Part 1 out of 4
This etext was produced by David Widger
by Mark Twain
Book I of this volume occupies a quarter or a third of the volume,
and consists of matter written about four years ago, but not hitherto
published in book form. It contained errors of judgment and of fact.
I have now corrected these to the best of my ability and later knowledge.
Book II was written at the beginning of 1903, and has not until now
appeared in any form. In it my purpose has been to present a character-
portrait of Mrs. Eddy, drawn from her own acts and words solely, not from
hearsay and rumor; and to explain the nature and scope of her Monarchy,
as revealed in the Laws by which she governs it, and which she wrote
NEW YORK. January, 1907.
BOOK I CHRISTIAN SCIENCE
"It is the first time since the dawn-days of Creation that
a Voice has gone crashing through space with such
placid and complacent confidence and command."
This last summer, when I was on my way back to Vienna from the Appetite-
Cure in the mountains, I fell over a cliff in the twilight, and broke
some arms and legs and one thing or another, and by good luck was found
by some peasants who had lost an ass, and they carried me to the nearest
habitation, which was one of those large, low, thatch-roofed farm-houses,
with apartments in the garret for the family, and a cunning little porch
under the deep gable decorated with boxes of bright colored flowers and
cats; on the ground floor a large and light sitting-room, separated from
the milch-cattle apartment by a partition; and in the front yard rose
stately and fine the wealth and pride of the house, the manure-pile.
That sentence is Germanic, and shows that I am acquiring that sort of
mastery of the art and spirit of the language which enables a man to
travel all day in one sentence without changing cars.
There was a village a mile away, and a horse doctor lived there, but
there was no surgeon. It seemed a bad outlook; mine was distinctly a
surgery case. Then it was remembered that a lady from Boston was
summering in that village, and she was a Christian Science doctor and
could cure anything. So she was sent for. It was night by this time,
and she could not conveniently come, but sent word that it was no matter,
there was no hurry, she would give me "absent treatment" now, and come
in the morning; meantime she begged me to make myself tranquil and
comfortable and remember that there was nothing the matter with me.
I thought there must be some mistake.
"Did you tell her I walked off a cliff seventy-five feet high?"
"And struck a boulder at the bottom and bounced?"
"And struck another one and bounced again?"
"And struck another one and bounced yet again?"
"And broke the boulders?"
"That accounts for it; she is thinking of the boulders. Why didn't you
tell her I got hurt, too?"
"I did. I told her what you told me to tell her: that you were now but
an incoherent series of compound fractures extending from your scalp-lock
to your heels, and that the comminuted projections caused you to look
like a hat-rack."
"And it was after this that she wished me to remember that there was
nothing the matter with me?"
"Those were her words."
"I do not understand it. I believe she has not diagnosed the case with
sufficient care. Did she look like a person who was theorizing, or did
she look like one who has fallen off precipices herself and brings to the
aid of abstract science the confirmations of personal experience?"
It was too large a contract for the Stubenmadchen's vocabulary; she
couldn't call the hand. I allowed the subject to rest there, and asked
for something to eat and smoke, and something hot to drink, and a basket
to pile my legs in; but I could not have any of these things.
"She said you would need nothing at all."
"But I am hungry and thirsty, and in desperate pain."
"She said you would have these delusions, but must pay no attention to
them. She wants you to particularly remember that there are no such
things as hunger and thirst and pain.''
"She does does she?"
"It is what she said."
Does she seem to be in full and functionable possession of her
intellectual plant, such as it is?"
"Do they let her run at large, or do they tie her up?"
"Tie her up?"
"There, good-night, run along, you are a good girl, but your mental
Geschirr is not arranged for light and airy conversation. Leave me to my
It was a night of anguish, of course-at least, I supposed it was, for it
had all the symptoms of it--but it passed at last, and the Christian
Scientist came, and I was glad She was middle-aged, and large and bony,
and erect, and had an austere face and a resolute jaw and a Roman beak
and was a widow in the third degree, and her name was Fuller. I was
eager to get to business and find relief, but she was distressingly
deliberate. She unpinned and unhooked and uncoupled her upholsteries one
by one, abolished the wrinkles with a flirt of her hand, and hung the
articles up; peeled off her gloves and disposed of them, got a book out
of her hand-bag, then drew a chair to the bedside, descended into it
without hurry, and I hung out my tongue. She said, with pity but without
"Return it to its receptacle. We deal with the mind only, not with its
I could not offer my pulse, because the connection was broken; but she
detected the apology before I could word it, and indicated by a negative
tilt of her head that the pulse was another dumb servant that she had no
use for. Then I thought I would tell her my symptoms and how I felt, so
that she would understand the case; but that was another inconsequence,
she did not need to know those things; moreover, my remark about how I
felt was an abuse of language, a misapplication of terms.
"One does not feel," she explained; "there is no such thing as feeling:
therefore, to speak of a non-existent thing as existent is a
contradiction. Matter has no existence; nothing exists but mind; the
mind cannot feel pain, it can only imagine it."
"But if it hurts, just the same--"
"It doesn't. A thing which is unreal cannot exercise the functions of
reality. Pain is unreal; hence, pain cannot hurt."
In making a sweeping gesture to indicate the act of shooing the illusion
of pain out of the mind, she raked her hand on a pin in her dress, said
"Ouch!" and went tranquilly on with her talk. "You should never allow
yourself to speak of how you feel, nor permit others to ask you how you
are feeling; you should never concede that you are ill, nor permit others
to talk about disease or pain or death or similar nonexistences in your
presence. Such talk only encourages the mind to continue its empty
imaginings." Just at that point the Stuben-madchen trod on the cat's
tail, and the cat let fly a frenzy of cat-profanity. I asked, with
"Is a cat's opinion about pain valuable?"
"A cat has no opinion; opinions proceed from mind only; the lower
animals, being eternally perishable, have not been granted mind; without
mind, opinion is impossible."
"She merely imagined she felt a pain--the cat?"
"She cannot imagine a pain, for imagining is an effect of mind; without
mind, there is no imagination. A cat has no imagination."
"Then she had a real pain?"
"I have already told you there is no such thing as real pain."
"It is strange and interesting. I do wonder what was the matter with the
cat. Because, there being no such thing as a real pain, and she not
being able to imagine an imaginary one, it would seem that God in His
pity has compensated the cat with some kind of a mysterious emotion
usable when her tail is trodden on which, for the moment, joins cat and
Christian in one common brotherhood of--"
She broke in with an irritated--
"Peace! The cat feels nothing, the Christian feels nothing. Your empty
and foolish imaginings are profanation and blasphemy, and can do you an
injury. It is wiser and better and holier to recognize and confess that
there is no such thing as disease or pain or death."
"I am full of imaginary tortures," I said, "but I do not think I could be
any more uncomfortable if they were real ones. What must I do to get rid
"There is no occasion to get rid of them. since they do not exist. They
are illusions propagated by matter, and matter has no existence; there is
no such thing as matter."
"It sounds right and clear, but yet it seems in a degree elusive; it
seems to slip through, just when you think you are getting a grip on it."
"Well, for instance: if there is no such thing as matter, how can matter
In her compassion she almost smiled. She would have smiled if there were
any such thing as a smile.
"It is quite simple," she said; "the fundamental propositions of
Christian Science explain it, and they are summarized in the four
following self-evident propositions:
1. God is All in all.
2. God is good. Good is Mind
3. God, Spirit, being all, nothing is matter
4. Life, God, omnipotent Good, deny death, evil, sin, disease.
"There--now you see."
It seemed nebulous; it did not seem to say anything about the difficulty
in hand--how non-existent matter can propagate illusions I said, with
"Does--does it explain?"
"Doesn't it? Even if read backward it will do it."
With a budding hope, I asked her to do it backwards.
"Very well. Disease sin evil death deny Good omnipotent God life matter
is nothing all being Spirit God Mind is Good good is God all in All is
God. There do you understand now?
"It--it--well, it is plainer than it was before; still--"
"Could you try it some more ways?"
"As many as you like; it always means the same. Interchanged in any way
you please it cannot be made to mean anything different from what it
means when put in any other way. Because it is perfect. You can jumble
it all up, and it makes no difference: it always comes out the way it was
before. It was a marvelous mind that produced it. As a mental tour de
force it is without a mate, it defies alike the simple, the concrete, and
"It seems to be a corker."
I blushed for the word, but it was out before I could stop it.
"A--wonderful structure--combination, so to speak, of profound thoughts--
It is true. Read backward, or forward, or perpendicularly, or at any
given angle, these four propositions will always be found to agree in
statement and proof."
"Ah--proof. Now we are coming at it. The statements agree; they agree
with--with--anyway, they agree; I noticed that; but what is it they prove
I mean, in particular?"
"Why, nothing could be clearer. They prove:
"1. GOD--Principle, Life,
Truth, Love, Soul, Spirit, Mind. Do you get that?"
"I--well, I seem to. Go on, please."
"2. MAN--God's universal idea, individual, perfect, eternal. Is it
"It--I think so. Continue."
"3. IDEA--An image in Mind; the immediate object of understanding.
There it is--the whole sublime Arcana of Christian Science in a nutshell.
Do you find a weak place in it anywhere?"
"Well--no; it seems strong."
"Very well There is more. Those three constitute the Scientific
Definition of Immortal Mind. Next, we have the Scientific Definition of
Mortal Mind. Thus. FIRST DEGREE: Depravity I. Physical-Passions and
appetites, fear, depraved will, pride, envy, deceit, hatred, revenge,
sin, disease, death."
"Phantasms, madam--unrealities, as I understand it."
"Every one. SECOND DEGREE: Evil Disappearing. I. Moral-Honesty,
affection, compassion, hope, faith, meekness, temperance. Is it clear?"
"THIRD DEGREE: Spiritual Salvation. I. Spiritual-Faith, wisdom, power,
purity, understanding, health, love. You see how searchingly and co-
ordinately interdependent and anthropomorphous it all is. In this Third
Degree, as we know by the revelations of Christian Science, mortal mind
"No, not until the teaching and preparation for the Third Degree are
"It is not until then that one is enabled to take hold of Christian
Science effectively, and with the right sense of sympathy and kinship,
as I understand you. That is to say, it could not succeed during the
processes of the Second Degree, because there would still be remains of
mind left; and therefore--but I interrupted you. You were about to
further explain the good results proceeding from the erosions and
disintegrations effected by the Third Degree. It is very interesting;
go on, please."
"Yes, as I was saying, in this Third Degree mortal mind disappears.
Science so reverses the evidence before the corporeal human senses as to
make this scriptural testimony true in our hearts, 'the last shall be
first and the first shall be last,' that God and His idea may be to us--
what divinity really is, and must of necessity be all-inclusive."
"It is beautiful. And with what exhaustive exactness your choice and
arrangement of words confirm and establish what you have claimed for the
powers and functions of the Third Degree. The Second could probably
produce only temporary absence of mind; it is reserved to the Third to
make it permanent. A sentence framed under the auspices of the Second
could have a kind of meaning--a sort of deceptive semblance of it--
whereas it is only under the magic of the Third that that defect would
disappear. Also, without doubt, it is the Third Degree that contributes
another remarkable specialty to Christian Science--viz., ease and flow
and lavishness of words, and rhythm and swing and smoothness. There must
be a special reason for this?"
"Yes--God--all, all--God, good God, non-Matter, Matteration, Spirit,
"That explains it."
"There is nothing in Christian Science that is not explicable; for God is
one, Time is one, Individuality is one, and may be one of a series, one
of many, as an individual man, individual horse; whereas God is one, not
one of a series, but one alone and without an equal."
"These are noble thoughts. They make one burn to know more. How does
Christian Science explain the spiritual relation of systematic duality to
"Christian Science reverses the seeming relation of Soul and body--as
astronomy reverses the human perception of the movement of the solar
system--and makes body tributary to the Mind. As it is the earth which
is in motion, While the sun is at rest, though in viewing the sun rise
one finds it impossible to believe the sun not to be really rising, so
the body is but the humble servant of the restful Mind, though it seems
otherwise to finite sense; but we shall never understand this while we
admit that soul is in body, or mind in matter, and that man is included
in non-intelligence. Soul is God, unchangeable and eternal; and man
coexists with and reflects Soul, for the All-in-all is the Altogether,
and the Altogether embraces the All-one, Soul-Mind, Mind-Soul, Love,
Spirit, Bones, Liver, one of a series, alone and without an equal."
"What is the origin of Christian Science? Is it a gift of God, or did it
"In a sense, it is a gift of God. That is to say, its powers are from
Him, but the credit of the discovery of the powers and what they are for
is due to an American lady."
"Indeed? When did this occur?"
"In 1866. That is the immortal date when pain and disease and death
disappeared from the earth to return no more forever. That is, the
fancies for which those terms stand disappeared. The things themselves
had never existed; therefore, as soon as it was perceived that there were
no such things, they were easily banished. The history and nature of the
great discovery are set down in the book here, and--"
"Did the lady write the book?"
"Yes, she wrote it all, herself. The title is Science and Health, with
Key to the Scriptures--for she explains the Scriptures; they were not
understood before. Not even by the twelve Disciples. She begins thus--
I will read it to you."
But she had forgotten to bring her glasses.
"Well, it is no matter," she said. "I remember the words--indeed, all
Christian Scientists know the book by heart; it is necessary in our
practice. We should otherwise make mistakes and do harm. She begins
thus: 'In the year 1866 I discovered the Science of Metaphysical
Healing, and named it Christian Science.' And She says quite beautifully,
I think--'Through Christian Science, religion and medicine are inspired
with a diviner nature and essence, fresh pinions are given to faith and
understanding, and thoughts acquaint themselves intelligently with God.'
Her very words."
"It is elegant. And it is a fine thought, too--marrying religion to
medicine, instead of medicine to the undertaker in the old way; for
religion and medicine properly belong together, they being the basis of
all spiritual and physical health. What kind of medicine do you give for
the ordinary diseases, such as--"
"We never give medicine in any circumstances whatever! We--"
"But, madam, it says--"
"I don't care what it says, and I don't wish to talk about it."
"I am sorry if I have offended, but you see the mention seemed in some
way inconsistent, and--"
"There are no inconsistencies in Christian Science. The thing is
impossible, for the Science is absolute. It cannot be otherwise, since
it proceeds directly from the All-in-all and the Everything-in-Which,
also Soul, Bones, Truth, one of a series, alone and without equal. It is
Mathematics purified from material dross and made spiritual."
"I can see that, but--"
"It rests upon the immovable basis of an Apodictical Principle."
The word flattened itself against my mind in trying to get in, and
disordered me a little, and before I could inquire into its pertinency,
she was already throwing the needed light:
"This Apodictical Principle is the absolute Principle of Scientific Mind-
healing, the sovereign Omnipotence which delivers the children of men
from pain, disease, decay, and every ill that flesh is heir to."
"Surely not every ill, every decay?"
"Every one; there are no exceptions; there is no such thing as decay--it
is an unreality, it has no existence."
"But without your glasses your failing eyesight does not permit you to--"
"My eyesight cannot fail; nothing can fail; the Mind is master, and the
Mind permits no retrogression."
She was under the inspiration of the Third Degree, therefore there could
be no profit in continuing this part of the subject. I shifted to other
ground and inquired further concerning the Discoverer of the Science.
"Did the discovery come suddenly, like Klondike, or after long study and
calculation, like America?"
"The comparisons are not respectful, since they refer to trivialities--
but let it pass. I will answer in the Discoverer's own words: 'God had
been graciously fitting me, during many years, for the reception of a
final revelation of the absolute Principle of Scientific Mind-healing."
"Many years. How many?"
"All--God, God--good, good--God, Truth, Bones, Liver, one of a series,
alone and without equal--it is amazing!"
"You may well say it, sir. Yet it is but the truth This American lady,
our revered and sacred Founder, is distinctly referred to, and her coming
prophesied, in the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse; she could not have
been more plainly indicated by St. John without actually mentioning her
"How strange, how wonderful!"
"I will quote her own words, from her Key to the Scriptures: 'The twelfth
chapter of the Apocalypse has a special suggestiveness in connection with
this nineteenth century.' There--do you note that? Think--note it well."
"But--what does it mean?"
"Listen, and you will know. I quote her inspired words again: 'In the
opening of the Sixth Seal, typical of six thousand years since Adam,
there is one distinctive feature which has special reference to the
present age. Thus:
"'Revelation xii. I. And there appeared a great wonder in heaven--a
woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her
head a crown of twelve stars.'
"That is our Head, our Chief, our Discoverer of Christian Science--
nothing can be plainer, nothing surer. And note this:
"'Revelation xii. 6. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she
had a place prepared of God.'
"That is Boston. I recognize it, madam. These are sublime things, and
impressive; I never understood these passages before; please go on with
"Very well. Listen:
"'And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a
cloud; and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the
sun, and his feet as pillars of fire. And he held in his hand a little
"A little book, merely a little book--could words be modester? Yet how
stupendous its importance! Do you know what book that was?"
"I hold it in my hand--Christian Science!"
"Love, Livers, Lights, Bones, Truth, Kidneys, one of a series, alone and
without equal--it is beyond imagination for wonder!"
"Hear our Founder's eloquent words: 'Then will a voice from harmony cry,
"Go and take the little book: take it and eat it up, and it shall make
thy belly bitter; but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey." Mortal,
obey the heavenly evangel. Take up Divine Science. Read it from
beginning to end. Study it, ponder it. It will be, indeed, sweet at its
first taste, when it heals you; but murmur not over Truth, if you find
its digestion bitter.' You now know the history of our dear and holy
Science, sir, and that its origin is not of this earth, but only its
discovery. I will leave the book with you and will go, now; but give
yourself no uneasiness--I will give you absent treatment from now till I
go to bed."
Under the powerful influence of the near treatment and the absent
treatment together, my bones were gradually retreating inward and
disappearing from view. The good work took a brisk start, now, and went
on swiftly. My body was diligently straining and stretching, this way
and that, to accommodate the processes of restoration, and every minute
or two I heard a dull click inside and knew that the two ends of a
fracture had been successfully joined. This muffled clicking and
gritting and grinding and rasping continued during the next three hours,
and then stopped--the connections had all been made. All except
dislocations; there were only seven of these: hips, shoulders, knees,
neck; so that was soon over; one after another they slipped into their
sockets with a sound like pulling a distant cork, and I jumped up as good
as new, as to framework, and sent for the horse-doctor.
I was obliged to do this because I had a stomach-ache and a cold in the
head, and I was not willing to trust these things any longer in the hands
of a woman whom I did not know, and whose ability to successfully treat
mere disease I had lost all confidence. My position was justified by the
fact that the cold and the ache had been in her charge from the first,
along with the fractures, but had experienced not a shade of relief; and,
indeed, the ache was even growing worse and worse, and more and more
bitter, now, probably on account of the protracted abstention from food
The horse-doctor came, a pleasant man and full of hope and professional
interest in the case. In the matter of smell he was pretty aromatic--in
fact, quite horsy--and I tried to arrange with him for absent treatment,
but it was not in his line, so, out of delicacy, I did not press it. He
looked at my teeth and examined my hock, and said my age and general
condition were favorable to energetic measures; therefore he would give
me something to turn the stomach-ache into the botts and the cold in the
head into the blind staggers; then he should be on his own beat and would
know what to do. He made up a bucket of bran-mash, and said a dipperful
of it every two hours, alternated with a drench with turpentine and axle-
grease in it, would either knock my ailments out of me in twenty-four
hours, or so interest me in other ways as to make me forget they were on
the premises. He administered my first dose himself, then took his
leave, saying I was free to eat and drink anything I pleased and in any
quantity I liked. But I was not hungry any more, and did not care for
I took up the Christian Science book and read half of it, then took a
dipperful of drench and read the other half. The resulting experiences
were full of interest and adventure. All through the rumblings and
grindings and quakings and effervescings accompanying the evolution of
the ache into the botts and the cold into the blind staggers I could note
the generous struggle for mastery going on between the mash and the
drench and the literature; and often I could tell which was ahead, and
could easily distinguish the literature from the others when the others
were separate, though not when they were mixed; for when a bran-mash and
an eclectic drench are mixed together they look just like the Apodictical
Principle out on a lark, and no one can tell it from that. The finish
was reached at last, the evolutions were complete, and a fine success,
but I think that this result could have been achieved with fewer
materials. I believe the mash was necessary to the conversion of the
stomach-ache into the botts, but I think one could develop the blind
staggers out of the literature by itself; also, that blind staggers
produced in this way would be of a better quality and more lasting than
any produced by the artificial processes of the horse-doctor.
For of all the strange and frantic and incomprehensible and
uninterpretable books which the imagination of man has created, surely
this one is the prize sample. It is written with a limitless confidence
and complacency, and with a dash and stir and earnestness which often
compel the effects of eloquence, even when the words do not seem to have
any traceable meaning. There are plenty of people who imagine they
understand the book; I know this, for I have talked with them; but in all
cases they were people who also imagined that there were no such things
as pain, sickness, and death, and no realities in the world; nothing
actually existent but Mind. It seems to me to modify the value of their
testimony. When these people talk about Christian Science they do as
Mrs. Fuller did: they do not use their own language, but the book's; they
pour out the book's showy incoherences, and leave you to find out later
that they were not originating, but merely quoting; they seem to know the
volume by heart, and to revere it as they would a Bible--another Bible,
perhaps I ought to say. Plainly the book was written under the mental
desolations of the Third Degree, and I feel sure that none but the
membership of that Degree can discover meanings in it. When you read it
you seem to be listening to a lively and aggressive and oracular speech
delivered in an unknown tongue, a speech whose spirit you get but not the
particulars; or, to change the figure, you seem to be listening to a
vigorous instrument which is making a noise which it thinks is a tune,
but which, to persons not members of the band, is only the martial
tooting of a trombone, and merrily stirs the soul through the noise, but
does not convey a meaning.
The book's serenities of self-satisfaction do almost seem to smack of a
heavenly origin--they have no blood-kin in the earth. It is more than
human to be so placidly certain about things, and so finely superior, and
so airily content with one's performance. Without ever presenting
anything which may rightfully be called by the strong name of Evidence,
and sometimes without even mentioning a reason for a deduction at all, it
thunders out the startling words, "I have Proved" so and so. It takes
the Pope and all the great guns of his Church in battery assembled to
authoritatively settle and establish the meaning of a sole and single
unclarified passage of Scripture, and this at vast cost of time and study
and reflection, but the author of this work is superior to all that: she
finds the whole Bible in an unclarified audition, and at small expense of
time and no expense of mental effort she clarifies it from lid to lid,
reorganizes and improves the meanings, then authoritatively settles and
establishes them with formulas which you cannot tell from "Let there be
light!" and "Here you have it!" It is the first time since the dawn-days
of Creation that a Voice has gone crashing through space with such placid
and complacent confidence and command.
[January, 1903. The first reading of any book whose terminology is
new and strange is nearly sure to leave the reader in a bewildered and
sarcastic state of mind. But now that, during the past two months, I
have, by diligence gained a fair acquaintanceship with Science and Health
technicalities, I no longer find the bulk of that work hard to
P.S. The wisdom harvested from the foregoing thoughts has already done
me a service and saved me a sorrow. Nearly a month ago there came to me
from one of the universities a tract by Dr. Edward Anthony Spitzka on
the "Encephalic Anatomy of the Races." I judged that my opinion was
desired by the university, and I was greatly pleased with this attention
and wrote and said I would furnish it as soon as I could. That night I
put my plodding and disheartening Christian Science mining aside and took
hold of the matter. I wrote an eager chapter, and was expecting to
finish my opinion the next day, but was called away for a week, and my
mind was soon charged with other interests. It was not until to-day,
after the lapse of nearly a month, that I happened upon my Encephalic
chapter again. Meantime, the new wisdom had come to me, and I read it
with shame. I recognized that I had entered upon that work in far from
the right temper--far from the respectful and judicial spirit which was
its due of reverence. I had begun upon it with the following paragraph
"FISSURES OF THE PARIETAL AND OCCIPITAL LOBES (LATERAL SURFACE).--The
Postcentral Fissural Complex--In this hemicerebrum, the postcentral and
subcentral are combined to form a continuous fissure, attaining a length
of 8.5 cm. Dorsally, the fissure bifurcates, embracing the gyre indented
by the caudal limb of the paracentral. The caudal limb of the
postcentral is joined by a transparietal piece. In all, five additional
rami spring from the combined fissure. A vadum separates it from the
parietal; another from the central."
It humiliates me, now, to see how angry I got over that; and how
scornful. I said that the style was disgraceful; that it was labored and
tumultuous, and in places violent, that the treatment was involved and
erratic, and almost, as a rule, bewildering; that to lack of simplicity
was added a lack of vocabulary; that there was quite too much feeling
shown; that if I had a dog that would get so excited and incoherent over
a tranquil subject like Encephalic Anatomy I would not pay his tax; and
at that point I got excited myself and spoke bitterly of these mongrel
insanities, and said a person might as well try to understand Science and
[I know, now, where the trouble was, and am glad of the interruption that
saved me from sending my verdict to the university. It makes me cold to
think what those people might have thought of me.--M. T.]
No one doubts--certainly not I--that the mind exercises a powerful
influence over the body. From the beginning of time, the sorcerer, the
interpreter of dreams, the fortune-teller, the charlatan, the quack, the
wild medicine-man, the educated physician, the mesmerist, and the
hypnotist have made use of the client's imagination to help them in their
work. They have all recognized the potency and availability of that
force. Physicians cure many patients with a bread pill; they know that
where the disease is only a fancy, the patient's confidence in the doctor
will make the bread pill effective.
Faith in the doctor. Perhaps that is the entire thing. It seems to look
like it. In old times the King cured the king's evil by the touch of the
royal hand. He frequently made extraordinary cures. Could his footman
have done it? No--not in his own clothes. Disguised as the King, could
he have done it? I think we may not doubt it. I think we may feel sure
that it was not the King's touch that made the cure in any instance, but
the patient's faith in the efficacy of a King's touch. Genuine and
remarkable cures have been achieved through contact with the relics of a
saint. Is it not likely that any other bones would have done as well if
the substitution had been concealed from the patient? When I was a boy a
farmer's wife who lived five miles from our village had great fame as a
faith-doctor--that was what she called herself. Sufferers came to her
from all around, and she laid her hand upon them and said, "Have faith--
it is all that is necessary," and they went away well of their ailments.
She was not a religious woman, and pretended to no occult powers. She
said that the patient's faith in her did the work. Several times I saw
her make immediate cures of severe toothaches. My mother was the
patient. In Austria there is a peasant who drives a great trade in this
sort of industry, and has both the high and the low for patients. He
gets into prison every now and then for practising without a diploma, but
his business is as brisk as ever when he gets out, for his work is
unquestionably successful and keeps his reputation high. In Bavaria
there is a man who performed so many great cures that he had to retire
from his profession of stage-carpentering in order to meet the demand of
his constantly increasing body of customers. He goes on from year to
year doing his miracles, and has become very rich. He pretends to no
religious helps, no supernatural aids, but thinks there is something in
his make-up which inspires the confidence of his patients, and that it is
this confidence which does the work, and not some mysterious power
issuing from himself.
Within the last quarter of a century, in America, several sects of curers
have appeared under various names and have done notable things in the way
of healing ailments without the use of medicines. There are the Mind
Cure the Faith Cure, the Prayer Cure, the Mental Science Cure, and the
Christian-Science Cure; and apparently they all do their miracles with
the same old, powerful instrument--the patient's imagination. Differing
names, but no difference in the process. But they do not give that
instrument the credit; each sect claims that its way differs from the
ways of the others.
They all achieve some cures, there is no question about it; and the Faith
Cure and the Prayer Cure probably do no harm when they do no good, since
they do not forbid the patient to help out the cure with medicines if he
wants to; but the others bar medicines, and claim ability to cure every
conceivable human ailment through the application of their mental forces
alone. There would seem to be an element of danger here. It has the
look of claiming too much, I think. Public confidence would probably be
increased if less were claimed.
The Christian Scientist was not able to cure my stomach-ache and my cold;
but the horse-doctor did it. This convinces me that Christian Science
claims too much. In my opinion it ought to let diseases alone and
confine itself to surgery. There it would have everything its own way.
The horse-doctor charged me thirty kreutzers, and I paid him; in fact, I
doubled it and gave him a shilling. Mrs. Fuller brought in an itemized
bill for a crate of broken bones mended in two hundred and thirty-four
places--one dollar per fracture.
"Nothing exists but Mind?"
"Nothing," she answered. "All else is substanceless, all else is
I gave her an imaginary check, and now she is suing me for substantial
dollars. It looks inconsistent.
Let us consider that we are all partially insane. It will explain us to
each other; it will unriddle many riddles; it will make clear and simple
many things which are involved in haunting and harassing difficulties and
Those of us who are not in the asylum, and not demonstrably due there,
are nevertheless, no doubt, insane in one or two particulars. I think we
must admit this; but I think that we are otherwise healthy-minded. I
think that when we all see one thing alike, it is evidence that, as
regards that one thing, our minds are perfectly sound. Now there are
really several things which we do all see alike; things which we all
accept, and about which we do not dispute. For instance, we who are
outside of the asylum all agree that water seeks its level; that the sun
gives light and heat; that fire consumes; that fog is damp; that six
times six are thirty-six, that two from ten leaves eight; that eight and
seven are fifteen. These are, perhaps, the only things we are agreed
about; but, although they are so few, they are of inestimable value,
because they make an infallible standard of sanity. Whosoever accepts
them him we know to be substantially sane; sufficiently sane; in the
working essentials, sane. Whoever disputes a single one of them him we
know to be wholly insane, and qualified for the asylum.
Very well, the man who disputes none of them we concede to be entitled to
go at large. But that is concession enough. We cannot go any further
than that; for we know that in all matters of mere opinion that same man
is insane--just as insane as we are; just as insane as Shakespeare was.
We know exactly where to put our finger upon his insanity: it is where
his opinion differs from ours.
That is a simple rule, and easy to remember. When I, a thoughtful and
unblessed Presbyterian, examine the Koran, I know that beyond any
question every Mohammedan is insane; not in all things, but in religious
matters. When a thoughtful and unblessed Mohammedan examines the
Westminster Catechism, he knows that beyond any question I am spiritually
insane. I cannot prove to him that he is insane, because you never can
prove anything to a lunatic--for that is a part of his insanity and the
evidence of it. He cannot prove to me that I am insane, for my mind has
the same defect that afflicts his. All Democrats are insane, but not one
of them knows it; none but the Republicans and Mugwumps know it. All the
Republicans are insane, but only the Democrats and Mugwumps can perceive
it. The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are
insane. When I look around me, I am often troubled to see how many
people are mad. To mention only a few:
The Atheist, The Theosophists, The Infidel, The Swedenborgians, The
Agnostic, The Shakers, The Baptist, The Millerites, The Methodist, The
Mormons, The Christian Scientist, The Laurence Oliphant Harrisites, The
Catholic, and the 115 Christian sects, the Presbyterian excepted, The
Grand Lama's people, The Monarchists, The Imperialists, The 72 Mohammedan
sects, The Democrats, The Republicans (but not the Mugwumps), The
Buddhist, The Blavatsky-Buddhist, The Mind-Curists, The Faith-Curists,
The Nationalist, The Mental Scientists, The Confucian, The Spiritualist,
The Allopaths, The 2000 East Indian sects, The Homeopaths, The
Electropaths, The Peculiar People, The----
But there's no end to the list; there are millions of them! And all
insane; each in his own way; insane as to his pet fad or opinion, but
otherwise sane and rational. This should move us to be charitable
towards one another's lunacies. I recognize that in his special belief
the Christian Scientist is insane, because he does not believe as I do;
but I hail him as my mate and fellow, because I am as insane as he insane
from his point of view, and his point of view is as authoritative as mine
and worth as much. That is to say, worth a brass farthing. Upon a great
religious or political question, the opinion of the dullest head in the
world is worth the same as the opinion of the brightest head in the
world--a brass farthing. How do we arrive at this? It is simple. The
affirmative opinion of a stupid man is neutralized by the negative
opinion of his stupid neighbor no decision is reached; the affirmative
opinion of the intellectual giant Gladstone is neutralized by the
negative opinion of the intellectual giant Newman--no decision is
reached. Opinions that prove nothing are, of course, without value any
but a dead person knows that much. This obliges us to admit the truth of
the unpalatable proposition just mentioned above--that, in disputed
matters political and religious, one man's opinion is worth no more than
his peer's, and hence it followers that no man's opinion possesses any
real value. It is a humbling thought, but there is no way to get around
it: all opinions upon these great subjects are brass-farthing opinions.
It is a mere plain, simple fact--as clear and as certain as that eight
and seven make fifteen. And by it we recognize that we are all insane,
as concerns those matters. If we were sane, we should all see a
political or religious doctrine alike; there would be no dispute: it
would be a case of eight and seven--just as it is in heaven, where all
are sane and none insane. There there is but one religion, one belief;
the harmony is perfect; there is never a discordant note.
Under protection of these preliminaries, I suppose I may now repeat
without offence that the Christian Scientist is insane. I mean him no
discourtesy, and I am not charging--nor even imagining--that he is
insaner than the rest of the human race. I think he is more
picturesquely insane than some of us. At the same time, I am quite sure
that in one important and splendid particular he is much saner than is
the vast bulk of the race.
Why is he insane? I told you before: it is because his opinions are not
ours. I know of no other reason, and I do not need any other; it is the
only way we have of discovering insanity when it is not violent. It is
merely the picturesqueness of his insanity that makes it more interesting
than my kind or yours. For instance, consider his "little book"; the
"little book" exposed in the sky eighteen centuries ago by the flaming
angel of the Apocalypse, and handed down in our day to Mrs. Mary Baker G.
Eddy, of New Hampshire, and translated by her, word for word, into
English (with help of a polisher), and now published and distributed in
hundreds of editions by her at a clear profit per volume, above cost, of
seven hundred per cent.!--a profit which distinctly belongs to the angel
of the Apocalypse, and let him collect it if he can; a "little book"
which the C.S. very frequently calls by just that name, and always
enclosed in quotation-marks to keep its high origin exultantly in mind; a
"little book" which "explains" and reconstructs and new-paints and
decorates the Bible, and puts a mansard roof on it and a lightning-rod
and all the other modern improvements; a "little book" which for the
present affects to travel in yoke with the Bible and be friendly to it,
and within half a century will hitch the Bible in the rear and
thenceforth travel tandem, itself in the lead, in the coming great march
of Christian Scientism through the Protestant dominions of the planet.
"Hungry ones throng to hear the Bible read in connection with the text-
book of Christian Science, Science and Health, with Key to the
Scriptures, by Mary Baker G. Eddy. These are our only preachers. They
are the word of God." "Christian Science Journal", October, 1898.
Is that picturesque? A lady has told me that in a chapel of the Mosque
in Boston there is a picture or image of Mrs. Eddy, and that before it
burns a never-extinguished light. Is that picturesque? How long do you
think it will be before the Christian Scientist will be worshipping that
picture or image and praying to it? How long do you think it will be
before it is claimed that Mrs. Eddy is a Redeemer, a Christ, and Christ's
equal? Already her army of disciples speak of her reverently as "Our
How long will it be before they place her on the steps of the Throne
beside the Virgin--and, later, a step higher? First, Mary the Virgin and
Mary the Matron; later, with a change of precedence, Mary the Matron and
Mary the Virgin. Let the artist get ready with his canvas and his
brushes; the new Renaissance is on its way, and there will be money in
altar-canvases--a thousand times as much as the Popes and their Church
ever spent on the Old Masters; for their riches were poverty as compared
with what is going to pour into the treasure-chest of the Christian-
Scientist Papacy by-and-by, let us not doubt it. We will examine the
financial outlook presently and see what it promises. A favorite subject
of the new Old Master will be the first verse of the twelfth chapter of
Revelation--a verse which Mrs. Eddy says (in her Annex to the Scriptures)
has "one distinctive feature which has special reference to the present
age"--and to her, as is rather pointedly indicated:
"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the
sun, and the moon under her feet," etc.
The woman clothed with the sun will be a portrait of Mrs. Eddy.
Is it insanity to believe that Christian Scientism is destined to make
the most formidable show that any new religion has made in the world
since the birth and spread of Mobammedanism, and that within a century
from now it may stand second to Rome only, in numbers and power in
If this is a wild dream it will not be easy to prove it so just yet, I
think. There seems argument that it may come true. The Christian-
Science "boom," proper, is not yet five years old; yet already it has two
hundred and fifty churches.
It has its start, you see, and it is a phenomenally good one. Moreover,
it is latterly spreading with a constantly accelerating swiftness. It
has a better chance to grow and prosper and achieve permanency than any
other existing "ism"; for it has more to offer than any other. The past
teaches us that in order to succeed, a movement like this must not be a
mere philosophy, it must be a religion; also, that it must not claim
entire originality, but content itself with passing for an improvement on
an existing religion, and show its hand later, when strong and
Next, there must be money--and plenty of it.
Next, the power and authority and capital must be concentrated in the
grip of a small and irresponsible clique, with nobody outside privileged
to ask questions or find fault.
Next, as before remarked, it must bait its hook with some new and
attractive advantages over the baits offered by its competitors. A new
movement equipped with some of these endowments--like spiritualism, for
instance may count upon a considerable success; a new movement equipped
with the bulk of them--like Mohammedanism, for instance--may count upon
a widely extended conquest. Mormonism had all the requisites but one it
had nothing new and nothing valuable to bait with. Spiritualism lacked
the important detail of concentration of money and authority in the hands
of an irresponsible clique.
The above equipment is excellent, admirable, powerful, but not perfect.
There is yet another detail which is worth the whole of it put together
and more; a detail which has never been joined (in the beginning of a
religious movement) to a supremely good working equipment since the world
began, until now: a new personage to worship. Christianity had the
Saviour, but at first and for generations it lacked money and
concentrated power. In Mrs. Eddy, Christian Science possesses the new
personage for worship, and in addition--here in the very beginning--a
working equipment that has not a flaw in it. In the beginning,
Mohammedanism had no money; and it has never had anything to offer its
client but heaven--nothing here below that was valuable. In addition to
heaven hereafter, Christian Science has present health and a cheerful
spirit to offer; and in comparison with this bribe all other this-world
bribes are poor and cheap. You recognize that this estimate is
admissible, do you not?
To whom does Bellamy's "Nationalism" appeal? Necessarily to the few:
people who read and dream, and are compassionate, and troubled for the
poor and the hard-driven. To whom does Spiritualism appeal? Necessarily
to the few; its "boom" has lasted for half a century, and I believe it
claims short of four millions of adherents in America. Who are attracted
by Swedenborgianism and some of the other fine and delicate "isms"? The
few again: educated people, sensitively organized, with superior mental
endowments, who seek lofty planes of thought and find their contentment
there. And who are attracted by Christian Science? There is no limit;
its field is horizonless; its appeal is as universal as is the appeal of
Christianity itself. It appeals to the rich, the poor, the high, the
low, the cultured, the ignorant, the gifted, the stupid, the modest, the
vain, the wise, the silly, the soldier, the civilian, the hero, the
coward, the idler, the worker, the godly, the godless, the freeman, the
slave, the adult, the child; they who are ailing in body or mind, they
who have friends that are ailing in body or mind. To mass it in a
phrase, its clientage is the Human Race. Will it march? I think so.
Remember its principal great offer: to rid the Race of pain and disease.
Can it do so? In large measure, yes. How much of the pain and disease
in the world is created by the imaginations of the sufferers, and then
kept alive by those same imaginations? Four-fifths? Not anything short
of that, I should think. Can Christian Science banish that four-fifths?
I think so. Can any other (organized) force do it? None that I know of.
Would this be a new world when that was accomplished? And a pleasanter
one--for us well people, as well as for those fussy and fretting sick
ones? Would it seem as if there was not as much gloomy weather as there
used to be? I think so.
In the mean time, would the Scientist kill off a good many patients?
I think so. More than get killed off now by the legalized methods?
I will take up that question presently.
At present, I wish to ask you to examine some of the Scientist's
performances, as registered in his magazine, The Christian Science
Journal--October number, 1898. First, a Baptist clergyman gives us this
true picture of "the average orthodox Christian"--and he could have added
that it is a true picture of the average (civilized) human being:
"He is a worried and fretted and fearful man; afraid of himself and his
propensities, afraid of colds and fevers, afraid of treading on serpents
or drinking deadly things."
Then he gives us this contrast:
"The average Christian Scientist has put all anxiety and fretting under
his feet. He does have a victory over fear and care that is not achieved
by the average orthodox Christian."
He has put all anxiety and fretting under his feet. What proportion of
your earnings or income would you be willing to pay for that frame of
mind, year in, year out? It really outvalues any price that can be put
upon it. Where can you purchase it, at any outlay of any sort, in any
Church or out of it, except the Scientist's?
Well, it is the anxiety and fretting about colds, and fevers, and
draughts, and getting our feet wet, and about forbidden food eaten in
terror of indigestion, that brings on the cold and the fever and the
indigestion and the most of our other ailments; and so, if the Science
can banish that anxiety from the world I think it can reduce the world's
disease and pain about four-fifths.
In this October number many of the redeemed testify and give thanks; and
not coldly, but with passionate gratitude. As a rule they seem drunk
with health, and with the surprise of it, the wonder of it, the
unspeakable glory and splendor of it, after a long, sober spell spent in
inventing imaginary diseases and concreting them with doctor-stuff. The
first witness testifies that when "this most beautiful Truth first dawned
on him" he had "nearly all the ills that flesh is heir to"; that those he
did not have he thought he had--and this made the tale about complete.
What was the natural result? Why, he was a dump-pit "for all the
doctors, druggists, and patent medicines of the country." Christian
Science came to his help, and "the old sick conditions passed away," and
along with them the "dismal forebodings" which he had been accustomed to
employ in conjuring up ailments. And so he was a healthy and cheerful
man, now, and astonished.
But I am not astonished, for from other sources I know what must have
been his method of applying Christian Science. If I am in the right, he
watchfully and diligently diverted his mind from unhealthy channels and
compelled it to travel in healthy ones. Nothing contrivable by human
invention could be more formidably effective than that, in banishing
imaginary ailments and in closing the entrances against sub-sequent
applicants of their breed. I think his method was to keep saying, "I am
well! I am sound!--sound and well! well and sound! Perfectly sound,
perfectly well! I have no pain; there's no such thing as pain! I have
no disease; there's no such thing as disease! Nothing is real but Mind;
all is Mind, All-Good Good-Good, Life, Soul, Liver, Bones, one of a
series, ante and pass the buck!"
I do not mean that that was exactly the formula used, but that it
doubtless contains the spirit of it. The Scientist would attach value to
the exact formula, no doubt, and to the religious spirit in which it was
used. I should think that any formula that would divert the mind from
unwholesome channels and force it into healthy ones would answer every
purpose with some people, though not with all. I think it most likely
that a very religious man would find the addition of the religious spirit
a powerful reinforcement in his case.
The second witness testifies that the Science banished "an old organic
trouble," which the doctor and the surgeon had been nursing with drugs
and the knife for seven years.
He calls it his "claim." A surface-miner would think it was not his
claim at all, but the property of the doctor and his pal the surgeon--for
he would be misled by that word, which is Christian-Science slang for
"ailment." The Christian Scientist has no ailment; to him there is no
such thing, and he will not use the hateful word. All that happens to
him is that upon his attention an imaginary disturbance sometimes
obtrudes itself which claims to be an ailment but isn't.
This witness offers testimony for a clergyman seventy years old who had
preached forty years in a Christian church, and has now gone over to the
new sect. He was "almost blind and deaf." He was treated by the C. S.
method, and "when he heard the voice of Truth he saw spiritually." Saw
spiritually? It is a little indefinite; they had better treat him again.
Indefinite testimonies might properly be waste-basketed, since there is
evidently no lack of definite ones procurable; but this C. S. magazine
is poorly edited, and so mistakes of this kind must be expected.
The next witness is a soldier of the Civil War. When Christian Science
found him, he had in stock the following claims:
Chalky deposits in
Atrophy of the muscles of
Stiffness of all those joints,
Excruciating pains most of the time.
These claims have a very substantial sound. They came of exposure in the
campaigns. The doctors did all they could, but it was little. Prayers
were tried, but "I never realized any physical relief from that source."
After thirty years of torture, he went to a Christian Scientist and took
an hour's treatment and went home painless. Two days later, he "began to
eat like a well man." Then "the claims vanished--some at once, others
more gradually"; finally, "they have almost entirely disappeared." And--
a thing which is of still greater value--he is now "contented and happy."
That is a detail which, as earlier remarked, is a Scientist-Church
specialty. And, indeed, one may go further and assert with little or no
exaggeration that it is a Christian-Science monopoly. With thirty-one
years' effort, the Methodist Church had not succeeded in furnishing it to
this harassed soldier.
And so the tale goes on. Witness after witness bulletins his claims,
declares their prompt abolishment, and gives Mrs. Eddy's Discovery the
praise. Milk-leg is cured; nervous prostration is cured; consumption is
cured; and St. Vitus's dance is made a pastime. Even without a fiddle.
And now and then an interesting new addition to the Science slang appears
on the page. We have "demonstrations over chilblains" and such things.
It seems to be a curtailed way of saying "demonstrations of the power of
Christian-Science Truth over the fiction which masquerades under the name
of Chilblains." The children, as well as the adults, share in the
blessings of the Science. "Through the study of the 'little book' they
are learning how to be healthful, peaceful, and wise." Sometimes they
are cured of their little claims by the professional healer, and
sometimes more advanced children say over the formula and cure
A little Far-Western girl of nine, equipped with an adult vocabulary,
states her age and says, "I thought I would write a demonstration to
you." She had a claim, derived from getting flung over a pony's head and
landed on a rockpile. She saved herself from disaster by remembering to
say "God is All" while she was in the air. I couldn't have done it. I
shouldn't even have thought of it. I should have been too excited.
Nothing but Christian Science could have enabled that child to do that
calm and thoughtful and judicious thing in those circumstances. She came
down on her head, and by all the rules she should have broken it; but the
intervention of the formula prevented that, so the only claim resulting
was a blackened eye. Monday morning it was still swollen and shut. At
school "it hurt pretty badly--that is, it seemed to." So "I was excused,
and went down to the basement and said, 'Now I am depending on mamma
instead of God, and I will depend on God instead of mamma.'" No doubt
this would have answered; but, to make sure, she added Mrs. Eddy to the
team and recited "the Scientific Statement of Being," which is one of the
principal incantations, I judge. Then "I felt my eye opening." Why,
dear, it would have opened an oyster. I think it is one of the
touchingest things in child-history, that pious little rat down cellar
pumping away at the Scientific Statement of Being.
There is a page about another good child--little Gordon. Little Gordon
"came into the world without the assistance of surgery or anaesthetics."
He was a "demonstration." A painless one; therefore, his coming evoked
"joy and thankfulness to God and the Discoverer of Christian Science."
It is a noticeable feature of this literature--the so frequent linking
together of the Two Beings in an equal bond; also of Their Two Bibles.
When little Gordon was two years old, "he was playing horse on the bed,
where I had left my 'little book.' I noticed him stop in his play, take
the book carefully in his little hands, kiss it softly, then look about
for the highest place of safety his arms could reach, and put it there."
This pious act filled the mother "with such a train of thought as I had
never experienced before. I thought of the sweet mother of long ago who
kept things in her heart," etc. It is a bold comparison; however,
unconscious profanations are about as common in the mouths of the lay
member ship of the new Church as are frank and open ones in the mouths of
its consecrated chiefs.
Some days later, the family library--Christian-Science books--was lying
in a deep-seated window. This was another chance for the holy child to
show off. He left his play and went there and pushed all the books to
one side, except the Annex "It he took in both hands, slowly raised it to
his lips, then removed it carefully, and seated himself in the window."
It had seemed to the mother too wonderful to be true, that first time;
but now she was convinced that "neither imagination nor accident had
anything to do with it." Later, little Gordon let the author of his
being see him do it. After that he did it frequently; probably every
time anybody was looking. I would rather have that child than a chromo.
If this tale has any object, it is to intimate that the inspired book was
supernaturally able to convey a sense of its sacred and awful character
to this innocent little creature, without the intervention of outside
aids. The magazine is not edited with high-priced discretion. The
editor has a "claim," and he ought to get it treated.
Among other witnesses there is one who had a "jumping toothache," which
several times tempted her to "believe that there was sensation in matter,
but each time it was overcome by the power of Truth." She would not
allow the dentist to use cocaine, but sat there and let him punch and
drill and split and crush the tooth, and tear and slash its ulcerations,
and pull out the nerve, and dig out fragments of bone; and she wouldn't
once confess that it hurt. And to this day she thinks it didn't, and I
have not a doubt that she is nine-tenths right, and that her Christian-
Science faith did her better service than she could have gotten out of
There is an account of a boy who got broken all up into small bits by an
accident, but said over the Scientific Statement of Being, or some of the
other incantations, and got well and sound without having suffered any
real pain and without the intrusion of a surgeon.
Also, there is an account of the restoration to perfect health, in a
single night, of a fatally injured horse, by the application of Christian
Science. I can stand a good deal, but I recognize that the ice is
getting thin, here. That horse had as many as fifty claims; how could he
demonstrate over them? Could he do the All-Good, Good-Good, Good-
Gracious, Liver, Bones, Truth, All down but Nine, Set them up on the
Other Alley? Could he intone the Scientific Statement of Being? Now,
could he? Wouldn't it give him a relapse? Let us draw the line at
horses. Horses and furniture.
There is plenty of other testimonies in the magazine, but these quoted
samples will answer. They show the kind of trade the Science is driving.
Now we come back to the question, Does the Science kill a patient here
and there and now and then? We must concede it. Does it compensate for
this? I am persuaded that it can make a plausible showing in that
direction. For instance: when it lays its hand upon a soldier who has
suffered thirty years of helpless torture and makes him whole in body and
mind, what is the actual sum of that achievement? This, I think: that it
has restored to life a subject who had essentially died ten deaths a year
for thirty years, and each of them a long and painful one. But for its
interference that man in the three years which have since elapsed, would
have essentially died thirty times more. There are thousands of young
people in the land who are now ready to enter upon a life-long death
similar to that man's. Every time the Science captures one of these and
secures to him life-long immunity from imagination-manufactured disease,
it may plausibly claim that in his person it has saved three hundred
lives. Meantime, it will kill a man every now and then. But no matter,
it will still be ahead on the credit side.
[NOTE.--I have received several letters (two from educated and ostensibly
intelligent persons), which contained, in substance, this protest: "I
don't object to men and women chancing their lives with these people, but
it is a burning shame that the law should allow them to trust their
helpless little children in their deadly hands. "Isn't it touching?
Isn't it deep? Isn't it modest? It is as if the person said: "I know
that to a parent his child is the core of his heart, the apple of his
eye, a possession so dear, so precious that he will trust its life in no
hands but those which he believes, with all his soul, to be the very best
and the very safest, but it is a burning shame that the law does not
require him to come to me to ask what kind of healer I will allow him to
call." The public is merely a multiplied "me."--M.T.]
"We consciously declare that Science and Health, with Key to the
Scriptures, was foretold, as well as its author, Mary Baker Eddy, in
Revelation x. She is the 'mighty angel,' or God's highest thought to
this age (verse 1), giving us the spiritual interpretation of the Bible
in the 'little book open' (verse 2). Thus we prove that Christian
Science is the second coming of Christ-Truth-Spirit."--Lecture by Dr.
George Tomkins, D.D. C.S.
There you have it in plain speech. She is the mighty angel; she is the
divinely and officially sent bearer of God's highest thought. For the
present, she brings the Second Advent. We must expect that before she
has been in her grave fifty years she will be regarded by her following
as having been herself the Second Advent. She is already worshiped, and
we must expect this feeling to spread, territorially, and also to deepen
Particularly after her death; for then, as any one can foresee, Eddy-
Worship will be taught in the Sunday-schools and pulpits of the cult.
Already whatever she puts her trade-mark on, though it be only a
memorial-spoon, is holy and is eagerly and gratefully bought by the
disciple, and becomes a fetish in his house. I say bought, for the
Boston Christian-Science Trust gives nothing away; everything it has is
for sale. And the terms are cash; and not only cash, but cash in
advance. Its god is Mrs. Eddy first, then the Dollar. Not a spiritual
Dollar, but a real one. From end to end of the Christian Science
literature not a single (material) thing in the world is conceded to be
real, except the Dollar. But all through and through its advertisements
that reality is eagerly and persistently recognized.
The Dollar is hunted down in all sorts of ways; the Christian-Science
Mother-Church and Bargain-Counter in Boston peddles all kinds of
spiritual wares to the faithful, and always on the one condition--cash,
cash in advance. The Angel of the Apocalypse could not go there and get
a copy of his own pirated book on credit. Many, many precious Christian-
Science things are to be had there for cash: Bible Lessons; Church
Manual; C. S. Hymnal; History of the building of the Mother-Church; lot
of Sermons; Communion Hymn, "Saw Ye My Saviour," by Mrs. Eddy, half a
dollar a copy, "words used by special permission of Mrs. Eddy." Also we
have Mrs. Eddy's and the Angel's little Blue-Annex in eight styles of
binding at eight kinds of war-prices; among these a sweet thing in
"levant, divinity circuit, leather lined to edge, round corners, gold
edge, silk sewed, each, prepaid, $6," and if you take a million you get
them a shilling cheaper--that is to say, "prepaid, $5.75." Also we have
Mrs. Eddy's Miscellaneous Writings, at 'andsome big prices, the divinity-
circuit style heading the exertions, shilling discount where you take an
edition Next comes Christ and Christmas, by the fertile Mrs. Eddy--a
poem--would God I could see it!--price $3, cash in advance. Then
follow five more books by Mrs. Eddy, at highwayman's rates, some of them
in "leatherette covers," some of them in "pebble cloth," with divinity-
circuit, compensation-balance, twin-screw, and the other modern
improvements; and at the same bargain-counter can be had The Christian
Christian-Science literary discharges are a monopoly of the Mother-Church
Headquarters Factory in Boston; none genuine without the trade-mark of
the Trust. You must apply there and not elsewhere.
One hundred dollars for it. And I have a case among my statistics where
the student had a three weeks' course and paid three hundred for it.
The Trust does love the Dollar, when it isn't a spiritual one.
In order to force the sale of Mrs Eddy's Bible-Annex, no healer,
Metaphysical-College-bred or other, is allowed to practice the game
unless he possesses a copy of that book. That means a large and
constantly augmenting income for the Trust. No C.S. family would
consider itself loyal or pious or pain-proof without an Annex or two in
the house. That means an income for the Trust, in the near future, of
millions; not thousands-millions a year.
No member, young or old, of a branch Christian-Scientist church can
acquire and retain membership in the Mother-Church unless he pay
"capitation tax" (of "not less than a dollar," say the By-Laws) to the
Boston Trust every year. That means an income for the Trust, in the near
future, of--let us venture to say--millions more per year.
It is a reasonably safe guess that in America in 1920 there will be ten
million Christian Scientists, and three millions in Great Britain; that
these figures will be trebled in 1930; that in America in 1920 the
Christian Scientists will be a political force, in 1930 politically
formidable, and in 1940 the governing power in the Republic--to remain
that, permanently. And I think it a reasonable guess that the Trust
(which is already in our day pretty brusque in its ways) will then be the
most insolent and unscrupulous and tyrannical politico-religious master
that has dominated a people since the palmy days of the Inquisition. And
a stronger master than the strongest of bygone times, because this one
will have a financial strength not dreamed of by any predecessor; as
effective a concentration of irresponsible power as any predecessor has
had; in the railway, the telegraph, and the subsidized newspaper, better
facilities for watching and managing his empire than any predecessor has
had; and, after a generation or two, he will probably divide Christendom
with the Catholic Church.
The Roman Church has a perfect organization, and it has an effective
centralization of power--but not of its cash. Its multitude of Bishops
are rich, but their riches remain in large measure in their own hands.
They collect from two hundred millions of people, but they keep the bulk
of the result at home. The Boston Pope of by-and-by will draw his
dollar-a-head capitation-tax from three hundred millions of the human
race, and the Annex and the rest of his book-shop stock will fetch in as
much more; and his Metaphysical Colleges, the annual Pilgrimage to Mrs.
Eddy's tomb, from all over the world-admission, the Christian-Science
Dollar (payable in advance)--purchases of consecrated glass beads,
candles, memorial spoons, aureoled chrome-portraits and bogus autographs
of Mrs. Eddy; cash offerings at her shrine no crutches of cured cripples
received, and no imitations of miraculously restored broken legs and
necks allowed to be hung up except when made out of the Holy Metal and
proved by fire-assay; cash for miracles worked at the tomb: these money-
sources, with a thousand to be yet invented and ambushed upon the
devotee, will bring the annual increment well up above a billion. And
nobody but the Trust will have the handling of it. In that day, the
Trust will monopolize the manufacture and sale of the Old and New
Testaments as well as the Annex, and raise their price to Annex rates,
and compel the devotee to buy (for even to-day a healer has to have the
Annex and the Scriptures or he is not allowed to work the game), and that
will bring several hundred million dollars more. In those days, the
Trust will have an income approaching five million dollars a day, and no
expenses to be taken out of it; no taxes to pay, and no charities to
support. That last detail should not be lightly passed over by the
reader; it is well entitled to attention.
No charities to support. No, nor even to contribute to. One searches in
vain the Trust's advertisements and the utterances of its organs for any
suggestion that it spends a penny on orphans, widows, discharged
prisoners, hospitals, ragged schools, night missions, city missions,
libraries, old people's homes, or any other object that appeals to a
human being's purse through his heart.
I have hunted, hunted, and hunted, by correspondence and otherwise, and
have not yet got upon the track of a farthing that the Trust has spent
upon any worthy object. Nothing makes a Scientist so uncomfortable as to
ask him if he knows of a case where Christian Science has spent money on
a benevolence, either among its own adherents or elsewhere. He is
obliged to say "No" And then one discovers that the person questioned has
been asked the question many times before, and that it is getting to be a
sore subject with him. Why a sore subject? Because he has written his
chiefs and asked with high confidence for an answer that will confound
these questioners--and the chiefs did not reply. He has written again,
and then again--not with confidence, but humbly, now--and has begged for
defensive ammunition in the voice of supplication. A reply does at last
come to this effect: "We must have faith in Our Mother, and rest content
in the conviction that whatever She does with the money it is in
accordance with orders from Heaven, for She does no act of any kind
without first 'demonstrating over' it."
That settles it--as far as the disciple is concerned. His mind is
satisfied with that answer; he gets down his Annex and does an
incantation or two, and that mesmerizes his spirit and puts that to
sleep--brings it peace. Peace and comfort and joy, until some inquirer
punctures the old sore again.
Through friends in America I asked some questions, and in some cases got
definite and informing answers; in other cases the answers were not
definite and not valuable. To the question, "Does any of the money go to
charities?" the answer from an authoritative source was: "No, not in the
sense usually conveyed by this word." (The italics are mine.) That
answer is cautious. But definite, I think--utterly and unassailably
definite--although quite Christian-Scientifically foggy in its phrasing.
Christian-Science testimony is generally foggy, generally diffuse,
generally garrulous. The writer was aware that the first word in his
phrase answered the question which I was asking, but he could not help
adding nine dark words. Meaningless ones, unless explained by him. It
is quite likely, as intimated by him, that Christian Science has invented
a new class of objects to apply the word "charity" to, but without an
explanation we cannot know what they are. We quite easily and naturally
and confidently guess that they are in all cases objects which will
return five hundred per cent. on the Trust's investment in them, but
guessing is not knowledge; it is merely, in this case, a sort of nine-
tenths certainty deducible from what we think we know of the Trust's
trade principles and its sly and furtive and shifty ways.
Sly? Deep? Judicious? The Trust understands its business. The Trust
does not give itself away. It defeats all the attempts of us
impertinents to get at its trade secrets. To this day, after all our
diligence, we have not been able to get it to confess what it does with
the money. It does not even let its own disciples find out. All it says
is, that the matter has been "demonstrated over." Now and then a lay
Scientist says, with a grateful exultation, that Mrs. Eddy is enormously
rich, but he stops there; as to whether any of the money goes to other
charities or not, he is obliged to admit that he does not know. However,
the Trust is composed of human beings; and this justifies the conjecture
that if it had a charity on its list which it was proud of, we should
soon hear of it.
"Without money and without price." Those used to be the terms. Mrs.
Eddy's Annex cancels them. The motto of Christian Science is, "The
laborer is worthy of his hire." And now that it has been "demonstrated
over," we find its spiritual meaning to be, "Do anything and everything
your hand may find to do; and charge cash for it, and collect the money
in advance." The Scientist has on his tongue's end a cut-and-dried,
Boston-supplied set of rather lean arguments, whose function is to show
that it is a Heaven-commanded duty to do this, and that the croupiers of
the game have no choice but to obey.
The Trust seems to be a reincarnation. Exodus xxxii. 4.
I have no reverence for the Trust, but I am not lacking in reverence for
the sincerities of the lay membership of the new Church. There is every
evidence that the lay members are entirely sincere in their faith, and I
think sincerity is always entitled to honor and respect, let the
inspiration of the sincerity be what it may. Zeal and sincerity can
carry a new religion further than any other missionary except fire and
sword, and I believe that the new religion will conquer the half of
Christendom in a hundred years. I am not intending this as a compliment
to the human race; I am merely stating an opinion. And yet I think that
perhaps it is a compliment to the race. I keep in mind that saying of an
orthodox preacher--quoted further back. He conceded that this new
Christianity frees its possessor's life from frets, fears, vexations,
bitterness, and all sorts of imagination-propagated maladies and pains,
and fills his world with sunshine and his heart with gladness. If
Christian Science, with this stupendous equipment--and final salvation
added--cannot win half the Christian globe, I must be badly mistaken in
the make-up of the human race.
I think the Trust will be handed down like Me other Papacy, and will
always know how to handle its limitless cash. It will press the button;
the zeal, the energy, the sincerity, the enthusiasm of its countless
vassals will do the rest.
The power which a man's imagination has over his body to heal it or make
it sick is a force which none of us is born without. The first man had
it, the last one will possess it. If left to himself, a man is most
likely to use only the mischievous half of the force--the half which
invents imaginary ailments for him and cultivates them; and if he is one
of these--very wise people, he is quite likely to scoff at the beneficent
half of the force and deny its existence. And so, to heal or help that
man, two imaginations are required: his own and some outsider's. The
outsider, B, must imagine that his incantations are the healing-power
that is curing A, and A must imagine that this is so. I think it is not
so, at all; but no matter, the cure is effected, and that is the main
thing. The outsider's work is unquestionably valuable; so valuable that
it may fairly be likened to the essential work performed by the engineer
when he handles the throttle and turns on the steam; the actual power is
lodged exclusively in the engine, but if the engine were left alone it
would never start of itself. Whether the engineer be named Jim, or Bob,
or Tom, it is all one--his services are necessary, and he is entitled to
such wage as he can get you to pay. Whether he be named Christian
Scientist, or Mental Scientist, or Mind Curist, or King's-Evil Expert, or
Hypnotist, it is all one; he is merely the Engineer; he simply turns on
the same old steam and the engine does the whole work.
The Christian-Scientist engineer drives exactly the same trade as the
other engineers, yet he out-prospers the whole of them put together.
Is it because he has captured the takingest name? I think that that is
only a small part of it. I think that the secret of his high prosperity
The Christian Scientist has organized the business. Now that was
certainly a gigantic idea. Electricity, in limitless volume, has existed
in the air and the rocks and the earth and everywhere since time began--
and was going to waste all the while. In our time we have organized that
scattered and wandering force and set it to work, and backed the business
with capital, and concentrated it in few and competent hands, and the
results are as we see.
The Christian Scientist has taken a force which has been lying idle in
every member of the human race since time began, and has organized it,
and backed the business with capital, and concentrated it at Boston
headquarters in the hands of a small and very competent Trust, and there
Therein lies the promise that this monopoly is going to extend its
commerce wide in the earth. I think that if the business were conducted
in the loose and disconnected fashion customary with such things, it
would achieve but little more than the modest prosperity usually secured
by unorganized great moral and commercial ventures; but I believe that so
long as this one remains compactly organized and closely concentrated in
a Trust, the spread of its dominion will continue.
Four years ago I wrote the preceding chapters. I was assured by the wise
that Christian Science was a fleeting craze and would soon perish. This
prompt and all-competent stripe of prophet is always to be had in the
market at ground-floor rates. He does not stop to load, or consider, or
take aim, but lets fly just as he stands. Facts are nothing to him, he
has no use for such things; he works wholly by inspiration. And so, when
he is asked why he considers a new movement a passing fad and quickly
perishable, he finds himself unprepared with a reason and is more or less
embarrassed. For a moment. Only for a moment. Then he waylays the
first spectre of a reason that goes flitting through the desert places of
his mind, and is at once serene again and ready for conflict. Serene and
confident. Yet he should not be so, since he has had no chance to
examine his catch, and cannot know whether it is going to help his
contention or damage it.
The impromptu reason furnished by the early prophets of whom I have
spoken was this:
"There is nothing to Christian Science; there is nothing about it that
appeals to the intellect; its market will be restricted to the
unintelligent, the mentally inferior, the people who do not think."
They called that a reason why the cult would not flourish and endure. It
seems the equivalent of saying:
"There is no money in tinware; there is nothing about it that appeals to
the rich; its market will be restricted to the poor."
It is like bringing forward the best reason in the world why Christian
Science should flourish and live, and then blandly offering it as a
reason why it should sicken and die.
That reason was furnished me by the complacent and unfrightened prophets
four years ago, and it has been furnished me again to-day. If
conversions to new religions or to old ones were in any considerable
degree achieved through the intellect, the aforesaid reason would be
sound and sufficient, no doubt; the inquirer into Christian Science might
go away unconvinced and unconverted. But we all know that conversions
are seldom made in that way; that such a thing as a serious and
painstaking and fairly competent inquiry into the claims of a religion or
of a political dogma is a rare occurrence; and that the vast mass of men
and women are far from being capable of making such an examination. They
are not capable, for the reason that their minds, howsoever good they may
be, are not trained for such examinations. The mind not trained for that
work is no more competent to do it than are lawyers and farmers competent
to make successful clothes without learning the tailor's trade. There
are seventy-five million men and women among us who do not know how to
cut out and make a dress-suit, and they would not think of trying; yet
they all think they can competently think out a political or religious
scheme without any apprenticeship to the business, and many of them
believe they have actually worked that miracle. But, indeed, the truth
is, almost all the men and women of our nation or of any other get their
religion and their politics where they get their astronomy--entirely at
second hand. Being untrained, they are no more able to intelligently
examine a dogma or a policy than they are to calculate an eclipse.
Men are usually competent thinkers along the lines of their specialized
training only. Within these limits alone are their opinions and
judgments valuable; outside of these limits they grope and are lost--
usually without knowing it. In a church assemblage of five hundred
persons, there will be a man or two whose trained minds can seize upon
each detail of a great manufacturing scheme and recognize its value or
its lack of value promptly; and can pass the details in intelligent
review, section by section, and finally as a whole, and then deliver a
verdict upon the scheme which cannot be flippantly set aside nor easily
answered. And there will be one or two other men there who can do the
same thing with a great and complicated educational project; and one or
two others who can do the like with a large scheme for applying
electricity in a new and unheard-of way; and one or two others who can do
it with a showy scheme for revolutionizing the scientific world's
accepted notions regarding geology. And so on, and so on. But the
manufacturing experts will not be competent to examine the educational
scheme intelligently, and their opinion about it would not be valuable;
neither of these two groups will be able to understand and pass upon the
electrical scheme; none of these three batches of experts will be able to
understand and pass upon the geological revolution; and probably not one
man in the entire lot will be competent to examine, capably, the
intricacies of a political or religious scheme, new or old, and deliver a
judgment upon it which any one need regard as precious.
There you have the top crust. There will be four hundred and seventy-
five men and women present who can draw upon their training and deliver
incontrovertible judgments concerning cheese, and leather, and cattle,
and hardware, and soap, and tar, and candles, and patent medicines, and
dreams, and apparitions, and garden trucks, and cats, and baby food, and
warts, and hymns, and time-tables, and freight-rates, and summer resorts,
and whiskey, and law, and surgery, and dentistry, and blacksmithing, and
shoemaking, and dancing, and Huyler's candy, and mathematics, and dog
fights, and obstetrics, and music, and sausages, and dry goods, and
molasses, and railroad stocks, and horses, and literature, and labor
unions, and vegetables, and morals, and lamb's fries, and etiquette, and
agriculture. And not ten among the five hundred--let their minds be ever
so good and bright--will be competent, by grace of the requisite
specialized mental training, to take hold of a complex abstraction of any
kind and make head or tail of it.
The whole five hundred are thinkers, and they are all capable thinkers--
but only within the narrow limits of their specialized trainings. Four
hundred and ninety of them cannot competently examine either a religious
plan or a political one. A scattering few of them do examine both--that
is, they think they do. With results as precious as when I examine the
nebular theory and explain it to myself.
If the four hundred and ninety got their religion through their minds,
and by weighed and measured detail, Christian Science would not be a
scary apparition. But they don't; they get a little of it through their
minds, more of it through their feelings, and the overwhelming bulk of it
through their environment.
Environment is the chief thing to be considered when one is proposing to
predict the future of Christian Science. It is not the ability to reason
that makes the Presbyterian, or the Baptist, or the Methodist, or the
Catholic, or the Mohammedan, or the Buddhist, or the Mormon; it is
environment. If religions were got by reasoning, we should have the
extraordinary spectacle of an American family with a Presbyterian in it,
and a Baptist, a Methodist, a Catholic, a Mohammedan, a Buddhist, and a
Mormon. A Presbyterian family does not produce Catholic families or
other religious brands, it produces its own kind; and not by intellectual
processes, but by association. And so also with Mohammedanism, the cult
which in our day is spreading with the sweep of a world-conflagration
through the Orient, that native home of profound thought and of subtle
intellectual fence, that fertile womb whence has sprung every great
religion that exists. Including our own; for with all our brains we
cannot invent a religion and market it.
The language of my quoted prophets recurs to us now, and we wonder to
think how small a space in the world the mighty Mohammedan Church would
be occupying now, if a successful trade in its line of goods had been
conditioned upon an exhibit that would "appeal to the intellect" instead
of to "the unintelligent, the mentally inferior, the people who do not
The Christian Science Church, like the Mohammedan Church, makes no
embarrassing appeal to the intellect, has no occasion to do it, and can
get along quite well without it.
Provided. Provided what? That it can secure that thing which is worth
two or three hundred thousand times more than an "appeal to the
intellect"--an environment. Can it get that? Will it be a menace to
regular Christianity if it gets that? Is it time for regular
Christianity to get alarmed? Or shall regular Christianity smile a smile
and turn over and take another nap? Won't it be wise and proper for
regular Christianity to do the old way, Me customary way, the historical
way--lock the stable-door after the horse is gone? Just as Protestantism
has smiled and nodded this long time (while the alert and diligent
Catholic was slipping in and capturing the public schools), and is now
beginning to hunt around for the key when it is too late?
Will Christian Science get a chance to show its wares? It has already
secured that chance. Will it flourish and spread and prosper if it shall
create for itself the one thing essential to those conditions--an
environment? It has already created an environment. There are families
of Christian Scientists in every community in America, and each family is
a factory; each family turns out a Christian Science product at the
customary intervals, and contributes it to the Cause in the only way in
which contributions of recruits to Churches are ever made on a large
scale--by the puissant forces of personal contact and association. Each
family is an agency for the Cause, and makes converts among the
neighbors, and starts some more factories.
Four years ago there were six Christian Scientists in a certain town that
I am acquainted with; a year ago there were two hundred and fifty there;
they have built a church, and its membership now numbers four hundred.
This has all been quietly done; done without frenzied revivals, without
uniforms, brass bands, street parades, corner oratory, or any of the
other customary persuasions to a godly life. Christian Science, like
Mohammedanism, is "restricted" to the "unintelligent, the people who do
not think." There lies the danger. It makes Christian Science
formidable. It is "restricted" to ninety-nine one-hundredths of the
human race, and must be reckoned with by regular Christianity. And will
be, as soon as it is too late.
"There were remarkable things about the stranger called the Man--Mystery-
things so very extraordinary that they monopolized attention and made all
of him seem extraordinary; but this was not so, the most of his qualities
being of the common, every-day size and like anybody else's. It was
curious. He was of the ordinary stature, and had the ordinary aspects;
yet in him were hidden such strange contradictions and disproportions!
He was majestically fearless and heroic; he had the strength of thirty
men and the daring of thirty thousand; handling armies, organizing
states, administering governments--these were pastimes to him; he
publicly and ostentatiously accepted the human race at its own valuation-
-as demigods--and privately and successfully dealt with it at quite
another and juster valuation--as children and slaves; his ambitions were
stupendous, and his dreams had no commerce with the humble plain, but
moved with the cloud-rack among the snow-summits. These features of him
were, indeed, extraordinary, but the rest of him was ordinary and usual.
He was so mean-minded, in the matter of jealousy, that it was thought he
was descended from a god; he was vain in little ways, and had a pride in
trivialities; he doted on ballads about moonshine and bruised hearts; in
education he was deficient, he was indifferent to literature, and knew
nothing of art; he was dumb upon all subjects but one, indifferent to all
except that one--the Nebular Theory. Upon that one his flow of words was
full and free, he was a geyser. The official astronomers disputed his
facts and deeded his views, and said that he had invented both, they not
being findable in any of the books. But many of the laity, who wanted
their nebulosities fresh, admired his doctrine and adopted it, and it
attained to great prosperity in spite of the hostility of the experts."
--The Legend of the Man-Mystery, ch. i.
JANUARY, 1903. When we do not know a public man personally, we guess him
out by the facts of his career. When it is Washington, we all arrive at
about one and the same result. We agree that his words and his acts
clearly interpret his character to us, and that they never leave us in
doubt as to the motives whence the words and acts proceeded. It is the
same with Joan of Arc, it is the same with two or three or five or six
others among the immortals. But in the matter of motives and of a few
details of character we agree to disagree upon Napoleon, Cromwell, and
all the rest; and to this list we must add Mrs. Eddy. I think we can
peacefully agree as to two or three extraordinary features of her make-
up, but not upon the other features of it. We cannot peacefully agree as
to her motives, therefore her character must remain crooked to some of us
and straight to the others.
No matter, she is interesting enough without an amicable agreement. In
several ways she is the most interesting woman that ever lived, and the
most extraordinary. The same may be said of her career, and the same may
be said of its chief result. She started from nothing. Her enemies
charge that she surreptitiously took from Quimby a peculiar system of
healing which was mind-cure with a Biblical basis. She and her friends
deny that she took anything from him. This is a matter which we can
discuss by-and-by. Whether she took it or invented it, it was--
materially--a sawdust mine when she got it, and she has turned it into a
Klondike; its spiritual dock had next to no custom, if any at all: from
it she has launched a world-religion which has now six hundred and sixty-
three churches, and she charters a new one every four days. When we do
not know a person--and also when we do--we have to judge his size by the
size and nature of his achievements, as compared with the achievements of
others in his special line of business--there is no other way. Measured
by this standard, it is thirteen hundred years since the world has
produced any one who could reach up to Mrs. Eddy's waistbelt.
Figuratively speaking, Mrs. Eddy is already as tall as the Eiffel tower.
She is adding surprisingly to her stature every day. It is quite within
the probabilities that a century hence she will be the most imposing
figure that has cast its shadow across the globe since the inauguration
of our era. I grant that after saying these strong things, it is
necessary that I offer some details calculated to satisfactorily
demonstrate the proportions which I have claimed for her. I will do that
presently; but before exhibiting the matured sequoia gigantea, I believe
it will be best to exhibit the sprout from which it sprang. It may save
the reader from making miscalculations. The person who imagines that a
Big Tree sprout is bigger than other kinds of sprouts is quite mistaken.
It is the ordinary thing; it makes no show, it compels no notice, it
hasn't a detectible quality in it that entitles it to attention, or
suggests the future giant its sap is suckling. That is the kind of
sprout Mrs. Eddy was.
From her childhood days up to where she was running a half-century a
close race and gaining on it, she was most humanly commonplace.
She is the witness I am drawing this from. She has revealed it in her
autobiography not intentionally, of course--I am not claiming that. An
autobiography is the most treacherous thing there is. It lets out every
secret its author is trying to keep; it lets the truth shine unobstructed
through every harmless little deception he tries to play; it pitilessly
exposes him as a tin hero worshipping himself as Big Metal every time he
tries to do the modest-unconsciousness act before the reader. This is
not guessing; I am speaking from autobiographical personal experience; I
was never able to refrain from mentioning, with a studied casualness that
could deceive none but the most incautious reader, that an ancestor of
mine was sent ambassador to Spain by Charles I., nor that in a remote
branch of my family there exists a claimant to an earldom, nor that an
uncle of mine used to own a dog that was descended from the dog that was
in the Ark; and at the same time I was never able to persuade myself to
call a gibbet by its right name when accounting for other ancestors of
mine, but always spoke of it as the "platform"--puerilely intimating that
they were out lecturing when it happened.
It is Mrs. Eddy over again. As regards her minor half, she is as
commonplace as the rest of us. Vain of trivial things all the first half
of her life, and still vain of them at seventy and recording them with
naive satisfaction--even rescuing some early rhymes of hers of the sort
that we all scribble in the innocent days of our youth--rescuing them and
printing them without pity or apology, just as the weakest and commonest
of us do in our gray age. More--she still frankly admires them; and in
her introduction of them profanely confers upon them the holy name of
"And laud the land whose talents rock
The cradle of her power,
And wreaths are twined round Plymouth Rock
From erudition's bower."
"Minerva's silver sandals still
Are loosed and not effete."
You note it is not a shade above the thing which all human beings churn
out in their youth.
You would not think that in a little wee primer--for that is what the
Autobiography is--a person with a tumultuous career of seventy years
behind her could find room for two or three pages of padding of this
kind, but such is the case. She evidently puts narrative together with
difficulty and is not at home in it, and is glad to have something ready-
made to fill in with. Another sample:
"Here fame-honored Hickory rears his bold form,
And bears a brave breast to the lightning and storm,
While Palm, Bay, and Laurel in classical glee,
Chase Tulip, Magnolia, and fragrant Fringe-tree."
Vivid? You can fairly see those trees galloping around. That she could
still treasure up, and print, and manifestly admire those Poems,
indicates that the most daring and masculine and masterful woman that has
appeared in the earth in centuries has the same soft, girly-girly places
in her that the rest of us have.
When it comes to selecting her ancestors she is still human, natural,
vain, commonplace--as commonplace as I am myself when I am sorting
ancestors for my autobiography. She combs out some creditable Scots, and
labels them and sets them aside for use, not overlooking the one to whom
Sir William Wallace gave "a heavy sword encased in a brass scabbard," and
naively explaining which Sir William Wallace it was, lest we get the
wrong one by the hassock; this is the one "from whose patriotism and
bravery comes that heart-stirring air, 'Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled.'"
Hannah More was related to her ancestors. She explains who Hannah More
Whenever a person informs us who Sir William Wallace was, or who wrote
"Hamlet," or where the Declaration of Independence was fought, it fills
us with a suspicion wellnigh amounting to conviction, that that person
would not suspect us of being so empty of knowledge if he wasn't
suffering from the same "claim" himself. Then we turn to page 20 of the
Autobiography and happen upon this passage, and that hasty suspicion
"I gained book-knowledge with far less labor than is usually requisite.
At ten years of age I was as familiar with Lindley Murray's Grammar as
with the Westminster Catechism; and the latter I had to repeat every
Sunday. My favorite studies were Natural Philosophy, Logic, and Moral
Science. From my brother A1bert I received lessons in the ancient
tongues, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin."
You catch your breath in astonishment, and feel again and still again the
pang of that rebuke. But then your eye falls upon the next sentence but
one, and the pain passes away and you set up the suspicion again with
"After my discovery of Christian Science, most of the knowledge I had
gleaned from school-books vanished like a dream."
That disappearance accounts for much in her miscellaneous writings. As I
was saying, she handles her "ancestral shadows," as she calls them, just
as I do mine. It is remarkable. When she runs across "a relative of my
Grandfather Baker, General Henry Knox, of Revolutionary fame," she sets
him down; when she finds another good one, "the late Sir John Macneill,
in the line of my Grandfather Baker's family," she sets him down, and
remembers that he "was prominent in British politics, and at one time
held the position of ambassador to Persia"; when she discovers that her
grandparents "were likewise connected with Captain John Lovewell, whose
gallant leadership and death in the Indian troubles of 1722-25 caused
that prolonged contest to be known historically as Lovewell's War," she
sets the Captain down; when it turns out that a cousin of her grandmother
"was John Macneill, the New Hampshire general, who fought at Lundy's Lane
and won distinction in 1814 at the battle of Chippewa," she catalogues
the General. (And tells where Chippewa was.) And then she skips all her
platform people; never mentions one of them. It shows that she is just
as human as any of us.
Yet, after all, there is something very touching in her pride in these
worthy small-fry, and something large and fine in her modesty in not
caring to remember that their kinship to her can confer no distinction
upon her, whereas her mere mention of their names has conferred upon them
a faceless earthly immortality.
When she wrote this little biography her great life-work had already been
achieved, she was become renowned; to multitudes of reverent disciples
she was a sacred personage, a familiar of God, and His inspired channel
of communication with the human race. Also, to them these following
things were facts, and not doubted:
She had written a Bible in middle age, and had published it; she had
recast it, enlarged it, and published it again; she had not stopped
there, but had enlarged it further, polished its phrasing, improved its
form, and published it yet again. It was at last become a compact,
grammatical, dignified, and workman-like body of literature. This was
good training, persistent training; and in all arts it is training that
brings the art to perfection. We are now confronted with one of the most
teasing and baffling riddles of Mrs. Eddy's history--a riddle which may
be formulated thus:
How is it that a primitive literary gun which began as a hundred-yard
flint-lock smooth-bore muzzle-loader, and in the course of forty years
has acquired one notable improvement after another--percussion cap; fixed
cartridge; rifled barrel; efficiency at half a mile how is it that such a
gun, sufficiently good on an elephant hunt (Christian Science) from the
beginning, and growing better and better all the time during forty years,
has always collapsed back to its original flint-lock estate the moment
the huntress trained it on any other creature than an elephant?
Something more than a generation ago Mrs. Eddy went out with her flint-
lock on the rabbit range; and this was a part of the result:
"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."--Preface to Science and Health, first
N.B. Not from the book itself; from the Preface.
You will notice the awkwardness of that English. If you should carry
that paragraph up to the Supreme Court of the United States in order to
find out for good and all whether the fatal casualty happened to the dead
man--as the paragraph almost asserts--or to some person or persons not
even hinted at in the paragraph, the Supreme Court would be obliged to
say that the evidence established nothing with certainty except that
there had been a casualty--victim not known.