"Wise as serpents"

It would almost seem that Christian Scientists have need to ponder daily the Master's warning to the little band of disciples whom he sent out "to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick," Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves;" for if one may judge by the letters and circulars received by practitioners whose cards appear in the Journal, there is an impression abroad that Christian Scientists are liberally supplied with money. While these solicitations to purchase cover a wide range of "golden opportunities," they are more especially plausible in their offers of shares of stock in mining or other corporations which have not as yet advanced from the stock-selling stage of their career to that more permanent stage which is made significant of success through the payment of dividends. Most of these schemes are heralded as enterprises which are certain to pay large dividends, but it is an axiom of business that safe investments will as a rule pay only a conservative return, while investments (so called) which promise a large and often fabulous return are usually coupled with great risk of loss, not only of the promised returns, but also of the capital invested.

It will be well for prospective investors to remember that the mere fact that the person selling the stock claims to be a Christian Scientist does not insure the safety of the investment, of this person, albeit a good Scientist, may himself have been misled by some one else's exploitation of the brilliant future of the stock in which he is endeavoring to persuade his friends and acquaintances to invest; or, worse still, he may be a wolf in sheep's clothing whose intention is to profit by the lack of business experience among that large class, mostly women, who having a little money to invest are naturally desirous of securing the largest possible returns, a desire which renders them easy victims to the plausible schemes of the wily seller of wildcat stocks. The world is slow to learn the lesson that real bargains in stocks or in any commodity are seldom offered to the promiscuous buyer, and that the man who figures on getting something for little or nothing, sooner or later laments his folly.

Faith and Intelligence
October 11, 1913

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