Miscellaneous Writings/Chapter 10

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Boston, Massachusetts: Allison V. Stewart, pages 378–383



ABOUT the year 1862, while the author of this work was at Dr. Vail's Hydropathic Institute in New Hampshire, this occurred: A patient considered incurable left that institution, and in a few weeks returned apparently well, having been healed, as he informed the patients, by one Mr. P. P. Quimby of Portland, Maine.

After much consultation among ourselves, and a struggle with pride, the author, in company with several other patients, left the water-cure, en route for the aforesaid doctor in Portland. He proved to be a magnetic practitioner. His treatment seemed at first to relieve her, but signally failed in healing her case.

Having practised homœopathy, it never occurred to the author to learn his practice, but she did ask him how manipulation could benefit the sick. He answered kindly and squarely, in substance, “Because it conveys electricity to them.” That was the sum of what he taught her of his medical profession.

The readers of my books cannot fail to see that metaphysical therapeutics, as in Christian Science, are farther removed from such thoughts than the nebulous system is from the earth.

After treating his patients, Mr. Quimby would retire to an anteroom and write at his desk. I had a curiosity to know if he indited anything pathological relative to his patients, and asked if I could see his pennings on my case. He immediately presented them. I read the copy in his presence, and returned it to him. The composition was commonplace, mostly descriptive of the general appearance, height, and complexion of the individual, and the nature of the case: it was not at all metaphysical or scientific; and from his remarks I inferred that his writings usually ran in the vein of thought presented by these. He was neither a scholar nor a metaphysician. I never heard him say that matter was not as real as Mind, or that electricity was not as potential or remedial, or allude to God as the divine Principle of all healing. He certainly had advanced views of his own, but they commingled error with truth, and were not Science. On his rare humanity and sympathy one could write a sonnet.

I had already experimented in medicine beyond the basis of materia medica, — up to the highest attenuation in homœopathy, thence to a mental standpoint not understood, and with phenomenally good results;[1] meanwhile, assiduously pondering the solution of this great question: Is it matter, or is it Mind, that heals the sick?

It was after Mr. Quimby's death that I discovered, in 1866, the momentous facts relating to Mind and its superiority over matter, and named my discovery Christian Science. Yet, there remained the difficulty of adjusting in the scale of Science a metaphysical practice, and settling the question, What shall be the outward sign of such a practice: if a divine Principle alone heals, what is the human modus for demonstrating this, — in short, how can sinful mortals prove that a divine Principle heals the sick, as well as governs the universe, time, space, immortality, man?

When contemplating the majesty and magnitude of this query, it looked as if centuries of spiritual growth were requisite to enable me to elucidate or to demonstrate what I had discovered: but an unlooked-for, imperative call for help impelled me to begin this stupendous work at once, and teach the first student in Christian Science. Even as when an accident, called fatal to life, had driven me to discover the Science of Life, I again, in faith, turned to divine help, — and commenced teaching.

My students at first practised in slightly differing forms. Although I could heal mentally, without a sign save the immediate recovery of the sick, my students' patients, and people generally, called for a sign — a material evidence wherewith to satisfy the sick that something was being done for them; and I said, “Suffer it to be so now,” for thus saith our Master. Experience, however, taught me the impossibility of demonstrating the Science of metaphysical healing by any outward form of practice.

In April, 1883, a bill in equity was filed in the United States Circuit Court in Boston, to restrain, by decree and order of the Court, the unlawful publishing and use of an infringing pamphlet printed and issued by a student of Christian Science.

Answer was filed by the defendant, alleging that the copyrighted works of Mrs. Eddy were not original with her, but had been copied by her, or by her direction, from manuscripts originally composed by Dr. P. P. Quimby.

Testimony was taken on the part of Mrs. Eddy, the defendant being present personally and by counsel. The time for taking testimony on the part of the defendant having nearly expired, he gave notice through his counsel that he should not put in testimony. Later, Mrs. Eddy requested her lawyer to inquire of defendant's counsel why he did not present evidence to support his claim that Dr. Quimby was the author of her writings! Accordingly, her counsel asked the defendant's counsel this question, and he replied, in substance, “There is no evidence to present.”

The stipulation for a judgment and a decree in favor of Mrs, Eddy was drawn up and signed by counsel. It was ordered that the complainant (Mrs. Eddy) recover of the defendant her cost of suit, taxed at ($113.09) one hundred thirteen and 9/100 dollars.

A writ of injunction was issued under the seal of the said Court, restraining the defendant from directly or indirectly printing, publishing, selling, giving away, distributing, or in any way or manner disposing of, the enjoined pamphlet, on penalty of ten thousand dollars.

The infringing books, to the number of thirty-eight hundred or thereabouts, were put under the edge of the knife, and their unlawful existence destroyed, in Boston, Massachusetts.

It has been written that “nobody can be both founder and discoverer of the same thing.” If this declaration were either a truism or a rule, my experience would contradict it and prove an exception.

No works on the subject of Christian Science existed, prior to my discovery of this Science. Before the publication of my first work on this doctrine, a few manuscripts of mine were in circulation. The discovery and founding of Christian Science has cost more than thirty years of unremitting toil and unrest; but, comparing those with the joy of knowing that the sinner and the sick are helped thereby, that time and eternity bear witness to this gift of God to the race, I am the debtor.

In the latter half of the nineteenth century I discovered the Science of Christianity, and restored the first patient healed in this age by Christian Science. I taught the first student in Christian Science Mind-healing; was author and publisher of the first books on this subject; obtained the first charter for the first Christian Science church, originated its form of government, and was its first pastor. I donated to this church the land on which in 1894 was erected the first church edifice of this denomination in Boston; obtained the first and only charter for a metaphysical medical college, was its first and only president; was editor and proprietor of the first Christian Science periodical; organized the first Christian Scientist Association, wrote its constitution and by-laws, as also the constitution and by-laws of the National Christian Science Association; and gave it The Christian Science Journal; inaugurated our denominational form of Sunday services, Sunday School, and the entire system of teaching and practising Christian Science.

In 1895 I ordained that the Bible, and “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” the Christian Science textbook, be the pastor, on this planet, of all the churches of the Christian Science denomination. This ordinance took effect the same year, and met with the universal approval and support of Christian Scientists. Whenever and wherever a church of Christian Science is established, its pastor is the Bible and my book.

In 1896 it goes without saying, preeminent over ignorance or envy, that Christian Science is founded by its discoverer, and built upon the rock of Christ. The elements of earth beat in vain against the immortal parapets of this Science. Erect and eternal, it will go on with the ages, go down the dim posterns of time unharmed, and on every battle-field rise higher in the estimation of thinkers and in the hearts of Christians.

  1. See Science and Health, p. 47, revised edition of 1890, and pp. 152, 153 in late editions.