From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
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Dependence on the Christ the Source of Wisdom
The story of Peter’s denial, as told in the twenty-second chapter of Luke, holds a thought that bears on the problem of understanding our Leader. “But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.”
One of the ways that mortal belief competes with the spiritual idea is that it permits man to believe that, when he voices that which is clever and wise, such thoughts are the product of man’s own brain, instead of recognizing them for what they really are, the ventilation of mortal thoughts that man does not originate, but merely absorbs. Truth does not permit this self-aggrandizement. In order to reflect Truth, man must relinquish all pride and, in humility, recognize that all he is, he owes to what he reflects from God.
All through the human realm, there is the instinct for the male to show off before the female. Even the male birds strut around during the mating season. There is no doubt that Peter felt this urge to appear to the best advantage in the eyes of this maid. Spiritually considered, for him to have acknowledged the Christ would have been to lose his personal prestige, because it would have been the admission that all the wisdom he possessed, came from a source outside of himself, whereas the normal male is continually tempted to astonish the female with his own wisdom. Hence, Peter did not maintain that humility which dependence on the Christ as the only source of wisdom demands. Dependence upon divine wisdom offers the male no opportunity to show off before the female, with a dominant, self-dependent sense, which she is supposed to favor. When the maid queried Peter, every male instinct rose up to deny that he relied on, or was a party to, any wisdom outside of himself. From this standpoint, to deny the Christ would be to deny that man has an infallible source of wisdom outside of himself, to which he can gain access. It means that pride is causing him to cling to a belief in self-generated wisdom.
One of the points in connection with our Leader, that convinced me above all others that she really had access to the fount of divine wisdom, was the fact that, no matter how greatly she was swayed to decide a matter from the standpoint of her own wisdom, even when she believed at the time that it was divine wisdom, she never rested, until she was convinced by further demonstration that it was revealed wisdom from God. If further light was revealed, she had no pride about relinquishing the first decision. Think of a woman so spiritually assertive and dominant, with so little pride! At a time when her students hung on every word she uttered, she did not fall into the trap which animal magnetism sets for the unwary, and which in the last analysis, betrays the spiritual idea, because it causes man to take pride in a self-derived wisdom.