CSEC ON-LINE REFERENCE LIBRARY
ELLA W. HOAG, CSD
Theology has speculated much on what it has denominated as the "New Birth;" for when Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," he presented to humanity a problem which it has ever since been endeavoring to solve. To be sure Paul said positively, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new;" and yet again, "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." Nevertheless, there still seemed to remain the question as to what constituted this new man and how he was to be "put on," or proved to be an integral part of one's own experience.
With the teaching of scholasticism that mortal man was a fallen child of God, who must continually struggle to regain his former estate of perfection, there is scant wonder that discouragement and failure had seemed to attend the larger share of his efforts after righteousness, and as a natural result he had seen only the possibility of winning success in some unknown way in a far-off heaven. Into this darkness the revelation of Christian Science came with its enlightening truth that God's man is still and always has been, as he was in the beginning, the perfect child of God, that God's man is the only man, and that aught that is wrong and false and evil is but the lie about man, to be recognized as the falsity Jesus defined it and to be thus rebuked, rejected, and proved unreal.
This viewpoint Mrs. Eddy insists upon again and again as the starting point of all right reasoning and it immediately reverses all theological dogma and presents in its place a clear, demonstrable understanding of Truth itself. It shows mortal man that, try as hard as he may, he can never make evil good, he can never make that which is mortal into immortality. In other words, mortal man can never either make himself good or be made good, by some strange process. Instead, by starting from the basis of a perfect God and perfect man he may discover how good God has already made all of His children. This truth accepted, immediately begins to uncover and rebuke the beliefs in sin and sickness, showing them as delusion, illusion. Mortal man by thus learning to understand that what God made must be as perfect as God Himself, and by refusing to believe in that which is not of God, may put off the "old man" and find the new or real man appear. Mrs. Eddy emphasizes and re-emphasizes this method in all her works. For instance, in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 18) she writes, "Thou shalt love Spirit only, not its opposite, in every God-quality, even in substance; thou shalt recognize thyself as God's spiritual child only;" and again in Science and Health (p. 259), "The Christlike understanding of scientific being and divine healing includes a perfect Principle and idea, perfect God and perfect man, as the basis of thought and demonstration."
To the human consciousness this truth at first seems startling in its newness and simplicity. It seems difficult to accept this wonderful fact that man is here and now spiritual and perfect, the child of God, and it cries out with Peter, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord." Then the gentle voice of Christ, Truth, calms with its loving reassurance and shows that this newness of life in Christ may certainly be won through steadfast, patient endeavor as the teachings of Christian Science are understood and demonstrated. Clinging to the perfect model as the fact of being, the purpose to refuse all that is unlike the Christ will constantly bring a clearer and clearer underbidding, and thought by thought the old will vanish before the presence and power of Truth loved and realized.
In "Pulpit and Press" (p. 1) Mrs. Eddy says: "A new year is a nursling, a babe of time, a prophecy and promise clad in white raiment, kissed and encumbered with greetings redolent with grief and gratitude." So whatever may have been the mistakes and regrets of the past, whatever may have been the lessons learned through toil and triumph, each new year, each new day, here and now, is the glad opportunity for an ever renewed unfolding of good, for a constantly fresh and hopeful effort to "put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
Christian Science Sentinel, January 3, 1920
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