Part 3 out of 4
so directed by the Board of Directors--which is Mrs. Eddy--the singer's
salary shall be stopped. It is circumstantial evidence that some
soloists neglected this sacrament and others refused it. At least that
is the charitable view to take of it. There is only one other view to
take: that Mrs. Eddy did really foresee that there would be singers who
would some day get tired of doing her hymns and proclaiming the
authorship, unless persuaded by a Bylaw, with a penalty attached. The
idea could of course occur to her wise head, for she would know that a
seven-stanza break might well be a calamitous strain upon a soloist, and
that he might therefore avoid it if unwatched. He could not curtail it,
for the whole of anything that Mrs. Eddy does is sacred, and cannot be
BOARD OF EDUCATION
It consists of four members, one of whom is President of it. Its members
are elected annually. Subject to Mrs. Eddy's approval. Art. XXX., Sec. 2.
She owns the Board--is the Board.
Mrs. Eddy is President of the Metaphysical College. If at any time she
shall vacate that office, the Directors of the College (that is to say,
Mrs. Eddy) "shall" elect to the vacancy the President of the Board of
Education (which is merely re-electing herself).
It is another case of "Pastor Emeritus." She gives up the shadow of
authority, but keeps a good firm hold on the substance.
Applicants for admission to this industry must pass a thorough three
days' examination before the Board of Education "in Science and Health,
chapter on 'Recapitulation'; the Platform of Christian Science; page 403
of Christian Science Practice, from line second to the second paragraph
of page 405; and page 488, second and third paragraphs."
BOARD OF LECTURESHIP
The lecturers are exceedingly important servants of Mrs. Eddy, and she
chooses them with great care. Each of them has an appointed territory in
which to perform his duties--in the North, the South, the East, the West,
in Canada, in Great Britain, and so on--and each must stick to his own
territory and not forage beyond its boundaries. I think it goes without
saying--from what we have seen of Mrs. Eddy--that no lecture is delivered
until she has examined and approved it, and that the lecturer is not
allowed to change it afterwards.
The members of the Board of Lectureship are elected annually--
"Subject to the approval of Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy."
There are but four. They are elected--like the rest of the domestics--
annually. So far as I can discover, not a single servant of the Sacred
Household has a steady job except Mrs. Eddy. It is plain that she trusts
no human being but herself.
The branch Churches are strictly forbidden to use them.
So far as I can see, they could not do it if they wanted to. The By-laws
are merely the voice of the master issuing commands to the servants.
There is nothing and nobody for the servants to re-utter them to.
That useless edict is repeated in the little book, a few pages farther
on. There are several other repetitions of prohibitions in the book that
could be spared-they only take up room for nothing.
It is copyrighted. I do not know why, but I suppose it is to keep
adventurers from some day claiming that they invented it, and not Mrs.
Eddy and that "strange Providence" that has suggested so many clever
things to her.
No Change. It is forbidden to change the Creed. That is important, at
I can understand why Mrs. Eddy copyrighted the early editions and
revisions of Science and Health, and why she had a mania for copyrighting
every scrap of every sort that came from her pen in those jejune days
when to be in print probably seemed a wonderful distinction to her in her
provincial obscurity, but why she should continue this delirium in these
days of her godship and her far-spread fame, I cannot explain to myself.
And particularly as regards Science and Health. She knows, now, that
that Annex is going to live for many centuries; and so, what good is a
fleeting forty-two-year copyright going to do it?
Now a perpetual copyright would be quite another matter. I would like to
give her a hint. Let her strike for a perpetual copyright on that book.
There is precedent for it. There is one book in the world which bears
the charmed life of perpetual copyright (a fact not known to twenty
people in the world). By a hardy perversion of privilege on the part of
the lawmaking power the Bible has perpetual copyright in Great Britain.
There is no justification for it in fairness, and no explanation of it
except that the Church is strong enough there to have its way, right or
wrong. The recent Revised Version enjoys perpetual copyright, too--a
stronger precedent, even, than the other one.
Now, then, what is the Annex but a Revised Version itself? Which of
course it is--Lord's Prayer and all. With that pair of formidable
British precedents to proceed upon, what Congress of ours--
But how short-sighted I am. Mrs. Eddy has thought of it long ago. She
thinks of everything. She knows she has only to keep her copyright of
1902 alive through its first stage of twenty-eight years, and perpetuity
is assured. A Christian Science Congress will reign in the Capitol then.
She probably attaches small value to the first edition (1875). Although
it was a Revelation from on high, it was slim, lank, incomplete, padded
with bales of refuse rags, and puffs from lassoed celebrities to fill it
out, an uncreditable book, a book easily sparable, a book not to be
mentioned in the same year with the sleek, fat, concise, compact,
compressed, and competent Annex of to-day, in its dainty flexible covers,
gilt--edges, rounded corners, twin screw, spiral twist, compensation
balance, Testament-counterfeit, and all that; a book just born to curl up
on the hymn-book-shelf in church and look just too sweet and holy for
anything. Yes, I see now what she was copyrighting that child for.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION
It is true in matters of business Mrs. Eddy thinks of everything. She
thought of an organ, to disseminate the Truth as it was in Mrs. Eddy.
Straightway she started one--the Christian Science Journal.
It is true--in matters of business Mrs. Eddy thinks of everything. As
soon as she had got the Christian Science Journal sufficiently in debt to
make its presence on the premises disagreeable to her, it occurred to her
to make somebody a present of it. Which she did, along with its debts.
It was in the summer of 1889. The victim selected was her Church--
called, in those days, The National Christian Scientist Association.
She delivered this sorrow to those lambs as a "gift" in consideration of
their "loyalty to our great cause."
Also--still thinking of everything--she told them to retain Mr. Bailey in
the editorship and make Mr. Nixon publisher. We do not know what it was
she had against those men; neither do we know whether she scored on
Bailey or not, we only know that God protected Nixon, and for that I am
sincerely glad, although I do not know Nixon and have never even seen
Nixon took the Journal and the rest of the Publishing Society's
liabilities, and demonstrated over them during three years, then brought
in his report:
"On assuming my duties as publisher, there was not a dollar in the
treasury; but on the contrary the Society owed unpaid printing and paper
bills to the amount of several hundred dollars, not to mention a
contingent liability of many more hundreds"--represented by advance--
subscriptions paid for the Journal and the "Series," the which goods Mrs.
Eddy had not delivered. And couldn't, very well, perhaps, on a
Metaphysical College income of but a few thousand dollars a day, or a
week, or whatever it was in those magnificently flourishing times. The
struggling Journal had swallowed up those advance-payments, but its
"claim" was a severe one and they had failed to cure it. But Nixon cured
it in his diligent three years, and joyously reported the news that he
had cleared off all the debts and now had a fat six thousand dollars in
It made Mrs. Eddy's mouth water.
At the time that Mrs. Eddy had unloaded that dismal gift on to her
National Association, she had followed her inveterate custom: she had
tied a string to its hind leg, and kept one end of it hitched to her
belt. We have seen her do that in the case of the Boston Mosque. When
she deeds property, she puts in that string-clause. It provides that
under certain conditions she can pull the string and land the property in
the cherished home of its happy youth. In the present case she believed
that she had made provision that if at any time the National Christian
Science Association should dissolve itself by a formal vote, she could
A year after Nixon's handsome report, she writes the Association that she
has a "unique request to lay before it." It has dissolved, and she is
not quite sure that the Christian Science Journal has "already fallen
into her hands" by that act, though it "seems" to her to have met with
that accident; so she would like to have the matter decided by a formal
vote. But whether there is a doubt or not, "I see the wisdom," she says,
"of again owning this Christian Science waif."
I think that that is unassailable evidence that the waif was making
money, hands down.
She pulled her gift in. A few years later she donated the Publishing
Society, along with its real estate, its buildings, its plant, its
publications, and its money--the whole worth twenty--two thousand
dollars, and free of debt--to--Well, to the Mother-Church!
That is to say, to herself. There is an act count of it in the Christian
Science Journal, and of how she had already made some other handsome
gifts--to her Church--and others to--to her Cause besides "an almost
countless number of private charities" of cloudy amount and otherwise
indefinite. This landslide of generosities overwhelmed one of her
literary domestics. While he was in that condition he tried to express
what he felt:
"Let us endeavor to lift up our hearts in thankfulness to . . . our
Mother in Israel for these evidences of generosity and self-sacrifice
that appeal to our deepest sense of gratitude, even while surpassing our
A year or two later, Mrs. Eddy promulgated some By-laws of a self-
sacrificing sort which assuaged him, perhaps, and perhaps enabled his
surpassed comprehension to make a sprint and catch up. These are to be
found in Art. XII., entitled.
THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PUBLISHING SOCIETY
This Article puts the whole publishing business into the hands of a
publishing Board--special. Mrs. Eddy appoints to its vacancies.
The profits go semi-annually to the Treasurer of the Mother-Church. Mrs.
Eddy owns the Treasurer.
Editors and publishers of the Christian Science Journal cannot be elected
or removed without Mrs. Eddy's knowledge and consent.
Every candidate for employment in a high capacity or a low one, on the
other periodicals or in the publishing house, must first be "accepted by
Mrs. Eddy as suitable." And "by the Board of Directors"--which is
surplusage, since Mrs. Eddy owns the Board.
If at any time a weekly shall be started, "it shall be owned by The First
Church of Christ, Scientist"--which is Mrs. Eddy.
I think that any one who will carefully examine the By-laws (I have
placed all of the important ones before the reader), will arrive at the
conclusion that of late years the master-passion in Mrs. Eddy's heart is
a hunger for power and glory; and that while her hunger for money still
remains, she wants it now for the expansion and extension it can furnish
to that power and glory, rather than what it can do for her towards
satisfying minor and meaner ambitions.
I wish to enlarge a little upon this matter. I think it is quite clear
that the reason why Mrs. Eddy has concentrated in herself all powers, all
distinctions, all revenues that are within the command of the Christian
Science Church Universal is that she desires and intends to devote them
to the purpose just suggested--the upbuilding of her personal glory--
hers, and no one else's; that, and the continuing of her name's glory
after she shall have passed away. If she has overlooked a single power,
howsoever minute, I cannot discover it. If she has found one, large or
small, which she has not seized and made her own, there is no record of
it, no trace of it. In her foragings and depredations she usually puts
forward the Mother-Church--a lay figure--and hides behind it. Whereas,
she is in manifest reality the Mother-Church herself. It has an
impressive array of officials, and committees, and Boards of Direction,
of Education, of Lectureship, and so on--geldings, every one, shadows,
spectres, apparitions, wax-figures: she is supreme over them all, she can
abolish them when she will; blow them out as she would a candle. She is
herself the Mother-Church. Now there is one By-law which says that the
"shall be officially controlled by no other church."
That does not surprise us--we know by the rest of the By-laws that that
is a quite irrelevant remark. Yet we do vaguely and hazily wonder why
she takes the trouble to say it; why she wastes the words; what her
object can be--seeing that that emergency has been in so many, many ways,
and so effectively and drastically barred off and made impossible. Then
presently the object begins to dawn upon us. That is, it does after we
have read the rest of the By-law three or four times, wondering and
admiring to see Mrs. Eddy--Mrs. Eddy--Mrs. Eddy, of all persons--throwing
away power!--making a fair exchange--doing a fair thing for once more,
an almost generous thing! Then we look it through yet once more
unsatisfied, a little suspicious--and find that it is nothing but a sly,
thin make-believe, and that even the very title of it is a sarcasm and
embodies a falsehood--"self" government:
"Local Self-Government. The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in
Boston, Massachusetts, shall assume no official control of other churches
of this denomination. It shall be officially controlled by no other
It has a most pious and deceptive give-and-take air of perfect fairness,
unselfishness, magnanimity--almost godliness, indeed. But it is all art.
In the By-laws, Mrs. Eddy, speaking by the mouth of her other self, the
Mother-Church, proclaims that she will assume no official control of
other churches-branch churches. We examine the other By-laws, and they
answer some important questions for us:
1. What is a branch Church? It is a body of Christian Scientists,
organized in the one and only permissible way--by a member, in good
standing, of the Mother-Church, and who is also a pupil of one of Mrs.
Eddy's accredited students. That is to say, one of her properties. No
other can do it. There are other indispensable requisites; what are
2. The new Church cannot enter upon its functions until its members have
individually signed, and pledged allegiance to, a Creed furnished by Mrs.
3. They are obliged to study her books, and order their lives by them.
And they must read no outside religious works.
4. They must sing the hymns and pray the prayers provided by her, and
use no others in the services, except by her permission.
5. They cannot have preachers and pastors. Her law.
6. In their Church they must have two Readers--a man and a woman.
7. They must read the services framed and appointed by her.
8. She--not the branch Church--appoints those Readers.
9. She--not the branch Church--dismisses them and fills the vacancies.
1O. She can do this without consulting the branch Church, and without
11. The branch Church can have a religious lecture from time to time.
By applying to Mrs. Eddy. There is no other way.
12. But the branch Church cannot select the lecturer. Mrs. Eddy does
13. The branch Church pays his fee.
14. The harnessing of all Christian Science wedding-teams, members of
the branch Church, must be done by duly authorized and consecrated
Christian Science functionaries. Her factory is the only one that makes
and licenses them.
[15. Nothing is said about christenings. It is inferable from this that
a Christian Science child is born a Christian Scientist and requires no
[16. Nothing is said about funerals. It is inferable, then, that a
branch Church is privileged to do in that matter as it may choose.]
To sum up. Are any important Church-functions absent from the list? I
cannot call any to mind. Are there any lacking ones whose exercise could
make the branch in any noticeable way independent of the Mother. Church?
--even in any trifling degree? I think of none. If the named functions
were abolished would there still be a Church left? Would there be even a
shadow of a Church left? Would there be anything at all left? even the
Manifestly not. There isn't a single vital and essential Church-function
of any kind, that is not named in the list. And over every one of them
the Mother-Church has permanent and unchallengeable control, upon every
one of them Mrs. Eddy has set her irremovable grip. She holds, in
perpetuity, autocratic and indisputable sovereignty and control over
every branch Church in the earth; and yet says, in that sugary, naive,
angel-beguiling way of hers, that the Mother-Church:
"shall assume no official control of other churches of this
Whereas in truth the unmeddled-with liberties of a branch Christian
Science Church are but very, very few in number, and are these:
1. It can appoint its own furnace-stoker, winters.
2. It can appoint its own fan-distributors, summers.
3. It can, in accordance with its own choice in the matter, burn, bury,
or preserve members who are pretending to be dead--whereas there is no
such thing as death.
4. It can take up a collection.
The branch Churches have no important liberties, none that give them an
important voice in their own affairs. Those are all locked up, and Mrs.
Eddy has the key. "Local Self-Government" is a large name and sounds
well; but the branch Churches have no more of it than have the privates
in the King of Dahomey's army.
Mrs. Eddy, with an envious and admiring eye upon the solitary and
rivalless and world-shadowing majesty of St. Peter's, reveals in her By-
laws her purpose to set the Mother-Church apart by itself in a stately
seclusion and make it duplicate that lone sublimity under the Western
sky. The By-law headed "Mother-Church Unique "says--
"In its relation to other Christian Science churches, the Mother-Church
"It occupies a position that no other Church can fill.
"Then for a branch Church to assume such position would be disastrous to
Therefore no branch Church is allowed to have branches. There shall be
no Christian Science St. Peter's in the earth but just one--the Mother-
Church in Boston.
"NO FIRST MEMBERS"
But for the thoughtful By-law thus entitled, every Science branch in the
earth would imitate the Mother-Church and set up an aristocracy. Every
little group of ground-floor Smiths and Furgusons and Shadwells and
Simpsons that organized a branch would assume that great title, of "First
Members," along with its vast privileges of "discussing" the weather and
casting blank ballots, and soon there would be such a locust-plague of
them burdening the globe that the title would lose its value and have to
But where business and glory are concerned, Mrs. Eddy thinks of
everything, and so she did not fail to take care of her Aborigines, her
stately and exclusive One Hundred, her college of functionless cardinals,
her Sanhedrin of Privileged Talkers (Limited). After taking away all the
liberties of the branch Churches, and in the same breath disclaiming all
official control over their affairs, she smites them on the mouth with
this--the very mouth that was watering for those nobby ground-floor
"No First Members. Branch Churches shall not organize with First
Members, that special method of organization being adapted to the Mother-
And so, first members being prohibited, we pierce through the cloud of
Mrs. Eddy's English and perceive that they must then necessarily organize
with Subsequent Members. There is no other way. It will occur to them
by-and-by to found an aristocracy of Early Subsequent Members. There is
no By-law against it.
I uncover to that imperial word. And to the mind, too, that conceived
the idea of seizing and monopolizing it as a title. I believe it is Mrs.
Eddy's dazzlingest invention. For show, and style, and grandeur, and
thunder and lightning and fireworks it outclasses all the previous
inventions of man, and raises the limit on the Pope. He can never put
his avid hand on that word of words--it is pre-empted. And copyrighted,
of course. It lifts the Mother-Church away up in the sky, and
fellowships it with the rare and select and exclusive little company of
the THE's of deathless glory--persons and things whereof history and the
ages could furnish only single examples, not two: the Saviour, the
Virgin, the Milky Way, the Bible, the Earth, the Equator, the Devil, the
Missing Link--and now The First Church, Scientist. And by clamor of
edict and By-law Mrs. Eddy gives personal notice to all branch Scientist
Churches on this planet to leave that THE alone.
She has demonstrated over it and made it sacred to the Mother-Church:
"The article 'The' must not be used before the titles of branch
"Nor written on applications for membership in naming such churches."
Those are the terms. There can and will be a million First Churches of
Christ, Scientist, scattered over the world, in a million towns and
villages and hamlets and cities, and each may call itself (suppressing
the article), "First Church of Christ. Scientist"--it is permissible,
and no harm; but there is only one The Church of Christ, Scientist, and
there will never be another. And whether that great word fall in the
middle of a sentence or at the beginning of it, it must always have its
I do not suppose that a juvenile passion for fussy little worldly shows
and vanities can furnish a match to this, anywhere in the history of the
nursery. Mrs. Eddy does seem to be a shade fonder of little special
distinctions and pomps than is usual with human beings.
She instituted that immodest "The" with her own hand; she did not wait
for somebody else to think of it.
A LIFE-TERM MONOPOLY
There is but one human Pastor in the whole Christian Science world; she
reserves that exalted place to herself.
A PERPETUAL ONE
There is but one other object in the whole Christian Science world
honored with that title and holding that office: it is her book, the
Annex--permanent Pastor of The First Church, and of all branch Churches.
With her own hand she draughted the By-laws which make her the only
really absolute sovereign that lives to-day in Christendom.
She does not allow any objectionable pictures to be exhibited in the room
where her book is sold, nor any indulgence in idle gossip there; and from
the general look of that By-law I judge that a lightsome and improper
person can be as uncomfortable in that place as he could be in heaven.
THE SANCTUM SANCTORUM AND SACRED CHAIR
In a room in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, there is a museum of
objects which have attained to holiness through contact with Mrs. Eddy--
among them an electrically lighted oil-picture of a chair which she used
to sit in--and disciples from all about the world go softly in there, in
restricted groups, under proper guard, and reverently gaze upon those
relics. It is worship. Mrs. Eddy could stop it if she was not fond of
it, for her sovereignty over that temple is supreme.
The fitting-up of that place as a shrine is not an accident, nor a
casual, unweighed idea; it is imitated from age--old religious custom.
In Treves the pilgrim reverently gazes upon the Seamless Robe, and humbly
worships; and does the same in that other continental church where they
keep a duplicate; and does likewise in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,
in Jerusalem, where memorials of the Crucifixion are preserved; and now,
by good fortune we have our Holy Chair and things, and a market for our
adorations nearer home.
But is there not a detail that is new, fresh, original? Yes, whatever
old thing Mrs. Eddy touches gets something new by the contact--something
not thought of before by any one--something original, all her own, and
copyrightable. The new feature is self worship--exhibited in permitting
this shrine to be installed during her lifetime, and winking her sacred
eye at it.
A prominent Christian Scientist has assured me that the Scientists do not
worship Mrs. Eddy, and I think it likely that there may be five or six of
the cult in the world who do not worship her, but she herself is
certainly not of that company. Any healthy-minded person who will
examine Mrs. Eddy's little Autobiography and the Manual of By-laws
written by her will be convinced that she worships herself; and that she
brings to this service a fervor of devotion surpassing even that which
she formerly laid at the feet of the Dollar, and equalling any which
rises to the Throne of Grace from any quarter.
I think this is as good a place as any to salve a hurt which I was the
means of inflicting upon a Christian Scientist lately. The first third
of this book was written in 1899 in Vienna. Until last summer I had
supposed that that third had been printed in a book which I published
about a year later--a hap which had not happened. I then sent the
chapters composing it to the North American Review, but failed. in one
instance, to date them. And so, In an undated chapter I said a lady told
me "last night" so and so. There was nothing to indicate to the reader
that that "last night" was several years old, therefore the phrase seemed
to refer to a night of very recent date. What the lady had told me was,
that in a part of the Mother-Church in Boston she had seen Scientists
worshipping a portrait of Mrs. Eddy before which a light was kept
A Scientist came to me and wished me to retract that "untruth." He said
there was no such portrait, and that if I wanted to be sure of it I could
go to Boston and see for myself. I explained that my "last night" meant
a good while ago; that I did not doubt his assertion that there was no
such portrait there now, but that I should continue to believe it had
been there at the time of the lady's visit until she should retract her
statement herself. I was at no time vouching for the truth of the
remark, nevertheless I considered it worth par.
And yet I am sorry the lady told me, since a wound which brings me no
happiness has resulted. I am most willing to apply such salve as I can.
The best way to set the matter right and make everything pleasant and
agreeable all around will be to print in this place a description of the
shrine as it appeared to a recent visitor, Mr. Frederick W. Peabody, of
Boston. I will copy his newspaper account, and the reader will see that
Mrs. Eddy's portrait is not there now:
"We lately stood on the threshold of the Holy of Holies of the Mother-
Church, and with a crowd of worshippers patiently waited for admittance
to the hallowed precincts of the 'Mother's Room.' Over the doorway was a
sign informing us that but four persons at a time would be admitted; that
they would be permitted to remain but five minutes only, and would please
retire from the 'Mother's Room' at the ringing of the bell. Entering
with three of the faithful, we looked with profane eyes upon the
consecrated furnishings. A show-woman in attendance monotonously
announced the character of the different appointments. Set in a recess
of the wall and illumined with electric light was an oil-painting the
show-woman seriously declared to be a lifelike and realistic picture of
the Chair in which the Mother sat when she composed her 'inspired' work.
It was a picture of an old-fashioned? country, hair cloth rocking-chair,
and an exceedingly commonplace-looking table with a pile of manuscript,
an ink-bottle, and pen conspicuously upon it. On the floor were sheets
of manuscript. 'The mantel-piece is of pure onyx,' continued the show-
woman, 'and the beehive upon the window-sill is made from one solid block
of onyx; the rug is made of a hundred breasts of eider-down ducks, and
the toilet-room you see in the corner is of the latest design, with gold-
plated drain-pipes; the painted windows are from the Mother's poem,
"Christ and Christmas," and that case contains complete copies of all the
Mother's books.' The chairs upon which the sacred person of the Mother
had reposed were protected from sacrilegious touch by a broad band of
satin ribbon. My companions expressed their admiration in subdued and
reverent tones, and at the tinkling of the bell we reverently tiptoed out
of the room to admit another delegation of the patient waiters at the
Now, then, I hope the wound is healed. I am willing to relinquish the
portrait, and compromise on the Chair. At the same time, if I were going
to worship either, I should not choose the Chair.
As a picturesquely and persistently interesting personage, there is no
mate to Mrs. Eddy, the accepted Equal of the Saviour. But some of her
tastes are so different from His! I find it quite impossible to imagine
Him, in life, standing sponsor for that museum there, and taking pleasure
in its sumptuous shows. I believe He would put that Chair in the fire,
and the bell along with it; and I think He would make the show-woman go
away. I think He would break those electric bulbs, and the "mantel-piece
of pure onyx," and say reproachful things about the golden drain-pipes of
the lavatory, and give the costly rug of duck-breasts to the poor, and
sever the satin ribbon and invite the weary to rest and ease their aches
in the consecrated chairs. What He would do with the painted windows we
can better conjecture when we come presently to examine their
THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PASTOR-UNIVERSAL
When Mrs. Eddy turned the pastors out of all the Christian Science
churches and abolished the office for all time as far as human occupancy
is concerned--she appointed the Holy Ghost to fill their place. If this
language be blasphemous, I did not invent the blasphemy, I am merely
stating a fact. I will quote from page 227 of Science and Health
(edition 1899), as a first step towards an explanation of this startling
matter--a passage which sets forth and classifies the Christian Science
"Life, Truth, and Love constitute the triune God, or triply divine
Principle. They represent a trinity in unity, three in one--the same in
essence, though multiform in office: God the Father; Christ the type of
Sonship; Divine Science, or the Holy Comforter. . .
"The Holy Ghost, or Spirit, reveals this triune Principle, and (the Holy
Ghost) is expressed in Divine Science, which is the Comforter, leading
into all Truth, and revealing the divine Principle of the universe--
universal and perpetual harmony."
I will cite another passage. Speaking of Jesus--
"His students then received the Holy Ghost. By this is meant, that by
all they had witnessed and suffered they were roused to an enlarged
understanding of Divine Science, even to the spiritual interpretation . .
. . . of His teachings," etc.
Also, page 579, in the chapter called the Glossary:
"HOLY GHOST. Divine Science; the developments of Life, Truth, and Love."
The Holy Ghost reveals the massed spirit of the fused trinity; this
massed spirit is expressed in Divine Science, and is the Comforter;
Divine Science conveys to men the "spiritual interpretation" of the
Saviour's teachings. That seems to be the meaning of the quoted
Divine Science is Christian Science; the book Science and Health is a
"revelation" of the whole spirit of the Trinity, and is therefore "The
Holy Ghost"; it conveys to men the "spiritual interpretation" of the
Bible's teachings. and therefore is "the Comforter."
I do not find this analyzing work easy, I would rather saw wood; and a
person can never tell whether he has added up a Science and Health sum
right or not, anyway, after all his trouble. Neither can he easily find
out whether the texts are still on the market or have been discarded from
the Book; for two hundred and fifty-eight editions of it have been
issued, and no two editions seem to be alike. The annual changes--in
technical terminology; in matter and wording; in transpositions of
chapters and verses; in leaving out old chapters and verses and putting
in new ones--seem to be next to innumerable, and as there is no index,
there is no way to find a thing one wants without reading the book
through. If ever I inspire a Bible-Annex I will not rush at it in a
half-digested, helter-skelter way and have to put in thirty-eight years
trying to get some of it the way I want it, I will sit down and think it
out and know what it is I want to say before I begin. An inspirer cannot
inspire for Mrs. Eddy and keep his reputation. I have never seen such
slipshod work, bar the ten that interpreted for the home market the "sell
all thou hast." I have quoted one "spiritual" rendering of the Lord's
Prayer, I have seen one other one, and am told there are five more. Yet
the inspirer of Mrs. Eddy the new Infallible casts a complacent critical
stone at the other Infallible for being unable to make up its mind about
such things. Science and Health, edition 1899, page 33:
"The decisions, by vote of Church Councils, as to what should and should
not be considered Holy Writ, the manifest mistakes in the ancient
versions: the thirty thousand different readings in the Old Testament and
the three hundred thousand in the New--these facts show how a mortal and
material sense stole into the divine record, darkening, to some extent,
the inspired pages with its own hue."
To some extent, yes--speaking cautiously. But it is nothing, really
nothing; Mrs. Eddy is only a little way behind, and if her inspirer lives
to get her Annex to suit him that Catholic record will have to "go 'way
back and set down," as the ballad says. Listen to the boastful song of
Mrs. Eddy's organ, the Christian Science Journal for March, 1902, about
that year's revamping and half-soling of Science and Health, whose
official name is the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, and who is now the
Official Pastor and Infallible and Unerring Guide of every Christian
Science church in the two hemispheres, hear Simple Simon that met the
pieman brag of the Infallible's fallibility:
"Throughout the entire book the verbal changes are so numerous as to
indicate the vast amount of time and labor Mrs. Eddy has devoted to this
revision. The time and labor thus bestowed is relatively as great as
that of--the committee who revised the Bible.... Thus we have
additional evidence of the herculean efforts our beloved Leader has made
and is constantly making for the promulgation of Truth and the
furtherance of her divinely bestowed mission," etc.
It is a steady job. I could help inspire if desired; I am not doing much
now, and would work for half-price, and should not object to the country.
PRICE OF THE PASTOR-UNIVERSAL
The price of the Pastor-Universal, Science and Health, called in Science
literature the Comforter--and by that other sacred Name--is three
dollars in cloth, as heretofore, six when it is finely bound, and shaped
to imitate the Testament, and is broken into verses. Margin of profit
above cost of manufacture, from five hundred to seven hundred per cent.,
as already noted In the profane subscription-trade, it costs the
publisher heavily to canvass a three-dollar book; he must pay the general
agent sixty per cent. commission--that is to say, one dollar and eighty-
cents. Mrs. Eddy escapes this blistering tax, because she owns the
Christian Science canvasser, and can compel him to work for nothing.
Read the following command--not request--fulminated by Mrs. Eddy, over
her signature, in the Christian Science Journal for March, 1897, and
quoted by Mr. Peabody in his book. The book referred to is Science and
"It shall be the duty of all Christian Scientists to circulate and to
sell as many of these books as they can."
That is flung at all the elect, everywhere that the sun shines, but no
penalty is shaken over their heads to scare them. The same command was
issued to the members (numbering to-day twenty-five thousand) of The
Mother-Church, also, but with it went a threat, of the infliction, in
case of disobedience, of the most dreaded punishment that has a place in
the Church's list of penalties for transgressions of Mrs. Eddy's edicts
"If a member of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, shall fail to obey
this injunction, it will render him liable to lose his membership in this
Church. MARY BAKER EDDY."
It is the spirit of the Spanish Inquisition.
None but accepted and well established gods can venture an affront like
that and do it with confidence. But the human race will take anything
from that class. Mrs. Eddy knows the human race; knows it better than
any mere human being has known it in a thousand centuries. My confidence
in her human-beingship is getting shaken, my confidence in her godship is
SEVEN HUNDRED PER CENT.
A Scientist out West has visited a bookseller--with intent to find fault
with me--and has brought away the information that the price at which
Mrs. Eddy sells Science and Health is not an unusually high one for the
size and make of the book. That is true. But in the book-trade--that
profit-devourer unknown to Mrs. Eddy's book--a three-dollar book that is
made for thirty-five or forty cents in large editions is put at three
dollars because the publisher has to pay author, middleman, and
advertising, and if the price were much below three the profit accruing
would not pay him fairly for his time and labor. At the same time, if he
could get ten dollars for the book he would take it, and his morals would
not fall under criticism.
But if he were an inspired person commissioned by the Deity to receive
and print and spread broadcast among sorrowing and suffering and poor men
a precious message of healing and cheer and salvation, he would have to
do as Bible Societies do--sell the book at a pinched margin above cost to
such as could pay, and give it free to all that couldn't; and his name
would be praised. But if he sold it at seven hundred per cent. profit
and put the money in his pocket, his name would be mocked and derided.
Just as Mrs. Eddy's is. And most justifiably, as it seems to me.
The complete Bible contains one million words. The New Testament by
itself contains two hundred and forty thousand words.
My '84 edition of Science and Health contains one hundred and twenty
thousand words--just half as many as the New Testament.
Science and Health has since been so inflated by later inspirations that
the 1902 edition contains one hundred and eighty thousand words--not
counting the thirty thousand at the back, devoted by Mrs. Eddy to
advertising the book's healing abilities--and the inspiring continues
If you have a book whose market is so sure and so great that you can give
a printer an everlasting order for thirty or forty or fifty thousand
copies a year he will furnish them at a cheap rate, because whenever
there is a slack time in his press-room and bindery he can fill the idle
intervals on your book and be making something instead of losing. That
is the kind of contract that can be let on Science and Health every year.
I am obliged to doubt that the three-dollar Science and Health costs Mrs.
Eddy above fifteen cents, or that the six dollar copy costs her above
eighty cents. I feel quite sure that the average profit to her on these
books, above cost of manufacture, is all of seven hundred per cent.
Every proper Christian Scientist has to buy and own (and canvass for)
Science and Health (one hundred and eighty thousand words), and he must
also own a Bible (one million words). He can buy the one for from three
to six dollars, and the other for fifteen cents. Or, if three dollars is
all the money he has, he can get his Bible for nothing. When the Supreme
Being disseminates a saving Message through uninspired agents--the New
Testament, for instance--it can be done for five cents a copy, but when
He sends one containing only two-thirds as many words through the shop of
a Divine Personage, it costs sixty times as much. I think that in
matters of such importance it is bad economy to employ a wild-cat agency.
Here are some figures which are perfectly authentic, and which seem to
justify my opinion.
"These [Bible] societies, inspired only by a sense of religious duty, are
issuing the Bible at a price so small that they have made it the cheapest
book printed. For example, the American Bible Society offers an edition
of the whole Bible as low as fifteen cents and the New Testament at five
cents, and the British Society at sixpence and one penny, respectively.
These low prices, made possible by their policy of selling the books at
cost or below cost," etc.--New York Sun, February 25, 1903.
We may now make a final footing-up of Mrs. Eddy, and see what she is, in
the fulness of her powers. She is
The Massachusetts Metaphysical College
Board of Directors;
Board of Education;
Board of Lectureships;
Future Board of Trustees,
Proprietor of the Publishing-House and Periodicals;
Proprietor of the Teachers;
Proprietor of the Lecturers;
Proprietor of the Missionaries;
Proprietor of the Readers;
Dictator of the Services; sole Voice of the Pulpit;
Proprietor of the Sanhedrin;
Sole Proprietor of the Creed. (Copyrighted.);
Indisputable Autocrat of the Branch Churches, with their life and death
in her hands;
Sole Thinker for The First Church (and the others);
Sole and Infallible Expounder of Doctrine, in life and in death;
Sole permissible Discoverer, Denouncer, Judge, and Executioner of
Fifty-handed God of Excommunication--with a thunderbolt in every hand;
Appointer and Installer of the Pastor of all the Churches--the Perpetual
Pastor-Universal, Science and Health, "the Comforter."
There she stands-painted by herself. No witness but herself has been
allowed to testify. She stands there painted by her acts, and decorated
by her words. When she talks, she has only a decorative value as a
witness, either for or against herself, for she deals mainly in
unsupported assertion; and in the rare cases where she puts forward a
verifiable fact she gets out of it a meaning which it refuses to furnish
to anybody else. Also, when she talks, she is unstable, she wanders, she
is incurably inconsistent; what she says to-day she contradicts tomorrow.
But her acts are consistent. They are always faithful to her, they never
misinterpret her, they are a mirror which always reflects her exactly,
precisely, minutely, unerringly, and always the same, to date, with only
those progressive little natural changes in stature, dress, complexion,
mood, and carriage that mark--exteriorly--the march of the years and
record the accumulations of experience, while--interiorly--through all
this steady drift of evolution the one essential detail, the commanding
detail, the master detail of the make-up remains as it was in the
beginning, suffers no change and can suffer none; the basis of the
character; the temperament, the disposition, that indestructible iron
framework upon which the character is built, and whose shape it must
take, and keep, throughout life. We call it a person's nature.
The man who is born stingy can be taught to give liberally--with his
hands; but not with his heart. The man born kind and compassionate can
have that disposition crushed down out of sight by embittering
experience; but if it were an organ the post-mortem would find it still
in his corpse. The man born ambitious of power and glory may live long
without finding it out, but when the opportunity comes he will know, will
strike for the largest thing within the limit of his chances at the time-
constable, perhaps--and will be glad and proud when he gets it, and will
write home about it. But he will not stop with that start; his appetite
will come again; and by-and-by again, and yet again; and when he has
climbed to police commissioner it will at last begin to dawn upon him
that what his Napoleon soul wants and was born for is something away
higher up--he does not quite know what, but Circumstance and Opportunity
will indicate the direction and he will cut a road through and find out.
I think Mrs. Eddy was born with a far-seeing business-eye, but did not
know it; and with a great organizing and executive talent, and did not
know it; and with a large appetite for power and distinction, and did not
know it. I think the reason that her make did not show up until middle
life was that she had General Grant's luck--Circumstance and Opportunity
did not come her way when she was younger. The qualities that were born
in her had to wait for circumstance and opportunity--but they were there:
they were there to stay, whether they ever got a chance to fructify or
not. If they had come early, they would have found her ready and
competent. And they--not she--would have determined what they would set
her at and what they would make of her. If they had elected to
commission her as second-assistant cook in a bankrupt boarding-house,
I know the rest of it--I know what would have happened. She would have
owned the boarding-house within six months; she would have had the late
proprietor on salary and humping himself, as the worldly say; she would
have had that boarding-house spewing money like a mint; she would have
worked the servants and the late landlord up to the limit; she would have
squeezed the boarders till they wailed, and by some mysterious quality
born in her she would have kept the affections of certain of the lot
whose love and esteem she valued, and flung the others down the back
area; in two years she would own all the boarding-houses in the town, in
five all the boarding-houses in the State, in twenty all the hotels in
America, in forty all the hotels on the planet, and would sit at home
with her finger on a button and govern the whole combination as easily as
a bench-manager governs a dog-show.
It would be a grand thing to see, and I feel a kind of disappointment--
but never mind, a religion is better and larger; and there is more to it.
And I have not been steeping myself in Christian Science all these weeks
without finding out that the one sensible thing to do with a
disappointment is to put it out of your mind and think of something
We outsiders cannot conceive of Mrs. Eddy's Christian Science Religion as
being a sudden and miraculous birth, but only as a growth from a seed
planted by circumstances, and developed stage by stage by command and
compulsion of the same force. What the stages were we cannot know, but
are privileged to guess. She may have gotten the mental-healing idea
from Quimby--it had been experimented with for ages, and was no one's
special property. [For the present, for convenience' sake, let us
proceed upon the hypothesis that that was all she got of him, and that
she put up the rest of the assets herself. This will strain us, but let
us try it.] In each and all its forms and under all its many names,
mental healing had had limits, always, and they were rather narrow ones--
Mrs. Eddy, let us imagine, removed the fence, abolished the frontiers.
Not by expanding mental-healing, but by absorbing its small bulk into the
vaster bulk of Christian Science--Divine Science, The Holy Ghost, the
Comforter--which was a quite different and sublimer force, and one which
had long lain dormant and unemployed.
The Christian Scientist believes that the Spirit of God (life and love)
pervades the universe like an atmosphere; that whoso will study Science
and Health can get from it the secret of how to inhale that transforming
air; that to breathe it is to be made new; that from the new man all
sorrow, all care, all miseries of the mind vanish away, for that only
peace, contentment and measureless joy can live in that divine fluid;
that it purifies the body from disease, which is a vicious creation of
the gross human mind, and cannot continue to exist in the presence of the
Immortal Mind, the renewing Spirit of God.
The Scientist finds this reasonable, natural, and not harder to believe
than that the disease germ, a creature of darkness, perishes when exposed
to the light of the great sun--a new revelation of profane science which
no one doubts. He reminds us that the actinic ray, shining upon lupus,
cures it--a horrible disease which was incurable fifteen years ago, and
had been incurable for ten million years before; that this wonder,
unbelievable by the physicians at first, is believed by them now; and so
he is tranquilly confident that the time is coming when the world will be
educated up to a point where it will comprehend and grant that the light
of the Spirit of God, shining unobstructed upon the soul, is an actinic
ray which can purge both mind and body from disease and set them free and
make them whole.
It is apparent, then, that in Christian Science it is not one man's mind
acting upon another man's mind that heals; that it is solely the Spirit
of God that heals; that the healer's mind performs no office but to
convey that force to the patient; that it is merely the wire which
carries the electric fluid, so to speak, and delivers the message.
Therefore, if these things be true, mental-healing and Science-healing
are separate and distinct processes, and no kinship exists between them.
To heal the body of its ills and pains is a mighty benefaction, but in
our day our physicians and surgeons work a thousand miracles--prodigies
which would have ranked as miracles fifty years ago--and they have so
greatly extended their domination over disease that we feel so well
protected that we are able to look with a good deal of composure and
absence of hysterics upon the claims of new competitors in that field.
But there is a mightier benefaction than the healing of the body, and
that is the healing of the spirit--which is Christian Science's other
claim. So far as I know, so far as I can find out, it makes it good.
Personally I have not known a Scientist who did not seem serene,
contented, unharassed. I have not found an outsider whose observation of
Scientists furnished him a view that differed from my own. Buoyant
spirits, comfort of mind, freedom from care these happinesses we all
have, at intervals; but in the spaces between, dear me, the black hours!
They have put a curse upon the life of every human being I have ever
known, young or old. I concede not a single exception. Unless it might
be those Scientists just referred to. They may have been playing a part
with me; I hope they were not, and I believe they were not.
Time will test the Science's claim. If time shall make it good; if time
shall prove that the Science can heal the persecuted spirit of man and
banish its troubles and keep it serene and sunny and content--why, then
Mrs. Eddy will have a monument that will reach above the clouds. For if
she did not hit upon that imperial idea and evolve it and deliver it, its
discoverer can never be identified with certainty, now, I think. It is
the giant feature, it is the sun that rides in the zenith of Christian
Science, the auxiliary features are of minor consequence [Let us still
leave the large "if" aside, for the present, and proceed as if it had no
It is not supposable that Mrs. Eddy realized, at first, the size of her
plunder. (No, find--that is the word; she did not realize the size of
her find, at first.) It had to grow upon her, by degrees, in accordance
with the inalterable custom of Circumstance, which works by stages, and
by stages only, and never furnishes any mind with all the materials for a
large idea at one time.
In the beginning, Mrs. Eddy was probably interested merely in the mental-
healing detail And perhaps mainly interested in it pecuniary, for she was
She would succeed in anything she undertook. She would attract pupils,
and her commerce would grow. She would inspire in patient and pupil
confidence in her earnestness, her history is evidence that she would not
fail of that.
There probably came a time, in due course, when her students began to
think there was something deeper in her teachings than they had been
suspecting--a mystery beyond mental-healing, and higher. It is
conceivable that by consequence their manner towards her changed little
by little, and from respectful became reverent. It is conceivable that
this would have an influence upon her; that it would incline her to
wonder if their secret thought--that she was inspired--might not be a
well-grounded guess. It is conceivable that as time went on the thought
in their minds and its reflection in hers might solidify into conviction.
She would remember, then, that as a child she had been called, more than
once, by a mysterious voice--just as had happened to little Samuel.
(Mentioned in her Autobiography.) She would be impressed by that ancient
reminiscence, now, and it could have a prophetic meaning for her.
It is conceivable that the persuasive influences around her and within
her would give a new and powerful impulse to her philosophizings, and
that from this, in time, would result that great birth, the healing of
body and mind by the inpouring of the Spirit of God--the central and
dominant idea of Christian Science--and that when this idea came she
would not doubt that it was an inspiration direct from Heaven.
[I must rest a little, now. To sit here and painstakingly spin out a
scheme which imagines Mrs. Eddy, of all people, working her mind on a
plane above commercialism; imagines her thinking, philosophizing,
discovering majestic things; and even imagines her dealing in
sincerities--to be frank, I find it a large contract But I have begun it,
and I will go through with it.]
It is evident that she made disciples fast, and that their belief in her
and in the authenticity of her heavenly ambassadorship was not of the
lukewarm and half-way sort, but was profoundly earnest and sincere. Her
book was issued from the press in 1875, it began its work of convert-
making, and within six years she had successfully launched a new Religion
and a new system of healing, and was teaching them to crowds of eager
students in a College of her own, at prices so extraordinary that we are
almost compelled to accept her statement (no, her guarded intimation)
that the rates were arranged on high, since a mere human being
unacquainted with commerce and accustomed to think in pennies could
hardly put up such a hand as that without supernatural help.
From this stage onward--Mrs. Eddy being what she was--the rest of the
development--stages would follow naturally and inevitably.
But if she had been anybody else, there would have been a different
arrangement of them, with different results. Being the extraordinary
person she was, she realized her position and its possibilities; realized
the possibilities, and had the daring to use them for all they were
We have seen what her methods were after she passed the stage where her
divine ambassadorship was granted its executer in the hearts and minds of
her followers; we have seen how steady and fearless and calculated and
orderly was her march thenceforth from conquest to conquest; we have seen
her strike dead, without hesitancy, any hostile or questionable force
that rose in her path: first, the horde of pretenders that sprang up and
tried to take her Science and its market away from her--she crushed them,
she obliterated them; when her own National Christian Science Association
became great in numbers and influence, and loosely and dangerously
garrulous, and began to expound the doctrines according to its own
uninspired notions, she took up her sponge without a tremor of fear and
wiped that Association out; when she perceived that the preachers in her
pulpits were becoming afflicted with doctrine-tinkering, she recognized
the danger of it, and did not hesitate nor temporize, but promptly
dismissed the whole of them in a day, and abolished their office
permanently; we have seen that, as fast as her power grew, she was
competent to take the measure of it, and that as fast as its expansion
suggested to her gradually awakening native ambition a higher step she
took it; and so, by this evolutionary process, we have seen the gross
money-lust relegated to second place, and the lust of empire and glory
rise above it. A splendid dream; and by force of the qualities born in
her she is making it come true.
These qualities--and the capacities growing out of them by the nurturing
influences of training, observation, and experience seem to be clearly
indicated by the character of her career and its achievements. They seem
A clear head for business, and a phenomenally long one;
Clear understanding of business situations;
Accuracy in estimating the opportunities they offer;
Intelligence in planning a business move;
Firmness in sticking to it after it has been decided upon;
A knowledge of the weaknesses and poverties and docilities of human
nature and how to turn them to account which has never been surpassed, if
And--necessarily--the foundation-stone of Mrs. Eddy's character is a
never-wavering confidence in herself.
It is a granite character. And--quite naturally--a measure of the talc
of smallnesses common to human nature is mixed up in it and distributed
through it. When Mrs. Eddy is not dictating servilities from her throne
in the clouds to her official domestics in Boston or to her far-spread
subjects round about the planet, but is down on the ground, she is kin to
us and one of us: sentimental as a girl, garrulous, ungrammatical,
incomprehensible, affected, vain of her little human ancestry, unstable,
inconsistent, unreliable in statement, and naively and everlastingly
self-contradictory-oh, trivial and common and commonplace as the
commonest of us! just a Napoleon as Madame de Remusat saw him, a brass
god with clay legs.
In drawing Mrs. Eddy's portrait it has been my purpose to restrict myself
to materials furnished by herself, and I believe I have done that. If I
have misinterpreted any of her acts, it was not done intentionally.
It will be noticed that in skeletonizing a list of the qualities which
have carried her to the dizzy summit which she occupies, I have not
mentioned the power which was the commanding force employed in achieving
that lofty flight. It did not belong in that list; it was a force that
was not a detail of her character, but was an outside one. It was the
power which proceeded from her people's recognition of her as a
supernatural personage, conveyer of the Latest Word, and divinely
commissioned to deliver it to the world. The form which such a
recognition takes, consciously or unconsciously, is worship; and worship
does not question nor criticize, it obeys. The object of it does not
need to coddle it, bribe it, beguile it, reason with it, convince it--it
commands it; that is sufficient; the obedience rendered is not reluctant,
but prompt and whole-hearted. Admiration for a Napoleon, confidence in
him, pride in him, affection for him, can lift him high and carry him
far; and these are forms of worship, and are strong forces, but they are
worship of a mere human being, after all, and are infinitely feeble, as
compared with those that are generated by that other worship, the worship
of a divine personage. Mrs. Eddy has this efficient worship, this massed
and centralized force, this force which is indifferent to opposition,
untroubled by fear, and goes to battle singing, like Cromwell's soldiers;
and while she has it she can command and it will obey, and maintain her
on her throne, and extend her empire.
She will have it until she dies; and then we shall see a curious and
interesting further development of her revolutionary work begin.
The President and Board of Directors will succeed her, and the government
will go on without a hitch. The By-laws will bear that interpretation.
All the Mother-Church's vast powers are concentrated in that Board. Mrs.
Eddy's unlimited personal reservations make the Board's ostensible
supremacy, during her life, a sham, and the Board itself a shadow. But
Mrs. Eddy has not made those reservations for any one but herself--they
are distinctly personal, they bear her name, they are not usable by
another individual. When she dies her reservations die, and the Board's
shadow-powers become real powers, without the change of any important By-
law, and the Board sits in her place as absolute and irresponsible a
sovereign as she was.
It consists of but five persons, a much more manageable Cardinalate than
the Roman Pope's. I think it will elect its Pope from its own body, and
that it will fill its own vacancies. An elective Papacy is a safe and
wise system, and a long-liver.
We may take that up now.
It is not a single if, but a several-jointed one; not an oyster, but a
1. Did Mrs. Eddy borrow from Quimby the Great Idea, or only the little
one, the old-timer, the ordinary mental-healing-healing by "mortal" mind?
2. If she borrowed the Great Idea, did she carry it away in her head, or
3. Did she hit upon the Great Idea herself? By the Great Idea I mean,
of course, the conviction that the Force involved was still existent, and
could be applied now just as it was applied by Christ's Disciples and
their converts, and as successfully.
4. Did she philosophize it, systematize it, and write it down in a book?
5. Was it she, and not another, that built a new Religion upon the book
and organized it?
I think No. 5 can be answered with a Yes, and dismissed from the
controversy. And I think that the Great Idea, great as it was, would
have enjoyed but a brief activity, and would then have gone to sleep
again for some more centuries, but for the perpetuating impulse it got
from that organized and tremendous force.
As for Nos. 1, 2, and 4, the hostiles contend that Mrs. Eddy got the
Great Idea from Quimby and carried it off in manuscript. But their
testimony, while of consequence, lacks the most important detail; so far
as my information goes, the Quimby manuscript has not been produced. I
think we cannot discuss No. 1 and No. 2 profitably. Let them go.
For me, No. 3 has a mild interest, and No. 4 a violent one.
As regards No. 3, Mrs. Eddy was brought up, from the cradle, an old-
time, boiler-iron, Westminster-Catechism Christian, and knew her Bible as
well as Captain Kydd knew his, "when he sailed, when he sailed," and
perhaps as sympathetically. The Great Idea had struck a million Bible-
readers before her as being possible of resurrection and application--it
must have struck as many as that, and been cogitated, indolently,
doubtingly, then dropped and forgotten--and it could have struck her, in
due course. But how it could interest her, how it could appeal to her--
with her make this a thing that is difficult to understand.
For the thing back of it is wholly gracious and beautiful: the power,
through loving mercifulness and compassion, to heal fleshly ills and
pains and grief--all--with a word, with a touch of the hand! This power
was given by the Saviour to the Disciples, and to all the converted.
All--every one. It was exercised for generations afterwards. Any
Christian who was in earnest and not a make-believe, not a policy--
Christian, not a Christian for revenue only, had that healing power, and
could cure with it any disease or any hurt or damage possible to human
flesh and bone. These things are true, or they are not. If they were
true seventeen and eighteen and nineteen centuries ago it would be
difficult to satisfactorily explain why or how or by what argument that
power should be nonexistent in Christians now.
To wish to exercise it could occur to Mrs. Eddy--but would it?
Grasping, sordid, penurious, famishing for everything she sees--money,
power, glory--vain, untruthful, jealous, despotic, arrogant, insolent,
pitiless where thinkers and hypnotists are concerned, illiterate,
shallow, incapable of reasoning outside of commercial lines, immeasurably
Of course the Great Idea could strike her, we have to grant that, but why
it should interest her is a question which can easily overstrain the
imagination and bring on nervous prostration, or something like that, and
is better left alone by the judicious, it seems to me--
Unless we call to our help the alleged other side of Mrs. Eddy's make and
character the side which her multitude of followers see, and sincerely
believe in. Fairness requires that their view be stated here. It is the
opposite of the one which I have drawn from Mrs. Eddy's history and from
her By-laws. To her followers she is this:
Patient, gentle, loving, compassionate, noble hearted, unselfish,
sinless, widely cultured, splendidly equipped mentally, a profound
thinker, an able writer, a divine personage, an inspired messenger whose
acts are dictated from the Throne, and whose every utterance is the Voice
She has delivered to them a religion which has revolutionized their
lives, banished the glooms that shadowed them, and filled them and
flooded them with sunshine and gladness and peace; a religion which has
no hell; a religion whose heaven is not put off to another time, with a
break and a gulf between, but begins here and now, and melts into
eternity as fancies of the waking day melt into the dreams of sleep.
They believe it is a Christianity that is in the New Testament; that it
has always been there, that in the drift of ages it was lost through
disuse and neglect, and that this benefactor has found it and given it
back to men, turning the night of life into day, its terrors into myths,
its lamentations into songs of emancipation and rejoicing.
There we have Mrs. Eddy as her followers see her. She has lifted them
out of grief and care and doubt and fear, and made their lives beautiful;
she found them wandering forlorn in a wintry wilderness, and has led them
to a tropic paradise like that of which the poet sings:
"O, islands there are on the face of the deep
Where the leaves never fade and the skies never weep."
To ask them to examine with a microscope the character of such a
benefactor; to ask them to examine it at all; to ask them to look at a
blemish which another person believes he has found in it--well, in their
place could you do it? Would you do it? Wouldn't you be ashamed to do
it? If a tramp had rescued your child from fire and death, and saved its
mother's heart from breaking, could you see his rags? Could you smell
his breath? Mrs. Eddy has done more than that for these people.
They are prejudiced witnesses. To the credit of human nature it is not
possible that they should be otherwise. They sincerely believe that Mrs.
Eddy's character is pure and perfect and beautiful, and her history
without stain or blot or blemish. But that does not settle it. They
sincerely believe she did not borrow the Great Idea from Quimby, but hit
upon it herself. It may be so, and it could be so. Let it go--there is
no way to settle it. They believe she carried away no Quimby
manuscripts. Let that go, too--there is no way to settle it. They
believe that she, and not another, built the Religion upon the book, and
organized it. I believe it, too.
Finally, they believe that she philosophized Christian Science, explained
it, systematized it, and wrote it all out with her own hand in the book
Science and Health.
I am not able to believe that. Let us draw the line there. The known
and undisputed products of her pen are a formidable witness against her.
They do seem to me to prove, quite clearly and conclusively, that
writing, upon even simple subjects, is a difficult labor for her: that
she has never been able to write anything above third-rate English; that
she is weak in the matter of grammar; that she has but a rude and dull
sense of the values of words; that she so lacks in the matter of literary
precision that she can seldom put a thought into words that express it
lucidly to the reader and leave no doubts in his mind as to whether he
has rightly understood or not; that she cannot even draught a Preface
that a person can fully comprehend, nor one which can by any art be
translated into a fully understandable form; that she can seldom inject
into a Preface even single sentences whose meaning is uncompromisingly
clear--yet Prefaces are her specialty, if she has one.
Mrs. Eddy's known and undisputed writings are very limited in bulk; they
exhibit no depth, no analytical quality, no thought above school
composition size, and but juvenile ability in handling thoughts of even
that modest magnitude. She has a fine commercial ability, and could
govern a vast railway system in great style; she could draught a set of
rules that Satan himself would say could not be improved on--for
devilish effectiveness--by his staff; but we know, by our excursions
among the Mother-Church's By-laws, that their English would discredit the
deputy baggage-smasher. I am quite sure that Mrs. Eddy cannot write well
upon any subject, even a commercial one.
In the very first revision of Science and Health (1883), Mrs. Eddy wrote
a Preface which is an unimpeachable witness that the rest of the book was
written by somebody else. I have put it in the Appendix along with a
page or two taken from the body of the book, and will ask the reader to
compare the labored and lumbering and confused gropings of this Preface
with the easy and flowing and direct English of the other exhibit, and
see if he can believe that the one hand and brain produced both.
And let him take the Preface apart, sentence by sentence, and searchingly
examine each sentence word by word, and see if he can find half a dozen
sentences whose meanings he is so sure of that he can rephrase them--in
words of his own--and reproduce what he takes to be those meanings.
Money can be lost on this game. I know, for I am the one that lost it.
Now let the reader turn to the excerpt which I have made from the chapter
on "Prayer" (last year's edition of Science and Health), and compare that
wise and sane and elevated and lucid and compact piece of work with the
aforesaid Preface, and with Mrs. Eddy's poetry concerning the gymnastic
trees, and Minerva's not yet effete sandals, and the wreaths imported
from Erudition's bower for the decoration of Plymouth Rock, and the
Plague-spot and Bacilli, and my other exhibits (turn back to my Chapters
I. and II.) from the Autobiography, and finally with the late
Communication concerning me, and see if he thinks anybody's affirmation,
or anybody's sworn testimony, or any other testimony of any imaginable
kind would ever be likely to convince him that Mrs. Eddy wrote that
chapter on Prayer.
I do not wish to impose my opinion on any one who will not permit it, but
such as it is I offer it here for what it is worth. I cannot believe,
and I do not believe, that Mrs. Eddy originated any of the thoughts and
reasonings out of which the book Science and Health is constructed; and I
cannot believe, and do not believe that she ever wrote any part of that
I think that if anything in the world stands proven, and well and solidly
proven, by unimpeachable testimony--the treacherous testimony of her own
pen in her known and undisputed literary productions--it is that Mrs.
Eddy is not capable of thinking upon high planes, nor of reasoning
clearly nor writing intelligently upon low ones.
Inasmuch as--in my belief--the very first editions of the book Science
and Health were far above the reach of Mrs. Eddy's mental and literary
abilities, I think she has from the very beginning been claiming as her
own another person's book, and wearing as her own property laurels
rightfully belonging to that person--the real author of Science and
Health. And I think the reason--and the only reason--that he has not
protested is because his work was not exposed to print until after he was
That with an eye to business, and by grace of her business talent, she
has restored to the world neglected and abandoned features of the
Christian religion which her thousands of followers find gracious and
blessed and contenting, I recognize and confess; but I am convinced that
every single detail of the work except just that one--the delivery of the
Product to the world--was conceived and performed by another.
ORIGINAL FIRST PREFACE TO SCIENCE AND HEALTH
There seems a Christian necessity of learning God's power and purpose to
heal both mind and body. This thought grew out of our early seeking Him
in all our ways, and a hopeless as singular invalidism that drugs
increased instead of diminished, and hygiene benefited only for a season.
By degrees we have drifted into more spiritual latitudes of thought, and
experimented as we advanced until demonstrating fully the power of mind
over the body. About the year 1862, having heard of a mesmerist in
Portland who was treating the sick by manipulation, we visited him; he
helped us for a time, then we relapsed somewhat. After his decease, and
a severe casualty deemed fatal by skilful physicians, we discovered that
the Principle of all healing and the law that governs it is God, a divine
Principle, and a spiritual not material law, and regained health.
It was not an individual or mortal mind acting upon another so-called
mind that healed us. It was the glorious truths of Christian Science
that we discovered as we neared that verge of so-called material life
named death; yea, it was the great Shekinah, the spirit of Life, Truth,
and Love illuminating our understanding of the action and might of
Omnipotence! The old gentleman to whom we have referred had some very
advanced views on healing, but he was not avowedly religious neither
scholarly. We interchanged thoughts on the subject of healing the sick.
I restored some patients of his that he failed to heal, and left in his
possession some manuscripts of mine containing corrections of his
desultory pennings, which I am informed at his decease passed into the
hands of a patient of his, now residing in Scotland. He died in 1865 and
left no published works. The only manuscript that we ever held of his,
longer than to correct it, was one of perhaps a dozen pages, most of
which we had composed. He manipulated the sick; hence his ostensible
method of healing was physical instead of mental.
We helped him in the esteem of the public by our writings, but never knew
of his stating orally or in writing that he treated his patients
mentally; never heard him give any directions to that effect; and have it
from one of his patients, who now asserts that he was the founder of
mental healing, that he never revealed to anyone his method. We refer to
these facts simply to refute the calumnies and false claims of our
enemies, that we are preferring dishonest claims to the discovery and
founding at this period of Metaphysical Healing or Christian Science.
The Science and laws of a purely mental healing and their method of
application through spiritual power alone, else a mental argument against
disease, are our own discovery at this date. True, the Principle is
divine and eternal, but the application of it to heal the sick had been
lost sight of, and required to be again spiritually discerned and its
science discovered, that man might retain it through the understanding.
Since our discovery in 1866 of the divine science of Christian Healing,
we have labored with tongue and pen to found this system. In this
endeavor every obstacle has been thrown in our path that the envy and
revenge of a few disaffected students could devise. The superstition and
ignorance of even this period have not failed to contribute their mite
towards misjudging us, while its Christian advancement and scientific
research have helped sustain our feeble efforts.
Since our first Edition of Science and Health, published in 1875, two of
the aforesaid students have plagiarized and pirated our works. In the
issues of E. J. A., almost exclusively ours, were thirteen paragraphs,
without credit, taken verbatim from our books.
Not one of our printed works was ever copied or abstracted from the
published or from the unpublished writings of anyone. Throughout our
publications of Metaphysical Healing or Christian Science, when writing
or dictating them, we have given ourselves to contemplation wholly apart
from the observation of the material senses: to look upon a copy would
have distracted our thoughts from the subject before us. We were seldom
able to copy our own compositions, and have employed an amanuensis for
the last six years. Every work that we have had published has been
extemporaneously written; and out of fifty lectures and sermons that we
have delivered the last year, forty-four have been extemporaneous. We
have distributed many of our unpublished manuscripts; loaned to one of
our youngest students, R. K--------y, between three and four hundred pages,
of which we were sole author--giving him liberty to copy but not to
Leaning on the sustaining Infinite with loving trust, the trials of to-
day grow brief, and to-morrow is big with blessings.
The wakeful shepherd, tending his flocks, beholds from the mountain's top
the first faint morning beam ere cometh the risen day. So from Soul's
loftier summits shines the pale star to prophet-shepherd, and it
traverses night, over to where the young child lies, in cradled
obscurity, that shall waken a world. Over the night of error dawn the
morning beams and guiding star of Truth, and "the wise men" are led by it
to Science, which repeats the eternal harmony that it reproduced, in
proof of immortality. The time for thinkers has come; and the time for
revolutions, ecclesiastical and civil, must come. Truth, independent of
doctrines or time-honored systems, stands at the threshold of history.
Contentment with the past, or the cold conventionality of custom, may no
longer shut the door on science; though empires fall, "He whose right it
is shall reign." Ignorance of God should no longer be the stepping-stone
to faith; understanding Him, "whom to know aright is Life eternal," is
the only guaranty of obedience.
This volume may not open a new thought, and make it at once familiar. It
has the sturdy task of a pioneer, to hack away at the tall oaks and cut
the rough granite, leaving future ages to declare what it has done. We
made our first discovery of the adaptation of metaphysics to the
treatment of disease in the winter of 1866; since then we have tested the
Principle on ourselves and others, and never found it to fail to prove
the statements herein made of it. We must learn the science of Life, to
reach the perfection of man. To understand God as the Principle of all
being, and to live in accordance with this Principle, is the Science of
Life. But to reproduce this harmony of being, the error of personal
sense must yield to science, even as the science of music corrects tones
caught from the ear, and gives the sweet concord of sound. There are
many theories of physic and theology, and many calls in each of their
directions for the right way; but we propose to settle the question of
"What is Truth?" on the ground of proof, and let that method of healing
the sick and establishing Christianity be adopted that is found to give
the most health and to make the best Christians; science will then have a
fair field, in which case we are assured of its triumph over all opinions
and beliefs. Sickness and sin have ever had their doctors; but the
question is, Have they become less because of them? The longevity of our
antediluvians would say, No! and the criminal records of today utter
their voices little in favor of such a conclusion. Not that we would
deny to Caesar the things that are his, but that we ask for the things
that belong to Truth; and safely affirm, from the demonstrations we have
been able to make, that the science of man understood would have
eradicated sin, sickness, and death, in a less period than six thousand
years. We find great difficulties in starting this work right. Some
shockingly false claims are already made to a metaphysical practice;
mesmerism, its very antipodes, is one of them. Hitherto we have never,
in a single instance of our discovery, found the slightest resemblance
between mesmerism and metaphysics. No especial idiosyncrasy is requisite
to acquire a knowledge of metaphysical healing; spiritual sense is more
important to its discernment than the intellect; and those who would
learn this science without a high moral standard of thought and action,
will fail to understand it until they go up higher. Owing to our
explanations constantly vibrating between the same points, an irksome
repetition of words must occur; also the use of capital letters, genders,
and technicalities peculiar to the science. Variety of language, or
beauty of diction, must give place to close analysis and unembellished
thought. "Hoping all things, enduring all things," to do good to our
enemies, to bless them that curse us, and to bear to the sorrowing and
the sick consolation and healing, we commit these pages to posterity.
MARY BAKER G. EDDY.
The Gospel narratives bear brief testimony even to the life of our great
Master. His spiritual noumenon and phenomenon, silenced portraiture.
Writers, less wise than the Apostles, essayed in the Apocryphal New
Testament, a legendary and traditional history of the early life of
Jesus. But Saint Paul summarized the character of Jesus as the model of
Christianity, in these words: "Consider Him who endured such
contradictions of sinners against Himself. Who for the joy that was set
before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at
the right hand of the throne of God."
It may be that the mortal life battle still wages, and must continue till
its involved errors are vanquished by victory-bringing Science; but this
triumph will come! God is over all. He alone is our origin, aim, and
Being. The real man is not of the dust, nor is he ever created through
the flesh; for his father and mother are the one Spirit, and his brethren
are all the children of one parent, the eternal Good.
Any kind of literary composition was excessively difficult for Mrs. Eddy.
She found it grinding hard work to dig out anything to say. She
realized, at the above stage in her life, that with all her trouble she
had not been able to scratch together even material enough for a child's
Autobiography, and also that what she had secured was in the main not
valuable, not important, considering the age and the fame of the person
she was writing about; and so it occurred to her to attempt, in that
paragraph, to excuse the meagreness and poor quality of the feast she was
spreading, by letting on that she could do ever so much better if she
wanted to, but was under constraint of Divine etiquette. To feed with
more than a few indifferent crumbs a plebeian appetite for personal
details about Personages in her class was not the correct thing, and she
blandly points out that there is Precedent for this reserve. When Mrs.
Eddy tries to be artful--in literature--it is generally after the
manner of the ostrich; and with the ostrich's luck. Please try to find
the connection between the two paragraphs.--M. T.
The following is the spiritual signification of the Lord's Prayer:
Principle, eternal and harmonious,
Nameless and adorable Intelligence,
Thou art ever present and supreme.
And when this supremacy of Spirit shall appear, the dream of matter will
Give us the understanding of Truth and Love.
And loving we shall learn God, and Truth will destroy all error.
And lead us unto the Life that is Soul, and deliver us from the errors of
sense, sin, sickness, and death,
For God is Life, Truth, and Love for ever.
--Science and Health, edition of 1881.
It seems to me that this one is distinctly superior to the one that was
inspired for last year's edition. It is strange, but to my mind plain,
that inspiring is an art which does not improve with practice.--M. T.
"For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain,
Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in
his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come
to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you,
What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them,
and ye shall have them.
"Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him."
The prayer that reclaims the sinner and heals the sick, is an absolute
faith that all things are possible to God--a spiritual understanding of
Him--an unselfed love. Regardless of what another may say or think on
this subject, I speak from experience. This prayer, combined with self-
sacrifice and toil, is the means whereby God has enabled me to do what I
have done for the religion and health of mankind.
Thoughts unspoken are not unknown to the divine Mind. Desire is prayer;
and no less can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may
be moulded and exalted before they take form in audible word, and in
What are the motives for prayer? Do we pray to make ourselves better, or
to benefit those that hear us; to enlighten the Infinite, or to be heard
of men? Are we benefited by praying? Yes, the desire which goes forth
hungering after righteousness is blessed of our Father, and it does not
return unto us void.
God is not moved by the breath of praise to do more than He has already
done; nor can the Infinite do less than bestow all good, since He is
unchanging Wisdom and Love. We can do more for ourselves by humble
fervent petitions; but the All-loving does not grant them simply on the
ground of lip-service, for He already knows all.
Prayer cannot change the Science of Being, but it does bring us into
harmony with it. Goodness reaches the demonstration of Truth. A request
that another may work for us never does our work. The habit of pleading
with the divine Mind, as one pleads with a human being, perpetuates the
belief in God as humanly circumscribed--an error which impedes spiritual
God is Love. Can we ask Him to be more? God is Intelligence. Can we
inform the infinite Mind, or tell Him anything He does not already
comprehend? Do we hope to change perfection? Shall we plead for more at
the open fount, which always pours forth more than we receive? The
unspoken prayer does bring us nearer the Source of all existence and
Asking God to be God is a "vain repetition." God is "the same yesterday,
and to-day, and forever"; and He who is immutably right will do right,
without being reminded of His province. The wisdom of man is not
sufficient to warrant him in advising God.
Who would stand before a blackboard, and pray the principle of
mathematics to work out the problem? The rule is already established,
and it is our task to work out the solution. Shall we ask the divine
Principle of all goodness to do His own work? His work is done; and we
have only to avail ourselves of God's rule, in order to receive the
The divine Being must be reflected by man--else man is not the image and
likeness of the patient, tender, and true, the one "altogether lovely";
but to understand God is the work of eternity, and demands absolute
concentration of thought and energy.
How empty are our conceptions of Deity! We admit theoretically that God
is good, omnipotent, omnipresent, infinite, and then we try to give
information to this infinite Mind; and plead for unmerited pardon, and a
liberal outpouring of benefactions. Are we really grateful for the good
already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we
have, and thus be fitted to receive more. Gratitude is much more than a
verbal expression of thanks Action expresses more gratitude than speech.
If we are ungrateful for Life, Truth, and Love, and yet return thanks to
God for all blessings, we are insincere; and incur the sharp censure our
Master pronounces on hypocrites. In such a case the only acceptable
prayer is to put the finger on the lips and remember our blessings.
While the heart is far from divine Truth and Love, we cannot conceal the
ingratitude of barren lives, for God knoweth all things.
What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace,
expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds. To keep the
commandments of our Master and follow his example, is our proper debt to
Him, and the only worthy evidence of our gratitude for all He has done.
Outward worship is not of itself sufficient to express loyal and
heartfelt gratitude, since He has said: "If ye love Me, keep My
The habitual struggle to be always good, is unceasing prayer. Its
motives are made manifest in the blessings they bring--which, if not
acknowledged in audible words, attest our worthiness to be made partakers
Simply asking that we may love God will never make us love Him; but the
longing to be better and holier--expressed in daily watchfulness, and in
striving to assimilate more of the divine character--this will mould and
fashion us anew, until we awake in His likeness. We reach the Science of
Christianity through demonstration of the divine nature; but in this
wicked world goodness will "be evil spoken of," and patience must work
Audible prayer can never do the works of spiritual understanding, which
regenerates; but silent prayer, watchfulness, and devout obedience,
enable us to follow Jesus' example. Long prayers, ecclesiasticism, and
creeds, have clipped the divine pinions of Love, and clad religion in
human robes. They materialize worship, hinder the Spirit, and keep man
from demonstrating his power over error.
Sorrow for wrong-doing is but one step towards reform, and the very
easiest step. The next and great step required by Wisdom is the test of
our sincerity--namely, reformation. To this end we are placed under the
stress of circumstances. Temptation bids us repeat the offence, and woe
comes in return for what is done. So it will ever be, till we learn that
there is no discount in the law of justice, and that we must pay "the
uttermost farthing." The measure ye mete "shall be measured to you
again," and it will be full "and running over."
Saints and sinners get their full award, but not always in this world.
The followers of Christ drank His cup. Ingratitude and persecution
filled it to the brim; but God pours the riches of His love into the
understanding and affections, giving us strength according to our day.
Sinners flourish "like a green bay-tree"; but, looking farther, the
Psalmist could see their end--namely, the destruction of sin through
Prayer is sometimes used, as a confessional to cancel sin. This error
impedes true religion. Sin is forgiven, only as it is destroyed by
Christ-Truth and Life If prayer nourishes the belief that sin is
cancelled, and that man is made better by merely praying, it is an evil.
He grows worse who continues in sin because he thinks himself forgiven.
An apostle says that the Son of God (Christ) came to "destroy the works
of the devil." We should follow our divine Exemplar, and seek the
destruction of all evil works, error and disease included. We cannot
escape the penalty due for sin. The Scriptures say, that if we deny
Christ, "He also will deny us."
The divine Love corrects and governs man. Men may pardon, but this
divine Principle alone reforms the sinner. God is not separate from the
wisdom He bestows. The talents He gives we must improve. Calling on Him
to forgive our work, badly done or left undone, implies the vain
supposition that we have nothing to do but to ask pardon, and that
afterwards we shall be free to repeat the offence.
To cause suffering, as the result of sin, is the means of destroying sin.
Every supposed pleasure in sin will furnish more than its equivalent of
pain, until belief in material life and sin is destroyed. To reach
heaven, the harmony of Being, we must understand the divine Principle of
"God is Love." More than this we cannot ask; higher we cannot look;
farther we cannot go. To suppose that God forgives or punishes sin,
according as His mercy is sought or unsought, is to misunderstand Love
and make prayer the safety-valve for wrong-doing.
Jesus uncovered and rebuked sin before He cast it out. Of a sick woman
He said that Satan had bound her; and to Peter He said, "Thou art an
offense unto me." He came teaching and showing men how to destroy sin,
sickness, and death. He said of the fruitless tree, "It is hewn down."
It is believed by many that a certain magistrate, who lived in the time
of Jesus, left this record: "His rebuke is fearful." The strong language
of our Master confirms this description.
The only civil sentence which He had for error was, "Get thee behind Me,
Satan." Still stronger evidence that Jesus' reproof was pointed and
pungent is in His own words--showing the necessity for such forcible
utterance, when He cast out devils and healed the sick and sinful. The
relinquishment of error deprives material sense of its false claims.
Audible prayer is impressive; it gives momentary solemnity and elevation
to thought; but does it produce any lasting benefit? Looking deeply into
these things, we find that "a zeal . . . not according to knowledge,"
gives occasion for reaction unfavorable to spiritual growth, sober
resolve, and wholesome perception of God's requirements. The motives for
verbal prayer may embrace too much love of applause to induce or
encourage Christian sentiment.
Physical sensation, not Soul, produces material ecstasy, and emotions.
If spiritual sense always guided men at such times, there would grow out
of those ecstatic moments a higher experience and a better life, with
more devout self-abnegation, and purity. A self-satisfied ventilation of
fervent sentiments never makes a Christian. God is not influenced by
man. The "divine ear" is not an auditoria! nerve. It is the all-
hearing and all-knowing Mind, to whom each want of man is always known,
and by whom it will be supplied.
The danger from audible prayer is, that it may lead us into temptation.
By it we may become involuntary hypocrites, uttering desires which are
not real, and consoling ourselves in the midst of sin, with the
recollection that we have prayed over it--or mean to ask forgiveness at
some later day. Hypocrisy is fatal to religion.
A wordy prayer may afford a quiet sense of self-justification, though it
makes the sinner a hypocrite. We never need despair of an honest heart,
but there is little hope for those who only come spasmodically face to
face with their wickedness, and then seek to hide it. Their prayers are
indexes which do not correspond with their character. They hold secret
fellowship with sin; and such externals are spoken of by Jesus as "like
unto whited sepulchres . . . full of all uncleanness."
If a man, though apparently fervent and prayerful, is impure, and
therefore insincere, what must be the comment upon him? If he had
reached the loftiness of his prayer, there would be no occasion for such
comment. If we feel the aspiration, humility, gratitude, and love which
our words express--this God accepts; and it is wise not to try to deceive
our. selves or others, for "there is nothing covered that shall not be
revealed." Professions and audible prayers are like charity in one
respect--they "cover a multitude of sins." Praying for humility, with
whatever fervency of expression, does not always mean a desire for it.
If we turn away from the poor, we are not ready to receive the reward of
Him who blesses the poor. We confess to having a very wicked heart, and
ask that it may be laid bare before us; but do we not already know more
of this heart than we are willing to have our neighbor see?
We ought to examine ourselves, and learn what is the affection and
purpose of the heart; for this alone can show us what we honestly are.
If a friend informs us of a fault, do we listen to the rebuke patiently,
and credit what is said? Do we not rather give thanks that we are "not
as other men?" During many years the author has been most grateful for
merited rebuke. The sting lies in unmerited censure--in the falsehood
which does no one any good.
The test of all prayer lies in the answer to these questions: Do we love
our neighbor better because of this asking? Do we pursue the old
selfishness, satisfied with having prayed for something better, though we
give no evidence of the sincerity of our requests by living consistently
with our prayer? If selfishness has given place to kindness, we shall
regard our neighbor unselfishly, and bless them that curse us; but we
shall never meet this great duty by simply asking that it may be done.
There is a cross to be taken up, before we can enjoy the fruition of our
hope and faith.
Dost thou "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy
soul, and with all thy mind?" This command includes much--even the
surrender of all merely material sensation, affection, and worship. This
is the E1 Dorado of Christianity. It involves the Science of Life, and
recognizes only the divine control of Spirit, wherein Soul is our master,
and material sense and human will have no place.
Are you willing to leave all for Christ, for Truth, and so be counted
among sinners? No! Do you really desire to attain this point? No!
Then why make long prayers about it, and ask to be Christians, since you
care not to tread in the footsteps of our dear Master? If unwilling to
follow His example, wherefore pray with the lips that you may be
partakers of His nature? Consistent prayer is the desire to do right.
Prayer means that we desire to, and will, walk in the light so far as we
receive it, even though with bleeding footsteps, and waiting patiently on
the Lord, will leave our real desires to be rewarded by Him.
The world must grow to the spiritual understanding of prayer. If good
enough to profit by Jesus' cup of earthly sorrows, God will sustain us
under these sorrows. Until we are thus divinely qualified, and willing
to drink His cup, millions of vain repetitions will never pour into
prayer the unction of Spirit, in demonstration of power, and "with signs
following." Christian Science reveals a necessity for overcoming the
world, the flesh and evil, and thus destroying all error.
Seeking is not sufficient. It is striving which enables us to enter.
Spiritual attainments open the door to a higher understanding of the
One of the forms of worship in Thibet is to carry a praying-machine
through the streets, and stop at the doors to earn a penny by grinding
out a prayer; whereas civilization pays for clerical prayers, in lofty
edifices. Is the difference very great, after all?
Experience teaches us that we do not always receive the blessings we ask
for in prayer.
There is some misapprehension of the source and means of all goodness and
blessedness, or we should certainly receive what we ask for. The
Scriptures say: "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye
may consume it upon your lusts." What we desire and ask for it is not
always best for us to receive. In this case infinite Love will not grant
the request. Do you ask Wisdom to be merciful and not punish sin? Then
"ye ask amiss." Without punishment, sin would multiply. Jesus' prayer,
"forgive us our debts," specified also the terms of forgiveness. When
forgiving the adulterous woman He said, "Go, and sin no more."
A magistrate sometimes remits the penalty, but this may be no moral
benefit to the criminal; and at best, it only saves him from one form of
punishment. The moral law, which has the right to acquit or condemn,
always demands restitution, before mortals can "go up higher." Broken
law brings penalty, in order to compel this progress.
Mere legal pardon (and there is no other, for divine Principle never
pardons our sins or mistakes till they are corrected) leaves the offender
free to repeat the offense; if, indeed, he has not already suffered
sufficiently from vice to make him turn from it with loathing. Truth
bestows no pardon upon error, but wipes it out in the most effectual
manner. Jesus suffered for our sins, not to annul the divine sentence
against an individual's sin, but to show that sin must bring inevitable
Petitions only bring to mortals the results of their own faith. We know
that a desire for holiness is requisite in order to gain it; but if we
desire holiness above all else, we shall sacrifice everything for it. We
must be willing to do this, that we may walk securely in the only
practical road to holiness. Prayer alone cannot change the unalterable
Truth, or give us an understanding of it; but prayer coupled with a
fervent habitual desire to know and do the will of God will bring us into
all Truth. Such a desire has little need of audible expression. It is
best expressed in thought and life.
Reverend Heber Newton on Christian Science:
To begin, then, at the beginning, Christian Science accepts the work of
healing sickness as an integral part of the discipleship of Jesus Christ.
In Christ it finds, what the Church has always recognized, theoretically,
though it has practically ignored the fact--the Great Physician. That
Christ healed the sick, we none of us question. It stands plainly upon
the record. This ministry of healing was too large a part of His work to
be left out from any picture of that life. Such service was not an
incident of His career--it was an essential element of that career. It
was an integral factor in His mission. The Evangelists leave us no
possibility of confusion on this point. Co-equal with his work of
instruction and inspiration was His work of healing.
The records make it equally clear that the Master laid His charge upon
His disciples to do as He had done. "When He had called unto Him His
twelve disciples, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them
out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease." In
sending them forth, "He commanded them, saying, . . . As ye go,
preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse
the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons."
That the twelve disciples undertook to do the Master's work of healing,
and that they, in their measure, succeeded, seems beyond question. They
found in themselves the same power that the Master found in Himself, and
they used it as He had used His power. The record of The Acts of the
Apostles, if at all trustworthy history, shows that they, too, healed the
Beyond the circle of the original twelve, it is equally clear that the
early disciples believed themselves charged with the same mission, and
that they sought to fulfil it. The records of the early Church make it