The Fruit of Right Thinking
From Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Precepts by Gilbert Carpenter, Vol. 3, pages 194-197
My experience with our Leader taught me, that in her estimation the greatest temptation to a student was the impulse to fall asleep mentally the moment things go smoothly, since that is just what error wants. She was training students to be watchmen on the walls of Zion. Upon them rested the responsibility of keeping in abeyance the various illusions that might tempt the unwary, until scientific education brings the world to the point where individuals are no longer susceptible to mesmerism. Reality cannot be touched by animal magnetism. Hence, as the Christian Science knight arms himself inside, he becomes impervious to all the attacks of hypnotism from outside.
Mrs. Eddy’s admonition not to get into debt is a precept that has a universal as well as a metaphysical implication and application. One who permits himself to get into debt feels a foolish optimism that impels him to try to force results before he has made his demonstration. In so doing he uses his human will as a substitute for divine will, instead of using divine will to overcome human will. When a student is willing to use demonstration instead of debt, in order to obtain what he needs, he is worthy to receive whatever comes to him in this way. When he uses debt, however, he is building on sand, since even if he does obtain what he desires, it is a manifestation of that which is insecure and constantly changing — that which cannot be relied upon — namely, human will.
In Science we not only must not seek to obtain that which we have not demonstrated, but we must not even cherish a desire for it. One who is sick should not even want to recover, unless the health and harmony that comes is the result of the demonstration, or thought correction, that entitles him to get well. It breaks a moral precept for a student to desire what he does not deserve, and he does not deserve that which he has not demonstrated or cannot pay for.
Mortals are willing to run into debt, in order to buy that which they cannot afford to pay for. We have a parallel in Science in those who are willing, when they get sick or get into trouble, to run to another for help, and yet are not willing to make the slightest effort to help themselves. Sickness in a student is always the evidence that he does not deserve health. He has permitted the thought of which health is the manifestation, to be submerged or overruled. Unless one thinks enough of God to be willing to maintain a spiritual thought as far as he is able, he does not deserve health.
Students should not wait until they are sick, before they go to work to clean up the mental debris which carelessness permits to accumulate in thought. That means getting out of debt in the mental realm. When Mrs. Eddy says, “Do not get in debt,” she might add. “Do not owe God. Let Him owe you. Lay up treasure in heaven. In other words, work in such a way that God owes you. Be faithful; then when you are in need, you will have a balance in His bank to draw on.”
It is true that Science shows health to be a gift of God. Yet it is bought with a price, which is the willingness to stand porter at the door of thought. We deserve health when we have done this work successfully, and have permitted nothing of an alien nature to invade consciousness.
Another way to express the precept not to run into debt is: never permit effect to get ahead of cause in your estimation. If you keep a surplus of divine Mind on hand, you will have the expression of all your needs; but the attempt to obtain effect apart from cause is running into debt. The Bible warns us not to covet. What one’s neighbor has in Science is the manifestation of his demonstration; a similar supply will be yours when you make a similar demonstration. You break the commandment, however, when you covet, since that means that you not only desire the manifestation without making the demonstration, but that you would be willing to have it, and thus run into debt to God. To covet means to be willing to have God’s rewards without making the effort to deserve them. Progress comes only when we desire right thinking and work for it, and are willing to have the fruit of that right thinking in proportion as we earn it.
When one envies another in Science, he is not envying him his right thinking, but the fruitage of it. Students do not envy the method another has used to gain right results, since that method is open to all. They envy the results, and the error of envy is that in such an attitude of thought one cannot utilize the method that will bring him what he needs. Right thinking alone brings abundance that is permanent, and envy is not right thinking, but its absence.
Scholastic theology might not condemn a Christian Scientist if he envied the Master his ability to speak with great wisdom and to perform great miracles; yet Science proves that envy of that sort never yet enabled a student to go and do likewise. Envy is mental laziness. Jesus attained what he did by eliminating his own opinions, and by sweeping away all the rubbish that material training forces upon mortals. In this mentally empty state he reflected God, and what came to him thereafter was the result of this reflection. When one understands this, he is in a position to go and do likewise, since all have the latent ability to reflect God that the Master brought forth into activity. So instead of thinking that all these things came to the Master as gifts of God, we must realize that they were gifts that God will bestow on anyone who fits himself to receive them.
If God’s gifts are available to all, there is no reason for envy. The one who covets is misled, and sees effect as if it were cause. Thus the metaphysical interpretation of going into debt means over-estimating the results of demonstration to the point where one is willing to have them before he has earned them. The limitation that results from mistaking effect for cause is seen in every department of mortal existence. Cause always means freedom. It is an open highway to the one who walks toward it, since it offers limitless progress.