Part 2 out of 4
The context thinks it explains who the victim was, but it does nothing of
the kind. It furnishes some guessing-material of a sort which enables
you to infer that it was "we" that suffered the mentioned injury, but if
you should carry the language to a court you would not be able to prove
that it necessarily meant that. "We" are Mrs. Eddy; a funny little
affectation. She replaced it later with the more dignified third person.
The quoted paragraph is from Mrs. Eddy's preface to the first revision of
Science and Health (1883). Sixty-four pages further along--in the body
of the book (the elephant-range), she went out with that same flint-lock
and got this following result. Its English is very nearly as straight
and clean and competent as is the English of the latest revision of
Science and Health after the gun has been improved from smooth-bore
musket up to globe-sighted, long distance rifle:
"Man controlled by his Maker has no physical suffering. His body is
harmonious, his days are multiplying instead of diminishing, he is
journeying towards Life instead of death, and bringing out the new man
and crucifying the old affections, cutting them off in every material
direction until he learns the utter supremacy of Spirit and yields
In the latest revision of Science and Health (1902), the perfected gun
furnishes the following. The English is clean, compact, dignified,
almost perfect. But it is observable that it is not prominently better
than it is in the above paragraph, which was a product of the primitive
"How unreasonable is the belief that we are wearing out life and
hastening to death, and at the same time we are communing with
immortality? If the departed are in rapport with mortality, or matter,
they are not spiritual, but must still be mortal, sinful, suffering, and
dying. Then wherefore look to them--even were communication possible--
for proofs of immortality and accept them as oracles?"--Edition of 1902,
With the above paragraphs compare these that follow. It is Mrs. Eddy
writing--after a good long twenty years of pen-practice. Compare also
with the alleged Poems already quoted. The prominent characteristic of
the Poems is affectation, artificiality; their makeup is a complacent and
pretentious outpour of false figures and fine writing, in the sophomoric
style. The same qualities and the same style will be found, unchanged,
unbettered, in these following paragraphs--after a lapse of more than
fifty years, and after--as aforesaid--long literary training. The
italics are mine:
1. "What plague spot or bacilli were [sic] gnawing [sic] at the heart of
this metropolis . . . and bringing it [the heart] on bended knee?
Why, it was an institute that had entered its vitals--that, among other
things, taught games," et cetera.--C.S. Journal, p. 670, article
entitled "A Narrative--by Mary Baker G. Eddy."
2. "Parks sprang up [sic] . . . electric-cars run [sic] merrily
through several streets, concrete sidewalks and macadamized roads dotted
[sic] the place," et cetera.--Ibid.
3. "Shorn [sic] of its suburbs it had indeed little left to admire, save
to [sic] such as fancy a skeleton above ground breathing [sic] slowly
through a barren [sic] breast."--Ibid.
This is not English--I mean, grown-up English. But it is fifteen-year--
old English, and has not grown a month since the same mind produced the
Poems. The standard of the Poems and of the plague-spot-and-bacilli
effort is exactly the same. It is most strange that the same intellect
that worded the simple and self-contained and clean-cut paragraph
beginning with "How unreasonable is the belief," should in the very same
lustrum discharge upon the world such a verbal chaos as the utterance
concerning that plague-spot or bacilli which were gnawing at the insides
of the metropolis and bringing its heart on bended knee, thus exposing to
the eye the rest of the skeleton breathing slowly through a barren
The immense contrast between the legitimate English of Science and Health
and the bastard English of Mrs. Eddy's miscellaneous work, and between
the maturity of the one diction and the juvenility of the other,
suggests--compels--the question, Are there two guns? It would seem so.
Is there a poor, foolish, old, scattering flint-lock for rabbit, and a
long-range, centre-driving, up-to-date Mauser-magazine for elephant? It
looks like it. For it is observable that in Science and Health (the
elephant-ground) the practice was good at the start and has remained so,
and that the practice in the miscellaneous, outside, small-game field was
very bad at the start and was never less bad at any later time.
I wish to say that of Mrs. Eddy I am not requiring perfect English, but
only good English. No one can write perfect English and keep it up
through a stretch of ten chapters. It has never been done. It was
approached in the "well of English undefiled"; it has been approached in
Mrs. Eddy's Annex to that Book; it has been approached in several English
grammars; I have even approached it myself; but none of us has made port.
Now, the English of Science and Health is good. In passages to be found
in Mrs. Eddy's Autobiography (on pages 53, 57, 101, and 113), and on page
6 of her squalid preface to Science and Health, first revision, she seems
to me to claim the whole and sole authorship of the book. That she wrote
the Autobiography, and that preface, and the Poems, and the Plague-spot-
Bacilli, we are not permitted to doubt. Indeed, we know she wrote them.
But the very certainty that she wrote these things compels a doubt that
she wrote Science and Health. She is guilty of little awkwardnesses of
expression in the Autobiography which a practiced pen would hardly allow
to go uncorrected in even a hasty private letter, and could not dream of
passing by uncorrected in passages intended for print. But she passes
them placidly by; as placidly as if she did not suspect that they were
offenses against third-class English. I think that that placidity was
born of that very unawareness, so to speak. I will cite a few instances
from the Autobiography. The italics are mine:
"I remember reading in my childhood certain manuscripts containing
Scriptural Sonnets, besides other verses and enigmas," etc. Page 7.
[On page 27.] "Many pale cripples went into the Church leaning on
crutches who came out carrying them on their shoulders."
It is awkward, because at the first glance it seems to say that the
cripples went in leaning on crutches which went out carrying the cripples
on their shoulders. It would have cost her no trouble to put her "who"
after her "cripples." I blame her a little; I think her proof-reader
should have been shot. We may let her capital C pass, but it is another
awkwardness, for she is talking about a building, not about a religious
"Marriage and Parentage "[Chapter-heading. Page 30]. You imagine that
she is going to begin a talk about her marriage and finish with some
account of her father and mother. And so you will be deceived.
"Marriage" was right, but "Parentage" was not the best word for the rest
of the record. It refers to the birth of her own child. After a certain
period of time "my babe was born." Marriage and Motherhood-Marriage and
Maternity-Marriage and Product-Marriage and Dividend--either of these
would have fitted the facts and made the matter clear.
"Without my knowledge he was appointed a guardian." Page 32.
She is speaking of her child. She means that a guardian for her child
was appointed, but that isn't what she says.
"If spiritual conclusions are separated from their premises, the nexus is
lost, and the argument with its rightful conclusions, becomes
correspondingly obscure." Page 34.
We shall never know why she put the word "correspondingly" in there. Any
fine, large word would have answered just as well: psychosuperintangibly
stereoptically--any of these would have answered, any of these would have
filled the void.
"His spiritual noumenon and phenomenon silenced portraiture." Page 34.
Yet she says she forgot everything she knew, when she discovered
Christian Science. I realize that noumenon is a daisy; and I will not
deny that I shall use it whenever I am in a company which I think I can
embarrass with it; but, at the same time, I think it is out of place
among friends in an autobiography. There, I think a person ought not to
have anything up his sleeve. It undermines confidence. But my
dissatisfaction with the quoted passage is not on account of noumenon; it
is on account of the misuse of the word "silenced." You cannot silence
portraiture with a noumenon; if portraiture should make a noise, a way
could be found to silence it, but even then it could not be done with a
noumenon. Not even with a brick, some authorities think.
"It may be that the mortal life-battle still wages," etc. Page 35.
That is clumsy. Battles do not wage, battles are waged. Mrs. Eddy has
one very curious and interesting peculiarity: whenever she notices that
she is chortling along without saying anything, she pulls up with a
sudden "God is over us all," or some other sounding irrelevancy, and for
the moment it seems to light up the whole district; then, before you can
recover from the shock, she goes flitting pleasantly and meaninglessly
along again, and you hurry hopefully after her, thinking you are going to
get something this time; but as soon as she has led you far enough away
from her turkey lot she takes to a tree. Whenever she discovers that she
is getting pretty disconnected, she couples-up with an ostentatious "But"
which has nothing to do with anything that went before or is to come
after, then she hitches some empties to the train-unrelated verses from
the Bible, usually--and steams out of sight and leaves you wondering how
she did that clever thing. For striking instances, see bottom paragraph
on page 34 and the paragraph on page 35 of her Autobiography. She has a
purpose--a deep and dark and artful purpose--in what she is saying in the
first paragraph, and you guess what it is, but that is due to your own
talent, not hers; she has made it as obscure as language could do it.
The other paragraph has no meaning and no discoverable intention. It is
merely one of her God-over-alls. I cannot spare room for it in this
"I beheld with ineffable awe our great Master's marvelous skill in
demanding neither obedience to hygienic laws nor," etc. Page 41.
The word is loosely chosen-skill. She probably meant judgment,
intuition, penetration, or wisdom.
"Naturally, my first jottings were but efforts to express in feeble
diction Truth's ultimate." Page 42.
One understands what she means, but she should have been able to say what
she meant--at any time before she discovered Christian Science and forgot
everything she knew--and after it, too. If she had put "feeble" in front
of "efforts" and then left out "in" and "diction," she would have scored.
" . . . its written expression increases in perfection under the
guidance of the great Master." Page 43.
It is an error. Not even in those advantageous circumstances can
increase be added to perfection.
"Evil is not mastered by evil; it can only be overcome with Good. This
brings out the nothingness of evil, and the eternal Somethingness
vindicates the Divine Principle and improves the race of Adam." Page 76.
This is too extraneous for me. That is the trouble with Mrs. Eddy when
she sets out to explain an over-large exhibit: the minute you think the
light is bursting upon you the candle goes out and your mind begins to
"No one else can drain the cup which I have drunk to the dregs, as the
discoverer and teacher of Christian Science" Page 47.
That is saying we cannot empty an empty cup. We knew it before; and we
know she meant to tell us that that particular cup is going to remain
empty. That is, we think that that was the idea, but we cannot be sure.
She has a perfectly astonishing talent for putting words together in such
a way as to make successful inquiry into their intention impossible.
She generally makes us uneasy when she begins to tune up on her fine-
writing timbrel. It carries me back to her Plague-Spot and Poetry days,
and I just dread those:
"Into mortal mind's material obliquity I gazed and stood abashed.
Blanched was the cheek of pride. My heart bent low before the
omnipotence of Spirit, and a tint of humility soft as the heart of a
moonbeam mantled the earth. Bethlehem and Bethany, Gethsemane and
Calvary, spoke to my chastened sense as by the tearful lips of a babe."
The heart of a moonbeam is a pretty enough Friendship's-Album expression
--let it pass, though I do think the figure a little strained; but
humility has no tint, humility has no complexion, and if it had it could
not mantle the earth. A moonbeam might--I do not know--but she did not
say it was the moonbeam. But let it go, I cannot decide it, she mixes me
up so. A babe hasn't "tearful lips," it's its eyes. You find none of
Mrs. Eddy's kind of English in Science and Health--not a line of it.
Setting aside title-page, index, etc., the little Autobiography begins on
page 7 and ends on page 130. My quotations are from the first forty
pages. They seem to me to prove the presence of the 'prentice hand. The
style of the forty pages is loose and feeble and 'prentice-like. The
movement of the narrative is not orderly and sequential, but rambles
around, and skips forward and back and here and there and yonder,
'prentice-fashion. Many a journeyman has broken up his narrative and
skipped about and rambled around, but he did it for a purpose, for an
advantage; there was art in it, and points to be scored by it; the
observant reader perceived the game, and enjoyed it and respected it, if
it was well played. But Mrs. Eddy's performance was without intention,
and destitute of art. She could score no points by it on those terms,
and almost any reader can see that her work was the uncalculated
puttering of a novice.
In the above paragraph I have described the first third of the booklet.
That third being completed, Mrs. Eddy leaves the rabbit-range, crosses
the frontier, and steps out upon her far-spreading big-game territory--
Christian Science and there is an instant change! The style smartly
improves; and the clumsy little technical offenses disappear. In these
two-thirds of the booklet I find only one such offence, and it has the
look of being a printer's error.
I leave the riddle with the reader. Perhaps he can explain how it is
that a person-trained or untrained--who on the one day can write nothing
better than Plague-Spot-Bacilli and feeble and stumbling and wandering
personal history littered with false figures and obscurities and
technical blunders, can on the next day sit down and write fluently,
smoothly, compactly, capably, and confidently on a great big thundering
subject, and do it as easily and comfortably as a whale paddles around
As for me, I have scribbled so much in fifty years that I have become
saturated with convictions of one sort and another concerning a
scribbler's limitations; and these are so strong that when I am familiar
with a literary person's work I feel perfectly sure that I know enough
about his limitations to know what he can not do. If Mr. Howells should
pretend to me that he wrote the Plague-Spot Bacilli rhapsody, I should
receive the statement courteously; but I should know it for a--well, for
a perversion. If the late Josh Billings should rise up and tell me that
he wrote Herbert Spencer's philosophies; I should answer and say that the
spelling casts a doubt upon his claim. If the late Jonathan Edwards
should rise up and tell me he wrote Mr. Dooley's books, I should answer
and say that the marked difference between his style and Dooley's is
argument against the soundness of his statement. You see how much I
think of circumstantial evidence. In literary matters--in my belief--it
is often better than any person's word, better than any shady character's
oath. It is difficult for me to believe that the same hand that wrote
the Plague-Spot-Bacilli and the first third of the little Eddy biography
wrote also Science and Health. Indeed, it is more than difficult, it is
Largely speaking, I have read acres of what purported to be Mrs. Eddy's
writings, in the past two months. I cannot know, but I am convinced,
that the circumstantial evidence shows that her actual share in the work
of composing and phrasing these things was so slight as to be
inconsequential. Where she puts her literary foot down, her trail across
her paid polisher's page is as plain as the elephant's in a Sunday-school
procession. Her verbal output, when left undoctored by her clerks, is
quite unmistakable It always exhibits the strongly distinctive features
observable in the virgin passages from her pen already quoted by me:
Desert vacancy, as regards thought.
Affectations of scholarly learning.
Lust after eloquent and flowery expression.
Repetition of pet poetic picturesquenesses.
Confused and wandering statement.
Metaphor gone insane.
Meaningless words, used because they are pretty, or showy, or unusual.
Sorrowful attempts at the epigrammatic.
Destitution of originality.
The fat volume called Miscellaneous Writings of Mrs. Eddy contains
several hundred pages. Of the five hundred and fifty-four pages of prose
in it I find ten lines, on page 319, to be Mrs. Eddy's; also about a page
of the preface or "Prospectus"; also about fifteen pages scattered along
through the book. If she wrote any of the rest of the prose, it was
rewritten after her by another hand. Here I will insert two-thirds of
her page of the prospectus. It is evident that whenever, under the
inspiration of the Deity, she turns out a book, she is always allowed to
do some of the preface. I wonder why that is? It always mars the work.
I think it is done in humorous malice I think the clerks like to see her
give herself away. They know she will, her stock of usable materials
being limited and her procedure in employing them always the same,
substantially. They know that when the initiated come upon her first
erudite allusion, or upon any one of her other stage-properties, they can
shut their eyes and tell what will follow. She usually throws off an
easy remark all sodden with Greek or Hebrew or Latin learning; she
usually has a person watching for a star--she can seldom get away from
that poetic idea--sometimes it is a Chaldee, sometimes a Walking
Delegate, sometimes an entire stranger, but be he what he may, he is
generally there when the train is ready to move, and has his pass in his
hat-band; she generally has a Being with a Dome on him, or some other
cover that is unusual and out of the fashion; she likes to fire off a
Scripture-verse where it will make the handsomest noise and come nearest
to breaking the connection; she often throws out a Forefelt, or a
Foresplendor, or a Foreslander where it will have a fine nautical
foreto'gallant sound and make the sentence sing; after which she is
nearly sure to throw discretion away and take to her deadly passion,
Intoxicated Metaphor. At such a time the Mrs. Eddy that does not
hesitate is lost:
"The ancient Greek looked longingly for the Olympiad. The Chaldee
watched the appearing of a star; to him no higher destiny dawned on the
dome of being than that foreshadowed by signs in the heavens. The meek
Nazarene, the scoffed of all scoffers, said, 'Ye can discern the face of
the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?'--for He forefelt
and foresaw the ordeal of a perfect Christianity, hated by sinners.
"To kindle all minds with a gleam of gratitude, the new idea that comes
welling up from infinite Truth needs to be understood. The seer of this
age should be a sage.
"Humility is the stepping-stone to a higher recognition of Deity. The
mounting sense gathers fresh forms and strange fire from the ashes of
dissolving self, and drops the world. Meekness heightens immortal
attributes, only by removing the dust that dims them. Goodness reveals
another scene and another self seemingly rolled up in shades, but brought
to light by the evolutions of advancing thought, whereby we discern the
power of Truth and Love to heal the sick.
"Pride is ignorance; those assume most who have the least wisdom or
experience; and they steal from their neighbor, because they have so
little of their own."--Miscellaneous Writings, page 1, and six lines at
top of page 2.
It is not believable that the hand that wrote those clumsy and affected
sentences wrote the smooth English of Science and Health.
It is often said in print that Mrs. Eddy claims that God was the Author
of Science and Health. Mr. Peabody states in his pamphlet that "she says
not she but God was the Author." I cannot find that in her autobiography
she makes this transference of the authorship, but I think that in it she
definitely claims that she did her work under His inspiration--definitely
for her; for as a rule she is not a very definite person, even when she
seems to be trying her best to be clear and positive. Speaking of the
early days when her Science was beginning to unfold itself and gather
form in her mind, she says (Autobiography, page 43):
"The divine hand led me into a new world of light and Life, a fresh
universe--old to God, but new to His 'little one.'"
She being His little one, as I understand it.
The divine hand led her. It seems to mean "God inspired me"; but when a
person uses metaphors instead of statistics--and that is Mrs. Eddy's
common fashion--one cannot always feel sure about the intention.
[Page 56.] "Even the Scripture gave no direct interpretation of the
Scientific basis for demonstrating the spiritual Principle of healing,
until our Heavenly Father saw fit, through the Key to the Scriptures, in
Science and Health, to unlock this 'mystery of godliness.'"
Another baffling metaphor. If she had used plain forecastle English, and
said "God wrote the Key and I put it in my book"; or if she had said "God
furnished me the solution of the mystery and I put it on paper"; or if
she had said "God did it all," then we should understand; but her phrase
is open to any and all of those translations, and is a Key which unlocks
nothing--for us. However, it seems to at least mean "God inspired me,"
if nothing more.
There was personal and intimate communion, at any rate we get that much
out of the riddles. The connection extended to business, after the
establishment of the teaching and healing industry.
[Page 71.] "When God impelled me to set a price on my instruction," etc.
Further down: "God has since shown me, in multitudinous ways, the wisdom
of this decision."
She was not able to think of a "financial equivalent"--meaning a
pecuniary equivalent--for her "instruction in Christian Science Mind-
healing." In this emergency she was "led" to charge three hundred
dollars for a term of "twelve half-days." She does not say who led her,
she only says that the amount greatly troubled her. I think it means
that the price was suggested from above, "led" being a theological term
identical with our commercial phrase "personally conducted." She "shrank
from asking it, but was finally led, by a strange providence, to accept
this fee." "Providence" is another theological term. Two leds and a
providence, taken together, make a pretty strong argument for
inspiration. I think that these statistics make it clear that the price
was arranged above. This view is constructively supported by the fact,
already quoted, that God afterwards approved, "in multitudinous ways,"
her wisdom in accepting the mentioned fee. "Multitudinous ways"--
multitudinous encoring--suggests enthusiasm. Business enthusiasm. And
it suggests nearness. God's nearness to his "little one." Nearness, and
a watchful personal interest. A warm, palpitating, Standard-Oil
interest, so to speak. All this indicates inspiration. We may assume,
then, two inspirations: one for the book, the other for the business.
The evidence for inspiration is further augmented by the testimony of
Rev. George Tomkins, D.D., already quoted, that Mrs. Eddy and her book
were foretold in Revelation, and that Mrs. Eddy "is God's brightest
thought to this age, giving us the spiritual interpretation of the Bible
in the 'little book'" of the Angel.
I am aware that it is not Mr. Tomkins that is speaking, but Mrs. Eddy.
The commissioned lecturers of the Christian Science Church have to be
members of the Board of Lectureship. (By-laws Sec. 2, p. 70.) The
Board of Lectureship is selected by the Board of Directors of the Church.
(By-laws, Sec. 3, p. 70.) The Board of Directors of the Church is the
property of Mrs. Eddy. (By-laws, p. 22.) Mr. Tomkins did not make that
statement without authorization from headquarters. He necessarily got it
from the Board of Directors, the Board of Directors from Mrs. Eddy, Mrs.
Eddy from the Deity. Mr. Tomkins would have been turned down by that
procession if his remarks had been unsatisfactory to it.
It may be that there is evidence somewhere--as has been claimed--that
Mrs. Eddy has charged upon the Deity the verbal authorship of Science and
Health. But if she ever made the charge, she has withdrawn it (as it
seems to me), and in the most formal and unqualified; of all ways. See
Autobiography, page 57:
"When the demand for this book increased . . . the copyright was
infringed. I entered a suit at Law, and my copyright was protected."
Thus it is plain that she did not plead that the Deity was the (verbal)
Author; for if she had done that, she would have lost her case--and with
rude promptness. It was in the old days before the Berne Convention and
before the passage of our amended law of 1891, and the court would have
quoted the following stern clause from the existing statute and frowned
her out of the place:
"No Foreigner can acquire copyright in the United States."
To sum up. The evidence before me indicates three things:
1. That Mrs. Eddy claims the verbal author ship for herself.
2. That she denies it to the Deity.
3. That--in her belief--she wrote the book under the inspiration of the
Deity, but furnished the language herself.
In one place in the Autobiography she claims both the language and the
ideas; but when this witness is testifying, one must draw the line
somewhere, or she will prove both sides of her case-nine sides, if
It is too true. Much too true. Many, many times too true. She is a
most trying witness--the most trying witness that ever kissed the Book, I
am sure. There is no keeping up with her erratic testimony. As soon as
you have got her share of the authorship nailed where you half hope and
half believe it will stay and cannot be joggled loose any more, she
joggles it loose again--or seems to; you cannot be sure, for her habit of
dealing in meaningless metaphors instead of in plain, straightforward
statistics, makes it nearly always impossible to tell just what it is she
is trying to say. She was definite when she claimed both the language
and the ideas of the book. That seemed to settle the matter. It seemed
to distribute the percentages of credit with precision between the
collaborators: ninety-two per cent. to Mrs. Eddy, who did all the work,
and eight per cent. to the Deity, who furnished the inspiration not
enough of it to damage the copyright in a country closed against
Foreigners, and yet plenty to advertise the book and market it at famine
rates. Then Mrs. Eddy does not keep still, but fetches around and comes
forward and testifies again. It is most injudicious. For she resorts to
metaphor this time, and it makes trouble, for she seems to reverse the
percentages and claim only the eight per cent. for her self. I quote
from Mr. Peabody's book (Eddyism, or Christian Science. Boston: 15 Court
Square, price twenty-five cents):
"Speaking of this book, Mrs. Eddy, in January last (1901) said: 'I should
blush to write of Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures, as I
have, were it of human origin, and I, apart from God, its author; but as
I was only a scribe echoing the harmonies of Heaven in divine
metaphysics, I cannot be supermodest of the Christian Science text-
Mr. Peabody's comment:
"Nothing could be plainer than that. Here is a distinct avowal that the
book entitled Science and Health was the work of Almighty God."
It does seem to amount to that. She was only a "scribe." Confound the
word, it is just a confusion, it has no determinable meaning there, it
leaves us in the air. A scribe is merely a person who writes. He may be
a copyist, he may be an amanuensis, he may be a writer of originals, and
furnish both the language and the ideas. As usual with Mrs. Eddy, the
connection affords no help--"echoing" throws no light upon "scribe." A
rock can reflect an echo, a wall can do it, a mountain can do it, many
things can do it, but a scribe can't. A scribe that could reflect an
echo could get over thirty dollars a week in a side-show. Many
impresarios would rather have him than a cow with four tails. If we
allow that this present scribe was setting down the "harmonies of
Heaven"--and certainly that seems to have been the case then there was
only one way to do it that I can think of: listen to the music and put
down the notes one after another as they fell. In that case Mrs. Eddy
did not invent the tune, she only entered it on paper. Therefore
dropping the metaphor--she was merely an amanuensis, and furnished
neither the language of Science and Health nor the ideas. It reduces her
to eight per cent. (and the dividends on that and the rest).
Is that it? We shall never know. For Mrs. Eddy is liable to testify
again at any time. But until she does it, I think we must conclude that
the Deity was Author of the whole book, and Mrs. Eddy merely His
telephone and stenographer. Granting this, her claim as the Voice of God
stands-for the present--justified and established.
I overlooked something. It appears that there was more of that utterance
than Mr. Peabody has quoted in the above paragraph. It will be found in
Mrs. Eddy's organ, the Christian Science Journal (January, 1901) and
reads as follows:
"It was not myself . . . which dictated Science and Health, with Key
to the Scriptures."
That is certainly clear enough. The words which I have removed from that
important sentence explain Who it was that did the dictating. It was
"the divine power of Truth and Love, infinitely above me."
Certainly that is definite. At last, through her personal testimony, we
have a sure grip upon the following vital facts, and they settle the
authorship of Science and Health beyond peradventure:
1. Mrs. Eddy furnished "the ideas and the language."
2. God furnished the ideas and the language.
It is a great comfort to have the matter authoritatively settled.
It is hard to locate her, she shifts about so much. She is a shining
drop of quicksilver which you put your finger on and it isn't there.
There is a paragraph in the Autobiography (page 96) which places in
seemingly darkly significant procession three Personages:
1. The Virgin Mary
2. Jesus of Nazareth.
3. Mrs. Eddy.
This is the paragraph referred to:
"No person can take the individual place of the Virgin Mary. No person
can compass or fulfil the individual mission of Jesus of Nazareth. No
person can take the place of the author of Science and Health, the
discoverer and founder of Christian Science. Each individual must fill
his own niche in time and eternity."
I have read it many times, but I still cannot be sure that I rightly
understand it. If the Saviour's name had been placed first and the
Virgin Mary's second and Mrs. Eddy's third, I should draw the inference
that a descending scale from First Importance to Second Importance and
then to Small Importance was indicated; but to place the Virgin first,
the Saviour second, and Mrs. Eddy third, seems to turn the scale the
other way and make it an ascending scale of Importances, with Mrs. Eddy
ranking the other two and holding first place.
I think that that was perhaps the intention, but none but a seasoned
Christian Scientist can examine a literary animal of Mrs. Eddy's creation
and tell which end of it the tail is on. She is easily the most baffling
and bewildering writer in the literary trade.
Eddy is a commonplace name, and would have an unimpressive aspect in the
list of the reformed Holy Family. She has thought of that. In the book
of By-laws written by her--"impelled by a power not one's own"--there is
a paragraph which explains how and when her disciples came to confer a
title upon her; and this explanation is followed by a warning as to what
will happen to any female Scientist who shall desecrate it:
"The title of Mother. Therefore if a student of Christian Science shall
apply this title, either to herself or to others, except as the term for
kinship according to the flesh, it shall be regarded by the Church as an
indication of disrespect for their Pastor Emeritus, and unfitness to be a
member of the Mother-Church."
She is the Pastor Emeritus.
While the quoted paragraph about the Procession seems to indicate that
Mrs. Eddy is expecting to occupy the First Place in it, that expectation
is not definitely avowed. In an earlier utterance of hers she is
clearer--clearer, and does not claim the first place all to herself, but
only the half of it. I quote from Mr. Peabody's book again:
"In the Christian Science Journal for April, 1889, when it was her
property, and published by her, it was claimed for her, and with her
sanction, that she was equal with Jesus, and elaborate effort was made to
establish the claim.
"Mrs. Eddy has distinctly authorized the claim in her behalf that she
herself was the chosen successor to and equal of Jesus."
In her Miscellaneous Writings (using her once favorite "We" for "I") she
says that "While we entertain decided views . . . and shall express
them as duty demands, we shall claim no especial gift from our divine
Our divine origin. It suggests Equal again. It is inferable, then, that
in the near by-and-by the new Church will officially rank the Holy Family
in the following order:
1. Jesus of Nazareth.--1. Our Mother.
2. The Virgin Mary.
I am not playing with Christian Science and its founder, I am examining
them; and I am doing it because of the interest I feel in the inquiry.
My results may seem inadequate to the reader, but they have for me
clarified a muddle and brought a sort of order out of a chaos, and so I
My readings of Mrs. Eddy's uninspired miscellaneous literary efforts have
convinced me of several things:
1. That she did not write Science and Health.
2. That the Deity did (or did not) write it.
3. That She thinks She wrote it.
4. That She believes She wrote it under the Deity's inspiration.
5. That She believes She is a Member of the Holy Family.
6. That She believes She is the equal of the Head of it.
Finally, I think She is now entitled to the capital S--on her own
Thus far we have a part of Mrs. Eddy's portrait. Not made of fictions,
surmises, reports, rumors, innuendoes, dropped by her enemies; no, she
has furnished all of the materials herself, and laid them on the canvas,
under my general superintendence and direction. As far as she has gone
with it, it is the presentation of a complacent, commonplace, illiterate
New England woman who "forgot everything she knew" when she discovered
her discovery, then wrote a Bible in good English under the inspiration
of God, and climbed up it to the supremest summit of earthly grandeur
attainable by man--where she sits serene to-day, beloved and worshiped by
a multitude of human beings of as good average intelligence as is
possessed by those that march under the banner of any competing cult.
This is not intended to flatter the competing cults, it is merely a
statement of cold fact.
That a commonplace person should go climbing aloft and become a god or a
half-god or a quarter-god and be worshiped by men and women of average
intelligence, is nothing. It has happened a million times, it will
happen a hundred million more. It has been millions of years since the
first of these supernaturals appeared, and by the time the last one in
that inconceivably remote future shall have performed his solemn little
high-jinks on the stage and closed the business, there will be enough of
them accumulated in the museum on the Other Side to start a heaven of
their own-and jam it.
Each in his turn those little supernaturals of our by-gone ages and aeons
joined the monster procession of his predecessors and marched
horizonward, disappeared, and was forgotten. They changed nothing, they
built nothing, they left nothing behind them to remember them by, nothing
to hold their disciples together, nothing to solidify their work and
enable it to defy the assaults of time and the weather. They passed, and
left a vacancy. They made one fatal mistake; they all made it, each in
his turn: they failed to organize their forces, they failed to centralize
their strength, they failed to provide a fresh Bible and a sure and
perpetual cash income for business, and often they failed to provide a
new and accepted Divine Personage to worship.
Mrs. Eddy is not of that small fry. The materials that go to the making
of the rest of her portrait will prove it. She will furnish them
She published her book. She copyrighted it. She copyrights everything.
If she should say, "Good-morning; how do you do?" she would copyright it;
for she is a careful person, and knows the value of small things.
She began to teach her Science, she began to heal, she began to gather
converts to her new religion--fervent, sincere, devoted, grateful people.
A year or two later she organized her first Christian Science
"Association," with six of her disciples on the roster.
She continued to teach and heal. She was charging nothing, she says,
although she was very poor. She taught and healed gratis four years
altogether, she says.
Then, in 1879-81 she was become strong enough, and well enough
established, to venture a couple of impressively important moves. The
first of these moves was to aggrandize the "Association" to a "Church."
Brave? It is the right name for it, I think. The former name suggests
nothing, invited no remark, no criticism, no inquiry, no hostility; the
new name invited them all. She must have made this intrepid venture on
her own motion. She could have had no important advisers at that early
day. If we accept it as her own idea and her own act--and I think we
must--we have one key to her character. And it will explain subsequent
acts of hers that would merely stun us and stupefy us without it. Shall
we call it courage? Or shall we call it recklessness? Courage observes;
reflects; calculates; surveys the whole situation; counts the cost,
estimates the odds, makes up its mind; then goes at the enterprise
resolute to win or perish. Recklessness does not reflect, it plunges
fearlessly in with a hurrah, and takes the risks, whatever they may be,
regardless of expense. Recklessness often fails, Mrs. Eddy has never
failed--from the point of view of her followers. The point of view of
other people is naturally not a matter of weighty importance to her.
The new Church was not born loose-jointed and featureless, but had a
defined plan, a definite character, definite aims, and a name which was a
challenge, and defied all comers. It was "a Mind-healing Church." It
was "without a creed." Its name, "The Church of Christ, Scientist."
Mrs. Eddy could not copyright her Church, but she chartered it, which was
the same thing and relieved the pain. It had twenty-six charter members.
Mrs. Eddy was at once installed as its pastor.
The other venture, above referred to, was Mrs. Eddy's Massachusetts
Metaphysical College, in which was taught "the pathology of spiritual
power." She could not copyright it, but she got it chartered. For
faculty it had herself, her husband of the period (Dr. Eddy), and her
adopted son, Dr. Foster-Eddy. The college term was "barely three
weeks," she says. Again she was bold, brave, rash, reckless--choose for
yourself--for she not only began to charge the student, but charged him a
hundred dollars a week for the enlightenments. And got it? some may
ask. Easily. Pupils flocked from far and near. They came by the
hundred. Presently the term was cut down nearly half, but the price
remained as before. To be exact, the term-cut was to seven lessons--
price, three hundred dollars. The college "yielded a large income."
This is believable. In seven years Mrs. Eddy taught, as she avers, over
four thousand students in it. (Preface to 1902 edition of Science and
Health.) Three hundred times four thousand is--but perhaps you can cipher
it yourself. I could do it ordinarily, but I fell down yesterday and
hurt my leg. Cipher it; you will see that it is a grand sum for a woman
to earn in seven years. Yet that was not all she got out of her college
in the seven.
At the time that she was charging the primary student three hundred
dollars for twelve lessons she was not content with this tidy assessment,
but had other ways of plundering him. By advertisement she offered him
privileges whereby he could add eighteen lessons to his store for five
hundred dollars more. That is to say, he could get a total of thirty
lessons in her college for eight hundred dollars.
Four thousand times eight hundred is--but it is a difficult sum for a
cripple who has not been "demonstrated over" to cipher; let it go. She
taught "over" four thousand students in seven years. "Over" is not
definite, but it probably represents a non-paying surplus of learners
over and above the paying four thousand. Charity students, doubtless. I
think that as interesting an advertisement as has been printed since the
romantic old days of the other buccaneers is this one from the Christian
Science Journal for September, 1886:
"MASSACHUSETTS METAPHYSICAL COLLEGE
"Rev. MARY BAKER G. EDDY, PRESIDENT
"571 Columbus Avenue, Boston
"The collegiate course in Christian Science metaphysical healing includes
twelve lessons. Tuition, three hundred dollars.
"Course in metaphysical obstetrics includes six daily lectures, and is
open only to students from this college. Tuition, one hundred dollars.
"Class in theology, open (like the above) to graduates, receives six
additional lectures on the Scriptures, and summary of the principle and
practice of Christian Science, two hundred dollars.
"Normal class is open to those who have taken the first course at this
college; six daily lectures complete the Normal course. Tuition, two
"No invalids, and only persons of good moral character, are accepted as
students. All students are subject to examination and rejection; and
they are liable to leave the class if found unfit to remain in it.
"A limited number of clergymen received free of charge.
"Largest discount to indigent students, one hundred dollars on the first
"No deduction on the others.
"Husband and wife, entered together, three hundred dollars.
"Tuition for all strictly in advance."
There it is--the horse-leech's daughter alive again, after a three-
century vacation. Fifty or sixty hours' lecturing for eight hundred
I was in error as to one matter: there are no charity students. Gratis-
taught clergymen must not be placed under that head; they are merely an
advertisement. Pauper students can get into the infant class on a two-
third rate (cash in advance), but not even an archangel can get into the
rest of the game at anything short of par, cash down. For it is "in the
spirit of Christ's charity, as one who is joyful to bear healing to the
sick "that Mrs. Eddy is working the game. She sends the healing to them
outside. She cannot bear it to them inside the college, for the reason
that she does not allow a sick candidate to get in. It is true that this
smells of inconsistency, but that is nothing; Mrs. Eddy would not be Mrs.
Eddy if she should ever chance to be consistent about anything two days
Except in the matter of the Dollar. The Dollar, and appetite for power
and notoriety. English must also be added; she is always consistent, she
is always Mrs. Eddy, in her English: it is always and consistently
confused and crippled and poor. She wrote the Advertisement; her
literary trade-marks are there. When she says all "students" are subject
to examination, she does not mean students, she means candidates for that
lofty place When she says students are "liable" to leave the class if
found unfit to remain in it, she does not mean that if they find
themselves unfit, or be found unfit by others, they will be likely to ask
permission to leave the class; she means that if she finds them unfit she
will be "liable" to fire them out. When she nobly offers "tuition for
all strictly in advance," she does not mean "instruction for all in
advance-payment for it later." No, that is only what she says, it is not
what she means. If she had written Science and Health, the oldest man in
the world would not be able to tell with certainty what any passage in it
was intended to mean.
Her Church was on its legs.
She was its pastor. It was prospering.
She was appointed one of a committee to draught By-laws for its
government. It may be observed, without overplus of irreverence, that
this was larks for her. She did all of the draughting herself. From the
very beginning she was always in the front seat when there was business
to be done; in the front seat, with both eyes open, and looking sharply
out for Number One; in the front seat, working Mortal Mind with fine
effectiveness and giving Immortal Mind a rest for Sunday. When her
Church was reorganized, by-and-by, the By-laws were retained. She saw to
that. In these Laws for the government of her Church, her empire, her
despotism, Mrs. Eddy's character is embalmed for good and all. I think a
particularized examination of these Church-laws will be found
interesting. And not the less so if we keep in mind that they were
"impelled by a power not one's own," as she says--Anglice. the
inspiration of God.
It is a Church "without a creed." Still, it has one. Mrs. Eddy
draughted it--and copyrighted it. In her own name. You cannot become a
member of the Mother-Church (nor of any Christian Science Church) without
signing it. It forms the first chapter of the By-laws, and is called
"Tenets." "Tenets of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ,
Scientist." It has no hell in it--it throws it overboard.
THE PASTOR EMERITUS
About the time of the reorganization, Mrs. Eddy retired from her position
of pastor of her Church, abolished the office of pastor in all branch
Churches, and appointed her book, Science and Health, to be pastor-
universal. Mrs. Eddy did not disconnect herself from the office
entirely, when she retired, but appointed herself Pastor Emeritus. It is
a misleading title, and belongs to the family of that phrase "without a
creed." It advertises her as being a merely honorary official, with
nothing to do, and no authority. The Czar of Russia is Emperor Emeritus
on the same terms. Mrs. Eddy was Autocrat of the Church before, with
limitless authority, and she kept her grip on that limitless authority
when she took that fictitious title.
It is curious and interesting to note with what an unerring instinct the
Pastor Emeritus has thought out and forecast all possible encroachments
upon her planned autocracy, and barred the way against them, in the By-
laws which she framed and copyrighted--under the guidance of the Supreme
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
For instance, when Article I. speaks of a President and Board of
Directors, you think you have discovered a formidable check upon the
powers and ambitions of the honorary pastor, the ornamental pastor, the
functionless pastor, the Pastor Emeritus, but it is a mistake. These
great officials are of the phrase--family of the Church-Without-a-Creed
and the Pastor-With-Nothing-to-Do; that is to say, of the family of
Large-Names-Which-Mean-Nothing. The Board is of so little consequence
that the By-laws do not state how it is chosen, nor who does it; but they
do state, most definitely, that the Board cannot fill a vacancy in its
number "except the candidate is approved by the Pastor Emeritus."
The "candidate." The Board cannot even proceed to an election until the
Pastor Emeritus has examined the list and squelched such candidates as
are not satisfactory to her.
Whether the original first Board began as the personal property of Mrs.
Eddy or not, it is foreseeable that in time, under this By-law, she would
own it. Such a first Board might chafe under such a rule as that, and
try to legislate it out of existence some day. But Mrs. Eddy was awake.
She foresaw that danger, and added this ingenious and effective clause:
"This By-law can neither be amended nor annulled, except by consent of
Mrs. Eddy, the Pastor Emeritus"
The Board of Directors, or Serfs, or Ciphers, elects the President.
On these clearly worded terms: "Subject to the approval of the Pastor
Therefore She elects him.
A long term can invest a high official with influence and power, and make
him dangerous. Mrs. Eddy reflected upon that; so she limits the
President's term to a year. She has a capable commercial head, an
organizing head, a head for government.
TREASURER AND CLERK
There are a Treasurer and a Clerk. They are elected by the Board of
Directors. That is to say, by Mrs. Eddy.
Their terms of office expire on the first Tuesday in June of each year,
"or upon the election of their successors." They must be watchfully
obedient and satisfactory to her, or she will elect and install their
successors with a suddenness that can be unpleasant to them. It goes
without saying that the Treasurer manages the Treasury to suit Mrs. Eddy,
and is in fact merely Temporary Deputy Treasurer.
Apparently the Clerk has but two duties to perform: to read messages from
Mrs. Eddy to First Members assembled in solemn Council, and provide lists
of candidates for Church membership. The select body entitled First
Members are the aristocracy of the Mother-Church, the Charter Members,
the Aborigines, a sort of stylish but unsalaried little College of
Cardinals, good for show, but not indispensable. Nobody is indispensable
in Mrs. Eddy's empire; she sees to that.
When the Pastor Emeritus sends a letter or message to that little
Sanhedrin, it is the Clerk's "imperative duty" to read it "at the place
and time specified." Otherwise, the world might come to an end. These
are fine, large frills, and remind us of the ways of emperors and such.
Such do not use the penny-post, they send a gilded and painted special
messenger, and he strides into the Parliament, and business comes to a
sudden and solemn and awful stop; and in the impressive hush that
follows, the Chief Clerk reads the document. It is his "imperative
duty." If he should neglect it, his official life would end. It is the
same with this Mother-Church Clerk; "if he fail to perform this important
function of his office," certain majestic and unshirkable solemnities
must follow: a special meeting "shall" be called; a member of the Church
"shall" make formal complaint; then the Clerk "shall" be "removed from
office." Complaint is sufficient, no trial is necessary.
There is something very sweet and juvenile and innocent and pretty about
these little tinsel vanities, these grave apings of monarchical fuss and
feathers and ceremony, here on our ostentatiously democratic soil. She
is the same lady that we found in the Autobiography, who was so naively
vain of all that little ancestral military riffraff that she had dug up
and annexed. A person's nature never changes. What it is in childhood,
it remains. Under pressure, or a change of interest, it can partially or
wholly disappear from sight, and for considerable stretches of time, but
nothing can ever permanently modify it, nothing can ever remove it.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
There isn't any--now. But with power and money piling up higher and
higher every day and the Church's dominion spreading daily wider and
farther, a time could come when the envious and ambitious could start the
idea that it would be wise and well to put a watch upon these assets--
a watch equipped with properly large authority. By custom, a Board of
Trustees. Mrs. Eddy has foreseen that probability--for she is a woman
with a long, long look ahead, the longest look ahead that ever a woman
had--and she has provided for that emergency. In Art. I., Sec. 5, she
has decreed that no Board of Trustees shall ever exist in the Mother-
Church "except it be constituted by the Pastor Emeritus."
The magnificence of it, the daring of it! Thus far, she is
The Massachusetts Metaphysical College;
Board of Directors;
and future Board of Trustees;
and is still moving onward, ever onward. When I contemplate her from a
commercial point of view, there are no words that can convey my
admiration of her.
These are a feature of first importance in the church-machinery of
Christian Science. For they occupy the pulpit. They hold the place that
the preacher holds in the other Christian Churches. They hold that
place, but they do not preach. Two of them are on duty at a time--a man
and a woman. One reads a passage from the Bible, the other reads the
explanation of it from Science and Health--and so they go on alternating.
This constitutes the service--this, with choir-music. They utter no word
of their own. Art. IV., Sec. 6, closes their mouths with this
"They shall make no remarks explanatory of the Lesson-Sermon at any time
during the service."
It seems a simple little thing. One is not startled by it at a first
reading of it; nor at the second, nor the third. One may have to read it
a dozen times before the whole magnitude of it rises before the mind. It
far and away oversizes and outclasses the best business-idea yet invented
for the safe-guarding and perpetuating of a religion. If it had been
thought of and put in force eighteen hundred and seventy years ago, there
would be but one Christian sect in the world now, instead of ten dozens
There are many varieties of men in the world, consequently there are many
varieties of minds in its pulpits. This insures many differing
interpretations of important Scripture texts, and this in turn insures
the splitting up of a religion into many sects. It is what has happened;
it was sure to happen.
Mrs. Eddy has noted this disastrous result of preaching, and has put up
the bars. She will have no preaching in her Church. She has explained
all essential Scriptures, and set the explanations down in her book. In
her belief her underlings cannot improve upon those explanations, and in
that stern sentence "they shall make no explanatory remarks" she has
barred them for all time from trying. She will be obeyed; there is no
question about that.
In arranging her government she has borrowed ideas from various sources--
not poor ones, but the best in the governmental market--but this one is
new, this one came out of no ordinary business-head, this one must have
come out of her own, there has been no other commercial skull in a
thousand centuries that was equal to it. She has borrowed freely and
wisely, but I am sure that this idea is many times larger than all her
borrowings bulked together. One must respect the business-brain that
produced it--the splendid pluck and impudence that ventured to promulgate
ELECTION OF READERS
Readers are not taken at hap-hazard, any more than preachers are taken at
hap-hazard for the pulpits of other sects. No, Readers are elected by
the Board of Directors. But--
"Section 3. The Board shall inform the Pas. for Emeritus of the names
of candidates for Readers before they are elected, and if she objects to
the nomination, said candidates shall not be chosen."
Is that an election--by the Board? Thus far I have not been able to find
out what that Board of Spectres is for. It certainly has no real
function, no duty which the hired girl could not perform, no office
beyond the mere recording of the autocrat's decrees.
There are no dangerously long office-terms in Mrs. Eddy's government.
The Readers are elected for but one year. This insures their
subserviency to their proprietor.
Readers are not allowed to copy out passages and read them from the
manuscript in the pulpit; they must read from Mrs. Eddy's book itself.
She is right. Slight changes could be slyly made, repeated, and in time
get acceptance with congregations. Branch sects could grow out of these
practices. Mrs. Eddy knows the human race, and how far to trust it. Her
limit is not over a quarter of an inch. It is all that a wise person
Mrs. Eddy's inborn disposition to copyright everything, charter
everything, secure the rightful and proper credit to herself for
everything she does, and everything she thinks she does, and everything
she thinks, and everything she thinks she thinks or has thought or
intends to think, is illustrated in Sec. 5 of Art. IV., defining the
duties of official Readers--in church:
"Naming Book and Author. The Reader of Science and Health, with Key to
the Scriptures, before commencing to read from this book, shall
distinctly announce its full title and give the author's name."
Otherwise the congregation might get the habit of forgetting who
(ostensibly) wrote the book.
This consists of First Members and their apostolic succession. It is a
close corporation, and its membership limit is one hundred. Forty will
answer, but if the number fall below that, there must be an election, to
fill the grand quorum.
This Sanhedrin can't do anything of the slightest importance, but it can
talk. It can "discuss." That is, it can discuss "important questions
relative to Church members", evidently persons who are already Church
members. This affords it amusement, and does no harm.
It can "fix the salaries of the Readers."
Twice a year it "votes on" admitting candidates. That is, for Church
membership. But its work is cut out for it beforehand, by Art. IX.:
"Every recommendation for membership In the Church 'shall be
countersigned by a loyal student of Mrs. Eddy's, by a Director of this
Church, or by a First Member.'"
All these three classes of beings are the personal property of Mrs. Eddy.
She has absolute control of the elections.
Also it must "transact any Church business that may properly come before
"Properly" is a thoughtful word. No important business can come before
it. The By laws have attended to that. No important business goes
before any one for the final word except Mrs. Eddy. She has looked to
The Sanhedrin "votes on" candidates for admission to its own body. But
is its vote worth any more than mine would be? No, it isn't. Sec. 4,
of Art. V.--Election of First Members--makes this quite plain:
"Before being elected, the candidates for First Members shall be approved
by the Pastor Emeritus over her own signature."
Thus the Sanhedrin is the personal property of Mrs. Eddy. She owns it.
It has no functions, no authority, no real existence. It is another
Board of Shadows. Mrs. Eddy is the Sanhedrin herself.
But it is time to foot up again and "see where we are at." Thus far,
Mrs. Eddy is
The Massachusetts Metaphysical College;
Board of Directors;
Future Board of Trustees;
Proprietor of the Priesthood:
Dictator of the Services;
Proprietor of the Sanhedrin. She has come far, and is still on her way.
In this Article there is another exhibition of a couple of the large
features of Mrs. Eddy's remarkable make-up: her business-talent and her
knowledge of human nature.
She does not beseech and implore people to join her Church. She knows
the human race better than that. She gravely goes through the motions of
reluctantly granting admission to the applicant as a favor to him. The
idea is worth untold shekels. She does not stand at the gate of the fold
with welcoming arms spread, and receive the lost sheep with glad emotion
and set up the fatted calf and invite the neighbor and have a time. No,
she looks upon him coldly, she snubs him, she says:
"Who are you? Who is your sponsor? Who asked you to come here? Go
away, and don't come again until you are invited."
It is calculated to strikingly impress a person accustomed to Moody and
Sankey and Sam Jones revivals; accustomed to brain-turning appeals to the
unknown and unendorsed sinner to come forward and enter into the joy,
etc.--"just as he is"; accustomed to seeing him do it; accustomed to
seeing him pass up the aisle through sobbing seas of welcome, and love,
and congratulation, and arrive at the mourner's bench and be received
like a long-lost government bond.
No, there is nothing of that kind in Mrs. Eddy's system. She knows that
if you wish to confer upon a human being something which he is not sure
he wants, the best way is to make it apparently difficult for him to get
it--then he is no son of Adam if that apple does not assume an interest
in his eyes which it lacked before. In time this interest can grow into
desire. Mrs. Eddy knows that when you cannot get a man to try--free of
cost--a new and effective remedy for a disease he is afflicted with, you
can generally sell it to him if you will put a price upon it which he
cannot afford. When, in the beginning, she taught Christian Science
gratis (for good reasons), pupils were few and reluctant, and required
persuasion; it was when she raised the limit to three hundred dollars for
a dollar's worth that she could not find standing room for the invasion
of pupils that followed.
With fine astuteness she goes through the motions of making it difficult
to get membership in her Church. There is a twofold value in this
system: it gives membership a high value in the eyes of the applicant;
and at the same time the requirements exacted enable Mrs. Eddy to keep
him out if she has doubts about his value to her. A word further as to
applications for membership:
"Applications of students of the Metaphysical College must be signed by
the Board of Directors."
That is safe. Mrs. Eddy is proprietor of that Board.
Children of twelve may be admitted if invited by "one of Mrs. Eddy's
loyal students, or by a First Member, or by a Director."
These sponsors are the property of Mrs. Eddy, therefore her Church is
safeguarded from the intrusion of undesirable children.
Other Students. Applicants who have not studied with Mrs. Eddy can get
in only "by invitation and recommendation from students of Mrs. Eddy....
or from members of the Mother-Church."
Other paragraphs explain how two or three other varieties of applicants
are to be challenged and obstructed, and tell us who is authorized to
invite them, recommend them endorse them, and all that.
The safeguards are definite, and would seem to be sufficiently strenuous
--to Mr. Sam Jones, at any rate. Not for Mrs. Eddy. She adds this
"The candidates be elected by a majority vote of the First Members
That is the aristocracy, the aborigines, the Sanhedrin. It is Mrs.
Eddy's property. She herself is the Sanhedrin. No one can get into the
Church if she wishes to keep him out.
This veto power could some time or other have a large value for her,
therefore she was wise to reserve it.
It is likely that it is not frequently used. It is also probable that
the difficulties attendant upon getting admission to membership have been
instituted more to invite than to deter, more to enhance the value of
membership and make people long for it than to make it really difficult
to get. I think so, because the Mother. Church has many thousands of
members more than its building can accommodate.
AND SOME ENGLISH REQUIRED
Mrs. Eddy is very particular as regards one detail curiously so, for her,
all things considered. The Church Readers must be "good English
scholars"; they must be "thorough English scholars."
She is thus sensitive about the English of her subordinates for cause,
possibly. In her chapter defining the duties of the Clerk there is an
indication that she harbors resentful memories of an occasion when the
hazy quality of her own English made unforeseen and mortifying trouble:
"Understanding Communications. Sec. 2. If the Clerk of this Church
shall receive a communication from the Pastor Emeritus which he does not
fully understand, he shall inform her of this fact before presenting it
to the Church, and obtain a clear understanding of the matter--then act
in accordance therewith."
She should have waited to calm down, then, but instead she added this,
which lacks sugar:
"Failing to adhere to this By-law, the Clerk must resign."
I wish I could see that communication that broke the camel's back. It
was probably the one beginning: "What plague spot or bacilli were gnawing
at the heart of this metropolis and bringing it on bended knee?" and I
think it likely that the kindly disposed Clerk tried to translate it into
English and lost his mind and had to go to the hospital. That Bylaw was
not the offspring of a forecast, an intuition, it was certainly born of a
sorrowful experience. Its temper gives the fact away.
The little book of By-laws has manifestly been tinkered by one of Mrs.
Eddy's "thorough English scholars," for in the majority of cases its
meanings are clear. The book is not even marred by Mrs. Eddy's peculiar
specialty--lumbering clumsinesses of speech. I believe the salaried
polisher has weeded them all out but one. In one place, after referring
to Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy goes on to say "the Bible and the above-
-named book, with other works by the same author," etc.
It is an unfortunate sentence, for it could mislead a hasty or careless
reader for a moment. Mrs. Eddy framed it--it is her very own--it bears
her trade-mark. "The Bible and Science and Health, with other works by
the same author," could have come from no literary vacuum but the one
which produced the remark (in the Autobiography): "I remember reading, in
my childhood, certain manuscripts containing Scriptural Sonnets, besides
other verses and enigmas."
We know what she means, in both instances, but a low-priced Clerk would
not necessarily know, and on a salary like his he could quite excusably
aver that the Pastor Emeritus had commanded him to come and make
proclamation that she was author of the Bible, and that she was thinking
of discharging some Scriptural sonnets and other enigmas upon the
congregation. It could lose him his place, but it would not be fair, if
it happened before the edict about "Understanding Communications" was
The By-law book makes a showy pretence of orderliness and system, but it
is only a pretence. I will not go so far as to say it is a harum-scarum
jumble, for it is not that, but I think it fair to say it is at least
jumbulacious in places. For instance, Articles III. and IV. set forth
in much detail the qualifications and duties of Readers, she then skips
some thirty pages and takes up the subject again. It looks like
slovenliness, but it may be only art. The belated By-law has a
sufficiently quiet look, but it has a ton of dynamite in it. It makes
all the Christian Science Church Readers on the globe the personal
chattels of Mrs. Eddy. Whenever she chooses, she can stretch her long
arm around the world's fat belly and flirt a Reader out of his pulpit,
though he be tucked away in seeming safety and obscurity in a lost
village in the middle of China:
"In any Church. Sec. 2. The Pastor Emeritus of the Mother-Church shall
have the right (through a letter addressed to the individual and Church
of which he is the Reader) to remove a Reader from this office in any
Church of Christ, Scientist, both in America and in foreign nations; or
to appoint the Reader to fill any office belonging to the Christian
She does not have to prefer charges against him, she does not have to
find him lazy, careless, incompetent, untidy, ill-mannered, unholy,
dishonest, she does not have to discover a fault of any kind in him, she
does not have to tell him nor his congregation why she dismisses and
disgraces him and insults his meek flock, she does not have to explain to
his family why she takes the bread out of their mouths and turns them
out-of-doors homeless and ashamed in a strange land; she does not have to
do anything but send a letter and say: "Pack!--and ask no questions!"
Has the Pope this power?--the other Pope--the one in Rome. Has he
anything approaching it? Can he turn a priest out of his pulpit and
strip him of his office and his livelihood just upon a whim, a caprice,
and meanwhile furnishing no reasons to the parish? Not in America. And
not elsewhere, we may believe.
It is odd and strange, to see intelligent and educated people among us
worshipping this self-seeking and remorseless tyrant as a God. This
worship is denied--by persons who are themselves worshippers of Mrs.
Eddy. I feel quite sure that it is a worship which will continue during
That Mrs. Eddy wrote that amazing By-law with her own hand we have much
better evidence than her word. We have her English. It is there. It
cannot be imitated. She ought never to go to the expense of copyrighting
her verbal discharges. When any one tries to claim them she should call
me; I can always tell them from any other literary apprentice's at a
glance. It was like her to call America a "nation"; she would call a
sand-bar a nation if it should fall into a sentence in which she was
speaking of peoples, for she would not know how to untangle it and get it
out and classify it by itself. And the closing arrangement of that By-
law is in true Eddysonian form, too. In it she reserves authority to
make a Reader fill any office connected with a Science church-sexton,
grave-digger, advertising-agent, Annex-polisher, leader of the choir,
President, Director, Treasurer, Clerk, etc. She did not mean that. She
already possessed that authority. She meant to clothe herself with
power, despotic and unchallengeable, to appoint all Science Readers to
their offices, both at home and abroad. The phrase "or to appoint" is
another miscarriage of intention; she did not mean "or," she meant "and."
That By-law puts into Mrs. Eddy's hands absolute command over the most
formidable force and influence existent in the Christian Science kingdom
outside of herself, and it does this unconditionally and (by auxiliary
force of Laws already quoted) irrevocably. Still, she is not quite
satisfied. Something might happen, she doesn't know what. Therefore she
drives in one more nail, to make sure, and drives it deep:
"This By-law can neither be amended nor annulled, except by consent of
the Pastor Emeritus."
Let some one with a wild and delirious fancy try and see if he can
imagine her furnishing that consent.
MONOPOLY OF SPIRITUAL BREAD
Very properly, the first qualification for membership in the Mother-
Church is belief in the doctrines of Christian Science.
But these doctrines must not be gathered from secondary sources. There
is but one recognized source. The candidate must be a believer in the
doctrines of Christian Science "according to the platform and teaching
contained in the Christian Science text-book, 'Science and Health, with
Key to the Scriptures,' by Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy."
That is definite, and is final. There are to be no commentaries, no
labored volumes of exposition and explanation by anybody except Mrs.
Eddy. Because such things could sow error, create warring opinions,
split the religion into sects, and disastrously cripple its power. Mrs.
Eddy will do the whole of the explaining, Herself--has done it, in fact.
She has written several books. They are to be had (for cash in advance),
they are all sacred; additions to them can never be needed and will never
be permitted. They tell the candidate how to instruct himself, how to
teach others, how to do all things comprised in the business--and they
close the door against all would-be competitors, and monopolize the
"The Bible and the above--named book [Science and Health], with other
works by the same author," must be his only text-books for the commerce--
he cannot forage outside.
Mrs. Eddy's words are to be the sole elucidators of the Bible and Science
and Health--forever. Throughout the ages, whenever there is doubt as to
the meaning of a passage in either of these books the inquirer will not
dream of trying to explain it to himself; he would shudder at the thought
of such temerity, such profanity, he would be haled to the Inquisition
and thence to the public square and the stake if he should be caught
studying into text-meanings on his own hook; he will be prudent and seek
the meanings at the only permitted source, Mrs. Eddy's commentaries.
Value of this Strait-jacket. One must not underrate the magnificence of
this long-headed idea, one must not underestimate its giant possibilities
in the matter of trooping the Church solidly together and keeping it so.
It squelches independent inquiry, and makes such a thing impossible,
profane, criminal, it authoritatively settles every dispute that can
arise. It starts with finality--a point which the Roman Church has
travelled towards fifteen or sixteen centuries, stage by stage, and has
not yet reached. The matter of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin
Mary was not authoritatively settled until the days of Pius IX.--
yesterday, so to speak.
As already noticed, the Protestants are broken up into a long array of
sects, a result of disputes about the meanings of texts, disputes made
unavoidable by the absence of an infallible authority to submit doubtful
passages to. A week or two ago (I am writing in the middle of January,
1903), the clergy and others hereabouts had a warm dispute in the papers
over this question: Did Jesus anywhere claim to be God? It seemed an
easy question, but it turned out to be a hard one. It was ably and
elaborately discussed, by learned men of several denominations, but in
the end it remained unsettled.
A week ago, another discussion broke out. It was over this text:
"Sell all that thou hast and distribute unto the poor."
One verdict was worded as follows:
"When Christ answered the rich young man and said for him to give to the
poor all he possessed or he could not gain everlasting life, He did not
mean it in the literal sense. My interpretation of His words is that we
should part with what comes between us and Christ.
"There is no doubt that Jesus believed that the rich young man thought
more of his wealth than he did of his soul, and, such being the case, it
was his duty to give up the wealth.
"Every one of us knows that there is something we should give up for
Christ. Those who are true believers and followers know what they have
given up, and those who are not yet followers know down in their hearts
what they must give up."
Ten clergymen of various denominations were interviewed, and nine of them
agreed with that verdict. That did not settle the matter, because the
tenth said the language of Jesus was so strait and definite that it
explained itself: "Sell all," not a percentage.
There is a most unusual feature about that dispute: the nine persons who
decided alike, quoted not a single authority in support of their
position. I do not know when I have seen trained disputants do the like
of that before. The nine merely furnished their own opinions, founded
upon--nothing at all. In the other dispute ("Did Jesus anywhere claim to
be God?") the same kind of men--trained and learned clergymen--backed up
their arguments with chapter and verse. On both sides. Plenty of
verses. Were no reinforcing verses to be found in the present case? It
looks that way.
The opinion of the nine seems strange to me, for it is unsupported by
authority, while there was at least constructive authority for the
It is hair-splitting differences of opinion over disputed text-meanings
that have divided into many sects a once united Church. One may infer
from some of the names in the following list that some of the differences
are very slight--so slight as to be not distinctly important, perhaps--
yet they have moved groups to withdraw from communions to which they
belonged and set up a sect of their own. The list--accompanied by
various Church statistics for 1902, compiled by Rev. Dr. H. K.
Carroll--was published, January 8, 1903, in the New York Christian
Adventists (6 bodies), Baptists (13 bodies), Brethren (Plymouth) (4
bodies), Brethren (River) (3 bodies), Catholics (8 bodies), Catholic
Apostolic, Christadelphians, Christian Connection, Christian Catholics,
Christian Missionary Association, Christian Scientists, Church of God
(Wine-brennarian), Church of the New Jerusalem, Congregationalists,
Disciples of Christ, Dunkards (4 bodies), Evangelical (2 bodies), Friends
(4 bodies), Friends of the Temple, German Evangelical Protestant, German
Evangelical Synod, Independent congregations, Jews (2 bodies), Latter-day
Saints (2 bodies), Lutherans (22 bodies), Mennonites (12 bodies),
Methodists (17 bodies), Moravians, Presbyterians (12 bodies), Protestant
Episcopal (2 bodies), Reformed (3 bodies), Schwenkfeldians, Social
Brethren, Spiritualists, Swedish Evangelical Miss. Covenant
(Waldenstromians), Unitarians, United Brethren (2 bodies), Universalists,
Total of sects and splits--139.
In the present month (February), Mr. E. I. Lindh, A..M., has
communicated to the Boston Transcript a hopeful article on the solution
of the problem of the "divided church." Divided is not too violent a
term. Subdivided could have been permitted if he had thought of it. He
came near thinking of it, for he mentions some of the subdivisions
himself: "the 12 kinds of Presbyterians, the 17 kinds of Methodists, the
13 kinds of Baptists, etc." He overlooked the 12 kinds of Mennonites and
the 22 kinds of Lutherans, but they are in Rev. Mr. Carroll's list.
Altogether, 76 splits under 5 flags. The Literary Digest (February 14th)
is pleased with Mr. Lindh's optimistic article, and also with the signs
of the times, and perceives that "the idea of Church unity is in the
Now, then, is not Mrs. Eddy profoundly wise in forbidding, for all time,
all explanations of her religion except such as she shall let on to be
I think so. I think there can be no doubt of it. In a way, they will be
her own; for, no matter which member of her clerical staff shall furnish
the explanations, not a line of them will she ever allow to be printed
until she shall have approved it, accepted it, copyrighted it, cabbaged
it. We may depend on that with a four-ace confidence.
THE NEW INFALLIBILITY
All in proper time Mrs. Eddy's factory will take hold of that
Commandment, and explain it for good and all. It may be that one member
of the shift will vote that the word "all" means all; it may be that ten
members of the shift will vote that "all" means only a percentage; but it
is Mrs. Eddy, not the eleven, who will do the deciding. And if she says
it is percentage, then percentage it is, forevermore--and that is what I
am expecting, for she doesn't sell all herself, nor any considerable part
of it, and as regards the poor, she doesn't declare any dividend; but if
she says "all" means all, then all it is, to the end of time, and no
follower of hers will ever be allowed to reconstruct that text, or shrink
it, or inflate it, or meddle with it in any way at all. Even to-day--
right here in the beginning--she is the sole person who, in the matter of
Christian Science exegesis, is privileged to exploit the Spiral Twist.
The Christian world has two Infallibles now.
Of equal power? For the present only. When Leo XIII. passes to his
rest another Infallible will ascend his throne; others, and yet others,
and still others will follow him, and be as infallible as he, and decide
questions of doctrine as long as they may come up, all down the far
future; but Mary Baker G. Eddy is the only Infallible that will ever
occupy the Science throne. Many a Science Pope will succeed her, but she
has closed their mouths; they will repeat and reverently praise and adore
her infallibilities, but venture none themselves. In her grave she will
still outrank all other Popes, be they of what Church they may. She will
hold the supremest of earthly titles, The Infallible--with a capital T.
Many in the world's history have had a hunger for such nuggets and slices
of power as they might reasonably hope to grab out of an empire's or a
religion's assets, but Mrs. Eddy is the only person alive or dead who has
ever struck for the whole of them. For small things she has the eye of a
microscope, for large ones the eye of a telescope, and whatever she sees,
she wants. Wants it all.
THE SACRED POEMS
When Mrs. Eddy's "sacred revelations" (that is the language of the By-
laws) are read in public, their authorship must be named. The By-laws
twice command this, therefore we mention it twice, to be fair.
But it is also commanded that when a member publicly quotes "from the
poems of our Pastor Emeritus" the authorship shall be named. For these
are sacred, too. There are kindly people who may suspect a hidden
generosity in that By-law; they may think it is there to protect the
Official Reader from the suspicion of having written the poems himself.
Such do not know Mrs. Eddy. She does an inordinate deal of protecting,
but in no distinctly named and specified case in her history has Number
Two been the object of it. Instances have been claimed, but they have
failed of proof, and even of plausibility.
"Members shall also instruct their students" to look out and advertise
the authorship when they read those poems and things. Not on Mrs. Eddy's
account, but "for the good of our Cause."
THE CHURCH EDIFICE
1. Mrs. Eddy gave the land. It was not of much value at the time, but
it is very valuable now.
2. Her people built the Mother-Church edifice on it, at a cost of two
hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
3. Then they gave the whole property to her.
4. Then she gave it to the Board of Directors. She is the Board of
Directors. She took it out of one pocket and put it in the other.
5. Sec. 10 (of the deed). "Whenever said Directors shall determine
that it is inexpedient to maintain preaching, reading, or speaking in
said church in accordance with the terms of this deed, they are
authorized and required to reconvey forthwith said lot of land with the
building thereon to Mary Baker G. Eddy, her heirs and assigns forever,
by a proper deed of conveyance."
She is never careless, never slipshod, about a matter of business.
Owning the property through her Board of Waxworks was safe enough, still
it was sound business to set another grip on it to cover accidents, and
she did it. Her barkers (what a curious name; I wonder if it is
copyrighted); her barkers persistently advertise to the public her
generosity in giving away a piece of land which cost her a trifle, and a
two--hundred--and--fifty--thousand--dollar church which cost her nothing;
and they can hardly speak of the unselfishness of it without breaking
down and crying; yet they know she gave nothing away, and never intended
to. However, such is the human race. Often it does seem such a pity
that Noah and his party did not miss the boat.
Some of the hostiles think that Mrs. Eddy's idea in protecting this
property in the interest of her heirs, and in accumulating a great money
fortune, is, that she may leave her natural heirs well provided for when
she goes. I think it is a mistake. I think she is of late years giving
herself large concern about only one interest-her power and glory, and
the perpetuation and worship of her Name--with a capital N. Her Church
is her pet heir, and I think it will get her wealth. It is the torch
which is to light the world and the ages with her glory.
I think she once prized money for the ease and comfort it could bring,
the showy vanities it could furnish, and the social promotion it could
command; for we have seen that she was born into the world with little
ways and instincts and aspirations and affectations that are duplicates
of our own. I do not think her money-passion has ever diminished in
ferocity, I do not think that she has ever allowed a dollar that had no
friends to get by her alive, but I think her reason for wanting it has
changed. I think she wants it now to increase and establish and
perpetuate her power and glory with, not to add to her comforts and
luxuries, not to furnish paint and fuss and feathers for vain display. I
think her ambitions have soared away above the fuss-and-feather stage.
She still likes the little shows and vanities--a fact which she exposed
in a public utterance two or three days ago when she was not noticing--
but I think she does not place a large value upon them now. She could
build a mighty and far-shining brass-mounted palace if she wanted to, but
she does not do it. She would have had that kind of an ambition in the
early scrabbling times. She could go to England to-day and be worshiped
by earls, and get a comet's attention from the million, if she cared for
such things. She would have gone in the early scrabbling days for much
less than an earl, and been vain of it, and glad to show off before the
remains of the Scotch kin. But those things are very small to her now--
next to invisible, observed through the cloud-rack from the dizzy summit
where she perches in these great days. She does not want that church
property for herself. It is worth but a quarter of a million--a sum she
could call in from her far-spread flocks to-morrow with a lift of her
hand. Not a squeeze of it, just a lift. It would come without a murmur;
come gratefully, come gladly. And if her glory stood in more need of the
money in Boston than it does where her flocks are propagating it, she
would lift the hand, I think.
She is still reaching for the Dollar, she will continue to reach for it;
but not that she may spend it upon herself; not that she may spend it
upon charities; not that she may indemnify an early deprivation and
clothe herself in a blaze of North Adams gauds; not that she may have
nine breeds of pie for breakfast, as only the rich New-Englander can; not
that she may indulge any petty material vanity or appetite that once was
hers and prized and nursed, but that she may apply that Dollar to
statelier uses, and place it where it may cast the metallic sheen of her
glory farthest across the receding expanses of the globe.
A brief and good one is furnished in the book of By-laws. The Scientist
is required to pray it every day.
THE LORD'S PRAYER-AMENDED
This is not in the By-laws, it is in the first chapter of Science and
Health, edition of 1902. I do not find it in the edition of 1884. It is
probable that it had not at that time been handed down. Science and
Health's (latest) rendering of its "spiritual sense" is as follows:
"Our Father-Mother God' all-harmonious, adorable One. Thy kingdom is
within us, Thou art ever-present. Enable us to know--as in heaven, so on
earth--God is supreme. Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished
affections. And infinite Love is reflected in love. And Love leadeth us
not into temptation, but delivereth from sin, disease, and death. For
God is now and forever all Life, Truth, and Love."
If I thought my opinion was desired and would be properly revered, I
should say that in my judgment that is as good a piece of carpentering as
any of those eleven Commandment--experts could do with the material after
all their practice. I notice only one doubtful place." Lead us not into
temptation" seems to me to be a very definite request, and that the new
rendering turns the definite request into a definite assertion. I shall
be glad to have that turned back to the old way and the marks of the
Spiral Twist removed, or varnished over; then I shall be satisfied, and
will do the best I can with what is left. At the same time, I do feel
that the shrinkage in our spiritual assets is getting serious. First the
Commandments, now the Prayer. I never expected to see these steady old
reliable securities watered down to this. And this is not the whole of
it. Last summer the Presbyterians extended the Calling and Election
suffrage to nearly everybody entitled to salvation. They did not even
stop there, but let out all the unbaptized American infants we had been
accumulating for two hundred years and more. There are some that believe
they would have let the Scotch ones out, too, if they could have done it.
Everything is going to ruin; in no long time we shall have nothing left
but the love of God.
THE NEW UNPARDONABLE SIN
"Working Against the Cause. Sec. 2. If a member of this Church shall
work against the accomplishment of what the Discoverer and Founder of
Christian Science understands is advantageous to the individual, to this
Church, and to the Cause of Christian Science"--out he goes. Forever.
The member may think that what he is doing will advance the Cause, but he
is not invited to do any thinking. More than that, he is not permitted
to do any--as he will clearly gather from this By-law. When a person
joins Mrs. Eddy's Church he must leave his thinker at home. Leave it
permanently. To make sure that it will not go off some time or other
when he is not watching, it will be safest for him to spike it. If he
should forget himself and think just once, the By-law provides that he
shall be fired out-instantly-forever-no return.
"It shall be the duty of this Church immediately to call a meeting, and
drop forever the name of this member from its records."
My, but it breathes a towering indignation!
There are forgivable offenses, but this is not one of them; there are
admonitions, probations, suspensions, in several minor cases; mercy is
shown the derelict, in those cases he is gently used, and in time he can
get back into the fold--even when he has repeated his offence. But let
him think, just once, without getting his thinker set to Eddy time, and
that is enough; his head comes off. There is no second offence, and
there is no gate open to that lost sheep, ever again.
"This rule cannot be changed, amended, or annulled, except by unanimous
vote of all the First Members."
The same being Mrs. Eddy. It is naively sly and pretty to see her keep
putting forward First Members, and Boards of This and That, and other
broideries and ruffles of her raiment, as if they were independent
entities, instead of a part of her clothes, and could do things all by
themselves when she was outside of them.
Mrs. Eddy did not need to copyright the sentence just quoted, its English
would protect it. None but she would have shovelled that comically
superfluous "all" in there.
The former Unpardonable Sin has gone out of service. We may frame the
new Christian Science one thus:
"Whatsoever Member shall think, and without Our Mother's permission act
upon his think, the same shall be cut off from the Church forever."
It has been said that I make many mistakes about Christian Science
through being ignorant of the spiritual meanings of its terminology. I
believe it is true. I have been misled all this time by that word
Member, because there was no one to tell me that its spiritual meaning
AXE AND BLOCK
There is a By-law which forbids Members to practice hypnotism; the
penalty is excommunication.
1. If a member is found to be a mental practitioner--
2. Complaint is to be entered against him--
3. By the Pastor Emeritus, and by none else;
4. No member is allowed to make complaint to her in the matter;
5. Upon Mrs. Eddy's mere "complaint"--unbacked by evidence or proof, and
without giving the accused a chance to be heard--" his name shall be
dropped from this Church."
Mrs. Eddy has only to say a member is guilty--that is all. That ends it.
It is not a case of he "may" be cut off from Christian Science salvation,
it is a case of he "shall" be. Her serfs must see to it, and not say a
Does the other Pope possess this prodigious and irresponsible power?
Certainly not in our day.
Some may be curious to know how Mrs. Eddy finds out that a member is
practicing hypnotism, since no one is allowed to come before her throne
and accuse him. She has explained this in Christian Science History,
first and second editions, page 16:
"I possess a spiritual sense of what the malicious mental practitioner is
mentally arguing which cannot be deceived; I can discern in the human
mind thoughts, motives, and purposes, and neither mental arguments nor
psychic power can affect this spiritual insight."
A marvelous woman; with a hunger for power such as has never been seen in
the world before. No thing, little or big, that contains any seed or
suggestion of power escapes her avaricious eye; and when once she gets
that eye on it, her remorseless grip follows. There isn't a Christian
Scientist who isn't ecclesiastically as much her property as if she had
bought him and paid for him, and copyrighted him and got a charter. She
cannot be satisfied when she has handcuffed a member, and put a leg-chain
and ball on him and plugged his ears and removed his thinker, she goes on
wrapping needless chains round and round him, just as a spider would.
For she trusts no one, believes in no one's honesty, judges every one by
herself. Although we have seen that she has absolute and irresponsible
command over her spectral Boards and over every official and servant of
her Church, at home and abroad, over every minute detail of her Church's
government, present and future, and can purge her membership of guilty or
suspected persons by various plausible formalities and whenever she will,
she is still not content, but must set her queer mind to work and invent
a way by which she can take a member--any member--by neck and crop and
fling him out without anything resembling a formality at all.
She is sole accuser and sole witness, and her testimony is final and
carries uncompromising and irremediable doom with it.
The Sole-Witness Court! It should make the Council of Ten and the
Council of Three turn in their graves for shame, to see how little they
knew about satanic concentrations of irresponsible power. Here we have
one Accuser, one Witness, one Judge, one Headsman--and all four bunched
together in Mrs. Eddy, the Inspired of God, His Latest Thought to His
People, New Member of the Holy Family, the Equal of Jesus.
When a Member is not satisfactory to Mrs. Eddy, and yet is blameless in
his life and faultless in his membership and in his Christian Science
walk and conversation, shall he hold up his head and tilt his hat over
one ear and imagine himself safe because of these perfections? Why, in
that very moment Mrs. Eddy will cast that spiritual X-ray of hers through
his dungarees and say:
"I see his hypnotism working, among his insides--remove him to the
What shall it profit him to know it isn't so? Nothing. His testimony is
of no value. No one wants it, no one will ask for it. He is not present
to offer it (he does not know he has been accused), and if he were there
to offer it, it would not be listened to.
It was out of powers approaching Mrs. Eddy's--though not equalling them
--that the Inquisition and the devastations of the Interdict grew. She
will transmit hers. The man born two centuries from now will think he
has arrived in hell; and all in good time he will think he knows it.
Vast concentrations of irresponsible power have never in any age been
used mercifully, and there is nothing to suggest that the Christian
Science Papacy is going to spend money on novelties.
Several Christian Scientists have asked me to refrain from prophecy.
There is no prophecy in our day but history. But history is a
trustworthy prophet. History is always repeating itself, because
conditions are always repeating themselves. Out of duplicated conditions
history always gets a duplicate product.
READING LETTERS AT MEETINGS
I wonder if there is anything a Member can do that will not raise Mrs.
Eddy's jealousy? The By-laws seem to hunt him from pillar to post all
the time, and turn all his thoughts and acts and words into sins against
the meek and lowly new deity of his worship. Apparently her jealousy
never sleeps. Apparently any trifle can offend it, and but one penalty
appease it--excommunication. The By-laws might properly and reasonably
be entitled Laws for the Coddling and Comforting of Our Mother's Petty
Jealousies. The By-law named at the head of this paragraph reads its
transgressor out of the Church if he shall carry a letter from Mrs. Eddy
to the congregation and forget to read it or fail to read the whole of
Dishonest members are to be admonished; if they continue in dishonest
practices, excommunication follows. Considering who it is that draughted
this law, there is a certain amount of humor in it.
FURTHER APPLICATIONS OF THE AXE
Here follow the titles of some more By-laws whose infringement is
punishable by excommunication:
Departure from Tenets.
Violation of Christian Fellowship.
Violation of By-laws. (What is the difference?)
Official Advice. (Forbids Tom, Dick, and Harry's clack.)
Unworthy of Membership.
This looks as if Mrs. Eddy had devoted a large share of her time and
talent to inventing ways to get rid of her Church members. Yet in
another place she seems to invite membership. Not in any urgent way, it
is true, still she throws out a bait to such as like notice and
distinction (in other words, the Human Race). Page 82:
"It is important that these seemingly strict conditions be complied with,
as the names of the Members of the Mother-Church will be recorded in the
history of the Church and become a part thereof."
We all want to be historical.
The Hymnal. There is a Christian Science Hymnal. Entrance to it was
closed in 1898. Christian Science students who make hymns nowadays may
possibly get them sung in the Mother-Church, "but not unless approved by
the Pastor Emeritus." Art. XXVII, Sec. 2.
Solo Singers. Mrs. Eddy has contributed the words of three of the hymns
in the Hymnal. Two of them appear in it six times altogether, each of
them being set to three original forms of musical anguish. Mrs. Eddy,
always thoughtful, has promulgated a By-law requiring the singing of one
of her three hymns in the Mother Church "as often as once each month."
It is a good idea. A congregation could get tired of even Mrs. Eddy's
muse in the course of time, without the cordializing incentive of
compulsion. We all know how wearisome the sweetest and touchingest
things can become, through rep-rep-repetition, and still rep-rep-
repetition, and more rep-rep-repetition-like "the sweet by-and-by, in the
sweet by-and-by," for instance, and "Tah-rah-rah boom-de-aye"; and surely
it is not likely that Mrs. Eddy's machine has turned out goods that could
outwear those great heart-stirrers, without the assistance of the lash.
"O'er Waiting Harpstrings of the Mind" is pretty good, quite fair to
middling--the whole seven of the stanzas--but repetition would be certain
to take the excitement out of it in the course of time, even if there
were fourteen, and then it would sound like the multiplication table, and
would cease to save. The congregation would be perfectly sure to get
tired; in fact, did get tired--hence the compulsory By-law. It is a
measure born of experience, not foresight.
The By-laws say that "if a solo singer shall neglect or refuse to sing
alone" one of those three hymns as often as once a month, and oftener if