Principle and Practice

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Mary Baker Eddy

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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.

“Christian Science requires understanding instead of belief.”

In this very manner some students of Christian Science have accepted, through faith, a divine Principle, God, as their saviour, but they have not understood this Principle sufficiently well to fulfill the Scriptural command, “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.

(Written by Mrs. Eddy in 1910. Originally published in the Christian Science Sentinel, September 1, 1917)

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