Christian Science and Its Discoverer

 

The Rev. Irving C. Tomlinson, C.S.B., of Concord, New Hampshire

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

A large, attentive, and appreciative audience gathered at Symphony Hall on Thursday evening, October 16, to listen to the semi-annual lecture on Christian Science given under the auspices of the Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Boston, and delivered by Rev. Irving C. Tomlinson, C.S.B., of Concord, N. H. The subject of the lecture was "Christian Science and its Discoverer." The lecturer was introduced by Professor Hermann S. Hering, C.S.B., First Reader of the Mother Church, formerly a member of the Faculty of Johns Hopkins University in the Department of Electrical Engineering.

The introductory remarks of Professor Hering were as follows:

Friends: The occasion to which you have been invited this evening, is the semi-annual public lecture given under the auspices of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, the Mother Church of the Christian Science denomination, and on behalf of the church, I extend to you a most hearty welcome.

To meet the demand for a correct and authentic public presentation of the subject of Christian Science, there was inaugurated a few years ago, a Board of Lectureship, consisting of men and women who are thoroughly qualified to speak on the subject.

Hundreds of lectures have since been given in the United States, Canada, and Europe by the members of this Board. The evidence of the good they have accomplished in overcoming prejudice and correcting false impressions is very marked, and they have been especially effective in bringing to weary, suffering humanity, the understanding of a substantial Christianity, the healing Christ, the Comforter which brings them health, happiness, and holiness.

We feel very grateful to our beloved Leader, Reverend Mary Baker G. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, for all the good which she has made it possible for us to receive, and we are glad to tell of our well-loved and well-tried religion, to our fellow-men, if haply they may be feeling after a living, loving God, who is not far from every one of us.

The lecturer of the evening was a Universalist minister, the son of a Universalist minister. He was educated at Buchtel College, Akron, Ohio, receiving the degree of Master of Arts from that institution. Later he entered Tufts Divinity School, upon graduation he received the degree of Bachelor of Divinity, and for ten years thereafter preached in the Universalist Church. He was at one time assistant pastor of the Every Day Church of Boston, and later engaged in College Settlement work in the North End.

After becoming interested in Christian Science, he severed his connection with his former church, has since devoted his entire time to Christian Science work, and in addition to being a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship, he is First Reader of the branch church in Concord, N. H., near the home of our revered Leader.

The lecturer's education, scholarly attainments, and past experience well qualify him for the duties of the evening, and bespeak for him an impartial and unprejudiced hearing on a subject which in his own life and work he has found to be a practical and demonstrable explanation of the teachings of the Master.

The subject of the lecture, "Christian Science and its Discoverer" is a timely one, and I know that all will be glad to hear the truth not only of the discovery but also of the Discoverer, who has given to the world all that she has and is, that mankind may be able to prove that God is All-in-all.

It is with great pleasure that I now introduce to you Rev. Irving C. Tomlinson, C.S.B., of Concord, N. H.

Mr. Tomlinson spoke as follows:

 

The holy purpose of Christian Science is clearly stated in those words which the Master quoted from the Prophet Isaiah, as the announcement of his mission: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, and to set at liberty them that are bruised." To accomplish these beneficent results for mankind is the sole and only object of Christian Science. To this end its prayers are offered, its literature freely distributed, and its churches erected to the service of God and man. Christian people who see this religion as it is, give it their fraternal sympathy and their kindly consideration.

In the brief time allotted us, we cannot hope to state fully this great theme, yet we may open the way for the earnest seeker after Truth to give this subject, which is now uppermost in the minds of thinking men, a fair and candid examination. No doubt its unparalleled development has occasioned the oft-repeated question: "What are the reasons for the marvelous growth of Christian Science?"

The text-book of this denomination, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker G. Eddy, was first issued in 1875. In this brief interval there have been sold more than a quarter of a million copies. The first church of the denomination was organized in Boston in 1879. To-day its churches and societies in this and foreign lands number more than seven hundred. Two thousand seven hundred and eighty-four members were admitted to the Mother Church in Boston during the past year. The last Communion service of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, was attended by thirteen thousand persons, as reported by the Boston press. These facts, together with the conspicuous achievements and widely read writings of its wise Leader; the high character of its adherents, among whom are not only men of large business affairs, but also clergymen, physicians, teachers, and learned judges; and its multiplied cures of sickness and sin have awakened profound interest which has occasioned much discussion.

 

The Discoverer and Leader

Those who are conversant with this movement, know that what is most conspicuous in the Cause and its growth is the wisdom, foresight, untiring devotion, and lofty Christian character of its Leader. The opportunities afforded me for a full and adequate estimate of the Leader of this great movement have been favorable. During the past four years my residence has been in Concord, New Hampshire, the home of Mrs. Eddy, and for more than three months at one time I was a member of her household. The New Hampshire histories contain many important and interesting facts concerning Mrs. Eddy and her ancestors. From these accurate historical works one may glean much of interest concerning her and her family. She was born in Bow, near Concord, N. H., descended from sturdy Scotch and English ancestry. Captain John Lovewell, the famous Indian fighter, whose valor in the field destroyed the power of the savages and made it possible for the early settlers of northern New England peacefully to establish themselves, was her ancestor. Her great-grandfather was Captain Joseph Baker who settled in Pembroke about 1740. Captain Baker was one of the foremost men of his section. He received his commission from King George as captain of a Colonial Foot Company. He was a member of the third Provincial Congress of New Hampshire, and active in helping the province of take its stand for the new Republic. His three sons, one of whom was Mrs. Eddy's grandfather, were all soldiers of the Revolution. Intellectually, her family has always stood high. Mrs. Eddy's brother, Albert Baker. was a graduate of Dartmouth College. He was honored member of the New Hampshire bar, an eminent debater, and a brilliant orator. He was thrice elected to the legislature of his native state, and had rapidly attained a leading position in those legislative halls when he died, at the early age of thirty-one. In the old church of Pembroke, three of her ancestors were its honored deacons. Her mother's father was Deacon Nathaniel Ambrose, and through his generosity and labors there was founded the North Congregational Church, which was known as "Deacon Ambrose's Church." The historian also tells us that so largely was the Baker family interested in founding the Methodist Church of that town, that "with propriety it might have been called the Baker meeting-house." Thus both sides of her family were founders of local churches. Mrs. Eddy's parents were devout members of the Congregational Church, both have family crests. Her mother was a woman of rare Christian virtues, and the atmosphere of the home was devoutly religious.

Mrs. Eddy is richly endowed for her work by nature and by grace. She possesses quick comprehension, a remarkably retentive memory, deep spiritual insight, a tireless energy, and an unquenchable love of mankind. Her native gifts were supplemented by the instruction of special tutors and by careful training in the schools and academies of New Hampshire. She was thoroughly taught by the well-known grammarian, Prof. Dyer H. Sanborn, and was greatly assisted in her education by her distinguished brother Albert. She had a well-established reputation for literary ability before her discovery of Christian Science. In childhood her thought naturally expressed itself in poetry, and verses flowed from her pen as readily and smoothly as the streams flow from mountain springs. Her prose and poetic compositions were eagerly read, and some of her writings, published in a book of poems fifteen years before her discovery of Christian Science, are now found in our public libraries. Her writings were sought by some of the leading magazines of the country.

Mrs. Eddy, from earliest childhood, was deeply interested in the subject of religion. She was early baptized into the church, and became an ardent member. As a child she listened eagerly to discussions on religion between her father and the visiting clergymen who frequented their hospitable home. When afflicted with a fever, her mother turned her daughter's thought to God in prayer. Relief came through her earnest petitions, and from that moment to the present hour the thought of God and His helpfulness to man has constantly abided with her.

In a momentous hour, she turned her thought wholly to the divine Helper. A wondrous illumination dawned upon her expectant vision, that subsequent years of deep seeking and finding have proved to be God-given by healing the lame and the blind, and by raising the dying. Having, found the means whereby Christ Jesus and his disciples wrought their beneficent works, she earnestly labored to give her discovery to all mankind. She wrote the text-book of the denomination, founded the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, and established the church and its Publication Society. Thus she is not only the Discoverer of Christian Science, but the Founder of the religious denomination bearing that name. Those who have followed her closely, have observed her whole-hearted and entire devotion to the Cause entrusted to her care. She gives no time to social enjoyment, every moment of her waking hours being devoted to the service of God and man. She is honored and beloved in her home city. She has generously contributed to the city's public improvements, and her liberal donations are given not only to the Church of Christ, Scientist, but to other benevolent institutions. After a thorough study of her work and an intimate acquaintance with her life, I declare with gratitude, that I have found Mrs. Eddy to the most reverent, Christlike character that I have ever known.

 

Liberality of its Members

Some critics, noting the remarkable prosperity of this Cause, have charged its followers with mercenary motives, when in fact this prosperity is due to liberality by reason of gratitude for the great benefits received through their religion. They remember the words of the Master, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." Foremost among the virtues of these people, are their pure motives and unselfish labors. Clergymen, physicians, lawyers, and others, have given up all that was dear to them in order to take their stand for this vital religion. They know from deep experience how unselfishly and freely help is given. Its literature has been placed in nearly is all public libraries, and its members gladly lend their reading matter to all who seek it. In nearly every city of the land there have been opened free reading rooms, to which the public is welcome. All possible provisions have been wisely made for helping every deserving applicant, whether he be rich or poor. No worthy appeal for healing and teaching is ever made in vain.

It is true that this religion gives to its members help in all ways. Through the healing they have been freed from sickness and its attendant expenses, and they have been enabled to devote their entire time to their vocations. A deep love for God and the Holy Scriptures has taken from them a desire for many of the luxuries and extravagances of life. Its members have indeed been made healtheir, happier, and more useful to themselves and to others. These gifts they feel are from God, and they are grateful to Him for His blessings. We ask, Why should not God bless those who are doing right? Why have not the workers in this vineyard of the Lord the same right to receive remuneration as the laborers in other vineyards? Clergymen, teachers, and others, are understood to be doing God's work and are paid for it. Why should not the Christian Scientist receive pay for doing good work? The incomes of its churches are sufficient to meet their demands, and come from its own membership and no others. These churches, as well as their members, are abundantly blessed of God. We submit that the prosperity which attends this Cause should not excite criticism but rather congratulation. It testifies that God does abundantly bless His people and His Church. It indicates that this religion means better conditions for the poor. It means adequate education for all the children of men, and sufficient time and opportunity to worship God aright. It suggests that when the religion of Christ is applied to the practical needs of men, there will be accomplished the grand purpose for which this Republic was founded, the enjoyment by all of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

 

Its Biblical Theology

An important consideration closely identified with the rapid growth of this religion is its evangelical theology. Its adherents know it to be not a new or different religion from the Bible; it neither adds to, nor subtracts from, the historic Christianity of Christ. It is the simple Apostolic gospel of the early Christian church which its members are earnestly striving to live among men. It has no creed, but the following are its tenets, written by Mrs. Eddy and accepted by all adherents:

 

1. As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to Eternal Life.

2. We acknowledge and adore one Supreme and Infinite God; acknowledge one Christ His Son Christ Jesus; the Holy Ghost or the divine Comforter; and man His divine image and likeness.

3. We acknowledge God's forgiveness of sin in the destruction of sin, and in the understanding that evil and sin are unreal, hence not eternal. But the love of sin is punished, so long as it lasts.

4. We acknowledge Christ's atonement as the evidence of divine and efficacious Love, unfolding man's unity with God through Jesus Christ the Wayshower.

5. We acknowledge that man is saved through Christ through divine Truth, Life, and Love, as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in the healing of the sick and the overcoming of sin and death. Also, that the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection were designed to elevate human faith and understanding to the spiritual perception of the eternal existence of the good and the real in man.

6. We solemnly promise to strive, watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; to love one another; and to be meek, merciful, just, and pure.

[Copyrighted and used by permission of Reverend Mary Baker G. Eddy, the author.]

 

These tenets are contained in the text-book of the denomination, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," written by Mrs. Eddy, and are therein fully explained. What I herein say is gained from a study of this book.

With all believers, the Christian Scientists' most precious book is the Holy Bible. One of the most prized gifts of their religion is the bestowal of a deeper love for the sacred Scriptures, and a closer study thereof. Unbelievers, who had rejected the Old and New Testaments because of their apparent inconsistencies, are now constant readers through the new light given them by the study of their text-book, which is indeed the "Key to the Scriptures." Others, who had thrown aside the inspired Word as impracticable for this age, through their new understanding make the Bible their daily companion. In adversity and in sorrow, this precious Book lifts the clouds, and lets in the sunlight of Love divine. In sin and in sickness it restores the wanderer to his father's house, and bestows the healing balm of Life Eternal. Of the Bible, Mrs. Eddy says: "It is my only text-book." And again she declares that it is to her "the chart of life." These believers rejoice with the Rev. R. S. McArthur, who says of the Bible that "It never had so mighty a grip alike on the educated classes and the simple minded folk as at this hour."

As taught in Christian Science, God is the God of the Bible. He is the Almighty God of Abraham, the "I AM" of Moses, the "Father which art in heaven" of the Master; He is "the God of our fathers," who gave them a home in this favored and promised land, who bestowed upon them the priceless inheritance of civil and religious liberty, who brought them triumphant through fraternal strife and hath made them one nation, and one brotherhood, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Lakes to the Gulf. He is more and more becoming to them the Giver of a home of peace and good-will upon earth. He is bestowing here and now upon them freedom from pain and sorrow, sickness and sin. He is bringing them through the struggle with self, and giving them that tender sympathy and love which makes them feel their kinship with all the sons and daughters of men.

In company with all Christian people, Christian Scientists hold that their Saviour is the one Christ Jesus, foretold by the prophets and revealed in the New Testament. He stands alone, their Lord and Master, than whom there is none other. He is the foundation of their church; for with Paul they say, "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." Helped by the deeper experiences they have felt, they recognize the great worker of good deeds in Palestine as the worker of good deeds in their own homes. He healed the sick and raised the dead; he declared of every follower, "The works that I do shall he do also." Recognizing his presence with them here, knowing that they are nothing themselves, but that to him belongeth all power, they rejoice to see the brokenhearted healed, the blind recovering their sight, and the sick and sinning set at liberty. Why should not their faith and their fruits proving that God's words are true, give joy to all His church?

They recognize the presence of the Holy Ghost, the divine Comforter, leading into all Truth. They understand that, to be without the presence of the Holy Spirit, is to be without the living God and the healing Christ. In the unmerited abuse which in the past has sometimes been unjustly heaped upon them, they are comforted by the Master's words, "They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, . . . He shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness because ye have been with me."

In company with the higher insight of all religious peoples, these believers think of man as more than a creature of the flesh. His type is not the Egyptian Pharaoh oppressing the children of Israel in cruel bondage, but rather he appears in Moses, escaping from serfdom into the promised land of freedom. The true man as revealed to them is not a material, sensual, animal man; he is seen rather in the youthful David with full faith in God going forth to destroy the Goliah of sin and sickness, disease death. The man they strive to know is found in Christ Jesus, Son of the heavenly Parent, the perfect image and likeness of infinite Spirit. They are grateful because they are discovering through the light of Christian Science that their natural heritage is not weakness and weariness, but rather strength and health, peace and joy, the gift of their loving Father. They are learning that the laws which govern them come not from an evil power, but that God and His laws alone govern men. As it is written, "The gift of God is Eternal Life," and they are beginning to understand the words of the apostle, "Now are we the sons of God."

The third tenet speaks clearly as to the Christian Science position concerning sin. It declares in unmistakable terms that this religion does not ignore evil. Its determined purpose is to destroy sin and put an end to its reign. The text-book, on page 327, declares: "Sin is the image of the beast, to be effaced by the sweat of agony." Every member of this church, instructed by his Leader, prays each day to the heavenly Father, "Rule me, and rule out of me all sin." In this earnest struggle, he is helped by knowing that sin is no part of God's kingdom, and therefore it is outside the realm of the real. God, who is infinite Good, could not create or ordain sin, hence it is not real nor eternal. Sin consists of wrong thinking and wrong acting, and ceases when mortals think and live aright. God is light; sin is darkness; hence it is written, "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

 

Atonement

Most heartily with historic Christianity does this church accept the atonement of Christ. It sees in his atonement the clear evidence that infinite Love does indeed work with man. In Christ's perfect oneness with the divine Mind, God, is seen man's unity with his Maker. The atonement is the at-one-ment, or at one mind with God. A simple sentence from the chapter, "Atonement and Eucharist," explains the practical view of this vital doctrine.

"Every pang of repentance and suffering, every effort for reform, every good thought and deed, will help us to understand Jesus' atonement for sin, and aid its efficacy; but if the sinner continues to pray and repent, sin and be sorry, he hath little part in the atonement, in the at-one-ment with God, for he lacks the practical repentance which reforms the heart, and enables man to do the will of Wisdom" (Science and Health, p. 19).

The fifth tenet begins, "We acknowledge that man is saved through Christ." With all other followers of Jesus the Christ, the members of this church understand that there is no salvation outside of Christ. With the Apostle they affirm, "There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Through their text-book, they are helped to see that man is saved through Christ now, as he was saved when Jesus walked the highways of Galilee. Overcoming sickness and death, as well as overcoming sin, was Christ's work. And this same method he gave to his Church. He commanded his disciples, in all times, not only to preach the gospel, but to heal the sick. The first action of the early church which attracted attention, was the healing by Peter and John of the lame man at the Temple. This healing created much antagonism in ecclesiastical circles, but it was the means of the rapid growth of the early church. Those healed by the Christ method find themselves not only vastly improved physically, but morally as well. Sickness follows the so-called mind of evil; health follows the mind of Christ. Great as have been the temporal blessings bestowed by this church, its richest gifts have been its spiritual ministrations. With the healing of the body there comes a new interest in the Bible, a deeper love for God and man, and a more reverent following of Christ Jesus.

In the last last tenet of this religion all its believers solemnly promise to strive, watch, and pray for the mind of Christ; to love one another; to be meek, merciful, just, and pure. Might not this beautiful statement be well taken upon the lips of every sincere seeker for the light?

Does not this brief review of the fundamental points of this religion suggest that it is not to be lightly cast aside by innuendo or invective? Does it not show that it is worthy of the consideration of thinking people?

 

Applied Christianity

At some place in the discussion of this subject, one is quite certain to hear it said, "I can accept Christian Science as a religion, but I do not see that healing is any part of work of the Christian Church." In reply, it must be acknowledged that, in the present condition of the church, there is some justification for the common call for more practical works. Many forms of helpfulness have been taken from the church, and have been assumed by other agencies. Hospitals are provided for the sick; the Associated Charities and the Poor Farms care for the poor; the Reformatories and Industrial Schools look after the sinners. Even the youth are cared for outside the church, in Young Men's Associations and other worthy institutions. Shall we therefore conclude that the church has no beneficent mission? Who is a better judge of the purpose of the church than the Master? His words were not only, "Preach the gospel to the poor," but "Heal the brokenhearted; recover the sight of the blind." His explicit command to the members of the church which he established was, "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons." If the mandate of Jesus be regarded as authoritative, healing is not only a constituent part of the work of the church, but it is a compulsory part of this work. There is good reason, then, for thoughtful deliberation upon the religion which not only reforms the sinner, but also, in keeping with the direct commands of its founder, and the practice of the apostolic church, cares for the poor, and heals the sick.

The answer that is sometimes given to what has already been said is, that the church is doing this work through the noble army of physicians. We have no quarrel with those who are using other methods of healing, but we contend that greater results can be obtained by relying entirely on the divine Power. We never know what Spirit, God, can do for us until we throw our whole weight upon the side of God. Whatever others may think, Christian Scientists have proved convincingly to themselves that in their reliance upon God alone they have chosen "the better part" and the more effectual part. In Christ's healing of disease, even though he used no drugs, he did possess an effectual remedy. Jesus was in harmony with patriarch and prophet when he said: "Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." And the Apostle James instructed the early church, "If there be any sick among you, send for the elders, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick." Again it is said, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." It is evident, then, that the Bible method for the cure of disease is that which Christian Science discloses. To object to this system, because of its healing through prayer is to reject a fundamental doctrine of the Holy Scriptures.

Revelation supports this religion in its healing method. Reason also gives its endorsement. Observe how intense hatred flushes the face and changes the entire action of the physical organism. Many a one through intense anger has brought upon himself severe sickness. It has been said that if a mother were to nurse her child when in a fit of anger, that which was food for the child would become poison. To cure anger, shall one administer a drug? Then to cure the effects of anger, would a material remedy be the only one? Rather shall we not say, that as hate is an erroneous mental condition, the remedy is the right mental condition? If the wrong thought produces sickness, then the right thought must heal it. Again, recall how fear affects the body. It makes the face grow pallid, and wastes the form. What suffering and torment follow the condition of fear! And as anger seems to produce sickness, so fear brings on disease. A bad mental cause is followed by a bad physical effect. Shall a drug be the only remedy, or shall the wrong thought give way to the true? If Jesus is permitted to reply, his words are, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." "Fear hath torment," says the apostle; and the mental remedy he prescribes is this: "Perfect love casteth out fear." Drunkenness, licentiousness, the opium habit, all false appetites induce a train of evils resulting in sickness and death. Is it unreasonable, in view of the wrong mental states involved, to hold that when these false conditions of mind are replaced by the mind of the Lord, harmony will be restored? Again, are not so-called nervous diseases the offspring of morbid mental conditions? Shall not a system enlist our sympathy which insists that if the wrong mental conditions are replaced by the right mental conditions, harmony will ensue? A writer, not a Christian Scientist, has wisely said: "The idea that one has some incipient disease in one's system, the thought of financial ruin, that one is getting on in life without improving prospects any of them or a thousand similar thoughts may carry a healthy man to a premature grave." He further says. "The morbid condition of mind produces a morbid condition of body, and if the disease does happen to be in the system it receives every encouragement to develop." Christian Scientists know that this practical helpfulness of their understanding, acquired through the study of their text-book, in harmony with the Bible and with reason, has been an important factor in the wonderful progress of their church.

 

The Important Discovery

To some good people a sufficient reason for refusing to investigate this subject is the assertion, that if this were of God the discovery would have been made long ago. This objection is one which might be advanced for every new step in the progress of the race. Why did not Martin Luther and Washington and Lincoln come long years before their advent? To reject Christian Science because of its late discovery is to show slight understanding of the world's development. As well refuse the telephone on the ground that if it were truly beneficial to man it would have been discovered long ago, as to refuse the investigation of Christian Science because of its recent discovery. A study of history will make it clear that discoveries are made when human needs are apparent, and the demands for higher and better conditions are recognized.

The apparent need for swifter communication by land and sea between man and man, and the demand for better facilities of transportation, were followed by the discovery of the steam engine and the electric dynamo. In our civil, social, and religious problems there are apparent and appalling needs. Is there not a crying demand for higher and better conditions in the social fabric? Do not our over-flowing prisons, our crowded hospitals, our asylums, all point to a deep human need for better conditions? Do not the race and industrial problems that confront us call for a new remedy? Or shall we say that discoveries are in place everywhere except in religion? Do we not all agree that the great discoveries which have so advanced the civilization of the age have been the work of God? Shall we then affirm that God works beneficently through discovery in every field except religion? We are confident that the future will make plain that the advent of Christian Science was as necessary and as natural as the advent of the electric light. Before electricity could be discovered and applied, there must depart from man the fear of this agent. There must be a recognition in it of a power that may be used for good ends; there must come a desire to escape from darkness and emerge into light. Accompanying this new and uplifted desire, is the right man to make the discovery. Watt, Morse, and Edison became discoverers, not through accident, but by reason of their fitness for the discovery. Only through extraordinary insight, indefatigable research, and persistent and unremitting toil, have we been blessed with the steam engine, the telegraph, and the electric light. We are confident that the future will make plain that those conditions which accompanied the beneficent discoveries in the physical realm, have been present likewise in the advent of Christian Science. The closing years of the last century were strongly marked by a departure of fear and the presence of a higher understanding and love for the infinite All-Power, the Creator and Father of man. These years were likewise characterized by an intense aspiration for higher and better conditions among men.

 

Hopes Fulfilled

In the Discoverer of Christian Science we have found most strongly marked the hopeful features which our past century has made apparent. She knew her heavenly Father only as divine Love, for whom she had no thought of fear, but only the most tender regard. At her mother's knee she was taught that the power of God through prayer could restore her to health and harmony. In childhood, through effectual fervent prayer, she banished sickness and restored health. Having heard that Daniel offered up his prayers to God seven times a day, she thought that this was the practice among all Christians, and she would not close her eyes in sleep at night until seven fervent petitions had been offered at the throne of grace. She was gifted with extraordinary spiritual insight. So remarkable were her spiritual gifts that a sainted clergyman said of her, "She was sanctified before she had birth." Accompanying this deep love for God was an intense love for man. Her early years were marked by unselfish devotion to the needy. As a child she was wont to bestow her garments upon her less fortunate playmates. As she grew older, she became a ministering angel to the afflicted and the needy. She was inspired with an intense conviction that the remedy for all the ills which afflicted mankind was the loving power of God. It needed only a crisis in her life to make possible a great discovery. This crisis came when, apparently dying, there was found no earthly remedy to help her. Bereft of all material aid, she sought the heavenly Comforter, and God's answer to that prayer was health and the discovery of Christian Science. To whom shall we go for convincing proof as to the truth of the discovery and its value? Is it not true that those who consider themselves or their interests injured by a discovery frequently reject it, and condemn the discoverer? The owner of the stage coach opposes the coming of the railroad: the maker of candles is blind to the electric light; but the great mass of the people are glad to abide by results and accept what is best.

In conclusion, the vastly important declaration made by this religion is, that there has been discovered the Principle of healing sin and sickness employed by Jesus and the Apostolic Church. The further understanding is, that the fruits of this discovery may be enjoyed by all. Each one may so understand the Principle of his being that he can overcome sickness in himself and others, and destroy the power of sin and even death itself. This healing Principle is God, of whom the Psalmist chanted, "He healeth all thy diseases." Is this too good to be true? Rather shall we not say, it is true because it is good. If Christian Science is false, then its more than a million cures are the product of a falsehood; all its intelligent and devout membership, its multiplied churches, are the outgrowth of delusion. How long is it since falsehood was the father of such progeny? When was it that the law of God was so changed that thorns are bearing grapes, and thistles ripening figs? If it be true, then herein we have fulfilled the bright and glowing promises of psalmist and prophet. Herein is found realized the long hope of the ages; herein glows brighter and brighter the light which has been leading the children of men out of darkness into the eternal noonday of God; herein are fulfilled the comforting words of Holy Writ: "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."

 

[Delivered Oct. 16, 1902, at Symphony Hall in Boston, Massachusetts, and published in The Christian Science Sentinel, Oct 23, 1902.]

 

 

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