Leader and Leadership

Gamaliel, as a truly wise man, understood that any counsel or work that was of men would come to naught. In his defense of Peter and the other apostles, he cited the case of Theudas, "boasting himself to be somebody," and also of Judas of Galilee, who "drew away much people after him." Both of these leaders perished, and those who believed on them were "scattered, and brought to nought." He declared that if a work were of God it could not possibly be overthrown. It is evident from the cases cited that he understood how people can be misled by mesmerism. This has been illustrated in our day with theatrical accompaniments. There was a leader who, with shining helm and glittering sword and soldier's cloak, with dehumanized armies and conscienceless diplomatists and the stage lightning of threats and the wind of boasting, appeared as a stormy claimant to the world's control. Men are able now to see the misleading mesmerism which duped the people and brought sorrow into the world and death to millions of its inhabitants.

Spiritual leadership is something far different from this, and perhaps cannot be better set forth than in the words of the Leader of the Christian Science movement. In her Message to The Mother Church for 1901 Mrs. Eddy says (p. 34): "Finally, brethren, wait patiently on God; return blessing for cursing; be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good; be steadfast, abide and abound in faith, understanding, and good works; study the Bible and the textbook of our denomination; obey strictly the laws that be, and follow your Leader only so far as she follows Christ."

Followers in all the world need not the person, but can to-day be led by the spirit of their Leader. Distant places have been brought into intercommunication, and the world has possibilities of being united in thought more than ever before in history. When Mrs. Eddy began her church in Lynn she was accessible to every member of the congregation, and a deterrent to the growth of the church appeared in the prominence that this contiguity allowed to the piques and prejudices, the narrow views, stubbornness, and sloth of the individual members. The removal of the Leader to a metropolis where her teaching made her the center of a much larger group, freed the church somewhat from the hampering control of reluctant followers and recalcitrant members. Those who remained with her were those accepting spiritual leadership; but still they could see and hear the Leader who preached and taught in bodily person among them. When she appeared at a reception in a city she visited, the crowd pressed upon her.

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The Messiah
January 11, 1919

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