"The best sermon ever preached is Truth practised" (Science and Health. p. 201). Every true Christian Scientist loves our Cause and wishes to act in a manner that will command respect, not so much for the sake of his personal reputation, as for the interests of the Cause. Most of us, however, do little acts and say little things which would look very bad if a brother or sister Scientist were to do or say them, and which would sound out of place for a Christian of any denomination. As it is the "little foxes, that spoil the vines," so it is these little things that we need to guard against.

As Christian Scientists we are being observed, and it is all the more needful that we "abstain from all appearance of evil," for by yielding to little errors, we not only make a bad impression upon those who might become interested, but we hinder our own moral and spiritual growth. There are a thousand occasions on which we can preach a whole sermon, without saying anything. Prior to coming to Truth we may have used profane language; have we quit to the degree that we do not even use slang which often borders upon profanity? Formerly we may have indulged in a little gossip, have we quit to the degree that we will not listen to it, much less repeat it? Once we may have grumbled at the "butcher and the baker," and at our servants; have we now a kindly, helpful word for them instead? Have we made a clean-cut separation from our previous bad practices, avoiding all appearance of evil? If so, each Christian act and each kind word will prove an appealing and effective sermon.

The world has little use for the long-faced Christian, but does the abstaining from these little evils necessitate this? No, but rather the contrary. Let us "See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good," showing kindness to all men and rejoicing evermore. Sometimes we are tempted to make a remark to those with whom we deal, that we would not make to a Christian Scientist I have done this, and was afterward humiliated by the discovery that Christian Science might be judged by my folly. The lesson did me good and has made me more watchful along this line. While it is true that we should not talk our religion to those who do not wish to hear it, that by no means justifies us in saying to any, what we would not wish a fellow Scientist to hear, "For our conversation is in heaven;" that is, if we are living up to the tenets of our church, to which we have subscribed.

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The Nearness of God
February 6, 1904

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