Charity may be likened to the fragrance of a flower. If, upon entering a room, one catches the delicate perfume of lily-of-the-valley, he knows at once that the flowers themselves are near by. He has not yet seen them, but he is positive they are there, because he has recognized one of their qualities, the fragrance which emanates from them. The fragrance is not the flower, but it is the witness that the flower is there. So it is with charity; wherever we find it, we know that Love is there. We know, beyond a doubt, that the consciousness which habitually sends forth a mental aroma such as this must of necessity be also that consciousness wherein divine Love is enthroned.

There are few more beautiful words in all the English language than charity. It is a word embracing within its meaning such rare and gracious qualities as tenderness, gentleness, tolerance, patience, forbearance, forgiveness, compassion. Our beloved Leader, Mrs. Eddy, speaks of "a charity broad enough to cover the whole world's evil, and sweet enough to neutralize what is bitter in it" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 224). Charity, indeed, "suffereth long, and is kind." It "beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." Like the divine source from which it emanates, it "never faileth." Charity gathers beneath its wings tired, suffering, sin-sick humanity, and says, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." Charity wraps its mantle about an erring brother, and protects him from the icy blasts of criticism while he is trying to work out his problem. Charity understands: that is why it can forgive.

This by no means implies that charity would seek to cover and excuse iniquity. Its gentle mantle cannot be converted or perverted into a convenient cloak for hypocrisy. Charity is not found condoning any error which is still unrepented of and unforsaken; nor is it synonymous with that miscalled thing which masquerades as love, but which is only sickly sentimentality in disguise. The true, Christlike charity of which the Christian Scientist knows is a state of thought which has been so perfectly described by Mrs. Eddy on page 8 of "No and Yes" that it seems as if no one could fail to grasp its gracious import. She says: "We should endeavor to be long-suffering, faithful, and charitable with all. To this small effort let us add one more privilege—namely, silence whenever it can substitute censure." And farther on she adds, "If one be found who is too blind for instruction, no longer cast your pearls before this state of mortal mind, lest it turn and rend you; but quietly, with benediction and hope, let the unwise pass by, while you walk on in equanimity, and with increased power, patience, and understanding, gained from your forbearance." Surely, a message such as that comes, like some angel visitant, straight from the very heart of divine Love itself!

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The Song on the Ash-Cart
December 9, 1922

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