Every student of the New Testament is familiar with the parables of the good Samaritan and the prodigal son; and all who read them are struck by their simplicity and by the depth of the compassion which they illustrate. In the story of the good Samaritan, as given in the tenth chapter of Luke, a man is portrayed as having been wounded and left lying helpless by the wayside. While he is in this pitiable condition, a priest and, after him, a Levite come his way, see him, and pass by "on the other side." "But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him." The narrative then recounts the practical result of the good Samaritan's compassion,—the placing of the injured man tenderly under the care of those who would look after him till he recovered.

Again, is it not the father's attitude of compassion toward the erring boy in the parable of the prodigal son which indicates the power that leads the wanderer back to the home where peace and love and the healthfulness of purity abide? How wonderful are the words: "And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." Compassion was there,—compassion, the outcome of that deep, spiritual consciousness which kept realizing, even when evil seemed to human sense most real, the indestructible nature of good, the omnipotence of Love, and persisted until it healed the contrite heart.

There are significant lessons in these parables. Everybody who has taken up the study of Christian Science seriously and who is endeavoring to live in conformity with its teachings should know that, while the letter is necessary, it is "the spirit that quickeneth." One might be able to memorize the words in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" without being able to heal a single case of sin or sickness metaphysically. Behind the letter, making it yield up the gold of its spiritual meaning, must be the true Christian spirit, itself based on an understanding of the reality and allness of good. In her Message for 1902 (p. 18) Mrs. Eddy states the invariable attitude of Christ Jesus when she says: "Jesus was compassionate, true, faithful to rebuke, ready to forgive. He said, 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.'"

Making Our Burden Light
June 1, 1918

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