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Without punishment, sin would multiply. Jesus' prayer,
"Forgive us our debts," specified also the terms of
forgiveness. When forgiving the adulterous woman he
said, "Go, and sin no more."
(Remission of penalty)
A magistrate sometimes remits the penalty, but this
may be no moral benefit to the criminal, and at best, it
only saves the criminal from one form of
punishment. The moral law, which has the
right to acquit or condemn, always demands restitution
before mortals can "go up higher." Broken law
brings penalty in order to compel this progress.
(Truth annihilates error)
Mere legal pardon (and there is no other, for divine
Principle never pardons our sins or mistakes till they
are corrected) leaves the offender free to repeat
the offence, if indeed, he has not already
suffered sufficiently from vice to make him turn from it
with loathing. Truth bestows no pardon upon error, but
wipes it out in the most effectual manner. Jesus suffered
for our sins, not to annul the divine sentence for an individual's
sin, but because sin brings inevitable suffering.
(Desire for holiness)
Petitions bring to mortals only the results of mortals'
own faith. We know that a desire for holiness is
requisite in order to gain holiness; but if we
desire holiness above all else, we shall sacrifice
everything for it. We must be willing to do this,
that we may walk securely in the only practical road
to holiness. Prayer cannot change the unalterable
Truth, nor can prayer alone give us an understanding
of Truth; but prayer, coupled with a fervent habitual
desire to know and do the will of God, will bring us
into all Truth. Such a desire has little need of audible
expression. It is best expressed in thought and in life.