Stephen Paget.

The faith and works of Christian science online

. (page 4 of 16)
Online LibraryStephen PagetThe faith and works of Christian science → online text (page 4 of 16)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Adam. Error; a falsity; the belief in "original sin," sickness,
and death ; evil ; the opposite of good, God and His creation ; a
curse; a belief in intelligent matter, finiteness, and mortality;
"dust to dust"; red sandstone; nothingness; the first god of
mythology; not God's man. ... A product of nothing, as the
mimicry of something; an unreality, as opposed to the great reality
of spiritual existence and creation; a so-called man; . . . the
image and likeness of what God has not created, namely, matter,
sin, sickness, and death. . . .

Baptism.'^ Purification by Spirit; submergence in Spirit.

Children. Life, Truth, and Love's spiritual thoughts and rep-
resentatives. Sensual and mortal beliefs; counterfeits of creation,
whose better originals are God's thoughts, not in embryo, but in
maturity; material suppositions of life, substance, and intelligence,
opposed to the Science of being.

Dan (Jacob's son). Animal magnetism. . . .

Death. An illusion, the lie of life in matter; the unreal and
untrue; the opposite of Life. . . .

Devil. Evil; a lie; error; neither corporeality nor mind;
the opposite of Truth ; a belief in sin, sickness, and death ; animal
magnetism. . . .

(Eliasy Euphrates, and Gad, are all of them Christian Science.)

Gihon (river). The rights of woman acknowledged morally,
civilly, and socially.

(Ham and Issachar are each a corporeal belief. Hiddekel
(river), and Holy Ghost, are Divine Science. Jacob is first cor-
poreal, then spiritual; so is Judah. Kingdom of Heaven, and New

* "Our baptism is a purification from all error."® One of
Mrs. Eddy's students recalls how she once held a baptismal
service without water. — Lyman Powell, work cited, p. i6o.


Jerusalem, are Divine Science: Levi is a corporeal and sensual
belief, mortal man, . . . and ecclesiastical despotism.)

Matter. Mythology; mortality; another name for mortal
mind; illusion . . . sensation in the sensationless. . . .

Mind. The only I, or Us. . . .

Red Dragon. Fear; inflammation; sensuality; subtlety;
error; animal magnetism.

Serpent is many false "claims." It is also animal magnetism.

(There is no interpretation of Sin, which is a word of some

importance in the Scriptures.)

Will. The motive power of error; mortal belief ; animal power.
The might and wisdom of God. Will, as a quality of so-called
mortal mind, is a wrong-doer : hence it should not be confounded
with the term as applied to Mind, or one of God's qualities.

Tou. As applied to corporeality, a mortal ; finity.

Such is the light that Christian Science throws on
the Scriptures. Let us get back to what she says
about the lives of animals. We have her "spiritual
interpretation" of the first chapter of Genesis.
Here, of course, the animals fare badly. She dis-
misses them, as mere thoughts: she explains them
away : —

Animals and mortals metaphorically present the gradation of
mortal thought, rising in the scale of intelligence, taking form in
masculine, feminine, or neuter gender. The fowls which fly
above the earth, in the open firmament of heaven, correspond to
aspirations soaring beyond and above corporeality. . . . Holy
thoughts, winged with Love, . . . abound in the spiritual atmos-
phere of Mind, and consequently reproduce their own character-
istics. . . . Mortal mind inverts the true likeness, and confers
animal names and natures upon its own misconceptions.^ The


animals created by God are not carnivorous, as witness the millen-
nial estate pictured by Isaiah. . . . All the creatures of God are
harmless, useful, indestructible (sic), moving in the harmony of
Science. A realisation of this grand verity was a source of strength
to the ancient worthies. It supports Christian healing, and enables
its possessor to emulate the example of Jesus.^

I said so: animals, in Reality, are not. Fowls
are thoughts : and the carnivora are not carnivorous
— think of Daniel, says Christian Science, in the
den of lions — and vipers are not venomous —
think of St. Paul, she says, at Malta. In reality,
animals are not real, are not there, are images, re-
flections, manifestations, ideas. They have not,
in reality, senses, for they are not, in reality, selves.
Their pleasures and pains, instincts and passions,
homing and mating and fighting, are not really in
them, but in God, or in us. It does not matter which
we say, God or us. Mind is the only I, or Us.
Let the bad grammar pass : hold fast this happy
assurance, that God is the only Us.



The Faith and its Founder are inseparable; and
we try in vain to leave out Mrs. Eddy. Of her,
through her, it all came : the revelation was to her,
the miracles were by her. Thanks to God and Mrs.
Eddy, is the usual phrase of the healed ; it may even
be. Thanks to Mrs. Eddy and God. To impose a new
form of thought on half-a-million of people, to heal
so many souls and bodies, are achievements which
court inquiry. Her Kingdom, her more than Papal
decrees, her name of Mother Mary,* her general
attitude toward the Universe, annul the plea. Why
cant you leave a lady alone? To my thinking, our
plain duty is, to study her life. I take my facts
from Mr. Lyman Powell's admirable book.

She was born at Bow, New Hampshire, in 1821.
It was a time when "New England was indulging
to the full her native penchant for the mystical.

* She gave herself this name, and made it, in a by-law of the
Mother Church, "an indication of disrespect, and unfitness to be
a member of the Mother Church," for Scientists to call any other
woman Mother, except their real mothers. In 1903, she changed
it to Leader. See Lyman Powell, p. 150; Mark Twain, p. 148.


Clairvoyance, spiritualism, mesmerism, and other
psychical phenomena were in the air." When she
was fifteen, the family moved to Tilton, near Canter-
bury, where was a community of the Shakers; "their
leader had died long years before, but they were
still speaking of her as the * Mother,' 'the female
principle of God,' 'the female Christ'; using such
terms as 'Father-Mother God,' 'the Church of
Christ,' 'the Mother Church'; and refusing to pray
audibly, and setting celibacy high above the mar-
riage state."

As a girl, " she invariably took the centre of the
stage. She expected and accepted the peculiar con-
sideration given to her instinctively by everybody
in the family and friendly circle. When her sweet-
ness and her charm, however, were not adequate
to win the influence desired, she knew how to chal-
lenge and command. High-strung and hysterical, she
knew when to employ the arts of the neurotic*. . .
The stories of her school-days are the stories many
people tell about the school-days of extraordi-
nary people. Her schoolmates found her indolent
and indifferent to the routine to which they yielded
without murmuring. ... If one is obliged to draw
any inference as to her schooling from the facts in

* " She was extremely nervous and hysterical, and, as child
and woman, subject to certain violent seizures. Mary Baker's * fits,*
as outsiders rather crudely called them, are still a household word
among her old friends. " — The Milmine Articles.


evidence,* it will, perhaps, be not unlike that
which her schoolmates stated in the homely words :
'Mary Baker completed her education when she
had finished Smith's grammar and had reached long
division in arithmetic.'"

In December 1843 she married her first husband;
who died, six months later, of yellow fever. In
September 1844, her son was born. "The years
that followed are too sad and bleak for full descrip-
tion. The widowed mother, just past twenty-three,
was lapsing from frailness into an invalidism which
was not to lift till she was almost Rhy. Her baby
fell into the hands of kind but ignorant caretakers,
grew up without education, and has seldom seen
his mother since his babyhood. . . . She lived with
one relative for a time, and then passed on to the
next who would receive her. Poor relation as she
was in every house, she acted steadily as though her
presence was a privilege to be impressed on those
with whom she lived. She took the best they
had to give, as though it were her right. She had
the family life adjusted to her nerves. She made
herself the centre of each situation. She gave the
servants extra trouble, if there were servants in the
house. If there were not, she let it sometimes fall

♦ She says of herself, "After my discovery of Christian Science,
most of the knowledge I had gleaned from school-books vanished
like a dream." — Retrospection and Introspectiony Christian Science
Publishing Society, Boston, Mass., p. 20.


upon a hostess old enough to be her mother. If
the thought of helping-on, as others do who fall into
her plight, ever crossed her mind, she carefully safe-
guarded it from practical expression. ... In all
those bitter years, which ran on from 1843 ^^ ^^7^,
Mrs. Eddy was engaged almost continuously in
wearing out her welcome and in saying good-bye
to the past."

In 1853 s^^ married again. Her second husband
was an itinerant dentist. "One who knew him tells
me, *He was too slow for her.' He was not a good
provider. He could not always earn a living as a
dentist, and so he sometimes practised homoeopathy,
and even turned his hand to running a saw-mill.
They lived for years a precarious existence, moving
from place to place." In 1862 they separated for
about two years. There was final separation in
1866, and divorce in 1873.

Long before this time, she had gone, in 1862,
to Portland, Maine, to be healed by Quimby, the
mental healer. He was, in 1862, sixty years old.
From him she learned, appropriated, reproduced, the
principles, id^as, even some of the phrases, of
Christian Science. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby was
the son of a blacksmith. "Apprenticed, as a boy,
to a clockmaker, he early showed those keen powers
of observation, inventiveness, and originality of
thought, which made him a marked man his whole
life through. A truth-lover and truth-seeker by


instinct, he never took opinions ready-made. He
read much. The Bible was ever in his hand, and
sometimes Berkeley." In early years, he studied,
and practised, mesmerism. Later, he worked-out
for himself a sound and wholesome system of mental
healing; on which he wrote ten manuscript volumes.
The manuscript which Mrs. Eddy used in the late
sixties and the early seventies, and regularly said was
Quimby's, is in complete agreement with the Quimby
theory. "Many of his characteristic phrases are
reproduced, practically unchanged, in Mrs. Eddy's
writings, and are current coins to-day among Chris-
tian Scientists everywhere." Mr. Lyman Powell
quotes, from Quimby, the following phrases. . . .
"Christian Science: Science of Health: Matter has
no intelligence: Matter is an error: Understanding
is God : Truth is God : God is Principle : Wisdom,
Truth, and Love is the Principle: All sciences are
part of God. The idea, man is the highest — hence
the image of God : Error is sickness. Truth is health :
The patient's disease is in his disbelief. . . . If you
are not afraid to face the error and argue it down,
then you can heal the sick." Side by side with these
phrases and sentences, he sets the parallel phrases
and sentences of Science and Health. "The deadly
parallel," he says, "does not always prove its case.
There may be similarity of view without plagiarism.
But, when similarity shades off into practical identity
in thought and word alike, there is but one conclusion


to be reached. The passages in parallel speak for
themselves, and from them there is no appeal con-

The documentary evidence, indeed, is overwhelm-
ing, that Mrs. Eddy found Christian Science in
Quimby. "The most she ever did for him, who did
so much for her, w^as to give him, while he was alive,
the appreciation precious beyond words to every doc-
tor, and, after he was dead, fulsome verse, in which
she made sackcloth clothe the sun and day grow
night. And then, as years went by, and ambition
grew with what it fed on, she began to claim, first,
that she had started Quimby on his course, then,
that she, not he, had planned the course, and last,
that he had not taken any course at all of mental
healing, but was a mere mesmerist. . . . When she
was helped up the stairs, in October 1862, to Dr.
Quimby's office, she was * a frail shadow of a woman.'
Pale, emaciated, shabby, the stamp of poverty as
well as illness on her face and form, her first request
of Quimby was to assist her to secure an inexpen-
sive boarding-place. Three weeks later, she left
him, a well woman — well in body and in mind.
Quimby had cured her of her nervous trouble, but
that was the least that he had done for her. He had
given her the idea which was to dominate her whole
life, the rock on which she was by and by to build
her church, against which she has been wont, ever
since, stoutly to assert, the gates of hell shall not


prevail. . . . She had at last a great idea. It
came to her in all its force and fulness with Quimby's
stamp on it. But it was hers; hers even to the
repudiation — if she pleased — of the Quimby

On February i, 1866, came the occasion of her
"discovery" of Christian Science. She slipped on
some ice, and fell, and had a "severe nervous shock."
We have the doctor's affidavit that she was not
critically ill; that he never said that she was; that
she followed his directions to the letter; that she
improved at once, and was cured in a fortnight.
We have her statement, that she depended solely
upon God, read the story in the Bible of the healing
of the palsied man by Jesus Christ, caught *the lost
chord of Truth, healing, as of old, from the Divine
Harmony,' and, the third day, rose as one from the
dead, appeared before the friends who had gathered
in the adjoining room to say good-bye to her, and
was at first believed to be an apparition. Six months
later, she called on the doctor again, to treat her for
a cough.

"It was a wretched life she lived in Lynn after
the final separation from her husband. She was
physically and temperamentally unfit to earn her
living. She did not play successfully the role of the
professional visitor. She could not efface herself in
any home. She neither helped along nor kept hands
off the family affairs. She could not master the


simple lesson, easily learned by normal people who
visit much, of leaving the family, enlarged to take
her in, more closely knit together because she had
been in it. There are families which still feel the
strain she put upon them years ago." The evidence
of these facts is in Mr. Lyman Powell's book : it is
a dismal picture. For two years, before 1870, she
was at Stoughton, with a family named Wentworth.
Three of that circle are alive, "and retain vivid
memories of that visit. They tell me the same story,
of a favourable first impression, passing into the
usual strained relationship, as the daily contact
unveiled a nature self-centred, at the cost of family
peace and happiness. . . . All those months, she
was consumed with a desire to put the Quimby
theory into a book. She was ever writing at it, ever
trying to find funds for its publication. She was even
willing that Mrs. Wentworth, without her husband's
knowledge, should put a mortgage on the place, to
secure the money needed. She talked Quimby
until every one grew 'dead tired of hearing' of him,
and Mrs. Clapp (the Wentworths' niece), in imita-
tion of the Quimby propagandist, would fold her
hands softly in her lap, smile gently, nod her head
slowly, and remark, */ learned this from Dr. Quimby,
and he made me promise to teach it to at least two
persons before I die.' . . . Her one interest was, to
teach Quimbyism, to * carpenter' it out into a book,
and find the means to publish it. What she needed


most, was some one who could illustrate her theory
by effective healing. Him she found in Richard
Kennedy." This was a good-natured, clear-headed,
and clean-minded youth, just coming into manhood.
They started business together. "While her partner
healed, and paid all bills for both, she taught: and,
though the major portions of her profits came from
Richard Kennedy's generosity, she also contributed
to the adequate bank account she now had for the
first time. ... As months slipped by, she grew
more assertive and ambitious. Once, in a burst of
confidence, she said to her young partner, in whom
people to this day instinctively confide, 'Richard,
I was born an unwelcome child, and I mean to have
the whole world at my feet before I die.' She said,
more than once, to him, *You will live to hear the
church bells ring out my birthday.' ... As stu-
dents multiplied, she grew more certain of her-
self. For twelve lessons, her first students paid her
100 dollars each, promised her a life annuity of lo
per cent of all their future earnings, and gave a
3000 dollars bond, not to show any one the copy
she allowed them to make of the manuscripts,
now grown from Quimby's one to three. At the
end of three weeks, she saluted them as Doctor,
and sent them out into the world to practise
Quimbyism without the name of Quimby. Moved,
she says, * by a strange providence,' she raised her
charges in a little while to 300 dollars for twelve


lessons,* reduced, in later years, in Boston, to the
number seven."

* "When God impelled me to set a price on my instruction in
Christian Science Mind-healing, I could think of no financial
equivalent for an impartation of a knowledge of that divine power
which heals; but I was led to name three hundred dollars. . . .
God has since shown me, in multitudinous ways, the wisdom of
this decision." — Retrospection and Introspectiony p. 71.

Of her quarrels with her students, Mr. Lyman Powell says,
"Never able permanently to retain those who would not give
their heart and mind completely to her keeping, she soon began
to lose some of her more thoughtful students. Writes one of them
to me: *As a teacher, she considered herself the wisdom, and in
all things was to be obeyed; any one going contrary was in re-
bellion and must be put down. In the class, she strove to preju-
dice her students against any rebellious ones, through awakening
as much sympathy as possible among the loyal, by informing
them that she was caused both mental and physical suffering by
their misconduct. * One woman left her class, because she thought
Mrs. Eddy *was taking Christ away from her.* Another, through
the court, recovered her tuition fee on the ground that she had
not received her money's worth. Some sued her; others she
sued. The air was thick with litigation. With some of the
choicest spirits, her system broke down of sheer absurdity, as she
began to put it to unnecessary strain. . . . But, every time she
lost a follower, another came to take his place. Disciples increased
alike in zeal and numbers. Those who came to stay, passed
under the spell she put upon them. Her influence had no neces-
sary relationship to the system she was teaching. It would have
been as dominating, had she been preaching Comtism or Mor-
monism. It was not, as some have thought, humbuggery that
attracted many, but a hypnotic influence — the power Mrs. Eddy
has of profound, and, to some, irresistible suggestion."


She had many quarrels with her students. One
of them was so disgusted by her claims that she
could raise the dead, that he challenged her to give
a public exhibition. She quarrelled even with young
Kennedy, "whom it would be difficult to-day for
any one to differ with in anger. She followed him,
like any mediaeval pope, with her anathemas; made
him the occasion of the development of her strange
obsession of Malicious Animal Magnetism; singled
him out, nine years later, for furious denunciation
in the third edition of her book; and at last dis-
missed him as the Nero of to-day.'' In 1875, she
published her book, and entered into a sort of
partnership with another healer, Mr. Spofford.
In January 1877, she broke with him, and he was
expelled from the Christian Science Association, on
the charge of "immorality," that is, of disloyalty to
her. "As she had followed, and was still following,
Richard Kennedy with her frenzied thought, so now
she followed Mr. Spofford, mild and serene as he
was, to the ridiculous extremity of causing him to be
haled into the Salem court, in the spring of 1878,
on the charge of witchcraft."

In 1877, also, she married her third huband, Asa
Gilbert Eddy. He had been a sewing-machine agent,
a Christian Science student, and a pedler of her
book. "He yielded the unquestioning obedience
necessary to retain his place. He did what he was
told to do. He would solicit students for his wife,


or take up the collection at the Sunday service when
she preached the sermon. His sister-in-law re-
members that *he could do-up a shirt as well as any
woman.' He would even turn docility into self-
efFacement. One of several who knew Mr. Eddy,
and have given me their recollections of him, informs
me that Mr. Eddy seemed to him slow and over-
cautious, rather than actually dull or stupid. He
thought him completely overawed and benumbed by
his wife's stronger nature. There is no evidence
that he objected to Mrs. Eddy's use of the editorial
we in writing of herself, or to her reference to him
as our husband. She had already made him 'Doc-
tor,' after his twelve lessons with her in the art of
healing. Now she made him the first organiser of a
Christian Science Sunday-school." He also taught
a Bible-class. He died in 1882.*

By 1882, "Lynn Was already growing weary of
the new faith and its founder. Students one by one
withdrew, till once she had but two left. Realising
that there was nothing more that she could do in
Lynn, she dissolved her little church of less than
fifty members, and early in the winter of 1882 beat
a wise retreat to Boston." She had already secured

* According to McClure's Magazine, the post-mortem examina-
tion showed extreme valvular disease of the heart. *'To satisfy
Mrs. Eddy, the physician showed her the heart, and yet she still
insisted that her husband had died of * malicious mesmerism,* or
'arsenical poisoning mentally administered.*"


a charter for theMassachusetts Metaphysical College.^
** It never had a building of its own. It met in Mrs.
Eddy's parlour, and its faculty consisted solely of
Mrs. Eddy. But the college grew, in face of all
discouragements, and out of it developed various
organisations." In 1886, the National Christian
Science Association f was formed, and met in New
York. By this time, her dominant will, her clever-
ness, her power of oratory, were fully developed.
*' Her house was her strategic point for doing things
and managing people. Classes were meeting all day
long. There was little social intercourse, and no
idling. But there was much self-consciousness,
grown morbid through Mrs. Eddy's over-emphasis
of malicious animal magnetism. She herself was
troubled with nocturnal hysteria, which she invariably

* Of this "College/* Mr. Purrington says that its classes were
only three in number, the primary, the normal, and the obstetric.
Mrs. Eddy seems to have taught them all: but her husband
taught two terms, her adopted son one term, and General Eras-
tus Bates one term. "Persons," she says, "contemplating a
course at the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, can prepare
for it through no books except the Bible and 'Science and Health
with Key to the Scriptures.* Man-made theories are narrow,
else extravagant, and always materialistic.** — Misc. Writings^
Christian Science Publishing Society, Boston, Mass., p. 64.

f It was to this Association that she sent the famous telegram,
May 27, 1890 — All hail! He hath filled the hungry with good
things, and the sick He hath not sent empty away. Mother Mary,
The President of this Association said, There is but one Moses,
one Jesus; and there is but one Mary.


ascribed to M.A.M., as she familiarly designated it.
It was not unusual for the whole family, and even
students living near, to be called-up at night to give
her mental treatment." In 1889, she made an end
of her Metaphysical College, and moved from
Boston to Concord.

But, for the study of her life, we have it all in

1 2 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Online LibraryStephen PagetThe faith and works of Christian science → online text (page 4 of 16)