This is a Last Crusade article. If you are not familiar with the Last Crusade, you can find the articles here and here. It is a new movement devoted to Christ, Constitution, Chivalry.
Thou shalt not steal. (Exodus 20:!5)
This is the only Commandment for which I did not think of a modern behavior which our culture accepts that older cultures did not.
We have many kinds of stealing. I could speak about forfetures or pirating intellectual property, for instance. But, I think most people, in general, understand that those things are wrong. I could not think of anything that I haven't already covered that falls under stealing that we think of as acceptable or good.
So instead, here is the entire text of the article on the Eighth Commandment that I quoted in part earlier.
Next Column will be on the Seventh Commandment, upon which there is plenty to expound.
The Ten Commandments, given by God to the children of Israel through Moses, have for centuries been a basis of human conduct, and to the extent that they have been understood and obeyed, they have uplifted the race. Many people cast them aside as useless and out of date; others see in them a moral code for orderly living; while some believe man to be a mortal sinner who must struggle to live in accord with them. From any of these standpoints there seems to be difficulty in reaching the standard laid down in the commandments.
Yet God, who is divine Love, could not give commands that are incapable of being obeyed. If we find them difficult to obey, we have evidently not understood the divine facts underlying them. When we learn their true, or spiritual, meaning through the study of Christian Science, we see them to be vital, practical laws, indispensable to our everyday living. Moses received the commandments through inspiration, and we cannot understand them except through inspiration. God's statutes are not punitive and restrictive rules that limit our enjoyment. Seen in their true sense, they protect our God-given heritage of perfection and blessedness.
Reasoning from the correct, scientific basis, we see that the man of God's creating cannot break God's law but lives forever as Mind's idea; thus it is divinely natural for him to live in accord with this law. The forbidding "Thou shalt not" becomes "Thou canst not." Mrs. Eddy states, "The real man cannot depart from holiness, nor can God, by whom man is evolved, engender the capacity or freedom to sin."1 To accept the belief that there is a mind which can break God's laws is tantamount to admitting that God is not omnipotent and supreme. From this spiritual viewpoint, which is the true viewpoint, we realize that God's absolute laws, typified by the commandments, cannot be broken.
These grand truths are of inestimable value to mankind. They deliver us from every phase of evil. As we grasp these truths, we are given the strength and moral courage to overthrow evil suggestions. If in what seems to be a discordant situation we hold steadfastly to these truths, we find light and healing flowing into our consciousness, thereby replacing discord with harmony.
If we believe we have been born with certain evil instincts and are condemned to carry them out, these powerful truths enable us to lay hold of our true being, thereby counteracting the false sense we have held of ourselves. The scientific fact of man's inseparability from the one Mind is the savior from the belief that man is a mortal sinner living in disobedience to the commandments. In proportion as we perceive and understand that there is no mind or power to break the Ten Commandments, we are enabled to conform harmoniously to their requirements.
The world in which we find ourselves often tells us it is easier and pleasanter to break the commandments than it is to keep them. On every hand there is evidence that divine statutes are being broken. This belief of gods many, minds many, is the lie of mortal mind and presents the false view of man. It would claim to oppose God; but no matter how often or for how long the lie seems to assert itself, it can never become true. We read in the Bible, "There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord"2 Thus, the laws of God, the truths of being, stand inviolate; they need only to be discerned and practiced.
Christ Jesus taught the importance of the commandments. When he was asked, "Which is the great commandment in the law?" he answered: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."3
The Science of Christianity, which does not deviate from the Master's teachings, reveals one infinite God, who is Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life. It reveals man as divine Mind's reflection. Because man is Godlike, he is spiritual, perfect, and good. He lives eternally at one with his Maker, a relationship that can never be severed.
We learn, too, that this real man, living always under God's control, is infinitely blessed and can never be tempted to leave the harmony of the one infinite Mind for the discord and doubt of many minds. Man does not depart from the infinite light of Life into darkness and death, desert supernal joy and bliss for sorrow and sadness, or forsake the enjoyment of the indivisible allness of good to cross the threshold of limitation and lack. In fact, he has no consciousness of error and no option but to live forever in the glorious realm of reality. As we accept these facts, we find that rich blessings are evidenced in our everyday experience.
When we understand the true meaning and basis of the commandments, we shall realize that they protect man's wonderful state of being. Instead of depriving us of good, they reveal good as our natural state.
The sacred truth of man's sinless and pure nature is not mere theory; it must be demonstrated in our daily lives. The more we understand and express our real selfhood—the man God made upright and free—the more the false sense will fade out. Obviously, ours is no light task. We cannot in a single step depart from error to truth, from the unreal to the real, from the mortal to the immortal. Mrs. Eddy counsels us, "Think not to thwart the spiritual ultimate of all things, but come naturally into Spirit through better health and morals and as the result of spiritual growth."4
As our spiritual understanding grows, we realize that because we are the children of God we live at the standpoint of eternal satisfaction and completeness, and that therefore there is no need for us to indulge in the error of coveting. We realize that as God's expression we cannot rob or be robbed, kill or be killed. Nor can we be made to carry out or become the victim of any other delusion of evil.
A student of Christian Science is grateful for the inspiration she has derived from the Ten Commandments. At one time she found that her car, which had been parked in the town center, was missing. She made the usual inquiries of the police. The suggestion was that the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal,"5 had been disobeyed. She then found herself declaring, "There is no evil mind to break the commandments." With this truth came peace of mind, a sense of assurance, and a certainty that all was well.
On going over this thought again, she realized that previously, while reading the chapter entitled "The Apocalypse" in the textbook, Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy, she had been impressed by the statement, "The ten horns of the dragon typify the belief that matter has power of its own, and that by means of an evil mind in matter the Ten Commandments can be broken,"6 and it had now come to her aid in a time of need. The next day the student was guided to walk along a nearby street; and there was the missing car. She learned that someone had left it there during the night.
It is our privilege and duty at all times to hold to the truth of man's being, to know that he is Mind's perfect expression. As soon as we depart, in belief, from the one Mind, we run into the error of minds many, gods many. In this deluded state we believe man to be separated from God, good; we seem to live in disobedience to His laws and consequently experience discord. As we are willing to give up the belief of many minds and realize our oneness with God, we correct erroneous thinking. Then harmony is restored.
All of us at some stage of our experience must turn to God and understand His laws. God's will must be done. The Ten Commandments may at present be on our mental shelf tucked away in a remote corner, but we must bring them into the light and remove the dust of materialism that their spiritual meaning may glow and enlighten our lives. No matter how far we have strayed, God's love is ever available. As we understand His laws and demonstrate them, our lives are transformed and our being uplifted from the false sense of condemnation and discord to our native freedom and harmony as sons of God.
The Bible states, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."7 Through the revelation of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy shows us the true spiritual meaning of these commandments, how to keep them, and how to experience the rich blessings resulting therefrom.