The Second Look
In II Kings it is recorded that on one occasion the king of Syria sent by night a large army to Dothan, a village in the hill country of Israel, for the purpose of surrounding it and so capturing Elisha, the man of God. When the servant of Elisha, rising early and walking forth, beheld the encompassing host, he was filled with terror and exclaimed, "Alas, my master! how shall we do?" Assuring the servant that there was no cause for alarm, Elisha prayed God to open the servant's eyes that he might see. "And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."
Today, as in the days of Elisha, mankind seems to be encompassed by the hosts of Syria—sickness, poverty, fear, discord, discouragement, despair. Is there no way of escape? There is; and Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has pointed it out in these words (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 129): "We must look deep into realism instead of accepting only the outward sense of things." It was this second look, the deeper look into realism, that revealed to the roused understanding of Elisha's servant the spiritual reality, seen as "horses and chariots of fire;" and it is this deep look which reveals to the uplifted consciousness in every age the all-encompassing good and man's present perfection.
This realm of the real, which is disclosed to spiritual perception, the only right look, is wholly spiritual and perfect. It is the realm of infinite Mind and the infinite manifestation of Mind, God and His thoughts. In this realm good, being infinite, fills all space, constitutes all substance, comprises all real experience, hence there is no matter, no evil, nothing unlike good. Coexistent with Mind, or God, is man, the idea of Mind, wholly spiritual, dwelling forever in Mind, reflecting all the qualities of the parent Mind, and cognizing only the thoughts which emanate from this all-knowing Mind. Such thoughts are round about everyone, and constitute the real environment, security, and supply.
The second look, the look "into realism," not only disclosed to Elisha's servant "horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha," but served to show the powerlessness of the assembled Syrian army, which at first the servant had so greatly feared. For untold centuries mankind has been looking into matter, so called, to find supply, safety, and success. Instead, it has often seemed to find there poverty, insecurity, and failure; and before this prospect it has stood aghast, not knowing that what it beheld was only a false picture entertained in human thought. Christian Science shows us that if we would replace discord with harmony, substitute health for sickness, banish lack, and destroy fear, we must exchange the false mental picture for the true idea.
That time is not an element or factor in spiritual healing is indicated by the prompt response of the servant to Elisha's declaration of the truth. Elisha's affirmation, "They that be with us are more than they that be with them," and his prayer were followed immediately by the servant's perception of "horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." The effect of prayers which, like Jesus' prayers, are "deep and conscientious protests of Truth,—of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love" (Science and Health, p. 12), is instant, adequate, and permanent. Truth, understood and declared, is omnipotent. It cannot be replaced, reversed, or revoked. Through prayer not only did Elisha and his servant realize the protection necessary for the moment; but, as the account further relates, "the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel."
Our ability to "look deep into realism" inheres in spiritual sense, which our Leader defines as "a conscious, constant capacity to understand God" (Science and Health, p. 209). This indestructible faculty, derived from Mind, is reflected in all its perfection by man. "In thy light," declares the Psalmist, "shall we see light." To spiritual sense the impartations of Mind are readily discernible; and the exercise of this sense in the apprehension of right ideas or immortal truths, to the exclusion of all testimony of the false material senses, constitutes spiritual understanding, or knowing, man's God-given, inalienable, inexhaustible, imperishable, all-sufficient heritage.
To "look deep into realism" is possible to all through prayer, which, our Leader assures us on page 11 of Science and Health, "coupled with a fervent habitual desire to know and do the will of God, will bring us into all Truth." By earnestly and conscientiously denying false beliefs and understandingly affirming their spiritual opposites, we efface the erroneous mental picture and behold the true; whereupon our experience, the objectification of our thoughts, is changed, and we are healed. We have known the truth, and the truth has freed us from the lie or false belief. Through prayer we have exchanged our belief in the hosts of Syria, for the "horses and chariots of fire," the spiritual vision.