Watching Point 215
From 500 Watching Points by Gilbert Carpenter
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215 — WATCH lest you accept and believe stories about our Leader to the effect that she frightened her students unduly over animal magnetism, and was at times herself made fearful over it. Are these stories fabrications of the enemies of God, or indications that at times Mrs. Eddy was so beside herself with the cares and worries of the Cause, that she exaggerated things needlessly?
Mrs. Eddy was compelled by God to go down into the mass of evil, and report it just as it was exposed to her. She had to be faithful; just as the Bible had to be, in recording the fact that, when truth explored the depths of the mind of Cain — one who on the surface appeared to be a peaceful, harmless farmer — it discovered murder as its basis! Mrs. Eddy had to be as faithful as was the Master, when he called the devil a murderer, and exposed the self-destructive nature of mortal mind by permitting it to destroy a herd of swine.
It was exposed to our Leader that animal magnetism is the great deterrent to spiritual growth — the red dragon standing ready to devour the young child. Her first experience was to observe its operation through persons, when it seemed to make them act as the very embodiment of the evil one. One notable example of her portrayal may be found in the third edition of Science and Health, in a chapter called “Demonology.” Time can never prove that this graphic picture is an exaggeration!
Mrs. Eddy’s deeper insight into the impersonal nature of evil in no way mitigated or reversed her earlier teaching of the awfulness of animal magnetism operating through individuals as a claim of mental interference; but she was able to trace it further and further back to its source, where the small stone, or grain of Christian Science, could more effectually vanquish this Goliath, or enemy of good.
One who declared that Mrs. Eddy painted exaggerated pictures of evil in the early days, or that her exposures of it were fabrications, would thereby exclude some of the most important stones in the building of Christian Science. Many students would progress faster today, if they had Mrs. Eddy with them, to keep them more awake by painting the graphic pictures of evil that she painted for students in the early days.
Perhaps her efforts might be called the “fear of the Lord,” since the effect of her disclosures of evil was to drive students to a more active and powerful demonstration of good. If a father wanted his child to hurry home at night, he might be justified in declaring that some danger lurked at the child’s heels. His motive would make what he did legitimate.
Think what it cost Mrs. Eddy to step down into the human mass of falsity and sin, in order to probe its hidden workings! She felt at home in the consciousness of good. Like a flower in the sun, she thrived on it. She felt far from at home, however, when the necessity was laid upon her to investigate the claims of sin, and to share this knowledge with her students. Yet she emerged from the experience unharmed, and with a knowledge of the operation of the lie that she knew would bless all mankind for all time.
We must never belittle her experience in the fiery furnace, nor believe that she was fanatical or fanciful, when she gave forth the lurid details of the operation of criminal magnetism. Let us rather thank God that through her stripes we are healed, through her desperate experiences we may learn how to keep awake to the claims of evil, and thus give them their death blow.
Mrs. Eddy encourages us to believe that, if we are awake and alert, we need not pass through the experiences of suffering for sin. She perceived the awfulness of sin; yet she taught the method whereby it can be dealt with, namely, by reducing it to nothingness.