Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, had its first readers late in 1875, almost one hundred years ago. Later Mrs. Eddy changed its title, first to Science and Health with a Key to the Scriptures, then to Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. But from the start the essential message of the Christian Science textbook has remained unchanged, the Christian message of triumph over suffering symbolized by the cross and crown emblem long shown on its front cover.
A powerful element in the motivation that led Mrs. Eddy to undertake the long struggle of writing and publishing Science and Health was her love and compassion for the invalid, the grief-stricken, the world-weary, and the frail of character. She earnestly desired that its readers should be healed, comforted, reformed, and find their personal difficulties resolved. Yet at the conclusion of its preface, in which she discusses some of her expectations for the book, she defines her intended readership in a different manner. She commits the book not to seekers for health or for the solution of this or that personal problem, but to those who are honestly seeking Truth. It is for those who will follow the trail not according to their prejudices and preconceptions, not for personal reward and satisfaction, but honestly for the sake of Truth itself, wherever the trail, wherever the facts, may lead.
The hundred pages of Science and Health that Mrs. Eddy specifically designates as Key to the Scriptures include a chapter of spiritual commentary on the Apocalypse, or Revelation of St. John. At the beginning of this chapter Mrs. Eddy discusses John's vision of a mighty angel holding open a little book. She identifies the contents of this book with the revelation of divine Science found in Science and Health.