The appeal of Christian Science was distinctly from the...

Twentieth Century Magazine

The appeal of Christian Science was distinctly from the letter to the spirit; from externalism—from rite, form, and ritual and whatever appealed preeminently to the physical senses—to the great spiritual verities. It insisted on the recognition of the omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence of Deity and on acceptance of the Bible declaration that God is Spirit and that in Him we live, move, and have our being. It held that inasmuch as man was created in the image and likeness of God, the real man must be spiritual; and inasmuch as God had given to man dominion over all created things, such sovereignty was rightfully his, to exercise in accordance with the spiritual law of Love. It taught that Christ Jesus was the fullest embodiment of Deity that had appeared garmented in the flesh, and that his recognition of the sonship of man, his understanding of the imperial power of the Spirit of God, reflected in man, on the canvas of time, gave to those who realized their oneness with the Father the power to overcome disease and to reflect the life, love, and beauty which were the rightful heritage of sons of God and partakers of the divine Mind.

Plato, as all students of the great Greek know, held that the world of ideas was the world of reality, and the world of sense perception the shadow world. Emmanuel Kant held that "the corporeal, world is nothing but phenomenal, and sense perceptions are the material out of which it is built." And so one might fill pages with extracts from master thinkers of the ages, showing strong points of resemblance to the teachings which came to Mrs. Eddy as a result of her profound study of the Bible. They show how pitifully shallow and ignorant are those critics who, steeped in materialistic conservatism or slaves of externalism, have ridiculed the teachings of Science and Health as incoherent, inconsistent, and wanting in philosophical basis or religious warrant. The difficult which such critics experience is due to the fact that they judge metaphysical philosophy from materialistic philosophical premises. They allow their prejudices to warp their opinion, and they fail to study sufficiently Science and Health to gain a comprehensive grasp of the author's thought in its entirety.

What is the secret of this rapid and steady growth, at a time like the present, when intellectualism and materialism are moving hand in hand with externalism and formalism, and when, with all their wealth and multitudinous devices to attract and hold the congregations, the majority of Protestant churches are rarely filled and often almost empty? How can we account for the phenomenon of this new church, Sundays and Wednesdays, being thronged to the seating capacity of the edifices and often being compelled to repeat the Sunday services in order to accommodate the public?

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