One of the most wonderful things that ever happened to me was that a friend put into my hands my first copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Among the book's most valuable assets has been the way in which it has prompted me to a fresh study of the Scriptures, showing me more and more of the Bible's relevance to our present times.
For example, the Acts of the Apostles, chapter three, records the experience of a man whose life was no less than pitiable. Lame from his birth, he was carried each morning to the gate of the Temple, where he sat asking for handouts from those going in. Unable to be active and progressive on his own, he looked to the generosity of others to supply his daily needs.
One day Peter and John, disciples of Christ Jesus, came by the man, who expected they too might give him alms. Instead of offering him money, however, Peter did something much more wonderful. He healed him. Once a perpetual invalid, this man could now walk, even leap with joy, as he went freely into the Temple. In a moment his life was transformed from a condition of helplessness to one of glorious dominion.
The joy he felt must have been immeasurable. This delight in his new-found, God-given ability to rise far above pitiful limitation could not be hidden. No longer confined to a gate of the Temple, he could now enter in with Peter and John, praising God for His goodness.
I've particularly enjoyed the spirit- ual interpretation given to the word temple in the Glossary of Science and Health. It reads in part, ''Body; the idea of Life, substance, and intelligence; the superstructure of Truth; the shrine of Love . . . .'' (p. 595). The man who sat at the gate of the Temple felt the strength of the spiritual idea of Life. No wonder he joyfully entered into the Temple! His healing involved far more than a change in a physical condition; it was brought about by a wholesome
and fresh view of God and His idea, or expression, man.
Do we sometimes feel that we're outside the temple, outside of all that is beautiful and good and progressive? An experience I had over three years ago proved to me that this need not be so. I had been troubled for some time by a pain in my leg, which made walking a misery. A Christian Science practi-tioner, whom I had called to help me, reminded me of these words from Science and Health: ''Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you'' (p. 571). I pondered this sentence, endeavoring t o feel myself clothed in divine Love's embrace, where no element of human misery could enter. I began to see that I could never be outside ''the shrine of Love,'' in which there is no hatred.
One day when walking home from the train station, I saw clearly that God, Love, alone, is my defense against all the aggressive arguments presenting life as made up of mortality, of material misery. God's universe has always been, and always will be, spiritual, intact, untouched by harm of any kind. Ignorance, indifference, and hatred toward the man of God's creating are but a misty, confused state of thought, which would deceive humanity into believing that life is separate from God and outside of H is love. The mist evaporates as the sunlight of divine Truth and Love is welcomed into our thought.
Our human body responds to the power of Love to heal when we recognize that our true selfhood is the emanation of our creator, the divine Principle of all good. When we feel the joy and dominion of our God-given nature, we are healed.
Since that day I have enjoyed walking many miles up hills and down dales without the least vestige of pain. I've been so grateful, often feeling as though I were leaping with joy for the fresh understanding I've gained of our dear Father's healing presence and power, from which we can never be separated. None of us need accept that we're outside the temple, outside God's idea of Life, nor are we outside the health and harmony of Love's ever-presence.