Thy Guard by Night and Day

Editorial from the October 5, 1918 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel by

That sentence with which the chapter entitled “Christian Science Practice” is concluded, found on page 442 of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” was considered vitally important by its author, Mrs. Eddy. She called attention to it at the time of its publication by notice in the Sentinel, February 29, 1908, and this notice is reprinted for the persual of any reader of “The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany” (p. 236). On the next page is given the notice published in the Sentinel for June 12, 1909, requesting that daily attention be given to the teaching of this sentence, which reads, “Christian Scientists, be a law to yourselves that mental malpractice cannot harm you either when asleep or when awake.”

Christian Scientists are sometimes found to express anxiety even as do those whose portion is worldly. They anticipate evil, and worry over what they imagine. They fail to enjoy “the glorious liberty of the children of God.” Now, it may be that in such cases Mrs. Eddy’s advice is not regarded. The ancients had evidently strong belief in sleepless evil affecting sleeping mortals. The mara, or mare, was a supposed goblin or evil spirit oppressing the sleeper as with crushing or deadening weight. Hence, when one wakes from a woeful dream he speaks of it as due to the nightmare. In such dreams a mortal will think that he, with limbs heavy as lead, flees from wild beasts, or that he is pursuing good to utmost weariness only to have it evade his grasp. Perhaps from dark dreamland an impression may, unless corrected, be conveyed into the day’s activities to remain as an attitude of expectancy of misfortune, fear of epidemics or disasters, and dread of disappointment; in other words, a clouded sense wherein evil seems to be reality and certainty, and good seems uncertain, as if withdrawn when sought after.

If, then, from dreams of the night a smoke and darkness seems to invade the daydreams of mortals so that there claims to be transfer of thought from the dream-tormented sleeper to himself awake and active, is it not well to find a guard from all belief in evil through the protection of the God of Israel? “Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep,” is the assurance of the psalm, which further says: “The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”

Throughout the psalms there are indications of many a struggle with evil arguments at night, but that Sabbath day song rises triumphant which says, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: to shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.” Let one become accustomed to dwelling on divine faithfulness every night, or as the marginal reference indicates the Hebrew meaning to be “in the nights,” and dreams will not affright him, nor will their mesmerism affect his day given to showing forth God’s loving-kindness.

Every one must also be on his guard by day and by night against the intentional mesmerism of those who have made a study of what they call human psychology. From their careful investigations of human weakness, sin, folly, and pride, they have worked out what they believe to be potent methods for swaying people as individuals or in masses by inducing them to believe and accept and fear the mortal mind lie instead of trusting scientific truth. Mrs. Eddy says quite plainly (Science and Health, p. 103), “In reality there is no mortal mind, and consequently no transference of mortal thought and will-power.” In its present phases psychology claims the exact opposite, denies the presence and action of Principle, and claims that human will shall rule the earth.

Let us recall the occasion when Jesus came in contact with the animosity of the Pharisees. On the Sabbath day the disciples, passing through the grainfields, plucked the seed-filled ears. They rubbed them in their hands to separate the grain from the husks, blowing away the chaff from the grain thus winnowed. Every one of these actions constituted a breach of sabbatic law, according to the Pharisees, who questioned Jesus regarding what his disciples had done. He cited the case of David receiving the shewbread, when by temple law only the priests should eat of it, to show that ritual was not inviolate. “The sabbath was made for man,” he said, “and not man for the sabbath.” Following this encounter, the Pharisees on another Sabbath more carefully watched him so that if he healed on that day they might accuse him. In this case, as our textbook describes it (Science and Health, p. 18), “Jesus acted boldly, against the accredited evidence of the senses, against Pharisaical creeds and practices, and he refuted all opponents with his healing power.”

He called forth the man whose right hand was withered, challenged the scribes and Pharisees as to what was lawful on the Sabbath day, to save life or to destroy it, and then healed the man, at which his opponents “were filled with madness.” They went out and took counsel how they might destroy him. To heal the sick was to break the Sabbath, they said, whereas to plan murder on that holy day they did not consider censurable. Luke records the way in which the Master lifted himself above the attacks and arguments of hatred and sensuality. While his enemies were communing together as to what they might do to Jesus, the record says, “It came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” This was our Master’s method for protection and safety. The day following, he chose his apostles and taught them by means of the Sermon on the Mount. Later he was able to say to the seventy, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

In order that we, too, may overcome the subtlety of the enemy and have power over the lying claims of sensual mesmerism and human psychology, there is need for us to follow the example of the Master and the guidance of that revelator who in following his example discovered Christian Science and made the way plain for us. Obedience to this guidance will enable all men to realize that ancient promise recorded in Leviticus: “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them … ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid.”

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