Chapter One Hundred Ten
From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
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Mrs. Eddy’s Spiritual Sensitivity
These very natural questions suggest themselves in connection with these spiritual interpretations of Mrs. Eddy’s experience: Was she aware of them? If she was, then why did she not divulge them to the world? Did she consider the world was not yet ready for them? If such be the case, then would it not be an act of disloyalty for her students to disclose them? On the other hand, it is possible that, in the midst of her busy experience of proclaiming her spiritual revelation to the world, she left crumbs for us to gather up, just as did the Master after feeding the five thousand. Therefore, if this be a correct analysis of the situation, then it becomes a breach of trust to withhold such valuable teachings from a waiting world.
There is little doubt, that it would have been impossible for Mrs. Eddy or her students to have perceived all of the spiritual disclosures unfolded in this volume, since it has taken perspective and growth to conceive of many of them. Some who lived with our Leader argued that, because she did so much good and devoted her life to the Cause so unselfishly, they could forgive her for some of her eccentricities, and the querulousness which so often accompanies age. A thoughtless consideration might lead to the deduction, that the more inharmonious Mrs. Eddy became, the more she rebuked her students, as if she desired them to share in her disturbed thought; and the more disturbed her thought was, the greater was her rebuke, until it seemed as if, like the Master, her “rebuke was fearful.” Science and Health, page 6. As a matter of fact, Mrs. Eddy’s disturbance did not originate from anything within herself, but resulted from the error that was assailing the home. To find her students harmonious under such circumstances, was proof that they did not feel the error, and hence, needed a sharp awakening to perceive the need.
A misunderstanding of the above, however, might cause the students to conclude, that if they were given the opportunity to mold Mrs. Eddy anew, they would have molded her differently. Out of loyalty, however, they might screen from public gaze this dark side, wherein she failed to exhibit that gentleness and patience which, if she had expressed, they would have considered that she exemplified more the life of the Master. Because of this love for, and devotion to her, they might attempt to conceal much that, to their minds, was not scientific, incidents where they distrusted whether or not she manifested the spirit of the Christ.
However, as a matter of experience, wisdom reveals that Mrs. Eddy was never more scientific, than when her spiritually-intuitive thought was sandpapered by the materiality and grossness of her students’ minds, when they were attempting to minister unto her physically and materially, rather than spiritually, offering her the products of human will, in lieu of demonstration. Her subsequent distress of mind, and her sharp rebukes, were absolute proof of her genuine spirituality.
One test, to prove whether students who had a personal acquaintanceship with Mrs. Eddy, viewed her from a humanly loving, or from a spiritually perceptive standpoint, would have been to have asked them, if they would have remolded her, had they been given the power to do so; or did they feel, that she was patterning herself after the only ideal that could successfully cope with evil; and were they convinced that in sickness and in health, in depression and in spiritual uplift, she was conscientiously struggling to reach God and to abandon mortality? Only an affirmative answer to the latter question would evince a correct conception.
When mortal mind touched Mrs. Eddy through some human channel, it jarred her. This was a proof that her thought was spiritually attuned, and gave her authority like the Master of old, to say to the materially-minded, “Touch me not.”
Today, we pride ourselves, that we can come in contact with mortal mind and not be disturbed by it. Would to God, that an alien thought would always jar upon our sensibilities! Would to God, that we had grown sufficiently into a spiritual consciousness that falsity would always chafe us, until continued growth had brought such a protective sense that we could say, .“None of these things move me!.”
Remember, that there are two ways to handle error. One is to attempt to destroy it or limit its effect. The other is to grow so spiritually-minded, that we can make the above statement that none of these things touch us. Both of these ways are important, but the latter is the process that brings individual growth. However, in the second effort, one needs the touch of discord continually, to drive one up to the spiritual housetop, thus proving that the wrath of man shall praise Him.
If a teacher of Christian Science has a number of students, whom he desires to instruct how to observe the quality of their own thought, can that teacher ever accomplish this task, unless, when the thought of the students falls to a mortal level, it is known to the teacher in some way? How can the teacher ascertain if the students’ thought has dropped, unless that dropping perturbs his thought? When that happens, then the teacher can apply the instruction and remedy, and force the thought of both into a higher status, so that peace once more returns to the teacher. Mrs. Eddy’s sensitiveness was not a sin; it was spirituality needing protection. If she had entrenched herself in a position where she had so protected her thought, that she had no means of detecting the quality of the thinking of those in her home, how could she have been of any value in guiding them, and in awakening them to the importance of never undertaking a task, except from the basis of demonstration, lifting their thought to the point of knowing, that divine Mind alone is causation and that they can do only what they see the Father do. The Master’s standard of demonstration was that, apart from God, he could do nothing; that the divine Mind was the foundation of all his thought and action.
Mrs. Eddy fed the world spiritually; and then, as our task, follows the gathering of the crumbs, the analyzing of her demonstration, the dissecting of it, and the determining of its spiritual significance, in order to ascertain the infinite lessons contained therein. Every demonstration that Jesus made, includes spiritual instructions for those who are picking up the crumbs, instructions that are vastly more important than the mere description of his miracles. Furthermore, they possess the additional feature of being capable of feeding universal humanity, instead of being limited to the five thousand individuals who were momentarily blessed at that time. These lessons must be unfolded for the world, so that the crumbs will feed millions of hungry ones. Jesus said that we would do greater works, because “I go unto my Father.” He fed five thousand. We can take the crumbs and feed millions, because, when thought goes to the Father, inspiration returns and multiplies the good, so that it will nourish the world.
Mrs. Eddy’s sensitiveness to alien thought may be exemplified in a humble allegory, using the crab as an illustration. When the crab is moulting and his shell is soft, he relies on another crab, which has a hard shell, to protect him during his period of vulnerability. Mrs. Eddy called upon her students to work with her and establish a protective atmosphere, while she bestowed on the world that divine revelation, which flooded her consciousness during these spiritually-sensitive states. She depended upon the students to be an artificial shell, under which she might temporarily abide. Had her life work involved only herself, this condition would not have existed, because she could have soon reached a place of demonstration, where she needed no help of this kind. In order to bless the world, Mrs. Eddy had to be absent from the body and present with the Lord, and she instructed her students, so that they might protect the situation, while this demonstration was being made. At such times, were revealed to her the mysteries of Godliness and that divine wisdom so necessary to mankind. During her spiritual flights, she charged her students to guard the home, lest thieves break through and steal. She could have proceeded with her own demonstration and avoided such a necessity, but the world would have been the loser. Let us be grateful, that she loved enough to make the sacrifice that our Master made, that he might “liberally pour his dear-bought treasures” into the hearts of humanity.
As a pioneer, Mrs. Eddy’s progress was too rapid to enable her to grasp all the beauties along the way. Today, as her followers, it is our privilege to profit by much along the way, that she was too busy to contemplate. For that reason, a book of this kind becomes possible and profitable, in which some of the fragments are gathered.