From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
Two Bible Lessons by Mrs. Eddy
One of the outstanding memories I have of our Leader was her insistence on demonstration. I mention this time after time as I speak of her, because she impressed it on me, so that I might never forget it. It is from this standpoint that I interpret her statement on page xii of the preface to Science and Health, where she, as the author, writes, “Until June 10, 1907, she had never read this book throughout consecutively in order to elucidate her idealism.” Mrs. Eddy reached the scientific standpoint of thought, where Truth flooded in as inspiration when she wrote Science and Health. Hence, when she needed some scientific truth from her own volume, she used the same inspiration to lead her to that truth, which originally came through inspiration. In other words, she opened Science and Health at random, relying on demonstration to show her the message she needed. Thus, when in need of special guidance, she put aside the method of consecutive reading (the page after page method that mortal mind offers as the orderly procedure), and no doubt hoped that her students would take the timely hint. In Mr. Dickey’s Memoirs of Mary Baker Eddy, on page 36, he writes, “In commenting upon the passing on of her coachman she opened Science and Health, and turned to page 187, line 13, and at the same time she said to me, ‘Mr. Dickey, when I turn to this book, I am like a mechanic who turns to his tools and picks up the one he wants.’”
Mrs. Eddy also opened the Bible in the same way, through demonstration. She would apparently open at random, and then expound to the students on whatever verse caught her eye when she opened the book. The morning lessons were most remarkable and inspiring, and served to impress us with the wonderful guidance shown in her being led to the various portions of Scripture that just fitted into the need of the moment.
After I had left Pleasant View in 1906, my wife and I were invited to return for a visit. On the morning of April 27, 1906, Mrs. Eddy gave us the following Bible lesson. She opened at random to Luke 9:56, “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” On the train coming home, Mrs. Carpenter wrote down this unfoldment as she recalled it. It is as follows:
“What is the Son of man? He is the idea of God, the consciousness of Truth. If you had children, you would make them obey. You would find some way to make them mind, and if you couldn’t do it any other way, you would punish them. If you wanted to get a man out of a house, would you make it comfortable for him? No, you would make it uncomfortable. You would pull down the chimneys and take out the windows. Now we have got to get out of this house (mortal habitation). What holds us in it, pleasure or pain? The pleasures of sense hold us, not the pains of sense. I’ve got to get out of this old woman, and you, Mrs. Carpenter, have got to get out of this young woman. Is this mortal existence real? No. Is there any mortal man? No. It is only the Adam-dream. Is it real, then? No. Then, is there any pain? No. Then we are out of it now. Is there any creation apart from God? No. Is man a creator? No. Then, is he the father of children? No. Can he be the father of a lie? No. Has a lie a father? No. Then, is there any lie?”
I should like to include, in this connection, the Bible lesson given by Mrs. Eddy on September 24, 1903, for it reiterates the same central point:
“‘When you are on the housetop, don’t go down to take anything out of the house.’ I am a great way out of the house (body) and it will not do for me to go down into the house (argument); I gain more by holding to God; if you are in the house, you will have to heal others (argue), and so get out of the house. One who has suffered sickness or discord I have always found more tractable in Science, than one who has always been well. Do we have to be sick to work out? Not if you can get out without. Health in matter must be given up for health in God. If one is a tenant and is satisfied, he will remain there. The owner may want him out of the tenement, and so takes out the windows, boards up the doors and makes it so uncomfortable for him, he finally gets out. God is the owner; if one is comfortable in the material tenement, he must be made uncomfortable in order to get out; but if he gets out without being made uncomfortable (sick, etc.), all right. I have never seen one who did. The Bible continually speaks of tribulation; if you are well, heal the sick and get out of the material tenement (matter), and learn health in God. Do not court sickness, but get out of material belief. I have come so far through tribulation.”