The Patience of Principle

The appeal to war as an arbitrament of human quarrels is rooted in the fundamental passions of the human mind. The primitive man fought as naturally as he slept or ate. He altered his method, it is true, as he became more civilized, but the instinct remained unchecked. When, consequently, peace movements are initiated, Hague tribunals formed, and limitation of armament conferences called, it is a proof that the power of Principle over the human mind has reached a stage where it is possible to place some further control upon evil. This, when it is understood, is the explanation of the Mosaic law, that curious compound of brutality and protection, exerted in the name of Principle, and yet, superficially, so contradictory of Principle. Moses, pondering deeply over the spectacle afforded by the comparatively unrestrained license of human thought, fell back upon his understanding of Principle for a way of escape from the claims of evil. Thinking the question out, in the light of this understanding he reached a series of conclusions which he embodied in his code. The conclusions were arrived at, however, not through any intellectual reasoning, but by adhering to the dictates of principle, in other words, to the law of God. The Mosaic law was, in consequence, received direct from God, Principle; and the record of the Bible, "And the Lord called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation," is merely the writer's way of expressing in the metaphorical language of the East, the fact lawgiver was receiving an answer to his prayers.

It is in the very necessity of things, then, that if the world is to understand the Bible, it should get clear on this question of prayer. "Desire," writes Mrs. Eddy, in a passage on the very first page of Science and Health, the depths ofwhich are not easily plumbed, "is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds." Moses seeking the solution of the problems which arose out of the passions of the Israelites, as they journeyed from Egypt to the promised land, reviewed the whole question in the light of Principle. To do this he had to bring all his ideas into subjection to Principle, which, stated in the language of his time, is only another way of saying that he prayed to God, to Principle. The result of the earnest effort he thus made to reach the truth was the answer to his prayer, and is expressed by the writer of Leviticus, personifying Truth as God, as he naturally would, in the words already quoted, "And the Lord called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation." Thus the Mosaic law, after the manner of all law, in spite of its crudities and its apparent brutalities, was an answer to prayer, a reflection of Principle.

Willingness to Investigate
November 26, 1921

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