From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
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Demonstration of Horses for Mrs. Eddy
In the spring of 1904, the demand came to me to aid in furnishing our Leader with a pair of horses for her personal use. The following events chronicle my effort to fulfill this sacred mission from the standpoint of my best demonstrating knowledge.
At least two committees had been appointed in the country to search for horses, but neither was able to locate what was needed. Later, a Christian Scientist in the south sent a pair from Paris, Kentucky, but they, too, were unsuitable.
The Boston Journal reported the horses from Kentucky as follows: “Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy would not have the finest pair of carriage horses in America. She said when she looked such a pair over, ‘They are a pair of devils sent to kill me.’ The team had been selected by J. M. Osborne of Paris, Ky., who had instructions to buy the best team of carriage horses in the United States. Mrs. Eddy made the expression, quoted in a letter to T. L. L. Temple of Texarkana, Ark., who had sent her the team as a gift. The team consisted of the blue ribbon winners Tattersal and Eckersall. They cost Mr. Temple $10,000, and Mr. Osborne accompanied the horses to the home of Mrs. Eddy, and tried to persuade her to ride behind them. They remained in her stables but a few days, when he had them shipped back to the donor, and Mr. Temple is using them on his carriage.”
Naturally, the question arises, why Mrs. Eddy wrote to Mr. Temple and told him that these valuable horses had een sent as a pair of devils to kill her. Certainly, such a fiery message sounds ungrateful as a reply to a donor of such an expensive gift. Therefore, some explanation is necessary.
Mrs. Eddy knew, that whatever was not the expression of scientific demonstration was the expression of mortal mind, and that whatever proceeded from mortal mind had, for its purpose, the destruction of everything that was of a spiritual nature. But why did she say that the horses had been sent to kill her? As she grew in spiritual understanding, the balance on the side of God constantly increased, until she was so dependent on her spiritual nature for support, that to have lost it, would have meant her passing on. One must never believe, that she thought that animal magnetism was attempting to take away her human sense of life. The disturbance and fear which tempted her, resulted from her knowledge that the only sense of life that maintained her being in this world, was what she demonstrated spiritually. Hence, to rob her of God would be as effectual in destroying her life, as would be a knife plunged into her heart. At this point, it is well to remember that she desired to remain on earth for no other purpose than to establish the Cause of Christian Science on a firm basis, and to keep revising the textbook, Science and Health.
When one’s material sense of life constitutes the majority of one’s consciousness of existence, and the spiritual sense, the minority, that spiritual sense could be temporarily smothered without the individual losing his consciousness of existence. A materially-minded individual, with only a small degree of spirituality, hardly realizes when that spirituality is submerged by his human sense, whereas, when, through a life of devotion to the service of God, one reaches a place where the spiritual consciousness of existence constitutes the majority of being, then the human sense of life becomes so attenuated, that it would never sustain that one if the spiritual consciousness were darkened. Therefore, all that would be needed to kill such a one, would be to draw a shade over this spiritual sense; because this modus operandi would be as disastrous as would be a dose of poison, if that spiritually-minded one did not have an adequate and sure protection from such wiles of the devil.
No doubt a lack of demonstration was back of the gift of these thoroughbreds, and a lack of demonstration means a gift from which the poison of mortal belief has not been extracted. Mrs. Eddy was, therefore, sufficiently awake spiritually, to detect in this incident the wolf in sheep’s clothing. She recognized mortal belief and pride as the greatest enemies of spirituality, because their underlying effect, when accepted, is always to take away the life-preserver of the spiritually-minded, without which such a one would sink.
After becoming acquainted with the efforts to get horses for Mrs. Eddy, and with the fruitless search of the several committees, I spent thirty days interviewing owners of sales-stables and also, the gypsies, who were apt to have the finest horses for sale in those days. This quest availed me nothing.
Then, one morning, I realized that I had spent thirty days fruitlessly, and that, at any time, the need might appear, since Mr. August Mann, who had charge of her horses, had predicted that the day would soon arrive when Mrs. Eddy would say to him, “We cannot take our drive behind these horses any longer.” The daily drive, which meant so much to Mrs. Eddy’s peace of mind, because it furnished an antidote for the lie that she was dead, which was then being so persistently circulated, might have to be abandoned, if he was not prepared with a fresh team.
I proceeded, therefore, to wake myself up mentally, by realizing that God has a pair of horses for this dear one who loves and trusts Him, and who has sacrificed her human all in the effort to establish His kingdom on earth. I then declared that it was time my dull eyes were opened to see this fact manifested. It was not my thought that God had two material horses to send to Mrs. Eddy, but that the divine Mind, not interfered with, would be manifested through man in meeting man’s every need, when the darkness of human limitation was successfully lifted.
On the way to my office, I saw a pair of horses harnessed to a carriage. I recognized those horses as the manifestation of my demonstration for our Leader, as plainly as if I had raised them from colts.
Approaching the driver, I found that they belonged to a wealthy business man. I made an appointment to see this man, although he assured me by telephone that there was no possibility of his selling them. In my talk with him, however, I told him that there was a lady in New Hampshire who needed a pair of gentle horses and that, if he would let her have them, he could replace them, within the day, with a pair that would suit his need. When I left his house, I was the owner of this team, the names of which were Princess and Dolly. The bill of sale was dated April 5, 1904.
At once, I notified Mr. Mann that I had purchased the horses, and he took the 5:45 train from Concord the next morning. He drove the horses, passed on them as acceptable and returned at once, in order that he might take Mrs. Eddy, as usual, on her drive that afternoon. Soon I arranged for a freight car, and loaded the horses into it, with a colored boy to look after them all the way on their journey.
The very day after the horses reached Pleasant View, one of the old span again misbehaved. Mrs. Eddy said to Mr. Mann, “I cannot drive with these horses any longer; do you know where I can get another pair?” He replied, “Yes, Mother; they are in the stable.” Mrs. Eddy, however, would not drive behind these horses, nor even look at them, until I had been sent for, in order to tell her the whole story of how I procured them for her. When I had finished, she said, “Then you demonstrated them?” I said, “Yes, Mother.” She replied, “Then I can keep them.” She recognized that in the transaction I had fulfilled the teaching of Christian Science. When man is in need, the human method is to search, until one has found what it is that he needs, but divine metaphysics demands, that man establish in thought the realization that now man’s every need is met, since man is the offspring of the divine Principle, Love. This mental conviction then serves to make manifest that which is already permanent in Mind.
I was greatly impressed by this demand on her part to watch that everything in her experience was the result of demonstration. In this particular instance, when she detected in it the presence of God’s loving hand, she accepted the horses without even having seen them or tried them. This incident furnished me with the keynote of the whole spiritual mode of her thought. I consider this one of the most educational experiences I ever had in Christian Science; for I realized that Mrs. Eddy would accept anything that was done by her students, provided it was the result of demonstration. That always satisfied her. I saw her rebukes were never personal, but were always aimed at a lack of demonstration. There was nothing too drastic for her to say in condemnation of the use of the human mind, human opinion, and human will when substituted for the divine Mind and the divine wisdom. On the other hand, when she found a student willing to strip himself of all human aid, in order to let the Spirit of God animate and work through him, she commended that, because she recognized in it the extension of the very revelation that she was establishing.
Mrs. Eddy wrote the following letter in thanks for the pair of horses:
May 10, 1904.
Mr. Gilbert C. Carpenter
I am told by Mr. Mann and Mr. Frye that you have made the gift to me of one of the finest spans of horses I ever owned. I did not look for such largess! It seemed enough that you should search and find them for me. I feel bankrupt in thanks. Words cannot express my gratitude to you. It is the dearest, the best, the most needed gift I ever received. What shall I do to repay you? I can only say, call on me in an hour of need and I will try to help thee. Give my love to Mrs. Carpenter. I deeply enjoyed my few minutes with you both.
Ever gratefully, lovingly, your leader
Mary Baker Eddy
In reply I wrote as follows:
Your letter of May 10th reached me today. Its tender sentiments with the offer of a sheltering harbor if my faith should fail, more than compensates for the little the foresight of your household has put in my way to do for you. Should I devote my life and all my substance to help make your life more comfortable during its earthly sojourn, I should still be your debtor. My week’s stay at Pleasant View taught me more practical Christian Science than is accorded to most of humanity and for this I desire to return thanks. That you should have taken your priceless time to have seen us personally has touched me deeply and will never be forgotten, but only makes the demands more imperative to demonstrate more of Christian Science.
Yours in Truth,
Gilbert C. Carpenter
During the summer, I purchased from Mrs. Eddy the old pair of horses and an automobile which she desired to dispose of. I now hold Mrs. Eddy’s receipt for these which was sent to me with the following letter:
August 16, 1904
Mr. Gilbert C. Carpenter,
Providence, R. I.
Mrs. Eddy, our beloved Leader, desires to thank you most heartily for finding a sale for her horses and automobile. She sends herewith her receipt for the check you so kindly sent to her. And, after making the sale, she desires to pay you for your trouble in doing so. She says that she considers you one of the watchmen on the walls of Christian Science. She sends much love to you and Mrs. C.
I sold the automobile, a Yale by name, to a gentleman in Providence. There appeared in the Providence Journal of October 22, 1904, a picture of this machine, as figuring in an incident that caused the loss of the election as Governor of the Democratic nominee. I speak of this matter because, under the automobile, was the amusing title, The Democratic Spellbinding Automobile.
After returning home from Pleasant View, I had the opportunity to recommend as a coachman for Mrs. Eddy, one of my patients, who had been a minister of the gospel. I speak of this, because of the two following letters which she wrote to him in regard to the two horses I had given her. These were written during the year 1908 while our Leader lived at Chestnut Hill.
My dear Mr. Stevenson:
If you treat either of our horses for the fear of an automobile it will help them just as it heals the sick, by destroying their fear. Horses are nearly as receptive of the effects from C. S. treatment as human beings are. In haste.
My dear Student:
You do all that you do so well I need not request anything further. But I noticed today that the spirit of Dolly so increased that it may give me some anxiety, for I rest on her to guard against Princess’ spirits. So please keep Dolly calm and all will go on as it has done — well.
What can we deduce from these two letters to Mr. Stevenson? I have already pointed out Mrs. Eddy’s insistence that everything in her experience be demonstrated.
This was the high standard that she set both for herself and others. The mental state in which her students saw her in the home, which might be construed by some to be evidence of fussiness or over-punctiliousness about little things, was really prompted by her perception of a lack of demonstration in her students. I have reiterated that what most disturbed her was the evidence, on the part of the students, that they had relaxed into a state of human ease, which was to her as dangerous as resting on one’s oars, while the tide was carrying one out to sea. In these two letters, we find further evidence that Mrs. Eddy considered everything in her experience, if it was the expression of the human mind, as a possible channel for animal magnetism, unless the demonstration was made to see God back of it. Hence, she was never satisfied, until the demonstration had been made to replace the human cause with the divine. Her mental sense of security, which left her free to employ her thought to the bringing of divine revelation to mankind, came only as she considered all the channels in her home as having been placed under the domination and control of infinite good. She included even her horses in this regime.
A needful lesson is the foregoing for those students who might fancy that healing the sick, or meeting a sense of lack or sin, constitutes the majority of their effort in Christian Science, when before them lies the magnificent opportunity of placing everything under the dominion of good.
The old saying, that you can catch more flies with molasses than you can with vinegar, suggests itself quite appropriately at this point. Yet the flies drown in one as quickly as in the other. All of mortal experience classifies itself under the head of what seems evil from the human standpoint and what seems good. Both will smother man’s spiritual aspirations if permitted to do so, but the good side is more dangerous because it seems attractive. Hence, the student must outgrow that narrow conception which reserves the power of God for destroying the unpleasant side of mortal experience. Pre-eminent for the guidance of the students is the example of our Leader, who once said in the home, “Error cannot get into the kingdom, so we must divest ourselves of it. We must hold with God alone. What I am teaching is the spiritual; the material fights it and I fight the material; it will do it to you; the more spiritual the thought, the more you will be fought. That which takes the place of God, and creates men and women, and sees everything material, will fight the spiritual. We must see everything spiritual.”