Christ and Christmas: "Song and Object Lesson"

By
  • Cheryl P. Moneyhun
-

Early in 1893, Mary Baker Eddy, Discoverer of Christian Science and Founder of its Church, completed a poem entitled “Christ and Christmas.” She decided to have it published as an illustrated gift-book, a popular form of the day. It was issued in December of that same year to a flurry of mixed reactions. This article probes the story behind the book and what ensued upon its release to the public a century ago.


Mary Baker Eddy circa 1891. Longyear Museum collection.

To put the Christmas theme of the poem into a historical perspective, it is interesting to note that America was in a period of transition regarding the once sacred Christmas season. One noted writer and historian puts it, “By the era of the Civil War the old festival…was on its way to becoming a spectacular nationwide Festival of Consumption.”1 Major retail department store R. H. Macy’s set sales records in 1867 when it remained open until midnight on Christmas Eve for the first time, and in 1874 it offered its first promotional window displays on a Christmas theme. Although still relatively undeveloped commercially then and into the 1880’s, in 1891 the Christmas season was referred to by retailer F.W. Woolworth as “…our harvest time.”2 On Christmas Eve 1893, an article in the Boston Herald quoted social reformer Elizabeth Cady Stanton regarding the evolution of the observance of Christmas: “I do not think the change is for the better. No one recognizes improvement more than I do, and bearing this in mind I must confess that the celebration of Christmas, like that of marriages and funerals, has been run into the ground.”3 As an example of how far the commercial and gift-giving aspect of Christmas had gone, the Boston Herald ran an article on “‘Misfit’ Christmas Gifts” in their New Year’s Eve 1893 issue.4

For Mary Baker Eddy, the importance of Christmas lay in its spiritual significance.5 In her short article “A Word to the Wise” in The Christian Science Journal of December 1893, she wrote:

“Will all the dear Christian Scientists accept my tender greetings for the forthcoming holidays and grant me this request, — let the present season pass without one gift to me?

Our church edifice must be built in 1894. Take thither thy saintly offerings and lay them in the outstretched hand of God. The object to be won affords ample opportunity for the grandest achievement to which Christian Scientists can direct attention, and feel themselves alone among the stars.”6

The “Christ and Christmas” poem was completed early in 1893, during a period of significant change and accomplishment in Mrs. Eddy’s experience. She had moved to her home at Pleasant View in Concord, New Hampshire, only months before (in June of 1892). Also in 1892, preparations had begun for the building of her church, the original edifice of The Mother Church; and in September of that same year she had formally reorganized the Church of Christ, Scientist.7

Cover of Christ and Christmas, first edition. Longyear Museum collection.

Mrs. Eddy was already the author of numerous books, her major work being Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the textbook of Christian Science that by 1891 was into its landmark fiftieth edition (a major revision). She was also an accomplished poet from an early age,8 and had been published many times in periodicals and literary compilations of the day.

Just a few years prior to the publishing of Christ and Christmas, there had even been urging by some students who evidently felt strongly that the textbook was difficult to understand, that Mrs. Eddy should “…abandon prose and rewrite Science and Health in verse….”9 This apparently was fueled by an unusual interest at this time by Christian Scientists in popular literature of the day, and anything relating to the life and times of Jesus.10

It is not surprising then that there was also considerable fascination in artistic renderings of Jesus. As one writer expressed his opinion of the scene, “It was felt by nearly every practitioner and student that he must have a picture of Jesus in his house or room, and the question often arose, as to what face of all that were to be had was the most like his.”11 The stage was certainly set for a curious and confused reception to Mrs. Eddy’s illustrated poem (described later in this article), which would attempt to depict her spiritual perceptions of Jesus, the message of Christian Science, and the Christ.

Illustrating the Poem

Front Cover of Phillips Brooks illustrated poem such as Mrs. Eddy would have shown to Gilman. Courtesy of The Diocesan Library and Archives, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.

Mrs. Eddy chose an itinerant artist by the name of James Franklin Gilman, whom she met in 1892, to produce the illustrations with her.12 Prior to this time he had made his living going from farm to farm and producing drawings, etchings, or paintings of those locations and inhabitants. He had become interested in Christian Science in 1884 and had since become a serious student.13 The year 1892 found him in Concord, New Hampshire, preparing sketches of Mrs. Eddy’s home at Pleasant View for her photographer, Mr. S. A. Bowers.14 After having been shown the sketches, Mrs. Eddy invited both Mr. Bowers and Mr. Gilman to visit her on the evening of New Year’s day, 1893. A friendship and correspondence was begun, Mrs. Eddy expressing loving interest in Gilman’s spiritual progress.15

On March 11, 1893, Mrs. Eddy invited Mr. Gilman to Pleasant View, this time to request that he work with her on illustrating the poem she had recently completed, “Christ and Christmas. “16 She gave him the text of the poem to ponder, allowing him the freedom to “look to God for guidance and inspiration.”17 Shortly thereafter, also in order to prepare Gilman for what she had in mind, she showed him the illustrated poem O Little Town of Bethlehem by Phillips Brooks, and later on The New World by Carol Norton.18

Over a period of months, the making of illustrations for such a poem became far more of a humbling spiritual journey than Gilman had realized when he accepted the task of translating Mrs. Eddy’s refined spiritual expressions into a visual medium. He found himself being challenged and instructed, gaining in understanding, and willing to turn wholeheartedly to God and away from his own sense of self when the work did not go easily, and when the project seemed unable to go forward.

Mrs. Eddy had wisely requested that he keep to himself what he was working on, and not even share or discuss it with the faithful workers in her own household. Gilman came to understand that he was not to allow any other influences on himself. He even goes on to say that “she [Mrs. Eddy] saw then what she later definitely expressed in saying she found my mentality uncommonly plastic and impressible.”19

The only known photograph of James Franklin Gilman, taken by Mary Beecher Longyear at her home on August 5, 1920. Longyear Museum collection.

In his reminiscences of his work with Mary Baker Eddy, Gilman mentions many struggles along the way, but one particular instance, indicative of his inherent and continuing difficulty of relating to Mrs. Eddy’s higher view, was with the illustration that she had in mind of “two angels moving swiftly through the air to welcome the approaching dawn.” Her idea of angels as not having the conventional “feathered wings” left him bewildered as to how they would be recognized as angels.20 To help him understand this concept and to be able to translate that idea into a visual representation, she showed him a picture she had with two angels which she liked (with the exception of the wings). It gave him the idea that he needed, and inspired him “…[to make] the rest of the picture suit the high requirements of Mrs. Eddy’s thought.”21 It is interesting that this incident took place in June 1893, and in the August 1893 issue of The Christian Science Journal there was an article by Gilman entitled “Angels” that chronicles his understanding of the term as Mrs. Eddy uses it, in the more spiritual sense. That article contains a reference to “angels” from a letter Mrs. Eddy had written to a student, the basic wording of which appeared later in her Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896.22

Making of the Book

By mid-July most of the illustrations were ready, and the publishing process commenced. Mrs. Eddy had hoped to have the book completed in time for the Parliament of Religions to be held in conjunction with the World’s Fair (Columbian Exposition) in Chicago that September, as plans were already underway for a presentation on Christian Science. Although Gilman was overseeing the project himself in painstaking detail, the attempt by a local [Concord] publisher to reproduce the illustrations was a failure, mainly because of strong feelings against Mrs. Eddy by the chief plate-maker.23

Perceiving what must be done to insure the unhampered progress of the project, Mrs. Eddy arranged for Gilman to go to Gardner, Massachusetts, to work with a publisher there. She instructed him not to reveal for whom the work was being done, having seen from the previous experience what problems the mention of her name seemed to incur. A communications system and an efficient and secure method of transport for the pictures were devised, and Mr. Gilman departed for Gardner on Monday, August 28.

He returned to Concord a week and a half later on Thursday, September 7, with proofs from the plates in hand. This time the reproduction work had been successful, and all that remained now was the printing. Mrs. Eddy received the first copy on November 28.24

The finished book contained a title page naming Reverend Mary Baker Eddy as author, a copyright page, the poem interspersed with eleven illustrations, and before the “finis” page, one that read “Rev. M.B.G. Eddy, and Mr. J.F. Gilman, Artists. Mr. H. E. Carlton, Photograveur.”25 When shown the credit to his name Gilman recalls, “This was unexpected to me…,” as Mrs. Eddy had seen the wisdom in his not having his name or initials on any of the illustrations, and he felt this printed tribute “…far more than compensated….”26

The Book’s Reception

The atmosphere into which the book emerged was charged with conflicting opinions about Mrs. Eddy and Christian Science. On the one hand, the Christian Science movement was growing at an incredible rate, from 45 churches in 1889, to 242 in 1894.27 However, this presented daily challenges for Mrs. Eddy to maintain correct teaching and preaching within its ranks. There had been considerable upheavals, and the church had just recently been reorganized in 1892. There was reason to hope that the release of the book would help correct conditions of thought existing in the Christian Science movement at the time, and in one observer’s opinion, possibly to clear the way for the building of the original Mother Church edifice.28

In addition, although immediate evidence indicated that Christian Science had made quite a successful presentation at the World’s Parliament of Religions held in Chicago earlier in 1893, the event had tended to crystallize opposition against Christian Science and Mrs. Eddy by the more traditional Protestant and Catholic churches, who saw it as more akin to the Eastern religions than to Christianity.29

All of the above conditions were further confused by the difficulty of many of her followers and former students to truly understand Mary Baker Eddy and her unique position as an increasingly prominent female religious leader. There was the definite and widespread tendency to dwell on her personality, a problem she spent countless hours attempting to correct by repeatedly turning them to her spiritual message, as contained in her writings.

“CHRISTMAS MORN” and the angels that Gilman struggled to illustrate. Christ and Christmas, first edition.

It is no wonder, then, that the illustrations drew far more comment than the poem itself. While there were praises given for the high quality of the artwork, there was on the other hand outrage and criticism that the illustrations had no artistic merit.30 In a December 14, 1893 letter to her student, Carol Norton, Mrs. Eddy wrote, “The Christ and Christmas was an inspiration from beginning to end. The power of God and the wisdom of God was even more manifest in it and guided me more palpably…than when I wrote Science and Health…. [God] taught me that the art of C.S. has come through inspiration the same as its Science has. Hence the great error of human opinions passing judgment on it.”31

In addition, there was a reaction by friend and foe alike to endeavor to interpret in the artwork a personally-based metaphysical symbolism. The controversy brewed especially over the illustration “Christian Unity,” which depicts a seated Jesus-like figure with halo, holding the hand of a standing female figure (also with halo). This female figure is holding a scroll inscribed with the words “Christian Science.” The correlating passage of the poem reads:

“Winged Christian Science soars to view
The great I Am,
With all His glory shining through
Mind, mother, man.
As in blest Palestina’s hour,
So in our age,
‘Tis the same hand unfolds His power,
And writes the page.”

The female figure was said to resemble Mary Baker Eddy in this as well as in some other illustrations. This particular illustration was an especial affront to the more orthodox Protestant and Catholic clergy of the day, who saw it as blasphemous.32 Interestingly, however, it was the absence of human origin that she seems to be expounding in the verse.33 Mrs. Eddy commented in a Journal article, “The clergymen may not understand that the illustrations in ‘Christ and Christmas’ refer not to my personality, but rather foretell the typical appearing of the womanhood, as well as the manhood of God, our divine Father and Mother.”34

“CHRISTIAN UNITY.” Christ and Christmas, first edition.

Soon after the book was released, reports began to reach Mrs. Eddy of its wonderful healing effect, especially by close study of the illustrations.35 Of course, healing was always desirable, but to Mrs. Eddy this “picture-healing”36 was not in accord with the primitive Truth that Jesus had taught, or the method she had discovered, proven, and made practical to this age. Gilman recalls her commenting that this sort of healing was “through…blind faith and worship and not through understanding, which will not do; that is not the Christian Science idea; that is one reason why I must withdraw it.”37

Also disturbing to Mrs. Eddy was hearing from a close student of his memorization and use of the poem for treatment, a practice she immediately discerned as the use of a “mental opiate.”38 And so, in January 1894, just weeks after its introduction and already into its second edition, she was compelled by its general misuse to withdraw the book from publication.

It is important to note though, that even after its withdrawal, three of the illustrations from the book were used as the basis for design of the stained glass windows in the room set aside for Mrs. Eddy in the original edifice of The Mother Church, completed in late 1894. Those three were “Star of Bethlehem,” “Suffer Little Children to Come unto Me,” and “Seeking and Finding” (without the serpent).39

Interior view of the Mother’s Room showing placement of two of the three stained glass windows patterned after illustrations from Christ and Christmas. The Christian Science Journal, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, Mass., Vol. XII, No. 12, March 1895.

Withdrawal and Subsequent Re-release of the Book

In The Christian Science Journal of February 1894 Mary Baker Eddy wrote of Christ and Christmas, “The poem and illustrations are not a textbook. Scientists take them too hard. Let them return to the Bible and ‘Science and Health’ which contain all, and much more, than they have yet learned. We should prohibit ourselves the childish pleasure of studying Truth through the senses, for this is not the intent of my works.”40 Earlier in that same article, Mrs. Eddy as Teacher and Leader humbly shares a further insight into the book’s purpose, “The little messenger has done its work, fulfilled its mission, retired with honor, and mayhap taught me more than it has others. This knowledge I have gleaned from its fruitage, namely, that contemplating finite personality impedes spiritual growth, even as holding in mind the consciousness of disease prevents the recovery of the sick.”41

The afore-quoted article was published later in Mrs. Eddy’s Miscellaneous Writings, under the title, “Deification of Personality.” The revised article refers to the “…little messenger [as having] done its work…retired with honor…” but adds “…only to reappear in due season.”42

Exterior view of stained glass windows (above inscription) patterned after illustrations from Christ and Christmas. Photo by W.G.C. Kimball.

In December of 1897 the book did reappear, in its third edition, and was described in The Christian Science Journal issue of that same month as “A revised edition with improved plate of the illustration, ‘Christian Science Healing.'” Among other details, the improvements included a different expression on the face of the woman attending (healing) the patient, her eyes and face turned upward, and her cape having been changed to white (from the previous black one). Not mentioned in the Journal advertisement but also in the third edition were significant textual changes; and a few copies were printed with a cropping and altering of the illustration “Seeking and Finding,” resulting in the omission of the serpent behind the woman.43

By the fourth edition (1898), there were extensive changes in the illustrations “Truth Versus Error” and “The Way.” In “Truth Versus Error,” the floor, doormat, and door were changed; the word “Truth” on the scroll and “Mortal Mind” on the doorplate were dropped; and there appeared beneath the picture, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” In the fifth edition (1900), this line was dropped. In “The Way” illustration, previous to the fourth edition there had been only one cross, with a Jesus figure and a dove above in a cloud of suggested childlike faces. In the fourth edition and on, Jesus, the dove, and the host of faces have been removed. There are now two crosses and a crown, rising in succession.44 During the making of these changes, Mrs. Eddy wrote Gilman, “The art of Science is but a higher spiritual suggestion that is not fully delineated nor expressed, but leaves the artist’s thought and the thoughts of those that look on it more rarified.”45

There were nine editions of the book in all. Subsequent to the major revisions in the second, third, and fourth editions, there were only minor changes in detail, especially in typeface and borderwork, and of course in the title page, which reflected edition numbers, dates, printers, and locations of Mrs. Eddy’s official residence.

Advertisement that appeared in The Christian Science Journal, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, Mass., Vol. IV, No.9, December 1897

After Mrs. Eddy’s passing, William Dana Orcutt, printer of Mrs. Eddy’s writings for many years, wrote that because the original large size of Christ and Christmas was considered by many to be difficult to hold, he was later asked to have the illustrations reduced, verses reset, and to combine the illustrated poem with other poems of Mrs. Eddy’s into one volume.46 According to Mr. Orcutt this smaller edition was published with leather binding in 1936 and cloth binding in 1948.47 Today, however, Christ and Christmas is once again published in a volume by itself, in the larger format.48

Mrs. Eddy stated in a Journal article soon after the book’s original release regarding the poem and illustrations, “‘Christ and Christmas’ voices God through song and object lesson.”49 When this article was later edited for inclusion in Miscellaneous Writings, the sentence became, “‘Christ and Christmas’ voices Christian Science through song and object-lesson.”


CHRIST AND CHRISTMAS CHRONOLOGY

  • 1893 (early) Mrs. Eddy completes poem “Christ and Christmas”
  • 1893 (March) Illustrations begun for her poem by Mrs. Eddy and James F. Gilman
  • 1893 (Dec) First and second editions of Christ and Christmas published
  • 1894 (Jan) Christ and Christmas withdrawn from publication
  • 1897 Christ and Christmas re-issued, third edition
  • 1898 Christ and Christmas re-issued, fourth edition
  • 1900 Christ and Christmas re-issued, fifth edition
  • 1903 Christ and Christmas re-issued, sixth edition
  • 1906 Christ and Christmas re-issued, seventh edition
  • 1907 Christ and Christmas re-issued, eighth edition
  • 1910 (Dec) Mrs. Eddy passes on (Chestnut Hill)
  • 1911 Christ and Christmas re-issued (with Mrs. Eddy’s approval prior to her passing), ninth edition

Notes


  1. Daniel J. Boorstin, The Americans: The Democratic Experience (New York: Random House, 1973), p. 158.
  2. Ibid., p. 159.
  3. “Yuletide Then and Now,” Boston Herald, Dec. 24, 1893. For more information on Elizabeth Cady Stanton, see: “Women of Mary Baker Eddy’s Time,” Quarterly News, Vol. 22, No.2, Summer 1985, pp. 337-338, available here.
  4. ‘”Misfit’ Christmas Gifts,” Boston Herald, Dec. 31, 1893, p. 23.
  5. See: “Christmas Morn,” in Mary Baker Eddy, Poems (Boston: Allison V. Stewart, 1910), p. 29; and Mary Baker Eddy, What Christmas Means To Me and Other Christmas Messages (Boston: Trustees under the Will of Mary Baker G. Eddy, 1949).
  6. Mary B. G. Eddy, “A Word to the Wise,” The Christian Science Journal, Dec. 1893, Vol. 11, p. 387.
  7. For further information on these significant developments in Mrs. Eddy’s life see the following Longyear Museum Quarterly News articles: “Pleasant View- A Home for Mary Baker Eddy,” Vol. 29, No. 1, Spring 1992, available here; “The Landmark 1892 Reorganization of The Church of Christ, Scientist,” Vol. 29, No. 2, Summer 1992, available here; and, “‘The Promise and Event’: The Building of the Original Edifice of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts,” Vol. 30, No.2, 1993, available here.
  8. Mary Baker had been composing verse from an early age, and was published as early as 1842, at age 21, when her poem, “The Summer is Past the Harvest is Ended” appeared in the October 18 issue of the Belknap Gazette, a local weekly published by the husband of Mary’s former teacher, Sarah Jane Bodwell (Mrs. Charles Lane).
  9. Norman Beasley, The Cross and the Crown: The History of Christian Science (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1952), p.134. It is interesting to note that the prose format of Science and Health was never changed, went through hundreds of editions, and has been published in that format continuously to this day.
  10. Beasley, The Cross and the Crown, pp. 134-135. See also: William Lyman Johnson, The History of the Christian Science Movement, Vol. 1 (Brookline, Massachusetts: The Zion Research Foundation, 1926), pp. 50-52.
  11. See: Johnson, The History of the Christian Science Movement, Vol. 2, pp. 222-223. Mr. Johnson also comments: “At that time thought of the labors and works of Jesus was paramount among the adherents of Christian Science, and in a more personal manner than today, because Mrs. Eddy had not led them as far away from it as she did later.” (Ibid.) Mrs. Eddy herself had a picture of Jesus that had been a gift from her student, Julia Bartlett, in 1885. Miss Bartlett wrote later in her reminiscences, “I had a picture of Jesus which was said to be copied from the portrait carved on an emerald by order of Tiberius Caesar. The face was such as I had never seen in ideal pictures of him, so I decided to have one painted from it for Mrs. Eddy….” Upon receiving it “…she [Mrs. Eddy] was deeply moved, and expressed her love and gratitude and joy.” (Longyear Museum, Biographical files of Miss Julia S. Bartlett, Reminiscences of Mary Baker Eddy, pp. 35-36.) Mrs. Eddy also had a painting on cloth depicting Jesus as shepherd, as evidenced by later pictures of her home in Chestnut Hill, Newton, Massachusetts. However, it is obvious from her article “Hear, O Israel” that appeared in the February 1894 issue of The Christian Science Journal that she was attempting in the poem to turn the readers’ thought away from the tendency to contemplate Jesus as a personality and to encourage instead the close study of his Christly mission.
  12. For further information on the life and accomplishments of James Franklin Gilman, see: “James Franklin Gilman,” Quarterly News, Vol. 9, No. 2, Summer 1972, available here; and, Adele Godchaux Dawson, James Franklin Gilman, Nineteenth Century Painter (Canaan, New Hampshire: Phoenix Publishing, 1975). Included in both the Quarterly News article and Ms. Dawson’s book is the only known photograph in existence of Gilman, taken at the Brookline, Massachusetts home of Mary Beecher Longyear when he visited in 1920.
  13. To this point James F. Gilman had two articles published in The Christian Science Journal: “Application,” Nov. 1891, Vol. 9, pp. 326-329; and, “Backgrounds,” Dec. 1891, Vol. 9, pp. 380-382.
  14. Reproductions of these sketches were included opposite page 97 in The Christian Science Journal of June 1893.
  15. It is indeed fortunate for historical purposes that Mr. Gilman kept a detailed diary during this period. Years later, Mrs. Mary Beecher Longyear encouraged him to write the “full story” of his acquaintance with Mary Baker Eddy, as evidenced by correspondence between Gilman and Mrs. Longyear in the Longyear collection. The reminiscence that James F. Gilman wrote using his diary as its basis is an important source of information on the publication of Christ and Christmas, especially since the collaborative work on the illustrating and publishing proceeded between Mrs. Eddy and Gilman without much involvement of even her closest and most trusted students. For this article we have cited the Gilman reminiscence, Recollections of Mary Baker Eddy, that was privately published in 1935.
  16. Regarding Mrs. Eddy’s choice of an artist see: Irving C. Tomlinson, Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy (Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1945), pp. 97-98.
  17. Gilman reminiscence, p. 48.
  18. O Little Town of Bethlehem, by Phillips Brooks, an illustrated version of the poem he had written in 1868, was published circa 1890 by E.P. Dutton & Co., New York City. Born in Boston, Brooks was an American Episcopal clergyman who served as rector of Trinity Church in Boston from 1869 to 1891, and bishop of Massachusetts for the Protestant Episcopal Church from 1891 until his death in 1893. During his last few years he wrote several illustrated poems on Christmas and Easter themes. The New World was written by Carol Norton, a student of Mrs. Eddy, in honor of the Columbian Exposition of 1893, and was later published by The Christian Science Publishing Society, Boston, Massachusetts. It was “Lovingly and gratefully dedicated to the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science[,] Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy[,] Author of Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures[.]”
  19. Gilman reminiscence, p. 60.
  20. Ibid., p. 66.
  21. Ibid., p. 67.
  22. James F. Gilman, “Angels,” The Christian Science Journal, Aug. 1893, Vol. 11, pp. 212-214; and, Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896 (Boston: Trustees under the Will of Mary Baker G. Eddy, 1924), pp. 306-307.
  23. Gilman reminiscence, p. 77.
  24. Dates in this and the previous paragraph were either given in, or extrapolated from, information given in the Gilman reminiscence.
  25. Reverend Mary Baker Eddy, Christ and Christmas, A Poem (Boston: n.p., 1893).
  26. Gilman reminiscence, p. 108.
  27. For these and other statistics, see: Arthur Brisbane, Mary Baker G. Eddy (Boston: The Ball Publishing Co., 1908), p. 59.
  28. See: Johnson, The History of the Christian Science Movement, Vol. 2, p. 231.
  29. Mrs. Eddy had reluctantly allowed participation in the World Parliament of Religions by some of her students, knowing full well that there could be repercussions. For more information see: Robert Peel, Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Authority (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1977), pp. 47-59.
  30. See: Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, “Christ and Christmas,” The Christian Science Journal, Jan. 1894, Vol. 11, pp. 427-430; and in that same issue, the abstracted letter from Miss Annie Dodge, pp. 430-431. See also: Robert Peel, Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Authority, pp. 61-62.
  31. Church History Department of The Mother Church. 102354. It is interesting here to note that Mrs. Eddy made another comment comparing the reception of Christ and Christmas to that of her textbook Science and Health when she wrote in The Christian Science Journal of January 1894, page 427: “The poem and its illustrations are as hopelessly original as ‘Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures.’ When the latter was first issued, critics declared it was incorrect, contradictory, unscientific, unchristian. Those mortal opinions were without a feather’s weight in the scales of God. The fact was this textbook of Christian Science was transfiguring the universe.” This article was later edited and included in Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy, pp. 371-376.
  32. Raymond J. Cunningham, “The Impact of Christian Science on the American Churches, 1880-1910,” The American Historical Review, Apr. 1967, Vol. 62, No. 3, pp. 885-905.
  33. Mrs. Eddy refers to herself as a “scribe under orders” in the presentation of Truth to this age by her writings. See: Mary Baker Eddy, “Overflowing Thoughts,” The Christian Science Journal, Dec. 1894, Vol. 12, pp. 355-356; and Miscellaneous Writings, pp. 310-312. See also the comments of Emma Easton Newman in We Knew Mary Baker Eddy (Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1979), p. 97.
  34. Rev. Mary B. G. Eddy, “Queries,” The Christian Science Journal, Feb. 1894, Vol. 11, p. 474. See also: Norman Beasley, Mary Baker Eddy (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1963), pp. 241-242.
  35. Robert Peel, Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Authority, p. 62.
  36. The term “picture-healing” is used in a letter from Mary Baker Eddy to her adopted son Ebenezer J. Foster Eddy, dated January 10, 1894 in which she informs him of her decision to stop publication of the book. The letter is quoted in part, ibid.
  37. Gilman reminiscence, p. 115.
  38. See: Robert Peel, Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Authority, p. 62
  39. See: Joseph Armstrong, The Mother Church (Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1937),p. 71; and Johnson, The History of the Christian Science Movement, Vol. 2, pp. 445-449.
  40. Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, “Hear, O Israel,” The Christian Science Journal, Feb. 1894, Vol. 11, p. 473. A revised version of the article appears later on pp. 307-310 in Mrs. Eddy’s Miscellaneous Writings under the title “Deification of Personality.” In the editing process, the sentence referring to the poem and illustrations that read “Scientists take them too hard” has been changed to read “Scientists sometimes take things too intensely.”
  41. Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, “Hear, O Israel,” The Christian Science Journal, Feb. 1894, Vol. 11, p. 472.
  42. Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings, p. 308.
  43. For Mrs. Eddy’s comments regarding the original placement of the serpent behind the woman, see: Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, “Christ and Christmas,” The Christian Science Journal, Jan. 1894, Vol. 11, p. 428. There is also some indication that Mrs. Eddy may have felt that the position of the serpent could be misinterpreted, and had even considered removing the serpent from the first edition. See: Johnson, The History of the Christian Science Movement, Vol. 2, p. 444.
  44. In Gilman’s reminiscence, page 120, he recalls Mrs. Eddy writing him of her conception of a new design for “The Way,” and describes it this way: “…it was desired to express the thought of the gradual ascension of mortals on and up from the dark level of material sense where the cross appears very dark and formidable, the straight and narrow, but shining pathway that leads to a second cross which is found to be embosomed in flowering vines and the bright sunshine of heaven, about which song birds make melody, all of which reveal the real attractiveness of the heavenly way, the cross appearing now less formidable in the light that now illumines the spiritual pathway. Above and beyond is the crown, between which and the second flower-embowered cross lies no obstacle to steady ascension from the material and mortal to the spiritual and eternal.”
  45. Ibid.
  46. William Dana Orcutt, Mary Baker Eddy And Her Books (Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1950), p. 146.
  47. Ibid., p. 151.
  48. The book is published by The First Church of Christ, Scientist and is available from The Christian Science Publishing Society, Boston, Massachusetts.
  49. Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, “Christ and Christmas,” The Christian Science Journal, Jan. 1894, Vol. 11, p. 427.

This article was originally published in the 1993 Fall Longyear Quarterly News.

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