Miscellaneous Writings (1883-1896) by Mary Baker Eddy
Books by Mary Baker Eddy

REFORMERS
page 145


REFORMERS



   The olden opinion that hell is fire and brimstone, has
yielded somewhat to the metaphysical fact that suffering
is a thing of mortal mind instead of body:  so, in place
of material flames and odor, mental anguish is generally
accepted as the penalty for sin.  This changed belief
has wrought a change in the actions of men.  Not a few
individuals serve God (or try to) from fear; but remove
that fear, and the worst of human passions belch forth
their latent fires.  Some people never repent until earth
gives them such a cup of gall that conscience strikes home;
then they are brought to realize how impossible it is to
sin and not suffer.  All the different phases of error in
human nature the reformer must encounter and help to
eradicate.
   This period is not essentially one of conscience: few
feel and live now as when this nation began, and our
forefathers' prayers blended with the murmuring winds
of their forest home.  This is a period of doubt, inquiry,
speculation, selfishness; of divided interests, marvellous
good, and mysterious evil.  But sin can only work out
its own destruction; and reform does and must push on
the growth of mankind.
   Honor to faithful merit is delayed, and always has
been; but it is sure to follow.  The very streets through
which Garrison was dragged were draped in honor of
the dead hero who did the hard work, the immortal work,
of loosing the fetters of one form of human slavery.  I
remember, when a girl, and he visited my father, how a
childish fear clustered round his coming.  I had heard

MISC 238


the awful story that "he helped 'niggers' kill the white
folks!"  Even the loving children are sometimes made
to believe a lie, and to hate reformers.  It is pleasant,
now, to contrast with that childhood's wrong the reverence
of my riper years for all who dare to be true, honest to
their convictions, and strong of purpose.
   The reformer has no time to give in defense of his
own life's incentive, since no sacrifice is too great for the
silent endurance of his love.  What has not unselfed love
achieved for the race?  All that ever was accomplished,
and more than history has yet recorded.  The reformer
works on unmentioned, save when he is abused or his
work is utilized in the interest of somebody.  He may
labor for the establishment of a cause which is fraught
with infinite blessings, - health, virtue, and heaven;
but what of all that?  Who should care for everybody?
It is enough, say they, to care for a few.  Yet the good
done, and the love that foresees more to do, stimulate
philanthropy and are an ever-present reward.  Let one's
life answer well these questions, and it already hath a
benediction:
   Have you renounced self?  Are you faithful?  Do
you love?



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