From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
The Pearl of Great Price
It is true in every direction that great pioneers have little time to straighten roads and beautify surroundings. This work is usually left to future generations. The pioneer must break through the uncharted country, which is of itself a great attainment. One of the wonders of Mrs. Eddy’s achievements is the fact that she was both Discoverer and Founder. Certainly those who would criticize the paths she took, which at times were necessarily circuitous, must have little appreciation of her attainment, its value to the world and the honor due to such a one for reaching the goal, especially if this goal be that inspiration which is the greatest goal of all, namely, the desire and ability to unfold the process of right thinking and right living, so that man may be reunited to his Father in that heavenly sense of home, where joy and peace, without interruption, attend man’s service of God.
In considering Mrs. Eddy’s life and her so-called human experiences, one must bear in mind that everything she did, every move she made, was with the express intention and determination to guard and protect, at any cost, this pearl of great price which to her would be her spiritual thinking, since, without this spiritual thinking, her value as Discoverer, as a Teacher, and as a Leader would be rendered null and void.
With the average person, the motive that impels him to take thought for his life, what he should eat or drink, to be obedient to his physician and to the laws of health, is that he may preserve his human health and life. This was not true of Mrs. Eddy as I knew her. To judge her as one impelled by fear for her physical condition, or by the effort to preserve a human sense of life, is entirely to misunderstand the motives from which her actions proceeded. Furthermore, Mrs. Eddy passed on to her followers the valuable lesson that health proceeds from, and is the manifestation of, spiritual right thinking. Therefore, above all, the student attempts to guard and preserve from invasion the integrity of his thinking. Hence, he looks upon yielding to anger, personal criticism, irritation, as well as to human satisfaction and human pleasure, as being the natural enemies of his scientific right thinking. He watches lest his thought be contaminated by yielding to these temptations, as carefully as mankind in general would protect itself from poison and undue exposure. The Christian Scientist knows well that his spiritual value to the world, his ability to be used by God, the blessing he can extend to humanity, and his ability to relieve the sick and suffering, the poor and discouraged, is in direct proportion to the attainment and preservation of his spiritual thinking.
The students in Mrs. Eddy’s home saw her assailed by error at times; but if they ever considered that such errors were what might be termed natural manifestations, that would indicate that they failed to realize that these errors were the impersonal attempt of mortal belief to silence the voice of Truth, as it spoke through our Leader, to prevent the continuation of her teaching, guidance, and watchful direction, the loss of which might have left the Cause in a state of confusion and fear. Above all, Mrs. Eddy had overcome dependence on physicality and had handled the common claims of sickness. The phases of error and sickness which assailed Mrs. Eddy were, therefore, the attempt of evil minds to crucify her as they did the Master.
What was uppermost in Mrs. Eddy’s thought was not any fear of death coming through a human desire to live, but the realization of the vital importance of remaining to finish her work for the Cause. She saw the work that needed to be done and was able to make the demonstration, which was to remain and do it.