Mary Baker Eddy and the Fulfilling of
The Grand Promise Of Isaiah
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
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
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
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
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
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"
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
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 "...it 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
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
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
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
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"
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
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
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
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.
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
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 "ponder...in 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;...it 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
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
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
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
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
She found it because "she sought for it as men quest
for buried treasure."
"Thou Shalt Not Be Put to
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
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.
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
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
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
"A Woman Forsaken and Grieved in
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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 appointed...to 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
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
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
"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
"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 |
Christ & Christmas
2 | 3 |
4 | 5 |
6 | 7 |
8 | 9 |
10 | 11