Not everyone may have had the happy experience of the person who said, "Hospitality I have found as universal as the face of man;" but that individual is rare whose heart has not been warmed by the friendly welcome of some cheerful household or wayside inn, for the practice of providing for the stranger, the sick or distressed, as well as for the friend, is as old as the race itself. One has only to turn to the Bible to find many instances which show that hospitality was considered a personal duty and privilege long before its spirit was embodied in the Mosaic law. A very pleasing illustration of this custom is recalled in the hospitality which Abraham showed to the three strangers who appeared at noonday before his tent door while he sojourned in the plain of Mamre. Recognizing his guests as angels or messengers sent from God, Abraham went out to meet them and hastened to provide rest and a suitable repast for them. After these heavenly visitors had delivered their message they departed, and it is said that Abraham went with them to "bring them on the way;" this, also, was considered a mark of cordial hospitality.

Many since Abraham's time have entertained those whom they have felt were messengers sent from God. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 298) Mrs. Eddy explains that angels are not "etherealized human beings, evolving animal qualities in their wings; but they are celestial visitants, flying on spiritual, not material, pinions. Angels are pure thoughts from God, winged with Truth and Love, no matter what their individualism may be." Thus it is possible for everyone, whatever his material surroundings may appear to be, to be hospitable and to entertain these "pure thoughts from God" in whatsoever form they may come. What good cheer these heavenly thought-visitors may bring to the consciousness or home where everything seems to have gone wrong! How they light up the dark days and fill the lonely hours with inspiration! What kind deeds may go forth from one who is given to receiving and welcoming these pure and generous ideas, which continually are being sent out from the source of all good! True hospitality, in a measure, discerns the bountifulness of God's loving-kindness and expresses it in kindly human ways; it feels a Christlike compassion for the sick and the sinning, the stranger and the friendless, and longs to heal and comfort; it rejoices in every opportunity of expressing gratitude to God for benefits received, through service to His children. Knowing that a friendly regard for the well-being of others is best manifested in individual ways, Paul admonished the early Christians at Rome to be "given to hospitality." This apparently did not mean the fulfilling of a social obligation alone, but having the habit of sharing one's home comforts, or such means as one had, with others, especially with those seemingly less fortunate.

Faith in God
September 3, 1927

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