I was brought up short once again by an article by Mortimer Carr (otherwise unknown to me) in the May 1946 Journal, "Protection and Defense". Perhaps I alone have too often let my mind drop into a rut when attempting to do my duty as required in Article VIII, Sect. 6, "Alertness to Duty", in the Church Manual. Mrs. Eddy there demands, in fact, that each member of the Mother Church "defend himself daily". It was easy for me to interpret this as donning, or at least clattering around vigorously with, an armor of truths daily. Somewhat to my chagrin--well, ok, a lot to my chagrin--Mr. Carr points out that would be protecting, not defending, myself.
He quotes "a dictionary" which states: "the inmates of a fortress are defended by its guns, protected by its walls, and guarded by sentries against surprise." Hosing ourselves down daily with a shower of the letter isn't defending ourselves daily against aggressive mental suggestion. I find the definition of defend in the Students Reference Dictionary (unfortunately no longer available, it seems, from The Bookmark or anywhere else) stronger than those in my desk dictionary. It (SRD) reads, in part, for defend: "To drive from; to thrust back; hence, to deny; to repel a demand, charge, or accusation; to oppose; to resist . . . . To drive back a foe or danger . . . . . To secure against attacks or evil; to fortify against danger or violence . . . . " One certainly doesn't do that with a feather duster of words or a sprinkling of politive thoughts.
Protection is defined, in part, from the SRD: "shelter from evil, preservation from loss, injury, or annoyance . . . How little are men disposed to acknowledge divine protection. That which protects or preserves from injury."
This article of the Church Manual is much too important to handle with butterfingered notions of what the word defend means, and Mrs. Eddy tells us that each by-law in the Church Manual obeyed and lived will contribute to our growth in grace and worthiness to be called genuine Christian Scientists.
Note: I am sorry if I keep giving the false impression that I do not want to write poems and post them here. To the reasons already given for my seeming unwillingness, I would add that when I sit down pen in hand to listen to the inspired whisperings of Euterpe or Polyhymnia I become instead a Quasimodo tormented not by "the bells, the bells", but those legions of cherished verses which come crowding in with their mellifluous elbows flying. It is too easy in such circumstances to end up with a poetic bricolage or pastiche, which I obviously do not desire. Then there is Shakespeare in all his overwhelming glory.
Finally, as to the cryptic, probably Chinese, "comments" I know not what, whence, or to where.