From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
Dealing with Effect Not Cause
I often ponder the valuable lesson connected with Mrs. Eddy’s rebuke, “Tell the truth about the lie,” to the student who, when she manifested a cold, said that she was all right. Our Leader recognized that in one’s metaphysical footsteps, thought can never proceed directly from the manifestation of disease to the consciousness of its unreality, for such a practice would be jumping from the lie about the lie to the truth about Truth, thereby omitting one step, namely, the truth about the lie. In other words, the manifestation is only effect, and one must trace back to its human cause, by first admitting that he is manifesting disease because, under the law of mortal belief, he is entertaining human thinking.
This point is illustrated by a leaking water pipe, which a housewife endeavors to remedy by mopping up the water, as it pours out on the floor. Obviously, such a procedure is futile, for her first step should be to turn off the water in the cellar, so that it will cease flowing into the pipe. The moment this is done, she can commence repairing the damage done to the house.
Even if one knows how to turn off the water in the cellar, there is always the temptation to become so disturbed over the disaster to the house, that one considers it more important to deal with the leak, than it is to shut off the water, more important to deal with effect than with cause. These principles are equally true, when applied to the problem of disease. It is necessary to withdraw thought from its devastating effect upon the body, and ignore manifestation sufficiently, to deal wholly with thought. If the human mind is the source of all human ills, then all correction must be made at that point, through eliminating the false cause and retaining the true.
Hence, Mrs. Eddy was expounding the fact that one cannot go from the manifestation of disease directly to making nothing of it. First, one must tell the truth about the lie. That traces from effect back to cause, and provides the right understanding, so that the error can be corrected scientifically. Not until the student has told the truth about the lie, has he corrected his primary thinking, and placed himself in the position where he knows what the error is. If one starts right in with the declaration of the unreality of disease as expression, then the vital point of mental causation is left untouched. It is never scientifically correct to work with manifestation. One must deal wholly with mind as causation and, if harboring the wrong mind as causation, eliminate it and bring in the right Mind, which is the only Mind.