THACKERAY, speaking of one of his most lovable and admirable characters, says, "No man could admit his own faults with more engaging candor than our friend." Robert Browning says that "when the fight begins within a man, he is worth something." The apostle James admonishes us to confess our "faults one to another, and pray one for another," that we may be healed, and Mrs. Eddy makes the wise observation that "when a man begins to quarrel with himself he stops quarreling with others" (Message to The Mother Church, June, 1900, p. 13). Again she says, "To recognize your sin, aids in destroying it" (Science and Health, p. 461). She makes it equally clear that the habit of thinking and talking about another's faults is itself a sin, and tends to do harm to all and good to none.

Both the letter and the spirit of the teachings of Christ Jesus are that we should confess our own errors and, in the first instance at least, mention the faults of our brother "to him alone." Experience, and our own sense of good, confirm the wisdom, reason, and justice of these teachings. Nearly all of the worst misunderstandings of mortals arise from their selfish and unjust tendency to cover and to justify their own errors, and to expose and condemn the errors of others; and reconciliations can nearly always be made and a good understanding brought about as this tendency is reversed. We cannot do other than forgive and love those who are awake to their own faults, and who are seeking to correct and atone for them. Indeed, repentance, confession, and reformation bring forgiveness as well as a good conscience.

As mortals, we have all erred and erred greatly, and we rise above error only as we see it, acknowledge it, and correct it as best we can, and cease to err. To think about, talk about, and make a reality of the shortcomings of others, enslaves the one who does it, and is the work of "the enemy" and not the friend of mankind. When we become wise enough to do ourselves no harm and to wrong no one, and to do ourselves and others good and only good, we shall be glad to confess and forsake our own faults, and to be silent as to the faults of others. We shall forgive and heal and comfort and bless. We shall even save each other from self-condemnation. Highest of all, we shall see and love and help bring to light the real man,—the Son of God,—who is superior to all the claims of sin, ignorance, discord, and death. Our Leader says that we must make "perfect God and perfect man . . . the basis of thought and demonstration" (Science and Health, p. 259). When tempted to sin or to be sick, we should cling the more firmly to the truth, and let nothing which is not of God find entrance to our thought. When tempted to condemn, we should command the tempter to get behind us and stay behind us, and should end by blessing instead of condemning. We should even make the meditations of our hearts, as well as the words of our mouths, glorify God and His whole creation.

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July 18, 1908

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