Love Your Enemies

From Miscellaneous Writings by

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         Who is thine enemy that thou shouldst love him? Is
10    it a creature or a thing outside thine own creation?

         Can you see an enemy, except you first formulate this
         enemy and then look upon the object of your own con-
         ception? What is it that harms you? Can height, or
         depth, or any other creature separate you from the
15    Love that is omnipresent good, — that blesses infinitely
         one and all?

         Simply count your enemy to be that which defiles,
         defaces, and dethrones the Christ-image that you should
         reflect. Whatever purifies, sanctifies, and consecrates
20    human life, is not an enemy, however much we suffer in
         the process. Shakespeare writes: “Sweet are the uses
         of adversity.” Jesus said: “Blessed are ye, when men
         shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all
         manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake; … for
25    so persecuted they the prophets which were before

         The Hebrew law with its “Thou shalt not,” its de-
         mand and sentence, can only be fulfilled through the
         gospel’s benediction. Then, “Blessed are ye,” inso-

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1      much as the consciousness of good, grace, and peace,
         comes through affliction rightly understood, as sanctified
         by the purification it brings to the flesh, — to pride, self-
         ignorance, self-will, self-love, self-justification. Sweet,
5      indeed, are these uses of His rod! Well is it that the
         Shepherd of Israel passes all His flock under His rod
         into His fold; thereby numbering them, and giving them
         refuge at last from the elements of earth.

         “Love thine enemies” is identical with “Thou hast
10    no enemies.” Wherein is this conclusion relative to
         those who have hated thee without a cause? Simply, in
         that those unfortunate individuals are virtually thy best
         friends. Primarily and ultimately, they are doing thee
         good far beyond the present sense which thou canst enter-
15    tain of good.

         Whom we call friends seem to sweeten life’s cup and
         to fill it with the nectar of the gods. We lift this cup
         to our lips; but it slips from our grasp, to fall in frag-
         ments before our eyes. Perchance, having tasted its
20    tempting wine, we become intoxicated; become lethar-
         gic, dreamy objects of self-satisfaction; else, the con-
         tents of this cup of selfish human enjoyment having lost
         its flavor, we voluntarily set it aside as tasteless and
         unworthy of human aims.

25    And wherefore our failure longer to relish this fleet-
         ing sense, with its delicious forms of friendship,
         wherewith mortals become educated to gratification in
         personal pleasure and trained in treacherous peace?
         Because it is the great and only danger in the path
30    that winds upward. A false sense of what consti-
         tutes happiness is more disastrous to human progress
         than all that an enemy or enmity can obtrude upon

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1      the mind or engraft upon its purposes and achievements
         wherewith to obstruct life’s joys and enhance its sor-

         We have no enemies. Whatever envy, hatred, revenge
5       — the most remorseless motives that govern mortal mind
          — whatever these try to do, shall “work together for good
         to them that love God.”


         Because He has called His own, armed them, equipped
10    them, and furnished them defenses impregnable. Their
         God will not let them be lost; and if they fall they shall
         rise again, stronger than before the stumble. The good
         cannot lose their God, their help in times of trouble.
         If they mistake the divine command, they will recover
15    it, countermand their order, retrace their steps, and
         reinstate His orders, more assured to press on safely.
         The best lesson of their lives is gained by crossing
         swords with temptation, with fear and the besetments
         of evil; insomuch as they thereby have tried their
20    strength and proven it; insomuch as they have found
         their strength made perfect in weakness, and their fear
         is self-immolated.

         This destruction is a moral chemicalization, wherein
         old things pass away and all things become new. The
25    worldly or material tendencies of human affections and
         pursuits are thus annihilated; and this is the advent of
         spiritualization. Heaven comes down to earth, and
         mortals learn at last the lesson, “I have no enemies.”

         Even in belief you have but one (that, not in reality),
30    and this one enemy is yourself — your erroneous belief
         that you have enemies; that evil is real; that aught but
         good exists in Science. Soon or late, your enemy will

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1      wake from his delusion to suffer for his evil intent; to
         find that, though thwarted, its punishment is tenfold.

         Love is the fulfilling of the law: it is grace, mercy,
         and justice. I used to think it sufficiently just to abide
5      by our State statutes; that if a man should aim a ball at
         my heart, and I by firing first could kill him and save
         my own life, that this was right. I thought, also, that
         if I taught indigent students gratuitously, afterwards
         assisting them pecuniarily, and did not cease teach-
10    ing the wayward ones at close of the class term, but
         followed them with precept upon precept; that if my
         instructions had healed them and shown them the sure way
         of salvation, — I had done my whole duty to students.

         Love metes not out human justice, but divine mercy.
15    If one’s life were attacked, and one could save it only
         in accordance with common law, by taking another’s,
         would one sooner give up his own? We must love our
         enemies in all the manifestations wherein and whereby
         we love our friends; must even try not to expose their
20    faults, but to do them good whenever opportunity
         occurs. To mete out human justice to those who per-
         secute and despitefully use one, is not leaving all retribu-
         tion to God and returning blessing for cursing. If special
         opportunity for doing good to one’s enemies occur not,
25    one can include them in his general effort to benefit the
         race. Because I can do much general good to such as
         hate me, I do it with earnest, special care — since they
         permit me no other way, though with tears have I striven
         for it. When smitten on one cheek, I have turned the
30    other: I have but two to present.

         I would enjoy taking by the hand all who love me not,
         and saying to them, “I love you, and would not know-

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1      ingly harm you.” Because I thus feel, I say to others:
         Hate no one; for hatred is a plague-spot that spreads
         its virus and kills at last. If indulged, it masters us;
         brings suffering upon suffering to its possessor, through-
5      out time and beyond the grave. If you have been badly
         wronged, forgive and forget: God will recompense this
         wrong, and punish, more severely than you could, him
         who has striven to injure you. Never return evil for evil;
         and, above all, do not fancy that you have been wronged
10    when you have not been.

         The present is ours; the future, big with events.
         Every man and woman should be to-day a law to him-
         self, herself, — a law of loyalty to Jesus’ Sermon on the
         Mount. The means for sinning unseen and unpunished
15    have so increased that, unless one be watchful and stead-
         fast in Love, one’s temptations to sin are increased a
         hundredfold. Mortal mind at this period mutely works
         in the interest of both good and evil in a manner least
         understood; hence the need of watching, and the danger
20    of yielding to temptation from causes that at former
         periods in human history were not existent. The action
         and effects of this so-called human mind in its silent argu-
         ments, are yet to be uncovered and summarily dealt with
         by divine justice.

25    In Christian Science, the law of Love rejoices the heart;
         and Love is Life and Truth. Whatever manifests aught
         else in its effects upon mankind, demonstrably is not Love.
         We should measure our love for God by our love for man;
         and our sense of Science will be measured by our obedience
30    to God, — fulfilling the law of Love, doing good to all;
         imparting, so far as we reflect them, Truth, Life, and Love
         to all within the radius of our atmosphere of thought.

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1      The only justice of which I feel at present capable,
         is mercy and charity toward every one, — just so far as
         one and all permit me to exercise these sentiments toward
         them, — taking special care to mind my own business.

5      The falsehood, ingratitude, misjudgment, and sharp
         return of evil for good — yea, the real wrongs (if wrong
         can be real) which I have long endured at the hands of
         others — have most happily wrought out for me the law
         of loving mine enemies. This law I now urge upon the
10    solemn consideration of all Christian Scientists. Jesus
         said, “If ye love them which love you, what thank have
         ye? for sinners also love those that love them.”

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Love is the liberator.