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"THE SMELL OF FIRE"

From the March 1920 issue of The Christian Science Journal


PERHAPS there is no story more dear to the heart of the Christian Scientist than that of the deliverance of the three young Hebrew captives from Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace. It is, indeed, so familiar to all of us, even to those who have hitherto been only casual readers of the Bible, that it needs no repetition here. There is one point, however, in connection with it which, though often dwelt upon, has particularly interested at least one student of Christian Science of late, and it is this: that after Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were finally released, not only were their clothes unhurt and the hair of their heads unsinged, but not even "the smell of fire had passed on them."

"The smell of fire,"—that is where one endeavoring to understand the Scriptures in their true spiritual meaning and import may well give pause; for what, metaphysically speaking, is the smell of the fire? Is it not the remembrance of it, the sting of it, the resentment over it? ''The smell of fire" is the acknowledgment that an evil happened. It means that evil has a history. It means that although the fire is out now, it once existed, and we were in it. So insistently does this last argument seem to cling to consciousness that some of us go through the fire and every one smells smoke on us for years afterwards. When such is the case, can it be said that we, like those three of long ago, have come through the experience untouched?

Let us refuse to allow error to attach itself to us in any way, shape, or manner. Its claim that it once had activity, presence, power, cause, intelligence, or law is a false and spurious claim, and should be seen and handled only as its last, desperate effort, since all else has failed, to get itself perpetuated as a belief of memory. Let us refuse to give it life, even to that extent. Let us refuse to admit that evil ever had either a beginning or an ending. Let us refuse to admit that it ever was at all, even for one unholy moment. This, of course, by no means implies that we should not give grateful thanks for our deliverance from the belief in it, at the right time and in the right place, with the pure desire to help someone else who may be going through a similar experience. It only means that it does not facilitate the elimination of "the smell of fire" from our garments if we drag the remembrance of it around with us wherever we go, brooding over it unnecessarily in private, talking of it unnecessarily in public, and seeming to take a melancholy delight in recounting its unpleasant details. Will it daily grow beautifully less by any such procedure?

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