! Only the faithful members of these churches, no matter how inharmonious their daily life, were considered to be the children of God and forever blessed. To those who have awakened to some of the great spiritual truths, it seems almost incomprehensible that such confusion of thought should not have revealed its own erroneousness. Yet here again the result was natural, for mortal man reasons from man to God and inevitably makes God manlike. In the words of Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health, p. 269): "Human philosophy has made God manlike. Christian Science makes man Godlike. The first is error; the latter is truth."

Until one casts off this error of materiality, he is filled with confusion and doubt, faith in universal good is impossible, discord is rampant, and one seems subject to every illusion. The mortal mind becomes dazed with a medley of good and evil. Once acknowledge the spirituality of man, and step by step one reverses the erroneous thinking processes. Then sickness and death, imagined conditions of an unreal body, inevitably are rejected. They are no more real than a vivid dream is real to the dreamer. They are the product of a lack of spiritual understanding. Just as surely as the realities of a dream soon fade from memory, so will sickness, sin, and death vanish when one awakes from materialism to the understanding that man reflects nothing except the great spiritual realities,—Truth, Life, and Love,—the perfect Father.

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Practice versus Theory
September 11, 1920

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