Stephen Paget.

The faith and works of Christian science online

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plane, where they could be. Now comes the
question. If God be All-in-all, and Sin be "native
nothingness," what is Man ?

Of Man
Man is spiritual and perfect. . . . Man is the idea of divine
Principle. He is the compound idea of God, including all right
ideas; the generic term for all that reflects God's image and
likeness. . . . Man is incapable of sin, sickness, and death, inas-
much as he derives his essence from God, and possesses not a single
original, or underived, power.^® God is the Principle of man, and
man is the idea of God.^^

Here Christian Science is trying to state the
Platonic doctrine of Ideas. But the Idea of Man,
the Type, is "laid up in Heaven," as Plato said of
the Idea of the State. The Idea of Man is not Man.
This Idea, Type, Form, or Pattern reflects nothing,
possesses nothing, includes nothing, and is conscious
of nothing. See into what difficulty Christian
Science has got, with her vague use of words. She
says that we are, in Reality, not men, but Arche-


typal Man. In place of men, she puts the Platonic
Idea of Man: with this result, that her Platonic
Idea of Man is just her idea of men, and she has
on her hands all that men call Man, all that we call
Us. What is her next move ? Wonderful woman,
she is not at a loss: she ties up, in one very large
bundle, all that we call Us, and names it Mortal

Of Mortal Mind

Mortal mind Is not an entity.*^ As Mind is immortal, the phrase
mortal mind implies something untrue and therefore unreal; and,
as the phrase is used in teaching Christian Science, it is meant to
designate something which has no real existence. Indeed, if a
better word or phrase could be suggested, it would be used.^

Scientific Translation of Mortal Mind
First Degree: Depravity
Physical. Evil beliefs, passions and appe-
tites, fear, depraved will, pride, envy, Unreality.
deceit, hatred, revenge, sin, sickness,
disease, death.

Second Degree: Evil beliefs disappearing

Moral. Humanity, honesty, affection, com- Transitional
passion, hope, faith, meekness, temper- Qualities.

Third Degree: Understanding

Spiritual. Wisdom, purity, spiritual under-
standing, spiritual power, love, health. Reality.
In the third degree mortal mind disappears; and man as God's
image appears."


Did anybody ever hear the like of that ? Was
there ever such a lot of words without a meaning ?
Here is something, which is nothing, yet is every-
thing, from unreality up to reality : at which point,
just as it begins to be interesting, it disappears.
It is all the works of the devil, and all the fruits
of the Spirit. It is "not an entity" : therefore,
honesty, which is one of its many transitional
qualities, is "not an entity." Even Christian
Science fails to define Mortal Mind. It is every-
body who is not a Christian Scientist. It is all that
she left out, when she was making a God of Man.

But what can we expect of her, once we have
caught her using the dreadful word Entity? This
mouldy old word, born and bred in Scholastic logic,
is derived from Ens, and must be taken to mean
the quality of Being, or. What it feels like, to Be.
Thus, there is Identity, which means. What it feels
like, to he the same ; and there is Nonentity, which
means. What it feels like, not to he. But there is no
such thing as an entity. Therefore when Christian
Science says that "Mind is not an entity within the
cranium," ^^ we must answer (i) Within refers to
Space, and Mind is not in Space; (2) Entity refers
to Quality, and Mind is not Quality; (3) it is
nonsense to talk of an Entity.

Thus far, we have learned from Christian Science
that Mind is All, and that Mortal Mind is all that
Mind which Mind is not. Holding tight to this


clear doctrine, let us contemplate the Universe in
terms of Mind.

Of Matter

Science shows that what is termed matter is but the subjective
state of what is herein termed mortal mind}^ The verity of Mind
shows conclusively how it is that matter seemeth to be, but is not.
Divine Science, rising above physical theories, resolves things
into thoughtSy and replaces the objects of material sense with
spiritual ideas.^^ Matter and mortal mind are but different strata
of human belief. The grosser substratum is named matter. The
more ethereal is called human, or mortal mind, and is the illusion
that is called mind in matter.^^

Here Christian Science puts in very odd language
a very old thought, which v^as popularised by
Berkeley. And, of course, Berkeley is perfectly
delightful. No writer more quickly brings the
sense of wonder into the life of the average man.
/ see the sun, which shines, and the grass, which looks
green. These words, my brethren, were spoken by
Sister Anne, looking out from the walls of Blue-
beard's castle : but, oh, consider that the grass is
not green, unless we are gazing on it; nor is the
sun bright, nor warm, unless we are conscious of
it; nor did Sister Anne's voice make any sound,
save to her and Fatima. I could preach a thousand
sermons, all as good as that, out of Berkeley. But
what would he have said to Christian Science's
account of Man, and of Mortal Mind .? His teach-
ing is plain enough : that our sensations are a great


mystery, and the visible world is a sort of message,
or "divine language/' And he says it all, as any-
body of his admirable temperament would say it,
in the very simplest words. If Man be eternal,
away goes Berkeley. If Mind be All, away goes
Berkeley. It is just because we are really here,
that the material world is really there; that is what
he says. I cannot think of any philosopher who
would have laughed more heartily over Science
and Health,

Of "Material Knowledge Illusive"

Knowledge gained from matter, and through the five senses, is
only temporal, — the conception of mortal mind, the offspring of
sense, not of Soul, Spirit, — and symbolizes all that is evil and
perishable. Natural science, as it is commonly called, is not really
natural or scientific, because it is deduced from the evidence of the
physical senses.^®

But the laws of matter are just as metaphysical
as the laws of mathematics : for they are the same
laws. As two and two, making four, are Absolute
Reality, so gravitation, and atomic action, and all
such facts, are Absolute Reality. It is in the eternal
realm of Infinite Truth, where all is pure and holy,
that lumps of sugar melt in cups of tea, and safety-
matches strike only on the box. That is why we
call Nature the work of God : because the laws of
Nature are applied mathematics, "eternal in the
heavens." As for this talk about temporal know-


ledge, and knowledge gained from matter, it is not
serious. To gain knowledge, there must be the
knowing Mind. To deduce evidence, there must
be the deducing Mind, which hears all the senses,
and unites and arranges their evidence, and is itself
none of them, nor all of them. No knowledge is
gained from matter; and all knowledge is eternal.
The "so-called laws of matter" are not "false
beliefs in the presence of intelligence and life where
Mind is not." ^° They are Intelligence, are Mind.

Of "Human Reproduction" and "Formation from

From mortal mind comes the reproduction of the species, —
first, the belief of inanimate, and then of animate matter. Accord-
ing to mortal thought, the development of embryonic mortal mind
commences in the lower, basal portion of the brain, and goes on
in an ascending scale by evolution, keeping always in the direct
line of matter, for matter is the subjective condition of mortal mind.
Next we have the formation of so-called embryonic mortal mind,
afterwards mortal man or mortals. All this while, matter is a be-
lief, ignorant of itself, ignorant of what it is supposed to produce.^^
Ossification ... is as directly the action of mortal mind as de-
mentia or insanity. Bones have only the substance of thought
which formed them. They are only phenomena of the mind of
mortals. The so-called substance of bone is formed first by the
parent's mind, through self-division. Soon the child becomes a
separate, individualised, mortal mind that takes possession of itself
and its own thoughts of bones.^^

Here we must be patient, or we shall despair.
Mortal mind, we are told, is something which has


no real existence. Out of it comes reproduction.
Mortal mind is not an entity, yet it is at one time
embryonic. This once embryonic non-entity is situ-
ated, according to itself, in the basal portion of
an illusion, which is its own subjective condition.
Here, it is developed. Next, it is formed. All this
while, the illusion is a belief, which, like all beliefs,
is ignorant of itself: and its action is ossification.

But why should we trouble over this blend of a
very little physiology and psychology with a great
quantity of home-made neo-Platonism that has
gone bad .f* What are "phenomena of the mind" ?
How can a mind be " self-divided " ? How can a
child "become" a mind? If it can, why should
not a fiddle become a tune, or a ham-sandwich
become a sense of repletion ?

Patience, I say. There are two words, anyhow,
which mean something: Insanity, and Ossification.
Christian Science professes to cure insanity : and, in
due time, we shall come to that part of her works.
And she does believe that, when we are all Christian
Scientists, and have arrived at a full understanding
of Being, women will conceive and bear children by
a purely mental process. They will think babies
into existence, mind-begotten mind-babies. She
says that it will be possible, some day, "to abolish
marriage, and maintain morality and generation." ^^
And again: "Proportionately as human generation
ceases, the unbroken links of eternal harmonious


being will be spiritually discerned; and man not of
the earth earthly but coexistent with God will
appear." ^^ In 1875 she said: "Spirit instead of
matter will be made the basis of generation." ^^
In 1 88 1 she said: "The time cometh when there
will be no marrying or giving in marriage. Soul
will ultimately claim its own, and the voice of per-
sonal sense be hushed." ^^ In 1888 she hinted that
marriage will come to an end, when people have
learned that "generation rests on no sexual basis." ^'
In 1898 she said: "The propagation of their species
by butterfly, bee, and moth, without the customary
presence of male companions, is a discovery cor-
roborative of Science of Mind." ^^ In 1903 she drew
back an inch or two, and said: "I never knew but
one individual who believed in agamogenesis; and
that one had a lovely character, was suffering from
incipient insanity, and Christian Science cured her.
I have named her case to individuals, when casting
my bread upon the waters. . . . The perpetuation
of the floral species by bud or cell-division is evident,
but I discredit the belief that agamogenesis applies
to the human species." But, four lines lower
down, came the statement, "Proportionately as
human generation," etc. : and then, this crowning
sentence, "Mortals can never understand God's
creation, while believing that man is a creator." * ^®

* For a full and clear account of Christian Science on Mar-
riage, see Mr. Lyman Powell's book, Christian Science, the Faith
and its Founder (G. P. Putnam's Sons), Chapter VIII.


She does indeed look forward to a time when a man
and a woman, by mere agreement as to the unreality
of matter, will have mind-babies : and, I suppose,
will determine their ** gender" by mutual consent.
That is why she is so keen, here, over this question
of ossification. We shall return to it when we
come to her views on the doctrine of the Incarnation.
Meanwhile, she is like the dog in the fable, that
tried to seize the shadowy bone in the water, and
thereby dropped the real bone. She is trying to
get hold of the Platonic Idea of Bone, the Bone-as-
it-is-in-itself. But that Absolute Bone belongs to
the Absolute Baby, the Baby-as-it-is-in-itself: it
will never belong to a human baby. On our mortal
plane, human bones belong to human babies. To
belong is to be related; and Relation is Reality.
Therefore, they are real bones, belonging to real
babies. Moreover, the bones of a baby, and the
"gender" of a baby, are in the structure of that
baby : they are under the laws of structure, which
are the laws of Nature, which are mathematical laws,
which are Eternal Truth. Moreover, the baby's
bones are real, because they play Object to the baby's
Subject : and the baby's possession of its own thoughts
of hones is that magnificent Reality, the Unity of
Subject and Object. Have it any way you like,
bones in babies are as real as the fact that two and
two make four. The more you interpret bones as
thoughts, the more, not the less, real is every bone


here on this earth, even the bones which do not
belong to anybody.

Of the Brain

The belief that a pulpy substance under the skull is Mind, is
a mockery of intelligence, the mimiciy of Mind.^^ To be on com-
municable terms with Spirit, persons must be free from organic

The old antagonism, between the materialist
interpretation of consciousness and the transcen-
dentalist, has mostly been upheld by combatants
who thought hard, and used words with some regard
for their meanings. Christian Science has got hold
of the words, but not of the meanings: witness
this phrase. To he on comntuni cable terms with Spirit,
persons must he free from, organic hodies. Why }
Am I not free from my organic body, if it be not I,
but mine? She says that I am a "person"; that I
have, not am, a body. It follows, that I must use
my organic body, as one uses a telephone. If I play
the fool with it. Spirit will not be able to get through
to me. My one hope of being on communicable
terms with Spirit, to say nothing of good terms, is,
to keep my brain in working order. This brain,
that she calls "pulpy substance," this miracle of a
thousand million miracles, every cell of it a miracle,
this divine fabric, if it be not I, but mine, and I
own and work these innumerable miracles — why,
that is enough for me.


Of other Parts of the Body

Of the Muscles. Because the muscles of the blacksmith's arm
are strongly developed, it does not follow that exercise has pro-
duced this result. The trip-hammer is not increased in size by
exercise. Why not, since muscles are as material as wood and
iron ? Because nobody believes that mind is producing that result
on the hammer. . . . Not because of muscular exercise, but by
reason of the blacksmith's faith in it, his arm becomes stronger.^

Of the Heart. The valves of the heart, opening and closing
for the passage of the blood, obey the mandate of mortal mind
as directly as does the hand, moved evidently by the will.^ Mortal
mind forms all conditions of the mortal body, and controls the
stomach, bones, lungs, heart, and blood, as directly as the volition or
will moves the hand.^

Under the spreading chestnut tree the village
blacksmith stands : the muscles of his brawny arm
are well developed, because mortal mind attributes
their development to exercise. In reality there is
no mortal mind. The trip-hammer would be larger
after a job, if only we all thought so. But take a
heart obstructed by valvular disease, or a portion of
bowel, or any other hollow muscular organ of the
body, obstructed. In such cases, you get the
same increase of muscular development, the same
"hypertrophy" that you get in the blacksmith's arm.
But, in these cases of compensatory hypertrophy,
mortal mind had no idea what was happening: it
was as ignorant as the trip-hammer. Again, in
what sense can we say that mortal mind moves the
heart } For, of course, the foetal heart is beating


months before the child "becomes a mortal mind."
Christian Science would say that the foetal heart beats
because the mother is thinking of it. But it goes
on beating, though she be asleep, or drunk, or
insane. And in what sense can we say that mortal
mind "controls the blood''.? For instance, after
the ligature of a large artery, the tissues formerly
supplied by that artery are supplied by the collateral
circulation: a new system, a new course of the
blood, is established for that purpose, unknown to
the patient. Is that collateral circulation created by
his thought .? Or by the general opinion of the
medical profession ?

Of Life

Life is eternal. We should find this out, and begin the demon-
stration thereof.^ It has been demonstrated to me that life is

Christian Science is very fond of these three words,
God is Life. I have tried hard, but cannot see any
meaning in them : no, not even when she says them
backward, "showing mathematically their exact re-
lation to Truth." Life is divine Mind. Life is
God, as the Scriptures imply. I know, of course,
that, if God were not, there would be no Life : nor
Death either. There would be nothing to live, and
nothing to die. But Christian Science, saying that
Life is divine Mind,^^ is playing on the word Life,
using it in a sense which turns it into nonsense. For,


if God be Life, and God be All-in-all, it follows,
that paving-stones have Life. It follows, also, that
Death has Life. She keeps jumping from neo-
Platonism to Animalism, and back.

Of "Possibilities of Life"

The less mind there is manifested in matter, the better. When
the unthinking lobster loses his claw, it grows again. If the Science
of Life were understood, it would be found that the senses of Mind
are never lost, and that matter has no sensation. Then the human
limb would be replaced as readily as the lobster's claw, not with
an artificial limb, but with the genuine one.^

If God be Life, it follows, that the unthinking
lobster is nearer than the Christian Scientist to God.
Somewhere in the future, as we shall have mind-
babies, so we shall have mind-arms and mind-legs,
after the loss of their illusory predecessors. A
horrible picture, of a world full of Christian Scien-
tists, all with bodies purely mental. If God be
All-in-all, how can a blighted bud be, as she says,^*
unnatural ? First, the bud was all right: then came
a cold night, and it was blighted. On March 31st,
let us say, it was in the eternal realm of Infinite
Truth, where all is pure and holy. On April ist,
it was a falsity of sense, a changing deflection of
mortal mind. Christian Science is confounding
the Platonic Idea, the Archetypal Bud, with real
buds. The Bud-as-it-is-in-itself never gets blighted,
for this reason, that it never gets born. Buds that


get born, real buds on real trees, do, some of them,
get blighted, in the course of their life : and Life,
she says, is God.

Here let us halt, for we have come a long way.
We can see, through all the many pages of Science
and Health, somebody trying hard to put in words
a state of mind which is beyond words. Rags of
Plato and of Aristotle, of the Schoolmen, of Spinoza,
Berkeley, and the Evangelists, dance in her mind;
and she writes it all down, like a planchette. She is
bewitched by words, and lies at the mercy of capital
letters. Science and Health is 214,000 words long,
and such words. Corporeality, ontology, theogony,
chemicalisation, entity, dematerialisation, mentality,
brainology, actuality, supposititious consciousness,
noumenon, the Ego-God, equipoUence, inharmonies,
somethingness, allness, oneness — see Christian
Science caught in her own toils, in the love of long
words. Consider, for example, her

Scientific Ultimatum

God is Mind, and God is all; hence all is Mind. On this state-
ment rests the Science of being; and its Principle is divine, demon-
strating harmony and immortaHty.^^

She desires the One. But would she be content
to believe in Supremum Ens ? It is neither Good
nor Evil, neither God nor Man, neither Life nor
Death; it makes Nothing, does Nothing. It is
not even the One, unless there be the Other. It is


the present participle of the verb to Be. This will
never do: she must have some warmer Reality than
Supremum Ens. Think how Mrs. Eddy, in Retro-
spection and Introspection, describes her discovery of
Christian Science : —

The moment arrived of the heart's bridal to more spiritual
existence. When the door opened, I was waiting and watching;
and lo! the bridegroom came. My heart knew its Redeemer.
Soulless famine had fled.*^ Blanched was the cheek of pride.
My heart bent low before the omnipotence of Spirit, and a rint
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. Frozen fountains
were unsealed. Erudite systems of philosophy and religion melted,
for Love unveiled the healing promise and potency of a present
spiritual afflatus.^

Here, in her autobiography, we have the true
Mrs. Eddy. Other hands have been at work on
Science and Health; but here is Mrs. Eddy alone.
And what could be less like "the bridegroom" than
Supremum Ens }

No wonder that erudite systems of philosophy
and religion melt at the coming of Christian Science.
It is less trouble to melt than to argue with her.
They dislike having to move; they had got fond of
the place : but, once the tone of the neighbourhood
begins to go down, what is the good of stopping ?
Let us melt, right away, and have done with it, they
say to each other, or she will call on us, and then we


shall have to ask her to dinner : and she does behave in
such an odd way, and says such horrid things about
other people. They depart, these dear old philoso-
phies and religions, and leave the world to darkness
and to her. God being All, matter is Nothing: here
is a darkness that may be felt. Groping in it, I
found the Psalmist, still asking. What is man, that
Thou art mindful of him? Well, says Christian
Science, man is a Platonic Idea. If we protest, and
say that we are not, and that we ought to know, she
calls us Mortal Mind. With Mind, Man, Mortal
Mind, and Matter, which is Mortal Mind rubbed
through a sieve, her Universe is, practically, com-
plete. A fine day, a smooth sea, a healthy baby, a
clear skin, are manifestations of Supreme Being,
harmonies from the Infinite, smiles from the Father.
A storm, a sea that makes one sick, a baby in a fit,
a rash, are unnatural deflections, illusions of mortal
mentality, absences of God. It follows, that her
God, the Supreme Being of Christian Science, is
the God of Being Supremely Comfortable. Now,
for the overwhelming collision with the Christian
Faith. Why is this collision inevitable .? Because
she must work miracles, reduce dislocations, repair
diseased bones, stop fevers, and remove tumours.
Till she has got at Christ, she cannot work



I have tried to put in plain words the contrast
between Philosophy and Christian Science. Only,
to do that, I had to be silent over the fact that she is
incessantly contradicting herself. What she affirms,
she presently denies. Let alone the innumerable
changes and expurgations made in successive editions
of Science and Health, there is any amount of con-
tradictions in one and the same edition. A long list
of them is given by the Dean of Norwich, in his
very useful book. Christian Science, contrasted with
Christian Faith, and with Itself (London, Society for
Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1903).




A FEW references to Mrs. Eddy's Science and
Health and one or two to her other writings will
suggest the relations of Christian Science to the
Christian Faith.

The theory of three persons in one God, the idea
of a personal Trinity, suggests to her polytheism.^

"The true Logos is demonstrably Christian
Science." ^

Her "scientific explanation" of the atonement
is that "suffering is an error of sinful sense which
Truth destroys, and that eventually both sin and
suffering will fall at the feet of everlasting Love." ^

Of the Incarnation she says : —

"Those instructed in Christian Science have reached the glo-
rious perception that God is the only author of man. The Virgin-
mother conceived this idea of God, and gave to her ideal the name
of Jesus. The illumination of Mary's spiritual sense put to silence
material law and its order of generation, and brought forth her

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Online LibraryStephen PagetThe faith and works of Christian science → online text (page 2 of 16)