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"THE GATE BEAUTIFUL"

From the April 1927 issue of The Christian Science Journal


IN the third chapter of Acts, in one of the most interesting incidents of early apostolic days, it is related that one who had been lame from birth was carried daily and laid "at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful," that he might ask alms of those who entered into the temple. On a certain day, as Peter and John were going to the temple at the hour of prayer, this one lying at the Beautiful gate asked an alms of them, and Peter said to him, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." And we are told that "he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God." And the people that stood by "knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him."

No further description of this Beautiful gate is given in the Biblical narrative; but in the eastern wall of the temple area in Jerusalem, near the famous Golden gate built in the time of Constantine, may still be seen two enormous jambs, now used as pillars, which appear to be the remains of a very ancient gateway. Tradition calls this the ruin of "the Beautiful gate of the temple," mentioned in Acts, which probably led into the splendid colonnade known as Solomon's porch. Josephus says that the temple had "nine gates which were covered with gold and silver; but there was one gate which was without the temple, and was of Corinthian brass and greatly excelled those which were only covered with gold or silver. The other gates were of the same size, but the Corinthian gate which opened on the east, over against the gate of the holy house itself, was much larger. This last most likely was the gate which is called Beautiful, because it was on the outside of the temple, to which there was easy access, and because it evidently was the most costly."

To the people of to-day the value of this ancient gate, once called Beautiful, lies not so much in its intrinsic merit as an archaeological relic of the past, as in its association with the healing work of the apostles, and in the spiritual beauty which it may be said to symbolize. In this respect the gate Beautiful will remain a living reality long after the traditional pillars in the temple area in Jerusalem have crumbled away, and the place where they now stand has been lost in the debris of the onrushing centuries; for it has become one of the ineffaceable landmarks denoting the progress of the Science of healing, which Jesus and his early followers taught and demonstrated. Yet it was not of the radiance of Corinthian brass gleaming in the afternoon sunshine, nor of the grace of classic architecture which this one who "stood, and walked" for the first time in his life was thinking as he circled round among the people in Solomon's porch. He was thinking of a far more transcendentally beautiful gate, the peerless gate of spiritual healing, which leads into the temple "not made with hands," wherein is seen reflected the perfect man made in the image and likeness of God. As the light from this temple of glorified being streamed into his consciousness, all hereditary, crippled, and limiting beliefs faded away, and "immediately," it is written, "his feet and ankle bones received strength;" for strength always belongs to man, God's perfect spiritual idea. This joyous moment of instantaneous healing is clearly explained by Mrs. Eddy in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 14), where she writes: "Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual,—neither in nor of matter,—and the body will then utter no complaints. If suffering from a belief in sickness, you will find yourself suddenly well. Sorrow is turned into joy when the body is controlled by spiritual Life, Truth, and Love."

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