Lecture on Christian Science, Title Unknown (2) (Extract)
Judge Septimus J. Hanna, C.S.D.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Christian Science is a deep and sacred subject; the deepest and most sacred that can occupy human thought and purpose, for it treats of God, man, and the universe. It teaches God's omnipotence, His omnipresence and His omniscience. It teaches that God is the one and only Principle of man, and the one and only Principle of the universe.
It is the duty of the lecturer upon this subject to speak, primarily, to those who are not Christian Scientists. I shall endeavor to follow this rule, but I cannot see how I can speak of Christian Science at all, without saying some things to and for Christian Scientists, as well.
I assume, therefore, that you will expect me to tell you something of the Christian Science text-book and also of its author, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
A few words, then, as to the text-book. This book, of which the Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy is the author, was first published in 1875. As revised and enlarged at various times since then, it has reached at the present time over two hundred and fifty-one editions of one thousand volumes each. It bears the title of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and contains within its covers, in comprehensive and comprehensible form, the entire text of Christian Science. It is true that Mrs. Eddy has written many other books and numerous articles and essays for magazines and newspapers, as well as messages to the Mother Church in Boston, but these are in explication of the text-book. This book is a treatise on healing through the power of God, or the divine Mind, and is, therefore, properly called an exposition of Mind-healing. More specifically, it is a thorough exegesis of the Scriptural method of healing all manner of diseases and of curing all manner of sin through the understanding of God as all-present, all-powerful, all-wise and universal Mind. In short, this book is a spiritual interpretation of the Bible; hence its title — "Key to the Scriptures." I am aware that I am making for the text-book of Christian Science a tremendous claim, but I shall endeavor to make good this claim before I close.
The Discoverer And Founder
Mrs. Eddy is at once the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. She discovered for herself how to be healed of a sickness, the result of an accident, which, according to all ordinary evidence, had placed her at the very door of death. This may be said to have been her original discovery. This aroused within her a burning desire to know how she was healed, and also to impart to others the knowledge of how the sick are healed. This led her to search the Scriptures that she might find the healing Principle. She pursued her search until she found the healing Principle to be God. She proved this by healing all manner of diseases, and she proved as well that the same understanding of God which healed sickness also destroyed sin. Having so found and proved the healing and saving Principle, she proceeded to teach others, to found a college for teaching this healing system, to found periodicals for its propagation, to found a church wherein the healing Gospel could be preached and expounded through public services; and she adopted, from time to time, such other propaganda as became necessary to the establishment of a healing and saving religion. That such a system has been successfully established I need not say, for it is matter of common knowledge. Thus, I say, Mrs. Eddy is both a Discoverer and Founder.
Life And Character
And what of the life and character of one who has accomplished so much? I am sure a few words in reference to these will be welcomed by every sincere inquirer.
Born amid the beautiful but rugged hills of Bow, near Concord, New Hampshire, of sterling and strictly religious parents, descended from a long line of worthy and distinguished ancestors of Scotch and English blood, Mrs. Eddy was favored by nature and God with advantages which fitted her for a great career.
Her early environments were such as to nurture and enlarge her inherited gifts. She was a student by natural bent and intuition. This native trend was strengthened by careful training in schools and academies as well as by competent private tutors, among whom was her brother, Albert Baker, a graduate of Dartmouth College, and a distinguished lawyer and member of Congress-elect, having died, after a short illness, before taking his seat. Among her other instructors were such well-known educators as Mrs. Sarah J. Bodwell Lane, Mr. Corser of Sandbornton Bridge Academy, and Prof. Dyer H. Sanborn, author of Sanborn's grammar. This early training has been supplemented by long years of careful and thorough research and study. Poetry was with her a natural gift. As a young girl she wrote poems of such merit that they were much sought for and published in newspapers and magazines. She was also a prose essayist of distinction long before she began her labors as a Christian Scientist. In evidence of this I make mention of a single circumstance. During Mrs. Eddy's residence in the South, as the wife of the late Col. George W. Glover of Charleston, South Carolina, she wrote much for Southern magazines. Upon her return to the North, after the death of Colonel Glover, her reputation as a writer had become so wide that the Rev. Albert Case, then editor of the Odd Fellows' Magazine, offered her a salary of three thousand dollars per year to become a regular contributor to his periodicals. At that time this was a large salary for literary work, and speaks strongly of the estimate put upon Mrs. Eddy's literary ability. She has studied deeply in many of the higher branches of learning and in general literature. She is, from every point of view, a woman of sound education and liberal culture.
Her Religious Character
It may not be amiss for me to say that for nearly ten years, as First Reader in the Mother Church in Boston, and editor of the official periodicals, I have had opportunities which enable me to speak intelligently of Mrs. Eddy's life and character as well as of her labors and literary qualities.
Speaking from this vantage ground, I can truthfully say that, intellectually, she is, without exception, the most acute and alert person I have ever seen; that she labors incessantly and unselfishly for the Cause to which she has devoted her life, and that, notwithstanding her years, she performs an amount of labor each day which, if known, would seem incredible. As to her religious character, I speak my profoundest conviction when I say that I believe it to be as nearly Christlike as is possible to a denizen of this earth. I cannot conceive how a person on this plane of existence could walk more closely with God or exemplify a more exalted Christian life.
And do not the wonderful results of her work, even thus far, prove this? To those familiar with them they most assuredly do. To the many thousands all over the globe who are the conscious beneficiaries of her work, she has indeed proved herself to be a religious reformer and a Christian evangel. Yet, notwithstanding her highly spiritual nature, she is withal an intensely practical person. She keeps close watch of current affairs and acquaints herself with the world's doings. Her message to the Mother Church in Boston of last June shows this in an especial manner. It shows, moreover, that she possesses the mental grasp of the world's great scholars and statesmen.
Christian Science, A Practical Religion
Christian Science is based upon the Bible. The Mosaic Decalogue and the Sermon on the Mount are its Articles of Faith. The Church Tenets restate, in few words, the spirit of the Decalogue and Sermon on the Mount. Christian Scientists are taught, from the beginning to the end of their text-book, to emulate Jesus in all his ways. The sincere Christian Scientist earnestly endeavors to carry out this teaching. In the measure that he falls short of this, he fails of his discipleship. Christian Scientists do not claim to have reached perfection — far from it. But in so far as they are sincerely striving for that goal, they are obeying their teaching and accomplishing good. Their Leader has repeatedly said: "Follow me only as I follow Christ." So, in turn, should her followers say of themselves. They must seek a perfect life, they must constantly desire and unceasingly pray for guidance to such a life, and they, in common with all earnest seekers therefor, may rest assured that, in the measure of their earnest seeking, they will in due time achieve and attain. Meantime they must be about their Father's business according to their best understanding and opportunities. To this end are they impelled by the very necessity of their studentship. So far as they are thus engaged they are daily rooting out of their own consciousness the seeds of error, the seeds of sin and disease, and to the extent that they do this they are pointing the way for others. A good life reflects itself as naturally and inevitably as the sun reflects its light. The sun cannot help reflecting light. No more can a good character help reflecting goodness. Reflecting goodness is the most practical, even as it is the most ideal, business on earth. Through the ministrations of the true Christian Scientist, pain is relieved and destroyed, all forms of sickness are healed, all kinds of sin are overcome, sorrow is assuaged, broken hearts are restored to wholeness, separated and estranged friends, wives and husbands, children and parents, brothers and sisters, are brought into sweeter and more harmonious relations than ever before. More specifically, chronic and organic, as well as acute diseases, in all stages and forms, are brought under subjection and healed, licentiousness is curbed and destroyed, drunkenness is overcome, and mental distress and worry driven out, through this Science of Christianity. These results are accomplished beyond dispute. Indeed, there are few who now have the hardihood to question them. Shall any one say, then, that in so far as this kind of work is being accomplished, it is not what the Nazarene did and taught should be done? And is not this a most practical work in its results, even if it seems to be ideal in its methods?
The Dayton (O.) Herald.
[Published in The Christian Science Journal, October 1902, under the headline "Extracts From a Lecture by Judge Hanna".]