"Always follow the kindest course"

THE words of the Bible have become familiar to the ears of Christian men and women through constant repetition. The rhythm and phrasing of some passages is so well known that literary artificers sometimes seek for transient attention to their own platitudes by imitation of their form ; as, for example, when humorous admonitions are phrased in the manner of the Ten Words, or attempt is made to parody the Beatitudes. This familiarity with the sound too often implies the hearing ear, and not the understanding heart. Men of historic cruelty have made familiar speech of the language of the Bible, yet somehow its essential meaning escaped them. Their lives were not delivered by its teaching from the control of mortal mind, and set free to obey the order, rule, and gladness of the kingdom of heaven.

It happens sometimes also that people who assemble regularly to hear the words of the Bible read, may even while hearing the words be as absent in thought as the business man at the opera,—recipient only with his ears while he listens to the singer's effort and the orchestra's din. Meanwhile he is absorbed in his own dream, thinking of the plans he has which will employ the labor of thousands of men and establish him as a captain of industry. Upon smaller things, unfortunately, do the minds of auditors too often dwell while words of truth come to their ears. In a poetic way Ezekiel describes the condition : "They come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them : for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument : for they hear thy words, but they do them not."

There is a familiar passage in Thessalonians wherein the translators indicate by their italics that the word man is supplied, which without this addition would read, "See that none render evil for evil unto any; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all." What the apostle says is exactly this : Take good care lest any one pay back what is unfavorable to any one in return for what is bad (that is, unfit, useless, ill done on his part), but always follow out what is advantageous for others and for all. The descriptive phrasing, "always follow the kindest course," gives a fresh and pertinent expression of the meaning of the admonition. This phrase is given in the Twentieth Century New Testament, a translation into modern English from the Westcott and Hort Greek text.

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Giving Testimony
August 12, 1916

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