"Deliver us from evil"

Answering the questions, "What is error?' and "Is there no sin?" Mrs. Eddy on page 472 of Science and Health exposes the nature of evil and how it masquerades in the main in the vestments of truth. She also points a remedy for these illusions by which mankind is deceived, and she reduces evil to its native nothingness when she defines error as "a supposition that pleasure and pain, that intelligence, substance, life, are existent in matter."

The first appeal of evil to mankind was based upon the illusion that God had kept back something which He feared to let man have, because man would with this knowledge become equal with Himself. "Ye shall be as gods," was the alluring argument of the tempter. Thus evil represented to mankind that it was good, and that it had the power to confer a gift which God had withheld from them. So it has been in all ages, mortal man ever believing that something of value, in pleasure or in power, could be obtained through the good which evil falsely represented itself to be. Some one has said that evil is never a temptation when it bears its own name and frankly makes its appeal in its own character, and this is a truism which Christian Science makes more true by exposing the nature of evil. When evil is seen for what it is, it cannot be anything but revolting to those who are honestly trying to be good and do good, for they recognize it as the lie and the liar it has always been from the very beginning, and as did the Master, bid it depart, for they would serve the only true God.

Our Master taught his disciples to pray: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." The chief obstacle to the fulfilment of this petition seems to be the proneness of mankind thus to pray and then deliberately to put themselves in the position of least resistance by leaving unguarded the portal at which evil is ever waiting to find entrance. Men take the first step in wrong-doing, and often unwittingly, when they permit themselves to harbor an evil thought, a thought of envy, condemnation, malice, hatred, which once admitted thrives like the proverbial weed, for there was never yet an evil deed which was not the outcome of a wrong thought, nurtured until it burst the bounds to overwhelm with shame and horror those who beheld it.

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Our Larger Privilege
September 20, 1913

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