Love's Rebuke

When Jesus, at the house of the Pharisee, allowed Mary Magdalene to approach him and by the act of anointing his feet show her newly aroused sense of repentance and reformation he set an example of divine compassion which all believers in his teaching might helpfully follow in their social relations throughout all time. His attitude toward this woman struck his host with surprise; it was presumably for the first time in his experience that the Pharisee saw the eradication of evil entirely dissociated from personal condemnation of its unfortunate victim. Regarding this incident Mrs. Eddy points out, on page 364 of Science and Health, that Jesus rebuked self-righteousness and declared the absolution of the penitent. She further adds (p. 365) that "if the Scientist has enough Christly affection to win his own pardon, and such commendation as the Magdalen gained from Jesus, then he is Christian enough to practise scientifically and deal with his patients compassionately; and the result correspond with the spiritual intent."

If for the Magdalen we substitute the slave of drink, the lesson embodied in the seventh chapter of Luke has a distinct application to modern conditions within the writer's own personal experience, and the study of Christian Science has made the application at once possible and practicable. By the light which the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," throws upon the Bible, it has been possible to progress from an attitude of fear of a drunkard, from a sense of loathing the effects of false appetite and aversion to the victims of it, up to a realization that a state of intoxication is a very base counterfeit of the real man and demands for the victim all the encouragement and help possible in overcoming this slavery. A Christian Scientist no more thinks of abandoning a drunkard to his own beliefs and their material consequences than he would think of abandoning a so-called invalid who is suffering from indulgence in sense gratification. Through constantly and quietly seeking an opportunity to help those addicted to the use of alcohol, in whatever way the opportunity was presented, the writer has noted with gratitude that when the time came to step right out into the open and make a bold stand for Principle, its demands have been recognized and supported by the very people on whose behalf the stand was made. In many such instances it has been proved that Christ, Truth, does indeed draw all men unto the Father.

The advocate of Truth has no easy task before him in this matter, especially in the army, where the writer's experience has been. Mrs. Eddy truly says: "Your advancing course may provoke envy, but it will also attract respect. When error confronts you, withhold not the rebuke or the explanation which destroys error" (Science and Health, p. 452). Divine wisdom and the understanding which is enjoined upon us in Proverbs, where we read, "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding," reveal the manner in which this explanation can be made without causing a seemingly overwhelming and unreasoning storm of resistance to the would-be reformer. While Jesus made it plain that the coming of higher ideals would cause mortal strife until the final vanquishing and disappearance of all unworthy thoughts, yet the whole teaching of the Bible assures us that Truth is as much a shield as a sword to those who claim its protection. Moreover, the consciousness of being engaged in a righteous cause gives courage as much in the individual mental combat as in physical warfare on a great scale; and the insidious suggestion of the erring human mind, that the only way to agree with the Romans is to do just as they happen to be doing in Rome, will be proved to have no power or foundation.

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When Loss Is Gain
March 1, 1919

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