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


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
sense, and not Soul, produces these moods of feeling.
If spiritual sense guided men at such times, there
would grow out of those ecstatic desires, higher exper-
iences and a better life; self-examination, and more
purity. A self-satisfied ventilation of ecclesiastical
fervor never made a Christian; verbal prayer embraces
too much error to forward this great purpose. First,
it supposes God a person influenced by man, making
the divine ear a personal sense instead of the all-hear-
ing and all-knowing Intelligence, to whom every want
of man is understood, and by whom it will be supplied.
Again, what we desire, and ask to be given, is not
always best for us to receive, in which case the infinite
understanding will certainly not grant our request;
therefore what avails it with God how much a man
prays? When we pray aright, we shall "enter into
the closet;" in other words, shut the door of the lips
and in the silent sanctuary of earnest longings, deny
sin and sense, and take up the cross, while we go forth
with honest hearts laboring to reach Wisdom, Love,
and Truth. This prayer will be answered, insomuch
as we shall put in practice our desires. The Master's
injunction was to pray in secret; to desire to be better,
and let our lives attest the sincerity of that desire.
Are we really grateful for the good we receive? then
we shall have more, and never until then, and avail
ourselves of the blessings we have, and this will thank
God more than speech. From the Intelligence that
numbers the very hairs of our heads, we cannot conceal
the ingratitude of barren lives by thanking Omnipo-
tence with our lips, while the heart is far from Truth.
When we vainly imagine gratitude is a mere expression
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