Stephen Paget.

The faith and works of Christian science online

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what Dr. M*Comb of Boston and Bishop Fallowes
of Chicago have to say of it, can doubt that. But
there is more than the width of the Atlantic between


Dr. M'Comb's "Class for the moral treatment of
nervous diseases," and Mr. Hickson's ways of
spiritual healing. "You come across cases," says
Emmanuel Church, Boston, to the Boston doctors,
"of hysteria, neurasthenia, hypochondriasis, alcohol-
ism, cocainism, minds on the edge of a breakdown,
lives frightened at their own shadows. You know
the almost hopeless difficulty of some of these cases :
how, if you tell them that you can do nothing more
for them, they take up with any quack who will
promise more. Why not send them to us ? We
will take no patients but those whom you may send.
To fit ourselves for the work, we have studied
physiology and psychology, with special reference to
the influences of the mind over the body. We will
explain to them, carefully and fully, the nature of
their disabilities, and will teach them to minister to
themselves." The work includes the heartening-
up of many cases of organic disease. It sounds a
fairly good plan.* Anyhow, it is very different
from the "Emmanuel movement" over here.

Religion and Medicine will never again keep
house together, with one brass plate between them.
Happily, in daily life, the cleric and the doctor are
good friends, good colleagues. They do respect
and help each other, yes, and do understand each

* For the faults and the grave risks of the movement, see a
very important article in the British Medical Journal y January
16, 1909.


other. To hear some people talk, you would think
that the cleric and the doctor never met over a case;
whereas, every day, at the bedside, they are working
together, each at his best, in the proper business of
their life.

I hope that I, when my time comes, shall have
the courage stare super antiquas vias. That I want,
at present, to go on living, is no proof that I ought.
That a self-appointed spiritual healer should convey
a respite to me, would be too high a price to pay for
having to face death a second time; too fantastical
an honour from Heaven to be quite acceptable.




Every discovery comes to stand at the judgment-
seat of Common-sense; it may be at once, or it
may be at last, but they all take their turn to stand
there; and so must Christian Science. Fools make
light of Common-sense, as if it were the sense of a
common man, whereas it is the sense of man in
common ; all instinct, all experience, all the inherited
or acquired assurance of our race. It takes things
as it finds them. It does not wonder how we hap-
pen to be on this earth; it stops at the fact that
on this earth we are. When Christian Science says
that accidents are unknown to God, Common-sense
answers that, anyhow, they are not unknown to us.
When she says that the allness of Deity is His one-
ness, I would rather not repeat what Common-sense
says. When she says that germs exist only in
mortal mind, Common-sense offers to inoculate any
Christian Scientist with anthrax or tetanus. When
she says that our bones are our thoughts of bones,
and that a baby, at birth, takes over its mother's
thoughts of its bones, and thereby gets its own


thought-bones or bone-thoughts, Common-sense asks,
What is done in the case of unexpected twins ?
When she says that flowers, apart from mortal mind,
cannot make you sneeze, because they are so pretty,
again I must draw a veil over the language of Com-

After these flourishes, which are the salute before
the duel. Common-sense assaults, with furious ques-
tions as to the use, or abuse, of the colossal wealth
of Christian Science.* What has become of all
those millions .f* Where are they; what is there to
show for them; who have had the handling of them ?
Why does the cheapest copy of Science and Health
cost three dollars } Why is it forbidden, in a Chris-

* In Mark Twain's Christian Science (Harper, 1907) there is
an admirable account of this wealth. He estimates the profit
on Science and Health at 700 per cent. It is 60 times more costly
than a copy of the New Testament. He points out, also, that
Christian Science has no charities to support. "No, nor even
to contribute to. One searches in vain the Trust's advertise-
ments, and the utterances of its organs, for any suggestion that
it spends a penny on orphans, widows, discharged prisoners,
hospitals, ragged schools, night missions, city missions, libraries,
old peoples' homes, or any other object that appeals to a human
being's purse through his heart. Churches that give have nothing
to hide. I have hunted, hunted, and hunted, by correspondence
and otherwise, and have not yet got upon the track of a farthing
that the Trust has spent upon any worthy object. Nothing
makes a Scientist so uncomfortable as to ask him if he knows of
a case where Christian Science has spent money on a benevo-
lence, either among its own adherents or elsewhere."


tian Science reading-room, to copy from its pages ?
Why was legal action threatened, not long ago,
against the people around Mrs. Eddy ? Of all
these millions, how much has gone to the gratis
treatment of the poor, how much to the building and
maintenance of hideous temples,* and how much
elsewhere ? And the book itself, how many hands

* The aversion of Christian Science from Christian art, and
from the Christian Church, is well displayed in architecture.
The temple in London, near Sloane Street, combines the features
of a Synagogue with those of the New Gaiety Theatre. Inside,
it is a concert hall, "the most luxurious lounge in London," with
a huge organ. Its two doors are each surmounted by a text :
one is the First Commandment, the other is by Mrs. Eddy. Of
the churches in Chicago, we read that they are "as beautiful and
chaste in architecture and construction as that of First Church,
which would have been an ornament to Greece itself in its palmiest
days. Like the religion out of which they have sprung, they are
light, cheerful, beautiful, homelike, and inviting. There is noth-
ing of the austerity that still clings to the most modern of the
churches of other denominations. The entrances are like those
to some beautiful temple of art, and within is a wide, high-arched
reception hall." Why, that is the way to be comfortable. Down
with the Cross. Let us be cheerful and light, like Greece in her
palmiest days : let us have none of that austerity. And the archi-
tect of the Boston church has published this remarkable testi-
monial to the style of his own work, that it is "based on a mathe-
matical inerrancy which is most fascinadng to analyse," and that
"the purest type of the ancient Greek temples was the outgrowth
of a naturalistic and rationalistic religion." These two adjectives
are not often found shaking hands. Anyhow, the Boston church
is singularly unlike a Greek temple.


wrote and revise and expurgate it ? Not that Com-
mon-sense cares whether one hand, or a dozen,
wrote such a book.

Then, in a rage, Common-sense cries. For God*s
sake leave the children alone. It doesnt matter with
grown-up people; they can believe what they like
about Good and Evil, and germs, and things. But
the children; they take their children to these services.
Why cant they leave the children out of it? We
have to face this fact, that there are Sunday Schools
of Christian Science, where children are admitted
from the tender age of three, and that children come
to the ordinary Sunday services. No wonder that
Com mon-sense is impatient of such parents.

For their bodily safety, children must believe in
the reality of injuries, diseases, and pain. Grown-
up folk do not play with fire, slide down the balus-
trade, swallow foreign substances, kiss diphtheritic
babies, climb spiky railings, and so forth. Every
year, in this, as in every other country, thousands
of children are burned to death. Is it fair, to tell
a child that pain is not real ? I cannot imagine
sharper grief than for a mother to lose her child that
way — O mother, mother, you told me God wouldn't
let me he hurt; and mother. He has, dreadfully!
-.^he Christian Science Journal, July 1 898, gives
a good instance; it is quoted at length in Miss Feild-
ing's book. A little girl, five years old, fell out of
a window. "The blood was spurting from her

I the


mouth; she seemed to suffer greatly if she was
moved at all, and her legs seemed paralysed, lifeless."
That afternoon, the mother deserted her child, and
went off to a Christian Science service. "I went to
the afternoon service, rejoicing greatly in my freedom
from the sense of personal responsibility'* At night,
the child said, "Mamma, error is trying to say that
I fell out of the window, but it cannot be. The
child of God can't fall; but why do I lie here?
Why can't I move my legs.^" A few days later,
a child of three years old said to her, "You did fall
out of the window, didn't you.?" Then five-years-
old said, "My body fell, but I am not in my body.
Ckn God's child fall ? " Then three-years-old said,
"No, because God is good." A similar case of
"freedom from the sense of personal responsibility"
is quoted in the Daily Tele graph , August 28, 1907.
"A lad was taken seriously ill, and suffered ex-
cruciating pain. His mother, being a Christian
Scientist, made him deny the pain, and would do
nothing to relieve him, but left him to suffer. His
screams brought the neighbours, who were angrily
refused admission. Then came the authorities with
a physician. The boy, pointing to his mother, said,
*She don't care how much I suffer; she would
let me die!'" In the same paper, September 2,
another writer says, "I have known a Christian
Science mother turn in scorn from the pitiful sobbing
cry of her little child in pain." Dr. Huber goes so


far as to say, "Christian Science has stood by the
bedside of an infant sick with diphtheria, has pre-
vented interference with its incahtations, and has
seen this infant choke, grow livid, gasp, and expire,
without so much as putting a drop of water to its
Hps; has sacrificed the hves of Httle children upon
the altar of its pseudo-religion." Christian Science
defends herself: says that she teaches children to
be "singularly fearless." The reader can decide the
worth of this defence. Children, of course, do be-
lieve in a " corporeal Jehovah " — a God who will
stop them half-way between the nursery window
and the pavement.

For their spiritual safety, children must believe in
the reality of sin. To bite other children, to lie, to
handle themselves impurely, to gorge themselves
with sweets, to mutilate small animals, are sinful.
It makes no difference that they have not yet thought
about sin; did not mean, as they say, to be so
naughty. The less they know about it, the more
they have to learn. Time enough, ten or twelve
years hence, to doubt the reality of sin, when he or
she is more accustomed to sinning. To teach a
child, at five, the unreality of its growing sins, is
a very dangerous training.

Also, for their spiritual safety, punishment is
necessary. Corporal punishment it may have to be;
punishment it must be. Christian Science is very
silent about punishment: her God is all smiles and


no tears. Of course, for Scientist children, corporal
punishment is out of the question. It would be
impossible on Sunday to deny pain, and on Monday
to inflict pain. But all the many punishments
which Nature gives to our childhood are corporal.
The child who over-eats on Sunday has a pain on
Monday. The reasonableness, timed accuracy, jus-
tice, eloquence, helpfulness, of that pain are all of
them attributable to Infinite Mind, whereby all of
them are as real as real can be. To deny the reality
is to deny the wisdom, the work, the Logos, of the

Also, for their spiritual safety, the utmost sim-
plicity, the utmost humility, are necessary. They
must not be prigs. That little girl, seven years
old, who said that Matter cannot feel pain, was a
prig. She was perfectly right; that is why she was
a prig. Are simple, wholesome children in London
to-day so common ^ Are neurotic, mimetic, self-
tormented, half-mad children so rare .? And, above
all, are not the children of Scientist parents in special
danger, by inheritance, of what we call a nervous
breakdown ?

Happily, not all Scientist parents take their faith
and works into the nursery.* Still, it is done; and
the authorities love to have it so.

* An eminent London physician tells me that he was called
into the country to see a sick child, and found that the mother
was an "ardent" Christian Scientist; but, said she, "I do not


Common-sense takes a different tone, when we
have got past the children, and come to the influences
of Christian Science on men and women. We are
all aware that she has helped a multitude of them.
Outside the intense cases of nervous mimicry and
neurasthenia, published weekly in the Sentinel, are
unpublished cases, innumerable, circle beyond circle,
of pleasanter people, many of them blessed with
lives of singular refinement, who are the better for
Christian Science. They are become happier,
healthier, more confident, more active, less apt for
gossip against their acquaintance, and more success-
ful in business; whereby they have fallen in love
again with Life.

The wonder would be, if there were not such
cases. For, she has rediscovered Quietism. Here,
in London — and let New York speak for itself —
but here, in our London, who is quiet } I write as a
hospital doctor, seeing, in many lives, excitement,
unrest, nervousness, instability, aimless pursuit of
incessant change. These are the exhaustion of rich
and poor alike; but the rich are better able to look
after themselves. To all of us, the grind and thunder
of traffic, the clamour of special editions, the laby-
rinth of railways underground, the woven pattern
of electric wires overhead, are signs of the pace at

apply it to my children." A strange sort of God, if you cannot
bring young children to Him. During a recent scare of small-
pox, all her household had been vaccinated.


which we live and die. More and more, the churches
in London are ceasing to preach Quietism, and are
preaching Action; all political and social problems,
all militant thought, all criticism, quicquid agunt
homines, concern them. Now, to the heart of it
all, comes the sudden advice to everybody, to leave
off believing in anything but God; to sit still, and
think of God; to leave all to God; practically, to
be God. Slowly, the Name, like the note of a huge
bell, swings down; and the heavy waves of the sound
beat, and fall, and pass into unquiet lives till they
cease to hear those discords which they make in
themselves from birth to death. Such magic is in
this Name, if it be sounded alone, to the silencing of
all else. Into the restless legion of the poor, that I
may say nothing of the rich, I long for the advent
of Quietism, into us and our Imperial London,
haunted by the ghost of Imperial Rome. It is not
for me to tell the churches what they ought to preach,
nor do I know whether they would now venture to
ask Londoners to be quiet. Only, I am sure that,
for the defeat of Christian Science, they must preach
Quietism. But there are two kinds of Quietism,
one true, the other false. True Quietism neither
philosophises, defines, argues, nor takes a side. It
feels, therefore it is. Its only product is itself. It
never thinks what the world has said, or is saying,
or will say; it is indifferent to all evidences, works,
and results. False Quietism arrays herself in rhet-


oric, in bad logic, in phrases torn from their context
and pinned on anyhow, or worn upside down; in-
troduces herself, explains her own startling occur-
rence, wonders that you never heard of her before,
talks of her accomplishments, and of her points of
view. She is now solemn, now arch; she lectures
and scolds you, and then laughs, and hits you with
her fan. She mentions Infinite Mind as a new dis-
covery, and prescribes Omnipotent Love as a method
of treatment. So-and-so and So-and-so were cured
that way, at once, by the Equipollence of the All-in-
all, after the complete failure of Homoeopathy. Why,
so they were: Who wonders, and who cares? Still,
there are those pleasant and kind people, animce
naturaliter Christiance, who have found in Christian
Science that inspiration which is not there. Such
lives are her triumph; let us carefully study them.

For many of them, the chief attraction was in the
obscurity of her philosophical phrases. We all of
us love a bit of philosophy. She has something in
her pocket for all of us, which tastes nicer than
Christianity, having a more delicate flavour of Plato
about it — not that it really is flavoured with Plato,
any more than pear-drops are flavoured with real
pears. In her company, you enjoy a cool sense of
detachment, emancipation, wider vision, maturer
thought, more spiritual interpretation; a great relief,
to get away from the common herd that worships a
corporeal Jehovah, and to be in close touch with


Being. She has popularised that abstraction, has
published Supremum Ens in a cheap edition, as an
advertisement. Her philosophy serves to attract,
with long and hard words, many delightful people,
who do not see that the words, as she employs them,
are without meaning.

Once they have come to her, they are able to
compound, out of the elements oi Science and Health,
a good working theory of their own lives. They
find in that book not Christian Science, but them-
selves. What they, by the chemistry of thought,
find in it, was not there, till they found it; and is
not there now, nor ever will be. They put into it
their own minds, and take them out again, with an
odd feeling that something has been done to them.
Remember the story of Medea's cauldron. Medea,
like Mrs. Eddy, could work miracles. She killed a
Iamb, and cast it into her cauldron, and muttered
over it; and the lamb jumped out alive. So these,
having killed Peace of Mind, cast it into Mrs. Eddy's
cauldron; and she mutters over it, and it lives again.
Then Medea persuaded Jason, by the miracle of the
lamb, to cast in his aged father, who there perished
in agony. And Christian Science would persuade
her lovers, and does persuade them, to bring to her
not only the disquietudes of the mind, but the in-
firmities of the body.

They who have had least the matter with them,
are most apt to seek the consolations of her phi-


losophy, and to argue concerning Reality and Phe-
nomena. For example, a girl treads on a nail — /
began a mental protest against the accident. A woman
finds a bee sticking to her child's chin — / began
to voice the truth: one statement after another came
to me. A man has an ingrowing toe-nail — Environ-
ment has gradually changed, and thought after thought
was uncovered and corrected. A woman has a cold
in her head — / saw it melt away into its native noth-
ingness. But they who have had a very bad time,
with years of intense neurasthenia, are more apt
to use the ordinary phrases of religion, and to say
that they "turned to God." Between these two
ways of looking at one result, it is hard to find what
Christian Science thinks of the mystery of our wills.
Mr. Dixon, her chief apologist in London, speaks
of "the powerlessness of the will." * I do not doubt,
that some cases of neurasthenia healed in Christian
Science bring to their own healing the exercise of their
own wills. Yet, I think, nobody can listen to the sort
of murmured talk that goes on in a Christian Science
reading-room, without feeling sure that the secret
of the treatment is, ultimately, the secret of hypno-
tism, of surrender. And I appeal to the evidence
of that well-defined, vivid, positive little group of

* See the Daily Telegraph, August 15, 1907, which reports
him as saying, "Will is a product of human belief, and cooperates
with all the passions of the human mind. In this also lies its real
powerlessness, for God alone is omnipotent."


cases, the people who gave up liquor and tobacco.
It is certain that Christian Science has enabled many
of us to give up these habits; has done what doctors
and parsons and the Salvation Army and the Tem-
perance Societies are incessantly doing. This group
is of the utmost interest. We are all agreed, that
no honour, which our hearts have to give, is too good
for him who breaks himself of drink, or of taking
drugs. Many, to win that freedom, have fought
in slow agony. To these martyrs of the will, let us
stand bareheaded, or go down on our knees. He
who beats, at last, this two-in-one devil of mind and
body aching and craving together, is of the number
of the elect, and all the bells of Heaven are set ring-
ing over his victory. He, by the naked strength of
his will, indomitable, tormented, exhausted, the mas-
ter of his fate, the captain of his soul — what had
he to do with Christian Science ^ It is just here,
that we catch her likeness to hypnotism. We have
the evidence of a convert, who was " instantaneously
healed" of smoking and drinking. Again and again,
before she took him in hand, he had taken himself in
hand, "for a few weeks, occasionally a few months,
through human will-power, which is weak as water"
She healed him right away. "It is now sixteen
months since I have used liquor or tobacco, and
during that time I have had no desire for them. I
have proven the nothingness, the non-power of liquor
and tobacco to give pleasure, and have turned to the


only power, God, good, for my pleasure and joy."
The word Suggestion is writ large all over this testi-
mony. The instantaneous healing, the loss of desire,
the assurance that the drink is not pleasant, the jingle
of the sound of God and good, all are hypnotic*
A very useful method in many cases; but there is
higher achievement in the man who, passionately long-
ing for a drink, and fighting hard against its proven
power to give pleasure, turns to his God, not for
pleasure, but for pain. Common-sense, of course,
is not against hypnotism. One way or another, a
measure of hypnotism is in all social intercourse : the
word suggestion is of incessant use, and there is
no line between suggesting to a man that he should
take no more alcohol and suggesting to him that he
should not lose his umbrella. Our life is suggestion,
or self-suggestion, from end to end. The point is,
that Christian Science, to reclaim the drunkard, does
not glorify, but cheapens, the power of the will.

It is the same with all her work. What is her work,
if it be not suggestion .? To be healed by reading a
book, even by repeating a sentence, is to be healed
by suggestion. The "absent treatment," of course,

* "Christian Science silences human will. Will-power is but a
product of belief, and this belief commits depredations on har-
mony. Human will is an animal propensity, not a faculty of
Soul. Hence it cannot govern man aright." S. & H., p. 445,
490. For cases healed of drink by Christian Science, see S. & H.,
pp. 620, 629, 632, 635.


is self-suggestion. We have some good opinions to
this effect : —

1. Dr. Polk, Dean of the Medical Department, Cornell Uni-
versity. — "Take Science and Healthy separate yourself from
disturbing surroundings, open its pages with a mind even some-
what prejudiced, set yourself seriously to the task of comprehend-
ing its various iterations and reiterations, its statements backward,
its statements forward, its statements sidewise, and every other
wise, of its initial proposition, throughout its 569 pages, and I know
there are many of you who, long before you had fathomed its depths,
would find yourselves in a state of mental vacuity fit for the action
of 'suggestion.**' (New Tork Medical Journaly April 6, 1901.)

2. Dean Hart. — "If any cure (in mental therapeutics) be
effected, it has nothing to do with the truth or untruth of the par-
ticular theory of the professor; it is simply that by his methods
the mind is stimulated to reassert itself. Success greatly, nay,
often entirely, depends upon the disposition of the mind of the

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Online LibraryStephen PagetThe faith and works of Christian science → online text (page 14 of 16)