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[Reprinted from the Cosmopolitan Magazine]


From the March 1911 issue of The Christian Science Journal

IT is impossible to contemplate the works of Mrs. Eddy without being almost startled by the vastness of the achievement. Forty-four years ago no one had heard of Christian Science. Today it is a vast organization, literally enfolding the world. Then there was one still small voice proclaiming the gospel which was new, yet old. Now a vast chorus of voices is proclaiming that gospel from the snows of Alaska to the Australian scrub, and from the pagodas of China to the South African veldt. Wendell Phillips once declared that "one on God's side is a majority." Mrs. Eddy has quoted this saying, and proved the truth of it. Humanly speaking, she has had everything against her. The world, when it has any personal end to gain, can be revolutionary in its methods, but in ordinary circumstances it is conservative in its prejudices. Its leaders, especially its religious leaders, had always been men, and it rebelled at the idea of  "a Daniel come to judgement," when that Daniel was a woman. For untold centuries its wise men had thought along scientific lines, which had certainly been modified from time to time, but always on a material basis, and it grew almost passionate against the woman who came questioning its very premises and wrecking its first principles. It must be admitted that Christian Science was heterodox, according to the popular way of looking at matters; and yet, in bringing a professedly Christian people back to the theology and healing of primitive Christianity, it was the only orthodoxy.

It was in Massachusetts, in February, 1866, Mrs. Eddy has told us, in the little autobiography known as "Retrospection and Introspection," that she discovered the science of divine metaphysical healing which she afterward named Christian Science. To the world, Christianity and science had become antithetical terms. That they are so no longer is one of the results of Mrs. Eddy's work. Yet there was never anything antecedently improper, from an orthodox point of view, in the combination of the two terms. There is a phrase used in the epistles which is translated "knowledge of God," but which should, of course, be translated full or exact, and so should be "scientific knowledge of God;" that is, of truth. The expression is used by Peter and Paul, and in a way corresponds to the use of the term "the truth" as opposed to that of mere "truth," in the fourth Gospel, to distinguish the absolute from the relative. The significance of this was not lost on the medieval schoolmen, who. with all their faults, at least strove to introduce some measure of science into their study of the Bible. The greatest of all these was Thomas Aquinas, the man who has been described by Huxley as possibly the most subtle of the world's thinkers. In the "Summa," Aquinas defines theology, which in its pure meaning is simply the word of God, as the only absolute science known, and dismisses every phase of natural science as purely relative. A little later Wyclif, the last of the great Oxford schoolmen, as he was the first Protestant, translating the well-known passage in Luke which in the King James version runs, "to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins," rendered it "to give science and health to his people unto the remission of their sins."

Six centuries passed by—centuries of turmoil from one end of Christendom to the other. The old bands of orthodoxy, loosened by the coming of Lollardy, gave way at the Reformation. The revival of learning brought with it not merely the recovery of the Greek tongue, and the institution of what may be termed textual criticism, it brought with it a wealth of daring speculation which developed, in time, into historic criticism. The old superstitious regard for sacred things began to be appraised by the standard of rationalism, and then came a century, after the carnival of the "goddess of reason," when the efforts of scientific research seemed to be largely directed to the attempted destruction of revelation. It was at this moment, when the high priests of natural science were building their altars to their unknown gods, that Mrs. Eddy's book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" was given to the world. "During twenty years prior to my discovery," she writes, on page 24 of "Retrospection and Introspection," "I had been trying to trace all physical effects to a mental cause; and in the latter part of 1866 I gained the scientific certainty that all causation is Mind, and every effect a mental phenomenon. My immediate recovery from the effects of an injury caused by an accident, an injury that neither medicine nor surgery could reach, was the falling apple that led me to the discovery how to be well myself, and how to make others so."