Gentleness versus Violence

In his epistle to the Galatians, St. Paul mentions gentleness as one of the fruits of the Spirit against which there is no law. The dove is often used as a type, or symbol, of gentleness and peace. Christ Jesus said, "Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves," coupling this simile with the wisdom which outwits evil. This is best done by knowing evil's powerlessness, nothingness, and unreality. Violence has never really accomplished anything except to demolish its own superstructure. It is destructive, a twin brother to desolation, born of hatred, envy, malice, revenge. Void of divine Mind and spiritual impulse, it rushes madly onward, like the cyclone, lashing its victims into a seething rage of helpless fury, making them the playthings of demoniacal purpose and baseless anger, condemning them to reap the harvest of their own sowing of fear, jealousy, cowardice, shame, remorse, forever pursued by the cry of the outcast, "My punishment is greater than I can bear."

Gentleness is constructive, a builder up of waste places; it makes the desert to "rejoice, and blossom as the rose;" it rests upon the foundation of spiritual understanding and has dominion over all things; it blesses with divine grace and strength, mercy and tenderness, temperance and forbearance, forgiveness and peace. Born of Truth and Love, springing from Life eternal ("The everlasting Father"), it is founded on the higher law of Christ, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself;" for, as Paul says, "love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." Gentleness heralds the coming of a brighter dawn, in whose light violence, fear, wrath, revenge, murder, destruction are unknown, and the omnipotence of Spirit is demonstrated, "for the former things are passed away." Its only weapon is the divine Word, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts," and holiness, confidence, and peace are the manifestation of its coming. The sweet breath of the modest violet; the humility typified by the lowly lily; the blessed dews of righteousness and mercy, reviving the humble; the heavenly manna of spiritual being, comforting the mourner; the pure love that "thinketh no evil,"—all these teach the supreme power of gentleness which blesses only, and it alone can remove the curse of violence and bring salvation to the weary slave of anger and revenge.

Our Master's words make strong appeal for gentleness. "I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Again, "Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." This is the divine law of gentleness taught and practised by him who was oppressed and afflicted, "yet he opened not his mouth: ... brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth."

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Silent Witnesses
February 27, 1915

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