"Put away the strange gods"

The Bible, in whatever history it gives of the children of Israel, is almost entirely concerned with their spiritual progress. Whenever this spiritual progress seemed to lag or come to a halt, the Scriptural record shows that there was invariably but one reason therefor,—namely, idolatry. This would naturally result in bondage and much suffering, so that Israel in its extremity would turn to the true God, seeking deliverance. Before this was granted, however, a certain command was given,—"Put away the strange gods that are among you." The children of Israel were made to understand most clearly that it was impossible to be delivered through divine aid until they had forsaken their strange gods and destroyed their idols. It may be asked: Why was it so necessary for them to put away the strange gods first, before they could be delivered? Why could not God deliver the people without the putting away of their idols? The simple answer to these questions must always be that idolatry displaces the true concept of God in human consciousness, so that the just demands of God, good, are set aside for the demands of material sense.

Here, then, we have the nature of idolatry exposed; for is not idolatry just the demand of material sense that we substitute matter for Spirit? Will not this demand, if obeyed, shut out the adoration of Spirit, and tend to make the idolater mentally incapacitated to receive the understanding of God? Material sense, if unrestrained by spiritual understanding, will always lead into some form of idolatry, alias substitution. Is it not necessary, therefore, to examine so-called mortal mind and its desires from a spiritual viewpoint, and thus become alert to its idolatrous tendency, which always leads mankind into bondage? "The human mind," says Mrs. Eddy in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (pp. 186, 187), "has been an idolater from the beginning, having other gods and believing in more than the one Mind." This fact, revealed by Christian Science, accounts for all the subtle forms of both ancient and modern error, alias idolatry, showing that mortal mind is constantly playing the game of substitution, always offering something declared to be just as good for that which is true, whether it be an idol, as in the case of the children of Israel in ancient days, or a perverted substitute for the plain teachings of Christian Science in modern times.

The strange gods among us have many forms to-day that seem to differ much from the idols of ancient times, though the purpose to deceive is still the same. Among these, few are so dangerous, so stupefying to the student of Christian Science, as those subtle idols that pervert the truth by claiming to have something just the same or just as good as Christian Science, though, of course, more palatable to mortal mind, for the reason that unselfed love is not required by these substitutes, although it is a fundamental demand in Christian Science. Thus the unwary student may lose his way for a time, or even become entirely separated from the host of Israel, The Mother Church of Christian Science, and be at least temporarily lost in material beliefs. When wolves go after their prey, they first get their victim separated from the herd; then it is easily caught. Just so it is when mortal mind uses an appearance of the letter, which seems to be akin to Christian Science, but which is only deception, separating its unwary victim from the apprehension of Truth. In some of those books which pervert Christian Science there are numerous quotations from Mrs. Eddy's writings. But this should not deceive any one; for the Church Manual forbids any such practice.

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December 27, 1924

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