From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
Unselfishness Needed to Serve at Pleasant View
It is said that, at one time, Mrs. Eddy called a certain student to come to Pleasant View, but carefully instructed her to say nothing about it to anyone. This student was very watchful on this point. But, as she entered the grounds of Pleasant View, she met a very dear friend who was just coming out. In her happiness and enthusiasm, she told her all about the wonderful thing that had happened to her, namely, that she had been called by the Leader.
Much to her surprise, when she arrived at the house, Mrs. Eddy would not see her, and gave no explanation. She went away in the depths of dejection. When her scientific thought reasserted itself, however, she determined to apply herself to the study and application of Christian Science, as never before.
In about a year’s time the call came again. She went to the home and remained with Mrs. Eddy, proving herself to be a valuable worker.
Apart from the great lesson of obedience, what is the metaphysics embodied in this incident? Certainly we can glean a practical lesson from it.
Primarily, we see one going to sleep just at the termination of a good demonstration, and allowing thought to become unguarded; a condition which resulted from an overwhelming thought of self, because of the anticipation of the great blessings she expected to receive, and the honors to be heaped upon her. Would not such a mental attitude numb her spiritual activity and watchfulness? For the moment, she lost sight of the fact that she had been called to Pleasant View as a giver rather than as a receiver, and this unwatchfulness cost her the fruitage of her spiritual endeavor.
One deterrent, which would prevent a student from being called by Mrs. Eddy, was the desire on his or her part to go to receive the spiritual blessing of her personal instruction. There was only one possible reason why a student was called to Pleasant View. That was to help our Leader, to become one of the servants of God in aiding Mrs. Eddy and in holding up her hands, so that she might be freer to demonstrate the wisdom needed by the Cause of Christian Science.
A wealthy Christian Scientist offered Mrs. Eddy a million dollars for the privilege of going to Pleasant View to stay with her for a year, but our Leader lovingly pointed out to her the error involved in such a proposition.
The student who disobeyed our Leader’s directions did so, because she felt such an eagerness to tell her friend the good news, and because her thought was overflowing with the joy of foreseeing the good she expected to receive. This state of mind caused her thought to be carried away by selfishness, which Mrs. Eddy recognized as mental drunkenness, or unwatchfulness. Her refusal to see this woman was based on spiritual perception, backed up by no human knowledge. Our Leader had such a faith in her spiritual insight, that she would act upon it without hesitancy.
Many individuals have been sustained in death-defying stunts and explorations by the anticipation of the human fame and glory which would accrue to them, if successful. This same human impulse might knock at the mental door of a student of Christian Science. For example, the wealthy Christian Scientist, mentioned above, illustrates this point. No doubt she recognized that the prestige of having lived with the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science would remain with her as long as she lived. Thus, a student might feel tempted to desire this honor, because he or she felt that it would put him or her into a more favorable position in the Field.
Such a bias of thought was useless to our Leader in the work she was doing. There was only one quality of thought in a student that could possibly be of any value to Mrs. Eddy. This was such a love for the Cause, that ambition was stilled in an honest desire to unite with Mrs. Eddy in holding up her hands, in order that she might have more freedom to guide the Cause, more freedom of thought to receive divine direction. Such a one coming to Pleasant View with the same purpose and motive that our Leader had, the thought of selfless giving, enabled Mrs. Eddy to work with such timber, because he or she was imbued with her own desire and purpose. Once she said, “The students who are called here, do not come to this house for glory; when they come here, they come to the cross.”
Mrs. Eddy did not work for human emoluments. She had no thought for such. This is evident because, when they were presented to her, she never considered them, nor permitted them to be bestowed upon her, except in those instances where she felt that it would enhance the glory of her Cause. First, last, and always, she did not want any aggrandizement for service. What she endeavored to do, was to develop in her students that genuine love for the Cause, from which any desire for personal gain had been eliminated. She demanded demonstration on the part of every student; and when one, in anticipation of the benefits he hoped to receive, bubbled over with human joy to the point where he disobeyed, his conduct was evidence of a lack of demonstration.
Mrs. Eddy labored and prayed to bring out in the students a thought from which fear and pride had been eliminated, so that nothing could prevent their rallying to a common purpose, by being inspired with her motives and desires. Today, our great Cause needs the same selfless service which directs its perilous passage through the waters of animal magnetism, and which fires students with the determination to give of their spiritual bounty to all mankind, in such a manner that they are protected from those temptations of error, which can never touch a giving thought, but which, when they find entrance into thought, effectually shut man off from the reception of that wisdom that alone can guide the Cause out of animal magnetism into divine guidance.