Dedicatory Sermon | Plainfield Christian Science Church, Independent

Dedicatory Sermon

From Pulpit and Press by

Delivered January 6, 1895

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1      TEXT: They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy

         house; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures.

3      — PSALMS xxxvi. 8.

         A NEW year is a nursling, a babe of time, a prophecy

         and promise clad in white raiment, kissed — and

6      encumbered with greetings — redolent with grief and


         An old year is time’s adult, and 1893 was a distinguished

9      character, notable for good and evil. Time past and time

         present, both, may pain us, but time improved is elo-

         quent in God’s praise. For due refreshment garner the

12    memory of 1894; for if wiser by reason of its large lessons,

         and records deeply engraven, great is the value thereof.

         Pass on, returnless year!

15    The path behind thee is with glory crowned;

         This spot whereon thou troddest was holy ground;

         Pass proudly to thy bier!

18    To-day, being with you in spirit, what need that I should

         be present in propria persona? Were I present, methinks

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1      I should be much like the Queen of Sheba, when she saw

         the house Solomon had erected. In the expressive language

3      of Holy Writ, “There was no more spirit in her;” and

         she said, “Behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom

         and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.” Both

6      without and within, the spirit of beauty dominates The

         Mother Church, from its mosaic flooring to the soft shim-

         mer of its starlit dome.

9      Nevertheless, there is a thought higher and deeper than

         the edifice. Material light and shade are temporal, not

         eternal. Turning the attention from sublunary views,

12    however enchanting, think for a moment with me of the

         house wherewith “they shall be abundantly satisfied,” —

         even the “house not made with hands, eternal in the

15    heavens.” With the mind’s eye glance at the direful

         scenes of the war between China and Japan. Imagine

         yourselves in a poorly barricaded fort, fiercely besieged

18    by the enemy. Would you rush forth single-handed to

         combat the foe? Nay, would you not rather strengthen

         your citadel by every means in your power, and remain

21    within the walls for its defense? Likewise should we do

         as metaphysicians and Christian Scientists. The real

         house in which “we live, and move, and have our being”

24    is Spirit, God, the eternal harmony of infinite Soul. The

         enemy we confront would overthrow this sublime fortress,

         and it behooves us to defend our heritage.

27    How can we do this Christianly scientific work? By

         intrenching ourselves in the knowledge that our true

         temple is no human fabrication, but the superstructure

30    of Truth, reared on the foundation of Love, and pinnacled

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1      in Life. Such being its nature, how can our godly temple

         possibly be demolished, or even disturbed? Can eternity

3      end? Can Life die? Can Truth be uncertain? Can

         Love be less than boundless? Referring to this temple,

         our Master said: “Destroy this temple, and in three days

6      I will raise it up.” He also said: “The kingdom of God

         is within you.” Know, then, that you possess sovereign

         power to think and act rightly, and that nothing can dis-

9      possess you of this heritage and trespass on Love. If you

         maintain this position, who or what can cause you to sin

         or suffer? Our surety is in our confidence that we are

12    indeed dwellers in Truth and Love, man’s eternal mansion.

         Such a heavenly assurance ends all warfare, and bids tu-

         mult cease, for the good fight we have waged is over, and

15    divine Love gives us the true sense of victory. “They

         shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house;

         and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy

18    pleasures.” No longer are we of the church militant, but

         of the church triumphant; and with Job of old we ex-

         claim, “Yet in my flesh shall I see God.” The river of

21    His pleasures is a tributary of divine Love, whose living

         waters have their source in God, and flow into everlasting

         Life. We drink of this river when all human desires are

24    quenched, satisfied with what is pleasing to the divine


         Perchance some one of you may say, “The evidence of

27    spiritual verity in me is so small that I am afraid. I feel

         so far from victory over the flesh that to reach out for a

         present realization of my hope savors of temerity. Be-

30    cause of my own unfitness for such a spiritual animus my

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1      strength is naught and my faith fails.” O thou “weak

         and infirm of purpose.” Jesus said, “Be not afraid”!

3      “What if the little rain should say,

         ‘So small a drop as I

         Can ne’er refresh a drooping earth,

6      I’ll tarry in the sky.’ “

         Is not a man metaphysically and mathematically num-

         ber one, a unit, and therefore whole number, governed

9      and protected by his divine Principle, God? You have

         simply to preserve a scientific, positive sense of unity with

         your divine source, and daily demonstrate this. Then you

12    will find that one is as important a factor as duodecillions

         in being and doing right, and thus demonstrating deific

         Principle. A dewdrop reflects the sun. Each of Christ’s

15    little ones reflects the infinite One, and therefore is the

         seer’s declaration true, that “one on God’s side is a


18    A single drop of water may help to hide the stars, or

         crown the tree with blossoms.

         Who lives in good, lives also in God, — lives in all Life,

21    through all space. His is an individual kingdom, his dia-

         dem a crown of crowns. His existence is deathless, for-

         ever unfolding its eternal Principle. Wait patiently on

24    illimitable Love, the lord and giver of Life. Reflect this

         Life, and with it cometh the full power of being. “They

         shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy

27    house.”

         In 1893 the World’s Parliament of Religions, held in

         Chicago, used, in all its public sessions, my form of prayer

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1      since 1866; and one of the very clergymen who had pub-

         licly proclaimed me “the prayerless Mrs. Eddy,” offered

3      his audible adoration in the words I use, besides listening

         to an address on Christian Science from my pen, read by

         Judge S. J. Hanna, in that unique assembly.

6      When the light of one friendship after another passes

         from earth to heaven, we kindle in place thereof the glow

         of some deathless reality. Memory, faithful to goodness,

9      holds in her secret chambers those characters of holiest

         sort, bravest to endure, firmest to suffer, soonest to re-

         nounce. Such was the founder of the Concord School of

12    Philosophy — the late A. Bronson Alcott.

         After the publication of “Science and Health with Key

         to the Scriptures,” his athletic mind, scholarly and serene,

15    was the first to bedew my hope with a drop of humanity.

         When the press and pulpit cannonaded this book, he

         introduced himself to its author by saying, “I have come

18    to comfort you.” Then eloquently paraphrasing it, and

         prophesying its prosperity, his conversation with a beauty

         all its own reassured me. That prophecy is fulfilled.

21    This book, in 1895, is in its ninety-first edition of one

         thousand copies. It is in the public libraries of the prin-

         cipal cities, colleges, and universities of America; also

24    the same in Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia,

         Italy, Greece, Japan, India, and China; in the Oxford

         University and the Victoria Institute, England; in the

27    Academy of Greece, and the Vatican at Rome.

         This book is the leaven fermenting religion; it is

         palpably working in the sermons, Sunday Schools, and

30    literature of our and other lands. This spiritual chemi-

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1      calization is the upheaval produced when Truth is neutral-

         izing error and impurities are passing off. And it will

3      continue till the antithesis of Christianity, engendering the

         limited forms of a national or tyrannical religion, yields to

         the church established by the Nazarene Prophet and main-

6      tained on the spiritual foundation of Christ’s healing.

         Good, the Anglo-Saxon term for God, unites Science to

         Christianity. It presents to the understanding, not matter,

9      but Mind; not the deified drug, but the goodness of God —

         healing and saving mankind.

         The author of “Marriage of the Lamb,” who made the

12    mistake of thinking she caught her notions from my book,

         wrote to me in 1894, “Six months ago your book, Science

         and Health, was put into my hands. I had not read three

15    pages before I realized I had found that for which I had

         hungered since girlhood, and was healed instantaneously

         of an ailment of seven years’ standing. I cast from me the

18    false remedy I had vainly used, and turned to the ‘great

         Physician.’ I went with my husband, a missionary to

         China, in 1884. He went out under the auspices of the

21    Methodist Episcopal Church. I feel the truth is leading

         us to return to Japan.”

         Another brilliant enunciator, seeker, and servant of

24    Truth, the Rev. William R. Alger of Boston, signalled

         me kindly as my lone bark rose and fell and rode the rough

         sea. At a conversazione in Boston, he said, “You may

27    find in Mrs. Eddy’s metaphysical teachings more than is

         dreamt of in your philosophy.”

         Also that renowned apostle of anti-slavery, Wendell

30    Phillips, the native course of whose mind never swerved

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1      from the chariot-paths of justice, speaking of my work,

         said: “Had I young blood in my veins, I would help that

3      woman.”

         I love Boston, and especially the laws of the State where-

         of this city is the capital. To-day, as of yore, her laws

6      have befriended progress.

         Yet when I recall the past, — how the gospel of healing

         was simultaneously praised and persecuted in Boston, —

9      and remember also that God is just, I wonder whether,

         were our dear Master in our New England metropolis at

         this hour, he would not weep over it, as he wept over

12    Jerusalem! O ye tears! Not in vain did ye flow. Those

         sacred drops were but enshrined for future use, and God

         has now unsealed their receptacle with His outstretched

15    arm. Those crystal globes made morals for mankind.

         They will rise with joy, and with power to wash away, in

         floods of forgiveness, every crime, even when mistakenly

18    committed in the name of religion.

         An unjust, unmerciful, and oppressive priesthood must

         perish, for false prophets in the present as in the past

21    stumble onward to their doom; while their tabernacles

         crumble with dry rot. “God is not mocked,” and “the

         word of the Lord endureth forever.”

24    I have ordained the Bible and the Christian Science

         textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,”

         as pastor of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in

27    Boston, — so long as this church is satisfied with this

         pastor. This is my first ordination. “They shall be

         abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house; and

30    Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures. “

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1      All praise to the press of America’s Athens, — and

         throughout our land the press has spoken out historically,

3      impartially. Like the winds telling tales through the

         leaves of an ancient oak, unfallen, may our church chimes

         repeat my thanks to the press.

6      Notwithstanding the perplexed condition of our na-

         tion’s finances, the want and woe with millions of dollars

         unemployed in our money centres, the Christian Scientists,

9      within fourteen months, responded to the call for this

         church with $191,012. Not a mortgage was given nor a

         loan solicited, and the donors all touchingly told their

12    privileged joy at helping to build The Mother Church.

         There was no urging, begging, or borrowing; only the

         need made known, and forth came the money, or dia-

15    monds, which served to erect this “miracle in stone.”

         Even the children vied with their parents to meet the

         demand. Little hands, never before devoted to menial

18    services, shoveled snow, and babes gave kisses to earn a

         few pence toward this consummation. Some of these

         lambs my prayers had christened, but Christ will rechristen

21    them with his own new name. “Out of the mouths of

         babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise.” The

         resident youthful workers were called “Busy Bees.”

24    Sweet society, precious children, your loving hearts and

         deft fingers distilled the nectar and painted the finest

         flowers in the fabric of this history, — even its centre-piece,

27    — Mother’s Room in The First Church of Christ, Sci-

         entist, in Boston. The children are destined to witness

         results which will eclipse Oriental dreams. They belong

30    to the twentieth century. By juvenile aid, into the build-

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1      ing fund have come $4,460.(1) Ah, children, you are the

         bulwarks of freedom, the cement of society, the hope of

3      our race!

         Brothers of the Christian Science Board of Directors,

         when your tireless tasks are done — well done — no Del-

6      phian Iyre could break the full chords of such a rest. May

         the altar you have built never be shattered in our hearts,

         but justice, mercy, and love kindle perpetually its fires.

9      It was well that the brother whose appliances warm

         this house, warmed also our perishless hope, and nerved

         its grand fulfilment. Woman, true to her instinct, came

12    to the rescue as sunshine from the clouds; so, when man

         quibbled over an architectural exigency, a woman climbed

         with feet and hands to the top of the tower, and helped

15    settle the subject.

         After the loss of our late lamented pastor, Rev. D. A.

         Easton, the church services were maintained by excellent

18    sermons from the editor of The Christian Science Journal

         (who, with his better half, is a very whole man), together

         with the Sunday School giving this flock “drink from the

21    river of His pleasures.” O glorious hope and blessed as-

         surance, “it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the

         kingdom.” Christians rejoice in secret, they have a bounty

24    hidden from the world. Self-forgetfulness, purity, and

         love are treasures untold — constant prayers, prophecies,

         and anointings. Practice, not profession, — goodness, not

27    doctrines, — spiritual understanding, not mere belief,

         gain the ear and right hand of omnipotence, and call down

         blessings infinite. “Faith without works is dead.” The

30    foundation of enlightened faith is Christ’s teachings and

         (1)This sum was increased to $5,568.51 by contributions which reached the Treas-

         urer after the Dedicatory Services.

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1      practice. It was our Master’s self-immolation, his life-

         giving love, healing both mind and body, that raised the

3      deadened conscience, paralyzed by inactive faith, to a

         quickened sense of mortal’s necessities, — and God’s

         power and purpose to supply them. It was, in the words

6      of the Psalmist, He “who forgiveth all thine iniquities;

         who healeth all thy diseases.”

         Rome’s fallen fanes and silent Aventine is glory’s tomb;

9      her pomp and power lie low in dust. Our land, more

         favored, had its Pilgrim Fathers. On shores of solitude,

         at Plymouth Rock, they planted a nation’s heart, — the

12    rights of conscience, imperishable glory. No dream of

         avarice or ambition broke their exalted purpose, theirs

         was the wish to reign in hope’s reality — the realm of

15    Love.

         Christian Scientists, you have planted your standard

         on the rock of Christ, the true, the spiritual idea, — the

18    chief corner-stone in the house of our God. And our

         Master said: “The stone which the builders rejected, the

         same is become the head of the corner.” If you are less

21    appreciated to-day than your forefathers, wait — for if

         you are as devout as they, and more scientific, as progress

         certainly demands, your plant is immortal. Let us rejoice

24    that chill vicissitudes have not withheld the timely shelter

         of this house, which descended like day-spring from on


27    Divine presence, breathe Thou Thy blessing on every

         heart in this house. Speak out, O soul! This is the new-

         born of Spirit, this is His redeemed; this, His beloved.

30    May the kingdom of God within you, — with you alway, —

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1      reascending, bear you outward, upward, heavenward.

         May the sweet song of silver-throated singers, making

3      melody more real, and the organ’s voice, as the sound of

         many waters, and the Word spoken in this sacred temple

         dedicated to the ever-present God — mingle with the joy

6      of angels and rehearse your hearts’ holy intents. May all

         whose means, energies, and prayers helped erect The

         Mother Church, find within it home, and heaven.

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