"The seat of the scornful"

There are a good many phases of human thought which are regarded with much complacency by mortals, but which are nevertheless harmful to those who entertain them, and ofttimes disturbing to others who may be influenced by them. In the first psalm we have a fine presentation of the ideal man, who is said to be known of God and protected by Him. Such a one "walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, . . . nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." The last might be regarded as a rather negative virtue did we not find numerous other references to the same subject in the Scriptures. Isaiah says, "The scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off." In Proverbs we read that "scornful men bring a city into a snare." It is also interesting to read Tennyson's words in the "Idyls of the King" —

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No knight of Arthur's noblest dealt in scorn;
But if a man were halt or hunched, in him.

Scorn was allowed as part of his defect.

The tendency to be scornful toward one's fellow beings indicates narrowness of nature, and proves that the one who indulges it is not looking toward, but away from, God's idea, whereas it should be our constant effort to find this idea reflected both in ourselves and in others. It may be that the spiritual qualities which characterize God's likeness shine forth very faintly from human consciousness in many cases, but it is cheering to know that "matter disappears under the microscope of Spirit" (Science and Health, p. 264), and when we behold the real man as thus revealed, the man that God knows, we shall love and reverence him, and so help the erring mortal to find himself.

Time was when many regarded with scornful merriment the foibles of their fellow men, even when they believed that these moral weaknesses were dragging them down to perdition. Such a mental attitude has, however, a scathing rebuke in the story of Noah and his three sons. We read that he indulged in wine and that his son Ham spoke of it to his brothers, evidently in a condemnatory way. Shem and Japheth then went and with the utmost delicacy protected their father from the unfeeling and scornful scrutiny of any who might pass, and thus gained for themselves a blessing. It is a coarse nature which mocks at the weakness of any one, and a pure and strong one which refuses, like St. Paul, to know any man "after the flesh." The apostle reminds us that "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." If he is like Christ he will be merciful in all his judgments of others, knowing full well what it costs to "put off the old man with his deeds."

No one knows better than the faithful practitioner in Christian Science, how impossible it is to heal the sick and the sinning, as Christ Jesus commanded, and at the same time to sit "in the seat of the scornful." In undertaking this holy work we must look away from the false mortal concept and know that God's child is neither sick nor sinful. Our Master did not shrink from contact with lepers, or even with the adulterous, because he knew the utter nothingness of all that is unlike God and the strength and beauty of all that represents Him. Although the mourners in Jairus' household "laughed him to scorn" when he did so, even death was utterly denied by Jesus. He proved the truth of his doctrine that Life is all and death is naught.

This same truth is taught today in Christian Science, without any reserve, and yet, as our Leader asks (Science and Health, p. 55), "Does not the pulpit sometimes scorn it?" It rests with us, however, to manifest more and more that love for God and all His ideas which finds delight in God's law and meditates upon it day and night. Thus we shall be deep-rooted in Love, and, unwithered by scorn, shall bring forth our fruit in its season.
Annie M. Knott.

September 12, 1914

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