viiTo those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings. The wakeful shepherd beholds the first faint morning beams, ere cometh the full radiance of a risen day. So shone the pale star to the prophet-shepherds; yet it traversed the night, and came where, in cradled obscurity, lay the Bethlehem babe, the human herald of Christ, Truth, who would make plain to benighted understanding the way of salvation through Christ Jesus, till across a night of error should dawn the morning beams and shine the guiding star of being. The Wisemen were led to behold and to follow this daystar of divine Science, lighting the way to eternal harmony.
The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity. Contentment with the past and the cold conventionality of materialism are crumbling away. Ignorance of God is no longer the stepping-stone to faith. The only guarantee of obedience is a right apprehension of Him whom to know aright is Life eternal. Though empires fall, “the Lord shall reign forever.”
A book introduces new thoughts, but it cannot make them speedily understood. It is the task of the sturdy pioneer to hew the tall oak and to cut the rough granite. Future ages must declare what the pioneer has accomplished.
Since the author’s discovery of the might of Truth in viiithe treatment of disease as well as of sin, her system has been fully tested and has not been found wanting; but to reach the heights of Christian Science, man must live in obedience to its divine Principle. To develop the full might of this Science, the discords of corporeal sense must yield to the harmony of spiritual sense, even as the science of music corrects false tones and gives sweet concord to sound.
Theology and physics teach that both Spirit and matter are real and good, whereas the fact is that Spirit is good and real, and matter is Spirit’s opposite. The question, What is Truth, is answered by demonstration, — by healing both disease and sin; and this demonstration shows that Christian healing confers the most health and makes the best men. On this basis Christian Science will have a fair fight. Sickness has been combated for centuries by doctors using material remedies; but the question arises, Is there less sickness because of these practitioners? A vigorous “No” is the response deducible from two connate facts, — the reputed longevity of the Antediluvians, and the rapid multiplication and increased violence of diseases since the flood.
In the author’s work, RETROSPECTION AND INTROSPECTION, may be found a biographical sketch, narrating experiences which led her, in the year 1866, to the discovery of the system that she denominated Christian Science. As early as 1862 she began to write down and give to friends the results of her Scriptural study, for the Bible was her sole teacher; but these compositions were crude, — the first steps of a child in the newly discovered world of Spirit.
ix She also began to jot down her thoughts on the main subject, but these jottings were only infantile lispings of Truth. A child drinks in the outward world through the eyes and rejoices in the draught. He is as sure of the world’s existence as he is of his own; yet he cannot describe the world. He finds a few words, and with these he stammeringly attempts to convey his feeling. Later, the tongue voices the more definite thought, though still imperfectly.
So was it with the author. As a certain poet says of himself, she “lisped in numbers, for the numbers came.” Certain essays written at that early date are still in circulation among her first pupils; but they are feeble attempts to state the Principle and practice of Christian healing, and are not complete nor satisfactory expositions of Truth. To-day, though rejoicing in some progress, she still finds herself a willing disciple at the heavenly gate, waiting for the Mind of Christ.
Her first pamphlet on Christian Science was copyrighted in 1870; but it did not appear in print until 1876, as she had learned that this Science must be demonstrated by healing, before a work on the subject could be profitably studied. From 1867 until 1875, copies were, however, in friendly circulation.
Before writing this work, SCIENCE AND HEALTH, she made copious notes of Scriptural exposition, which have never been published. This was during the years 1867 and 1868. These efforts show her comparative ignorance of the stupendous Life-problem up to that time, and the degrees by which she came at length to its solution; but she values them as a parent xmay treasure the memorials of a child’s growth, and she would not have them changed.
The first edition of SCIENCE AND HEALTH was published in 1875. Various books on mental healing have since been issued, most of them incorrect in theory and filled with plagiarisms from SCIENCE AND HEALTH. They regard the human mind as a healing agent, whereas this mind is not a factor in the Principle of Christian Science. A few books, however, which are based on this book, are useful.
The author has not compromised conscience to suit the general drift of thought, but has bluntly and honestly given the text of Truth. She has made no effort to embellish, elaborate, or treat in full detail so infinite a theme. By thousands of well-authenticated cases of healing, she and her students have proved the worth of her teachings. These cases for the most part have been abandoned as hopeless by regular medical attendants. Few invalids will turn to God till all physical supports have failed, because there is so little faith in His disposition and power to heal disease.
The divine Principle of healing is proved in the personal experience of any sincere seeker of Truth. Its purpose is good, and its practice is safer and more potent than that of any other sanitary method. The unbiased Christian thought is soonest touched by Truth, and convinced of it. Only those quarrel with her method who do not understand her meaning, or discerning the truth, come not to the light lest their works be reproved. No intellectual proficiency is requisite in the learner, but sound morals are most desirable.
xi Many imagine that the phenomena of physical healing in Christian Science present only a phase of the action of the human mind, which action in some unexplained way results in the cure of disease. On the contrary, Christian Science rationally explains that all other pathological methods are the fruits of human faith in matter, — faith in the workings, not of Spirit, but of the fleshly mind which must yield to Science.
The physical healing of Christian Science results
now, as in Jesus’ time, from the operation of divine
Principle, before which sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally
and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and
sin to reformation. Now, as then, these mighty works
are not supernatural, but supremely natural. They are
the sign of Immanuel, or “God with us,” — a divine
influence ever present in human consciousness and repeating itself, coming now as was promised aforetime,
To preach deliverance to the captives [of sense],
And recovering of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty them that are bruised.
The first school of Christian Science Mind-healing was started by the author with only one student in Lynn, Massachusetts, about the year 1867. In 1881, she opened the Massachusetts Metaphysical College in Boston, under the seal of the Commonwealth, a law relative to colleges having been passed, which enabled her to get this institution chartered for medical purxiiposes. No charters were granted to Christian Scientists for such institutions after 1883, and up to that date, hers was the only College of this character which had been established in the United States, where Christian Science was first introduced.
During seven years over four thousand students were taught by the author in this College. Meanwhile she was pastor of the first established Church of Christ, Scientist; President of the first Christian Scientist Association, convening monthly; publisher of her own works; and (for a portion of this time) sole editor and publisher of the Christian Science Journal, the first periodical issued by Christian Scientists. She closed her College, October 29, 1889, in the height of its prosperity with a deep-lying conviction that the next two years of her life should be given to the preparation of the revision of SCIENCE AND HEALTH, which was published in 1891. She retained her charter, and as its President, reopened the College in 1899 as auxiliary to her church. Until June 10, 1907, she had never read this book throughout consecutively in order to elucidate her idealism.
In the spirit of Christ’s charity, — as one who “hopeth all things, endureth all things,” and is joyful to bear consolation to the sorrowing and healing to the sick, — she commits these pages to honest seekers for Truth.