On Losing Your Way

THE Hebrew people, it is well known, used the historical books of the Old Testament as a means of instilling spiritual instruction. For this purpose it does not matter whether the incidents of the Hexateuch are historical or not; for this purpose it matters not at all whether Abraham existed in the flesh, or was a mere figment of some writer's imagination; and for this purpose it matters nothing whether the record of the forty years in the wilderness is history or allegory. What does matter is that the spiritual lessons founded on these stories, and intended to be drawn from them, should be scientific. "The one important interpretation of Scripture," Mrs. Eddy writes, on page 320 of Science and Health, "is the spiritual."

The story of the exodus and of the entry into Palestine is a perfect example of this teaching. The exodus typifies the beginning of the individual struggle out of the flesh toward spiritual realities. The Book of Exodus, with the other books of the Pentateuch, describes the struggle between material sense and spiritual perception, whilst the last book of the Hexateuch tells the story of the victory over the flesh by those who have come through the conflict. The forty years in the wilderness were to the children of Israel precisely what the forty days in the wilderness were in after years to the Christian Church. But whereas Christ Jesus came through gloriously triumphant, a whole generation of Israelites perished of their own materiality between the cities of Egypt and the banks of the Jordan.

The story itself is so well known that it is absolutely unnecessary to repeat it. Every reader of the Bible is familiar with the conflict of Moses, the man who understood Principle, with the magicians of Pharaoh whose efforts were based on a belief in the powers of the human mind. When the limitations of the magicians had been disposed of, and the Israelites had been permitted to depart, the passions of Pharaoh, the very king of materiality, were aroused to attempt their pursuit and recapture. And so, at the Red Sea, there was given to the Israelites that further proof of the power of Mind over matter, when they passed between the heaped up waters into the peninsula of Sinai, and witnessed the absolute destruction of materialism in its effort to harm them. What followed proved how little progress had been made by the people in the effort to lay aside materiality, and become obedient to Spirit. So far from having learned to trust the power of Spirit, they were already sighing for the fleshpots of Egypt. Not even the manna falling from the sky was sufficient to destroy their inveterate materiality. They murmured for water, with the result that Moses, wearied with their importunity, was infuriated into striking the rock in his own name, and so incurring his own punishment of failure to enter the promised land, owing to his having yielded to the belief that it was he and not Principle who had wrought the miracles of the journey.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

Meeting in Unity
June 18, 1921

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.