Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Question: What is a “martyr”?
Answer: A martyr is someone who is willing to die in defense of a cause. Mary Baker Eddy
explains the background of this term in our textbook:
“The word martyr, from the Greek, means witness; but those who testified for Truth were so often persecuted unto death, that at length the word martyr was narrowed in its significance and so has come always to mean one who suffers for his convictions. The new faith in the Christ, Truth, so roused the hatred of the opponents of Christianity, that the followers of Christ were burned,
crucified,and otherwise persecuted.” (S&H 134)
Mrs. Eddy also wrote:
“The Christian martyrs were prophets of Christian Science. Through the uplifting and
consecrating power of divine Truth, they obtained a victory over the corporeal senses, a
victory which Science alone can explain.” (S&H 387)
However, Mrs. Eddy also offers a point to consider:
“The disciples and prophets thrust disputed points on minds unprepared for them. This cost them
their lives, and the world’s temporary esteem.” (Mis. 83)
She seems to be suggesting that we can avoid unnecessary persecution by being wise about when, and how, we present Truth to the world.
Further Study: For older pupils who are interested, many books on Christian history will provide details on the lives of early Christian martyrs. You can read about Stephen in the Bible, Acts 6-7.
* * *
(Excerpted from “First Lessons in Christian Science, Volume Two: The Beatitudes”
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