"Blind from his birth"

Much food for thought is contained in Mary Baker Eddy's brief statement concerning the method of teaching spiritual truth (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 575), "Spiritual teaching must always be by symbols." A close study of Christ Jesus' words and works provides convincing evidence that our Master employed this method. By way of example, let us consider the healing of the man "blind from his birth," as recorded in the ninth chapter of John's Gospel.

Jesus' disciples, trying to ascertain a cause for the so-called physical blindness, inquired of their teacher, "Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?" They evidently recognized that this condition indicated an erroneous mental state, and would, perhaps, have fastened the responsibility for it either upon the man or upon his parents. By directing their attention to the truth, "the works of God" that he was about to demonstrate, the loving Master gently and considerately led their thought away from condemnation of persons and from the belief that sin can be a cause. When he proceeded to anoint the eyes of the blind man with clay, he thereby called their attention to the one thing they needed to recognize about the error—its unreality. Did the mighty demonstrator of immanuel, or "God with us," require the aid of matter to prove the ever-presence of harmonious being, including perfect sight? No honest student of Christ Jesus' ministry could entertain such a misconception of his teachings. Was not the clay used, then, as a symbol of the material belief which must be removed in order to reveal the presence of true vision? Could Jesus have employed a more applicable illustration of the nature of the false claim than the covering of the man's eyes with clay to indicate that he was blinded, not by what might be termed personal sin, but by belief in matter, even by the general belief that man is material?

Wings of Thought
August 9, 1930

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