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Benediction Not Malediction
WILLIAM P. McKENZIE, CSB


         In an article entitled "Harvest" (Miscellany, p. 269) Mrs. Eddy says, "The windows of heaven are sending forth their rays of reality even Christian Science, pouring out blessing for cursing, and rehearsing: 'I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground.'" There was time for benediction in the stately Orient, where for all things for long journeys, for never ending tales, for lengthy greetings and protracted farewells there was time a-plenty. In the busy western world it is a sign of distinction to be very much occupied, to manifest hasteful movements, and to cut short palaver. Nevertheless, men have not altogether lost the ability to bless. We have in one word a condensed blessing, for what is our "Farewell" but a true wish for the welfare of a departing friend? Likewise we express a blessing in the word "Good-by," which is a prayer, May good be with you. Frequently loving friends, when they write, express for one another that old blessing used by Aaron for the children of Israel: "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."

         Until mortal mind is displaced and destroyed, its inveterate habit of believing in evil as well as good, will invade human life with cursing, to negative (if possible) blessing. One wonders often if its modes of blessing can be sincere, since unquestionably its cursings have a determinedness which imitates sincerity. Hence the question arises, How out of the same mouth can legitimately come blessings and cursings? The apostle James asks, "Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?" A beggar dogs a stranger's footsteps, interlarding his invented tale of woe with rolling flatteries and voluble blessings. He calls upon heaven's graces to enrich the stranger's life; but if the coin given be smaller than was expected, or no gift be made, the tongue that wagged in benediction is now twice active in malediction. The stranger hears curses upon body and estate, family and friends, feet, hands, and head, eyes, and all the senses. In such circumstances, when facing the cursing and anger of disappointed mortal mind, it is well to remember the assurance given by the proverb which says, "As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come."

         Through the enlightenment of Christian Science the world is gaining a revived understanding of the exquisite graciousness and heavenly kindness of "our Lord Jesus Christ." Among those with whom cursing was a fine art, who nevertheless had a tradition of blessing from patriarchal days, he promulgated his clarification of life in the words, "I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."

         Paul in his letter to the Romans put the matter very succinctly when he said, "Bless, and curse not." But, says the man whose eye flames with the pride of his self-righteousness, Have not I the right to condemn the man I hate because of the ill he intends to do to me? How can the precepts of Jesus be made practical in the world as we find it? he asks. In answer we might say that the world as we have known it is passing away. Light is dawning and growing more bright, and men enlightened as to the eternal facts desert the caves and shadows, and are learning the meaning of the apostle's statement, "Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light." John declares, "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another." So, in replying to the question whether it can be ever appropriate to curse the ill doer, we must first ask what the evil man is. Mrs. Eddy in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 289) says: "A wicked mortal is not the idea of God. He is little else than the expression of error." Cursing is making the evil real. It may be described as prayer for the continuing of hell; consequently it is the reverse of healing. Whether cursing be the mere chance expression of an angry tongue, or a systematic procedure with bell and book, it is in no sense a Christlike activity, whereby followers of the Master may heal the sick and redeem the sinful.

         The teaching of Christian Science sets forth very simply the fact that if anyone desires to benefit mankind, the right way for working is that which was mapped out by Christ Jesus. He justified his way of working before the Pharisees when they objected to it. He showed them how in their natural way of working they would be considerate of their domestic animals and loose each one his ox or his ass from the stall and lead him to water on the Sabbath, and he showed them how much foolishness there was in their cursing of him because he had restored to wholeness a daughter of Abraham, loosing her from bondage, and enabling her to receive the water of Life. We cannot really bless others until we stand with Christ Jesus, finding our faith in the omnipotence of good. When Pilate boasted of his power over him Jesus answered, "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above." When we become assured that the evilly minded man has no power, we need not then think of him at all, but may have God in all our thoughts and find continual blessedness within.

         When there is benediction in the heart, long continued life does not mean increasing loss and sorrow; life grows richer in good, larger in contentment, broader in beneficence.

"Blessings star forth forever; but a curse
Is like a cloud
it passes."

The right minded, the noble, the tenderhearted, the true and sincere, those who are motherly and fatherly in kindness, carry perpetual benediction to others. They are able to say with Paul, "Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it." And the reason is beautifully given in the words of Peter when he said, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously."

 

"Benediction Not Malediction"
by William P. McKenzie, CSB

Christian Science Sentinel, February 18, 1922
 

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