The Restoration of Primitive Christianity
Clarence C. Eaton, C.S.B.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Christian Science is not the name for a new or improved religion, but rather is the most appropriate designation given by Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy to the system of divine metaphysics which she, after an exhaustive study of the Scriptures, formulated. Its advent, less than half a century ago, was by way of the rediscovery and restoration to this age of the knowledge of the divine law of righteousness, and its availability in the adjustment, government, and control of human conditions and circumstances, not excepting the mitigation and ultimate destruction of all the ills and suffering which mankind seems heir to. It is the reclamation of the saving gospel of Love; even the divine method of forgiveness, pardon, and redemption which the great, loving, and tender friend of humanity, Christ Jesus, revealed as the inevitable operation of God's eternal law of justice and immortality.
A thorough and comprehensive investigation and study of the Scriptures, and more particularly the records which we have of the words and works of Jesus, should convince the unprejudiced student that the Master's teaching and practice cannot be regarded as other than the very Science of Christianity, of which he was a finished demonstrator and exponent, although he left no definite rules for its study, mastery, and practice. This, perhaps, because he found, as he declared, that the standard of morality which his teaching and its demonstration exacted was too high for many of his hearers and followers. Through persecutions, and the consequent wide departure of the Church from holiness, because of its rejection of the letter and spirit of true Christianity and a straying into sensualism, idolatry, and superstition, his system of mental therapeutics was virtually lost to humanity over sixteen centuries ago. Manifestly it was impossible that a Science so indispensable to humanity's need could be forever lost. Indeed, it was according to the logic of divine events that, some time, some one of sufficient purity of thought and purpose and of spiritual discernment should be able to rediscover and reestablish it, for the sake of suffering and tired humanity.
The Christian Science Textbook
Mrs. Eddy discovered Christian Science in 1866 and formally made known her discovery in the following year, when she established the first school of Christian Science Mind-healing.
In 1875 she published a book containing a thorough exposition of the subject, and gave to it the title "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." This volume is the authorized textbook of Christian Science, and is the only work published which correctly sets forth its teaching and the method of its demonstration. It does this with much elaboration, and with such clearness of statement that individuals of ordinary mental capacity can by a systematic study of its contents acquire sufficient understanding of the rule of Christian Science practice as to be able to apply it successfully in the healing of sin and disease.
Moreover, in the later editions of this wonderful book we find a chapter entitled "Fruitage," which consists of copies of a large number of letters giving authenticated instances of healing resulting entirely from the reading or study of its pages. The long list of ailments therein enumerated includes many of the diseases regarded by materia medica as incurable. This book advocates the highest conceivable standard of morality. It admonishes obedience to God and to His Christ, and teaches a strict observance of the Scriptural injunctions concerning true Christian living.
What Christian Science Teaches
Christian Science, as the Science of Life and being, advances to the solution of the perplexing problems which confront us, by discarding all mortal speculation, theories, and superstition about God, His being and intent, and His relation to that which He has created. Although disagreeing with the old theological schools and those who have assumed to know all about God and to teach men thereof, Christian Science does not announce a new, strange, or irrational concept of God, but unfolds and declares a correct comprehension and a right understanding of the one God, His nature, qualities, and law. One infinitely good God is all it recognizes and proclaims. It demonstrates that God is supreme in intelligence, wisdom, power, justice, Truth, and Love, and therefore He is the consciousness of infinite good. It proves that He is the Mind, Spirit, Soul, Life, and substance of all that actually exists; also that He is the author of all true being, the origin and source of all entity or existence, the only cause and creator, and that His works are spiritual, righteous, unchanging, and eternal. Christian Science declares that God is the Principle of His creation, hence the conscious energizing, governing, sustaining power of the universe, whose law means the completeness, perfection, and harmonious operation of all that is. It declares that God is infinite Love; hence He is compassionate, merciful, tender, comforting, true. In a word, it teaches that God, our heavenly Father, is All-in-all.
As to Man
Having thus briefly indicated something of what Christian Science teaches about God, next in importance naturally follows what it teaches concerning man as the offspring or Son of God. We are told that the man whom God made was a good man and that he was given unrestricted dominion over all the earth. Our authority for this is found in the first chapter of the Bible, wherein is related the facts concerning the spiritual creation, the complete and finished work of Deity. In this connection Christian Science calls attention to the fact of the existence of two distinct and widely differing records of the creation, and insists that they bear no relation to each other. The first record clearly indicates the creation or revelation by an omnipotent and omniscient God of an absolutely perfect and everlasting universe. In its analysis of this account Christian Science uses the term man in a generic sense as meaning the full, complete, and perfect reflection of God, — His divine image or manifestation, which includes every idea that expresses good, not excepting our true, eternal selfhood.
Now reason tells us that emanations from infinite and unchanging good must be perfect, and the conclusion is irresistible that a perfect creation governed by the very law of perfection is incapable of change or defilement. Christian Science holds unequivocally to the first record of creation as it appears in the inspired writings, and contends that it is consistently true and real, and shows that the record contained in the second chapter of Genesis, in which man is represented as having been formed of the dust of the ground, is antagonistic to the first, hence is inconsistent, false, and unreal. Moreover, a specific examination and comparison of these two records discloses the perfection and completeness of the first record of creation attributed to God (Elohim), and the imperfection of the alleged creation by the Lord God (Jehovah) as chronicled in the second account. It will be observed that the second record indicates that Adam, formed of the dust of the ground, was the man who is represented as having suffered defilement by evil, and not the perfect man whom God created. It is also significant that Adam's defilement or fall is recorded as having been procured by evil acting through the subtilty of the serpent, a fellow-creature and associate of Adam.
While no reasonable or satisfactory explanation as to the origin of evil, or the devil, appears in the Bible or has ever been formulated by Christian theologians, yet we note that modern Christianity is founded upon the assumed existence of an evil being which theology claims to have caused the downfall of God's perfect man; a self-evident impossibility. Very recently a religious writer, in discussing this question, made the sweeping assertion that the "whole Christian superstructure is built upon the belief in a definite evil being, who brought about the fall of man." This same writer further avers, "Destroy the devil, and we at once destroy all reason for man's present deplorable condition;" and asks the strange question, "Are we willing to endanger the whole Christian superstructure by removing a foundation-stone?" En passant, we might with propriety ask how much of God is there in a Christianity which recognizes the devil as one of its foundation-stones, and which is of greater importance, the releasing of man from his misery or the preservation of scholastic dogmas?
Deliverance from Error
Now it has been generally believed that all religious beliefs or doctrines formulated since the Christian era were based upon the teaching of Christ Jesus, and accordingly that their plan and purpose was the accomplishment of man's extrication from sin and the consequent suffering, through the overthrow and destruction of this very evil or devil which is claimed by this writer as one of Christianity's foundation-stones. Christ Jesus realized that his redemptive mission could only become efficacious through the destruction not only of the works of evil but of evil itself. Scripture says that he was sent to accomplish that end, and that he was ever about his Father's business. Moreover, the fact of the completion of his work is recorded in the 17th chapter of John in these words: "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." Manifestly the man of Nazareth knew that he had a perfect right to destroy evil and its effects, hence he never taught that the doctrine of the reality of evil was fundamentally Christian. He fearlessly denounced evil and accomplished the destruction of its work on the basis that the devil was a "liar, and the father of it." In the 8th chapter of John we read that he arraigned the devil in these scathing words: "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
Today, notwithstanding the teaching, labor, and the tremendous sacrifice of the Master, and all the efforts upon the part of believers in the various phases of religious doctrine promulgated since the dawn of the Christian era, the belief and the conviction still remain that man is unsaved and his misery undiminished. If the testimony of material sense is to be accepted wholly as evidence, then such would seem to be the fact with respect to man's condition. Christian Science, however, reasoning from the basis of the all-perfection and harmony of God's creation, is reversing the sense testimony and supplanting belief in the human consciousness with knowledge, spiritual understanding. The conviction that evil is legitimate and a power must be dethroned in mortal thought.
The demonstration of Christian Science is bringing about this most desirable result by correcting the errors that are being perpetuated through false religious teaching. Christian Science contends that true Christian faith and practice can only rest secure upon the demonstrable truth that God is, and that He always has been and always will be; that He is unchanging good, and that all things having actual and legitimate being were made by Him according to His infinite design, and that He hath done all things well.
There is included in such a declaration of religious faith the assurance that God is infinite; that He is the only cause. He is the source or origin of the universe, its Principle. He constitutes and embraces all being, all presence, power, substance, knowledge. Is this supreme, unchanging, all-inclusive Being, absolute good or is He evil? He cannot be both. He must be one or the other. Christian Science declares the only answer to be that He is good, and it thereby closes forever the controversy so long waged over the false claim that both good and evil have existence. An answer which admits the actuality of evil denies the allness of God, good.
Admitting the omnipotence or all-power of God, then, logically, all power is His to fulfill His purpose. Hence this power must be good in its very nature and action. All its manifestations and accomplishments can only be righteous. Moreover, its mode of operation must always be desirable, and its chief and only end the procurement of health, harmony, and peace. Reasoning further, if God imparted any portion of His power to anything, it would be inspired to produce effects of the very nature of which it is like, and according to His will and law. Now a theoretical Christianity, after declaring the omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence of God, contends for the actuality of evil, or that which is the very antipode of God. Manifestly such a contention amounts to an absolute repudiation of the allness of God, and is equivalent to insisting upon the falsity that two bodies or entities can occupy the same space at the same time. Per contra, a practical or scientific Christianity is in itself a protest against the absolute existence of anything but God, and it declares that God, good, embraces all power, includes all knowledge, fills all space, and therefore evil can have no real existence or power.
The student of a scientific Christianity, however, recognizes the prevalence of a mesmeric belief that evil is an entity and that it is potent, and it is this pernicious belief which its practice is endeavoring to dispel. Christian Science argues that the belief in evil is all the evil there is, and that the belief acting through or upon mortals and things procures all the phenomena of evil. Then, in working through educational and spiritual means to accomplish the destruction in mortal consciousness of this belief in evil, Science strikes at the very root of all evil. As an aid in the relinquishment of this belief, it is observed that by belief is meant the acceptance as true or real of a statement, assertion, doctrine, or opinion, without positive knowledge or absolute certainty of its truth. Belief rests upon no particular person or thing, and is seldom if ever regulated by reason or governed by truth. We often believe, from presumption, ignorance, fear, or passion, things to be true which are false; indeed, belief is purely speculative.
Christian Science characterizes all the phenomena perceived and accepted through the ever-changing physical senses as belief and not knowledge. Real knowledge is not based upon human reasoning, but upon the truth; which is absolute, unchanging, and demonstrable. Belief may or may not be true, whereas knowledge, in metaphysics, is always true. The teaching of Christian Science includes the deduction that false belief is wholly responsible for the ills and sufferings experienced by mankind, and it has entered the arena of thought as the champion of all who would escape that iniquitous reign of ignorance, fear, and superstition which the supposed presence and power of evil have in belief engendered.
As enabling us more clearly to understand or comprehend the unreality of evil, let us contemplate the simple illustration of the relationship which darkness sustains to light. All have been educated to believe that darkness is as real as light, and yet on reflection it must be clear to every reasoning individual that darkness is only the belief in the absence of light, hence it is a negation. If darkness were an entity and real, it would be possible for us to take it and produce as remarkable effects as are accomplished with light. We can dispel darkness with light, but we cannot manipulate darkness. Darkness appears when light disappears, therefore darkness is belief in the absence of light. Suppose we were to take a light and go in search of darkness, would we find it? Not until we had extinguished our light, and then the sense or appearance of darkness would be present because of the absence of light. So we say of evil that it is belief in the absence of good. If we were to take good and go in search of evil, would we find it? Not until we had discarded the good, and then evil would seem to be in evidence because of the apparent absence of good. But in the light of an intelligent Christian faith, God, good, is all there is. Says St. John, "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." This being accepted, it is obvious that good is real while evil is a negation. A false belief would persuade us to admit the existence of evil, but a right understanding will destroy the false belief and even correct all the discordant conditions which the belief may have apparently produced.
The Belief in Sin
Inseparably connected with the belief in evil and its influence, is the question, What is sin? Now a difficulty confronts us with respect to the subject of sin as the result of our ignorance of what sin is. We read in the Old Testament that "the thought of foolishness is sin," and in the New Testament that "all unrighteousness is sin." Accordingly, sin is primarily what might be termed wrong thinking, and may be both ignorant and willful. The presence, therefore, in one's consciousness of a belief that is not good and right, not in accord with absolute truth, constitutes that one a sinner. Recognizing, as we do, that the belief that evil is a verity is responsible for the existence of all that is classed as sin, then logically sin will abound so long as that belief lasts. The sin of belief in evil has not only robbed God of His rightful place in each individual consciousness, but its prevalence throughout past ages is accountable for the relentless reign of fear, sensuality, discord, disease, and death which has desolated many generations.
Christian Scientists recognize the importance of waging a warfare for the extermination of errors of thought, of every name and nature, and of thus compassing the destruction of sin. All false belief must be entirely obliterated from the consciousness of every mortal man, woman, and child, ere God and heaven can possibly become real in their experience.
The Only Way
Christian Science reveals the only way whereby men can, through knowing the truth, win their own pardon from sin, and secure exemption from the inevitable torment and suffering which sin, not God, entails upon its victim. It does this by presenting a right concept of God and man and of the true and unalterable relationship existing between them as Father and son. Paramount to all else is a right concept of God; "God with us," — a God whom we can love, honor, trust, and obey implicitly; a God that is not afar off, but ever-present, and in whom all His creatures live, move, and have their individual being; the God, as the psalmist says, "who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies." Remembering the language of Isaiah, Christian Scientists with one voice exclaim, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation."
Christian Scientists and the Bible
The Bible as it is commonly known is the Bible of Christian Scientists. They accept and have no other. It is to them a history of the unfoldment of divine truth in human consciousness, — a history of Truth's appearing and of evil's disappearing, including a compilation of divinely inspired utterances of prophets and apostles and a portion of the incomparable teaching of Jesus, as well as a record of some of his mighty works. The teaching of Christian Science is in exact accord with the spiritual import and application of the inspired writings of the Bible. All who take up the study of this Science at once find themselves earnest students of the Bible. Realizing that the truths which Jesus uttered, as recorded in the Scriptures, form the basis of the teaching and healing practice of Christian Science, its adherents in their desire for healing and spiritual understanding recognize that it is incumbent upon them to search the Scriptures. This they do, fully conscious of the great significance of Jesus' prophecy: "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
The contents of the textbook of Christian Science awaken in the student a keen interest in the Scriptures, because of the spiritual interpretation thus gained. Through the study of this textbook thousands have been turned from an attitude of apathy and indifference with respect to the Bible to a love and a longing for it. This study has prompted in them a systematic, devout, and habitual searching of the sacred Scriptures, and inspired in them an earnest desire conscientiously to apply the truths contained therein to the correction of habits of daily living and of conduct. For this inspiration, this quickening, this zeal for Scriptural knowledge and the resultant transformation, our gratitude knows no bounds, since there follows the stilling of the strife and tempest of human passion, the healing and peace for which humanity so much longs.
The Mission of Christ Jesus
An unreserved acceptance of the inspired Word naturally implies a firm belief in the divinity and the redemptive mission of Christ, for Christian Science argues that there is no warrant, much less permission, for our taking from or adding to the purpose and plan of God. We recognize in Christ Jesus, as the Son of God, the evidence of the perfect unity, or oneness of God and the real man. We declare that this unity or oneness was attested by the teaching and works which characterized Jesus' ministry and crowned with regal splendor the life of him who "spake as never man spake." Christ Jesus as the recognized Saviour of men fulfilled the capacity of a mediator and redeemer in the splendid manner of his own life and example. But of incalculable value to us is the great and precious truth which he by precept and example taught, namely, that God is not the avowed enemy of His own creation. Moreover, we believe that Christ Jesus effected a reconciliation by giving to men a truer and better concept of their relation to God, and not by conciliating the divine anger through his own ignominious death.
As followers of Christ Jesus, we believe in the atonement, the resurrection and ascension; we believe in spiritual baptism and regeneration and the ultimate reign of harmony and righteousness, — in fact, all the essentials incorporated in a pure Christianity enter into the teaching and the philosophy of Christian Science. Prayer, we understand to be genuine communion with God. It is purely the recognition and acknowledgment of a right God and His absolute supremacy. Christ Jesus prayed; so do Christian Scientists. His prayers were all answered, and Christian Science is entrenched behind the authority of Christ's promise: "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you." This inspires us to hope that, through an understanding of the operation of divine law, we shall ultimately obtain answers to our prayers with the same certainty as did Jesus. He said in his appeal to God, as he stood before the tomb of Lazarus, whom he raised from the dead, "I knew that thou hearest me always."
Christian Scientists recognize that, associated with every prayer or sincere desire for the manifestation of God's presence and power, there should be positive faith, conviction, and knowledge that the prayer is consistent with our true relation to God. Such an attitude merits and provides for an answer to prayer in accordance with the Scripture: "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them;" also, "And if we know that he hear us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." Jesus evidently taught that the true nature of prayer should be confirmative rather than supplicative, and accordingly we believe that a comprehensive realization of God's allness and the great truth that His law is everywhere and at this very moment operating to destroy the discordant conditions of human experience, is the correct basis of prayer.
Now while it is true that genuine faith and sincere belief are requisite in the demonstration of Christian Science, they are not of themselves sufficient, since all results obtained through its practice are based upon a clear understanding that God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. In that state of consciousness which unreservedly acknowledges the absoluteness and allness of God, there is no room for the belief that sin and disease are part of God's universe and therefore real and natural. At best they can only be characterized as false beliefs which the truth can and does destroy in a truly scientific way.
The Healing Work
Objection is frequently made to the practice of healing bodily infirmities by spiritual means, on the ground that the age of miracles has passed and "gone for aye." This at least is the reply which is largely made to the increasing demand for Christian healing. Let us consider this question for a moment. Jesus as the recognized exponent of a practical Christianity stated plainly that his works were not of himself, but of his Father, God. He reserved to himself no credit therefore, and boldly said to those who sought to prohibit his beneficent work and suppress his teaching, "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not."
Jesus' words stand unimpeached and his works unchallenged. The latter are erroneously spoken of as miracles, or supernatural manifestations. Webster defines a miracle as a "marvel" or a "wonderful thing." If the marvels or wonders wrought in the time of Jesus, and for nearly three hundred years after his crucifixion, were the works of God, as he declared, we are forced to concede that they were all natural to him, for certainly God could not do anything unnatural to Himself, however it may appear to us. Moreover, we must admit that they were scientific, because God is omniscience — all-science or knowledge. Then, if we declare that the age of miracles is passed, when by miracles we mean the works and acts of God, what are we doing? Why, we are rejecting the all-power, the all-presence, the all-knowledge, and unchangeableness of God, repudiating and denying His Christ, and so shattering the very foundation of our boasted Christianity.
To be Christian means to be Christlike, and the epitome of Christian faith and doctrine is found in Jesus' words, "Preach the gospel;" "heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils." Three of the four Gospels contain the explicit command to preach and to heal. A protest is frequently offered in the shape of a claim that only the immediate disciples of Jesus were to do this. The last chapter of Matthew overthrows this objection, for therein Jesus is reported as having instructed his disciples to "teach all nations" to observe "all things whatsoever" he had commanded them; and to continue to do so unto the end of the world. As there is absolutely no authority for assuming that the Master's commission to preach and to heal is divisible, then in its persistent attitude of disregarding the clear instructions of our Saviour on the importance of healing the sick, scholastic theology utterly fails in presenting under the name of Christianity the entire gospel. If it defaults in such a vital particular, may it not fail in the first essential of preaching the truth? We maintain that it does, and that ministers of the gospel are derelict in their duty, in that while they would heal sin by preaching, they signally fail to heal the sick by practice.
If Christian Scientists are obediently following in the footsteps of the Master, then the doctrine of their faith and the method of healing must be identical with his teaching and practice. The question is, How did Jesus accomplish his healing work? The seventh chapter of the Gospel of Mark throws light upon this much discussed question. In this chapter Jesus is reported as having concluded a controversy with the Pharisees and scribes by calling all the people together and urging them to hear and understand this significant declaration: "There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man."
The record indicates that after this utterance Jesus withdrew from the people, and his disciples or students followed him and asked for an explanation of his words. This elicited from him evidence of surprise that they did not comprehend the statement, and so he repeated it more specifically in these words: "Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these things come from within, and defile the man."
Thus is given from the lips of the Master a succinct statement as to the cause of disease, and by inference, its cure. He declared that it is not what a man eats or drinks, but what he thinks, that is the source of all sin, discord, and disease. Now as Jesus diagnosed the cause of physical effects as mental, it follows logically that the remedy which he applied dealt with the cause as the carnal or mortal mind. He did not treat the effect by the use of medicine, for he did not prescribe material lotions for a sick body. Hence the irresistible conclusion that Jesus met the ill effects produced in the body by wrong thinking, or evil thoughts, with his true knowledge of the law of God.
Christian Science in Full Agreement with the Scriptures
Christian Science, in full agreement with the Scripture to which I have called your attention, urges that all causation is mental and that every discordant manifestation is a mental phenomenon, or thought externalized. Then in the healing of the sick and the sinning, according to the practice of Christian Science, there is involved the destruction of false beliefs and the correction of habits of thought; and the phenomenal success which it has achieved in this direction, proclaims the correctness of the method employed. Under all circumstances sick thoughts instead of sick bodies must be dealt with, and we cannot proceed in harmony with Jesus' theology and healing method unless we pursue this course.
The practice of thus dealing with mental conditions rather than physical, has given rise to the supposition that healing wrought through Christian Science is similar to faith-healing, mental suggestion or hypnotism, spiritualism, and even what is called mental science. In truth, however, Christian Science is most emphatically the antipode of these systems and everything bordering on the belief in the power and influence of one human mind over another, exerted mesmerically through the so-called human will. Hypnotism in the treatment of disease is, as we all know, unchristian in its application and it may be devilish in its results. Attempts have been made to discount and discredit Christ Jesus' healing works by asserting that he was a magnetic doctor or a mesmerist, and that he healed disease through suggestion.
After the manner of Jesus Christian Scientists strive against the encroachment of sin and its manifestation in physical disorders, i.e., upon the basis of the unreality of all that is unlike God, good. To restrict their practice to the healing of physical effects entirely, and to fail to deal metaphysically with the discordant conditions to which humanity is subject, would be contrary to the ethics of their faith. The Master repeatedly demonstrated that his Christianity was sufficient for every need. His Sermon on the Mount deals with every sort of experience, and therein God is represented as equal to every emergency.
The Religious Services
In the matter of the nature of the public religious services which this movement has inaugurated, — the mission of Christian Science being primarily to promote the spiritual growth of its adherents, — it naturally discards traditional and ecclesiastical, forms, ceremonies, and doctrines, in the worship of God. Nothing bordering on the spectacular, nothing that confuses it with paganism, a revival of oriental superstition, nothing which would appeal directly to the senses or play upon the feelings and emotions, enters into its religious services.
The principal part of the regular Sunday service consists of the reading of a compilation of Scriptural references selected from the authorized version of the Bible, and of explanatory or correlative selections from the textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mrs. Eddy. These readings are alternately rendered by two Readers selected from the ranks of the church membership. On Wednesday evening occurs a testimonial meeting, at which instances of healing are voluntarily given by those in attendance. These services, marked by simplicity, orderliness, and dignity, are at once restful, impressive, devotional, and often productive of healing among the congregation. In all communities of importance in the United States, and in many foreign lands, there are organized societies or churches where Christian Science services are being regularly conducted and free Reading Rooms are being maintained. The remarkable history of this movement indicates, that its growth has been little short of the phenomenal. It is practically the achievement of the past quarter of a century!
The Import of This Great Discovery
I have often wished that I might, with either pen or tongue, indicate fully what this great discovery of Christian Science means to the world. Were I able to do this properly, my effort would include, in more than parenthetical nature, reference to its Discoverer and Founder, the Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy. If you knew as I know what it means to be indebted to Christian Science for every breath you draw, I am sure you would also know a little of the just appreciation of the one who has made it possible for thousands and tens of thousands to become beneficiaries to the same extent. Christian Scientists, while appreciating and acknowledging the Christianly philanthropic service which Mrs. Eddy has rendered this age, confess their inability to grasp its full import and significance; but this we do know and bear witness, that her life of sweet simplicity, spiritual devoutness, and self-sacrifice, her loving loyalty to God, her purity of purpose, and her devotion and faithfulness to the exalted ministry to which she was providentially called, has made possible the healing metaphysically of all manner of disease, sin, and suffering. Let us think what that alone means to humanity, and then ask ourselves, What can we render in return for all these benefits and blessings?
Christian Scientists Love Their Leader
We do not worship Mrs. Eddy, our Leader in this great redemptive movement, but we do respect and love her, because she first loved us, and has unreservedly devoted herself to this Cause, for us and for all mankind. Notwithstanding this, no woman has been more unjustly persecuted; but with a prayer of tender forgiveness in her heart, she patiently, meekly, and humbly labors on in the way of God's appointing: preaching good tidings unto all, proclaiming liberty to the captives, binding up the brokenhearted, giving comfort and joy to those who mourn, beauty for ashes, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that all may be redeemed and that God shall be glorified. In the matter of the organization and conduct of the affairs of this great and rapidly growing movement, Christian Scientists discern the need of a wise leadership and an obedient and orderly following. The former they unquestionably agree belongs to Mrs. Eddy, while humbly to follow is the prerogative and privilege of whomsoever will.
The Promise of Christian Science
Now, briefly and by way of summary, what does Christian Science promise to do? In answering every need of humanity it declares and reveals a God of infinite love and goodness. It proclaims an irresistible Christ or Saviour and an operative salvation, discloses the all-perfection of the real man and the harmony and eternity of his relation to his creator, and spiritually interprets and illumines the sacred Scriptures. It promises to establish a universal brotherhood, equalize the sexes, terminate strife between nations, impartially adjust and control civil, political, and social conditions, extirpate criminality and whatever incapacitates, wrongs, or curses mankind. Christian Science promises to wipe all tears away, heal the grief-stricken heart, release those in bonds to sin and sensuality, and sweep away the fear, want, misery, agony, sorrow, and woe which have desolated many generations. It promises to abolish forever the belief in evil, sickness, death, and hell. All this, and even more than we can ask or think, it promises to do naturally, lawfully, scientifically.
In what has the practice of Christian Science thus far resulted? It has resulted in the restoration of primitive Christianity and the clear and comprehensive exposition thereof. It has effected the moral, physical, and spiritual regeneration of tens of thousands who have accepted its teaching. Included in this vast army of believers are those who have suffered from every known sin and disease. It has reclaimed the drunkard and the immoral, and rescued those enslaved by the tobacco, opium, and kindred habits. It has restored the mentally deranged, opened the eyes of the blind, unstopped the ears of the deaf, made the dumb speak and the lame walk. Christian Science has reunited the members of disrupted families, dissipated the discouragement and despondency occasioned by poverty, misfortune, business failures, dishonesty, and injustice. It has removed the fear, doubt, and dismay entailed by affliction, sorrow, and grief. It has taught men how to love their neighbors as themselves, to overcome evil with good, and to be kind, forbearing, forgiving, gentle, and true. Need I say more of the great good which Christian Science has already accomplished in behalf of the world, in order to satisfy you that it is the true friend and not the foe of humanity?
Christian Science answers the agonizing demand which ascends heavenward from sinning and suffering mankind for a practical and healing religion, — the satisfying and sustaining bread of life and not the impoverishing stone of ecclesiasticism. Through its splendid association of truth, logic, reason, revelation, and demonstration, it is proving that there is hope, healing, and salvation for every one through the purification and spiritualization of thought and desire. Earnestly desiring and seeking a better life, these prophetic words of Mrs. Eddy, found on page 566 of Science and Health, fall upon our listening ears with gracious comfort: —
"As the children of Israel were guided triumphantly through the Red Sea, the dark ebbing and flowing tides of human fear, — as they were led through the wilderness, walking wearily through the great desert of human hopes, and anticipating the promised joy, — so shall the spiritual idea guide all right desires in their passage from sense to Soul, from a material sense of existence to the spiritual, up to the glory prepared for them who love God. Stately Science pauses not, but moves before them, a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, leading to divine heights."
[Published in pamphlet form by The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1908.]