ON page 592 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mrs. Eddy gives the definition of oil as follows: "OIL. Consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration," and on page 485 she writes, "Emerge gently from matter into Spirit." The apostle Paul, in writing to the Galatians, speaks of gentleness as one of the fruits of the Spirit, and he commences the tenth chapter of his second epistle to the Corinthians with the words, "Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ." We do not always realize what an important part gentleness plays in the demonstration of Christian Science. This no doubt is due to the fact that gentleness is the very last thing which the unenlightened human mind ever connects with the solving of any problem. Its first impulse is to "do something," to employ material means, to resort to human expediency; and it is only by slow degrees that one becomes aware of the power which lies in true gentleness. Sledge hammer methods, whether mental or physical, never have accomplished anything for mankind and they never will; neither do they glorify God. What is known as the psychology of the crowd, or "the gang instinct," goes hand in hand with belligerence. The human mind loves a battering ram, and the harder it batters the more it imagines that it is accomplishing something. How different are the methods of Christian Science, based upon the Sermon on the Mount! The student of Christian Science is beginning to learn that in quietness and confidence is his strength, that the "meekness and gentleness of Christ" are potent to heal and save where all other means have failed, and he daily prays for more of this grace of Christian character.

Many are the passages in the Bible which depict the gentleness of God toward man, and one of the most beautiful is in the fourteenth chapter of Hosea: "I will be as the dew unto Israel." No one ever saw or heard the dew fall, so gently does it descend, but one has only to look at a garden at the close of a warm summer day, and see it again the next morning after the dew has refreshed it, to realize how beneficent is this gentle ministration. What an exquisite simile to illustrate the way in which divine Love refreshes the upward aspiring thought! And if this be the Father's attitude toward man, ought it not be our attitude toward one another? We naturally speak of one who is kind and considerate as a gentlewoman or a gentleman, and never did the world need this gentleness as it does to-day.

A beautiful lesson as to the potency of gentleness where harsher means have failed is to be learned from the oak tree. When summer is past and frost tinges the air, the oak does not shed its foliage as do other trees. All the winter long the dry rustling leaves cling to the branches, and neither autumn wind and rain nor winter blasts seem able to dislodge them; even the weight of snow and ice has little or no effect upon them, and one marvels how they can withstand the rigor of the elements and still remain where they are. But when spring comes and the fresh green shoots begin to put forth their tender tips, quietly and naturally the withered leaves fall to the ground. It is all accomplished so gently and silently that one scarcely notices it. One week the dried leaves are still there, the next they are gone. I have often looked at the oak tree in March or early April and found comfort and encouragement in the thought that although the leaves seemed to adhere to the branch just as tenaciously as they had done months before, yet all the time the sap was rising and in due season the fresh, green buds would do their work. So when physical conditions are apparently no different from what they were months ago, if we are obedient to the law of Love we can know of a surety that all the time spiritual understanding is unfolding, and that the true idea dislodges and replaces the old beliefs, no matter how persistently the latter may seem to hold to their position.

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May 7, 1921

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