Passive goodness receives little encouragement in these progressive days of industrial expansion, inventive achievement, and social experimentation. Unless a project can meet the test of usefulness it will lack even consideration. This condition is not new to human experience; it only seems new because it appears to this generation in a new guise. Utility has always been a universal demand, but human ingenuity tries always to avoid the issue because, no doubt, of evident lack of ability to meet the test. In no realm of endeavor has this demand been more persistent than in religion, and the Scriptures abound in practical examples of its fulfillment. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." In other words, individual spiritual integrity must be maintained and expanded into good will and good deeds. Paul in his great proclamation of love sets forth the same idea: "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." The greatest Christian attribute is an actual, active expression of the divine Love which is infinite Principle.

Now charity is a word used in the Bible exclusively by writers of the epistles, with one exception, and is in all cases translated "love" in the Revised Version of the year 1881, and by other modern translators. Although one can hardly love without being charitable, there seems to be a sense in which love as an abstract idea does not include charity as popularly defined. Love may be accepted theoretically as a static or basic Principle without regard to the fact of its ceaseless, unerring power, just as electricity may be considered only a name for a certain force, without knowledge of its laws of operation. It is here that Christian Science makes a clear distinction between a passive and inactive religious system depending upon negative forms for expression, and the positive and invariable life-giving Principle that heals and lifts up mankind.

August 13, 1921

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