The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany/Chapter 2.06
FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST, CONCORD, N. H.
[Concord (N. H.) Monitor]
Mrs. Eddy's Gift to the Concord Church
“BELOVED Teacher and Leader: — The members of the Concord church are filled with profound joy and deep gratitude that your generous gift of one hundred thousand dollars is to be used at once to build a beautiful church edifice for your followers in the capital city of your native State. We rejoice that the prosperity of the Cause in your home city, where, without regard to class or creed, you are so highly esteemed, makes necessary the commodious and beautiful church home you have so freely bestowed. We thank you for this renewed evidence of your unselfish love.”
The church will be built of the same beautiful Concord granite of which the National Library Building in Washington is constructed. This is in accord with the expressed wish of Mrs. Eddy, made known in her original deed of trust, first announced in the Concord Monitor of March 19, 1898. In response to an inquiry from the editor of that paper, Mrs. Eddy made the following statement: —
On January 31, 1898, I gave a deed of trust to three individuals which conveyed to them the sum of one hundred thousand dollars to be appropriated in building a granite church edifice for First Church of Christ, Scientist, in this city.
Mary Baker Eddy.
Corner-Stone Laid at Concord
Beloved Brethren: — This day drops down upon the glories of summer; it is a glad day, in attune with faith's fond trust. We live in an age of Love's divine adventure to be All-in-all. This day is the natal hour of my lone earth life; and for all mankind to-day hath its gloom and glory: it endureth all things; it points to the new birth, heaven here, the struggle over; it profits by the past and joys in the present — to-day lends a new-born beauty to holiness, patience, charity, love.
Having all faith in Christian Science, we must have faith in whatever manifests love for God and man. The burden of proof that Christian Science is Science rests on Christian Scientists. The letter without the spirit is dead: it is the Spirit that heals the sick and the sinner — that makes the heart tender, faithful, true. Most men and women talk well, and some practise what they say.
God has blessed and will bless this dear band of brethren. He has laid the chief corner-stone of the temple which to-day you commemorate, to-morrow complete, and thereafter dedicate to Truth and Love. O may your temple and all who worship therein stand through all time for God and humanity!
Mary Baker Eddy.
Message on the Occasion of the Dedication of Mrs. Eddy's Gift, July 17, 1904
Copyright, 1904, by Mary Baker G. Eddy. All rights reserved.
Beloved Brethren: — Never more sweet than to-day, seem to me, and must seem to thee, those words of our loved Lord, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end.” Thus may it ever be that Christ rejoiceth and comforteth us. Sitting at his feet, I send to you the throbbing of every pulse of my desire for the ripening and rich fruit of this branch of his vine, and I thank God who hath sent forth His word to heal and to save.
At this period, the greatest man or woman on earth stands at the vestibule of Christian Science, struggling to enter into the perfect love of God and man. The infinite will not be buried in the finite; the true thought escapes from the inward to the outward, and this is the only right activity, that whereby we reach our higher nature. Material theories tend to check spiritual attraction — the tendency towards God, the infinite and eternal — by an opposite attraction towards the temporary and finite. Truth, life, and love are the only legitimate and eternal demands upon man; they are spiritual laws enforcing obedience and punishing disobedience.
Even Epictetus, a heathen philosopher who held that Zeus, the master of the gods, could not control human will, writes, “What is the essence of God? Mind.” The general thought chiefly regards material things, and keeps Mind much out of sight. The Christian, however, strives for the spiritual; he abides in a right purpose, as in laws which it were impious to transgress, and follows Truth fearlessly. The heart that beats mostly for self is seldom alight with love. To live so as to keep human consciousness in constant relation with the divine, the spiritual, and the eternal, is to individualize infinite power; and this is Christian Science.
It is of less importance that we receive from mankind justice, than that we deserve it. Most of us willingly accept dead truisms which can be buried at will; but a live truth, even though it be a sapling within rich soil and with blossoms on its branches, frightens people. The trenchant truth that cuts its way through iron and sod, most men avoid until compelled to glance at it. Then they open their hearts to it for actual being, health, holiness, and immortality.
I am asked, “Is there a hell?” Yes, there is a hell for all who persist in breaking the Golden Rule or in disobeying the commandments of God. Physical science has sometimes argued that the internal fires of our earth will eventually consume this planet. Christian Science shows that hidden unpunished sin is this internal fire, — even the fire of a guilty conscience, waking to a true sense of itself, and burning in torture until the sinner is consumed, — his sins destroyed. This may take millions of cycles, but of the time no man knoweth. The advanced psychist knows that this hell is mental, not material, and that the Christian has no part in it. Only the makers of hell burn in their fire.
Concealed crimes, the wrongs done to others, are millstones hung around the necks of the wicked. Christ Jesus paid our debt and set us free by enabling us to pay it; for which we are still his debtors, washing the Way-shower's feet with tears of joy.
The intentional destroyer of others would destroy himself eternally, were it not that his suffering reforms him, thus balancing his account with divine Love, which never remits the sentence necessary to reclaim the sinner. Hence these words of Christ Jesus: “Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.” (Luke 13: 27, 28.) He who gains self-knowledge, self-control, and the kingdom of heaven within himself, within his own consciousness, is saved through Christ, Truth. Mortals must drink sufficiently of the cup of their Lord and Master to unself mortality and to destroy its erroneous claims. Therefore, said Jesus, “Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with.”
We cannot boast ourselves of to-morrow; sufficient unto each day is the duty thereof. Lest human reason becloud spiritual understanding, say not in thy heart: Sickness is possible because one's thought and conduct do not afford a sufficient defence against it. Trust in God, and “He shall direct thy paths.” When evil was avenging itself on its destroyer, his preeminent goodness, the Godlike man said, “My burden is light.” Only he who learns through meekness and love the falsity of supposititious life and intelligence in matter, can triumph over their ultimatum, sin, suffering, and death.
God's mercy for mortal ignorance and need is assured; then who shall question our want of more faith in His “very present help in trouble”? Jesus said: “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.”
Strength is in man, not in muscles; unity and power are not in atom or in dust. A small group of wise thinkers is better than a wilderness of dullards and stronger than the might of empires. Unity is spiritual cooperation, heart to heart, the bond of blessedness such as my beloved Christian Scientists all over the field, and the dear Sunday School children, have demonstrated in gifts to me of about eighty thousand dollars, to be applied to building, embellishing, and furnishing our church edifice in Concord, N. H.
We read in Holy Writ: “This man began to build, and was not able to finish.” This was spoken derisively. But the love that rebukes praises also, and methinks the same wisdom which spake thus in olden time would say to the builder of the Christian Scientists' church edifice in Concord: "Well done, good and faithful.” Our proper reason for church edifices is, that in them Christians may worship God, — not that Christians may worship church edifices!
May the loving Shepherd of this feeble flock lead it gently into “green pastures . . . beside the still waters.” May He increase its members, and may their faith never falter — their faith in and their understanding of divine Love. This church, born in my nativity, may it build upon the rock of ages against which the waves and winds beat in vain. May the towering top of its goodly temple — burdened with beauty, pointing to the heavens, bursting into the rapture of song — long call the worshipper to seek the haven of hope, the heaven of Soul, the sweet sense of angelic song chiming chaste challenge to praise him who won the way and taught mankind to win through meekness to might, goodness to grandeur, — from cross to crown, from sense to Soul, from gleam to glory, from matter to Spirit.
Not having the time to receive all the beloved ones who have so kindly come to the dedication of this church, I must not allow myself the pleasure of receiving any of them. I always try to be just, if not generous; and I cannot show my love for them in social ways without neglecting the sacred demands on my time and attention for labors which I think do them more good.
A Kindly Greeting
Dear Editor: — When I removed from Boston in 1889 and came to Concord, N. H., it was that I might find retirement from many years of incessant labor for the Cause of Christian Science, and the opportunity in Concord's quiet to revise our textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” Here let me add that, together with the retirement I so much coveted, I have also received from the leading people of this pleasant city all and more than I anticipated. I love its people — love their scholarship, friendship, and granite character. I respect their religious beliefs, and thank their ancestors for helping to form mine. The movement of establishing in this city a church of our faith was far from my purpose, when I came here, knowing that such an effort would involve a lessening of the retirement I so much desired. But the demand increased, and I consented, hoping thereby to give to many in this city a church home.
Acknowledgment of Gifts
TO THE CHICAGO CHURCHES
My Beloved Brethren: — I have yearned to express my thanks for your munificent gift to First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Concord, of ten thousand dollars. What is gratitude but a powerful camera obscura, a thing focusing light where love, memory, and all within the human heart is present to manifest light.
Is it not a joy to compare the beginning of Christian Science in Chicago with its present prosperity? Now  six dear churches are there, the members of which not only possess a sound faith, but that faith also possesses them. A great sanity, a mighty something buried in the depths of the unseen, has wrought a resurrection among you, and has leaped into living love. What is this something, this phœnix fire, this pillar by day, kindling, guiding, and guarding your way? It is unity, the bond of perfectness, the thousandfold expansion that will engirdle the world, — unity, which unfolds the thought most within us into the greater and better, the sum of all reality and good.
This unity is reserved wisdom and strength. It builds upon the rock, against which envy, enmity, or malice beat in vain. Man lives, moves, and has his being in God, Love. Then man must live, he cannot die; and Love must necessarily promote and pervade all his success. Of two things fate cannot rob us; namely, of choosing the best, and of helping others thus to choose. But in doing this the Master became the servant. The grand must stoop to the menial. There is scarcely an indignity which I have not endured for the cause of Christ, Truth, and I returned blessing for cursing. The best help the worst; the righteous suffer for the unrighteous; and by this spirit man lives and thrives, and by it God governs.
TO FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST, NEW YORK
Beloved Brethren: — I beg to thank the dear brethren of this church for the sum of ten thousand dollars presented to me for First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Concord, N. H. Goodness never fails to receive its reward, for goodness makes life a blessing. As an active portion of one stupendous whole, goodness identifies man with universal good. Thus may each member of this church rise above the oft-repeated inquiry. What am I? to the scientific response: I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing.
Human reason becomes tired and calls for rest. It has a relapse into the common hope. Goodness and benevolence never tire. They maintain themselves and others and never stop from exhaustion. He who is afraid of being too generous has lost the power of being magnanimous. The best man or woman is the most unselfed. God grant that this church is rapidly nearing the maximum of might, — the means that build to the heavens, — that it has indeed found and felt the infinite source where is all, and from which it can help its neighbor. Then efforts to be great will never end in anarchy but will continue with divine approbation. It is insincerity and a half-persuaded faith that fail to succeed and fall to the earth.
Religions may waste away, but the fittest survives; and so long as we have the right ideal, life is worth living and God takes care of our life.
TO THE MOTHER CHURCH
My Beloved Brethren: — Your munificent gift of ten thousand dollars, with which to furnish First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Concord, N. H., with an organ, is positive proof of your remembrance and love. Days of shade and shine may come and go, but we will live on and never drift apart. Life's ills are its chief recompense; they develop hidden strength. Had I never suffered for The Mother Church, neither she nor I would be practising the virtues that lie concealed in the smooth seasons and calms of human existence. When we are willing to help and to be helped, divine aid is near. If all our years were holidays, sport would be more irksome than work. So, my dear ones, let us together sing the old-new song of salvation, and let our measure of time and joy be spiritual, not material.
TO FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST, NEW LONDON, CONN.
Beloved Brethren: — I am for the first time informed of your gift to me of a beautiful cabinet, costing one hundred and seventy-five dollars, for my books, placed in my room at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Concord, N. H. Accept my deep thanks therefor, and especially for the self-sacrifice it may have cost the dear donors.
The mysticism of good is unknown to the flesh, for goodness is “the fruit of the Spirit.” The suppositional world within us separates us from the spiritual world, which is apart from matter, and unites us to one another. Spirit teaches us to resign what we are not and to understand what we are in the unity of Spirit — in that Love which is faithful, an ever-present help in trouble, which never deserts us.
I pray that heaven's messages of “on earth peace, good will toward men,” may fill your hearts and leave their loving benedictions upon your lives.
Thanksgiving Day, 1904
Beloved Students: — May this, your first Thanksgiving Day, according to time-tables, in our new church edifice, be one acceptable in His sight, and full of love, peace, and good will for yourselves, your flock, and the race. Give to all the dear ones my love, and my prayer for their health, happiness, and holiness this and every day.
Beloved Brethren: — Allow me to send forth a pæan of praise for the noble disposal of the legislative question as to the infringement of rights and privileges guaranteed to you by the laws of my native State. The constituted religious rights in New Hampshire will, I trust, never be marred by the illegitimate claims of envy, jealousy, or persecution.
In our country the day of heathenism, illiberal views, or of an uncultivated understanding has passed. Freedom to worship God according to the dictates of enlightened conscience, and practical religion in agreement with the demand of our common Christ, the Holy One of Israel, are forever the privileges of the people of my dear old New Hampshire.
Mary Baker Eddy.
|Box G, Brookline, Mass.,|
|April 12, 1909.|