It was Dryden who declared that "by criticism, as it was first instituted by Aristotle, was meant a standard of judging well." How regrettable, then, that criticism, as it is commonly understood and employed to-day, should have lost its original high standard and deteriorated into practically the exact opposite,—animadversion, stricture, censure, blame, faultfinding, and the like.

The inclination to criticize is indeed a dangerous one, for if not checked in the very beginning it soon becomes a fixed habit which is productive of much that hinders genuine progress. To criticize unkindly or unjustly, it matters not what are the circumstances, is to yield to mortal mind temptation. It is to manifest that quality of carnal thought which is responsible for "debates, ... backbitings, whisperings," and kindred "evil speakings," against which the Scriptures emphatically warn us. Such criticism is always the outcome of some measure of jealousy, envy, anger, or malice, than which nothing more hurtful and blighting could occupy consciousness and direct activity. It is that error which would alienate individuals upon the slightest pretense, and make them enemies.

July 20, 1918

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