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WHY REFORM MOVEMENTS DO NOT REFORM

From the August 1893 issue of The Christian Science Journal


The so-called reform movements do not accomplish that which they aim at, simply because they deal with effects, not causes. The existing state of affairs is of itself an effect. The cause lies deeply hidden in human consciousness, in the motives, aims and desires of the individual. The evils which the reformers are trying to eradicate will disappear only as human nature is changed. There is no other way. Brotherly love and the "Kingdom of Heaven," or harmony, cannot be legislated into existence. The attempts of reformers to adjust matters may be likened to the clerks of a counting room, who, having lost the combination of the safe-lock, are endeavoring to open it by various means suggested by the different clerks. All efforts fail-Finally the combination is recalled and the massive door swings open without the slightest noise or jar. So it is with the social problem that confronts the world to-day. Politicians, reformers, editors, and a host of others are trying to unlock the great door of Truth, but they have forgotten the combination which alone can solve the problem. And yet that combination was given to humanity hundreds of years ago. It is remarkable that its efficacy should have been lost sight of, when untold millions have been expended in the erection of churches, so that it might be repeated to the world once in seven days. The greatest reformer the world has ever known said, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Herein lies the remedy for all discord. The ideal state or heaven can be made manifest on earth, and the way to bring this about has been plainly shown by the lowly carpenter, who said, "I am the way." The world, in its usual blind methods, has been seeking for years the reign of harmony portrayed by Jesus, but has been doing so from its own standpoint, trying to make a compromise with selfishness, lust and greed. Clearly the work is, to change the cause and the effect will take care of itself.

If the Sermon on the Mount was lived instead of listened to, there would be no occasion for reform parties of any kind. If the money, time, and energy now expended in trying to "pour new wine into old bottles could be used for the modelling of the young after the Christ-model, the dawn of the millennium would dazzle our eyes. The present state of affairs has been brought about through disobedience of the Sermon on the Mount and can be gotten rid of only by putting those teachings into daily practice. Reform the individual. Show him the necessity of helping and loving his brother and the snarls will soon be unravelled, the jails emptied, and poverty banished. Let the energy of the age be consecrated to the work of building up the characters of the rising generation. If these methods were adopted the "Kingdom" so long looked for would begin to appear, and there would be no evils to legislate against. The "way" is simple, so simple that the world has rejected it, and must rack its brains for new schemes and devices which can never result in success. Let the doctrines of Christ obtain in the human mind and all evil will be destroyed. There is no other way.

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