Being Born Again

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." When this startling declaration fell upon the puzzled ear of Nicodemus, the Pharisee, he no more comprehended its meaning than does the beginner in Christian Science to-day fully grasp the first absolute statements addressed to him; but, yearning for the truth which he had seen Jesus demonstrate, this man, ruler of the Jews though he was, pondered aloud, "How can a man be born when he is old?" In the controversial stage of inquiry the novice is quite prone to believe that he can confound by a new and altogether unanswerable argument. He has not yet learned to define his terms and consequently does not distinguish between the true and the false.

To the importunate question put by this master of Israel on that memorable night in Jerusalem Jesus replied, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Unless one is cleansed mentally and morally through the realization of his spiritual origin and nature, how can he continually express harmony? There is no real contentment where the restless, clamoring senses are the ruling powers; and ease in matter is a mesmeric condition that of necessity can be only temporary. Our Leader, Mrs. Eddy, says in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 470), "The relations of God and man, divine Principle and idea, are indestructible in Science and Science knows no lapse from nor return to harmony, but holds the divine order or spiritual law, in which God and all that He creates are perfect and eternal, to have remained unchanged in its eternal history."

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The searching quality of thought which drove Nicodemus at first by night to seek answers to the questions that would not be silenced, was coupled with a love of spiritual good which made him increasingly receptive to the truth; so that afterward he was unafraid to stand before the world as a follower of the Nazarene; and we find him bringing myrrh and aloes when Joseph of Arimathæa begged the body of Jesus from Pilate. In recording this, John makes special mention of the fact that this is the same Nicodemus who first came to Jesus by night, as if to call particular attention to the spiritual progress evidenced by this act of moral courage.

The experience of Nicodemus is repeated to-day by many who, beholding the glowing towers of the New Jerusalem symbolized in the good works of Christian Science, seek a knowledge of God through its teaching. At first, uncertainty, fear of public opinion, or sensitiveness may produce an unusual degree of caution; while dread of being considered ridiculous or fanatical may sometimes postpone indefinitely serious inquiry into the subject of Christian Science. The truly earnest seeker, on the other hand, soon becomes indifferent to society's approval or disapproval, for an independent desire for spiritual good is one of the early rewards of right thinking. Humility is willing to learn and is the first requisite of progress. True modesty is really deference to Truth. Both these qualities—humility and modesty—are indispensable to the process of being born anew. Regeneration is the process which goes on in human thought after men change their standpoint from the material to the spiritual. Each progressive step—each rejection of error and acceptance of Truth, each realization of man's true selfhood as the image and likeness of God—is a new unfoldment of thought.

The journey through the way of meekness must be pursued by the true worker in Christian Science until his standpoints have become entirely spiritual on every issue of life. As human beliefs give place to spiritual understanding, false knowledge is relinquished (rejected as spurious), open and secret vices are forsaken, careless habits of thought are corrected, and matter is gradually abandoned. When Christian Science is applied, mortal error makes way for the attributes of Principle. Men are not fully regenerated on a given point until they understand divine Mind and manifest it, as when a dishonest sense yields to a sense of honesty. A complete rebirth will not be accomplished until men understand that Life is eternal, omniscient, and entirely independent of material evidence. A belief in matter must be destroyed by an understanding of Spirit before mankind can fully appreciate the all-power of divine Principle. Referring to this process, our Leader says (Science and Health, p. 322): "When understanding changes the standpoints of life and intelligence from a material to a spiritual basis, we shall gain the reality of Life, the control of Soul over sense, and we shall perceive Christianity, or Truth, in its divine Principle. This must be the climax before harmonious and immortal man is obtained and his capabilities revealed."

God's Day
February 25, 1922

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