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SOME THOUGHTS ON HISTORIC JUDAISM.*

From the February 1908 issue of The Christian Science Journal


It goes without saying that the earliest manifestation of the acceptance of Christian Science is usually seen in a desire to learn the contents and meaning of the sacred Scriptures. This instinct—if we may call it so— may be a new one, or it may be an old desire rekindled and stimulated by the addition of fresh objects to the student's quest. But however we may have treated the Bible in former times, most of us, when a glimpse of Truth's day-star is caught, long to understand in fuller measure the drift and details of its many-voiced message.

In his own pursuit of this inclination the present writer has found it one of the most interesting and at times the most baffling of problems to judge fairly as to the exact position that should be assigned to the Judaic religion and revelation in relation to the Christian. To say that it is with the latter alone that Christian Scientists are concerned, is to take up an attitude which our organization and literature practically deny, no less than the facts concerning the connection between the two covenants. For we are bidden to keep the Ten commandments unbroken; about one-half of our weekly Lessons are derived from the Old Testament writings, and reference is explicitly made in our text-book to the Mind-power expressed by Israel's leader in Egypt, to the deep spiritual significance of the patriarchal names and narratives, and to the progress toward the true idea that began with the exodus. These facts in themselves surely suffice to make it abundantly clear that we have much to learn that is of value from the contents of the older Scriptures.

Indeed, when we consider the nature and growth of the Hebrew national religion, the importance of its earlier phases at once becomes self-evident. Though certain of its fundamental characteristics rendered Judaism the diametrical opposite of Christianity, it is none the less but just to admit that there is a sense in which the latter religion must be acknowledged to have sprung from the Jewish faith. Not that a partial or partially understood revelation could in reality give birth to demonstrable truth; since "that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," but in dealing with human history it is plain that there appears to be a development of consciousness, proceeding from the crudest knowledge and ethics, upward through truer perceptions and moral betterment, to the point at which material belief begins to become more rarefied, and spiritual sense is thus allowed to dawn. Speaking therefore, from this standpoint of human development, it would seem that the Christian revelation could not have come to mortals without the preparation and discipline of "Moses and the prophets." The law was the schoolmaster to bring men to Christ, and types like Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Elijah, and others may at least be rightfully described as Christianity prototypes, for they represent vital links in the chain of spiritual progression; carnal genealogy is of less importance.

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