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Thy Guard by Night and Day
That sentence with which the chapter entitled "Christian Science Practice" is concluded, found on page 442 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," was considered vitally important by its author, Mrs. Eddy. She called attention to it at the time of its publication by notice in the Sentinel, February 29, 1908, and this notice is reprinted for the persual of any reader of "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 236). On the next page is given the notice published in the Sentinel for June 12, 1909, requesting that daily attention be given to the teaching of this sentence, which reads, "Christian Scientists, be a law to yourselves that mental malpractice cannot harm you either when asleep or when awake."
Christian Scientists are sometimes found to express anxiety even as do those whose portion is worldly. They anticipate evil, and worry over what they imagine. They fail to enjoy "the glorious liberty of the children of God." Now, it may be that in such cases Mrs. Eddy's advice is not regarded. The ancients had evidently strong belief in sleepless evil affecting sleeping mortals. The mara, or mare, was a supposed goblin or evil spirit oppressing the sleeper as with crushing or deadening weight. Hence, when one wakes from a woeful dream he speaks of it as due to the nightmare. In such dreams a mortal will think that he, with limbs heavy as lead, flees from wild beasts, or that he is pursuing good to utmost weariness only to have it evade his grasp. Perhaps from dark dreamland an impression may, unless corrected, be conveyed into the day's activities to remain as an attitude of expectancy of misfortune, fear of epidemics or disasters, and dread of disappointment; in other words, a clouded sense wherein evil seems to be reality and certainty, and good seems uncertain, as if withdrawn when sought after.
If, then, from dreams of the night a smoke and darkness seems to invade the daydreams of mortals so that there claims to be transfer of thought from the dream-tormented sleeper to himself awake and active, is it not well to find a guard from all belief in evil through the protection of the God of Israel? "Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep," is the assurance of the psalm, which further says: "The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore."
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Thy Guard by Night and Day
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