"Yea, yea; Nay, nay"

Among the many beautiful lessons which Christ Jesus gives us in that priceless teaching which has been called the Sermon on the Mount is one in which is set a very definite standard for the use of all mankind in measuring the correctness of their prayers, their mental processes, and consequently their thoughts, speech, and action. As always in his teaching, he is replacing, in the thought of the people, false concepts with true; impressing upon men the fact that, as Mrs. Eddy expresses it to-day in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (pp. 4, 5), "Whatever materializes worship hinders man's spiritual growth and keeps him from demonstrating his power over error." And again, on page 597, she writes: "The Judaic religion consisted mostly of rites and ceremonies. The motives and affections of a man were of little value, if only he appeared unto men to fast. The great Nazarene, as meek as he was mighty, rebuked the hypocrisy, which offered long petitions for blessings upon material methods, but cloaked the crime, latent in thought, which was ready to spring into action and crucify God's anointed."

It is these empty "rites and ceremonies" which Jesus rebuked; and in this particular instance he admonished his disciples to "swear not at all," knowing, as he so well knew, how vain were material vows, however earnest, unless some measure of spiritual understanding were present to help fulfill their perhaps impulsive making. But Jesus does not leave the matter here; he does not take away from the people their old established custom of performing "unto the Lord thine oaths," and leave them dubious and mentally at sea as to what form of worship shall take the place of the discarded material vow, but by his next words he gives them a higher sense of worship and of prayer in this beautiful and simply stated rule: "Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil."

Jesus here admonishes all men constantly to affirm mentally the facts of being in all that they think, say, and do; to assent to the truth by a continuous "Yea, yea," and by so doing, automatically to give the lie to error, the "Nay, nay" which forbids it entrance to our thought, and so strips it of its seeming power. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy has given us many beautiful explanations which make clear the words of Jesus and also show us how to put them into practical use.

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September 6, 1924

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