On Telling the Truth

IT was a great spiritual insight which led the Quakers to insist upon a strict adherence to the truth. Unfortunately, it was an inspiration unsupported by metaphysical understanding, with the result that its effects were largely frittered away in objections to the use of "we" for "I" or the social amenities implied in such a phrase as "Good day." At the same time the instinct which guided George Fox in his insistence on absolute veracity was divine. The Roman was as sure of this as the Hebrew who wrote Esdras, and the conclusion has come down to our own time in a whole bundle of proverbs. Yet, in spite of it all, absolute truthfulness was regarded by the ancients, and has been regarded ever since, rather as a counsel of perfection than as a workaday possibility. Not until Christ Jesus came preaching on the Jordan was the metaphysical aspect of the matter ever put fairly and squarely before the people, and even then, in the dark centuries which followed, human philosophy once more accepted the ideal of the counsel of perfection, nor was it until Mrs. Eddy gave Science and Health to the world that the full scientific significance of Christ Jesus' teaching was made plain, once more, to humanity.

Christ Jesus defined what may be termed both the absolute and the negative side of the matter quite clearly in this teaching. To those Jews who would have been his followers, he said, in the temple, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." The metaphysical meaning of this is, of course, perfectly clear. The truth, Jesus was saying, to his audience, is absolute. If you abide in it mentally, everything that is untrue, and so out of Principle, must be excluded from your consciousness. This will make you free from the influence of evil in the exact degree in which you maintain your position, and so harmony will be gradually substituted for inharmony in your lives.

In order, however, that there might be no mistake as to the omnipotence of Truth, Principle, Jesus, almost in the next breath, proceeded to dispose of evil as anything beyond a mere negation. "Ye," he said, ye who represent the carnal mind, "are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not." This explanation of the negative, as simply nothing, is as direct and clear as his explanation of the absoluteness of the truth. The devil is the personification of evil, and evil is a lie, and a lie abides not in the truth, or, in other words, has no actual existence. In reality, when metaphysically understood that is to say, the lie has never existed. By a simple process of deduction, then, a man's subjection to evil is in the precise ratio of his fear of and belief in it. But this fear and this belief must begin to be destroyed as his knowledge of the truth increases. It is the fact, then, of the existence of Truth that frees him, and in freeing him, heals him.

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"When I awake"
April 30, 1921

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