From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
Overcoming Belief of Age
At one time Mrs. Eddy said, “All there is of us, is what there is of us under the fire of mesmerism.” At an earlier date, she gave the same thought as follows: “All there is of man, is what is left after animal magnetism has gotten through with him; now measure your height.”
If a boy has both freckles and dirt on his face, all there is left, when his mother has finished scrubbing him, are the freckles. Those will not wash off, because they are part of him.
All the student really knows of Christian Science, is what he can retain under the pressure of animal magnetism. Whatever understanding of Christian Science he can be robbed of, he never really had. If his knowledge goes no deeper than the surface, then animal magnetism can deprive him of it, either through pleasure or pain, the former through stagnation, and the latter through fear. Pleasure is an attack on the quantity of spiritual thought, and pain, on the quality. The effect of pleasure is to lessen the amount of spiritual thinking the student does. The effect of pain is to confuse thought, so that the spiritual quality is impaired. In either case, the result is spiritual ineffectiveness. When mortal mind says that everything is harmonious, even though man’s thought may be scientifically balanced, he accomplishes little, because his effort lacks vigor and conviction. In suffering, although there may be an increase in mental activity, nevertheless, it lacks spiritual incisiveness.
In Psalms 103, we read of the Lord, “who satisfieth thy mouth with good things.” This verse hints at the spiritual truism, that merely listening to Truth does not make it our own. We can claim it, only when we take it in and digest it, until it becomes so firmly implanted in consciousness that we cannot be robbed of it. To use a crude illustration: after you have been in swimming and have dried off, all the water that stays with you is that which you have swallowed, and not that which lodged on you externally.
On the other hand, the reverse of Mrs. Eddy’s statement gives a wonderful assurance that, when one has embodied the spiritual idea in Christian Science, until it has become part of his very daily thinking, there is no claim of animal magnetism that can ever rob him of it. Even the claim of passing on will in no way take from man the Truth that he has made his own. The Master proved this, by passing through the claim of death, and then afterwards appearing with his spiritual understanding unimpaired.
The proof that Mrs. Eddy gave to the world through her own experience, was that the claim of old age can never strip man of the Truth that he has made his own. With many mortals, as age creeps over them, you can see them being stripped of the human knowledge that they have spent a lifetime in gaining. But, when I lived with our Leader, I saw her at eighty-five with a spiritual consciousness in no way impaired by the encroachments of old age. Every bit of Truth she had ever demonstrated and attained, she still had. She evinced no signs of age mentally. On the contrary, her mentality showed an increasing spiritual comprehension and power; and it is surely a logical sequence to assume, that now she is still increasing in spiritual understanding, and imparting that knowledge.
Furthermore, when asked by a student, “Will we have Science and Health or the Bible on the other side?” She assured her, “When we go to heaven, the book will be there.” Then she called attention to Revelation 20:12, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life.”