"I will fear no evil"

The twenty-third psalm is one of the most comforting of those attributed to David. Abounding as it does in the metaphor of the pastoral East, it portrays God's love for His children in language as tender as ever was uttered. "The Lord is my shepherd," it begins. Then it tells throughout of His protecting, restoring, guiding, sustaining "goodness and mercy." "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." "I will fear no evil"! Surely the words show unlimited confidence in God; for is not evil, to the spiritually unenlightened human mind, the most dreaded foe of mankind?

One of the tasks of prophet and seer, as shown by Old Testament history, was to lessen the fear of the people. And this they did by teaching them what they knew of the love of God. God was not always known to men as Love. For long He was largely an imperfectly known tribal Deity, believed to know good and evil, and therefore to be capable of anger and hate as well as of love, of revenge as well as of mercy, a being to be dreaded as well as worshiped. The God of the Hebrews was to a great extent conceived of in terms of their own imperfect manhood. It was only when Christ Jesus delivered his great message to the world that men had revealed to them the truth that God is Love, great in its sublimity beyond all that had previously been conceived of Deity. Jesus' teaching and practice revolved round the central fact of the fatherhood of God. On a certain occasion he said to his disciples, undoubtedly to allay their fear through his understanding of God's loving care for His children: "And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: for the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say." And as Jesus taught, so did the apostles. "There is no fear in love," wrote John; "but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."

Notwithstanding the admonitions of the Master and his disciples, fear has continued to reign; and to-day it still holds sway. But something has happened in comparatively recent years to change the whole complexion of the situation. A great discovery has been made,—namely, that since God is infinite Love, evil is unreal. Mrs. Eddy announced her discovery in 1866 to an incredulous world. The Christian part of it no doubt admitted, theoretically, that God is Love; but she alone at the time of her discovery understood that since God is Love, and therefore infinitely good, evil is unreal. Gradually since then an ever increasing number of people have accepted the truth as it is set forth in Christian Science, with the result that the seeming effects of evil—fear, sin, and disease—are being constantly met and overcome by them.

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Among the Churches
June 28, 1924

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