Miscellaneous Writings (1883-1896) by Mary Baker Eddy
Books by Mary Baker Eddy

HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCIENCE AND HEALTH
page 299


HOW TO UNDERSTAND SCIENCE AND HEALTH



(By permission)

   My Dear Friend H.: - Your good letter of the 26th
ult. came duly to hand several days ago, and I am not
greatly surprised at its contents.  You say, in substance,
that you procured the book, "Science and Health with
Key to the Scriptures," which I recommended, and
that to your surprise and disgust you found it to be a
work on faith-cure, and ask by what process of reasoning
I could possibly bring myself to adopt or accept
such visionary theories.  In answer to your very natural
question, I will try, in my own way, to give you
what appears to me to be a reason for the hope that is
in me.
   My religious views of fifteen years ago are too familiar
to you to need any exposition at my hands at this
time.  Suffice it to say that the religion of the Bible,
as taught by the churches, to my mind appeared to be

MISC 464


self-contradictory and confusing, and their explanations
failed to explain.  During the next eleven years my
convictions underwent little change.  I read everything
that came in my way that had any bearing upon, or
pretended in any degree to explain, the problem of life;
and while I gained some knowledge of a general nature,
I was no nearer the solution of life's problem than when
I began my investigations years ago, and I had given
up all hope of ever being able to come to a knowledge
of the truth, or a satisfactory explanation of the enigma
of life.
   In all my intellectual wanderings I had never lost my
belief in a great First Cause, which I was as well satisfied
to call God as anything else; but the orthodox explanations
of His or its nature and power were to my
mind such a mixture of truth and error, that I could not
tell where fact left off and fancy began.  The whole effort
of the pulpit being put forth, seemed directed to the impossible
task of harmonizing the teachings of Jesus Christ
with the wisdom of the world; and the whole tendency
of our religious education was to befog the intellect and
produce scepticism in a mind that presumed to think
for itself and to inquire into the why and the wherefore.
I fully believe that the agnosticism of yourself and myself
was produced by the futile attempt to mix and harmonize
the wisdom of the world with the philosophy of
the Christ.
   In my investigations into the researches of the savants
and philosophers I found neither any satisfactory explanation
of things as they seemed to exist, nor any solution
of the great and all-absorbing question, "What is
Truth?"  Their premises appeared to be sound, and

MISC 465

their reasonings faultless; but in the nature of things,
no final conclusion of the whole matter could be reached
from premises based wholly on material knowledge.
They could explain "matter" and its properties to their
own satisfaction, but the intelligence that lay behind or
beyond it, and which was manifested in and through it,
was to them as much of a mystery as it was to the humblest
of God's creatures.  They could prove pretty conclusively
that many of the generally accepted theories
had no basis in fact; but they left us as much in the
dark regarding Life and its governing Principle as had
the divines before them.
   About four years ago, while still in the mental condition
above indicated, my attention was called to what at
that time appeared to me to be a new phase of spiritism,
and which was called by those who professed to believe
in it, Christian Science.  I thought that I had given some
attention to about all the isms that ever existed, and that

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