Pulpit and Press

Pulpit and Press

Pulpit and Press

Dedicatory Sermon


BY REV. MARY BAKER EDDY
First Pastor of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, Mass.
Delivered January 6, 1895

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      TEXT: They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures.  — PSALMS xxxvi. 8.


A new year is a nursling, a babe of time, a prophecy and promise clad in white raiment, kissed — and encumbered with greetings — redolent with grief and gratitude.

    An old year is time’s adult, and 1893 was a distinguished character, notable for good and evil. Time past and time present, both, may pain us, but time improved is eloquent in God’s praise. For due refreshment garner the memory of 1894; for if wiser by reason of its large lessons, and records deeply engraven, great is the value thereof.
                    Pass on, returnless year!
      The path behind thee is with glory crowned;
      This spot whereon thou troddest was holy ground;
                    Pass proudly to thy bier!

    To-day, being with you in spirit, what need that I should be present in propria persona? Were I present, methinks 2I should be much like the Queen of Sheba, when she saw the house Solomon had erected. In the expressive language of Holy Writ, “There was no more spirit in her;” and she said, “Behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.” Both without and within, the spirit of beauty dominates The Mother Church, from its mosaic flooring to the soft shimmer of its starlit dome.

    Nevertheless, there is a thought higher and deeper than the edifice. Material light and shade are temporal, not eternal. Turning the attention from sublunary views, however enchanting, think for a moment with me of the house wherewith “they shall be abundantly satisfied,” — even the “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” With the mind’s eye glance at the direful scenes of the war between China and Japan. Imagine yourselves in a poorly barricaded fort, fiercely besieged by the enemy. Would you rush forth single-handed to combat the foe? Nay, would you not rather strengthen your citadel by every means in your power, and remain within the walls for its defense? Likewise should we do as metaphysicians and Christian Scientists. The real house in which “we live, and move, and have our being” is Spirit, God, the eternal harmony of infinite Soul. The enemy we confront would overthrow this sublime fortress, and it behooves us to defend our heritage.

    How can we do this Christianly scientific work? By intrenching ourselves in the knowledge that our true temple is no human fabrication, but the superstructure of Truth, reared on the foundation of Love, and pinnacled 3in Life. Such being its nature, how can our godly temple possibly be demolished, or even disturbed? Can eternity end? Can Life die? Can Truth be uncertain? Can Love be less than boundless? Referring to this temple, our Master said: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” He also said: “The kingdom of God is within you.” Know, then, that you possess sovereign power to think and act rightly, and that nothing can dispossess you of this heritage and trespass on Love. If you maintain this position, who or what can cause you to sin or suffer? Our surety is in our confidence that we are indeed dwellers in Truth and Love, man’s eternal mansion. Such a heavenly assurance ends all warfare, and bids tumult cease, for the good fight we have waged is over, and divine Love gives us the true sense of victory. “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures.” No longer are we of the church militant, but of the church triumphant; and with Job of old we exclaim, “Yet in my flesh shall I see God.” The river of His pleasures is a tributary of divine Love, whose living waters have their source in God, and flow into everlasting Life. We drink of this river when all human desires are quenched, satisfied with what is pleasing to the divine Mind.

    Perchance some one of you may say, “The evidence of spiritual verity in me is so small that I am afraid. I feel so far from victory over the flesh that to reach out for a present realization of my hope savors of temerity. Because of my own unfitness for such a spiritual animus my 4strength is naught and my faith fails.” O thou “weak and infirm of purpose.” Jesus said, “Be not afraid”!
      “What if the little rain should say,
               ‘So small a drop as I
        Can ne’er refresh a drooping earth,
              I’ll tarry in the sky.’”

    Is not a man metaphysically and mathematically number one, a unit, and therefore whole number, governed and protected by his divine Principle, God? You have simply to preserve a scientific, positive sense of unity with your divine source, and daily demonstrate this. Then you will find that one is as important a factor as duodecillions in being and doing right, and thus demonstrating deific Principle. A dewdrop reflects the sun. Each of Christ’s little ones reflects the infinite One, and therefore is the seer’s declaration true, that “one on God’s side is a majority.”

    A single drop of water may help to hide the stars, or crown the tree with blossoms.

    Who lives in good, lives also in God, — lives in all Life, through all space. His is an individual kingdom, his diadem a crown of crowns. His existence is deathless, forever unfolding its eternal Principle. Wait patiently on illimitable Love, the lord and giver of Life. Reflect this Life, and with it cometh the full power of being. “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house.”

    In 1893 the World’s Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago, used, in all its public sessions, my form of prayer 5since 1866; and one of the very clergymen who had publicly proclaimed me “the prayerless Mrs. Eddy,” offered his audible adoration in the words I use, besides listening to an address on Christian Science from my pen, read by Judge S. J. Hanna, in that unique assembly.

    When the light of one friendship after another passes from earth to heaven, we kindle in place thereof the glow of some deathless reality. Memory, faithful to goodness, holds in her secret chambers those characters of holiest sort, bravest to endure, firmest to suffer, soonest to renounce. Such was the founder of the Concord School of Philosophy — the late A. Bronson Alcott.

    After the publication of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” his athletic mind, scholarly and serene, was the first to bedew my hope with a drop of humanity. When the press and pulpit cannonaded this book, he introduced himself to its author by saying, “I have come to comfort you.” Then eloquently paraphrasing it, and prophesying its prosperity, his conversation with a beauty all its own reassured me. That prophecy is fulfilled.

    This book, in 1895, is in its ninety-first edition of one thousand copies. It is in the public libraries of the principal cities, colleges, and universities of America; also the same in Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, Greece, Japan, India, and China; in the Oxford University and the Victoria Institute, England; in the Academy of Greece, and the Vatican at Rome.

    This book is the leaven fermenting religion; it is palpably working in the sermons, Sunday Schools, and literature of our and other lands. This spiritual chemi6calization is the upheaval produced when Truth is neutralizing error and impurities are passing off. And it will continue till the antithesis of Christianity, engendering the limited forms of a national or tyrannical religion, yields to the church established by the Nazarene Prophet and maintained on the spiritual foundation of Christ’s healing.

    Good, the Anglo-Saxon term for God, unites Science to Christianity. It presents to the understanding, not matter, but Mind; not the deified drug, but the goodness of God — healing and saving mankind.

    The author of “Marriage of the Lamb,” who made the mistake of thinking she caught her notions from my book, wrote to me in 1894, “Six months ago your book, Science and Health, was put into my hands. I had not read three pages before I realized I had found that for which I had hungered since girlhood, and was healed instantaneously of an ailment of seven years’ standing. I cast from me the false remedy I had vainly used, and turned to the ‘great Physician.’ I went with my husband, a missionary to China, in 1884. He went out under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church. I feel the truth is leading us to return to Japan.”

    Another brilliant enunciator, seeker, and servant of Truth, the Rev. William R. Alger of Boston, signalled me kindly as my lone bark rose and fell and rode the rough sea. At a conversazione in Boston, he said, “You may find in Mrs. Eddy’s metaphysical teachings more than is dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    Also that renowned apostle of anti-slavery, Wendell Phillips, the native course of whose mind never swerved 7from the chariot-paths of justice, speaking of my work, said: “Had I young blood in my veins, I would help that woman.”

    I love Boston, and especially the laws of the State whereof this city is the capital. To-day, as of yore, her laws have befriended progress.

    Yet when I recall the past, — how the gospel of healing was simultaneously praised and persecuted in Boston, — and remember also that God is just, I wonder whether, were our dear Master in our New England metropolis at this hour, he would not weep over it, as he wept over Jerusalem! O ye tears! Not in vain did ye flow. Those sacred drops were but enshrined for future use, and God has now unsealed their receptacle with His outstretched arm. Those crystal globes made morals for mankind. They will rise with joy, and with power to wash away, in floods of forgiveness, every crime, even when mistakenly committed in the name of religion.

    An unjust, unmerciful, and oppressive priesthood must perish, for false prophets in the present as in the past stumble onward to their doom; while their tabernacles crumble with dry rot. “God is not mocked,” and “the word of the Lord endureth forever.”

    I have ordained the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” as pastor of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, — so long as this church is satisfied with this pastor. This is my first ordination. “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures.”

8    All praise to the press of America’s Athens, — and throughout our land the press has spoken out historically, impartially. Like the winds telling tales through the leaves of an ancient oak, unfallen, may our church chimes repeat my thanks to the press.

    Notwithstanding the perplexed condition of our nation’s finances, the want and woe with millions of dollars unemployed in our money centres, the Christian Scientists, within fourteen months, responded to the call for this church with $191,012. Not a mortgage was given nor a loan solicited, and the donors all touchingly told their privileged joy at helping to build The Mother Church. There was no urging, begging, or borrowing; only the need made known, and forth came the money, or diamonds, which served to erect this “miracle in stone.”

    Even the children vied with their parents to meet the demand. Little hands, never before devoted to menial services, shoveled snow, and babes gave kisses to earn a few pence toward this consummation. Some of these lambs my prayers had christened, but Christ will rechristen them with his own new name. “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise.” The resident youthful workers were called “Busy Bees.”

    Sweet society, precious children, your loving hearts and deft fingers distilled the nectar and painted the finest flowers in the fabric of this history, — even its centre-piece, — Mother’s Room in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston. The children are destined to witness results which will eclipse Oriental dreams. They belong to the twentieth century. By juvenile aid, into the build9ing fund have come $4,460.1 Ah, children, you are the bulwarks of freedom, the cement of society, the hope of our race!

    Brothers of the Christian Science Board of Directors, when your tireless tasks are done — well done — no Delphian lyre could break the full chords of such a rest. May the altar you have built never be shattered in our hearts, but justice, mercy, and love kindle perpetually its fires.

    It was well that the brother whose appliances warm this house, warmed also our perishless hope, and nerved its grand fulfilment. Woman, true to her instinct, came to the rescue as sunshine from the clouds; so, when man quibbled over an architectural exigency, a woman climbed with feet and hands to the top of the tower, and helped settle the subject.

    After the loss of our late lamented pastor, Rev. D. A. Easton, the church services were maintained by excellent sermons from the editor of The Christian Science Journal(who, with his better half, is a very whole man), together with the Sunday School giving this flock “drink from the river of His pleasures.” O glorious hope and blessed assurance, “it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Christians rejoice in secret, they have a bounty hidden from the world. Self-forgetfulness, purity, and love are treasures untold — constant prayers, prophecies, and anointings. Practice, not profession, — goodness, not doctrines, — spiritual understanding, not mere belief, gain the ear and right hand of omnipotence, and call down blessings infinite. “Faith without works is dead.” The foundation of enlightened faith is Christ’s teachings and 10practice. It was our Master’s self-immolation, his life-giving love, healing both mind and body, that raised the deadened conscience, paralyzed by inactive faith, to a quickened sense of mortal’s necessities, — and God’s power and purpose to supply them. It was, in the words of the Psalmist, He “who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.”

    Rome’s fallen fanes and silent Aventine is glory’s tomb; her pomp and power lie low in dust. Our land, more favored, had its Pilgrim Fathers. On shores of solitude, at Plymouth Rock, they planted a nation’s heart, — the rights of conscience, imperishable glory. No dream of avarice or ambition broke their exalted purpose, theirs was the wish to reign in hope’s reality — the realm of Love.

    Christian Scientists, you have planted your standard on the rock of Christ, the true, the spiritual idea, — the chief corner-stone in the house of our God. And our Master said: “The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner.” If you are less appreciated to-day than your forefathers, wait — for if you are as devout as they, and more scientific, as progress certainly demands, your plant is immortal. Let us rejoice that chill vicissitudes have not withheld the timely shelter of this house, which descended like day-spring from on high.

    Divine presence, breathe Thou Thy blessing on every heart in this house. Speak out, O soul! This is the new-born of Spirit, this is His redeemed; this, His beloved. May the kingdom of God within you, — with you alway, — 11reascending, bear you outward, upward, heavenward. May the sweet song of silver-throated singers, making melody more real, and the organ’s voice, as the sound of many waters, and the Word spoken in this sacred temple dedicated to the ever-present God — mingle with the joy of angels and rehearse your hearts’ holy intents. May all whose means, energies, and prayers helped erect The Mother Church, find within it home, and heaven.

     1  This sum was increased to $5,568.51 by contributions which reached the Treasurer after the Dedicatory Services.