Retrospection and Introspection, by Mary Baker Eddy
Books by Mary Baker Eddy

page 310


   At the age of twelve *1 I was admitted to the Congregational
(Trinitarian) Church, my parents having
been members of that body for a half-century.  In connection
with this event, some circumstances are noteworthy.
Before this step was taken, the doctrine of unconditional
election, or predestination, greatly troubled me; for I
was unwilling to be saved, if my brothers and sisters were
to be numbered among those who were doomed to perpetual
banishment from God.  So perturbed was I by the
thoughts aroused by this erroneous doctrine, that the
family doctor was summoned, and pronounced me stricken
with fever.
*1 See Page 311, Lines 12 to 17, "The First Church of Christ,
Scientist, and Miscellany."
   My father's relentless theology emphasized belief in a
final judgment-day, in the danger of endless punishment,
and in a Jehovah merciless towards unbelievers; and of
these things he now spoke, hoping to win me from dreaded
   My mother, as she bathed my burning temples, bade
me lean on God's love, which would give me rest, if I
went to Him in prayer, as I was wont to do, seeking His
guidance.  I prayed; and 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.  Mother saw this,
and was glad.  The physician marvelled; and the "horrible

RET 14

decree" of predestination - as John Calvin rightly
called his own tenet - forever lost its power over me.
   When the meeting was held for the examination of candidates
for membership, I was of course present.  The
pastor was an old-school expounder of the strictest Presbyterian
doctrines.  He was apparently as eager to have
unbelievers in these dogmas lost, as he was to have elect
believers converted and rescued from perdition; for both
salvation and condemnation depended, according to his
views, upon the good pleasure of infinite Love.  However, I
was ready for his doleful questions, which I answered without
a tremor, declaring that never could I unite with the
church, if assent to this doctrine was essential thereto.
   Distinctly do I recall what followed.  I stoutly maintained
that I was willing to trust God, and take my chance
of spiritual safety with my brothers and sisters, - not one
of whom had then made any profession of religion, -
even if my creedal doubts left me outside the doors.  The
minister then wished me to tell him when I had experienced
a change of heart; but tearfully I had to respond
that I could not designate any precise time.  Nevertheless,
he persisted in the assertion that I had been truly regenerated,
and asked me to say how I felt when the new light
dawned within me.  I replied that I could only answer
him in the words of the Psalmist: "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."
   This was so earnestly said, that even the oldest church-members
wept.  After the meeting was over they came

RET 15

and kissed me.  To the astonishment of many, the good
clergyman's heart also melted, and he received me into
their communion, and my protest along with me.  My connection
with this religious body was retained till I founded
a church of my own, built on the basis of Christian Science,
"Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone."
   In confidence of faith, I could say in David's words,
"I will go in the strength of the Lord God:  I will make

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