Chapter One Hundred Twenty-seven
From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
Proper Estimate of Mrs. Eddy’s Life
There can be no conclusion to a work of this kind, since Mrs. Eddy’s life is like a stone which, when dropped in the water, creates waves that expand in ever-widening circles. Who could follow them to their termination in infinity? It is hoped, however, that these pages set forth the spiritual method of approach to her life, which will start the inquirer on the right path, and cause him to lose faith in human ways and means, in human opinion, sense testimony, and in all paraphernalia of the endeavor to analyze her experience from the standpoint of human intellect and human reason, in order that it may be grasped inspirationally, in all its grandeur and significance.
Nothing could better epitomize this spiritual method, than the following saying of Jesus, which was unearthed in 1903 by Dr. Grenfell and Dr. Hunt, and which is generally accepted as authentic: “Raise the stone and there thou shalt find me; cleave the wood, and there am I.” In other words, whoever embodies the spiritual idea or Christ, will live a human history, where proof of this reflected divinity can be perceived in the simple, insignificant things of that one’s daily experience. It requires spiritual perception to recognize in all the unimportant things, as well as the important, the proof, that such a one has succeeded in numbering the hairs of his head, or gathering everything together into the spiritual fold, omitting nothing that mortal mind has claimed as its expression, and reckoning it as the expression of God. This coincides with what Mrs. Eddy quotes in Science and Health from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, “Sermons in stones, and good in everything.”
Because the changed attitude of the spiritually-minded student must neglect nothing, no matter how inconsequential, it is fitting that he begin with the lesser forms of material creation, and work until every object has been raised to determine what motivates it, cleaved to learn of what it consists, and analyzed to trace it back to thought, or source. Then, through recognizing the nothingness of matter, or mortal mind, thought must be brought into tune with the divine Mind, which will produce a manifestation that properly expresses divinity.
In this effort, there is no manifested thing, as Jesus indicated in his statements regarding the hairs of the head and the sparrow falling, that is not significant, because all creation is the manifestation of thought, and salvation depends upon bringing all things into subjection to Christ. As the Bible says, “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.” Every stick and stone manifests thought, and through these effects, one can learn cause. Matter is not what you see, but the way you see it. Hence, one’s thinking must be transferred from a finite to an infinite basis, and one has not completed his mission, until all things represent to him spiritual, instead of material, thought. This constitutes salvation, for any individual to spiritualize his thought toward everything and everybody.
Therefore, it is fitting that the effort to estimate properly Mrs. Eddy’s life, be to pause over the little outward occurrences, and trace back to discover in her the spiritual thought, of which they were the outward expression. This method would not condemn, because any outward manifestation seemed to be deserving of criticism, for the only criticism that is made of Mrs. Eddy is based on a standpoint of human good. She accomplished her spiritual purpose, without any unnecessary steps. Hence, from the standpoint of divine good, her life is above reproach. Her spiritual fruitage proved that she had an inspirational thought, which was being expressed in the path she trod. First, one must “raise the stone,” which, because illustrative of the sharp and stern rebukes from our Leader, seemed a heavy cross to bear, and then “cleave the wood,” ascertaining thereby the divine action of her thought, through which would be found the true “I,” the embodiment of the Christ-idea, which was expressed in ways incomprehensible to human sense, but divinely natural to spiritual sense.
In Ezekiel 43:12 we read: “This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.”
In this verse, Mrs. Eddy might have found Biblical authority for what was the law of her house, namely, that every object in the house, every task, every phase of activity, be lifted to the top of the mountain, and made holy, or put into the sacred category of demonstration. Thus, Mrs. Eddy’s demands upon her students trace back to Holy Writ; thus did she find corroboration for insisting that every human problem in her home, no matter how insignificant, because it appertained to the law of the house, be placed on a purely spiritual and scientific basis.
This law of the house is an ordinance, requiring a limitless demonstration, where nothing is omitted in the effort to manifest and express spiritual law, as supreme in the home. The mountain is a symbol of demonstration, or lofty spiritual thought. In Retrospection and Introspection, page 91, where Mrs. Eddy refers to the Sermon on the Mount, which Jesus taught after he went up into a mountain, she says, “Indeed, this title really indicates more the Master’s mood, than the material locality.”
If the mountain represents that lofty inspirational standpoint, where everything is perceived spiritually, with God as supreme over all, then it can easily be discerned that this was the law of Mrs. Eddy’s house, that her students attempt nothing, except from this exalted spiritual perspective. Furthermore, she reserved her sternest rebukes for every act that broke “the law of the house.”
It is a general fact, that many women who find their husbands uncongenial, permit their thought to dwell on the possibility of an enduring happiness to be obtained with some other man. Such a thought does not understand, that the problem of wedlock is not a personal but a universal one, the problem of the race. Hence, the deduction in Christian Science is, that if a wife impersonalizes her husband, and considers him as representing MAN, then if she solves the problem in connection with her husband, she will thereby solve the whole problem of man.
This same line of reasoning applies to one’s home, which, when rightly viewed, becomes a miniature of the whole kingdom of heaven. Man’s demonstration of it, is his preparation for the realization of the kingdom of heaven as absolute and supreme for all mankind. In truth, man’s house is a miniature spiritual power plant, where his work of salvation must begin. Hence, his demonstration of Truth in his home is as important as it is in relation to himself, since his environment is part of his own problem. He must impersonalize the problems of his home, and thereby solve the whole problem of evil.
Such an effort will reveal, that Mrs. Eddy’s appreciation of the members of her household was based entirely on their use of demonstration in their relation to her. In fact, she reserved a special name for those who made the more menial tasks in her home a matter of demonstration. She called them eminent Christian Scientists. Today, we can merit this exalted title, only as we endeavor to apply demonstration to the business meetings of our branch churches, to the tasks of everyday life, and to the attempt to radiate to all mankind such an atmosphere of healing, that even our enemies will be impressed thereby. In Zechariah 4 we read: “For who hath despised the day of small things?”
This illustrates Mrs. Eddy’s spiritual insight into man’s salvation, that caused her to exemplify a demonstration in her daily life, both for herself and for her students, that was so far in advance of the world’s appreciation, that she was made the butt of ridicule as a result. Yet, no greater spiritual growth can accrue to the student of Christian Science, than that which will result from the effort to trace Mrs. Eddy’s mental and spiritual footsteps, through the outward manifestation. Mrs. Eddy’s own appreciation of her life, as outwardly exemplifying spiritual footsteps, which any sincere student may discover and follow through a correct appreciation of the outward, is expounded in her own words, which were voiced to one of her students on March 12, 1907, when the Next Friends’ suit was filed against her: “In writing my history they can say nothing against me, so they begin to tell lies. The papers are writing my history; the history of my ancestry; writing lies. MY HISTORY IS A HOLY ONE.”