"Deliver us from evil"

Christ Jesus taught his disciples to pray, "Deliver us from evil." The word "evil," in the sense that he used it, has not the narrow meaning commonly given to it by the world to-day. It is derived from a word having the larger signification of anything that is hurtful in effect or influence, and implying also anguish, pain, and disease. It is also translated "the devil." Several modern translations render this passage, "Deliver us from the evil one." Mrs. Eddy gives the spiritual sense of the Lord's Prayer in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures;" and on page 16 deals with this passage as follows: "In the phrase, 'Deliver us from evil,' the original properly reads, 'Deliver us from the evil one.' This reading strengthens our scientific apprehension of the petition, for Christian Science teaches us that 'the evil one,' or one evil, is but another name for the first lie and all liars." "'The evil one,' or one evil," is, then, the carnal mind, the devil, the supposititious opposite of the good One, the divine Mind, or one good, to whom Christ Jesus referred when he said, "There is none good but one, that is, God."

Our beloved Master said, "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." If God has anything to do with sin or disease, the instruction of Jesus to his disciples and to all mankind to pray for deliverance from evil, including disease, would be tantamount to saying that by prayer it may be possible to persuade God to change His plan and purpose, and thus find a way to escape His will, so far as the particular manifestation of it covered by the petitioner in his prayer is concerned. To admit that the will of God can be changed by prayer or petition is to believe that God really does not know Himself, or what is best for His children, His ideas. It is the changeless nature of God that is the promise and guaranty of man's security; but there can be no consciousness of security so long as one believes that God's attitude towards him changes from time to time without his sanction or request, or that God's will can be set aside by prayer when what is conceived to be His will becomes particularly irksome or painful.

Everything that Jesus said or did was based upon his clear perception of the nature and character of God and man. Every statement included in the prayer he taught his disciples was the outcome of his understanding of the will of God, the law of God. That being so, the phrase, "Deliver us from evil," shows plainly that deliverance from sin, disease, and death is according to divine law. Divine law is not something that changes from time to time; it is set or fixed, unchangeable. There exists, then, a law of deliverance, ever operative, ever present, ever available in every time of need. Christian Science has brought this divine law to light, and has explained it in such a manner that to-day countless thousands have applied it, or have appealed to some one else, who understood it better than they, to apply it for them; and in this way they have gained their deliverance from what all their lives they had been taught to believe was in accordance with the will of or was permitted by a loving, just, and merciful God.

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Spiritual Activity
March 3, 1923

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