Stephen Paget.

The faith and works of Christian science online

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Mr. Lyman Powell's book, put with the most careful
judgment. For years, he has studied Christian
Science. To verify statements in the Milmine
articles, he travelled more than twenty-five hundred
miles: and, he says, "I am glad to be able to
testify to the singular accuracy of the articles,
and the thoroughness with which they have been

In Retrospection and Introspection, we have her
own account of her life. As a child, eight years old,
she heard repeatedly, for a whole year, a mysterious
voice calling her distinctly by name — Mary, Mary,
Mary — three times, in an ascending scale. She says
that a little cousin, staying with her, also heard this
voice. She was kept much away from school,
because her brain was too large for her body. When
she was eleven years old, she was "so perturbed by
the erroneous doctrines of Unconditional Election
or Predestination," that the family doctor was
summoned, and pronounced her stricken with fever.
She devoted much attention to "Allopathy, Homoeo-
pathy, Electricity, and various humbugs." It was


homoeopathy that helped her to discover Christian
Science : —

The physical side of this research was aided by hints from
Homoeopathy, sustaining my final conclusion that mortal belief,
instead of the drug, governed the action of material medicine.
I wandered through the dim mazes of Materia Medica^ till I was
weary of "scientific guessing," as it has been well called. I sought
knowledge from the different schools — Allopathy, Homoeopathy,
Hydropathy, Electricity, and from various humbugs — but with-
out receiving satisfaction. I found, in the two hundred and sixty-
two remedies enumerated by Jahr, one pervading secret — namely,
that the less material medicine we have, and the more Mind, the
better the work is done; a fact which seems to prove the principle
of Mind-healing. One drop of the thirtieth attenuation of Natrum
Muriaticuniy in a tumbler-full of water, and one teaspoonful of the
water mixed with the faith of ages, would cure patients not affected
by a larger dose. The drug disappears in the higher attenuations
of Homoeopathy,* and matter is thereby rarefied to its fatal essence,
mortal mind; but immortal Mind the curative principle remains,
and is found to be even more active.*

Finally, we have to bear it in mind that she
talks, in Science and Health, of humours, and of con-
sumption in the blood : that she refers, as authorities,

* This account of Homoeopathy will hardly find acceptance
among homoeopathists. Dr. A. M. Kellas kindly sends me the
following note: — "The figures for Hahnemann's dilutions are
as follows: Fifth dilution, i in 312,500; tenth dilution, i in
97,656,250,000,000,000; thirtieth dilution, I in 931,322,574,615,
478,515,625,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Hahne-

mann preferred the thirtieth dilution. Of course recent homoeo-
paths do not follow his dilutions.'* The point is, that Mrs. Eddy


to Graham, Cutter, and Jahr: and that she warns
her students to have nothing to do with physiology
and pathology : ** I recommend students not to read
so-called scientific works, antagonistic to Christian
Science."^ And again, "The lecturer, teacher, or
the healer, who is indeed a Christian Scientist, never
introduces the subject of human anatomy; never
depicts the muscular, vascular, or nervous operations
of the human frame. He never thinks about the
structure of the material body." ^

Thus, from her life, her temperament, and her
writings, we see that she does not understand, does
not wish to understand, the facts of Disease. And,
of course. Christian Scientists take their tone from
her. For, says Christian Science, all diseases are
mental. Call them by as many and as long names
as you like, they are all the same phantasy. They
are none of them really there. It is all a dream of
mortal mind.

But the doctor has a ready answer. I assume, he
says, that you are right. I assume that Mind is All,
and All is Mind ; that diseases are unreal, are
nothing. In brief, I assume that all diseases are
ghosts. But they are not all the same ghost.
Nervous dislike of meals is one ghost, and gastric
ulcer is another : and the ghost of pain in the breast
is not the ghost of cancer in the breast. I agree
with you, that all these apparitions are equally un-
real; still, I am bound to insist on the difference


between one phantom and another. For example, a
cough may be due to pleurisy, pneumonia, bronchitis,
laryngitis, cancer, reflex irritation, or pharyngitis —
ghosts, all of them, pure hallucinations of medical
mind. Only, they are seven ghosts, not one. Or
take an " acute abdominal case." It may be any one
of many ghosts, but it cannot be all of them.

Now, says the doctor, we all know that ghosts can
be laid. For one, exorcism; for another, the right-
ing of a wrong, or the vindication of the ghost's hon-
our; for a third, the returning of property to the heir,
or of a coflSnful of bones to consecrated ground. All
these methods of treatment are ghostly. There is
no way, save ghostly ways, of getting at a ghost.
So it is with the treatment of diseases. I agree with
you that all drugs, like all diseases, are phantasmal;
that all drugging, like all ghost-laying, is a casting-
out of one illusion by another. None the less,
though all diseases be mental, and all drugs be
mental, yet the action of the drug, the relation
between the drug and the disease, is Absolute Reality.
Bromide does act on epilepsy; quinine does act on
malaria, every time that it squeaks and gibbers in the
streets of the body; antitoxin does lay diphtheria,
especially in the first twenty-four hours of its appear-
ance; and anaesthetics do cast out pain. I am no
more afraid to follow all these ghosts to their logical
conclusions than Hamlet was afraid to follow his
father's ghost to the more remote part of the plat-


form. I rejoice with you, says the doctor to Chris-
tian Science, over the native nothingness of Matter.
I love to hear you say that Mind is not an entity
within the cranium. I could spend hours, watching
you rub the world right out, like a child with a wet
sponge and a slate. For, of course, all these in-
tellectual performances have nothing to do with the
blessed fact that quinine does act on malaria.

For we are not booked, by that fact, to any theory
of Matter. We are only saying that there is a certain
relation, between what we call quinine, and what
we call malaria. Though each of them be a dream,
their relation is not in dreamland. If Christian
Science doubts the reality of this relation, let her
try to get away from it. Let her climb up into
Philosophy. There, in the Platonic heaven, she
will find the Platonic Idea of Quinine, the Quinine-
as-it-is-in-itself, eternally related to the Platonic
Idea of Malaria, the Malaria-as-it-is-in-itself. Let
her seek refuge in the Christian heaven. There,
as God gives us our daily bread, so He gives us,
those who need it, our daily quinine. The relation
of quinine to malaria is the relation of bread to
hunger: the whole discovery, preparation, dosage,
and results of quinine are "the will of God." He
gives us our daily amyloids in a loaf of bread, and
our daily alkaloid in a bottle of quinine pills.

It comes to this, that the action of drugs on
diseases belongs to the laws of Nature; which are


the laws of mathematics; which are metaphysical.
For example, the standardising of diphtheria-anti-
toxin is the working-out of a mathematical problem,
to find the relation, between a given quantity of a
sample of the drug, and the body-weight of a given
animal. Here we have got back to Absolute Reality.
Now let us see what Christian Science has to say
about diseases and drugs.

From such "connate facts" as "the reputed
longevity of the Antediluvians," the rapid multi-
plication of diseases since the flood, and the increase
of longevity since the first publication of Science
and Health, she seems to deduce "a vigorous *No'"
as her response to the question whether practitioners,
using material remedies, have reduced the sum
total of human sickness.^

Hygiene is "excessive": —

Is civilisation only a higher form of idolatry, that man should
bow down to a flesh brush, to flannels, to baths, diet, exercise, and
air?^ Bathing and rubbing, to alter the secretions, or remove
unhealthy exhalations from the cuticle, receive a useful rebuke
from Christian Healing.®

Of doctors she says : —

The ordinary practitioner, "examining bodily symptoms, telling
the patient he is sick, and treating the case according to his diag-
nosis, would naturally induce that very disease, even if it were not
already determined by mortal mind.^

Christian Science will find all about drugs in the
Book of Ecclesiasticus. It is a question of dosage.


God makes drugs, but does not dispense them : He
informs mortal mind that doses are to be admin-
istered. A right dose is intrinsically good : a wrong
dose is intrinsically bad. He makes poppies and
cinchona-trees and metals. Also, He makes mortal
mind, which makes opium out of poppies and morphia
out of opium; quinine out of cinchona trees; iodide
of potassium and perchloride of mercury out of
metals; and then makes them up, by the divine will
and wisdom, in proper doses. ^

In cases of accidents, injuries, and diseases usually
treated by surgery, Christian Science claims to be
"always the most skilful surgeon," declares that "no
breakage nor dislocation can really occur," but rec-
ommends to those practising Christian Science that
"until the supremacy of Mind is more generally
admitted it is better to leave surgery, and the adjust-
ment of broken bones and dislocations, to the fingers
of a surgeon." At the same time it is asserted that
the author oi Science and Health has in her possession
"well-authenticated records of the cure through
mental surgery alone of dislocated joints * and spinal

* The Christian Science Sentinel^ August 8, 1908, describes
the healing of a case of old dislocation of the hip-joint. It gives
no evidence that the case was one of dislocation; it may have
been an old fracture. Anyhow, after treatment, there was less
pain, and the patient could move the limb more freely; but it
remained shorter than the other. That is to say, it was still dis-


vertebrae." ® Some years ago (see the Boston Herald,
Dec. 2, 1900, and the Literary Digest, Dec. 29, 1900)
there was a good deal of chaff, at the expense of
Christian Science, because Mrs. Eddy had a tooth
removed under local anaesthesia. Her ingenious
explanation, beginning with "Bishop Berkeley
and I agree that all is Mind," is that a dentist's
belief in the means he employed was a mental force
which combined with her own, exerted in a different
direction, producing a painless operation as a logi-
cal, mathematical "resultant of forces." ^^

Christian Science, in these articles, declares her
belief that Mind is All, and All is Mind. Bodily
things, she says, are not real: there is no Reality
left for them : it has all been spent on God. Whereas,
if God were not, the body would not be. Therefore,
it is real.

The reality of the body is the reality of Life. It
is also the reality of Death. If God were not, there
would be no Death : for there would be nothing to
die. As we "live and move and have our being in
God," so, in Him, we shall soon have our death.
It will be real.^^ I shall have to be really dead. For
that, I must die of something real; I cannot die of
a fancy, and, if I could, I would not : it would be
absurd. At present, I am really alive, on real food :
soon, I shall be really dead, of some real injury or
disease. Praised be God, says St. Francis, for our
Sister, the death of the body. It is better to die in


the Lord than to be alive unto Christian Science.
What kind of plaint have /, who perish in July? I
might have had to die, perchance, in June. I dread
the act of dying;* but I do not see anything amiss
in the fact of my death. Perhaps I have known so
many poor folk who could not die, but had to live.
We are creatures, not Creators; and, if our death
be not real, neither are we. All speculative thoughts
about Matter have nothing to do with the reality
of our impending death from some real injury or

And our fellow-creatures, the animals, what of
them .? Glanders, rinderpest, cattle fever, swine
fever, anthrax, distemper, mange, pneumonia,
phthisis — are these and other diseases, which lie so
heavy on them, errors of bovine, equine, porcine,
and the like minds ? Not a day passes round the
earth, but millions of animals die, without the last
consolations of Christian Science. The very fabric
of the ground under our feet is made of their bodies.
Of mammals alone, it is reckoned that some two
thousand millions die annually; and the deaths of
lesser creatures can only be guessed in millions of

* I find, from Mr. Lyman Powell, that Mrs. Eddy, about my
age, had the same dread. "In the Wentworth home, she had
shrunk instinctively, like any other nervous woman, from the
sick-bed of others; and had shown such a morbid fear of death
that Mrs. Wentworth often wondered what there could be in her
past to make death seem so dreadful."


millions. Horses with colic, dogs with worms,
trapped rabbits, wounded game, sick apes, cannot
cure themselves by reading Science and Health. Still,
as God makes them, so they are real. Or shall we
say that they are not really real; that a monkey,
with its lungs full of tubercle, is a dismal occasion,
"something like what sin is in us," an illusion, it
and its tubercle ? Hear, what Christian Science de-
clares, to the Seven Churches which are in Chicago,
touching the diseases of animals : —

Instinct is better than misguided reason, as even nature declares.
The violet lifts her blue eye to greet the early spring. The leaves
clap their hands as nature's untired worshippers. The snow-
bird sings and soars amid the blasts; he has no catarrh from wet
feet : the atmosphere of the earth, kinder than the atmosphere of
mortal mind, leaves catarrh to the latter. Colds, coughs, and con-
tagion are engendered solely by human theories. Mortal mind
produces its own phenomena.^^

You can even educate a healthy horse so far in physiology,
that he will take cold without his blanket; whereas the wild
animal, left to his instincts, sniffs the wind with delight. The
epizootic is a humanly evolved ailment, which a wild horse might
never have.^

That is all that I can find, in the 214,000 words
o{ Science and Health. The snowbird does not catch
cold, if he gets his feet wet : and you can make such
a fool of a horse, that he will think that he has
caught cold by leaving off his blanket. Here you have
the interpretation of the whole Creation groaning and
travailing in pain together.


Infants' diseases should be met "through the
parents' thought, silently or audibly, on the basis
of Christian Science."

Giving drugs to infants, noticing every symptom of flatulency,
and constantly directing the mind to these signs — that mind being
laden with illusions about disease, health-laws, and death — these
actions convey mental images to children's budding thoughts and
often stamp them there, making it probable at any time that such
ills may be reproduced in the very ailments feared. A child can
have worms, if you say so — or any other malady, timorously
holden in the beliefs, relative to his body, of those about him."

A few hours after I had transcribed this article,
of the unreality of worms, I was seeing a Hospital
patient; and was told that she had passed, during
the night, a worm. It was a complete surprise to her,
and to us. It had never given her a moment's pain,
and she had never given it a moment's thought. Over
a worm "timorously holden in a false belief," let
Christian Science moralise. Over this one, let me.
Once, inside its host, it had Life: and Life, says
Christian Science, is God. Therefore, it was
real, was there. But the patient had never thought
of it: nor had medical mind. Therefore, it was
not real, was not there. But here it is. What shall
we say of it? We cannot call it a disease; for, a
disease is what you think that you have, but a worm
is what you know that you have not. What, in the
name of Christian Science, are we to call it ? If my
patient were a Scientist, what place would she give


it in relation to Mind, Man, Mortal Mind, and
Matter ?

Let us leave worms, and come to germs. As
worms are real, so are germs. They have Life:
more than that, many kinds of germs are givers or
distributors of Life. Thus, in agriculture, the
farmer sets millions of germs, which he calls nitragin,
to the roots of a single cornstalk or beanstalk, to
make it more fertile. Again, in sanitation, there is
a method of treating sewage with germs, whereby
men obtain good drinking-water from it. Again,
inside each of us, there are millions of germs, per-
fectly harmless. Why should Christian Science
doubt that all such harmless or beneficent creatures
are real ?

Sometimes, these germs inside us go out of bounds,
and start an — itis. Are they, on that account,
less real ? Surely, in Christian Science, the more
Lively they are, the more Reality should be in them.
And, as they are real, so the — itis, which is they at
work, is real, although Christian Science may declare
that it is mortal mind which produces heat, cures it
by abandoning belief in it, or "increases it to the
point of self-destruction." ^^ In Christian Science
it is impossible that a boil should be painful; it can
soon be cured by a high attenuation of truth. ^^

As these germs inside us are real, so all germs
inside boils, abscesses, carbuncles, and purulent
effusions, are real: and all germs of specific dis-


eases, such as tubercle, tetanus, cholera, diphtheria,
typhoid, plague, Malta fever, yellow fever. Dis-
missed by Christian Science as mere "beliefs,"
which should be treated as "errors," and put out
of thought,^^ these germs live, in a test-tube, in small
inoculated animals, in us, in the soil, in the water-
supply, in the air; they multiply, wherever they
happen to be; they can be shifted from test-tubes to
bodies, and back again; can be cultivated, made
weaker, made stronger, handled and calculated and
turned this way and that. Thousands of them, in
the scratch of a needle which has touched a frag-
ment of infective tissue : and in each of them life,
and the power to reproduce its kind. That they are
small, does not affect their reality: and, as real
mountains are built of real particles, so real diseases
are built of real germs. For, the germs are the
disease. What they do, it is.

Christian Science says of contagion : —

We weep because others weep, we yawn because they yawn,
and we have smallpox because others have it; but mortal mind, not
matter, contains and carries the infection. . . . Since it is a law
of mortal mind, that certain diseases should be regarded as con-
tagious, this law obtains credit through association, calling up the
fear that creates the image of disease, and its consequent manifes-
tation in the body. If a child is exposed to contagion or infection,
the mother is frightened, and says **My child will be sick." The
law of mortal mind, and her own fears, govern her child more than
the child's mind governs itself, and produce the very results which
might have been prevented through the opposite understanding.*^


The same is true of the amoeboid parasites of the
blood, which are, after their kind, malaria, dysentery,
sleeping sickness, and so on.

The life of the body, contending against the life
of such inmates, brews in the body antidotes against
their poisons, antitoxins against their toxins. These
antitoxins, brewed in us, or in a horse for us, are
Life at the top of its bent, in the very act and moment
of saving Life.

If a dose of poison is swallowed through mistake, and the pa-
tient dies, even though physician and patient are expecting favour-
able results, does human belief, you ask, cause this death ? Even
so; and as directly as if the poison had been intentionally taken.
In such cases, a few persons believe the potion swallowed by the
patient to be harmless; but the vast majority of mankind, though
they know nothing of this particular case and this special person,
believe the arsenic, the strychnine, or whatever the drug used, to
be poisonous, for it has been set down as a poison by mortal mind.
The consequence is, that the result is controlled by the majority
of opinions outside, not by the infinitesimal minority of opinions
in the sick-chamber.^®

From toxins, it is but a step to other poisons.
The action of an overdose of strychnine, for example,
resembles the action of the toxin of tetanus. The
two poisons pick out, for attack, the same cells of
the central nervous system. Of course, I agree with
Christian Science, that matter cannot feel pain:
I am only saying that an overdose of strychnine acts
like a dose of tetanus-toxin. Action is Relation
and Relation is Reality: therefore, strychnine does


really act. But Christian Science says that death,
from an overdose of strychnine, is "a result con-
trolled by the majority of opinions outside the sick-
chamber." ^^ That is how madmen talk : they say
that somebody, outside the asylum, is mixing
pounded glass with their food, or destroying them
with malicious animal magnetism.

As the infective diseases are real, so are all dis-
eases. If a nodule of tubercle be real, so is a nodule
of cancer: if a purulent effusion be real, so is a
non-purulent effusion. Haemorrhages, tumours, en-
largements, are real, germs or no germs: they are
part of the reality of Life. Christian Science, with
her gross doctrine, that Life is God, denies the reality
0/ the body, and localises reality in the body; as if
reality were a sort of juice. We have, for instance,
the well-known Prayer for a Dyspeptic, drawn up
by a Mr. Hazzard, who is, or was. President of the
New York School of Primitive and Practical Chris-
tian Science. It is old now; and I give it, not as a
fair specimen of Christian Science in London to-
day, but as an example, what comes of saying that
Life is God. I have shortened it, and calmed the
raging of its type : —

Holy Reality, Blessed Reality, believing that Thou art every-
where present, we believe that Thou art in this patient's stomach,
in every fibre, in every cell, in every atom, that Thou art the sole,
only Reality of that stomach. Heavenly, Holy Reality, Thou
art not sick, and therefore nothing in this universe was ever sick,


is now sick, or can be sick. We know, Father and Mother of us all,
that there is no such thing as a really diseased stomach; that the
disease is the Carnal Mortal Mind given over to the World, the
Flesh, and the Devil ; that the mortal mind is a twist, a distortion,
a false attitude, the HARMATIA * of Thought. Help us to stoutly
affirm, with our hand in your hand, with our eyes fixed on Thee,
that we never had Dyspepsia, that we will never have Dyspepsia,
that there is no such thing, that there never was any such thing,
that there never will be any such thing. Amen.

This prayer can do no harm in cases of hypo-
chondriasis, nervous disHke of food, and perversity
of appetite. Only, it is v^orse than useless for cases
of pyloric obstruction, gastric ulcer, dilatation, con-
genital malformation, or cancer of the stomach.
But Christian Science w^ould treat, on Mr. Hazzard's
lines, all these latter cases.

Christian Science finds that insanity "yields more
naturally than most diseases to the salutary action
of truth, v^hich counteracts error." Her method of
cure is the same as in other diseases; the use of
this argument: "the impossibility that matter,
brain, can control or derange mind, can suffer or
cause suffering; also the fact that Truth can destroy
all error."

Note on "Animal Magnetism"

[Mr. Lyman Powell gives the following account of the fear which
is, or was, in Christian Science, of hostile animal magnetism.
Mrs. Eddy has lately (August 14, 1907) declared that she does

* This word probably is intended for hamartia, the Greek
word for sin.


not hold this belief: but, as Mr. Powell says, this declaration does

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Online LibraryStephen PagetThe faith and works of Christian science → online text (page 5 of 16)