"Wholesome chastisements"

On page 323 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mrs. Eddy writes, "Through the wholesome chastisements of Love, we are helped onward in the march towards righteousness, peace, and purity, which are the landmarks of Science." The word "wholesome" is used three times in Science and Health; twice in conjunction with perception and understanding. The dictionary meaning of "wholesome" is, "Conducive to health, happiness, and prosperity." Thus, its use is appropriate in connection with the Christianly scientific understanding of divine Love.

The seeker for Truth accepts the chastisements of Love as wholesome. They strengthen understanding, and bring about greater mental activity and alertness. But the question arises, How can Love chastise, when God, divine Love, knows no error? The Bible states, "Love is the fulfilling of the law;" and we should be grateful that divine Love could not possibly reconcile Truth to error. In Genesis we read that the Lord God drove Adam and Eve out of Eden, because Truth and error were being believed to be equal in power. The way is straight and narrow in Christian Science. We none of us turn at once completely from error to Truth; and many of us still have to learn through apparent suffering how to keep in the way.

Lack of obedience to divine Principle brings the chastisement, for Principle does not pardon our sins until they are corrected. The noble characters of the Bible, earnestly seeking the guidance of Truth, were helped onward by the "wholesome chastisements of Love." Moses, in allowing self-will to dominate him momentarily at the waters of Meribah, had to give up his great desire to enter the promised land with the children of Israel. There was, however, no hint of murmuring on his part. He continued faithfully to guide the rebellious children, constantly reminding them of God's goodness to them, in song and exhortation. When his thought was "winged to reach the divine glory" (Science and Health, p. 323), he considered his work for the children of Israel completed; and his eye was undimmed and his vigor unabated at the age of one hundred and twenty. Elijah, another servant of God, through failing to express the true concept of God as Love to the priests of Baal, had to flee for his life. Alone in the wilderness, the acknowledgment of his fault brought an angel, an inspiration from God, to him; and the "still small voice" of Truth gave him courage to go forward, and choose another, Elisha, to carry on the work of Truth.

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May 5, 1923

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