The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany/Chapter 2.12
READERS, TEACHERS, LECTURERS
The New York Churches
MY Beloved Students: — According to reports, the belief is springing up among you that the several churches in New York City should come together and form one church. This is a suggestion of error, which should be silenced at its inception. You cannot have lost sight of the rules for branch churches as published in our Church Manual. The Empire City is large, and there should be more than one church in it.
The Readers of The Church of Christ, Scientist, hold important, responsible offices, and two individuals would meet meagrely the duties of half a dozen or more of the present incumbents. I have not yet had the privilege of knowing two students who are adequate to take charge of three or more churches. The students in New York and elsewhere will see that it is wise to remain in their own fields of labor and give all possible time and attention to caring for their own flocks.
The November Class, 1898
Beloved Christian Scientists: — Your prompt presence in Concord at my unexplained call witnesses your fidelity to Christian Science and your spiritual unity with your Leader. I have awaited your arrival before informing you of my purpose in sending for you, in order to avoid the stir that might be occasioned among those who wish to share this opportunity and to whom I would gladly give it at this time if a larger class were advantageous to the students.
You have been invited hither to receive from me one or more lessons on Christian Science, prior to conferring on any or all of you who are ready for it, the degree of C.S.D., of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College. This opportunity is designed to impart a fresh impulse to our spiritual attainments, the great need of which I daily discern. I have awaited the right hour, and to be called of God to contribute my part towards this result.
The “secret place,” whereof David sang, is unquestionably man's spiritual state in God's own image and likeness, even the inner sanctuary of divine Science, in which mortals do not enter without a struggle or sharp experience, and in which they put off the human for the divine. Knowing this, our Master said: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” In the highest sense of a disciple, all loyal students of my books are indeed my students, and your wise, faithful teachers have come so to regard them. What I have to say may not require more than one lesson. This, however, must depend on results. But the lessons will certainly not exceed three in number. No charge will be made for my services.
Massachusetts Metaphysical College
The Massachusetts Metaphysical College of Boston, Massachusetts, was chartered A.D. 1881. As the people observed the success of this Christian system of healing all manner of disease, over and above the approved schools of medicine, they became deeply interested in it. Now the wide demand for this universal benefice is imperative, and it should be met as heretofore, cautiously, systematically, scientifically. This Christian educational system is established on a broad and liberal basis. Law and order characterize its work and secure a thorough preparation of the student for practice.
The growth of human inquiry and the increasing popularity of Christian Science, I regret to say, have called out of their hiding-places those poisonous reptiles and devouring beasts, superstition and jealousy. Towards the animal elements manifested in ignorance, persecution, and lean glory, and to their Babel of confusion worse confounded, let Christian Scientists be charitable. Let the voice of Truth and Love be heard above the dire din of mortal nothingness, and the majestic march of Christian Science go on ad infinitum, praising God, doing the works of primitive Christianity, and enlightening the world.
To protect the public, students of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College have received certificates, and these credentials are still required of all who claim to teach Christian Science.
Inquiries have been made as to the precise signification of the letters of degrees that follow the names of Christian Scientists. They indicate, respectively, the degrees of Bachelor and Doctor of Christian Science, conferred by the President or Vice-President of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College. The first degree (C.S.B.) is given to students of the Primary class; the second degree (C.S.D.) is given to those who, after receiving the first degree, continue for three years as practitioners of Christian Science in good and regular standing. Students who enter the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, or are examined under its auspices by the Board of Education, must be well educated and have practised Christian Science three years with good success.
The Board of Education
In the year 1889, to gain a higher hope for the race, I closed my College in the midst of unprecedented prosperity, left Boston, and sought in solitude and silence a higher understanding of the absolute scientific unity which must exist between the teaching and letter of Christianity and the spirit of Christianity, dwelling forever in the divine Mind or Principle of man's being and revealed through the human character.
While revising “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” the light and might of the divine concurrence of the spirit and the Word appeared, and the result is an auxiliary to the College called the Board of Education of The Mother Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass.
Our Master said: “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter;” and the spirit of his mission, the wisdom of his words, and the immortality of his works are the same to-day as yesterday and forever.
The Magna Charta of Christian Science means much, multum in parvo, — all-in-one and one-in-all. It stands for the inalienable, universal rights of men. Essentially democratic, its government is administered by the common consent of the governed, wherein and whereby man governed by his creator is self-governed. The church is the mouthpiece of Christian Science, — its law and gospel are according to Christ Jesus; its rules are health, holiness, and immortality, — equal rights and privileges, equality of the sexes, rotation in office.
To a First Reader
Beloved Student: — Christ is meekness and Truth enthroned. Put on the robes of Christ, and you will be lifted up and will draw all men unto you. The little fishes in my fountain must have felt me when I stood silently beside it, for they came out in orderly line to the rim where I stood. Then I fed these sweet little thoughts that, not fearing me, sought their food of me.
God has called you to be a fisher of men. It is not a stern but a loving look which brings forth mankind to receive your bestowal, — not so much eloquence as tender persuasion that takes away their fear, for it is Love alone that feeds them.
Do you come to your little flock so filled with divine food that you cast your bread upon the waters? Then be sure that after many or a few days it will return to you.
The little that I have accomplished has all been done through love, — self-forgetful, patient, unfaltering tenderness.
The Christian Science Board of Lectureship
Beloved Students: — I am more than satisfied with your work: its grandeur almost surprises me. Let your watchword always be:
|“Great, not like Caesar, stained with blood,|
|But only great as I am good.”|
You are not setting up to be great; you are here for the purpose of grasping and defining the demonstrable, the eternal. Spiritual heroes and prophets are they whose new-old birthright is to put an end to falsities in a wise way and to proclaim Truth so winningly that an honest, fervid affection for the race is found adequate for the emancipation of the race.
You are the needed and the inevitable sponsors for the twentieth century, reaching deep down into the universal and rising above theorems into the transcendental, the infinite — yea, to the reality of God, man, nature, the universe. No fatal circumstance of idolatry can fold or falter your wings. No fetishism with a symbol can fetter your flight. You soar only as uplifted by God's power, or you fall for lack of the divine impetus. You know that to conceive God aright you must be good.
The Christ mode of understanding Life — of exterminating sin and suffering and their penalty, death — I have largely committed to you, my faithful witnesses. You go forth to face the foe with loving look and with the religion and philosophy of labor, duty, liberty, and love, to challenge universal indifference, chance, and creeds. Your highest inspiration is found nearest the divine Principle and nearest the scientific expression of Truth. You may condemn evil in the abstract without harming any one or your own moral sense, but condemn persons seldom, if ever. Improve every opportunity to correct sin through your own perfectness. When error strives to be heard above Truth, let the “still small voice” produce God's phenomena. Meet dispassionately the raging element of individual hate and counteract its most gigantic falsities.
The moral abandon of hating even one's enemies excludes goodness. Hate is a moral idiocy let loose for one's own destruction. Unless withstood, the heat of hate burns the wheat, spares the tares, and sends forth a mental miasma fatal to health, happiness, and the morals of mankind, — and all this only to satiate its loathing of love and its revenge on the patience, silence, and lives of saints. The marvel is, that at this enlightened period a respectable newspaper should countenance such evil tendencies.
Millions may know that I am the Founder of Christian Science. I alone know what that means.
Readers in Church
The report that I prefer to have a man, rather than a woman, for First Reader in The Church of Christ, Scientist, I desire to correct. My preference lies with the individual best fitted to perform this important function. If both the First and Second Readers are my students, then without reference to sex I should prefer that student who is most spiritually-minded. What our churches need is that devout, unselfed quality of thought which spiritualizes the congregation.
Words for the Wise
The By-law of The Mother Church of Christ, Scientist, relative to a three years' term for church Readers, was entitled to and has received profound attention. Rotation in office promotes wisdom, quiets mad ambition, satisfies justice, and crowns honest endeavors.
The best Christian Scientists will be the first to adopt this By-law in their churches, and their Readers will retire ex officio, after three years of acceptable service as church Readers, to higher usefulness in this vast vineyard of our Lord.
The churches who adopt this By-law will please send to the Editor of our periodicals notice of their action.
Beloved Students: — The By-law of The Mother Church of Christ, Scientist, stipulating three years as the term for its Readers, neither binds nor compels the branch churches to follow suit; and the By-law applies only to Christian Science churches in the United States and Canada. Doubtless the churches adopting this By-law will discriminate as regards its adaptability to their conditions. But if now is not the time, the branch churches can wait for the favored moment to act on this subject.
I rest peacefully in knowing that the impulsion of this action in The Mother Church was from above. So I have faith that whatever is done in this direction by the branch churches will be blest. The Readers who have filled this sacred office many years, have beyond it duties and attainments beckoning them. What these are I cannot yet say. The great Master saith: “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.”
Teachers of Christian Science
I reply to the following question from unknown questioners:
“Are the students, whom I have taught, obliged to take both Primary and Normal class instruction in the Board of Education in order to become teachers of Primary classes?”
No, not if you and they are loyal Christian Scientists, and not if, after examination in the Board of Education, your pupils are found eligible to enter the Normal class, which at present is taught in the Board of Education only.
There is evidently some misapprehension of my meaning as to the mode of instruction in the Board of Education. A Primary student of mine can teach pupils the practice of Christian Science, and after three years of good practice, my Primary student can himself be examined in the Board of Education, and if found eligible, receive a certificate of the degree C.S.D.
The General Association of Teachers, 1903
My Beloved Students: — I call you mine, for all is thine and mine. What God gives, elucidates, armors, and tests in His service, is ours; and we are His. You have convened only to convince yourselves of this grand verity: namely, the unity in Christian Science. Cherish steadfastly this fact. Adhere to the teachings of the Bible, Science and Health, and our Manual, and you will obey the law and gospel. Have one God and you will have no devil. Keep yourselves busy with divine Love. Then you will be toilers like the bee, always distributing sweet things which, if bitter to sense, will be salutary as Soul; but you will not be like the spider, which weaves webs that ensnare.
Rest assured that the good you do unto others you do to yourselves as well, and the wrong you may commit must, will, rebound upon you. The entire purpose of true education is to make one not only know the truth but live it — to make one enjoy doing right, make one not work in the sunshine and run away in the storm, but work midst clouds of wrong, injustice, envy, hate; and wait on God, the strong deliverer, who will reward righteousness and punish iniquity. “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”
The London Teachers' Association, 1903
Beloved Students: — Your letter and dottings are an oasis in my wilderness. They point to verdant pastures, and are already rich rays from the eternal sunshine of Love, lighting and leading humanity into paths of peace and holiness.
Your “Thanksgiving Day,” instituted in England on New Year's Day, was a step in advance. It expressed your thanks, and gave to the “happy New Year” a higher hint. You are not aroused to this action by the allurements of wealth, pride, or power; the impetus comes from above — it is moral, spiritual, divine. All hail to this higher hope that neither slumbers nor is stilled by the cold impulse of a lesser gain!
It rejoices me to know that you know that healing the sick, soothing sorrow, brightening this lower sphere with the ways and means of the higher and everlasting harmony, brings to light the perfect original man and universe. What nobler achievement, what greater glory can nerve your endeavor? Press on! My heart and hope are with you.
|“Thou art not here for ease or pain,|
|But manhood's glorious crown to gain.”|
The General Association of Teachers, 1904
Beloved Brethren: — I thank you. Jesus said: “The world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent me.”
The Canadian Teachers, 1904
Beloved Brethren: — Accept my love and these words of Jesus: “Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”
Students in the Board of Education,
Beloved Students: — You will accept my profound thanks for your letter and telegram. If wishing is wise, I send with this a store of wisdom in three words: God bless you. If faith is fruition, you have His rich blessing already and my joy therewith.
We understand best that which begins in ourselves and by education brightens into birth. Dare to be faithful to God and man. Let the creature become one with his creator, and mysticism departs, heaven opens, right reigns, and you have begun to be a Christian Scientist.
The May Class, 1905
Beloved: — I am glad you enjoy the dawn of Christian Science; you must reach its meridian. Watch, pray, demonstrate. Released from materialism, you shall run and not be weary, walk and not faint.
The December Class, 1905
Beloved Students: — Responding to your kind letter, let me say: You will reap the sure reward of right thinking and acting, of watching and praying, and you will find the ever-present God an ever-present help. I thank the faithful teacher of this class and its dear members.
“Rotation in Office”
Dear Leader: — May we have permission to print, as a part of the preamble to our By-laws, the following extract from your article “Christian Science Board of Education” in the June Journal of 1904, page 184: —
“The Magna Charta of Christian Science means much, multum in parvo, — all-in-one and one-in-all. It stands for the inalienable, universal rights of men. Essentially democratic, its government is administered by the common consent of the governed, wherein and whereby man governed by his creator is self-governed. The church is the mouthpiece of Christian Science, — its law and gospel are according to Christ Jesus; its rules are health, holiness, and immortality, — equal rights and privileges, equality of the sexes, rotation in office.”
MRS. EDDY'S REPLY
Christian Science churches have my consent to publish the foregoing in their By-laws. By “rotation in office” I do not mean that minor officers who are filling their positions satisfactorily should be removed every three years, or be elevated to offices for which they are not qualified.
|Chestnut Hill, Mass.,|
|March 6, 1909.|