Long ago the apostle Peter gave this counsel: "Be ye all of one mind, . . . love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous." We are very apt to think that courtesy is a grace which results only from education and culture, but this is a mistake. True courtesy springs from innate refinement, and is of the heart rather than the head. It forgets self in thinking of others and betokens that healthful mental condition which indicates breadth of thought and progressiveness.

The apostle who admonishes us to be courteous had learned of the great Teacher the value of those qualities which express the one perfect Mind, and in his many years of Christian endeavor he had doubtless seen the lack of these qualities on the part of those who were not finely attuned to the things of Spirit, whether these people were great or lowly in station. It is quite likely that he was present on the memorable occasion (mentioned in the seventh chapter of Luke) when Jesus dined in the house of a Pharisee, and when a woman said to be a sinner came there as an unbidden guest. We are told that she bathed the Master's feet with her tears, kissed them, then wiped them with the hairs of her head and anointed them with precious ointment. For this gentle service she had the rich reward of sin forgiven,—destroyed by the consuming fire of divine Love.

At this point Simon the Pharisee, who had dared to criticize both the lowly penitent and the one who had accepted her homage, received a much needed lesson on courtesy. Jesus proceeded to uncover, by a parable, Simon's self-righteousness, and made him render a decision against himself. He then turned to the woman, and gave all present a lesson which can never grow old. He reminded Simon that he had wholly neglected the deference usually shown to a guest,—but that this omission had been more than supplied by the unwelcome visitor. Jesus said, "Thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head." Well might Peter say years after, "Be pitiful, be courteous."

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