Chapter 6 – Walking By Faith

Chapter VI
WALKING BY FAITH
W. John Murray
The Realm of Reality
Divine Science Publishing Assoc.
New York, 1922.

“The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
–1 Cor. 2:14

[64] One cannot read the New Testament without realizing how large a part the element of faith played in the life and works of Jesus. To one who appealed to him for relief he replied, “Be it unto thee according to thy faith.” To another he said, “Thy faith hath saved thee.” While to the woman who said, “If I may but touch the hem of his garment I shall be made whole,” he answered: “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” In all of these expressions of the Master there is an evidence of that which we are coming to believe so strongly in these days of modern psychology concerning the supreme influence of thought upon the physical organism.

Through faith the mind rises above those morbid conditions which make for depression and consequent disease into that higher realm of thought and action where the impossible to sense [65] becomes the possible to soul. Faith is that quality of mind which, instead of scattering our mental forces, concentrates hope and feeling, expectation and imagination, into a quartette of mental harmony which makes for that perfect song of praise which expresses itself in improved bodily condition. It would be strange indeed if this were not so, seeing that lack of faith makes for lack of initiative and arrested achievement. The innumerable instances of the cure of disease where the patient labored under the belief that some infallible remedy was being used, when the physician in attendance was merely administering some harmless concoction because he had reached the end of his resources, are all proofs of the remedial value of thought when lifted out of the slough of despondency into the more rarefied atmosphere of hope and expectation.

It seems almost superfluous in an intelligent age to emphasize the value and necessity of faith. One would think that the well-authenticated cases of faith’s workability all down through the ages would be sufficient to justify its scientific cultivation, but we have deluded ourselves into the belief that faith is like the color of our eyes; that is, we are born with it, and hence we have it naturally or we do not have it at all, and no amount of effort will confer it upon us. “I cannot force myself to believe; I wish I could, for then I might be happy. I envy those who have such sublime faith, but I must be shown,” says one who is trying, when all other means have failed to get [66] comfort and healing by spiritual means. It might be well at the outset to state that Faith, which is the seed of the Spirit at work in the soil of the soul, is like any other seed in the sense that the less it is forced and the more it is cultivated the better, We are coming to realize that faith, which is so natural to us in childhood that we believe what is false as easily as we believe that which is true, must be elevated above the state of unquestioning acceptance to the plane of pure reason where it becomes that which is able to give a scientific explanation of itself.

The childlike faith of the woman who touched the hem of the Master’s garment enabled her to appropriate the blessing she sought, but it by no means enabled her to confer similar blessings on those who were in the same plight. There is the faith which appropriates, and the faith which demonstrates, and it ought not to be difficult for us to appreciate that the faith which demonstrates is greater than that which merely appropriates. One of the first acts of an appropriating faith is the willingness to be convinced, for where there is no willingness to be convinced there is no possibility of conviction, and where there is no conviction there is no construction. This applies to mechanics and metaphysics alike. If we cannot be convinced of a possibility in mechanics we take no interest, and where there is no interest there is no investment, either of time or money; and where there is no investment of these necessary factors there is no profit, all of which explains [67] how large a part faith plays in what we call worldly success, which after all is nothing more nor less than faith rewarding itself.

Let us take two men with an equal amount of capital and with an equal desire to increase it. One is willing to be convinced of the value of a new discovery and listens with patience to a description of its merits, the other regards it all as a beautiful but impractical vision. One invests and makes a vision a possibility, the other withholds his interest and investment and remains at a financial standstill, if indeed he does not deteriorate financially. Jesus taught this in the parable of the talents, which ought to be taken to heart by every man who desires to increase in the wisdom of God and in the wealth of the world, for these are not incompatible as some would have us believe. When Solomon asked for wisdom and understanding he got riches in addition, for the one follows the other as the furrow follows the plough. It is where we ask for riches without wisdom or understanding that the Law fails to work, for we require wisdom and understanding to keep riches as well as to get and dispense them properly.

It is somewhat difficult to determine whether faith is emotional or intellectual until we arrive at the conclusion that it is a combination of these mental or spiritual qualities. The highest form of faith is that which exhibits itself in a blending of unquestioning trust in the Law and an intellectual perception of the Law’s availability. We [68] have an exhibition of this combination of spiritual trust and intellectual perception in the science of aviation. All mechanical requirements having been complied with, the aviator then trusts himself of the supporting power of the air to hold him above the earth. In the physical world we see the steady increase of faith as it progresses from the grossly material up to the ethereal. There was a time when man dared not venture upon anything less solid than the earth. Water was his enemy, for the reasons that it afforded him no support for his feet, but when his faith conquered his fear water became one of his most obedient and profitable servants. That which yesterday threatened to swallow him today carries him to lands hitherto unknown and opens up prospects undreamed of. Water alone would drown him, but water plus faith increases his possibilities. Man through faith reconciled two of his former enemies, fire and water, and through their combined exertions he generated a new force which, in a limited sense, abolished time and space by enabling him in a few days to reach a destination which previously had required weeks or months.

By bringing water and fire into closer proximity steam came into use, so that water and fire were able to do infinitely more for humanity together than they could ever do alone. It was only a step from this to the discovery and use of electrical energy, by means of which the very air does not become dominated, as some aver, but utilized. These advances in the progress of man from fear [69] to faith show that with each step there has been a steady ascent from the visible to the invisible. We see it in the faith of the primitive man who must needs overcome his fear of water before he can trust himself to remove his feet from terra firma. We find it again in the faith of the modern man who must conquer his fear of the apparently non-supporting air before he can trust himself to leave the ground. Just as we can subsist longer without solid food than we can without water, and longer without water than we can without air, so we can subsist longer without any or all of them than we can without the breath of Life which we did not create.

If all progress in the material world is the result of the use of those finer forces of nature, the further progress of the race must depend upon its knowledge and use of that greater force by means of which all these other forces are intelligently pressed into service. Without thought the forces of nature would be as inoperative to benefit mankind as water would be powerless to produce steam without fire. But thought that is merely mental motion, and not scientifically directed, is like steam blowing off through a safety valve. What is needed today is Thought operating in accordance with Principle, not principle as we commonly use this word, but Principle in the sense of Causation. If a sham medicine without any therapeutic value whatsoever can effect a cure where other medicines endorsed by the medical [70] fraternity have failed, we want to know what the mental factor is which produces the desired result, and the only answer is that the disease is either a sham or the remedial agent is a mental quality, which we call faith.

That so-called incurable diseases are being cured by spiritual science cannot be denied; therefore it is important to understand whether it is the faith of the patient in spiritual science which produces the cure, or the understanding of the practitioner; or if it is not rather the union of these factors brought together in an intense focus. A patient comes to spiritual science, having exhausted the powers of his family physician, and also the skill of the specialists who have been called for consultation. It is not reasonable to suppose that such a patient has more faith in the spiritual scientist, whom perhaps he has never met before, than he has in his physician whom he knows and trusts, and yet it is not infrequent for such cases to be healed.

What is the explanation? Here we find a patient who either turns to spiritual science to please his family, or because he has reached the place where he is willing to try anything, no matter how seemingly absurd it appears. Beyond being willing to be treated or prayed for he knows nothing at all about the subject. One of the first requirements is a test of his faith, or rather a change in the direction of his faith. It is astonishing how difficult it is for us to give up material remedies, notwithstanding we have grown steadily worse [71] under their administration, and it is for this reason that many physicians who have long abandoned their reliance upon them, either for themselves or their families, feel obliged to prescribe some harmless thing, which, while it has no remedial value, has no injurious effect. They assert that they do this because their patients would not feel that anything was being done for them if they were not “taking medicine.” And, to the great surprise of the physician, they often get well. In such cases it is their faith which makes them whole, and this ought not to be wondered at, since it is the natural consequence of the operation of mental law in the physical body.

Would it not be better, instead of resorting to such practices, to study this law of mental healing so that the physician on such occasions could instruct the patient in the use of his own spiritual faculties? Such physicians as are doing this are meeting with astonishing success. Not long ago I heard of a case of so-called incurable cancer healed by a surgeon here in New York who is a student of Divine Science. One of his patients who had suffered greatly was induced to have an X-ray examination, and the conditions were found to be such that an operation would only have occasioned needless suffering, inasmuch as everything seemed to be involved. Without telling his patient how very serious his case was, and realizing that nothing could be accomplished from a material point of view, he kept his patient’s confidence and began to treat or pray for him with [72] the result that a later examination showed decided improvement.

One of the first requirements of Divine Science should be that the patient give up his material methods, at least while he is under treatment, so that when the cure is established he will know what brought it about, and thus be not only physically healed, but intellectually convinced that “God is an everpresent help in time of trouble.” Just as the primitive man had to leave the land before he could derive the real benefit from the water and test its power to support him, and just as the aviator must leave the ground before he can prove the sustaining power of the air, so the soul must rise above its dependence on matter before it can prove to the fullest extent the healing power of Divine Mind. Expecting benefits from Divine Mind while afraid to give up our drugs, we shall vacillate between one extreme and the other until we come to realize that the God Who created us can recreate us, and this without any material assistance whatever.

There is no satisfaction comparable to the feeling that “He Who forgiveth our iniquities healeth also our diseases.” To be healed of a bodily malady by the power of true prayer, and this without a single material remedy, is to see God in the healing of our flesh. It is to be grateful, not only for the fact that we are healed, but for the discovery that the Mind which brought us into being may be safely relied upon to correct our imperfections. There are those who, before they came [73] to Divine Science, used material remedies almost daily for one reason or another, but who now and for years past have enjoyed better health than ever before, and this through a radical reliance on the God of all health. Is it not reasonable to suppose that the Mind which moves the planets can move the internal organs of man? Should it be thought a thing incredible that the Mind which formed man can transform him physically, as well as reform him morally? Can that Divine Law which makes for the circulation of pure air in its own universe not be depended upon to re-establish harmonious circulation in the human organism?

These are not impertinent questions, it seems to me. Shall He who created the eye not be able to repair it? Then why is it that spiritual healing should have had to apologize for itself for so long? Simply because the race had got out of the habit of depending upon it, and, like anything else that is not used, it was lost, for a time, only to be now re-established with accelerated force. Humanity is clamoring for it. The churches are trying to supply it, and it is only a question of time when the church which does not supply it will be asked the reason for its impotency.

The demand has gone forth and the supply is forthcoming. Faith is on the increase and the result of faith will be restoration of that primitive order which gave to Christianity its first great impulse. If “a genuine act of faith in God [74] (as the Healer of our diseases) is a movement of the whole being towards Him, and brings the soul into vital contact and vivifying conjunction with the Central Life,” then it follows that the more faith we have in the unseen force of the Holy Spirit the better. If the mind of man is constantly creating a body for itself in its own image and likeness, that is, in harmony with its own nature, then we should see that our mental pictures are of the highest possible character. If the teaching of Jesus is true, that in the healing of our diseases it is done unto us, “according to our faith,” then he is the best physician who seeks to wean his patient from a too strong reliance on inert matter to Active Mind.

We walk by faith, but it is better to walk by faith in God than in man. The arm of the Lord is stronger than the arm of mortals, and therefore to be leaned upon with more assurance of unfailing support. If a sugar-coated bread-pill, or a rabbit’s foot, through faith in their potency, can cure an ill or ward one off, what should not an unquestioning faith in God accomplish? If to believe that we are sick is to make us so, then a change of belief to the conviction that we are well is to make this a reality to us, and this assurance becomes more real and lasting in the degree that health is understood as the normal, and therefore the real, state of mind and body. Let our declaration be at all times, then, “I am one with Him in Whom no sickness is.”

Chapter 7

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