Retrospection and Introspection

Retrospection and Introspection

The Great Discovery

24It was in Massachusetts, in February, 1866, and after the death of the magnetic doctor, Mr. P. P. Quimby, whom spiritualists would associate therewith, but who was in no wise connected with this event, that I discovered the Science of divine metaphysical healing which I afterwards named Christian Science. The discovery came to pass in this way. During twenty years prior to my discovery I had been trying to trace all physical effects to a mental cause; and in the latter part of 1866 I gained the scientific certainty that all causation was Mind, and every effect a mental phenomenon.

    My immediate recovery from the effects of an injury caused by an accident, an injury that neither medicine nor surgery could reach, was the falling apple that led me to the discovery how to be well myself, and how to make others so.

    Even to the homœopathic physician who attended me, and rejoiced in my recovery, I could not then explain the modus of my relief. I could only assure him that the divine Spirit had wrought the miracle — a miracle which later I found to be in perfect scientific accord with divine law.

    I then withdrew from society about three years, — to ponder my mission, to search the Scriptures, to find the Science of Mind that should take the things of God and 25show them to the creature, and reveal the great curative Principle, — Deity.

    The Bible was my textbook. It answered my questions as to how I was healed; but the Scriptures had to me a new meaning, a new tongue. Their spiritual signification appeared; and I apprehended for the first time, in their spiritual meaning, Jesus’ teaching and demonstration, and the Principle and rule of spiritual Science and metaphysical healing, — in a word, Christian Science.

    I named it Christian, because it is compassionate, helpful, and spiritual. God I called immortal Mind. That which sins, suffers, and dies, I named mortal mind. The physical senses, or sensuous nature, I called error and shadow. Soul I denominated substance, because Soul alone is truly substantial. God I characterized as individual entity, but His corporeality I denied. The real I claimed as eternal; and its antipodes, or the temporal, I described as unreal. Spirit I called the reality; and matter, the unreality.

    I knew the human conception of God to be that He was a physically personal being, like unto man; and that the five physical senses are so many witnesses to the physical personality of mind and the real existence of matter; but I learned that these material senses testify falsely, that matter neither sees, hears, nor feels Spirit, and is therefore inadequate to form any proper conception of the infinite Mind. “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.” (John v. 31.)

    I beheld with ineffable awe our great Master’s purpose in not questioning those he healed as to their disease or 26its symptoms, and his marvellous skill in demanding neither obedience to hygienic laws, nor prescribing drugs to support the divine power which heals. Adoringly I discerned the Principle of his holy heroism and Christian example on the cross, when he refused to drink the “vinegar and gall,” a preparation of poppy, or aconite, to allay the tortures of crucifixion.

    Our great Way-shower, steadfast to the end in his obedience to God’s laws, demonstrated for all time and peoples the supremacy of good over evil, and the superiority of Spirit over matter.

    The miracles recorded in the Bible, which had before seemed to me supernatural, grew divinely natural and apprehensible; though uninspired interpreters ignorantly pronounce Christ’s healing miraculous, instead of seeing therein the operation of the divine law.

    Jesus of Nazareth was a natural and divine Scientist. He was so before the material world saw him. He who antedated Abraham, and gave the world a new date in the Christian era, was a Christian Scientist, who needed no discovery of the Science of being in order to rebuke the evidence. To one “born of the flesh,” however, divine Science must be a discovery. Woman must give it birth. It must be begotten of spirituality, since none but the pure in heart can see God, — the Principle of all things pure; and none but the “poor in spirit” could first state this Principle, could know yet more of the nothingness of matter and the allness of Spirit, could utilize Truth, and absolutely reduce the demonstration of being, in Science, to the apprehension of the age.

27    I wrote also, at this period, comments on the Scriptures, setting forth their spiritual interpretation, the Science of the Bible, and so laid the foundation of my work called Science and Health, published in 1875.

    If these notes and comments, which have never been read by any one but myself, were published, it would show that after my discovery of the absolute Science of Mind-healing, like all great truths, this spiritual Science developed itself to me until Science and Health was written. These early comments are valuable to me as waymarks of progress, which I would not have effaced.

    Up to that time I had not fully voiced my discovery. Naturally, my first jottings were but efforts to express in feeble diction Truth’s ultimate. In Longfellow’s language, —
      But the feeble hands and helpless,
      Groping blindly in the darkness,
      Touch God’s right hand in that darkness,
      And are lifted up and strengthened.

    As sweet music ripples in one’s first thoughts of it like the brooklet in its meandering midst pebbles and rocks, before the mind can duly express it to the ear, — so the harmony of divine Science first broke upon my sense, before gathering experience and confidence to articulate it. Its natural manifestation is beautiful and euphonious, but its written expression increases in power and perfection under the guidance of the great Master.

    The divine hand led me into a new world of light and Life, a fresh universe — old to God, but new to His “little 28one.” It became evident that the divine Mind alone must answer, and be found as the Life, or Principle, of all being; and that one must acquaint himself with God, if he would be at peace. He must be ours practically, guiding our every thought and action; else we cannot understand the omnipresence of good sufficiently to demonstrate, even in part, the Science of the perfect Mind and divine healing.

    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. Purity, self-renunciation, faith, and understanding must reduce all things real to their own mental denomination, Mind, which divides, subdivides, increases, diminishes, constitutes, and sustains, according to the law of God.

    I had learned that Mind reconstructed the body, and that nothing else could. How it was done, the spiritual Science of Mind must reveal. It was a mystery to me then, but I have since understood it. All Science is a revelation. Its Principle is divine, not human, reaching higher than the stars of heaven.

    Am I a believer in spiritualism? I believe in no ism. This is my endeavor, to be a Christian, to assimilate the character and practice of the anointed; and no motive 29can cause a surrender of this effort. As I understand it, spiritualism is the antipode of Christian Science. I esteem all honest people, and love them, and hold to loving our enemies and doing good to them that “despitefully use you and persecute you.”