Science and Health
with Key to The Scriptures
by Mary Baker Eddy
Chapter XII - Christian Science Practice


A gospel narrative
the couch and reach his feet. She bore an alabaster jar
containing costly and fragrant oil, – sandal oil perhaps,
which is in such common use in the East. Breaking
the sealed jar, she perfumed Jesus' feet with the oil,
wiping them with her long hair, which hung loosely
about her shoulders, as was customary with women of her
Parable of the creditor
Did Jesus spurn the woman? Did he repel her adora-
tion? No! He regarded her compassionately. Nor was
this all. Knowing what those around him
were saying in their hearts, especially his host,
– that they were wondering why, being a prophet, the
exalted guest did not at once detect the woman's immoral
status and bid her depart, – knowing this, Jesus rebuked
them with a short story or parable. He described two
debtors, one for a large sum and one for a smaller, who
were released from their obligations by their common
creditor. "Which of them will love him most?" was the
Master's question to Simon the Pharisee; and Simon re-
plied, "He to whom he forgave most." Jesus approved
the answer, and so brought home the lesson to all, follow-
ing it with that remarkable declaration to the woman,
"Thy sins are forgiven."
Divine insight
Why did he thus summarize her debt to divine Love?
Had she repented and reformed, and did his insight
detect this unspoken moral uprising? She
bathed his feet with her tears before she
anointed them with the oil. In the absence of other
proofs, was her grief sufficient evidence to warrant the
expectation of her repentance, reformation, and growth
in wisdom? Certainly there was encouragement in the
mere fact that she was showing her affection for a man
of undoubted goodness and purity, who has since been
rightfully regarded as the best man that ever trod this
planet. Her reverence was unfeigned, and it was mani-
fested towards one who was soon, though they knew it
not, to lay down his mortal existence in behalf of all
sinners, that through his word and works they might be
redeemed from sensuality and sin.
Penitence or hospitality
Which was the higher tribute to such ineffable affec-
tion, the hospitality of the Pharisee or the contrition of
the Magdalen? This query Jesus answered
by rebuking self-righteousness and declaring
the absolution of the penitent. He even said that this
poor woman had done what his rich entertainer had neg-
lected to do, – wash and anoint his guest's feet, a special
sign of Oriental courtesy.
Here is suggested a solemn question, a question indi-
cated by one of the needs of this age. Do Christian
Scientists seek Truth as Simon sought the Saviour, through
material conservatism and for personal homage? Jesus
told Simon that such seekers as he gave small reward
in return for the spiritual purgation which came through
the Messiah. If Christian Scientists are like Simon,
then it must be said of them also that they love
Genuine repentance
On the other hand, do they show their regard for
Truth, or Christ, by their genuine repentance, by their
broken hearts, expressed by meekness and
human affection, as did this woman? If
so, then it may be said of them, as Jesus said of the
unwelcome visitor, that they indeed love much, because
much is forgiven them.
Compassion requisite
Did the careless doctor, the nurse, the cook, and the
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