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"The simplicity that is in Christ"
ELLA W. HOAG, CSD


         When Paul saw the Christians of his day in danger of being turned aside from the clear and simple teaching he had given them, he warned them to beware, "lest by any means, . . . your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ," to a vain boastfulness which would glory in its own supposed grasp of spiritual things. Now, even as then, error would endeavor to turn the Christian Scientist from the simplicity of Truth and make him believe that advancement in spirituality depends on something other than growth in the demonstration of the simple nature of all true good.

         The earnest Christian Scientist is always reaching out for a clearer vision, is always seeking the understanding of Christ, Truth, which shall heal the sick instantaneously, and thus hasten God's reign on earth. He may not progress so rapidly in this as he would wish. Instead of staying with "the simplicity that is in Christ," he is apt at this point to heed the serpent's effort to turn him in the wrong direction for his needed inspiration; for it would try to have him seek truth in some more intellectual way, in some more abstruse metaphysical flights. It is, however, a mistake to imagine that older students of Christian Science cannot find food in that which is given to the beginner. Because the more experienced worker has a right to a larger understanding of what is presented is no reason to imagine that the same simple food is not all that is requisite.

         To be sure, there must be milk for babes and strong meat for men; but the strong meat means only a larger understanding of how to rebuke and renounce more completely the hidden things of darkness. It does not mean high sounding phrases or a deeper intellectualism, but more and more of the humility which is willing and able to see that the highest, grandest, noblest things are always born of the utmost spiritual simplicity. Who has not felt the exquisiteness of an unexpected kindly deed? How has one's heart warmed when an opportunity has presented itself and been embraced to do some self-sacrificing thing for one in need! How has he felt his whole being respond to the inner sense of unselfed love and gone forth purified and hallowed, having thus truly risen to greater spiritual heights!

         There is a legend of one who wanted to find God, but who searched and searched for Him in vain. This one always went to the highest point he could compass only to be disappointed. Finally he said: I will climb to the top of the very loftiest steeple, — surely, there I shall find Him. When its topmost peak had been reached and he found nothing that spoke to him of God's presence, he cried out: Dear God, where are you? Then, from the midst of the busy, thronging street, far below him, there came a tender voice saying, Why, here am I, down among My people!

         So, God must always be found to the human sense where He is most needed. It is the loving compassion, the strong courage, the intelligent wisdom, — this is the vision which talks to us of God's tender presence. Such qualities as these need no mystic symbolism, no intellectual proficiency, to express them. Good is always simple; it is never abstruse, never difficult to understand by the humble, hungering heart. It is only the egotistical, the mentally arrogant, which calls for heights to scale. This mental attitude does not reach the heights it desires; instead, with its gaze in the clouds, it will scarcely be ready to stoop to do the necessary thing,—to heal the sick and sinning who cry out for help.

         The only reason one ever seeks to soar is because he has not yet seen that it is in the simple everyday application of the truth where he will find his progress sure and steady. As he remembers that Jesus came washing his disciples' feet he will see the way of life. Jesus knew all things and demonstrated them perfectly; but Mrs. Eddy says in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 53), "The teachings of Jesus were simple;" and then she goes on to say: "Christian Science is simple, and readily understood by the children; only the thought educated away from it finds it abstract or difficult to perceive." Then why should the Christian Scientist seek such abstractions, imagining that a grasp of metaphysical subtleties will advance his Christianity?

         In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 572), our beloved Leader, Mrs. Eddy, writes: "'Love one another (I John, iii. 23), is the most simple and profound counsel of the inspired writer." "Most simple and profound"! There is the secret! Truth is always both profound and simple; and, therefore, he who would reach profundity must do so through "the simplicity that is in Christ." Thus, and thus only, can the pinnacles of good be scaled and the truth as it was in Christ Jesus be demonstrated.

 

"'The simplicity that is in Christ'" by Ella W. Hoag, CSD
Christian Science Sentinel, April 22, 1922
 

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