Chapter One Hundred Eighteen
From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
Mrs. Eddy’s Handling of Malpractice
There have been efforts made on the part of some, who have had access to early records, to prove that Mrs. Eddy used mental suggestion, in an attempt to prevent certain of her students from using animal magnetism against her. The claim is, that she issued arguments designed to make these students suffer, finding her authority for such activities in the Biblical statement, “. . . what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again,” and maintaining that her action was reformatory, designed to do good and not evil.
If there are those who believe this evidence, the following can be said in defence of such a procedure on the part of our Leader, demonstrating that it was an orderly and spiritual step in her purification and progress:
The action of the law of God is always reformatory and designed to do good, acting to direct against himself man’s efforts to harm others, in order that he may cease from such a destructive course of action. Christian Science discloses, however, that the only way the law of God can be enforced and expressed in this human sense of existence, is through man, through the one who has attained a spiritual understanding that enables him to manifest the divine Mind. It is considered legitimate, when two nations are at war, for the one which is on the defensive, to resort to the same weapons employed by the invading foe. Was it not natural for Mrs. Eddy to consider that, being a representative of God to this age, and being obligated to reflect the will of God on earth, even as it is in heaven, she should mete to those who were malpracticing on her, a practice that might cause them suffering and so awaken reformation? Whatever she did, was done through a love for God, and an effort to establish His kingdom. She recognized that she must protect, at any cost and with all her power, the slender plant of Truth which she was striving to strengthen.
Certainly, the man equipped with deific power is obligated to represent Truth on earth, and fulfill the above-quoted Biblical statement. However, before wisdom unfolds the spiritual significance of this demand, he might feel obligated to render to the avowed enemies of Truth the same dose which they were using, without restraint, against the Truth, hoping that they will learn that they cannot malpractice against the Truth, without starting a reaction against themselves, and opening a hell which effectually restrains them in their evil course.
No critic could ever aver that Mrs. Eddy sought selfaggrandizement or personal benefits. If she did, why did she not make the most of them when they finally came to her? The underlying spiritual motive that animated everything our Leader did, was a sacred flame of unselfish determination to preserve and shelter that which would show the way of Life to all mankind.
As Mrs. Eddy rose higher in spiritual understanding, this was manifested in the more loving and scientific means she employed in rendering harmless the hostility of her enemies. Furthermore, through this higher process, sin was made to react upon the sinner, as definitely as though malpractice were directed against him. No doubt such results prompted these accusations against Mrs. Eddy, although her only purpose was to save the innocent victim. An evidence of Mrs. Eddy’s great spiritual growth was the revelation to her, that the higher mode of destroying hatred and protecting one’s self from evil is love, love for one’s enemies, love for all mankind. That which shields the Cause of Christian Science, and renders harmless the efforts of its enemies, is a scientific ability to love one’s enemies, and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. Thus Mrs. Eddy proved that the sacred flame which will continually take one higher in the spiritual scale, through mistakes, through misunderstanding, and even through an honest ignorance, is the unselfed purpose to devote one’s life to the task of setting forth and demonstrating the way of Life. This, Mrs. Eddy accomplished.
One should not entertain the fatuous notion that Science and Health will lead one to the gates of heaven. The fact is, that through Science and Health, the student is enabled to attain that divine wisdom, the impersonal spiritual guide, which will conduct him or her on the right path. In other words, it requires an individual demonstration of wisdom to guide one to a final demonstration of divine sonship.
The further spiritual growth, which carried Mrs. Eddy above her primitive method of fighting fire with fire, to the exalted standpoint of loving her enemies and attempting to do them good, is illustrated in the Master’s experience, when he touched the man full of leprosy and the devil came out of him. He put forth his hand; touched the malpractice of animal magnetism, which was manifesting itself in the form of leprosy; said, “Be thou clean;” and wiped it out. Similarly, when Mrs. Eddy stretched forth her hand, or aimed her thought full of love and healing, at a malpractitioner, she produced a salutary effect on him, far more inexorable than the effort to meet malpractice with malpractice.
This latter effort, which at first must have suggested itself to our Leader as a solution for this criminal interference, was exemplified by David when he was tempted to go out against Goliath with a spear, a sword and armor, as his predecessors had done. They fought as Goliath fought, but they failed to vanquish him. He had back of him the full belief in the power of animal magnetism, as did those who assaulted Mrs. Eddy mentally. The fact is apparent, that one can never destroy animal magnetism, aimed at Truth, by killing the one who is expressing that animal magnetism, for one must always deal with the source and never the channel. David, wielding his sling and stone, unerringly reached causation, the simplicity of which was concealed beneath the great mass of effect. The simple nature of his weapon proved his knowledge of the simple nature of the problem, which alone made him master of it. He touched the vulnerable place in animal magnetism with Truth, and the manifestation of misconception was made clean, the error destroyed.
Impersonal Goliath can never be seen. Goliath, or animal magnetism, can be known only as it operates through some willing channel. Centuries later, the Master, as the descendant of David, was still going out after Goliath; he was engaged in the same age-old fight. Jesus perceived Goliath back of this sick man, expressing itself through him as leprosy, recognized its vulnerable point, and met it with love. Touching the man, was symbolic of sending out the white stone of spiritual purity and immortality, and the result proved that this spirituallyeffective method, practiced by David of old, had lost none of its effectiveness, since the man rose up free. Animal magnetism yielded to the superiority of spiritual power, acknowledged the Christ, and departed from the man. The unclean spirit was old Goliath appearing in a new form, hiding behind the sick man. Jesus called him forth into the open, where he fell on his knees and recognized the supremacy of spiritual power over the human. Thus, the patient was healed.
Nineteen hundred years later, Mrs. Eddy wrote in Science and Health, page 268, “In this revolutionary period, like the shepherd-boy with his sling, woman goes forth to battle with Goliath.” Mrs. Eddy was enabled finally to perceive Goliath, hiding behind the malpractitioners who continually dogged her footsteps. Thus was she equipped to meet Goliath by loving man, and thereby freeing him from the unclean spirit.
When the elders wished to stone Mary Magdalene, Jesus said in substance, “Let the one who is without sin among you, or whose vision is freed from mesmerism sufficiently to see Goliath hiding behind the woman, cast the first stone of spiritual purity and power. Throw the stone at the Goliath of sensuality, but let the woman go free.” This method of handling animal magnetism was Mrs. Eddy’s crowning gift to humanity in this age. It is embodied in the instruction, “Strike at the error, reduce it to nothingness, but let man go free. Call forth the unclean spirit and impersonalize it. Hate the sin and thereby destroy it; but love the sinner and thereby redeem him.”