MUCH has been said about forgiveness. Many have been the prayers which have had for their burden either the desire to be forgiven, or the longing to know how to forgive. There has never been a time when humanity has not desired to find forgiveness for its sins. No sooner does a mortal become aware that he has infringed the divine law than he immediately reaches out to see how he may be absolved from the consequences which he inherently feels must be the result of such disobedience.

The fear of the penalty for sin committed has always gone hand in hand with the belief in sin, and many and varied have been the attempts to escape such penalty. It takes but a slight degree of honesty to discern that love of sin is at the bottom of the endeavor which would escape the suffering, but would still cling to the sin. So long as sin is loved and indulged there will remain the attendant fear of the punishment which sin itself always metes out to the one who indulges its demands. The belief that there is satisfaction in wrongdoing has closed the eyes of men to the awful nature of evil and its terrible consequences. It is this blindness which shuts out the possibility of seeing that there can be no real forgiveness until sin itself is relinquished and thereby destroyed; for no one could be contented with a forgiveness which did not include the blotting out of all remembrance of the sin. "I will remember their sin no more," is one of the most precious of God's promises.

In speaking of the way mortal man is to be saved from sin, Mrs. Eddy says (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 90): "He must know that God is omnipotent; hence, that sin is impotent. He must know that the power of sin is the pleasure in sin. Take away this pleasure, and you remove all reality from its power. Jesus demonstrated sin and death to be powerless. This practical Truth saves from sin, and will save all who understand it." To believe that sin confers pleasure, that it can ever produce good, is to believe that good can come out of evil, and this is to deny the very nature and power of God, good. For one to love God, good, sufficiently to be willing to say to every least temptation to indulge in the belief in sin, "You cannot deceive me, because you can bring no satisfaction," is to have started to prove the unreality of sin. The moment one is willing to admit that sin affords no pleasure, he has begun to win the understanding of what forgiveness from sin means. Mrs. Eddy tells us (Science and Health, p. 5), "Sin is forgiven only as it is destroyed by Christ,—Truth and Life." This opens to mankind the glorious possibility of the blotting out of sin, which constitutes perfect forgiveness; for sin can only be forgiven as it is forsaken.

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Among the Churches
November 8, 1919

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