"The beauty of holiness"

         When David called upon men to "worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness," he presented a far-reaching, joy-inspiring possibility and privilege. He himself may not have more than glimpsed the magnitude of the proposal; but his words have, nevertheless, echoed down the ages, and men are still striving to render to God the worship due Him. They are also coming to see with ever greater clarity that "the beauty of holiness" is alone the sufficiently exalted consciousness wherewith to tender such homage, to fulfill such adoration.

         In "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (pp. 196, 197), Mrs. Eddy tells us that "the beauty of holiness comes with the departure of sin;" while in "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 32) she defines it as "the possibilities of spiritual insight, knowledge, and being." Here, then, are two important points to understand, if one is to attain that which offers even to the most careless thinker a vision of heavenly qualities: to depart from sin and to lay hold of "spiritual insight, knowledge, and being."

         From the standpoint of Christian Science it is easy to recognize that both beauty and holiness, and certainly the coalescing of the two wherewith we are to worship God, can have nothing whatever to do with matter. Jesus said positively that they that worship the Father "must worship him in spirit and in truth."

         Although the greater portion of mankind has desired beauty, it has been very generally held as something that is personal and material. It is therefore scarcely strange that in consequence these standards have been varied and variable, and every effort to gain beauty permanently therefrom has resulted in disappointment and failure. Because men have attached it to matter, their sense of it has been as fleeting and transitory as all else which is supposed to pertain to materiality and its fluctuating, unstable, ephemeral nature.

         In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 247) our beloved Leader also tells us that "beauty is a thing of life, which dwells forever in the eternal Mind and reflects the charms of His goodness in expression, form, outline, and color." Here is the assurance that all real beauty is unchangeable, infinite, and holy: and since it is in and of divine Mind, it must always bring joy and happiness with its realization. This understanding of "the beauty of holiness" plainly indicates that it can appear only as sin disappears, and also that it unfolds in just the proportion that "spiritual insight, knowledge, and being" are understood and demonstrated.

         Mankind, however, does not always seem ready to accept this exalted view. As in other things, when spirituality is presented, mortals cry out that they are being called upon to give up something; that to acknowledge Spirit as All in any direction will mean separation from that from which they appear very loath to part. Although Jesus demonstrated the altogether desirable nature of spiritual beauty, men often look askance when it is proposed that they relinquish what they consider the good in matter for Spirit and its delights. They do not recognize that they are merely being asked to let go of the nothingness of nothing, that they may gain the All-in-all of God, good.

         Christian Science, following in the way of Jesus' demonstration, reveals the truth that if one will only lay hold of the understanding of spiritual beauty, if he will contemplate the beautiful nature of divine intelligence, power, wisdom, love, yes, even the exquisiteness of the divine ideas of "expression, form, outline, and color," he will find even his present sense of things taking on a purer, nobler, more perfect appearance. As we stand thus with God, while our sense of matter will be lessened and we shall be turned from the paltry shams and efforts after a material sense of beauty, there will be brought into our experience that loveliness which includes all "spiritual insight, knowledge, and being." Our thoughts may continually dwell with all that is glorious and satisfying, until all that concerns us shall be molded after the pattern shown us "in the mount." Nothing that is unlovely will be allowed to portray its evil in our lives. Instead, we shall have learned how truly to "worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness," and our constant prayer will be, "Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us."


"'The beauty of holiness'" by Ella W. Hoag, CSD
Christian Science Sentinel, June 28, 1924

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