The Law and the Gospel

Waiting upon the housetop at Joppa, Peter beheld a vision from which he learned a profound lesson—a lesson not to call common or unclean that upon which God had placed His blessing. Thenceforth Peter understood that the divine purpose included the Gentile as well as the Jew. In like manner we may learn that the purpose of divine Mind may become operative through the law as well as through the gospel.

The law of Peter's time was the Mosaic law. Given expression for the guidance of a primitive people, it had acquired through succeeding generations an accumulation of interpretations that rendered it ofttimes unjust and burdensome. The advent of the gospel began to correct these inconsistencies in the law. Jesus was continually charged with ignoring the law, but he showed that the gospel was not in conflict with the correct sense of the law, but was in conflict only with an illogical interpretation of it. Again and again when confronted with the letter of the law as being in opposition to the gospel he was teaching, he interpreted the law with a deeper meaning than the literal.

What is the moral signification of law? It is justice. Is not justice the aim and ultimate of law, civil as well as religious? As we reach the broader sense of the universality of God's plan and recall the events of history, we perceive that by means of law Truth has been expressed, more or less imperfectly, to be sure, down through the ages. Mrs. Eddy, on page 121 of "Miscellaneous Writings," has expressed the thought in these words: "Human tribunals, if just, borrow their sense of justice from the divine Principle thereof, which punishes the guilty, not the innocent." Her insistence upon obedience to civil law is familiar to all students of her writings. On page 219 of "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" she writes: "I would not charge Christians with doubting the Bible record of our great Master's life of healing, since Christianity must be predicated of what Christ Jesus taught and did; but I do say that Christian Science cannot annul nor make void the laws of the land, since Christ, the great demonstrator of Christian Science, said, 'Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.'" And on the following page she says: "I believe in obeying the laws of the land. I practise and teach this obedience, since justice is the moral signification of law."

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The Universe Spiritual
February 5, 1921

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