Here allow me to interpolate some matters of business that ordinarily find no place in my Message. It is a privilege to acquaint communicants with the financial transactions of this church, so far as I know them, and especially before making another united effort to purchase more land and enlarge our church edifice so as to seat the large number who annually favor us with their presence on Communion Sunday.
“Recognizing the necessity for providing an auditorium for The Mother Church that will seat four or five thousand persons, and acting in behalf of ourselves and the Christian Scientists of the world, we agree to contribute 8any portion of two million dollars that may be necessary for this purpose.”
“Our denomination is palpably outgrowing the institutional end thereof. We need to keep pace with our own growth and progress. The necessity here indicated is beyond cavil; beyond resistance in your thought.”
“Now I am sure that I have but expressed the universal voice of Christian Scientists, that there should be something done, and done immediately, to make reasonable accommodation for the regular business of the Christian Science church, and I believe really, with my faint knowledge of arithmetic and the relationship of figures, that a church of twenty-four thousand members should have a seating capacity of more than nine hundred, if they are all to get in.”
“Ten thousand Christian Scientists from throughout the world, convened in annual business meeting in Boston, send our greeting to you, whom we recognize as logically the natural and indispensable Leader of our religious denomination and its activity.
“Since the last report, in 1900, one hundred and five new churches or congregations have been added, and 9those previously established have had large accessions to their membership. In recognition of the necessity for providing an audience-room in The Mother Church which will seat four or five thousand persons, we have agreed to contribute any portion of two million dollars that may be needed for that purpose.
“The instinctive gratitude which not only impels the Christian to turn in loving thankfulness to his heavenly Father, but induces him to glory in every good deed and thought on the part of every man — this would be scant indeed if it did not continually move us to utter our gratitude to you and declare the depth of our affection and esteem.
To the Members of The Mother Church: — I am bankrupt in thanks to you, my beloved brethren, who at our last annual meeting pledged yourselves with startling grace to contribute any part of two millions of dollars towards the purchase of more land for its site, and to enlarge our church edifice in Boston. I never before felt poor in thanks, but I do now, and will draw on God for the amount I owe you, till I am satisfied with what my heart gives to balance accounts.
It is inevitable that the transforming influence of Christian Science should improve the thought, enlarge the favorable expectation, and augment the achievements of its followers. It was inevitable that this mighty impulse for good should have externalized itself, ten years ago, in an edifice for The Mother Church. It is inevitable that this same impulsion should now manifest itself in a beautiful, ample building, embodying the best of design, material, and situation.
Some money has been paid in towards the fund, and some of the churches and other organizations have taken steps in this direction, but the time is at hand, now, for this entire donation to be specifically subscribed as to amount and date of payment. No appeal has ever been made in this behalf, and it is probable that none will be made or ever be needed. It is doubtful if the Cause of Christian Science could prosper, in any particular, on the basis of fretful or reluctant sacrifice on the part of its people. Christian Scientists are not expected to contribute money against their will or as the result of importunity or entreaty on the part of some one else.
They will provide the money necessary to this end, because they recognize the importance of The Mother Church to the Cause. They realize that there must be a prosperous parent church, in order to insure the prosperity of the branch churches; indeed, they know that it is the prosperous growth of this movement which now necessitates this onward step. They know that their own individual welfare is closely interwoven with the general welfare of the Cause.
11 Notwithstanding the fact that as Christian Scientists we are as yet but imperfect followers of the perfect Christ, and although we may falter or stumble or loiter by the way, we know that the Leader of this movement, Mrs. Eddy, has been constantly at her post during all the storms that have surged against her for a generation. She has been the one of all the world who has encountered the full force of antagonism. We know, too, that during these years she has not tried to guide us by means of forced marches, but has waited for us to grow into readiness for each step, and we know that in all this time she has never urged upon us a step that did not result in our welfare.
A year ago she quietly alluded to the need of our Mother Church. She knew that we were ready; the response was instant, spontaneous. Later on she expressed much gratification because of prompt and liberal action, and it needs no special insight to predict that she will be cheered and encouraged to know that, having seized upon this privilege and opportunity, we have also made good the pledge.
Our readers have been informed of the purchase of the land upon which the new building will be erected, and that this land has been paid for. The location is, therefore, determined. The size of the building was decided last June, but there still remained for definite decision the amount to be expended and the date for commencing building operations. The pledge of the annual meeting was “any portion of two million dollars that 12may be necessary for this purpose,” and this of course carried the implication that work should be commenced as soon as the money in hand justified the letting of contracts.
The spontaneous and liberal donations which enabled those having the work in charge to secure the large parcel of land adjoining The Mother Church, gives promise of the speedy accumulation of a sum sufficient to justify the decision of these remaining problems. Each person interested must remember, however, that his individual desires, both as to the amount to be expended and the date of commencing work, will be best evidenced by the liberality and promptness of his own contribution.
This was an emphatic rule of St. Paul: “Behold, now is the accepted time.” A lost opportunity is the greatest of losses. Whittier mourned it as what “might have been.” We own no past, no future, we possess only now. If the reliable now is carelessly lost in speaking or in acting, it comes not back again. Whatever needs to be done which cannot be done now, God prepares the way for doing; while that which can be done now, but is not, increases our indebtedness to God. Faith in divine Love supplies the ever-present help and now, and gives the power to “act in the living present.”
The dear children’s good deeds are gems in the settings of manhood and womanhood. The good they desire to 13do, they insist upon doing now. They speculate neither on the past, present, nor future, but, taking no thought for the morrow, act in God’s time.
A book by Benjamin Wills Newton, called “Thoughts on the Apocalypse,” published in London, England, in 1853, was presented to me in 1903 by Mr. Marcus Holmes. This was the first that I had even heard of it. When scanning its interesting pages, my attention was arrested by the following: “The church at Jerusalem, like a sun in the centre of its system, had other churches, like so many planets, revolving around it. It was strictly a mother and a ruling church.” According to his description, the church of Jerusalem seems to prefigure The Mother Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston.
I understand that the members of The Mother Church, out of loving hearts, pledged to this church in Boston any part of two millions of money with which to build an ample temple dedicate to God, to Him “who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s,” — to build a temple the spiritual spire of which will reach the stars with divine overtures, holy harmony, reverberating through all cycles of systems and spheres.
Because Christian Scientists virtually pledged this munificent sum not only to my church but to Him who returns it unto them after many days, their loving giving has been blessed. It has crystallized into a foundation for our temple, and it will continue to “prosper in the 14thing whereto [God, Spirit] sent it.” In the now they brought their tithes into His storehouse. Then, when this bringing is consummated, God will pour them out a blessing above the song of angels, beyond the ken of mortals — a blessing that two millions of love currency will bring to be discerned in the near future as a gleam of reality; not a madness and nothing, but a sanity and something from the individual, stupendous, Godlike agency of man.
A few days ago we received a letter from a friend in another city, saying that he had just been informed — and his informant claimed to have good authority for the statement — that the entire amount required to complete The Mother Church building fund had been paid in; consequently further payments or subscriptions were not desired.
Our friend very promptly and emphatically pronounced the story a fabrication of the evil one, and he was entirely right in doing so. If the devil were really an entity, endowed with genius and inspiration, he could not have invented a more subtle lie with which to ensnare a generous and loyal people.
As a matter of fact, the building fund is not complete, but it is in such a healthy state that building operations have been commenced, and they will be carried on without interruption until the church is finished. The rapidity with which the work will be pushed forward necessitates large payments of money, and it is desirable that the contributions to the building fund keep pace with the disbursements.
THE MOTHER CHURCH BUILDING. — SECTION 3. The edifice erected in 1894 for The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., shall neither be demolished nor removed from the site where it was built, without the written consent of the Pastor Emeritus, Mary Baker Eddy.
My Beloved Brethren: — My heart goes out to you as ever in daily desire that the Giver of all good transform you into His own image and likeness. Already I have said to you all that you are able to bear now, and thanking you for your gracious reception of it I close with Kate Hankey’s excellent hymn, —
I love to tell the story,
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and his glory,
Of Jesus and his love.
I love to tell the story,
Because I know ’tis true;
It satisfies my longings,
As nothing else can do.
I love to tell the story;
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting
To hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory,
I sing the NEW, NEW SONG,
’Twill be the OLD, OLD STORY
That I have loved so long.
The report of Mr. Stephen A. Chase, treasurer of the building fund of The Mother Church, made to the annual meeting, showed that a total of $425,893.66 had been received up to and including May 31, 1904, and that there was a balance of $226,285.73 on hand on that date, after paying out the sum of $199,607.93, which included the purchase price of the land for the site of the new building.
The corner-stone of the new auditorium for The Mother Church in Boston was laid Saturday, July 16, 1904, at eight o’clock in the forenoon. In addition to the members of the Christian Science Board of Directors, who have the work directly in charge, there were present on this occasion: Mr. Alfred Farlow, President of The Mother Church; Prof. Hermann S. Hering, First Reader; Mrs. Ella E. Williams, Second Reader; Mr. Charles Brigham and Mr. E. Noyes Whitcomb, respectively the architect and the builder of the new edifice.
This was followed by a few moments of silent prayer and the audible repetition of the Lord’s Prayer with its spiritual interpretation, as given in the Christian Science textbook, after which the following extracts from Mrs. Eddy’s writings were read: —
“Hitherto, I have observed that in proportion as this church has smiled on His ‘little ones,’ He has blessed her. Throughout my entire connection with The Mother 18Church, I have seen, that in the ratio of her love for others, hath His love been bestowed upon her; watering her waste places, and enlarging her borders.
“One thing I have greatly desired, and again earnestly request, namely, that Christian Scientists, here and elsewhere, pray daily for themselves; not verbally, nor on bended knee, but mentally, meekly, and importunately. When a hungry heart petitions the divine Father-Mother God for bread, it is not given a stone, — but more grace, obedience, and love. If this heart, humble and trustful, faithfully asks divine Love to feed it with the bread of heaven, health, holiness, it will be conformed to a fitness to receive the answer to its desire; then will flow into it the ‘river of His pleasure,’ the tributary of divine Love, and great growth in Christian Science will follow, — even that joy which finds one’s own in another’s good.” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 127.)
“Beloved brethren, the love of our loving Lord was never more manifest than in its stern condemnation of all error, wherever found. I counsel thee, rebuke and exhort one another. Love all Christian churches for the gospel’s sake; and be exceedingly glad that the churches are united in purpose, if not in method, to close the war between flesh and Spirit, and to fight the good fight till God’s will be witnessed and done on earth as in heaven.” (Christian Science versus Pantheism, p. 13.)
The corner-stone was then laid by the members of the Christian Science Board of Directors. It contained the following articles: The Holy Bible; “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” and all other published writings of the Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer 19and Founder of Christian Science; Christian Science Hymnal; “The Mother Church;” the current numbers of The Christian Science Journal, Christian Science Sentinel, Der Herold der Christian Science, and the Christian Science Quarterly.
The ceremony concluded with the repetition of “the scientific statement of being,” from Science and Health (p. 468), and the benediction, 2 Corinthians 13 : 14: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”
Beloved Brethren: — It is conceded that our shadows follow us in the sunlight wherever we go; but I ask for more, even this: That this dear church shall be pursued by her substance, the immortal fruition of her unselfed love, and that her charity, which “seeketh not her own” but another’s good, shall reap richly the reward of goodness.
Those words of our holy Way-shower, vibrant through time and eternity with acknowledgment of exemplary giving, no doubt fill the memory and swell the hearts of the members of The Mother Church, because of that gift which you so sacredly bestowed towards its church building fund. These are applicable words: “Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached 20throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.” (Mark 14 : 9.)
Beloved Students: — The holidays are coming, and I trow you are awaiting on behalf of your Leader the loving liberty of their license. May I relieve you of selecting, and name your gifts to her, in advance? Send her only what God gives to His church. Bring all your tithes into His storehouse, and what you would expend for presents to her, please add to your givings to The Mother Church building fund, and let this suffice for her rich portion in due season. Send no gifts to her the ensuing season, but the evidences of glorious growth in Christian Science.
In view of the fact that a general attendance of the members of The Mother Church at the communion and annual meeting in Boston entails the expenditure of a large amount of money, and the further fact that it is important that the building fund of The Mother Church should be completed as early as possible, it has been decided to omit this year the usual large gathering in Boston, and to ask the members to contribute to 21the building fund the amount which they would have expended in such an event.
We all know of the loving self-sacrifices which have been made by many of the branch churches in transferring to this fund the money which had been collected for the purpose of building church homes of their own, and it will thus be seen that the course suggested will not only hasten the completion of The Mother Church, but will also advance the erection of many branch churches. We therefore feel sure that all Christian Scientists will gladly forego a visit to Boston at this time, in order to contribute more liberally to the building fund and thereby aid the progress of our Cause throughout the world.
Christian Scientists have learned from experience that divine Love more than compensates for every seeming trial and deprivation in our loyalty to Truth, and it is but right to expect that those who are willing to forego their anticipated visit this year will receive a greater blessing — “good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over.” The local members, who have always experienced much pleasure in welcoming their brethren from far and near, and who have anticipated much joy in meeting very many of them this year, will feel that they have been called upon to make no less sacrifice than have others; but we are confident that they too will be blessed, and that all will rejoice in the glad reunion upon the completion of the new edifice in Boston.
|IRA O. KNAPP,||JOSEPH ARMSTRONG,|
|WILLIAM B. JOHNSON,||STEPHEN A. CHASE,|
|The Christian Science Board of Directors|
In the year 1902 our Leader saw the need of a larger edifice for the home of The Mother Church, one that would accommodate the constantly increasing attendance at all the services, and the large gatherings at the annual meeting; and, at the annual meeting in June, 1902, a sum of money adequate to erect such a building was pledged. Christian Scientists have contributed already for this grand and noble purpose, but let us not be unconsciously blind to the further needs of the building fund, in order to complete this great work, nor wait to be urged or to be shown the absolute necessity of giving.
Since 1866, almost forty years ago, — almost forty years in the wilderness, — our beloved Leader and teacher, Mrs. Eddy, the Founder of Christian Science, has labored for the regeneration of mankind; and time has put its seal of affirmation upon every purpose she has set in motion, and the justification of her labors is the fruit. In these years of work she has shown wisdom, faith, and a spiritual discernment of the needs of the present and of the future that is nothing less than God-bestowed.
In years to come the moral and the physical effects produced by The Mother Church, and by the advanced position taken by our Pastor Emeritus and Leader, will appear in their proper perspective. Is it not therefore the duty of all who have touched the healing hem of Christian Science, to get immediately into the proper perspective of the meaning of the erection of the new edifice of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston?
23 It is not necessary for us to delay our contributions in order to find out how much our neighbor has given, or to compute by the total membership of The Mother Church what amount each shall send the Treasurer. The divine Love that prompted the desire, and supplied the means to consummate the erection of the present edifice in 1894, is still with us, and will bless us so long as we follow His commands.
Beloved Teacher and Leader: — The members of your church, The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., in annual business meeting assembled, send their loyal and loving greetings to you, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and author of its textbook.
We rejoice greatly that the walls of our new edifice are rising, not only to faith but also to sight; that this temple, which represents the worship of Spirit, with its inseparable accompaniment, the Christ-healing, is being built in our day; and that we have the privilege of participating in the work of its erection. As the stately structure grows, and stone is laid upon stone, those who pass by are 24impelled to ask, What means this edifice? and they learn that the truth which Christ Jesus revealed — the truth which makes free — is to-day being proven and is ready to heal all who accept its divine ministry. We congratulate you that the building is to express in its ample auditorium something of the vastness of the truth it represents, and also to symbolize your unmeasured love for humanity, which inspires you to welcome all mankind to the privileges of this healing and saving gospel. As the walls are builded by the prayers and offerings of the thousands who have been healed through Christian Science, we know that you rejoice in the unity of thought and purpose which is thus expressed, showing that The Mother Church “fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.”
We are prompted to state, for the benefit of those who have inquired about the progress of the work on the extension to The Mother Church, that the erection of the building is proceeding rapidly; in fact, it is being pushed with the utmost energy, and at the present time there are no less than fifteen different trades represented. The beauty of the building, and the substantial and enduring character of its construction, have been remarked by the many visitors who have recently inspected the work, and they have gone away with the conviction that the structure is worthy of our Cause and that it will meet the needs of The Mother Church as well as this can be done by a building with a seating capacity of five thousand.
It therefore occurs to us that there could be no more appropriate time for completing the building fund than 25the present Thanksgiving season; and it is suggested to our readers that there would be great propriety in making a special effort during the coming week to dispose fully and finally of this feature of the demonstration.
The great interest exhibited by the children who attend the Sunday School of The Mother Church is shown by their contributions to the building fund. The following figures are taken from the report of the secretary of the Sunday School and are most gratifying:
Will one and all of my dear correspondents accept this, my answer to their fervid question: Owing to the time consumed in travel, et cetera, I cannot be present in propria persona at our annual communion and the dedication in June next of The Mother Church of Christ, Scientist. But I shall be with my blessed church “in spirit and in truth.”
I have faith in the givers and in the builders of this church edifice, — admiration for and faith in the grandeur and sublimity of this superb superstructure, wherein all vanity of victory disappears and the glory of divinity appears in all its promise.
My Beloved Students: — Your generous check of five thousand dollars, April 23, 1906, is duly received. You can imagine my gratitude and emotion at the touch of memory. Your beneficent gift is the largest sum of money that I have ever received from my church, and quite unexpected at this juncture, but not the less appreciated. My Message for June 10 is ready for you. It is too short to be printed in book form, for I thought it better to be brief on this rare occasion. This communion and dedication include enough of their own.
The enclosed notice I submit to you, and trust that you will see, as I foresee, the need of it. Now is the time to throttle the lie that students worship me or that I claim their homage. This historical dedication should date some special reform, and this notice is requisite to give the true animus of our church and denomination.
To the Beloved Members of my Church, The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston: — Divine Love bids me say: Assemble not at the residence of your Pastor Emeritus at or about the time of our annual meeting and communion service, for the divine and not the human should engage our attention at this sacred season of prayer and praise.
The contributors to the building fund for the extension of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., are hereby notified that sufficient funds have been received for the completion of the church building, and the friends are requested to send no more money to this fund.
Christian Scientists will read with much joy and thanksgiving the announcement made by Mr. Chase in this issue of the Sentinel that sufficient funds have been received by him, as treasurer of the building fund, to pay all bills in connection with the extension of The Mother Church, and to most of them the fact that he 28has been able to make this announcement coincident with the completion of the building will be deeply significant. Our Leader has said in Science and Health (p. 494), “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need,” and this has been proved true in the experience of many who have contributed to the building fund.
The treasurer’s books will show the dollars and cents received by him, but they can give no more than a hint of the unselfish efforts, and in many instances the loving self-sacrifice, of those who have given so generously to the building of this church. Suffice it to say, however, that the giving to this fund has stimulated those gentle qualities which mark the true Christian, and its influence upon the lives of thousands has been of immense value to them.
The significance of this building is not to be found in the material structure, but in the lives of those who, under the consecrated leadership of Mrs. Eddy, and following her example, are doing the works which Jesus said should mark the lives of his followers. It stands as the visible symbol of a religion which heals the sick and reforms the sinful as our Master healed and reformed them. It proclaims to the world that Jesus’ gospel was for all time and for all men; that it is as effective to-day as it was when he preached the Word of God to the multitudes of Judea and healed them of their diseases and their sins. It speaks for the successful labors of one divinely guided woman, who has brought to the world the spiritual understanding of the Scriptures, and whose ministry has revealed the one true Science and changed the whole aspect of medicine and theology.
Five thousand people kneeling in silent communion; a stillness profound; and then, rising in unison from the vast congregation, the words of the Lord’s Prayer! Such was the closing incident of the dedicatory services of the extension of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, at the corner of Falmouth and Norway Streets, yesterday morning. And such was the scene repeated six times during the day.
It was a sight which no one who saw it will ever be able to forget. Many more gorgeous church pageantries have been seen in this country and in an older civilization; there have been church ceremonies that appealed more to the eye, but the impressiveness of this lay in its very simplicity; its grandeur sprang from the complete unanimity of thought and of purpose. There was something emanating from the thousands who worshipped under the dome of the great edifice whose formal opening they had gathered to observe, that appealed to and fired the imagination. A comparatively new religion launching upon a new era, assuming an altogether different status before the world!
Even the sun smiled kindly upon the dedication of the extension of The Mother Church. With a cooling breeze to temper the heat, the thousands who began to congregate about the church as early as half past five in the morning were able to wait patiently for the opening of the doors without suffering the inconveniences of an oppressive day. From that time, until the close of the evening service, 30Falmouth and Norway Streets held large crowds of people, either coming from a service or awaiting admission to one. As all the services were precisely the same in every respect, nobody attended more than one, so that there were well over thirty thousand people who witnessed the opening. Not only did these include Scientists from all over the world, and nearly all the local Scientists, but many hundreds of other faiths, drawn to the church from curiosity, and from sympathy, too.
It spoke much for the devotion of the members to their faith, the character of the attendance. In those huge congregations were business men come from far distant points at personal sacrifices of no mean order; professional men, devoted women members, visitors from Australia, from India, from England, from Germany, from Switzerland, from South Africa, from Hawaii, from the coast States.
They gave generously of their means in gratitude for the epoch-making event. The six collections were large, and when the plates were returned after having been through the congregations, they were heaped high with bills, with silver, and with gold. Some of these contributions were one-hundred-dollar bills. Without ostentation and quite voluntarily the Scientists gave a sum surpassing some of the record collections secured by evangelists for the work of Christianity.
Though the church was filled for the service at half past seven, and hundreds had to be turned away, by far the largest crowd of the day applied for admission at the ten o’clock service, and it was representative of the entire body of the Christian Science church.
Before half past seven the chimes of the new church 31began to play, first the “Communion Hymn,” succeeded by the following hymns throughout the day: “The morning light is breaking;” “Shepherd, show me how to go;” “Just as I am, without one plea;” “I need Thee every hour;” “Blest Christmas morn;” “Abide with me;” “Day by day the manna fell;” “Oh, the clanging bells of time;” “Still, still with Thee;” “O’er waiting harpstrings of the mind;” Doxology.
Promptly at half past six the numerous doors of the church were thrown open and the public had its first glimpse of the great structure, the cost of which approximates two millions of dollars, contributed from over the entire world. The first impression was of vastness, then of light and cheerfulness, and when the vanguard of the thousands had been seated, expressions of surprise and of admiration were heard on every hand for the beauty and the grace of the architecture. The new home for worship that was opened by the Scientists in Boston yesterday can take a place in the front rank of the world’s houses of worship, and it is no wonder that the first sight which the visitors caught of its interior should have impressed them as one of the events of their lives.
First Reader William D. McCrackan, accompanied by the Second Reader, Mrs. Laura Carey Conant, and the soloist for the services, Mrs. Hunt, was on the Readers’ platform. Stepping to the front of the platform, when the congregation had taken their seats, the First Reader announced simply that they would sing Hymn 161, written by Mrs. Eddy, as the opening of the dedicatory service. And what singing it was! As though trained carefully under one leader, the great body of Scientists joined in the song of praise.
32 Spontaneous unanimity and repetition in unison were two of the most striking features of the services. When, after five minutes of silent communion at the end of the service, the congregation began to repeat the Lord’s Prayer, they began all together, and their voices rose as one in a heartfelt appeal to the creator.
So good are the acoustic properties of the new structure that Mr. McCrackan and Mrs. Conant could be heard perfectly in every part of it, and they did not have to lift their voices above the usual platform tone.
Hymn 161, from the Hymnal. Words by the Rev. Mary Baker Eddy.1
Hymn 166, from the Hymnal.2
The subject of the special Lesson-Sermon was “Adam, Where Art Thou?” the Golden Text: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalms 139 : 23, 24.) The responsive reading was from Psalms 15 : 1–5; 24 : 1–6, 9, 10.
|The Bible||Science and Health1|
|Genesis 3 : 9–11||224 : 22|
|Proverbs 8 : 1, 4, 7||559 : 8–10, 19|
|Mark 2 : 15–17||181 : 21–25|
|307 : 31–8|
|Psalms 51 : 1–3, 6, 10, 12,||308 : 8, 16–28 This;|
|323 : 19–24, 28–32|
|When; The effects|
|The Bible||Science and Health|
|Hebrews 11 : 1, 3, 6||297 : 20 Faith|
|Proverbs 3 : 5, 6||241 : 23–27|
|Job 28 : 20, 23, 28||275 : 25|
|1 Corinthians 14 : 20||505 : 21–28 Under-|
|536 : 8|
|Psalms 86 : 15, 16||345 : 31|
|Matthew 9 : 2–8||337 : 10|
|525 : 4|
|494 : 30–2 Our Master|
|476 : 32–4|
|171 : 4|
|Mark 12 : 30, 31||9 : 17–21 Dost thou|
|John 21 : 1 (first||53 : 8–11|
|clause), 14–17||54 : 29–1|
|1 John 4 : 21||560 : 11–19, 22 The|
|565 : 18–22|
|John 21 : 4–6, 9, 12, 13||34 : 29–29|
|Revelation 3 : 20|
|Revelation 7 : 13, 14, 16, 17|
Beloved Teacher and Leader: — The members of your church have assembled at this sacred time to commune with our infinite heavenly Father and again to consecrate all that we are or hope to be to a holy Christian service that shall be acceptable unto God.
Most of us are here because we have been delivered from beds of sickness or withheld from open graves or reclaimed from vice or redeemed from obdurate sin. We have exchanged the tears of sorrow for the joy of repentance and the peace of a more righteous living, and now with blessed accord we are come, in humility, to pour out our gratitude to God and to bear witness to the abundance of salvation through His divine Christ.
At this altar, dedicated to the only true God, we who have been delivered from the depths increase the measure of our devotion to the daily life and purpose which are in the image and likeness of God.
By these stately walls; by this sheltering dome; by all the beauty of color and design, the Christian Scientists of the world, in tender affection for the cause of human weal, have fulfilled a high resolve and set up this tabernacle, which is to stand as an enduring monument, a sign of your understanding and proof that our Supreme God, through His power and law, is the natural healer 37of all our diseases and hath ordained the way of salvation of all men from all evil. No vainglorious boast, no pride of circumstances has place within the sacred confines of this sanctuary. Naught else than the grandeur of humility and the incense of gratitude and compassionate love can acceptably ascend heavenward from this house of God.
It is from the depths of tenderest gratitude, respect, and affection that we declare again our high appreciation of all that you have done and continue to do for the everlasting advantage of this race. Through you has been revealed the verity and rule of the Christianity of Christ which has ever healed the sick. By your fidelity and the constancy of your obedience during forty years you have demonstrated this Science before the gaze of universal humanity. By reason of your spiritual achievement the Cause of Christian Science has been organized and maintained, its followers have been prospered, and the philosophy of the ages transformed. Recognizing the grand truth that God is the supreme cause of all the activities of legitimate existence, we also recognize that He has made known through your spiritual perception the substance of Christian Science, and that this church owes itself and its prosperity to the unbroken activity of your labors, which have been and will still be the pretext for our confident and favorable expectation.
With sacred resolution do we pray that we may give heed and ponder and obey. We would be glad if our prayers, our rejoicing, and our love could recompense your 38long sacrifice and bestow upon you the balm of heavenly joy, but knowing that every perfect gift cometh from above, and that in God is all consolation and comfort, we rest in this satisfying assurance, while we thank you and renew the story of our love for you and for all that you are and all that you have done for us.
By means of a carefully trained corps of ushers, numbering two hundred, there was no confusion in finding seats, and when all seating space had been filled no more were admitted until the next service. The church was filled for each service in about twenty minutes, and was emptied in twelve, in spite of the fact that many of the visitors showed a tendency to tarry to examine the church.
It was “children’s day” at noon, for the service at half past twelve was specially reserved for them. They filled all the seats in the body of the church, and when it came to the singing, the little ones were not a whit behind their elders, their shrill trebles rising with the roll of the organ in almost perfect time. In every respect their service was the same as all the others.
The annual meeting of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, was held in the extension of The Mother Church, Tuesday, June 12, at ten o’clock in the 39forenoon, and in order to accommodate those who could not gain admittance at that hour a second session was held at two o’clock in the afternoon. The meeting was opened by the President, Rev. William P. McKenzie, who read from the Bible and Science and Health as follows: —
|The Bible||Science and Health|
|Isaiah 54 : 1–5, 10–15,||571 : 22|
|17||574 : 3–16, 27 The Revela-|
|Revelation 19 : 1, 6-9||tor; The very|
|577 : 4|
When I introduce the incoming President, my modest task will be ended. You will allow me, however, the privilege of saying a few words of reminder and prophecy. My thoughts revert to a former occasion, when it was my pleasant duty to preside at an annual meeting when our Pastor Emeritus, Mrs. Eddy, was present. We remember her graciousness and dignity. We recall the harmonious tones of her gentle voice. Our hearts were thrilled by her compassion, and the memory lives with us. But even more distinctly may we realize her presence with us to-day. Why? Because our own growth in love and unity enables us to comprehend better the strength and beauty of her character.
40 Moreover, this completed extension of The Mother Church is an evidence to us of her hospitable love. She has desired for years to have her church able to give more adequate reception to those who hunger and thirst after practical righteousness; and we are sure that now the branch churches of The Mother Church will also enlarge their hospitality, so that these seekers everywhere may be satisfied. This will imply the subsidence of criticism among workers. It may even imply that some who have been peacebreakers shall willingly enter into the blessedness of peacemakers. Nothing will be lost, however, by those who relinquish their cherished resentments, forsake animosity, and abandon their strongholds of rivalry. Through rivalries among leaders Christendom became divided into warring sects; but the demand of this age is for peacemaking, so that Christianity may more widely reassert its pristine power to bring health and a cure to pain-racked and sorrow-worn humanity. “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, . . . And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
Our Leader, Mrs. Eddy, has presented to the world the ideal of Christianity, because she is an exact metaphysician. She has illustrated what the poet perceived when he said, “All’s love, but all’s law.” She has obeyed the divine Principle, Love, without regrets and without resistance. Human sense often rebels against law, hence the proverb: Dura lex, sed lex (Hard is the law, nevertheless it is the law). But by her own blameless and happy life, as well as by her teachings, our Leader has induced a 41multitude — how great no man can number — to become gladly obedient to law, so that they think rightly or righteously.
No one can change the law of Christian metaphysics, the law of right thinking, nor in any wise alter its effects. It is a forever fact that the meek and lowly in heart are blessed and comforted by divine Love. If the proud are lonely and uncomforted, it is because they have thoughts adverse to the law of love. Pride, arrogance, and self-will are unmerciful, and so receive judgment without mercy; but the law of metaphysics says, “Blessed are the merciful,” and will allow no one to escape that blessedness, howsoever far he may stray, whatsoever lawlessness of hatred he may practise and suffer from.
So we see that Christian Science makes no compromise with evil, sin, wrong, or imperfection, but maintains the perfect standard of truth and righteousness and joy. It teaches us to rise from sentimental affection which admires friends and hates enemies, into brotherly love which is just and kind to all and unable to cherish any enmity. It brings into present and hourly application what Paul termed “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” and shows man that his real estate is one of blessedness. Why should any one postpone his legitimate joy, and disregard his lawful inheritance, which is “incorruptible and undefiled”? Our Leader and teacher not only discovered Christian Science, but through long years of consecration has obeyed its every demand, for our sakes as well as for her own; and we begin to understand how illimitable is the Love which supports such selfless devotion, we begin to comprehend the “beauty of holiness,” and 42to be truly grateful to her who has depicted its form and comeliness. We have found it true that “she openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”
It is my pleasure to introduce to you a faithful follower of this Leader as the President for the coming year, Willis F. Gross, C.S.B., one who has for many years “witnessed a good confession” in the practice of Christian Science. You are no doubt already acquainted with him as one of the helpful contributors to our periodicals, so that any further words of mine are unnecessary.
Beloved Friends: — Most unexpectedly to me came the call to serve you in this capacity, and I desire to improve this opportunity to express my thanks for the honor conferred upon me. With a heart filled with gratitude for the countless blessings which have come into my life through Christian Science, I shall endeavor to perform this service to the best of my ability.
It affords me great pleasure to welcome you to our first annual meeting held in the extension of The Mother Church. I shall not attempt to speak of the deep significance of this momentous occasion. I realize that only as infinite good unfolds in each individual consciousness can we begin to comprehend, even in small degree, how great is the work that has been inaugurated by our beloved Leader, how faithful is her allegiance to God, how untiring are her efforts, and how successful she is in the performance of her daily tasks.
“With a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm” were the children of Israel delivered from the bondage of 43the Egyptians, but this deliverance did not put them in possession of the promised land. An unknown wilderness was before them, and that wilderness must be conquered. The law was given that they might know what was required of them, that they might have a definite rule of action whereby to order aright the affairs of daily life. Obedience to the demands of the law revealed the God of their fathers, and they learned to know Him. During their sojourn in the wilderness they suffered defeats and met with disappointments, but they learned from experience and finally became willingly obedient to the voice of their leader. The crossing of the Jordan brought them into the promised land, and this experience was almost as marvellous as had been the passage of the Red Sea forty years before. In obedience to the command of Joshua, twelve stones taken from the midst of the river were set up on the other side for a memorial. In future generations when it was asked, “What mean ye by these stones?” it was told them: Israel came over this Jordan on dry ground.
Forty years ago the Science of Christian healing was revealed to our beloved Leader, the Rev. Mary Baker Eddy. A few years later she gave us our textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” Obedience to the teachings of this book has brought us to this hour. We have learned from experience, and to-day we rejoice that we have found in Christian Science that which heals and saves.
The world looks with wonder upon this grand achievement, — the completion and dedication of our magnificent temple, — and many are asking, “What mean ye by these stones?” The answer is, The way out of the wilderness 44of human beliefs has been revealed. Through the understanding of God as an ever-present help, the sick are being healed, the shackles of sin are being broken, heavy burdens are being laid down, tears are being wiped away, and Israel is going up to possess the promised land of eternal, harmonious existence.
Friends, our progress may be fast or it may be slow, but one thing is certain, it will be sure, if we are obedient to the loving counsel of our ever faithful Leader. The Christ is here, has come to individual consciousness; and the faithful disciple rejoices in prophecy fulfilled, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
Judge Septimus J. Hanna then advanced to the front of the platform, read the following despatch, and moved that it be forwarded at once to our Leader, Mrs. Eddy. The motion was carried unanimously by a rising vote.
PLEASANT VIEW, CONCORD, N. H.
Beloved Teacher and Leader: — The members of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., in annual meeting assembled, hereby convey to you their sincere greetings and their deep love.
They desire to express their continued loyalty to your teachings, their unshaken confidence in the unerring wisdom of your leadership, and their confident assurance 45that strict and intelligent recognition of and obedience to the comprehensive means by you provided for the furtherance of our Cause, will result in its perpetuity as well as in the ultimate regeneration of its adherents and of mankind.
We are witnessing with joy and gratitude the significant events associated with this, one of the greatest and most important gatherings of Christian Scientists in the annals of our history. Yet the upwards of thirty thousand who are physically present at the dedication represent only a small part of the entire body who are of us and with us in the animus and spirit of our movement.
The great temple is finished! That which you have long prophetically seen has been accomplished. The magnificent edifice stands a fitting monument of your obedience and fidelity to the divine Principle revealed to you in that momentous hour when purblind mortal sense declared you to be in extremis. You followed unswervingly the guidance of Him who went before you by day in a pillar of cloud to lead you in the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give you light, and the results of such following have been marvellous beyond human ken. As clearly as in retrospect we see the earlier leading, we now discern the fulfilment of the later prophecy, that “He took not away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night,” for each advancing step has logically followed the preceding one.
The great temple is finished! This massive pile of New Hampshire granite and Bedford stone, rising to a height of two hundred and twenty-four feet, one foot loftier than the Bunker Hill monument, stands a material type of Truth’s permanence. In solid foundation, in symmetrical 46arches, in generous hallways, in commodious foyer and broad stairways, in exquisite and expansive auditorium, and in towering, overshadowing dome, the great structure stands, silently but eloquently beckoning us on towards a higher and more spiritual plane of living, for we know that without this spiritual significance it were but a passing dream.
In the best sense it stands in prophetic verity of the primary declaration of this church in its original organization; namely, “To organize a church designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing.” (Church Manual, p. 17.) To rise to the demands of this early pronouncement is the work of true Christian Scientists.
To preach the gospel and heal the sick on the Christ-basis is the essential requirement of a reinstated Christianity. Only as we pledge ourselves anew to this demand, and then fulfil the pledge in righteous living, are we faithful, obedient, deserving disciples.
On this solemn occasion, and in the presence of this assembled host, we do hereby pledge ourselves to a deeper consecration, a more sincere and Christly love of God and our brother, and a more implicit obedience to the sacred teachings of the Bible and our textbook, as well as to the all-inclusive instructions and admonitions of our Church Manual in its spiritual import, that we may indeed reach “unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn.”
Beloved Brethren of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass.: — It seems meet at this time, when thousands of Christian Scientists have gathered here from all parts of the world, many of whom have not had the means of knowing the steps by which this church has reached its present growth, to present in this report a few of the stages of its progress, as gleaned from the pages of its history.
After a work has been established, has grown to great magnitude, and people the world over have been touched by its influence for good, it is with joy that those who have labored unceasingly for the work look back to the picturesque, interesting, and epoch-marking stages of its growth, and recall memories of trials, progress, and victories that are precious each and all. To-day we look back over the years that have passed since the inception of this great Cause, and we cannot help being touched by each landmark of progress that showed a forward effort into the well-earned joy that is with us now. For a Cause that has rooted itself in so many distant lands, and inspired so many of different races and tongues into the demonstration of the knowledge of God, the years that have passed since Mrs. Eddy founded her first church seem but a short time. And this little church, God’s word in the wilderness of dogma and creed, opened an era of Christian worship founded on the commands of Jesus: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. . . . And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up ser48pents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Not until nineteen centuries had passed was there one ready to receive the inspiration, to restore to human consciousness the stone that had been rejected, and which Mrs. Eddy made “the head of the corner” of The Church of Christ, Scientist.
With the reading of her textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mrs. Eddy insisted that her students make, every day, a prayerful study of the Bible, and obtain the spiritual understanding of its promises. Upon this she founded the future growth of her church, and twenty-six years later the following splendid appreciation of her efforts appeared in the Methodist Review from the pen of the late Frederick Lawrence Knowles: —
“Mrs. Eddy . . . in her insistence upon the constant daily reading of the Bible and her own writings, . . . has given to her disciples a means of spiritual development which . . . will certainly build such truth as they do gain into the marrow of their characters. The scorn of the gross and sensual, and the subordination of merely material to spiritual values, together with the discouragement of care and worry, are all forces that make for righteousness. And they are burned indelibly upon the mind of the neophyte every day through its reading. The intellects of these people are not drugged by scandal, drowned in frivolity, or paralyzed by sentimental fiction. . . . They feed the higher nature through the mind, and I am bound as an observer of them to say, in all fairness, that the result is already manifest in their faces, their conversation, 49and their bearing, both in public and private. What wonder that when these smiling people say, ‘Come thou with us, and we will do thee good,’ the hitherto half-persuaded one is wholly drawn over, as by an irresistible attraction. The religious body which can direct, and control, in no arbitrary sense, but through sane counsel, the reading of its membership, stands a great chance of sweeping the world within a generation.”
The charter of this little church was obtained August 23, 1879, and in the same month the members extended a unanimous invitation to Mrs. Eddy to become its pastor. At a meeting of those who were interested in forming the church, Mrs. Eddy was appointed on the committee to formulate the rules and by-laws, also the tenets and church covenant. The first business meeting of the church was held August 16, 1879, in Charlestown, Mass., for the purpose of electing officers. August 22 the Clerk, by instructions received at the previous meeting, sent an invitation to Mrs. Eddy to become pastor of the church. August 27 the church held a meeting, with Mrs. Eddy in the chair. An interesting record of this meeting reads: “The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved. Then Mrs. Eddy proceeded to instruct those present as to their duties in the Church of Christ, giving some useful hints as to the mode of conducting the church.”
At a meeting held October 19, 1879, it was unanimously voted that “Dr. and Mrs. Eddy merited the thanks of the society for their devoted labors in the cause of Truth,” and at the annual meeting, December 1 of the same year, it was voted to instruct the Clerk to call Mrs. Eddy to the pastorate of the church, and at this meeting Mrs. Eddy accepted the call. The first meeting of this little 50church for deliberation before a Communion Sabbath was held at the home of the pastor, Mrs. Eddy, January 2, 1880.
Most of those present had left their former church homes, in which they had labored faithfully and ardently, and had united themselves into a little band of prayerful workers. As the Pilgrims felt the strangeness of their new home, the vast gloom of the mysterious forests, and knew not the trials before them, so this little band of pioneers, guided by their dauntless Leader and teacher, starting out on their labors against the currents of dogma, creed, sickness, and sin, must have felt a peculiar sense of isolation, for their records state, “The tone of this meeting for deliberation before Communion Sabbath was rather sorrowful;” but as they turned steadfastly from the mortal side, and looked towards the spiritual, as the records further relate, “yet there was a feeling of trust in the great Father, of Love prevailing over the apparently discouraging outlook of the Church of Christ.” The Communion Sunday, however, brought fresh courage to the earnest band, and the records contain these simple but suggestive words, — “Sunday, January 4, 1880. The church celebrated her Communion Sabbath as a church, and it was a very inspiring season to us all, and two new members were added to the church.” This was indeed the little church in the wilderness, and few knew of its teachings, but those few saw the grandeur of its work and were willing to labor for the Cause.
The record of May 23, 1880, more than twenty-six years ago, states: “Our pastor, Mrs. Eddy, preached her farewell sermon to the church. The business committee met after the services to call a general meeting of the church 51to devise means to pay our pastor, so as to keep her with us, as there is no one in the world who could take her place in teaching us the Science of Life.” May 26 of the same year the following resolutions were passed: “That the members of the Church of Christ, and all others now interested in said church, do most sincerely regret that our pastor, Mrs. Eddy, feels it her duty to tender her resignation, and while we feel that she has not met with the support that she should have reason to expect, we venture to hope she will remain with us. That it would be a serious blow to her Cause to have the public services discontinued at a time when there is such an interest manifested on the part of the people, and we know of no one who is so able as she to lead us to the higher understanding of Christianity, whereby to heal the sick and reform the sinner. It was moved to instruct the Clerk to have our pastor remain with us for a few Sundays if not permanently.”
At a meeting of the church, December 15, 1880, an invitation was extended to Mrs. Eddy to accept the pastorate for the ensuing year; but, as the records state, “she gave no definite answer, believing that it was for the interest of the Cause, and her duty, to go into new fields to teach and preach.”
An interesting record relative to this very early work of the church, and its appreciation of Mrs. Eddy’s tireless labors, is that of July 20, 1881, which reads, “That we, the members of The Church of Christ, Scientist, tender to our beloved pastor, Mrs. Eddy, the heartfelt thanks and gratitude shared by all who have attended the services, in appreciation of her earnest endeavors, her arduous labors, and successful instructions to heal the sick, and reform 52the sinner, by metaphysical truth or Christian Science, during the past year. Resolved: That while she had many obstacles to overcome, many mental hardships to endure, she has borne them bravely, blessing them that curse her, loving them that despitefully use her, thereby giving in her Christian example, as well as her instructions, the highest type of womanhood, or the love that heals. And while we sincerely acknowledge our indebtedness to her, and to God, for these blessings, we, each and all, will make greater efforts more faithfully to sustain her in her work. Resolved: That while we realize the rapid growth, and welcome the fact of the spreading world wide of this great truth, that Mind, Truth, Life, and Love, as taught and expressed by our pastor, does heal the sick, and, when understood, does bring out the perfection of all things, we also realize we must use more energy and unselfish labor to establish these our Master’s commands and our pastor’s teachings, namely, heal the sick, and preach the gospel, and love our neighbor as ourselves.”
Eighteen years ago, the Rev. James Henry Wiggin, who was not a Christian Scientist, wrote as follows: “Whatever is to be Mrs. Eddy’s future reputation, time will show. Little cares she, if only through her work Truth may be glorified. More than once, in her earnestness, she has reached her bottom dollar, but the interest of the world to hear her word has always filled her coffers anew. Within a few months she has made sacrifices from which most authors would have shrunk, to insure the moral rightness of her book.” This statement “Phare Pleigh” [the nom de plume of the Rev. James Henry Wiggin] makes out of his own peculiar knowledge of the circumstances. “Day after day flew by, and weeks lengthened 53into months; from every quarter came important missives of inquiry and mercantile reproach; hundreds of dollars were sunk into a bottomless sea of corrections; yet not until the authoress was satisfied that her duty was wholly done, would she allow printer and binder to send forth her book to the world.” This book has now reached its four hundredth edition, each of one thousand copies.
On September 8, 1882, it was voted that the church hold its meetings of worship in the parlors of Mrs. Eddy’s home, 569 Columbus Avenue, Boston. The services were held there until November, 1883, and then in the Hawthorne Rooms, at No. 3 Park Street, the seating capacity of which place was about two hundred and twenty-five. At a meeting October 22, 1883, the church voted to wait upon Mrs. Eddy, to ascertain if she would preach for the society for ten dollars a Sunday, which invitation she accepted. After establishing itself as a church in the Hawthorne Rooms, the number of attendants steadily increased. The pulpit was supplied by Mrs. Eddy, when she could give the time to preach, and by her students and by clergymen of different denominations, among whom was the Rev. A. J. Peabody, D.D., of Cambridge, Mass.
The annual report of the business committee of the church, for the year ending December 7, 1885, contains some very interesting statements, among which is this: “There was a steadily increasing interest in Christian Science among the people, even though the continuity of thought must have been very much broken by having so many different ones address them on the subject. When our pastor preached for us it was found that the 54Hawthorne Rooms were inadequate for the occasion, hundreds going away who could not obtain entrance; those present enduring the inconvenience that comes from crowding, for the sake of the eternal truth she taught them.” The Boston Traveler contained the following item: “The Church of Christ, Scientist, had their meeting Easter Sunday at Hawthorne Rooms, which were crowded one hour before the service commenced, and half an hour before the arrival of the pastor, the Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, the tide of men and women was turned from the door with the information, ‘No more standing-room.’ ”
On February 8, 1885, communion was held at Odd Fellows Hall, and there were present about eight hundred people. At this time the Hawthorne Rooms, which had been regarded as the church home, were outgrown. During the summer vacation, different places were considered, but no place suitable could be found that was available, and the Sunday services were postponed. There was an expectation that some place would be obtained, but the desire for services was so great that the Hawthorne Rooms were again secured. A record of this period reads, “It should be here stated that from the first of September to our opening, crowds had besieged the doors at the Hawthorne Rooms, Sunday after Sunday.” On October 18, 1885, the rooms were opened and a large congregation was present. It was then concluded to engage Chickering Hall on Tremont Street. In the previous consideration of places for meeting it had been decided that this hall was too large, as it seated four hundred and sixty-four. The first Sunday service held in Chickering Hall was on October 25, 1885. Mrs. Eddy preached at this service 55and the hall was crowded. This date is memorable as the one upon which the Sunday School was formed.
Meanwhile it was felt that the church needed a place of its own, and efforts were made to obtain by purchase some building, or church, in a suitable location. Several places were considered, but were not satisfactory; yet the thought of obtaining a church edifice, although given up for a time, was not forgotten. In the mean time, not only was the attendance rapidly growing in this church in Chickering Hall, but the Cause itself was spreading over the land. September 1, 1892, Mrs. Eddy gave the plot of ground on which The Mother Church now stands. On the twenty-third day of September, 1892, twelve of the members of the church met, and, upon Mrs. Eddy’s counsel, reorganized the church, and named it The First Church of Christ, Scientist. This effort of Mrs. Eddy was an inspiration to Christian Scientists, and plans were made for a church home.
In the mean time Sunday services were held in Chickering Hall, and continued there until March, 1894, and during the last year the hall was crowded to overflowing. In March, however, the church was obliged to seek other quarters, as Chickering Hall was to be remodelled. At this time the church removed to Copley Hall on Clarendon Street, which had a seating capacity of six hundred and twenty-five, and in that place Sunday services were held until The Mother Church edifice was ready for occupancy, December 30, 1894. During the months that the congregation worshipped in Copley Hall there was a steady increase in attendance.
Twelve years ago the twenty-first of last month, the corner-stone of The Mother Church edifice was laid, and 56at that time it was thought the seating capacity would be adequate for years to come. Attendance at the Sunday service gradually increased, until every seat was filled and many stood in the aisles, and in consequence two services were held, morning and afternoon, the latter a repetition of the morning service. The date of the inauguration of two Sunday services was April 26, 1896. It was soon evident that even this provision was inadequate to meet the need, and it was found necessary to organize branch churches in such suburbs of Boston as would relieve the overcrowded condition of The Mother Church; therefore three branch churches were organized, one in each of the following named places: Cambridge, Chelsea, and Roxbury.
For a while it seemed that there would be ample room for growth of attendance in The Mother Church, but notwithstanding the relief that the organization of branch churches had given, the number of attendants increased faster than ever. From the time that the three foregoing named churches were established, the membership and the attendance at them and at The Mother Church steadily grew, and more branch churches were established in other suburbs, members of which had formerly been attendants at The Mother Church. In the spring of 1905 the overcrowded condition of the morning service showed that still further provision must be made, as many were obliged to leave the church for the reason that there was not even standing-room. Therefore, beginning October 1, 1905, three services were held each Sunday, the second and third being repetitions of the first service.
This continued growth, this continued overcrowding, proved the need of a larger edifice. Our communion ser57vices and annual meetings were overcrowded in The Mother Church, they were overcrowded in Tremont Temple, in Symphony Hall, and in the Mechanics Building, and the need was felt of an auditorium that would be of great seating capacity, and one that would have the sacred atmosphere of a church home.
In Mrs. Eddy’s Message to the church in 1902 she suggested the need of a larger church edifice, and at the annual meeting of the same year the church voted to raise any part of two millions of dollars for the purpose of building a suitable edifice. The labor of clearing the land was begun in October, 1903, and the corner-stone was laid July 16, 1904.
The first annual meeting of the church was held in Chickering Hall, October 3, 1893, and the membership at that date was 1,545. The membership of this church to-day is 40,011. The number of candidates admitted June 5 of this year is the largest in the history of the church and numbers 4,889, which is 2,194 more than the hitherto largest admission, that of June, 1903. The total number admitted during the last year is 6,181. The total number of branch churches advertised in The Christian Science Journal of this June is 682, 614 of which show a membership of 41,944. The number of societies advertised in the Journal is 267.
Shortly before the dedication of The Mother Church in 1895, the Boston Evening Transcript said: “Wonders will never cease. Here is a church whose Treasurer has sent 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 58practical Christian folk have not a faith approximate to that of these impractical Christian Scientists.”
The fact that a notice was published in the Christian Science Sentinel of last Saturday that no more funds are needed to complete the extension of The Mother Church, proves the truth of the axiom, “History repeats itself.” These are the evidences of the magnificent growth of this Cause, and are sufficient refutation of the statements that have been made that “Christian Science is dying out.”
The majesty and the dignity of this church edifice not only shows the growth of this Cause, but proclaims the trust, the willingness of those who have contributed to the erection of these mighty walls.
This magnificent structure, this fitting testimonial in stone, speaks more than words can picture of the love and gratitude of a great multitude that has been healed and purified through the labor and sacrifice of our revered Leader and teacher, Mary Baker Eddy, the one through whom God has revealed a demonstrable way of salvation. May her example inspire us to follow her in preaching, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” by healing the sick and reforming the sinful, and, as she has done, verifying Jesus’ words, “Lo, I am with you alway.”
PLEASANT VIEW, CONCORD, N. H.
My Dear Teacher: — Of the many thousands who attended the dedicatory services at the Christian Science church last Sunday it is doubtful if there was one so deeply 59impressed with the grandeur and magnitude of your work as was the writer, whom you will recall as a member of your first class in Lynn, Mass., nearly forty years ago. When you told us that the truth you expounded was the little leaven that should leaven the whole lump, we thought this might be true in some far distant day beyond our mortal vision. It was above conception that in less than forty years a new system of faith and worship, as well as of healing, should number its adherents by the hundreds of thousands and its tenets be accepted wholly or in part by nearly every religious and scientific body in the civilized world.
Seated in the gallery of that magnificent temple, which has been reared by you, gazing across that sea of heads, listening again to your words explaining the Scriptures, my mind was carried back to that first public meeting in the little hall on Market Street, Lynn, where you preached to a handful of people that would scarce fill a couple of pews in this grand amphitheatre; and as I heard the sonorous tones of the powerful organ and the mighty chorus of five thousand voices, I thought of the little melodeon on which my wife played, and of my own feeble attempts to lead the singing.
In years gone by I have been asked, “Did Mrs. Eddy really write Science and Health? Some say she did not.” My answer has invariably been, “Send those who say she did not to me. I heard her talk it before it was ever written. I read it in manuscript before it was ever printed.” Now my testimony is not needed. No human being in this generation has accomplished such a work or been so thoroughly endorsed or so completely vindicated. It is marvellous beyond all imagining to one who knew of 60your early struggles. I have been solicited by many of your followers to say something about the early history of Christian Science. I have replied that if Mrs. Eddy thought it wise to instruct them on the subject she would doubtless do so.
Possibly you may remember the words of my uncle, the good old deacon of the First Congregational Church of Lynn, when told that I had studied with you. “My boy, you will be ruined for life; it is the work of the devil.” He only expressed the thought of all the Christian (?) people at that time. What a change in the Christian world! “The stone which the builders rejected” has become the corner-stone of this wonderful temple of “wisdom, Truth, and Love.” (Science and Health, p. 495.) I have yet the little Bible which you gave me as a reward for the best paper on the spiritual significance of the first chapter of Genesis. It has this inscription on the fly-leaf in your handwriting, “With all thy getting get understanding.”
PLEASANT VIEW, CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE
Dear Leader and Guide: — Now that the great event, the dedication of our new church building, is over, may I ask a little of your time to tell you of the interesting part I had to perform in this wonderful consummation. On the twenty-fifth of last March I was asked by one of the Directors if I would care to do a little watching 61at the church. I gladly answered in the affirmative, and have been in the building part of every night since that time. To watch the transformation has been very interesting indeed, and the lessons I have learned of the power of divine Mind to remove human obstructions have been very precious. At first I thought that, since it seemed impossible for the building to be completed before the end of summer, the communion would likely be postponed until that time. Then came the announcement that the services would be held in the new extension on June 10. I saw at once that somebody had to wake up. I fought hard with the evidence of mortal sense for a time; but after a while, in the night, as I was climbing over stones and planks and plaster, I raised my eyes, and the conviction that the work would be accomplished came to me so clearly, I said aloud, “Why, there is no fear; this house will be ready for the service, June 10.” I bowed my head before the might of divine Love, and never more did I have any doubt.
One feature about the work interested me. I noticed that as soon as the workmen began to admit that the work could be done, everything seemed to move as by magic; the human mind was giving its consent. This taught me that I should be willing to let God work. I have often stood under the great dome, in the dark stillness of the night, and thought, “What cannot God do?” (Science and Health, p. 135.)
As I discovered the many intricate problems which must necessarily present themselves in such an immense undertaking, I appreciated as never before the faithful, earnest work of our noble Board of Directors. With unflinching 62faith and unfailing fidelity they have stood at the breastworks in the battle, and won the reward, “Well done, good and faithful servant; . . . enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”
But what of this magnificent structure? Whence did it come? To me it is the result of the love that trembled in one human heart when it whispered: “Dear God, may I not take this precious truth and give it to my brothers and sisters?” How can we ever thank God enough for such an one, — ever thank you enough for your unselfed love. May the glory which crowns the completion of this structure shed its brightest beams on your pathway, and fill your heart with the joy of Love’s victory.
PLEASANT VIEW, CONCORD, N. H.
Beloved Leader and Teacher: — We, the Directors of your church, send you loving greetings and congratulations upon the completion of the magnificent extension of The Mother Church of Christ, Scientist, and we again express our thankful appreciation of your wise counsel, timely instruction, and words of encouragement when they were so much needed.
We acknowledge with many thanks the valuable services rendered to this Board by the members of the business committee, who were ever ready to assist us in every way possible; also the services of other members of the church, who gave freely of their time and efforts when there was urgent need of both.
63 We do not forget that it was through you we were enabled to secure the services of Mr. Whitcomb as builder in the early days of the construction of the church, and of Mr. Beman in an advisory capacity in the later days; for this, and for their valuable services, we are grateful.
Our annual communion and the dedication of the extension of The Mother Church are over, and this happy and holy experience has become a part of our expanding consciousness of Truth, to abide with us and enable us better to work out the purposes of divine Love. It was scarcely possible to repress a feeling of exultation as friend met friend at every turn with words of rejoicing; and even the greetings and congratulations of those not of our faith seemed to say that all the world was in some degree sharing in our joy. But within our sacred edifice there came a deeper feeling, a feeling of awe and of reverence beyond words, — a new sense of the magnitude of Christian Science, this revelation of divinity which has come to the present age. Grandly does our temple symbolize this revelation, in its purity, stateliness, and vastness; but even more impressive than this was the presence of the thousands who had come, as the Master predicted, “from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south,” to tell by their presence that they had been healed by Christ, Truth, and had found the kingdom of God.
64 As one thought upon the significance of the occasion, the achievements of our beloved Leader and her relation to the experiences of the hour took on a larger and truer meaning. The glories of the realm of infinite Mind, revealed to us through her spiritual attainments and her years of toil, encompassed us, and hearts were thrilled with tender gratitude and love for all that she has done. If to-day we feel a pardonable pride in being known as Christian Scientists, it is because our Leader has made the name an honored one before the world.
In her dedicatory Message to The Mother Church, Mrs. Eddy says, “The First Commandment of the Hebrew Decalogue, ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me,’ and the Golden Rule are the all-in-all of Christian Science.” In all her writings, through all the years of her leadership, she has been teaching her followers both by precept and example how to obey this commandment and rule, and her success in so doing is what constitutes the high standing of Christian Science before the world. Fearlessly does she warn all her followers against the indulgence of the sins which would prevent the realization of ideal manhood — the reign of the Christ — and now it is ours to address ourselves with renewed faith and love to the high and holy task of overcoming all that is unlike God, and thus prove our worthiness to be “living stones” in the universal temple of Spirit, and worthy members of The Mother Church before men.