"Is not the life more than meat?"

When Daniel and three other Hebrew captives in Babylon were designated among those to be prepared to "stand before the king" as counselors in matters of wisdom and knowledge, it was ordered that they be given "a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank." This was intended to prepare them for the test, but Daniel considered it in the nature of defilement. He had faith in God's ability to provide him with health and strength, as well as with wisdom and understanding. Therefore Daniel requested that he "might not defile himself." At this request, the prince of the eunuchs, who had learned to love him, at first demurred, fearing that if he complied he might incur the wrath of the king. However, Daniel said, "Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink." And the record continues: "So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat. ... As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom."

The foregoing need not be taken as an argument in favor of vegetarian diet or against meat diet, but in favor of trusting Spirit, rather than matter. On page 220 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mary Baker Eddy writes, "The belief that either fasting or feasting makes men better morally or physically is one of the fruits of 'the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,' concerning which God said, 'Thou shalt not eat of it.' "

When writing to the Corinthian Christians, Paul said, "Whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake." He may have referred to ritual and tradition, rather than to diet. However, there can be no doubt about the meaning of the Master when he said: "Therefore I say unto you, 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?"

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October 2, 1937

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