Principle and Practice
(Transcribed from the Christian Science Sentinel, September 1, 1917)
Mary Baker Eddy
The nature and position of mortal mind are the opposite of immortal Mind. The so-called mortal mind is belief and not understanding. Christian Science requires understanding instead of belief; it is based on a fixed eternal and divine Principle, wholly apart from mortal conjecture; and it must be understood, otherwise it cannot be correctly accepted and demonstrated.
The inclination of mortal mind is to receive Christian Science through a belief instead of the understanding, and this inclination prevails like an epidemic on the body; it inflames mortal mind and weakens the intellect, but this so-called mortal mind is wholly ignorant of this fact, and so cherishes its mere faith in Christian Science.
The sick, like drowning men, catch at whatever drifts toward them. The sick are told by a faith-Scientist, “I can heal you, for God is all, and you are well, since God creates neither sin, sickness, nor death.” Such statements result in the sick either being healed by their faith in what you tell them – which heals only as a drug would heal, through belief – or in no effect whatever. If the faith healer succeeds in securing (kindling) the belief of the patient in his own recovery, the practitioner will have performed a faith-cure which he mistakenly pronounces Christian Science.
In this very manner some students of Christian Science have accepted, through faith, a divine Principle, God, as their savior, but they have not understood this Principle sufficiently well to fulfill the Scriptural commands, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel.” “Heal the sick.” It is the healer’s understanding of the operation of the divine Principle, and his application thereof, which heals the sick, just as it is one’s understanding of the principle of mathematics which enables him to demonstrate its rules.
Christian Science is not a faith-cure, and unless human faith be distinguished from scientific healing, Christian Science will again be lost from the practice of religion as it was soon after the period of our great Master’s scientific teaching and practice. Preaching without practice of the divine Principle of man’s being has not, in nineteen hundred years, resulted in demonstrating this Principle. Preaching without the truthful and consistent practice of your statements will destroy the success of Christian Science.
[The above article was written by Mrs. Eddy in September 1910. Its message is of vital importance to every Christian Scientist today.]
“Divine Science derives its sanction from the Bible, and the divine origin of Science is demonstrated through the holy influence of Truth in healing sickness and sin. This healing power of Truth must have been far anterior to the period in which Jesus lived. It is as ancient as “the Ancient of days.” It lives through all Life, and extends throughout all space. Divine metaphysics is now reduced to a system, to a form comprehensible by and adapted to the thought of the age in which we live. This system enables the learner to demonstrate the divine Principle, upon which Jesus’ healing was based, and the sacred rules for its present application to the cure of disease. Late in the nineteenth century I demonstrated the divine rules of Christian Science. They were submitted to the broadest practical test, and everywhere, when honestly applied under circumstances where demonstration was humanly possible, this Science showed that Truth had lost none of its divine and healing efficacy, even though centuries had passed away since Jesus practised these rules on the hills of Judaea and in the valleys of Galilee. Although this volume contains the complete Science of Mind-healing, never believe that you can absorb the whole meaning of the Science by a simple perusal of this book. The book needs to be studied, and the demonstration of the rules of scientific healing will plant you firmly on the spiritual groundwork of Christian Science. This proof lifts you high above the perishing fossils of theories already antiquated, and enables you to grasp the spiritual facts of being hitherto unattained and seemingly dim.” (S&H 146:23)
As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life. (S&H 497:3)
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