From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
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Mrs. Eddy’s Three-fold Demonstration
One morning during the year 1907, Mrs. Eddy opened the Bible to Isaiah 16:14: “But now the Lord hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and feeble.”
At this time she said, “From the beginning and all the way along, I got my leading from God, through the Bible. Right in the beginning I got, ‘Write it in a book and it shall be for all time.’ Today He is speaking to me again, Isaiah 16:14. I am sure this will be fulfilled, but don’t tell anyone about it.”
Did Mrs. Eddy recognize this verse as a prophecy of her death, which came about three years later?
I think that Mrs. Eddy foretold, through this prophecy, that within three years she would have endured to the end, where her work of building the great Cause of Christian Science would be finished and complete. Then her servitude as an hireling would terminate.
All Christian Scientists are under the necessity of being servants of the Cause of Christian Science, of supporting it, and of demonstrating that physical strength and well-being, that will enable them to do the necessary work. Yet, in a measure, are not such activities servitude, since they are to a great extent, a compromise with mortal mind, and require a necessary building up of the human?
Mrs. Eddy had no morbid sense that this passage predicted her death; of that I am sure. She was more like the butterfly in the cocoon, realizing that, within a certain length of time, her demonstration would loose the bonds of limitation and she would be free.
However, the three years did not represent solar years, any more than did Jesus’ three days in the tomb mean seventy-two hours. Rather did they typify the threefold demonstration which Mrs. Eddy points out on page 508 of Science and Health, “The third stage in the order of Christian Science is an important one to the human thought, letting in the light of spiritual understanding. This period corresponds to the resurrection, when Spirit is discerned to be the Life of all, and the deathless Life, or Mind, dependent upon no material organization.”
These three steps are represented by the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the recognition of God as the source, man as reflecting this infinite power, and finally, the divine expectancy that puts the power into operation with certainty. It is the understanding of Principle, the realization of the rights of man, as a son of God, to apply this power to the needs of mankind, and finally, that inspirational consciousness that makes demonstration effective.
This conception is illustrated by the three Hebrew captives in the fiery furnace, whose consolidated demonstration brought forth the evidence of the Christ, or spiritual “I,”in the midst of them, and exemplified the Master’s statement, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20.
In order to bring the Christ to view, and gain the protection that means freedom from the flesh, or the true resurrection, three salient qualities must unite in one: the spiritual courage that recognizes the presence of God, the understanding of man reflecting the divine ability to replace fear with the consciousness of God, and finally, that holy and inspirational thought which lifts man above the human, so that he can walk over the angry waters of mortal belief.
Therefore, to Mrs. Eddy, these three years typified her final proof of embodying within herself this three-fold demonstration; the recognition of God as the source, of man as reflecting this infinite power, and of man’s inspirational consciousness, which puts into successful operation the demonstration that brings the Christ-idea to light. At this point, she would be lifted above the necessity for organization, either as a material body within, or the Christian Science organization without. It was Mrs. Eddy’s point of freedom.