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According to Our Faith
ELLA W. HOAG, CSD

 
         There was, perhaps, nothing which Jesus affirmed more frequently than that men would be healed in the measure of the faith realized. Again and again, he declared of those who were delivered from direst diseases that such healing came because of faith. He said to his disciples, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

         When Christian Science was revealed to Mrs. Eddy, she found it reiterating the same insistent necessity of exercising faith. All through her writings there runs the same golden thread of the need of faith which illumined and made practical the teachings of Jesus, those teachings which promised all fullness of successful fruition to those who had faith in God.

         With Christian Scientists this constant demand for faith is often something all too lightly passed over. We are too prone to believe we can jump to spiritual understanding without taking the necessary footsteps to reach the exalted spiritual altitude implied in that divine knowing to which the term "understanding" fully belongs. Because we gain quickly a certain intellectual grasp of the letter of Christian Science, we are tempted to call this spiritual understanding. Using this letter, even though with commendable zeal, we may find our efforts failing to bring the healing we so long to have manifested. Then the question and wonder come! Where is the lack in the work we have so desired to have effective? Would not Jesus ask of us at such times, Where is your faith?

         Instead of looking for more faith, the Christian Scientist is too apt to reach out for what he calls more understanding. He imagines that if he can but gain a more extended grasp of the theory of Christian Science he will thereby win the power to speak with authority to the beliefs in evil. It may not be more of the theory or letter which is needed so much as a greater, more trusting faith in the truth he already comprehends in some degree. He may forget that the very first requisite which Mrs. Eddy mentions, in defining the prayer that heals, is faith. In the first paragraph of the first chapter of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" she writes: "The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love."

         Now this "absolute faith that all things are possible to God" of which our beloved Leader speaks is something which all Christians have longed to possess. They have realized that if they could but win it they would be able to obey Jesus' commands to heal the sick even as did he and his disciples. Their difficulty has been that they have rarely been able to gain more than a blind faith, one which not only seemed almost powerless, but which could not be laid hold upon with any certainty. Christian Science does away with both of these dilemmas, since in explaining the nature of God as divine, infinite Mind, as omnipotent Life, omnipresent Truth, omniscient Love, it immediately reveals the perfection of God, and thus portrays the inevitable inspiration of faith and trust which His nature impels. It also shows plainly that since man is God's image and likeness, he can never fail to reflect God's own faith in Himself. The Christian Scientist who sees this clearly will be led to cherish and use the blessed quality of faith which both Jesus and Mrs. Eddy proclaim as so essential to successful demonstration.

         Now one might declare extensively the facts about some mathematical proposition and still not solve a single problem according to them. He must have faith that these facts are true. He must have such faith in them that he will apply them steadfastly, insistently. He must employ them until he sees every mistake obliterated, every claim of ignorance in the application of them dissolve before their right, intelligent use. Each step of the way he must have sufficient faith in these true facts to be certain that the right result cannot fail to be reached if he perseveres in their application.

         Just so with the work of the Christian Scientist. There must certainly be a clear apprehension of the letter of Christian Science. We are instructed, however, that a very little of the letter will accomplish wonders if only it is accompanied by the holy quality of faith. Any simple truth is powerful enough to level mountains of error; but we must be sure it is reenforced in our thinking by the recognition that it is really true! There must also be that faith in the invincibility of the Word of God which carries with it such love for it that whatever the seeming obstacles, whatever the apparent difficulties, the truth will be clung to, declared, loved, used; until it is proved to be all-sufficient to master every opposite belief in evil, to dissipate every conflicting testimony. Faith must accompany the clinging, declaring, loving, applying, or the letter will be so cold and lifeless that it will apparently accomplish little or nothing in the right direction.

         Sometimes we may be found descanting at great length on the truths of Christian Science; we may talk very learnedly of the scientific facts of God and man and the universe; we may proclaim with equal assiduity our disbelief in the opposite claims of existence in matter with its sins and sicknesses. But are the results always what we wish them to be? At such a time might not our Leader ask all longingly, Where are the perfect proofs that you have faith in what you are proclaiming with such volubility? We pray that error shall give place to Truth, sickness to health, sin to holiness; but we must at the same time have faith that results will evidence that good alone is real, that it is omnipresent and omnipotent, or the proofs of our faith will be lacking. Each time that we prove we have even the grain of faith in the truth we declare which always brings the healing, then we have really at that point gained spiritual understanding, for then we know! And is not divine knowing the true spiritual understanding?

         Thank God, we are today nearer than yesterday to that "absolute faith" in God which Mrs. Eddy tells us we must have if we would heal the sick and the sinner! Each honest declaration of truth lands us nearer the goal where we shall prove that all things are possible to him that believeth. Our faith is ever broadening, deepening, melting into spiritual understanding. Let us as the children of God vehemently, reverently insist that all faith is ours here and now. As we do this the world will rejoice in our God-given proofs that we have reached the point to which our beloved Leader refers when she writes (Science and Health, 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."

 

"According to Our Faith" by Ella W. Hoag, CSD
The Christian Science Journal, November, 1925
 

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