Good citizenship is fundamentally simple. The training for it is in the home, where fellowship in service may be ideally learned. The teaching regarding it which is most satisfactory may be found in the words of Jesus, "Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister." The ideal for life which makes most trouble is the common reversal of this which Jesus reprehended. "The princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them," he said. To-day men seek to boss or master others, but for whose benefit? Always for the advantage of the man who has control. So the motto of the undesirable citizen, or of the selfish one in the home, is something like this, "Don't do good, but get good from others." This reverses the Christian ideal for life explained by the Master, who said of himself, "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister." In the ideal home, or the ideal State, every member thereof has some unique capacity for service, some ability to be useful and minister to the welfare of all. If each one proffers his unique service, it means that the whole work necessary for the well-being of the community is easily completed; each man bears his own burden, and is rewarded by "the joy of the working."

There is a passage in that modern morality play, "The Servant in the House," which always thrills the observer. A working man whose life has been embittered by his resentment against injustice, whose hatred of other men who is vitriolic, whose religion is a form of socialism, which he defines as the grouping of some men in antagonism to the rest of mankind, meets for the first time in his life a man who is an actual Christian. As the true ideal of fellowship in service is unfolded in the conversation, the simple truth comes as a revelation to the poor man who had been living in the hell of hatred. His face lights up as the glory of comradeship dawns upon his thought. He sees that his despised work has a place in the great whole of human good, and the innate dignity and value of the individual man becomes clear to him. Immediately he is inspired with good will. He sees how the labor of others is building as it were a temple, and if some are working in high places fashioning what is beautiful, for love's sake, then he, too, must be at work for love's sake, even though all he can do is to dig sewers. Some one must do this service for the common welfare, and he sees how service brings him into the brotherhood of man. From that moment he is a citizen to be desired in any community. When this teaching, the teaching of Christian Science, is universally understood, then good citizenship will be universal, because the love that "thinketh no evil" will everywhere prevail, and men will "love as brethren, ... not rendering evil for evil. ... but contrariwise blessing."

But in what practical way is this movement able to assist those who at the present time are trying to better human conditions? It may be said in reply that all the practical results of Christian Science demonstration, as for instance the restoration of the insane, the reform of the intemperate, or the recovery of the sick, may be measured in terms of good citizenship. When individuals are incompetent for usefulness through illness or error, it generally means that others must be withdrawn from service to care for them; and that the efficiency of a circle of friends is limited to some degree by their anxiety or grief. When therefore the distressed individual is liberated from disease, vice, intemperance, drug-intoxication, insanity, or whatever his defect may be, it is easy to see that the efficiency of many is increased. They can be more serviceable in working for the welfare of the whole body-politic.

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December 5, 1908

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