Christian Science in Germany
by Frances Thurber Seal
Table of Contents
Portrait from life by Arpad de Paszthory
Original Longyear Collection
Mary Baker Eddy Museum
Frances Thurber Seal’s own account in this book of her efforts to spread the teachings of Christian Science in Germany has been a source of inspiration to its readers over many years.
The assumption of the printing of Christian Science in Germany by Longyear Historical Society is especially appropriate as it was Mary Beecher Longyear who was largely responsible for Mrs. Seal’s mission to Germany. Mrs. Longyear is the “lady” referred to in the Introduction.
All rights to the publication of this book have been assigned by Mary F. Barber to Longyear Foundation. Miss Barber was active in the publishing and distribution of this inspiring book for almost two decades.
LONGYEAR HISTORICAL SOCIETY
MARY BAKER EDDY MUSEUM
In 1896 an American family started on a trip around the world. One of the farewell presents sent to them was a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy. After the long journey the wife and children stopped over in Dresden, Germany, for the winter, to enjoy the music and art of that city. During these quiet months the lady studied Science and Health earnestly. She was deeply interested, and talked with those whom she met socially of this wonderful book and the truth it contained.
In the early spring of 1897 they returned to America, coming into the port of New York. On the following Sunday morning they attended service in Second Church of Christ, Scientist, New York, and at the close of this service the lady sought the First Reader, Mrs. Laura Lathrop, who was also a teacher, and told her most enthusiastically of her experience in receiving the book and reading it, and that she had told the people in Dresden of it and had promised them that as soon as she reached America, she would ask that a worker be sent to introduce Christian Science and establish it there.
There was much to be done to build up the Christian Science work in our own city of New York, at that time the second largest city in the world, and little thought was given to the request to send a worker abroad; but the desire to have the Truth go out to the German people was very close to this woman’s heart, and a few months later she returned and renewed her request. This time her plea reached the heart of our teacher, Mrs. Lathrop, who promised to send someone to carry the Truth to these people. The following day Mrs. Lathrop sent for me, told me this story, and said that she felt that this was a call from God, and I was the one to answer it and go forth to do this work.
Frances Thurber Seal
My father’s ancestors were French Huguenots, who emigrated to England to escape the popery of their time and find freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience. They were sturdy workers in God’s vineyard, and when, after several generations, they learned of a new land that offered complete religious freedom, they were among the earliest of the pilgrims to set forth on the perilous voyage to America.
In New England they dedicated their lives and talents to the service of God and mankind. Their men were preachers, teachers, and physicians.
My mother’s family were Scotch Quakers. They, too, devoted their lives to the service of God. My father became a missionary at the age of eighteen, going into Texas and Mexico. In these countries he traveled over wide territories on horseback, preaching and teaching wherever he went. He lived in the homes of the people among whom he worked, thus literally obeying the instructions of the Master, Christ Jesus: “And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, peace be to this house. ... And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give. Go not from house to house” (Luke 10:5-7). He continued to preach the Gospel during the remaining years of his earthly life.
From my earliest childhood I saw my mother suffer with what was called an incurable disease. She did not have sufficient strength to enable her to take charge of her household. After many years of constant suffering, she closed her eyes and left us, and her last words were not addressed to God, but were a plea to her husband to take care of her children.
I was unable to reconcile the teaching that there is an omnipotent God, who is good and who has made all, with the illogical contention that there is a powerful devil who requires the combined efforts of God and man to overcome him.
The experiences of the believers in this teaching showed clearly that there was a mistake somewhere.
Life seemed a constant recurrence of sickness and death. One after another of the family was taken, until at last I resigned myself to despair. That there was a God, I knew intuitively. I did not believe that anyone knew anything about Him, but from the time I reached womanhood, the longing to find God was irresistible. I sought to find something in the creeds of the different churches that would open up the Bible and reveal a reason for man’s existence, a purpose in his living, and a law that would protect him in fulfillment of that purpose. But this seeking had been in vain.
One who is without hope and with no knowledge of God is but a dead thing, even though to human sense he walks the earth. Life seemed utterly futile to me, with no ray of promise for the future.
Little did I dream of the things that God had prepared for me, and that were awaiting me. But one lovely summer evening as I walked along a street in New York City, I saw a building with the words, “First Church of Christ, Scientist.” As if I had been called, I crossed the street and went in. It was a testimony meeting, and there I heard a new message, that man suffers not because of the will of God, but through ignorance of God. I saw at once that this was true, that ignorance is the only cause of suffering, the only thing that could blind man to good and rob him of ability and strength. They also said that God is Mother as well as Father, and this I felt to be true, and that a God with the mother love and mother understanding would make all things well and bestow them wisely and willingly upon His children. Another speaker said that this teaching is the Science of Life and reveals God as Spirit and creation as spiritual, and matter as unreal; and that this Science had been discovered by a spiritually-minded woman who had given it to the world.
I went forth from that meeting a new creature, joyous with hope, for I saw that if this was true, everything else in the world of thought, religious or otherwise, was based on a false premise and must fall; and I knew that if it was science, it could be learned, and determined that I would learn it, and thus find God and understand life. I inquired how I might learn more of this teaching, and was directed to a healer who was also a teacher, Mrs. Laura Lathrop, C.S.D., a student of Mrs. Eddy.
For many years I had been a victim of a serious disease of the stomach, which was said to be hereditary, and my sight had been failing since early girlhood. The oculists agreed that I would be totally blind before I reached the age of forty years.
I went to this lady, Mrs. Lathrop, and told her of my difficulties and said that I wanted to know about God. On the occasion of my second visit I asked her not to take time to treat me, for I was incurable and did not really come for healing, but to learn what Christian Science teaches about God, and how this teaching could be verified. I asked if there were schools where it might be learned. She said there were no schools, but there were Classes, and she would begin a Class the next month, which I might enter if I wished.
She lent me the little book, No and Yes, by Mary Baker Eddy, which I read through three times that evening. It answered all questions as to whether this teaching would be acceptable, for it showed clearly that neither good nor evil is personal, and that man is inseparable from God, his origin. At the conclusion of this reading I realized that the physical troubles were entirely gone. They have never returned, although I have worked beyond what is called human strength and endurance for many years. The physical healing was an unmistakable sign of the truth of this teaching, and this proof opened up vistas of glories to come that forever extinguished doubt and depression.
I then purchased the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, and a week later entered a Class taught by Mrs. Lathrop, where I enjoyed a series of uplifting and inspiring lectures. At the closing session of the Class, our teacher voiced the wish that each of us would become a member of the Christian Science Church. I complied with this request, as did other members of the Class, although I did not see the reason for it, as I had not yet seen what the Church means, nor its great importance in the establishment of Truth. During the intervening years, however, the Church of Christ, Scientist, has been my purest concept of home, and I have learned that it is the highest expression of the kingdom of God in human consciousness.
That first winter was a happy one. I read the textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, many hours each day and late into the night, and the Church gave an opportunity to work for God and His Cause.
I observed that the Reading Rooms were open only in the daytime and asked if they could not be open in the evening, to give the many people who were employed during the day an opportunity to come and learn of this Science of being. Our Reading Room was immediately opened and placed in my charge in the evenings, and thus began my activity as a worker in the Cause of Christian Science. There were many beautiful experiences in this work, and a number of people found God through coming to this room in those evenings.
I had found Christian Science less than one year before. It had come to me as a gift from God, bringing into a hopeless life divine promise. It gave me a reason for being, a glorious prospect of activity and usefulness.
I loved this Truth and hoped to grow in understanding and to be useful to the Cause of Christian Science, but that I should be considered for such missionary work as carrying this Science to a foreign land and establishing it there, seemed an impossible thing. Nevertheless, this was exactly what my teacher directed me to do.
I reminded her that I knew almost nothing of Christian Science as yet, and that there were older students who were much better prepared in every way, but she insisted that I had the necessary qualifications. I told her that I did not know how to give a treatment, but she said, “Never mind, you have love, and the qualities of obedience and honesty, and they will carry you through; and God will show you how to do the work.”
I then said I did not know one word of German, and had no money with which to go abroad and live in a foreign city.
She quickly overruled these objections, and assured me that everyone in Germany spoke English. Later I found this was a mistake, and that very few knew English. A member of the church lent the money to make the journey and to maintain me for some time after I reached Germany. I repaid this money with interest as quickly as possible. It was difficult, but divine Love sustained me. My material needs were few, and I wanted to be free from any financial obligation.
Up to this time I had never done any healing work, but two cases came to me after I had promised to go in obedience to the call. One was that of a German-American woman who had been a sufferer from rheumatism for twelve years. She said this was caused many years before by standing for hours in the rain to watch the funeral procession of the first Emperor Wilhelm. She was healed during our only interview. I did not treat her, but simply saw the nothingness of the disease and her belief in it as she told me the story. I tell of this case because I had several cases of rheumatism after I went to Germany to live, that were believed to have been contracted at the same time and in the same way, and they were all healed.
The other case was that of an aged lady who was said to be dying of cancer. She was healed in two visits, and entirely through seeing and voicing the truth of being. My joy was very great when she came to see me off at the ship a week later. These cases gave me courage, for I knew that nothing in me could have done these works. Only God Himself could have dispelled these terrible shadows.
I sailed from New York on an afternoon in December, 1897, on a nine-day steamer, for Hamburg. We did not reach our destination, however, until the thirteenth day, as we ran into a hurricane which lasted four days and blew us many miles out of our course, crippling the ship and doing much damage to the cargo. It was so severe that a number of valuable horses in the cargo were injured so that they had to be shot, although every effort was made to save them.
The passengers were packed in their berths with bolsters to protect them, and were strapped in so that they would not be thrown out, but, notwithstanding the care that was taken, a number were thrown from their berths and sustained serious injuries. It being mid-winter, there were only a few first-class passengers, most of them unaccustomed to the sea and filled with fear. It was my first trip across the ocean, and, but for the firm conviction that God had called me to do His work in Germany, and that His presence was with me and would sustain and protect me under all conditions, it would have been a terrifying experience; but at no time had I any thought of fear, and with the help of a steward I went to meals, and was the only passenger at the table after the storm became violent. Even though strapped in my berth at night, I spent my time reading my books and praying, striving to find the Christ.
Just before I sailed, Mrs. Eddy had given to the field a new book, Miscellaneous Writings, made up of letters and addresses embodying her teachings. She announced that this book was to be the only teacher for the field for a year, and both teachers and students should study it and thus gain knowledge of the letter and the spirit of Christian Science. I read this book through very quickly, obeying the mandate of the “voice from heaven,” “Take it and eat it up” (Rev. 10:9). The truths found there and in the textbook so illumined my thought that it was lifted above the storm into the peace of God.
On the fourth day of the storm I received a note signed by one of my table companions of the first days of the voyage, the wife of a clergyman, asking if several of the ladies might come to my cabin that evening. They came, assisted by stewardesses, and we sat around on the couch and on the floor. They told me that they had come because I was the only person on board who seemed to have no fear, and they wanted me to tell them how I could be happy in the midst of such a storm, knowing that the ship might go down at any moment. I replied with a smile, “The ship will not go down.” They asked how anyone could be certain of that. I told them it was a very precious and sacred secret but I would share it with them if they wished, that God was sending me to Europe on a glorious mission, and that He would certainly not drown me on the way. At their request I talked to them of Christian Science for nearly an hour, telling them the simple basic truths and calling their attention to Jesus’ teaching, and read to them the story of his overcoming the storm with his “Peace, be still.” We were no longer thinking in matter, but were hearing the voice of Christ saying as of old: “Be of good cheer, it is I. Be not afraid” (Mark 6:50). They were no longer fearful; the spirit of Truth had entered their hearts; and suddenly one of them exclaimed: “It is quiet. The storm has ceased!” It was ended, and with awe they arose and went quietly to their cabins.
Two days later the captain came to me and said that there was an almost unanimous request that I should conduct the Sunday service in the salon the following day. I did so, taking the parts of both the First Reader and Second Reader, as there were no other Christian Scientists on board. Two clergymen and two physicians, with their wives, were present. All thanked me for the reading, and three asked for an address where the textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, might be obtained. Years afterward I learned that two of the ladies had become active Christian Scientists.
On my trip from the seaport to Dresden I was unable to procure any food, as I could not speak any German. From Thursday noon until late Friday night I had nothing to eat. I spoke to people whenever the train stopped, expressing my desire for food, but no one seemed to understand English, and I could not leave the train, lest it go on without me.
I reached Dresden on Friday evening, and went into a pension kept by Miss Emily Cotton, an English lady. She gave me a cup of tea and a thin breadand-butter sandwich, and I went to bed a very hungry pilgrim, but thankful to have reached the field of work to which Love had called me.
A young American lady who was studying singing in Dresden and who took her meals at this pension, had a copy of Science and Health, and was most interested to meet someone who could tell her more about Christian Science. On Sunday morning after my arrival I went to her room and we read the Lesson together.
When we had finished, we sat talking, and presently there was a rap at the door and another American lady entered, saying that she was looking for a Christian Scientist. She stated that she was a cousin of Mark Twain, and had witnessed the healing of his daughter from tuberculosis through the ministrations of Christian Science many years before. A young Russian girl who was living in the pension with her was in great trouble because of some serious illness which had come upon her. The girl was studying for the Royal Opera in Moscow, and the physicians had just informed her that she could not sing again for three-quarters of a year, and probably never. She was in despair, and this kindly American lady asked the hostess the cause of her sorrow. When told that there was no human help for the girl, this lady remembered the healing that Christian Science had brought out in her family so long before, and she went to the American church to inquire of the rector if there was a Christian Science healer in the city. He said he knew of no one, but that a young music student had told him she was interested in Christian Science, and he thought she would know if there were any Christian Scientists in the city. He gave her the address of the young woman, and she came in at the close of this, our first Sunday service. She announced that she was looking for someone to heal this sick girl, and my hostess said at once, “Here is a lady whom God has sent to heal the people.”
Arrangements were made, and early Monday morning the Russian girl came to my pension. As she spoke only Russian and I knew only English, I called for my hostess, who talked with the girl at considerable length. Then, turning to me with a surprised look, she related just about what the American lady had told me the day before. I asked her to tell the girl to be seated, and I sat down to give my first treatment in Germany. My hostess then retired. I knew nothing of the method of a Christian Science treatment, but turned to God for wisdom, and as I saw the omnipotence of God, the error quickly vanished from my thought. I arose and said goodbye to the young girl. She came every morning for five days. On the fifth day she talked quite volubly, and I again called for my hostess to ascertain what she was saying. The young girl said she was perfectly well, and had been so since the first treatment, and had been singing as she usually did. When asked why she had not said so, she said she did not realize that she should tell me and it made her happy to come.
She then asked if she could come again at Easter. When I asked why, she said she would have her examinations at that time, and if she should pass, her father would permit her to finish her studies and prepare for her opera engagement, but if she were to fail, she must go home and give up her career. I thought I understood what she meant, but wanted her to express it, and said to our interpreter, “Ask her what I have to do with that.” With a radiant face the young girl replied: “Nothing but fear could make me fail to pass my examinations, and I have had no fear since the lady first spoke to God about me; I cannot know fear if she will pray for me.” She had been told nothing of Christian Science; all that had been said to her, aside from asking her to be seated, was that she might come each day until she was entirely healed. Certainly, this was a demonstration of what our Leader means when she says that Christian Scientists should teach “by healing” (Misc. Wr. 358:4), for this girl learned that it was God who had healed her, and that “perfect love casteth out fear.”
A remarkable thing in connection with this incident was that my hostess, Miss Cotton, was born in Russia and lived there the first twenty-five years of her life. She was the only English lady I met in Europe who knew the Russian tongue. It was her native tongue, although she was an English citizen. That I should be a guest in her house when this girl came to me was positive evidence of divine guidance. The girl’s name was Felicita, which means “joy.” This was a happy augury.
As this pension was primarily for young girls, students, I soon moved into another where I might have a permanent home. There were eighteen guests in this pension, most of them Americans. The hostess told them that I was a Christian Scientist. At this time Christian Science was little known, and probably the Americans there thought I was queer, for they ignored me, leaving me entirely without human companionship. It was lonely and I suffered from homesickness. I did very well in the daytime, for I studied my books and lived in the atmosphere of God, but at night the loneliness would waken me from sleep, and many times I walked the floor with a candle in one hand and Science and Health in the other, reading aloud though my voice was choked with sobs. My greatest desire was to find Christ, for as yet my concept of Christ was very dim, so I studied Mrs. Eddy’s writings and the New Testament twelve or fourteen hours a day, prayerfully seeking the Christ.
As I knew no one in the whole of Europe, and only a few people in America knew that I was there, the question was, how shall I find the work that God has sent me to do? But as this question came to me, there came the answer as given by the Master: “The fields are white”; the harvest is ready and I am ready. God has brought me here to do His work, and error cannot keep those who need me from finding me. They will find me, and God will give me the understanding with which to heal them.
In a short time the rector of the Episcopal Church sent a servant for me at nine o’clock one evening. I went to him and he told me he was suffering from Bright’s disease; that he had had two serious attacks before, and the physicians had warned him the third would be fatal. He had read Science and Health, and hearing that a Christian Scientist was in the city determined to see if Christian Science would meet his need. He asked me to visit him each time at nine o’clock in the evening, as he could not afford to have his parishioners know that he had turned to this source for help. He was healed in less than a fortnight, and greatly rejoiced, but had not the courage to make open confession, so he went on studying quietly and continuing his church work.
After three months’ earnest seeking I found Christ, as revealed by Mrs. Eddy. One gray winter afternoon I sat studying my Bible and then turned to our Leader’s Miscellaneous Writings, remembering her words, “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” (Misc. Wr., Pref. xi:11-17). After reading for some time I went to the window and looked out into the rain-swept garden, pondering Jesus’ words, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”; and there came to me like a flash that which Jesus had come to reveal — the truth of being, the oneness of man with God, Life. For the first time I saw the meaning of Mrs. Eddy’s statement, “Man is the expression of God’s being” (S&H, 470:23), and that this Truth is the universal Savior, and in its presence every form of error must disappear even as the darkness flees before the light.
From that time on the way opened. People came from many directions asking for help. Some Germans came through the healing of the Russian singer, then a young Norwegian clergyman, who had learned of Christian Science through a friend who was a ship captain and voyaged to America. This clergyman had been ill and unable to carry on his work for a number of years. Physicians had not been able to restore him to health. His seafaring friend heard of Christian Science and its healing work through relatives who lived in America. He inquired of them where a healer could be found, and learned of my presence in Dresden. The young pastor told me that he wanted first of all to be sure that it was the Christ teaching and healing; if he found that it was, six of his friends in Norway would follow him, as they were in dire need of help, but he would not tell them to come until he was sure it was of Christ. Working with him was a beautiful experience, as he knew the Scriptures and loved them, and loved the Christ. He asked many intelligent questions. This turned me constantly to the teachings of the Master and of our Leader. He was soon satisfied, and sent for his friends.
They settled in different pensions, and as they told their fellow boarders why they had come, their cases were watched with great interest by a number of people. All were healed, and this opened the way for the healing power of Christian Science to become known in Dresden. Many came through the witness of these people from the North. Others came from afar — one came from Italy, another from Persia. These came because they had heard that there was an American woman in Dresden who healed as Christ did. It was impossible to trace these rumors; but when the need was great, the word was given, and the receptive thought obeyed instantly and came seeking the Christ healing.
An English lady, who attended the services held in my room in Pension Kinze where I was living, and who had become an earnest student of Christian Science, invited me to come and live in her pension where I might have more room and more freedom. She offered her drawing-room for the services and gave me a sitting room and a sleeping room for the same price I was paying for one room. I accepted her offer and moved early in the spring of 1898. My sitting room was fitted up with all of Mrs. Eddy’s books and the Bible, and had always the current number of the Christian Science Journal and the Christian Science Weekly. The latter had just been started and later became the Christian Science Sentinel. This room became the first Christian Science Reading Room in Europe.
Through the testimony of the young pastor, Herr Brun, I was called to Norway a few months later to heal a case of cancer. Two English ladies who had become students of Christian Science accompanied me. It was a two days’ voyage under normal conditions, but because of dense fogs it required five days this time.
The patient, a lady, had been taken to a hospital where the physicians declared the case too far gone for an operation, as the uterus was almost entirely destroyed. Four others in the little Norwegian fishing village (Haugesund) heard of the coming of the “Christ healer” and asked that they also might have this service. The four were healed during my stay of five days in this village, but I continued to work on the cancer case for two months. The result was complete healing, although in the meantime I went to America. But the Word of God is a law of annihilation to evil whether it be far or near. This healing was entirely proved two years later when the former patient gave birth to a son. Neither she nor any member of her family knew a word of English or any language but Norwegian, so they could not read the textbook nor hear the word of Christian Science.
In this village occurred one of the most sacred events of all my experience. With my two traveling companions I went to supper in the home of Herr Brun, the young pastor, and his brother, a florist. At the close of the meal, upon returning to the tiny living-room, we found a group of solemn-looking people ranged around the four walls. The only ones in the group who knew English at all were my host and a lady who in her youth had taught English in the schools. I began a conversation with her, speaking of the magnificence of their mountains, and said they should certainly be a happy people in such a beautiful country. She replied that they were a very melancholy people. I then said that I could see that might be, because the mountains were so high, shutting out the sunlight and leaving them most of the time in shadow even in the summer, and their long, dark winters would add to that. She replied: “No, it is not that. It is our God who makes us melancholy, our God whose curse takes away the sunlight of hope and joy, and sends suffering and disease upon His people.” I at once answered: “Oh, no, there is no such God. God sends only good and joy and blessing.”
I continued to talk of God as revealed in Christian Science, and told how we demonstrated this in health and life — the abundant life promised by Christ Jesus. The words of the Master, as recorded by Luke, were fully proved in that little flowerdecked room in the far North that autumn evening: “Take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say” (Luke 12:11-12). I uttered truths there that I had never before known.
After some time my attention was attracted by a man with a very intelligent face who looked as if he wished to speak. I asked my host if the gentleman wished to ask something, and he replied, “He knows no English.” I requested that he ask him what he wanted to say. He did so, and then began an animated conversation between them, three or four others joining in. With a look of awe, our young host said: “But they have understood you. They do not know a word of English, and yet they understood what you have said about God.” All rose and stood with bowed heads, and Miss Bentinck Beach, one of my English companions, said reverently, “And every man heard them speak in his own language” (Acts 2:6).
It was a glorious moment, and even after the lapse of more than thirty years I cannot think of it without a feeling of awe, a sense of the Christ presence.
This was Saturday evening and the next morning I went with Herr Brun to the little village church, a Lutheran church. As we approached, the men lined the steps cut in the sod leading up to the church and stood with bowed heads, and the whitehaired pastor waited at the door to receive us, and said to my escort, “Please tell the Christian healer that my wife was one of those who heard what she said of God last night and she came and told me, and we have been awake ever since, talking of this great blessing, that Christ has come again to his people to heal them and comfort them.”
We then returned to Dresden, where there were a number of people who had been healed. The first meetings in Dresden had been held in January, 1898, and in September we began Sunday and week-day services in the German language. Those who had been healed came regularly. Most of them knew English and began studying the textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, earnestly. Among this group was a lady who had been healed of leprosy; another, a woman of seventy-six years, had been healed of ulcers of the stomach, and of atheism. The latter healing was coincident with the physical healing. In a moment her lifelong repudiation of a divine Cause disappeared with the same finality and naturalness as the shadows of night are dissipated by the morning sunlight, and with this change the physical disease disappeared. Each one of the little group had been healed of some physical affliction, and they sincerely and joyously sought the understanding of the Science of being, which they were taught was the long-hoped-for second coming of Christ.
One day an American lady called to have a talk on the subject of Christian Science. She was a perfect type of self-righteous ecclesiasticism. She said she was of a long line of clergymen, that she had six preachers in her immediate family. She had heard of what I was preaching and doing, and had come to tell me it was wrong and not to be tolerated in a Christian community. I heard her quietly, and then told her that I had the authority of our Savior, Christ Jesus, and should continue my work. She then went to another American lady who was an ardent Christian and church woman, and begged her to come to the service with her the following Sunday morning, to hear what was said and then to confront me, showing the error of my way and proving that it was wrong to continue this work. They came, and at the close of the service, in which the Christian Science Quarterly Lesson was read, this second lady came forward with tears flowing down her cheeks, and said: “Can you heal my boy? Will Christ give you grace to heal my beloved son? He is in a hospital suffering from tuberculosis of the hip. The physicians have strapped him down to keep the hip from shrinking away, but they say he can never be healed, and though I have been a Christian from my childhood, I have never known that Christ still heals. I thought the healing had ceased with the crucifixion.”
She said she would take him from the hospital to a place in the hills above the city, if I would come to them. I told her I would gladly do so.
The boy had not been able to stand for many months, and his leg was in a plaster cast from the hip down. A man nurse took them to the country and at the request of the mother removed the plaster cast. After he had gone, the mother took off the straps and weights that held the leg extended. I joined them Monday afternoon, and on Wednesday he walked in the garden. Each day he increased the distance of his walk.
On Saturday of that week I returned to the city to conduct the Sunday services. Sunday morning that woman who had come there the week before to break up the services, again attended, this time accompanied by her son, who walked with the aid of a small cane. During the following week he visited the art galleries and the parks, and at the end of this time they sailed for home. They sent me his cane from the ship, as his healing was now complete. “Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee” (Ps. 76:10).
And so the work went on, the word of God with power going out among the people and spreading the light as does the morning sun.
I lived for a year in the home of the English lady. The circumstances were somewhat similar to Paul’s experience, for she was a member of one of the great noble families of England, her mother being a daughter of the Duke of Portland, while her paternal uncle was Chancellor of the Exchequer.
In the early summer I was visited by the wife of the Norwegian sea captain who had sent the young clergyman for healing. She came to invite me to accompany them to America as a guest on their ship, to heal their first officer of a painful internal trouble that his physician said would necessitate a surgical operation. She said this was his sixth year on this ship and the following would be his Sabbatical year, and that he and his little family were looking forward to a year together at home; however, if he must now go to a hospital, he would lose this Sabbatical year, and as he was very much afraid of an operation, they feared he would lose his life. She said she and her husband also wanted me to teach them to understand the textbook, and to use Christian Science for the benefit of themselves and mankind.
This was a merchant ship, and was to carry a cargo to New York, where they would remain for two or three weeks, and then return to Germany. This would give me time to see my friends, and for a visit to The Mother Church, and then a quick return to my work; and as there were two ladies who could carry on the services, and as there seemed much good to be gained from a visit to The Mother Church, and to my teacher with whom I longed to talk over various phases of the work, I accepted the invitation.
We sailed from Hamburg early in October, soon after my return from Norway. The voyage took fifteen days, and when I awakened early one morning, I found the ship in a beautiful harbor, but it was not New York. The captain then informed me that after we had sailed from Germany, he had opened his sailing orders and found that we were bound for Halifax, a port in Nova Scotia, and that after unloading he was to take the ship to a southern port to be overhauled, and would not return to Europe for many months. He had not told me of this during the voyage, as it was too late for me to return and he feared it would trouble me. He said that the God whom I worshipped would bring some good thing out of it. I had no doubt of this, and left them happy in their new-found knowledge of God, and rejoicing in the healing of their officer, who also saw the Truth and carried it to his loved ones at home.
It was a twenty-four hour trip by train to New York, which I reached on Sunday morning in time to attend service in my home church. Immediately after the service I sought my teacher and told her that I did not know what God had brought me there for, but the ship was not returning, so He must have something for me to do. When I had explained the circumstances, she told me He had brought me there to go through Mrs. Eddy’s college.
The Metaphysical College had been closed many years before, and I had not heard that Mrs. Eddy had reopened it and appointed a Board of Education to take charge of its work, and that the first Class was to be taught in a few months. The Clerk of The Mother Church sent me an application, which I filled out and signed. I soon received notice from the Board of Education of my acceptance as a pupil. I had known so little of Christian Science when I entered the Primary Class, that the teaching did not give me a very clear sense of the real work to be done. I had owned the textbook only a few days at that time, and had not read it through, so was not able to understand the allusions made to it in the Class. During my year in Germany I had read the textbook through several times and studied it prayerfully, also Miscellaneous Writings, the book given us as the teacher for that year; hence the promise of thorough teaching in a Class directed by Mrs. Eddy was a bow of radiance, and I devoted practically all of my time in the interim to prayerful preparation for this blessing.
A few weeks before the Class met, a by-law written by Mrs. Eddy was published in the Christian Science Sentinel, stating that no one would be admitted to this Class who had not practiced Christian Science for three years. It was but two years since I had first heard of Christian Science, and one year since I began practicing. My teacher called me to her and said that the by-law shut me out, and that I must write to the Board of Education and tell them this. I replied that I could not do that, for she had told me that God had brought me here for this Class, and if that were true, not even a by-law could keep me out, and if it were not true, nothing could put me in it; but if the by-law did bar me, it was for those who had accepted me to see this and notify me
— I could not shut the door on myself. She did not approve of this, but I had become so accustomed to rely entirely upon God for direction that I had no anxiety. I received no further word from the Board of Education, and when the time came went to Boston and presented myself at the church, and was taken into the Class without a question.
Then followed the most glorious weeks I had ever known. From the first moment the subject of Christian Science was opened up systematically and clearly. At the close of the period I felt that I stood at the very throne of God and heard the Voice saying of man, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). The blessing that came through this teaching opened my understanding and became to me a divine command to go forth and carry this gift of God to others. No words could express the debt of gratitude the world owes to the inspired teaching of that great apostle, Edward A. Kimball, who taught that Class and many others. He made the omnipresence and omnipotence of divine Love so clear that his students could not fail to see its healing and saving power.
I afterwards learned that when the members of the Board discovered that the new by-law seemed to bar me, Mr. Kimball, the teacher, wrote Mrs. Eddy to this effect, saying they had accepted me, and asking her what should be done about it. She replied: “Make an exception in this instance and admit her to the Class. Then let her stand or fall by her own demonstration.” This was a great blessing to me later for it set a standard for me. Many times when difficulties arose and error would whisper that I could not meet the situation, that I did not know enough or was not good enough, our Leader’s words would come to me, and the thought, “I have stood so far by demonstration and it will not fail now.” Then I would fearlessly go forward.
There were one hundred and eighty in this Class, and twenty-one were given certificates to teach. I had not thought of receiving one, my only hope being to learn more of how the sick were healed. But to my surprise the Board awarded me a certificate to teach, and requested me to go to Berlin, the capital of the German Empire, and establish Christian Science there.
After the Class work was completed, I returned to Dresden, where I continued to work until the end of the summer. I taught one class of five pupils in that city, three of whom became workers in our beloved Cause, and after more than thirty years are still active, fruitful apostles of Truth.
During the summer of 1899 I went to Berlin and found a suitable apartment in which to live, leasing it for a term of two years. Thinking it wise to tell the owner that I would use it for something other than living purposes, and have permission in the lease, I told him that I would have meetings for the purpose of teaching Bible lessons. He had never heard of Christian Science, and this seemed the wise way to state it. He asked how many would attend these meetings, and as I wanted to prepare for progress, I told him that before the end of the lease there might be as many as twenty-five. This showed how little I knew of the power of Truth to attract, for there were more than one hundred and twentyfive attending the meetings within the first six months. It is impossible to keep people away when the sick are healed by spiritual means.
An English lady, Miss Amy Bentinck Beach, a sister of my good hostess in Dresden, accompanied me to Berlin and helped me to settle there. I had no money to hire people to do the work, and we two women worked until nearly daybreak on Sunday morning, arranging the furniture in the church room, hanging curtains, and making it really beautiful for the morning service, and then we acted as Readers.
We had our first service the first Sunday in October, 1899, there being eight persons in the congregation. One was a German lady, Fraulein Johanna Bruno, one a Christian Science student from Denver, Colorado, and her daughter, who was studying music. She heard of my coming, through her daughter in America, and had written to Dresden to ask me when and where the services were to be held. There was a young man from Chicago who was studying singing, whose family had sent him my Dresden address, asking him to communicate with me and attend the services when they opened. He brought with him one or two young women who were music students, and there were also a GermanAmerican man and his wife who lived in the house with the Denver lady and were brought by her.
The first call for healing came the Monday morning after the opening service. The patient was a German woman who had been ill for fifteen years. The person who told me of the case was not a believer in Christian Science, and told me later she hoped to embarrass me and prove the falsity of Christian Science by asking me to take such a case. She accompanied me to the home of the patient and told me something of the condition, but I did not hear the full details until later. This case was such a glorious demonstration of the power of Truth to heal that I shall give it in full.
The lady had been a concert singer and was a favorite of the Empress Augusta, wife of the first Emperor. When she began to suffer from what the physicians called rheumatic gout, she had the Empress’s own physicians, presumably the best in the country, but, notwithstanding the efforts of the physicians and the prayers of herself and friends, she grew constantly worse. The Empress called physicians from other countries, but to no avail, and at the end of five years, in addition to her other troubles, she had become blind. The gout increased in violence, and the pain was so intense that the physicians gave her morphine to enable her to bear it. When I first met her, she had not been free from the influence of morphine for many years, but was kept constantly drugged. This no longer made her free from pain, but only dulled it. Her craving for the drug had become so great that the physicians found it necessary to let her have it, the suffering being so intense that to deny this craving seemed to them inhuman.
I was not told of the pain, or the drug, and it was some weeks later, when a friend who knew German went with me to visit her, that the daughter of the patient told her of these conditions, and said that the pain and the desire for the drug had been healed by the first treatment. The blindness also disappeared in a short time, and there was constant progress along all lines. For several years she had been moved only by lifting the sheet on which she lay. The physicians said all of her joints were out of place and filled with chalk, so it caused excruciating agony to attempt to move any part of her body. In a short time this condition was overcome, so that she sat in a wheel chair, and could be lifted easily and after a few weeks helped herself. She was given a Christian Science Hymnal, and her daughter, who knew a very little English, was taught to read Mrs. Eddy’s hymns. She played them, and we sang them over and over and soon taught the mother the words and something of their meaning; and the voice that had charmed thousands began to be heard again, at first faint and childlike, but gradually gathering strength and sweetness, as with her face shining with joy she drank in the love expressed in these sacred songs. The three of us would sing them each time that I visited them. It was indeed a holy experience.
On New Year’s Day this lady, Frau Boese, walked down two flights of stone stairs at her home, drove several miles across the city, and walked up two flights of stairs at my home to attend her first Christian Science service. Soon after that the healing work was finished and she went to and fro about her affairs, a living example of the beneficent power of Christian Science.
This healing attracted much attention, and people came from far and wide because of it. One significant feature was that they never said they came to take treatment; they always said they had come to be healed by the Christ healing. This condition of expectancy and faith in Christ made the healing easy and natural.
Because of the news of this healing, seekers came from the Imperial Court and from the humblest walks of life, from the great cities and smaller towns and villages, and even from the distant islands of the sea. One man who came was a druggist on the Isle of Rugen in the North Sea, making his semiannual trip to buy goods for his store. He told the druggist with whom he was doing business of his wife, who was a hopeless invalid and had been helpless for several years, and of his little crippled boy. The druggist told him of the foregoing case of marvelous healing and sent him to the home of the woman who had been healed, who gave him my address. She told him it was God’s work, and that his wife and child and everyone else could be healed.
This druggist was told to have his wife read the Ninety-First Psalm each morning and evening, and if possible they were to memorize it and keep it with them as their constant companion. The work was done absently, and within a few weeks word came that the wife was entirely healed and the little boy was free. The family was joyous, knowing that God had healed them and blessed them through this new revelation of His presence.
At this time there was no Christian Science literature in German, so the Truth could be given only by word of mouth, giving a few simple statements and pointing them to the words and works of the Master Christian, Christ Jesus. I could talk very little with them and realized that only God could illumine their consciousness, so endeavored always to put self out of the way.
Most of the people who came for healing knew no English, and as my knowledge of their language was so limited, there was little personal contact. That Mind alone did the work was proven by the fact that the majority of those healed recognized that it was God’s power that healed them, and that the same Love that healed them destroyed the many fears that had seemed to darken their lives. They fully believed God had sent a messenger to take away all suffering and that He loved them as a Father.
The services were held in English on Sunday and on a week-day at the same hours as in America; the German services were held at ten o’clock on Sunday morning and at six-thirty on Friday evening. Fraulein Johanna Bruno, my first German student in Berlin, translated the Sunday Lesson, and she and I read it. I practiced with her several hours each week. Through constant prayer and the consecrated study of the English Lesson, in addition to the coaching by her, I was soon able to understand the translated word and read it so that it was not only satisfactory to the people, but brought out much healing. This was pure demonstration, as I had never studied German, having had to give all my time to studying Christian Science and to the healing work.
At our German mid-week meetings, while they were small, under fifty, we lent the attendants as many copies of the textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, as we had; and they would group themselves close together and follow the reading from the desk. I would read a paragraph from the textbook in English; then the Second Reader would read a free translation in German; then we would go over it again, this time taking it sentence by sentence in English, then in German, so that they might become familiar with it. A number of the Germans who were earnestly seeking Truth bought little German-English dictionaries and studied the textbook with these. One man, a bookkeeper, whose hours of business were from seven in the morning until nine in the evening, got up each morning and began his study at four o’clock. With the aid of a dictionary he read the book through in one year. This indeed was the desire which is prayer, and which includes its own answer. This man gained the Truth with power, and in spite of the strong class lines that would have kept him down, he arose in the strength of Spirit and became a fine worker and a messenger of Truth to his people.
One of the cases of healing at this time was that of a lady who was totally blind. She was sixty-seven years of age and believed she had reached the period when life and hope were behind her. Like the woman whom Jesus healed, she “had suffered many things of many physicians,” and had at last been told there was no possibility of recovering her sight because the optic nerve was atrophied. This case of healing proved so conclusively that error cannot stand in the presence of spiritual consciousness, that I give it here that all who read may know the condition of thought that will enable us always to heal scientifically and instantaneously, as did Christ Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy.
I had been so constantly busy many hours of each day, that, while I read some of the books and studied the Sunday Lessons, it seemed difficult to lose myself and lay aside the problems of the practice and the Church long enough to go into the mountain to refresh my thought, as did the Master on the hills of Galilee. After a time there came to me a sense of barrenness, together with spiritual hunger that could be appeased only by deep draughts of Truth and conscious communion with God.
I arranged for a time of quiet one day, after seeing patients during the morning hours. Just before noon I was called to the door to speak with someone, and found there a lady who told me that her mother suffered with her eyes, and that she had been told that if she would bring her mother to me, I would heal her. I told her briefly to bring her mother the following day.
The entire afternoon and evening until midnight were spent with my books, the Bible, Science and Health, and Miscellaneous Writings. I read and pondered. In thought I walked with Jesus and received his teaching. I entered in some degree into the spirit of Mrs. Eddy’s teaching, and went to sleep toward morning conscious of God’s presence, and awakened with the same uplifted thought.
After breakfast I went into the kitchen to arrange the flowers that had been sent in. The doorbell rang, and the maid went to the door. She returned rather excited and began telling me something, but I asked her to be quiet and continued my thinking. Then I took some flowers out to the living room. As I opened the door, I found two ladies sitting there, the one who had come the day before, and a beautiful white-haired woman. The younger one told me that it was her mother and she was blind, and the mother echoed this statement.
Not for one instant did the suggestion enter my thought. Immediately came the thought, “No, no, no — not in God’s whole universe!” The mother talked for some time and I sat looking out in the sunshine, happy in the presence of divine Love, and with no consciousness of what she was saying. When she paused, I took her hands to help her to her feet and told her that she might go. She said that if God would let her look once upon her daughter’s face, she would be willing to die. I replied that God would let her look upon her daughter’s face and live. I then bade them good morning and left the room, and did not think of them again until the following morning when I entered my study to begin the day’s work. I found the mother there, radiant with happiness; and when I asked her if her daughter was waiting in the other room, she told me no, she had come alone, that her sight had been restored and she could see as she did when a young girl.
I then asked her if she had been blind. Truth had so filled my consciousness that the statement of error had not reached me; and, notwithstanding the story they told me the day before, I was entirely unconscious of what conditions had seemed to be. She told of her past sorrows, and said that when she had left my house the morning before, her daughter had led her to the street car and placed her in a seat, and that she had looked out of the window and seen the street and the trees and the flowers and for a moment forgot that she had been blind. She spoke of what she saw, then her daughter screamed and told the people that her mother had not been able to see for many years.
It must have been a thrilling experience for the people on that street car, for both mother and daughter talked, telling of her past affliction, and that God had healed her. No words could describe the awe that filled my thought in the presence of this demonstration of the Christ power.
Our weekly testimony meeting took place on the following evening, and everyone who had been on that street car attended this service. The seats were all filled and the people stood in the hall and adjoining rooms. The same spirit pervaded that congregation that was found among those who witnessed the healing of the early Apostles.
The healing began to attract the attention of physicians, and the clergymen were aroused by the number of people who were turning to what they called this new American religion. A German countess, who was a lady-in-waiting to the Empress, told me that the balls at the Emperor’s palace had become largely Christian Science testimony meetings; that while the young people danced, the officials of the Court and the chaperons stood about and told of cases of healing among their friends and acquaintances, and talked of Mrs. Eddy’s textbook and the marvelous work that was being done, such as Jesus had done on the shores of the Galilean Sea. When this came to the ears of the clergymen, it troubled them, and they made every effort to put a stop to this movement through the Empress, who was a rigid church woman. She tried to have her husband, the Emperor, interfere, but he was not interested and gave it no credence.
About this time the wife and mother-in-law of an army officer, who occupied a very high position at the royal Court, and who was a very intimate friend of his Majesty, began to attend the meetings in my home. These two ladies were ardent Spiritualists, and after the services talked with the people, telling them that Christian Science and Spiritualism were one and the same, and should be combined. I explained to them that this was a mistake, that Christian Science and Spiritualism were as different as day and night, but they continued to try to introduce this error among our people, and I was finally compelled to request them to cease coming. As the services were private and held in my home, I could do this. They were deeply offended and at once began to hold meetings in their home in Potsdam, the seat of the royal Court, inviting the officials and army officers and their families to attend. As an invitation from this family was almost tantamount to a royal command, the people could not refuse to go. At these meetings the Countess read from Science and Health, following this with some testimonies from the Christian Science Journal, and then a Spiritualistic medium gave them a séance.
The people were so enraged at being compelled to attend these meetings that it became a public scandal, and although it was an unwritten law that no one might introduce a subject to the Emperor unless at his request, a report of these meetings was finally made to his Majesty by a high official of his army. In the course of the conversation he was told the story of the Christian Science movement in Berlin, that it was claimed that much healing had been done among the people, and that the clergy feared that the State Church was losing the interest of many of its members.
The Emperor was very angry and at once issued an order that these meetings should be stopped; that the police should stop the Christian Science meetings in Berlin or elsewhere in the Empire, investigate the medium who had taken part in the Potsdam meetings and punish her, and then go after the American woman to get rid of her and exterminate this teaching. They found the medium a fraud and sent her to prison for five years, and then started after our work.
The attendance at the services held in my home had increased to such a degree that it had become necessary to find a hall some months before. We had found a beautiful one called the Kaiserin Augusta Victoria Saal. This was in an art school which was under the patronage of the Empress, and the director was a Countess Schoenburg von Cotta, who sometimes attended the meetings in order to assure herself that Christian Science was all right.
The first intimation that the Emperor was opposing us came through this director of the school, who notified me that she had been instructed that we were not to use the Saal again for the services. She came herself to tell me that she was deeply sorry and ashamed, but must do as she was told. As we had no way of letting the people know beforehand, several of the regular attendants were stationed along the street on either side of this building to tell the people as they came that there would be no service that evening, nor again until further notice. Their addresses were taken so they might be notified when we resumed.
The next day my landlord sent me a written notice to vacate the apartment within three days, warning me that if I did not do so, my things would be set in the street. I went at once to the American Embassy and secured the name of a lawyer to whom I took the notice and my lease. He told me I had no redress, that leases in Berlin were made for the landlords and not for tenants. I at once leased another apartment, but when only a few pieces of furniture had gone in, the police notified that landlord that I was an undesirable tenant, and he refused to permit me to go in. I had to store my furniture, and for several months was unable to find a place to live.
One of my friends who lived alone invited me to come and stay with her until I could find a home of my own, but I had been there only three days when the police discovered me, and her landlord notified her that if I crossed the threshold again, her things would be set in the street on three days’ notice. I stayed here and there, sometimes as a guest, and again where I might pay for lodging, but never more than two or three nights at a time, as the police always warned the people.
We continued to keep in touch with the people, and read the Lessons to small groups in different homes, sometimes meeting with two or three groups in a day. This made at least ten services in German each week, and two or three in English. They were, of course, without music, as we knew that they must not attract attention or they would be forbidden by the police, and they were in private homes. After some months I found a pleasant apartment in a house owned by a gentleman who lived in the country and was little interested in city affairs or the police. I told him of the attitude of the authorities, but he let me have his apartment, requesting me to refrain from having many visitors.
During all this time I had had no place to receive patients, and went from house to house, seeing some of them in their homes, and others in the homes of friends. After perhaps six months of this, during which time I worked from sixteen to eighteen hours a day, I found an apartment for the Church where I was permitted to receive patients, and to hold as many services as we chose, but without music. Before this we had striven to find a hall, but wherever we went, we found that the police had warned the people against us. The owner of the house into which we now moved was an American, and at that time the only American who owned an apartment house in Berlin. Divine Love certainly guided me to that house and to that fine man who had known of the persecution of our little band by the government, and was sympathetic because he felt we had shown good courage and had manifested entire confidence in our God and His Cause, and because he was an American and believed in religious liberty.
After opening a Reading Room and having Sunday services and testimony meetings for some months, always reading the hymns instead of singing them, some of our people found a hall. It was in a dancing school owned by an Italian, and was in an old part of Berlin in a shabby neighborhood, but it was in a garden back from the street, and was less apt to attract attention than if it were more public. Before deciding to take it, we told the owner that he might have trouble with the police if he took us as tenants. He assured me that this would not deter him. He said that he was an Italian citizen and owned this building, and he was in no wise subservient to the German police, nor afraid of them.
This seemed a strange place for a Christian Science Church, as we had to go through a shabby archway where carts were stored as in a stable yard, while the hall itself bore witness to the different character of its purpose; but we were so grateful to have a place in which we were free and that was large enough to accommodate all who wished to come that we cared little for appearances — we were as happy a group as though we were meeting in the chapel of the royal Court.
God blessed the work here. There were many healings at the meetings, and as quickly as the word flashed about that we were again holding services, the little place filled up with earnest and enthusiastic seekers for Truth.
One Sunday morning two police officers came to the services with a list of written questions for me to answer. I found that these questions were based upon an article which had appeared in a newspaper a few days previously. This was a scurrilous statement, intended to give an entirely false impression of this pure Science of being, and it came to me clearly that the time had come to go to the authorities and state the truth about Christian Science and its healing activities, and have this persecution stopped. I knew that it was God’s work, and no human law could interfere with it. I telegraphed Baroness Olga von Beschwitz of Dresden, a student, to come and accompany me, and I procured a letter of introduction from the Consul General of the United States of America, introducing me as an American citizen, and together we went to the President of Police, who was a member of the Emperor’s Cabinet.
He was very gracious until he learned who we were, and then he treated us with utmost contempt, although he could not refuse to hear what we had to say. I told him I was there to tell him what Christian Science was and to satisfy him that we were law-abiding. I stated that it was the religion of Christ Jesus; reminded him that Martin Luther healed the sick through prayer; and told him that Mary Baker Eddy had discovered the scientific method of spiritual healing, and that as her disciples we were endeavoring to obey the command of the Master to heal the sick as well as preach the Gospel. Baroness von Beschwitz told him of her experience in being healed of life-long suffering from what was said to be an incurable disease, and of the great good we were doing in healing many of the German people.
When we had explained our position at considerable length, I asked him if we were doing anything contrary to the laws of Germany, and said that if we were, we would immediately cease, as we were above all things a law-abiding people. He seemed greatly enraged, and took up a book which he shook in my face, saying violently, “This is the criminal code of Germany, and there is not a line in it that prohibits anyone from worshipping God in his own way.”
I thanked him and said, “That is all I wish to know, Herr President, and now I have one thing further to tell you, and that is I am not a criminal, but am a citizen of the United States of America, and I shall expect to be so treated in future.” This closed the interview, and as he had acknowledged there was no law forbidding our Church or the healing work, the police were at once called off, and we had no further trouble along this line.
One of the great lessons learned was in the experience with the Police President. For eight months his officers had mercilessly pursued us and attempted to crush our work, but when he was notified that I was a citizen of the United States of America and obedient to the law, he recognized my freedom and ceased to attempt to intimidate me. The function of a government is to protect its citizens, and so long as they are loyal to their citizenship, it cannot fail them. Mrs. Eddy has written in Miscellaneous Writings (page 185), “The acknowledgment and achievement of his (man’s) spiritual identity as the child of God, is Science that opens the very flood-gates of heaven.” The acknowledgment of man’s sonship with God and the recognition of this relationship is the achievement of that sonship, for man is forever one with the Father. The acknowledgment of my citizenship in the United States of America was the achievement of the protection of the government and its laws. No personal plea nor interposition was required, for law is always in force.
We are citizens of God’s government, and if we acknowledge that and refuse to accept the suggestion of any other power, we will be forever safe under the protection of divine law, the law that governs the universe and knows no opposing force. A Christian Scientist is delivered from all attacks of error in proportion to his acceptance of his true relationship to God and of his citizenship in the realm of divine Love.
During these months of persecution every case was healed.
The work was going steadily forward in Dresden during this time, and in February, 1900, the room that had been used for the services was found to be too small, and the workers secured an apartment that had been intended for business purposes, and had the walls taken out, giving them quite a large church room and leaving two small rooms for the Clerk’s office and for the books to be kept on sale. They used the church room for a Reading Room also. They held the first service in these new quarters on February 17, 1900, and the following day met and formally organized First Church of Christ, Scientist, Dresden, Germany.
The Dresden students invited me to be with them on this occasion, and I availed myself of this privilege with joy. A number of those who had become interested in the work in Berlin, also wished to be present on this happy occasion, so there were eighteen of us from Berlin at the opening service of this, the first Christian Science organization in Germany. It was an historic occasion, and we who had the privilege of attending that service, and being present at the meeting when the Church was organized, recognized that this was the first step toward the freedom of the German nation from autocratic personal government that would limit religious freedom.
As I write this, thirty years later, Germany is a republic and religious freedom is the law of the land.
On October 20, 1900, just one year from the time I began the work in Berlin, we organized First Church of Christ, Scientist, Berlin, Germany, under the laws of Germany. The police department treated us with the greatest courtesy. They asked for a copy of our regulations, creed, etc., to place on file. I sent them one of the printed slips, with the Tenets of The Mother Church, stating that this was a branch of that Church, so our tenets formed a part of the official records of the Empire. We began with eleven members, and at our semiannual Communion Service in the following June we added eleven more, making a total of twenty-two. We had four services a week, two German and two English, and a Sunday School. Our English congregation averaged about fifty; the German congregation averaged seventy-five on Sunday, and from one hundred and twenty-five to one hundred and fifty at the weekday meetings. We had a Sunday School which began with eight children and which has now grown into hundreds. Every department of the work was active and joyous.
It was difficult for the Germans to obtain release from their official church, so their demonstration was not so simple as was that of those who lived in countries where church and state were separate and religious freedom was a fact. A German who withdrew from the state church could not sign a legal contract, according to the laws. Notwithstanding this, and the difficulty in language, we sold a goodly number of books in the first year: one hundred and five copies of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (two-thirds of them pocket edition), Miscellaneous Writings, and all the other books by our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, in proportion.
As the practice increased, the number of seekers grew and a more comprehensive method of teaching them to read the book had to be used. The Germans were divided into small groups. The students of Christian Science who knew English each had charge of a group, meeting with them once or twice a week and coaching them in the same way that we used in the beginning in the meetings.
The work in this field required love and consecration beyond the ken of those who found Christian Science in their own tongue and had none of these difficulties to meet. There was much healing work to be done, and each one who had gained a grain of Truth was pressed into this activity.
I would give the students cases to heal, and they would come to me with any question or difficulty; and as they grew in understanding, the newer workers would turn to them for guidance in their activities. The demand seemed to grow much faster than the number of workers, and it was necessary for every one to take active part in God’s service.
All were instructed that Christ Jesus and Mrs. Eddy had answered every question that could arise, and if they would turn to their books prayerfully, every problem would be solved; that they should know always that the Mind that was in Christ Jesus was their Mind and was the Great Physician; that no argument of fear or self-consciousness could hinder their activity and its beneficent results. All were so convinced that God had appointed us to do this work, and was working with us, that none was afraid.
The young workers took the simpler cases and did much healing, while the more difficult cases were left to me. I, too, was a young worker, for I had known Christian Science only three or four years at this period, hence there could be no question that Christ did the work. The human workers were equipped only with love and obedience. As time went on and the early students gained in experience, they also took so-called fatal cases, such as tuberculosis, cancer, blindness, etc., and all were healed. There were no failures.
In addition to the healing work there were many letters to be written to absent patients, and as they had no books, all the Science they learned had to be written in the translated word. I seldom went to bed before one o’clock, and it was not an infrequent thing for the rising sun to find me still at my desk.
During this time the work in Dresden grew and waxed strong. The Dresden police took a similar position to those in Berlin. They attended the services and watched the workers, but as they did not have the Emperor back of them, they were not so strong in the activities, and church services were held regularly. The many cases healed brought more and more people to the Church, and more seekers for healing. Each Class taught in Berlin had several students from Dresden. I went frequently to visit the workers in that field and give them such help and encouragement as they needed. I would see my patients in the morning at home, take the one o’clock train, reaching Dresden at four-twenty, visit my patients and students there, and return at seven, reaching my home at ten in the evening, when I would take up my absent work, continuing it far into the night.
At this period The Mother Church Manual provided for three Classes yearly, and while they were very small, at first only four or five students, they were a great help in preparing workers. The teaching was very simple and students were taken through Classes much earlier than now, thirty years later.
As Association meetings were held every month, the teacher was able to keep closely in touch with the students and to guard carefully against misunderstandings. We worked and grew in understanding together, always guided and encouraged by the teaching and example of our beloved Mother and Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, God’s messenger.
Because of an Insurance Act for the benefit of working people, everyone who drew a wage, whether it was a woman who cleaned floors, a man who mended shoes, the President of the Imperial Bank, or an official of the government, was compelled to be examined by a physician if he did not feel well, and have a doctor’s certificate before he could leave his work; and he must be examined again and receive a certificate of healing before he could resume his activities.
Beginning the work under these conditions, we had no sense of fear concerning physicians or of their prognostications. They frequently declared a case would be fatal, but we would see it recover promptly when God’s law was invoked; hence we escaped any fear of power acting through the medical thought.
Our dear people had been courageous and faithful during this difficult time. We did not lose more than a dozen of those who had been attending the services, and no student lost faith, in this time of persecution. It was very trying while it lasted; the papers frequently carried articles traducing me, declaring that I was only an American swindler, striving to hoodwink the German people.
During this time of persecution, whenever a patient was confined to his bed, detectives were placed in the house to watch the case, with the hope that someone might die and I could then be arrested and dealt with on a criminal charge, but every patient was healed during these eight months.
In one instance a woman was told that her only hope was a surgical operation, without which she could not live twenty-four hours. She had known of a number of cases of healing and sent her husband for me, declaring she would have no physician but Christ, and that I should bring this word and heal her. In a frenzy of fear he told the physician she would not have the operation, and that I would attempt to heal her in Christian Science.
The doctor at once notified the police, and they sent a detective to remain at the house until the end should come. She recovered within a few days, and the detective who had watched the case came to the services as soon as the official surveillance was withdrawn.
Within a year after the cessation of the police interference, several of the detective force became earnest students of Christian Science, and with their wives and families attended the services.
At the time of these occurrences Germany had a law which provided that any foreigner could be sent out of the country on three days’ notice without being given any reason. If the person sent away wished to know the reason, he could learn it only through an inquiry made by his government. Many people who knew this wondered that they did not avail themselves of this law to get rid of me. There could be but one reason for this: namely, that God had sent me there, and sustained me and held me there until I had finished the work He gave me to do.
This experience brought us priceless lessons. We learned to depend upon God at all times, for He had made His presence known, and we had demonstrated the powerlessness of false thinking and government by human will.
After our demonstration of freedom was brought out, and the services were firmly established in the new church room, I felt that the time had come for me to visit The Mother Church and give to the loved ones there some of the good that had come to us, and share with them of their rewards. I went to Boston, and mingled with the thousands of happy Christian Scientists from all parts of America and from England and Scotland, and enjoyed with them the glorious services of The Mother Church. There I heard our dear Leader’s Message for 1902: “Beloved brethren, another year of God’s loving providence for His people in times of persecution has marked the history of Christian Science. . . .
Evil, though combined with formidable conspiracy, is made to glorify God.”
This seemed a direct message from our dear Leader’s heart to mine, and I was content, but a greater blessing was in store for me.
When I went to Concord a few days later, someone reported to Mrs. Eddy that I was in the city. On the following day she came to visit me. I was indeed overwhelmed for I knew that she had not made a personal visit in many years.
She told me that she was engaged in a most important work, the completion of the government of The Mother Church, and she had found it necessary to declare that she would not receive any visitors during this summer, so she could not invite me to her home but must come to me. When I asked her why she should so honor me, she replied, “I could not let you go away without taking your dear hands in mine, and looking into your brave eyes, and saying ‘Thank you.’” When I said, “Thank me, Mother. For what?” she replied, “For being brave and true, for facing error courageously and standing with Truth.” I had not known that she knew aught of conditions in Germany, but she said, “I know always what my children are doing, and of Truth’s progress and triumph.” She talked of her joy in our victory; she said there had been nothing like this persecution since the days of the early Christians, and that God would reward such faithfulness, and this demonstration of courage and loyalty would strengthen many others in the years to come.
When I told her of the humble room in which we were holding our services, and that one of our attendants said that the entrance to the room had reminded her of the entrance to the caves in which the early Christians held their services, she replied that the entire experience reminded her of those early Christians, and she sent her loving greetings to the workers who had stood with me.
This loving recognition of our work and tender benediction upon it sent me back to my German home and field with joy unspeakable. I had indeed found a Mother in Israel, one who knew the pains of her children, watched over them and with them, and rewarded them with her blessing. From that time on she continued to express her interest in the work and the workers, and frequently sent messages which strengthened and encouraged us.
The demand for the healing work continued to increase. Each year brought out new workers and all grew in spiritual understanding and consecration.
The classes were larger, students coming from all parts of Europe, wherever the healing had become known; from Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia; and these students carried the Truth to their homes, demonstrating it there.
I taught only those who knew English sufficiently to read Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and Mrs. Eddy’s other books; but one may be able to read English and yet find the spoken word quite difficult to understand, hence it was necessary to give the Lessons in both languages. I made copious notes and gave the Lesson in English, then permitted those who were familiar with the language to leave, and repeated it in German for the students who were not yet familiar with the spoken word.
In the beginning I had to have one of the earlier students remain with me and help me in this teaching, but I gradually learned to do it alone.
Several happy, active years passed in this way. Churches were started in different cities by students. Again did the “Wise Men” see the star that announced the coming of the Christ.
In 1903 Mrs. Eddy gave us the German Herald, a monthly publication made up of translations from the English Christian Science Journal. This was a great help. It gave its readers excellent articles on Christian Science, and many testimonies of healing. This was the only authorized German literature. Previous to this we had had one lecture translated, and a small pamphlet, Answers to Questions, by Edward A. Kimball, the Publishing Society having given its permission.
At the end of the year 1906 I felt that my work was accomplished. I had gone to Germany to introduce Christian Science, and it was now well-known and firmly established. The workers were tried and true; they had been tested and proved faithful and wise; they were ready to carry forward the work of our beloved Cause in their Fatherland. So I left it with them and returned to America to continue my work of healing and teaching in my native land, the land that was the birthplace of Christian Science and the home of its Revelator.
The students were loyal to their trust, and the work has gone steadily on. One was the first German teacher of Christian Science appointed from the Berlin field. In 1912 their faithful service was rewarded by the publication of the textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, in the German language. This gave great impetus to the work.
Christian Science and its beneficent work is now known throughout Germany in the cities, in the little villages, and in the mountain hamlets. And in every place where the Christ healing is known, the name of Mary Baker Eddy is loved and honored by the learned and by the simple peasants. Her place as God’s Revelator to this age, and as the Leader of the Christian Science movement, is accepted.
In his parable of the mustard seed, the Master said: “When it is sown in the earth (it) is less than all the seeds that be in the earth; but when it is sown it groweth up and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it”; and this he likened to the Kingdom of God.
I am always reminded of this parable when I think of the great Christian Science work, whose branches reach out over all middle Europe. The mustard seed which had grown to so great a tree was the thought of Love that prompted the giving of the Christian Science textbook to the woman who journeyed around the world in 1896. This took root and brought out love of the Truth in the consciousness of the recipient of that book. She, in turn, expressed her gratitude and appreciation by striving to find someone who was free to go to these dear people and give them the Truth, demonstrating its divine nature. These two acts of kindness seem small in themselves, but back of them was the omnipotence of divine Love, and from them has come the true “Reformation” to Germany.
“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined” (Isaiah 9:2).