Tonight’s topic is “divine justice.” We’ll begin with selections from the Living Bible.
2 Kings 4:8-11,13-15,17-20,24-37
One day Elisha went to Shunem. A prominent woman of the city invited him in to eat, and afterwards, whenever he passed that way, he stopped for dinner. She said to her husband, “I’m sure this man who stops in from time to time is a holy prophet. Let’s make a little room for him on the roof; we can put in a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, and he will have a place to stay whenever he comes by.” Once when he was resting in the room he said to his servant Gehazi, “Tell the woman I want to speak to her.” When she came, he said to Gehazi, “Tell her that we appreciate her kindness to us. Now ask her what we can do for her. Does she want me to put in a good word for her to the king or to the general of the army?” “No,” she replied, “I am perfectly content.” “What can we do for her?” he asked Gehazi afterwards. He suggested, “She doesn’t have a son, and her husband is an old man.” “Call her back again,” Elisha told him. When she returned, he talked to her as she stood in the doorway. “Next year at about this time you shall have a son!” “O man of God,” she exclaimed, “don’t lie to me like that!” But it was true; the woman soon conceived and had a baby boy the following year, just as Elisha had predicted. One day when her child was older, he went out to visit his father, who was working with the reapers. He complained about a headache and soon was moaning in pain. His father said to one of the servants, “Carry him home to his mother.” So he took him home, and his mother held him on her lap; but around noontime he died. So she saddled the donkey and said to the servant, “Hurry! Don’t slow down for my comfort unless I tell you to.” As she approached Mount Carmel, Elisha saw her in the distance and said to Gehazi, “Look, that woman from Shunem is coming. Run and meet her and ask her what the trouble is. See if her husband is all right and if the child is well.” “Yes,” she told Gehazi, “everything is fine.” But when she came to Elisha at the mountain she fell to the ground before him and caught hold of his feet. Gehazi began to push her away, but the prophet said, “Leave her alone; something is deeply troubling her and the Lord hasn’t told me what it is.” Then she said, “It was you who said I’d have a son. And I begged you not to lie to me!” Then he said to Gehazi, “Quick, take my staff! Don’t talk to anyone along the way. Hurry! Lay the staff upon the child’s face.” But the boy’s mother said, “I swear to God that I won’t go home without you.” So Elisha returned with her. Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff upon the child’s face, but nothing happened. There was no sign of life. He returned to meet Elisha and told him, “The child is still dead.” When Elisha arrived, the child was indeed dead, lying there upon the prophet’s bed. He went in and shut the door behind him and prayed to the Lord. Then he lay upon the child’s body, placing his mouth upon the child’s mouth, and his eyes upon the child’s eyes, and his hands upon the child’s hands. And the child’s body began to grow warm again! Then the prophet went down and walked back and forth in the house a few times; returning upstairs, he stretched himself again upon the child. This time the little boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes! Then the prophet summoned Gehazi. “Call her!” he said. And when she came in, he said, “Here’s your son!” She fell to the floor at his feet and then picked up her son and went out.
2 Kings 8:1-6
Elisha had told the woman whose son he had brought back to life, “Take your family and move to some other country, for the Lord has called down a famine on Israel that will last for seven years.” So the woman took her family and lived in the land of the Philistines for seven years. After the famine ended, she returned to the land of Israel and went to see the king about getting back her house and land. Just as she came in, the king was talking with Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, and saying, “Tell me some stories of the great things Elisha has done.” And Gehazi was telling the king about the time when Elisha brought a little boy back to life. At that very moment, the mother of the boy walked in! “Oh, sir!” Gehazi exclaimed. “Here is the woman now, and this is her son—the very one Elisha brought back to life!” “Is this true?” the king asked her. And she told him that it was. So he directed one of his officials to see to it that everything she had owned was restored to her, plus the value of any crops that had been harvested during her absence.
One day the daughters of Zelophehad came to the entrance of the Tabernacle to give a petition to Moses, Eleazar the priest, the tribal leaders, and others who were there. The names of these women were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. They were members of the half-tribe of Manasseh (a son of Joseph). Their ancestor was Machir, son of Manasseh. Manasseh’s son Gilead was their great-grandfather, his son Hepher was their grandfather, and his son Zelophehad was their father. “Our father died in the wilderness,” they said, “and he was not one of those who perished in Korah’s revolt against the Lord—it was a natural death, but he had no sons. Why should the name of our father disappear just because he had no son? We feel that we should be given property along with our father’s brothers.” So Moses brought their case before the Lord. And the Lord replied to Moses, “The daughters of Zelophehad are correct. Give them land along with their uncles; give them the property that would have been given to their father if he had lived. Moreover, this is a general law among you, that if a man dies and has no sons, then his inheritance shall be passed on to his daughters. And if he has no daughter, it shall belong to his brothers. And if he has no brother, then it shall go to his uncles. But if he has no uncles, then it shall go to the nearest relative.”
God’s laws are perfect. They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light. God’s laws are pure, eternal, just.
. . .
The following are correlative passages from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.
Our laws are not impartial, to say the least, in their discrimination as to the person, property, and parental claims of the two sexes. If the elective franchise for women will remedy the evil without encouraging difficulties of greater magnitude, let us hope it will be granted. A feasible as well as rational means of improvement at present is the elevation of society in general and the achievement of a nobler race for legislation, — a race having higher aims and motives.
If a dissolute husband deserts his wife, certainly the wronged, and perchance impoverished, woman should be allowed to collect her own wages, enter into business agreements, hold real estate, deposit funds, and own her children free from interference.
Want of uniform justice is a crying evil caused by the selfishness and inhumanity of man. Our forefathers exercised their faith in the direction taught by the Apostle James, when he said: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father, is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
(SH 224:22–32; 225:1 What)
A higher and more practical Christianity, demonstrating justice and meeting the needs of mortals in sickness and in health, stands at the door of this age, knocking for admission. Will you open or close the door upon this angel visitant, who cometh in the quiet of meekness, as he came of old to the patriarch at noonday?
Truth brings the elements of liberty. On its banner is the Soul-inspired motto, “Slavery is abolished.” The power of God brings deliverance to the captive. No power can withstand divine Love. What is this supposed power, which opposes itself to God? … What is it that binds man with iron shackles to sin, sickness, and death? Whatever enslaves man is opposed to the divine government. Truth makes man free.
In common justice, we must admit that God will not punish man for doing what He created man capable of doing, and knew from the outset that man would do. God is “of purer eyes than to behold evil.” We sustain Truth, not by accepting, but by rejecting a lie.
Jesus said of personified evil, that it was “a liar, and the father of it.” Truth creates neither a lie, a capacity to lie, nor a liar. If mankind would relinquish the belief that God makes sickness, sin, and death, or makes man capable of suffering on account of this malevolent triad, the foundations of error would be sapped and error’s destruction ensured; but if we theoretically endow mortals with the creativeness and authority of Deity, how dare we attempt to destroy what He hath made, or even to deny that God made man evil and made evil good?
History teaches that the popular and false notions about the Divine Being and character have originated in the human mind. As there is in reality but one God, one Mind, wrong notions about God must have originated in a false supposition, not in immortal Truth, and they are fading out.
Let your higher sense of justice destroy the false process of mortal opinions which you name law, and then you will not be confined to a sick-room nor laid upon a bed of suffering in payment of the last farthing, the last penalty demanded by error.
Justice is the moral signification of law. Injustice declares the absence of law. When the body is supposed to say, “I am sick,” never plead guilty. Since matter cannot talk, it must be mortal mind which speaks; therefore meet the intimation with a protest. If you say, “I am sick,” you plead guilty. Then your adversary will deliver you to the judge (mortal mind), and the judge will sentence you. Disease has no intelligence to declare itself something and announce its name. Mortal mind alone sentences itself. Therefore make your own terms with sickness, and be just to yourself and to others.
Mentally contradict every complaint from the body, and rise to the true consciousness of Life as Love, — as all that is pure, and bearing the fruits of Spirit.
Christian Science commands man to master the propensities, — to hold hatred in abeyance with kindness, to conquer lust with chastity, revenge with charity, and to overcome deceit with honesty. Choke these errors in their early stages, if you would not cherish an army of conspirators against health, happiness, and success. They will deliver you to the judge, the arbiter of truth against error. The judge will deliver you to justice, and the sentence of the moral law will be executed upon mortal mind and body. Both will be manacled until the last farthing is paid, — until you have balanced your account with God. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” The good man finally can overcome his fear of sin. This is sin’s necessity, — to destroy itself. Immortal man demonstrates the government of God, good, in which is no power to sin.
Let Truth uncover and destroy error in God’s own way, and let human justice pattern the divine. Sin will receive its full penalty, both for what it is and for what it does. Justice marks the sinner, and teaches mortals not to remove the waymarks of God.
Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love — the kingdom of heaven — reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear.
The topic is “the benefits of obedience to divine messages.” We’ll begin with selections from the New King James Version of the Bible.
the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.” Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.
Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth.
Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided. So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made. Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth. And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry. Then God spoke to Noah, saying, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.
Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. The place in the Scripture which he read was this: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.” So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.
‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’
. . .
The following are correlative passages from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.
The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity. Contentment with the past and the cold conventionality of materialism are crumbling away. Ignorance of God is no longer the stepping-stone to faith. The only guarantee of obedience is a right apprehension of Him whom to know aright is Life eternal.
Jesus taught the way of Life by demonstration, that we may understand how this divine Principle heals the sick, casts out error, and triumphs over death. Jesus presented the ideal of God better than could any man whose origin was less spiritual. By his obedience to God, he demonstrated more spiritually than all others the Principle of being. Hence the force of his admonition, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
Though demonstrating his control over sin and disease, the great Teacher by no means relieved others from giving the requisite proofs of their own piety. He worked for their guidance, that they might demonstrate this power as he did and understand its divine Principle. Implicit faith in the Teacher and all the emotional love we can bestow on him, will never alone make us imitators of him. We must go and do likewise, else we are not improving the great blessings which our Master worked and suffered to bestow upon us.
Jesus bore our infirmities; he knew the error of mortal belief, and “with his stripes [the rejection of error] we are healed.” “Despised and rejected of men,” returning blessing for cursing, he taught mortals the opposite of themselves, even the nature of God; and when error felt the power of Truth, the scourge and the cross awaited the great Teacher.
Yet he swerved not, well knowing that to obey the divine order and trust God, saves retracing and traversing anew the path from sin to holiness.
Material belief is slow to acknowledge what the spiritual fact implies. The truth is the centre of all religion. It commands sure entrance into the realm of Love. St. Paul wrote, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us;” that is, let us put aside material self and sense, and seek the divine Principle and Science of all healing.
Divine Mind rightly demands man’s entire obedience, affection, and strength. No reservation is made for any lesser loyalty. Obedience to Truth gives man power and strength. Submission to error superinduces loss of power.
Mind’s government of the body must supersede the so-called laws of matter. Obedience to material law prevents full obedience to spiritual law, — the law which overcomes material conditions and puts matter under the feet of Mind. Mortals entreat the divine Mind to heal the sick, and forthwith shut out the aid of Mind by using material means, thus working against themselves and their prayers and denying man’s God-given ability to demonstrate Mind’s sacred power.
Let us rid ourselves of the belief that man is separated from God, and obey only the divine Principle, Life and Love. Here is the great point of departure for all true spiritual growth. …
Absorbed in material selfhood we discern and reflect but faintly the substance of Life or Mind. The denial of material selfhood aids the discernment of man’s spiritual and eternal individuality, and destroys the erroneous knowledge gained from matter or through what are termed the material senses.
Truth, Life, and Love are the only legitimate and eternal demands on man, and they are spiritual lawgivers, enforcing obedience through divine statutes.
To obey the Scriptural command, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate,” is to incur society’s frown; but this frown, more than flatteries, enables one to be Christian.
You will learn that in Christian Science the first duty is to obey God, to have one Mind, and to love another as yourself.
There is but one way to heaven, harmony, and Christ in divine Science shows us this way. It is to know no other reality — to have no other consciousness of life — than good, God and His reflection, and to rise superior to the so-called pain and pleasure of the senses.
Self-love is more opaque than a solid body. In patient obedience to a patient God, let us labor to dissolve with the universal solvent of Love the adamant of error, — self-will, self-justification, and self-love, — which wars against spirituality and is the law of sin and death.
We shall obey and adore in proportion as we apprehend the divine nature and love Him understandingly, warring no more over the corporeality, but rejoicing in the affluence of our God
Question. — How can I progress most rapidly in the understanding of Christian Science?
Answer. — Study thoroughly the letter and imbibe the spirit. Adhere to the divine Principle of Christian Science and follow the behests of God, abiding steadfastly in wisdom, Truth, and Love. In the Science of Mind, you will soon ascertain that error cannot destroy error.
To ascertain our progress, we must learn where our affections are placed and whom we acknowledge and obey as God. If divine Love is becoming nearer, dearer, and more real to us, matter is then submitting to Spirit. The objects we pursue and the spirit we manifest reveal our standpoint, and show what we are winning.