When Mrs. Eddy says, "The error of the ages is preaching without practise" (Science and Health, p. 241), she gives expression to a vital truth which we all recognize, but which perhaps we do not readily appropriate to our own use. How far-reaching in effect are good deeds! How tame and weak are mere words in comparison! Perhaps in every pulpit of the land ministers are uttering truisms about goodness and honesty, and fathers are repeating similar words of advice to mold the characters of their sons, but one strong example of fidelity to Principle leaves a deeper imprint for good than many sermons.

If Jesus had not lived the truth he taught, does any one imagine that his words would be repeated in the churches of every land as they are today? On the other hand, the influence of a life of such purity and goodness could but have been felt far and wide, to the betterment of mankind and the exaltation of ideals, even though no word of advice or counsel had been given by him. "But," says some one, "it is so easy to preach and so hard to practise!" This is of course only one of the multifarious lies of mortal mind. There can be no doubt that the criminal whose career comes to a tragic end, after he has wound his devious way through the subterranean passage of sin and crime, has not found so easy a path even in this world as he would have had he taken the straight and narrow one. The fact that the shortest distance between two points is by a straight line is as correct a guide in moral and religious life as when applied to the problems of geometry.

December 21, 1912

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