Chapter One Hundred Eleven
From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
Infinite Abundance of Good
The question has been asked, why the Master had almost no worldly possessions, and why Mrs. Eddy was a rich woman. Of course, during the early portion of Mrs. Eddy’s experience, while she was healing the sick and furnishing definite evidence of her spiritual understanding, she remained in very moderate circumstances. As she developed her Cause, however, she gradually began to acquire the funds necessary to operate it. So it can be definitely asserted, that Mrs. Eddy’s increasing abundance was largely the outward manifestation of her recognition of the increasing needs of her church. Jesus’ experience differed, in that he established no organization, since the time for that step had not yet arrived.
Jesus’ material needs were very simple, and his demonstration of Truth met those needs in the simplest way. Mrs. Eddy’s material needs were also simple; and she always considered them secondary to her spiritual demands. But, when the time was ripe for her to establish a world-wide organization, the funds for this program were forthcoming through her demonstration.
Mortal man tends to form habits of demanding luxury and ease, when opportunity presents itself. For instance, a man will train during his youth to become a successful prize-fighter; and then, when his efforts bring him an abundance of money, he reverses his course, indulges in luxury and permits himself to soften. Thus, his earlier abstemiousness is followed by indulgence. Mortal man, on the road to achievement, guards himself against sloth and laziness, but once the goal is reached, he relaxes and begins to decline.
Christian Scientists recognize the counter-part of this temptation in the situation confronting the student, who, after he has grown sufficiently, finds himself assailed by an appreciation of the comfort and ease that matter provides. Hence, one of the outstanding features of Mrs. Eddy’s experience was the fact that, after enduring years of hardship, as a result of a lack of money and of what money provides, when she finally acquired affluence, in no way did she relax or seize upon that wealth as an opportunity for the indulgence of ease or luxury, so that she might grow soft, and lose some of that keenness of desire to demonstrate the kingdom of heaven. It is noteworthy that she never lived extravagantly, but in the simplest mode consistent with her high position. Her abundant supply was the result of her realization of the infinite abundance of the substance of good, available to the one who reflects God, and of her recognition of the needs of her Church. It was not the manifestation of any desire on her part for luxury or ease.
It is said on good authority, that a minister once gently chided her for her apparent affluence, as if, from his point of view, such evidence of worldly wealth was incompatible with a high attainment of spirituality. Mrs. Eddy replied, “Didn’t you know that my father was very rich?” When he seemed surprised at this information, she indicated by pointing upward, that she referred to her heavenly Father.
On October 24, 1906, she wrote to her cousin, F. N. Ladd, who had just reported to her the large degree to which her stock had accumulated. “It is all the income from my books. I am not interested to be a rich woman.”