Restful Angels

All through the Old Testament the existence of angels is taken for granted, but concepts of them are confused and vague, surviving, no doubt, from earliest phases of religious belief. As their concept of God grew in dignity, the Israelities adopted the theory that God delegated angels to convey His messages to men. Thus, although these early beliefs were somewhat crude and material, the function of an angel has generally been understood to be protection, guidance, praise. David said, "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them."

Evidently men have always loved to think of angels because of the beauty of the thought; and references to them are innumerable in religious literature. That being true, it is a great comfort, when one begins to study Christian Science, to find that the vaguely beautiful, but illogical concept of them conceived in the world's childhood, is replaced by a scientific and demonstrable understanding of the subject.

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On page 581 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy gives this definition: "Angels. God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality." In the light of this statement we may clearly see that all through our experience, even though we knew nothing of the scientific explanation, we did possess and were protected by guardian angels—by good impulses, by such right thinking as God enabled us to do.

As one studies the subject with the understanding which Christian Science bestows, he realizes that almost his entire business is to cultivate the ability to hear God's angels, to remain continuously in their company. He sees that it is such positive, powerful, scientific thoughts of health and strength which, admitted to consciousness, entertained and steadily retained, will of their own might drive out the beliefs of all error, including burdening weariness.

A beautiful explanation of the way to hear the restful angels of divine Mind, and to get their help, is given in one of our hymns:

"O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing."

When we feel burdened, responsible, and weary, we may be certain that we have not been listening to God's angels. Instead, we have been listening to so-called mortal mind, with its material assertions that man's strength is in matter; that working for the good of mankind can exhaust and wear us out; that time is inadequate. Angels sing into consciousness the glorious facts that, although time is inadequate, eternity is sufficient; that although matter contains no strength, God, Spirit, is Himself all strength; that working for Him and with Him can never weary anyone.

May not the reason that we have been listening to something other than the songs of angels be that we have not been resting beside the road, but have been in the very midst of it? If we get into the road, the road which begins in error and ends in error, and hurry along with all the weary fears and personal responsibilities, with beliefs of disease and sin and death, we are not hearing the angels sing. If we are plodding shoulder to shoulder with the belief of reality in matter and power in evil, if we are blinded by the dust of materiality and deafened by its clamor and confusion, we cannot expect to find rest. We should strive with great earnestness to hear the quiet voices of spiritual guidance, those angels whose function is always to spiritualize, refresh, and renew.

Christian Science reveals that understanding which, if applied, will keep us resting joyously beside the road; and there in serene safety we can watch the passing by of human events. The Christian Scientist believes in no ascetic or aloof separation of himself from the lives and affairs of men, but he does know that only as his thought is separated from the ignorance and sin of men can he hope to help them to salvation. Christ Jesus prayed for his followers, "Not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." Of rest our Leader has said, "God rests in action" (Science and Health, p. 519); so that our expression of true rest must be a progressive expression of intelligent activity.

Mortal mind, in its pretense completely to counterfeit the true creation, has arranged a counterfeit rest—stagnation, inaction. No angels sing to the consciousness submerged in apathetic indolence. Nor does such imitation afford rest outside the weary dream of materiality. It is born of the belief of life in matter, and is closely related to the belief of death.

The world has so often associated the word "rest" with death, or with the cessation from useful activity which the lie about years would impose, that sometimes there hangs about it a sense of finality and sadness. This is a wretched perversion of Truth. The right ideas which bring rest from weariness and monotony never bring release from helpful service, because progressively useful activity must through eternity be the business of God's idea, man. The unfolding of good, the growth in spiritual understanding, which is the truth that obliterates the lie of old age, brings one nearer to God, and consequently nearer to the attributes of God—dominion, alertness, joyousness. Christian Scientists must prove it a lie that years bring regret, sadness, and failure. True experience is spiritual, and must result in an active, expectant, and serene participation in the demonstration of Christian Science for the redemption of the world.

Humanity seeks for renewed energies and interests in vacations of different kinds, but often only exchanges one form of materiality for another even more material. The Christian Scientist knows that real rest is not truly a recreation and refreshment if the vacation is taken from spiritual thinking rather than from material routine. Paul gave splendid instruction for a successful vacation when he said, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." That transforming rest, spontaneously energizing thinking, can take place anywhere, when men know enough to reflect divine Mind.

When our understanding has not been sufficient to keep us from a sense of weariness, we can at least rejoice in our scientific knowledge that "the consciousness of Truth rests us more than hours of repose in unconsciousness" (ibid., p. 218). That rest, that oneness with divine consciousness, with God's thoughts, His angels, must have been the kind of rest our Master sought, and found, alone on the Mount of Olives after his busy days of ministry.

Was he not always beside, but not in, the weary road of sin and disease in which he found the multitudes? Mrs. Eddy has said in "Unity of Good" (p. 18): "Truth, God, says you oftenest console others in troubles that you have not. Is not our comforter always from outside and above ourselves?" Jesus was able to do his wonderful work because of the success with which he kept his thought separate from the ignorant and sinful, the fearful and diseased thought about him. Can we expect to heal, to be spiritually minded enough to help ourselves and others, unless our thought, too, is separating itself in ever increasing measure from the beliefs of mortal mind?

Discussion of error, criticism of others, worldly aims and ambitions, lead straight into the middle of the highway of materiality. Sensuality, confusion, personal responsibility, hatred, self-pity, and self-righteousness exhaust. It is never too much genuine metaphysical thinking that tires, but too much labored and material thinking which is not metaphysical. Spontaneous, free, happy, spiritually-mental work always rests one.

The angels of God set no limits to man's accomplishment and capacity; and we as consecrated Christian Scientists will find real rest and inspiration if, through all the hours of our busy days, we steadily remain in our God-bestowed consciousness, listening to, obeying, and gratefully trusting those angel messages forever reaching man from infinite Love.

Copyright, 1927, by The Christian Science Publishing Society, Falmouth and St. Paul Streets, Boston, Massachusetts. Entered at Boston post office as second-class matter. Acceptance for mailing at a special rate of postage provided for in section 1103, Act of October 3, 1917, authorized on July 11, 1918.

Compassion and Brotherly Love
July 9, 1927

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