From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
Mrs. Eddy Applauded Correct Method
The following letter was sent to Mrs. Eddy during the year 1900, as the result of what we felt was prayerful demonstration.
1 Congdon St., Providence, R. I.
Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy
It has been in the thought of some of your loyal little ones in this city to send to you some permanent expression of their love and appreciation. Now that the world is getting more and more to realize the freedom that you have brought to it, would it be to your liking to have us erect a flag pole at Pleasant View, one hundred feet high, with a flag that could be seen by the dwellers at Concord, the pole surmounted by a woman’s head and shoulders supported by two eagles’ wings?
If this our pleasure should be yours, would Concord Day, “Old Home Week,” be too soon to expect to unfurl the flag to the breeze?
Our courage to write this letter came from opening the Bible to Jeremiah 51:27, “Set ye up a standard in the land.” If you should feel that this plan or any of its details are not just what you would like to see brought out at “Pleasant View,” it would be our pleasure to express our thought some other way, for, dear Mother, our hearts are full and it is our prayer to be found worthy to touch the hem of your garment.
Lovingly your children,
Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert C. Carpenter
July 20th, 1900
In reply to this proposal Mrs. Eddy wrote:
July 25th, 1900
Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter
Your dear letter would have been answered sooner but for innumerable duties to be done.
Your conception in design is very fine, your proposed gift is a rare one, grand, and illustrative. But my dear friends, so little is the world up to, or near, your thought, it would be a pearl cast before swine. And you know, Jesus saith, that such is trampled upon. I think that now is not the time for the erection of such a storied flag pole. If I should at any future time sell P.V. to a student, he could have that erected properly; but I have not the sense that it is best to be done while I occupy the place. With grateful appreciation of your high thought, and dear desire to do this for me, I close. May our God give you joy for contemplating it. Give the dear grand students who thought of it with you, my love and thanks. May the wings of the eagle be thine to mount upwards in Christian Science, and divine Love be and abide with you.
With love, mother
Mary Baker Eddy
Why did Mrs. Eddy give such loving attention to a suggestion which was manifestly so impractical and extravagant? In the midst of pressing duties, she took the time to answer carefully a letter, of which a more advanced Christian Scientist might feel ashamed to think that he bothered the Leader in this way.
Mrs. Eddy recognized in this letter an immature spiritual sense based on right methods, struggling for expression. It was her invariable rule to commend scientific processes, whenever and wherever she found them. She applauded correct method, even when the outward manifestation of that method was faulty in the extreme. Under the searchlight of her spiritual perception, the value of results faded into insignificance, in comparison with the importance of obtaining those results through a scientific method. The fact that a student was on the right path, weighed in her estimation more than did the exact point of progress which the student might have attained. She realized that, no matter what the effect might be, an honest desire to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit was always commendable.
There are two spiritual conditions set forth in the Bible as being necessary to merit wisdom’s approbation, “Well done, good and faithful.” One requirement is to hear the voice of wisdom, and the other is to obey it. Scripture records instances of those who received inspiration and then did not follow it. It states that the word of the Lord came to them, but they refused to follow its guidance. Their thought was receptive enough to hear the voice of God, but after they heard it, their hearts were hardened. Pride or fear snatched away the good seed, before it could take root.
Mrs. Eddy recognized from this letter that each of these two conditions was fulfilled, both ideals were present, the gaining of a glimmer of inspiration and the following out of it. No doubt she appreciated the fact, that there must have been present a temptation to feel ashamed to suggest such a manifestly impractical thing to her. Yet, this disinclination was not sufficient to dissuade us from following out what we believed to be the voice of God. We opened the Bible at random for guidance and inspiration, as Mrs. Eddy always did, and acted without fear on what we had received as our leading. To her, this was the infant Christ-idea, and it elicited her attention and encouragement.