Giving Consent or Withholding It

When Christ Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount admonished his hearers, "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him," he set before mankind a precept worthy of most thoughtful consideration. When carefully analyzed in the light of spiritual understanding, it is especially valuable to Christian metaphysicians. To conclude that Jesus was exhorting his hearers to accept the protests of the evil one,—the adversary whom Peter characterized as a "roaring lion,"—to agree with its claims to reality and power, is to refute the teachings of the Master in their entirety. Both his precepts and example were wholly contrary to this supposition: they refuted completely the claims of evil to reality, as something with which to be in accord.

Jesus annulled the seeming power of material law, not by accepting it as possessed of power, but by knowing its powerlessness. That is to say, he did not accept its protests, did not consent to its claims to be law; he destroyed it. There is a lesson of tremendous significance for all in the fact that Jesus did not consent to the efforts of evil to tempt and control him. He utterly refused to accept them as real, or even to acknowledge aught but their nothingness.

As applied to our everyday experience, what does this signify? This: that in order to follow in his steps, to approximate his works, we too must refuse to consent to error's domination. Without our consent error can never harm us. It can reach and control us only in proportion to our agreement with it, to the measure of the reality we accord it, to the degree of our consent.

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December 15, 1928

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