A CERTAIN apothegm of a Talmudical philosopher suits my sense of doing good. It reads thus: “The noblest charity is to prevent a man from accepting charity; and the best alms are to show and to enable a man to dispense with alms.”
In the early history of Christian Science, among my thousands of students few were wealthy. Now, Christian Scientists are not indigent; and their comfortable fortunes are acquired by healing mankind morally, physically, spiritually. The easel of time presents pictures — once fragmentary and faint — now rejuvenated by the touch of God's right hand. Where joy, sorrow, hope, disappointment, sigh, and smile commingled, now hope sits dove-like.
To preserve a long course of years still and uniform, amid the uniform darkness of storm and cloud and tempest, requires strength from above, — deep draughts from the fount of divine Love. Truly may it be said: There is an old age of the heart, and a youth that never grows old; a Love that is a boy, and a Psyche who is ever a girl. The fleeting freshness of youth, however, is not the evergreen of Soul; the coloring glory of perpetual bloom; the spiritual glow and grandeur of a consecrated life wherein dwelleth peace, sacred and sincere in trial or in triumph.
The opportunity has at length offered itself for me to comply with an oft-repeated request; namely, to collect my miscellaneous writings published in The Christian Science Journal, since April, 1883, and republish them in book form, — accessible as reference, and reliable as old landmarks. Owing to the manifold demands on my time in the early pioneer days, most of these articles were originally written in haste, without due preparation. To those heretofore in print, a few articles are herein appended. To some articles are affixed data, where these are most requisite, to serve as mile-stones measuring the distance, — or the difference between then and now, — in the opinions of men and the progress of our Cause.
My signature has been slightly changed from my Christian name, Mary Morse Baker. Timidity in early years caused me, as an author, to assume various noms de plume. After my first marriage, to Colonel Glover of Charleston, South Carolina, I dropped the name of Morse to retain my maiden name, — thinking that otherwise the name would be too long.
In 1894, I received from the Daughters of the American Revolution a certificate of membership made out to Mary Baker Eddy, and thereafter adopted that form of signature, except in connection with my published works. The first edition of Science and Health having been copyrighted at the date of its issue, 1875, in my name of Glover, caused me to retain the initial “G” on my subsequent books.
These pages, although a reproduction of what has been written, are still in advance of their time; and are richly rewarded by what they have hitherto achieved for the race. While no offering can liquidate one's debt of gratitude to God, the fervent heart and willing hand are not unknown to nor unrewarded by Him.
May this volume be to the reader a graphic guidebook, pointing the path, dating the unseen, and enabling him to walk the untrodden in the hitherto unexplored fields of Science. At each recurring holiday the Christian Scientist will find herein a “canny” crumb; and thus may time's pastimes become footsteps to joys eternal.
Realism will at length be found to surpass imagination, and to suit and savor all literature. The shuttlecock of religious intolerance will fall to the ground, if there be no battledores to fling it back and forth. It is reason for rejoicing that the vox populi is inclined to grant us peace, together with pardon for the preliminary battles that purchased it.
With tender tread, thought sometimes walks in memory, through the dim corridors of years, on to old battlegrounds, there sadly to survey the fields of the slain and the enemy's losses. In compiling this work, I have tried to remove the pioneer signs and ensigns of war, and to retain at this date the privileged armaments of peace.
With armor on, I continue the march, command and countermand; meantime interluding with loving thought this afterpiece of battle. Supported, cheered, I take my pen and pruning-hook, to “learn war no more,” and with strong wing to lift my readers above the smoke of conflict into light and liberty.
MARY BAKER EDDY
|Concord, N. H.|