Stephen Paget.

The faith and works of Christian science online

. (page 3 of 16)
Online LibraryStephen PagetThe faith and works of Christian science → online text (page 3 of 16)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

child by the revelation of Truth, demonstrating God as the Father
of men." ^

She declares that it was Jesus' understanding
of this divine Science — "that the Ego was Mind


instead of body, — that matter, sin, and evil were
not Mind" ^ which brought upon him the anathemas
of his age. Of his disciples she remarks that only
eleven left a "desirable" historical record.^

Of his miracles she would have us believe that
Jesus restored Lazarus by understanding that he
had never died. "Had Jesus believed that Lazarus
had lived or died in his body, he would have stood
on the same plane of belief with those who buried
the body, and he could not therefore have resuscitated
it." When men are awakened from the belief that
all must die, they can restore by spiritual power
those who thought they had died — but not till

Of the Resurrection we are told that in the three
days after the crucifixion

"Jesus met and mastered, on the basis of Christian Science,
namely, the power of Mind over matter, all the claims of medicine,
surgery, and hygiene. He took no drugs to allay inflammation.
He depended not upon food or pure air to resuscitate wasted ener-
gies. He required not the skill of a surgeon to heal the torn palms,
and bind up the wounded side and lacerated feet. ... It was a
method of surgery beyond material art, but it was not a super-
natural act." ^

Of the promise in the words of St. John, "He
shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide
with you forever,'' we are told: "This Comforter
I understand to be Divine Science."^

Also, we learn, from Science and Healthy that the


Millennium will come, when Christian Science shall
have made her enemies her footstool. Nature will
be a series of mental processes. Things will be
resolved, by the opinion of the majority, into
thoughts: and the world will be made of Platonic
Ideas. The Day of Judgment, dies tree dies ilia,
will be an extension of the Millennium. The
Universe will come to an end, for we shall pro-
nounce it an illusion. In Christian Science, we
shall unanimously think the Universe down, vote
it away, unmask its native nothingness, expose its
non-reality, and agree that it is not there. We
shall decline to recognise Matter. Thereupon, the
earth will pass away, and the heavens, and there will
be no more sea. Mind, at last, will come in glory,
to judge the quick — there will be no dead — that
Mind, which is in Christian Science; and will
reign, eternally, over Nothing.

Also, we have what Mrs. Eddy says concerning
herself: —

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 Chris-
tian Science. . . . The second appearing of Jesus is unquestion-
ably the spiritual advent of the advancing idea of God as in
Christian Science. ^^

God hath thrust in the sickle, and he is separating the tares from
the wheat. This hour is molten in the furnace of Soul. Its har-
vest song is world-wide, world-known, world-great. . . . Let


error rage and imagine a vain thing. Mary Baker Eddy is not
dead. . . . Those words of our dear, departing Saviour, breathing
love for his enemies, fill my heart: "Father, forgive them; for
they know not what they do." ^

But we need not stay over the divine honours
claimed or accepted or not refused by the Founder
of Christian Science. There is an admirable account
of them in Mr. Lyman Powell's book. What
concerns us is the parody, by Christian Science,
of the Christian Faith. It is not a question of
orthodoxy; it is a question of decency. I learn
from Mr. Lyman Powell, that Christian Science,
when she talks of the " dual personality" ^^ of Christ,*
is reviving the Nestorian heresy : and I do not need /
his learning to see that her version of the doctrine
of the Incarnation is new and feminine. I note, in
passing, that she is the Word, also the Comforter,
also the Second Advent, and the Last Day; and
that she frequently receives honourable mention in
the Apocalypse. I note, also, that she does not fa-
vour " audible prayer," ^^ or the use of prayers for the
sick ^*: and that she, who has endlessly revised and
expurgated, without sense, without conscience, her

* "With the personality of Jesus Christ divided into a mere
man called Jesus, who was not always wise, and never had as
high a revelation as Mrs. Eddy's, and a mere idea called Christ,
who reappears to-day in Christian Science and no other faith,
Mrs. Eddy shows a certain familiarity in dealing with the Incar-
nation which is disquieting even to the unconventional." — Lyman
Powell, work cited.


Divine Revelation, says that we, who are not her
disciples, worship "a corporeal Jehovah." ^^ Let
all that, and much else, go. Nothing will ever
stop Christian Science from disgracing herself in
public. But I do wonder that she did not keep her
hands oflF the Lord's Prayer and the Lord's Supper.
Every Sunday, in every Church of Christ, Scientist,
her version of the Lord's Prayer is read aloud,
sentence by sentence, with that version which we
owe to the mistaken views entertained, by Jesus,
of Deity. The audience, with one of the readers,
recites the Christian version: and the other reader
recites the version which Mrs. Eddy understands
"to be the spiritual sense of the Lord's prayer "x'

Our Father which art in Heaven.

Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious.

Hallowed be Thy name.

Adorable One.

Thy Kingdom come.

Thy Kingdom is within us. Thou art ever-present.

Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Enable us to know — as in heaven, so on earth — God is supreme.

Give us this day our daily bread;

Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished affections;

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And infinite Love is reflected in love.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;

And Love leadeth us not into temptation, but delivereth us from
sin, disease, and death.

For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

For God is now and forever all Life, Truth, and Love.^^


The alternating sentences produce a well-marked,
almost physical, nausea, as if one had got suddenly
into foul air. The difficulty is to sit still; to resist
the longing to get away, out into the street, the sound
of traffic, the sight of the sky. But I am not sure
which is the worse, her parody of the Lord's Prayer,
or her parody of the Lord's Supper.

Obeying his precious precepts — following his demonstration,
so far as we apprehend it — we drink of his cup, partake of his
bread,* are baptized with his purity. . . . The true sense is spirit-
ually lost, if the sacrament is confined to the use of bread and
wine. . . . The Passover, which Jesus ate with his disciples, . . .
was a mournful occasion, a sad supper, taken at the close of day,
— in the twilight of a glorious career, with shadows fast falling
around; and this supper closed forever Jesus' ritualism, or con-
cessions to matter. What a contrast between our Lord's last
supper, and his last spiritual breakfast with his disciples in the
bright morning hours, at the joyful meeting on the shore of the
Galilean Sea ! This spiritual meeting with our Lord, in the dawn
of a new light, is the morning meal which Christian Scientists

Probably it is the latter. I should have thought
that every decent man or woman would stop short of
insulting that Sacrament. This do in remembrance
of Me. No, says Christian Science, let us do some-
thing else. He took bread, and brake it. Never mind
that, says she : it was His last concession to Matter.
This is My blood. Then she is off'ended. Blood,
pain, death, are illusions of mortal mind : away with

* S. & H. Ed., 1903, his bread. Ed. 1898, his immortality.


them. I should have thought that the doctrine of
the Presence in the Lord's Supper would have
pleased even her : it represents all that she might be
worshipping to-day, if she had not lost her head.
And why is it that she will have nothing to do with
the Lord's Supper.? Because it was "a mournful
occasion." Here, at last, we are at the heart of
Christian Science. Anything to be comfortable,
to be able to forget sin, disease, and death. "The
less said or thought of them, the better." ^^ That
is her desperate advice. It was not wise of Jesus
to think of death. He may even have hastened or
caused His death, by talking so much about it. /
lay down My life for the sheep. How unwise, to
think like that: it was enough to kill anybody.
/, if I he lifted up — why. He might have avoided
the cross, and lived to a good old age, if only He had
set His mind that way. Here, in this unwholesome
terror and loathing of pain and of death, you see
Christian Science, at last, naked. We are not to
think of death : we are to deny pain. Crucifixusy
passus, et sepultus est. We are not to talk or think
of passus. The scientific explanation of the Passion
is, that suffering is an error of sinful sense which
Truth destroys. The Agony in the Garden, the
Scourging, the torture of the Crucifixion, were errors
of His sinful sense. They did not hurt much. He
was thinking of something else, all the time.^* They
did not, in Reality, hurt. Let us forget these dismal


occasions, and have a Last Breakfast, without any
elements, and no Cross, and no Passion, and all
Resurrection. We like the Resurrection: we feel
that we could, with a little more understanding, do
it ourselves. This "Communion-service" of the
Church of Christ, Scientist, is held once or twice
a year. It is nothing more than silent prayer. It
is the one meeting at which the audience kneel. A
Christian Scientist tells me that it is "not a special
service, only something extra." It has just been
abolished from the great Boston Church of Christ,
Scientist. It was only once a year : and the crowd
was inconvenient. So Mrs. Eddy, in June 1908,
issued the following order : —

The house of the Mother Church seats only 5000 people:
and its membership includes 48,000 communicants: hence the
following — The branch-churches continue their Communion-
seasons, but there shall be no more Communion-season in the
Mother Church that has blossomed into spiritual beauty. Com-
munion universal and divine. "For who hath known the mind
of the Lord, that he may instruct him ? But we have the mind
of Christ."

In contrast with this order, we have what Mr.
Chesterton says of Christian Science : —

"The cultivated people of our time will generally tend to say
of Christian Science that it is a grand and pure philosophy preached,
perhaps, by unbalanced or unpleasant people. But I, for one,
should say exactly the opposite. I say that Christian Science is
a mean and disgusting philosophy, preached by people who are
quite nice. They are all right; it is only their creed that comes


from hell. The doctrine that pain and death are not real at all,
except in so far as their victims are cowardly enough to submit to
them, is a diabolical doctrine, obviously calculated to produce all
the purely diabolical qualities, such as intellectual cruelty and con-
tempt for the weak. . . . Christ came on earth to smash the man
who felt himself strong. And He did, in the most effective and
final manner, smash the man who felt himself strong; for He
opposed to him the God who felt Himself weak. Human beings
henceforward were not to be humiliated by the limitations of pain
and death; for Deity itself has admitted them. Christian Science
says that pain is not a reality. Christianity says that pain is so
great a reality that even the Creator could feel it. Christian Science
says that a man need not think of death at all. Christianity says
that even God thought of it with awe. Marred by a million other
mistakes, betrayed and tortured through the agony of eighteen
centuries, Christianity has never lost its strongest and most dis-
tinctive note, the physical note; the talk of the body and the blood.
Even since the Crucifixion a certain actuality, and, therefore, a
certain sanctity, has clung round the hard pain of prosaic men."
— G. K. Chesterton, Daily News, April ii, 1908.

The crest, on my copy of Science and Health, is
a very large and earthly crown, such as the kings
wear in a pack of cards. Stuck inside this crown,
and fallen sideways, is a very small cross, about
one-tenth the size of the crown. There must be a
"spiritual interpretation" of this tumbHng-down of
the little cross. Rays of glory proceed on all sides
from the crown, but none from the cross. The
motto round this crest is, "Heal the sick, raise
the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons." It
ought to be, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers,


raise the dead, cast out devils." Christian Science
does not believe in angels or in devils. But that
is no reason why she should say demons. Crest and
motto, between them, proclaim the vulgarity of
Christian Science, and her contempt or hatred of the
Christian Faith. She had better have this motto —
"If thou be the son of God, come down from the
cross." For she was there, when it all happened :
she was in the crowd, saying then what she says
now. It is her final offer — "If he be the King of
Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and
we will believe him."



It is one of the most frequent sayings of Christian
Science, and one of the most false, that God is Life.
Here are two words of so great difficulty that a
shelf of books might be written about them. What
does she mean by Life .? Is it right, or wrong, to
say that Life is Lives ?

We speak at one time of the lives of animals; at
another, of animal life. We say, of some accident,
that many lives were lost, or that there was a great
loss of life. In common talk, we assume that lives
are life. But would Christian Science admit that
Life is Lives ? If she would, it follows, that God is
Lives; a very grotesque phrase. If she would not,
what does she mean by Life ? Truly, she has not
given herself any trouble over this question, whether
life be lives. She was in such a hurry to get away
from Death, that she did not stop to define Life.
Besides, it is not her way to assign particular mean-
ings to her words. Yet I think that she means,
nine times out of ten, by Life, herself; her in-
tellectual pursuits, her works of healing. That
is not the usual meaning of the word Life.


If God be Life, it follows that He is the cause
of every infective disease : because the germs, which
are the disease, have Life. That is why the diseases
are infective, because the germs are alive. If they
were not alive, there would be no cholera, plague,
malaria, typhoid fever, and so forth. But, for the
present, let us neglect these lower forms of life, and
consider the higher animals, and them alone. What
has she to say about them ? In Science and Health,
she gives us a long chapter on Creation. From end
to end of it, not one word is said of any creature
but Man; except for a chance phrase or two, such
as this — "You may rise to the spiritual conscious-
ness of being, even as the bird which has burst from
the egg, and preens its wings for a skyward flight" ^

— there is no hint of plant, or tree, or fish, or fowl,
or brute, nothing to show that we are not the only
creatures of God. Which way is a man to look,
when he finds three of the six Days of Creation left
out .^ Except for a few pointless allusions — the
unthinking lobster, the ferocious beast, illustrations
that are like the pictures in a baby's alphabet-book

— Science and Health, for all its 214,000 words,
gives us, practically, a world that has no animals in
it. " Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which
indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual
creation." ^ What name shall indicate His relation-
ship to His brute creation .?

I was told, by a Christian Scientist, that animals


are the lesser ideas of God, It sounds Platonic : but
I do not remember that Plato calls one Idea less
than another. Besides, I am not thinking of the
Idea, the Type, of Dog, Horse, or Cat. I am
thinking of dogs, horses, and cats. Here is my
dog, as I write, on the hearth-rug. What, "in
Reality," is he ?

God, Man, Mortal Mind, Matter — my dog is
none of them. What then is he } For he really is.
I cannot doubt that he is he, is real, is here, on the

If animals were not real. Christian Science would
not treat them. It may be news to the reader, that
her followers treat animals. But I was told, bj a
practitioner —

We have many, many cases of the cure of animals. I have
treated several animals. There was a gentleman, not long ago,
who had three goldfinches sent up from the country, three such
beautiful birds : and two of them had passed on, from the change
of air and food, I suppose: and we were afraid the third was
going to pass on. But I treated it; and, after a day or two, the
bird was perfectly well, and began to sing. And there was a
pigeon: it was ill, its eyes had begun to turn, and it was quite
rough: you know how pigeons look when they are beginning to
die: and I treated it, and it recovered. Dogs are very good for
treatment: they are very responsive. The people I Hve with,
have fowls : and one day the gentleman said to me, 'Tm just going
to kill one of the new fowls : it is eating its own eggs.* And I
said, *Oh, don't kill it: it is such a beautiful bird.' So we put it
in a separate partition ; and I treated it. I realised God's idea —
that it could not be God's idea, that the bird should eat its own


eggs. You see, It was something like what sin is in us. A few
days later, it laid an egg, and didn't eat it. Then it laid two more,
and didn't eat them. Then we put it back with the other fowls:
and they lay about an egg each every day; and not one of the eggs
is so much as pecked. Oh, we treat everything. I know a gentle-
man who treated a rat in his farmyard : and now the rat is playing
about with the chickens.

Another Scientist told me the same; that believers
often treat their own animals.* I asked, " Do they

* Compare also the Christian Science Journal, September 1897.
"I am always glad to hear of animals being helped. I find they
respond very quickly to Truth. A white Pekin duck, unable to
take a step, was given two treatments, when it was cured. My
sister said she never knew one to get well before with such a claim.**
Then follows the story of the healing of a colt. At eleven o'clock,
the colt was declared by the same sister to be "ruined." In the
afternoon, after treatment, he was all right, he was up, walking
around. The Daily Telegraph, August 31, 1907, quotes a story,
from a Christian Science publication, of a little girl who read
Science and Health to a lame sparrow, till it flew away. And I
have before me, as I write, a press-cutting — ** From our own
correspondent. New York. An elephant at the Zoo here, called
Mad Tom, has been ill several weeks. To-day, a couple of
Christian Scientists called, and asked permission to attempt the
cure of Tom by absent treatment. Permission was readily granted,
and, strangely enough, the animal seems to be better to-night than
he has been for a long time." Indeed, Christian Scientists draw
the line nowhere. Miss Feilding gives a long account of a Lon-
don lady, who, when the curtains of a mantel-shelf caught fire,
treated them by thought, while somebody else quenched them
with wet cloths {Faith-healing and Christian Science, p. 190).
And Mr. Lyman Powell records a story of the treatment of that
irresponsive vegetable, an india-rubber plant.


treat flowers ? For flowers, also, are, in a sense,
alive." The answer was, "Of course you could,
if you wished. Of course, it could be done. God
is the life of the whole world. If anybody had a
favourite plant, for instance, it could be done. You
can do anything.''

St. Francis, doubtless, prayed over sick animals.
But Christian Science is not in favour of prayers for
the sick. But the point is, that animals must be
real, to be treated. She cannot treat them, unless
they are there. They cannot be "responsive," if
they are not real.

The mystery of this reality of their inner life is
far and away the most impenetrable of all mysteries.
What is an animal .? What does it feel like, to be
an animal ? I am thinking of the nobler animals,
such as we call not it, but him or her, I call my
dog him, not because he is a male, but because he is
a dog; as people call me him, not because I am
a male, but because I am a man. My dog is "con-
scious." As we live and feel, so he lives and feels.
What has Christian Science to say of his pleasures
and his pains ?

Let us take it, that they are illusions of canine
mind. That is a thoroughly Scientist phrase. A
biscuit, which my dog supposes to be a biscuit, is
really matter, which is the subjective state of what is
herein termed canine mind. It follows that, as mor-
tal mind is to Man, so is canine mind to Dog. If


Man be ** spiritual, eternal, perfect, the compound
idea of God, the conscious identity of being, that
which has not a single quality underived from
Deity," why, so is Dog. That is all very well: it
is easy to say that the Platonic Idea, the Dog-as-he
is-in-himself, is somehow "laid up in Heaven."
But how is Christian Science to get from Dog, with
a capital letter, to my dog, with a small letter .?
The breakdown is equally disastrous, from Man to
men, and from Dog to dogs. The "lesser ideas of
God" are Horse, Dog, and Cat, not horses, dogs,
and cats.

It is said that a certain architect, building some
rooms over an archway, left out the staircase. That
is what Christian Science has done : she has left out
the staircase of the House of Life.

For each one of us, there are millions of the
lower creatures of God. Ages before we came here,
they suffered and died. All over the earth, we en-
slave, punish, mutilate,* kill, and eat animals : live
by their death, and are made comfortable by their

* "In the months of spring and eariy summer, in this country,
farm-places simply, so to speak, seethe with vivisection: male
and female animals have these sensitive organs cut out of their
bodies in full consciousness, and this is done on millions of ani-
mals annually. We know to a million or two, but there are many
millions. You must not think that I am exaggerating about it : you
will find it from the statistics returned by the Board of Agriculture
every year." — Sir John M'Fadyean, Second Report of the Royal
Commission on Vivisection, March 1907.


distress. Millions of them, to each of us : why has
Christian Science left them out ?

Because their sufferings are a dismal -occasion, to
be evaded, Hke the Last Supper: and their natural
ways make havoc of her spiritual world, which is her
only world. She does not admit, in her real world,
any creature that will not promise to behave nicely.
No accommodation is provided for animals that love
to fight and tear and kill, or for internal parasites,
or for mosquitoes with their stomachs full of malaria.
And, when we laugh at her picture of God's world,
as at a fairy scene out of a pantomime, she says
that we believe in a corporeal Jehovah. That is
what comes of leaving the animals out of Creation.
She cannot put them back now, or find a place for
them. She made her little doll's house without a
staircase; and, to put in the staircase now, would
wreck the top rooms of the doll's house. What
can she have to tell us of the lives of animals ?

Instead of them, she gives us her "spiritual inter-
pretation" of them. This interpretation is con-
tained in the Key to the Scriptures.^ This Key
contains a few random notes on Genesis and the
Apocalypse; and a new version of the Psalm, "The
Lord is my Shepherd," showing, though faintly, the
light that Christian Science throws on the Scriptures.^
To the rest of the Scriptures there is no Key. Then
comes a Glossary, which "contains the metaphysi-
cal interpretation of Bible terms, giving their spirit-


ual sense, which is also their original meaning." ^
Here are some examples from this Glossary : —

1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Online LibraryStephen PagetThe faith and works of Christian science → online text (page 3 of 16)