From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
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Students Trained to Become Able Mental Workers
There were times when Mrs. Eddy called upon a student to work with her as one would call on a practitioner for help. During the night hours such a student would go into her bedroom at her request, and give her an audible treatment. Such experiences were not of frequent occurrence, however. They came when she was suffering under some claim or her thought had seemed to lose its spiritual poise. At such times she expected us to help her; yet, after she had regained her balance of thought, any attempt on our part to help her would have been animal magnetism. In fact, when her thought was clear, she warned the students against any attempt to help her, and labeled such an effort interference. The Master was faced with a similar situation when he said to Mary Magdalen, in John 20:17, “Touch me not.”
For us to help one whose spiritual thought is below ours in demonstration is scientific good; yet the same loving effort becomes interference when applied to one whose thought at that time is higher than ours. The same considerate endeavor, which lifts the thought of the one who is mentally depressed may have the effect of animal magnetism upon the same person, when his thought is mentally exalted. Must we not conclude, then, that spiritual help must be given only when our mental standpoint is above that of the one we would help?
At times, Jesus relied upon his disciples to support him when his thought was depressed. Yet their ignorant, but well-meaning, attempts to help him when he was above them, constituted animal magnetism, where animal magnetism is anything that tends to pull thought down from its spiritual elevation, which is always the object of animal magnetism. It may be that Mrs. Eddy did not really need such help, when she called for it; but that she did so as part of her effort to train the students in her home to become able mental workers.