From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
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Spiritual Meaning of Mrs. Eddy’s Name
Early in my Science experience, I was led to unfold the spiritual meaning of Mrs. Eddy’s last name. My findings, and Mrs. Eddy’s reply thereto, are so significant that they deserve a place here.
In the first edition of his dictionary, Webster thus defines the noun eddy; “I find this word in no other language. It is usually considered as a compound of the Saxon, ed, backward, and ea, water. It means a current of water running back, or in a direction contrary, to the main stream.”
According to the Anglo-Saxon dictionary, ed as a prefix denotes anew, again. As a noun it means safety, security, happiness, restoration, regeneration. The word occurs once in the Bible, in Joshua 22:34, as the name given to the altar erected by the children of Reuben and the children of Gad. According to Pott’s Dictionary of Bible Proper Names, its translation is, witness, testimony, recorder. In Science and Health, Reuben is defined as: “Corporeality; sensuality; delusion; mortality; error.” Gad is defined as “Science; spiritual being understood; haste towards harmony.” When the children of Israel heard of the erection of this altar, they came to punish the children of Reuben and the children of Gad for this evidence of having turned away from following the Lord. The answer came back, that the altar was not being erected for burnt offering and sacrifice, but as a witness for future generations “that your children may not say to our children in time to come, Ye have no part in the Lord. And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed: for it shall be a witness between us that the Lord is God.”
The Anglo-Saxon dictionary translates ea as running water, a stream, a river, water. This definition conveys the thought of purity. Ea found in the Bible is notably translated river. See Genesis 2:10, John 7:38, and Revelation 22:1, 2. In this connection, the definitions of the four rivers in Genesis as given in Science and Health seem significant. Ea is also given as the name of the deity in the religious system of Babylonia, who is the healer of the sick.
In reply to my letter containing these findings, Mrs. Eddy wrote:
May 22, ‘98
My dear Mrs. Carpenter:
Your kind letter at hand. The interpretation is quite noticeable in some directions. God grant that I be found not wanting in the direction that runs Heavenward. The streams of our lives meet with much resistance, but there is a hope beyond earth’s ebb and flow. May you and all find the shoreless sea where Life is infinite, and all that seems to be and is not, is swallowed up in the reality of Life and Love.
With thanks and love,
Mary Baker Eddy
For several days, the thought had been coming to me, there should be something that could be discovered in the realm of mind, prophetic in nature, relative to Mrs. Eddy, which would correspond with the Master’s experience, since she represented in this age the same universal benefaction Jesus did, two thousand years ago. While pondering on this question, I was led to the verse in Joshua 22. Then, Mrs. Carpenter suggested, that I look up the word, eddy, in the dictionary. I speak of this matter because it was interesting that, although we sent the letter jointly, Mrs. Eddy replied to Mrs. Carpenter.