"Lively stones"

No figure of speech has been a greater favorite with writers of all ages than that of stones. The Bible contains examples almost without number of the use of stones as metaphor. When there was the wish to write of something reprehensible, we read of hearts of stone, stones of darkness, stones of emptiness, stones of stumbling; while the purpose to commend would find expression in tried stones, white stones, and so on. Christ is frequently referred to as a stone,—a precious corner-stone, a living stone, an elect stone.

Perhaps no use of the word can bring to students of Christian Science a more practical lesson than that which Peter indulged in, when he spoke of the elect of his day as "lively stones." We read in the second chapter of I Peter: "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." This contemplation of a stone as "lively" immediately presents something unusual to thought, and sets one wondering as to the possibility of uniting such opposite qualities as those ordinarily attributed to stones—as, for instance, endurance, firmness, strength, stability—and those which belong to the usual definitions of lively,—such as, active, animated, energetic, buoyant, enlivening.

Here, as at all times, Christian Science explains away the apparent inconsistencies of the Bible; for when Mrs. Eddy "gained the scientific certainty that all causation was Mind, and every effect a mental phenomenon" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 24), she showed mankind the possibility of embracing in the same mentality all the qualities of good, even though human thought might claim them to be totally diverse. Thus, to every alert worker in Christian Science, Peter's "lively stones" immediately present a picture of great attractiveness; for there is nothing the Christian Scientist desires more earnestly than to be invincibly steadfast in his allegiance to Principle,—to be indeed as immovable as any stone. At the same time, his purpose is always to express the greatest activity in the exercise of every right quality, even of those very stone-like qualities of invincibility, steadfastness, immobility. When Peter goes on to say that these lively stones "are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices," he really expresses the whole truth of right spiritual activity in living; for what does the offering of spiritual sacrifice mean, except the yielding of every material belief to the quick and instant necessity of expressing the qualities of good, that the spiritual structure of righteousness may appear.

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Among the Churches
May 27, 1922

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