BELOVED BRETHREN: — Most happily would I comply with your cordial invitation and be with you on so interesting an occasion as the dedication of First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Chicago. But daily duties require attention elsewhere, and I am glad to say that there seems to be no special need of my personal presence at your religious jubilee. I am quite able to take the trip to your city, and if wisdom lengthens my sum of years to fourscore (already imputed to me), I shall then be even younger and nearer the eternal meridian than now, for the true knowledge and proof of life is in putting off the limitations and putting on the possibilities and permanence of Life.
In your renowned city, the genesis of Christian Science was allied to that olden axiom: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church;” but succeeding years show in livid lines that the great Shepherd has nurtured and nourished this church as a fatling of the flock. To-day the glory of His presence rests upon it, the joy of many generations awaits it, and this prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled among you: “I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.”
178 Your Bible and your textbook, pastor and ethical tenets, do not mislead the seeker after Truth. These unpretentious preachers cloud not the spiritual meaning of Holy Writ by material interpretations, nor lose the invincible process and purity of Christianity whereby the sick are healed and sinners saved. The Science of Christianity is not generally understood, but it hastens hourly to this end. This Science is the essence of religion, distilled in the laboratory of infinite Love and prepared for all peoples. And because Science is naturally divine, is this natural Science less profitable or scientific than “counting the legs of insects”? The Scripture declares that God is All. Then all is Spirit and spiritual. The true sense of life is lost to those who regard being as material. The Scripture pronounces all that God made “good;” therefore if evil exists, it exists without God. But this is impossible in reality, for He made all “that was made.” Hence the inevitable revelation of Christian Science — that evil is unreal; and this is the best of it.
On April 15, 1891, the Christian Science textbook lay on a table in a burning building. A Christian Scientist entered the house through a window and snatched this book from the flames. Instantly the table sank a charred mass. The covers of the book were burned up, but not one word in the book was effaced. If the world were in ashes, the contents of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” would remain immortal.
It is said that the nearest approach to the sayings of the great Master is the Logia of Papias, written in A.D. 145, and that all else reported as his sayings are translations. The ancient Logia, or imputed sayings of Jesus 179by Papias, are undoubtedly the beginning of the gospel writings. The synoptic Scriptures, as set forth in the first and second chapters of Genesis, were in two distinct manuscripts. The first gave an account of the spiritual creation, and the second was an opposite story, or allegory, of a material universe and man made of dust. In this allegorical document the power and prerogative of Spirit are submerged in matter. In other words, soul enters non-intelligent dust and man becomes both good and evil, both mind and matter, mortal and immortal, — all of which divine Science shows to be an impossibility.
The Old and the New Testaments contain self-evident truths that cannot be lost, but being translations, the Scriptures are criticized. Some dangerous skepticism exists as to the verification of our Master’s sayings. But Christians and Christian Scientists know that if the Old Testament and gospel narratives had never been written, the nature of Christianity, as depicted in the life of our Lord, and the truth in the Scriptures, are sufficient to authenticate Christ’s Christianity as the perfect ideal. The character of the Nazarene Prophet illustrates the Principle and practice of a true divinity and humanity. The different renderings or translations of Scripture in no wise affect Christian Science. Christianity and Science, being contingent on nothing written and based on the divine Principle of being, must be, are, irrefutable and eternal.
We are indeed privileged in having the untranslated revelations of Christian Science. They afford such expositions of the therapeutics, ethics, and Christianity of Christ as make even God demonstrable, the divine Love 180practical, and so furnish rules whereby man can prove God’s love, healing the sick and the sinner.
Whosoever understands Christian Science knows beyond a doubt that its life-giving truths were preached and practised in the first century by him who proved their practicality, who uttered Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, who taught his disciples the healing Christianity which applies to all ages, and who dated time. A spiritual understanding of the Scriptures restores their original tongue in the language of Spirit, that primordial standard of Truth.
Christian Science contains no element whatever of hypnotism or animal magnetism. It appeals alone to God, to the divine Principle, or Life, Truth, and Love, to whom all things are possible; and this Principle heals sin, sickness, disease, and death. Christian Science meets error with Truth, death with Life, hate with Love, and thus, and only thus, does it overcome evil and heal disease. The obstinate sinner, however, refuses to see this grand verity or to acknowledge it, for he knows not that in justice, as well as in mercy, God is Love.
In our struggles with sin and sinners, when we drop compliance with their desires, insist on what we know is right, and act accordingly, the disguised or the self-satisfied mind, not ready to be uplifted, rebels, misconstrues our best motives, and calls them unkind. But this is the cross. Take it up, — it wins the crown; and in the spirit of our great Exemplar pray: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
No warfare exists between divine theology and Christian Science, for the latter solves the whence and why of the cosmos and defines noumenon and phenomena spiritually, 181not materially. The specific quest of Christian Science is to settle all points beyond cavil, on the Biblical basis that God is All-in-all; whereas philosophy and so-called natural science, dealing with human hypotheses, or material cause and effect, are aided only at long intervals with elementary truths, and ultimate in unsolved problems and outgrown, proofless positions.
Progress is spiritual. Progress is the maturing conception of divine Love; it demonstrates the scientific, sinless life of man and mortal’s painless departure from matter to Spirit, not through death, but through the true idea of Life, — and Life not in matter but in Mind.
The Puritans possessed the motive of true religion, which, demonstrated on the Golden Rule, would have solved ere this the problem of religious liberty and human rights. It is “a consummation devoutly to be wished” that all nations shall speedily learn and practise the intermediate line of justice between the classes and masses of mankind, and thus exemplify in all things the universal equity of Christianity.
The statistics of mortality show that thirty years ago the death-rate was at its maximum. Since that time it has steadily decreased. It is authentically said that one expositor of Daniel’s dates fixed the year 1866 or 1867 for the return of Christ — the return of the spiritual idea to the material earth or antipode of heaven. It is a marked coincidence that those dates were the first two years of my discovery of Christian Science.
182 Thirty years ago Chicago had few Congregational churches. To-day it is said to have a majority of these churches over any other city in the United States. Thirty years ago at my request I received from the Congregational Church a letter of dismissal and recommendation to evangelical churches — thenceforth to exemplify my early love for this church and a membership of thirty years by establishing a new-old church, the foundations of which are the same, even Christ, Truth, as the chief corner-stone.
In 1884, I taught a class in Christian Science and formed a Christian Scientist Association in Chicago. From this small sowing of the seed of Truth, which, when sown, seemed the least among seeds, sprang immortal fruits through God’s blessing and the faithful labor of loyal students, — the healing of the sick, the reforming of the sinner, and First Church of Christ, Scientist, with its large membership and majestic cathedral.
Humbly, gratefully, trustingly, I dedicate this beautiful house of worship to the God of Israel, the divine Love that reigns above the shadow, that launched the earth in its orbit, that created and governs the universe — guarding, guiding, giving grace, health, and immortality to man.
May the wanderer in the wilderness of mortal beliefs and fears turn hither with satisfied hope. May the birds of passage rest their weary wings amid the fair foliage of this vine of His husbanding, find shelter from the storm and a covert from the tempest. May this beloved church adhere to its tenets, abound in the righteousness of Love, honor the name of Christian Science, prove the practicality of perfection, and press on to the infinite 183uses of Christ’s creed, namely, — “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Thus may First Church of Christ, Scientist, in this great city of Chicago, verify what John Robinson wrote in 1620 to our Pilgrim Fathers: “When Christ reigns, and not till then, will the world have rest.”
Beloved Brethren across the Sea: — To-day a nation is born. Spiritual apprehension unfolds, transfigures, heals. With you be there no more sea, no ebbing faith, no night. Love be thy light upon the mountain of Israel. God will multiply thee.
Beloved Students and Church: — Thanks for invitation to your dedication. Not afar off I am blending with thine my prayer and rejoicing. God is with thee. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.”
My Beloved Brethren: — Have just received your despatch. Since the world was, men have not heard with the ear, neither hath the eye seen, what God hath prepared for them that wait upon Him and work righteousness.
My Beloved Brethren: — To-day I am privileged to congratulate the Christian Scientists of my native State upon having built First Church of Christ, Scientist, at the White Mountains. Your kind card, inviting me to be present at its dedication, came when I was so occupied that I omitted to wire an acknowledgment thereof and to return my cordial thanks at an earlier date. The beautiful birch bark on which it was written pleased me; it was so characteristic of our Granite State, and I treasure it next to your compliments. That rustic scroll brought back to me the odor of my childhood, a love which stays the shadows of years. God grant that this little church shall prove a historic gem on the glowing records of Christianity, and lay upon its altars a sacrifice and service acceptable in God’s sight.
Your rural chapel is a social success quite sacred in its results. The prosperity of Zion is very precious in the sight of divine Love, holding unwearied watch over a world. Isaiah said: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, . . . that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” Surely, the Word that is God must at some time find utterance and accept185ance throughout the earth, for he that soweth shall reap. To such as have waited patiently for the appearing of Truth, the day dawns and the harvest bells are ringing.
The peace of Love is published, and the sword of the Spirit is drawn; nor will it be sheathed till Truth shall reign triumphant over all the earth. Truth, Life, and Love are formidable, wherever thought, felt, spoken, or written, — in the pulpit, in the court-room, by the wayside, or in our homes. They are the victors never to be vanquished. Love is the generic term for God. Love formed this trinity, Truth, Life, Love, the trinity no man can sunder. Life is the spontaneity of Love, inseparable from Love, and Life is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” — even that which “was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found;” for Life is Christ, and Christ, as aforetime, heals the sick, saves sinners, and destroys the last enemy, death.
In 1888 I visited these mountains and spoke to an
attentive audience collected in the hall at the Fabyan
House. Then and there I foresaw this hour, and spoke
of the little church to be in the midst of the mountains,
closing my remarks with the words of Mrs. Hemans: —
For the strength of the hills, we bless Thee,
Our God, our fathers’ God!
The sons and daughters of the Granite State are rich in signs and symbols, sermons in stones, refuge in mountains, 186and good universal. The rocks, rills, mountains, meadows, fountains, and forests of our native State should be prophetic of the finger divine that writes in living characters their lessons on our lives. May God’s little ones cluster around this rock-ribbed church like tender nestlings in the crannies of the rocks, and preen their thoughts for upward flight.
Though neither dome nor turret tells the tale of your little church, its song and sermon will touch the heart, point the path above the valley, up the mountain, and on to the celestial hills, echoing the Word welling up from the infinite and swelling the loud anthem of one Father-Mother God, o’er all victorious! Rest assured that He in whom dwelleth all life, health, and holiness, will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory.
First Church of Christ, Scientist, Duluth, Minn.: — May our God make this church the fold of flocks, and may those that plant the vineyard eat the fruit thereof. Here let His promise be verified: “Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”
Beloved Brethren: — Accept my thanks for your cordial card inviting me to be with you on the day of your church dedication. It gives me great pleasure to know that you have erected a Church of Christ, Scientist, in your 187city. Surely, your fidelity, faith, and Christian zeal fairly indicate that, spiritually as well as literally, the church in Salt Lake City hath not lost its saltness. I may at some near future visit your city, but am too busy to think of doing so at present.
May the divine light of Christian Science that lighteth every enlightened thought illumine your faith and understanding, exclude all darkness or doubt, and signal the perfect path wherein to walk, the perfect Principle whereby to demonstrate the perfect man and the perfect law of God. In the words of St. Paul: “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned;” and St. John says: “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”
My Beloved Brethren: — You have met to consecrate your beautiful temple to the worship of the only true God. Since the day in which you were brought into the light and liberty of His children, it has been in the hearts of this people to build a house unto Him whose name they would glorify in a new commandment — “that ye love one another.” In this new recognition of the riches of His love and the majesty of His might you have built this house — laid its foundations on the rock 188of Christ, and the stone which the builders rejected you have made the head of the corner. This house is hallowed by His promise: “I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there forever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.” “Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.” Your feast days will not be in commemoration, but in recognition of His presence; your ark of the covenant will not be brought out of the city of David, but out of “the secret place of the most High,” whereof the Psalmist sang, even the omniscience of omnipotence; your tabernacle of the congregation will not be temporary, but a “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens;” your oracle, under the wings of the cherubim, is Truth’s evangel, enunciating, “God is Love.”
In spirit I enter your inner sanctuary, your heart’s heart, breathing a benediction for God’s largess. He surely will not shut me out from your presence, and the ponderous walls of your grand cathedral cannot prevent me from entering where the heart of a Southron has welcomed me.
Christian Science has a place in its court, in which, like beds in hospitals, one man’s head lies at another’s feet. As you work, the ages win; for the majesty of Christian Science teaches the majesty of man. When it is learned that spiritual sense and not the material senses convey all impressions to man, man will naturally seek the Science of his spiritual nature, and finding it, be God-endowed for discipleship.
When divine Love gains admittance to a humble heart, that individual ascends the scale of miracles and meets the 189warmest wish of men and angels. Clad in invincible armor, grasping the sword of Spirit, you have started in this sublime ascent, and should reach the mount of revelation; for if ye would run, who shall hinder you? So dear, so due, to God is obedience, that it reaches high heaven in the common walks of life, and it affords even me a perquisite of joy.
You worship no distant deity, nor talk of unknown love. The silent prayers of our churches, resounding through the dim corridors of time, go forth in waves of sound, a diapason of heart-beats, vibrating from one pulpit to another and from one heart to another, till truth and love, commingling in one righteous prayer, shall encircle and cement the human race.
The government of divine Love derives its omnipotence from the love it creates in the heart of man; for love is allegiant, and there is no loyalty apart from love. When the human senses wake from their long slumber to see how soon earth’s fables flee and faith grows wearisome, then that which defies decay and satisfies the immortal cravings is sought and found. In the twilight of the world’s pageantry, in the last-drawn sigh of a glory gone, we are drawn towards God.
Beloved brethren, I cannot forget that yours is the first
church edifice of our denomination erected in the sunny
South — once my home. There my husband died, and
the song and the dirge, surging my being, gave expression
to a poem written in 1844, from which I copy this verse: —
Friends, why throng in pity round me?
Wherefore, pray, the bell did toll?
Dead is he who loved me dearly:
Am I not alone in soul?
190 Did that midnight shadow, falling upon the bridal wreath, bring the recompense of human woe, which is the merciful design of divine Love, and so help to evolve that larger sympathy for suffering humanity which is emancipating it with the morning beams and noonday glory of Christian Science?
The age is fast answering this question: Does Christian Science equal materia medica in healing the worst forms of contagious and organic diseases? My experience in both practices — materia medica and the scientific metaphysical practice of medicine — shows the latter not only equalling but vastly excelling the former.
Christians who accept our Master as authority, regard his sayings as infallible. Jesus’ students, failing to cure a severe case of lunacy, asked their great Teacher, “Why could not we cast him out?” He answered, “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” This declaration of our Master, as to the relative value, skill, and certainty of the divine laws of Mind over the human mind and above matter in healing disease, remains beyond questioning a divine decision in behalf of Mind.
Jesus gave his disciples (students) power over all manner of diseases; and the Bible was written in order that all peoples, in all ages, should have the same opportunity to become students of the Christ, Truth, and thus become God-endued with power (knowledge of divine law) and with “signs following.” Jesus declared that his teaching and practice would remain, even as it did, “for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” Then, in the name of God, wherefore vilify His prophets to-day who are fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy and verifying his last promise, “Lo, I am with you alway”? It were well for 191the world if there survived more of the wisdom of Nicodemus of old, who said, “No man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”
Be patient towards persecution. Injustice has not a tithe of the power of justice. Your enemies will advertise for you. Christian Science is spreading steadily throughout the world. Persecution is the weakness of tyrants engendered by their fear, and love will cast it out. Continue steadfast in love and good works. Children of light, you are not children of darkness. Let your light shine. Keep in mind the foundations of Christian Science — one God and one Christ. Keep personality out of sight, and Christ’s “Blessed are ye” will seal your apostleship.
This glad Easter morning witnesseth a risen Saviour, a higher human sense of Life and Love, which wipes away all tears. With grave-clothes laid aside, Christ, Truth, has come forth from the tomb of the past, clad in immortality. The sepulchres give up their dead. Spirit is saying unto matter: I am not there, am not within you. Behold the place where they laid me; but human thought has risen!
192 Ye sit not in the idol’s temple. Ye build not to an unknown God. Ye worship Him whom ye serve. Boast not thyself, thou ransomed of divine Love, but press on unto the possession of unburdened bliss. Heal the sick, make spotless the blemished, raise the living dead, cast out fashionable lunacy.
The ideal robe of Christ is seamless. Thou hast touched its hem, and thou art being healed. The risen Christ is thine. The haunting mystery and gloom of his glory rule not this century. Thine is the upspringing hope, the conquest over sin and mortality, that lights the living way to Life, not to death.
May the God of our fathers, the infinite Person whom we worship, be and abide with you. May the blessing of divine Love rest with you. My heart hovers around your churches in Chicago, for the dove of peace sits smilingly on these branches and sings of our Redeemer.
Beloved Students: — Your kind letter, inviting me to be present at the dedication of your church, was duly received. It would indeed give me pleasure to visit you, to witness your prosperity, and “rejoice with them that do rejoice,” but the constant recurring demands upon my time and attention pin me to my post. Of this, however, I can sing: My love can fly on wings of joy to you and leave a leaf of olive; it can whisper to you of the divine ever-presence, answering your prayers, crowning your endeavors, and building for you a house “eternal in the heavens.”
193 You will dedicate your temple in faith unfeigned, not to the unknown God, but unto Him whom to know aright is life everlasting. His presence with you will bring to your hearts so much of heaven that you will not feel my absence. The privilege remains mine to watch and work for all, from East to West, from the greensward and gorgeous skies of the Orient to your dazzling glory in the Occident, and to thank God forever “for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men.”
Beloved: — The spiritual dominates the temporal. Love gives nothing to take away. Nothing dethrones His house. You are dedicating yours to Him. Protesting against error, you unite with all who believe in Truth. God guard and guide you.
Beloved Brethren: — Carlyle writes, “Give a thing time; if it succeeds, it is a right thing.” Here I aver that you have grasped time and labor, taking the first by the forelock and the last by love. In this lofty temple, dedicated to God and humanity, may the prophecy of Isaiah be fulfilled: “Fear not: . . . I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” Within its sacred walls may 194song and sermon generate only that which Christianity writes in broad facts over great continents — sermons that fell forests and remove mountains, songs of joy and gladness.
The letter of your work dies, as do all things material, but the spirit of it is immortal. Remember that a temple but foreshadows the idea of God, the “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,” while a silent, grand man or woman, healing sickness and destroying sin, builds that which reaches heaven. Only those men and women gain greatness who gain themselves in a complete subordination of self.
The tender memorial engraven on your grand edifice stands for human self lost in divine light, melted into the radiance of His likeness. It stands for meekness and might, for Truth as attested by the Founder of your denomination and emblazoned on the fair escutcheon of your church.
Beloved Students: — Your telegram, in which you present to me the princely gift of your magnificent church
edifice in New York City, is an unexpected token of your
gratitude and love. I deeply appreciate it, profoundly
thank you for it, and gratefully accept the spirit of it;
but I must decline to receive that for which you have
sacrificed so much and labored so long. May divine
Love abundantly bless you, reward you according to
your works, guide and guard you and your church
through the depths; and may you
“Who stood the storm when seas were rough,
Ne’er in a sunny hour fall off.”
Beloved Brethren: — You will pardon my delay in acknowledging your card of invitation to the dedicatory services of your church. Adverse circumstances, loss of help, new problems to be worked out for the field, etc., have hitherto prevented my reply. However, it is never too late to repent, to love more, to work more, to watch and pray; but those privileges I have not had time to express, and so have submitted to necessity, letting the deep love which I cherished for you be hidden under an appearance of indifference.
We must resign with good grace what we are denied, and press on with what we are, for we cannot do more than we are nor understand what is not ripening in us. To do good to all because we love all, and to use in God’s service the one talent that we all have, is our only means of adding to that talent and the best way to silence a deep discontent with our shortcomings.
Christian Science is at length learned to be no miserable piece of ideal legerdemain, by which we poor mortals expect to live and die, but a deep-drawn breath fresh from God, by whom and in whom man lives, moves, and has deathless being. The praiseworthy success of this church, and its united efforts to build an edifice in which to worship the infinite, sprang from the temples erected first in the hearts of its members — the unselfed love that builds without hands, eternal in the heaven of Spirit. God grant that this unity remain, and that you continue to build, rebuild, adorn, and fill these spiritual temples with grace, Truth, Life, and Love.
My Beloved Brethren: — I congratulate you upon erecting the first edifice of our denomination in the Keystone State, a State whose metropolis is called the “city of brotherly love.” May this dear church militant accept my tender counsel in these words of the Scripture, to be engrafted in church and State: —
“Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” “By thy words thou shalt be condemned.” “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
“Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that [we] should follow his steps: . . . who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously.” “Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
My Beloved Brethren: — The good in being, even the spiritually indispensable, is your daily bread. Work and pray for it. The poor toil for our bread, and we should work for their health and holiness. Over the glaciers of winter the summer glows. The beauty of holiness comes 197with the departure of sin. Enjoying good things is not evil, but becoming slaves to pleasure is. That error is most forcible which is least distinct to conscience. Attempt nothing without God’s help.
Beloved Students: — Words are inadequate to express my deep appreciation of your labor and success in completing and dedicating your church edifice, and of the great hearts and ready hands of our far Western students, the Christian Scientists.
Comparing such students with those whose words are but the substitutes for works, we learn that the translucent atmosphere of the former must illumine the midnight of the latter, else Christian Science will disappear from among mortals.
My Beloved Brethren: — At this dedicatory season of your church edifice in the home of my heart, I send loving congratulations, join with you in song and sermon. God will bless the work of your hearts and hands.
Beloved Students and Brethren: — Your letters of May 1 and June 19, informing me of the dedication of your magnificent church edifice, have been received with many thanks to you and great gratitude to our one Father.