"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake"

What a tremendous ring of courage resounds through the Beatitudes of the Master,—courage calm and exultant, courage having its roots deep down in moral fiber, courage begotten of the most clarified understanding of real spiritual being that has ever enlightened humanity. The eighth beatitude is to be found in the fifth chapter of Matthew's gospel, and it runs: "Blessed are they which are persecuted for rightousness' sake: for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."

Now, it surely cannot be that Christ Jesus in that wonderful statement lauded persecution for persecution's sake. He who denounced evil in its every mode of practice, he who healed the woes of mankind whatever they might claim to be, through his knowledge of God, divine Principle, and God's perfect law, cannot be suspected of advocating or approving any thought, word, or deed savoring of the nature of persecution. The very thought of it must have brought a prayer to his lips for the destruction of evil. Well did he know, as Mrs. Eddy has so splendidly said in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 191), that "persecution is the weakness of tyrants engendered by their fear, and love will cast it out."

There never yet has been a benefactor of the race who has not had enemies who have endeavored to persecute him. Whenever men have arisen with moral courage enough to try to right human wrongs, they have been met by the opposition of evildoers, and have often been persecuted with all the insensate vehemence of which the unregenerate human mind is capable. Witness the line of Christian martyrs, from Calvary down the centuries! Witness the trials and sufferings of those who have literally sacrificed themselves throughout history that their fellow-men should enjoy juster laws and more equitable treatment as citizens of the nations to which they belonged. It is a truism to say that every reform which has been won for mankind, be it religious, political, or social, has been at a cost, sometimes enormously heavy, of suffering, mental or physical, or both, to the reformer.

Goodness and Greatness
November 8, 1924

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