“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”.
“This is the doctrine of Christian Science: that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy; that good can never produce evil; that matter can never produce mind nor life result in death.”
Mary Baker Eddy
Science and Health (p. 304)
Faith, Negative and Positive
From the June 2, 1945 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel
Our faith is sometimes positive, oftentimes negative. Says Mary Baker Eddy in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” (p. 368), “When we come to have more faith in the truth of being than we have in error, more faith in Spirit than in matter, more faith in living than in dying, more faith in God than in man, then no material suppositions can prevent us from healing the sick and destroying error.”
Here Mrs. Eddy exposes the negative faith so prevalent in the thinking of mortals—faith in error and matter, faith in dying, faith in mortal man. We shall advance our spiritual progress if we will frequently examine our thought to ascertain in what degree we are entertaining these negative forms of faith, and earnestly strive to supplant them with positive, childlike faith in God and spiritual man. Nothing less is real faith.
Christian Science displaces the negative, mesmeric sense of faith in evil with this true faith in God, good, that is born of spiritual understanding. Daily let us deny that any phase of negative faith can abide in our consciousness, amalgamate with our being, or link our thought to mortal mind, its concepts or beliefs. The reason, we shall know, is that the only real faith we can have is the faith that is God-given, Love-bestowed, the faith that is the bond by which Mind holds within itself its own, and forges with understanding the oneness of man with the Mind that is his Ego. Of true faith Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 297), “It is a chrysalis state of human thought, in which spiritual evidence, contradicting the testimony of material sense, begins to appear, and Truth, the ever-present, is becoming understood.”
Every time we fear, we are entertaining a negative sense of faith, for we are, in effect, believing that there is an evil power which can in some way do us harm. We cannot fear unless our faith in evil is greater than our faith in God. Every time we consent to indulgence in sin, we are expressing negative faith, faith that matter can afford us more satisfaction than can the Life which is God.
Recently a friend told me that when he began studying Christian Science, he had a firm faith that cigars gave him considerable satisfaction. One day when he was walking down a busy avenue in the city where he lived, with a cigar in his mouth, he met a Christian Science friend. In the conversation that followed, the latter in a tactful way put the question, “Can you imagine our Way-shower, Christ Jesus, walking down the street with a cigar in his mouth?” That ended my friend’s faith in tobacco. He recognized that the Master, because of the very truthfulness of his thought, entertained no such false faith. Obviously, it could then have no rightful place in the consciousness of one who sincerely desired to express his quality of thought.
One day Jesus met a funeral procession. Those who composed it had more faith in death than in life. Jesus’ consciousness was full of faith in God as man’s only Life, inextinguishable, unstoppable, everlasting. Man, he knew, is this Life’s eternal witness and reflection, superior to material forces. His thought reversed the negative faith of the mourners, neutralized its conclusions, and by raising the widow’s son proved the continuity of life to be a present fact. The faith of understanding won an easy, instant victory over the ignorant faith in death and dying.
The strength of mortals’ faith in death is illustrated by the common saying, “Only two things are certain, death and taxes.” Jesus paid his taxes, but erased death from the list of certainties. He never accepted death as even a possibility for God’s son. How much faith have you and I in dying? Do we listen to the suggestion that death may overtake us through accident or war, or in the long run by decrepitude or disease? If we do, our faith in death is more than our faith in Life; our faith in matter more than our faith in God. Regardless of what may seem to happen to physicality, our faith in the eternality of our spiritual individuality should be immovable, for our spiritual individuality is forever indispensable to God as His expression.
When a mortal relies on drugs or medication to produce health, he has more faith in unintelligent matter than in Mind, intelligence, God. Matter becomes, in belief, a god to him, an idol. An understanding faith in God, omnipresent Mind, as his very Soul, Life, and substance, and in himself as the spiritual reflection and idea of God, will displace this false faith with the health-producing faith of Truth’s imparting. He realizes that matter can no more give him health than it can give him life.
Do we have more faith in man than in God? Do we believe human persons can make us or break us? If we so think, we have more faith in the negative effect of mortal mind, called mortal man, than in the positive power and cause of all being, God. Principle, sovereign, creative Mind, is our first and only reliance. This one Ego, the only I, causes us, conditions us, directs and protects our life, our activity, our destiny. Our faith in Him is absolute, for with the true faith of understanding we are joined to the One who is our substance, our Mind, our Soul, our All.
Through daily individual study, prayer, and application of Christian Science, we displace negative faith with positive faith, and grow into a worthiness to receive the blessing implied in the Master’s simple statement to one he healed, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.”