That Nothing Be Lost

Excerpts from Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Precepts, by Gilbert Carpenter

After a chess game is won it is possible for anyone who desires, to analyze the game, explain every move, show the reason for it, and indicate why the most unrelated moves were important, without endangering the players.

It is helpful to use this illustration of the chess game and think of Mrs. Eddy as playing against the devil, or mortal mind as animal magnetism as her opponent, from whom she had to win, and establish God’s Cause in such a way that it could not be overthrown, overwhelmed, or reversed. Now that the game has been won, it is possible to gather up the broken pieces, and analyze them, that nothing be lost. After Jesus had fed the five thousand, he gave authority for the correctness of making such analysis, when he said, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost” (John 6: 12). From this we learn that the result of any demonstration is not as important as the method of making it. Healing the sick is important, but not as important as the correct understanding of the method employed — scientifically employed.

The Cause of Christian Science, as it stands today, no matter how successful and prosperous it is, is merely the outward proof of the success of the method Mrs. Eddy used in bringing it into existence. And the result is never as important as the method. All of the ramifications of this great movement should lead thought back to the metaphysical and scientific correctness of the demonstration she used in bringing it into existence. Those who merely behold the Cause as effect, lose the important part of her work, which was the way she brought it forth.

In seeing Mrs. Eddy as a chess player there is another point to be considered. The method one uses to win one game is not a method that can be used again necessarily against the same opponent, since what the latter has learned from the first efforts would enable him to prevent victory in a game played in the same way. This unfolds one reason why Mrs. Eddy has ruled against formulas, leaving thought free so that, no matter how often the opponent changes his plan of attack, one will be ready with a successful coup because he is reflecting divine wisdom.

Mrs. Eddy had the knowledge that would enable her to win any number of chess games, without repeating any fixed formation. Thus one studying the way a chess player wins, should not study just the way he won one or two games, but should discover his mental processes. From this illustration comes the realization that we cannot separate Mrs. Eddy from the games she played against her opponent, the demonstrator from the demonstration, the messenger from the message. If the demonstrator is moved out of the picture, then the only way one can learn how the demonstration was made, or the message received, is lost. It is important to understand the mental processes she brought into activity, the result of which was the establishment of the Cause, which serves as the finger pointing to the demonstration that brought it forth.

Mary Baker Eddy was motivated by a single thought, but the variations of that singleness of purpose brought forth steps in their order, up to the successful termination of that for which she hoped — the permanent establishment of a scientific Christianity adapted to the needs of mankind.

Shall we make the mistake of neglecting to gather up all the fragments that remain, of, and in, the life of Mrs. Eddy as known by her friends and students, and that can be found in her wide and voluminous correspondence, which understood, clearly interpret the motivation of all her actions, teaching unmistakably divine direction, and how it is to be attained? Let all those who recognize Mrs. Eddy as the door, answer “No.”

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