From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
Taking Spiritual Footsteps in Scientific Order
Again, Mrs. Eddy said, “Now drop arguing and hold to God. I used to do my healing with ‘God is all.’ I never argued until I began teaching students, and I had to meet the thought where it stood. Now hold the allness of God, then there is nothing else; if error says arsenic, can’t sleep, can’t eat,—can; there is only one God. I have been made the way-shower; the devil said to Jesus, ‘Others he saved, himself he cannot save. Come down from the cross, He will send angels to bear thee up, etc.’ What did Jesus say? ‘Get thee behind me, Satan.’ It says now, ‘Come down from the cross. You have said you do not have to eat or sleep to nourish the body; come down and prove it;’ Jesus told Satan to get behind; he was not ready for that proof yet; when he was, he made it. So will this be; I can eat, I can sleep; when I am ready for that demonstration, it will be made. If the students that have passed on had understood this, they would have been here today.” In reading this quotation, one might ask, what did Mrs. Eddy mean in her last statement about the students who have passed on?
An important point in Christian Science involves taking scientific footsteps in their right order. The Master expressed this requirement when he said, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” The effort should never be made to spiritualize one’s self before healing one’s self. One cannot go from the error of believing that he or she cannot eat because of stomach disorder, directly to the understanding that man does not need to eat, because he is spiritual. One cannot skip the necessary demonstration that he or she can eat normally according to human dietetics. Mrs. Eddy expresses this idea in Miscellany page 217: “(Jesus) does not require the last step to be taken first. He restored the diseased body to its normal action, functions, and organization…”
It is evident that the student must overcome the abnormal beliefs of mortal mind, before he can break up mortal belief itself. If one is in the dungeon of a jail, he must first escape from the dungeon, before he can escape from the jail. Mortal mind, like an unruly horse, must be disciplined, before man can gain his freedom by riding the broken horse out of the desert to civilization. Hence, students who endeavor to skip the intermediate stage of spiritual demonstration, may make a shipwreck of their faith. The rule is to improve human thinking, which, in turn, improves the body. Then must come scientific thinking, which, in turn, eliminates the belief in body.