None Other Way

We are living in an era of ever increasing liberality of conviction, when most men are disposed to recognize some values in well-nigh every phase of past and present belief. Much of the hard and fast dogmatism of the saints of all ages is now quite unhesitatingly, though reverently, passed by, and hence, in all probability, it is a bit disconcerting to so-called "free thought" to come upon the finalities of assertion which characterize Christian Science teaching, even as they characterized the teaching of Christ Jesus in the long ago. Here one finds no indulgence of a fluctuating attitude of mind, no spirit of hospitality to any and every vagary of opinion. On the contrary, he constantly meets with such a "determination of the whole matter" as will be judged either "irritatingly presumptuous" or else "the argument-ending dictum of immutable law." with the teachable and the aspiring, the Master always showed himself to be patiently uncritical. Even Thomas' hard-headed unbelief elicited only a very gentle rebuke. His disclosures of the ill-logic, the contradictory nature of current religious beliefs, were so considerate and tactful as to offend only the more bitterly prejudiced, and yet in his declarations of truth he habitually spoke as one having that indisputable "authority" which is and can be based only on a knowledge of the absolute. He knew, and he taught his disciples how they might come to know by subjecting every question and judgment to the determination of demonstrable Science. Herein he was uniquely great, and Christian Science affirms that herein, withal, we are to be "like him." We are to "see him as he is," by that knowing of the truth, as he knew it, in which faith becomes spiritual understanding.

When speaking to the willfully resisting Pharisees of the exaction of God's moral requirements, our Lord's words may seem severe. He said, "He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." He saw, as we must come to see, that the maintenance of the integrity of right involves its inflexible opposition to wrong; that the truth never has consented and never can consent to any least error whatsoever. This is the meaning of that divine intolerance which finds such frequent expression in the Old Testament. Every blessing of which Moses assured the obedient in his last great exhortation to Israel was matched by a no less specific curse upon the disobedient, and Joshua gave this fact a dramatic emphasis in the setting he arranged for these great pronouncements over against Ebal and Gerizim. Of these, "the blessings and cursings," it is said, "There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel." So, too, Isaiah represents the call of the "anointed" as not only "to preach good tidings unto the meek" and "to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord," but to proclaim also "the day of vengeance of our God"! Everywhere the prophetic utterance declares that "the besom of destruction" will follow and find all those who harden their hearts and refuse to come to a knowledge of the truth. The punishment—that is, the destruction of wickedness, all error—is both unescapable and eternal, and this is seen to be in the very nature of the sovereignty of Truth. As a variation of the significance of any least integer of the multiplication table would effect inevitable chaos in the entire realm of mathematics, so any least consent to the imperfect or unideal would precipitate disaster in all God's kingdom. The immutability of good is an essential basis of all being, and it is this that renders a divine dogmatism both legitimate and natural.

"Prints of Praise"
March 12, 1921

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