Persecution and Blessedness

In a Sunday school class, recently, as the beatitudes were being studied, some questions were asked respecting the relation between persecution and blessedness. The meaning of this certainly does not lie on the surface, yet it surely calls for our earnest consideration, because of the Master's reiterated reference to it. It is easy to see that persecution cannot exist in the kingdom of heaven, yet we find an unequivocal statement that those who are "persecuted for righteousness' sake" have as their reward this kingdom. Many believe that this reward is to come after death, but there is nothing in the words of Christ Jesus on which to base such a supposition; he clearly meant that the blessedness is to be realized, here and now, by those who have risen to the spiritual altitude indicated by the preceding beatitudes.

The great Teacher spoke of himself to Nicodemus as the "Son of man which is in heaven," although the bitterest persecutions assailed him throughout his entire earthly experience; therefore we can see that persecution can shut out of heaven, or harmony, only those who persecute or those who give power to evil. The pupils in the Sunday school class were asked by their teacher what should be their first step if accusations of any kind were brought against them, and after a number of answers had been given they were helped to see that the first thing to do was to find whether there was not something in themselves which needed correction. At this point meekness would have to be called upon, as it removes all sense of suffering from self-analysis. St. Peter warns us against the discord which comes from evil-doing, even from being "a busybody in other men's matters." Then he goes on: "If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf." It can harm no one to be thoroughly aroused to the demands of God's law, and each awakening should bring us a keener sense of what obedience to this law requires of us.

On page 33 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy asks Christians if they are drinking their Master's cup, and she says, "Have you shared the blood of the New Covenant, the persecutions which attend a new and higher understanding of God?" In every age those who have taken a stand for pure spirituality have been misunderstood and misrepresented by those who loved the world and the things of the world, but this has only tended to show the difference between genuine spirituality and mere religiousness. Paul saw this when he said that one might even give his body to be burned, yet it would be of no profit if love were lacking.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

Brotherhood and Civilization
December 5, 1914

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.