The Divine Will

Underlying the whole field of the gospel narratives is a precious vein wherein the diligent searcher, intent upon finding the gold, may discover rich deposits to reward his industry and application. The story of the healing of the leper, told in the fifth chapter of Luke's gospel, reveals a gleaming gem and affords a striking view of a great metaphysical truth. It is recorded that this unfortunate man in deep humility "fell on his face" when he saw Jesus, and besought the Master to heal his affliction. "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean," he cried. Swift and authoritative was the reply, "I will: be thou clean." And we read that "immediately the leprosy departed from him."

At first view it would appear that Jesus here acknowledged his own ability to perform the healing, but this incident cannot be isolated or considered apart from others of its kind, nor can the words Jesus spoke be dissociated from other utterances which make up the whole of his public teaching. Upon a great occasion, when his authority to perform the healing works was openly challenged, he said, "I can of mine own self do nothing;" and when pressed by the Jews for a statement of the source of his power he replied, "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." Continually he disclaimed any underived authority or power, and he laid no claim to a special dispensation in his own behalf. He simply affirmed by his spoken words, his outward acts, his simple bearing, and his conduct before men, that he was the humble instrument of a higher power, to which he yielded full obedience.

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The Master's reply to the leper at once reminds us of the Old Testament name for God which was born out of Moses' clear understanding of the Supreme Being,—"I am that I am." Such an ascription signified the patriarch's vision of the never-ending, always-existing, unchanging nature of God. Jesus had gained this same exalted view. He could say to the leper, "I will," because he knew the omnipresence of the healing Principle. The leper's prayer, in fact, had been answered before it was uttered. It had, strictly speaking, been answered "from the foundation of the world." The attitude of the "I am" could never by reason of its perfection be aught but "I will" toward the yearning desire of a humble and contrite heart.

"I will" is the eternal answer to every sincerely aspiring human cry. It is idle to ask God to do what He has already done. The healing Principle never turns away from true prayer. It never varies from the perfect attitude. It is and always has been complete. It can receive no accretions of power, for it is perfect from the moment of creation. It can grant no special dispensations or privileges, since, as our Leader tells us (Science and Health, p. 13), it is "impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals." It can offer no less than its full power, for it is incapable of division. "I will" is the assertion of unchanging divine Love, the eternal guaranty of God's finished work. In the case of the leper—and this case is identical with all healing events—there was nothing remaining for God to do. The healing of the discordant human condition rested upon the unfortunate man's faith and Jesus' understanding of the healing Principle; and when these spiritual elements conjoined they were able to surmount what to human sense was an impossible obstacle and bring an instantaneous cure.

"I will" is the perpetual reply of Truth to every call upon it to banish error. It is the unfailing assurance of the ability of divine Principle to right every wrong, to dispel evil with good and darkness with light; to establish the reign of harmony whenever and wherever through exalted faith and spiritual understanding its benign power is brought to bear upon erroneous human conditions. It is the inevitable answer to "Thou canst." The call of faith always has brought and always will bring its swift and sure reply. The leper, turning for the moment from the contemplation of his physical infirmity, caught a glorious glimpse of revealed truth, which immediately banished for him the false claim of leprosy, and which establishes in human consciousness the reign of eternal harmony.

June 24, 1916

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