Spiritual Interpretation

TO one desiring a better knowledge of Christian Science, the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures is of paramount importance, and should receive his careful attention. Thoughtful and systematic study in this direction will bring great results. On page 199 of our textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, we read, "The devotion of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible." This would indicate that our Leader felt that any person with sufficiently earnest desire may acquire a working knowledge of the spiritual understanding of the Scriptures by devoting time to their study in connection with Science and Health. The importance of this may be judged from Mrs. Eddy's own words, when, referring to the results of studying, and pondering, and analyzing the sacred pages of the Bible for three years or more, she says (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 28), "I had learned that thought must be spiritualized, in order to apprehend Spirit."

From time to time we hear it voiced: "I read the Lesson-Sermon every day. I spend an hour or two every night reading Christian Science literature. I have read most of Mrs. Eddy's works, but I do not get the spiritual meaning. I do not understand, however hard I try." We may not fully realize in the beginning of our study that Science and Health is, next to the Bible, the world's greatest book, and should be read with clear thought and close attention. The question may occur to us, What is a great book? One authority tells us, "A great book, a book worthy the name, is not merely words, but thoughts and ideas of a great mind." John Ruskin, the celebrated English author and critic, in one of his essays, writes: "You might read all the books in the British Museum (if you could live long enough) and remain . . . an uneducated person; but if you read ten pages of a good book . . . with real accuracy (that is with close attention and understanding), you are forevermore in some measure an educated person." The Christian Science textbook is a book of very precious thoughts and fundamental ideas, and in order to be of real and practical value to each one it should be read and studied with persistent care and attention.

As a simple illustration of the value of correct spiritual interpretation, let me call attention to a passage of Scripture wherein is related the story of the tower of Babel, familiar to most of us from childhood. In Genesis we read of the people who dwelt in the land of Shinar, "They said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth;" but their ambitious purposes being purely material, confusion arose amongst them and their speech became confounded, so that concerted action was no longer possible.

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Rejoicing in Tribulation
February 10, 1923

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