Concerning Zeal

"Above all," said a cynical French diplomat to a novice in his profession, "no zeal!" They who have to do with the greater affairs of human life learn ultimately that the divine Mind, which rules and determines all, is never hurried by the pertinacious insistence of the so-called human will. Not that all recognize as divine the power for the operation of which they must patiently wait. But just in proportion as men grow in wisdom they see that divine power does order and direct the movements of society, and that only by patient study of and compliance with its dictates can progress in the right direction be effected. Mrs. Eddy stated this truth in an apt phrase, when she wrote in "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 79): "Restrain untempered zeal. 'Learn to labor and to wait.'"

Rightfully directed zeal is, however, often commendable. The dictionaries confer upon it no undesirable significance. According to a standard dictionary it is: "Ardor for a cause. Intense eagerness, especially disinterested eagerness in promoting some end; enthusiastic devotion; fervor." Now a definition such as that may be read and pondered without disclosing any particular reason why its subject—zeal—is not a mental quality to be cherished. Ardor, disinterested eagerness, enthusiasm, devotion, fervor, are attributes not to be comprehensively condemned. And yet the feeling is general that zeal is a mental quality to be guarded or to be manifested only under unusual conditions. Clearly there must attach to the word, when it is studied painstakingly with an eye to all its implications, some special quality not noted in any of the dictionaries.

True Comfort
September 2, 1922

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