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.

Had mankind been wise enough to forestall criticism, it would also have been wise enough to forestall those innumerable discords and woes which have resulted therefrom. Had mankind really seen criticism for what it is,—a disturbing, disheartening, and destructive agency,—it would not have fallen a victim to this adversary. Thus would the world have been saved those bitter contentions and strifes which have ultimated in what is practically a world war, a conflict in which criticism, hatred, and revenge are probably having as much to do as in any other struggle recorded by history; and this simply because some of the great men of the earth have forgotten to "honour all men," as the apostle commanded, and to "love the brotherhood,"—have forgotten that, in the words of Mrs. Eddy as given on page 32 of "Miscellaneous Writings," "love alone is admissible towards friend and foe."

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July 20, 1918

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