"Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;" thus declared John the Baptist centuries ago, and repentance has been preached almost unremittingly ever since. Wherever sin has been in evidence, repentance has been proclaimed a necessity. From Genesis to Revelation men are called upon again and again to repent, and the Scriptures teach very clearly that no one can ever hope to enter the kingdom of heaven except by this road. Job found he could not be delivered from his dire distresses until he reached the mental attitude where he could exclaim: "I have heard of thee [God] by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."

         Multitudes of men would gladly repent, if only they understood just what they were to repent of and how such repentance was to be brought about. In a general way they have been told that it is their sins, their wrongdoings, they must be sorry for. They have also been told that such sorrow amounts to nothing unless they stop sinning. But still the questions have arisen: Just what are my sins? How can I be sorry? How can I reform?

         At this point Christian Science appears with its wonderful illuminating light. When it proclaims the fact of God and His perfect spiritual creation as the all and only, it simultaneously reveals the falsity of the beliefs in a material existence and shows men that they need to recognize the enormity and repent of all such beliefs if they are ever to find the kingdom of heaven ''at hand," as John declared it to be.

         When this light first dawns upon the student of Christian Science, he begins to taste the baptism of which our beloved Leader speaks in "Miscellaneous Writings" (pp. 203, 204), where she says: "The baptism of repentance is indeed a stricken state of human consciousness, wherein mortals gain severe views of themselves; a state of mind which rends the veil that hides mental deformity. Tears flood the eyes, agony struggles, pride rebels, and a mortal seems a monster, a dark, impenetrable cloud of error; and falling on the bended knee of prayer, humble before God, he cries, 'Save, or I perish.' Thus Truth, searching the heart, neutralizes and destroys error."

         This repentance is not always accomplished completely at the first revelation of Christian Science to the individual. Indeed, it often takes many an uncovering of error, many a struggle, many a laying down of evil beliefs as we press forward in our march towards the heaven of Soul. To be sure, the Christian Scientist accepts the fact that here and now he really exists as the perfect child of God. He also recognizes that the only reason he is not now apparently conscious of this truth in all its glorious fullness is that there are still beliefs in a false selfhood which he has not yet discerned and proved unreal — relinquished. He therefore is wise if he keeps his heart always open to repentance.

         Every true Christian Scientist knows full well that few experiences more completely fill him with joy than that which, starting with the prayer for more light, finds its answer — sometimes after perhaps deep struggles with pride and egotism — in the exposure in his own thinking and living of some belief or tendency which is the opposite of the divine. Then what happiness to repent, to sorrow for the wrong so long, perhaps even unwittingly, indulged; and then — the glad entrance into the fuller light of Truth which floods the consciousness!

         At this point there is a grave danger, to which Christian Scientists are not always awake. So prone is so-called mortal mind to wish to escape from all sense of penalty for wrongdoing that the temptation often presents itself to hasten too soon from repentance to the good which it thinks it has already earned. Our wise Leader cautions us right here when she tells us in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 145), ''Over a wounded sense of its own error, let not mortal thought resuscitate too soon." If we will be more careful in each instance to let our repentance always be so deep that it need never be repented of, — that is, if we will see with perfect clearness the terrible enormity of entertaining any thought or tendency contrary to the divine, — then we shall never again be tempted by that specific form of sin.

         A thoughtful, prayerful study of Mrs. Eddy's teachings on the subject of repentance, assimilated and demonstrated, cannot fail to result in untold blessings to any student who undertakes such study. It will surely lead him into a rich realization of the Soulful meaning of the words with which she closed her Message to The Mother Church for 1901 (p. 35):

"O the Love divine that plucks us
    From the human agony!
O the Master's glory won thus,
    Doth it dawn on you and me?

"And the bliss of blotted-out sin
    And the working hitherto —
Shall we share it — do we walk in
    Patient faith the way thereto?"

''Thus Truth, searching the heart, neutralizes and destroys error"!


"Repentance" by Ella W. Hoag, CSD
Christian Science Sentinel, January 30, 1926

| Home | Library |

Copyright © 1996-2010 CSEC