Science and Health
by Mary Baker Glover
Chapter V - Prayer and Atonement


to the divine character, moulds and fashions us to His
The danger of audible prayer is, that we fall into
temptation through it, and become an involuntary
hypocrite. First, by uttering what is not a real desire,
and secondly, consoling ourself under sin with the re-
collection we have prayed over it. Hypocrisy is fatal to
Christianity, and praying publicly, we often go be-
yond our means, beyond the honest standpoint of
fervent and habitual desire; if we are not yearning in
secret and striving for the accomplishment of all we
ask, ours are "vain repetitions, such as heathen use."
If our petition is sincere, we shall labor for what we
pray, and be rewarded by "Him who seeth in secret
and rewardeth openly." No expression of them can
make our desires more, or less, nor gain the ear om-
nipotent sooner by words than thoughts. If every
petition in prayer is sincere, God knows it before we
tell Him, and letting it remain honestly before Him we
incur no risk of overtalking our real state.
Prayer is sometimes employed, like a catholic con-
fession, to cancel sin, and this impedes Christianity.
Sin is not forgiven; we cannot escape its penalty.
Being sorry for its committal is but one step towards
reform, and the very smallest one; the next step that
Wisdom requires is, the test of our sincerity, namely, a
reformation. To this end we are placed under stress
of circumstances where the temptation comes to repeat
the offence, and the woe comes for what has been done
until we learn there is no discount in the law of retribu-
tion, and we must pay the uttermost farthing. The
measure we have meted will be measured to us again,
full and running over; Christians and sinners get their
full measurement, but not here; a follower of Christ, for
centuries to come, must drink his cup; ingratitude and
persecution will fill it to the brim, but God pours the
riches of joy into the understanding, and gives us
strength as our day. Sinners flourish as the green bay
tree, but looking farther, David saw their end.
Prayer cannot change the science of being, for good-
ness alone reaches the demonstration of Truth. A
petition for another to work for us, never does the work
required of us. To address Deity as a person, perpe-
tuates the belief of God in man, which impedes spirit-
ual progress and hides Truth. We reach the science
of Christianity only through demonstration, but here,
our good will be evil spoken of, and falsehood will war
against advancing Truth. Principle should govern
man; person can pardon but not reform the sinner.
God is not a separate Wisdom from the Wisdom we
possess, and the talent He hath given to be used we
must improve; therefore, to call on God to do our
work for us, is vainly supposing we have little to do
but to ask for pardon and re-commit the offence. If
prayer cherishes the belief sin is forgiven, and man
better because he prays, it is asking amiss; for he is
worse if the punishment sin incurs is kept back, or he
thinks himself forgiven when he is not. Prayer is im-
pressive; it gives momentary solemnity and elevation
to thought, but does a state of ecstacy produce lasting
benefit? Looking deeply, and metaphysically into
these things, we find a reaction takes place, unfavorable
to understanding and sober resolve, and the wholesome
perception of God's requirements; also that personal
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