The history of the word tithes is not dissimilar to that of many others in the language. It began in some idea of propitiation, it was continued as an act of gratitude, it is finding a purely metaphysical significance. The idea, is, of course, much older than the history of Israel, nor was it confined to the Semitic race. It originated in the fear of all primitive peoples for their deities. These gods, whom they endowed with their own worst passions, suitably magnified, were represented, by a cunning priesthood, as demanding a tenth of the fruits of the people's labors. If this were not forthcoming then trouble was to be expected. Failure of the next year's crop, murrain amongst the cattle and the flocks, even plagues amongst owners themselves. As superstition faded, as a truer sense of Principle began to dawn, Olympus and its kindred heavens fell into gradual disrepute. The Israel of Abram, if the term may be permitted, led the way into monotheism, and the theory of the payment of tithes began slowly to be reconstituted on the basis of gratitude for God's mercies. Then came the dawn of Christianity, and the restatement of religious faith on a metaphysical basis. "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets," Christ Jesus declared, in the Sermon on the Mount: "I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."

The second century of the Christian era saw the laughing of the gods out of Rome, mainly owing to the satire of Lucian, the pagan disciple of the philosopher Epictetus. A little later the road was opened to the teaching of Christianity in its pure metaphysical significance. Miserably enough, the destruction of the culture of pagan Rome, unreplaced by this metaphysical teaching, was already beginning to envelop the western world in the ignorance of the dark ages. Slowly and painfully Christianity had to fight its way back to some understanding of its lost metaphysics. The medieval period saw the struggle to give to the nations the Bible in the vernacular. The renaissance witnessed, in the revival of letters, the restoration of the right to think. The era of modern history dawned with its long and fluctuating battle between education and superstition. And then, at last, in the nineteenth century, came the rediscovery, in the new world, of Christian metaphysics, in what the Discoverer, Mrs. Eddy, named Christian Science. "In the year 1866," she writes, on page 107 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "I discovered the Christ Science or divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love, and named my discovery Christian Science."

The Reassurance of Divine Love
February 12, 1921

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.