The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany/Chapter 2.05
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE HALL, CONCORD, N. H.
MY Dear Editors: — You are by this time acquainted with the small item that in October, 1897, I proposed to one of Concord's best builders the plan for Christian Science Hall in Concord, N. H. He drew the plan, showed it to me, and I accepted it. From that time, October 29, 1897, until the remodelling of the house was finished, I inspected the work every day, suggested the details outside and inside from the foundations to the tower, and saw them carried out. One day the carpenters' foreman said to me: “I want to be let off for a few days. I do not feel able to keep about. I am feeling an old ailment my mother had.” I healed him on the spot. He remained at work, and the next morning said to Mr. George H. Moore of Concord, “I am as well as I ever was.”
Within the past year and two months, I have worked even harder than usual, but I cannot go upon the platform and still be at home attending to the machinery which keeps the wheels revolving. This well-known fact makes me the servant of the race — and gladly thus, if in this way I can serve equally my friends and my enemies.
In explanation of my dedicatory letter to the Chicago church (see page 177), I will say: It is understood by all Christians that Jesus spoke the truth. He said: “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.” I believe this saying because I understand it, but its verity has not been acknowledged since the third century.
The statement in my letter to the church in Chicago, in substance as follows, has been quoted and criticized: “If wisdom lengthens my sum of years to fourscore, I may then be even younger than now.”
Few believe this saying. Few believe that Christian Science contains infinitely more than has been demonstrated, or that the altitude of its highest propositions has not yet been reached. The heights of the great Nazarene's sayings are not fully scaled. Yet his immortal words and my poor prophecy, if they are true at all, are as true to-day as they will be to-morrow. I am convinced of the absolute truth of his sayings and of their present application to mankind, and I am equally sure that what I wrote is true, although it has not been demonstrated in this age.
Christian Scientists hold as a vital point that the beliefs of mortals tip the scale of being, morally and physically, either in the right or in the wrong direction. Therefore a Christian Scientist never mentally or audibly takes the side of sin, disease, or death. Others who take the side of error do it ignorantly or maliciously. The Christian Scientist voices the harmonious and eternal, and nothing else. He lays his whole weight of thought, tongue, and pen in the divine scale of being — for health and holiness.
Second Sunday Service, December 12, 1897
Friends and Brethren: — There are moments when at the touch of memory the past comes forth like a pageant and the present is prophetic. Over a half century ago, between the morning and afternoon services of the First Congregational Church, the grand old elm on North State Street flung its foliage in kindly shelter over my childhood's Sunday noons. And now, at this distant day, I have provided for you a modest hall, in which to assemble as a sort of Christian Science kindergarten for teaching the “new tongue” of the gospel with “signs following,” of which St. Mark prophesies.
May this little sanctum be preserved sacred to the memory of this pure purpose, and subserve it. Let the Bible and the Christian Science textbook preach the gospel which heals the sick and enlightens the people's sense of Christian Science. This ministry, reaching the physical, moral, and spiritual needs of humanity, will, in the name of Almighty God, speak the truth that to-day, as in olden time, is found able to heal both sin and disease.
I have purchased a pleasant place for you, and prepared for your use work-rooms and a little hall, which are already dedicated to Christ's service, since Christian Scientists never stop ceremoniously to dedicate halls. I shall be with you personally very seldom. I have a work to do that, in the words of our Master, “ye know not of.” From the interior of Africa to the utmost parts of the earth, the sick and the heavenly homesick or hungry hearts are calling on me for help, and I am helping them. You have less need of me than have they, and you must not expect me further to do your pioneer work in this city. Faithfully and more than ever persistently, you are now, through the providence of God, called to do your part wisely and to let your faith be known by your works. All that we ask of any people is to judge our doctrine by its fruits. May the good folk of Concord have this opportunity, and may the God of all grace, truth, and love be and abide with you henceforth.
Address to the Concord Church, February, 1899
My Beloved Brethren: — In the annals of our denomination this church becomes historic, having completed its organization February 22 — Washington's birthday. Memorable date, all unthought of till the day had passed! Then we beheld the omen, — religious liberty, — the Father of the universe and the father of our nation in concurrence.
To-day, with the large membership of seventy-four communicants, you have met to praise God. I, as usual at home and alone, am with you in spirit, joining in your rejoicing, and my heart is asking: What are the angels saying or singing of this dear little flock, and what is each heart in this house repeating, and what is being recorded of this meeting as with the pen of an angel?
Bear in mind always that Christianity is not alone a gift, but that it is a growth Christward; it is not a creed or dogma, — a philosophical phantasm, — nor the opinions of a sect struggling to gain power over contending sects and scourging the sect in advance of it. Christianity is the summons of divine Love for man to be Christlike — to emulate the words and the works of our great Master. To attain to these works, men must know somewhat of the divine Principle of Jesus' life-work, and must prove their knowledge by doing as he bade: “Go, and do thou likewise.”
We know Principle only through Science. The Principle of Christ is divine Love, resistless Life and Truth. Then the Science of the Principle must be Christlike, or Christian Science. More than regal is the majesty of the meekness of the Christ-principle; and its might is the ever-flowing tides of truth that sweep the universe, create and govern it; and its radiant stores of knowledge are the mysteries of exhaustless being. Seek ye these till you make their treasures yours.
When a young man vainly boasted, “I am wise, for I have conversed with many wise men,” Epictetus made answer, “And I with many rich men, but I am not rich.” The richest blessings are obtained by labor. A vessel full must be emptied before it can be refilled. Lawyers may know too much of human law to have a clear perception of divine justice, and divines be too deeply read in scholastic theology to appreciate or to demonstrate Christian charity. Losing the comprehensive in the technical, the Principle in its accessories, cause in effect, and faith in sight, we lose the Science of Christianity, — a predicament quite like that of the man who could not see London for its houses.
Clouds parsimonious of rain, that swing in the sky with dumb thunderbolts, are seen and forgotten in the same hour; while those with a mighty rush, which waken the stagnant waters and solicit every root and every leaf with the treasures of rain, ask no praising. Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee. Therefore despair not nor murmur, for that which seeketh to save, to heal, and to deliver, will guide thee, if thou seekest this guidance.
Pliny gives the following description of the character of true greatness: “Doing what deserves to be written, and writing what deserves to be read; and rendering the world happier and better for having lived in it.” Strive thou for the joy and crown of such a pilgrimage — the service of such a mission.
A heart touched and hallowed by one chord of Christian Science, can accomplish the full scale; but this heart must be honest and in earnest and never weary of struggling to be perfect — to reflect the divine Life, Truth, and Love.
Stand by the limpid lake, sleeping amid willowy banks dyed with emerald. See therein the mirrored sky and the moon ablaze with her mild glory. This will stir your heart. Then, in speechless prayer, ask God to enable you to reflect God, to become His own image and likeness, even the calm, clear, radiant reflection of Christ's glory, healing the sick, bringing the sinner to repentance, and raising the spiritually dead in trespasses and sins to life in God. Jesus said: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
Beloved in Christ, what our Master said unto his disciples, when he sent them forth to heal the sick and preach the gospel, I say unto you: “Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Then, if the wisdom you manifest causes Christendom or the disclaimer against God to call this “a subtle fraud,” “let your peace return to you.”
I am patient with the newspaper wares and the present schoolboy epithets and attacks of a portion of Christendom:
(1) Because I sympathize with their ignorance of Christian Science:
(2) Because I know that no Christian can or does understand this Science and not love it:
(3) Because these attacks afford opportunity for explaining Christian Science:
(4) Because it is written: “The wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain.”
Rest assured that the injustice done by press and pulpit to this denomination of Christians will cease, when it no longer blesses this denomination. “This I know; for God is for me” (Psalms). And in the words of St. Paul, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
|“Pass ye the proud fane by,|
|The vaulted aisles by flaunting folly trod.|
|And 'neath the temple of uplifted sky —|
|Go forth, and worship God.”|
Message, April 19, 1899
Subject: “Not Matter, but Spirit”
My Beloved Brethren: — We learn from the Scriptures that the Baalites or sun-worshippers failed to look “through nature up to nature's God,” thus missing the discovery of all cause and effect. They were content to look no higher than the symbol. This departure from Spirit, this worshipping of matter in the name of nature, was idolatry then and is idolatry now. When human thought discerned its idolatrous tendencies, it took a step higher; but it immediately turned to another form of idolatry, and, worshipping person instead of Principle, anchored its faith in troubled waters. At that period, the touch of Jesus' robe and the handkerchief of St. Paul were supposed to heal the sick, and our Master declared, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” The medicine-man, far lower in the scale of thought, said, “My material tonic has strengthened you.” By reposing faith in man and in matter, the human race has not yet reached the understanding of God, the conception of Spirit and its all-power.
The restoration of pure Christianity rests solely on spiritual understanding, spiritual worship, spiritual power. Ask thyself, Do I enter by the door and worship only Spirit and spiritually, or do I climb up some other way? Do I understand God as Love, the divine Principle of all that really is, the infinite good, than which there is none else and in whom is all? Unless this be so, the blind is leading the blind, and both will stumble into doubt and darkness, even as the ages have shown. To-day, if ye would hear His voice, listen to His Word and serve no other gods. Then the divine Principle of good, that we call God, will be found an ever-present help in all things, and Christian Science will be understood. It will also be seen that this God demands all our faith and love; that matter, man, or woman can never heal you nor pardon a single sin; while God, the divine Principle of nature and man, when understood and demonstrated, is found to be the remote, predisposing, and present cause of all that is rightly done.
I have the sweet satisfaction of sending to you weekly flowers that my skilful florist has coaxed into loveliness despite our winter snows. Also I hear that the loving hearts and hands of the Christian Scientists in Concord send these floral offerings in my name to the sick and suffering. Now, if these kind hearts will only do this in Christ's name, the power of Truth and Love will fulfil the law in righteousness. The healing and the gospel ministry of my students in Concord have come to fulfil the whole law. Unto “the angel of the church in Philadelphia,” the church of brotherly love, “these things saith He that is holy.”
To-day our great Master would say to the aged gentle- man healed from the day my flowers visited his bedside: Thy faith hath healed thee. The flowers were imbued and associated with no intrinsic healing qualities from my poor personality. The scientific, healing faith is a saving faith; it keeps steadfastly the great and first command- ment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” — no other than the spiritual help of divine Love. Faith in aught else misguides the understanding, ignores the power of God, and, in the words of St. Paul, appeals to an unknown power “whom therefore ye ignorantly worship.” This trembling and blind faith, in the past as in the present, seeks personality for support, unmindful of the divine law of Love, which can be understood, the Principle of which works intelligently as the divine Mind, not as matter, casting out evil and healing the sick.
Christian Science healing is “the Spirit and the bride,” — the Word and the wedding of this Word to all human thought and action, — that says: Come, and I will give thee rest, peace, health, holiness. The sweet flowers should be to us His apostles, pointing away from matter and man up to the one source, divine Life and Love, in whom is all salvation from sin, disease, and death. The Science of all healing is based on Mind — the power of Truth over error. It is not the person who gives the drug nor the drug itself that heals, but it is the law of Life understood by the practitioner as transcending the law of death.
I shall scarcely venture to send flowers to this little hall if they can be made to infringe the divine law of Love even in thought. Send flowers and all things fair and comforting to the dear sick, but remember it is not he who gives the flowers that confers the blessing, but “my Spirit, saith the Lord;” for “in Him was life,” and that life “was the light of men.”
First Annual Meeting, January 11, 1900
My Beloved Brethren: — At this, your first annual meeting, permit me to congratulate this little church in our city, weaving the new-old vesture in which to appear and to clothe the human race. Carlyle wrote: “Wouldst thou plant for eternity? Then plant into the deep infinite faculties of man. If the poor toil that we have food, must not the high and glorious toil for him in return that we have light, freedom, immortality?” I agree with him; and in our era of the world I welcome the means and methods, light and truth, emanating from the pulpit and press. Altogether it makes the church militant, embodied in a visible communion, the foreshadowing of the church triumphant. Communing heart with heart, mind with mind, soul with soul, wherein and whereby we are looking heavenward, is not looking nor gravitating earthward, take it in whatever sense you may. Such communing uplifts man's being; it makes healing the sick and reforming the sinner a mutual aid society, which is effective here and now.
May this dear little church, nestled so near my heart and native hills, be steadfast in Christ, always abounding in love and good works, having unfaltering faith in the prophecies, promises, and proofs of Holy Writ. May this church have one God, one Christ, and that one the God and Saviour whom the Scriptures declare. May it catch the early trumpet-call, take step with the twentieth century, leave behind those things that are behind, lay down the low laurels of vainglory, and, pressing forward in the onward march of Truth, run in joy, health, holiness, the race set before it, till, home at last, it finds the full fruition of its faith, hope, and prayer.
Easter Message, 1902
Beloved Brethren: — May this glad Easter morn find the members of this dear church having a pure peace, a fresh joy, a clear vision of heaven here, — heaven within us, — and an awakened sense of the risen Christ. May long lines of light span the horizon of their hope and brighten their faith with a dawn that knows no twilight and no night. May those who discourse music to-day, sing as the angels heaven's symphonies that come to earth.
May the dear Sunday School children always be gathering Easter lilies of love with happy hearts and ripening goodness. To-day may they find some sweet scents and beautiful blossoms in their Leader's love, which she sends to them this glad morn in the flowers and the cross from Pleasant View, smiling upon them.
Last Annual Meeting, January 6, 1904
Beloved Brethren: — You will accept my gratitude for your dear letter, and allow me to reply in words of the Scripture: “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able” — “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,” “able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work,” “able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”
When Jesus directed his disciples to prepare for the material passover, which spiritually speaking is the passover from sense to Soul, he bade them say to the goodman of the house: “The Master saith unto thee. Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? and he shall show you a large upper room furnished: there make ready.”
In obedience to this command may these communicants come with the upper chambers of thought prepared for the reception of Truth — with hope, faith, and love ready to partake of the bread that cometh down from heaven, and to “drink of his blood” — to receive into their affections and lives the inspiration which giveth victory over sin, disease, and death.