The Test

Loyalty is "the heart of all the virtues, the central duty amongst all duties." So wrote a great American teacher little more than a decade ago. The challenge of this definition was prophetic. The world has since been bathed in blood in exemplification of its truth. The measure of a man's loyalty has been accepted the world over as the measure of his liberty; and has become at times the test of his very right to live. Of disloyalty the world have nothing. None denied this fact, few escaped its mandate. "Choose you this day whom ye will serve," has been blazoned on the threshold of every nation, and has sifted the personnel of every common effort.

This great vision of a loyal humanity united in the service of a great idea did not vanish with the fires of war; nor has its hope been consummated in the days of peace. The field of conflict has been shifted and may again shift. The war of evil against good yet rages, and will rage even to the very doro of the sanctuary of a unified humanity, until mankind shall finally learn in deep humility the vital meaning of spiritualy loyalty, and who it is that rightly demands our compliance therewith.

"Love is allegiant, and there is no loyalty apart from love," wrote Mrs. Eddy (Miscellany, p. 189). The words "loyalty" and "allegiance" carry within themselves the secret of their original meaning and therewith of the essential nature of the qualities that they name. The first of these words, "loyalty," like the word "legality," is dervied from the Latin word legalis, "according to law." In their orginal and true meaning neither of these words had any relation whatsoever to person as an objective. They both designated—as "legality" still designates in common use—conformity to law, to legally constituted authority; faithfulness to covenants and duties; or, in a word, adherence to a more or less clearly conceived idea of Principle. The greater part of the wars of the past with their untold horrors, the larger part of the tyranny and oppression of the past which have blighted human hope and checked human progress, separating races and nations and individuals into exclusive and hostile groups, has been due to misunderstanding of this the essentinal call of loyalty,—a misunderstanding wherein dynastic war-lords. priestly hierarchies, or intolerent majorities have attempted to exalt human will in place of divine law, or have accepted loyalty and homage mistakenly offered to themselves rather than to the power which they were supposed to represent. The mesmerism of this error is dangerously subtle, in that it creeps into consciousness through the avenues of our dearest affections. It is doubly iniquitous, in that it involves both those who would selfishly use it for their own ends and those who innocently allow themselves to be used by it.

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April 22, 1922

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