What is the history of Christian Healing?

In late 1878 and early 1879, Mary Baker Eddy delivered the earliest variations of her sermon “Christian Healing” to her congregation, the Church of Christ (Scientist). These were sermons titled “The New Tongue, or Christianity’s Lost Element of Healing,” and “How Christianity Lost its Element of Healing.”1

On April 18, 1880, Eddy delivered “Christian Healing” at a service in the Hawthorne Rooms at 2 Park Street in Boston.2 According to an advertisement in the Boston Daily Globe, the subject for the meeting was “They shall lay their hands on the sick and they shall recover”—a quotation from the Gospel of Mark (16:8), which is part of the sermon’s introductory text.3

After the service, the church held a business meeting and appointed a three-person committee to oversee the printing of “our Pastor’s lecture.”4 The first edition was titled Christian Healing: A Lecture. The printer, John Wilson and Son, of University Press in Cambridge, sent Eddy a $35 invoice in May, for 500 copies of the 17-page pamphlet.5

Christian Healing was Eddy’s first publication for general circulation following Science and Health, which had come out seven years before. Around 1882 two Christian Scientists, Julia S. Bartlett and Abbie K. Whiting, went door-to-door sharing the pamphlet Bartlett recalled this:

We obtained a good number of the pamphlet Christian Healing, which was all there was published on Christian Science at that time aside from Science and Health. With these we started out on our mission, selecting one of the best streets and going from house to house, she on one side and I on the other. This was a bold measure for a timid, retiring person, costing many a struggle with self. But that was put aside on meeting the lady of the house who, in every instance seemed much interested in what I had to tell of Christian Science and expressed a desire to meet with us and to learn more about it, and a pamphlet was left for each family to read in the meantime6

In 1925 Christian Healing was included in a collection of Eddy’s works titled Prose Works Other than Science and Health.7

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  1. “Sunday Meetings,” Boston Daily Globe, 2 December 1878.; Eddy, manuscript, April 1879, A10368B.
  2. Mrs. Glover Eddy, Christian Healing: A Lecture (Cambridge, MA: John Wilson and Son, 1880).
  3. ”Sunday Services,” Boston Daily Globe, 17 April 1880, 2.
  4. Church of Christ (Scientist), undated, A11308, 2.
  5. John Wilson & Son to Eddy, 19 May 1880, IC334a.45.001.
  6. Julia Bartlett, “A Worker in the Massachusetts Metaphysical College,” in We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Expanded Edition, Volume I, (Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 2011), 52.
  7. ”Prose Works Other than Science and Health,” Christian Science Sentinel, 16 May 1925, https://sentinel.christianscience.com/shared/view/15qa7idce8q?s=t.