"Why could not we cast him out?"

THE incident of the healing of the demoniac child by Jesus, which is recorded by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, is one that attracts even more than the usual attention, because each writer testifies that the aid of the disciples had been requested previously, and that their efforts had not resulted in the healing of the case. Matthew records that the disciples asked Jesus, "Why could not we cast him out?" and that he attributed their failure chiefly to lack of faith. Mark's account—the most complete of the three—implies a great element of doubt and want of faith in the child's father, for in his request to Jesus that his son be healed he says, in part, "If thou canst do anything . . . help us," to which Jesus answers with the conditional reply, explaining the state of consciousness requisite to heal, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." This record gives Jesus' reply to the disciples' question as to why they had failed, as follows, "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." Luke's account of Jesus' censure of the disciples for their failure is given in these words, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you?"

The words belief and faith in these records can justifiably be regarded as synonymous terms, and so the difficulty as far as it concerned the child's father and the disciples seems to have been due to a lack of faith, which militated against the results ordinarily expected in answer to prayer, and may in fact have prevented them from being able to pray aright. There are few of us who have not at some time or other been disappointed at the failure on our own part, or that of others, so to apply the truth in Christian Science as to bring about the desirable result, and thoughtful consideration of the incident under notice seems to point out that it is, to-day still, an adjustment with regard to faith that is called for to enable more progress to be shown.

What, then, is the rightful prayer of rightful faith? As Mrs. Eddy has explained in the first sentence of the first chapter of the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God,—a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love." First, then, to have faith in God, "a spiritual understanding of Him," we must understand God as Spirit, lose all personal sense of God, and realize His attributes of omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence, and this spiritual understanding will raise us above the earthly senses of finite human conceptions to the heavenly apprehension of Truth, with the divine attributes, and to a realization of the realities of being. Spiritual understanding is complete harmony, and it annihilates all sense of discord.

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Right Reasoning
April 30, 1921

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