“Christian Scientists” -- By: G. Frederick Wright
BSac 56:222 (Apr 1899) p. 374
The rapid spread of the sect calling themselves “Christian scientists” is one of the closing wonders of the nineteenth century, and well deserves investigation from every point of view. The founder of the sect is Mrs. Mary Baker Glover Eddy, who claims to have discovered in the year 1866 the “science of metaphysical healing,” which she named Christian science. In 1867 she opened a school of Christian Science Mind-healing, with one student. In 1881 she opened the Massachusetts Metaphysical College in Boston. During the following seven years, four thousand students were in attendance. In 1875 she published “Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures,” which is the text-book of the sect. This is a volume of 685 16mo pages, bearing the imprint of the University Press, and in the paper, print, and binding showing the highest skill of the printer’s art. The copy before me as I write belongs to the 146th edition, and is by no means the last, while the claim of Mrs. Eddy’s followers, that they number more than a million, is far from extravagant. Churches of the sect already exist in every leading town, while the edifice of the central church in Boston is one of the most commodious, substantial, and elegant in the city, and is situated in the most fashionable quarter. Probably there is scarcely an evangelical church in the United States whose members have not been more or less affected by the movement, and those affected are by no means the least in-
BSac 56:222 (Apr 1899) p. 375
telligent or least worthy of their members. On the contrary, the doctrines of Christian science seem especially attractive to many of the most worthy Christian men and women.
The fundamental assumptions of Christian science accord closely with the crude forms of idealistic pantheism. Mrs. Eddy not only assumes, but constantly reiterates, her belief that the so-called material universe is a delusion and a nonentity. On almost every page she avers that the so-called laws of nature may be disregarded with impunity by those who have proper faith, or rather by those who have the proper conception of thought concerning these things. Thus she denies the authority of all that part of revelation which God has made to man in nature. That we do not exaggerate or distort her views will appear from a few extracts from Mrs. Eddy’s text-book, taken almost at random: —
“Nothing we can say or believe regarding matter is true, except that matter is unreal, and is therefore a belief” (p. 173).
“Thus matter will be finally proven to be nothing but a mortal belief, wholly inadequate to affect man through its supposed organic action or existence” (p. 19).
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