A GOOD book changes its readers in some way, changes the way we see ourselves and the world. Some books truly do improve minds and lives. A few books do much more, though. They are liberators of a vast potential for doing good. They equip us to help, and heal, the whole human race.
One such book is the Bible. Another--a book that came heart and soul out of its author's love for the Bible--is Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, who also founded the Christian Science Church.
Mrs. Eddy did not follow the common practice of dedicating her book to friends or family. At the close of the Preface to Science and Health, she speaks directly to each reader as a companion explorer of humanity's moral and spiritual ca-pabilities. She writes, ``In the spirit of Christ's charity,--as one who `hopeth all things, endureth all things,' and is joyful to bear consolation to the sorrowing and healing to the sick,--she commits these pages to honest seekers for Truth."
Years of searching the Scriptures, years of prayer and testing her faith, led to radical spiritual convictions and to a view of God and man that totally contradicts what conventional thought and the physical senses say is true. God had become to her immensely
more caring than the looming, judging Deity she had been taught to fear. She came to see God as the one, all-saving Principle, divine Love, not a denominational preserver only of those faithful to a creed. The all-powerful Spirit, she perceived, must also be the all-loving Father-Mother God.
As the Bible teaches, Spirit is the sole creator and creates man as its pure likeness, wholly spiritual. Science and Health explains how the understanding of God and His laws brings healing to human troubles--by awakening us to the harmony that has always existed but is unseen until perceived spiritually.
Through what she had seen, and now written, Mrs. Eddy expected others would turn with practical faith to the Bible, would come to trust God in any situation, and become practicing, faithful followers of Christ.
Science and Health was first published in 1875. Many editions and millions of copies later, it has become a genuinely global book available in a variety of languages. The measure of the book's value to the world, however, is something more than sales statistics. There is daily evidence that its readers have been not only enlightened but also empowered.
I recently met two people who had just read Science and Health. Their experiences explain what I mean by empowerment.
The first is a man whose story poured out in rapid-fire French. He had suffered from a serious heart condition for fifteen years when Science and Health came into his hands. Reading it hungrily, like a child taking in the world around him for the first time, he was healed. He was in awe of his new-found freedom. With an urgency I cannot fully describe, he wanted to do something with this discovery. He asked, What can I do to help others have this book?
The second is a policeman in a West African city. He had heard about Science and Health over shortwave radio and requested a copy. Profoundly moved by the light it gave to the Bible passages he'd yearned to understand better, he, his wife, and ten to twelve friends had begun gathering frequently to talk about ideas they found in the book. And he would have gone on asking me questions until the rooster, scratching in the courtyard outside, crowed at dawn.
If you're seeking healing, or simply seeking, it would be worth your effort to read this book. Two calls to freedom are heard throughout Science and Health. One is the call to freedom from illness, from the fear, ignorance, and human error that cause people to be sick. And the other is freedom to think for oneself, to approach the question, What is truth? with the awe and confidence that a hiker may feel when heading into a pristine wilderness with a trusted guide.
Christ Jesus said, as John's Gospel records in the Bible, ``Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." This truth heals those who seek it. And countless thousands have been healed by reading Science and Health. These healings are living proof that the Comforter of which Jesus spoke is a present-day reality.
Yet Jesus expected his followers to be more than healthy men and women. Some who read Science and Health are moved to become liberators--healers--themselves. Not yet as many as the world needs today, perhaps, but the growing response is heartening. The sick and the troubled, the Sarajevos and Mogadishus, the children of fear-bound villages and city streets, call out for acts of conscience, prayer, and love.
You and I can respond to that need. The core qualification for this work? To be ``honest seekers for Truth."
I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.