Mary Baker Eddy

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Whatever man sees, feels, or takes cognizance of, must be caught through mind; insomuch as perception, sensation, and consciousness belong to mind and not to matter. Floating with the popular current of mortal thought, without questioning the reliability of its conclusions, we do what others do, believe what others believe, and say what others say. Common consent is the only contagion that can make disease catching.

People believe that certain diseases are contagious, and that any one is liable to have them under certain circumstances. This mental state predisposes one to take that disease, when the circumstances appear that he believes cause such a result. If he believed as sincerely that health is catching when exposed to contact with healthy people, he would catch their state of feeling quite as surely, and with better effect than the sick man’s. If only the people would believe that good is more contagious than evil, how much more certain would be the clergy’s labor to convert sinners. And if only the pulpit would encourage faith in mind governing the receptivity of the body over all other influences, and would teach man as David taught: “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday,”—the faith of mankind in contagious disease would thus become beautifully less, and in that same proportion would their faith in the power of God, good, to ward off all evil, until the whole human race should become healthier, happier, and more Christian. A humane, hopeful, calm state of mind is the better preventative of contagion than a drug or any possible hygienic method, and the “perfect love” that “casteth out fear” is a certain defence against disease of every kind.

(Originally published in the Christian Science Journal, August 4, 1883)

“Common consent is the only contagion that can make disease catching.”

[A modified version of this article later appeared in Miscellaneous Writings and is included below for comparison purposes.]

Whatever man sees, feels, or in any way takes cognizance of, must be caught through mind; inasmuch as perception, sensation, and consciousness belong to mind and not to matter. Floating with the popular current of mortal thought without questioning the reliability of its conclusions, we do what others do, believe what others believe, and say what others say. Common consent is contagious, and it makes disease catching.

People believe in infectious and contagious diseases, and that any one is liable to have them under certain predisposing or exciting causes. This mental state prepares one to have any disease whenever there appear the circumstances which he believes produce it. If he believed as sincerely that health is catching when exposed to contact with healthy people, he would catch their state of feeling quite as surely and with better effect than he does the sick man’s.

If only the people would believe that good is more contagious than evil, since God is omnipresence, how much more certain would be the doctor’s success, and the clergyman’s conversion of sinners. And if only the pulpit would encourage faith in God in this direction, and faith in Mind over all other influences governing the receptivity of the body, theology would teach man as David taught: “Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.”

The confidence of mankind in contagious disease would thus become beautifully less; and in the same proportion would faith in the power of God to heal and to save mankind increase, until the whole human race would become healthier, holier, happier, and longer lived. A calm, Christian state of mind is a better preventive of contagion than a drug, or than any other possible sanative method; and the “perfect Love” that “casteth out fear” is a sure defense.

Photo Credit: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM

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