"God ... no respecter of persons"

Peter's experience in learning the great lesson of tolerance toward persons of other races, as related in the book of Acts, is a valuable one for all who would exemplify true Christian character. Taught by a vision that he should call no man common or unclean, he was thereby prepared to answer the summons of the Roman centurion and administer to him after the manner of the teachings which the impetuous disciple himself had heard from the Master's lips: "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." And in proof of his words it is related that while Peter yet spake, "the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word," upon the Gentiles no less than upon the Jews who were Peter's companions. Here was proof, indeed, that salvation through the teachings of Christ Jesus was for all mankind, without respect of race or personality.

Several incidents in the ministry of Christ Jesus fully corroborate this experience. A notable example is the case of the Canaanite woman, a Syrophenician, who, having heard of the Master's marvelous success in spiritual healing, came to beseech him to restore her daughter, a so-called maniac. The context indicates that he put the woman to rather a severe test, perhaps to determine her sincerity; but so firm was her faith that he graciously granted her request and healed her daughter, so that when she returned to her home, "she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed." Here, again, was proof that, indeed, the redemptive Christ is available to destroy false beliefs without regard to race or personality, wherever thought is receptive and correct understanding is had of God's perfect healing power. How pertinent also are Paul's words to the Christians of Corinth: "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit"!

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Of the universal character of Christ's message Mrs. Eddy concisely states in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 233), "To reveal this truth was our Master's mission to all mankind, including the hearts which rejected him." Notwithstanding the definiteness of the gospel message, there have existed during the centuries of the Christian era, as before, definite divisions of humanity into classes, the lines of cleavage being determined upon various conditions,—wealth, circumstance of birth, color, education,—all artificial, be it said, and none pertinent to or inherent in the true man, the man whom God created.

This division of mankind into classes has been a fruitful cause of strife and contention among men, and has had a tremendous influence in delaying the exemplification of the true brotherhood of mankind. Since all men are brothers in the sight of God, with Him none are rich in material possessions, and none are poor; none are of high birth and none of low; none are of a superior race and none inferior; but all abide in the fullness of His infinite perfection, goodness, and bounty, which abundantly meet man's every need. Truly, God is "no respecter of persons;" and the only distinction worthy of consideration even among mortals is that resulting from their varying degrees of spiritual understanding.

Since all are members of the one divine order, the royal brotherhood of man, how may one justifiably put himself above another, or set himself up as being possessed of something exclusive or unique which another may not have, and of which, forsooth, man is not already possessed? Anomalous as it may seem, this situation sometimes prevails among those who desire to be classed as Christians. Pride of ancestry, of social position, of education, or of some other assumed mark of superiority, has not altogether disappeared even among those who have touched the hem of Christ's healing robe; and as a result, unworthy ambition, unhappiness, self-seeking, jealousy, and conceit sometimes prevail where only joy, love, brotherliness, kindness, mercy, humility, should constantly obtain.

How plainly does our Leader set forth the equality of man and the fallacy of artificial distinctions! It is apparent that love for mankind was constantly in her heart and its expression frequently on her lips. Seeing each spiritual individual man as the true idea of God, each equal with every other perfect man, breaks down any false sense of inequality. Hence, our Leader could declare, beginning on page 469 of Science and Health, "With one Father, even God, the whole family of man would be brethren; and with one Mind and that God, or good, the brotherhood of man would consist of Love and Truth, and have unity of Principle and spiritual power which constitute divine Science."

The inequality which seems to exist among mortals is but the result of varying beliefs of mankind. This will disappear when the truth about man is learned and demonstrated,—his perfection, his eternal selfhood as the son of the infinite Father. Manifestly, when all are seen to be perfect, there can be no inequality. This understanding will indeed solve the social problem due to the seeming conditions which appear among mankind expressed in terms of race, color, class, and other material distinctions. Peter's words are true. "God is no respecter of persons;" and He distinguishes not unjustly between His perfect ideas, children of the Most High.

Albert F. Gilmore

Right Resistance
May 3, 1924

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