From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
Never Compromise with Error
Again Mrs. Eddy said, “Charity is good and peaceful, but it must not cover iniquity; just as long as you compromise with error, just so long will the error stick to you. In teaching students, I have always uncovered the error to them; that is what should be done, and not all the pleasant things said only. ‘He that covereth iniquity (his sins) shall not prosper.’ The error that is holding them must be uncovered to students, so they can overcome it.” What was this compromise with error that she referred to?
In Miscellaneous Writings, on pages 288-9, she writes, “Wisdom in human action begins with what is nearest right under the circumstances, and thence achieves the absolute. . . . From a human standpoint of good, mortals must first choose between evils, and of two evils choose the less; and, at present, the application of scientific rules to human life seems to rest on this basis.”
It is a compromise with error, when the young student accepts the best in mortal thought and affiliates himself with it. Nevertheless, does it not seem necessary to do this, in accordance with the above instruction by our Leader? Yes, but that does not take it out of the category of being a compromise. It is a compromise to walk with crutches. However, one might be forced to do this for a time. The error in the situation would arise when, after he has gained the strength to walk alone, he continues to rely on his crutches.
It is natural, that the first effect of Truth on the human consciousness should be, that the student desires with all his heart the betterment of all mankind. This right longing first finds expression in the adoption of methods which, although a step in advance along the path, are nevertheless not wholly scientific, and represent a compromise with error, although being the lesser of two evils. Hence, we deduce that one sign of a spiritually progressive thought, which had adopted methods of blessing humanity that represent a compromise with error, is the willingness and readiness to cast off those methods, when improved and more scientific ones are unfolded.
An illustration of this matter is the law of prohibition, which found such whole-hearted support in Christian Scientists everywhere. Yet, when a Christian Scientist advocates human prohibition as a means of betterment for the country at large, he is compromising with error and, of two evils, choosing the less. But, if such a method be on the road to the absolute spiritual good, which Christian Science marks as the goal, then it becomes legitimate. However, to stagnate with a faulty human method and advocate it as the all-in-all, is to make that compromise with error whereby error sticks to one, since there is no human method of handling the liquor question, or any other human evil, that does not make a reality of it, emphasize the inherent naturalness of man’s craving for it, and hence, set forth the fact that man must be denied indulgence. The only scientific way is the recognition, that any desire man might feel for evil of any kind is wholly unnatural, is induced by animal magnetism, and therefore, when animal magnetism is handled, there is no need for any prohibition, since man comes to himself as did the prodigal, and discovers that, by nature, he desires only good.