"The life-preserving power of spiritual understanding"

A feature of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," is the Glossary which it contains. This Glossary is veritably a mine of spiritual knowledge, Mrs. Eddy giving therein the spiritual signification of many words to be found in the Bible. On page 579 there occurs the interpretation of the word "Abraham," which is as follows: "Fidelity; faith in the divine Life and in the eternal Principle of being. This patriarch illustrated the purpose of Love to create trust in good, and showed the life-preserving power of spiritual understanding." What a summary it gives of the spiritual characteristics of Abraham! And what is true of Abraham is equally true of all who posses the same faith in God which the patriarch possessed. In the measure of their faith, in the degree of their spiritual understanding, they are preserved, protected, and saved; for spiritual understanding begets that trust in good which nullifies the false claims of so-called evil.

What is spiritual understanding? Simply construed, it is the understanding of Spirit, God; or, in other words, it is the knowledge of God. It is wonderful to contemplate that so far back as Abraham's day, with its comparatively limited degree of spiritual understanding, such faith in God was evidenced as Abraham possessed. Does it not put many of us, with even our scientific knowledge of Him, to the blush? What a superb faith was that of Abraham! How are we to account for it? Only on the assumption that he was obedient, marvelously obedient, to his vision of good. Abraham's faith inspired him; and he was faithful to the inspiration. It was the same with Moses. The Hebrew Lawgiver's faith in God was profound; his obedience to the revelation of the divine qualities his faith inspired is one of the finest things on record in the pages of human history. Examine the Old Testament; take the life-histories of the prophets that are chronicled there, and it will be found that faith, spiritual understanding, and obedience are always linked together, forming a combination of irresistible spiritual power.

Time and time again mention is made in the Old Testament of the protecting power of God. Thus, for example, the Psalmist sang, "The Lord preserveth all them that love him." Isaiah wrote, in the imagery of his nation, "when thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." And Nahum speaks of the goodness of God in the words, "The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him." Turn to the New Testament also, and the same is found throughout it: God is regarded as the preserver of life. To take but a single example from the words of the gracious Master himself: "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" What inspired each and all of these utterances? Was it not faith in God, and, in the case of Christ Jesus especially, spiritual understanding as well?

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March 22, 1924

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