Science and Health
with Key to the Scriptures
Mary Baker Eddy
Science and Health - CHAPTER 1 - Prayer
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The only civil sentence which he had for error was,
"Get thee behind me, Satan." Still stronger evidence
that Jesus' reproof was pointed and pungent is found
in his own words, - showing the necessity for such
forcible utterance, when he cast out devils and healed
the sick and sinning. The relinquishment of error deprives
material sense of its false claims.
Audible prayer is impressive; it gives momentary
solemnity and elevation to thought. But does it produce
any lasting benefit? Looking deeply
into these things, we find that "a zeal . . .
not according to knowledge" gives occasion for reaction
unfavorable to spiritual growth, sober resolve, and
wholesome perception of God's requirements. The motives
for verbal prayer may embrace too much love of
applause to induce or encourage Christian sentiment.
Physical sensation, not Soul, produces material ecstasy
and emotion. If spiritual sense always guided
men, there would grow out of ecstatic moments
a higher experience and a better life
with more devout self-abnegation and purity. A self-satisfied
ventilation of fervent sentiments never makes
a Christian. God is not influenced by man. The "divine
ear" is not an auditory nerve. It is the all-hearing
and all-knowing Mind, to whom each need of man is
always known and by whom it will be supplied.
(Danger from audible prayer)
The danger from prayer is that it may lead us into
temptation. By it we may become involuntary hypocrites, uttering
desires which are not real and consoling
ourselves in the midst of sin with the recollection
that we have prayed over it or mean to ask forgiveness
at some later day. Hypocrisy is fatal to religion.
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