The question is often asked by religious workers, Why is it that people who are faithful church members, and who live as nearly right as they know how, are afflicted with sickness, or financial adversity, or both? It is because they have not "put on the whole armor of God," and so they are not "able to stand against the wiles of the devil." It is necessary to have something more than "the breastplate of righteousness" in order to "quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." Says Paul, "For the future, find your strength in union with the Lord, and in the power which comes from his might. Put on all the armor of God, so that you may be able to stand your ground against the stratagems of the Devil" (Twentieth Century New Testament).

In order to comprehend the lesson of this passage, it is necessary for us to have a clear understanding of what is meant by "the devil," "evil." The devil, or evil, is the supposed mind or intelligence apart from or opposed to God. God is Spirit, is eternal and perfect. The real universe is like Him, spiritual, eternal, and perfect, but mortals have always believed that there is a universe, including man, which, is material, temporal, and imperfect; that catastrophe, poverty, sin, sickness, death, are real. The whole body of mortal thought, "mortal mind," which entertains this belief in its various phases, is itself the supposed mind or intelligence opposed to God; and this false belief, taken as a whole, is evil, "the devil." This supposed mind has in reality no existence or power. The devil is a liar, who abides not in the truth, "because there is no truth in him." Mortal mind lies about everything that God has made; it is, therefore, the prince of liars.

So long as we dwell in this false consciousness, we are subject to its ills. St. Paul truly says that our sicknesses and other troubles do not spring from flesh and blood, from our bodies, but that they come from "principalities," "powers," from "the rulers of the darkness of this world," from "spiritual wickedness in high places." From these proceed "the fiery darts of the wicked" and "the wiles of the devil," evil thought-influences, which are manifest in our bodies as diseases and in our business affairs as perplexity or disaster. These "principalities," "powers," "rulers of the darkness of this world," are segregations of false belief in mortal mind.—such as materialism, hypnotism, spiritism, occultism, hatred, malice, envy, jealousy, revenge, doubt, discouragement, and fear.

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December 29, 1906

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