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The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany/Chapter 2.17

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[Letter to the New York Commercial Advertiser]

Christian Science and the Church

OVER the signature “A Priest of the Church,” somebody, kindly referring to my address to First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Concord, N. H., writes: “If they [Christian Scientists] have any truth to reveal which has not been revealed by the church or the Bible, let them make it known to the world, before they claim the allegiance of mankind.”

I submit that Christian Science has been widely made known to the world, and that it contains the entire truth of the Scriptures, as also whatever portions of truth may be found in creeds. In addition to this, Christian Science presents the demonstrable divine Principle and rules of the Bible, hitherto undiscovered in the translations of the Bible and lacking in the creeds.

Therefore I query: Do Christians, who believe in sin, and especially those who claim to pardon sin, believe that God is good, and that God is All? Christian Scientists firmly subscribe to this statement; yea, they understand it and the law governing it, namely, that God, the divine Principle of Christian Science, is “of purer eyes than to behold evil.” On this basis they endeavor to cast out the belief in sin or in aught besides God, thus enabling the sinner to overcome sin according to the Scripture, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”

Does he who believes in sickness know or declare that there is no sickness or disease, and thus heal disease? Christian Scientists, who do not believe in the reality of disease, heal disease, for the reason that the divine Principle of Christian Science, demonstrated, heals the most inveterate diseases. Does he who believes in death understand or aver that there is no death, and proceed to overcome “the last enemy” and raise the dying to health? Christian Scientists raise the dying to health in Christ's name, and are striving to reach the summit of Jesus' words, “If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.”

If, as this kind priest claims, these things, inseparable from Christian Science, are common to his church, we propose that he make known his doctrine to the world, that he teach the Christianity which heals, and send out students according to Christ's command, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils.”

The tree is known by its fruit. If, as he implies, Christian Science is not a departure from the first century churches, — as surely it is not, — why persecute it? Are the churches opening fire on their own religious ranks, or are they attacking a peaceable party quite their antipode? Christian Science is a reflected glory; it shines with borrowed rays — from Light emitting light. Christian Science is the new-old Christianity, that which was and is the revelation of divine Love.

The present flux in religious faith may be found to be a healthy fermentation, by which the lees of religion will be lost, dogma and creed will pass off in scum, leaving a solid Christianity at the bottom — a foundation for the builders. I would that all the churches on earth could unite as brethren in one prayer: Father, teach us the life of Love.

Pleasant View, Concord, N. H.,
March 22, 1899.

[Letter to the New York World]

Faith in Metaphysics

Is faith in divine metaphysics insanity?

All sin is insanity, but healing the sick is not sin. There is a universal insanity which mistakes fable for fact throughout the entire testimony of the material senses. Those unfortunate people who are committed to insane asylums are only so many well-defined instances of the baneful effects of illusion on mortal minds and bodies. The supposition that we can correct insanity by the use of drugs is in itself a species of insanity. A drug cannot of itself go to the brain or affect cerebral conditions in any manner whatever. Drugs cannot remove inflammation, restore disordered functions, or destroy disease without the aid of mind.

If mind be absent from the body, drugs can produce no curative effect upon the body. The mind must be, is, the vehicle of all modes of healing disease and of producing disease. Through the mandate of mind or according to a man^s belief, can he be helped or be killed by a drug; but mind, not matter, produces the result in either case.

Neither life nor death, health nor disease, can be produced on a corpse, whence mind has departed. This self-evident fact is proof that mind is the cause of all effect made manifest through so-called matter. The general craze is that matter masters mind; the specific insanity is that brain, matter, is insane.

[Letter to the New York Herald]

Reply to Mark Twain

It is a fact well understood that I begged the students who first gave me the endearing appellative “Mother,” not to name me thus. But without my consent, the use of the word spread like wildfire. I still must think the name is not applicable to me. I stand in relation to this century as a Christian Discoverer, Founder, and Leader. I regard self-deification as blasphemous. I may be more loved, but I am less lauded, pampered, provided for, and cheered than others before me — and wherefore? Because Christian Science is not yet popular, and I refuse adulation.

My first visit to The Mother Church after it was built and dedicated pleased me, and the situation was satisfactory. The dear members wanted to greet me with escort and the ringing of bells, but I declined and went alone in my carriage to the church, entered it, and knelt in thanks upon the steps of its altar. There the foresplendor of the beginnings of truth fell mysteriously upon my spirit. I believe in one Christ, teach one Christ, know of but one Christ. I believe in but one incarnation, one Mother Mary. I know that I am not that one, and I have never claimed to be. It suffices me to learn the Science of the Scriptures relative to this subject.

Christian Scientists have no quarrel with Protestants, Catholics, or any other sect. Christian Scientists need to be understood as following the divine Principle — God, Love — and not imagined to be unscientific worshippers of a human being.

In his article, of which I have seen only extracts, Mark Twain's wit was not wasted in certain directions. Christian Science eschews divine rights in human beings. If the individual governed human consciousness, my statement of Christian Science would be disproved; but to demonstrate Science and its pure monotheism — one God, one Christ, no idolatry, no human propaganda — it is essential to understand the spiritual idea. Jesus taught and proved that what feeds a few feeds all. His life-work subordinated the material to the spiritual, and he left his legacy of truth to mankind. His metaphysics is not the sport of philosophy, religion, or science; rather is it the pith and finale of them all.

I have not the inspiration nor the aspiration to be a first or second Virgin-mother — her duplicate, antecedent, or subsequent. What I am remains to be proved by the good I do. We need much humility, wisdom, and love to perform the functions of foreshadowing and foretasting heaven within us. This glory is molten in the furnace of affliction.

[Boston Journal, June 8, 1903]

A Misstatement Corrected

I was early a pupil of Miss Sarah J. Bodwell, the principal of Sanbornton Academy, New Hampshire, and finished my course of studies under Professor Dyer H. Sanborn, author of Sanborn's Grammar. Among my early studies were Comstock's Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Blair's Rhetoric, Whateley's Logic, Watt's “On the Mind and Moral Science.” At sixteen years of age, I began writing for the leading newspapers, and for many years I wrote for the best magazines in the South and North. I have lectured in large and crowded halls in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Portland, and at Waterville College, and have been invited to lecture in London, England, and Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1883, I started The Christian Science Journal, and for several years was the proprietor and sole editor of that periodical. In 1893, Judge S. J. Hanna became editor of The Christian Science Journal, and for ten subsequent years he knew my ability as an editor. In a lecture in Chicago, he said: “Mrs. Eddy is from every point of view a woman of sound education and liberal culture.”

Agassiz, the celebrated naturalist and author, wisely said: “Every great scientific truth goes through three stages. First, people say it conflicts with the Bible. Next, they say it has been discovered before. Lastly, they say they have always believed it.”

The first attack upon me was: Mrs. Eddy misinterprets the Scriptures; second, she has stolen the contents of her book, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” from one P. P. Quimby (an obscure, uneducated man), and that he is the founder of Christian Science. Failing in these attempts, the calumniator has resorted to Ralph Waldo Emerson's philosophy as the authority for Christian Science! Lastly, the defamer will declare as honestly (?), “I have always known it.”

In Science and Health, page 68, third paragraph, I briefly express myself unmistakably on the subject of “vulgar metaphysics,” and the manuscripts and letters in my possession, which “vulgar” defamers have circulated, stand in evidence. People do not know who is referred to as “an ignorant woman in New Hampshire.” Many of the nation's best and most distinguished men and women were natives of the Granite State.

I am the author of the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures;” and the demand for this book constantly increases. I am rated in the National Magazine (1903) as “standing eighth in a list of twenty-two of the foremost living authors.”

I claim no special merit of any kind. All that I am in reality, God has made me. I still wait at the cross to learn definitely more from my great Master, but not of the Greek nor of the Roman schools — simply how to do his works.

A Plea for Justice

My recent reply to the reprint of a scandal in the Literary Digest was not a question of “Who shall be greatest?” but of “Who shall be just?” Who is or is not the founder of Christian Science was not the trend of thought, but my purpose was to lift the curtain on wrong, on falsehood which persistently misrepresents my character, education, and authorship, and attempts to narrow my life into a conflict for fame.

Far be it from me to tread on the ashes of the dead or to dissever any unity that may exist between Christian Science and the philosophy of a great and good man, for such was Ralph Waldo Emerson; and I deem it unwise to enter into a newspaper controversy over a question that is no longer a question. The false should be antagonized only for the purpose of making the true apparent. I have quite another purpose in life than to be thought great. Time and goodness determine greatness. The greatest reform, with almost unutterable truths to translate, must wait to be transfused into the practical and to be understood in the “new tongue.” Age, with experience-acquired patience and unselfed love, waits on God. Human merit or demerit will find its proper level. Divinity alone solves the problem of humanity, and that in God's own time. “By their fruits ye shall know them.”


In 1861, when I first visited Dr. Quimby of Portland, Me., his scribblings were descriptions of his patients, and these comprised the manuscripts which in 1887 I advertised that I would pay for having published. Before his decease, in January, 1866, Dr. Quimby had tried to get them published and had failed.

Quotations have been published, purporting to be Dr. Quimby's own words, which were written while I was his patient in Portland and holding long conversations with him on my views of mental therapeutics. Some words in these quotations certainly read like words that I said to him, and which I, at his request, had added to his copy when I corrected it. In his conversations with me and in his scribblings, the word science was not used at all, till one day I declared to him that back of his magnetic treatment and manipulation of patients, there was a science, and it was the science of mind, which had nothing to do with matter, electricity, or physics.

After this I noticed he used that word, as well as other terms which I employed that seemed at first new to him. He even acknowledged this himself, and startled me by saying what I cannot forget — it was this: “I see now what you mean, and I see that I am John, and that you are Jesus.”

At that date I was a staunch orthodox, and my theological belief was offended by his saying and I entered a demurrer which rebuked him. But afterwards I concluded that he only referred to the coming anew of Truth, which we both desired; for in some respects he was quite a seer and understood what I said better than some others did. For one so unlearned, he was a remarkable man. Had his remark related to my personality, I should still think that it was profane.

At first my case improved wonderfully under his treatment, but it relapsed. I was gradually emerging from materia medica, dogma, and creeds, and drifting whither I knew not. This mental struggle might have caused my illness. The fallacy of materia medica, its lack of science, and the want of divinity in scholastic theology, had already dawned on me. My idealism, however, limped, for then it lacked Science. But the divine Love will accomplish what all the powers of earth combined can never prevent being accomplished — the advent of divine healing and its divine Science.

Reply to McClure's Magazine

It is calumny on Christian Science to say that man is aroused to thought or action only by ease, pleasure, or recompense. Something higher, nobler, more imperative impels the impulse of Soul.

It becomes my duty to be just to the departed and to tread not ruthlessly on their ashes. The attack on me and my late father and his family in McClure's Magazine, January, 1907, compels me as a dutiful child and the Leader of Christian Science to speak.

McClure's Magazine refers to my father's “tall, gaunt frame” and pictures “the old man tramping doggedly along the highway, regularly beating the ground with a huge walking-stick.” My father's person was erect and robust. He never used a walking-stick. To illustrate: One time when my father was visiting Governor Pierce, President Franklin Pierce's father, the Governor handed him a gold-headed walking-stick as they were about to start for church. My father thanked the Governor, but declined to accept the stick, saying, “I never use a cane.”

Although McClure's Magazine attributes to my father language unseemly, his household law, constantly enforced, was no profanity and no slang phrases. McClure's Magazine also declares that the Bible, was the only book in his house. On the contrary, my father was a great reader. The man whom McClure's Magazine characterizes as “ignorant, dominating, passionate, fearless,” was uniformly dignified — a well-informed, intellectual man, cultivated in mind and manners. He was called upon to do much business for his town, making out deeds, settling quarrels, and even acting as counsel in a lawsuit involving a question of pauperism between the towns of Loudon and Bow, N. H. Franklin Pierce, afterwards President of the United States, was the counsel for Loudon and Mark Baker for Bow. Both entered their pleas, and my father won the suit. After it was decided, Mr. Pierce bowed to my father and congratulated him. For several years father was chaplain of the New Hampshire State Militia, and as I recollect it, he was justice of the peace at one time. My father was a strong believer in States' rights, but slavery he regarded as a great sin.

Mark Baker was the youngest of his father's family, and inherited his father's real estate, an extensive farm situated in Bow and Concord, N. H. It is on record that Mark Baker's father paid the largest tax in the colony. McClure's Magazine says, describing the Baker homestead at Bow: “The house itself was a small, square box building of rudimentary architecture.” My father's house had a sloping roof, after the prevailing style of architecture at that date.

McClure's Magazine states: “Alone of the Bakers, he [Albert] received a liberal education. . . . Mary Baker passed her first fifteen years at the ancestral home at Bow. It was a lonely and unstimulating existence. The church supplied the only social diversions, the district school practically all the intellectual life.”

Let us see what were the fruits of this “lonely and unstimulating existence.” All my father's daughters were given an academic education, sufficiently advanced so that they all taught school acceptably at various times and places. My brother Albert was a distinguished lawyer. In addition to my academic training, I was privately tutored by him. He was a member of the New Hampshire Legislature, and was nominated for Congress, but died before the election. McClure's Magazine calls my youngest brother, George Sullivan Baker, “a workman in a Tilton woolen mill.” As a matter of fact, he was joint partner with Alexander Tilton, and together they owned a large manufacturing establishment in Tilton, N. H. His military title of Colonel came from appointment on the staff of the Governor of New Hampshire. My oldest brother, Samuel D. Baker, carried on a large business in Boston, Mass.

Regarding the allegation by McClure's Magazine that all the family, “excepting Albert, died of cancer,” I will say that there was never a death in my father's family reported by physician or post-mortem examination as caused by cancer.

McClure's Magazine says that “the quarrels between Mary, a child ten years old, and her father, a gray-haired man of fifty, frequently set the house in an uproar,” and adds that these “fits” were diagnosed by Dr. Ladd as “hysteria mingled with bad temper.” My mother often presented my disposition as exemplary for her other children to imitate, saying, “When do you ever see Mary angry?” When the first edition of Science and Health was published, Dr. Ladd said to Alexander Tilton: “Read it, for it will do you good. It does not surprise me, it so resembles the author.”

I will relate the following incident, which occurred later in life, as illustrative of my disposition: —

While I was living with Dr. Patterson at his country home in North Groton, N. H., a girl, totally blind, knocked at the door and was admitted. She begged to be allowed to remain with me, and my tenderness and sympathy were such that I could not refuse her. Shortly after, however, my good housekeeper said to me: “If this blind girl stays with you, I shall have to leave; she troubles me so much.” It was not in my heart to turn the blind girl out, and so I lost my housekeeper.

My reply to the statement that the clerk's book shows that I joined the Tilton Congregational Church at the age of seventeen is that my religious experience seemed to culminate at twelve years of age. Hence a mistake may have occurred as to the exact date of my first church membership.

The facts regarding the McNeil coat-of-arms are as follows: —

Fanny McNeil, President Pierce's niece, afterwards Mrs. Judge Potter, presented me my coat-of-arms, saying that it was taken in connection with her own family coat-of-arms. I never doubted the veracity of her gift. I have another coat-of-arms, which is of my mother's ancestry. When I was last in Washington, D. C., Mrs. Judge Potter and myself knelt in silent prayer on the mound of her late father. General John McNeil, the hero of Lundy Lane.

Notwithstanding that McClure's Magazine says, “Mary Baker completed her education when she finished Smith's grammar and reached long division in arithmetic,” I was called by the Rev. R. S. Rust, D.D., Principal of the Methodist Conference Seminary at Sanbornton Bridge, to supply the place of his leading teacher during her temporary absence.

Regarding my first marriage and the tragic death of my husband, McClure's Magazine says: “He [George Washington Glover] took his bride to Wilmington, South Carolina, and in June, 1844, six months after his marriage, he died of yellow fever. He left his young wife in a miserable plight. She was far from home and entirely without money or friends. Glover, however, was a Free Mason, and thus received a decent burial. The Masons also paid Mrs. Glover's fare to New York City, where she was met and taken to her father's home by her brother George. . . . Her position was an embarrassing one. She was a grown woman, with a child, but entirely without means of support. . . . Mrs. Glover made only one effort at self-support. For a brief season she taught school.”

My first husband. Major George W. Glover, resided in Charleston, S. C. While on a business trip to Wilmington, N. C., he was suddenly seized with yellow fever and died in about nine days. I was with him on this trip. He took with him the usual amount of money he would need on such an excursion. At his decease I was surrounded by friends, and their provisions in my behalf were most tender. The Governor of the State and his staff, with a long procession, followed the remains of my beloved one to the cemetery. The Free Masons selected my escort, who took me to my father's home in Tilton, N. H. My salary for writing gave me ample support. I did open an infant school, but it was for the purpose of starting that educational system in New Hampshire.

The rhyme attributed to me by McClure's Magazine is not mine, but is, I understand, a paraphrase of a silly song of years ago. Correctly quoted, it is as follows, so I have been told: —

Go to Jane Glover,
Tell her I love her;
By the light of the moon
I will go to her.

The various stories told by McClure's Magazine about my father spreading the road in front of his house with tan-bark and straw, and about persons being hired to rock me, I am ignorant of. Nor do I remember any such stuff as Dr. Patterson driving into Franklin, N. H., with a couch or cradle for me in his wagon. I only know that my father and mother did everything they could think of to help me when I was ill.

I was never “given to long and lonely wanderings, especially at night,” as stated by McClure's Magazine. I was always accompanied by some responsible individual when I took an evening walk, but I seldom took one. I have always consistently declared that I was not a medium for spirits. I never was especially interested in the Shakers, never “dabbled in mesmerism,” never was “an amateur clairvoyant,” nor did “the superstitious country folk frequently” seek my advice. I never went into a trance to describe scenes far away, as McClure's Magazine says.

My oldest sister dearly loved me, but I wounded her pride when I adopted Christian Science, and to a Baker that was a sorry offence. I was obliged to be parted from my son, because after my father's second marriage my little boy was not welcome in my father's house.

McClure's Magazine calls Dr. Daniel Patterson, my second husband, “an itinerant dentist.” It says that after my marriage we “lived for a short time at Tilton, then moved to Franklin. . . . During the following nine years the Pattersons led a roving existence. The doctor practised in several towns, from Tilton to North Groton and then to Rumney.” When I was married to him. Dr. Daniel Patterson was located in Franklin, N. H. He had the degree D.D.S., was a popular man, and considered a rarely skilful dentist. He bought a place in North Groton, which he fancied, for a summer home. At that time he owned a house in Franklin, N. H.

Although, as McClure's Magazine claims, the court record may state that my divorce from Dr. Patterson was granted on the ground of desertion, the cause nevertheless was adultery. Individuals are here to-day who were present in court when the decision was given by the judge and who know the following facts: After the evidence had been submitted that a husband was about to have Dr. Patterson arrested for eloping with his wife, the court instructed the clerk to record the divorce in my favor. What prevented Dr. Patterson's arrest was a letter from me to this self-same husband, imploring him not to do it. When this husband recovered his wife, he kept her a prisoner in her home, and I was also the means of reconciling the couple. A Christian Scientist has told me that with tears of gratitude the wife of this husband related these facts to her just as I have stated them. I lived with Dr. Patterson peaceably, and he was kind to me up to the time of the divorce.

The following affidavit by R. D. Rounsevel of Littleton, N. H., proprietor of the White Mountain House, Fabyans, N. H., the original of which is in my possession, is of interest in this connection: —

About the year 1874, Dr. Patterson, a dentist, boarded with me in Littleton, New Hampshire. During his stay, at different times, I had conversation with him about his wife, from whom he was separated. He spoke of her being a pure and Christian woman, and the cause of the separation being wholly on his part; that if he had done as he ought, he might have had as pleasant and happy home as one could wish for.

At that time I had no knowledge of who his wife was. Later on I learned that Mary Baker G. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, was the above-mentioned woman.

(Signed) R. D. Rounsevel.

Grafton S. S. Jan'y, 1902. Then personally appeared R. D. Rounsevel and made oath that the within statement by him signed is true.

Before me,

(Signed) H. M. Morse, 
Justice of the Peace.

Who or what is the McClure “history,” so called, presenting? Is it myself, the veritable Mrs. Eddy, whom the New York World declared dying of cancer, or is it her alleged double or dummy heretofore described?

If indeed it be I, allow me to thank the enterprising historians for the testimony they have thereby given of the divine power of Christian Science, which they admit has snatched me from the cradle and the grave, and made me the beloved Leader of millions of the good men and women in our own and in other countries, — and all this because the truth I have promulgated has separated the tares from the wheat, uniting in one body those who love Truth; because Truth divides between sect and Science and renews the heavenward impulse; because I still hear the harvest song of the Redeemer awakening the nations, causing man to love his enemies; because “blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”

[Christian Science Sentinel, January 19, 1907]

A Card

The article in the January number of The Arena magazine, entitled “The Recent Reckless and Irresponsible Attacks on Christian Science and its Founder, with a Survey of the Christian Science Movement,” by the scholarly editor, Mr. B. O. Flower, is a grand defence of our Cause and its Leader. Such a dignified, eloquent appeal to the press in behalf of common justice and truth demands public attention. It defends human rights and the freedom of Christian sentiments, and tends to turn back the foaming torrents of ignorance, envy, and malice. I am pleased to find this “twentieth-century review of opinion” once more under Mr. Flower's able guardianship and manifesting its unbiased judgment by such sound appreciation of the rights of Christian Scientists and of all that is right.

Mary Baker Eddy.