From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Footsteps by Gilbert Carpenter
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Mrs. Eddy Roused Students From Human Harmony
In the handling of her students, Mrs. Eddy combined a driving force with a loving cooperation and appreciation. Both these elements were necessary. Our Leader set a standard, and then demanded that the students live up to it. We see in Jesus’ experience, when the eleven disciples failed to give him the support that he hoped for, that Judas, the twelfth, became a whip that drove him. This was a blessing in disguise. From this standpoint, Judas might be called an unwitting driver, instead of a betrayer, and his apostacy regarded as a friend of Jesus’ spiritual growth. This concept agrees with Jesus’ admonition to make friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, to recognize the action of mortal belief, as it attempts to betray one’s spiritual thought, as a friend, because it compels progress. Jesus’ disciples might be likened to a flock of sheep with one goat. The shepherd comes to a broad pit, over which he must jump. The sheep cry, sympathize, and go to sleep; while the goat butts him, thereby giving him just the extra impetus needed to accomplish the leap. Jesus knew that Judas was a devil, but he also knew that it was possible to utilize that erroneous sense expressed by Judas, in such a scientific way, that it would serve to drive him to a higher demonstration. Hence, Judas became the whip to flick the Master into that last grand spiritual effort, that altered the whole face of man’s struggle to gain immortality.
To me, there was a great significance in the way our Leader would flick the whip on her students to drive them to a supreme spiritual endeavor. I seemed to sense that she recognized that, since we lacked the wholesome effect of a Judas to whip us, she must supply this need.
Mrs. Eddy was most troubled by what she termed a negative state of mind in her students, which would steal over them when everything seemed humanly harmonious. The students failed to detect what she felt, namely, that it was the quiet before the storm. Hence, we see why she considered it necessary to create an artificial storm in the home, by calling the students in and waking them up spiritually, until the whole house was in what appeared to be an unnecessary uproar. When an opportunity presented itself for sitting back to enjoy a pleasant feeling of relaxation, the students could sense no harm in it, and could discover small reason why Mrs. Eddy broke it up in such a determined way.
It is said, that among those men who have charge of the repair crews of the subways in New York City, there comes a depressed feeling, for which there is no accounting, when two or three days pass by without a call for repairs of any kind. Normally, the calls come in on the average of one each hour, day and night. Therefore, a long period of quiet is looked upon as the calm before the storm, where the storm is some major accident. This is, of course, rank fear and superstition, but it does illustrate what Mrs. Eddy perceived in the mental realm. She recognized the student’s lethargy as an open door to animal magnetism, just as she would have detected in the minds of these men in New York a state of thought, that invited the very thing they dreaded.
Mrs. Eddy provided the driving force for her students. She inspired them to a demonstration which, otherwise, they might not have attained, unless confronted with some sharp hnever permits him to relax from his scientific watchfulness and demonstration, may consider that he numbers among his mental disciples a Judas, for which he may thank God; not a betraying, but a driving Judas. Judas took the joy out of the unity of that band of workers, and turned the Master over to his enemies. So our Judas is that, which seems to rob us of our human joy and satisfaction in relaxation, just when we would sit down to the banquet of materiality with a keen anticipation. At this point, our Judas comes, pricks the bubble, and forces us up to God. Is that a friend or foe? The mortality in mortals is always wishing that this Judas might be removed, so that it can take unalloyed pleasure in the harmless phases of human life; but the Christ-idea in man always thanks the dear Father for the mammon of unrighteousness which, when he makes friends with it, or gains a spiritual attitude of mind toward it, forwards his spiritual growth beyond what he deemed possible.
When spiritual growth brought the students up to the point, where they could appreciate what their Leader did for them, by forwarding their demonstration through what seemed a whip, their hearts went out in gratitude, and they reproached themselves for ever doubting the wisdom that she manifested, in thus flicking the whip on their spiritual possibilities.
In the tenth chapter of Luke the Master said, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” It is quite evident to me, that the state of peace in the students, which disturbed Mrs. Eddy, was a rejoicing because the devils were subject unto them, and not because their names, as insignia of their relationship to God, were written in heaven.
What is this state of having the devils subject unto you? In the world, the man who is capable of living under the domination of mortal mind, or the devil, and, at the same time, steering his life down pleasant and prosperous paths, rejoices. But the Christian Scientist is not deceived into accepting any happiness that results from his ability to handle human affairs, so that they extend to him the pleasant side of mortal existence. His only happiness (and cause of rejoicing) should be because, to some extent, he has his name written in heaven, or is gaining a spiritual consciousness of God as his true Father and Mother.
Mrs. Eddy recognized, that the most deadly action of mortal belief is where man is able to make it subject unto him, as expressed in so-called human good. If a man was put into a den of lions, he would want to get out as soon as he could. He would actively seek a way out. But suppose he found, that he could handle these lions, and make them obedient unto him, so that he could lie down with them, and let them keep him warm. Would he not lose his fear of them, because he found them subject unto him? Would not his interest in seeking his way out of the cage wane? Would not the lions be much more dangerous tame, than they would be wild; for no matter how tame a lion is, he never loses his ferocity, hence, this murderous nature will appear, just when man’s fear of him has almost disappeared?
Mrs. Eddy knew that mortal mind is always mortal mind, animal magnetism, the murderer from the beginning, that has no gentle or safe side. No matter how man is able to make it subject unto him, and appropriate it, so that it gives him a sense of pleasure and satisfaction, because the inner nature of mortal mind never changes, the time always comes, when this inner nature breaks through the crust of false peace, and appears in its true colors, the great red dragon of Revelation.
So, in summing up, we can say that Mrs. Eddy perceived the inwardness of mortal mind as malicious animal magnetism. She warned her students and the world against the deadly effect of believing that, through civilization, education and refinement, the nature of the lion has been, or can be, changed, because for the present it operates for their apparent good. In a word, she placed the sign, Danger, Beware, over the lion’s cage, and then offered the world the simple way out of the cage. Is it any wonder that, to her, the highest degree of all evil was to see a man in the cage, oblivious of his danger, grateful to the lions for their kindness, and fighting tooth and nail anything that might expose the situation, so that he might see it correctly? Is it any wonder, that the one thing that troubled her was to see her students unafraid of the lions, rejoicing, and feeling satisfied, that the beasts were subject unto them? As long as she saw her students aware of the situation, active in seeking the spiritual mode of escape from animal magnetism, and joyous in their growing consciousness of their relationship to the divine Mind, she knew them to be safe.
In the healing of the man with the unclean spirit, Jesus caused the legion of devils to go into the herd of swine. A spiritual unfoldment might show that, if the swine were symbolic of swinish, human thinking, then back of them or in them, was the devil already, and Jesus simply caused this fact to be appreciated. In other words, if man was permitting swinish thoughts to remain and to multiply in his consciousness, and the Christ, Truth, should reveal that back of such thoughts was the devil of animal magnetism, that would cause him to cast out such thoughts. If a Christian Scientist harbors human thinking at any time, it is merely because he or she does not recognize the legion of animal magnetism that is hidden within such thinking. The swine appear harmless enough, until the Christ exposes their true inwardness. When one finally discovers the destructive nature of human thinking, it seems as if the devil had suddenly entered into the swine, when, in reality, it was there all the time. What Christian Scientist would tolerate human thinking, if he perceived the evil back of it? So, before the right effort is made to cast out human thinking, the devil must enter into it, or be perceived in it. The same point is illustrated by the man who quickly throws away some food, when he learns that it is permeated with poison. Human thinking contains the poison of animal magnetism and, therefore, should be disposed of.
An illustration of such apparently harmless human thinking, but with the legion of devils hidden within, would be for one to look at a man and think, “Why, that man is sick; I judge by his appearance, he is not long for this world.” Through Christian Science, that thought, which appears to be sympathy and friendship, is uncovered to be innocent malpractice. It is thinking that appears harmless, but, in reality, it is barbed with unintended venom.
Mrs. Eddy perceived the legion of devils in the herd of swine, or human thinking, when her students failed to do so. It was her obligation to awaken them to this fact, a thing which oftentimes she had to do with vigor, and for which those who understood, respected and loved her.
If one should conclude that the teaching is too strong for young students, that back of all human thinking is animal magnetism, or a swinish element, even though Mrs. Eddy shows that this element is not native or natural to man, let him consider her letter to Eugene H. Greene, written on May 31, 1906, when he was about to teach the Metaphysical College, “One thing I forgot to name is this: Teach your class that the pleasures of sense material are to be overcome, as well as its pains. Hence the Scripture, ‘None but the pure in heart can see God.’ The sexual element is not natural, if nature is God, and it certainly is God, for matter is not God, and material sense has no law and no gospel on its side. Even eating is a ‘suffer it to be so now.’ Sometime we shall all learn this. Let us begin now to learn it, and to teach it, and to practice it.”