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From the January 1901 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Boston Herald, Sunday, December 2, 1900.

This article was later republished in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany: My. 109:1-115:9

The following article from the pen of the Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy appeared in the Boston Herald,

The Church Congress of the Episcopal Church, recently convened at Providence, R. I., smiled mildly on some features of Christian Science, but its arrangement of the programme for the discussion of the subject was unfortunate, in the interests of strict justice and fair play. The discussion was opened, first, with an address by Professor Theodore F. Seward of New York, author of "The Brotherhood of Christian Unity," and a member of the Episcopal Church, which was able, compact, courteous, and altogether logical and ample. It was a conscientious tribute from one whose heart is manifestly full of the love of Christ and love for his fellow-men; who has studied Christian Science from its spiritual standpoint, with a firm belief in Christ Jesus, his example, and his teachings; and who has aimed to get to the very bottom of his subject. It is reported that he was listened to with rapt attention, from its beginning to its close, by an audience of fifteen hundred persons. His opening of the discussion gave unlimited opportunity for unbridled criticism from those who followed him, without possible reply; and a lawyer, who referred to Christian Science in objectionable phrase made the argument against it, and made his exit from the Congress, substantially uncorrected and unrebuked.

As Christian Science is founded strictly on the life and teachings of Christ Jesus, it may be pertinent to ask why a doctor or a lawyer, who evidently has no aggressive faith in Jesus and his life labors for humanity, and who seldom reads a chapter from the Gospels and rarely enters a Christian house of worship, should be asked to address such a Congress on such a subject? Is it not obvious that the religious side of the question—its important and vital side—would be studiously ignored? Note the addresses of Dr. William M. Polk and Mr. W. A. Purrington, as reported in the Providence Journal, for a definite answer. Lawyer Leavitt's reply to unjust criticisms against the Christian Science text-book was a spiritual sunburst on the darkness.

As an interesting illustration of the lack of spirit and breadth, and nobility of Mr. Purrington's address, the following is quoted from it verbatim:—

"It is only just to say that Mrs. Eddy's practice is in accord with this part of her teaching. She says there is no pain and no disease, and that she can restore decaying bones to healthy condition (Science and Health, 16, 359), yet she had her teeth extracted by Dr. Fletcher of 77 North Main Street, Concord, N. H., under the so-called painless method, by local anæsthesia, and she now wears artificial dentures made by him."

The following over Dr. Fletcher's own signature is also given verbatim:—

"The story told by the Rev. Dr. Whitaker and others, to the effect that Mrs. Mary Baker G. Eddy called at my office in Concord, N. H., in great pain, and had a carious tooth extracted, requesting me to use a local anæsthetic before extracting the tooth, is incorrect. Mrs. Eddy did call at my office and had a troublesome tooth extracted. But it was not a carious tooth, neither was she in pain at the time. She did request me to extract the tooth, allowing me to use my own painless method for extracting teeth, which I had recommended.

"I shall take no further notice of inquiries on this subject.


I have a copy of a letter which Dr. Fletcher received, in which the writer proposed a bribe of $200 if the doctor would authorize a story about Mrs. Eddy concerning this remarkable episode (!) such as the correspondent might dictate. But Dr. Fletcher said practically, "Get thee behind me, Satan." The doctor is a man of repute—a native of my native state—a man that cannot be bought or sold.

Those familiar with my writings know that long ago I instructed Christian Scientists not to interfere with methods of surgery, but if they should call a surgeon, to submit to his methods without discussion. Those who are unfamiliar with them, or misconstrue them, should hesitate to criticise without personal knowledge. The following is extracted from the Christian Science text-book, page 400, and has been published in said book since its first issue in 1875: "Until the advancing age admits the efficacy and supremacy of Mind, it is better to leave surgery and the adjustment of broken bones and dislocations to the fingers of a surgeon, while you confine yourself chiefly to mental reconstruction, and the prevention of inflammation."

I have always instructed students in Christian Science to be wise and discreet, conforming, where conscience is not offended, to the usages of men. The practice of surgery is not introduced into Christian Science, whose rules and methods are based upon the examples of Jesus and his followers. Bishop Berkeley and I agree that all is Mind. Then, consistently with this premise, the conclusion is, that if I employ a dental surgeon, and he believes that the extraction of a tooth is made easier by some application or means which he employs, and I object to the employment of this means, I have turned the dentist's mental protest against myself; he thinks I must suffer because his method is interfered with. Therefore, his mental force weighs against a painless operation, whereas it should be put into the same scale as mine, thus producing a painless operation as a logical result.

Matter is but the objective state of mortal mind. It has only the substance and reality in our day-dreams that it has in our dreams by night. It is all the way the Adam-dream of mind in matter, which is mortal and God-condemned; it is not the spiritual fact of being. When this Scientific classification is understood, we shall have one Mind, one God, and we shall obey the commandment "Love thy neighbor as thyself."

If nineteen hundred years ago Christ taught his followers to heal the sick, he is to-day teaching them the same heavenly lesson. God is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. "God is Love"—the ever-operative divine Principle (or Person if you please) whose person is not corporeal—not finite. This infinite Person we know not of by the hearing of the ear, yet we may sometimes say with Job, "but now mine eye [spiritual sense] seeth Thee."

God is one because God is all. Therefore there can be but one God, one Christ. We are individually but specks in His universe, the reflex images of this divine Life, Truth, and Love, in whom "we live, and move, and have our being." Divine Metaphysics is not to be scoffed at; it is Truth with us—"God manifest in the flesh"—not alone by miracle and parable, but by proof—even the divine nature of God, which belongs not to a dispensation now ended, but is ever present casting out evils, healing the sick, and raising the dead—resurrecting individuals buried above-ground in material sense.

To-day this Bethlehem star looks down upon the long night of materialism,—material religion, material medicine, a material world,—and it shines as of yore, though it "shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." But the day will dawn and the day-star appear, lighting the gloom, guiding the steps of progress from molecule to mortals outward and upward in the scale of being.

Hidden electrical forces annihilating time and space, wireless telegraphy, navigation of the air, in fact, all the et ceteras of mortal mind pressing to the front, remind me of my early dreams of flying in airy space, buoyant with liberty and the luxury of thought let loose, to rise higher and forever higher in the boundless blue. And what of reality, if waking to bodily sensation is real and it makes us captives? The night thought, methinks, should unfold in part the facts of day, and open the prison doors and solve the blind problem of matter. It shows us rationally that even mortals can mount higher in the altitude of being, till they cease to be mortal, and Christ hath led captivity captive and immortality is brought to light.

Robert Ingersoll's attempt to convict the Scriptures of inconsistency made his life an abject failure. Happily, misquoting "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," or quoting sentences or paragraphs torn from their necessary contexts, may serve to call attention to that book, and thus reveal truths that otherwise the reader would not have sought. "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee."

The nature and truth of Christian Science cannot be destroyed by false psychics, crude theories or modes of metaphysics. Our Master Metaphysician, the Galilean Prophet, had much such a class of minds to deal with as we have in our time. They disputed his teachings on practically the same grounds as are now assumed by many doctors and lawyers. But he swept away their illogical syllogisms as chaff is separated from the wheat. The genuine Christian Scientist will tell you that he has found the physical and spiritual status of a perfect life in his text-book.

The text-book of Christian Science maintains primitive Christianity, shows how to demonstrate it, and throughout is logical in premise and conclusion. Can Scientists adhere to it, establish their practice of healing on its basis, become successful healers and models of good morals, and yet the book be absurd and unscientific? Is not the tree known by its fruit? Did Jesus mistake his mission and unwittingly misguide his followers? Were the apostles absurd and unscientific in adhering to his premise and proving his conclusion logical and divine?

"The Scientific Statement of Being" may irritate a certain class of professionals who fail to understand it, while they pronounce it absurd, ambiguous, unscientific. But that Christian Science is valid, simple, real, and self-evident, thousands upon thousands attest from their individual demonstrations, they themselves having been healed and having healed others on the Principle of Christian Science. Science has always been met in this manner. A fiction or a false philosophy flourishes for a time where science gains no hearing. The followers of the Master in the early Christian centuries did just what he enjoined, and what Christian Science makes practical to-day to those who abide therein and build on its chief corner-stone. Our religious denominations interpret the Scriptures to fit a doctrine, but the doctrines taught by Divine Science are founded squarely and only on the Scriptures.

"Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" is not inconsistent in a single instance with its logical premise and conclusion, and ninety-nine out of every hundred of its readers—honest, intelligent, and scholarly—will tell you this. The earnest student of this book, understanding it, demonstrates in some degree the truth of its statements, and knows it contains a Science that is demonstrable when understood, and is fully understood when demonstrated. That Christian Scientists, because of their uniform pure morals and noble lives, are better representatives of Christian Science than the text-book itself, is not in accordance with Scriptures: The tree is known by its fruit. The student of this book will tell you his higher life is the result of his conscientious study of it in connection with the Bible.

A book that has won its way through the good it does into the palaces of emperors, kings, and the president of the United States, into the chief cities and the best families in our own and in foreign lands, that lies beside the Bible in hundreds of pulpits and in thousands of homes, that heals the sick and reclaims sinners in court and in cottage, is not less the evangel of Christian Science than he who studies it and thereby is healed of disease, or who practises its teachings. About a quarter of a century ago this book was first given to the public; since then two hundred editions of one thousand copies each, have been sold, and the sale continues to increase. Can such a book be ambiguous, self-contradictory, or unprofitable to mankind?

St. Paul was a follower, but not an immediate disciple of our Lord, and he declares the truth of the complete system of Christian Science in these brief sentences: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Was it profane for St. Paul to aspire to this knowledge of Christ and the demonstration therof—healing sin and sickness—because he was not a disciple of the personal Jesus? Nay, verily. Neither is it presumptuous or un-Scriptural or vain for another, a suckling in the arms of divine Love, to perfect His praise.

A child will demonstrate Christian Science and have a clear perception of it. Then, is it a cold, dull abstraction? or is that unscientific which all around us is demonstrated on a fixed principle and given rule, and in proportion as these are understood men are found casting out the evils of mortal thought, healing the sick, and uplifting human consciousness to a more spiritual life and love? The signs of the times emphasize the answer to this in the rapid and steady advancement of this Science among the scholarly and titled, the deep thinkers, the truly great men and women of this age. In the words of the Master, "Can ye not discern the signs of the times?"

Christian Science teaches: Owe no man; be temperate; abstain from alcohol and tobacco; be honest, just, and pure; cast out evil and heal the sick; in fine, Do unto others as ye would have others do to you. Has one Christian Scientist yet reached the maximum of these teachings? And if not, wherefore point the people to the lives of Christian Scientists and decry the book which has moulded their lives? Simply because the treasures of this text-book are not yet uncovered to the gaze of many men, the beauty of holiness is not yet won.

My first writings on Christian Science began with notes on the Scriptures. I consulted no other authors and read no other books but the Bible for about three years. What I wrote had a strange coincidence or relationship with the light of revelation and solar light. I could not write those notes after sunset: all thoughts in the line of Scriptural interpretation would leave me until the rising of the sun: then the influx of divine interpretation would pour in upon my spiritual sense as gloriously as the sunlight on the material senses. It was not myself, but the divine power of Truth and Love, infinitely above me, which dictated "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." I have been learning the higher meaning of this book since writing it.

Is it too much to say that this book is leavening the whole lump of human thought? You can trace its teachings in each step of mental and spiritual progress, from pulpit and press, in religion and ethics, and find this step either written or indicated therein. It has mounted thought on the swift and mighty chariot of divine Love, which to-day is circling the whole world.

I should blush to write of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" as I have were it of human origin, and I, apart from God, its author. But, as I was only a scribe echoing the harmonies of heaven in divine Metaphysics, I cannot be super-modest in my estimate of the Christian Science text-book.

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