Compassion may be called the fragrance of love. As when upon entering some room, a delicate perfume causes the visitor's glance to wander until it rests upon a cluster of tea-roses softly glowing in some quiet corner, so does he who enters the presence of one whose heart is filled with love for God and man feel the atmosphere of heavenly compassion which breathes through every word and act. One recognizes it instantly, and yet to attempt its analysis would be much like trying to wrest from the rose the secret of its sweetness. Those who possess it in the most marked degree seem least conscious of it, so naturally and spontaneously does it go forth, expressing itself not so much in words as in a look, a smile, or a clasp of the hand. It is the essence of unspoken things. It is patience, contented to wait. It is forbearance, ready to make allowances. It is forgiveness, willing to forget. It is tenderness, yearning to be understood. It is love, reaching out to heal.

No man of whom the world has ever heard possessed this quality as did Jesus of Nazareth, because no man ever loved as did he. He was continually "moved with compassion" at the sight of human misery; yet it is a significant fact that this touch of sympathy in no way impaired his ability to correct the discordant condition which had called it forth. Indeed, compassion seemed often to be but the first step towards that instantaneous healing which is the ultimate goal of every true Christian Scientist.

When the leper knelt at his feet, beseeching to be made clean, "Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand," and "immediately . . . he was cleansed." When the multitude followed him into a desert place, he "was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd;" and he not only fed them spiritually with the bread of Life, teaching them "many things," but he also supplied, by the loaves and the fishes, the material food which at the moment constituted their sense of human need. When the two blind men implored that their eyes might be opened, "Jesus had compassion on them," and a moment later they received their sight; and when he met the funeral procession of him who was "the only son of his mother, and she was a widow," he "had compassion on her," and bade the young man arise. "And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak."

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A Retrospect
March 14, 1914

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