A friend of mankind
Originally published in the December 13, 1909 issue of The Christian Science Monitor
During the period when Christian Science was knocking for entrance into the present writer’s life—when “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” was being alternately laid aside and read again—she was offended by the volume of gratitude to the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science which was expressed by Christian Scientists. During this period the writer hereof visited the city and church where childhood and youth’s lessons had been learned. Listening to the reverend preacher and teacher of her young days speaking from the familiar desk, how startled the seeker was to hear a sermon on the subject of great leaders! There must be personal leaders for every cause that accomplishes anything for mankind, but let no one crave such distinction, for the greater the cause and the greater the leadership, the more is the faithful servant of Truth burdened and harassed and maligned. The minister whose verdict against Christian Science and Mrs. Eddy as teacher had secretly acted as a deterrent to this former member of his flock now spoke almost as if he had deliberately chosen to plead Mrs. Eddy’s cause. He answered point by point all the arguments which had advanced themselves in the present writer’s thought against leadership like Mrs. Eddy’s and against the acknowledgment of indebtedness which is so readily made by those who reap where Mrs. Eddy has sown.
In a few weeks a single frank conversation with a Christian Scientist showed the writer that she had been building out of her own egotism and love of approbation an image of Mrs. Eddy which bore no resemblance at all to that lady. She now saw Mrs. Eddy as her works disclose her, an honest, faithful, loving and wonderfully purified heart, working for humanity with a whole self-immolation which no one can understand who has not himself known something of humility before God. Only so can any one realize that he to whom the vision of divine things has come cannot continue to desire the praise of men. Beginning to know the work of Christian Science in her own life, recognizing its tender, beneficent influence, the new comer was able at last to see in this the wonderful secret of Mrs. Eddy's seeming power over her followers. It is not personal power or influence at all, but the response in others to the great illuminating effluence of divine Love and spiritual understanding which had transfigured the Leader’s own consciousness. Mrs. Eddy has found God. She has declared Him to human hearts; she has lived out in her daily life the things that were shown her in the mount and thus she has doubly encouraged others to seek, doubly helped them to find, the remedy for every woe, in divine Love.
It is by love and love alone that Mrs. Eddy has her place in the hearts and lives of her followers. She has no human means of any sort to hold one who wished to go, even if she wished to hold him. A careful study of her writings shows not one word to indicate that personal discipleship to her is the path in which she would have her students walk. Let one who does not understand consider that Mrs. Eddy has given to a multitude at least as high a help and inspiration as a mother may give to a child or another teacher to a few. Then let him see in her church’s love and gratitude to Mrs. Eddy what has always been found in similar relationships and held to be a normal and praiseworthy recognition of benefits received. The only reason why her church’s love for Mrs. Eddy seems remarkable is because there are so many who love her and because the world is more familiar with baser motives than with gratitude. When all whom Mrs. Eddy has helped speak their gratitude in a normal way the effect is of a mighty pean of praise girdling the earth; for many speak.
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