From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
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Students to Be Spiritually Attuned
One thing which disturbed some of the students in the home was the fact that, in a case of illness which required attention, Mrs. Eddy never allowed the one to whom she delegated the case, more than fifteen or twenty minutes to complete the healing. If the demonstration was not finished in that length of time, she would dismiss the student from the case and summon another. She would repeat this procedure, until she found one who was up to the mark spiritually. I can never forget this high standard which she set for the students.
In this connection, Jesus’ statement in John 20:17 becomes significant to the student of Christian Science, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father.” When patients go to a Christian Science practitioner for help, they are reaching out for something they believe the practitioner can supply. What, then, has the practitioner to give them? What heals the sick? Is it not the divine Mind, brought down to earth through the practitioner? So it can be stated, that a practitioner has nothing to give his patient, except the divine Mind that he reflects. Hence, before he can give this to the patient, he must get it, and the scientific rule is, that the practitioner should not permit the patient’s thought to touch his in the attempt to gain help, nor should the practitioner try to apply what he has to give the patient, until, in his ascending thought, he has reached the source of spiritual power, and brought it down to meet the need of the patient.
Thus, the Master really advanced a universal rule, because he then directed Mary to say to his brethren, “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” In other words, he indicated that his ascending thought was to reach the source of divine power, his Father, but that this source was not his alone, but belonged to all, a universal Principle. This teaching disclosed the fact, that the ability to reach the divine source of power was a universal possibility; that it is our privilege, yea, our duty, to make the demonstration to arrive at the point, where we can utilize the divine Mind instead of the human mind, for this is the only place where we should permit patients to touch our thought in their search for divine help.
Therefore, one lesson I draw from Mrs. Eddy’s custom of taking a case away from one who did not meet it in fifteen or twenty minutes, was that she considered that sufficient time in which to prove whether his thought was properly balanced. The very next day she might call on the same student, that she had turned down the day before, and get good results. She wanted no mind-cure demonstrations in her home, such as necromancers of Egypt were able to exhibit, employing the human mind so cleverly, that their miracles seemed identical with those of Moses, except to the one who could detect that the wrong mind was back of them. To her, mind-cure was a weak concoction, in comparison to the majesty and might of divine Mind. If a Christian Science practitioner does not spiritualize his thought, before he begins to help his patient, his human recognition of cause and effect might enable him to fabricate a thought that would cure some ill, but such a healing would be on a mortal mind basis, and would amount to no more than does the rearrangement of the furniture in a home.
If a practitioner attempts to heal, before he is mentally and spiritually ready, and lets the patient’s need touch his thought, before it has ascended to the Father, then his work is on a human plane. The danger connected with such an effort is that, when a practitioner brings about a physical result in this way, there is no means by which the error can be detected, except as one watches the thought of the patient, since the effect in the flesh is the same, whether the work is done from a scientific basis, or merely by the erring human will. However, the real difference lies in the fact, that the emphatic result of work that is done from a spiritual standpoint, is the touching of the patient’s thought to spiritual issues, an increased interest in Christian Science, and a mental regeneration.
Therefore, when our Leader permitted each student only a short time in which to accomplish the work, she thereby safeguarded the situation, so that no lazy-minded, or human method of doing the work might enter in and deceive the students. If the student was not spiritually attuned, he or she could not hide it from Mrs. Eddy. It was exposed, and the work undone was a sufficient rebuke.