"All that I have is thine"

Perhaps no parable spoken by the Master is of such universal appeal, and therefore the subject of more frequent reference, than that of the prodigal son. It sets forth a phase of human character with which all are more or less familiar,—a weakness in human nature which for the most part arouses our pity rather than our censure, our compassion rather than our condemnation; for waywardness does not necessarily exhibit an unloving disposition or a condition of thought involving malice or hatred. A literal interpretation of this parable, however, does not raise it above the level of an ordinary story about a young man who had squandered his money on worldly pleasures; but when its metaphysical meaning is discerned it has, at least for Christian Scientists, a far deeper significance. On page 91 of "Retrospection and Introspection" Mrs. Eddy says, "The parable of 'the prodigal son' is rightly called 'the pearl of parables,' " and from it we can surely gather deep spiritual lessons.

We read that the return of the young man to his father's house was made the occasion for much rejoicing and festivity, following the affectionate welcome which the father had given him. In the midst of the joyful celebration the elder son, who had been in the field and heard the sound of music and dancing as he approached the house, inquired of one of the servants what the merriment was all about. On being told that it was on account of the return of his younger brother, he became angry and refused to go into the house or to join in the festivities. A great deal has been said in support of the contention that the faithfulness of the elder son had not been fully appreciated nor appropriately rewarded, and that he was therefore justified in resenting the treatment accorded the younger son, who had spent all his substance in riotous living. Was not this treatment placing a premium upon sin, while virtue went unrewarded?

May 19, 1917

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