Recollections of Mary Baker Eddy
by James F. Gilman
Recollections of Mary Baker Eddy, Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, as Preserved in the Diary Records of James F. Gilman Written During the Making of the Illustrations for Mrs. Eddy’s Poem, Christ and Christmas, in 1893
With an Introductory Critique by Gilbert C. Carpenter, C.S.B., Sometime Assistant Secretary to Mrs. Eddy, and Gilbert C. Carpenter, Jr., C.S.B.
Table of Contents
- Introductory Critique
- Recollections of Mary Baker Eddy
- Chapter One — First Revealings
- Chapter Two — The Illustration Work
- Chapter Three — Mrs. Eddy’s Spiritual Rebukes
- Chapter Four — Impressions of Mrs. Eddy
- Chapter Five — Reproductive Resistance Overcome
- Chapter Six — Spiritual Lessons
- Chapter Seven — Fruition
JAMES F. GILMAN recorded his experiences with and impressions of Mary Baker Eddy during his association with her, when he had the privilege of drawing the illustrations for her poem, Christ and Christmas. Unquestionably he stated facts as far as he understood them concerning Mrs. Eddy and her doctrine, and made an effort to interpret them. Yet, there are points about his pen picture of our Leader that might be misunderstood from a merely human standpoint. Only an advanced metaphysician with an understanding of spiritual law and its operation through man, could read his reminiscences, and gain from them a picture of this great woman that was in no part distorted. It is evident that no one can rightly estimate the life of one who has made the demonstration of being governed by the law of God, unless he has some correct understanding of that law.
One who knows little of spiritual law is apt to criticize the acts of one who is implicitly obeying the demands of God, because many of those acts defy analysis by the human mind. Mr. Gilman states that, when he first met Mrs. Eddy, she seemed so like a child in her thought, it seemed hardly possible that she could be the famous author of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Perhaps he did not fully comprehend at the time that the truth which Mrs. Eddy expressed was reflected from God. Furthermore, the state of consciousness requisite to reflect divine Mind is far from what one would imagine who knows little of spiritual facts. It is a truism that God writes on a blank blackboard.
From the writer’s experiences in Mrs. Eddy’s home, he can declare that there were times when she appeared to be stripped of spiritual power. One might ask, “Well, even if the situation seemed thus, of what advantage is it to record such a fact about this great woman? If something good cannot be written about her, why not keep silent?” The fact is, however, that it is of the utmost importance that all students of Christian Science discover at the right time, that there were periods when Mrs. Eddy seemed to lose her spiritually protective thought – (although, of course, it was merely a false claim that temporarily appeared to be holding the floor). One might ask, “Why need advanced students know of this phase of her life? Of what advantage is it to expose the fact that at such times she appeared to be helpless and defenseless, when under similar conditions her own students might have put up a more determined fight?”
A simple illustration will aid in answering this vital point. If one saw a powerful searchlight and desired to construct a similar one, how could he examine the parts unless the light was extinguished for the time being? Then he could discover the secret of its construction, which remained a mystery as long as the light shone.
Mary Baker Eddy was God’s searchlight for this age. Yet a most valuable and important lesson is taught by those rare occasions when the light seemed to be extinguished; because, to see one who reflects God, temporarily out of tune, gives the keynote of reflection; reveals the mental attitude in such a one that enables him to reflect God; and also shows the means Mrs. Eddy used to regain the consciousness of her oneness with God – a lesson that is most important to learn.
Man reflecting God is dominant, powerful, superior, and, as Mrs. Eddy writes on page 264 of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, acts “as possessing all power from Him in whom we have our being.” At such times nothing is revealed about the preparation for reflection. But when that reflection is temporarily dimmed, the opportunity is provided to discover the nature of the steps leading to reflection, a knowledge beyond price to the one struggling to follow.
When Mrs. Eddy was deprived for the moment of the Christ-power, the outward picture she presented was one of humility, childlikeness and defenselessness; as if she had nothing else to turn to for help but God. She represented one who relied on Him so unreservedly that to lose Him was to have nothing. This keynote of reflection was given by the Master when he said, “I can of mine own self do nothing.” Mrs. Eddy once expressed this same thought to a student when she said, “As Mary Baker Eddy I am the weakest of mortals. As the Discoverer of Christian Science I am the bone and sinew of the world.”
For many years the comic section of a certain Sunday paper portrayed a character called Caspar Milquetoast. His activities were followed with interest by both young and old because he was set forth as a man with such a negative, fearful mind, so lacking in self-assertiveness, that he was afraid of everything and everybody. Caspar Milquetoast represented a type that is despised and rejected of men. He never offered the slightest resistance to anything done against him, seeming more like a frightened rabbit than a human being. It could not help but build up the self-confidence of any man to read about him, since one would unconsciously feel, “Well, I have more stamina than that, thank God!”
The world admires a man who is forceful, dominant, and self-confident. Its ideal is one who has such self-command through a strong human will, that he is ready to meet all circumstances, fight all battles and be sufficient unto himself. But, the fact remains that if one desires to reflect the dominance of spiritual power he must first relinquish all human dominance, all reliance on the human mind, education, intellect, acumen, etc., until, like a little child, he is ready to say, “Lord, save us; we perish.” It must have been this attainment in the Master that Isaiah prophesied would be despised and rejected of men – not his attainment of spiritual power, but his relinquishment of all human aid in preparation for reflecting spiritual power.
Caspar Milquetoast does not portray a spiritual ideal, but he does hint at the condition which was the Master’s as well as Mary Baker Eddy’s preparation for reflection. The New Testament records instances that prove this point where, when the Master seemed to lose his hold upon God, he remained in a humanly empty condition, helpless and weak for the time being. In the case of Mrs. Eddy there were many times when her students were privileged to see how she functioned when she seemed temporarily bereft of divine help.
It is understandable that there were students who, not comprehending the situation, were greatly disturbed when they saw the one whom they were endeavoring to follow, seem to falter in her journey. Many of them, through a sense of loyalty, vowed never to disclose to the world that such a thing ever happened to Mrs. Eddy. Yet once when she was overtaken in this way she declared, “Whatever spiritualizes our thought is for our spiritual growth. The world need not jest because I am thus for I am being disciplined. If I call it sickness it will be that, but when I understand what it means, it becomes to me what the Scripture saith, ‘Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.’”
The picture of our Leader, helpless without God, which some students have sought to hide from the world, is most valuable to refute the suggestion of animal magnetism that the preparation for reflection is human fullness rather than human emptiness, and that Mrs. Eddy’s spirituality was a matter of accretion rather than reflection and unfoldment. Christian Science teaches that man inflates himself for vanity, and deflates himself for reflection. The nothingness of man without God must precede the greatness of man with God.
If man operates with a human backbone called the human will, it is obvious that he must lose faith in that human prop and extract it before he can gain a spiritual backbone. Yet, during this process there will be an intermediate stage where the human prop is being discarded, and spiritual strength has not yet been attained. Jesus indicated this state by his words, “…I do nothing of myself.” When spiritual strength begins to flood in, however, you do not see that humanly spineless condition unless temporarily divine reflection seems to be clouded; since functioning under the consciousness of divine reflection, man walks the earth as a representative of God, equipped with infinite power.
A radical reliance on God requires a gradual relinquishment of reliance on all other trusts. This precludes the possibility of His demands ever becoming popular, since they require a withdrawal from much that makes a man respected in this world, in order to reflect God. When divine reflection becomes apparent, however, the world stands ready to applaud one for the results of that reflection; but the preparation for reflection, which calls for self-immolation, is, and always will be, despised and rejected by the worldly-minded.
The Bible declares, “For my strength is made perfect in weakness.” It is through a weakening sense of mortal mind that man gains a stronger and stronger sense of divine Mind. Then, when Mrs. Eddy seemed to lose God, what would one find but a picture of human weakness? Let it not be thought, however, that such a state represented anything but the finest kind of courage, strength and fearlessness; since, when man seems to lose God, it requires the highest sense of courageousness and strength for one to determine that he or she will remain helpless and defenseless, will not turn back to the human mind, the enemy of God, for temporary help and support, but will wait until the consciousness of God’s presence and power once more floods in and resurrects thought to its normal point of spiritual poise and power.
The 53rd chapter of Isaiah appears to be a description of the preparation, purification and chastening necessary to reflect the infinite power of Mind. This preliminary state is offensive to mortal man because it marks a breaking up of that which constitutes his very ego, built up by feeding it with a sense of his own sagacity, intelligence and adequacy. Preparation for reflection forbids self-aggrandizement. It is true that it is scientifically impossible even to conceive of either the Master or Mrs. Eddy as reflectors of God separated from God. Yet if their experience is accepted and considered without this supposition, one who would follow in their footsteps is left without the understanding of what his own human preparation must be in order to reflect God.
It is possible to say that when the Master came to the grave of Lazarus he illustrated this point. That is, by his very words he showed that, united to God he had no doubt as to the ultimate fulfillment of his scientific knowledge of the truth, in awakening his friend from the dream of death. Yet, for a moment he let go of God and lost this triumphant sense; a fact we can deduce from this simple assertion, “Jesus wept.” The lesson valuable to learn from the account is, that as Christ Jesus he could raise the dead; but as Jesus, he was like other mortals susceptible to weeping because apparently he had lost a dear friend. How like our Leader’s experience this was, when Lady Dunmore called on her after the death of Lord Dunmore. Even while telling her to know it was a great victory, she wept with her!
The Master had already put into operation the spiritual understanding which he knew would correctly work out the problem for Lazarus; yet, when he momentarily relinquished this thought in order to let God work, he was left in an intermediate condition, as it were, where he was subject to the temptation to believe in a human separation between his friend and himself. Thus he showed that at that time his demonstrating thought was something which he could operate under necessity, but that he had not yet embodied it as a permanent part of his mental equipment. He had it still to maintain and retain. The sharpness of the possibility of the loss of his dearest friend could overshadow it momentarily. The complete demonstration, where he never again could yield to a human suggestion, lay before him to be made.
In his treatment of the sick the Christian Scientist puts into operation the omnipotent power of God, by knowing that the patient is not sick, never has been sick, and never could be sick, since the perfection of man as God’s idea is never invaded by discord. When he has completed his treatment, there may be an interim before the power of Life has resurrected the sick one, who may be one beloved of the practitioner. At such a point he might momentarily weep to see the one he loves lying in the bed so worn, so helpless, so apparently in the grip of error. He has already put into operation the truth which, when he declared it, he knew would make him free. Yet, it would be a greater attainment for the healer to be able to maintain such a continuous realization of the truth that the suggestion of what it would mean to him if the loved one should pass on, could not come to his thought.
The Bible indicates that in the case of Lazarus, Jesus temporarily acknowledged the error under what might be termed the greatest temptation that could be brought to bear, namely, the contemplation of the loss of a loved one. Yet, when it came to his final demonstration on the cross, he was able with confidence to let animal magnetism do its worst. It was just as if he permitted a steamroller to pass over him, and then rose up unharmed by the experience. He was able to maintain an uninterrupted recognition of Life as real and death as only a dream. Mrs. Eddy once referred to it as the “wave of error calling itself death.” She said, “I think it has been my great aspiration that the wave of error calling itself death, should not pass over me. I see this morning that this aspiration, this thought of itself is an error, in that it builds up the belief that there is something to fight, something to overcome, and thus it fosters fear. What if this wave does seem to engulf me, the opposite fact that it does not is the Truth, and by this seeming I am not changed, not harmed, for nothing can ever have any power to affect us. This view removes fear, and removes the aspiration, and shows me that by this means I am doing more towards conquering, more to keep off the wave. We need not take up arms against a shadow when it is clear to us that it is a shadow.”
In the days of the horse it was necessary to occasionally sharpen his teeth in his old age, so that he might be able to chew his food properly. Otherwise he would have to swallow it whole. What would be said of the follower of the Master who did not have a mental perception sharp enough to break up or analyze his experience as a representative of God, and distinguish between Jesus and the Christ, between the spiritualized channel and what flowed through the channel from God? Jesus did not expect his followers to accept him blindly or thoughtlessly. He said, “Eat; this is my body, which is broken (explained) for you.” Mrs. Eddy once explained “eating my flesh” as looking “always to Spirit – not matter – for everything.”
Unthinking worship would set the Master apart as a miracle man, thus practically rendering his example of non-effect, since no one could follow it from that point of view. But to analyze him as if he were separated from God – even though this supposition is contrary to possibility – is to open the way for all to follow in his footsteps, and to gain the same reflection of God that enabled him to do his mighty works.
When Mrs. Eddy for the time being seemed to lose her hold on God, her students had the opportunity to learn a lesson of immense value; because they were enabled to perceive that which provided the correct and highest attitude of mind in reflecting God, namely, the entire repudiation of the human mind. This vital knowledge is necessary to the advancing pilgrim, but it is not gained by those who accept Mrs. Eddy’s experience, or the Master’s thoughtlessly, and without a scientific effort to analyze their life-work. People go into ecstasies over what these two spiritual heroes have accomplished, yet that attitude prevents them from realizing that their achievement was what God did through them. Thoughtless hero worship would cause some students to turn away from the picture of Mrs. Eddy which Mr. Gilman has presented, wishing it might be suppressed, because it does not set forth a Mary Baker Eddy who coincides with what the human mind demands in one whom it elects to deify and worship.
Christian Science states that in order to reflect God man must become a fool for Christ’s sake, as St. Paul writes in his first epistle to the Corinthians. He must relinquish everything he has accepted that has been offered by the human mind to build him up. No mortal would relish this necessity unless he could see the great value of the final goal of reflecting God. Many a farmer has been unwilling to give up his horse for a tractor, because he could not perceive the superior value of the latter over the former. Man is unwilling to give up a poor tool until he realizes that in its place he will receive a good one. In the choice between the human mind and divine Mind no man would hesitate, however, if he was sufficiently freed from mesmerism to perceive the fleeting and finite nature of one, and the reality and permanency of the other.
When, at rare intervals, Mrs. Eddy exhibited to the students the selflessness that enabled her to reflect divine Mind, by appearing to be humanly helpless without God’s aid, it offended some who did not understand. They would prefer to overlook or forget such circumstances, unless they had the spiritual perception and insight to appreciate that she was revealing that which was a necessary part of her equipment as the Revelator to this age – to be nothing apart from God. A Christian Scientist may talk glibly about his being nothing apart from God, but it takes love, courage and consecration to follow it out in practice. It means being evil spoken of, and at times presenting a picture to the world that is considered humanly undesirable.
In a Masonic Order there is a member who is considered to be a very fine public speaker. Yet, the very first time he arose to his feet and said a few words, the brothers could not refrain from laughter, he presented such a ludicrous picture. Nevertheless he did not let this ridicule deter him although pride would have kept him silent after such an exhibition. He seized the next opportunity to speak, and was again greeted with laughter. But his persistence in the face of ridicule and apparent failure won him his present place of esteem and recognized ability. Today, he is in constant demand at Masonic meetings, and they are justly proud of him.
The very phase of our Leader’s life which some students would overlook and endeavor to keep hidden, was what disclosed the secret of sonship to those who had the eye to see. When those in her home saw her in a negative and fearful state of mind, because she refused to resort to the error which she had decried as man’s chief enemy – namely, the human will – to sustain her until the spirit of God was renewed in her, they were privileged to see the searchlight without the light shining. Like the aforementioned member of the Masons whose inability helped to make him such a fine speaker, she was finding her strength made perfect in weakness.
The writer is not stressing this point in connection with Mrs. Eddy’s experience because it occurred frequently. But occur it did, and we can be grateful that the Leader of our Cause demonstrated her own revelation in such a way that, through it is disclosed the possibility of all following in her footsteps; a thing which would not be considered possible had her experience shown an uninterrupted reflection of God, or embodiment of the Christ idea. This same valuable point, − that the Christ idea is impersonal and hence, available to all, − may be deduced from the Master’s words as recorded in the gospel of John where, speaking of life, he said, “I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”
The writer was for years a friend of Adolph Stevenson, who for a time was Mrs. Eddy’s coachman. Once she wrote him a formal note, stating that his barber had cut his hair too high on the back of his neck. She sent a mirror with the note, indicating that he might use it to see for himself the poor work the barber had done. The question might arise, why mention such a triviality as a poor haircut; much less go to the trouble to write a formal note about it?
Mary Baker Eddy was a metaphysician and consistently perceived everything from the standpoint of Mind, in harmony with her own statement on page 24 of Retrospection and Introspection, that in 1866 she gained the scientific certainty that every effect was a mental phenomenon. Thus this simple incident, when rightly interpreted and understood, offers a key that will unlock our Leader’s whole life experience. One who can perceive the true significance involved in this letter of rebuke is surely being prepared to understand her whole life. Contrariwise, if one cannot see any significance in it from a metaphysical standpoint, her life must forever remain an enigma to him, contradictory and inconsistent, with no clue to disclose the unity between her revelation and her own personal demonstration of that revelation. To such a one it will appear that she denied matter in theory, and then gave it the utmost attention in her own private life, standing ready at all times to rebuke students in an apparently unloving way for the slightest deviation from perfection in caring for the material side of her life and home.
The first step in unfolding this small incident is to repeat the statement from page 182 of the Christian Science textbook, “The demands of God appeal to thought only….” In declaring that all causation is mental Mrs. Eddy explains that mortal man lives in a dream world where the material senses merely throw back to him his own thoughts objectified in symbolic shadows. The action of mortal thought, or mesmerism, in creating an objectified dream world for mortal man in order to separate him from God, she calls animal magnetism. By this term she refers to that which has no real existence, but appears as the modus of evil operating in the affairs of man. When through the action of Truth the student endeavors to overthrow this false claim, it attempts to defend itself against its own annihilation by aggressive means, and this aggravation she calls malicious animal magnetism.
To our Leader the action of thought was all-important, since, to her, thought was cause. In the writer’s first interview with her she related an incident that took place when the roof of The Mother Church was being constructed. It seems that no rain fell for many weeks, giving the roofers ample opportunity to do their work uninterruptedly. But one morning the maid reported to Mrs. Eddy that the milkman said he could bring no more milk, since his well was almost dry and the cows did not have enough water to drink. The next morning, however, he came as usual, saying that during the night the well had been replenished, although no rain had fallen. Then he wanted to know if they were witches or prophets in Mrs. Eddy’s home. Mrs. Eddy turned to the writer and said in explanation, “Oh, Mr. Carpenter! Isn’t God good! Oh, trust in the dear, good God!” To him this seemed a present-day fulfillment of the words of Scripture (II Kings 3:17), “For thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.”
I was impressed by the fact that she did not speak of this incident as a specific demonstration that she made, nor did she bring herself into it in any way. This proved to me that, unlike her followers, she was able to live daily such a spiritual thought, that merely to apprise her of a need was enough to cause that need to be met without a conscious thought or argument on her part. The ordinary conception of demonstration involves the necessity for mentally climbing to the spiritual altitude where one reflects divine power each time a need is presented. Our Leader lived in that altitude so habitually that the moment she was told of a problem her spiritual thought acted automatically to meet it. She knew the truth without conscious effort. Then the harmony that was expressed in a supply of water without rain, which might have spoiled the demonstration in the roofing of The Mother Church, was the manifestation of her overflowing spiritual thought.
Similarly, her coachman’s poor haircut was the expression of the surplus of his material thinking, and this became an offence to Mrs. Eddy. Had he maintained the attitude of thought she required of her household, then the haircut would have manifested it. It would have been acceptable to Mrs. Eddy, and a proof that he was alert to the importance of keeping a scientific thought in every direction. She knew that her students would be awake to the necessity of spiritual right thinking when they were sick or depressed, or when she called on them for special work; but at other times they needed her watchful supervision, since their thoughts might descend to the human level where they would become an open door for animal magnetism, which in turn might reach her. A good housekeeper goes the rounds during a rainstorm to see if all the windows are shut. To our Leader, the students in her home were like windows, and she had to be sure they were shut against the entrance of error, especially when there was a storm raging in the mental realm.
To an advanced student, the demonstration of even such a trivial thing as a haircut, is as much the manifestation in a degree of a scientific consciousness as would be the healing of a cancer, and offers an opportunity to establish that Mind which was also in Christ Jesus. Would not Mrs. Eddy be justified in rebuking her coachman if he was slothful in demonstration when it came to some claim of sickness? She was equally justified, and scientifically correct, in rebuking him for a failure in demonstration where a haircut was concerned. Through her spiritual sensitivity she detected that his thought had sunk to a material level, and any thought in her service that was on a material level became a channel for animal magnetism which she could not tolerate, since it involved a belief in the absence of God.
If one should ask why Mrs. Eddy did not rebuke him directly for unscientific thinking, rather than try to handle the situation by criticizing his haircut, it can be said that such was her custom. She rebuked effect in order to call attention to error in cause, just as a mother will rebuke her child for a sticky mouth because it has stolen jam. If the students in her home were alert enough to take the hint, they profited from it. If they were too dull of comprehension to trace from effect back to cause, to rebuke cause directly would do no good anyway. Furthermore, years of experience had taught Mrs. Eddy not to divulge her secret promiscuously – not even to trusted servants and students – lest the enemy learn it and use it against her. And what was this secret but the fact that her years of consecration to good had made her so spiritually sensitive that she needed protection in every direction from animal magnetism? Her food, her clothes, the housekeeping, in fact all the minutiae of her daily life, if not infused with the spirit of God, became a channel through which animal magnetism might reach her.
Another explanation of this point might be that Mrs. Eddy’s home was a spiritual gymnasium, where she taught students how to exercise their spiritual muscles in preparation for the course in Divinity which she promised to teach to all who came to her home (See Church Manual, page 68). What is the course in Divinity but being taught of God? Thus, Mrs. Eddy could not teach it directly; but she could prepare students for it. In her home this preparation was provided through her insistence that even the most menial and simple tasks be done through demonstration. Yet she refrained from telling students this fact. Perhaps she realized that if it became known what a priceless privilege students were receiving in her home, it would bring down on their heads an added pressure of envy and jealousy, and also cause unworthy students to strive by subtle means to become members of her household.
Further light on the episode of the haircut may be had by realizing that, if a man is imbued with a strong enough desire to learn how to sing, he will find himself singing or humming at every opportunity, − even when in the barber’s chair. Instead of utterly relaxing at such a time and letting his mind wander, as most men do, he will take advantage even of that moment to place his voice and hum the melody of some piece he is trying to learn, so great will be his desire to become a fine singer. Mrs. Eddy knew that if her students were truly imbued with the divine purpose to spiritualize their thinking, in order to be of the greatest protection and value to her and to the Cause, they would not wait for specific opportunities to arouse them to spiritual activity. On the contrary, they would be alert to take advantage of every opportunity. Even sitting in the barber’s chair they would endeavor to spiritualize thought relative to every phase of human existence, and thus would be spared the drunkenness of thought that usually follows an unguarded period of utter mental relaxation.
Mortal mind constantly puts the cart before the horse, effect before cause, the lesser ahead of the greater. This delusion would make mind subordinate to matter and thus, in belief, rob man of his God-given rights of dominion over the earth. On page 186 of Science and Health we read, “If mortal mind knew how to be better, it would be better. Since it must believe in something besides itself, it enthrones matter as deity.” When one would escape from this bondage of belief and re-establish his God-given powers of divine reflection, his greatest enemy is found to be the action of animal magnetism which would constantly belittle his consciousness of himself as a representative of God, through the evidence of effect, or matter, as operating beyond the possibility of his controlling it harmoniously. If he yields to this suggestion, he is temporarily robbed of the right sense of himself. This action of animal magnetism in its effort to subjugate the spirit of man resembles the methods used to break the spirit of a wild horse, or perhaps the third degree used to force confessions from suspected criminals. If the wild horse should seek to regain and rebuild his native spirit of independence and freedom, he would find it necessary to resist all that would tend to tame his spirit. If the one undergoing the third degree knows he is innocent, he must resist the action of that which would destroy his morale.
Mrs. Eddy was engaged in recapturing her divine status as a child of God reflecting limitless divine power, and in seeking to show the world how this may be done. In this work it was necessary for her to detect and rebuke every effort of animal magnetism to encroach upon her free thought. It must be understood that this attempted encroachment operates through the testimony of man’s material senses, as well as through aggressive mental suggestion, just as a wild horse is tamed through suffering inflicted by a whip or rope until he is willing to be obedient in return for the love and care given him. No phase of human experience is so insignificant that it can be neglected as one seeks to oppose the siege animal magnetism lays to his spiritual thought. If Mrs. Eddy detected the action of animal magnetism through the food which was served to her, or in the haircut of her coachman, that called for decisive attention. The mother who rebukes her child for a sticky mouth, is not disturbed by the sticky mouth, but because the child has stolen jam. Mrs. Eddy was not disturbed by the poor haircut, but because it exposed to her the fact that Mr. Stevenson had yielded to the action of animal magnetism in its effort to rob him of his spiritual thought.
Any act of man, any outward happening, if it is the expression of animal magnetism, is proof that error has been at work successfully to rob man of his spiritual consciousness. Mrs. Eddy’s knowledge of this fact is shown in the following statement she made, “(Animal magnetism) is a myth; it has no existence. Now what is there about it to be afraid of? (But it must be denied.) The claim of its existence, power, laws and works must be proven false. If you seem ill, handle animal magnetism. If your joy is lost, handle animal magnetism. If your horse runs away, handle animal magnetism. If you stub your toe, if your house is on fire, handle animal magnetism.” Such small incidents and accidents signify nothing to one who is not a metaphysician and whose thought is habitually on the level of mortal mind; but to one engaged in spiritual reflection or leadership, as was Mrs. Eddy, they are of the utmost importance in gauging the ebb and flow of thought. If one owned fabulous gems and had a small alarm that would ring if the watchman should be absent from his post, the sounding of that alarm would be of great importance in the task of protecting those jewels. Mrs. Eddy’s pearl of great price was the presence of the Christ idea, or the spirit of God. When this protective wing was in danger, whatever exposed to her that fact was of the utmost value.
To her, the coachman’s poor haircut was evidence of a state of thought in him that was balanced on the side of the human mind, and indicated an open door through which animal magnetism might reach her. Hence, it was a loophole she must close at once.
You might hear a tiny tick in a package delivered to you by a postman and rightly conclude that it was a time bomb sent by some enemy to endanger the lives of your family. Mrs. Eddy could detect by such a small matter as a poor haircut that her coachman had yielded to the material atmosphere which is to be found in barbershops; and that he had brought the aroma of it home with him. It might seem a small thing, yet human thinking can be as dangerous to spiritual thought and life as a bomb to one’s human existence. It is evident from such incidents in Mrs. Eddy’s life that the future of the Cause often depended on her spiritual alertness, and that it was repeatedly protected and saved by her.
The sound of some tiny animal gnawing might indicate the presence of a mouse in your home. You set a trap for it, because you know it might destroy things of great value. When Mrs. Eddy detected signs of the mouse of human thought, she set a trap to catch it, lest it commit depredations on the pearl of great price, which she had pledged before God to protect at all cost. Part of this protection was to require her students to use demonstration in every direction. In this way she trained them to rule out mortal mind. She knew that there was no other way by which one could permanently establish the one Mind except by taking advantage of every opportunity to use it. No child will ever learn good manners unless it practices them at all times. Merely to use them when there are guests will never achieve the desired result.
Metaphysics shows that even a small thing like a haircut can be either the expression of human thought, or demonstrated good. Hence, Mrs. Eddy’s rebuke to Mr. Stevenson was intended to rouse his thought to a demonstration that would cause him to wake up and re-establish the spiritual thought which she so needed to help sustain her spiritual morale. She detected that he had relaxed into that negative state of thought which is wide open to mesmerism of mortal mind’s falsity, and so often attends a session in the barber’s chair. Perhaps pride had caused him to boast a little to those in the shop of the fact that he was the coachman to such a great lady as Mrs. Eddy, or to tell a little gossip about her. But if going to the barber’s meant a descent into worldly thinking for her coachman, Mrs. Eddy expected him to make the demonstration not to bring any part of that world back with him to Chestnut Hill, to contaminate the pure mental atmosphere she required in which to function under the spirit of God. Furthermore, as the natural teacher she could not withhold the rebuke God required her to give to all error.
The right appreciation of this incident is a key which will unlock the understanding of Mrs. Eddy’s whole life. Whatever indicated the conscious or unconscious control of any of her students by mortal mind had to be rebuked, and often sharply, in order that a change of thought might immediately be effected. How could she permit anything in her life or environment to be a channel for animal magnetism, when she knew that its ultimate purpose was to rob her of her spiritual thought through which came the divine power, as well as the wisdom which enabled her to found and guide the great Cause of Christian Science?
To take every channel in her home and put God back of it was to feel the resuscitating power of Truth flowing in to bless. In this effort she could not afford to neglect one single detail, no matter how minute it seemed to be. Once she said to the students in the home, “All little things must be overcome. Then we rise above substance matter; and that includes sin, sickness, death. We must overcome all little things as well as large. I pray and watch in the little details; someone must, as good is expressed in the minutiae of things.”
When the Master detected that the temple was in the hands of animal magnetism, even though the outward form of worship was still being observed, he took his whip of small cords (i.e. his spiritually active thinking with its manifestation in rebukes) and drove out the error of materiality, that had crept into the thought of the church through the little details. The whip of small cords indicated that he was giving attention to the minutiae, the small errors to which they were blind. Had the error been connected with the more prominent phases of the church thought, it would have been their problem because of their awareness of it. Here we find him doing what our Leader did, rebuking cause through effect, in order that divine Mind might once more be expressed through the temple. Had he found even such a small offence as a poor haircut, he would have included it and cast it out, if it indicated poor thinking. Similarly, Mrs. Eddy whipped out every channel in her home that did not carry inspiration. Her whip of sharp rebukes often seemed to reflect on her Christian character and loving nature, as Mr. Gilman points out in his diary. Yet, she was impelled by God to use it, because her mission as Founder and Teacher could not tolerate one channel that might prove an open door to the entrance of animal magnetism. She was like a good music teacher who will not permit a pupil to make even one tiny mistake in playing a piece. She knew that all that the human mind ever deserves from Truth is a sharp rebuke.
Another point in connection with Mrs. Eddy’s rebukes is the fact that she could tell a great deal about a student’s mental state by the way he took a rebuke. A thought chastened and humbled would reveal this fact by the way it reacted under rebuke. It is possible that at times Mrs. Eddy rebuked students in order to determine if they were functioning as they should. At the time God led her to stop the work on the pictures in Christ and Christmas, it was obvious that Mr. Gilman was not in a good mental condition from the spiritual standpoint. Later he regained his demonstrating level and the work was resumed.
In his diary Mr. Gilman indicates that he found spiritual analysis necessary when he thought Mrs. Eddy was being unchristian in her sharp rebukes. The writer of this introduction often experienced these rebukes, and found spiritual perception necessary in order to see that she was functioning under spiritual demands that were above the comprehension of the human mind. She was acting consistently under the law of Love, even at those times when to human sense she seemed lacking in love. Her sharp rebukes as well as her seemingly undue attention to trivialities simply show the extreme care that was necessary to preserve her spiritual thinking from invasion by the foe. In this she exhibited not only love but unselfishness, since it was for the purpose of blessing all humanity and bringing it the way of salvation that she struggled to maintain her spiritual poise and faith in God.
Never did Mrs. Eddy exhibit more spirituality than when she detected with unerring skill, the attempt of animal magnetism to invade her atmosphere through channels which mortal mind would consider too insignificant to notice. In this she resembled the small boy who saw a small stream of water flowing through a hole in a dike in Holland. Instead of ignoring the small trickle of water, he kept his finger in the hole all night until help came. In this way he prevented the stream from increasing to the point where the whole countryside might have been inundated.
Humanly one might be tempted to criticize Mrs. Eddy for her sharp rebukes. Spiritually one would seek to understand the motivation of her life, as God will ever unfold it to the receptive and hungry heart. She knew that the solution for the problem of life must lie in cause rather than in effect; but as long as mortal mind deceived man into paying attention to effect, loving it, fearing it, looking to it for happiness and worshipping it, what chance would he have to rise above it to cause and find the simple solution awaiting him?
In Genesis we read of the offerings brought before the Lord by Cain and Abel – one the fruit of the ground and the other a firstling of the flock. Judging by effect it would be no more possible to detect why one was spiritually acceptable and the other was not, than it would be possible by examining two diamond rings presented to a young lady, to detect which one was offered by a man with honorable intentions, and which one by a man with a base intent. It would be necessary in each case to trace from effect back to cause, from the offering back to the thought of the one making the offering. The subsequent murder of Abel by Cain revealed that when the latter offered the fruit of the ground to the Lord, the human mind alone was back of his offering, since the human mind is a murderer from the beginning – that is, it holds murder within it as a latent possibility.
This Biblical incident teaches that human thinking is always the enemy of the spiritual idea, waiting to kill it whenever and wherever it appears. In Revelation 12:4 we read, “…the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” When Mrs. Eddy through her spiritual sense, detected human thinking back of any offering brought to her by her students – from driving her horses to guarding the home, and from preparing meals to cleaning her room – she would not accept the offering, and exercised sharp rebukes, seeking to have the service offered to her an expression of good only. When it was, she was fulsome in her praise and appreciation. The Lord had not respect unto Cain’s offering, no matter how good it appeared on the surface. Human thinking always contains the deadly purpose to destroy the infant Christ being born in human consciousness. Mrs. Eddy was pledged before God to guard the Christ idea, and she knew that its enemy was mortal mind.
The world judges evil and sin by effect. Christian Science goes to the bottom of mental action, as Science and Health says, and classifies sin according to cause. It stands ready to condemn the fruit of the ground no matter how good it may appear to be on the surface, if back of it is mortal mind. If it is the expression of animal magnetism, it must be rejected. When Mrs. Eddy rebuked her cook, Minnie Weygandt, because she put too little or too much salt in the food, threatening to hold back her wages, this was only her way of expressing the fact that she felt the destructive intent latent in thought which Minnie, not detecting, had not cast out in preparing the food. This may sound like a fanciful proposition to the human mind, an ingenious way of justifying irritability in the Leader of the Christian Science Movement, but it takes a metaphysician to understand the life of another metaphysician. The murder, or fear Mrs. Eddy felt behind the food offered her by Minnie was not a thought intent on killing her physically, but killing her spiritual thought. Herod’s wanton destruction of every baby two years old and under in his effort to kill the infant Jesus, typified the innate purpose that is always present in all mortal thinking to kill out spiritual thinking. Every metaphysician knows that anyone who is controlled by mortal thinking is controlled by that which forever waits to destroy the seed of the woman, the spiritual idea, or Christ. If our Leader was not unerringly sensitive to the thought back of the food that was served to her, why did she write to Minnie the following note: “Dear Minnie: Do not think of me; keep your mind fixed on God. Take no thought about my food. It only wastes thought to dwell on matter. Affectionately, M. B. Eddy”? Why, when Mrs. Joseph Armstrong was cooking for her did she say to her, “Mary, do you love me?” “Yes, Mother,” was the reply. “Then I wish you would put a little more of it into my cornmeal mush.”
At one time a Christian Scientist in Arkansas sent Mrs. Eddy as a gift the finest span of horses he could buy. They cost ten thousand dollars and were blue ribbon winners. She returned the horses and was reported in the Boston Herald to have stated that they were a pair of devils sent to kill her! How ungrateful and unchristian she appeared to the human mind based on this report! Yet she detected the poison of mortal thinking, which in its last analysis is merely the absence of spiritual thinking, which had not been extracted from the thought of the donor. She saw that the gift carried animal magnetism which would strike at her spiritual thought. Hence the beautiful offering was not acceptable to her spiritually alert sense and had to be returned.
It must be understood that to Mrs. Eddy evil was evil because of cause, − which was indicated by effect. There was nothing in the food served to her which she refused that was bad. There was nothing in the span of horses which was bad per se, but they were the expression of human thinking, which is the enemy of the Christ. Mrs. Eddy’s spiritual perception was never deceived by the apparent harmlessness of the outward manifestation. She detected cause, and if cause was not right, she required action and correction until it became so. She knew that sour milk will spoil whatever food it is mixed with, unless its acidity is neutralized. Usually soda is used for this purpose. Similarly the soda of divine Mind is needed to neutralize the destructive effects of the carnal mind, until the belief in a mind apart from God is destroyed.
Lest one think that our Leader was lacking in the graces, it must be said that she took valuable time out of every day to write letters solely to thank students who ministered to her in simple ways. She was a leader in setting this pace, showing how important it is for Christian Scientists to show appreciation at all times for all service that is rendered to them, − even the humblest. Thus, although Mrs. Eddy made the comment as given about the span of horses, she did not know that it was going to be made public through some untrustworthy channel. She, therefore, required Alfred Farlow, Committee on Publication, to state in the Boston Herald for September 1, 1906: “Mrs. Eddy’s secretary and also her driver declare (in fact, Mrs. Eddy herself has told me) that she has never ridden behind the new horses; that her driver tried them and decided that they were not adapted to her drives, and so informed Mrs. Eddy; whereupon she decided not to use them. While she appreciated Mr. Temple’s kindness and accepted the beautiful horses out of courtesy to him, she had from the first been really too well satisfied with the pair which she has been driving for several years to give them up for the new ones, and she gave Tattersall and Eckersall back to Mr. Temple.”
Mrs. Eddy did not intend her sharp comment to be known; yet today it becomes a blessing, because it aids all students in understanding her point of view and how unerringly she perceived the thought back of things. She foresaw that if she drove about Concord behind such a span of horses – blue ribbon winners that were nationally famous – it would subject her to criticism and notoriety that might seriously interfere with her peace of mind and impair her spiritual thought. She unerringly detected the thought back of the gift; yet she did all and more than the occasion called for to express her gratitude. We learn from a letter dated May 14, 1906 which was published in the Concord Patriot, that she sent a telegram to Mr. Temple which read: “Your magnificent gift, the span of beautiful bay horses, arrived safely. As seen from my window, they are perfectly exquisite. Accept my deep-down thanks for your kindness and generosity.” The letter goes on to say, “It is but just to Mrs. Eddy to state that the pride of possession has never entered her thought. Not a word regarding the horses has been made public by her. On the contrary, she was much embarrassed when she learned the widespread advertising that had been given this simple, unostentatious act of a Southern gentleman.” In this letter she is quoted as having said, “I should not feel right to drive behind such handsome and expensive horses when I should pass those who were perhaps suffering for the necessities of life.”
When she uncovered to her inner circle of students the lack of constructive thinking back of the gift of this pair of horses, Mrs. Eddy taught a priceless lesson to them, but error must have worked through one who heard what she said. He became a traitor, because he made public a comment that was only intended for the ears of those who could profit by it, and thereby gave animal magnetism a chance to assert that she was entirely lacking in appreciation, − a quality most needed by all Christian Scientists, which was most fully expressed by Mrs. Eddy herself. The writing of countless letters of thanks took her valuable time from what one might think were more important matters; but they always contained a scientific blessing, even when at times the gifts seemed too insignificant to deserve such attention. She rated them, however, by the love they expressed, not by their intrinsic value.
In commenting on the horses privately she gave her students a needed lesson when she rebuked a lack of spiritual thought back of a beautiful manifestation; publicly she acknowledged the humanly kind thought expressed by the gift. When students sent her gifts that lacked divine Love and its supporting thought, that left room for mortal mind to take advantage of the channel. The horses, therefore, became devils sent to kill her, not because the donor had any such conscious thought but because he sent something which, not being a channel for divine Mind, could be used by the enemy for Mrs. Eddy’s destruction.
Sometimes among animals a mother will desert her young. The error in that of course is that the young die because of the lack of support. The Apostle Peter’s sin when he denied the Master was one of omission rather than commission. The Master needed his mental support. His error was not so much in his denial as in the withdrawal of his spiritual support, since, if the Master had been weak in his demonstration, it might have resulted in involuntary death instead of voluntary, which would have been equivalent to murder.
The Japanese nation once sent some plants as gifts to this country; but because they were not properly examined, they introduced the Japanese beetle, which has since destroyed billions of dollars worth of fruit trees. Had Mrs. Eddy declared the gift of these plants to be a devil sent to ruin the fruit trees in this country, she would have been universally ridiculed and condemned. It is true that the Japanese had no intention of doing such a dreadful thing, but they were responsible and the result was devastating.
You might send an empty freight car to a manufacturer as an accommodation, and en route gangsters might break in and steal a ride. When the manufacturer opened the car he might be shot. The very thing you sent to him in kindness might cause you to be considered a murderer. If anyone feels that Mrs. Eddy was ungrateful in refusing undemonstrated offerings from her friends and students when she knew that animal magnetism was back of them, let him ask himself, “Would I not feel that a girl was justified in refusing a diamond ring offered by a man with dishonorable intentions, and giving him a sharp rebuke that was calculated to awaken him to see the error lurking in his thought?”
If Cain represents human thinking, or animal magnetism, then if Mrs. Eddy detected Cain back of anything in her experience, she gave the needful rebuke either mentally or audibly. When she did it audibly in the privacy of her own home, she ran the risk of being misunderstood, especially when she rebuked that which, according to human standards, did not merit such a rebuke.
A fiction writer portrays a famous detective searching for stolen gems. The thief being cornered places them in the pocket of an innocent man. How surprised the latter is when gems about which he knew nothing are discovered in his pocket! Mrs. Eddy was a spiritual detective watching out for Cain as the one enemy of her most precious possession, her spiritual thought. She stood ready to rebuke, resist and destroy Cain wherever and whenever she found him. But imagine the surprise of some of her students when she rebuked them for harboring and manifesting Cain, when they were totally unaware of the fact that they were doing it!
Mrs. Eddy also resembled a detective in the fact that she used outward clues that others would overlook in tracing back to mental crime. She called it a crime for a Christian Scientist to harbor Cain in his thought, and she detected when this crime had been committed by clues and evidence, things that others would consider too trivial or far-fetched to notice. Thus Mr. Stevenson’s poor haircut was a clue sufficient to prove to her that error had used him in some way on his trip to the barbershop.
It is correct to state that Mrs. Eddy rebuked her students, not for sin in the ordinary and accepted meaning of that word, but for yielding to the mesmerism of human thinking. It was as if she rebuked them, not for what they did, but for what they did not do. The world accepts the evil back of temptation as the purpose to get man to do wrong. Christian Science exposes this purpose as an effort to sidetrack man from doing something that he should do, just as a man on an important mission might be sidetracked by friends giving him a good time. Mrs. Eddy knew that when her students were controlled by mortal thought, they were dominated by that which would seek to destroy the spiritual idea in her as well as in them. She watched against such a catastrophe. Her task, however, was made more difficult by the fact that she was called upon to deliver a rebuke to one who was often unconscious of his or her error.
It was a notable indication of Mrs. Eddy’s spiritual height, proving how close she lived to God, when she was able to detect through the service rendered by her students the quality of their thinking. Mr. Gilman’s reminiscences reveal what an accurate gauge she was able to keep on his thought, largely through the pictures he drew and presented to her for approval. Once she defined the action of animal magnetism to him as producing the pleased-at-nothing, self-complacent thought in its victim. When students manifested a sense of care-free optimism, she knew that that was a sign that they had yielded to the mesmerism of complacent mortal mind of which a physical sense of well-being is so often the outward manifestation. Nothing seemed to disturb our Leader more than to see students manifesting this sense of mental drunkenness, which she told Mr. Gilman, was being self-satisfied and pleased all about – nothing. She knew that this state was more deleterious in robbing man of God than would be the mental state that manifested itself in sickness and suffering.
Mrs. Eddy required that her students maintain an active spiritual thought. This is why she said to Mr. Gilman that ACTION, ACTION, ACTION, was so important. She realized that students would struggle to maintain such activity as long as they thought the occasion required it. A man will struggle to overcome suffering when he is sick. But the vital point that Mrs. Eddy stressed was that the most subtle attack of animal magnetism comes through a sense of human ease, a belief in God’s absence that soothes and puts to sleep.
In this regard the Bible says that there must be a falling away first. Yet, a student will find himself assailed by a sense of discord, and will wonder why he was not conscious of the error when it slipped into his thought. He does not realize that the error gained entrance in the guise of human harmony, having an initial effect like that of drugs. Such a one will rise to the need of establishing a scientific sense of harmony through the recognition of the presence of divine power, when he or she is assailed by discord. Once harmony is made manifest, however, the temptation comes to relax in the thought of a task well done. In this unwatchful state, the student may not be conscious when a sense of human harmony slips in where demonstrated harmony should be, and he may come under the domination of animal magnetism without knowing it. Mrs. Eddy on the other hand, was alert to detect this phenomenon when it took place in her home, and spared no effort to arouse the Christian Scientist to see the seriousness of what had happened.
Error operates by first presenting itself in the guise of human harmony. After the mesmerism has been accepted in that form, its underlying nature soon appears in some phase of discord or sin. When Mrs. Eddy saw the students allowing human harmony to slip in instead of demonstrating divine harmony, she knew she could spare them the next step of finding that human harmony turns into discord, if she could arouse them from lethargy. Christian Scientists are well trained to know what to do in discord; what to do in human harmony is another question. Often when the household seemed peaceful and harmonious, Mrs. Eddy would suddenly create what seemed an unnecessary stir. She would call in the whole household, or one student at a time, and wake them up. Once when she called the writer to her room she thundered at him, “Have you a God?” When he humbly answered in the affirmative, she queried, “Then why don’t you trust in Him?” This rebuke was designed to arouse him from a sense of mental lethargy.
If the acceptance of human ease is the backward step man takes without knowing it that puts him under the mesmeric control of animal magnetism, then this was naturally the point at which Mrs. Eddy gave her most forceful rebukes, in order to keep the students at that high spiritual standpoint which was so needful in their effort to hold up her hands.
If a sense of human harmony is the flower of which human discord is the fruit, Mrs. Eddy might well be called a healer of human harmony in her latter experience. The Master declared, “…and greater works than these shall ye do: because I go unto my Father.” It is plain that the healing of human harmony is a greater work than the healing of human discord, since one likes to be healed of the latter, but often rebels against being healed of the former, and must be vigorously aroused to see such a necessity. The Master was healing the fruit of sin, namely, suffering and discord, when he performed his miracles, at the same time declaring that the healing of the flower of sin, or its co-called ease and pleasure, was a greater work that would come in the fullness of time. This may explain why at a certain point Mrs. Eddy relinquished the healing of disease, and inserted a notice in Science and Health to the effect that the author took no patients and declined medical consultation. She knew that God had called upon her to do the greater works. What is called the therapeutic, or curative, work in Christian Science is a very great attainment and proof of the power of God; but the prophylactic, or preventative, is certainly a greater work. It is in this latter work that gentle methods will not avail, and sharp rebukes are needed, since one is called upon to shake students and stir them, arouse them from this mental drunkenness, this spell cast upon them by animal magnetism, when they would much prefer to drowse. It is like a man ready to drop in a blinding blizzard because he feels a strange sense of warmth stealing over him. His friend, knowing that such a yielding will spell death, imitates a wolf cry. The man, preferring to struggle on rather than to be torn to pieces, makes a supreme effort and reaches the safety of his cabin. Often it would seem as if the cry of animal magnetism Mrs. Eddy put forth was designed to save students from the toils of the adversary in just this way.
Mrs. Eddy exhibited an incisive condemnation of any student who permitted human thoughts and suggestions to permeate the temple of God. Sometimes students would chemicalize because the offering to which Mrs. Eddy’s spiritual sense had not respect, seemed no more deserving of a rebuke than did the offering of Cain. But Mrs. Eddy was faithful to the demands of God upon her. She knew that the most serious error is to be handled by animal magnetism and to be unaware of that fact. Her rebukes went far deeper than the surface, as Mr. Gilman testifies in his diary. If she saw a student mesmerized by a human sense of good, she labored until he or she was once more functioning under a divine sense of good. Human good is dangerous because it most nearly resembles divine good. It is Cain’s offering that appears good to the human senses, but is not acceptable to God because it has the devil back of it. The most important lesson Mrs. Eddy sought to teach her students was to differentiate between human and divine good. She would often break up a sense of human harmony in no uncertain way, knowing that the students were deceived into thinking it was divine harmony. She knew it to be a “Peace, peace; when there is no peace,” like the “eye” of a hurricane where it is so calm that one can light a candle out of doors. There is nothing desirable about such a condition to the one who perceives what it really is. This lesson concerning human harmony was an advanced one for all who were ready for it. No student of the present who desires to demonstrate his own Pleasant View, as Mrs. Eddy did hers, can do so until he has grown to make the separation between what animal magnetism offers as a substitute for divine harmony, and divine harmony itself.
One who is functioning under divine wisdom finds it necessary to oppose and resist a sense of human harmony with the same vigor that he does a sense of human discord, and with even more decisiveness, since the latter is thought-arousing, while the former has a soporific effect, lulling one into a state of mental inactivity, which Mrs. Eddy often referred to as a drunkenness, quoting the Scripture, “Drunken, but not with wine” (Isaiah 51:21). She said, “The drunkenness produced by belief in wine is not to be compared with the drunkenness in thought – mental drunkenness. We are all drunk without wine, in the senses.” Mrs. Eddy would run the risk of incurring the displeasure of her students through her rebukes, rather than sit back and see them duped by this infirmity of evil, namely, a sense of material well-being resulting from the control of animal magnetism. Human ease can be dubbed the acme of human temptation. What a proof of Mrs. Eddy’s spirituality that she was not deceived by this false peace! Nothing but great spiritual growth will ever bring a student to our Leader’s standpoint of active warfare against the encroachment of human harmony or apathy, – belief in God’s absence that suggests satisfaction and pleasure.
So-called material harmony is represented by normal human thinking. Mrs. Eddy discovered that it is mortal man’s normal thinking through which his human destiny operates and leads him to the grave. This destiny acts like a sled that is sliding down a hill in grooves made by thousands of other sleds, which have gone down that same hill. The discords and inharmonies of life might be represented by rust on the runners of the sled that tend to keep it from sliding too freely, and at times even force it out of the groove. From this illustration comes the important question: What is the value of using the power of Truth in Christian Science to overcome the discords of mortal existence, or to remove the rust from the runners of the sled, only to have the sled once more slide down the same old path that leads to the precipice, death? After discords have been overcome, should not the next task be to get the sled out of the old smooth ruts? No wonder Mrs. Eddy was disturbed when she saw her students working hard to remove the rust of human discord, and then letting human harmony lead them down to mortal man’s pre-determined destiny without protest! She saw them accepting so-called normal human thinking without protest because it was soothing to their senses, an acceptance which she knew spelled eventual death. So more than all else she rebelled against and resisted predestined human thinking as the most egregious form of human evil. She knew that mortal man fulfills his human destiny through thoughts of generosity, purity, health, and industry as surely as he does through thoughts of sin, suffering and discord. That which determines man’s human destiny is not the nature of his thinking at any given stage of his experience. His thinking may be harmonious, or it may be discordant. His doom is sealed by the fact that he permits a mind to control him that has its origin in the illusion called animal magnetism. What but the Mind of God can take man out of this seeming dilemma?
Let us suppose that a man possesses two blackboards of thought, one upon which mortal mind writes its erroneous suggestions, the other upon which divine Mind inscribes its own ideas, perfect and eternal. It follows that the task of the Christian Scientist would be to eliminate the former and retain the latter. Even though this supposition of two blackboards is contrary to fact, it was as if in dealing with her students Mrs. Eddy was endeavoring to aid them in this scientific substitution, since she knew that every effort of mortal illusion was a trick intended to tempt man to accept the mortal blackboard, and that the most subtle trick was to write on it thoughts of human harmony, human pleasure and human good.
In order to understand Mrs. Eddy’s spiritual footsteps, it must be perceived that she did not lean in the main on mortal mind as far as physical health and prosperity are concerned, and then turn to the divine Mind when she wanted inspiration, revelation or special help in time of need. She endeavored to rely unreservedly on God so that her very life was dependent upon what flowed into her each day from Him. If this inflow could have been entirely stopped for forty-eight hours, she surely would have passed on. During those times when the inflow seemed shut off, she would seem to fade. This shows why she diagnosed every let-down that she had as the result of murderous thought. She called it mental murder, and ordered that it be so recorded for the benefit of posterity – those who might understand – since such attacks were an attempt to becloud her reflection of Life.
Mrs. Eddy did not have physical health to rely upon in the ordinary sense of that term. Her faithful secretary, Calvin A. Frye, recorded in his diary instances where she seemed to lose her influx of spiritual good. If this illusion had not been dispelled, it would have meant Mrs. Eddy’s demise. This does not mean that her sense of spiritual life was weak, but that her belief of life in matter was waning. As she built up her spiritual sense of man, the material sense of man correspondingly diminished. Therefore, when animal magnetism temporarily robbed her of this spiritual sense of man and her ability to make it real to herself, she had only the rags of her former false sense of self to fall back upon, a self which was fast becoming, as it were, a burned-out and torn-down structure. Surely she had retreated from error’s distorted sense of man to the point where it could not possibly have sustained her without demonstration.
Mrs. Eddy’s crucifixion consisted in taking the human sense of life and eliminating it with such alacrity that it was fast becoming nothing to her. Her resurrection consisted in mentally rising to the real man who was never in matter. Her only hope was the successful attainment of this real consciousness of man and Life. When she was functioning under this spiritual sense of man – as she was the majority of the time – she portrayed the sustaining, impelling, magnificent reflection of man as God’s idea. To come into her presence was to catch a glimpse of the real man. Mr. Gilman records that at one point this experience was overwhelming.
The writer saw a similar phenomenon when it was his privilege to introduce Miss Sibyl Wilbur to Mrs. Eddy. At the conclusion of the interview Miss Wilbur seemed to be overcome. She sat down in the parlor, put her hand to her heart and said, “Why did not somebody prepare me? It affects me right here – (pointing to her heart). I did not know there was anyone on earth like that.” It almost seemed as if the interview affected her like heart trouble, because of the shock of seeing for the first time a vision of the real man through Mrs. Eddy’s demonstration, − a thing few mortals are privileged to do. It might be compared to the transfiguration where Jesus talked with Moses and Elias, which produced a shock so great that the disciples standing by fell as dead men. Miss Wilbur did not see an elderly lady, in meeting Mrs. Eddy, but caught a glimpse of the spiritual idea. The vision was so wonderful that she could hardly endure it. It made such an impression on her that soon she pledged herself to write the history of this remarkable woman, and her book will always stand as an impartial and inspired portrayal.
Misguided or immature students might fancy that Mrs. Eddy should have built up through demonstration a material sense of herself that would impress the world humanly. But how can one build up the spiritual and the material at the same time? One decreases as the other increases. If there were times when error beclouded this magnificent spiritual idea and our Leader slipped back into the old worn-out human belief, that does not establish a precedent for her followers to do likewise. She was functioning as the head of a great Cause, persecuted, preyed upon by jealousy, rivalry, ambition and lust for power. She had far more than her share of error to meet. Thus it becomes plain why at times she found herself inhabiting that which had so little power to sustain her that she died daily, as it were. In fact there were times when she thought she was passing on. Once she bade good-bye to Mr. Frye. In his diary he records that on August 26, 1899, she said, “If I don’t speak to you again on earth, good-bye, darling.” Every sortie she made back into the old human sense was, as far as she knew, her last experience on earth. She even said to one of her trusted students, “The greatest miracle of the age is that I am alive.” She did not fear death; but the suggestion that she might be taken from her place as head of the Cause before her work was finished was something she had to handle.
It must be understood that if one has reached such a radical reliance on God that it is, “Lord, save or I perish,” he or she never knows whether there is enough of the Spirit of God being demonstrated to sustain the illusion called human life, and to bring them back from what is called death to this life, when the sense of divine Life seems temporarily to be withdrawn. Mrs. Eddy endeavored to keep the students up to the highest pitch of scientific effort; but she could not be sure that they would be able to help her in her travail, since, when she went down, they usually went down, too.
Surely the old false sense of life is seen to be nothing but death to the one who has demonstrated life in God. Therefore, when the true sense of Life seems to wane for the moment, or the demonstrator of Truth is plunged back into mortal mind temporarily, he does not return to the old worn-out garment with any sense but that of insecurity. He is like the dragonfly, which, having grown out of the larvae stage where it swims in the pond, would be in danger of drowning if it was thrust back into the pond.
The writer believes that Calvin Frye was Mrs. Eddy’s most valuable helper in her hour of need. In his diary under the date of February 27, 1901 he records, “Mrs. Eddy said at supper-table today: ‘If I do not live to see this law-suit of Woodbury’s finished, I can say this: Calvin has helped me to live many years.’” His value did not lie in the fact that he possessed a greater spiritual understanding than other students, but because he did not seem to be frightened when he saw Mrs. Eddy going through what might mean the end of her earthly experience. He kept a calm and hopeful thought that was of immense help to Mrs. Eddy at such times. When she went down, she went below Mr. Frye’s spiritual level; and often he was able to aid her in resurrecting her thought. When her thought was resurrected she went so far above him that he could by no means follow her. However, he kept an even balance so that he did not go very far up nor very far down. In this way he was able to minister to our Leader when she needed him. Students of the future should not forget to be grateful to the one of whom Mrs. Eddy wrote to the Christian Science Board of Directors on August 30, 1903 as follows: “He has done more practical work in my behalf to aid our cause than any other student. He should be acknowledged in this line of action for the entire Field. I have given him a token of gratitude and suggest that the Executive Members of our church notice this anniversary of one of its oldest actors and faithful laborers in the vineyard of our Lord.”
At the time the book, Christ and Christmas, appeared in print, it was held up to ridicule, and Mr. Gilman’s pictures over which he had labored so faithfully were called caricatures. Yet, when Mrs. Eddy was asked by the London Onlooker to name her six leading books, Christ and Christmas was named fifth in the list.
This work can never be understood from a human standpoint. It is a volume prepared for spiritual sense, and it must be evaluated from that standpoint. Christian Science teaches mental causation, declaring that everything in the visible universe is the expression of thought. Does not a painting express the thought of the painter, whether it be material or spiritual? Do not the processes of Christian Science enable one to trace from human effect back to human cause, substitute for that human cause the divine cause, and continue this work until the whole universe is seen to be the expression of divine Mind, as it is in reality now, though hidden from the one whose senses are material?
The book, Christ and Christmas, was an effort to offer the world a practical illustration of this spiritual process. Also, to prove man’s ability to see realities when instructed spiritually, and to produce art and poetry that express spiritual thought. Mrs. Eddy was the first one ever to attempt to depict this ideal according to an understandable and teachable process; and the fact that she succeeded marks her first effort with the same significance in the metaphysical realm that the first flight of the Wright brothers had in the field of aeronautics. That the poem and pictures were intended to express spiritual thought is revealed by the first sentence from a letter she wrote to Mr. Gilman dated May 8, 1893: “Please make these changes that came to me inspirationally this morning.” She also wrote on August 13, 1893: “God will inspire you, if only you follow His reflection…He has shown me that the 9th verse should be illustrated by a picture of Jesus pardoning the penitent.” On January 19, 1898 she wrote: “The art of Science is but a higher spiritual suggestion that is not fully delineated nor expressed but leaves the artist’s thought and the thoughts of those who look on it more rarified. Now I suggest this picture for you to draw that possesses my thought of ‘The Way.’…Make the crown still fainter in form but distinct; put the top of it in line with the top of the plate, thus giving the thought that all matter disappears with the crown or crowned thought.”
There is a vast difference between the effort to have a painting or drawing embody some fine human thought or a spiritual idea. There have been painters who have permeated their work with inspiration without knowing the scientific process for so doing; but Mrs. Eddy was the first to discover the method of doing it through spiritual understanding. Therefore, her attainment will remain for all time, no matter how crude the attempt may seem to the human mind. She overcame all obstacles, rose above all temptation to failure, thus causing her final achievement to stand unique and alone. There is little to compare it to. In the material realm it most resembles the Wright’s first airplane, which today seems to be a very crude creation. Yet it flew, and flew successfully; anyone who wants to fly today must conform to the primitive laws which the Wright brothers demonstrated successfully.
When Mrs. Eddy put forth her endeavor to elucidate the teachings of Christian Science through a poem with illustrations which were the outcome of spiritualized thought, she did not intend it to be the only effort ever to be made in that direction. On the contrary, she illustrated and proved a scientific law, namely, that it is possible to express spiritual thought through the medium of pictures and to do it through a scientific process. She expected her followers to take the hint, adopt her method and carry it forward until it was resolved into a universal ideal which would continue to embrace the same spiritual thought that was present at its inception, but which would include all the minutiae of life. She expected the ultimate of this demonstration to replace so-called mortal mind with divine Mind as source in every direction, so that everything would carry a healing atmosphere. She offered Christ and Christmas as a practical illustration of what the real task of the Christian Scientist is. This instruction corresponded with what she demanded of students in her home, namely, that they put inspiration, or spiritual thought, instead of human thinking, back of everything no matter how trivial – even the most humble human tasks. In her denial of matter she realized the fact that what one sees is thought. In observing the details of the service rendered to her in her home she was seeing the manifestation of the externalized thoughts of her students. Thus, even though she daily denied the existence of matter, she gave it a great deal of attention, because through it she learned the action of thought, and perceived how successful her students were in making the demonstration to establish divine Mind as the only Mind. We learn from her letters written during the building of The Mother Church that she paid great attention to small material details. She wrote asking that a fire be kept going lest the ironwork rust, etc. There was nothing too small not to warrant her attention. She knew that God is never insulted when we use His power even in the smallest details. In the matter of our daily meals, for instance, how necessary it becomes to make a demonstration to see a divine symbolism in food and let it represent God instead of animal magnetism! Then it will be transformed into manna from heaven, whereas food viewed materially leads to greater dependence on matter, and hence into greater bondage.
The demonstration in connection with food deserves the closest attention, since it is one we are prone to neglect and forget. Mrs. Eddy once said, “We must learn that we do not depend upon material food for health and life; Spirit – not matter – sustains us and we must prove it. It is not necessary to eat as much as we do even now.” In this connection we have the words quoted by our Master when the devil tempted him to command that stones be made bread, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Then he gave the parable of the rich man who fared sumptuously every day, and the beggar at his door, covered with sores and half-starved, who lived by the crumbs he left. Perhaps the rich man symbolizes mortal man’s material sense and Lazarus his spiritual selfhood. Then the parable would teach that man’s sin is not so much that he feeds his material nature, but that he does not at the same time feed his spiritual nature with the word of God. In her demonstration connected with the problem of food, Mrs. Eddy did not expect at once to take material bread away from man, but to introduce the proposition that the spiritual nature must be fed at the same time Dives is being fed. Once she wrote for the students in the home what she called, “A Rule at Pleasant View.” “No student can eat at my table who does not say a few words for God before he or she leaves the table. I was early educated to this. I always do it at my table because I cannot avoid doing it.” From this statement we know that when she fed her material nature she never neglected to feed her spiritual nature; and she also tried to add the word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God to the daily diet of her students, so that they would not attempt to live by bread alone. Then when they reached the point where they had demonstrated above the material sense, spiritual sense would remain and be strong enough to support them. If a blind man was accustomed to being led by a dog, both would have to be fed until the man’s sight returned. So we feed our material nature because temporarily we need its support. But at the same time we must feed our spiritual nature, so that when the material returns to the nothingness from whence it came, spiritual sense will remain as our true selfhood and be adequate to sustain us.
Mrs. Eddy’s demonstration in producing Christ and Christmas was similar to Moses’ demonstration of the manna. His experience with the Children of Israel in bringing forth a daily supply of food was the first recorded successful attempt to put God back of food. Mrs. Eddy’s effort was the first successful attempt to put God back of art according to an understood, demonstrable and teachable process. If manna typifies for mortals the divine feeding, the poem and its illustrations become human symbols of divine healing. It can be asserted that only those who are long on art and short on spirituality, those instilled with a purely human conception of artistic standards, and hence with but a slight knowledge and appreciation of inspiration, would criticize Christ and Christmas. Mrs. Eddy herself was criticized by such people for having in her home many objets d’art which did not measure up to accepted standards. When they inspected Pleasant View with a critical eye, they thought it reflected on her good taste to permit her home to be cluttered with so much that would be considered inartistic from a human standpoint. But the spiritually-minded would detect that these things were imbued with a love and a true appreciation for Mrs. Eddy and her great discovery that caused her to treasure them beyond price. They came to her as the result of a demonstration on the part of those who sent them, and thus became spiritual symbols that breathed of the presence of this appreciation and love. If they were short on art, they were long on gratitude unspeakable.
A compass made perfectly in every detail would be worthless if the needle was not magnetized, so it would point to the pole. When a student made a demonstration of a gift to Mrs. Eddy, she could detect this fact because the gift would help to turn her thought to God. Is it any wonder that she desired to keep such gifts in her home, without regard for their outward quality, since in an atmosphere that often pressed in upon her with its coldness and materiality, these gifts pointed to the warmth and presence of God’s love?
Mrs. Eddy inaugurated a new standard both for music and art through Christ and Christmas. From her point of view, if there was any lack in a composition, picture or artistic production, it would be preferable to have the lack a material rather than a spiritual one; it would be better to have the outward form subject to criticism and yet backed up by spiritual thought, than to have an outwardly and technically perfect production backed up by thoughts barren of good. This is a mighty rebuke to those who demand human perfection without regard for the thought back of the symbol. To such, effect looms up as being more important than cause. Mrs. Eddy describes this error on page 149 of Miscellany as follows: “Losing the comprehensive in the technical, the Principle in its accessories, cause in effect, and faith in sight, we lose the Science of Christianity, – a predicament quite like that of the man who could not see London for its houses.”
Unfavorable criticism of Christ and Christmas could only come from those who judge effect without regard for cause. One, who found himself criticizing the illustrations from the standpoint of cause, would have good reason to blush for shame when it was revealed to him that he was criticizing God. Mrs. Eddy made the demonstration to put God back of the illustrations, so that in tracing them one traces back to God. The world will some day acknowledge this fact.
The Wednesday evening testimonial meetings in Christian Science churches illustrate the point in question. How far reaching is the good done by a humble testimony which might even betray a lack of human education and poise on the part of the giver, yet which overflows with love and appreciation for the great gift of Christian Science! Because to a degree it traces back to a thought touched with the hue of inspiration, its very sincerity carries conviction to the stranger which one couched in perfect English could not do, if it lacked the candor and consciousness of heart-felt gratitude. The latter testimony would be short on the vital and important and long on the unimportant, short on cause and long on effect. The perfect testimony would be one up to the standard both in cause and effect. But on page 354 of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mrs. Eddy gives a promise to those who lack in expression. “If our words fail to express our deeds, God will redeem that weakness, and out of the mouth of babes He will perfect praise.” In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare says, “Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity, in least speak most…”
This conception is illustrated by the parable of the widow’s mite which is narrated in the Gospel of Mark. The widow’s offering was short on human quantity in comparison with the large amounts put into the treasury by others – hers being but two mites which make a farthing – but Jesus stated that she cast more in than all they which cast into the treasury. His spiritual sense judged her gift from the standpoint of cause and found it richly imbued with faith in God as the infinite source of supply. A few drops of water welling up from an inexhaustible source indicate a spring, and deserve to be called greater than barrels of water which are disconnected from source. The widow’s offering was from demonstration. It traced back to God. Jesus knew that it would be the key that would unlock the liberal thought in hundreds of others and ensure the prosperity of the temple.
As far as its artistic expression is concerned, Christ and Christmas might be reckoned as being no more than a mite, yet how mighty does a mite become when it traces back to God! The pictures in that book possess that rare quality of inspiration, which is so seldom found and yet, when present, elevates all art to a standard that makes it priceless. Christ and Christmas is destined to become the key that will open the wellspring of inspiration for all artists, musicians and poets for time to come. It is a pattern or model that will never lose its value, but rise higher in the estimation of thinkers with the passing of years. It is an illustration of how to do the thing that is the most important task for all mankind to do, take all things out of being conveyors of erroneous thought, and cause them to become expressions of God.
In Christ and Christmas Mrs. Eddy was broadening her demonstration to show that inspiration could be conveyed not only through symbols called words, but also through pictures and art. She was exemplifying the words of Job (42:5), “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.” The great lesson we learn from Mrs. Eddy’s achievement in this direction is the need of broadening our application of Christian Science from healing the sick to healing the world, permeating all the minutiae of daily life with spiritual thought.
The question has been asked why Mrs. Eddy selected such an untrained artist as Mr. Gilman to do this epoch-making work. The answer might be that in order to teach the lesson the pictures had to measure up to the human standard of art to a certain degree, and yet not be so humanly beautiful that they would distract thought from the spiritual message. If the frame around a picture is ugly, attention will be drawn away from the picture and the frame will be criticized. Contrariwise, if the frame is too beautiful, attention will be drawn away from the picture and the frame will be admired.
The pictures in Christ and Christmas symbolize frames which present the spiritual lesson embodied in each stanza of the poem. Part of Mrs. Eddy’s demonstration was to have the frame adequate enough to set off the lesson, without unduly detracting from it. Spiritual thought is ever the important thing in Christian Science and nothing should ever be permitted to obtrude itself before that. For instance, Readers in Christian Science churches should endeavor to convey God’s message in such a humble and yet adequate way that self is put under. Then they will neither be unduly applauded for the excellence of their reading, nor criticized for poor reading; and the audience will forget the Reader in gaining a consciousness of the beauty, truth and healing of the Word.
On page 448 of Volume II of History of the Christian Science Movement, by William Lyman Johnson, there is the following note which Mrs. Eddy wrote to Carol Norton which helps to understand her estimate of her own poem. “Christ and Christmas was an inspiration from beginning to end. The power of God and the wisdom of God was even more manifest in it and guided me more perceptibly, as those of my household can attest, than when I wrote Science and Health. If ever God sends you to me again I will name some of the marvelous guidance that He gave me. He taught me that the art of Christian Science has come through inspiration the same as its Science has. Hence, the great error of human opinions passing judgment on it.”
There can be no understanding of Christ and Christmas from a human standpoint. Those to whom the true inward value is not discernible, may say what they like. The fact remains, that in this poem with its illustrations, Mrs. Eddy exemplified the very process which, if adopted by man and applied to every phase of his human existence, will bring him his salvation. The students who understand and, to some degree, are taking advantage of the practical Christian Science disclosed in this work, rejoice in Mrs. Eddy’s grand pioneering. They endeavor to study the pictures from a spiritual standpoint. If they learn that Mrs. Eddy wrote to Mr. Gilman on May 8, 1893 to have three angels in the fifth picture, they do not necessarily assume that she made a mistake and changed her direction to two. She wrote of this picture: “Have it a glorious sunrise and three angels in female forms in the air pointing to this dawn; but have no wings on them. Make no specialty of the ground, have it a sky view. Now carry out these designs with all the skill of an artist and my story is told in Christian Science, the new story of Christ, and the world will feel its renovating influence.”
In I Sam. 10:3, 4, we learn that when Saul was anointed by Samuel, he was told that on his journey he would meet a man carrying three loaves of bread, who would give him two of them. Spiritually considered this incident should teach us that, when we come to Christian Science, we are given two loaves, but the third one we must demonstrate for ourselves. When a man discovers certain mathematical propositions, this might be called the first loaf, that corresponds to the Master’s demonstration of divine Mind. Next comes the demand to embody those mathematical rules in a textbook in such a way that students may learn and use them. This might be called the second loaf, and corresponds to Mrs. Eddy’s discovery of the Science the Master taught and her incorporation of it in a textbook for all to study and to practice. The final demand is that the average scholar prove he can take the textbook on mathematics and by its aid gain a knowledge that will enable him to grasp and to prove the propositions contained therein. This is the third loaf that can never be given to a student, since he must demonstrate it for himself. The two loaves the inquirer is given when he comes to Christian Science might be said to be the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures; the third he must demonstrate for himself.
It follows from this incident in the life of Saul, therefore, that spiritual intuition told Mrs. Eddy that there should be three angels in the fifth picture in Christ and Christmas, yet only two of them should be depicted since the third remains for each student to demonstrate and embody for himself.
The student who approaches the book, Christ and Christmas, from the right standpoint is not troubled at critics who label the pictures crude or lacking in artistic skill. They recognize that in this book Mrs. Eddy gave an illustration of spiritual law which, when extended, and generally understood and practiced, means the salvation of the whole world from sin, sickness and death. Thus, this book is placed above the criticism of mortal man. In corroboration Mrs. Eddy writes in Miscellaneous Writings, Page 374, “Above the fogs of sense and storms of passion, Christian Science and its art will rise triumphant; ignorance, envy, and hatred – earth’s harmless thunder – pluck not their heaven-born wings. Angels, with overtures, hold charge over both, and announce their Principle and idea.”
Gilbert C. Carpenter, C.S.B.
Gilbert C. Carpenter, Jr., C.S.B.
Diary Records of James F. Gilman Written During the Making of the Illustrations for Mrs. Eddy’s Poem Christ and Christmas in 1893
Recollections of Mary Baker Eddy
THE writer of these records first appeared to Mrs. Eddy as a lone, homeless wanderer, with a native ability for picture making. Since then it has appeared that there was much truth in this, for a little retrospective analysis has revealed that he had, indeed, through many years, been peculiarly, and literally, a lone, wandering seeker – as well as a homeless one – seeking even from his youth, the definition and fulfilment of soulful, but yet undefined ideals.
A vague, nameless sense of Infinite Beauty attended his thought from childhood, and as he grew toward maturity, the things that had dominated his thought before grew in urgency and pressed him to find the opportunity for their unfoldment in some appropriate, practical action.
In order to break the seeming limitations of his outward circumstances which appeared to bar his way to ideal unfoldment and to forbid education along usual academic training, he found himself ready to accept joyfully, at the age of twenty, a simple, humble way that was then presented to him through the kindly impulse of a neighbor who, knowing of his exceptional capacity for drawing, offered to pay him if he would make for him a good pencil drawing of his home place, thus unconsciously pointing a way of gaining a self-supporting art-practice that was felt to be necessary to the successful art-endeavor aspired to.
An interest in the young artist naturally grew as a fruit of this first effort from nature in his rural home town through the seeing of his work, and later of other neighbor’s home places, and, reaching out as it did into neighboring townships, supplied for a time the art-practice opportunities requisite for its self-supporting continuance.
But from the worldly-wise point of view this humble way was not found to be successful because it did not lead to the world’s standard of success – glory and wealth, but it had the great advantage of freedom for mental unfoldment. It appeared to require in its earlier years much homeless roving in different townships and always a lone application to the naturally gradual mastery of technical difficulties, without other than self-instruction.
As time passed and the art mastery grew, it was found that it was favorable for the unfoldment of many qualities of mind more valuable than what was perceived at the time the art-practice began. It was not art-aspiration alone that engaged his thought. The vicissitudes of this art-practice life were favorable to a growing of religious ethics in his thought as well, the seeds of which were sown in childhood by an earnestly Christian mother. This, together with the art-practice experiences and a natural simplicity of thought, it has been found, was favorable to the reception and honest consideration of the advancing ideas of Truth of that day.
All this prepared him to welcome as priceless, the Christian Science message when it first came to him as it did in 1884 after about fifteen years of the art-practice.
Through the study of the text-book, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, by Mrs. Eddy, he was enabled very soon to find it the healing power of God, and also to find by it the spiritual explanation and much of the import of his early spiritual longings or ideals.
The art and religious unfoldment continued, but now was found to be attended by the sustaining power and value of Christian Science demonstration. This brought him late in 1892 into the clear spiritual conviction that wisdom’s call now was that he should leave his art-practice, and, without having a definite material reason, go to Concord, New Hampshire, in obedience solely to his spiritual intuition that it would be spiritually good for him to do so.
This call he obeyed, and very soon after his arrival there in early winter, his art capacity began to open the way to a welcome at the home of the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science – the one to whom he deeply felt he owed an unlimited devotion. Later it led on to the valuable, sacred experiences that followed in the work of making the illustrations of Mrs. Eddy’s poem, Christ and Christmas, in 1893.
The childlike state of thought engendered by the sequestered way of art-practice in the country by-ways, and also the religious unfoldment untrammeled by the academic, material thought of the schools, which the divine Mind had provided by this way of Truth’s development, was doubtless particularly adapted to cause him to appear acceptable to Mrs. Eddy’s thought and to prepare him for the doing of the work with her that followed.
It is good that Christian Science reveals that our work which we have rightly been led to do prepares us to more perfectly realize that God’s love is not limited in its bestowals of good to those ways of its true manifestation that to the material sense appear to be good or best, but more often, perhaps, is expressed by ways and means which to that sense appear the opposite of good. And it is well to see that infinite wisdom is infinitely swift to see the practical requirements of good for everyone, and that often the only word that can reach directly the ear of the mortal thought, to awaken it from its sleep in some selfish sense of subtle, material beliefs, which the sleep itself alone engenders, is the active, unexpected, sleep-rebuking word that operates by God’s perfect spiritual law, and thus sin is self-destroyed.
Through Christian Science rebukes, we are thus enabled to see that God, by light of His nature of Truth and Love, in due time compels the error of mortals to be self-seen, which results in its destruction. Mrs. Eddy in her reflection of God often illustrated this to the writer.
On page 254 of Science and Health we read, “If you launch your bark upon the ever-agitated but healthful waters of truth, you will encounter storms. Your good will be evil spoken of. This is the cross. Take it up and bear it, for through it you win and wear the crown.” In his relations with her as occasioned by the work of the illustrations, Mrs. Eddy appeared to the writer always ready to accept the challenge of material sense, to take up this cross, for the sake of being true to divine Love’s behests, which in the writer’s experience sometimes temporarily caused her to appear to him the opposite of what she was.
Because Mrs. Eddy was reflecting God, nothing but actual faith in God’s perfection as Spirit, not matter, could satisfy her sense; nothing could turn her from her high resolve and constant purpose to be faithful to God as her divine Principle of being, and faithful to herself – even by the faithful rebukes of error – which at first to the material sense would inevitably appear to have no kind side to them.
This deeper view of the Truth and its holy ways, and of Mrs. Eddy’s impartial, impersonal motives in all things she sought to do, grew upon the writer’s thought, as trying experiences compelled him to strive more earnestly to overcome subtle phases of unconscious material believing.
Thus much that appears in these diary records, which in the writing were ever intended to be impartially yet lovingly accurate, might be misunderstood if not spiritually interpreted as above explained. Mrs. Eddy’s true and abiding glory, however, cannot be dimmed to the spiritually discerning mind, and this result follows true reading of honest records, of loving, healing deeds which ever characterized Mrs. Eddy’s real life to the writer.
Without design on the writer’s part in the writing of them, these records now appear to him when taken as a whole as a kind of word-picture, which in their reverently careful accuracy, delineate through their presentment the spiritual portrait of Mrs. Eddy, whose faithfulness to God makes the recorded experiences sacred; and thus more permanently establishes in his thought the beautiful and infinite idea of being which Mrs. Eddy spiritually embodied and ever exemplified to the writer.
Died – July 6, 1929.
Chapter One — First Revealings
(Extract from a letter to a friend)
Concord, N. H., December 18, 1892
I have been in Concord three weeks tomorrow and am now at work in making a group of pictures of Mrs. Eddy’s house and grounds called “Pleasant View,” for her photographer here, from which I suppose photographs will be made and sent to any ordering the same. The photographer is having the picture made as a present to Mrs. Eddy.
After I had been here a few days, Mrs. Otis, the Christian Scientist here, suggested that I ask Mr. Bowers (Mrs. Eddy’s photographer) if he hadn’t some work in my line he would like done. The next day he said he had concluded he would have a picture made of Mrs. Eddy’s house and grounds as before described.
I had a splendid day for making the sketches, for a December day, and I ought to get some splendid pictures, for the scenery is beautiful, and I have no doubt but that I shall. I have not seen Mrs. Eddy near by, but while I was sketching the house, her carriage was driven up to her door and I heard a lady talking to the horses, and suppose I saw Mrs. Eddy on the veranda. I was twenty-five or thirty rods away. Yesterday I saw one whom I suppose to have been her, while up there to get a few additional points that I failed to get while sketching the first time, and as it made a deep impression upon me, I will describe it to you. I was sketching some details of the house from the rear, at the lower end of the grounds, some sixty rods away from it, when a dark figure came out upon the upper veranda (there are three of them the full length of the house and all on the south and rear side of the house) and began to walk the length of the veranda and back. I was there sketching some fifteen minutes or more and the black figure walked vigorously back and forth the length of the piazza and return, constantly.
Getting through with my sketching, my only way to the road led by the house and as I came nearer the house, the figure of course grew more distinct to my view as I occasionally glanced up, while the impressiveness of the blackness, as blackness, grew upon my sense also. Coming quite close to the building, a couple of rods from it, I thought I would give the figure one last glance, and as I did I noticed the fashion of the garb, that it was very peculiar, particularly the bonnet or hat, which was large in size in proportion to the figure, which looked very short and small. The hat was so large and bent so around the head that no face was visible to me, although no veil was worn, and the depth of the black to my sense seemed beyond description and left an impression upon my mind of sackcloth and ashes as the Bible hints, or has it. The entrance to the veranda was from Mrs. Eddy’s room, from which the figure first came, hence I supposed it to be the figure of Mrs. Eddy.
Perhaps my imagination magnifies, but it seemed to me the Founder of Christian Science was thus typifying in outward appearance the inner throes of anguish, perhaps habitually borne, – borne that the immortal Life might appear to humanity as a demonstrated actuality, through the vanquishment of material sense with its woes, death included, which were but a nightmare of illusion when rightly understood. Is it by such patient endurance of the woes of sin, not hers, that the world is shown its way to the kingdom of harmony and Life eternal which is thus to become its salvation? It seems to me it is verily so, and this while so many of us who follow are asleep, comparatively. Seeing the figure as I did gave me a weird feeling such as I have sometimes felt in dreams, but not in waking hours. It has suggestions of work for me that I trust will find expression in appropriate action.
Tuesday evening (Dec. 20, 1892). – I kept this letter yesterday to see if what I had written of Mrs. Eddy in black on the rear veranda would keep over one day, and last night a young Scientist coming from Mrs. Otis’ room brought me word from her that Dr. Foster Eddy has returned from Boston, and that I better go up and see him in the morning at Mrs. Eddy’s house. Mrs. Otis has been desiring that I should see Mrs. Eddy to talk with her, and I think that she knew reliably if I called there when the doctor was there, that he would introduce me to Mrs. Eddy.
After seeing Mrs. Otis this morning, I decided to go up there. The house is about a mile and a half west from the business portion of Concord and is in the farming country. After I had seen the doctor a little, he went out, as I supposed, to see Mr. Frye about some plan drawings of the stone gateway to the grounds which is to be in the picture I am making. Pretty soon he came back with Mrs. Eddy, in appearance to me a small, bright, graceful appearing woman of sixty or sixty-five, with white hair and with a small, slender, delicate hand with which she greeted me at the introduction. After referring to the wonderfully fine weather we are having considering the season, she said laughingly that I must have been surprised or astonished at her strange appearance of dress, in black, on the veranda the last day I was up there, but it was so comfortable she liked to wear it out there. I immediately blundered by saying that I had been regarding it as a type of the darkness of materiality with which she was contending. She at once turned away walking to a window and showed signs of being affected to tears. I at once said I ought not to have referred to that at this time. I looked at the doctor; he was looking a little sober; but in a minute Mrs. Eddy returned to us and becoming seated, began to refer to the beauty of the scenery about there, and her description of it led to reference to peculiar appearances of it at remembered times, also, to how she came to become possessed of this particular place, and most of what she said, and I do not know but all, seemed, by the occasional word or phrase, to have an underlying spiritual meaning. But she seemed so much like a little child in it all that I found difficulty in realizing that I was in the presence of the noted personage who had become so much to me in my life.
I asked her a question when she had been saying that she loved nature in people as well as in scenery. I asked if it was not a law of being, or nature, that we should advance by impulses like the waves of the sea; or, like the ebbing and flowing of the tides? She said that was the way while in our mortal thought, but that in the immortal Life it was all flowing, and no ebbing. “It was just action, action, action, always.”
After fifteen or twenty minutes, when it seemed appropriate, she showed signs of closing the interview. She began to say, “I am busy” – and then she broke in by saying, “Oh I want Mr. Gilman to see the view from my upper veranda,” signifying to the doctor to go ahead and prepare the way for me to gain the full impressiveness of the view at once, by opening some guards against the wind and cold of winter at the ends of the veranda. I was hesitating about going up the stairs first, before her, but she said, “Oh, yes. You go right up,” and she came directly after me. When we arrived almost at the door opening on the veranda, she said pleasantly and expectantly, “Wait a little until he gets the wind guards open, so you will get the whole extent of the view at once.” And then she led the way to her bedroom just to the left, and pointed out her bed where the sunlight shone, she said, “the very first thing in the morning.” Then she took me in the room in the tower which has windows looking out five ways from the northeast to the west, which is her room, as it is called. She showed me everything with the pleasure of a child. Then, when we went out on the veranda, while I was looking at the points of interest the doctor was showing me, Mrs. Eddy disappeared into the house. Pretty soon she came out again with the identical black garb or strange costume on that she had on when I saw her that day, and she looked out to me with a significant arch smile as much as to say, even as she did say in substance, “You see, it is perfectly harmless, even if it is black and grotesque looking.” After a little while, as I was looking at some pictures in her room with the doctor, she having previously taken part in it, went out leaving me with the doctor. Removing the black quaker bonnet and returning soon, she came up to me and bade me good-bye, offering her hand and said, “Come again.”
Her childlikeness impressed me the most, while the magnetic sense of personal presence is so little that it scarcely seemed I was in the presence of anyone who could write Science and Health. This state of things I have been studying on all the day since, and this evening I just begin to see that the impressive magnetic sense of presence is not to be looked for in one of high attainments in Christian Science, but just the opposite.
RECORD NUMBER TWO
Concord, N. H., January 17, 1893
When I got the two larger and principal pictures done of Mrs. Eddy’s place, Mr. Bowers, being much pleased with them, took them up to show to Mrs. Eddy. He reported that she was delighted with them. It was the Thursday before New Year’s. Friday, Mr. Bowers and I received an invitation from Mrs. Eddy to take tea with her on New Year’s (Sunday) evening, and we were there from half-past five until eight o’clock.
Mr. Bowers being a ready talker, the discourse was largely between him and Mrs. Eddy, although much of what she said was addressed to me, but tea taking could find but little place in our thought while she was talking in her expressive way of spiritual things. At supper table Mr. Bowers said to Mrs. Eddy, “Christian Scientists call Science and Health a kind of revelation from God, but I think you originated that from your own superior mind and talent.” To which she replied: “Oh dear, no, I could not originate such a book. Why, I have to study it myself in order to understand it. When I came to the writing each day, I did not know what I should write until my pen was dipped in the ink and I was ready to begin.”
After supper conversation having taken a turn toward the logic of the Science, she said: “Well, let us go into the parlor and there we will have a fine talk on Christian Science. I never tire of talking on that subject.” And here she began to explain Christian Science, mainly to Mr. Bowers, beginning by explaining what God is, and then what the real man is as God’s idea, and then what the material man claims to be, and from this (the letter of the Science) on to the more spiritual sense of it, in which more and more was reflected the divine Beauty in which we were enabled to realize somewhat how paltry were the purposes of material motives and aims, when the richness of the Love of eternal goodness might be ours to know, and realize always if we would but become completely subject to it in the necessary self-surrender degree that this Love naturally involves.
Mrs. Eddy talked freely on the subject of Christian Science to us, particularly to Mr. Bowers who understands but little of it, and does not accept it, but admires Mrs. Eddy. She tried to make it simple, so that he could receive it. As she talked she gradually impressed us deeply with the sense of the divinity of God’s Love, so that it became perfectly plain to our understanding that that glorious state of mind included all goodness, all reality, being perfectly satisfying, making lesser possessions, aims, or desire appear paltry and poor indeed.
The talk seemed to have just rounded up to its climax when the hack was announced at the door, having arrived at the time Mr. Bowers had appointed for it to come when we rode up from town. It scarcely seemed that we had been in the parlor talking a half hour instead of an hour and a half.
It comes to me from Mrs. Otis (the Scientist here) that after I was at Mrs. Eddy’s the first time, Mrs. Eddy said to Mrs. Otis that she felt very easy and free in my company, or presence.
The last thing at the closing of the New Year’s – “Love feast” I guess I shall have to call it – she came near to me and taking my hand for the goodbye, she said in a loving, confidential way, that the picture I had made of the house and place “was a complete expression of her ideal of what such a picture might be – a typical representation of the picture she had in mind of home.”
Three days later she sent me Retrospection and Introspection with my name written on the fly-leaf in her handwriting with “Respects of Author, Mary B. G. Eddy, 1892,” under it. I acknowledged it in a short letter. In two or three days she wrote me a letter saying:
“Your letter interests me. You seem standing in awe of Good, and doubting your own reflection of it; but, seeing the false assume the reflex shadow, you mentally sketch it as yourself, but, it is not. Call on me Thurs. eve. at 7 o’clock, and I will talk with you again.
Mary B. G. Eddy”
Of course I accepted, and she gave me a very pleasant and valuable talk, lasting from 7 o’clock until 8:30. It was in the waiting room or library that she came in and sat down with me alone, and told me so much; and delicate things concerning her own history and experience in such a simple, unassuming way that I forgot almost that she was so important a personage, and that I was enjoying a very rare privilege. She honored me greatly by saying that she wanted I should receive instruction under her in the selected Normal class she expected to teach, she could not tell just when, but when God’s time came. She says, “I always wait for that, now.” She said, “I used to teach nearly everybody who applied. It was right I should then, but now God’s way is that I may select such as are found prepared to receive the advanced instruction. In the olden times, you know, they invited guests to the wedding feast, but if one came not having on the wedding garment, he could not participate with the rest, and that is the way it must be in this instruction.”
She said this in a childlike, pleasant way that screened its importance for the time, but afterwards, when the memory of what she has said agitates and turns and overturns the thought, the import of it grows upon the sense until, if one is in earnest, they know that unless they so strive to gain the constant sense of God’s Love and Truth so that it is seen to be worth more than all else that seems to be but is not, they will be found without the needed wedding garment, hence will be debarred from what might have been an open way to go higher, had there been readiness for it. I think she is taking this way to spur students to more spiritual living. I feel that I am unprepared now. I find that my thought and understanding has been little enough. To say it is receiving many corrections is inadequate to express it, fully.
RECORD NUMBER THREE
(This letter is given because of what follows)
Boston, Mass., January 27, 1893
My dear Friend:
You will see by the heading of this that I am in Boston. I am a student in Dr. Foster Eddy’s class that he is now holding very quietly, and without public announcement. No students, or rather, Scientists here, know of it except those connected with the Journal Office. This is to guard against the adverse influence – in belief – of the opposition here, I am told. There are 23 in the class, and they are composed of such as have already studied (in the main) with students of Mrs. Eddy, but who desire, doubtless, to become eligible to study in Mrs. Eddy’s advanced Normal class when she has it, as well as to gain the advantage of the advanced understanding which the Doctor, being so near Mrs. Eddy, is naturally supposed to be in possession of.
Last evening was the second lecture, of which there are to be seven in all, given on seven successive evenings. I have referred to the teaching as being lectures, but they are not so in the ordinary sense, but his way is to ask questions. He seems careful that some leading impressive, important thought shall be left on the student mind each lesson, or lecture.
Well, you see I am getting on pretty well. The Doctor was up to Concord on Sunday last and went back to Boston on Monday. He left word with Mrs. Otis that he was to hold this class and that I might become a member if I desired and he would take the tuition in my work when I could give it. My spiritual intuitions at the time were against accepting his offer, but Mrs. Otis urged me to do so, saying it was a great opportunity and I yielded to her experienced judgment as being better than mine. I saw the Doctor yesterday at 62 Boylston St. for two or three minutes and among other things he said that “Mother said to me on Sunday that she would like me to take you through my class, so that you could be one of her Normal class when she held it.” The idea she has given out, as you know, is that only those who have been her primary students, or the Doctor’s primary students, can come into that class – that is one qualification.
The day before I came here she wrote me a letter in answer to one I had addressed to her a week or ten days before, just after the talk she gave me that Thursday evening. The letter is as follows:
“My dear Friend:
Your last letter gave me a sweet sense of your character – I have done as you requested – written Mr. Bowers that you declined to accept share in copyright. I ask a favor of you, viz.: keep me informed of your P. O. address in some way easy for yourself. A letter from you would be valued, but that may be asking too much at each change of place. I want you to paint a portrait of me, just such an one as I will describe of other days; or, one at this advanced age, I have not decided which. I shall have this done when I get time, and you can do it. But, I may never get the time, for ‘my times are in His hands.’ I want to employ it all in His service, and to bless the race.
Mary B. G. Eddy”
The thought has lately entered my mind in a harmonious way that I would like the way to open for me to engage my best effort to make a portrait of her that would do justice to the greatness and spiritual quality of the subject, – a portrait that would be valued greatly by all lovers and followers of the Truth as it shines in Christian Science. I have thought that I could not do it, and now I feel it more or less; but the inspiring quality of her thought suggests beautiful designs, in a vague way as yet, that promise well for success. It is a religious work to do it well, and such a picture is what is wanted, sincerely and widely. She emphasizes you can do it which ought to be sufficient inspiration.
Yours very truly,
James F. Gilman
RECORD NUMBER FOUR
Concord, N. H., February 19, 1893
My dear Friend:
If I were to undertake to write all that is interesting in my experience here, I should have a great task on my hands. I have glad news to write; and, I supposed from last Sunday evening until Thursday evening that I had also sad news to refer to. But a letter from Mrs. Eddy received then has modified much of the sad character of it, while the glad news referred to is just as glad.
The situation is this, that Mrs. Eddy was in anguish last Sunday evening at which time I was there in response to her invitation, because of the evidences of dishonor which it appeared was being brought upon the Cause by her son, Dr. Foster Eddy, by his course in connection with teaching a class of students without her knowledge or consent (granting them C.S.B. degrees without the authority to do so, and granting them admission, so far as he could do so, to the Parent Christian Science Association in Boston). The evidences were mainly elicited from me, in response to questions she asked me, the import of which I did not then know. It was not apparently so much that he had ventured to teach without consulting her, but partly that he had not grown to a fitness to teach and partly other serious considerations. She had been watching and waiting, she said, for him to grow to that fitness, but had seen very recently that he had not attained to it yet, and my innocent answers to her questions confirmed this view more than even she had expected, apparently.
I cannot undertake literally to describe the varying manifestations of intense feeling. It would be sacrilege; but in it I saw the real Mrs. Eddy, but more fully in two or three days afterwards. I trust I may never forget that vision of God. It made me feel that I had but one purpose in life, and that to labor to bring this realization of the Beloved One to the understanding of mankind. I asked her if there was not something I could do to relieve her of some of the burden she felt. Immediately she answered; “Yes, three times daily seek consecration to Christ’s work,” which I promised I would do. Spiritually it appears there is but one real One, and it is the vision of that One as my Life, and your Life, and Mrs. Eddy’s Life, and everyone’s Life, really, that I refer to above.
I suggested that I might write a letter to the Doctor that might do good, to which she assented more or less absently, but later she thought perhaps I better not, as it might only stir ill feeling. Tuesday I thought perhaps I could do good by writing such a letter, so I wrote it, directing it to the Doctor in Boston, leaving it unsealed, and putting it into another and larger envelope, and sealing that, sent it to Mrs. Eddy, asking her to read, and if it seemed well, to seal it up and post it. The letter did not refer to having had any interview with his mother, but called him to sharp account in a way that accorded with his instructions in the class, that we should faithfully do if we found another to be in the wrong. Well, there was a good deal to manifest love in the letter, notwithstanding a spade was called a spade. Thursday evening I received a letter from Mrs. Eddy as follows:
“My very dear Friend:
Your letter strikes home – but with Christian intent, and I believe will do my son good. Oh! what a spirit of Love impelled it! This is Christian kindness, brotherly love. I thank you my brother. May God bless your purpose. My son was here since you were. He had an excuse which I will name to you. Call on me next Sunday evening.
I had addressed her as, “Dear Mother in Truth” in the note accompanying the Doctor’s letter, as I felt particularly justified in doing after the events of Sunday evening. You see the solicitude she manifested for my spiritual welfare, seeing as she did that I had grown material in my thought since last she had seen me, and I directly from the class, was so eloquent.
I had been up there the evening before this, that being the evening she had designated when she asked me first to come; but she found me so material that she sent me home after fifteen minutes or so, giving me a copy of Pond and Purpose, asking me to study it and come up the following evening, as she had had company that day and there were things that needed her attention. Sunday evening after a trifle of hesitation, she proceeded to her apparently painful task, I suspecting nothing, not realizing the glamour that had come over my thought, thinking of great pictures I was to make of a great subject with the material means that would be afforded to deliver me from the evil, etc., of poverty, and limitations as of old. Her first words, after we had become seated (she directly across the centre table from me), were in reference to the limitations of her time. I said after a little pause, “Perhaps there is nothing to be said that need take your time tonight.” (I was thinking of pictures, and thought unexpected duties might be calling for her time, which I could wait for.) She immediately answered, “Yes, there is.” She then asked with anxious solicitude in which there was a tender reproachfulness, “Mr. Gilman, do you feel an added sense of consecration since you have been through the class?” Mrs. Sargent who helps her and who had been to the Association meeting in Boston and there learned for the first time that the Doctor had been holding a class, had told Mrs. Eddy of this class. Mrs. Eddy had referred to it briefly the night before to me, saying then in a somewhat distant manner, “So you have been through a class.” “Now,” she said, “tell me, Mr. Gilman, just simply and truly as it honestly appears to you.” There was such a childlike simplicity and earnest purity about this that until we had been questioned that way we can have no idea of the thoughts of spiritual goodness it reflected.
I answered truly that I did not, but began to try to account for it on the ground that I felt consecrated before, hence there would naturally be less sense of its increase. In this it began to dawn upon me that she was not approving of the class being held by the Doctor, and my personal thought was at once to screen the Doctor, both to save him from censure and Mrs. Eddy from pain, and also it seemed mean to go back on the absent Doctor. But Mrs. Eddy began to say, as soon as I began to talk to praise the Doctor (I wanted to praise what I really could and keep silent on what I did not like very well), that I wasn’t talking frankly. “Now,” she said, tenderly pleading, “just be Mr. Gilman, just as you were when I first saw you. Oh! this subtle glamour of animal magnetism! You seemed so free from it then!”
I then told her that the Doctor seemed to rise every evening in spiritual impressiveness until after the fourth; the following three evenings seemed to be lacking; the last one seeming to have nothing to it to speak of, and that in this I had felt a disappointment.
“Now,” she said, “Mr. Gilman is talking. Of course the spiritual impressiveness should have continued to the last, when it should have been the most so!” “Oh” she said, “How dreadful this is!” and she began to walk the floor a little, asking me if I did not think that it would be better if no teaching whatever were done, but just let people become instructed through Science and Health. I answered in the affirmative then because it was in the line of former consideration of the matter somewhat.
I cannot attempt to describe what followed during over an hour. I tried to comfort her by telling her that it all would result in greater glory to the Cause and to God as we should see later. “Yes,” she said despairingly, “God makes the wrath of man to praise Him.” She said, “It isn’t the personal feeling that agitates me; it is the effect of it upon the Cause. Personally, I could take the dear boy to my arms and forget it all.” First it was questions to me; then it was righteous indignation expressed as the answers seemed to call for it; then it was explanation of the right thought. Then despairing thought found utterance – until it was found to be 8:30 o’clock when I took my leave, promising that I would carry out faithfully her directions of seeking frequent consecration to Christlike work. May I ever faithfully keep it, is my earnest desire.
Monday P.M. – I went to Mrs. Eddy’s last evening and found her in a completely resigned and serene state of mind. She began talking at once of spiritual things, about trusting completely in the Lord. If things go well, then we may trust in the Lord and be thankful. If they seem to go ill, then we may still trust in the Lord, and wait for the correcting power of His Right Arm, and be thankful that we may get beneath the shadow of His wings. If things seem to be at a standstill and we cannot tell what to do, we can wait then and rest, and in this be thankful, but always to enter into His courts with Thanksgiving. Says she to me, “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” “You see,” said she, “It is not enough that we commit our way unto Him, but to trust also. ‘And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light; and thy judgment as the noonday.’ There, you see,” said she with such a joyous face and look of resignation, “just how it will be.”
Then she went on to describe in detail her experience in Chicago, when she addressed such a large audience there (4000 or more) and how she knew nothing of the address until the moment she was expected to go on to the stage to begin the address. She then related that she consented to be there at that convention on the understanding that she was not to be expected to address them, but that she was to be one with them, with the privilege of saying a word at any time if it seemed best, just as anyone of them would. After she had been there a little, she inquired for one of their programs, but did not get hold of one for various reasons.
She came in on the morning of the address with others, finding the great hall completely packed, and it was then that she learned for the first time that she was down on the program to address them and they were waiting for her to go onto the stage then. She said her heart sank within her. “I turned around and said to Scientists with me: ‘This is downright dishonesty. I never can carry this out. I haven’t even thought of a subject.’ Mrs. Sargent was with me and she looked at me courageously and said, ‘God will put words into your mouth to speak, I am sure.’ ” Mrs. Eddy paused here to say, “Mrs. Sargent has been with me in more trying times than any other woman,” and she repeated the thought that she was a true and helpful friend. (Mrs. Sargent assists Mrs. Eddy and always receives me at the door, and welcomes me to the sitting-room, and takes my coat and hat. She is very winsome and spiritual, I think.)
“Well,” Mrs. Eddy said, “God’s leading seemed to be more toward the stage than away, so I went thinking there would be some provision. When I got onto the platform, everyone of that vast audience arose as one man, spontaneously, and unexpectedly to the audience even. It was said there that no one had ever known of such a thing before. When I got onto the stage, the thought of my subject came to my mind – Science and the senses. It was almost just what I had dreamed a short time previously; I could not tell exactly when, nor just about the dream. Then the audience sang, ‘Nearer My God to Thee;’ and I felt full of the Spirit and I was just ready; my fear had all left me you see, and I talked to them for an hour, and then I said I should weary them, but they called out for me to ‘go on’ and I talked a half hour more. Then when I got through, there was a great rush toward the stage, and the detectives and policemen were about to open a way out, but there were a lot of people down in front holding up their hands and being held up by others, and calling upon me to help them, and I said to the police, or those in charge, ‘Wait, there is a work here yet to do,’ and I received acknowledgments from many afterwards saying they had been entirely healed of their diseases, one a so-called hopeless case of diabetes and others too numerous to mention. Then the police cleared the way to my hack where an immense crowd were striving to see me (it was a morning session, hence it was daylight) and at the hotel the crowd filled the corridors and even the elevator, until I could get to my room where I was free once again. I tell you this,” she said, “because in this way you may see that if we trust in the Lord, He will uphold us.”
Then she began to refer to the Doctor’s excuse, and said he had been governed by a precedent which she had unwittingly established near the time she had closed her college when in a last Normal class she had received students of his students (nearly all of the Doctor’s class had studied already and therefore were not eligible as primary students to Dr. Eddy’s class as she had intended it, hence his offence). “It was not a good excuse, but it was enough to let me know that as a choice of two evils, it was better that it remain than to try to correct it now. I hope the dear ones will all do well,” said she kindly and cheerfully and hopefully.
This was about all she said concerning the Doctor, but some word turned the conversation toward the good I had received in consequence of her solicitude for me. I told her, love like hers never could be repaid. She leaned forward and raised herself in her chair and said, with much emphasis and feeling, “You have repaid me already to-night. You are yourself again. To do such work is what I live for.”
I saw what she meant and told her that as I carried into practice the effort at consecration, I gained a clear view of the magnetism that had been dominating me, and the vast and distinct difference between it and the sense of the Real One, the Christ, which I had been led to behold through her reflection of it the Sunday evening before; and that I hoped that the future would show that her kindness and love was not in vain. I had, I felt, seen the real Mrs. Eddy. “Yes,” she said, “You will be able through God’s strength to do the work you desire to.” She soon closed, saying her minutes were precious. One other remark I meant to have added to my last but one. She said, “When you were here that Saturday night, I could see you were just taken up and carried away by the animal magnetism, so that you were completely self-satisfied and pleased, all about – nothing.” She paused after this a little and then added, “nothing” in a happy smiling way that could give nobody offense.
Early in March when at “Pleasant View,” we were speaking of Mr. Bowers, the photographer, who while much interested in Mrs. Eddy, was yet not interested in the spiritual way of a Christian Scientist. I told her he had asked me to go with him to see some good show theatricals then being acted in town, and I had declined; and that he appeared to think perhaps I had some Christian Science scruples about going to a theatre for entertainment, for he said to me, “It’s all right for Christian Scientists to go to theatricals if they want to, isn’t it?” I replied, “It may be, if they want to go,” but I had found out for me to do so was to get my mind filled with material thoughts opposed to the Christian Science I professed to be governed by, and that afterwards I had to work hard in the Christian Science way mentally to get them out of my thought again, which made the theatrical entertainment cost more than it came to, I thought.
After I had said this to Mrs. Eddy, I felt it was perhaps not a very wise or Christian Science answer to one on Mr. Bower’s plane of thought, and so I said so to Mrs. Eddy. To this she replied quickly and with some emphasis, “You answered him rightly.” I still felt in doubt as to whether Mrs. Eddy fully understood what I meant, and proceeded to say more definitely that while I could see the answer was true enough, I lacked tact or something else in giving it to one on Mr. Bower’s plane of thinking. To this Mrs. Eddy appeared to rise immediately to perceive the need and to improve the opportunity to rebuke an error of the human mind, for raising herself somewhat, she said with greater emphasis and decision, “You answered him just right.” She did not, however, add one word to this as explanatory of the same. She left it then with God.
This unexpected repeated emphasis made a deep impression upon my mind. It appeared to me a sharp rebuke of something, I could not just know exactly what. It finally became clear to me that it was not on Mr. Bower’s account particularly that she had been impelled to give the second statement of the same thought such emphasis, but rather that I should see more decisively the rightness of my answer in a broad sense, because the most of mankind appear as engaged much of the time in getting filled with erroneous temporary entertainments, that afterwards they must work hard to get out of mind before they can go forward to their true sense of good. Our textbook says: “We soil our garments with conservatism, and afterwards we must wash them clean.” (Science and Health, page 452.)
Chapter Two — The Illustration Work
March 10, 1893. – Went up to St. Paul’s School, a wealthy, widely known Episcopal educational institution three or four miles west of Concord, with a letter of introduction and commendation from Howard Hill, an Episcopal clergyman living in Concord, N. H., but formerly of Montpelier, Vermont, where I became favorably known to him as an artist and maker of etchings. I went up in the hope of getting the school authorities there interested in some form of picture work to represent the school buildings, etc. I was not altogether successful because of the absence of the president of the school. I was still in the vicinity of the school buildings, but walking homeward toward Concord somewhat downcast because of my partial failure to get some art work to do, when a carriage coming along behind me overtook me (I being on the side path) and the driver of the hack called out to me to attract my attention, he having stopped the horses. He motioned me to come near the carriage, and as I did so, I saw it was Mr. Frye, Mrs. Eddy’s secretary, who said Mrs. Eddy would like to speak with me, and going to the carriage door I was greeted by her with a smile of recognition. She said she would like to have me call at her house the following evening at 7:30 o’clock if I would, as she had something she wished to talk with me about.
I think I can never forget the beautiful picture impressed upon my mind by this brief incident, the center of interest of which is in the pure light figure of Mrs. Eddy sitting in her carriage (of enclosed form to suit the season) as I first saw her at the opening of the carriage door, extending her hand to me in her gentle way, and a smiling face that appeared to me then under the peculiar circumstances of the hour as an angel from heaven, who had intervened just at the right moment needed to save me from the burden of seeking for work to do in order to live from people who would not have my work anyway if they knew I was favorably interested in Christian Science and Mrs. Eddy. This was what the Rev. Mr. Hill had told me when he gave me the letter of commendation to the St. Paul School authorities.
Saturday, March 11, 1893. – Went to Mrs. Eddy’s this evening in fulfillment of her request at the St. Paul School locality. She told me that she had written a poem which she had entitled Christ and Christmas, and said she wanted to have some illustrations made for it, and asked me if I thought 1 could make them.
In reply to her question I said I should be very glad to undertake to make such illustrations if she had confidence in my ability to do it satisfactorily. She said she felt confident I could do anything in accord with my ideal aspirations as an artist. Mrs. Eddy then read me the poem which appeared to me very beautiful and grand. I told her I felt sure after I had had time to think it over that designs would begin to come to my thought that would lead up to what would prove to be desirable. She replied that she wanted that I should go on and see what designs would come to me when left entirely to myself and God. She said she would not at present make a single suggestion. Mrs. Eddy appeared to desire to leave the field of my thought entirely to what might be brought out by my obedience to Truth’s revealings when left wholly to heeding the spiritual intuitions thereby awakened. “You can make sketches of these,” she said, “and bring them for my inspection; then perhaps I shall have thoughts that will help to the clearer apprehension of what will be best.”
Mrs. Eddy then gave me a copy of the poem telling me earnestly to let no one know anything about this undertaking. “Keep it sacredly to yourself,” she said, “and look to God for guidance and inspiration.”
March 15, 1893. – Wrote as follows to Mrs. Eddy:
“Dear Mrs. Eddy:
“You have written a wonderful poem, sublime and beautiful, and full of vital meaning which appears the plainer as it is read many times as it needs to be for one to come into the completer understanding of its great import. ‘The lone, brave star’ is divine Science; ‘the seven-hued white,’ that is God. What earthly symbols can be imagined that can forcibly typify such original symmetrical spiritual concepts? My imagination that I have thought was boundless cannot yet reach it, and doubtless never can completely; can yours, think you? Pictorial representation cannot compass every thought.
“I have had some conceptions already of some things relating to the poem that appear to me good.”
March 18, 1893. – Went up to Pleasant View to talk with Mrs. Eddy about some conceptions of designs. Found her in grief because of the way some things appeared to be going in Boston. At this interview she showed me an illustrated poem written by Phillips Brooks which was beautifully gotten up, the opening lines of which read;
“O little town of Bethlehem
“How fair I see thee lie.”
This beautiful poem and book gave me a very good idea of the excellent illustration work Mrs. Eddy had in mind when asking if I could undertake the illustration work for the Christ and Christmas poem for her. She also showed me an illustrated poem by Carol Norton which contained two or three illustrations that appeared very good.
I talked with Mrs. Eddy of designs that had begun to come to me, particularly for the first verse:
“O’er the grim night of chaos shone
“One lone, brave star.”
Mrs. Eddy approved of my design for this verse without any change. With regard to other verses she advanced some important ideas, one of which aimed to bring out the thought of spiritual Motherhood; another, the raising of the dead. But one in particular she appeared to emphasize, which called for the representation of Love and Truth’s spiritual idea in the most perfect form of feminine youthful beauty that I could conceive, bearing the message of Christian Science Truth and knocking at the door of a palatial mansion to represent the abode of material sense, expressed in such a way as to make it manifest as a typical abode of the personal mortal sense of life and things.
Mrs. Eddy hopefully expressed the desire and confidence that I would put myself wholly in the service of Truth in my efforts, and she expressed great faith in my capacity to do anything that related to this pictorial representation if I trusted in God to guide me. She earnestly quoted to me from the Scripture: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
The main features of this illustration soon took form in my attempted delineations of the same.
This conception of Mrs. Eddy’s of one of the leading illustrations of the poem is naturally very inspiring to me, and this spiritually beautiful one to represent Mrs. Eddy’s perfect Science thought of Christ began soon to unfold in my waiting thought and to engage my sacred attention day and night until in due time definite designs of the mansion representation of mortal mind with the pure messenger at the door in accord with the substance of Mrs. Eddy’s spiritual thought expressed to me in her spiritual way of appreciation of all that is lovely and beautiful in Truth, began to take form in my sketches of the same.
The main features of this that so soon took form in my first attempted delineations required little or no modification afterwards. Some of the details, however, were fully decided upon only after some conference with Mrs. Eddy, particularly with reference to what should identify to the observer the meaning of the picture. One of these details related to the book in the hand of the messenger at the door with the word “Truth” upon it. A book was the first thought because Mrs. Eddy’s Science thought was embodied in a great book. The attempt to make use of a book in this connection finally resulted in a humorous presentment of it to our thought, causing much laughter on the part of Mrs. Eddy and her artist because by something that was lightly said it appeared to suggest the call at the mansion of a “book agent,” so that the book thought was given up, and a scroll was then thought of and substituted for it.
March 27, 1893. – Saw Mrs. Eddy on Main Street this afternoon in her carriage when on her daily drive. Stopping her carriage near me, she asked me to call upon her at Pleasant View in the evening. I did so, and we talked of the last illustration referred to above. At this interview I sketched Mrs. Eddy’s face a little. We looked through an old photograph album and looked at pictures in other parts of the house that resembled Mrs. Eddy “as I used to look,” she said. We looked at Milton’s statuette and the David bronze, etc. At this time I engaged all my time to her for this illustration work, but nothing was said about compensation to me.
Tuesday, March 28, 1893. – Received a letter today with Mrs. Eddy’s check for $60.00 “as an installment for the illustration work.”
Thursday, March 30, 1893. – Received a special delivery letter from Pleasant View asking me to call that evening on important business. Arrived; Mrs. Eddy asked me whether others knew of my presence there that night. She stated that a shadow of hatred and envy attended my presence whenever I came. She said it was not of me. She concluded it might be of Mrs. Otis from what had recently come out and been uncovered regarding the class of Dr. Foster Eddy held in Boston in February.
Mrs. Eddy talked to me of animal magnetism and of its effects and the way to guard against it. In this talk she freely referred to many things of a character to cause her sorrow relating to the conduct of Christian Science affairs here in Concord, mostly due to the headlong zeal that is not according to Christian Science concepts of divine wisdom as she had taught them. In brief, there was too much made of the letter and too little of the real Love that touches the heart and wins the way by patiently and wisely waiting for Truth’s real unfoldment, trusting God much and self little.
In talking of this, Mrs. Eddy asked me a question: “Who did Jesus say were they who really loved him and were his true disciples?” I answered: “I think he said it was they who kept his commandments.” Approving, she added: “The students who truly love me are they who obey carefully my explicit directions. Such are saved from the toils of the evil one, and rarely come to me saying, ‘Lord, Lord.’ ”
A little while previous to this interview, Mrs. Eddy had told me when I was at Pleasant View (March 28, 1893) substantially as follows: That I might know when I was unconsciously getting into the toils of animal magnetism by watching the state of my thought. If I found it to be of the self-satisfied order – pleased with my progress generally, the pleased-at-nothing, self-complacent thought – I might then know that I was astray; but that when I found myself in a sense of patient meekness and humility – dissatisfied with personal sense and willing to do anything for the sake of the Christ – I could then be reasonably sure I was in the way of health and wholeness.
This animal magnetism difference from our true normal spiritual estate would naturally appear only in our unguarded moments, when our personal belief motives not then being seen as such, would come to the surface and appear in our thought and acts unchallenged, because unseen as error, rather than in any outwardly conscious yielding to the animal magnetism because of its attractions.
What Mrs. Eddy had been saying referring to the many things that caused her sorrow relating to the Christian Science Cause, locally as well as generally, appears lamentable to me, and deeply engages my thought and I have said to myself, “If there were some means available to me for overcoming it that was within the compass of my capacity of attainment, how gladly I would undertake this so far as I could reasonably hope to accomplish such a worthy achievement.” It is sometimes said that children have a hope and a readiness to undertake great things that an experienced adult would not think of for a moment. Perhaps it is so with me, for I am yet but a child in Christian Science demonstration, but I have what appears to me a spiritual idea that may yet prove to be of practical value in such a way as God may provide.
April 8, 1893. – I went up to Pleasant View this evening. Was asked to go up into her sitting room and saw her there. She greeted me in her kindly childlike way, I showed her some new drawings and sketches of designs, and we talked of what would likely be better and of many other things until 9:30 o’clock.
One of my new sketches represented a design which I ventured to make showing Science and Health bound in one volume with the Bible. Mrs. Eddy expressed her disapproval of this, saying such a suggestion now was not in accord with wisdom and was very far from acceptance by the general thought of mankind. “In nonessentials we have always to consider what the general public can accept,” she said.
April 10, 1893. – Mrs. Eddy sent me word this morning that she wished me to call at 11 o’clock as she had something important to say regarding the illustration work. I went up and she received me in the library and appeared in a sad, longsuffering mood as she began to tell me that God had told her that she must give up this thought of illustrating her poem altogether. She said, “You know that when we hear this voice directing us, we must obey it. So now, dear one, put away all thought of any further work on what we have been doing, and also what is already done and dismiss it entirely from your mind and give your attention to other things. We cannot tell now why this is God’s word to us, but later, if we are obedient, we shall know that God’s ways are always best for us.” I told her as cheerfully as I could that I would do as she requested to the best of my ability. She added, “It has always been with me something like this when engaged upon what appeared very good to me to do. God would speak and tell me to give up the form of good work as it appeared to me, and I should know through my obedience a better way for me to do.” She gave me her hand and said good-bye to me as if it were the last time we should ever meet.
Of course, I felt very downhearted and sorrowful, and this continued for a couple of days during which I was seeking to find my real self, for I knew as the sad hours passed that that was my need and hope, to find my real self as Christian Science so abundantly teaches and demonstrates. And so I worked to know that the goodness of God as the Christ reveals it to us in due time was all I needed. Only a few days before, I had written in my diary as follows:
“Our knowledge of Truth – God – Christian Science – is in proportion to our cross-bearing experience. Understanding means the experience and sense of good which cross-bearing or self-denial yields through self’s removal from our view by its death, through this denial, of that which alone blinds us to the perception of the really ever-present good of Spirit – real Being – which is the understanding which satisfies us because it makes us know our real and eternal perfection in God, as His glorious and loved offspring or idea.”
Reading this over so lately written, I thought now is my great opportunity, and more – my great need to prove this true, and I addressed myself to this mental work for a day, but apparently without success. The question would arise, “Why is it that I can see the truth – the logical truth – of this thought as above written, and yet cannot now realize it?” I persisted, but the light of my deliverance appeared farther away than ever, until finally I arrived at the material sense of despair in which my inability to raise myself by this mental logic to the heaven of Truth’s supremacy became very apparent, and I was beginning to see what Jesus meant when he said, “I can of mine own self do nothing,” because however logical the merely human reasoning, it of itself had no actual living power, consequently could not deliver me. Seeing this marked the death of a mortal sense. Then I was free to turn to God alone to save me in His own good time and way. Being made free, I was enabled now to do this and very soon the light of God’s presence and infinite goodness as mine to know began to dawn upon my grateful consciousness, revealing the Christ as the soul of Christian Science, and my real being. It was now morning and I arose early for a walk in the pure fragrance of this spiritual consciousness so at-one with the unfolding springtime, melodious with the songs of the birds, all of which was now to me typical of the risen Christ, my life and hope, all-sufficient.
After a few days in the happiness of this recognition of man’s real being, the thought came that I would like to write to Mrs. Eddy, and I did so substantially as follows:
“Dear Mrs. Eddy:
“I have been thinking of many things since I saw you and it has come to me that in the case of so great and beautiful a poem as yours there must be some one spiritually-minded enough so that you would feel God’s approval in having the poem illustrated. Perhaps the artist in New York who made the illustrations for Carol Norton’s poem that you showed me would be equal to the work. At any rate, I feel that the work should not be given up simply because I have not proved to be spiritually equal to the task.”
The next day Mrs. Sargent came in the carriage and handed me a note from Mrs. Eddy, briefly requesting me to take up the work again and to call upon her in two days with sketches of any designs I may have to show her. This I was enabled to do in a pure sense of the divine goodness in contrast to the self-love and self-complacency that I was tolerating before without consciously knowing it until it had become manifest to Mrs. Eddy’s sensitive spiritual thought, so that the call of God to her was to rebuke it by putting a stop to the work. This became the clearer to me as at this interview Mrs. Eddy appeared very appreciative of the difference between my present thought and that before, saying after she had talked freely of spiritual things pertaining to the illustration work, “Your thought is so much better and purer!” She appeared to rejoice in the simple Christian state of my thought.
On April 16, 1893, I received a letter from Mrs. Eddy signed “Mother” in which is the following:
“God will inspire you if only you follow His reflection.
“The window for this age will let in the true thought to be delineated – copy it.
During several weeks previous to the twenty-fifth of April a condition of resistance of personal material thought against me had been becoming manifest. Very much error had been uncovered to me during that time through the action of Truth as reflected to me by Mrs. Eddy. Our textbook states a fundamental truth in the sentence: “Uncover error, and it turns the lie upon you” (Science and Health, p. 92). As I appeared connected with this uncovering, persecution began to be directed against me on the basis of belief that I in some subtle unknown way was secretly a foe to the Cause of Christian Science in Concord and therefore to the Cause generally. This resulted finally in an abrupt vacation of my room at No.7 Chapel Street, the landlady of which was one of the young students of the Christian Science teacher in Concord. I very soon found a friend in Mr. Runnels, a picture dealer in Concord, who invited me to his home until I could find another room suited to my needs. Such rooms were found within a day following at No.4 Turnpike Street at the lower end of the city.
At the room I had vacated a little device had been prepared to catch me technically as a law-breaker – “breaking and entering” – but the spirit of Truth guided my eye to see the innocent form of the snare before I was caught in it, and thus the evil purpose was frustrated and when I returned with legal right to obtain my belongings, I was greatly disrespected and verbally abused, but this could not hinder my coming into possession of my own and taking them away in security. The following diary record of May 10th briefly refers to this and other things as follows:
“May 10, 1893. – Had a day’s battle today with malicious animal magnetism and in the spiritual sense won the day. Moved from No.7 Chapel Street to No.4 Turnpike Street. Such venom as was manifest today was never dreamed of in my general consideration of this subject. It is doubtless occasioned by my connection with the work of illustration for Mrs. Eddy which is to deal a blow to error in a future day. It appears as a determined obstacle of resistance to this work being carried out.”
May 11, 1893. – I like my two upper rooms at No.4 Turnpike Street very much. It appears as if God had kindly provided here everything which I have before longed for all in one, a condition of things I have been growing to regard as impossible in this material world. The rooms happen to be so situated that views are to be had in three directions – the north, east, and west. At the north are the picturesque roofs and big chimney of the old style New England yellow-brown house with large elms just in front framing in the roof and woodshed and poultry yard in the rear. At the east is a view of the Merrimac River about a third of a mile distant. Beyond, six miles away, are the blue hills of Chichester. The west view is into a picturesque apple orchard and garden. The east window has beside the distant view and the Merrimac River and meadows, the view of the street where the electrics pass every half hour, also a house just across, where there is a lady who sings sweetly about her housework and plays the piano, but not pretentiously. They have a dog that is always running out to bark at bicycle riders, also two children of twelve or fourteen years. There is a tin roof just under my washroom window which makes a fine sounding board for the falling rain and dripping eaves – fine music to me at night – or any time.
May 13, 1893. – Walked up to Bow Mills this morning for a walk. In returning am impelled to make efforts to rebuke in myself all merely material and personal sense of being which Christian Science reveals and demonstrates to be the abnormal and false sense of life which being temporary, soon passes away. I affirm anew that there is no power that can prevent my realizing that the truest state of mind which knows real love for all the actualities of being is mine to know and exercise in confident faith in eternal good to the end that God will answer our desires. This effort more clearly unfolds to me the consciousness of Love that is God, which shows me how to judge others without harm to them.
May 14, 1893. – Began to feel depressed somewhat. The personal sense is saying to me that the place where I had engaged to take my meals was deficient. Surrounded by strangers and objects not yet accustomed to, I feel sad.
May 15th. – My feeling of sad depression increases and this morning I felt almost ready to give up my boarding place, so different from the one in the north part of the city near No. 7 Chapel Street, which had been my boarding place previous to my moving to this south part of the city. I have finally concluded I will stay a while, notwithstanding some dislike because I feel it would be selfish to run away from what had been provided me. Perhaps God has a work for me to do through my staying. A German from New York is here who I have the feeling needs me, perhaps. To go back to boarding at the old place at the north part of the city would be to gratify the claims of the material that good in some measure was dependent on material things. In this I would in a measure be going back upon the Science thought. To gain a victory over sense in this line of Truth is far better and the victory must come directly through the endeavors of the denial of self, for the sake of knowing Truth’s demonstration.
This evening, having an appointment at Mrs. Eddy’s, I went there over the south-end plain road, my sense of depression still attending. On the way I partially got the mastery of it by becoming reconciled to it as being a beginning of gaining a higher sense of the truth of being. Arriving, I tried to postpone seeing Mrs. Eddy until after two or three days, when I should have more to show her in the way of sketches and pictures of designs already determined upon, but she sent back word by Mrs. Sargent who tends front door, that she wanted to see me. Therefore, I remained. She soon came in and greeted me very pleasantly, saying she was glad to see me, with a good deal of unction and feeling, it seemed to me. As soon as seated, she began to express a feeling of sympathetic consideration for me, saying that it all seemed strange that I should be set so alone in the world, making pictures as I was, among strangers. I told her I had been feeling depressed and that perhaps she was feeling this. She said with a sober significant look, “You know why you feel depressed, do you not? You were talked up by the Scientists here yesterday, and your feeling is one of the results.” I replied that I did not think it was due to that. I told her I supposed she ought to know about it the best, but I had had these depressed times often before. But she repeated what she had said before, adding, “I know how things are going; I have heard about it. Your friend (meaning Dr. Foster Eddy) was here yesterday. He went down in that section of the town and went there; and you were talked up. I did not know it until after he was gone, or I should have cautioned him against going there.” I told her I had had a letter of rebuke from Boston from him. She looked surprised and asked what the letter said. I told her and she was indignant. She said she should write to him and tell him what the truth was. She asked me what I said in reply. I told her that I replied that his rebuke was based upon a false conception of the situation here (here she said, “Yes”); but that it wouldn’t hurt if it did not hit somewhere, and I would try and humbly appropriate it where it did hit. She expressed indignation that some students who had been well instructed should deviate so from the right way, as to lie and act so falsely. In speaking of the way to meet this malicious appearance of evil, she said she “never knew anyone who could lump all evil claims together and then meet and demonstrate over them. The particular claim of evil that is causing in belief the trouble needs to be singled out in perception and exposed and denied, and up it goes at once.”
She asked me to tell her in detail the circumstances connected with my removal from No.7 Chapel Street. I did so as briefly as I could, touching upon what first precipitated the agitation and some of the rude things that were said to me among which was the false affirmation that I had kept my door locked when out to the restaurant, so that no one could get into my room to do the room work. At this Mrs. Eddy said, “There, there is one of their lies exposed; they told me that your door was kept locked,” and then more indignation in which she said, “God directed me to ask you in regard to matters of detail this time” in which she referred to God as speaking to her as to Mary. “I do not often ask into such personal matters; I will not hear them; but this time I felt God’s direction to Mary to do so; and I am glad you have told Mrs. Otis. I shall write my son in Boston.” I told her, “I wouldn’t; as it will only stir this maliciousness the more. I am disposed to look upon it philosophically.” “In what way?” she asked. I said: “I think all this evil animal manifestation is to be expected. It will come in some form anyway because of the good work we are undertaking to do; as it always will under such circumstances, because that is the way of all progress in mortal life.” “Well,” she said, “You are not going to allow it all and say nothing, are you, because it is bound to come?” I said, “I suppose not, but let us not allow it to agitate or disturb us. It cannot harm me.” She smiled and nodded: “That is so. I shall write to my son, though, for the truth shall be known and declared.” She said, “If I were you I would leave Concord when you get this poem illustrated.” I told her I did not care for myself, but I was sorry to have occasioned her so much trouble. She replied, “That is nothing. I am used to that.” Some time during this conversation she expressed regret at my having so many troubles, and then added: “But then I have all my life been enduring such hardships, and all for good, as I have been led later to see.” When the interview first began and she asked after my welfare, she said when referring to my lone situation, “You are not working too hard, are you? But there isn’t any overwork, is there?” I thought then that she came the nearest to the occasion of my depression in the expression of that thought, for I had worked myself into a state of sleeplessness and indigestion, as well as into a small appetite for food. The last thing upon coming away she asked when I would come up again. I told her I thought on Saturday, to which she replied: “Well, but don’t hurry on the work; take your time.” So I think she intuitively perceived my error. When she was looking at some of the sketched designs, she laughingly said upon looking at the sketch of the face of the sick man whom she was represented as healing, “There! that man looks just as if he was determined I should not heal him.” She seemed to recall just that experience in healing. Taken in connection with the expression the man has in the sketch, what she said was decidedly humorous.
Mrs. Eddy rarely appears to me mentally as one aged in years, but more often like a beautiful, spiritually-minded, young, or middle-aged lady, who is always actively kind and often given to graciously expressing this in ways very pleasant to the human sense, and also by love rebukes when she feels impelled because of the manifest need of the same in order to be true to herself and God. She has a keen sense of the humorous, but never appears to seek to see it or express it any way; but where it appears in evidence unsought as it often did in the progress of the work on these illustrations, she was quite as free and unrestrained as any joyous child in her appreciation of it. In the efforts at designing, and particularly of the one representing the raising of the dead, many comical situations would obtrude themselves unexpectedly, causing much innocent laughter. Mrs. Eddy would say, afterwards, “What would people think if they could see how much laughing attended our trying to pictorially express so solemn a thing as raising the dead?” But the laughing was all of the childlike innocent kind that expressed divine Love’s native joyousness and pure sweet gayety. At such a time, Mrs. Eddy once said: “Never mind, we shall yet be enabled to get the better of death if we are true to the Life that knows it not.”
Once when she referred to setting matters right with the Doctor as related to me, she said: “I know that I am right (with regard to my innocence of the things brought against me). When I look into matters of such nature I don’t get deceived.”
In speaking of small hands and feet, she said she thought one could tell more as to general character by the form generally, than by the bumps on the head. She said if one were “tall and slender, they were aspiring in their nature, more aspiring than material,” which I naturally accepted as a compliment to myself.
After she commenced to talk about the illustrations, she said she had been changing the verses around some and she thought she had made an immense improvement. This she stated with a great deal of interest, and producing the poem, she read me the verses in the order in which she had rearranged them, which placed the verses calling for the illustration of the one rising up out of the casket, second.
She said, “I must represent Jesus raising the dead in the first illustration with a person represented in it. This now places Jesus first in the order of the illustrations.” She said, “As it was before, people would say that she was giving Christ or Jesus a secondary place; but now he would be placed first, thus rendering him his due.”
In the last illustration which she wants I should make very impressive, showing Truth at the door of mortal mind, she wants to have one bare foot show, and she said she could remove the hose from one foot and let me sketch the foot from the life if I desired. She said her students would think much of the picture if they knew it was her foot represented from nature. It was after nine o’clock when I was ready to go. A considerable time was taken up by Mrs. Eddy looking with Mr. Frye and Mrs. Sargent (“Laura,” Mrs. Eddy calls her) for some photographs of Mrs. Eddy, but they found them not. They were a lot containing one of each kind which she had put together and put away, “but now nothing can be found of them,” she says. “They were put in a drawer in my room and now they are not to be found in my room. That is a specimen of the mysteries connected with this house.” I told her I thought they would soon be found; they would reappear somewhere. She says, “I told you about that picture of mine with the child, that was stolen, did I not?” I answered, “Yes” (she told me about it that third interview). She brought down a large illustrated Bible for me to see some pictures in it. She said she liked to look over that book, looking at the pictures was almost as good as reading the text. She said I might take it home with me if I desired. It might help about illustrations. So I took it along. Upon my way home I was beset by thoughts that were unfavorable to previous conceptions of Christian Science and Mrs. Eddy, as indeed I was before I went. These thoughts were unwelcome to me, and unreasonable from any spiritual just point of view. They looked reasonable only from a loveless, material viewpoint. The burden of these thoughts was that Mrs. Eddy, after all, was human and mortal like other people and therefore not perfect. The material sense, blind as always to spiritual things, was clamoring to be heard. I found that I should be greatly pained to think that she was willingly thinking such thoughts of me, notwithstanding they might be just from a material estimate. I found I wished to be regarded as I was in the real being, as I was when I was completely myself, spiritually, and this helped me finally to the overcoming of these unnatural, unfavorable thoughts, although I had a hard battle until toward midnight when sleep changed the dream. In all this I still felt very much depressed. It seemed as if all the reliability of Christian doctrine generally had been scattered to the winds. In the morning the battle began again, but the enemy was soon routed by the consciousness gained that it was my duty and privilege to always see and regard Mrs. Eddy as the perfect image and likeness of the divine spiritual goodness, as a blessed idea of God. Any lesser seeing than this was of material sense and therefore false. Ask no questions of material sense, for it cannot tell the truth. The immense work of good which has been accomplished by Mrs. Eddy ought to be sufficient to guard us from entertaining material thoughts of her in the least. I see plainly today that the antagonism is begotten in the general sea of materiality which resists the Truth which Mrs. Eddy stands for as frost appears to resist the light and warmth of sunshine for a time. I wrote her a letter today substantially as above written.
Mrs. Eddy admitted the Science of one form of thought I have cherished, this time that I was there that I was glad to hear. After I had said in the first of the evening that I was feeling depressed and she had hinted to me the cause of it, and that I should be able to cast it out by proper treatment, I said, “Aside from looking at it philosophically I had been looking at it as a means of demonstrating God’s goodness through patiently accepting its sense of burden as a means of attaining greater spirituality.” I told her that I had found in my experience that when I came to where I was willing, if not glad, to bear any sense of material burden for the sake of Truth’s increase in my thought, that that willingness gave me a sense of mastery over the claims of evil that nothing else could, for then they became servants for God’s glorification. She immediately replied, “That is what I mean is the way you are to master the sense of evil and thus demonstrate its nothingness.” During the day, today, (May 16th) my depressed feeling has vanished and I have had a fine spiritual day. In it has come to my perception the solution of why I felt the antagonistic thoughts toward Mrs. Eddy and the cure for them.
Sunday evening, May 21st. – My rooms seem good and my boarding place also, now. We have had a hard rainstorm during the week and it makes fine music in its patter on the tin piazza roof. I am so glad I clung to my boarding place, for it has been clearly demonstrated that outward surroundings have little or nothing to do with real happiness. I am confident that any surroundings not involving actual deficiency of either food, raiment, or seclusion proper to my work would be found agreeable and sufficient if the heart is open to know spiritual things with firm faith to wait upon God and His deliverance.
I took a walk today, Sunday, May 21st, over to the Suncook River directly east from Concord, and found it nearer than I supposed, being but about two miles from No.4 Turnpike Street. Had a long and pleasant walk on the sandy “Plains” on the east of the Merrimac River. The day is warm and sunny with continual winds from the southwest, fragrant with the pitch pines that are there everywhere present. Bathing in the limpid waters of the Suncook River, one is reminded of heaven’s purity and the beauty of wholesome, pure thinking as reflected in spiritual obedience.
This day has been truly a Sabbath day to me, although now, at Mrs. Eddy’s wise suggestion, I do not attend the Christian Science services here. She counsels me to guard my consciousness from others’ thoughts.
Walked up to Pleasant View last Saturday evening and found Mrs. Eddy was engaged, and I returned at once. The evening was so fine, the trees just coming into leaf, that I found the walk very enjoyable. The distance from No.4 Turnpike Street is about a mile and a half.
During the week past since then I have been making the picture of the illustration “Christian Science Healing,” and in particular of Mrs. Eddy, as the type of the woman engaged in this picture as healing the sick man. When we were considering the details of the design of the illustration of “Christian Science Healing,” the question of what was the most spiritually appropriate disposition of the hands and arms was up for final decision. I reasoned that an attitude of peaceful composure and calmness born of perfect faith in omnipotent Spirit, even perfect understanding of God, should be considered as the most appropriate. I argued that the likeness of the infinite would realize the perfect reality of all things, hence would have no agitation of mind as to the outcome of the healing thought of divine Mind and therefore perfect repose and calm in the attitude of the healer should predominate. Mrs. Eddy’s reply to this I can never forget. She said: “Yes, but Love yearns.” From this I was led to see that my reasoning was largely the loveless, cold, human, intellectual reasoning that cannot at all see spiritual things in reality, but only the dead literal form of its own vain mortal imaginings. Mrs. Eddy then took an attitude to express her spiritual concept to some extent to me of what the spiritual posture of one spiritually would be who was reflecting the divine healing capacity, in the act of raising from a sick bed one who was being held in the bondage of belief of the reality of evil or error. First, she looked upward with a meekly confident, yearning, far-away (from material sense) look and at the same time with her right arm and hand raised with the index finger in a childlike way pointing upward – heavenward. The other arm and hand was stretched out in a downward direction as if toward suffering humanity, appealing and yet joyously all in spiritual purity and adoration.
Mrs. Eddy very soon after the beginning of the illustration work began to impress upon my thought the great importance of having my mind pure from the thoughts of those about me so far as that thought could be related in any way to my conceptions of God’s governing guidance in the work I was entrusted to undertake to do. At first this appeared to be confined mainly to keeping entirely to myself the work on the illustrations I was doing for her. Then, as the time passed, she began to refer to the importance of this in any undertaking that was the outcome of pure motives, and especially spiritual aspirations. Mrs. Eddy explained that by keeping our thought pure from the conceptions of others until our own individual conceptions had taken, through the Spirit’s inspiration, their definitely proper form, we would be giving place solely to the formation of the divine perfect Mind and the results would more nearly correspond to the true ideals actuating us. In this it was made clear to me that it was not alone in the keeping of spiritual conceptions “hidden in sacred secrecy from the visible world” (Science and Health, p. 118), that is, from people whom I should judge to be unspiritual in thought until my conceptions should have become fully formulated, but from all, however refined they might appear to be to the human sense.
This made plain to me why she included those of her own household in her requests that I keep entirely to myself what I was doing until the proper time should arrive for its presentment. This thought appeared to be universal in its application as she impressed it upon my apprehension; but she appeared also to be impelled to deeply emphasize it in my case as if she saw I especially needed the injunction, perhaps because she saw then what she later definitely expressed in saying she found my mentality uncommonly plastic and impressible.
Also worked this week on the child, reading Science and Health to the old gentleman, illustrating the thought that in Science childhood teaches age because worldly wisdom counts nothing in Truth.
Under the circumstances the following evolution of thought through Christian Science reasoning appears worthy of record. Dr. E. J. Foster Eddy having written me a letter of rebuke based on a false conception of the situation of matters pertaining to Christian Science here in Concord, having its origin in false reports about me and my doings here, I was at first tempted to state the full truth to him verbally when he recently visited me here. This would have involved the saying of hard things of others. I was kept from this by the thought that to yield to this would be the way of malicious mind to cause more fuel to be added to the flames of hate and envy. This, then, was answered by the claim of a higher thought which was that in the Christ Science thought we are not to stop from our duty of exposing error, and thus causing it to be destroyed from any fear of adding fuel to error’s flames whether it appears likely to harm us or the cause of Truth. “Do right and leave the consequences to God.” This appeared high thinking until the truly high, because spiritually wise, thought came to me as follows: In the keeping inviolate of Love’s ever kind regard for others it is enough at the first to state to the Doctor that his written rebuke to me was based upon a false conception of the situation here without volunteering details to prove the truth of my statement. If the Doctor is really in the righteous spirit that alone justifies the rebuking of another, he will seek to accurately know the grounds of any statement in answer to his rebuke. It will then be soon enough to explain more fully that which would involve the discrediting of others, because to exercise just judgment as is highly and generally admitted, requires reliable knowledge of the facts as presented from both sides of a case. If not awake enough to be disposed to thus seek the truth, efforts to crowd it upon his attention would most likely be in vain. It does not devolve upon us ever to try to force upon others what they do not seek and appear desirous of knowing, which we know is the case when having stated certain things to be true they do not either accept the statement or seek the verification that a little seeking by suitable questioning would readily afford. Under such a view of the truth, silence best accords with wisdom and man’s native dignity, and justifies the course taken in confining the defense to the simple, true statement that the rebuke was based on a false conception of the situation here in Concord.
Sunday, May 28, 1893. – A beautiful day, outwardly and spiritually. A day of pleasant memories. I walked up to the park after working out the Sabbath lesson, about 11 A.M. The air is clear and fresh after the rain of last night, and is laden with the sweet breath of apple blossoms. I remember it is just six months since the day I came to Concord and went, that first day, up back of the park to look the country round and possibly set eyes upon Mrs. Eddy’s place; and so I went today up to the same place beyond the park, into the by-path leading into the oak shrubbery, and here I saw the beauty of Spirit which the outward world at this time seemed adapted to express. I saw I had a high mission to fulfill. The walk up here before was about the first of December and the season then, even as the season now, typified the state of my mind, especially as related to Mrs. Eddy and Christian Science progress. Then I had never met her and doubted if I ever should, or if it would be desirable for me, but held her in great reverence and felt it would be sufficient for me if I should be so honored as to make pictures that she should find any pleasure in viewing, especially so much as should entitle them in her thought to a place upon the walls of any of her rooms. Now I find myself after a brief six months a trusted one, engaged in a sacred work of making illustrations of a great and beautiful poem that she has lately written, the most important illustrations in their main features so well done and so forcible in their thought which the poem expresses, that Mrs. Eddy is moved to tears of joy at the great success and says, “God bless you” to me with great feeling. “You are doing a great work in this and still have a great work to do.” The value of the pictures is in the spiritual thought they express; and the joy of this is in the new sense of God which preceding their execution has made it possible that they shall be thus successful, and this new sense has been due to Mrs. Eddy’s purity and spirituality. Without that it would have been simply impossible for me to have made anything of any value whatever in this connection of illustrating this very spiritual poem. The designs of all the important ones are mainly hers. But in one thing I have contributed to this success and that is in my efforts to be obedient to the spirit of Truth and readiness to try to wake up when I had the least hint that I was getting asleep spiritually, a thing I am prone to do. It was last Tuesday evening that my picture of the emaciated sick man rising at the command of Mrs. Eddy moved her to the feeling remark: “Oh! Mr. Gilman, Mr. Gilman, this is the best piece of work you ever have done.” Yesterday I was there at 1:30 o’clock P.M. with the picture of the messenger of Truth at the door of the mortal mind mansion. She had brought down a box of pictures of herself to show me that I might gain a good idea of her as she used to be, or look. After I had looked at them, she found that two of them that she wanted particularly to show to me were not there, so she signaled “Laura” and when she came asked her to get them in her room and bring them. Just as she came, I took up the picture of the last scene in the poem:
“Christ calls tonight: Oh! let me in,
“No mass for me”
to show to her. This picture is the one she has wanted should be the most impressive, and I was feeling I had succeeded so well that I felt confident she would like it. The conception and execution of it had come to me this past week since Tuesday evening, when I was striving harder than ever before to realize my true normal manhood in God, as Christian Science teaches, and to keep from falling into the drowsy mesmeric sleep as related to spiritual consciousness which Mrs. Eddy’s thought particularly of last Tuesday evening showed to me I was continually doing. As soon as Mrs. Eddy’s eyes rested upon the picture, she was very still for a moment and then she said, “Laura, look here! look at that picture!” I began to fear that it looked dreadful to her on account of the exposed shoulder and breast, especially when Laura began to say, “Oh! Why, Mother, Mother,” but adding, “Isn’t that beautiful! beautiful!” reassured me, and Mrs. Eddy echoed her words, and they both were in that joyousness that finds expression in tears and Mrs. Eddy was saying, “It is the perfect representation of the ideal I had in thought, but could not exactly describe.” Afterwards when Laura still having the pictures in her hand that she had brought down, holding them toward Mrs. Eddy, said, “Here are the pictures you wanted,” Mrs. Eddy said, “We don’t want them now. He has got the picture perfect.” After this I went up to her room when she was ready – her sitting-room chamber, where she writes and attends to her daily work – and sketched her foot for this same picture, a place being left in the picture for that to be done according to a previous arrangement. Here when I came to go she considerately remembered to come to the door with me and give me her hand in good-bye and “God bless you” before referred to.
Chapter Three — Mrs. Eddy’s Spiritual Rebukes
Sunday, June 4, 1893. – It was last Sunday that I wrote of being at Mrs. Eddy’s the day before at 1:30 o’clock to show her the illustration of the last verse in the poem which seemed to give her such pleasure. Last Thursday evening I was up there again and found rebuke of the spirit of elation which is manifest in the last diary record of a week ago. I had written her on Tuesday, two days before, of my need of means to meet my material necessities, having entirely exhausted my supply in hand including $20.00 I had borrowed. On Wednesday, Mr. Frye wrote me Mrs. Eddy desired me to come up Thursday 12:30 P.M. or evening for answer to my letter. I found her at first unready to look at the picture I carried up, she saying she had no time that night. She proceeded at once to talk of my call for material means, and asked me how much my expenses amounted to per week. I replied stating a reasonable sum per week was enough to meet current expenses for each week including a little for incidentals such as artist’s materials. She then asked me if I could not get along with less. She added that she had had to payout on all sides heavily in recent weeks, saying her expenses were over $400 during the past month. I replied by saying (what I before had often thought in my personal pride I would be glad to do if I only possessed sufficient means so that I could) that I would gladly make these illustrations for her without charge, if I were able to, and even then I would still be the debtor. Perhaps it might be possible for me, even yet, to do this if she could wait a little until I could get some work to do whereby I could earn money to meet expenses while working on the illustrations. But Mrs. Eddy quite naturally would not hear to this, and so she arranged to supply me weekly with means sufficient to meet my current expenses. She said she had supposed that the check for $60.00 she gave me in March would be enough to cover the cost of making the illustrations.
At this interview she asked me not to think of her personally at any time, saying that my thought or atmosphere of mind, being unspiritual, interfered with hers and her work. In consequence of this request this diary writing must be very brief so far as it touches upon what relates to our interviews personally. The purpose of stating what I have is to show the nature of the divine Love rebuke which has been it seems to me now, the most profitable of any.
Mrs. Eddy soon found time to look at the picture I had brought up, it being nearly completed. She was, as is often the case, quite childlike in what she had to say, but at first it appeared strange and out of keeping to me with the previous expressions of appreciation of my work. But this was not sufficient to bar me from the acceptance of the circumstances as a possible spiritual rebuke that I might profit by heeding, for which I soon felt very grateful, for within a couple of days after I was led to see some spiritual things in a very valuable way which far more than compensates for the disappointment to material sense I have felt. She had told me there was no objection to my thinking of her in the spiritual way that is natural upon reading her works, and I see plainly there is no objection to thinking of her in any way that harmonizes with the spiritual sense of being which her teachings inculcate, and so I have come to feel free to write as much as I have because I have the one purpose in doing so of recording some spiritual experience that I have found of great value as a direct result of this spiritual rebuke through Mrs. Eddy. In this experience a number of things have been accented. One of them is this: In the very nature of things, mortal, is that tendency or seeming law which will soon appear operating as the destroyer of mortal mind beliefs and hopes if we are measurably true to our best light, and in the proportion that we are thus true we cannot become so isolated from the operation of the perfect law of Love that the effacement of the mortal mind will not be accomplished, in a good measure at least. If for Truth’s sake we accept rebuke willingly for the sake of its purifying power, then we shall soon gain the sense of Truth’s supremacy followed by the demonstration thereof. The theology of this appears less new to me than the practical perception of it has appeared in this rebuke experience of Mrs. Eddy’s attitude toward me as above related. A reasonable material compensation for my work might indeed be necessary, but if my spiritual progress made it requisite and I was ready for the greater good of divine Love’s rebuke of mortal mind foolishness, such as self-love, self-satisfaction, self-complacency, etc., it would come, and following it would come the sense of Spirit’s complete supremacy, and through that sense, man’s dominion over the earth – even poverty belief and its claims of limitation. This comes to me as I never have felt so deeply before, and it has revealed practically the deeper truth of so many passages of Science and Health that before were accepted so lightly that their actual divinity was missed, not being understood, and similarly of Jesus’ teachings, also.
It has now again become plain to me that the mortal mind is the only sufferer, and if we are really desirous to overcome it, we shall be enabled to by God’s grace through the acceptance of the spiritual rebuke of our personal mortal thoughts. This takes away all our fear even as it has in my consciousness now, because it has banished from my sense of being the belief in the actuality of evil; and now, behold, we find ourself in a purer, more harmonious mental state wherein we far more fully realize what we have before desired to, but were unable to, because we did not of ourself have the spiritually impelling power to bring about this testing of man’s capacity in the false material claims termed by Mrs. Eddy in Science, “animal magnetism,” “mortal mind,” etc. I now see that the trial was caused by my belief in personal things as real things, when the truth is, as Science and Health teaches on every page, spiritual things alone are the real and good, and that the care of it is due to Mrs. Eddy’s obedience to her spiritual intuitions not to be a party to the perpetuation of the subtle personal erring sense by yielding to its call for material things, and by weakly allowing their full legitimacy, bind the burden of the false material state of mind upon her artist and make impossible the continuation of the present illustration work. Her love for God and man was too genuine for that, and so took the alternative course that she did with faith that God’s grace was sufficient for me and that I should find it so. The lesson of this to me is that perfect Love – God – works in ways to save that mortals think not of. This experience has outlined very definitely to me that the great spiritual attainments of Mrs. Eddy manifest through the great good that has come to the world through her spiritual obedience makes the reception of the lessons of rebuke from her far more possible than it otherwise would be. Her good works follow her, and what she has so graciously taught, that evil – sin, mortal mind – exists only in seeming and may surely be demonstrated over through the realization of the supremacy of Spirit, which she has plainly shown us how to attain to, takes away even the seeming that may have afflicted us, and leaves clear again to our vision the perfect idea of God which is real and immortal and which alone can satisfy the heart of man.
Monday, June 19, 1893. – On Thursday evening of last week I was up to Mrs. Eddy’s with a single picture to show that I had mostly spent the four days of the week in making, illustrating the verse containing the lines:
“Who can portray the heavenly worth
“Of that high morn?”
In this illustration, in fulfillment of Mrs. Eddy’s design, were to be two angels moving swiftly through the air to welcome the approaching dawn. These angels were not, according to Mrs. Eddy’s idea, to be delineated in the usual conventional way as having “‘feathered wings,” an ideal that Mrs. Eddy objected to as being unnatural and confusing. The problem to the artist in such a case was, how to picture them as angels to the eyes of observers who have only known pictures of them as angels by the possession of wings wherewith to fly. I labored and struggled with this problem some days, nearly a week. Then I thought I would take the results of my work up to Pleasant View for Mrs. Eddy to see, the results of which appear in the following diary record of June 19, 1893.
Mrs. Eddy did not appear to like my picture and made some sport of it in her way, but kindly told me soon not to notice too much what she said, when she saw I did not reply much to her ridicule. I had represented the figures of the angels as best I could without wings as rising swiftly upward through the air toward the light, with long, light drapery covering the figures except the head and arms, indicating their swift passage through the air by the fluttering of the light drapery that enshrouded them, the darker hair of their heads causing the heads to appear the main part of the figures in the picture as viewed from a distance. Upon seeing my effort, Mrs. Eddy laughing kindly, asked me where the angels were. I frankly answered as if her question was intended to be regarded seriously, pointing to the figures I had drawn to represent the angels. “Oh, are those the angels? I thought they were tadpoles.” She then said, laughing compassionately, “Now, that is too bad to say that, isn’t it, Mr. Gilman?”
Later she expressed discouragement at the slow pace at which I seemed to be advancing. In humility I answered as bravely as I could that “I wouldn’t be discouraged.” The rather sad meekness of this as I felt it to be afterwards appeared at once to awaken her compassion for her attitude toward me changed at once from discouragement to hopefulness and kind consideration. An important thought that was advanced during the evening was that God provides for a testing of us which we shall realize sharply if we progress spiritually fast. The more rapidly we progress, the more sharply we shall be tested. She said she “was almost destitute of the bare necessities of life during the first four years of my practice in Christian Science because I thought then the healing work ought to be gratuitous as it was in Jesus’ day.” I asked her if it did not seem as if God failed to provide at that time. She replied that “God provided the testing that I then needed.” She said that God was testing me now through my sense of poverty, and if I endured faithfully the testing, then would follow abundance as it had in her case.
Mrs. Eddy after this said she had a picture with two angels in it that she liked all except the wings. Perhaps I could get some idea from that that would help me to express the spiritual thought she had in mind. So she had Mrs. Sargent get it from another room where it hung framed. The picture was a spiritual and very beautiful one, and it gave me the idea that I needed, which I modified by leaving the wings out for one thing, and making the rest of the picture to suit the high requirements of Mrs. Eddy’s thought from an inspiration that came to me.
Mrs. Eddy said shortly before I went, thinking perhaps I would feel disheartened, that God would surely help me to do my work, and “God bless you.” I thought as I walked home that I was now prepared for severe testing as I had previously and recently been so fortified in thought by similar ideas. The next day, Friday, however, I began to have the feeling named by Mrs. Eddy, “chemicalization,” and it was the severest I believe I ever experienced. The day was veritably a “black Friday” to me. In my thought I was seeking to endure the mental testing for the Truth’s sake. It seemed not to be followed by any relief, as it lately had been when I had become willing to bear it from the Christ motive. It appeared to beget a feeling that spirituality and heaven were terribly costly. It seemed then as if every footstep forward cost numberless pangs, which appeared to my sense then, of course, more than heaven was worth. The burden of this was not altogether what it cost me to gain heaven, but the hopelessness to the generality of mankind of gaining salvation if it must be won only at such cost of self-sacrifice. It seemed to my personal sense as if there was an endless big self to overcome at a terribly slow pace, for a heaven which appeared characterized mainly by sweetness and peacefulness and many other things that were good indeed, but very costly. It was then the thought came that if I were consulting my personal preferences only and there was properly such a thing as utter annihilation by any means that was available to me and that I was free to choose it, I should choose those means at once for myself. I only felt I should do this if personal preferences only were to be thought of. Later I saw that this annihilation as related to personal sense was just what was being accomplished in my painful mental experience and this by the beneficent operation of the divine law of infinite Love which was reaching me in this way because of my increasing endeavor to accept of Love’s ways in my thought and life and work.
In Miscellaneous Writings we read on page 141, “All loyal Christian Scientists hail with joy this proposed type of universal Love; not so, however, with error, which hates the bonds and methods of Truth, and shudders at the freedom, might, and majesty of Spirit, – even the annihilating law of Love.”
Saturday morning (June 17th) I felt some better. In the forenoon Mr. Frye brought me a letter from Mrs. Eddy in which she stated that “the Spirit bids me write to you and waken you,” etc., calling me to order very sharply. It did not have the effect to agitate me, perhaps because I had already begun to rise out of the dark valley toward the uplands that her letter would spur me to try to reach. Saturday evening light dawned upon me. It showed me it was divine Love alone that illumines our way and makes our tasks light, and seeking to know for a certainty that I love God was what I ought to labor for more – with love as dominant in my thought, all would be light – with Love in the consciousness, heaven was here, even though there was no outward appearance of it. More than this, it appeared that to know this love for God was more easily within my reach than a heavenly salvation appeared to be the day before when I was feeling heaven to be so costly. I began to see that doubtless this was the fruit of Mrs. Eddy’s noble efforts to waken me to spiritual life as shown in her letter and attitude of a couple of weeks ago, which when taken literally alone, would not appear profitable. I immediately voiced a desire that this perception of God as Love and Love as God, as immortal Truth, might never totally leave me to the helpless darkness of mortal beliefs. Since then I have seen that this explains my problem of why I have become master of evil only when I have found the joyful willingness to sacrifice self in whatever form it appears for the Christ’s sake. The instant I have ever felt enabled to do that, I have arrived at the understanding of Love. That understanding of Love reveals God as our Life. This gives us its conscious dominion over all flesh or the human sense of evil.
Immediately after the peculiar dark period of conflict with evil belief followed by the new dawn of Truth’s light as above narrated, I was walking toward Bow Mills, about sunset. In this walk I was still naturally in my freshly attained chastened sense, and therefore more ready to hear and see spiritually. The sky was mostly cloudy, but a break in the clouds in the west occurred as I walked, so that the sundown rays of light streamed through, causing a sharp cupola that was on a building just in line with me and the sunset rays of light, together with some beautiful trees, to appear silhouetted against the light western sky in a very picturesque, artistic way. Immediately the spirit of Truth said to me, “There, that is what is wanted in the picture with the angels to represent ‘the heavenly worth of that high morn.’ ” And so it proved afterwards when I had incorporated it into the illustration, for when I showed it to Mrs. Eddy, she at once expressed great joy because of the spiritual beauty of the whole picture as expressing her sense of the verse in the poem it was intended to illustrate, and she asked for no change to be made in it. In the finished illustration, the spire of the little church is made higher than the cupola on the building to suit poetic requirements, but it was the product of the ideal God gave me in nature to supply my need for getting a suitable illustration for the poem. (The distant dome in this picture which I added for beauty’s sake and thinking of the State House dome in Boston, appears at a later date to have been prophetic of the present Mother Church dome erected A.D., 1906.)
Chapter Four — Impressions of Mrs. Eddy
July 1, 1893. – In response to invitation from Mrs. Eddy to come up to lunch today at noon, I went up at the appointed time and was pleasantly welcomed and ushered into the library by Mrs. Sargent to await the appearance of Mrs. Eddy. Soon a gentle rustling from the heavily carpeted stairway foretold her coming and as she appeared in the open doorway, her face was radiant with an earnest and smiling welcome. She advanced with extended hand, and greeting of goodwill, saying she was “sorry that she could not see me the evening before.” The day was exceedingly warm. Through the open window came the westerly summer wind, cooling and comforting in its fragrance. By the window was an easy chair toward which she advanced, asking me at the same time to “find a comfortable seat this warm day,” then adding, “here, take this chair here by the open window.” I replied, “I have been sitting there a little after I first came in; there is a fine breeze there, and so it is just the place for you to sit.” She would not hear to this, but answered with a smile, saying, “I know it, and that is why you must sit here.” Her command was pleasantly imperative. It could not be successfully withstood, and I yielded. Immediately she pointed out to me a beautiful flower growing out on the lawn – a single stalk with a single flower – pointed it out to me as a flower that had done better than it promised in the early season. I had been looking out of the window before she came down, but I had not seen the flower and its beauty then. I replied in accord with what I now saw. I said, “It looks beautifully sweet and courageous in its loneliness I think.” “Doesn’t it!” she replied with much feeling. She added, “That is the way it is in spiritual living, – in Christian Science often.” “Oh,” she continued, “How often I have found myself standing entirely alone with God for the right – for His word – with everyone striving to pull me back, offering every inducement to go some other way. How much I would have given sometimes if I only could have had someone to talk with, someone who knew more than I did. But that could not be to the pioneer. And not only in this mental way, but outwardly as related to my necessities, I stood alone, in the first years of my demonstrations of Spirit’s supremacy.” “Oh, Mr. Gilman!” she exclaimed with much emphasis and expression, “I sometimes used to wonder, Why does not God provide for my needs? I who was raising the incurably sick (to medical sense) to health and strength so speedily as to cause amazement, even from death’s door; and, in the families of the wealthy, while I was often hungry for the want of simple things that I craved, ordinarily considered necessities of life, because I lacked the material means for obtaining them. But God in His graciousness was testing me, that was all.” “You see,” she added, “at that time I thought it would be wrong to take anything for doing such Christly work. I thought it was a gift from God to be able to heal as Christ healed and that I ought not to take money for it. Christ did not. I worked and healed four years in this way, without money and without price; and then God having tested me, He showed me a better way.” I said, “I think your very delicacy and sensitiveness in this matter was an essential part of your qualification for healing, and for being God’s messenger to the world, waiting in hungry need for the message, because of the spiritual perception of the incongruity of a money or material recompense for spiritual blessings bestowed.” “That was it,” she answered in artless simplicity.
Continuing, she said, “You remember my recent article on Spring in the Journal? Do you remember there was a verse in the latter part? Well, Mr. Case composed a piece of music for just that one verse alone.” “Do you play?” she asked. (The piano was just back of me.) At the negative answer, she said, “Well, I have composed some more verses to go with it and I will have Mr. Frye bring me them and I will read them to you.” Waiting for this, she added, “I used to write poetry for adaptation to music and for publication in periodicals. It used to be natural to me; I could compose without serious effort. It was the same with drawing and music. I was passionately fond of things like these which I did not need to learn as others did; but I had a more important work to do than any of these, and so I was kept from accomplishing much in any of these ways; something unexpected would always seem to come up to prevent.” I replied, “The essence and beauty of them all and more, is condensed in the Book you finally wrote, Science and Health; was it not?” “Oh, indeed that was it; we can see it now,” adding, “When I was at school, very young, I used to say when the subject in our play came up as to what we were going to be or do, that I was going to write a book. It was not books, but a Book that I was going to write.” The verses having been brought, she proceeded to read them to me in a sweet earnestly expressive voice, beginning as follows:
“Oh! gentle presence, peace and joy and power,
“Oh! Love divine that owns each waiting hour,
“Thou Love that guards the nestling’s falt’ring flight!
“Keep Thou my child on upward wing to-night.”
Mrs. Eddy then read me the additional verses which she told me before she had very recently written. She referred to the rhythm of the poem as being of that cadence which more readily reaches and appeals to the ear of the popular thought than most of her other poems, but that it was no more creditable as poetic writing on that account. Mrs. Eddy later referred to the lines:
“Only with mine eye
“Can I behold the snare, the pit, the fall”
in explanation to me that “mine eye” in this line referred to the mortal personal sense eye which only can see the evil delusions of matter belief. She kindly loaned me a copy of the whole poem as now written, and for many days the beautiful thoughts of the poem made music involuntarily in my head and heart.
At the lunch a large saucer of fresh, ripe strawberries was served as from the Pleasant View garden. Although I was fond of strawberries, I found myself obliged to leave the major part of this dish of strawberries uneaten. I said to Mrs. Eddy a few days afterwards when the question of the capacity of spiritual things to satisfy our needs was referred to, that I had noticed when I was present at lunch with her and she was verbally expressing many spiritual things as she habitually and spontaneously did at such times, that I felt an absence of desire for food, not usual with me, however attractive it might ordinarily have appeared to me, and that I had thought about this and it had come clear to me that what we really all hunger for is that sense of real love and truth as the good that we desire to receive, and that alone feeds and sustains us truly and this more perfectly than the literal food, however good, ever can. And thus the times when I was recently at lunch and the dish of beautiful, delicious, ripe strawberries was presented and at the same lunch you were expressing the rare spiritual love thoughts that appear so natural to you to express, I felt more fed and satisfied without the strawberries, notwithstanding they were there for me to eat, than I could have felt with the strawberries if eaten without the food of your spiritual thoughts of divine Love. Thus your love was feeding me, making material food very subordinate and not needed, and therefore not desired.
To this Mrs. Eddy responded warmly that I had the true thought with regard to real food, and appeared much gratified that I had thus spiritually perceived the Truth.
Soon after this I went up in the room over the library called “Benny’s room” (“Benny” is a pet abbreviation from “Ebenezer,” Dr. Foster Eddy’s Christian name) where Mrs. Eddy said we could go to attend, free from interruption, to the perfecting with her of some designs and drawings relating to the illustration “Seeking and Finding,” which she was much interested in. At this time the question was as to the position of the hand on which the head of the woman in the picture was lightly resting. To get this more surely accurate, Mrs. Eddy consented to sit as a model with her head resting lightly against her hand as in the illustration. After I had sketched the main lines of her face and figure with the hand resting against the head, I felt the need of her position being just a little different, so little that I thought best not to ask her to rise and move, lest she move too much, and so I took the few steps to where she was sitting and said to her that if she didn’t object, I would like to move her just a little. She smiled, but didn’t object, and I took hold of the chair in which she was and did my best to lift the chair a little including the occupant. I could lift a hundred pounds of grain easily, but I found I could not lift or move Mrs. Eddy.
July 9, 1893. – I have been receiving some valuable lessons in Truth in recent weeks which I have come to see were valuable notwithstanding the sense of bitterness attending them, occasioned alone through the cherished falsity of mortal mind. The sense of the great value of these lessons I wish I could retain and I am still hoping that I shall grow to being able to do so. I also wish I could impart to others something of the sense of the value I have received, but as we are learning to know that is not a substitute in Christian Science for working out our own problems in the strength that God’s grace gives, receiving therewith the value that cannot be taken from us. I have learned more fully that if we can grow to bearing the test of pointed rebuke, no matter how unreasonable it may seem literally, there is reason for great hope, for rapid progress heavenward. Mrs. Eddy seems spontaneously to discern error and sin in the mortal thought, even though cunningly covered under the semblance of good, but which is, after all, nothing but some form of self-love. This has been illustrated in my experience with Mrs. Eddy; and many times, now, so that I have almost despaired of being saved sometimes from the awful tenacity of error and sin; but the patient spirit of God makes me hope, when there otherwise would be no hope; and I find, over and over again, that I am able to love the good only through the power of the grace of God to reveal it, and thus to inspire me and sustain that sense.
Mrs. Eddy is one who is given to a fullness of expression of what is in her mind. If she has liked what I have accomplished in a picture, she has expressed that liking without measure, which seemed to me like praise. I will refer to one time in particular, which will illustrate what I wish to say. I had finished pretty nearly two of the pictures that seemed to her very important; and I had succeeded “wonderfully,” she said. She liked them so well that she showed them, for the first time, to the other members of the household. The expression on the faces in the pictures was an important part to get, and she liked what I accomplished in that way very much, with some slight exceptions, which she said she was afraid to have me undertake to correct lest I injure the parts she did like. I said to her in much self-confidence, that “it will not do to be afraid of it.” “No,” she replied, “we, of course, don’t want to be afraid of it,” but she appeared to feel my fearlessness was not based on a true understanding of fearlessness. I felt I knew I could make the corrections she referred to; and I also felt that there was much more I could do to improve them. “Well,” she said, “you be very careful.” In this, the satisfaction and joy I seemed to be the occasion of, doubtless unduly exalted me, so that my great need and necessity of spiritual reliance was lost sight of in the foolish belief that I, the mortal, was being of service to Christian Science in my ability as an artist. Its effect was not to make me outwardly less obedient to Mrs. Eddy’s word, but unconsciously in thought, less heedful of the spiritual sense of God’s word and guidance, and so to strive in the fancied strength of my art mastery to even seek to excel what I already had done that was satisfactory. I thus worked diligently a whole day in making supposed improvements, and thought I had succeeded well. Toward evening I took them up for inspection, but Mrs. Eddy was out upon her usual drive, so I left them. The next day a letter, with a vigorous superscription, was mailed to me – the only letter I have received from Mrs. Eddy superscribed in her own hand, although she always writes her letters. It read in part, and mainly, “You have not done as I requested on the last picture, and the other you have spoiled, unless you can recover your lost art. Come to me once more prepared to correct them here in my house.” But before receiving this letter I had gone up to her house in the interest of some other pictures I was finishing. (I neglected the getting of my mail on the morning of that day, hence was not “prepared” with my brushes as the letter had directed me to be.) I went in the supposition that she would be pleased with the pictures as corrected, but she received me very coldly and began at once to express displeasure, asking why I persisted in disobeying her express commands. She is very childlike in her ways many times, and this extreme expression of displeasure toward me seemed of this nature; in which I could not doubt that her true love was all behind it, and so, in spite of the gravity of the situation, I could not help feeling partly pleased. She seemed to me some like a child playing school and was now rebuking an innocent pupil in mock severity for its dreadful bad behavior. I felt sure I could correct what was wrong without much trouble, as I had many times before, for other people in similar work of facial expression.
Mrs. Eddy continuing, said that it seemed as if her students were obsessed to do the very things she had commanded them not to do, and as if animal magnetism or sin (she emphasized this) was leading them by some fate to undo or spoil whatever of good they chanced through her efforts to do at other times, by their willingness to be thus led. She would not see other pictures I had brought up, but commanded me to go back to my rooms until Monday (it was now Saturday, 2 P.M.) and not to do a single thing in the intervening time, and then come up again prepared to correct my bad work. Then she left me with a cold good-day. I went away feeling then partly amused in my kindly disposed personal sense way, at being treated so much like a mother’s boy, and by such a great Mother, too, for I did not believe I had greatly injured the pictures; a touch about the eye or mouth will change a picture so much, which she could not realize. (She said one of the faces looked now “as if in a fit of apoplexy;” had “seen them look exactly like that.”) Still I soon felt sobered by the thought that I had probably been conceited and careless in working so much upon pictures that had already seemed to please so well. This thought grew upon me, and my vanity and self-conceit began to appear and a sense of my great folly until I could scarcely sleep that night. Her word and thought always grow upon me when I get away from her personal presence. I felt no resentment this time to speak of, however. I had told her while there, that I desired to please her and that I should continue to try to do so and try more earnestly that I might succeed better. This seemed to soften her a little, but not much. Sunday was a day of great sorrow in which annihilation again seemed preferable to life in the flesh, a dark and sad day to me mentally, but it has left a sweet and sacred memory that I would not have effaced for any worldly recompense. I find that my experience in this was almost exactly like that described in the first of the three stages in Pond and Purpose. In this experience it seemed that a careless, sinful complacency had weakly been allowed to darken the consciousness of the great things of divine goodness manifest in the life of the Discoverer and Teacher of Christian Science; and for whom I had supposed myself consecrated to faithfully serve.
Toward Sunday evening I began to be able to appropriate God’s promises to those who exercise faith and humility. Just at sunset the sky was spanned with the rainbow which I immediately accepted as God’s bow of promise.
Monday morning I went up again, this time prepared and with my brushes, as she had before requested. I was ushered into the library as usual and awaited with confidence born of Spirit, Mrs. Eddy’s appearance. Soon I heard the gentle rustle on the stairs that I had learned to know, followed by her appearance in the doorway. Instantly I felt that she perceived the state of my mind upon seeing me, as I arose and advanced a step to meet her and receive her extended hand of welcome. She retained the hold upon my hand as she stood near in her precious spiritual way, and with earnest solicitation said yearningly like a mother, “It seems hard to bear, I know. You won’t feel hard toward me, will you? I felt I must be severe because you needed it; but it was hard for me to be so.” I was silent; words failed me for the moment, but Mrs. Eddy continued to look for hoped-for audible signs of submissive acceptance of her rebuke as proceeding from motives of love on her part, and thus to plead with me as a mother with a son she would save. I finally found voice to say that there was “nothing but gratitude in my mind for her faithfulness toward me,” to which she joyfully responded, “I am so glad!” “Oh!” she said with great feeling, “you don’t know what burdens I have borne through the necessity I have felt for rebuking students, but who could not receive my rebuke as coming from true love for them. This is the great test of the true student. If they are found unwilling to bear this test, they are not worthy to be found in this work. It is the resentment that rebuke uncovers or excites that makes up the burden – the terrible burden that I have had, and still have to bear in this pioneer work of Christian Science. It was nothing but a constant joy to me to minister to the needs of humanity in the healing work. It was when I began to teach and be faithful with students that I began to know of suffering and sorrow.”
After telling her I was glad to be able to say this time that I had cherished no resentment toward her because of her rebuke and had accepted from the first the fact that I needed it even if I did not see where, and that it surely would fulfill to me its mission of good which I should surely see in due time. To this I added that now I was very glad I had looked at it in that way, for I had gained one experience in particular in this that I valued greatly, and that was that I found that this sorrowful suffering enabled me to realize spiritual love for others without regard for their deficiencies or attainments of goodness. “Yes,” she responded, “it is through the suffering that God has called me to pass through that I have been enabled to realize God’s love as I have.” I told her that I was feeling sure that God would reproduce again the value that seemed to be in the picture before, to which she hopefully and cheerfully responded: “God will surely help you to do it, and you will be able to in His strength.” She appeared now to have no concern about this or regret at the loss the picture seemed to have sustained, but told me I could be alone in the room upstairs, free from interruption. “When you want me, come to my door and knock – until eleven o’clock,” she added after a little pause, saying laughingly, “I will not be knocked at by anybody after that until lunch time.” From later incidents I judge this to be to her a sacred hour. The correction of the pictures came on finely, and she said at lunch time upon seeing them, that she liked them better than before.
It has appeared to me of late that God’s love has strewn our path of life with tests all along the way, which serve the purpose of goodness in insuring worthiness alone an entrance into the heaven of Soul, otherwise there could be no Soul-heaven. These tests are continually adapted to our attainments. If we stand these tests, we are advanced in due time to the next tests that are greater. There are no useless delays in God’s government. In all of this there is so much tender consideration for our needs and adaptation to our capacity, and careful certainty that the enemy shall not be allowed to smuggle his hideousness in to obscure the beauty of the chosen ones of God, that I am in surprise that I am so often blind to the great fact that God is Love indeed. The value of a spiritual rebuke I have learned lies not in the literal reasonableness of it, or in the one from whom it seems to come, but rather in our acceptance of its claims upon our humble consideration. We shall not be subject to resentment or the claims of humiliation when we can see it the friend that it is. Then the larger sense of the Christ is found in the understanding of the omnipotence of Love. When we have arrived at that state of mind in which our desires to know the Truth are such that we then feel gladness at the opportunity to bear the mental burden of resisting evil claims for the sake of the Truth, then manifestly the love of mortal self and ease has, to that extent, been effaced – has disappeared and the true love has appeared in its place, has been resurrected, and thus through this test God as the real strength has again been revealed to us as our Life – our Love – our being.
July 17th. – Rode with Mrs. Eddy in her private carriage from her house to corner of West and South State Streets. I had been at Mrs. Eddy’s during the forenoon working in “Benny’s” room with Mrs. Eddy in the work of perfecting the illustrations – the more important ones, such as “Seeking and Finding” and “Christian Unity.” In this perfective work Mrs. Eddy emphasized one thought, not only at this particular time but at several other times. She would say very impressively, as apparently little things which when done appeared to improve the illustration, “Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle.” She attributed this saying to Raphael, but appeared to think it worthy of a deep impression upon our sense of doing worthy work. After lunch Mrs. Eddy was ready for her drive just about a minute after my own departure. Before I had had time to get quite to the highway, I heard her voice cal1ing to me from her carriage which she had just entered. I returned and she invited me to get in with her and ride. I felt pretty highly honored and grand riding with the beloved Mrs. Eddy in her private carriage.
July 18th. – Left some pictures at the Concord Monitor office to be engraved for Mrs. Eddy’s poem. All of the illustrations were not done yet, but Mrs. Eddy is seeking to get the poem with its illustrations into publication form in time to have it at the World’s Fair at the time of the Congress of Religions in September or early in October, and so the task devolves upon me at Mrs. Eddy’s request to attend to the having of the pictures photographed. In this part of my work I found manifest the usual resistance to the spiritual thoughts and work of Mrs. Eddy, but not fully at first. It appeared mainly to be confined to the chief plate maker and made manifest at first by insinuating questions with regard to the illustrations and their relation to Christian Science and Mrs. Eddy, which he would presume to ask me under the guise of light conversation, as opportunities would open for doing this without appearing to indicate much concern on his part. Finally it came out to him that Mrs. Eddy objected to my placing my signature on any of the illustrations – the not unusual way of artists, sometimes by full name and sometimes only by initials of the name, to indicate the author of the picture to the general observer. I had put my signature, as usual with me, without consulting Mrs. Eddy about it, on one of the pictures which was photographed and a plate made, seeing which Mrs. Eddy objected and the necessity of its removal from the plate made this objection known to this chief operator. This appeared to arouse his antagonism to Mrs. Eddy and Christian Science to more positive expression, in which he indicated that this objection of Mrs. Eddy to an artist signing his own work confirmed his previous opinion of what Mrs. Eddy really was. But I wouldn’t hear anything like this and he ceased to press his thoughts audibly, but these being entertained in his mind, he could not of course make the plates so that they would honor Mrs. Eddy and her thought as it later proved, although his thought was that it was only a material matter to make good plates from good pictures. Later in these records it is seen that the leaving off of my signature resulted in a much greater honor to me than the usual signature without it would have been.
July 29th. – Called with some proofs of “Unity” and “Treating the Sick,” at Mrs. Eddy’s. I was asked to come up to her sitting room. Found her sad. She spoke of her travail of soul. She had labored to bring forth to the world a Christian Science artist, etc. She could not undertake another such a work. I told her I had begun to see as I never had seen before how much I was indebted to her. Told her that the testing had shown me how feeble I was spiritually; that I had doubts sometimes if I really believed in God.
Thursday, August 3rd. – Went up and across lots and saw Mrs. Eddy at the boathouse. Found her in a happy frame of mind. We went into the new boathouse and she had some new ideas to be carried out in the pictures. The last illustration she said must be a representation of the ascension. We deliberated whether it would be best to have the central figure a woman or to represent Jesus. It was decided that the time had not quite come for the woman to be represented in such a picture. To be too fast in such a case with even one illustration would be to spoil the good effect of the whole work, Mrs. Eddy said.
When I was working up the design of “Healing the Sick” I took the liberty to introduce in the background light that was streaming in some faintly presented child faces after Raphael’s idea in the picture of “The Sistine Madonna.” Mrs. Eddy finally did not approve of these in the picture and I removed them. Now Mrs. Eddy recalled the thought of these child faces which I had first put into the “Healing the Sick” picture. She thought in this picture they would be very appropriate.
On the way up to the house I told her Mr. Brown, the photographer here, had proposed the making of some pictures of Pleasant View. She replied that she should like to have him do so, adding, “and you can get it copyrighted. I want you to have the copyright. You can pay him in any way that you like, but you have the pictures made to suit you and get a copyright.” I went back to my rooms and sketched out the design of the ascension as I felt the inspiration to do in accord with her thought and suggestion. I succeeded so well that I went up with it after dinner directly to show to her. Mrs. Eddy was having an interview with some Scientist from the far West. I waited out on the south veranda until she soon came inquiring for me. She asked me up to her sitting room and looked at the design and thought it excellent. She referred to what she had been talking of with the Scientist; did so merely because her mind seemed to be full of that thought and it thus became natural to speak of it. She said malicious animal magnetism had been trying all over the land to precipitate evil leading into all sorts of sin and destruction, seeking to lay its work to Scientists, but said she, “I have been holding it back.” She spoke in such a way that I did not feel that I understood and that perhaps I ought to. So I said, “Is it something I may inquire about? I do not just understand what you mean. Do you mean that some particular individuals that you know are seeking to do these things?” This seemed to vex her a little, and she replied, “You know the use of language, don’t you? I don’t see how the language can make it any plainer.” She went on to say that mesmerism sought to make people believe that they hadn’t any mind at all and that therefore they could not exercise their mind. I asked if she meant that idiocy belief was thereby induced. She replied that she had known of subjects becoming mesmerized into the belief of complete idiocy. She said she did not recognize these powers as realities; did not allow it to have a place, or give it a name in her consciousness. What she said, particularly the reference to idiocy has seemed to have a significance since that I did not perceive then. Also, I have since seen that it was probably the financial storm and distress with the throwing out of work of thousands and riotous tendencies among the lawless unemployed, etc., that she referred to as the work of malicious mind. My first sense at the time was that she was claiming power that was presumptuous in claiming that she was holding back this seemingly universal evil precipitation.
Friday afternoon (August 4th) and Saturday all day I worked on Mr. Runnel’s Sunapee pictures to get them done, but did not get the last one (the cover) done. I had told Mrs. Eddy I would be up again soon with proofs from the Concord Monitor office, but as there was none yet made and I had nothing to show of work on the ascension picture, I didn’t go up; but I felt she would he expecting me and annoyed that I did not come, as she had enjoined me to hasten, but Mr. Runnel’s work could not wait as the season was quickly passing when he could get any return from it, and it had been begun when it was supposed that I could attend to the work, etc. I also was in need of some income.
Sunday morning, August 6th. – Mr. Frye came for me with a carriage. Said Mrs. Eddy wanted I should bring the ascension picture and also the candle-lighted picture. He would carry me up. So I took the sketch transfer which was all I had done to it since I had seen her and went up with Mr. Frye, expecting nothing but rebuke and storm. The candle-lighted picture with the woman with handkerchief to her eyes was at the Monitor office, so being Sunday, we could not get it. It was this that she began at once to talk about, saying that this must be changed. “The idea of the woman weeping was wrong.” I began to persuade against this idea because it had seemed to please her so, and I had taken such pains to finish it nice. I thought that likely her thought was temporary. She immediately began to rebuke me, saying peremptorily, “You just stop! Stop at once! I won’t have it! Why will you persist in resisting and disobeying me? In consequence you don’t get the picture as it should be, which occasions all this delay,” etc. I showed her the transferred sketch showing the improvement over the first sketch and then went, in obedience to her direction, back to the getting of the change made and the last one done as soon as possible.
Tuesday, August 8, 1893. – Went up to Mrs. Eddy’s today at 1 o’clock P.M. Mrs. Sargent met me at the door, her face all smiles, saying, “Oh, I am so glad you have come,” by which I knew Mrs. Eddy was in the mood agreeable to the human sense of being. Mr. Frye and Mrs. Sargent in particular are faithful reflectors to my sense of Mrs. Eddy’s state of mind, at least as between the above referred to frame and the deeper sin-rebuking state. I had with me the picture representing Mrs. Eddy at the table with the candle at night, which she liked some at first and afterwards very much after I had made some changes under her supervision in “Benny’s” room upstairs. She said soon after I came that she had prayed for me, to which I replied that I needed it badly enough, and truly this had been so during the few days past because of more conflicts with self I had been passing through in which I had felt somewhat rebellious at the thought of becoming completely subject to Mrs. Eddy’s direction as now seemed inevitable. The thought that clarified it somewhat being this, that Jesus’ disciples left all to follow him, and plainly enough to us all, as regards them, would not have been worthy to have been called disciples if they had not. Paul, whom I have admired so much, did more than this. How could I complain if I was called to do the same in giving up completely self-will. I believe now that I can see that she had been bringing self-will to the surface in my case that she might destroy it, for that was where my battle had been and she had told me the morning before when I came up, having ridden up with Mr. Frye, not to let self-will govern me. The day before this was Sunday, and Mr. Frye had called for me with a carriage through her direction and she had chided me sharply. Monday she consoled me as before, saying regretfully that she had to talk to me severely for my good, holding my hand tenderly as she said it, adding that she had to talk to herself in the same way, “or rather,” she added, “I used to do so,” as if now it was not necessary. While she was sitting just at my right and a little behind, watching and suggesting as the changes were made in the picture, she said, after some visitors from Boston who were looking over the place had looked into the room where we were and had gone, “These rooms will all be interesting to visitors after I am gone” and then soon she added, “I ought to be gaining the victory over death, hadn’t I? That is what I have been preaching.” I said what an immense work that would be! I then asked her, “What constitutes a victory over death? Is it to live in this life perpetually?” She said, “No; at least not to be visible to mortals to much extent. We overcome death when we fully overcome material sense and then it is not able to behold us because Spirit is not appreciable to matter.” I said I suppose that in that stage of advancement we shall still have a body that will be just as real to us as this body. “Not in a finite personal way,” she said. I said I could not separate in my thought the idea of my identity from its embodiment in some form. “That is true,” she said. “Your identity will have its embodiment, but it will not be finite in form and outline like this personal body. I think of our existence in that state more as we think of one who in some crisis rises to vigorous, noble action that is characteristic of that one’s nature. We do not think of a person’s body at such times, but of the force of mind, of the spiritual import.” I asked, “Do you think Paul ever saw Jesus?” She answered, “No, not the personal Jesus.” I said, “He says he saw someone above fourteen years ago whether in the body or out of the body I cannot tell. You know?” “Yes, I know.” said she, “but the personal Jesus had been done away with because Jesus had advanced beyond the personal sense of things, hence there could have been no such embodiment at that time.” I said, “Perhaps the followers and disciples of Jesus were holding the sense of the personal Jesus so strong in their thought that that became the embodiment of Jesus to Paul which was what Paul saw and referred to in the above quotation.” “Yes, it might have been that,” said she. “I have had letters from people saying they had seen me bodily and that I had healed or helped them, but of course they couldn’t have seen me in the ordinary way, for I knew nothing of it.” She pointed to a low rocking chair without arms, old-fashioned mahogany, with hair seat, saying, “In that chair I wrote Science and Health.” I said, “It is a very valuable chair.” “Yes,” she replied, “the world will cherish all these things in future time.”
Thursday, August 10th. – Went up with “Ascension” to Mrs. Eddy’s so far as I had gotten it along, to show her, to see how she liked my conceptions of her ideal. I had made the children’s heads in the light background with the lower ones full formed, not distinct, but arms and nude cherub bodies strongly suggested, but not actually outlined definitely on the right of the picture. She looked at it and at once expressed approval without critically examining the forms separately. I, however, was supposing that she saw the suggestions of the full and nude forms of the children as well as the others, showing only the faces, particularly as I called her attention definitely to them by pointing them out where they seemed to mingle in the lowest part with the big elm top below them, asking her if she approved of these figures, meaning the way they terminated with treetops which I was in some doubt about the appropriateness of. They looked some as if they were sitting in the top of the tree. “Yes,” she said, “you are carrying out the idea beautifully. All you need is to put them in the other side also and fill them out, of course, as you have started them.” I was much pleased that she seemed to like what I felt artistic pleasure in doing, that is, in modeling the personal forms of children in the refined way approved by the pure-minded, which would not offend good taste but rather give a delicate sense of purity, such as attends the cherub pictures of Raphael’s and other well-known pictures of the old masters of nude children portrayed. After receiving Mrs. Eddy’s approval, I worked diligently on these forms through the rest of the week until Sunday. Mr. Frye came for me Monday morning, saying Mrs. Eddy wanted I should take the picture and go with him and finish it at her house. So I took it up. Almost instantly upon seeing the results of my efforts she disapproved of the pictures of the children, and soon with much emphasis pointing out the particular figures that she did not like and would not have in the picture, she pointed to the very ones I had in the picture on Thursday for her inspection which she then approved, but they had been “worked up” as artists phrase it, which made them show plainer. It seemed to me she was now expressing a directly opposite mind to that of the Thursday before when she warmly approved of the very same figures, some of which I had scarcely touched to change. I told her the figures she objected to were the very same she had approved when I was there before, substantially unchanged. (A metaphysician would understand this apparent discrepancy by realizing that Mary saw the picture the first time and the Revelator the second. – G.C.C.) No, she had not approved of them, they couldn’t have been there before; she did not see them. I told her, it may have passed from her mind, but they surely were there. I contended no more outwardly nor intentionally in mind, but the trial of my faith in her veracity was very great, to my belief. She told me to go into the usual room over the library and take out all of the figures that showed anything more than the faces of the forms. She said she “would not have anything of this personality represented which was according to the old idea, as if heaven was a breeding place of personal forms as this world of belief is.” I went to work and pretty soon she came in and began to talk to me, more as if the need of doing so had increased to her sense after I had come out. Mrs. Eddy talked vehemently to me that I must awake out of this sleep. I grew worse every day. She never saw anything like it, “and it is just so with other students.” It was seeming to me as if she was the cause of most of the seeming magnetism by being so unreasonable and saying and doing just the things that would excite the antagonism that she often complains of. It seemed to me that she was the one utterly lacking in the very Christian graces which she so loudly demanded of others. She demanded of me to answer if Principle was not absolute in its power and unvarying rightness? Then why did I not follow it and silence this animal magnetism? Said she, “You ought to be seeking every hour of the day to be standing in the strength of God that you may be doing something. I have told you over and over, but you don’t pay the least attention to me, and the result is animal magnetism has its own way at the Concord publishing office and we get nothing done but worthless work.” Then she went out. Later, in fifteen or twenty minutes, she came again. As she came through the doorway I looked up with my thought softened and patient, and the thought, “You don’t feel so angry as you appear to be,” at which her eye and face appeared to soften for a moment; then she came forward to just behind me as if to look over my shoulder at the work I was doing. As she did so naturally bending forward and placing a hand lightly on each of my shoulders as I sat leaning forward to the work, as if to steady herself while bringing her eye near enough to see clearly the rather fine work of the picture, as she did this, she delicately gave me a shaking as if to arouse me, saying kindly, but in a vehement undertone voice, “Arouse yourself! You must wake up!” Later, when I became more spiritually awakened, the memory of this delicately kind proceeding as being divine Love’s spontaneous expression to my thought through Mrs. Eddy’s obedience to Spirit, came to me as revealing that Mrs. Eddy did not wish me to feel depressed, but at the same time she wanted I should feel the importance of awakening from the personal sense of things which she could still feel was dominating my thought and that I was yet needing the spiritual cleansing which accepted Truth alone could truly accomplish, and the presence of which in my thought alone caused the unfavorable regard for my artistic efforts manifest in the personal sense figures of the cherub children.
When she had been talking of the perfection of absolute Science and that I should live according to it, I answered, “The logic of that would sweep away all I am doing in these pictures, for these are largely based on the idea that concessions must be made to the mortal thought to some extent or they cannot be understood. Not having grown to your standards yet, I have to take the intermediate steps first; I cannot skip them.” To this she replied, “Well, I have taken an intermediate position, haven’t I?” I wanted to say. “You do in practice, but in your teaching to me you advocate the absolute,” but I did not. I kept silent, and she went out to her sitting-room.
I got on well with the picture in making the changes she had directed, and the work progressed rapidly toward completion. She came in and watched me awhile and said that she wanted I should promise her one thing. She said, “I want you should stay to lunch, and I want you to promise me that you will come every day and work and stay to lunch with me until you get these pictures done.” I said with hesitation, “Yes, but, but ––.” “But what?” she said. I cautioned, “But I have got them all done now, but what I can do on this in half a day more.” I did not quite relish the idea that I needed to be under Mrs. Eddy’s eye all the time. Mortality was not yet feeling quite ready to welcome such a degree of self-effacement; it meant more death to self than I was yet quite ready to accept. It seemed then for a time as if Mrs. Eddy was seeking my complete subjection to that point that would make me her abject slave in which I should be compelled to listen to and accept whatever she might say to offend my proper sense of the right, on pain of being denounced and rejected as disloyal to her. At lunch as a result of my inquiry on the subject of the present fate of the inconstant students formerly prominent as Christian Scientists, it came out that almost all of them had now come to grief. Arens was in an insane asylum. Mrs. Plunkett was in destitution and subject to abuse by her last man for whom she left her husband, not having been divorced from him. Mrs. Hopkins had left the country in the interest of material healing. During lunch and after I tried to recover my normal kindly feeling, but it was half-hearted, which of course was not effectual. I had arranged to go back to the town after about 2 o’clock. The day was cold, too cold for me to work with either comfort or skill. Mrs. Eddy began to say soon after lunch, it was too cold for me to work in that north room away from the sunshine. She said, “You can come into my sitting-room and work just as well, if you would like, where it is warmer.” I started to do this, but when I had entered and found she was engaged there, I felt disinclined to remain, and so I told her then that I thought I better not stay as it might not be agreeable to her. She said that would be all right, but as I did not appear to wish to stay, she said I might go into the bedroom opening from the sitting-room – her bedroom – where I could be more by myself, but that did not appear to me good, and so I told her I thought I better go back to my rooms and finish the picture and then bring it again in the morning, and add to it if necessary, to which she readily assented. Before going, it was necessary to refer to something concerning the work of publishing, and then Mrs. Eddy chided me more, saying that it had gotten out what we were doing, telling me I hadn’t been vigilant enough and that animal magnetism was having its way and that I was not meeting it. After I went I felt for a time greatly depressed. It seemed as if there was nothing abiding to depend upon even in Mrs. Eddy, and I remembered Emerson’s words in his essay, “Experience,” where he says: “This something we all long for abides in no man, and in no woman, but like a bird, hopping from bough to bough, is now on this branch and now on that.” The holding power now seemed like an irresistible influence that grew harder and harder to escape from as time passed and as I sought more and more zealously to please. But soon after this I reflected that she certainly was right in regard to that picture. It did reflect personality, and it was immeasurably better as it was now, and not only more spiritual, but more original and effective and taking, and the thought came that Jesus said truly, “by their fruits ye shall know them.”
Arriving at the publishing office, I found it advisable to modify the face of the Christ-cure picture, the doing of which led to the thought that it would be well to wait and see how they came out with negative to be made from it. My thought had been growing subdued and chastened. I remembered what she said of my not meeting animal magnetism, so I waited and when they had gotten through with the first negative development and it was poor as usual, I determined to definitely treat against animal magnetism, which I did, and the next plate was good, the best and most even that had been made, and in the talk with the men connected with the plate-making work the ideas of Christian Science and its capacities were raised and debated, and one of them testified to having been healed of advanced symptoms of consumption, and they asked me to come again and have a session with them on the subject, and help them if I could. At night I found a letter from a lady friend in Vermont asking for treatment. My experience or success in the afternoon encouraged me. In the night I waked and the thought came to me that I might profitably sit up and watch for awhile in order that I might realize more deeply the power of God to enable me to keep spiritually awake. This spiritual thought I finally obeyed, although it was a great cross at first seemingly, because sleep then appeared very urgent and the lying down a coveted comfort; but a kind spiritual reminder of the divine love of Jesus’ patient question to his sleeping disciples, “could ye not watch with me one hour?” led me to put personal belief of ease away and seek the power of God through faith, watching, and prayer. My resolution was to watch “one hour” in the faith that before the hour was up I should find the power of God as available to me again in the sense of Spirit’s supremacy. My faith failed not, neither did the fruition, God be praised therefore! In about forty minutes I began to realize that Life was spiritual and that its sense was separate from material sense and not really affected by it in one way or another. I also gained the sense that labor in God’s vineyard was in having faith enough to combat the claims of personal mortal mind and in doing this, to learn that such labor was and forever is a labor of joy and not a burden or heaviness of heart. In this hour of watching I labored frequently in treatment against the claims of mortal belief which I became conscious assailed me because I lacked the normal sense of spiritual peace, and I worked vigorously and resolutely in affirming the Christian Science truth of being. It became plain that to keep awake spiritually here was the sure way to walk. Before the hour was up I felt I could easily give another hour or more now that I felt that Christ had come to my consciousness.
Tuesday, August 15, 1893. – Today, early, I went up to Mrs. Eddy’s to tell her why I had not returned from the Publishing Office. The second plate of Christ-cure which they had before made being worse than the first, and found I was too early, I arranged to be called for at eleven A.M. by Mrs. Sargent with carriage. Mrs. Sargent talked with me profitably in the carriage on the way back to Mrs. Eddy’s of other minds’ influence, saying that we have got to recognize this as an evil to be destroyed by treatment. Arriving at Pleasant View, I found Mrs. Eddy liked the Ascension picture as now finished. After lunch I fixed some little things to complete it to suit Mrs. Eddy’s thought, then took it down to the Publishing House to be copied, waited and treated again, and the first negative was splendid, the operator saying he was surprised himself at the result.
Wednesday noon. – Went up to Mrs. Eddy’s again with the proof from the printer of the text of the poem for Mrs. Eddy to correct; took also the five most important sepia pictures, also all the proofs that were very good from half-tone plates, for Mrs. Eddy to pass upon. She approved the most of the plates and suggested some improvements in the originals which I proceeded to make while there, having my brushes with me. While there doing this, Mr. Frye came to my door to inquire concerning Mr. Runnels who I had proposed the day before to Mrs. Eddy as one who very likely would undertake to supply photogravures or albertypes from the four of the sepias that were not as yet being successfully brought out by the publishers here, because he being in the picture business of this kind to some extent, would be likely to manage the business to advantage. (I had proposed to Mrs. Eddy before this the having four of the plates photogravures, which she then approved after some objections were answered.) Mrs. Eddy, when she found Mr. Frye was talking with me, was much displeased and calling him away, rebuked him, saying that she did not want him to be disturbing me, telling me not to notice him, after which he quickly went down stairs saying nothing. Being still much in the personal sense of things, I felt an active sympathy for Mr. Frye who appeared to me blameless in asking me some simple questions in Mrs. Eddy’s interest, but I reflected that the spiritual rebukes really hurt no one – they never had me. Mrs. Eddy was rebuking others also as she was making preparations to ride, it being about the hour of her daily drive. Finally, as she had started and I was making ready to go, Mrs. Sargent came by the door of my upstairs workroom, having done all to see Mrs. Eddy off, and said, as if partly to herself and partly to me and partly to relieve her mind a little of the sense of being stirred, “Well, I shall be glad when we get these pictures done, and I guess you will be,” also looking to me the meaning she expected I would understand, indicating the unusualness of the present disturbed state of the mental atmosphere. She added, “I am glad we don’t have to demonstrate over things but once of a kind.” I felt that she did not want I should misunderstand her as expressing or cherishing any disloyalty to Mrs. Eddy, but that she felt very much tried on account of these unusual things that appeared exasperating to the personal sense of harmony and peace in the material world. I felt tempted to find comfort in the thought that others besides myself were having something to do to keep faith with God, and then the thought came that this is another assault of animal magnetism which I began to resist and was sustained in this by the sense of the righteous warfare and its blessing I had gained in my late midnight hour of watching. This enabled me also to get more fully awake to the situation and gain the victory completely and to see clearly great things of the utmost value, the more complete setting forth of which has been the motive of writing the many details of the last few days’ experience of spiritual things. As I resisted the personal sense of things, it became clear that it was God who was the source of Mrs. Eddy’s spiritual rebukes. This was made more clear by the following which I related to Mrs. Eddy yesterday (August 17th) and she expressed very much gratification at my deeper apprehension of the mental and spiritual situation. It was just before luncheon time and Mrs. Eddy asked me to repeat the same, or the substance of it, to others of her household at the lunch table if I would “please do so.”
Being an artist as well as student of Christian Science, I naturally feel a deep sense of beauty, even that which is truly described on page 247 of our textbook, the beauty “which dwells forever in the eternal Mind and reflects the charms of His goodness in expression, form, outline, and color.” Also in another place it is stated that these will finally appear without material accompaniments. This is the spiritual and true sense of beauty.
But as I told Mrs. Eddy, I was deceived under the cover of her approval of my rough sketch of the design of the child cherub forms into tolerating the thought that I was at liberty to think and express the personal sense in some degree at least, when it related to the beauty of innocent nude cherub child forms required for this Ascension picture. Soon this personal sense began to dominate my consciousness until even in the self-satisfied sleep that it engendered I became aware that I was giving too much attention to the merely external appearance of the forms and thus was violating the spiritual import of the picture. This awakened me to see the material thought I was tolerating and I at once turned about enough to attempt outward correction by erasures and the further execution in a more spiritual way, but without having the thought that my personal self-satisfied state of mind was what needed correction. Having become engrossed in the material sense attraction, I did not see any urgent need to be the pure spiritual self correction that comes to one through the recognition that the real offense was the tolerated thoughts which became my own for the time being through my toleration of them, thus preventing the normal light – that is, the light of God – from shining. To allow that “beauty unadorned is adorned the most” when applied to a material human form appearance, even though perfect and symmetrical outwardly, is to lose sight entirely of the real beauty which is always spiritual constituting a likeness of Truth and Love. Seeking earnestly to know this by looking to Spirit for the ability to realize it was the real cleansing that was needed. But this was left for Mrs. Eddy to initiate and carry out.
This was the state of the picture and the state of my thought when I brought the picture for Mrs. Eddy’s inspection on the Monday before, which she disapproved so vigorously as I have before described. In direct contradiction of her former approval, she had vigorously pointed to the different figures that must come out, saying in the voice of indignant command, “Take that out! And that! And that!”, each time singling out the figures where shoulders and arms were represented and on which I worked over with the personal thought interest. Some were figures that were there when she first had approved, but I had worked over them some seeking to perfect the beauty of their forms as it then appeared to me. In the case of the work I had erased as being too material, substituting a more suitable form, she had vehemently pointed to with a sarcastic remark, adding, “Take that out too.” Consideration of these facts has shown me plainly that merely outward and literal consistency could not prevent the true judgment which had been according to righteousness and that because she was so sensitive to error’s work, she was feeling it, although its outward form was not in evidence to corroborate it. Mrs. Eddy’s very spiritually sensitive sense of mental states of consciousness whereby the measure of the personal and material in the thought of those with whom she may have to do is made unmistakably manifest to her. This causes her at once to feel and know that the ideal beauty of God’s goodness is being violated. This material thought is felt as very offensive to her pure sense of Spirit and therefore, as in my case, demanding the rebuke that cures it.
It doubtless goes without saying now that Mrs. Eddy had grown spiritually to be very sensitive to the perception of pure Truth and its divine qualities of Life and Love, and also, correspondingly for a time, to be equally sensitive to the offensiveness of apparent lack of these, manifest as the presence in consciousness of personal, material thoughts that grew more and more intolerable to her as her spiritual growth lifted her above the sense of the material as having any reality, and to be to her, therefore, nothing but a lie. This probably illustrates the law of spiritual growth fulfilled in some degree in the experience of every mortal until its mortality is superseded by pure Truth, and explains why Mrs. Eddy saw so much to rebuke where the ordinary, so-called high standards would see but little occasion for chiding. This emphasizes to me the importance of the spiritually pure condition of our thought in order to get any good work done.
At the lunch table Mrs. Sargent and Mr. Frye listened attentively to my statement of the above. Mrs. Sargent thanked me kindly for what I had stated, saying it contained a great lesson for her. Mrs. Eddy appeared greatly gratified both when I told it first to her and now, and in her happy acceptance of this was just like a child in all of her expressions of it, as if the evidence merely was that God was speaking through her without her being fully aware of it at the time, but which she knew always He was doing all the time, and here was a glorious proof shown in one instance which was a type merely of the innumerable times when no one recognized it but herself and God. She said, “That was the way it has been all through.” She explained that her mother had brought her up to be very kind and considerate and peace-loving in her ways with others. It was not lack of self-control that made her so often appear the unjust, or ungenerous, or unkind, or impatient one, but the obedience to God which she dare not disregard. She referred to the life of Jesus, saying, “Could there have been anything more pungent or severe than his words against error, even toward his immediate disciples? ‘Get thee behind me, Satan,’ was his word to Peter – the strongest language he could have used.”
Robert Lincoln’s family called previous to lunch while Mrs. Eddy was with me watching changes I was making on the picture, “Seeking and Finding.” Mrs. Sargent was in the room at the time and looking out of the window at the carriage advancing to the front door, she said, “Why, Mother! There is Jessie Lincoln.” Then as she advanced to go down, she stopped and asked Mrs. Eddy, “Will you see them?” Mrs. Eddy simply replied, “No, not today.” She had not paid much attention to Mrs. Sargent’s remark that “there was Jessie Lincoln,” except to leisurely turn her head and look out of the window and then back again to the work I was doing. When we afterwards were going down to lunch, she referred to this example of her equal regard for people in high station in life to those of humble station, saying that was the way she had been all along. People of great station and rank had no extra influence with her.
While at work on the picture while I was telling of things of much spiritual pathos which alone ever moves me visibly to humble restrainless tears, she reached up her handkerchief (she was sitting just on one side, a little behind me and lower than I) and wiped away tenderly and in silence some falling teardrops, thus revealing the loving child-spirit of God.
When we were at the lunch table, she referred to her great loneliness because people could not understand her, by this intimating her appreciation of the understanding of her which my remarks explaining the unerring accuracy of her discernment disclosed. In these times she was sometimes almost in the state of active tearfulness causing a suggestive restrained suffusion that told of the pathos of her life.
This day was one of the many days when she was exquisitely agreeable, but then we that surrounded her had been chastened to humility and spirituality and perhaps this was reflected in the forms we now saw of spiritual things in our neighbor. While at lunch, I said, “Mrs. Eddy, you are fortunate in having such a good cook,” for the cooking and preparation of the food was very excellent. Mrs. Eddy answered that it was so indeed, adding, “It is through Christian Science that this excellence has appeared, for before she applied the Principle of Christian Science to her work she was a poor cook,” a statement Mrs. Sargent corroborated. Pretty soon, “Martha,” the cook came in and Mrs. Eddy said to her: “Mr. Gilman was commending your cooking and I told him that you were a Christian Scientist in your cooking.” “Yes,” she cordially replied, “it is only by carrying Christian Science practice into my work that I have been able to do it well.”
In the morning soon after my arrival Mrs. Eddy told me that she had called to see Mr. Pierson, the business manager of the publishing house here, and he at once admitted that the making of the plates was a failure. She said, “I supposed all along that it was photogravures that were being gotten up. I don’t see why you did not tell me that before in the beginning.” I had told her in the beginning, explaining just the difference between half-tones and photogravures, and proposed at first that photogravures were what was best for some of them, – the most particular ones at least ought to be photogravures. But she answered then that they ought all to be of one kind, not two kinds in one book; that would not look well. I then suggested that she might get out a cheaper edition of the half-tones, and later, if they took well, have them photogravures. “Well,” she said, “that will be the best way.” She then wanted to know where the half-tones of her residence from my picture was made. I told her here at this publishing house. “Well, then that is good enough for me. It looks just like a steel engraving.” It was plain now that all this I had explained to her. She had forgotten, but I had not forgotten the lessons of previous days, and was in that better state of mind that welcomes the cross, so when she began to lay the misconception all to me, I rose to the occasion and immediately silenced the impatient condemnatory thought that began to arise in my mind, saying to myself the silencing of these thoughts is the labor God now appoints me, and there is joy in doing it. The result was a change in her impatient manner toward me immediately, which was followed by the agreeable day herein before described.
August 19th. – Called upon Mrs. Eddy at 11 o’clock to leave the balance of the pictures. Mrs. Eddy came down to see me just as I was about to go. At this time I spoke again of the idea of the getting up of a group of photographs by Mr. Brown that I had called to her attention before on August 3rd when we were coming up from the boathouse, and now she still further endorsed the idea. She told me of two photos that a girl of sixteen had made of the place and the pond, Mr. Easton’s daughter of Boston. She wanted I should go up to the sitting-room with her and she would get them and show me which I did. While there I suggested that one of our views be one of her sitting-room with herself sitting in her armchair and the chair she wrote Science and Health in, in the view. She approved of the idea and then began to talk of the writing of Science and Health, saying, “I moved nine times while writing the book, and that chair was the only furniture and about all I possessed, and my writing desk was simply a piece of book cover cardboard. There was no good reason for my moving except the antagonism that was felt to the ideas and to me for voicing them. In one case the woman of the house having ordered me to go, I got all ready to go, but I wanted to write a few paragraphs that I had in thought, and went into the kitchen to do it, and the woman tried to smoke or steam me out by throwing water onto the hot stove, thus making so much steam that the woman could not stay in the room,” but she kept right on writing, paying no attention to it. The woman’s husband was before this an infidel, but seeing how she bore these persecutions, he became a Christian. One of her near relatives, she said, “offered to give her a beautiful residence and home by herself and a maintenance if she would give up her nonsense, as she called it.” I replied that it was fortunate for us all that she did not give way to them.
Chapter Five — Reproductive Resistance Overcome
August 24th. – I saw Mr. Frye this morning as I was going to breakfast. I was ten or fifteen minutes earlier than usual for me and came across him with the carriage just at the crossing of one of the streets in the business portion of the town. The time was 6:20 A.M. I write of this because it seemed at the time as if it all had been perfectly provided so that when I had arrived at the crossing Mr. Frye had also, and he immediately said without surprise at seeing me, “Good morning, get right in,” turning the horse a little as suiting the action to the word. He carried me on down to my boarding place, saying it was as near home by that way as from where we started. Soon after getting into the carriage he said he had a message for me from Mrs. Eddy to call up there at nine o’clock that morning. Said, “I reckoned I should see you somewhere along here.” Before nine o’clock it came on to storm heavily with strong wind from southeast. Nevertheless, I went up, arriving a little before nine. I was ushered into the library as usual by Mrs. Sargent. After waiting a little, Mrs. Eddy called to me from the top of the stairs, saying in a pleasant voice, “Come up here to my sitting room,” to which I responded at once of course. She had a paper in her hand as she stood at the top of the stairway as if she had just completed some business arrangements with Mr. Frye which she had been making. She welcomed me with a cordial grasp of the hand. She immediately afterward began to say, after seating herself and causing me to be seated, that there was a work ready to be done, and asked me if I was ready to do it. She says, “Now, Mr. Gilman, are you ready for the work God has for you to do?” I replied that I believed that I was according to my ability. Upon this she extended her hand and we clasped hands as if to solemnize a sacred compact. She continued, “I am going to trust that you are,” at the same time handing me a check already made out for twenty dollars, saying, “You know how they have failed here at the publishing house to bring out these pictures. You see how malicious mind or antagonism to Christian Science is working to prevent this work from being brought out.” I told her I had seen and learned a lesson and should now know better how to intelligently combat it. “Oh, I guess you have,” said she with a good deal of unction. She continued, “It has been just so with the publication of Science and Health and Introspection. The presses would snap or refuse to work, or the pressmen would be sick. Fifteen men were flat on their backs with sickness at one time and they could not go on with the work until we took up the work, healed the men, and handled the difficulty mentally in Science. I know the source from which this comes. IT IS THEOSOPHY. That is the form the archenemy takes now. They are concentrating all their energies against Christian Science, for they know it is their foe of foes. I could tell you of things that have happened here in consequence that would startle you, but I won’t frighten you. It works in the form of electricity, but it has no power.” The storm outside was now furious and the gale shook the casements and jarred the house, while the rain was driven violently against the windowpanes. I said, “The elements seem angry this morning.” “Do you see how it is?” said she with a knowing look, “but God will calm the storm.” I told her I had been tempted by the thought that she would think me foolish to come up in such a storm, but that I was feeling in the mood to meet and master the storm as a type of the mental elements arrayed against me. “Do you see how animal magnetism is continually suggesting an opposite course to the right one? But now the work we have in mind. God had told me we must hide the Child, and I want you to be all ready to start for Gardner, Massachusetts, next Monday morning. I have arranged it with Benny. He will meet you there. I have had the pictures sent in a stout box to him by express, and Mr. Frye has prepared some envelopes which he has addressed to me on the typewriter and some others which he has addressed to Mr. Carlton. These you can take and when you write you can put your missive into the envelope directed to me and that in turn into the envelope directed to Mr. Carlton, and when he gets it he will find mine within and will give it to me. And Benny has promised that he will help you and you are to help the man who gets up the reproductions, to do the work right, but you are not to tell him for whom the work is being done.” Then she said interrogatively, “Do you know how to keep a secret? They say a woman can’t keep a secret, but I have learned how – let no one know that you have a secret and then you can keep it. You are not to tell anyone here where you have gone, but tell them you are going for a while to some town that you know you will pass through, so that you need not lie to them.” I told her I should have to pass through the town of my father whom I should visit before my return, and to say I was going to visit my father would be accurate. “That is just the thing,” said she, “You are going home for a visit.” Then she asked Mr. Frye to bring in the package she had had him prepare and opening it, she took out two or three of the “half-tone” pictures that had been printed from the plates of the publishing house here as samples of the size she wanted the new plates should be. At the bottom of these she had pinned mottoes from the Bible. On one of them she had quoted from Matthew iv:16, crediting it to Jesus. I referred to this and said that I did not think they were Jesus’ words. “Don’t you?” said she, “Whose words, then?” I told her I thought they were John the Baptist’s words. She then began to look at the New Testament for the quotation, but not finding it at once, it was left for Mr. Frye to look in the concordance and find it, and when it was found that the words were a quotation by Matthew from the prophet “Esaias,” she laughed heartily and I was supposing she might be laughing because it was found that they were not the words of John the Baptist as I had suggested they were, and so I said, “Well, it seems they were not the words of Jesus, anyway.” “That is it, I was laughing to think it was so funny that I should have credited the passage to Jesus,” she said. While she was talking to me afterwards of the way to overcome the enemy successfully, she said good-naturedly that “If we could get Gilman out of the way, we could get on all right, – the great thing to do was to get rid of Gilman.” She gave me her hand when I came to go and said, “God bless you. After this work comes out I have something to tell you, but I won’t say anything more about it now.” (This last was said just before I came to go).
September 7, 1893. – Returned tonight on the 5:40 train from Gardner with good proofs from all the plates from the illustrations. Took a hack in order to have my trunk carried to my room, and made ready at once to go up to Mrs. Eddy’s with the proofs. When I started at six o’clock, it began to rain vigorously. Took the car to upper Pleasant Street. After I left the car, it rained heavily. Mrs. Eddy greeted me with a hearty welcome. Instead of asking to see the proofs that were in the package I carried, she handed me a book or pamphlet advertising half-tones, various kinds of type, etc., saying, “Here is a book showing specimens of half-tones which Mr. Frye has received. I thought you would be interested in that.” I glanced at the publication a little and laid it aside, saying, “But you want to see these proofs I have first,” to which she assented. In seeing them she expressed hearty approval as each proof was brought to view, her expressions being all in the superlative. She called Mrs. Sargent to admire them with her, describing them as being “just like steel engravings,” saying that generally she did not like Mrs. Sargent’s profuseness of expression, but now she wanted to hear them. Matters went this way until she asked me if there were any others but these out. I answered, “no” except that the Doctor had taken a set with him to Boston. This proved to be a spark to ignite an outburst of indignation against the Doctor. Her first word was to Mrs. Sargent. “There, Laura, did I not tell you so this morning. I knew there was something wrong with the Doctor. Did you ever see anything like it, the way that boy disobeys me. To think that after I had expressly told him not to do this very thing, he should go and do it. Oh! Oh! I will telegraph him now, and will you take the telegram down, Mr. Gilman?” They gave her the forms of telegraph to fill out and she proceeded a little and then said: “I may as well write a letter; he will get it about as soon as he would get this telegram.” Whereupon she went to her place for writing materials, all this time giving expression to her sorrow, regret, and indignation as regards the failure of those in whom she trusted to be obedient, or pay the least regard to that said or commanded. Before writing the letter, she excused me, expressing gratitude to me for the success in getting out the plates, etc. She told me to go down for some luncheon and she would soon have the letter ready for me to take. I got a hackman that night to take up the trunk of pictures from the railroad station; I going up with it. When I was there Mrs. Sargent handed me a letter from Mrs. Eddy for me which I found upon arrival at my room to be similar expressions of reproof for me and regret at what had been expressed at the house relating to the Doctor, to which she added, “I shall not get out my book for Chicago as I have anticipated, but shall finish my book when God tells me to. But I shall wait on Him. On Him alone can I trust; man works against us both.”
Monday, September 11, 1893. – Went up to Mrs. Eddy’s immediately after dinner to see if she would appoint an hour for the taking of some photographs by Mr. W. W. Brown, the photographer, and myself, of her sitting room with herself in her armchair by her table and tower windows. She soon came into the library in which a fire had been built as if some company were expected soon and greeted me pleasantly and apparently with some yearning expectancy of feeling, as if she still looked and yet doubtfully, for some spontaneous, unaffected, unconscious expression of genuine regard, at least from me. It impelled me to frankly express my thought by saying earnestly and sincerely, “I am glad to see you.” She seemed to appreciate my gladness, but with a sort of half-conscious reservation that after all it made little difference because God had provided all things for her. She made me sit down in the pleasantest chair as she had at other times, the one near the west window, saying as I remonstrated, “No, that is your chair; I will sit here,” sitting down in a less desirable place near the centre table. She wore her own hair, only, today, and she had a fresh new look to me which made me say as I looked at her hair to explain my words, “You look like an entirely new personage today.” It seemed a droll remark to make, but it was a spontaneous expression. She thought so, for an instant perhaps, and then she began to say that last night she had come to revelations that had exceeded anything she had had before, in which she saw plainly that all things were put under her feet and the Love of God was so manifest, it exceeded anything she could describe. “All things were dissolved in it; all sense of evil, all antagonism; nothing was left but the sea of God’s immeasurable Love.” I felt awed and as if a word in response from me would be a sacrilege. She continued: “I shall not go to Chicago,” and referred to Mr. Kimball there as having carried out her work gloriously and as a faithful and true student. The World’s Fair she thought, “would prove to be a means of great dissemination of Christian Science, but I shall not be there. It is better to be here with God.” Soon she said, “I forgot I am expecting visitors here soon and I must not delay.” I told her my errand, and she assented to the taking of the room, but said she would not be in it. I expressed sorrow at this, saying, “We need you in the room or it will look so empty,” but she said, “No, I am tired of the caricatures that they always get of my expression. But you can make my portrait. I am going to have you make it when I get time and I will help you, but not now.” “But,” I said, “I was going to have you looking down in this picture and wasn’t going to try to get your expression of face.” I suppose I looked so sorrowful that she felt compassion, for she replied, “Well, to please you I will,” her face lighting with a smile as she said it. As my face showed much feeling I suppose, she looking up to my face (she had been standing at the door ready to go) said compassionately, “You are a good boy, only you are disobedient.” “I know,” she replied to my look of doubt, “You are unintentionally so,” and then she referred to the Doctor’s taking the proofs to Boston and his reply to her letter as being about the same as Mr. Nixon’s when she wrote to him because he had sent proofs of her revised Science and Health out for his wife to read before she herself had seen them. She considered this a sacrilege that could not easily be atoned for. She also referred to his daughter as having great appreciation of the situation and who had appealed to her for help and had found it and had expressed it in saying to her that “she (Mrs. Eddy) was her heaven.” All the time she was telling me this last she was holding my hand, having taken it as she began as if about to dismiss me with her goodbye for the day. It seemed as if she would know if I was like all the others who had seemed to fail her, or was I to be trusted or relied upon.
Chapter Six — Spiritual Lessons
Tuesday, September 12th. – Went up with Mr. Brown as per appointment at 9:30 A.M. to take negatives. We went prepared to take but one large photograph, as Mr. Brown’s other instrument was lent. We found Mrs. Eddy dressed in the fine white silk dress that was a gift from her students. It didn’t seem to me simple enough for a picture of her to be taken in, and I told her so. She said she thought so, too, but she said this dress had been given her by students who wanted her to wear it as a working every day dress, and she had no simpler one but that one that was all stripes which of course “wouldn’t look well” in a picture she said. But she had a black one that would do and she would go and put that on. This she said in a tone that made me feel that I was not sufficiently considerate of her wishes, but wanted to carry out my thought of simplicity in a common-place way that did not accord with her character. So I told her, “No,” the dress she had on was no doubt the best after all. So everything being in readiness, she reading one of her student’s letters, we exposed the plate and returned to town. Mr. Brown immediately developed the negative which appeared tolerable with the exception of her feet which were not posed gracefully. I went up and showed the proof in the afternoon and it was not liked by Mrs. Eddy and she said she would not ever sit for another one. I told her I thought we could remedy the defects of this plate in another and finally after much urging by Mrs. Sargent and myself, she consented to sit for just one more and that was all. I went back to Mr. Brown’s much pleased at this and we made great plans for being sure of getting a good one the next time, and then returned to my room to work. I had not been there more than an hour before Mr. Frye rang and said Mrs. Eddy wanted I should bring up that negative in the morning when I came up, to which I assented and he went away; but came back in two or three minutes telling me that Mrs. Eddy wanted to see me at the carriage. When I arrived, she asked me to get into the carriage with her and then said she wanted to go up and have me get her the negative then. As soon as we started she began to say that she shouldn’t have another negative taken in the morning as had been arranged. “Now,” she said, “I won’t hear a word of remonstrance. I have listened too much to you already. It is taking my thought and attention from God’s work and God has told me that I must put a stop to this.” She called me disobedient and said I excused myself just as the Doctor did on the ground that I did not know that I was disobedient, which was no excuse at all. She said, “You ought to have stayed at Gardner until all the pictures were made instead of running away just as the Doctor did.” I answered that I understood she wanted I should return as soon as the plates were successfully made. To have waited until the pictures were all printed would have taken a month or two. (The amount of money she had provided me for expenses would not have been sufficient to have enabled me to remain long.) I refer to this last that the true state of things literally may appear. Arriving at Mr. Brown’s I got the negative and brought it to the carriage and said if she did not put her foot as weight against it, it would not break. “What harm will it do if it does get broken?” she asked. I said, “Oh, I wouldn’t break it. I think that I could retouch that face in the negative so that it would look pretty well.” She quickly responded, “Didn’t I tell you not to say another word on that subject?”
Thursday evening, September 14th. – I have been having during two days past one of my painful chemicalizations in consequence of Mrs. Eddy’s course with relation to the picture of herself. She had told me I could take negatives of the room without her being in it and that would be giving me a chance to make money enough. I think this exasperated me the most. As if I wanted to make her picture for the purpose of making money upon it. Ugh! But I have found that self-will and self-love is very large and prominent in my consciousness, and I think this is the first time it has been exposed so plainly that I could see it. Oh! the wretchedness of the thought of giving up my false pride and acknowledging it to myself, and the putting behind me self-will and self-love! But it plainly appears the only alternative, and having done so, I feel much better, but it cost a resolute fight and a clinging to the cross as my only salvation, rare to me. To banish all thought of malice or resentment is not easy, but it must be done if we would live. Yesterday when we took the negatives of the interiors it seemed to be adding insult to injury in seeking to have me promise to make a good nose on an inferior painting of Mrs. Eddy made by a former student who was an amateur at painting, but who has now left the Science to study medicine. I told her I did not think it would be right to alter another’s painting without the consent of the artist. Mrs. Eddy thought all it needed was a better nose; then I could photograph that in the room and have it as a picture of her in place of one from life. All this I have been battling with, but I believe I have gained a victory over it all in which I have seen that these assailments are all from the personal false sense, the one evil, which “cannot harm me” if I cling to the idea that Spirit is life, not matter. I gained just a glimpse that it was better to be in bitterness and trial for the sake of the true Christ and life than to go on and prosper materially as I tried to prosper that way. Would that this glimpse might become a steady vision. My despairing cry has been; “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
Saturday, September 16th. – I was able to say tonight without egotism, “I have done a good day’s work today, spiritually.” I watched an hour before the dawn in order that I might realize through the day the supremacy of Spirit. I felt God’s presence as I went to my breakfast and with it the thought came that the trials of poverty and the lack of some work to do by which my expenses could be met were welcome for the aid they afforded, when courageously met in Godly faith, even to the realization of the Christ as a living salvation for which I had watched in the morning. Entire resignation and real joy even in the desire that God’s will be done in my experience was felt, in which I was just as willing to do drudgery work for Mr. Runnels as anything else, because I saw that in that God’s goodness might be reflected just as well as anywhere, for it is God that works, not mortal I.
Monday, September 18th. – I went up to Mrs. Eddy’s this morning at 9 o’clock to see if she wanted I should make the change in the nose in the painted portrait of herself which she had asked me if I would do when I was last there on Wednesday of last week. I had decided that there were two reasons why I ought to be willing to do this. The first was that Mrs. Eddy was an exception to the general rule in regard to a portrait of her being perfected by another artist. A good portrait of her is lacking, yet a good one of her is a great and universal want felt by thousands now and will be by millions later; hence any opportunity to that end should be improved to the utmost. Second, the one who painted this one to be improved is not, and was not, a professional painter, but an undisciplined and unpracticed amateur with no originality or name to be sacrificed in the changing of this over.
I waited in the library and she soon came down and greeted me kindly with a soft, subdued smile and chastened look that was peaceful in its sweetness and helpfulness. I told her I had come to see if she wanted I should change the portrait as she had before asked me to do. “Oh yes,” she replied, “to change that nose. It is very kind of you to be willing to do that. I am so glad. When do you want to do it?” I answered that any time when she felt in the mood or was ready. “Then I wish you would wait a week. I have been so busy in getting ready the matters for the Chicago Congress that now I want to be left alone a little. Now, Mr. Gilman, I want you should go on and make a success of this picture or series of pictures of the place which I have given you the right to make, with mine left in the room. I know that this place and spot where ‘Mother’ has lived will be of growing and sacred interest as Christian Science becomes disseminated. But, Oh, I want you should do it in such a way that God and Christian Science shall be glorified and the cause advanced, for it is a way of salvation, is it not? If only you could know how I have struggled and wrestled to overcome this wave of hatred and resistance to Truth, and now I have won the way to Love’s victory of peace and calm. In the case of the negative of me in my room I hated to destroy it, but I felt irresistibly impelled by God that I must do it, and in obeying, I felt I had broken their idols.” I told her that I had felt spiritually that my idols were being broken since she had gotten the negative; and I was thankful she was so faithful and true to God, for it has liberated me from bondage that was holding me through them which I can now see. She continued. “Yes, that is it.” She said if we (the Doctor and I) could only know how much she labored to have us realize the Truth spiritually. She said it was such a grievous sin to be talking scientifically all the time and not realizing the Truth. She said she had wrestled with the Spirit for us in a degree no one could know and could only take us to God and leave us there, trusting to His omnipotent “grace.” She expressed this with great feeling and with an upward, far-away look in her face that I cannot accurately describe. I caught myself for an instant trying to literally charge my memory with just the words she was saying, in order that I might accurately record it afterwards. Although this baseness I tolerated but for a moment. I recognized then that it was enough to affect the flow of her intense feeling so that I noticed it. I now see the always true way is to let the spirit of Truth impress upon our thought what it will, and that will be found to be the most truthful and uplifting and really accurate report or description.
September 21st. – I went up to Mrs. Eddy’s to see about the taking over of the interior of her room and also to talk with her about a forgotten matter concerning the plate printing at Gardner, Massachusetts. I told Mrs. Sargent my errand and she said she would tell Mrs. Eddy. Soon I heard her on the stairs speaking sharply in response to something Mrs. Sargent was saying. I began to be prepared for stormy times, but when she appeared at the doorway she smiled at me a greeting of welcome, but soon began to talk to me severely, telling me I had deserted my post at Gardner, asking me sternly why I could not understand, and then looking away as if disgusted with me, but I thought I saw her smiling twice on the sly, and it seemed to me as if she thought a scolding would do the most good of anything, if I was only faithful enough to bear it patiently, and she seemed to enjoy any becoming efforts on my part to receive it meekly. This view of it seemed confirmed when the interview, which was short, was closed, for she came back from part of the way upstairs and said, “Wait a minute; I want you to have some of our peaches,” at the same time going out into the dining-room and calling to Mrs. Morgan. Soon she came back with both her hands clasped together full of peaches and a large pear. Giving them to me, she said, “There; there is some fruit from Mother’s farm,” and then straightway giving me a parting wave of the hand, she advanced up the front stairway, cheerfully calling back, “Goodbye.”
Saturday, September 23rd. – This morning was favorable to taking the balance of the outside views, so we went out about 9 o’clock. The morning had been foggy, but just after eight it cleared, and when we arrived, the house was in splendid light for a picture, but clouds in the west were rising and threatened to shade the house soon if we did not hasten. Preparing the camera in place for the best view of the house, we saw that a white banner which, flying from its support projecting out from the tower balustrade, looked badly and indefinitely mingling with the balustrade beyond it, would be hard in the photograph to make out, as indeed it was from nature from our point of view. Its shape and white color made it look some like some garment of linen wear which appeared to be hanging to dry on the balustrade. Engrossed in the idea of getting a good picture such as would honor the place, I failed to think that possibly the banner which she had before showed me at a previous time as a gift from one of her students, was hung out for some other purpose than that of having it in the picture. I thought it was there to be in the picture, so I thought it all important that it be where it would show plain and good, hence rang at the door, telling Mrs. Sargent how it was, asking her to speak to Mrs. Eddy about it and ask her to move it about six feet the other way. So Mrs. Eddy went out and pushed it out a little as much as she could owing to the fastenings, but it appeared to me that that did not help it any and full of haste lest the rising clouds shade the house, I told her it would not show good there. She appeared unwilling to move it and asked me if another view of the house would not show it better. I told her yes, but that then the house would not look as well and asked if I might not come up and fix it where it would look all right. She replied reluctantly, “Yes, if you think you can fix it better.” So I rushed up the front stairs and Mrs. Sargent came out from Mrs. Eddy’s room and told me to go through Mr. Frye’s room from which a door opened onto the south veranda. Mrs. Eddy was out there when I arrived and I found that the banner staff was fastened by many strings to the balustrade on either side and also to a heavy flower pot with earth and a small century plant in it. Mrs. Eddy did not seem pleased at the idea of my coming up and appeared to be trying to untie the strings which were attached to keep the banner from being blown about by the wind. I told her I would take care of it. “Well, you look out you do not injure that plant,” and then retired into her sitting-room drawing down the curtains almost as soon as she went in, but I was so full of self-will that these hints were insufficient to arrest my headlong way in which I could see no good in anything beside the getting of this picture good, forgetting entirely that the banner was but a slight feature in the picture, and that tender considerateness was of far more value than any picture, however good. I had much work in getting the strings untied and the banner with the flower pot moved and came near cutting one of the leaves of the century plant off with the string. I had now to ask that Mrs. Eddy raise her curtains while the picture was being made, which she did at once. In going down to go out I saw Mrs. Sargent who regretted that I had to move the banner as “Mother had been at much pains to put it where it was and would want it put back there again when the picture had been made.” She said that “it had been put out in honor of the triumph of Christian Science at Chicago at the Religious Congress at which the Christian Science address had been read the day before and highly commended by leading officials there as one of the most notable contributions to the success of the Parliament of Religions.” Upon putting it back in place which I did immediately the exposure being made, as I was going in to go upstairs I met Mrs. Eddy coming out dressed for a walk, with her parasol. Her steps were directed toward the boathouse and she said to me reproachfully, “You have driven me away from my devotions, and I must go where I can be alone.” I had already felt greatly “worked up” and this added weight to my sense of guiltiness somewhere, but I could not then tell where, but the lesson I was receiving unfolded Truth to me in such a greatly valuable way and degree, that it occasions the most of the careful detail in which this is related. Of course, my burdens increased as the day passed in this matter, although before noon we got all the exposures made for the other negatives which included the taking of the horses.
Sunday, September 24th. – I felt sad indeed and was almost in despair. I wrote to Mrs. Eddy in which I excused myself not at all, but deplored the almost helplessness of my case, but still believed that hidden away somewhere there was yet reason for hope. In the afternoon, after walking to Rattlesnake Hill at West Concord to see the quarries, and dwelling upon my case and seeking humility, I gained some sense of God’s presence as the salvation from which I had been drifting. On this day I gained a still clearer view of what self-will was, and self-love, and self-justification, and that I was possessed of them all in unusual degree. And I saw it to be actually so. This appears to me a very valuable lesson. Once before I had gained a perception that I was self-willed and saw that it was a somewhat different quality than I had supposed it to be. I had not been conceiving that a benevolently inclined person could, in that, be self-willed. And now I saw plainly the error of this and how very self-willed I am in nearly all that I do. I even begin to suspect that in the writing of this I may do so, as I realize a sense of urgency to get it done that I may retire to rest and so I now stop.
Monday, September 25th. – Received a very dear letter from Mrs. Eddy today in response to the one I had written her last evening. The letter she wrote was one of motherly encouragement, as follows:
Pleasant View, Sept. 25th.
‘Be of good cheer.’ All thy shortcomings are forgiven for that day. I had a glorious season with God. You are not only seeking but gaining slowly. Seeing your errors always presages their destruction and like a fever raging before it ceases, the error looks bigger even when becoming less….
Mary B. G. Eddy”
October 5, 1893. – Mrs. Eddy sent for me today to bring my paper and sketching materials and come to do some sketching. I rode up with the young man who brought me word. (It was after two o’clock when he finally found me) and we overtook Mrs. Eddy’s carriage as she was returning from her daily drive. (She rode earlier than usual today.) Just as we passed the carriage the man I was riding with came to his destination, and as I alighted, Mrs. Eddy motioned me to get in and ride the rest of the way in her carriage. She immediately began describing a view from her veranda as it appeared at lunch time in a peculiar light. She said the view surpassed all description, but she had sent for me that I might see and sketch it, but the light had changed now. When we arrived at the house, she asked me upstairs and went with me out on the veranda, saying “Oh! I wish you could have seen it. The distance looked as clear as if right at hand and the light streaming down from the clouds looked like the rays in the Christmas morn illustration” of her poem. Pretty soon she began talking of the Chicago presentation of Christian Science and after expressing much joy and how Joseph Cook was represented as looking in the papers and cuts of him as sent to her after hearing the presentation of her address before the Religious Parliament, she said that “Joseph Cook said to someone that she (Mrs. Eddy) was a ‘charlatan and had been driven out of Boston.’ A Christian Science lady overhearing it turned indignantly and told him that ‘that was a lie.’ ‘Then I am a liar,’ said Joseph. ‘I repeat it,’ said the lady.” Changing her tone of exultation to sadness, Mrs. Eddy said that “it was an awful thing that the Christian Scientists allowed themselves to be betrayed into giving her address to the paper.” She said, “It was a crime.” I said, “Doubtless the reporters took it down verbatim as it was delivered.” She said, “No; they gave it to the reporters.” She now excused herself, saying she was sorry to have troubled me to come for naught, the glory of the landscape scene having passed away.
Thursday morning, October 12th. – I went up to sketch from Mrs. Eddy’s south veranda the view in the direction of the scene she had been so enraptured by on the day I was last there. She was walking down the path to the boathouse with her parasol in the bright sunlight when I arrived at the house. I disliked to go up and go at sketching from there without Mrs. Eddy being consulted or informed of the fact, and Mr. Frye agreed with me it would perhaps be better to see her first. She was down to the boathouse now; he said I would find her down there. I hated to disturb her down there, also, but it seemed to me the only way to do now, so I went down. As I approached the boathouse, I heard singing which I knew must be Mrs. Eddy. There appeared no way but to stop and wait out of sight until she ceased singing. She sang the familiar hymn running,
“Flee as a bird to your mountain;
Thou who art weary of sin;
Go to the clear, flowing fountain;
Where you may wash and be clean.”
She sang it very expressively and the cadence of her voice and the words as in this song ran in my mind more or less all the time until today (present date October 15th). When she ceased I appeared in the doorway and she turned and gave me a welcome smile and extended her hand. “Wasn’t it strange,” she said, “that I should look up and find you waiting at the door at this time.” After asking me how I got on, she asked me to sit and soon began talking of the Chicago matter and told me, “the old story of the parting of Christ’s garments among them (his enemies) was being repeated again today.” She then quoted some Scriptural prophecy of Revelation and said it was being fulfilled today. She said many things which I cannot write of much, partly because I did not understand fully the meaning of what she was saying. One thing she emphasized in what she said, and that was that the ethics of Christian Science raises people to a higher plane of action in which all is mental instead of material. In this plane of life, to steal is to take mental things that do not belong to us; and to kill is to hate our neighbor; and so on through the Decalogue. In this realm there is as yet no laws to restrain as there is in the physical world, except the restraint of self-defense through understanding of Truth and the nothingness of error and sin.
Tuesday, October 17th. – Have been suffering for a few days past with the travail of soul that I am finding out usually goes before the birth of an idea. This time it seemed to be in the form of fear of failure to be provided for with means to meet the expense of my daily necessities. I had had no order work to do for sometime except the doubtful one for a man who wanted two $5.00 pictures, but would not order; but would perhaps take them if I could get up something that pleased him. In the effort to get them up, I had tried pastel work, new to me. I had experimented with it in the expectation of being able to get up some cheap pictures to sell of local scenes similar to what my patron proposed to have me try to get up. In this I had given as usual with me more time than I had expected or intended – two weeks instead of one, and now I had gotten two, or rather four pictures, return in money from which was doubtful, and I with but about one dollar in pocket and a month’s board owing and room rent for over two weeks, and clothing getting old and seedy and laundry work, etc., calling for my last dollar. I had been trying anew to exercise faith in God as a sure provider, but I was feeling now that I was to blame in taking any risks at all, but should have worked for orders in the beginning instead of trying new methods of painting at such a time. In this frame of mind I found myself last evening resolving that I would do my best to demonstrate the nothingness of my fears of poverty and know the all-sufficiency of God’s provision for my needs. At the same time I could see how little was my faith in Spirit power. I could not see the connection between God’s love and dollars which I was feeling was what I needed. In the first of the evening I started to take down to Mr. Hill the pictures for his inspection, but on the way allowed myself to be influenced in my thoughts by material suggestion such as “the evening was not a good time to show pictures that were in color, – Mr. Hill very likely was not at home – saw him riding away from home in the afternoon when I had started to go down there – tomorrow would be a better time, etc.” After having returned to my room and looked over my quarterly lesson, it became clear to me that I ought to have gone down to Mr. Hill’s notwithstanding the material suggestions, cemented as they were by the thought that we must seek to be wise in what we do if we would demonstrate the wisdom of Spirit. The thought that now came was that I must exercise faith in God, and not to be feeling that demonstration depended on the successful reception of the pictures. There was no room for failure in God’s economy and the less promising the things appeared materially, the more promising they were spiritually, if only I could exercise faith. I could do my part well and leave God to do His, which according to the promise He would if I had faith. Looking at my watch I saw that I could get there even now at eight or but little after. My mind was made up at once, and I started down again, guarding my thought on the way. I found Mr. Hill pleased to see me with my pictures. He seemed to like the pictures much. His wife was also pleased. His sister had gone out but a few minutes before. He wanted she should see them and he would bring them up to Mr. Runnels’ if I would leave them until the next day. Thus the matter was left favorable, but still uncertain. I was very glad I went down, but found exercise of faith still necessary. Gave my attention to it in the night some, asking that I might understand better how God was a provider. Before going to breakfast, the truth became clear to me, just how it came I do not know. This is the idea as it appeared. God provides for our needs by revealing Himself to us as our Life, and strength and Being, by which all our fears are overcome. Money even if it did all it promised, could do no more than this, to destroy the fear of poverty. “We can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth us.” When God reveals Himself to us, He is everything to us. Having faith in Him, enough to bear the fruit of labor, alias self-denial, opens our eyes spiritually so that we see the all-sufficiency of God – of Spirit. Thus it appears clear that God in providing for us spiritually really also provides for us materially and this provision is enough and all. Seeming material provision follows such understanding because matter, belief, is subject to such understanding. This separates Spirit from matter entirely, so that I see God to be wholly apart from the sense or belief of matter and utterly independent of it in His care for His children. What may we not accomplish with this understanding and faith! Today, Mr. Runnels told me Mr. Hill had accepted the pictures at my price of $10.00 as he had been in to look at some frames for them, but if he had not it would not have made any difference with God’s provision. That was assured already. The logic of this is plain. If we would be rich, we should seek it spiritually through denial of self. To be seeking each day some way for the demonstration of Spirit’s supremacy over matter, over its illusions, is the perfect Christian Science way.
October 25th. – It came to me this morning from the suggestion of a dream what obedience really is. Obedience is not to look to matter for a single thing, but to God for everything. To do less was to imply that there is lack in God, in the proportion of our looking to matter for the fulfillment of our desires. We thus dishonor God and thereby incur the burdensome sense of divine displeasure, thus robbing us of the true sense of man’s immeasurable inheritance. In this light I see the import of Mrs. Eddy’s repeated chiding of me for being so disobedient. I see I have been disobedient nearly all the time, without indeed consciously knowing it. To try to compass the execution of a picture in mortal strength is to look away from God as the only source and so to be disobedient. I am greatly rejoicing in the perception of this truth which began with the light that came last Sunday evening in my walk around a few streets west of the post office. In this walk I was feeling pointedly the unsatisfactoriness of life because of my inability to escape from the mortal motives that would not down permanently, but like mosquitoes or flies that get away for the moment continually return to torment as soon as the driving away process ceases. During the day on Sunday I had walked on “The Plain” (east of Concord). The day was beautiful outwardly and many suggestions of beauty were presented awaking my sense of nature as inherently lovable and my power of expressing it in pastel painting. I was partially perceiving one moment, so far as the letter went, that this was departing from Truth, and the next was tolerating and even entertaining the marauders; then was turning them out, only to find they were back again “the moment my back was turned.” And thus I strove seemingly in vain throughout the day. My yearnings were partly expressed in the following verse written while on the Plain:
Oh, that I might live the holy life
Apart from sin and free from death,
In which is stilled all mortal strife
And Love transforms this empty earth
In the evening I thought I would walk a little. Perhaps it would awaken some liberating thought. As I walked, I was troubled by the glaring materiality of the electric lights. They spoiled the moonlight which was more spiritual, more in accord with the true sense of Life which I had understood from early life intuitively. This intuitive perception of the really beautiful in nature was the perception of the poetry of Life which was continually being spoiled by the materialities of the age which like the electric lights and cars, and all other modern inventions, were allowed to be crowded in to interfere with the really good on every hand. This was the flow of mortal belief, when the better thought came that this view of my intuitive perception as being spiritual and superior to the general thought was nothing but a more subtle form of materiality – self-love. Good was not interfered with really and could not be by electric lights, said this voice of Truth, or any other form of expressed materiality. I could just as deeply realize the poetry and complete goodness of God in one material light as another if I saw God as everywhere. Good was spiritual only and was not touched by matter and could not be. Immediately I was immersed in light from God’s throne of truth and purity, and the electric lights looked as good and poetic as the moonlight because I now saw goodness everywhere, for God was everywhere to my sense. I saw also that to understand God in this way was to have everything that could be desired. Motives for making beautiful pictures because of their power of expressing my beautiful intuitions and perceptions were annihilated, as also were motives for doing the same for material reward only. In the light of this spiritual thought the value and use of all material ways and means for gaining good were swept away as emptiness and vanity because in this understanding of Truth as all, I was rich; I wanted nothing; I was free to love this idea of Truth and to give my whole time to motives that were born of this idea of Truth, in which I should rejoice alone in opportunities for demonstrating it. That was the infinite all of being that Life expresses. Such opportunities were on every hand whatever I should do outwardly, and nothing could keep me from improving them. Thus I saw that God was really Life – all Life. Later as I was meditating upon this, after I had been reading in Science and Health, it came to me that these visions of living Truth that came to me with the force of spiritual revelation and which I have been supposing were my original thoughts, were already expressed in an almost numberless variety of forms in the Bible, and more definitely and plainly in our great textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mrs. Eddy. And now it has begun to dawn upon me that these fresh, vivid impressions of the living Truth of God are the result of Mrs. Eddy’s thought and teaching, under whose loving guidance and direction I am now seeking to find my true way of life as a willing follower of her high spiritual revealings.
Chapter Seven — Fruition
On November 28th I received a letter from Mrs. Eddy requesting me to call upon her at my earliest opportunity at her house. In her letter was enclosed her card with her hours written in pencil in the lower left-hand corner: “10 to 11 A.M. – 4:30 to 6 P.M.” She wrote, “I have a bit of plan to lay before you.” I went up about 4:45 that day. She received me very cordially, saying laughingly as she took my hand, “I suppose you are quite well today.” She wanted to see me about making her portrait. The one that was at Chicago was liked all but the nose, and she thought if I should make one nearly like that with the exception of the nose, I should be likely to get a good one. “Now you are not to let anyone know that you are making this. Can you keep it, do you think? I want this should be between you and me and God. Don’t even let anyone in the house here know. I have seen that you are very sensitive to other people’s thought. Why! I have seen Mr. Frye just go and speak to you after I had left an impression in your thought to be carried out in your picture and just that would be enough to efface my impression.” In speaking of the making of the portrait, she referred to the one in the New American Biographical Encyclopedia, asking me if I had seen it. On learning that I had not, she said I must. So she called to Mrs. Sargent to get it. She said the artist tried to get the portrait – was very anxious to – “but you see what they have got there,” showing me the book with picture. She told me she would like me to read the sketch so that I would get a good and clear impression from that in my thought, and she would leave me to that while she attended to something else. After I had just read about it, I heard her talking in the dining-room with Mrs. Sargent concerning something that had just arrived. Mrs. Sargent exclaimed, “O, isn’t that just lovely!” After a little Mrs. Eddy opened the library door a little cautiously, asking me if I had finished reading the sketch. I replied that I had and she came in bringing a book, saying, “I have just received a copy of my illustrated poem,” and taking a seat beside me, she was all animation to show it to me and enjoy with me this first appearance of the poem and all complete, which we had labored on so much during the past summer. She seemed to me like a very beautiful young lady as she sat necessarily near to me in order to look over with me and point out the different styles of type and other features connected with its make-up at the printer’s and binder’s, which were new to me of course. She made me look at the covers, both front and back, and then inside the covers at the lining, before proceeding to look inside the book, as if she would keep me waiting as long as possible to see if I would show any impatience to see the arrangement of the pictures with the poem, etc. It was at this period of showing me the get-up of the book that the leaf before the “Finis” that ends the printed matter of the poem, was brought to my view, revealing to me in the center of the leaf, alone, these words:
Mary Baker G. Eddy
James F. Gilman
This was unexpected to me, and far more than compensated the disappointment I had felt when Mrs. Eddy requested me, at the time of the first efforts to get good reproductions of the originals, not to have my name or initials on any of the illustrations as is common with artists to sign their pictures. After looking it through during which I read each verse of the poem as we came to it, she said, “Tea is ready, so we will attend to it.” As she passed into the dining-room, she said to Mr. Frye, “The word versus in ‘Truth versus Error’ should have been in italics because it is a Latin word. I see they haven’t got it so in the book. Now, why couldn’t this book have been gotten out without this mistake?” Mr. Frye said, “That should have been corrected in the proof.” Mrs. Eddy said, “It was; I underlined the word, indicating that it should be in italics. Now, I want you to go right down in the morning and have that rectified.” Mr. Frye said the books were all printed now. “Well, you can have it corrected for the next edition anyway.”
At the tea-table it was very pleasant, and I felt much at ease. After tea, she passed with me into the library and began to give me some kind admonition as to making the portrait, saying she wanted it for Science and Health and all her publications. This, however, she said at the first, when I came. When talking about my making the portrait she said that she meant that I was to have the publishing of the portrait and the profit from so doing as my recompense for making the portrait. This she referred to again now, saying she often felt sad when thinking of me so lonely and destitute. “And now,” she said, “I want you should get something out of this. You don’t look out for your interests enough in this way. Yes, I know we must seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness first, and then we are not to refuse what he puts into our hands for ‘all these things will then be added unto you,’ Jesus said.” I had told her I wanted to make a good portrait without any regard to the material income, from which she seemed to assume that I was ready to refuse to take any recompense, which was not my thought. She said money used to flow into her hands the later years of the college teaching in such quantities that she scarcely knew what to do with it, but it came into her thought as from God – “to put it by for a rainy day or for future use.” After this kindly admonition, she excused herself with a parting clasp of the hand and a “good-bye” and I came away, she having previously had all of her photographs brought down, giving me such as would be of use to me that I had no copies of already.
December 8th. – Received a letter from Mrs. Eddy this morning making request from God to me to discontinue the work upon her portrait until she should tell me to begin again. I had gotten it nicely along, as it seemed to me, to where I could surely finish it in a couple of days. I have given up all thought of it, putting it out of mind, as she requested.
December 16th. – Have had some valuable experience during the week past which has grown out of striving to meet and demonstrate over my sense of destitution. It is summed up in the thought which came to me when I was passing through the throes of anguish which the dying of self seemed to occasion. The thought was this: I want naught of personal ease, for there is no such ease. I want to work for God and live in God. Let me constantly welcome hardship – denial of self – in order that I may be master of this foolish self sense which ever seeks good in its own gratification and ever finds nothing but the anguish of death to pay for it. There is no good in it; it is all a falsity. In really welcoming this thought I found a wonderful spiritual strength and fresh perception of the thought that self-denial is the one way of salvation, not so much because it saves us from anguish, for it doesn’t do that as long as there is any self to deny, but because it gives us the sense of the omnipotence of Spirit, divine Principle, through this seeming anguish by which it is ended; and the sense of holy authority in what we say and do that is born of the consciousness that we have had the dross of self or pretention burned away in the fire of Truth’s baptism of divine Love. Learn everywhere and in all circumstances to welcome in the sweet interest of Truth and in the strength of faith in it, the trials of self that then sift it of its falsity and reveal the incomparably valuable fact that Life is not dependent at all upon so-called favorable material conditions, but upon the direct denial of self’s claim of good in them. We then become self’s – sin’s – master, thus escaping servitude unto it or bondage. In this experience carried into practice I gained a fresh and powerful sense of the supremacy of Truth understood as Life. I said in the faith, before I was fully able to see, that, I have a work to do for God and I know what it is, and I am going to do it, and I have seen the truth of that declaration demonstrated in my experience since in the proportion that I lived accordingly – and in a pointed, well-defined way, as in my experience at canvassing for work to do in portraiture today, wherein my motive was obedience to the injunction of Truth to undertake it in the interest of spiritual attainment through the mastery of its claims of evil, thereby proving that life and supply were spiritual and not material. Let us seek daily this self-denial as the work for God we have to do, that self may be silenced in whatever form it lifts its hideous head. It is through self-denial that greatness is ever attained, whatever the aim or calling, even in the world’s beliefs of good in matter. I have come to see in this that real supply is spiritual and that being Truth – verity – it is master of mortal mind – belief – the source from which all material supply comes, or seems to come, and therein becomes expressed through it, through belief – matter – which cannot by any of its means prevent, for it is a law of mind that what obtains in thought shall and must be expressed and that appropriately.
Sunday evening, December 17th. – It becomes plainer and more manifest each hour that I have succeeded through God’s grace in demonstrating the supremacy of Spirit in my efforts of the past week, which culminated in my efforts in canvassing yesterday in a good measure of confidence that somehow God’s provision for me would appear. Last evening Mr. Walker expressed a desire for what I might be able to do for him. He was a little ashamed of wanting such feminine or poetic things as pictures other than mechanical ones, but when he saw I did not urge the matter upon him, he came back from departing from the store of Mr. Runnels, which was where I saw him, and began to praise my large picture of Concord, and gradually it began to appear that he wanted I should do some work for him of scenery that he liked. He supposed I could not do it in the winter until I told him I could and should be very glad to do some such work for him if I could at this time, upon which he arranged to have me come to his house tomorrow, Monday morning, before nine and he would take me with him to show me. I have written this in detail because of the peculiar interest it has for me as a part of God’s manifestation of supply which I have been looking for in faith to appear in some way. I feel sure if I had not been possessed of this spirit of faith at the time I met Mr. Walker at the store that I should in the ordinary material anxiety for work, have shown it in some way that would have worked against my success. As it was, I left the matter all with God without fear or anxiety, and God did the work for me by making me appear attractive to the man.
Today I received a letter from Mr. Carlton of Gardner and in a postscript on the back side of his letter, which escaped my attention until now, he expressed a desire that I should do two or three pictures for him that he might put photogravure copies of them upon the market by and by, and thus the glorious truth becomes demonstrated that “God is a very present help in trouble,” as the Bible teaches, and Christian Science makes clear.
Tuesday, December 19th. – Go up to Mrs. Eddy’s to lunch today at noon in response to a letter received yesterday inviting me with the promise that she had “a good laugh in store for me if nothing more.” At once Mrs. Eddy appeared at the top of the stairway with a written letter in her hand before Mrs. Sargent completed the taking charge of my things. She looked down the stairway to me with a welcome smile and greeting, immediately coming down, and after her usual greeting by handclasp, she at once began to talk about the letters she had received concerning the Christmas Book and the criticisms, mostly favorable, the unfavorable ones coming from New York. She then read me portions of a letter she had in hand from Miss Annie Dodge of Boston whom Mrs. Eddy said she valued greatly as an art critic because she had studied art in Europe a long time under the greatest advantages, having abundance of wealth. The letter was discriminatingly critical and highly commendatory of the pictures of illustrations, even comparing them in many respects favorably with the old masters of painting, especially the head and figure of Christ. The New York critics had written that one objection to the Ascension picture was that the scene was located in Concord, New Hampshire (doubtless owing to the New Hampshire appearance of the trees). I acknowledged to her that I myself had recently thought of that, having had more time to consider it. “But,” I said after a little, “I do not know as we need to go back to Jesus’ day in Palestine to represent this thought.” To this she quickly agreed, and having been called to lunch some minutes before, she arose and saying to me, “Lunch is ready,” she extended her hand and took mine and led me like a child into the dining-room to the table. She resumed her talking about adverse criticism, new thoughts occurring to her which she expressed in much gleefulness, saying she should write directly to the Journal and have added her later thoughts to the article she already had prepared. It was late in the month, but she should ask Judge Hanna to delay the Journal, and she believed he would. The substance of the fresh thought that she wanted added was that Christian Science was a modern thought and was appropriately expressed in modern surroundings. “There is too much looking backward two thousand years. They will find,” she said, “that there is a Way here in Concord as well as in Palestine.”
While eating lunch, she asked me how I was getting on. I replied that recently I thought I was getting on well, but, I said, “strangely enough when I have some good demonstrations, I immediately begin to think, ‘Well, I will look out now, and not be caught again in the place where I shall find so much need of relying on God to save me.’ ” I hardly knew how it was I came to say it, but it came out in such a hesitating way at first and finally all at once as if of itself, and so simply and frankly mortal mind, that all gave place to laughter, as if all had recognized this tendency of human nature to avoid if possible the need of exercising faith in God. Mrs. Eddy was in a gay mood today, and most everything turned to laughter. Finally Mrs. Eddy said, “What would people think, could they see and hear our freedom of expression here at the table?” Mrs. Sargent said, “I don’t believe people generally who did not understand Science would know what to make of it.” Mrs. Eddy referred to the dinner talks of the time of Dr. Johnson. She related that at one time when Sylvester was present and the requirement was that a couplet was to be thought of on the spot and expressed at once, something appropriate and witty, Sylvester made one something like this, she said, as nearly as I can remember:
“Today, I, John Sylvester,
Met your wife and kissed her.”
Dr. Johnson responded something like this:
“My name is Johnson,
Today I hugged your wife.”
Sylvester says, “Why, there is no poetry in that.” “No,” says Johnson, “but there is truth in it.” And Mrs. Eddy added: “That is where the saying originated: ‘there is more truth than poetry,’ in a thing.” Mrs. Eddy is very apt at quoting poetic lines from many different authors. Very often she hesitates after beginning to quote and looking upward and away, she will say, “Now how is it that runs?” and then promptly she will think of it, and finally get it all right.
After lunch she asked me, when she had taken a seat in the library, if I had done anything on her portrait recently. I answered, “No, not since I received your letter asking me not to work upon it.” She said, “I do not know why I was impelled to request you not to work upon it.” I said, “I have felt no doubt but it would be for the best, and now I know it was. I would not for anything exchange the experience I have had in consequence of that.” Mrs. Eddy replied, “That came from obedience. You are much better in that than you have been. Oh, you don’t know how I have worked to get you out of the disobedient condition. Why, I have raised the dead with less effort.” I told her I was beginning to see the importance of obedience and that I saw by her recent article on “Obedience” in The Christian Science Journal, that she was working of late with all the Scientists to get them to be obedient. “Yes,” she said, “that is what I am doing. Well, now,” she said, “I think it will be best to go on with the portrait. They are writing to me from the east and west to have a good picture made. Now, when you want me, write and make an appointment so that I shall know when you are coming. Why, sometimes I should not present a good model. Sometimes I have such struggles with the evil, or animal magnetism, that nothing but a Judas would appear.” Upon this she gave me her hand and said, “Good-bye. God will help you to make the portrait so that it shall be successful.”
In speaking of obedience, she referred to Mr. Nixon as embodying a general feeling of unwillingness to obey her implicitly, as a little child. She represented him in this as being in the attitude of mind to feel it beneath him to obey her because she was a woman. “He would declare himself ready to obey God in whatever He might require of him, but to obey a woman, bah!” Continuing, she said, “We understand God and are ready to obey Him only so far as we understand and are ready to obey His highest representative in mortal life. Our love for God and consequent willingness to obey Him is never greater than our love for and willingness to obey His highest demonstrator.” She gave me at the lunch table an invitation to dinner on Christmas day. She referred to it by saying, “While I think of it I will say now, I want you to come and take dinner with us on Christmas – that is, what we call lunch.” So on Christmas I went up about twelve o’clock. Arriving, I found the Doctor there from Boston, who came into the library and welcomed me. Soon Mrs. Eddy came down. After greeting me, she began to repeat from Longfellow a couplet concerning Christmas that was very sweet. Soon lunch was ready, for she calls the twelve o’clock meal “lunch,” and she led the way, taking the Doctor by the hand as she did me on the week before. Mrs. Eddy noticed a large glass vase of flowers from which was hanging a placard with the words, “Christ makes us free.” Asking the Doctor from whom it came, she was told that “Mrs. Weller who was down to the city at Mrs. Otis’, from Boston, sent it up.” Mrs. Eddy at this gave expression to indignation because of what our materialistic laws and modern thought allowed in the persecution that Mrs. Weller had suffered on account of Christian Science, explaining to me that Mrs. Weller had lived in Littleton, New Hampshire, and that her husband had been granted a divorce from her on the ground that she made him sick by her practice of Christian Science.
In the course of the meal she had referred to Milton as being blind, and Mrs. Sargent referred to some other noted man as being deformed in some way, and Mrs. Eddy remarked how often it was that the great and noted of the world were subject to some grievous defect or deficiency. I replied after a little that there was one marked exception to what seemed to be the general rule, and that was in the example of Washington. To this she assented and said there was one incident in his history which greatly impressed her and that was when they were thinking of making him king after the war, before the present form of government had been established. Washington refused to be considered in that way and told them decisively that if ever they undertook such a thing he should leave the country or something to that effect. They had met together for some important purpose when this was being expressed, and Washington was asked to read something which it was important he should read and he could not read it until his glasses could be produced. Waiting for this, he exclaimed, “Gentlemen, I have grown blind in your service!” as if he would reproach them in that having served them so long and so faithfully they should now want to go contrary to his principles and wishes so much as to seriously think of making him king. The pathos of this turned them from their purpose.
The conversation turned upon Mrs. Weller again. Mrs. Eddy asked the Doctor why he did not ask Mrs. Weller to come up to the house. He replied that he did not know whether she, Mrs. Eddy, could see her. To this Mrs. Eddy said that she would like to have Mrs. Weller come up; she could give her fifteen or twenty minutes – that would answer. She said. “I will send down and have her come up this afternoon.” She added, “Mrs. Weller has written me two or three times for an interview, but it has always been so that I could not grant it, but now I can.” There was an influence of darkness in the city at Mrs. Otis’ that she did not like. Mrs. Weller was one of Mrs. Eddy’s students.
Friday, January 19, 1894. – Mrs. Eddy wrote me day before yesterday that I could call upon her on Friday, so I went up at one o’clock. She soon came down into the library greeting me pleasantly and soon began talking about the portrait I was making. She said that she finds that she must give it up altogether. She said she would have Mr. Frye make me out a check for a hundred dollars to pay me for the time I had given to it. She seemed very pleasant about it and said it was in this just as it had been in everything she had undertaken. She said she might work and worry and change and fix, but it always had to be given up at last and then God’s way could be carried out. “And now,” she said, “I must withdraw my illustrated poem from publication.” She said, “It is with this just as with the closing of the college. There was a demand for the book that was fabulous; they never have been able to supply the books fast enough, and reports were coming in that it was healing the sick, and the report from judges on all sides was that the pictures were like the oldest of the old masters and everything seemed to point to its doing a grand work of good; and now it must be given up.” She said, “It will not do to not heed the voice of God when it repeatedly called louder and louder.” She said: “I turned to my Science and Health a short time, since after this voice had been calling, and opened it at random, and this was what it was,” and suiting action to her words, she reached for a copy of Science and Health laying on the table and began looking for the place, but not finding it easily, she got up and going to the hallway, she rang and asked Mrs. Sargent to bring down her Science and Health. She said to me, “I know just where it is in that one; I have a leaf turned down at the place.” When it was brought, she began to read page 334, line 21. This Science and Health appeared to be much used; a number of book marks were in it and the corners of many leaves turned down. Having read the extract, she said in substance that she could not but heed its word of wisdom and she saw that the time had come for her to do something in obedience to it. She read the extract to me to show me how pointedly the way was indicated that she walk in. She had been speaking of a grander and completer view of Truth than she had had before in which she could seem to penetrate to the end of error’s claims, after which advancement was from joy to joy instead of from the sore travail of mortal mind which is the usual way. She said of me that it was strange why it was that she was led into so much to do with me. She said she was sure that I was to be a great factor in Christian Science experience or history sometime. At the close of the interview she said to me, “You wait a minute while I see Mr. Frye,” upon which she went upstairs to find him, but soon she came back saying Mr. Frye was out, but she says, “I will have him write a check for you for $100 as I told you I would.” This was for time I had been giving to her portrait which she had now given up.
While talking about the illustrated poem and its success as a literary and artistic event, she said that a celebrated art critic of Boston had written of it for some periodical, the name of which she could not now think of, that “It is creditable to getters-up in every way,” describing it as being designated to illustrate the religion of Christian Scientists. I said I was beginning to get far enough from the work of helping bring it out to perceive some qualities in it not perceptible to me before, as others, outsiders, naturally view it. I said, “It is remarkable that the simple childlike qualities of the illustrations embodied in the single, simple loving motive to set forth the beautiful Christ ideal, the very qualities that make the illustrations the most to resemble the ‘oldest old masters’ as they are saying they do, should have been evolved totally without conscious intuition on the part of either of us; and that was the very thing that made them the most valuable and artistic; self had in this been left out of them and, behold, their beauty on that account.” To this Mrs. Eddy responded by leaning forward in her chair toward me with an animated, happy expression of agreement with what I was saying, and replying, “That is it, self left out. The spiritual thought, male and female, working together. Oh! isn’t it grand.” I felt that this was exalting me above mortal measure. She said, “The illustrated poem is healing the sick and accomplishing great results apparently, but that it was through the blind faith and worship and not through understanding, which will not do; that is not the Christian Science idea; that is one reason why I must withdraw it.” In speaking of obedience to God’s voice – the importance of it – I said in reply to it, “We always, when we give up for sake of obedience, are given something vastly better than what we give up, according to my experience.” “Yes, always,” said she, “the reward of true obedience always more than satisfies us.”
I had brought up what I had done on the portraits, but they were not at all what I wanted they should be when I should show them to her, and I meant to get out of it if I could. She asked me toward the last if I had not brought something for her to see. I answered that I had nothing ready for her to see and told her that I thought that it would be better for her not to see them as they would leave no good impression in the mind and I hated to show them, because in that it might seem to her that I thought there was something good in them when I knew there was not. She said, “You are too sensitive, Mr. Gilman,” urging me to let her see them. She should not be expecting more than what I was saying. She had already made me promise that I never would make a portrait of her for anyone, and that she had given this up and it seemed to me that I could not do less than show her what I had done, especially as she had given me promise of a $100 check to compensate me for my supposed disappointment (for I was to have the sale of copies from it as my only pay for doing it). So I told her there was one thing about one of the pictures that made it possible for me to bring it up at all and that was that there was an earnestness about it that it had been difficult for me to get, that was better than all attempts I had yet made (I was only trying in this picture to get the ideal picture that should suggest Mrs. Eddy’s character after getting which I meant to modify it to embody also her likeness). She approved of the idea of a very earnest picture. So I showed them (there were two, one in pastel and one in sepia). She looked a little, but said nothing, but I could see she was not favorably impressed. I began to tell her that I had not gotten it at all according to my ideal and that I could only get what I wanted through waiting until the right came to me by degrees. She responded appreciatively and sympathetically, saying it had been so with her in the rewriting of Science and Health. “Over and over again I have written and rewritten until it has grown to whatever completeness it has now attained.” This had been particularly so in her “spiritual interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer,” she said. “My efforts and wrestlings over this were beyond human conception. And in all these things no one could understand me; I was alone, and only God could understand.” She often refers to this loneliness.
A short time after I had returned to my room I was summoned to the door and Mrs. Eddy’s carriage was waiting. This awakened expectation that she had the check for me, but instead I found trial. She said at once, with sad face, “You don’t know what I have suffered since you went away because of those pictures. Now, Mr. Gilman, will you destroy them?” I said, “Yes, indeed.” She added, “No, bring them up to me,” by which I then felt the personal thought that she would not trust me to destroy them. This appeared for a time as a last searching shaft that pierced to the dividing asunder of the personal from the spiritual sense of Mrs. Eddy to me because it appeared to reach to the utmost depths of my personal allegiance to the one for whom I had lived and loved and labored during the years since I had heard the Word of Christian Science, and particularly during the past year. I answered Mrs. Eddy that I would bring them up to her, which I did the next day, leaving them with Mrs. Sargent to give to Mrs. Eddy, but did not ask to see Mrs. Eddy as I ought. I had been feeling the assault of the mortal, human sense so keenly that for a time I became almost blind to my spiritual perceptions of good, or to giving place to my ordinary loving consideration for Mrs. Eddy as should ever have been manifest from one who really loved her and true teaching, as I surely did. And so it appeared to follow that this spiritual rebuke from Mrs. Eddy was one from which I failed during a long time to find as fruitful in its results of awakening me to realize more spiritual living than before, which had appeared always to follow all the other rebukes from the faithful love of Mrs. Eddy for me and all. But finally I was enabled to see that the fruitfulness had really not been lacking, but my need being different, slow opening of my eyes hid this from me. But to the completeness and great value of it having been seen as a sacred proof of the reality of divine Love for me, as it has been spiritually revealed through Mrs. Eddy in Christian Science, reference in some form may be made at a future time.
Mrs. Eddy some two weeks after this sent me word to call at her house at my convenience, which I did very soon after. She said she had been thinking sometime she would like to have a portrait of the Doctor made, a crayon portrait, something like the one she had had made of Dr. Asa Eddy, her late husband. This she showed me in its frame as it hung in the rear hallway – a life-size crayon. I told her I would like to make it for her from the photograph she showed me. I felt intuitively there would be no difficulty in the making and completing of this portrait, as there had been in the making of Mrs. Eddy’s for the plane of thought it represented was more nearly like the ordinary plane of life. It was completed in about a week satisfactorily, Mrs. Eddy at the last suggesting some minor changes to be made which were soon done satisfactorily. She did not ask what the price would be, but gave me her check for $25.00.
When this was done, as it was in the latter part of February, 1894, I decided I would go to Gardner, Massachusetts, where the plates for the poem were made, partly because the one who had made the successful plates for the poem had written me that sometime he would like to have me do some art work for him if I would, and now appearing the opportune time, I went to Gardner. While doing the work in Gardner for Mr. Carlton, soon after entering a business compact with him whereby the photographs made of Pleasant View were used for making reproductions of the same, the Concord photographer’s rightful share in them being first purchased by Mr. Carlton, the book which we entitled:
The Home Surroundings of
Rev. Mary Baker Eddy”
was brought out and first announced in August, 1894.
In 1895, I visited Pleasant View for the purpose of getting some new negatives, as some important changes in the house and other buildings made this desirable, and also to get a negative of Mrs. Eddy’s carriage with her fine looking horses, which I did, which included a picture of Mrs. Eddy sitting in her carriage with Mr. Frye as coachman. While I was there at lunch time, the following, which is a careful record of the same, took place:
August 15, 1895. – Was at Mrs. Eddy’s house to lunch in response to her kind invitation after getting some negatives completed of Pleasant View. At the table referring to the excellence of some green corn that we had and which I think Mr. Frye said “the Professor” sent over, I inquired who “the Professor” was. The reply was that he was the principal of the Concord High School who had built a house opposite Mrs. Eddy’s and was now grading the grounds. I had seen him at work himself with shovel and rake and supposed him a manual laboring man or at least not a scholar or professional man. I expressed something of this I think, as Mrs. Eddy replied in substance that he was one of the honest, straight-forward workers who took hold and demonstrated rather than preached. Said she had talked with him on Christian Science ethics, had said to him, “You, as well as I, can remember when (and not so very long ago) everybody thought that they could not safely eat a hearty meal after three o’clock P.M. lest we suffer in consequence, but that now all this was changed, that six o’clock was the dinner hour and the heartiest meal of the day with many, with no evil consequences following or feared.” “He admitted,” she said, “that this was true.” After exchanging some expressions of thought upon the manifest tendency and seeming power of belief to manufacture laws of health that governed us until we gave up through necessity, I asked Mrs. Eddy the question: “Do you think that all mankind have got to pass through all this wilderness of belief in health laws, putting them to the test through dieting, exercise, fresh air, and so forth until their falsity being manifest, they should be ready to forsake them for the Truth, or have we about reached the climax now of this tendency toward materialism?” At this she paused a moment as if gathering her energies for forcible expression in answer to this and then went on to say with vigor: “When the students of Christian Science practice what they preach this climax of materialism will disappear and not before. Oh, the absurdity of preaching Christian Science and then not carrying it into daily life. Now, take the chiming of the bells at the new church in Boston. Why, I would no more have continued the chiming of those bells after I found that it was disturbing people than I would have cut off my right hand. The Golden Rule would have guided them in this if they had been obedient to the Christian Science spirit. Divine Love never leads any to become obnoxious in that way.” She referred to the Directors as being the ones in particular responsible in this matter. I said, “This idea of practicing instead of preaching seems to me to be the very leading or central idea for which you have worked and sacrificed.” “Yes,” she said earnestly, “and I practiced first myself all that I have advocated. When I was first practicing, before I had written Science and Health, I could with a few materials after seeing a $25.00 bonnet in the show window at the milliner’s, make one by the help which the spirit of God gave me, myself, that people would think was the $25.00 one, it would look so well and be so fitting and becoming and would be surprised to learn that it cost me but $2.50. At the same time I was healing the sick and dying. It is the power of Spirit obeyed that gives us the sense of perfection and harmony and the way.” I said, “We who would follow you are apt to preach above what we can practice or are practicing.” She replied that in teaching we had to advocate or explain much above our practice, but we ought to be practicing all the time in whatever we have to do. “Oh, if others could only see what I see, how they would work and strive to express nothing but the spirit of Truth. Because I see these things and press them upon students greatly – this necessity of practice in obedience to Truth – they often turn upon me with their darkness, thus making my burden greater and greater, for I must consequently labor and watch lest this mark my thought and I reflect it upon them again. I never have laid down any requirements until I have first suffered up to them,” she said and appealed to Mr. Frye if he had ever known her to call others to the fulfillment of any requirements that she had not first herself suffered up to seeing their necessity. “Oh,” she said with great feeling, “it is not years that have whitened these hairs, but suffering, suffering from the dark thoughts of those whom I strive to bless, who turn upon me because I obey the Truth for their sakes.” Continuing, she said, “I remember when I was a very little girl that I troubled and teased my dear mother at one time until at last I drew from her unwillingly a quick and incisive retribution. She put one of my hands in the flies of the spinning wheel when in motion. After suffering from this a little I went to her with my tears, and putting my arms about her neck affectionately I said, ‘I pity you, mamma.’ You see I soon recognized my delinquency and pitied mother, because I had worked her up to the painful necessity of this sharp rebuke for my good, and thus her pathway was smoothed.”
She related that previous to the time when the chapter on “Marriage” was written she found that people were beginning to say of her doctrines that they were against marriage; that she was undermining the institution of the family; that her teaching led to the separation of husbands and wives and the breaking up of family relations, etc. This grew until it appeared such a great obstacle that it appeared to be a solid wall to her further progress. In this extremity, through its attendant suffering, she was impelled to the writing of the chapter on “Marriage,” and when it came out, it was declared to be the best thing on “marriage” ever written. “It had its birth in the travail of soul that keenly sensed the need of the hour,” she said.
Mrs. Eddy said to me, “I received your card indicating that you were practicing the Science in Gardner. How do you get along in that?” I answered that I seemed to get along better in the healing when I had patients, than I did in explaining the Science to people so that they would accept the Science or ask for treatment. I added, “I seem to lack wisdom and tact in this, so that I have been without patients mostly this spring and summer and have taken up the art work in its place, keeping the Science work in view as a leading thought.” She replied to this that my difficulty was a very common one. “Why, I have talked with M.D.’s when I was in Boston who had talked with my students and gained a wrong idea of what the Science is, and after I have explained the ideas a little, they would see and acknowledge the reasonableness of what I said and say they had before gained a very different idea of what the Science is.” I said, “Doubtless we try to explain the letter too much.” “No,” she said, “you do not explain the letter even unless you are governed by wisdom. If you are talking with one who has not yet learned the ABC’s and trying to explain what is above and beyond the ABC’s do you explain anything to such? No, we need to practice this Science in whatever we are doing and this gives us the wisdom to talk to people what they can understand.” I said to her, “I would not have believed it possible to devise anything so simple and yet so well calculated to act as a check to the tendency to look outward rather than inward for help to Christly living as the new order for services which she had instituted.” She said to me, “We should look to God and not inward for this help to right living. It is strange when these things are explained to students as I explain them and they appear to understand them, that when they come to the matter of practice, all this is thrown or scattered to the winds, and they go on just the same as before.” I said, “That is just the way it is with me. I have an hour now and then when I see perfectly clear these scientific truths and the way to demonstrate them, and do demonstrate them for myself, but when I come to the testing with other people, all my perceptions are scattered and I seem to utterly fail.” She said, “If you were abiding upon the Rock, this would not be so. You yet only have gleams of the Truth. You must get into the Truth all over and live in it.” I said, “I do want to and I try to. Now, why can I not do it? I suppose I need to be more sternly resolved.” “No,” she replied, “No, it is not human resolution, but faith in God. Having this faith, you would live it, for nothing can prevent it then. It is laziness among students that prevents their succeeding, just laziness. We must say to error, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan’. We must put it behind us; by that we put ourselves in front of it, do we not? How then can it prevent or interfere with our progress in demonstration.”
In an earlier part of this talk at lunch, she had said, referring to masters and leaders in religious or ecclesiastical movements and organizations, that “They had laid down long and arbitrary rules of action, having their origin in materialistic views, the following of which led into bondage, while I, through the inspiration of the Spirit, showed the way without these, leaving the individual free to act according to the dictation of Spirit, of Love and Truth, from which could come no bondage. Hence there was no creed to hamper Scientists or those seeking to know the Truth and become identified with its followers.”
A short time after lunch as I was out on the grounds briefly giving some attention to sketching some details I needed in the next edition of the Pleasant View plates before going, word was sent out to me that Mrs. Eddy would like to see me at the house. Obeying the call, I found that Mrs. Eddy had an important message that she wished delivered to Judge Hanna in Boston that evening and asked me if I would undertake to deliver it. Of course I was glad to be trusted to do it. She gave me money to meet the traveling expense and I found Judge Hanna at his home on Commonwealth Avenue between 10 and 11 P.M., delivered the message, and returning the next morning, I saw Mrs. Eddy concerning the photograph of her carriage and horses with her ladyship sitting in her carriage as she appeared the day I made the negative, just returning from her usual afternoon drive, a proof of which I now had with me to show her for her approval before using it in the new edition of the Pleasant View pictures. Mrs. Eddy liked it and approved of its being used for the purpose above named. She appeared very agreeable and in giving me her hand as I was about to depart for Gardner again, she expressed her good will, saying, God bless you as her last word to me. This proved to be the last personal interview, but two years later my relation to her as her artist in the illustration work of her poem, Christ and Christmas, was renewed for a season, the work of directing being accomplished through correspondence.
Mrs. Eddy first wrote to me for a new design of her conceiving for the final illustration, to take the place of the Ascension picture. In this illustration entitled, The Way, it was desired to express the thought of the gradual ascension of mortals on and up from the dark level of material sense where the cross appears very dark and formidable, the straight and narrow, but shining pathway that leads to a second cross which is found to be embosomed in flowering vines and the bright sunshine of heaven, about which song birds make melody, all of which reveal the real attractiveness of the heavenly way, the cross appearing now less formidable in the light that now illumines the spiritual pathway. Above and beyond is the crown, between which and the second flower-embowered cross lies no obstacle to steady ascension from the material and mortal to the spiritual and eternal. She wrote:
“The art of Science is but a higher spiritual suggestion that is not fully delineated nor expressed, but leaves the artist’s thought and the thoughts of those that look on it more rarified.
“Now I suggest this picture for you to draw that possesses my thought of ‘The Way.’ Make the ground cross the same size as the one already made and the earth and this cross dark and without flowers or birds. Then rise on an incline and put the singing birds and the flowers and the dove with an olive branch in its bill on the second cross, and have this cross lighter in shade than the lower one and smaller. Make the crown still fainter in form but distinct. Put the top of it in line with the top of the plate, thus giving the thought that all matter disappears with the crown or crowned thought. Make the star’s radiance less solid and blunt; outline it as a shimmer, not a shower of light, and suited to the upper skies that you have made much to my liking. Make the crown some larger than the one that is made.”
As usual, I needed a spiritual awakening before I got this finally done to satisfy Mrs. Eddy’s spiritual ideal. This was accomplished in her original, childlike way that proved to be effectual and for which I was genuinely grateful.
After this was done, she wrote me that she would like to have me make another drawing to illustrate Christian Science Healing, there being some things about the first drawing of this subject that we both had soon seen and later had spoken of and that I believed could be improved upon in another drawing of the same general design. This second drawing I made in Gardner, Massachusetts, which Mrs. Eddy liked very much indeed, calling it in her next announcement of a new edition of Christ and Christmas, “an improved plate of Christian Science Healing.” In her letter to me recognizing its merits, Mrs. Eddy addressed me as follows:
“Mr. Gilman, Christian Scientist April 30, 1897
My dear friend:
“Do you know what you have done for yourself, for mankind, for our Cause? No, you do not, perhaps, but I will tell you. You have illustrated and interpreted my life on the plate that you sent me.”
Mary Baker Eddy
The writer of these records has sometimes been led with others to think that he was in doing the work of these illustrations for Mrs. Eddy in 1893, greatly privileged and favored above the common lot of mankind because of the personal love-laden acquaintance with the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science this work afforded him. But he is feeling very grateful as the deeper spiritual views of Truth are becoming clearer, that the Mind that was in Mrs. Eddy when he worked with her on these illustrations was, and is now, the same Mind “that was also in Christ Jesus,” and this Mind has in store for every one the fulfillment of this Mind’s reflected saying given in the Christian Science textbook, on page 13: “Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals.” This means that Christian Science demonstration forever proves that heaven’s privileges and favors all are waiting at the doors of every individual ready to give entrance to these thoughts of the precious things of this Mind which alone makes the experience which is born of an enlarging acquaintance with this Mind as manifest through the individuality of Mrs. Eddy, as well as through Jesus and the prophets.
The measure of our privilege and blessing and its continuance is limited only by one’s final willingness to accept the self-effacement that alone makes place for it in Mind, not only for the writer, but equally for everyone. Acquaintance with Christian Science Truth makes it manifest that the only reason that the blessings of divine Mind do not fill all consciousness completely at all seasons is because of its occupancy already by the false self-sense of being, thus leaving no room for the heavenly blessings we long for to come into our consciousness of being. But the Mind in Mrs. Eddy, as well as of Jesus, has, by their explicitly stated word of God that is called now Christian and Divine Science, made it clear just how everyone ready for it may prove that “Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals.” Is not this a blessed and glorious thought for each individual demonstrably to know?