A New Heart

From the Christian Science Sentinel, January 5, 1918 by

It is probable that throughout Christendom and in all Jewry the deliverance of Jerusalem has caused men to study with care Ezekiel’s thirty-sixth chapter. The promise expressed indirectly in connection with the prophet’s earlier vision is here made direct and universal with the authorization, “Thus saith the Lord God.” This is the promise: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

It became part of the tradition of Israel how Pharaoh and the Egyptians had hardened their hearts, and so had gone on to destruction; yet, despite this warning, we find generation after generation of the Israelites falling into idolatry, and as distinctly becoming unresponsive to the word of God as the Egyptians had been. Concerning this condition the proverb was, “Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.”

We find our Master very compassionate and patient with the unfaith and cold-heartedness of his followers. Mark records their surprise over the demonstration when he walked the waves and made the storm a calm. He explained their unawakened condition on the ground that “they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.” Again, when Jesus warned his disciples against the leaven of false doctrine they as literalists reasoned, saying: “It is because we have no bread;” to which he replied: “Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?” He was kindly asking them why they were so little impressed by the spiritual and unable to respond to Principle, which to him was all-important.

Paul, quoting from a psalm of his people, credits its inspiration to divine Mind, saying: “As the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts … But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” The heart hardened is unsusceptible to spiritual influences because deceived by sin. But the new heart will surely mean a consciousness expressing the influences of Spirit that heal and bless, a consciousness of good which no mesmerism of evil can invade. It must be a new understanding of life itself, fulfilling the promise of Science and Health on page 264, “When we realize that Life is Spirit, never in nor of matter, this understanding will expand into self-completeness, finding all in God, good, and needing no other consciousness.”

Can we find a better term for this new heart given by God than by naming it the Christ-spirit? Made alive by this, we recognize old things to have passed away, and find a renewing as of dawn brightening a valley, or spring reviving a whole countryside, or a prophet’s vision enlightening a world, whereby joy and vivifying life and brotherly love enrich us. Lacking these, how dark and cold and hateful can be the experiences of men. Mrs. Eddy speaks of herself as knowing both the old and the new, but she has become the revelator by whom all in the world may know and rejoice in the new,—may rejoice in dawn, and spring, and enlightenment. In “Miscellaneous Writings” (p. 178) our Leader says: “In the flesh, we are as a partition wall between the old and the new, between the old religion in which we have been educated, and the new, living, impersonal Christ-thought that has been given to the world to-day.”

At this time, when much is said of new year, new hope, new resolutions, is it not well to desire a new heart, a new warmth of love? Where power, control, and rule center in personal will, or human mind, there is found a heart of stone, as history shows. Others besides Machiavelli have taught that the prince must absolve himself from all compassion; and a long line of princes in church and state have illustrated this. Hence the time is nigh for men to look away from the dynastic helper, “the son of man, in whom there is no help,” and to turn to Principle itself, divine Love, which invites mankind, saying, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.”

Paul and Barnabas quoted the prophecy concerning the Messiah, “I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.” Christian Science is showing the fulfillment in continuity of this prophecy, because it shows how men everywhere may be enlightened and saved, and teaches them how to have “a new heart,” or the Christ-spirit, to-day. The author of Science and Health, on page 141 of this textbook, thus unfolds the possibilities before us all: “In healing the sick and sinning, Jesus elaborated the fact that the healing effect followed the understanding of the divine Principle and of the Christ-spirit which governed the corporeal Jesus. For this Principle there is no dynasty, no ecclesiastical monopoly. Its only crowned head is immortal sovereignty. Its only priest is the spiritualized man. The Bible declares that all believers are made ‘kings and priests unto God.'”