In the epistle to the Hebrews the writer says, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers," and he adds, "Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body." Even among barbarous nations hospitality took high rank as a virtue, and it is possible that it lost much of its value when it came to be a mere exchange of courtesies. Nowhere do we find a more beautiful picture of genuine hospitality than in Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables," where the good bishop welcomes to his home an ex-galley slave and sets before him at their simple meal the best that the house can supply. This he did with the thought that the home and all it contained belonged to God, and that he must not withhold from any needy child of earth the shelter which that home had to offer, since the infinite Father bestows the blessings of His rain and sunshine upon the just and the unjust alike.

In Christian Science we learn to value all the virtues not less but more as we come to understand their spiritual source and meaning, and we should never forget the Master's admonition, "Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required." Under present conditions it may not be either possible or necessary to invite to our table all those to whom it were good to show hospitality, but we can certainly "entertain" every needy one who comes within the radius of our thought, remembering, as did Jacob, that wherever we are, that place should be to us "none other but the house of God." We can give to every one of our best,—setting before them the bread of life and the wine of inspiration, so that they may go on their way refreshed and rejoicing.

December 26, 1908

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