The higher meaning which attaches to the Scripture word wisdom, identifies it with that spiritual understanding or knowledge of Truth referred to in the familiar proverb, "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom." Christ Jesus also used the word to express that practical foresightedness and discretion which is able to meet the human situation in a masterful way. To fulfil our Lord's hope that we his disciples be "wise as serpents, and harmless as doves," is to be governed in every hour and event by alert and illumined good sense; it is to be saved from the stupidity which is forever inopportune, which is given to the sacrifice of a noble end for the gratification of some whim of pride or impulse. To be wise is to be well poised, considerate for all, free from the dominion of prejudice and self-interest, capable of looking at a question from all points of view, and that quickly enough to take advantage of circumstances which brook no delay. As Christian Scientists we cannot too frequently remind ourselves that it is peculiarly incumbent upon us today to have and exhibit both these riches of wisdom. If found lacking in either spiritual understanding or practical good judgment, we are sure to dishonor our profession and prove, in so far, a hindrance to the cause we would advance.

St. Paul may not have exceeded the other apostles in the emphasis he placed upon the necessity of being "rooted and grounded in love," but his broad knowledge of men and things gave him a keen sense of the need of putting on "the whole armor of God," of having that all-round sanity and sobriety of judgment, that control of temper, largeness of view, and wholesomeness of statement which he so earnestly commended in his letters to his "dearly beloved son" Timothy. No one can read these words of fatherly advice and exhortation without recognizing the significance he attaches not only to one's vital grasp of spiritual truth, but to the faultless mastery, the technique of its expression. "Study," he says, "to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed." The manner of doing the right thing must be no less ideal than the spirit of the deed. The genuineness of our stand for Principle is determined not only by our willingness to die for it if need be, but by the studious thoughtfulness of our effort to live for it, ideally. No man can take Christ Jesus' uncompromising stand for Truth without offending the pharisaism of those who are zealous defendants of error; but if he have sufficient "wisdom," he can be so circumspect as to avoid grieving his fellow believers, or repelling any aspiring, broad-minded person by his declarations of truth.

It sometimes happens that those who have a correct understanding of the letter of truth, and an altogether good intent, are nevertheless wofully lacking in wisdom, and in her "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 360) Mrs. Eddy has said that this needed wisdom is inspired by meekness. This describes a mental attitude which is always humble and teachable, free from the assertiveness of conceit. The truly meek do not speak as though they knew respecting a given matter, concerning which they only believe; they do not intrude unnecessarily upon the convictions and prejudices of others, nor make disparaging allusion to the things which a hearer may hold sacred,—in a word, they do not approach those whom they would influence in that tactless way which spells defeat from the start.

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February 24, 1912

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