St Paul tells us that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places;" in other words, against the works of the devil, the evil mind, "mortal mind" in its various phases or segregations, such as hypnotism, animal magnetism, malice, doubt, fear, discouragement, disease, and various other members of evil's brood. Meanwhile mortals think that the physical body, or some person whom they do not like, or some apparently disastrous combination in outward affairs, is responsible for the discord, and they are thus deceived into believing that their troubles spring from these sources. Accordingly, they begin to attack such things fiercely, with ways and devices of their human understanding. They attack the diseased body with medicine, or massage, or surgical operations, or electricity, or osteopathy, or will-power, or some mesmeric perversion of mortal mind. They attack discords in human relationships with arguments, malice, anger, jealousy, revenge. They attack untoward conditions in their business affairs with plans of human making, with intrigues, underhand devices, technicalities of the law, and other means of similar character. In such ways mortals hope to help themselves, and earnestly endeavor to do so, but they never have permanent success and often do not get even temporary aid. The reason is that all the time they have been deceived into mistaking effect for cause. While they have been engaged in fighting the outward or visible conditions, thinking that these occasion their distresses, they do not perceive the source of the annoyances, and so mortal mind continues to torment them; but when men grow wiser, and recognize that these outward effects, such as diseases of the body, discords and quarrels with their fellow-men, and derangements in their business affairs, etc., to be but the phenomena of mortal mind, and begin to fight with the sword of the Spirit and the shield of understanding, the overcoming they have so longed for is realized.

Error often places before men some supposed worldly good,—such as wealth, fashion, fame, worldly wisdom, stimulants, the satisfaction of fleshly lusts, and various fads and foibles,—and until they become wise they are given to chasing after these things, in the hope of getting happiness from them. Some of us gave many years to this folly, but finally we woke up to the fact that in pursuing the wisdom and pleasures of this world we were "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth," and that "to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." We have learned that "eye hath not seen, nor ear [sense testimony] heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit;" that "we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know [realize and enjoy] the things that are freely given to us of God,"—health, prosperity, and peace and harmony with our fellow-men.

So also, after much experience and pain, we learn perchance that our troubles spring, not primarily from pleasures and pains in matter, or from untoward outward conditions, but primarily from evil thought-influences, the manifestations of mortal mind. We learn also to break these mesmeric influences by striking at their source, mortal mind itself, by knowing that there is no evil mind to deceive and govern us, because God is the only creator, and He, being good, did not make any evil mind. Thus we employ our understanding of Christ, Truth, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, "to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked," "to stand against the wiles of the devil," and thus, like Christ, "to destroy the works of the devil."

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August 17, 1907

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