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The breath of life

The widespread concern over air pollution and supposedly related respiratory diseases indicates that great health value is placed on pure air. Oxygen itself is considered to be the breath of life. But is there another viewpoint?

Clearly, fresh air, pure water, and wholesome food are legitimate needs, and evidence of God's provision. Even so, at some point we need to begin looking beyond matter to find the real sustainer of life. Looking to matter for health and well-being is precarious at best. Believing that matter in the form of pure air sustains the man God made puts one at the mercy of the belief that impure air or lack of air can take away life that Spirit itself has given.

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The contradictory nature of material health theories has led many to seek spiritual solutions to problems confronting them. The search has often led to the Bible, which reveals God as source and creator; as Spirit and as Life itself. ''The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life,'' 1 we read in Job. Such Scriptural passages give new implications to the phrase ''breath of life.''

''What is Life?'' Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, poses this question in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She uses a capital L to indicate that ''Life'' is a term for God Himself, the source of all life. Her answer includes this statement: ''Life is neither in nor of matter.'' 2 Could the ''breath of life,'' then, be in or of matter?

A Christian Scientist who was gasping for breath and filled with fear suddenly remembered a line from a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal: ''Prayer is the Christian's vital breath.'' 3 To the frightening argument ''You can't breathe!'' she was immediately able to reply mentally: ''But I can pray. And prayer 'is the Christian's vital breath.' '' She gratefully acknowledged her constant, unbreakable unity with God, who is Love and Life. She caught a glimpse of the truth that the unceasing good imparted by God to His idea, man, could never be stifled or cut off, even for a moment; the all-loving Father tenderly supplies every need of each of His children. The painful struggle ceased immediately. She was able to relax and to breathe naturally and easily.

Later she found this reference in one of Mrs. Eddy's writings: ''Christian Science is at length learned to be no miserable piece of ideal legerdemain, by which we poor mortals expect to live and die, but a deep-drawn breath fresh from God, by whom and in whom man lives, moves, and has deathless being.'' 4 To one who has been healed and enlightened by it, Christian Science is, indeed, ''a deep-drawn breath fresh from God.'' It presents a fresh view of man as actually spiritual, the offspring of God alone. Wasn't this Christ Jesus' view of man, the view that enabled him to perform his marvelous healing works? God's man is not a breathing animal, not a mortal born into, living in, or dying out of matter, but an incorporeal, indestructible, spiritual idea, forever existing at the standpoint of perfection.

''Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils,'' Isaiah wrote; ''for wherein is he to be accounted of?'' 5 We must cease thinking of our ''breath of life'' as existing in or stemming from matter, and instead reconceive of it as wholly spiritual. Spirit, God, is the actual breath of life to man. In reality , man is forever taking in life-giving, sustaining spiritual ideas, and giving out, or reflecting, spiritual qualities. He manifests the unlabored inspiration of divine Love.

How reassuring to realize that because we can never be deprived of God, Spirit, we can never be deprived of the breath of Life!

1 Job 33:4. 2 Science and Health, p. 469. 3 Hymnal, No. 284. 4 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 195. 5 Isaiah 2:22. DAILY BIBLE VERSE God that made thw world and all things therein...dwelleth not in temples made with hands;... seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and ll things;... in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Acts 17:24,25,28

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