From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
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Motive of Love Above Reproach
The Bible states, “Charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” Children are tempted to copy the answers to their mathematics from the back of the book, rather than to struggle for the solution through their own honest efforts, and be willing to face a rebuke if they fail. This same tendency is felt in Christian Science, where students would prefer to remain in the stagnation of timid conservatism that would take no radical steps, lest a mistake should be made that would necessitate a rebuke. Yet motive is the all-important thing; the motive of love that is determined to reach the goal of Christian Science, even though it be with bleeding footsteps. Mistakes will accompany such effort, but with a noble motive, they become constructive mistakes, constantly tending toward a broader spirituality. The vital matter is growth, spiritual growth; and the determination to gain it will always be subject to animal magnetism in its varied deceptions. Hence, as Paul says, a loving and scientific motive covers or neutralizes the mistakes made in spiritual progress.
Where the objective is desirable and right, the attaining of it wipes out any unfortunate experiments necessary to reach it. Mrs. Eddy gained her objective, the discovery and founding of Christian Science, an achievement which silences any criticism of her footsteps. The end justifies the means; right attainment wipes the slate clean.
Furthermore, in taking forward spiritual footsteps, sometimes those episodes most criticized and considered most derogatory, as indicating the most obvious failure, may be the very steps most necessary to attain that which is universally recognized as commendable.
The only thing that could ever be criticized in the life of one who is struggling toward a worthy end, would be if that one should permit the temptations along the way to prevent him from carrying on to success, and kill out the right motive which would ultimately show itself in attainment. This motive is called charity, because it represents a love that is so strong and persevering that, with it, one cannot fail to reach the objective. A true sense of love keeps man persistently on the road of accomplishment. The temptations along the way are successful only when they quench out this love. Hence, it can be seen that these temptations are directly aimed at the elimination of the loving motive. If endeavor continues in spite of all obstacles, then every forward step is crowned with success, and attainment wipes out any criticisms of anything that happened while one was reaching the goal. Thus does charity cover the multitude of sins, if honest endeavors misunderstood may be called sins, by lifting above reproach the struggles of His saints.
In the Christian Science Sentinel for March 12, 1910, we find the following by Mrs. Eddy: “I briefly declare that nothing has occurred in my life’s experience which, if correctly narrated and understood, could injure me.” Surely these words are a challenge to take up a study of her life, and for students to record their findings, if they wish to do so, so that others may accept them or reject them. An accurate and truthful picture of our Leader should not be withheld from those who are ready to have it, who are ready to see her spiritually, rather than materially. The findings in this volume represent the authors’ acceptance of Mrs. Eddy’s challenge and the partial fruit of their efforts.