Boston, Mass., December 28. — Special Correspondence. — The “great awakening” of the time of Jonathan Edwards has been paralleled during the last decade by a wave of idealism that has swept over the country, manifesting itself under several different aspects and under various names, but each having the common identity of spiritual demand. This movement, under the guise of Christian Science, and ingenuously calling out a closer inquiry into Oriental philosophy, prefigures itself to us as one of the most potent factors in the social evolution of the last quarter of the nineteenth century. History shows the curious fact that the closing years of every century are years of more intense life, manifested in unrest or in aspiration, and scholars of special research, like Prof. Max Muller, assert that the end of a cycle, as is the latter part of the present century, is marked by peculiar intimations of man’s immortal life.
24 The completion of the first Christian Science church erected in Boston strikes a keynote of definite attention. This church is in the fashionable Back Bay, between Commonwealth and Huntington Avenues. It is one of the most beautiful, and is certainly the most unique structure in any city. The First Church of Christ, Scientist, as it is officially called, is termed by its Founder, “Our prayer in stone.” It is located at the intersection of Norway and Falmouth Streets, on a triangular plot of ground, the design a Romanesque tower with a circular front and an octagonal form, accented by stone porticos and turreted corners. On the front is a marble tablet, with the following inscription carved in bold relief: —
“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, erected Anno Domini 1894. A testimonial to our beloved teacher, the Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science; author of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures;” president of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, and the first pastor of this denomination.”
The church is built of Concord granite in light gray, with trimmings of the pink granite of New Hampshire, Mrs. Eddy’s native State. The architecture is Romanesque throughout. The tower is one hundred and twenty feet in height and twenty-one and one half feet square. The entrances are of marble, with doors of antique oak richly carved. The windows of stained glass are very rich in 25pictorial effect. The lighting and cooling of the church — for cooling is a recognized feature as well as heating — are done by electricity, and the heat generated by two large boilers in the basement is distributed by the four systems with motor electric power. The partitions are of iron; the floors of marble in mosaic work, and the edifice is therefore as literally fire-proof as is conceivable. The principal features are the auditorium, seating eleven hundred people and capable of holding fifteen hundred; the “Mother’s Room,” designed for the exclusive use of Mrs. Eddy; the “directors’ room,” and the vestry. The girders are all of iron, the roof is of terra cotta tiles, the galleries are in plaster relief, the window frames are of iron, coated with plaster; the staircases are of iron, with marble stairs of rose pink, and marble approaches.
The vestibule is a fitting entrance to this magnificent temple. In the ceiling is a sunburst with a seven-pointed star, which illuminates it. From this are the entrances leading to the auditorium, the “Mother’s Room,” and the directors’ room.
The auditorium is seated with pews of curly birch, upholstered in old rose plush. The floor is in white Italian mosaic, with frieze of the old rose, and the wainscoting repeats the same tints. The base and cap are of pink Tennessee marble. On the walls are bracketed oxidized silver lamps of Roman design, and there are frequent illuminated texts from the Bible and from Mrs. Eddy’s “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” impanelled. A sunburst in the centre of the ceiling takes the place of chandeliers. There is a disc of cut glass in 26decorative designs, covering one hundred and forty-four electric lights in the form of a star, which is twenty-one inches from point to point, the centre being of pure white light, and each ray under prisms which reflect the rainbow tints. The galleries are richly panelled in relief work. The organ and choir gallery is spacious and rich beyond the power of words to depict. The platform — corresponding to the chancel of an Episcopal church — is a mosaic work, with richly carved seats following the sweep of its curve, with a lamp stand of the Renaissance period on either end, bearing six richly wrought oxidized silver lamps, eight feet in height. The great organ comes from Detroit. It is one of vast compass, with Æolian attachment, and cost eleven thousand dollars. It is the gift of a single individual — a votive offering of gratitude for the healing of the wife of the donor.
The “Mother’s Room” is approached by an entrance of Italian marble, and over the door, in large golden letters on a marble tablet, is the word “Love.” In this room the mosaic marble floor of white has a Romanesque border and is decorated with sprays of fig leaves bearing fruit. The room is toned in pale green with relief in old rose. The mantel is of onyx and gold. Before the great bay window hangs an Athenian lamp over two hundred years old, which will be kept always burning day and night.1 Lead27ing off the “Mother’s Room” are toilet apartments, with full-length French mirrors and every convenience.
In the auditorium are two rose windows — one representing the heavenly city which “cometh down from God out of heaven,” with six small windows beneath, emblematic of the six water-pots referred to in John ii. 6. The other rose window represents the raising of the daughter of Jairus. Beneath are two small windows bearing palms of victory, and others with lamps, typical of Science and Health.
Another great window tells its pictorial story of the four Marys — the mother of Jesus, Mary anointing the head of Jesus, Mary washing the feet of Jesus, Mary at the resurrection; and the woman spoken of in the Apocalypse, chapter 12, God-crowned.
In the gallery are windows representing John on the Isle of Patmos, and others of pictorial significance. In the “Mother’s Room” the windows are of still more unique interest. A large bay window, composed of three separate 28panels, is designed to be wholly typical of the work of Mrs. Eddy. The central panel represents her in solitude and meditation, searching the Scriptures by the light of a single candle, while the star of Bethlehem shines down from above. Above this is a panel containing the Christian Science seal, and other panels are decorated with emblematic designs, with the legends, “Heal the Sick,” “Raise the Dead,” “Cleanse the Lepers,” and “Cast out Demons.”
The cross and the crown and the star are presented in appropriate decorative effect. The cost of this church is two hundred and twenty-one thousand dollars, exclusive of the land — a gift from Mrs. Eddy — which is valued at some forty thousand dollars.
The order of service in the Christian Science Church does not differ widely from that of any other sect, save that its service includes the use of Mrs. Eddy’s book, entitled “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” in perhaps equal measure to its use of the Bible. The reading is from the two alternately; the singing is from a compilation called the “Christian Science Hymnal,” but its songs are for the most part those devotional hymns from Herbert, Faber, Robertson, Wesley, Bowring, and other recognized devotional poets, with selections from Whittier and Lowell, as are found in the hymn-books of the Unitarian churches. For the past year or two Judge Hanna, formerly of Chicago, has filled the office of pastor to the church in this city, which held its meetings in Chickering 29Hall, and later in Copley Hall, in the new Grundmann Studio Building on Copley Square. Preceding Judge Hanna were Rev. D. A. Easton and Rev. L. P. Norcross, both of whom had formerly been Congregational clergymen. The organizer and first pastor of the church here was Mrs. Eddy herself, of whose work I shall venture to speak, a little later, in this article.
Last Sunday I gave myself the pleasure of attending the service held in Copley Hall. The spacious apartment was thronged with a congregation whose remarkable earnestness impressed the observer. There was no straggling of late-comers. Before the appointed hour every seat in the hall was filled and a large number of chairs pressed into service for the overflowing throng. The music was spirited, and the selections from the Bible and from Science and Health were finely read by Judge Hanna. Then came his sermon, which dealt directly with the command of Christ to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.” In his admirable discourse Judge Hanna said that while all these injunctions could, under certain conditions, be interpreted and fulfilled literally, the special lesson was to be taken spiritually — to cleanse the leprosy of sin, to cast out the demons of evil thought. The discourse was able, and helpful in its suggestive interpretation.
Later I was told that almost the entire congregation was composed of persons who had either been themselves, or 30had seen members of their own families, healed by Christian Science treatment; and I was further told that once when a Boston clergyman remonstrated with Judge Hanna for enticing a separate congregation rather than offering their strength to unite with churches already established — I was told he replied that the Christian Science Church did not recruit itself from other churches, but from the graveyards! The church numbers now four thousand members; but this estimate, as I understand, is not limited to the Boston adherents, but includes those all over the country. The ceremonial of uniting is to sign a brief “confession of faith,” written by Mrs. Eddy, and to unite in communion, which is not celebrated by outward symbols of bread and wine, but by uniting in silent prayer.
The “confession of faith” includes the declaration that the Scriptures are the guide to eternal Life; that there is a Supreme Being, and His Son, and the Holy Ghost, and that man is made in His image. It affirms the atonement; it recognizes Jesus as the teacher and guide to salvation; the forgiveness of sin by God, and affirms the power of Truth over error, and the need of living faith at the moment to realize the possibilities of the divine Life. The entire membership of Christian Scientists throughout the world now exceeds two hundred thousand people. The church in Boston was organized by Mrs. Eddy, and the first meeting held on April 12, 1879. It opened with twenty-six members, and within fifteen years it has grown to its present impressive proportions, and has now its own magnificent church building, costing over two hundred thousand dollars, and entirely paid for when its consecra31tion service on January 6 shall be celebrated. This is certainly a very remarkable retrospect.
Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of this denomination and Discoverer of Christian Science, as they term her work in affirming the present application of the principles asserted by Jesus, is a most interesting personality. At the risk of colloquialism, I am tempted to “begin at the beginning” of my own knowledge of Mrs. Eddy, and take, as the point of departure, my first meeting with her and the subsequent development of some degree of familiarity with the work of her life which that meeting inaugurated for me.
It was during some year in the early ‘80’s that I became aware — from that close contact with public feeling resulting from editorial work in daily journalism — that the Boston atmosphere was largely thrilled and pervaded by a new and increasing interest in the dominance of mind over matter, and that the central figure in all this agitation was Mrs. Eddy. To a note which I wrote her, begging the favor of an interview for press use, she most kindly replied, naming an evening on which she would receive me. At the hour named I rang the bell at a spacious house on Columbus Avenue, and I was hardly more than seated before Mrs. Eddy entered the room. She impressed me as singularly graceful and winning in bearing and manner, and with great claim to personal beauty. Her figure was tall, slender, and as flexible in movement as that of a Del32sarte disciple; her face, framed in dark hair and lighted by luminous blue eyes, had the transparency and rose-flush of tint so often seen in New England, and she was magnetic, earnest, impassioned. No photographs can do the least justice to Mrs. Eddy, as her beautiful complexion and changeful expression cannot thus be reproduced. At once one would perceive that she had the temperament to dominate, to lead, to control, not by any crude self-assertion, but a spiritual animus. Of course such a personality, with the wonderful tumult in the air that her large and enthusiastic following excited, fascinated the imagination. What had she originated? I mentally questioned this modern St. Catherine, who was dominating her followers like any abbess of old. She told me the story of her life, so far as outward events may translate those inner experiences which alone are significant.
Mary Baker was the daughter of Mark and Abigail (Ambrose) Baker, and was born in Concord, N.H., somewhere in the early decade of 1820–’30. At the time I met her she must have been some sixty years of age, yet she had the coloring and the elastic bearing of a woman of thirty, and this, she told me, was due to the principles of Christian Science. On her father’s side Mrs. Eddy came from Scotch and English ancestry, and Hannah More was a relative of her grandmother. Deacon Ambrose, her maternal grandfather, was known as a “godly man,” and her mother was a religious enthusiast, a saintly and consecrated character. One of her brothers, Albert Baker, graduated at Dartmouth and achieved eminence as a lawyer.
As a child Mary Baker saw visions and dreamed dreams. When eight years of age she began, like Jeanne d’Arc, to hear “voices,” and for a year she heard her name called distinctly, and would often run to her mother questioning if she were wanted. One night the mother related to her the story of Samuel, and bade her, if she heard the voice again to reply as he did: “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.” The call came, but the little maid was afraid and did not reply. This caused her tears of remorse and she prayed for forgiveness, and promised to reply if the call came again. It came, and she answered as her mother had bidden her, and after that it ceased.
These experiences, of which Catholic biographies are full, and which history not infrequently emphasizes, certainly offer food for meditation. Theodore Parker related that when he was a lad, at work in a field one day on his father’s farm at Lexington, an old man with a snowy beard suddenly appeared at his side, and walked with him as he worked, giving him high counsel and serious thought. All inquiry in the neighborhood as to whence the stranger came or whither he went was fruitless; no one else had seen him, and Mr. Parker always believed, so a friend has told me, that his visitor was a spiritual form from another world. It is certainly true that many and many persons, whose life has been destined to more than ordinary achievement, have had experiences of voices or visions in their early youth.
34 At an early age Miss Baker was married to Colonel Glover, of Charleston, S.C., who lived only a year. She returned to her father’s home — in 1844 — and from that time until 1866 no special record is to be made.
In 1866, while living in Lynn, Mass., Mrs. Eddy met with a severe accident, and her case was pronounced hopeless by the physicians. There came a Sunday morning when her pastor came to bid her goodby before proceeding to his morning service, as there was no probability that she would be alive at its close. During this time she suddenly became aware of a divine illumination and ministration. She requested those with her to withdraw, and reluctantly they did so, believing her delirious. Soon, to their bewilderment and fright, she walked into the adjoining room, “and they thought I had died, and that it was my apparition,” she said.
From that hour dated her conviction of the Principle of divine healing, and that it is as true to-day as it was in the days when Jesus of Nazareth walked the earth. “I felt that the divine Spirit had wrought a miracle,” she said, in reference to this experience. “How, I could not tell, but later I found it to be in perfect scientific accord with the divine law.” From 1866–’69 Mrs. Eddy withdrew from the world to meditate, to pray, to search the Scriptures.
“During this time,” she said, in reply to my questions, “the Bible was my only textbook. It answered my questions as to the process by which I was restored to health; 35it came to me with a new meaning, and suddenly I apprehended the spiritual meaning of the teaching of Jesus and the Principle and the law involved in spiritual Science and metaphysical healing — in a word — Christian Science.”
Mrs. Eddy came to perceive that Christ’s healing was not miraculous, but was simply a natural fulfilment of divine law — a law as operative in the world to-day as it was nineteen hundred years ago. “Divine Science is begotten of spirituality,” she says, “since only the ‘pure in heart’ can see God.”
“I had learned that thought must be spiritualized in order to apprehend Spirit. It must become honest, unselfish, and pure, in order to have the least understanding of God in divine Science. The first must become last. Our reliance upon material things must be transferred to a perception of and dependence on spiritual things. For Spirit to be supreme in demonstration, it must be supreme in our affections, and we must be clad with divine power. I had learned that Mind reconstructed the body, and that nothing else could. All Science is a revelation.”
In 1877 Mrs. Glover married Dr. Asa Gilbert Eddy, of Londonderry, Vermont, a physician who had come into sympathy with her own views, and who was the first to place “Christian Scientist” on the sign at his door. Dr. 36Eddy died in 1882, a year after her founding of the Metaphysical College in Boston, in which he taught.
The work in the Metaphysical College lasted nine years, and it was closed (in 1889) in the very zenith of its prosperity, as Mrs. Eddy felt it essential to the deeper foundation of her religious work to retire from active contact with the world. To this College came hundreds and hundreds of students, from Europe as well as this country. I was present at the class lectures now and then, by Mrs. Eddy’s kind invitation, and such earnestness of attention as was given to her morning talks by the men and women present I never saw equalled.
On the evening that I first met Mrs. Eddy by her hospitable courtesy, I went to her peculiarly fatigued. I came away in a state of exhilaration and energy that made me feel I could have walked any conceivable distance. I have met Mrs. Eddy many times since then, and always with this experience repeated.
Several years ago Mrs. Eddy removed from Columbus to Commonwealth Avenue, where, just beyond Massachusetts Avenue, at the entrance to the Back Bay Park, she bought one of the most beautiful residences in Boston. The interior is one of the utmost taste and luxury, and the house is now occupied by Judge and Mrs. Hanna, who are the editors of The Christian Science Journal, a monthly publication, and to whose courtesy I am much indebted for some of the data of this paper. “It is a pleasure to 37give any information for The Inter-Ocean,” remarked Mrs. Hanna, “for it is the great daily that is so fair and so just in its attitude toward all questions.”
The increasing demands of the public on Mrs. Eddy have been, it may be, one factor in her removal to Concord, N.H., where she has a beautiful residence, called Pleasant View. Her health is excellent, and although her hair is white, she retains in a great degree her energy and power; she takes a daily walk and drives in the afternoon. She personally attends to a vast correspondence; superintends the church in Boston, and is engaged on further writings on Christian Science. In every sense she is the recognized head of the Christian Science Church. At the same time it is her most earnest aim to eliminate the element of personality from the faith. “On this point, Mrs. Eddy feels very strongly,” said a gentleman to me on Christmas eve, as I sat in the beautiful drawing-room, where Judge and Mrs. Hanna, Miss Elsie Lincoln, the soprano for the choir of the new church, and one or two other friends were gathered.
The first Christian Scientist Association was organized on July 4, 1876, by seven persons, including Mrs. Eddy. In April, 1879, the church was founded with twenty-six 38members, and its charter obtained the following June.1 Mrs. Eddy had preached in other parishes for five years before being ordained in this church, which ceremony took place in 1881.
The first edition of Mrs. Eddy’s book, Science and Health, was issued in 1875. During these succeeding twenty years it has been greatly revised and enlarged, and it is now in its ninety-first edition. It consists of fourteen chapters, whose titles are as follows: “Science, Theology, Medicine,” “Physiology,” “Footsteps of Truth,” “Creation,” “Science of Being,” “Christian Science and Spiritualism,” “Marriage,” “Animal Magnetism,” “Some Objections Answered,” “Prayer,” “Atonement and Eucharist,” “Christian Science Practice,” “Teaching Christian Science,” “Recapitulation.” Key to the Scriptures, Genesis, Apocalypse, and Glossary.
The Christian Scientists do not accept the belief we call spiritualism. They believe those who have passed the change of death are in so entirely different a plane of consciousness that between the embodied and disembodied there is no possibility of communication.
They are diametrically opposed to the philosophy of Karma and of reincarnation, which are the tenets of theosophy. They hold with strict fidelity to what they believe to be the literal teachings of Christ.
It is good that each and all shall prosper, serving those who find in one form of belief or another their best aid 39and guidance, and that all meet on common ground in the great essentials of love to God and love to man as a signal proof of the divine origin of humanity which finds no rest until it finds the peace of the Lord in spirituality. They all teach that one great truth, that
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING
With simple ceremonies, four times repeated, in the presence of four different congregations, aggregating nearly six thousand persons, the unique and costly edifice erected in Boston at Norway and Falmouth Streets as a home for The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and a testimonial to the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, was yesterday dedicated to the worship of God.
41 The structure came forth from the hands of the artisans with every stone paid for — with an appeal, not for more money, but for a cessation of the tide of contributions which continued to flow in after the full amount needed was received. From every State in the Union, and from many lands, the love-offerings of the disciples of Christian Science came to help erect this beautiful structure, and more than four thousand of these contributors came to Boston, from the far-off Pacific coast and the Gulf States and all the territory that lies between, to view the new-built temple and to listen to the Message sent them by the teacher they revere.
From all New England the members of the denomination gathered; New York sent its hundreds, and even from the distant States came parties of forty and fifty. The large auditorium, with its capacity for holding from fourteen hundred to fifteen hundred persons, was hopelessly incapable of receiving this vast throng, to say nothing of nearly a thousand local believers. Hence the service was repeated until all who wished had heard and seen; and each of the four vast congregations filled the church to repletion.
At 9 a.m. the first congregation gathered. Before this 42service had closed the large vestry room and the spacious lobbies and the sidewalks around the church were all filled with a waiting multitude. At 10:30 o’clock another service began, and at noon still another. Then there was an intermission, and at 3 p.m. the service was repeated for the last time.
There was scarcely even a minor variation in the exercises at any one of these services. At 10:30 a.m., however, the scene was rendered particularly interesting by the presence of several hundred children in the central pews. These were the little contributors to the building fund, whose money was devoted to the “Mother’s Room,” a superb apartment intended for the sole use of Mrs. Eddy. These children are known in the church as the “Busy Bees,” and each of them wore a white satin badge with a golden beehive stamped upon it, and beneath the beehive the words, “Mother’s Room,” in gilt letters.
The pulpit end of the auditorium was rich with the adornment of flowers. On the wall of the choir gallery above the platform, where the organ is to be hereafter placed, a huge seven-pointed star was hung — a star of lilies resting on palms, with a centre of white immortelles, upon which in letters of red were the words: “Love-Children’s Offering — 1894.”
In the choir and the steps of the platform were potted palms and ferns and Easter lilies. The desk was wreathed with ferns and pure white roses fastened with a broad ribbon bow. On its right was a large basket of white carnations resting on a mat of palms, and on its left a vase filled with beautiful pink roses.
43 Two combined choirs — that of First Church of Christ, Scientist, of New York, and the choir of the home church, numbering thirty-five singers in all — led the singing, under the direction, respectively, of Mr. Henry Lincoln Case and Miss Elsie Lincoln.
Judge S. J. Hanna, editor of The Christian Science Journal, presided over the exercises. On the platform with him were Messrs. Ira O. Knapp, Joseph Armstrong, Stephen A. Chase, and William B. Johnson, who compose the Board of Directors, and Mrs. Henrietta Clark Bemis, a distinguished elocutionist, and a native of Concord, New Hampshire.
The utmost simplicity marked the exercises. After an organ voluntary, the hymn, “Laus Deo, it is done!” written by Mrs. Eddy for the corner-stone laying last spring, was sung by the congregation. Selections from the Scriptures and from “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” were read by Judge Hanna and Dr. Eddy.
The sermon prepared for the occasion by Mrs. Eddy, which was looked forward to as the chief feature of the dedication, was then read by Mrs. Bemis. Mrs. Eddy remained at her home in Concord, N. H., during the day, because, as heretofore stated in The Herald, it is her custom to discourage among her followers that sort of personal worship which religious teachers so often receive.
“Dear Teacher, Leader, Guide: — ‘Laus Deo, it is done!’ At last you begin to see the fruition of that you have worked, toiled, prayed for. The ‘prayer in stone’ is accomplished. Across two thousand miles of space, as mortal sense puts it, I send my hearty congratulations. You are fully occupied, but I thought you would willingly pause for an instant to receive this brief message of congratulation. Surely it marks an era in the blessed onward work of Christian Science. It is a most auspicious hour in your eventful career. While we all rejoice, yet the mother in Israel, alone of us all, comprehends its full significance.
Christian Science has shown its power over its students, as they are called, by building a church by voluntary contributions, the first of its kind; a church which will be dedicated to-day with a quarter of a million dollars expended and free of debt.
The money has flowed in from all parts of the United States and Canada without any special appeal, and it kept coming until the custodian of funds cried “enough” and refused to accept any further checks by mail or otherwise. 45Men, women, and children lent a helping hand, some giving a mite and some substantial sums. Sacrifices were made in many an instance which will never be known in this world.
Christian Scientists not only say that they can effect cures of disease and erect churches, but add that they can get their buildings finished on time, even when the feat seems impossible to mortal senses. Read the following, from a publication of the new denonination: —
“One of the grandest and most helpful features of this glorious consummation is this: that one month before the close of the year every evidence of material sense declared that the church’s completion within the year 1894 transcended human possibility. The predictions of workman and onlooker alike were that it could not be completed before April or May of 1895. Much was the ridicule heaped upon the hopeful, trustful ones, who declared and repeatedly asseverated to the contrary. This is indeed, then, a scientific demonstration. It has proved, in most striking manner, the oft-repeated declarations of our textbooks, that the evidence of the mortal senses is unreliable.”
A week ago Judge Hanna withdrew from the pastorate of the church, saying he gladly laid down his responsibilities to be succeeded by the grandest of ministers — the Bible and “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” This action, it appears, was the result of rules made by Mrs. Eddy. The sermons hereafter will consist of passages read from the two books by Readers, who will be elected each year by the congregation.
46 A story has been abroad that Judge Hanna was so eloquent and magnetic that he was attracting listeners who came to hear him preach, rather than in search of the truth as taught. Consequently the new rules were formulated. But at Christian Science headquarters this is denied; Mrs. Eddy says the words of the judge speak to the point, and that no such inference is to be drawn therefrom.
Her family came to this country not long before the Revolution. Among the many souvenirs that Mrs. Eddy remembers as belonging to her grandparents was a heavy sword, encased in a brass scabbard, upon which had been inscribed the name of the kinsman upon whom the sword had been bestowed by Sir William Wallace of mighty Scottish fame.
Mrs. Eddy applied herself, like other girls, to her studies, though perhaps with an unusual zest, delighting in philosophy, logic, and moral science, as well as looking into the ancient languages, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.
Her last marriage was in the spring of 1877, when, at Lynn, Mass., she became the wife of Asa Gilbert Eddy. He was the first organizer of a Christian Science Sunday School, of which he was the superintendent, and later he 47attracted the attention of many clergymen of other denominations by his able lectures upon Scriptural topics. He died in 1882.
Mrs. Eddy is known to her circle of pupils and admirers as the editor and publisher of the first official organ of this sect. It was called the Journal of Christian Science, and has had great circulation with the members of this fast-increasing faith.
In recounting her experiences as the pioneer of Christian Science, she states that she sought knowledge concerning the physical side in this research through the different schools of allopathy, homœopathy, and so forth, without receiving any real satisfaction. No ancient or modern philosophy gave her any distinct statement of the Science of Mind-healing. She claims that no human reason has been equal to the question. And she also defines carefully the difference in the theories between faith-cure and Christian Science, dwelling particularly upon the terms belief and understanding, which are the key words respectively used in the definitions of these two healing arts.
Besides her Boston home, Mrs. Eddy has a delightful country home one mile from the State House of New Hampshire’s quiet capital, an easy driving distance for her when she wishes to catch a glimpse of the world. But for the most part she lives very much retired, driving rather into the country, which is so picturesque all about Concord and its surrounding villages.
The big house, so delightfully remodelled and modernized from a primitive homestead that nothing is left excepting the angles and pitch of the roof, is remarkably 48well placed upon a terrace that slopes behind the buildings, while they themselves are in the midst of green stretches of lawns, dotted with beds of flowering shrubs, with here and there a fountain or summer-house.
Mrs. Eddy took the writer straight to her beloved “lookout” — a broad piazza on the south side of the second story of the house, where she can sit in her swinging chair, revelling in the lights and shades of spring and summer greenness. Or, as just then, in the gorgeous October coloring of the whole landscape that lies below, across the farm, which stretches on through an intervale of beautiful meadows and pastures to the woods that skirt the valley of the little truant river, as it wanders eastward.
It pleased her to point out her own birthplace. Straight as the crow flies, from her piazza, does it lie on the brow of Bow hill, and then she paused and reminded the reporter that Congressman Baker from New Hampshire, her cousin, was born and bred in that same neighborhood. The photograph of Hon. Hoke Smith, another distinguished relative, adorned the mantel.
The natural and lawful pride that comes with a tincture of blue and brave blood, is perhaps one of her characteristics, as is many another well-born woman’s. She had a long list of worthy ancestors in Colonial and Revolutionary days, and the McNeils and General Knox figure largely in her genealogy, as well as the hero who killed the ill-starred Paugus.
49 This big, sunny room which Mrs. Eddy calls her den — or sometimes “Mother’s room,” when speaking of her many followers who consider her their spiritual Leader — has the air of hospitality that marks its hostess herself. Mrs. Eddy has hung its walls with reproductions of some of Europe’s masterpieces, a few of which had been the gifts of her loving pupils.
Looking down from the windows upon the tree-tops on the lower terrace, the reporter exclaimed: “You have lived here only four years, and yet from a barren waste of most unpromising ground has come forth all this beauty!”
“Four years!” she ejaculated; “two and a half, only two and a half years.” Then, touching my sleeve and pointing, she continued: “Look at those big elms! I had them brought here in warm weather, almost as big as they are now, and not one died.”
Mrs. Eddy talked earnestly of her friendships. . . . She told something of her domestic arrangements, of how she had long wished to get away from her busy career in Boston, and return to her native granite hills, there to build a substantial home that should do honor to that precinct of Concord.
She chose the stubbly old farm on the road from Concord, within one mile of the “Eton of America,” St. Paul’s School. Once bought, the will of the woman set at work, and to-day a strikingly well-kept estate is the first impression given to the visitor as he approaches Pleasant View.
She employs a number of men to keep the grounds and farm in perfect order, and it was pleasing to learn that this 50rich woman is using her money to promote the welfare of industrious workmen, in whom she takes a vital interest.
Mrs. Eddy believes that “the laborer is worthy of his hire,” and, moreover, that he deserves to have a home and family of his own. Indeed, one of her motives in buying so large an estate was that she might do something for the toilers, and thus add her influence toward the advancement of better home life and citizenship.
The growth of Christian Science is properly marked by the erection of a visible house of worship in this city, which will be dedicated to-morrow. It has cost two hundred thousand dollars, and no additional sums outside of the subscriptions are asked for. This particular phase of religious belief has impressed itself upon a large and increasing number of Christian people, who have been tempted to examine its principles, and doubtless have been comforted and strengthened by them. Any new movement will awaken some sort of interest. There are many who have worn off the novelty and are thoroughly carried away with the requirements, simple and direct as they are, of Christian Science. The opposition against it from the so-called orthodox religious bodies keeps up a while, but after a little skirmishing, finally subsides. No one religious body holds the whole of truth, and whatever is likely to show even some one side of it will gain followers and live down any attempted repression.
51 Christian Science does not strike all as a system of truth. If it did, it would be a prodigy. Neither does the Christian faith produce the same impressions upon all. Freedom to believe or to dissent is a great privilege in these days. So when a number of conscientious followers apply themselves to a matter like Christian Science, they are enjoying that liberty which is their inherent right as human beings, and though they cannot escape censure, yet they are to be numbered among the many pioneers who are searching after religious truth. There is really nothing settled. Every truth is more or less in a state of agitation. The many who have worked in the mine of knowledge are glad to welcome others who have different methods, and with them bring different ideas.
It is too early to predict where this movement will go, and how greatly it will affect the well-established methods. That it has produced a sensation in religious circles, and called forth the implements of theological warfare, is very well known. While it has done this, it may, on the other hand, have brought a benefit. Ere this many a new project in religious belief has stirred up feeling, but as time has gone on, compromises have been welcomed.
The erection of this temple will doubtless help on the growth of its principles. Pilgrims from everywhere will go there in search of truth, and some may be satisfied and some will not. Christian Science cannot absorb the world’s thought. It may get the share of attention it deserves, but it can only aspire to take its place alongside other great demonstrations of religious belief which have done something good for the sake of humanity.
52 Wonders will never cease. Here is a church whose treasurer has to send out word that no sums except those already subscribed can be received! The Christian Scientists have a faith of the mustard-seed variety. What a pity some of our practical Christian folk have not a faith approximate to that of these “impractical” Christian Scientists.
The erection of a massive temple in Boston by Christian Scientists, at a cost of over two hundred thousand dollars, love-offerings of the disciples of Mary Baker Eddy, reviver of the ancient faith and author of the textbook from which, with the New Testament at the foundation, believers receive light, health, and strength, is evidence of the rapid growth of the new movement. We call it new. It is not. The name Christian Science alone is new. At the beginning of Christianity it was taught and practised by Jesus and his disciples. The Master was the great healer. But the wave of materialism and bigotry that swept over the world for fifteen centuries, covering it with the blackness of the Dark Ages, nearly obliterated all vital belief in his teachings. The Bible was a sealed book. Recently a revived belief in what he taught is manifest, and Christian Science is one result. No new doctrine is proclaimed, but 53there is the fresh development of a Principle that was put into practice by the Founder of Christianity nineteen hundred years ago, though practised in other countries at an earlier date. “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”
The condition which Jesus of Nazareth, on various
occasions during the three years of his ministry on earth,
declared to be essential, in the mind of both healer and
patient, is contained in the one word — faith. Can drugs
suddenly cure leprosy? When the ten lepers were cleansed
and one returned to give thanks in Oriental phrase, Jesus
said to him: “Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee
whole.” That was Christian Science. In his “Law of
Psychic Phenomena” Hudson says: “That word, more
than any other, expresses the whole law of human felicity
and power in this world, and of salvation in the world to
come. It is that attribute of mind which elevates man
above the level of the brute, and gives dominion over the
physical world. It is the essential element of success in
every field of human endeavor. It constitutes the power
of the human soul. When Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed
its potency from the hilltops of Palestine, he gave to mankind the key to health and heaven, and earned the title
of Saviour of the World.” Whittier, grandest of mystic
poets, saw the truth: —
That healing gift he lends to them
Who use it in his name;
The power that filled his garment’s hem
Is evermore the same.
54 Again, in a poem entitled “The Master,” he wrote: —
The healing of his seamless dress
Is by our beds of pain;
We touch him in life’s throng and press,
And we are whole again.1
That Jesus operated in perfect harmony with natural law, not in defiance, suppression, or violation of it, we cannot doubt. The perfectly natural is the perfectly spiritual. Jesus enunciated and exemplified the Principle; and, obviously, the conditions requisite in psychic healing to-day are the same as were necessary in apostolic times. We accept the statement of Hudson: “There was no law of nature violated or transcended. On the contrary, the whole transaction was in perfect obedience to the laws of nature. He understood the law perfectly, as no one before him understood it; and in the plenitude of his power he applied it where the greatest good could be accomplished.” A careful reading of the accounts of his healings, in the light of modern science, shows that he observed, in his practice of mental therapeutics, the conditions of environment and harmonious influence that are essential to success. In the case of Jairus’ daughter they are fully set forth. He kept the unbelievers away, “put them all out,” and permitting only the father and mother, with his closest friends and followers, Peter, James, and John, in the chamber with him, and having thus the most perfect obtainable environment, he raised the daughter to life.
In a previous article we have referred to cyclic changes that came during the last quarter of preceding centuries. Of our remarkable nineteenth century not the least eventful circumstance is the advent of Christian Science. That it should be the work of a woman is the natural outcome of a period notable for her emancipation from many of the thraldoms, prejudices, and oppressions of the past. We do not, therefore, regard it as a mere coincidence that the first edition of Mrs. Eddy’s Science and Health should have been published in 1875. Since then she has revised it many times, and the ninety-first edition is announced. Her discovery was first called, “The Science of Divine Metaphysical Healing.” Afterward she selected the name Christian Science. It is based upon what is held to be scientific certainty, namely, — that all causation is of Mind, every effect has its origin in desire and thought. The theology — if we may use the word — of Christian Science is contained in the volume entitled “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.”
The present Boston congregation was organized April 12, 1879, and has now over four thousand members. It is regarded as the parent organization, all others being branches, though each is entirely independent in the management of its own affairs. Truth is the sole recognized authority. Of actual members of different congregations there are between one hundred thousand and two hundred 56thousand. One or more organized societies have sprung up in New York, Chicago, Buffalo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Detroit, Toledo, Milwaukee, Madison, Scranton, Peoria, Atlanta, Toronto, and nearly every other centre of population, besides a large and growing number of receivers of the faith among the members of all the churches and non-church-going people. In some churches a majority of the members are Christian Scientists, and, as a rule, are the most intelligent.
Space does not admit of an elaborate presentation on the occasion of the erection of the temple, in Boston, the dedication taking place on the 6th of January, of one of the most remarkable, helpful, and powerful movements of the last quarter of the century. Christian Science has brought hope and comfort to many weary souls. It makes people better and happier. Welding Christianity and Science, hitherto divorced because dogma and truth could not unite, was a happy inspiration.
A great Christian Science church was dedicated in Boston on Sunday, the 6th inst. It is located at Norway and Falmouth Streets, and is intended to be a testimonial to 57the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, the Rev. Mary Baker Eddy. The building is fire-proof, and cost over two hundred thousand dollars. It is entirely paid for, and contributions for its erection came from every State in the Union, and from many lands. The auditorium is said to seat between fourteen and fifteen hundred, and was thronged at the four services on the day of dedication. The sermon, prepared by Mrs. Eddy, was read by Mrs. Bemis. It rehearsed the significance of the building, and reenunciated the truths which will find emphasis there. From the description we judge that it is one of the most beautiful buildings in Boston, and, indeed, in all New England. Whatever may be thought of the peculiar tenets of the Christian Scientists, and whatever difference of opinion there may be concerning the organization of such a church, there can be no question but that the adherents of this church have proved their faith by their works.
Such is the excellent name given to a new Boston church. Few people outside its own circles realize how extensive is the belief in Christian Science. There are several sects of mental healers, but this new edifice on Back Bay, just off Huntington Avenue, not far from the big Mechanics Building and the proposed site of the new Music Hall, belongs to the followers of Rev. Mary Baker Glover Eddy, a lady born of an old New Hampshire family, who, after 58many vicissitudes, found herself in Lynn, Mass., healed by the power of divine Mind, and thereupon devoted herself to imparting this faith to her fellow-beings. Coming to Boston about 1880, she began teaching, gathered an association of students, and organized a church. For several years past she has lived in Concord, N.H., near her birthplace, owning a beautiful estate called Pleasant View; but thousands of believers throughout this country have joined The Mother Church in Boston, and have now erected this edifice at a cost of over two hundred thousand dollars, every bill being paid.
Its appearance is shown in the pictures we are permitted to publish. In the belfry is a set of tubular chimes. Inside is a basement room, capable of division into seven excellent class-rooms, by the use of movable partitions. The main auditorium has wide galleries, and will seat over a thousand in its exceedingly comfortable pews. Scarcely any woodwork is to be found. The floors are all mosaic, the steps marble, and the walls stone. It is rather dark, often too much so for comfortable reading, as all the windows are of colored glass, with pictures symbolic of the tenets of the organization. In the ceiling is a beautiful sunburst window. Adjoining the chancel is a pastor’s study; but for an indefinite time their prime instructor has ordained that the only pastor shall be the Bible, with her book, called “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” In the tower is a room devoted to her, and called “Mother’s Room,” furnished with all conveniences for living, should she wish to make it a home by day or night. Therein is a portrait of her in stained glass; and an electric light, 59behind an antique lamp, kept perpetually burning1 in her honor; though she has not yet visited her temple, which was dedicated on New Year’s Sunday in a somewhat novel way.
There was no special sentence or prayer of consecration, but continuous services were held from nine to four o’clock, every hour and a half, so long as there were attendants; and some people heard these exercises four times repeated. The printed program was for some reason not followed, certain hymns and psalms being omitted. There was singing by a choir and congregation. The Pater Noster was repeated in the way peculiar to Christian Scientists, the congregation repeating one sentence and the leader responding with its parallel interpretation by Mrs. Eddy. Antiphonal paragraphs were read from the book of Revelation and her work respectively. The sermon, prepared by Mrs. Eddy, was well adapted for its purpose, and read by a professional elocutionist, not an adherent of the order, Mrs. Henrietta Clark Bemis, in a clear emphatic style. The solo singer, however, was a Scientist, Miss Elsie Lincoln; and on the platform sat Joseph Armstrong, formerly of Kansas, and now the business manager of the Publishing Society, with the other members of the Christian Science Board of Directors — Ira O. Knapp, Edward P. Bates, Stephen A. Chase, — gentlemen officially connected with the movement. The children of believing families collected the money for the Mother’s Room, and seats were especially set apart for them at the second dedicatory service. Before one service was over and the auditors left by the rear doors, the front vestibule and street (despite 60the snowstorm) were crowded with others, waiting for admission.
On the next Sunday the new order of service went into operation. There was no address of any sort, no notices, no explanation of Bible or their textbook. Judge Hanna, who was a Colorado lawyer before coming into this work, presided, reading in clear, manly, and intelligent tones, the Quarterly Bible Lesson, which happened that day to be on Jesus’ miracle of loaves and fishes. Each paragraph he supplemented first with illustrative Scripture parallels, as set down for him, and then by passages selected for him from Mrs. Eddy’s book. The place was again crowded, many having remained over a week from among the thousands of adherents who had come to Boston for this auspicious occasion from all parts of the country. The organ, made by Farrand & Votey in Detroit, at a cost of eleven thousand dollars, is the gift of a wealthy Universalist gentleman, but was not ready for the opening. It is to fill the recess behind the spacious platform, and is described as containing pneumatic wind-chests throughout, and having an Æolian attachment. It is of three-manual compass, C.C.C. to C. 4, 61 notes; and pedal compass, C.C.C. to F. 30. The great organ has double open diapason (stopped bass), open diapason, dulciana, viola di gamba, doppel flute, hohl flute, octave, octave quint, superoctave, and trumpet, — 61 pipes each. The swell organ has bourdon, open diapason, salicional, æoline, stopped diapason, gemshorn, flute harmonique, flageolet, cornet — 3 ranks, 183, — cornopean, oboe, vox humana — 61 pipes each. The choir organ, enclosed in 61separate swell-box, has geigen principal, dolce, concert flute, quintadena, fugara, flute d’amour, piccolo harmonique, clarinet, — 61 pipes each. The pedal organ has open diapason, bourdon, lieblich gedeckt (from stop 10), violoncello-wood, — 30 pipes each. Couplers: swell to great; choir to great; swell to choir; swell to great octaves, swell to great sub-octaves; choir to great sub-octaves; swell octaves; swell to pedal; great to pedal; choir to pedal. Mechanical accessories: swell tremulant, choir tremulant, bellows signal; wind indicator. Pedal movements: three affecting great and pedal stops, three affecting swell and pedal stops; great to pedal reversing pedal; crescendo and full organ pedal; balanced great and choir pedal; balanced swell pedal.
Beautiful suggestions greet you in every part of this unique church, which is practical as well as poetic, and justifies the name given by Mrs. Eddy, which stands at the head of this sketch. J. H. W.
Much admiration was expressed by all those fortunate enough to listen to the first peal of the chimes in the tower of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, corner of Falmouth and Norway Streets, dedicated yesterday. The sweet, musical tones attracted quite a throng of people, who listened with delight.
The chimes were made by the United States Tubular 62Bell Company, of Methuen, Mass., and are something of a novelty in this country, though for some time well and favorably known in the Old Country, especially in England.
They are a substitution of tubes of drawn brass for the heavy cast bells of old-fashioned chimes. They have the advantage of great economy of space, as well as of cost, a chime of fifteen bells occupying a space not more than five by eight feet.
Where the old-fashioned chimes required a strong man to ring them, these can be rung from an electric keyboard, and even when rung by hand require but little muscular power to manipulate them and call forth all the purity and sweetness of their tones. The quality of tone is something superb, being rich and mellow. The tubes are carefully tuned, so that the harmony is perfect. They have all the beauties of a great cathedral chime, with infinitely less expense.
There is practically no limit to the uses to which these bells may be put. They can be called into requisition in theatres, concert halls, and public buildings, as they range in all sizes, from those described down to little sets of silver bells that might be placed on a small centre table.
“My faith has the strength to nourish trees as well as souls,” was the remark Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, the “Mother” of Christian Science, made recently as she pointed to a number of large elms that shade her delightful country home in Concord, N.H. “I had them brought here in warm weather, almost as big as they are now, and not one died.” This is a remarkable statement, but it is made by a remarkable woman, who has originated a new phase of religious belief, and who numbers over one hundred thousand intelligent people among her devoted followers.
The great hold she has upon this army was demonstrated in a very tangible and material manner recently, when “The First Church of Christ, Scientist,” erected at a cost of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, was dedicated in Boston. This handsome edifice was paid for before it was begun, by the voluntary contributions of Christian Scientists all over the country, and a tablet imbedded in its wall declares that it was built as “a testimonial to our beloved teacher, Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, 64Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, author of its textbook, ‘Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,’ president of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, and the first pastor of this denomination.”
There is usually considerable difficulty in securing sufficient funds for the building of a new church, but such was not the experience of Rev. Mary Baker Eddy. Money came freely from all parts of the United States. Men, women, and children contributed, some giving a pittance, others donating large sums. When the necessary amount was raised, the custodian of the funds was compelled to refuse further contributions, in order to stop the continued inflow of money from enthusiastic Christian Scientists.
Mrs. Eddy says she discovered Christian Science in 1866. She studied the Scriptures and the sciences, she declares, in a search for the great curative Principle. She investigated allopathy, homœopathy, and electricity, without finding a clew; and modern philosophy gave her no distinct statement of the Science of Mind-healing. After careful study she became convinced that the curative Principle was the Deity.
Boston has just dedicated the first church of the Christian Scientists, in commemoration of the Founder of that sect, the Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, drawing together six thousand people to participate in the ceremonies, showing 65that belief in that curious creed is not confined to its original apostles and promulgators, but that it has penetrated what is called the New England mind to an unlooked-for extent. In inviting the Eastern churches and the Anglican fold to unity with Rome, the Holy Father should not overlook the Boston sect of Christian Scientists, which is rather small and new, to be sure, but is undoubtedly an interesting faith and may have a future before it, whatever attitude Rome may assume toward it.
Attention is directed to the progress which has been made by what is called Christian Science by the dedication at Boston of “The First Church of Christ, Scientist.” It is a most beautiful structure of gray granite, and its builders call it their “prayer in stone,” which suggests to recollection the story of the cathedral of Amiens, whose architectural construction and arrangement of statuary and paintings made it to be called the Bible of that city. The Frankish church was reared upon the spot where, in pagan times, one bitter winter day, a Roman soldier parted his mantle with his sword and gave half of the garment to a naked beggar; and so was memorialized in art and stone what was called the divine spirit of giving, whose unbelieving exemplar afterward became a saint. The Boston church similarly expresses the faith of those who believe 66in what they term the divine art of healing, which, to their minds, exists as much to-day as it did when Christ healed the sick.
The first church organization of this faith was founded fifteen years ago with a membership of only twenty-six, and since then the number of believers has grown with remarkable rapidity, until now there are societies in every part of the country. This growth, it is said, proceeds more from the graveyards than from conversions from other churches, for most of those who embrace the faith claim to have been rescued from death miraculously under the injunction to “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.” They hold with strict fidelity to what they conceive to be the literal teachings of the Bible as expressed in its poetical and highly figurative language.
Altogether the belief and service are well suited to satisfy a taste for the mystical which, along many lines, has shown an uncommon development in this country during the last decade, and which is largely Oriental in its choice. Such a rapid departure from long respected views as is marked by the dedication of this church, and others of kindred meaning, may reasonably excite wonder as to how radical is to be this encroachment upon prevailing faiths, and whether some of the pre-Christian ideas of the Asiatics are eventually to supplant those in company with which our civilization has developed.
“If you would found a new faith, go to Boston,” has been said by a great American writer. This is no idle word, but a fact borne out by circumstances. Boston can fairly claim to be the hub of the logical universe, and an accurate census of the religious faiths which are to be found there to-day would probably show a greater number of them than even Max O’Rell’s famous enumeration of John Bull’s creeds.
Christian Science, or the Principle of divine healing, is one of those movements which seek to give expression to a higher spirituality. Founded twenty-five years ago, it was still practically unknown a decade since, but to-day it numbers over a quarter of a million of believers, the majority of whom are in the United States, and is rapidly growing. In Canada, also, there is a large number of members. Toronto and Montreal have strong churches, comparatively, while in many towns and villages single believers or little knots of them are to be found.
It was exactly one hundred years from the date of the Declaration of Independence, when on July 4, 1876, the first Christian Scientist Association was organized by seven persons, of whom the foremost was Mrs. Eddy. The church was founded in April, 1879, with twenty-six members, and a charter was obtained two months later. 68Mrs. Eddy assumed the pastorship of the church during its early years, and in 1881 was ordained, being now known as the Rev. Mary Baker Eddy.
The Massachusetts Metaphysical College was founded by Mrs. Eddy in 1881, and here she taught the principles of the faith for nine years. Students came to it in hundreds from all parts of the world, and many are now pastors or in practice. The college was closed in 1889, as Mrs. Eddy felt it necessary for the interests of her religious work to retire from active contact with the world. She now lives in a beautiful country residence in her native State.
It is not generally known that a Christian Science congregation was organized in this city about a year ago. It now holds regular services in the parlor of the residence of the pastor, at 1414 Linden Avenue. The dedication in Boston last Sunday of the Christian Science church, called The Mother Church, which cost over two hundred thousand dollars, adds interest to the Baltimore organization. There are many other church edifices in the United States owned by Christian Scientists. Christian Science was founded by Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy. The Baltimore congregation was organized at a meeting held at the present location on February 27, 1894.
69 Dr. Hammond, the pastor, came to Baltimore about three years ago to organize this movement. Miss Cross came from Syracuse, N. Y., about eighteen months ago. Both were under the instruction of Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of the movement.
Dr. Hammond says he was converted to Christian Science by being cured by Mrs. Eddy of a physical ailment some twelve years ago, after several doctors had pronounced his case incurable. He says they use no medicines, but rely on Mind for cure, believing that disease comes from evil and sick-producing thoughts, and that, if they can so fill the mind with good thoughts as to leave no room there for the bad, they can work a cure. He distinguishes Christian Science from the faith-cure, and added: “This Christian Science really is a return to the ideas of primitive Christianity. It would take a small book to explain fully all about it, but I may say that the fundamental idea is that God is Mind, and we interpret the Scriptures wholly from the spiritual or metaphysical standpoint. We find in this view of the Bible the power fully developed to heal the sick. It is not faith-cure, but it is an acknowledgment of certain Christian and scientific laws, and to work a cure the practitioner must understand these laws aright. The patient may gain a better understanding than the Church has had in the past. All churches have prayed for the cure of disease, but they have not done so in an intelligent manner, understanding and demonstrating the Christ-healing.”
Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, author of its textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” president of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, and first pastor of the Christian Science denomination, is without doubt one of the most remarkable women in America. She has within a few years founded a sect that has over one hundred thousand converts, and very recently saw completed in Boston, as a testimonial to her labors, a handsome fire-proof church that cost two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and was paid for by Christian Scientists all over the country.
Mrs. Eddy asserts that in 1866 she became certain that “all causation was Mind, and every effect a mental phenomenon.” Taking her text from the Bible, she endeavored in vain to find the great curative Principle — the Deity — in philosophy and schools of medicine, and she concluded that the way of salvation demonstrated by Jesus was the power of Truth over all error, sin, sickness, and death. Thus originated the divine or spiritual Science of Mind-healing, which she termed Christian Science. She has a palatial home in Boston and a country-seat in Concord, N.H. The Christian Science Church has a 71membership of four thousand, and eight hundred of the members are Bostonians.
The idea that Christian Science has declined in popularity is not borne out by the voluntary contribution of a quarter of a million dollars for a memorial church for Mrs. Eddy, the inventor of this cure. The money comes from Christian Science believers exclusively.
Christian Scientists in this city, and in fact all over the country, have been startled and greatly discomfited over the announcements in New York papers that Mrs. Mary Baker G. Eddy, the acknowledged Christian Science Leader, has been exalted by various dignitaries of the faith. . . .
It is well known that Mrs. Eddy has resigned herself completely to the study and foundation of the faith to which many thousands throughout the United States are now so entirely devoted. By her followers and cobelievers she is unquestionably looked upon as having a divine mission to 72fulfil, and as though inspired in her great task by supernatural power.
For the purpose of learning the feeling of Scientists in this city toward the reported deification of Mrs. Eddy, a Post reporter called upon a few of the leading members of the faith yesterday and had a number of very interesting conversations upon the subject.
Mrs. D. W. Copeland of University Avenue was one of the first to be seen. Mrs. Copeland is a very pleasant and agreeable lady, ready to converse, and evidently very much absorbed in the work to which she has given so much of her attention. Mrs. Copeland claims to have been healed a number of years ago by Christian Scientists, after she had practically been given up by a number of well-known physicians.
In regard to Mrs. Eddy, Mrs. Copeland said that she was the Founder of the faith, but that she had never claimed, nor did she believe that Mrs. Lathrop had, that Mrs. Eddy had any power other than that which came from God and through faith in Him and His teachings.
“The power of Christ has been dormant in mankind for ages,” added the speaker, “and it was Mrs. Eddy’s mission to revive it. In our labors we take Christ as an example, going about doing good and healing the sick. Christ has told us to do his work, naming as one great essential that we have faith in him.
“Did you ever hear of Jesus’ taking medicine himself, or 73giving it to others?” inquired the speaker. “Then why should we worry ourselves about sickness and disease? If we become sick, God will care for us, and will send to us those who have faith, who believe in His unlimited and divine power. Mrs. Eddy was strictly an ardent follower after God. She had faith in Him, and she cured herself of a deathly disease through the mediation of her God. Then she secluded herself from the world for three years and studied and meditated over His divine Word. She delved deep into the Biblical passages, and at the end of the period came from her seclusion one of the greatest Biblical scholars of the age. Her mission was then the mission of a Christian, to do good and heal the sick, and this duty she faithfully performed. She of herself had no power. But God has fulfilled His promises to her and to the world. If you have faith, you can move mountains.”
Mrs. Henrietta N. Cole is also a very prominent member of the church. When seen yesterday she emphasized herself as being of the same theory as Mrs. Copeland. Mrs. Cole has made a careful and searching study in the beliefs of Scientists, and is perfectly versed in all their beliefs and doctrines. She stated that man of himself has no power, but that all comes from God. She placed no credit whatever in the reports from New York that Mrs. Eddy has been accredited as having been deified. She referred the reporter to the large volume which Mrs. Eddy had herself written, and said that no more complete and yet concise idea of her belief could be obtained than by a perusal of it.
Concord, N.H., February 4, 1895. — The article published in the Herald on January 29, regarding a statement made by Mrs. Laura Lathrop, pastor of the Christian Science congregation that meets every Sunday in Hodgson Hall, New York, was shown to Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy, the Christian Science “Discoverer,” to-day.
“Even the question shocks me. What I am is for God to declare in His infinite mercy. As it is, I claim nothing more than what I am, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and the blessing it has been to mankind which eternity enfolds.
“There was, is, and never can be but one God, one 75Christ, one Jesus of Nazareth. Whoever in any age expresses most of the spirit of Truth and Love, the Principle of God’s idea, has most of the spirit of Christ, of that Mind which was in Christ Jesus.
“If Christian Scientists find in my writings, teachings, and example a greater degree of this spirit than in others, they can justly declare it. But to think or speak of me in any manner as a Christ, is sacrilegious. Such a statement would not only be false, but the absolute antipode of Christian Science, and would savor more of heathenism than of my doctrines.
The Christian Scientists of Toronto, to the number of thirty, took part in the ceremonies at Boston last Sunday and for the day or two following, by which the members of that faith all over North America celebrated the dedication of the church constructed in the great New England capital as a testimonial to the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Rev. Mary Baker Eddy.
The temple is believed to be the most nearly fire-proof church structure on the continent, the only combustible 76material used in its construction being that used in the doors and pews. A striking feature of the church is a beautiful apartment known as the “Mother’s Room,” which is approached through a superb archway of Italian marble set in the wall. The furnishing of the “Mother’s Room” is described as “particularly beautiful, and blends harmoniously with the pale green and gold decoration of the walls. The floor is of mosaic in elegant designs, and two alcoves are separated from the apartment by rich hangings of deep green plush, which in certain lights has a shimmer of silver. The furniture frames are of white mahogany in special designs, elaborately carved, and the upholstery is in white and gold tapestry. A superb mantel of Mexican onyx with gold decoration adorns the south wall, and before the hearth is a large rug composed entirely of skins of the eider-down duck, brought from the Arctic regions. Pictures and bric-a-brac everywhere suggest the tribute of loving friends. One of the two alcoves is a retiring-room and the other a lavatory in which the plumbing is all heavily plated with gold.”
Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, Discoverer of Christian Science, has received from the members of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, an invitation formally to accept 77the magnificent new edifice of worship which the church has just erected.
The invitation itself is one of the most chastely elegant memorials ever prepared, and is a scroll of solid gold, suitably engraved, and encased in a handsome plush casket with white silk linings. Attached to the scroll is a golden key of the church structure.
“Dear Mother: — During the year eighteen hundred and ninety-four a church edifice was erected at the intersection of Falmouth and Norway Streets, in the city of Boston, by the loving hands of four thousand members. This edifice is built as a testimonial to Truth, as revealed by divine Love through you to this age. You are hereby most lovingly invited to visit and formally accept this testimonial on the twentieth day of February, eighteen hundred and ninety-five, at high noon.
Members of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, at Boston, have forwarded to Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy of 78this city, the Founder of Christian Science, a testimonial which is probably one of the most magnificent examples of the goldsmith’s art ever wrought in this country. It is in the form of a gold scroll, twenty-six inches long, nine inches wide, and an eighth of an inch thick.
“Dear Mother: — During the year 1894 a church edifice was erected at the intersection of Falmouth and Norway Streets, in the city of Boston, by the loving hands of four thousand members. This edifice is built as a testimonial to Truth, as revealed by divine Love through you to this age. You are hereby most lovingly invited to visit and formally accept this testimonial on the 20th day of February, 1895, at high noon.
The dedication, in Boston, of a Christian Science temple costing over two hundred thousand dollars, and for which the money was all paid in so that no debt had to be taken care of on dedication day, is a notable event. While we are not, and never have been, devotees of Christian Science, it becomes us as students of public questions not to ignore a movement which, starting fifteen years ago, has already gained to itself adherents in every part of the civilized world, for it is a significant fact that one cannot take up a daily paper in town or village — to say nothing of cities — without seeing notices of Christian Science meetings, and in most instances they are held at “headquarters.”
We believe there are two reasons for this remarkable development, which has shown a vitality so unexpected. The first is that a revolt was inevitable from the crass materialism of the cruder science that had taken possession of men’s minds, for as a wicked but witty writer has said, “If there were no God, we should be obliged to invent one.” There is something in the constitution of man that requires the religious sentiment as much as his lungs call for breath; indeed, the breath of his soul is a belief in God.
But when Christian Science arose, the thought of the world’s scientific leaders had become materialistically “lopsided,” and this condition can never long continue. 80There must be a righting-up of the mind as surely as of a ship when under stress of storm it is ready to capsize. The pendulum that has swung to one extreme will surely find the other. The religious sentiment in women is so strong that the revolt was headed by them; this was inevitable in the nature of the case. It began in the most intellectual city of the freest country in the world — that is to say, it sought the line of least resistance. Boston is emphatically the women’s paradise, — numerically, socially, indeed every way. Here they have the largest individuality, the most recognition, the widest outlook. Mrs. Eddy we have never seen; her book has many a time been sent us by interested friends, and out of respect to them we have fairly broken our mental teeth over its granitic pebbles. That we could not understand it might be rather to the credit of the book than otherwise. On this subject we have no opinion to pronounce, but simply state the fact.
We do not, therefore, speak of the system it sets forth, either to praise or blame, but this much is true: the spirit of Christian Science ideas has caused an army of well-meaning people to believe in God and the power of faith, who did not believe in them before. It has made a myriad of women more thoughtful and devout; it has brought a hopeful spirit into the homes of unnumbered invalids. The belief that “thoughts are things,” that the invisible is the only real world, that we are here to be trained into harmony with the laws of God, and that what we are here determines where we shall be hereafter — all these ideas are Christian.
81 The chimes on the Christian Science temple in Boston played “All hail the power of Jesus’ name,” on the morning of the dedication. We did not attend, but we learn that the name of Christ is nowhere spoken with more reverence than it was during those services, and that he is set forth as the power of God for righteousness and the express image of God for love.
We all know her — she is simply the woman of the past with an added grace — a newer charm. Some of her dearest ones call her “selfish” because she thinks so much of herself she spends her whole time helping others. She represents the composite beauty, sweetness, and nobility of all those who scorn self for the sake of love and her handmaiden duty — of all those who seek the brightness of truth not as the moth to be destroyed thereby, but as the lark who soars and sings to the great sun. She is of those who have so much to give they want no time to take, and their name is legion. She is as full of beautiful possibilities as a perfect harp, and she realizes that all the harmonies of the universe are in herself, while her own soul plays upon magic strings the unwritten anthems of love. She is the apostle of the true, the beautiful, the good, commissioned to complete all that the twelve have left undone. Hers is the mission of missions — the highest of all — to 82make the body not the prison, but the palace of the soul, with the brain for its great white throne.
When she comes like the south wind into the cold haunts of sin and sorrow, her words are smiles and her smiles are the sunlight which heals the stricken soul. Her hand is tender — but steel tempered with holy resolve, and as one whom her love had glorified once said — she is soft and gentle, but you could no more turn her from her course than winter could stop the coming of spring. She has long learned with patience, and to-day she knows many things dear to the soul far better than her teachers. In olden times the Jews claimed to be the conservators of the world’s morals — they treated woman as a chattel, and said that because she was created after man, she was created solely for man. Too many still are Jews who never called Abraham “Father,” while the Jews themselves have long acknowledged woman as man’s proper helpmeet. In those days women had few lawful claims and no one to urge them. True, there were Miriam and Esther, but they sang and sacrificed for their people, not for their sex.
To-day there are ten thousand Esthers, and Miriams by the million, who sing best by singing most for their own sex. They are demanding the right to help make the laws, or at least to help enforce the laws upon which depends the welfare of their husbands, their children, and themselves. Why should our selfish self longer remain deaf to their cry? The date is no longer B.C. Might no longer makes right, and in this fair land at least fear has ceased to kiss the iron heel of wrong. Why then 83should we continue to demand woman’s love and woman’s help while we recklessly promise as lover and candidate what we never fulfil as husband and office-holder? In our secret heart our better self is shamed and dishonored, and appeals from Philip drunk to Philip sober, but has not yet the moral strength and courage to prosecute the appeal. But the east is rosy, and the sunlight cannot long be delayed. Woman must not and will not be disheartened by a thousand denials or a million of broken pledges. With the assurance of faith she prays, with the certainty of inspiration she works, and with the patience of genius she waits. At last she is becoming “as fair as the morn, as bright as the sun, and as terrible as an army with banners” to those who march under the black flag of oppression and wield the ruthless sword of injustice.
In olden times it was the Amazons who conquered the invincibles, and we must look now to their daughters to overcome our own allied armies of evil and to save us from ourselves. She must and will succeed, for as David sang — “God shall help her, and that right early.” When we try to praise her later works it is as if we would pour incense upon the rose. It is the proudest boast of many of us that we are “bound to her by bonds dearer than freedom,” and that we live in the reflected royalty which shines from her brow. We rejoice with her that at last we begin to know what John on Patmos meant — “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” She brought to warring men the Prince of Peace, and he, departing, left his scepter 84not in her hand, but in her soul. “The time of times” is near when “the new woman” shall subdue the whole earth with the weapons of peace. Then shall wrong be robbed of her bitterness and ingratitude of her sting, revenge shall clasp hands with pity, and love shall dwell in the tents of hate; while side by side, equal partners in all that is worth living for, shall stand the new man with the new woman.
The Mother Church edifice — The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, is erected. The close of the year, Anno Domini 1894, witnessed the completion of “our prayer in stone,” all predictions and prognostications to the contrary notwithstanding.
Of the significance of this achievement we shall not undertake to speak in this article. It can be better felt than expressed. All who are awake thereto have some measure of understanding of what it means. But only the future will tell the story of its mighty meaning or unfold it to the comprehension of mankind. It is enough for us now to know that all obstacles to its completion have been met and overcome, and that our temple is completed as God intended it should be.
This achievement is the result of long years of untiring, unselfish, and zealous effort on the part of our beloved teacher and Leader, the Reverend Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, who 85nearly thirty years ago began to lay the foundation of this temple, and whose devotion and consecration to God and humanity during the intervening years have made its erection possible.
Those who now, in part, understand her mission, turn their hearts in gratitude to her for her great work, and those who do not understand it will, in the fulness of time, see and acknowledge it. In the measure in which she has unfolded and demonstrated divine Love, and built up in human consciousness a better and higher conception of God as Life, Truth, and Love, — as the divine Principle of all things which really exist, — and in the degree in which she has demonstrated the system of healing of Jesus and the apostles, surely she, as the one chosen of God to this end, is entitled to the gratitude and love of all who desire a better and grander humanity, and who believe it to be possible to establish the kingdom of heaven upon earth in accordance with the prayer and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Rev. Mary Baker Eddy received Friday, from the Christian Science Board of Directors, Boston, a beautiful and unique testimonial of the appreciation of her labors and loving generosity in the Cause of their common faith. It was a facsimile of the corner-stone of the new church of 86the Christian Scientists, just completed, being of granite, about six inches in each dimension, and contains a solid gold box, upon the cover of which is this inscription: —
On the under side of the cover are the facsimile signatures of the Directors, — Ira O. Knapp, William B. Johnson, Joseph Armstrong, and Stephen A. Chase, with the date, “1895.” The beautiful souvenir is encased in an elegant plush box.
In behalf of your loving students and all contributors wherever they may be, we hereby present this church to you as a testimonial of love and gratitude for your labors and loving sacrifice, as the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and the author of its textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.”
We therefore respectfully extend to you the invitation to become the permanent pastor of this church, in connection with the Bible and the book alluded to above, which you have already ordained as our pastor. And we 87most cordially invite you to be present and take charge of any services that may be held therein. We especially desire you to be present on the twenty-fourth day of March, eighteen hundred and ninety-five, to accept this offering, with our humble benediction.
|IRA O. KNAPP,||JOSEPH ARMSTRONG,|
|WILLIAM B. JOHNSON,||STEPHEN A. CHASE,|
|The Christian Science Board of Directors|
Beloved Directors and Brethren: — For your costly offering, and kind call to the pastorate of “The First Church of Christ, Scientist,” in Boston — accept my profound thanks. But permit me, respectfully, to decline their acceptance, while I fully appreciate your kind intentions. If it will comfort you in the least, make me your Pastor Emeritus, nominally. Through my book, your textbook, I already speak to you each Sunday. You ask too much when asking me to accept your grand church edifice. I have more of earth now, than I desire, and less of heaven; so pardon my refusal of that as a material offering. More effectual than the forum are our states of mind, to bless mankind. This wish stops not with my pen — God give you grace. As our church’s tall tower detains the sun, so may luminous lines from your lives linger, a legacy to our race.
From Canada to New Orleans, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean, the author has received leading newspapers with uniformly kind and interesting articles on the dedication of The Mother Church. They were, however, too voluminous for these pages. To those which are copied she can append only a few of the names of other prominent newspapers whose articles are reluctantly omitted.
Advertiser, Calais, Me.
Advertiser, Boston, Mass.
Farmer, Bridgeport, Conn.
Independent, Rockland, Mass.
Kennebec Journal, Augusta, Me.
News, New Haven, Conn.
News, Newport, R. I.
Post, Boston, Mass.
Post, Hartford, Conn.
Republican, Springfield, Mass.
Sentinel, Eastport, Me.
Sun, Attleboro, Mass.
Advertiser, New York City.
Bulletin, Auburn, N. Y.
Daily, York, Pa.
Evening Reporter, Lebanon, Pa.
Farmer, Bridgeport, N. Y.
Herald, Rochester, N. Y.
Independent, Harrisburg, Pa.
Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pa.
89 Independent, New York City.
Journal, Lockport, N. Y.
Knickerbocker, Albany, N. Y.
News, Buffalo, N. Y.
News, Newark, N. J.
Once A Week, New York City.
Post, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Press, Albany, N. Y.
Press, New York City.
Press, Philadelphia, Pa.
Saratogian, Saratoga Springs, N. Y.
Sun, New York City.
Telegram, Philadelphia, Pa.
Telegram, Troy, N. Y.
Times, Trenton, N. J.
Commercial, Louisville, Ky.
Journal, Atlanta, Ga.
Post, Washington, D. C.
Telegram, New Orleans, La.
Times, New Orleans, La.
Times-Herald, Dallas, Tex.
Bee, Omaha, Neb.
Bulletin, San Francisco, Cal.
Chronicle, San Francisco, Cal.
Elite, Chicago, Ill.
Enquirer, Oakland, Cal.
Free Press, Detroit, Mich.
Gazette, Burlington, Iowa.
Herald, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Herald, St. Joseph, Mo.
Journal, Columbus, Ohio.
Journal, Topeka, Kans.
Leader, Bloomington, Ill.
Leader, Cleveland, Ohio.
News, St. Joseph, Mo.
90 News-Tribune, Duluth, Minn.
Pioneer-Press, St. Paul, Minn.
Post-Intelligencer, Seattle, Wash.
Salt Lake Herald, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Sentinel, Indianapolis, Ind.
Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis.
Star, Kansas City, Mo.
Telegram, Portland, Ore.
Times, Chicago, Ill.
Times, Minneapolis, Minn.
Tribune, Minneapolis, Minn.
Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Free Press, London, Can.