From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
Dual Nature of Error’s Deceptions
The following statements by our Leader contain a thought that is not self-evident upon casual reading. What did she mean by the internal fire of malice? “We are told the world will be destroyed; how? By malice. By cyclones, electricity and be burned up. What is a cyclone? It is a condition of mortal mind—malice. What burns up? Malice. We are told, like Mt. Pelee, there is an internal fire, malice, that will finally burst forth and destroy the world. It is all malice, and our textbook tells us, Christian Scientists will hold such things in check. God never made them, and they can be overcome just the same as sickness. It is all within.”
Mrs. Eddy’s revelation unfolded to her, that mortal mind has an inherent malicious intent, which is to kill out the spiritual idea, whenever and wherever it appears. On page 564 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy calls it “this malicious animal instinct, of which the dragon is the type.” This criminal instinct was evident both at the birth and crucifixion of the Master. Yet, from the Master’s experience we learn that, in its infancy, the spiritual idea can and must be protected, and, in its maturity, it is indestructible. People mourn over the crucifixion, instead of rejoicing in the realization that it revealed the indestructibility of the spiritual idea.
Mrs. Eddy felt this hidden fire of malice, but she did not fear it. In his book, Mary Baker Eddy, Lyman P. Powell quotes her as saying, “The love that is going out to the world through Christian Science is the greatest power there is, and the only thing that will change that thought.
I have often felt these hard, unloving thoughts of others come about me like dark clouds, and seem to surround me, but they never touched me, and why? Because my thoughts were going out to them all the time in love, and with a desire to help them.”
Yet, when Mrs. Eddy warned her students, and the world, of the existence of this malicious animosity, those who were ignorant of its existence, or too much part of it to be conscious of it, criticised her as if, through this teaching of animal magnetism, she were giving power to that which had no power, when, in reality, she was taking away the belief of power from that which, up to that time, nobody realized had a claim of power. Thus, one might say that Christian Science doubles the claim of evil, before it reduces it to nothingness. It reveals mortal mind as the wolf, with a fundamentally malicious nature, which Paul tells us is “enmity against God.” Furthermore, it uncovers the fact that this human mind has two phases, one the wolf, the other, the wolf in sheep’s clothing; pain and pleasure; sorrow and joy; the pleasant side of life and its dark opposite. This dual experience is a necessity, in order that mortal belief may perpetuate its deception, for, by having a dark and painful side, it is able to persuade man to accept its brighter side as something to strive for and enjoy, even though this brighter side is full of flaws. The status of mortal man is similar to that of a wife, whose husband is so brutal and offensive when he is intoxicated, that she welcomes those days when he is sober, even though, at such times, he is so grouchy and full of false promises, as to be a poor excuse for a husband. He is not a worthy husband, drunk or sober. So, it might be said, that it is through contrast that the wife is held in bonds.
In this spiritual unfoldment, Mrs. Eddy was led to denominate the wolf as malicious animal magnetism, and to stress that its so-called alluring side, or cloak of sheep’s clothing, constituted the greatest deception, the enemy of man, because it is the enemy of God.
When mortal existence, or human belief, shows its pleasant side, man thinks it is desirable by contrast with its devilish aspects. Mrs. Eddy undertook to expose both the discord and harmony, so-called, of mortal belief, to be evil because of their evil origin. Then she showed how they could be handled as nothingness, and man set free. But she realized, that until one understood that back of every mortal mind manifestation was this internal fire of malice, where the malice is not toward man, but God, he is not prepared to handle it, because he will do as the old church does, namely, pray to God to take away the wolf, and help him to retain the wolf in sheep’s clothing, thus straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. In the latter analogy, the gnat would represent the unpleasant phases of human experience, which man strains to get rid of; while the camel would symbolize the so-called pleasant phases, which man struggles to retain.