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Star of Boston: The Life of Mary Baker Eddy by Helen M. Wright

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Part Ia


Mary Baker Eddy and the Fulfilling of Isaiah 54

The Grand Promise Of Isaiah 54

How did Mary Baker Eddy gain her great revelation of evil's unreality? How did she gain the realization and conviction of our present perfection, in reality? She tells us, "God had been graciously preparing me during many years for the reception of this final revelation..."

Isaiah's prophecy of the Second Coming of the Christ sheds light on this preparation and its significance. Listen to the burning words of Isaiah 54, "Sing, O barren, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the currents of thine habitation: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes. For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities [our consciousness] to be inhabited[to find that the kingdom of God is within us. It is our own real true Mind]."

What is the momentous triumph foreshadowed in these words?

Chapter 53 of Isaiah has long been recognized as a prophecy of the coming of the Christ, in Jesus. The spiritually-minded reader has seen that Isaiah's chapter 54, on the other hand, is a prophecy of the second coming of the Christ.

Surely Isaiah speaks of Mary Baker Eddy when he says, "For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit....For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee." As one follows Mary Baker's life and the suffering she endured, it becomes ever more apparent how true was Isaiah's scriptural prophecy concerning her.

In the following pages we will examine how Isaiah 54 foreshadows the life and work of Mary Baker Eddy and what it promises for us through her revelation.

Isaiah 54 foretells a great event unfolding, an event which can illumine the time of upheaval and transformation we find ourselves in today. Amidst the momentous closing days of the 20th century Isaiah directs our attention to another period of impending change, the beginning and middle of the 19th century in New England, where Mary Baker Eddy was being "graciously prepared" for fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. To understand what God, infinite good, was preparing for us through her, let us start by looking at what the stage was like when Mary Baker Eddy entered the scene.

New England in the Nineteenth Century

In New England in the first half of the nineteenth century, a great intellectual upheaval was stirring beneath the surface, preparing for a new spiritual order. There was a spirit of prophecy abroad in the land, the culmination of centuries of religious and intellectual searching.

Even before the Pilgrims had set forth for the New World, two hundred years earlier, their minister, John Robinson, had told them, "The Lord has more truth yet to break forth out of His [infinite good's] holy Word....I beseech you remember, it is an article of your church-covenant, that you be ready to receive whatever truth shall be made known to you."

This divine admonition, partially understood, caused the most spiritually-minded to grapple with "things unseen" to mortal vision. It prepared the way for America to become the cradle for the Second Coming of the Christ, though not until Mary Baker Eddy's great revelation broke forth in the latter half of the nineteenth century was John Robinson's prophecy, as well as Isaiah's, fulfilled.

On the other hand, despite this questing spirit, New England in the 1800s was still a land largely under the spell of Jonathan Edwards, who depicted God as a vengeful deity holding sinners over the "pit of hell....worthy of nothing else but to be cast into fire." At this time Christian churches as well as other religions taught that God was a manlike being sitting on a throne. Having read and been taught that God made man is His image and likeness, people assumed that if man is material, then God must be material too, must be a bodily entity like man. Religionists in Mrs. Eddy's childhood had a fiery hell awaiting those who did not believe the "religion" taught them. This strongly held belief would not change until Mary Baker Eddy, in the Second Coming of the Christ, brought the "Comforter" promised by Jesus, revealing God as Love.

However, even in the early 1800s, wherever individual thought was least fettered by materialism, human misconceptions, and church dogma, a deep-felt spiritual perception began to rise to higher freedom. Newborn ideas crowded to the fore in both pulpit and press. It was a time of mighty wrestlings with human beliefs--a time of free thinking.

Isaiah 54 says, "Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work." Like the smith of prophecy an atmosphere of freer thought was blowing on the coals of human consciousness, preparing them to understand the spiritual revelation that would soon flow from the mighty spiritual pen of Mary Baker Eddy, the holy instrument that Mind was bringing forth.

Forthright thinkers entertained mounting visions that furthered comprehension of things unseen--the unseen verities of God, things spiritual, unseen to the physical senses, "the reign and rule of universal harmony which cannot be lost or remain forever unseen."

A sturdy faith in the self-reliant individual was dawning and growing. A group of thinkers known as transcendentalists--Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Bronson Alcott, Margaret Fuller and others, emphasized the goodness of God, the goodness of man, and limitless possibilities for the human race.

Emerson wrote, "Jesus saw with open eye the mystery of the soul....Alone in all history, Jesus estimated the greatness of man. One man was true to what is in you and me. He saw that God incarnates Himself in man, and evermore goes forth anew to take possession of His World. He [Jesus] said, in this jubilee of sublime emotion, 'I am divine. Through me, God acts; through me, speaks. Would you see God, see me; or see thee, when thou also thinkest as I now think.'"

Emerson had glimpsed the fact Mary Baker Eddy would make so clear, that how we think is all important. Emerson's words would help prepare people to receive her instruction, "Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionately to their occupancy of your thought" (S&H 261:4).

The consequences of not following this advice can be disastrous. Buddha tells a poignant story of a young father who made this mistake, with tragic results,

"A young widower, who loved his five-year-old son very much, was away on business when bandits burned down the entire village and took his son away. When the widower returned and saw the ruins, he panicked. He took the charred corpse of an infant to be his own child. He cried uncontrollably, pulling his hair and beating his chest.

He organized a cremation ceremony, and collected the ashes and put them in a beautiful velvet pouch. Working, sleeping, or eating he always carried the bag of ashes with him, and every night he would weep anew over his loss.

"One day his real son escaped from the robbers and found his way home. He arrived at his father's new cottage at midnight, and knocked at the door....The young father, who was still carrying the bag of ashes, asked, 'Who is there?' The child answered, 'It's me, Papa. Open the door. It's your son.' In his agitated state of mind, the father thought some mischievous boy was making fun of him. He shouted at the child to go away; and he continued to cry for his lost child. The boy knocked again and again, but the father refused to let him in. Some time passed and finally the child left. From that time on, father and son never saw each other."

Buddha concluded, "Sometimes, somewhere, you take something [wrong] to be the truth, and if you cling to it, then when the real truth comes and knocks at your door, you will refuse to open it."

This seems to be the case with nearly all of us. How few accepted the truth Jesus taught, even though Jesus demonstrated the allness of infinite good! The people of his time clung to their preconceived notions. The same was to happen with Mary Baker Eddy in the Second Coming of the Christ.

"Who can set boundaries for the possibilities of man?"since man is one with God, with our real Mind.

We ourselves set man's boundaries with the limits we place on our own thought.

Literature in the Early New England Time

It is possible that no one would have been prepared to respond to Mary Baker Eddy's revelation, had not literature during this early New England period been blessed with wholesome vigor and common sense. Bronson Alcott, another of the pioneers of the time, wrote in his Journal, "I read not the gospel of wisdom from books written by man, but from the page inscribed by the finger of God."

Theodore Parker in his eloquent sermon "The Transient and the Permanent in Christianity," fired with the new American spirit of revolt, challenged the most sacrosanct doctrines of historic Christianity. He questioned the authenticity and inspiration of the Bible itself, and declared heretically " is not so much by the Christ who lived so blameless and beautiful eighteen centuries ago that we are saved directly, but by the Christ we form in our hearts and live out in our lives that we save ourselves, God [infinite good] working with us both to will and to do." This truly great sermon resulted in Parker's virtual ostracism by his more respectable townsmen, but it reflected infinite wisdom and fueled the flame of expanding understanding.

Parker concluded, "Let the transient pass, fleet as it will, and may God send us some new manifestation of the Christian faith, that shall stir men's heart as they were never stirred; some new word which shall teach us what we are in the image of God....give us the Comforter, who shall reveal all needed things!..." Little did this great preacher realize how soon the "Comforter," the Second Coming of the Christ, would arrive and fulfill Jesus' prophecy of the "Comforter" that would "abide with you forever....and teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (John 16:16 & 26).

New England Was Thinking For Itself

The leading idea of the thinkers of this time was the supremacy of mind over matter. In the words of Bronson Alcott, "the exaltation of mind and spirit runs through the period like a theme with endless variations." Even Abraham Lincoln, remote from Boston geographically, and from Alcott intellectually, wrote, in the spirit of the times, "Happy day when--all appetites controlled, all passions subdued, all matter subjected--mind, all conquering mind, shall live and move, the monarch of the world."

New England was thinking for itself; and from these broader horizons and rarefied thought there was no returning. The time had arrived for the fulfilling of Isaiah 54, with the advent of Mary Baker Eddy, the Second Coming of the Christ, the "Comforter" prophesied and promised by Jesus, just as nineteen centuries earlier the time had come for the fulfilling of Isaiah 53, which prophesied the work of Christ Jesus on earth.

This was the atmosphere into which the infinite good we call God placed its Christ-minded holy instrument, Mary Baker Eddy. She thought in a time of mental prodigies; she wrote in an age of literary masters.

The spiritual eye quickly notes Mary Baker Eddy separated herself from the transcendental writings not only by her more radical attitude toward the material world, but also by a spiritual dominion that was lacking in idealists of the utopian breed.

Mrs. Eddy wrote, "Science lays the axe at the root of error, and cutting down the belief of Life in matter, of Soul in body, and God in man, exchanges fable for fact, turns thought into new channels away from personality to Principle through which alone man is able to reach Life."

This denial of corporeal personality--denial of the finite mortal sense of things--meant taking up the cross, taking it up in a practical and real sense.

Mary Baker Eddy was called "as a woman forsaken," as Isaiah had predicted. "For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee," the prophecy promised.

At the beginning Mary Baker Eddy was rejected and had little influence, but today the revelations of Truth that came to her consciousness a century and a quarter ago are sweeping the world in an ever-swelling tide. Everywhere science, theology, and medicine are being influenced by Mary Baker Eddy's teaching and are adopting more spiritual ways. Helping this tide are intelligent, spiritually-minded thinkers who are today broadcasting in their writings ideas Mary Baker Eddy wrote and taught 120 years ago, though these writers seldom mention Christian Science or give Mary Baker Eddy credit.

If this reminds us of St. John's complaint to Jesus, "We saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us," we can take heart in Jesus' response, "Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part" (Mark 9:38-40).

We can be even more heartened that some of the best minds of our century have not hesitated to give credit where due. The great physical scientist, Albert Einstein, had a firm grasp of what Mary Baker Eddy had accomplished and publicly acknowledged it. One such instance is recorded in an affidavit made by Mrs. Mary Spaulding, librarian for New York City's Fifth Church Reading Room and wife of the famous violinist, Alfred Spaulding. Einstein was a frequent visitor to this Christian Science Reading room and often had conversation with Mrs. Spaulding. On this occasion Einstein said--and these are the exact words of the statement of Mrs. Spaulding's affidavit:

"Science and Health is beyond this generation's understanding. It contains the pure science. And to think that a woman knew this over eighty years ago."

Einstein marveled that a woman a hundred years ago had discovered the nothingness of matter, which the advanced physicists of today have seen for themselves; in Einstein's words, "Matter as matter does not exist."

Until Mary Baker Eddy brought the Second Coming of the Christ, and fulfilled Jesus' promise and prophecy of the "Comforter," psychologists, doctors, physical scientists believed and accepted the Adam dream state of thinking that matter was real. Now all are beginning to glimpse the truth, that matter is merely an illusion, hypnotic suggestion only. All are coming to see that consciousness, Mind, is all that is real, eternally.

The importance and influence of Mary Baker Eddy's revelation is incalculable. Not long ago the Dean of Medicine at the University Medical School in Rochester, New York, told his class of medical students that between 1920 and 1940 a revolution occurred in medicine, because of the "many wonderful Christian Science healings" that doctors, surgeons, and nurses had observed. He said this viewing caused the medical profession to try to "clean itself up." Doctors began telling patients to think positive thoughts, to avoid negative thoughts, and to "cast out fear."

As early as 1930 the world famous Mayo brothers, Dr. William James Mayo and Dr. Charles Horace Mayo, let the world know that they sent their "incurable" patients to Christian Science practitioners, and they were healed.

The Dean said that since 1940 several attempts have been made to "bring medicine more into line with the spiritual approach." This has been a major step forward for medicine. Spiritually-minded doctors are continuing to awaken. Dr. Larry Dossey, author of Healing Words, says, "Any time any technique affects the human body, it is the business of medicine to know more about it. I would defend this as a legitimate research project...If doctors don't open up this possibility they're not being good scientists. I think we need to get over our religious indisposition on this point of view."

Today a college professor may lay his hand on a desk, saying, "This feels solid, looks real, but it is not here other than in our consciousness." A famous early 20th century astronomer who discovered great sighting places, places where major observatories could be built, would be delighted with the wonderful progress in astronomy, and flights into outer space, but he would be amazed at the advance in understanding. The great astronomers today are saying, as Einstein saw, that the stars are not "up there," but are only in our consciousness.

Do We Know What We Have in These Books?

Ruth Steiger, a friend of this author, told me that she was one day told by the librarian of another church in New York City which Einstein frequented, "I wish you had been here sooner. Einstein just left. He stopped at the counter before leaving and said, "I wonder if you folks realize what you have in these books."

Do we know what we have in these books? Are we working to bring it out? In her Message for 1901, page 30: 4, Mrs. Eddy wrote, "We err in thinking the object of vital Christianity is only the bequeathing of itself to the coming centuries. The successive utterances of reformers are essential to its propagation....and the consciousness which is most imbued struggles to articulate itself."

These "successive utterances of reformers" are not limited to Christian Scientists. Today the world's foremost physical scientists are joining Einstein in seeing and struggling to articulate the truth Mary Baker Eddy uncovered a hundred and twenty years ago, namely, that there is no matter; all is consciousness"all is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation" (S&H 468:10).

In his prophecy of the Second Coming of the Christ, as already quoted, Isaiah, (chapter 54) urges, "Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the currents of thine habitation: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes. For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left." Truly the revelation Mary Baker Eddy brought mankind is breaking forth to bless humanity on every hand.

A Sense of Mission

The greatest upheaval in the history of mankind is today taking place. Why? Because of the advent of Mary Baker Eddy who brought the Second Coming of the Christ, which shows you that "you have sovereign power to think and act rightly." Why do you, in reality, have this power? Because, as Jesus taught, "the kingdom of God is within you;" it is your real, true Mind, your true consciousness.

In the April Christian Science Journal, 1889, page 4, we find Joshua Bailey's article, saying "Today Truth has come through the person of a New England girl, born of God-fearing parents, in the middle walk of life;...gifted with the fullness of spiritual life, and giving from the cradle indications of a divine mission and power, that caused her mother 'to ponder them in her heart.'"

Mary Baker Eddy's childhood home in Bow, N.H.

Mary Baker Eddy was born in New England, in the year 1821, on the 16th day of July. Her destiny was to fulfill Jesus' promise and prophecy to send the "Comforter" which would transform the world's thinking. It would show mankind's spiritual reality--show it to be the omnipresence of present perfection. Today the "Comforter" is educating mankind that evil is unreal, that it is only illusion, hypnotic suggestion. Mary Baker Eddy's teaching is leading humanity into all truth, awakening all humanity to their oneness with infinite good, to their present perfection, and the full understanding that "the kingdom of God is within you"is your real Mind.

Early in 1821, Abigail Baker--in a modest farmhouse, in the small town of Bow, New Hampshire--was in the attic gathering wool to spin into yarn. "Suddenly she was overwhelmed by the thought that she was filled with the Holy Ghost, and had dominion over the whole earth. At that moment she felt the quickening of the babe. Instantly she thought, 'What a sin I am guilty of--the sin of presumption!'" (Golden Memories, Clara S. Shannon, p.2)

Try as Abigail might she could not shake the sense of holy import. Shocked by her own thoughts of her child's spiritual purpose Mary's mother confided to her friend Sarah Gault, "I don't know what I shall do to stop this blasphemy," whereupon Sarah reminded her of Biblical promises that comforted Abigail.

It would be some months before little Mary would make her appearance, a child who would indeed show divine tendencies. As this child grew, no doubt Abigail Baker had much to " her heart," for the girl early showed abilities of healing and discernment. Mrs. Eddy, writing to a friend in 1899, said, "I can discern in the human mind, thoughts, motives and purposes; is the gift of God. And this phenomenon appeared in my childhood; it is associated with my earliest memories, and has increased with years." (Quoted in a pamphlet by Judge Septimus J. Hanna, 1899.)

Mrs. Eddy later added, "It is a consciousness wherewith good is done and no evil can be done...and has increased with my spiritual increase. It has aided me in healing the sick, and subordinating the human to the divine."

The simple but profound incidents of healing in Mary's youth occurred in her home, in the schoolyard, and among relatives, as well as animals. Her healings were the result of her outpouring of love for those who needed love most. Mary loved the farm animals and, as she told Irving Tomlinson, she nursed baby lambs and chicks, singing hymns to animals that were in discomfort.

This healing love caused her father, if he found a weakling in the flock, to say, "Here is another invalid for Mary." Tomlinson relates that then Mary would tenderly take her mild-eyed charge and nurse the fleecy little patient to health and strength. Mrs. Eddy said, "I would take the little chicks, that seemed sickly or perhaps dying, into the bosom of my dress and hold them until I heard a fluttering sound and found the chicken active and strong...."

When Mary's brother, George, cut his leg with an ax and was bleeding badly, Mary's father had five-year-old Mary put her hand on the wound, and George stopped crying. When the doctor came he said he had never seen such a wound heal so quickly. These healings by little Mary disturbed her father. He did not know it was the God that was Love that Mary believed in. So he "prayed for her soul."

Tomlinson reports that in school Mary also healed and transformed those who showed bad tendencies. "Many peculiar circumstances and events connected with my childhood throng the chambers of memory," Mrs. Eddy recalled. In one instance she tells of hearing her name called repeatedly, until she answered, "'Speak, Lord; for Thy servant heareth.'"

Mary was learning that divine service means daily deeds in service to a loving God, as she would later make clear in Science and Health.

Early on, a sense of mission lodged in Mary's consciousness. Even as a tiny child, when asked, "What are you going to do when you grow up," she would answer, "I will 'ite a book" (The Life of Mary Baker Eddy, Sibyl Wilbur).

At the age of nine Mary told her beloved brother, Albert, that she wanted to be a scholar, "because when I grow up I shall write a book."

In Retrospection and Introspection Mrs. Eddy tells us, "From my very childhood I was impelled by a hunger and thirst after divine things--a desire for something higher and better than matter, and apart from it,to seek diligently for the knowledge of God [infinite good] as the one great and ever-present relief from human woe." Mary's faithfulness was a pilgrimage in spiritual perception. When she discovered that Daniel prayed three times daily, she formed the habit of doing likewise.

Why did Mary Baker later find the element of spiritual healing?

She found it because "she sought for it as men quest for buried treasure."

"Thou Shalt Not Be Put to Shame"

Isaiah 54 promises, "Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame." How true these words ring. Though quiet and modest in her own right, Mary Baker was fearless and forthright in the service of Truth.

Never in her long life would Mary be content to settle for mere opinions. Her opinions soon climbed up into convictions. Quick to catch the point, she never remained long the uncommitted spectator cautiously and objectively weighing evidence. She soon became the passionate and prophetic proponent of profound conviction. No grays crept into the warp and woof of her mentality. The scarlet thread of spiritual conviction ran conspicuously and untiringly through all the thinking of the fourscore years and ten of her extraordinary life.

Mary's steadfastness was evident from childhood. Then, as later, she would not turn aside from what she knew to be true even when standing firm brought the world's wrath down upon her.

For Mark Baker, Mary's father, as well as for many New Englanders in the early 1820s and beyond, new ideas were heresy. Mary had been gently learning, through experience, that God is ever-present Love, but the theology of her parents was trying to teach her something quite different, as they tried to win their daughter from dreaded "heresy."

Mary Baker yearned for the tender, loving God that is divine Love, and experiences in her early life affirmed to her that God is Love. But Mary had been born into the world of Calvinism where thoughts of God as Love were considered almost profane. When Mark Baker discovered that Mary was rejecting the belief of everlasting punishment, he was greatly displeased. Not only did he fear her soul would be lost, but, being a man of some importance in the church, his pride was wounded. Mark Baker's thundering assertions upset the entire household.

By nature and upbringing Mary was an obedient child, but she could not alter her convictions that God was a God of Love. Her father's relentless theology emphasizing belief in everlasting punishment made Mary sick, and as Mark continued storming, Mary became seriously ill.

Finally her mother told her to rest in God's Love. Mary prayed, and as she did her happiness returned, the fever abated and she felt borne up by an inner joy. She tells us that as she went to God in prayer, seeking God's guidance, "a soft glow of ineffable joy came over me. The fever was gone, and I rose and dressed myself, in a normal condition of health....The physician marveled; and the 'horrible decree' of predestination--as Calvin rightly called his own tenet--forever lost its power over me" (Ret. pp.13-14).

Mary Baker had been healed instantly, to the physician's great surprise. At that time she, of course, did not know or question why, but years later she determined, "I must know the Science of this healing."

The illness and recovery strengthened Mary's conviction of the absoluteness of God's Love. When an all-important church meeting came, and it was Mary's turn to go forward, she tells us she was ready for the minister's doleful questions. She told him she was willing to trust God, but she could not believe in the doctrine of everlasting punishment or the decree of unconditional election. The minister was startled. Mary's father, Mark, sat stiffly, his face set and scowling. Abigail, Mary's mother, was alert, straining to hear. Mary's trust in God was evident.

Next, the minister asked when Mary had experienced "a change of heart." Mary was by now in tears. She said she could not give a specific date. The minister wanted to know how she felt when the new light dawned within. Mary paused, then replied that she could only repeat what the Psalmist had declared, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

The Congregational Church--Tilton

Mary spoke these words with such pure conviction that many of the church members wept. This was not to be the last time that her most deeply felt convictions held firm in the face of great pressure to conform.

Though only twelve years of age Mary Baker was already fulfilling the scriptural prophecy of Isaiah 54, "Fear--not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame."


"A Woman Forsaken and Grieved in Spirit"

Isaiah 54 promises, "thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more."

Ever more, as Mary Baker's life unfolded, would these words fit her experience. One meaning of "widow" in Webster is "to deprive of something greatly loved or needed; make desolate." Before Mary Baker discovered Christian Science in 1866, she was indeed a "widow," for she was deprived of the deep understanding of the Christ Science that would heal and bless. This widowhood would be reflected over and over in the circumstances of her life until it drove her to the full and final revelation of Truth.

In 1843 Mary Baker married George Washington Glover--a marriage destined for early widowhood, destined to last less than a year. At George Glover's death, Mary freed his slaves, a daring thing to do in those days. Under the loving care of her husband's Masonic friends, she was escorted to New York where her brother George was waiting to greet her.

In August Mary was once again under the Baker roof. In September her son, George Washington Glover, II, was born. For Mary, always in frail health, this was a fearful ordeal. Her family despaired of her life; and from then on until Mary Baker Glover discovered Christian Science, she was an invalid.

Painful as it seemed at this time, her marriage and early widowhood, far from being a retracing of footsteps, was a move toward a goal. No human marriage could stand in the way of the destiny prophesied in Isaiah 54, "For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called."

The words of Isaiah would be fulfilled to the letter, "For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; [this seemed true; for the next few score years were to be years of great suffering both mentally and physically]; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment [how true this seemed from the human mortal standpoint]. But with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer."

Mary's path was to lead upward despite devious windings until new peaks of thought were to come into view, pointing the path of discovery in the years that lay ahead.

Mary Glover's illness made it impossible for her to take care of little George, so he was farmed out to the care of others. After Mary's mother, Abigail, died, and Mary's father, Mark Baker, took a second wife, Mary was no longer welcome in her childhood home. She moved in with her sister, Abigail Tilton, who was five years older. This was not a happy arrangement. When Mary voiced opinions conflicting with those of her sister, Abigail would protest, "Mary, do you dare to say that in my house?" Mary's decisive reply was, "I dare to speak what I believe, in any house." This daring to speak what she believed fitted her to fulfill Isaiah's prophecy concerning her.

These were sad days for Mary Glover. She was separated from and yearning for her child. It was humiliating to live as a dependent in the Tilton home where controversy and even acrimony often invaded the atmosphere.

But hope came to sustain Mary through months of helplessness; patience came to endure the times of dependence; courage came for the coming years. Mary's Christian qualities overcame the human weakness, and she went forward in her pursuit of true healing--healing of heart and mind as well as of body.

Then a way seemed to open for Mary out of her difficulties. Ill as she continued to be, Mary had remained always gracious, and beautiful in appearance, and her name had been coupled with more than one suitor for her hand. Now Dr. Patterson (a doctor of dentistry), a cousin of Mary's stepmother, assured Mary he would give a home to George, her son, with whom she yearned to be reunited. Mary accepted Patterson's proposal. Unfortunately, she was to find herself sadly deceived.

Looking back in 1891, across the years, to the decision she made in 1853 and its painfully disappointing consequences, she would write, "My dominant thought in marrying again was to get back my child, but after our marriage his stepfather was not willing he should have a home with me."

What a terrible disappointment and sorrow this must have been to the grieving mother! Without her son, the years of being wife to Dr. Patterson would prove as drab as any years could be for a woman always vibrant in mind, but trapped in a suffering body.

The Patterson's Cottage in Groton

After two years the Pattersons moved to North Groton. The new home was a lonely spot for Mary. Woods and mountains hemmed in her home, and deep discouragement seemed to bear down upon her spirit and block every effort to recover. For a short period little George was allowed to come and visit his invalid mother, but soon the boy was taken to Minnesota and told that his mother was dead. They were not to meet again for many years.

If Mary Patterson could have known of Isaiah's prophecy concerning her mission, surely it would have been a great comfort at this time. Isaiah prophesied, "I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee."

This yearning mother, deprived of the affection of her only child, was later to be called "Mother," and be loved by the millions whose SPIRITUAL BIRTH would spring from her revelation of Truth. They would learn from her remarkable book, Science and Health, that human life must be redeemed, not ignored, that faith must be proved by works, that an acceptance of Spirit, divine understanding, as the Life of man, can begin at once to banish from experience the grosser forms of illusion, including all the ills that flesh is heir to.

Her book would explain the healings of Jesus as natural manifestations of his divine consciousness of reality, and declare that the same truth he knew could produce the same results today in the healing of physical disease, as well as in the regeneration and reformation of character. Readers would find in Science and Health a power that would move them deeply. They would see in it the fulfillment of Jesus' promise and prophecy of the "Comforter,"the Second Coming of the Christ.

In Search of Healing

"O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted." To this "afflicted" one, who would fulfill Jesus' prophecy of the "Comforter," and bring the Second Coming of the Christ, Isaiah promises, "Behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones [which stand for sacred, deep, and beautiful spiritual thoughts and ideas]. And all thy children [those who follow the teachings of the Second Coming of the Christ] shall be taught of the Lord....In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee."

What a comfort it would have been to Mary Glover Patterson, as she read these words, to have known they were a prophecy of what lay ahead as her own life work. Suffering greatly and confined to her bed, she was left much alone. In solitude, separated from all human solace, she pursued her lonely effort to break the fetters of disease. But in this very suffering and solitude, infinite good was laying a foundation of "pleasant stones" with "fair colours," for proportionately as Mary weaned herself from human dependence, came the necessity for leaning on the divine, and the more she leaned--the more she turned to her Bible for help--the more she felt the support of the everlasting arms.

Mary Baker had been adhering perhaps since a teenager to certain dietetic theories, and in her twenties she had studied textbooks on homeopathy. For her to discover Christian Science her thought would have to be far removed from material methods as having anything to do with the healing process. More and more, now, she lifted her thought to God, until lifting her thought to God became more natural to Mary than walking.

It was while she was an invalid in North Groton that Mary made a solemn "promise to God that if He restored her health, she would devote her future years to helping sick and suffering humanity." (The Discovery of the Science of Man, Doris Grekel, p.43)

As she looked back on this promise years later, Mrs. Eddy felt it marked the beginning of a new period in her life. It was during this period that an incident occurred which kept alive the hope of finding divine healing and gave her the opportunity to begin her fulfillment of that sacred vow.

A mother brought a baby with inflamed eyes to Mary Patterson and asked her to implore God to heal her child. Mary's heart was filled with compassion as she lifted her thought to God. As she recalls the event, "Mrs. Smith, of Rumney, N.H., came to me with her infant whose eyes were diseased, a mass of inflammation, neither pupil nor iris discernible. I gave the infant no drugs,held her in my arms a few moments while lifting my thought to God. Then returned the babe to her mother, healed."(Footprints Fadeless, Mary Baker Eddy, p.6)

The child's sight was restored. This wonderful healing was enough to overpower discouragement, and renew endeavor.

Outwardly, however, little change was evident in Mary Patterson's life. In 1860 the Pattersons moved to near-by Rumney. The next year, 1861, war broke out between the North and South. The main issue was the immorality of slavery. For Mary Patterson slavery also meant a material body bound in the chains of chronic illness, under the lash of pain. But the weapons of her warfare were not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. (See II Cor. 10:4.)

The Civil War continued raging. In the West, Mary's son George had enlisted and would serve throughout the war. While in the army he heard of his mother's whereabouts and wrote to her. Imagine the depths of emotion that must have stirred within this lonely mother in the New Hampshire hills when George's letter reached her! But not until George Glover was thirty-four years old and had a wife and two children was the letter followed by a visit to his mother.

Meanwhile, another tragedy struck. Dr. Patterson, aiding the Union effort, was captured by the enemy, and held prisoner in the South.

For Mary at this time, neither the things that had been, nor the things that were, held any promise for the future, but the hope of something spiritual, something vital, remained paramount in her consciousness.

"As early as 1862 Mary began to write down and give to friends the results of her Scriptural study, for the Bible was her sole teacher" (S&H viii: 28). These early glimmerings were like "the first steps of a child in the newly discovered world of Spirit" (ibid).

Time would tell that Mary's heritage was greater than any land or human ancestry could bestow--that infinite good had claimed her as its own and was doing its will with her. It would show that her history is a holy one, found in her inspired writings and their continuous healing and redemption of humanity. But the accomplishment of this prophecy was still hidden in the future, awaiting the complete fulfillment of Isaiah 54.

Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

Before Daniel Patterson had left for the South in the civil war, he had answered a circular received from a doctor in Portland, Maine, a Dr. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, who gave no medicine but cured patients by talking to them. The Pattersons had heard that Dr. Quimby performed remarkable cures through his drugless method. When Dr. Patterson had written to him, seeking his help for Mary, Mr. Quimby had replied that he was sure he could cure Mrs. Patterson.

An unlettered man, a clock maker by trade, Quimby had been giving public exhibitions of mesmerism for several years. He was not a spiritualist or a religionist, but after discovering that he could help the sick, he forsook the trickery of the platform for a generous and earnest endeavor to benefit the suffering. He sought humanly to control the thoughts of those who came to him for help, a method we today call mesmerism and hypnotism, or control by the human mind. Quimby passed on in January of 1866. He would not have been known to posterity had it not been for his brief association with Mrs. Patterson as his patient.

In 1859 Mary Patterson had made the solemn promise to God, infinite good, that if He, infinite good, raised her up to health she would devote her life to the healing of mankind.

Since childhood Mary had cherished the scriptural promise, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; ...they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." These words rang true to Mary, for, as we have seen, many incidents of a spiritual nature had illumined her childhood and young adulthood. She remembered how, as a child, she had heard her name being called again and again until her saintly mother had told her to answer in the words of Samuel, "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth."

Mary had never forgotten that when she had turned to God for help, long ago, her childhood fever had yielded. She recalled other healings as well, as when an insane man at her school had become harmless as Mary spoke to him. Only recently the blind baby had received sight.

With experiences such as these in thought Mary Patterson studied the accounts of spiritual healing in the Bible, earnestly convinced that spiritual healing was still possible. Thus it was that while Dr. Patterson was gone, Mary journeyed to Portland, Maine, full of hope and expectation, to be treated by Dr. Quimby in October of 1862. Quimby dipped his hands in water and rubbed her head vigorously after explaining the psychological origin of her illness.

Mrs. Eddy later recalled that she found temporary relief from suffering after her first visit with Mr. Quimby. She told Tomlinson, "At first my case improved wonderfully under his treatment." With her deep faith in God she felt this improvement must be of God. She could not conceive of any other source that could have such a remarkable effect on her.

But she must know HOW the healing was done. Mary did not realize that Dr. Quimby was a mesmerist and not at all inclined toward religion.

We can see that this period could be regarded as the most dangerous part of Mary's search. Why? Because coupled with her respite from unceasing pain, was the false impression that she had reached her journey's end. Perhaps what saved her was her high expectations. She thought of Dr. Quimby's practice as a mode of divine healing. She did not accept the premise that Quimby's human mind (alias mesmerism), however well intentioned, could have healed her.

Nor could she believe that the human mind could help her to heal others, as she was continuing to do. Indeed, while Mrs. Patterson was making her visits to Dr. Quimby, she healed patients that he had given up, including one patient, Mary Ann Jarvis, whom she healed of consumption, as related in Science and Health, p. 184:27.

Because of Mary's own great spirituality she felt instinctively that any power that could truly help her must come from God. She sought its Science in her talks with Quimby. In his notes she found nothing beyond personal mesmerism; strive as she would, she could not find the light she sought, because it was not there.

Mary Patterson had to search further. But infinite good was leading. Though she had no hint that the attainment of her heart's desire lay only two years ahead, the urge of her search persisted stronger than ever. Her uncovering of mesmerism, hypnotism, and mortal mind illusion, and her teaching concerning it, would soon be delivering millions from false beliefs.

The Dropsy Cure

It was about this time that Dr. Patterson escaped from his captors in the South and rejoined his wife. After her husband's return, Mary continued to prescribe remedies for herself and others. The desire to heal had drawn her to allopathy and homeopathy, which she had been studying for some years. Now infinite good needed to point Mary away from all material remedies.

One very special case was destined to influence her thinking greatly. (See S&H p. 156.) It concerned a woman with dropsy, whose physicians had given the case up. Mary took the case and prescribed according to her understanding of homeopathy. There was soon noticeable improvement. Mary became concerned about overdoing the remedy; but the patient would not give up the remedy that had brought her relief. Without telling the patient, Mary administered unmedicated pills. The improvement continued, and the patient was cured.

Many years later Mrs. Eddy spoke of that cure as "...a falling apple to me--it made plain to me that mind governed the whole question of her recovery. I was always praying to be kept from sin, and I waited and prayed for God to direct me."

Recalling this event to Irving Tomlinson Mrs. Eddy again described it as the falling apple. She said it had been the "enlightenment of the human understanding" and contrasted this with her later discovery of Christian Science in 1866 which came as "the revelation of the divine Mind."

Why was this case important to Mary? Because first, the same remedy that had been powerless when administered by the doctor, became powerful when she prescribed and administered it. Second, the unmedicated pills were as effective as the medicated ones. Mrs. Eddy (then Mrs. Patterson) saw that both the thought of the physician and the thought of the patient were the determining factors in the case; matter was not a factor.

Later, after her discovery of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy would write that "the physician must know himself and understand the mental state of his patient....'Cast the beam out of thine own eye.' Learn what in thine own mentality is unlike 'the anointed,' and cast it out; then thou wilt discern the error in thy patient's mind that makes his body sick, and remove it...." (Mis. 355).

The Second Coming of The Christ

Christ Jesus said that greater works than he had done would be done. It would be Mary Baker Eddy who would do the greater work. Why? She was the final and inevitable rung in the ladder lifting us from earth to heaven.

We read in Hebrews VII, verse 3, that Melchisedec, who was "like unto the Son of God," came "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually."

Notice that Melchisedec had no earthly father or mother. He had no belief of material origin to hinder him, no birth and therefore no death.

Next came Jesus, who had an earthly mother. In Hebrews VII:15 we read, "...after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life." This was Jesus the Christ, who was made "a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec." Of Jesus, Mrs. Eddy writes, "He expressed the highest type of divinity, which a fleshly form could express in that age" (S&H 332:29). Notice that he had ONE human parent, a mother. "He was appear to mortals in such a form of humanity as they could understand as well as perceive." It is important here to see that he had only one human parent.

Nearly two thousand years elapsed until the Second Coming of the Christ came with the writings of our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, and with it, the fulfilling of Jesus' promise and prophecy of the "Comforter" that "shall teach you all things," and "abide with you forever" (John 14). The greatness that we need to note here is that though Mary Baker Eddy was saddled with the belief of having both a human father and a human mother, she was able through her Christ Mind to fulfill scriptural prophecy concerning her and bring the promised "Comforter" that would teach us all things, spiritually.

This second appearing in the flesh of the Christ Truth, "hidden in sacred secrecy from the visible world" (S&H 118:7) would fulfill Jeremiah's prophecy, "the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, a woman shall compass a man." Mary Baker Eddy's great revelation of the omnipresence of present perfection would compass (include) the teaching of Christ Jesus.

Mary Baker Eddy would prove that each one of us, though born of human parents, can lay off "the first death," human birth, and the fleshly beliefs about ourselves--can lay off the Adam dream that makes us think we live in a matter body. And as we "exchange the pleasures and pains of sense for the joys of Soul," we are using our infinite harmonious Christ-expressing selfhood. What a great revelation! "Step by step since time began we see the steady gain of man."

Think of it, dear reader! Mary Baker Eddy was, to human sense, wholly material, being born of two parents in belief--unlike Melchisedec who appeared "without father, without mother" and unlike Jesus who was born of a Virgin. Yet Mary Baker Eddy, in the Second Coming of the Christ, had the enormous task of teaching all mankind how to overcome all error as Jesus had done.

Through her writings we can learn "the truth that will make [us] free"learn to have dominion over all sin, disease and death. It is now just a matter of obeying the written word, practicing what we read in Mary Baker Eddy's writings.

In 1864 the Great Revelation Still Lay Ahead

In 1864 Mary Baker Eddy's great revelation lay just around the corner, but Mary's path to it still lay through suffering. At the end of the Civil War the Pattersons were reunited, living in Lynn, Massachusetts, but Mary Patterson seemed to have emerged from one disappointment only to endure another. Dr. Patterson became unfaithful, a cruel blow. His final unfaithfulness and desertion would take place two years later when he was again unfaithful and this unfortunate marriage would end in divorce.

Years later Mary Baker Eddy was to write,

"Note this,that the very message or swift winged thought, which poured forth hatred and torment, brought also the experience which at last lifted the seer to behold the great city [true consciousness] the four equal sides of which were heaven-bestowed and heaven-bestowing.

"Think of this, dear reader, for it will lift the sackcloth from your eyes, and you will behold the soft-winged dove descending upon you" (S&H 574:19).

A few years down this long painful road, Mary Baker Eddy would write, "The very circumstance which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares" (S&H 574:27). And again, "Trials are proofs of God's care.... The broadest facts array the most falsities against themselves, for they bring error from under cover. It requires courage to utter truth; for the higher Truth lifts her voice, the louder will error scream, until its inarticulate sound is forever silenced in oblivion" (S&H 97).

Meanwhile, at the age of 46, Mary Patterson was again alone. She knew not which way to turn. Her only financial support was an annuity of two hundred dollars a year. In Retrospection & Introspection she wrote, "Previously the cloud of mortal mind seemed to have a silver lining; but now it was not even fringed with light." Many a brave adventurer, when all seemed lost, has asked the questions that faced her: Had all her struggles been in vain? Were all her hopes illusions? Mary was to find her answer in the dawn of light that lay ahead--in the breaking of the dawn wherein the haven, heaven, lay revealed.

How aware was Mary Baker Glover Patterson of her divine destiny, at this point? How aware was she of the divine revelation soon to flood her Mind? In Miscellaneous Writings, p. 127, Mrs. Eddy writes,

"When a hungry heart petitions the divine Father-Mother God for bread, it is not given a stone,but more grace, obedience, and love. If this heart, humble and trustful, faithfully asks divine Love to feed it with the bread of heaven, health, holiness, it will be conformed to a fitness to receive the answer to its desire; then will flow into it the 'river of His pleasure,' the tributary of divine Love, and great growth in Christian Science will follow."

Again she wrote, "The new birth is not the work of a moment. It begins with moments, and goes on with years; moments of surrender to [the infinite good we call] God, of childlike trust and joyful adoption of good; moments of self-abnegation, self-consecration, heaven-born hope, and spiritual love.

"Time may commence, but it cannot complete, the new birth; eternity does this; for progress is the law of infinity. Only through the sore travail of mortal mind shall soul as sense be satisfied, and man awake in [infinite good's] likeness. What a faith-lighted thought is this! that mortals can lay off the 'old man,' until man is found to be the infinite good that we name God, and the fullness of the stature of man in Christ appears.

"Let us then divest our thought of the mortal and material view which contradicts the ever-presence and all-power of good; let us take in only the immortal facts, which include these, and where will we see or feel evil?" (See Mis. 14:2.)

And here we see the fruit of the years of loneliness and disappointment. Infinite good had been weaning Mary away from the material to the spiritual, until she could finally lay off the "old man." The time was ripe for the discovery of the divine revelation, when the fullness of the stature of man in Christ would appear.

As the door closed on the Quimby years, another door opened--a door that was never to shut.

Star of Boston book sections

Introduction | Part 1a | Part 1b | Part 2 | Part 3

Christ & Christmas Pictures

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11

Summary | Conclusion




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