True gratitude has been well styled the natural response of the heart to kindness, and carries with it a desire to show appreciation for the favor received by requital if possible. Indeed we are apt to be severe in our condemnation of those who are always ready to accept a favor, but calmly ignore any obligation thereby incurred. The nine lepers who went their way unmindful of the wonderful gift that they had received, are often cited as typical of the worst sort of ingratitude. It is right and commendable, therefore, that those who have been healed in Christian Science of their sickness or sins should be truly grateful for the favor thus bestowed upon them.

It sometimes happens, however, that the gratitude of the person healed through Christian Science finds expression in an expensive gift to the one through whom the healing power of Truth has been demonstrated, and later, if the relationship of practitioner and patient is merged into that of teacher and student, further favors are tendered and accepted, thus laying the foundation for an abnormal and undesirable relationship built upon the shifting sands of personality, instead of the rock, Christ.

Probably no temptation which comes to the practitioner and teacher of Christian Science is more subtle than is this one, because it comes in the guise of good, and in a most flattering and pleasant form; but it is not in the history of human nature that such a relationship can continue without interruption, or that the recipient will cease to expect these favors to continue and the giver to expect some special consideration in return. If the recipient fully succumbs to this temptation, he soon will find himself not only expecting to receive gifts, more or less expensive, from his patients and students, but practically to demand them, in his own thought at least, as a right.

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December 25, 1909

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