From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
Click here to play the audio as you read:
Arguments Serve Only to Lift Thought
One morning Mrs. Eddy said, “If you are a Christian Scientist and can speak the Word, and it is done, all right; but if you have to argue, be very careful what you argue.” This quotation recalls the statement in Science and Health, page 454, “Remember that the letter and mental argument are only human auxiliaries to aid in bringing thought into accord with the spirit of Truth and Love, which heals the sick and the sinner.”
Healing by the Spirit means that one is in a state of mind where the unreality of all things material, or the fallacy of mortal belief, is so self-evident that one need not bring one’s self by the letter, or the ladder of argument, into that state of mind through which God heals. If, on the other hand, thought needs this initial adjustment in order that it may reach the scientific standpoint, which is the healing point, it is more or less labor, a tiresome journey. Thus, the student is constantly tempted to use a formula, the letter without the Spirit, which degenerates into vain repetition, or a superstitious faith in the efficacy of mere words, or phrases used over and over again. Even the scientific statements in the textbook are not exempt from such a classification of being a formula, when misused in this manner.
Such a situation is illustrated by prizefighting, where a man is instructed in this art according to certain rules. Yet, when the actual hour of the match comes, he cannot fight by applying mechanically what he has learned in the instruction book, but must diagnose and apply his knowledge to meet each juncture as it presents itself. If he fought according to a campaign formulated in advance, he would not be allowing for the exigencies of the moment. Such an unintelligent procedure would show that he had not studied the art of prizefighting sufficiently to make it his own. A formula always betrays a lack of understanding. It is usually the effort to parade in borrowed garments, relying on memory rather than spirituality. When one uses the inspired instructions in Science and Health to spiritualize one’s thought, he is applying them properly.
One must never accept the notion that his scientific arguments constitute spiritual ammunition to be fired at a patient to heal him. In reality, the practitioner fires these arguments at himself, to lift his own thought to the place where it is open to reflect the healing power of divine Truth and Love.
Suppose a man were in a fort without a gun, but, near at hand, is a soldier with one. The first man might lift the soldier to his shoulders, in order that the latter might fire over the wall at the enemy. Hence, we see in this process that the act of lifting up the soldier would not be the act of shooting at the enemy; for the soldier does that after he is lifted up. So, the act of lifting up the Christ through our mental argument does not heal the sick; but, when the Christ is lifted up, or exalted in consciousness as the real and only healing power, it accomplishes the healing.
There are only a few formulated statements in Christian Science which must necessarily be repeated over and over again. Therefore, it is a mistake to use these as formulas and believe that, of themselves, they heal the sick. Their use is defined by Mrs. Eddy, when she calls them auxiliaries to aid in bringing thought into accord with Truth and Love. Hence, we have Mrs. Eddy’s admonition that if we use argument in the healing work, we should be careful what we argue, and what we try to accomplish through the means of argument.