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The faith and works of Christian science online

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patient, the nerval susceptibility, and the strength of the expecta-
tion. If these be favourable, then a perusal of Mrs. Eddy*s book
is no small mesmerising condition. I have found that Science and
Health is the best mode of inducing the mesmeric sleep I have ever
experienced. The repetition of senseless sentences, with constantly
changing signification of words, whose new meanings have to be
gleaned from the context, produces a strange maze which dazes
the mind and produces a mesmeric condition. The modus operandi
of the Christian Scientist healer is to all intents and purposes that
of the hypnotist. By the silence, the motionless sitting, the sub-
dued voice, the cabalistic sentences — for they are senseless, and
cannot excite the intelligence — the mind is soothed ; then the sug-
gestion is given, and, in the denial of disease, the repeated asser-
tion of particular cure is pointedly made and impressed.** — An
Examination of Christian Science. By H. Martyn Hart, D.D.
Dean of Denver. James Pott, New York, 1897. Quoted in


Miss Feilding's Faith-Healing and Christian Science. Duckworth
and Co., London, 1899.

3. The Rev. P. C. Woolcott. — "What really happens when
you attack these tiresome, monotonous pages, is this : you struggle
at first to master the difficulties and get at the meaning. If you
become convinced that it is not worth the effort, you dismiss the
matter from your mind, and that is the end of it. But, if you
force yourself to the task, and pore over the pages, you soon fall
into a condition of mental dizziness or vertigo. The reasoning
faculties are benumbed, your critical judgment is lulled to sleep,
and suggestion dominates your intellect." — What is Christian
Science? P. C. Woolcott. The Revell Company.

If Christian Science be not suggestion, what is
she ? Can we call her an " intellectual conversion,"
so long as she treats hens and Pekin ducks and
india-rubber plants .? Can we call her Christian,
while she spends millions of dollars, and gives noth-
ing to charities ? Can we call her Science, while she
says that Dan means animal magnetism, and Gihon
means Votes for Women } Or a philosophy, when
she says that Mind is the only I, or Us .? Or ethics,
when she speaks of the real powerlessness of the will }
Or psychology, when she cannot say what she means
by mortal mind ^. Or a system of healing, when she
does not attempt to distinguish functional paralysis
from degeneration of the cord, and sits four days by
a woman in labour with an abnormal presentation .?
She is suggestion; and all suggestion is as old as the

But the animce naturaliter ChrtstiancB, the innumer-


able lives that are the better for her, are they to be
explained away by a fool with a pen in his hand ?
Heaven forbid; only, there are opposing cases. I
hear of one person who was kept out of an asylum by
her; and of others, who were not. I read of homes
where she has brought peace, and of homes where
she has brought misery. We must see both sides
of her work. Her apologists show us one; Mr.
Lyman Powell has seen both, and everybody ought
to study his book. For we, in this country, have
had less opportunity to judge her spiritual gains and
losses. But see now, what are her gains. By her,
many people have been led to make the best of this
world, to be indifferent to old aches and ailments;
they worry less, they take a happier view of small
troubles, are more confident, .quicker to read Earth
in terms of Heaven. But millions of people have
done all that, who never heard of Science and Health.
The grace of trying to be good began not later
than Adam and Eve. Her spiritual ministrations are
poor stuff in contrast with Plato, Aristotle, and
Marcus Aurelius. There is more divine wisdom
in a page of them than in all her writings, more love
of God in the death of Socrates than in the Scientist
life. And, though we recognise her gains, and rate
them at their full value, yet her losses far exceed them.
She has lost "the God of things as they are." She
has neglected the old-fashioned virtues — humility,
charity, endurance, regard for accuracy, reverence


for authority; and the corner-stone of her church is
not Jesus Christ, whatever she may say, but her own
vanity. She is cruel to babies and young children;
she is worse than close-fisted over her money; she
despises Christianity, and is at open war with Ex-
perience and Common-sense. The heaviness of
these losses, and the piling up of her material wealth,
are driving her to spiritual bankruptcy.

The mention of Common-sense brings this chapter
back to where it began. How can she refuse to stand
before that judgment seat ? For she has already
stood there. She consented, at last, after long
warfare against sanitary boards, to recognise con-
tagious diseases. Here is Mrs. Eddy's curious
order : —

I have always believed that Christian Scientists should be
law-abiding. Rather than quarrel over vaccination, I recom-
mend that if the law demand an individual to submit to this process
he obey the law and then appeal to the gospel to save him from
any bad effects. This statement should be so interpreted as to
apply, on the basis of Christian Science, to the reporting of conta-
gion to the proper authorities when the law so requires.

Also, she has lately consented to recognise the
doctor, if not in life, yet after death — even a few
days or hours before death : —

It is announced that Mrs. Eddy has issued a new by-law to
her disciples, requiring them to call in a medical practitioner for
the purpose of ascertaining and certifying the cause of death of
members of their family. This action is said to be the outcome


of the numerous prosecutions of Christian Scientists which have
lately taken place in various States of the Union. — Brit, Med,
Journ., Sept. 28, 1907.

Mrs. Augusta Stetson, the well-known Christian Scientist
teacher and practitioner and leader of the New York Branch,
has startled the faithful by summoning medical aid. She is the
first of the Christian Scientist leaders to take this step since Mrs.
Eddy issued the new regulations permitting doctors to be called
in. This case is the more surprising, as Mrs. Stetson is virtually
the understudy of Mrs. Eddy, and is regarded as her successor. —
Birmingham Post, Oct. 21, 1907.

But, of course, the doctor, called in when the
patient, under Christian Science, is moribund or
dead, may refuse to sign a death-certificate, and may
compel a public inquiry. (See the newspapers,
Oct. 31, 1906; Jan. II, 1908; Feb. 7, 1908, etc.,
for such cases.)

It comes to this, that Christian Science is an old
offender. Common-sense, believing in short sen-
tences, has convicted her a dozen times, and is tired
of seeing her name on the charge-list. Always,
she appeals against her sentence; carries her case
into the High Court of Medicine, Religion, and
Philosophy; conducts it herself, a most wearisome
orator, before the Supreme Court of Absolute Reality.
Always, the decision of Common-sense is upheld,
and she has to pay the costs of the appeal. Her
face and figure, her bundle of documents, her long
speeches and many grievances, are well known to
the Court. We have heard you before, they tell


her; we have listened patiently to you. The appeal
is dismissed. They have not once reversed the
judgment of Common-sense, nor ever will. For
Common-sense, toward Christian Science, is moved
neither by prejudice, nor by hearsay, nor by self-
interest. We examine her testimonials, and find
them worthless. We are told that she is the Christ
come again, and we can see that she is not. We
listen to her philosophical talk, and observe that
she is illiterate, and ignorant of the rudiments of
logic. We admit, and are glad, that she has enabled
thousands of nervous persons to leave off worrying,
and has cured many "functional disorders"; but
she has done that, not by revelation, but by sugges-
tion. The healed, whom she incessantly advertises,
are but a few, compared with them that are whole,
who hate the very name of Christian Science —

Country folks who live beneath
The shadow of the steeple;
The parson and the parson's wife,
And mostly married people —

and a thousand thousand brave and quiet lives,
the un-named legion of good non-Scientists. They
bear, not deny, pain; they confess, not confuse, the
reality of sin; they face, not outface, death. Only,
they cannot stand the present apologists of Chris-
tian Science; for example, Captain Douglas Bayne's
exhortation — ^


That which is not, however much it seemeth to be, has no entity,
and cannot, therefore, be Truth. . . . We must first hypothesise
Primal Cause, and then endeavour to establish this hypothesis,
not only as reasonable, but as the only hypothesis we can reasonably
entertain. The hypothesis is as follows : — (a) There is only one
Primal Cause; {b) it is Infinite, i.e. filling all space, having neither
beginning nor ending; (c) it is Good. . . . Could the nature of
this Cause be a mixture of Good and Evil ? Certainly not, unless
a negation can be cause, and that is impossible, since a negation
has no claim to consideration, is in fact NOTHING, unless that
which it negates is untrue, etc.*

Or take Mr. Kimball, in May of this year, in the
Queen's Hall, London, and at Leeds. Mortal mind,
says he, is " a riot of ignorance and superstition and
vice and sin and fear." Disease, says he, is "illegiti-
mate, monstrous, abnormal, unrighteous, unlawful,
ungodlike, and not necessary." Christ, says he,
"upset the law of sickness and death: cast out evil
as though it were nothing: His whole purpose was
the expulsion of an illegitimate monstrosity that had
no right to exist." Was there ever such a travesty

* Is not an entity, says Christian Science : has no entity, says
Captain Baynes. This poor word, Entity I Imagine a cause
filling space, as if it were a pound of cheese. All causes are
infinite. To be subject to space is to be finite. Causes no more
fill space than metaphysics take time. Causes cannot be good,
any more than propositions of Euclid can be subject to fits of
depression. How can that, which is not, seem to be ? It must
be, to seem to be. What is the nature of a cause ? How can
the ofF-chance, of a negation negating a lie, enable Primal Cause
to be of a Mixed Nature ? And so on, and so on.


of the Passion ? " Fear and sin are chief among the
influences that procure the sickness of humanity."
What of the millions of diseased babies ? ** Christian
Scientists do not stand opposed to the work of the
skilful surgeon." But they do: see Chapter VH.
passim. Ah, but Mr. Kimball was "a dying man"
twenty-one years ago. For similar cases, see Chapter
VI. passim. So have I been "a dying man," if I
choose to call it dying, to be ill.

Or take Mr. Dixon: "To the children in the
Sunday-school it is perfectly natural that God should
keep them well and happy. They expect nothing
less." But, from their parents, they get less.
Mother is the name for God, says Thackeray, in the
lips and hearts of little children. All the same, when
Five-year-old fell out of the window, her mother went
off to a hymn-singing; and what of the children who
are let die that way }

Captain Baynes, Mr. Kimball, and Mr. Dixon
represent here in London to-day the faith and works
of Christian Science : they stand up for her against
Common-sense, which they call Mortal Mind, that
carnal mind which is at enmity with God. They, in
Christian Science, "have the mind of Christ": we,
in Common-sense, have not. We move in a land of
shadows, they in light: we believe in a corporeal
Jehovah, they are on easy terms with Absolute
Reality. Common-sense, they tell us, has played us
false: there is no Common-sense in God, no God in


Common-sense. But there is. This world, in every
particle of its fabric, every instant of its presence in
us, is what Berkeley calls it, a "divine language."
Its laws, forces, causes, effects, are metaphysical.
Here, as I sit writing, the warmth of my fire, the
light of my lamp, the feel of my pen, the smoke of
my cigarette, are Absolute Reality at work in me:
here, without leaving my chair, I am in that Eternal
Realm of Infinite Truth, which Christian Science
claims as her discovery. Till the angles at the base
of an isosceles triangle cease to be equal, and two
and two are tired of making four, the unity of Mortal
Mind and Matter will be Eternally and Absolutely
Real. I cannot even remember my umbrella with-
out Infinite Mind. For, if Infinite Mind were not,
there would be neither umbrella to be remembered,
nor I to remember it.




It is strange, how Mortal Mind is full of quota-
tions. They hang in the labyrinth of memory, as the
washing hangs in the alleys of Genoa. So it has
been with me, wandering down this new thorough-
fare of Christian Science, this wide and fashionable
road, cut, regardless of beauty, reckless of expense,
through many quiet haunts and rookeries of Philos-
ophy and Religion. To right and left of me were
the crooked passages, the sudden corners, the high
and crowded tenement-houses of Thought — all the
dear, familiar, unchanged part of the city not made
with hands. Down all these lanes and by-ways, I
beheld, in the mind's eye, old texts and phrases,
dangling and fluttering in the open air and the
sunshine. There they were, threadbare, patched,
antiquated, yet clean and wholesome, and fit for
immediate use; to be worn, but not to be displayed
in the wearing; these undergarments of the soul,
this spiritual body-linen, come down in the world,
and still marked with the initials of saints, poets,
philosophers, leaders of sciences, men of genius.
Thin and faded raiment and remnant, yet they had
lain, when they were new, next the hearts of the


immortals. Now, washed and aired and mended
for the ten-thousandth time, they are what they
were in the beginning. They did belong, once, to
the immortals, who have Authority. Not had, but
have. It is impossible for Christian Science to
explain away Authority. Do we not all know, that
there have been men and women who, dead long
ago, still have and use the right of telling us how we
ought to think and act ^ We take them for granted,
like the weather and the stars: they are in our life
as the alphabet in literature, the octave in music.
What they say, and the way in which they say it,
are final. In us, they live and rule and have the
last word. It was the last word, long before we
began to talk, and will be the last word, long after
we are dead and forgotten. Therefore, they shall
have it here, two of them for all of them. One is
the writer of the Book of Ecclesiasticus — if that
book, unlike Science and Health, be the work of one
writer — and the other is Pope. Of the Book of
Ecclesiasticus I am profoundly ignorant: only,
seeing what it says of doctors, I understand why
Christian Science excludes the Apocrypha, and limits
herself to "the canonical writings." Of Pope, I
know not much more, but that he lived in a society
no less artificial and emotional than London to-day.
Also, he was a Catholic, and a gentleman, and a
cripple: he had "spinal trouble," real spinal trouble,
not that sort which is healed by Christian Science.



Honour a physician with the honour due unto him for the uses
which ye may have of him : for the Lord hath created him.

For of the most High cometh healing, and he shall receive
honour of the king.

The skill of the physician shall lift up his head : and in the
sight of great men he shall be in admiration.

The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; and he
that is wise will not abhor them.

Of such doth the apothecary make a confection; and of his
works there is no end; and from him is peace over all the earth.

My son, in thy sickness be not negligent: but pray unto the
Lord, and he will make thee whole.

Leave off from sin, and order thine hands aright, and cleanse
thy heart from all wickedness.

Give a sweet savour, and a memorial of fine flour; and make
a fat offering, as not being.

Then give place to the physician, for the Lord hath created him :
let him not go from thee, for thou hast need of him.

There is a time when in their hands there is good success.

For they shall also pray unto the Lord, that he would prosper
that, which they give for ease and remedy to prolong life.

He that sinneth before his Maker, let him fall into the hand of
the physician.


Presumptuous Man I The reason would'st thou find,
Why formed so weak, so little, and so blind ?
First, if thou can'st, the harder reason guess.
Why formed no weaker, blinder, and no less.


Of systems possible, if 'tis confest

That wisdom infinite must form the best,

Where all must fall or not coherent be,

And all that rises, rise in due degree;

Then, in the scale of reasoning life, *tis plain.

There must be, somewhere, such a rank as man:

And all the question (wrangle e*er so long)

Is only this, if God has placed him wrong ?

So Man, who here seems principal alone.
Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown,
Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal;
*Tis but a part we see, and not a whole.

Go, wiser thou ! and, in thy scale of sense,
Weigh thy opinion against Providence;
Call imperfection what thou fanciest such.
Say, here He gives too little, there too much:
Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust.
Yet cry, If man's unhappy, God's unjust;
If man alone engross not Heaven's high care.
Alone made perfect here, immortal there:
Snatch from His hand the balance and the rod,
Rejudge His justice, be the God of God.
In pride, in reasoning pride, our error lies;
All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies.
Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes;
Men would be angels, angels would be gods.
Aspiring to be gods, if angels fell.
Aspiring to be angels, men rebel :
And who but wishes to invert the laws
Of order, sins against th' Eternal Cause.


The bliss of Man (could pride that blessing find)
Is not to think or act above mankind;
No powers of body or of soul to share.
But what his nature and his state can bear.

See, through this air, this ocean, and this earth.
All nature quick, and bursting into birth.
Above, how high, progressive life may go :
Around, how wide : how deep extend below.
Vast chain of being I which from God began,
Nature's ethereal, human angel, man.
Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see,
No glass can reach — From Infinite to thee,
From thee to nothing.

• • • • • •

All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul :
That, changed through all, and yet in all the same
Great in the earth as in th' ethereal frame.
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze.
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees.
Lives through all life, extends through all extent,
Spreads undivided, operates unspent.
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart:
As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns
As the rapt seraph that adores and burns:
To Him no high, no low, no great, no small;
He fills, He bounds, connects, and equals all.

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan :
The proper study of mankind is man,


Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,

A being darkly wise, and rudely great:

With too much knowledge for the sceptic side.

With too much weakness for the stoic*s pride,

He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;

In doubt to deem himself a god, or beast;

In doubt his mind or body to prefer;

Bom but to die, and reasoning but to err;

Alike in ignorance — his reason such —

Whether he thinks too little, or too much;

Chaos of thought and passion, all confused;

Still by himself abused, or disabused;

Created half to rise, and half to fall ;

Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;

Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurled;

The glory, jest, and riddle of the world.

Go, wondrous creature I Mount where science guides,

Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides;

Instruct the planets in what orb to run.

Correct old time, and regulate the sun :

Go, soar with Plato to th* empyreal sphere.

To the first good, first perfect, and first fair;

Or tread the mazy round his followers trod,

And quitting sense call imitating God;

As Eastern priests in giddy circles run,

And turn their heads, to imitate the sun.

Go, teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule —

Then drop into thyself, and be a fool.

Here is that Authority which is not in Christian
Science: the last word, the plain truth, the Alpha
and Omega of all that is to be said about Mortal
Mind. We know it is true, for we see it in the un-


reckoned lives which make this world, in spite of
Christian Science, a wholesome and intelligible
place. By the light of these quiet lives she is "one
more wrong done to man, one more insult to God."
Of course, there are many who praise Christian
Science, and count themselves among her followers,
yet send at once for the doctor in time of need. They
enjoy her philosophical pose, the grand abstract
words, the vague and immense outlook. It is now,
as it was more than thirty years ago, when Mrs.
Eddy, then Mrs. Glover, started teaching in Lynn : —

Some of her students still declare, that what they got from
her was beyond equivalent in gold or silver. They speak of a
certain emotional exaltation which she was able to impart in her
class-room ; a feeling so strong that it was like the birth of a new
understanding, and seemed to open to them a new heaven and a
new earth. Some of Mrs. Glover's students experienced this in
a very slight degree; but such as were imaginative and emotional,
and especially those who had something of the mystic in their
nature, came out of her class-room to find that for them the world
had changed. They lived by a new set of values; the colour
seemed to fade out of the physical world about them; men and
women became shadow-like, and their own humanity grew pale.
The reality of pain and pleasure, sin and grief, love and death,
once denied, the only positive thing in their lives was their belief
— and that was almost wholly negation. One of the students who
was closest to Mrs. Glover at that time says, that to him the world
outside her little circle seemed like a madhouse, where each inmate
was given over to his delusion of love or gain or ambition; and the
problem which confronted him was how to awaken them from
the absurdity of their pursuit. — The Milmine Articles in McClure's


So it IS now, more or less, with them who admire
the sayings, apart from the doings, of Christian
Science. They have not her dislike of the parson
and the doctor — whom they find a bit narrow, but
nothing worse than that. Into these gentle and kind
lives, is born a new sense of the depth of the truth
older than Christianity, that the Kingdom of God is
within us. They were tired of trivial affairs, dull
amusements, dull books, conventional talk, youth
gone, death ahead. Polite and punctual and well,
daily fed and dressed and taken for granted, they
found themselves monotonous. All the fireworks of
life had long ago been let off, and all its airy music
was at an end. Nothing wonderful or passionate
came their way, or would come. Then, they heard
of this development of religion, as they took it to be,
and were glad of it. God is All-in-all : here, in these
five words, they were sure that they had got hold, at
last, of all that there is to be held. But they still send,
in the time of their need, for the doctor. Only, they
do not send for him unless they do need him. For
he lives round the corner, and may be out : whereas
God is always in the house with them. Oh, the
cleverness of Christian Science, to be selling as a
novelty, at three dollars, what was old for centuries
before Christ.

It is not far, from the happiness of these lives,
to the cases of neurasthenia which are healed by
Christian Science. If she did not heal these cases.


there would be something else to heal them : it
might be faith, or it might be marriage, or a legacy,
or a bad fright, or some final doctor, or friend, or

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Online LibraryStephen PagetThe faith and works of Christian science → online text (page 15 of 16)