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"LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION"

From the January 1917 issue of The Christian Science Journal


Jesus taught his disciples one short yet comprehensive prayer which if spiritually understood would liberate a sinful world from its thraldom to sin, sickness, and death; but until the discovery of Christian Science by Mrs. Eddy, this prayer, as well as many others of the Master's sayings, had been interpreted according to material belief, and this has in many instances hidden the true meaning of his teachings. That portion of the Lord's Prayer, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil," has been accepted by mankind as presupposing God to be the author of both good and evil, and mankind to be unable to escape from evil unless God so willed. Buried in the beliefs of false theology, attributing to God traits of character which would be abhorrent in an earthly parent, humanity has believed that our Father has brought upon His children all sorts of suffering and sorrow, not altogether nor always as punishment for known or unknown sins, but as some sort of discipline to fit them for a habitation to be enjoyed in a future state of existence.

The student of Christian Science, earnestly seeking after "the deep things of God," finds first of all that God is infinite good. From this standpoint there unfolds to his consciousness a deeper, truer meaning of that declaration of the Master, "The kingdom of God is within you," and this unfoldment reveals the truth which Jesus said should make men free. This revelation comes only as all evil is forsaken and the false gods which mortals have been creating and worshiping all these centuries are put away. As this kingdom is discerned and there is brought to light the true relation between God and man,—the spiritual man, created in His image and likeness,—it is found that this man is not subject to the vagaries of mortal mind, while the temptations which come to mortals are suggested entirely by their own evil thoughts, or as the apostle Paul puts it, "through the lusts of their own hearts."

Evil is a negative quality, existing only in the carnal mind, and manifests itself in a material way in one form or another. Mankind, because of their materiality, have worshiped God as a corporeal being endowed with the passions of the human mind. As we read in Romans, men "changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man." More than six hundred years before Jesus came teaching his gospel of love, we find Habakkuk saying of God, "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity." It must therefore appear that God cannot be cognizant of evil in any form; evil must then be an emanation of the so-called mortal or carnal mind, which St. Paul has well said is "enmity against God." "The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,"—envy, hate, revenge, and greed,—these are some of the evil beliefs which come to the human mind for recognition, and it is these beliefs which make up the temptations that mortals have to overcome. While it is the law of Love "that we shall be tried and purified" (Science and Health, p. 22), yet it is no part of God's plan that His children should be subject to temptation or brought low by suffering, sorrow, and death.

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