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not alter the evidences of the past.]

Many pages in Science and Health are at first difficult to
understand. Those which deal with animal magnetism are
difficult also at last to understand. Quimby has no responsibility
for them. Had Mrs. Eddy possessed the knowledge she thought
she had of Quimby, she would never, as one of her old students
writes me, have fallen into such an impossible conception. Had
she even caught Quimby's wholesome spirit, she could never have
conjured-up such a morbid explanation of her break with Kennedy
and Spofford, or dignified it into an actual doctrine in the third
edition of her text-book. A student ventured once to suggest:
** Don*t you think the time has come to speak less of animal mag-
netism?" Whereat Mrs. Eddy sprang up from her desk, and
clapped her hands together, sharply crying, "Leave me at once."

There seems to be no adequate explanation of the strange hold
her animal magnetism seems to have had on her. It might be
called an obsession. Every religious leader is apt at some time
to personalise the evil of the world. Nothing else will serve so
many purposes. Years ago Mrs. Eddy found her devil. Her
literary adviser in the eighties said, "Animal magnetism is her
devil." Sometimes she calls it hypnotism, mesmerism, mortal
mind, malicious animal magnetism, as well as animal magnetism :
and in her private correspondence she familiarly refers to it as

The clearest account of it is given under the heading of "Mortal
Mind." She says it has no real existence; it is nothing, while
claiming to be something. And yet she admits it to be "an auto-
crat," and "the cause of organic disease." She says it "changes
order into discord," "confers power on drugs," "produces false
beliefs," "convulses matter," "counterfeits divine justice," "creates
its own conditions," "fills creation full of nameless children,"
"fills man with pain," "impresses its thoughts on body," "makes
Spirit nothing," "rules all that is mortal," "transfers its fears


to other minds," and " seeks to kill his fellow-mortals, morally and

If Mortal Mind does things so terrible, no wonder Mrs. Eddy
calls it Satan. No wonder she has spent her life in mortal terror
of it. No wonder she once wrote a student, who, she feared, was
criticising her, "Won't you exercise reason and let me live, or will
you kill me ? Your mind is just what has brought on my relapse."
No wonder she could bring herself, a few years later, to believe
that her husband had been killed by "arsenical poison mentally
administered," and that even a printing-press might be put out of
order by M.A.M. No wonder her adopted son. Dr. Foster-Eddy,
tells of days as dark and nights as black as those painted by Poe,
when the unhappy woman fancied that evil minds were assailing
her to her confusion and distress. No wonder that as recently as
1900 she wrote to him, "You are better removed from M.A.M. in
Boston." No wonder that her true son came away from his last
meeting with her, a few months ago, impressed with the effect of
the terrible obsession on her mind and soul, and has since had evi-
dence of her belief that M.A.M. is at the bottom of the late law-
suit, and of the criticism to which she is in her old age exposed.

Stranger than Mrs. Eddy's situation is that of many of her
followers who are troubled by the same obsession. I have talked
with Christian Scientists, great and small, who seem more certain
of the personality of M.A.M. than of the personality of God.
I know directly, and I know of, good people who charge the tar-
diness of their recovery to the M.A.M. which they are sure that
unbelievers send their way. Judge Clarkson of Omaha, Ne-
braska, left Christian Science because its M.A.M. became intoler-
able. If Christian Science is to grow after Mrs. Eddy's death,
her demonology, which is all her own and not Quimby's, must die
with her. Otherwise it will drag the entire system up before that
bar which no obsession ever yet has faced and lived, the bar of
the universal sense of humour.



We all know what we mean by Pain. Who should
know that, if not we, who give it to our mothers
before we can feel it for ourselves ? Pain is tooth-
ache, ear-ache, and other aches. It is an act of Self,
a part of Life. We might say, in the style of
Christian Science, that Pain denies Death. There
is no Pain in Death, and no Death in Pain. There
will be, for most of us, pain before death, in the
course of our last illness : then, we shall be out of
pain: "We cease to die, by dying."

Our nerves and our brains do not feel pain: it
is we, who feel pain. We are sensitive, they are
sensory. And, of course, one sense, or act, or
habit, of the body, is just as real as another. The
reality is the same, in pain and in pleasure. If
bodily disease be imaginary, so is bodily ease: if
discomfort be illusory, so is comfort. Here we
are back at the doctrine, "Disease, sin, evil, death,
deny good, omnipotent God, Life" ^: whereas it is
not disease and death that deny God, but Christian
Science that denying them denies God.

And the animals, what of them .? She left their


lives out of her world : but what of their pains ?
Does it hurt them, to be thrashed, or to be mutilated ?
Is the death of a horse, from tetanus, a result con-
trolled by the majority of opinions outside the stables ?
Shall we put the poor creature out of its misery ?
Or shall we give it chloroform, which is drugging,
which is un-Christian ? Shall we lay the blame on
ourselves, that we have educated equine mind too
far in physiology ? Or shall we sit by the side of
this horse, and voice the Truth, that the allness of
Deity is His oneness ?

The Daily Telegraph, August 15, 1907, reports
an interview with Mr. Frederick Dixon, head of the
Publication Committee of Christian Scientists in
London. He is questioned as to the sufferings of
animals, and he answers, "Animals, like human
beings, are suffering from the belief in the power of
evil which constitutes mortal mind : and can be, and
are being, healed in the same way." Millions of
animals, every day, all over the world, are suffering,
and miUions of millions have suffered, ages before
we came here, from a false belief, which constitutes a
dream, not in them, but in us : and can be, and are
being, healed in the same way. The whole earth
shakes with the pain of animals, and is dark with
the pain of their pain: but Mr. Dixon says that
they are suffering from the results of mortal mind.

Babies next, after animals. Heaven defend all
babies born in Christian Science, (i) Because their


mothers are apt to say, "I will have neither doctor
nor nurse to attend me in my confinement. I will
overcome the occasion by Mind. Perfect harmony
shall prevail. There shall be a pleasing demonstra-
tion of the native nothingness of Matter." But the
baby would prefer to have a nurse and a doctor in
attendance. (2) Because Christian Science thinks it
absurd to wash a baby, once a day, all over. "The
daily ablutions of an infant are no more natural or
necessary than would be the process of taking a fish
out of water every day and covering it with dirt, in
order to make it thrive more vigorously thereafter
in its native element." ^ (3) Because, when a baby
drinks out of the wrong bottle, as babies will, its
parents are apt to voice the Truth, instead of sending
for the doctor. (4) Because a baby cannot explain
where the pain is; and may be crying under the
unkindness of a safety-pin broken loose, which is a
"surgical case," while its mother is testifying to the
unreality of colic. (5) Because, in Christian Science,
the treatment is the better for some response from the
patient. "Christian Science demonstrates that the
patient who pays whatever he is able to pay for being
healed is more apt to recover than he who withholds
a slight equivalent for health." ^ That is what the
Founder says.* And I was told, by a practitioner,

* The usual charge for treatment is only four shillings a time,
or a guinea a week. I do not believe that heavy charges are
ever made, and I do not doubt that many cases are treated with-


"The patients work better if they bring something,
if they make some sacrifice." But the baby brings
nothing, is less "responsive" than a dog. Itself is
the sacrifice to Christian Science.

Next, the rest of us. Think what we will of pain,
we all know that we have pain without disease, and
disease without pain. We come across the one,
without the other, every day of our lives : —

I. A knock on the elbow, over the ulnar nerve,
causes pain in the little finger, without disease. The
trunk of the nerve has been tapped, like a telegraph
wire, and a message goes up it, purporting to come
from the little finger, where the nerve has a terminal

out charge. Still, Christian Scientists are not indigent; "and
their comfortable fortunes are acquired by healing mankind,
morally, physically, spiritually." (Preface to Misc. Writings.)
I suppose that the absent treatment may be applied to more
than one patient at a time: I see no added absurdity in that.
A writer in the Daily Telegraph, August 24, 1907, tells how three
persons conspired to get absent treatment, at one time, from one
practitioner. "They were called up, one after the other, by tele-
phone, at the same hour and within a few minutes, and notified
that the treatment was about to begin, in order that they might
put themselves into a receptive condition." Why not? Why
should not self-suggestion be set going in fifty people, all at the
same time, by fifty telephones } A similar story is told by Dr.
Oughton, in his Crazes, Credulities, and Christian Science (E. H.
Colegrove, Chicago, 1901). Absent treatment had been arranged
for a case. The healer forgot to give it : but the relief came just
as usual.


2. A decaying tooth, till the disease reaches the
nerve, is painless. Millions of germs excavate the
tooth, but there is no more pain than if it were a

3. Cancer, in its early stages, is painless. Not a
day passes, but a doctor, somewhere, is saying to a
patient, "Why did you let it go on so long.?" and
is told, "Because it didn't give me any pain." This
cruel absence of pain, till the disease is far advanced,
is just what makes it so grave.

4. Tubercular glands are painless, unless or until
they suppurate.

5. Our Asylums for the Blind, and for the Deaf
and Dumb, are crowded with people hopelessly
blind, or deaf, or both, from inherited disease, by
the fault of their parents. Many of these blind,
and all of these deaf-mutes, never had, or have, or
will have, a moment's pain : their senses were slowly
and painlessly blotted out.

6. Our Cripples' Homes contain I know not how
many cases of infantile paralysis. Years ago, the
child was ill, in a vague way, for a few days; and
ever since has been paralysed, without pain.

7. Shock, in a very severe injury, prevents pain.
A man, with his legs smashed to bits by a railway
accident, may be free of all pain : so may a child,
burned all over, and bound to die in a day or two.

Christian Science tends to confound pain with
disease. I had a lesson, a few months ago, which I


shall never forget. I heard a lady, at a testimony-
meeting, make this statement, that she knew of a
case of cancer of the breast, where the disease had
recurred after operation, and had been healed by
Christian Science. After the meeting, I asked her
about this case. I found that she knew no more
than this, that an extensive wound had healed under
an aseptic dressing, and that all pain had gone. She
knew that, and there her knowledge stopped. There
is worse than ignorance in such testimony : there is
the loss of the sense of responsibility. All of us, I
suppose, have lost relatives and friends by that
disease. Is it a light offence, to proclaim that it can
be healed by Christian Science ?

Or take, to illustrate pain and disease, an ordinary
case of stone. So long as the stone is in the kidney,
it may cause much pain, or occasional pain, or
practically none. On its way into the bladder, it
may cause horrible pain. Then, the patient is com-
fortable again, unless or until the stone sets up
trouble in the bladder. Finally, he gets rid of the
stone, either by nature (with or without more pain),
or, in the vast majority of cases, by surgery. Chris-
tian Science advises her practitioners to call a disease
by name, mentally and silently, as they argue against
it.^ By what name would they call this disease .?
Doubtless they would call it "colic," meaning
thereby intestinal, not renal, colic; and would claim
the natural cessation of the horrible pain as one of


their healings; and would not think of the stone,
but would leave it in the bladder.

But why should she want to call diseases by their
names ? For she is vehemently opposed, and no
wonder, to the classification of diseases: and you
cannot name diseases till you have classified them.
She gives this warning : —

Diseases not to be Classified

Should all cases of organic disease be treated by a regular prac-
titioner, and the Christian Scientist try his hand only on cases of
hysteria, hypochondria, and hallucination .? One disease is not
more real than another. All disease is the result of education,*
and can carry its ill-effects no farther than mortal mind maps out
the way. . . . Truth handles the most malignant contagion f
with perfect assurance.^ Human mind produces what is termed
organic disease, as certainly as it produces hysteria. I have dem-
onstrated this beyond all cavil.

But the classification of diseases has nothing to
do with the words "organic'' and "functional."
These are working words, useful in practice. Every
year, as the methods of our expert pathologists grow
finer, the kingdom of organic is extended, and the
kingdom o^ functional is absorbed, bit by bit. In-
sanity, for example, and all diseases of the spinal

* I.e. Diseases exist only in the minds of those who have been
taught to believe in them.

f Here Christian Science forgets her own teaching. If mortal
mind, not matter, contains and carries the infection, how can one
contagion be more malignant than another?


cord, tend steadily toward organic, and away from

Still, Christian Science is angry if we tell her to
try her hand only on cases of hysteria, hypochondria,
and hallucination. She will not be content, even
though they be alliterative, and she loves allitera-
tion. She prefers cases of organic disease, the very
worst, the most sensational cases. And, of course,
we shall all agree with her that one disease is not
more real than another. A case of hysteria, hypo^\,
chondriasis, or delirium tremens, is just as real as aj *
case of aneurysm, spinal caries, or compound fracture.
Only, the hysterical and hypochondriac are apt
to imagine that they have diseases which they have
not. The imagination is real, but the diseases are

Many patients, who would not go so far as to
imagine diseases, yet exaggerate and over-emphasise
unimportant aches and pains, count and recount and
recall them, and add, to whatever may be the matter,
a host of extra sensations and enfeeblements which
are not part of the original malady. A few patients,
the worst cases of "hysteria," go further than to
imagine, and so far as to feign, diseases; even, by
fraud, to exhibit the signs of diseases. They starve
themselves, burn their own skins, run needles into
their bodies, tamper with their internal organs, paint
their faces to look ill, raise the thermometer to
incredible heights, conjure up blood, imitate con-


vulsions, wear spectacles without lenses, play endless
tricks, and lie, till their own people are sick to death
of their lying. Between these two extremes is a
whole legion of cases : and, of course, there is a
great quantity of books concerned with these inter-
mediate cases. Let us take one, and no more: not
a book of Psychology, but a book of Practice. In
1873, while Mrs. Eddy was using, for Science and
Health, what she had learned from Quimby, Sir
James Paget was lecturing, at St. Bartholomew's
Hospital, on "Nervous Mimicry." The following
passages are in strange contrast with the doctrines
and the style of Mrs. Eddy's book.

A group of cases of great practical importance is distinguished
by this fact: that a nervous disorder produces an imitation or
mimicry of organic local disease. In some of these cases the
mimicry occurs without any substantial disease whatever; in
others it gives features of extreme severity to a disease which, in
a normal condition of the nervous system, would be trivial or unfelt.

Cases of this kind are commonly included under the name
Hysteria; but in many of them none of the distinctive signs of
hysteria are ever observed, and from all of them it is desirable
that this name should be abolished. For it is absurdly derived,
and, being often used as a term of reproach, is worse than absurd.
To call a patient hysterical is taken by many people as meaning
that she is silly, or shamming, or could get well if she pleased;
and no doubt there are patients of whom some of these things
may fairly be said; but in many more, hysteria, especially in the
form of an unwilling imitation of organic disease, is a serious
affection, making life useless and unhappy and not rarely shorten-
ing it.


... Now, there is scarcely a local organic disease of invisible
Structures, which may not be mimicked by nervous disorder.
You hear of hysteric cough and hysteric loss of voice, of hysteric
dyspepsia and paralysis, of hysteric joints and spines; and there
is scarcely one of these disorders in which the mimicry of real
diseases is not, sometimes, so close as to make the diagnosis very

... In the great majority of these cases, there is either history
or present evidence of a characteristic nervous constitution, such
as may serve towards diagnosis. Some have been, or are even now,
truly hysterical; subject to fits of irrepressible laughing, crying, or
sobbing, or to convulsions of various hysteric kinds. But you will
find nervous mimicry in very many who have never been hysterical.
In some the sensibility is always too keen, whether for pain or for
pleasure. In these the pain of an injury is much more severe
than what we may suppose to be the proper average of pain pro-
ducible by such an injury: it lasts longer; outliving all the other
consequences of the injury. And, as to pleasure, as a patient said
to me, who suffered what she called tortures from ordinary sources
of moderate pain, "the pleasure of music is an agony.** But not
all have this compensation of feeling pleasure as keen as pain:
for many are habitually neuralgic: they suffer with headaches,
dartings in limbs, still more often with spine-aches and the like,
and are, as one may say, very painful persons — altogether hyper-
neurotic in their relations to pain, but not to pleasure. . . . One
of the most frequent conditions in those in whom the nervous
mimicries occur is a singular readiness to be painfully fatigued by
slight exertion. These nervous patients become utterly fatigued in
even slight exercise, and their limbs and their backs, though they
may look muscular and strong, ache horribly and very long.

... It is seldom that patients with well-marked nervous
mimicries have ordinary minds — such minds as we may think
average, level, and evenly balanced. You may, indeed, find among
them some commonplace people, with dull, low-level minds; but.


in the majority, there is something notable, good or bad, higher or
lower than the average — something outstanding or sunken. This
something is, in different cases, so various that it is impossible to
classify or even to enumerate the diversities. But be clear that
these patients are not all silly or fraudulent. Nothing can be more
mischievous than a belief that mimicry of organic disease is to be
found only or chiefly in the silly, selfish girls among whom it is
commonly supposed that hysteria is rife or an almost natural state.
It would be safer for you to believe that you are likely to meet with
it among the very good, the very wise, and the most accomplished
women. But it will be safest if you believe only that, in any case
of doubt whether a local disease be organic or nervous, it adds
something to the probability of its being nervous if the patient has
a very unusual mental character, especially if it be unusual in the
predominance of its emotional part; so that under emotion, or
with distracted attention, many things can be done or borne which,
in the quieter mental state, are felt as if impossible or intolerable.
And this probability of mimic rather than real disease will be
much increased if the symptoms seemed to follow any great or
prolonged mental tension, or if the patient's mind be set, in much
more than the ordinary degree, upon the real or supposed disease.
In all the well-marked cases of nervous mimicry, and in the less
marked in only a less degree, the malady determines the general
current of thought, and often of the whole life. Egotism has its
keenest life at and about the supposed seat of disease. If the mal-
ady be not always uppermost in the thoughts, it seems always in
an undercurrent, rising at every interval between the distractions
of work or play.

. . . The contrast of the mental states of those who have real
and those who have imitated local diseases is often very striking and
of great help in diagnosis. Few patients with real hip-disease
or real spinal disease, for instance, think half so much about their
ailments as they do whose nervous systems imitate those diseases*
In this egotism they resemble hypochondriacs; yet commonly


with a great mental difference, in that those with nervous mimicry
are not distressed with constant forebodings of greater mischief;
rather, they are content and often almost happy in their afflictions.
While the hypochondriacs are in a panic on account of some trivial
aching, the nervous mimics will talk of their agonies with calm or
smiling faces, or with half-closed, quivering eyelids; some seem
proud in the immensity of their ailments; in some, there seems an
unbounded capacity for the enjoyment of suffering.

This egotism in relation to the imitated diseases gives to many
patients an appearance of great wilfulness. Some, indeed, are
very strong-willed; some are so for all the good designs in which
they engage, and some with a thorough self-service. But strong
will is, I think, less common among these patients than is a want of
will. Sometimes there is a general feebleness of will : the patients
can do nothing for themselves; can trust themselves in nothing;
but commit themselves to some one with a stronger will and an
appearance, if not a reality, of more knowledge. Hence, among
these patients are the most numerous subjects of mesmerism,
spiritualism, and the other supposed forces of which the chief
evidence is the power of a strong will over a weak one. But more
often you will find a feebleness or complete negation of will in ref-
erence to the supposed seat of disease, while towards other things
the will is strong enough. You may find the strangest inconsist-
encies in this respect. A man who has intellect and will enough to
manage a great business, or to travel with much inconvenience and
write clever books, cannot will to endure sitting upright for ten
minutes, or cannot distract his attention enough to be indifferent to
an unmeaning ache in his back. A girl who has will enough in other
things to rule the house has yet not will enough in regard to her
limbs to walk a step with them> though they are as muscular as ever
in her life. She says, as all such patients do, **I cannot"; it looks
like "I will not"; but it is *'I cannot will."

I think it is to this same weakness of will that we may attribute
other things often observed in the worst cases of nervous mimicry.


especially the disposition of the patients to imitate or assume
symptoms of disease that they have seen or heard of, such as the
deformities of diseased joints, the lameness or paralysis associated
with spine disease, and the supposed distinctive pains of cancer.
No doubt there is sometimes intentional fraud and lying in these

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Online LibraryStephen PagetThe faith and works of Christian science → online text (page 6 of 16)