Preface | Plainfield Christian Science Church, Independent


From Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by

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Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John viii. 32.

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. Shakespeare

Oh! Thou hast heard my prayer;
And I am blest!
This is Thy high behest :-
Thou here, and everywhere. Mary Baker Eddy

Page vii

1      To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is
         big with blessings. The wakeful shepherd beholds
3      the first faint morning beams, ere cometh the full radiance
         of a risen day. So shone the pale star to the prophet-
         shepherds; yet it traversed the night, and came where, in
6      cradled obscurity, lay the Bethlehem babe, the human
         herald of Christ, Truth, who would make plain to be-
         nighted understanding the way of salvation through Christ
9      Jesus, till across a night of error should dawn the morn-
         ing beams and shine the guiding star of being. The Wise-
         men were led to behold and to follow this daystar of
12    divine Science, lighting the way to eternal harmony.

         The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent
         of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the
15    portal of humanity. Contentment with the past and
         the cold conventionality of materialism are crumbling
         away. Ignorance of God is no longer the stepping-
18    stone to faith. The only guarantee of obedience is a
         right apprehension of Him whom to know aright is
         Life eternal. Though empires fall, “the Lord shall
21    reign forever.”

         A book introduces new thoughts, but it cannot make
         them speedily understood. It is the task of the sturdy
24    pioneer to hew the tall oak and to cut the rough
         granite. Future ages must declare what the pioneer
         has accomplished.

27    Since the author’s discovery of the might of Truth in

Page viii

1      the treatment of disease as well as of sin, her system has
         been fully tested and has not been found wanting; but
3      to reach the heights of Christian Science, man must live
         in obedience to its divine Principle. To develop the full
         might of this Science, the discords of corporeal sense
6      must yield to the harmony of spiritual sense, even as the
         science of music corrects false tones and gives sweet con-
         cord to sound.

9      Theology and physics teach that both Spirit and
         matter are real and good, whereas the fact is that
         Spirit is good and real, and matter is Spirit’s oppo-
12    site. The question, What is Truth, is answered by
         demonstration, by healing both disease and sin; and
         this demonstration shows that Christian healing con-
15    fers the most health and makes the best men. On this
         basis Christian Science will have a fair fight. Sickness
         has been combated for centuries by doctors using ma-
18    terial remedies; but the question arises, Is there less
         sickness because of these practitioners? A vigorous
         “No” is the response deducible from two connate
21    facts, — the reputed longevity of the Antediluvians,
         and the rapid multiplication and increased violence of
         diseases since the flood.

24    In the author’s work, Retrospection and Introspec-
         tion, may be found a biographical sketch, narrating
         experiences which led her, in the year 1866, to the dis-
27    covery of the system that she denominated Christian
         Science. As early as 1862 she began to write down and
         give to friends the results of her Scriptural study, for
30    the Bible was her sole teacher; but these compositions
         were crude, the first steps of a child in the newly dis-
         covered world of Spirit.

Page ix

1      She also began to jot down her thoughts on the
         main subject, but these jottings were only infantile
3      lispings of Truth. A child drinks in the outward world
         through the eyes and rejoices in the draught. He is
         as sure of the world’s existence as he is of his own; yet
6      he cannot describe the world. He finds a few words,
         and with these he stammeringly attempts to convey his
         feeling. Later, the tongue voices the more definite
9      thought, though still imperfectly.

         So was it with the author. As a certain poet says of
         himself, she “lisped in numbers, for the numbers
12    came.” Certain essays written at that early date are
         still in circulation among her first pupils; but they are
         feeble attempts to state the Principle and practice of
15    Christian healing, and are not complete nor satisfac-
         tory expositions of Truth. To-day, though rejoicing
         in some progress, she still finds herself a willing dis-
18    ciple at the heavenly gate, waiting for the Mind of

         Her first pamphlet on Christian Science was copy-
21    righted in 1870; but it did not appear in print until
         1876, as she had learned that this Science must be
         demonstrated by healing, before a work on the subject
24    could be profitably studied. From 1867 until 1875,
         copies were, however, in friendly circulation.

         Before writing this work, Science and Health, she
27    made copious notes of Scriptural exposition, which
         have never been published. This was during the years
         1867 and 1868. These efforts show her comparative
30    ignorance of the stupendous Life-problem up to that
         time, and the degrees by which she came at length
         to its solution; but she values them as a parent

Page x

1      may treasure the memorials of a child’s growth, and
         she would not have them changed.

3      The first edition of Science and Health was pub-
         lished in 1875. Various books on mental healing have
         since been issued, most of them incorrect in theory
6      and filled with plagiarisms from Science and Health.
         They regard the human mind as a healing agent,
         whereas this mind is not a factor in the Principle of
9      Christian Science. A few books, however, which are
         based on this book, are useful.

         The author has not compromised conscience to suit
12    the general drift of thought, but has bluntly and hon-
         estly given the text of Truth. She has made no effort
         to embellish, elaborate, or treat in full detail so in-
15    finite a theme. By thousands of well-authenticated
         cases of healing, she and her students have proved the
         worth of her teachings. These cases for the most part
18    have been abandoned as hopeless by regular medical
         attendants. Few invalids will turn to God till all
         physical supports have failed, because there is so little
21    faith in His disposition and power to heal disease.

         The divine Principle of healing is proved in the
         personal experience of any sincere seeker of Truth. Its
24    purpose is good, and its practice is safer and more po-
         tent than that of any other sanitary method. The un-
         biased Christian thought is soonest touched by Truth,
27    and convinced of it. Only those quarrel with her
         method who do not understand her meaning, or dis-
         cerning the truth, come not to the light lest their
30    works be reproved. No intellectual proficiency is req-
         uisite in the learner, but sound morals are most de-

Page xi

1      Many imagine that the phenomena of physical heal-
         ing in Christian Science present only a phase of the
3      action of the human mind, which action in some unex-
         plained way results in the cure of disease. On the con-
         trary, Christian Science rationally explains that all
6      other pathological methods are the fruits of human
         faith in matter, faith in the workings, not of Spirit,
         but of the fleshly mind which must yield to Science.

9      The physical healing of Christian Science results
         now, as in Jesus’ time, from the operation of divine
         Principle, before which sin and disease lose their real-
12    ity in human consciousness and disappear as naturally
         and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and
         sin to reformation. Now, as then, these mighty works
15    are not supernatural, but supremely natural. They are
         the sign of Immanuel, or “God with us,” a divine
         influence ever present in human consciousness and re-
18    peating itself, coming now as was promised aforetime,

         To preach deliverance to the captives [of sense],
         And recovering of sight to the blind,
21    To set at liberty them that are bruised.

         When God called the author to proclaim His Gospel
         to this age, there came also the charge to plant and
24    water His vineyard.

         The first school of Christian Science Mind-healing
         was started by the author with only one student in
27    Lynn, Massachusetts, about the year 1867. In 1881,
         she opened the Massachusetts Metaphysical College in
         Boston, under the seal of the Commonwealth, a law
30    relative to colleges having been passed, which enabled
         her to get this institution chartered for medical pur-

Page xii

1      poses. No charters were granted to Christian Scien-
         tists for such institutions after 1883, and up to that
3      date, hers was the only College of this character which
         had been established in the United States, where
         Christian Science was first introduced.

6      During seven years over four thousand students
         were taught by the author in this College. Meanwhile
         she was pastor of the first established Church of
9      Christ, Scientist; President of the first Christian Sci-
         entist Association, convening monthly; publisher of
         her own works; and (for a portion of this time) sole
12    editor and publisher of the Christian Science Journal,
         the first periodical issued by Christian Scientists. She
         closed her College, October 29, 1889, in the height of
15    its prosperity with a deep-lying conviction that the
         next two years of her life should be given to the prep-
         aration of the revision of Science and Health, which
18    was published in 1891. She retained her charter, and
         as its President, reopened the College in 1899 as auxil-
         iary to her church. Until June 10, 1907, she had never
21    read this book throughout consecutively in order to elu-
         cidate her idealism.

         In the spirit of Christ’s charity, as one who “hopeth
24    all things, endureth all things,” and is joyful to bear
         consolation to the sorrowing and healing to the sick,
         she commits these pages to honest seekers for Truth.

Mary Baker Eddy

         NOTE. — The author takes no patients,
         and declines medical consultation.

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