When we speak of discerning, more is meant than merely perceiving or seeing with the eye. The action of understanding is implied, whereby ideas are viewed and distinguished with the insight which discovers right relationships. Discernment might be spoken of as sagacity, and when it is accompanied by kindness we can understand Byron saying, "There is nothing so amiable as discernment." He who first fulfills his own duties, and then discerns and regards the rights of others, worthily represents a good cause, and a view of the wisdom, courage, respect, fineness of temper, and amiability which characterize the Christian Scientist is wonderfully presented by Mrs. Eddy in "No and Yes" (p. 40), where she says: "I instruct my students to pursue their mental ministrations very sacredly, and never to touch the human thought save to issues of Truth; never to trespass mentally on individual rights; never to take away the rights, but only the wrongs of mankind. Otherwise they forfeit their ability to heal in Science. Only when sickness, sin, and fear obstruct the harmony of Mind and body, is it right for one mind to meddle with another mind, and control aright the thought struggling for freedom."

The worker then must have courage and compassion if he would break the fetters of wrong and uplift the escaped captive so that he may discern and obey Christ, Truth. The service of the practitioner is very far beyond what is professional. In medicine the professional stands ready to give patients what they want from the material standpoint, be it opiate or stimulant, narcotic or tonic, sedative or pick-me-up. A practitioner in Christian Science is one enriched spiritually by many deep experiences of the goodness of God within, and made courageous by proofs many in the lives of others of the fact that "good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way." So when a patient comes demanding mere physical ease, the practitioner knows that healing will mean spiritual enrichment as well as recovery from sickness. His work then is beautifully described in the textbook (Science and Health, p. 518), where we read, "The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother's need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another's good."

A very simple incident may be cited in illustration of this. The mother of a family, unhappy, discordant, and poor, came to a practitioner for help. She spoke of her distress and bitterness of heart because she felt that another child was soon to be added to her all too great burden. She spoke of her poverty and of the family's inability to make provision for "another mouth to feed." She was tempted to desire a "hidden untimely birth,"—what Job spoke of as "infants which never saw light." Now, as Herod assumed power to slaughter the innocents, so mortal minds, holding some plan of pride, have claimed illegal power to slay the unborn; but in these ways of error is no goodness, no righteousness. The practitioner spoke to this mother out of discernment of her need, showing her how to remove her own wrong sense of things without denying the rights of the unborn. She made her understand that the babe could be welcomed as one bringing with it its own good; as one bringing a blessing for the home, not as a diminisher of the scant good of others.

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April 5, 1919

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