Obeying Heavenly Vision
The account of Paul's eloquent defense before King Agrippa, as given in the twenty-sixth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, has for centuries captured the attention and commanded the admiration of Bible students. Referring to the luminous and regenerating appearing of Truth to his consciousness, while on his way to Damascus to persecute the Christians, Paul declared, "Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision." This moment of spiritual exaltation sufficed to turn Paul's life into one of high and holy ministry. Thereafter, his purpose and labors were dedicated exclusively to the establishment of Christianity throughout the world of his day. Churches grew and prospered as he went from city to city, tirelessly preaching the truth about God and Christ, ever loyal to the vision of loving service revealed to him in his first great glimpse of the divine glory. It was his fidelity and intrepid allegiance to Love's leading which later enabled him to say, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
May not those of us who are striving to walk in the light of Truth and Love, daily endeavoring to assimilate more of the divine nature and character, learn a vital lesson from Paul's inspiring example, a lesson in obedience to those moments of spiritual clearsightedness which come to us through prayerful communion with God and unremitting consecration to good?
To thought which is submissive to divine guidance and government, the Christly vision or revelation of the infinitude of good dawns as the radiant and only reality of true being. It then becomes one's privilege and responsibility not only to welcome such appearing of the Christ, Truth, in one's consciousness, but to yield undivided obedience to this divine influence. As we cleave to this course with singleness of eye, divine Mind will unerringly point the way to glorious spiritual victories, to the overcoming of malice and wickedness, fear and confusion, and to the demonstration here and now of imperishable health and wealth, security and satisfaction.
Mary Baker Eddy says in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 428), "A demonstration of the facts of Soul in Jesus' way resolves the dark visions of material sense into harmony and immortality." Keeping clearly before our thought the truth of our sonship with God and of man's spiritual purity and perfection, obeying the Master's precious precepts as set forth in his Sermon on the Mount, we rise above the discouraging suggestions of discord and disease, sin and poverty, decay and dissolution, into the light of spiritual understanding and freedom. Verily, evil is powerless to veil the true view of eternal harmony, joy, activity, affluence, and success from the sincere student who has fixed his gaze on the light and loveliness of Soul, and walks serenely in the upward way.
All the truly grand achievements of this or any age have been performed by individuals of vision and undaunted courage. Indeed, everything in daily experience which is genuinely satisfying, ennobling, enriching, and permanently progressive, is won through steadfast obedience to lofty aims and spiritual ideals. So in our work in Christian Science, the Science of being, we must be faithful to our highest spiritual understanding if we would gain more of "the beauty of holiness" and demonstrate our divine dominion and completeness.
As we devotedly follow Christ Jesus, there come for us exalted moments of spiritual insight into the realm of reality—God's kingdom—when we become so aware of the Father's healing power and presence that the scales of ignorance, fear, self-will, sin, and lack fall from our eyes, and we acknowledge as the only actuality the transcendent beauty of the things of Spirit. Are we at all times loyally allegiant to this vision of heavenly harmony, or do we allow the aggressive claims of animal magnetism to dim the perception and blissful realization of the grandeur and perfection of God's creation, man and the universe?
Spiritual wisdom and understanding are available to all, and when sought and utilized, result in immeasurable blessings to mankind. Some years ago, a mother whose young son was faced, according to medical pronouncements, with the prospect of total blindness, learned through a friend of the healing power of Christian Science. In her extremity she requested treatment for her child from a Christian Science practitioner. In less than a month the boy's sight was completely restored. The study of Christian Science was then taken up in earnest by this mother and her son, and a practical perception of man's oneness with the all-seeing, all-knowing divine Mind, or God, was gained. Today, this youth, grown to manhood, is devoting his life to the practice of Christian Science and to sharing with others the redemptive truths of being which have uninterruptedly brightened and blessed his own experience.
Tenderly our Leader tells us (Science and Health, p. 7), "If spiritual sense always guided men, there would grow out of ecstatic moments a higher experience and a better life with more devout self-abnegation and purity." Through true spiritual vision we shall repudiate the mesmeric claims of evil. Thus, as a result of prayerful penitence and reformation, we shall find the light of illimitable Love illumining our path, guiding us past the pitfalls of temptation, sin, grief, loneliness, and despair, and leading onward and upward to an ever clearer and fuller perception of peace and plenty, purity and infinite progression.
In the thirty-sixth chapter of Job is the priceless promise, "If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures." Of a surety, obedience to the mandates of divine Principle results in true bounty and bliss, while disobedience to the laws of God leads to disappointment, pain, and frustration, for evil punishes itself by its complete separation from good and its final, inevitable annihilation.
It was our Master's comprehension of the allness of God, good, and the consequent nothingness of error, that enabled him to triumph over materiality, with its deceitful claim to intelligence and power. We too may walk in his footsteps and share his rich spiritual reward when and as we claim and put into practice the understanding of Truth, and are obedient to the heavenly vision of man's inseparable unity with Spirit, God.
As we faithfully follow such spiritual illumination, and let our actions attest our obedience to Principle, we shall be privileged to help in bringing healing and gladness to our fellow man, and our lives will ripen into increasing beauty and joyous fulfillment of good. May we, then, unmoved by evil's attempts to dissuade us from this high goal, press on to the spiritual altitudes of thought where the shadows of physical sense will no longer appear.
In our heavenward pilgrimage, let us lift up our hearts in reverent and gladsome praise to God, declaring with the Psalmist, "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."