Whatever opinion non-Scientists may entertain of Christian Science, one fact stands out and cannot be gainsaid. In a little more than one generation Christian Science has won thousands of followers, and its churches have sprung up both on the continents and in the isles of the sea. This is the admitted fact, and however non-Scientists may undertake to explain it, no explanation suffices save one; that Christian Science has proved itself a practical religion in human experience.

Within the last two decades it has been apparent that even popular theology has not been satisfied with a teaching that postpones better conditions to another state of existence; the cry of the oppressed went up, and the churches sought to meet it. The institutional church was the outgrowth of this movement,—a church that provided day nurseries, mothers' meetings, free legal advice, flower missions, relief committees, entertainments; a church that attempted to take the social system on its own merits and thereby to make men happier and better. The motive was excellent, the results have been meager. People accepted the opportunities offered them, and went their way for the most part; they patronized the church, but evinced little loyalty in its support. The church became to them largely a means of free supply and of social amusement; its special theology became almost a negligible factor with a great proportion of the attendants.

Yet it is highly improbable that any of these churches would have taken the ground that it was along such lines as these that Christianity arose as an overwhelming force in the first century of the Christian era. Technically, all churches that accounted historic Christianity veritable were preaching Christ and the power of his resurrection as the key to eternal life, yet a preaching that had quickened men to holier living in the first century seemed to be practically powerless in the nineteenth.

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July 20, 1907

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