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LOVE YOUR ENEMIES

From the April 1890 issue of The Christian Science Journal

This article was later republished in Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896: Mis. 11:3-13:12


Love is the fulfilling of the law; it is grace, mercy and justice.

I used to think it just, to abide 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 that was right. I thought also, that if I taught indigent students, gratuitously, afterward assisting them pecuniarily; that if I did not cease teaching the wayward ones at close of the class-term, but followed them with precept upon precept; that if my instructions had healed and shown them the sure way of salvation, I had done my whole duty to students: that further, if certain of those students only envied, and reported most flagrant falsehood about me, and "hated me without a cause," that I must uncover somewhat of their real (?) natures, in pure charity to mankind in general.

I now know that Love metes not out human justice; but divine mercy. If my life were to-day attacked, and I could save it only in accordance with common law, by taking another's, I would sooner give up mine. Now, I must love my enemies, in all the manifestations whereby and wherein I love my friends. I must be careful not to expose their faults; but to do them good, whenever opportunity occurs. I see that for me to measure out human justice to those who persecute and despitefully use me, would be returning evil for evil; that all retribution belongs to God; that my part is to return blessing for cursing. If special opportunity for doing good to my enemies, occur not, I can include them in my general effort to benefit the race. Because I can do much general good to such as hate me, I am doing it with earnest 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 other; I have but two to present for blows.

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