"There is no doubt that Jesus believed that the rich young man thought more of his wealth than he did of his soul, and, such being the case, it was his duty to give up the wealth.
"Every one of us knows that there is something we should give up for Christ. Those who are true believers and followers know what they have given up, and those who are not yet followers know down in their hearts what they must give up."
Ten clergymen of various denominations were interviewed, and nine of them agreed with that verdict. That did not settle the matter, because the tenth said the language of Jesus was so strait and definite that it explained itself: "Sell all," not a percentage.
There is a most unusual feature about that dispute: the nine persons who decided alike, quoted not a single authority in support of their position. I do not know when I have seen trained disputants do the like of that before. The nine merely furnished their own opinions, founded upon—nothing at all. In the other dispute ("Did Jesus anywhere claim to be God?") the same kind of men—trained and learned clergymen—backed up their arguments with chapter and verse. On both sides. Plenty of verses. Were no reinforcing verses to be found in the present case? It looks that way.
The opinion of the nine seems strange to me, for it is unsupported by authority, while there was at least constructive authority for the opposite view.
It is hair-splitting differences of opinion over disputed text-meanings that have divided into many sects a once united Church. One may infer from some of the names in the following list that some of the differences are very slight—so slight as to be not distinctly important, perhaps —yet they have moved groups to withdraw from communions to which they belonged and set up a sect of their own. The list—accompanied by various Church statistics for 1902, compiled by Rev. Dr. H. K. Carroll—was published, January 8, 1903, in the New York Christian Advocate:
Adventists (6 bodies), Baptists (13 bodies), Brethren (Plymouth) (4 bodies), Brethren (River) (3 bodies), Catholics (8 bodies), Catholic Apostolic, Christadelphians, Christian Connection, Christian Catholics, Christian Missionary Association, Christian Scientists, Church of God (Wine-brennarian), Church of the New Jerusalem, Congregationalists, Disciples of Christ, Dunkards (4 bodies), Evangelical (2 bodies), Friends (4 bodies), Friends of the Temple, German Evangelical Protestant, German Evangelical Synod, Independent congregations, Jews (2 bodies), Latter-day Saints (2 bodies), Lutherans (22 bodies), Mennonites (12 bodies), Methodists (17 bodies), Moravians, Presbyterians (12 bodies), Protestant Episcopal (2 bodies), Reformed (3 bodies), Schwenkfeldians, Social Brethren, Spiritualists, Swedish Evangelical Miss. Covenant (Waldenstromians), Unitarians, United Brethren (2 bodies), Universalists,
Total of sects and splits—139.
In the present month (February), Mr. E. I. Lindh, A..M., has communicated to the Boston Transcript a hopeful article on the solution of the problem of the "divided church." Divided is not too violent a term. Subdivided could have been permitted if he had thought of it. He came near thinking of it, for he mentions some of the subdivisions himself: "the 12 kinds of Presbyterians, the 17 kinds of Methodists, the 13 kinds of Baptists, etc." He overlooked the 12 kinds of Mennonites and the 22 kinds of Lutherans, but they are in Rev. Mr. Carroll's list. Altogether, 76 splits under 5 flags. The Literary Digest (February 14th) is pleased with Mr. Lindh's optimistic article, and also with the signs of the times, and perceives that "the idea of Church unity is in the air."
Now, then, is not Mrs. Eddy profoundly wise in forbidding, for all time, all explanations of her religion except such as she shall let on to be her own?
I think so. I think there can be no doubt of it. In a way, they will be her own; for, no matter which member of her clerical staff shall furnish the explanations, not a line of them will she ever allow to be printed until she shall have approved it, accepted it, copyrighted it, cabbaged it. We may depend on that with a four-ace confidence.
THE NEW INFALLIBILITY
All in proper time Mrs. Eddy's factory will take hold of that Commandment, and explain it for good and all. It may be that one member of the shift will vote that the word "all" means all; it may be that ten members of the shift will vote that "all" means only a percentage; but it is Mrs. Eddy, not the eleven, who will do the deciding. And if she says it is percentage, then percentage it is, forevermore—and that is what I am expecting, for she doesn't sell all herself, nor any considerable part of it, and as regards the poor, she doesn't declare any dividend; but if she says "all" means all, then all it is, to the end of time, and no follower of hers will ever be allowed to reconstruct that text, or shrink it, or inflate it, or meddle with it in any way at all. Even to-day —right here in the beginning—she is the sole person who, in the matter of Christian Science exegesis, is privileged to exploit the Spiral Twist. The Christian world has two Infallibles now.
Of equal power? For the present only. When Leo XIII. passes to his rest another Infallible will ascend his throne; others, and yet others, and still others will follow him, and be as infallible as he, and decide questions of doctrine as long as they may come up, all down the far future; but Mary Baker G. Eddy is the only Infallible that will ever occupy the Science throne. Many a Science Pope will succeed her, but she has closed their mouths; they will repeat and reverently praise and adore her infallibilities, but venture none themselves. In her grave she will still outrank all other Popes, be they of what Church they may. She will hold the supremest of earthly titles, The Infallible—with a capital T. Many in the world's history have had a hunger for such nuggets and slices of power as they might reasonably hope to grab out of an empire's or a religion's assets, but Mrs. Eddy is the only person alive or dead who has ever struck for the whole of them. For small things she has the eye of a microscope, for large ones the eye of a telescope, and whatever she sees, she wants. Wants it all.
THE SACRED POEMS
When Mrs. Eddy's "sacred revelations" (that is the language of the By-laws) are read in public, their authorship must be named. The By-laws twice command this, therefore we mention it twice, to be fair.
But it is also commanded that when a member publicly quotes "from the poems of our Pastor Emeritus" the authorship shall be named. For these are sacred, too. There are kindly people who may suspect a hidden generosity in that By-law; they may think it is there to protect the Official Reader from the suspicion of having written the poems himself. Such do not know Mrs. Eddy. She does an inordinate deal of protecting, but in no distinctly named and specified case in her history has Number Two been the object of it. Instances have been claimed, but they have failed of proof, and even of plausibility.
"Members shall also instruct their students" to look out and advertise the authorship when they read those poems and things. Not on Mrs. Eddy's account, but "for the good of our Cause."
THE CHURCH EDIFICE
1. Mrs. Eddy gave the land. It was not of much value at the time, but it is very valuable now. 2. Her people built the Mother-Church edifice on it, at a cost of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. 3. Then they gave the whole property to her. 4. Then she gave it to the Board of Directors. She is the Board of Directors. She took it out of one pocket and put it in the other. 5. Sec. 10 (of the deed). "Whenever said Directors shall determine that it is inexpedient to maintain preaching, reading, or speaking in said church in accordance with the terms of this deed, they are authorized and required to reconvey forthwith said lot of land with the building thereon to Mary Baker G. Eddy, her heirs and assigns forever, by a proper deed of conveyance."
She is never careless, never slipshod, about a matter of business. Owning the property through her Board of Waxworks was safe enough, still it was sound business to set another grip on it to cover accidents, and she did it. Her barkers (what a curious name; I wonder if it is copyrighted); her barkers persistently advertise to the public her generosity in giving away a piece of land which cost her a trifle, and a two—hundred—and—fifty—thousand—dollar church which cost her nothing; and they can hardly speak of the unselfishness of it without breaking down and crying; yet they know she gave nothing away, and never intended to. However, such is the human race. Often it does seem such a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat.
Some of the hostiles think that Mrs. Eddy's idea in protecting this property in the interest of her heirs, and in accumulating a great money fortune, is, that she may leave her natural heirs well provided for when she goes. I think it is a mistake. I think she is of late years giving herself large concern about only one interest-her power and glory, and the perpetuation and worship of her Name—with a capital N. Her Church is her pet heir, and I think it will get her wealth. It is the torch which is to light the world and the ages with her glory.
I think she once prized money for the ease and comfort it could bring, the showy vanities it could furnish, and the social promotion it could command; for we have seen that she was born into the world with little ways and instincts and aspirations and affectations that are duplicates of our own. I do not think her money-passion has ever diminished in ferocity, I do not think that she has ever allowed a dollar that had no friends to get by her alive, but I think her reason for wanting it has changed. I think she wants it now to increase and establish and perpetuate her power and glory with, not to add to her comforts and luxuries, not to furnish paint and fuss and feathers for vain display. I think her ambitions have soared away above the fuss-and-feather stage. She still likes the little shows and vanities—a fact which she exposed in a public utterance two or three days ago when she was not noticing —but I think she does not place a large value upon them now. She could build a mighty and far-shining brass-mounted palace if she wanted to, but she does not do it. She would have had that kind of an ambition in the early scrabbling times. She could go to England to-day and be worshiped by earls, and get a comet's attention from the million, if she cared for such things. She would have gone in the early scrabbling days for much less than an earl, and been vain of it, and glad to show off before the remains of the Scotch kin. But those things are very small to her now —next to invisible, observed through the cloud-rack from the dizzy summit where she perches in these great days. She does not want that church property for herself. It is worth but a quarter of a million—a sum she could call in from her far-spread flocks to-morrow with a lift of her hand. Not a squeeze of it, just a lift. It would come without a murmur; come gratefully, come gladly. And if her glory stood in more need of the money in Boston than it does where her flocks are propagating it, she would lift the hand, I think.
She is still reaching for the Dollar, she will continue to reach for it; but not that she may spend it upon herself; not that she may spend it upon charities; not that she may indemnify an early deprivation and clothe herself in a blaze of North Adams gauds; not that she may have nine breeds of pie for breakfast, as only the rich New-Englander can; not that she may indulge any petty material vanity or appetite that once was hers and prized and nursed, but that she may apply that Dollar to statelier uses, and place it where it may cast the metallic sheen of her glory farthest across the receding expanses of the globe.
A brief and good one is furnished in the book of By-laws. The Scientist is required to pray it every day.
THE LORD'S PRAYER-AMENDED
This is not in the By-laws, it is in the first chapter of Science and Health, edition of 1902. I do not find it in the edition of 1884. It is probable that it had not at that time been handed down. Science and Health's (latest) rendering of its "spiritual sense" is as follows:
"Our Father-Mother God' all-harmonious, adorable One. Thy kingdom is within us, Thou art ever-present. Enable us to know—as in heaven, so on earth—God is supreme. Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished affections. And infinite Love is reflected in love. And Love leadeth us not into temptation, but delivereth from sin, disease, and death. For God is now and forever all Life, Truth, and Love."
If I thought my opinion was desired and would be properly revered, I should say that in my judgment that is as good a piece of carpentering as any of those eleven Commandment—experts could do with the material after all their practice. I notice only one doubtful place. "Lead us not into temptation" seems to me to be a very definite request, and that the new rendering turns the definite request into a definite assertion. I shall be glad to have that turned back to the old way and the marks of the Spiral Twist removed, or varnished over; then I shall be satisfied, and will do the best I can with what is left. At the same time, I do feel that the shrinkage in our spiritual assets is getting serious. First the Commandments, now the Prayer. I never expected to see these steady old reliable securities watered down to this. And this is not the whole of it. Last summer the Presbyterians extended the Calling and Election suffrage to nearly everybody entitled to salvation. They did not even stop there, but let out all the unbaptized American infants we had been accumulating for two hundred years and more. There are some that believe they would have let the Scotch ones out, too, if they could have done it. Everything is going to ruin; in no long time we shall have nothing left but the love of God.
THE NEW UNPARDONABLE SIN
"Working Against the Cause. Sec. 2. If a member of this Church shall work against the accomplishment of what the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science understands is advantageous to the individual, to this Church, and to the Cause of Christian Science"—out he goes. Forever.
The member may think that what he is doing will advance the Cause, but he is not invited to do any thinking. More than that, he is not permitted to do any—as he will clearly gather from this By-law. When a person joins Mrs. Eddy's Church he must leave his thinker at home. Leave it permanently. To make sure that it will not go off some time or other when he is not watching, it will be safest for him to spike it. If he should forget himself and think just once, the By-law provides that he shall be fired out-instantly-forever-no return.
"It shall be the duty of this Church immediately to call a meeting, and drop forever the name of this member from its records."
My, but it breathes a towering indignation!
There are forgivable offenses, but this is not one of them; there are admonitions, probations, suspensions, in several minor cases; mercy is shown the derelict, in those cases he is gently used, and in time he can get back into the fold—even when he has repeated his offence. But let him think, just once, without getting his thinker set to Eddy time, and that is enough; his head comes off. There is no second offence, and there is no gate open to that lost sheep, ever again.
"This rule cannot be changed, amended, or annulled, except by unanimous vote of all the First Members."
The same being Mrs. Eddy. It is naively sly and pretty to see her keep putting forward First Members, and Boards of This and That, and other broideries and ruffles of her raiment, as if they were independent entities, instead of a part of her clothes, and could do things all by themselves when she was outside of them.
Mrs. Eddy did not need to copyright the sentence just quoted, its English would protect it. None but she would have shovelled that comically superfluous "all" in there.
The former Unpardonable Sin has gone out of service. We may frame the new Christian Science one thus:
"Whatsoever Member shall think, and without Our Mother's permission act upon his think, the same shall be cut off from the Church forever."
It has been said that I make many mistakes about Christian Science through being ignorant of the spiritual meanings of its terminology. I believe it is true. I have been misled all this time by that word Member, because there was no one to tell me that its spiritual meaning was Slave.
AXE AND BLOCK
There is a By-law which forbids Members to practice hypnotism; the penalty is excommunication.
1. If a member is found to be a mental practitioner— 2. Complaint is to be entered against him— 3. By the Pastor Emeritus, and by none else; 4. No member is allowed to make complaint to her in the matter; 5. Upon Mrs. Eddy's mere "complaint"—unbacked by evidence or proof, and without giving the accused a chance to be heard—his name shall be dropped from this Church."
Mrs. Eddy has only to say a member is guilty—that is all. That ends it. It is not a case of he "may" be cut off from Christian Science salvation, it is a case of he "shall" be. Her serfs must see to it, and not say a word.
Does the other Pope possess this prodigious and irresponsible power? Certainly not in our day.
Some may be curious to know how Mrs. Eddy finds out that a member is practicing hypnotism, since no one is allowed to come before her throne and accuse him. She has explained this in Christian Science History, first and second editions, page 16:
"I possess a spiritual sense of what the malicious mental practitioner is mentally arguing which cannot be deceived; I can discern in the human mind thoughts, motives, and purposes, and neither mental arguments nor psychic power can affect this spiritual insight."
A marvelous woman; with a hunger for power such as has never been seen in the world before. No thing, little or big, that contains any seed or suggestion of power escapes her avaricious eye; and when once she gets that eye on it, her remorseless grip follows. There isn't a Christian Scientist who isn't ecclesiastically as much her property as if she had bought him and paid for him, and copyrighted him and got a charter. She cannot be satisfied when she has handcuffed a member, and put a leg-chain and ball on him and plugged his ears and removed his thinker, she goes on wrapping needless chains round and round him, just as a spider would. For she trusts no one, believes in no one's honesty, judges every one by herself. Although we have seen that she has absolute and irresponsible command over her spectral Boards and over every official and servant of her Church, at home and abroad, over every minute detail of her Church's government, present and future, and can purge her membership of guilty or suspected persons by various plausible formalities and whenever she will, she is still not content, but must set her queer mind to work and invent a way by which she can take a member—any member—by neck and crop and fling him out without anything resembling a formality at all.
She is sole accuser and sole witness, and her testimony is final and carries uncompromising and irremediable doom with it.
The Sole-Witness Court! It should make the Council of Ten and the Council of Three turn in their graves for shame, to see how little they knew about satanic concentrations of irresponsible power. Here we have one Accuser, one Witness, one Judge, one Headsman—and all four bunched together in Mrs. Eddy, the Inspired of God, His Latest Thought to His People, New Member of the Holy Family, the Equal of Jesus.
When a Member is not satisfactory to Mrs. Eddy, and yet is blameless in his life and faultless in his membership and in his Christian Science walk and conversation, shall he hold up his head and tilt his hat over one ear and imagine himself safe because of these perfections? Why, in that very moment Mrs. Eddy will cast that spiritual X-ray of hers through his dungarees and say:
"I see his hypnotism working, among his insides—remove him to the block!"
What shall it profit him to know it isn't so? Nothing. His testimony is of no value. No one wants it, no one will ask for it. He is not present to offer it (he does not know he has been accused), and if he were there to offer it, it would not be listened to.
It was out of powers approaching Mrs. Eddy's—though not equalling them —that the Inquisition and the devastations of the Interdict grew. She will transmit hers. The man born two centuries from now will think he has arrived in hell; and all in good time he will think he knows it. Vast concentrations of irresponsible power have never in any age been used mercifully, and there is nothing to suggest that the Christian Science Papacy is going to spend money on novelties.
Several Christian Scientists have asked me to refrain from prophecy. There is no prophecy in our day but history. But history is a trustworthy prophet. History is always repeating itself, because conditions are always repeating themselves. Out of duplicated conditions history always gets a duplicate product.
READING LETTERS AT MEETINGS
I wonder if there is anything a Member can do that will not raise Mrs. Eddy's jealousy? The By-laws seem to hunt him from pillar to post all the time, and turn all his thoughts and acts and words into sins against the meek and lowly new deity of his worship. Apparently her jealousy never sleeps. Apparently any trifle can offend it, and but one penalty appease it—excommunication. The By-laws might properly and reasonably be entitled Laws for the Coddling and Comforting of Our Mother's Petty Jealousies. The By-law named at the head of this paragraph reads its transgressor out of the Church if he shall carry a letter from Mrs. Eddy to the congregation and forget to read it or fail to read the whole of it.
Dishonest members are to be admonished; if they continue in dishonest practices, excommunication follows. Considering who it is that draughted this law, there is a certain amount of humor in it.
FURTHER APPLICATIONS OF THE AXE
Here follow the titles of some more By-laws whose infringement is punishable by excommunication:
Silence Enjoined. Misteaching. Departure from Tenets. Violation of Christian Fellowship. Moral Offences. Illegal Adoption. Broken By-laws. Violation of By-laws. (What is the difference?) Formulas Forbidden. Official Advice. (Forbids Tom, Dick, and Harry's clack.) Unworthy of Membership. Final Excommunication. Organizing Churches.
This looks as if Mrs. Eddy had devoted a large share of her time and talent to inventing ways to get rid of her Church members. Yet in another place she seems to invite membership. Not in any urgent way, it is true, still she throws out a bait to such as like notice and distinction (in other words, the Human Race). Page 82:
"It is important that these seemingly strict conditions be complied with, as the names of the Members of the Mother-Church will be recorded in the history of the Church and become a part thereof."
We all want to be historical.
The Hymnal. There is a Christian Science Hymnal. Entrance to it was closed in 1898. Christian Science students who make hymns nowadays may possibly get them sung in the Mother-Church, "but not unless approved by the Pastor Emeritus." Art. XXVII, Sec. 2.
Solo Singers. Mrs. Eddy has contributed the words of three of the hymns in the Hymnal. Two of them appear in it six times altogether, each of them being set to three original forms of musical anguish. Mrs. Eddy, always thoughtful, has promulgated a By-law requiring the singing of one of her three hymns in the Mother Church "as often as once each month." It is a good idea. A congregation could get tired of even Mrs. Eddy's muse in the course of time, without the cordializing incentive of compulsion. We all know how wearisome the sweetest and touchingest things can become, through rep-rep-repetition, and still rep-rep-repetition, and more rep-rep-repetition-like "the sweet by-and-by, in the sweet by-and-by," for instance, and "Tah-rah-rah boom-de-aye"; and surely it is not likely that Mrs. Eddy's machine has turned out goods that could outwear those great heart-stirrers, without the assistance of the lash. "O'er Waiting Harpstrings of the Mind" is pretty good, quite fair to middling—the whole seven of the stanzas—but repetition would be certain to take the excitement out of it in the course of time, even if there were fourteen, and then it would sound like the multiplication table, and would cease to save. The congregation would be perfectly sure to get tired; in fact, did get tired—hence the compulsory By-law. It is a measure born of experience, not foresight.
The By-laws say that "if a solo singer shall neglect or refuse to sing alone" one of those three hymns as often as once a month, and oftener if so directed by the Board of Directors—which is Mrs. Eddy—the singer's salary shall be stopped. It is circumstantial evidence that some soloists neglected this sacrament and others refused it. At least that is the charitable view to take of it. There is only one other view to take: that Mrs. Eddy did really foresee that there would be singers who would some day get tired of doing her hymns and proclaiming the authorship, unless persuaded by a Bylaw, with a penalty attached. The idea could of course occur to her wise head, for she would know that a seven-stanza break might well be a calamitous strain upon a soloist, and that he might therefore avoid it if unwatched. He could not curtail it, for the whole of anything that Mrs. Eddy does is sacred, and cannot be cut.
BOARD OF EDUCATION
It consists of four members, one of whom is President of it. Its members are elected annually. Subject to Mrs. Eddy's approval. Art. XXX., Sec. 2.
She owns the Board—is the Board.
Mrs. Eddy is President of the Metaphysical College. If at any time she shall vacate that office, the Directors of the College (that is to say, Mrs. Eddy) "shall" elect to the vacancy the President of the Board of Education (which is merely re-electing herself).
It is another case of "Pastor Emeritus." She gives up the shadow of authority, but keeps a good firm hold on the substance.
Applicants for admission to this industry must pass a thorough three days' examination before the Board of Education "in Science and Health, chapter on 'Recapitulation'; the Platform of Christian Science; page 403 of Christian Science Practice, from line second to the second paragraph of page 405; and page 488, second and third paragraphs."
BOARD OF LECTURESHIP
The lecturers are exceedingly important servants of Mrs. Eddy, and she chooses them with great care. Each of them has an appointed territory in which to perform his duties—in the North, the South, the East, the West, in Canada, in Great Britain, and so on—and each must stick to his own territory and not forage beyond its boundaries. I think it goes without saying—from what we have seen of Mrs. Eddy—that no lecture is delivered until she has examined and approved it, and that the lecturer is not allowed to change it afterwards.
The members of the Board of Lectureship are elected annually—
"Subject to the approval of Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy."
There are but four. They are elected—like the rest of the domestics —annually. So far as I can discover, not a single servant of the Sacred Household has a steady job except Mrs. Eddy. It is plain that she trusts no human being but herself.
The branch Churches are strictly forbidden to use them.
So far as I can see, they could not do it if they wanted to. The By-laws are merely the voice of the master issuing commands to the servants. There is nothing and nobody for the servants to re-utter them to.
That useless edict is repeated in the little book, a few pages farther on. There are several other repetitions of prohibitions in the book that could be spared-they only take up room for nothing.
THE CREED It is copyrighted. I do not know why, but I suppose it is to keep adventurers from some day claiming that they invented it, and not Mrs. Eddy and that "strange Providence" that has suggested so many clever things to her.
No Change. It is forbidden to change the Creed. That is important, at any rate.
I can understand why Mrs. Eddy copyrighted the early editions and revisions of Science and Health, and why she had a mania for copyrighting every scrap of every sort that came from her pen in those jejune days when to be in print probably seemed a wonderful distinction to her in her provincial obscurity, but why she should continue this delirium in these days of her godship and her far-spread fame, I cannot explain to myself. And particularly as regards Science and Health. She knows, now, that that Annex is going to live for many centuries; and so, what good is a fleeting forty-two-year copyright going to do it?
Now a perpetual copyright would be quite another matter. I would like to give her a hint. Let her strike for a perpetual copyright on that book. There is precedent for it. There is one book in the world which bears the charmed life of perpetual copyright (a fact not known to twenty people in the world). By a hardy perversion of privilege on the part of the lawmaking power the Bible has perpetual copyright in Great Britain. There is no justification for it in fairness, and no explanation of it except that the Church is strong enough there to have its way, right or wrong. The recent Revised Version enjoys perpetual copyright, too—a stronger precedent, even, than the other one.
Now, then, what is the Annex but a Revised Version itself? Which of course it is—Lord's Prayer and all. With that pair of formidable British precedents to proceed upon, what Congress of ours—
But how short-sighted I am. Mrs. Eddy has thought of it long ago. She thinks of everything. She knows she has only to keep her copyright of 1902 alive through its first stage of twenty-eight years, and perpetuity is assured. A Christian Science Congress will reign in the Capitol then. She probably attaches small value to the first edition (1875). Although it was a Revelation from on high, it was slim, lank, incomplete, padded with bales of refuse rags, and puffs from lassoed celebrities to fill it out, an uncreditable book, a book easily sparable, a book not to be mentioned in the same year with the sleek, fat, concise, compact, compressed, and competent Annex of to-day, in its dainty flexible covers, gilt—edges, rounded corners, twin screw, spiral twist, compensation balance, Testament-counterfeit, and all that; a book just born to curl up on the hymn-book-shelf in church and look just too sweet and holy for anything. Yes, I see now what she was copyrighting that child for.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION
It is true in matters of business Mrs. Eddy thinks of everything. She thought of an organ, to disseminate the Truth as it was in Mrs. Eddy. Straightway she started one—the Christian Science Journal.
It is true—in matters of business Mrs. Eddy thinks of everything. As soon as she had got the Christian Science Journal sufficiently in debt to make its presence on the premises disagreeable to her, it occurred to her to make somebody a present of it. Which she did, along with its debts. It was in the summer of 1889. The victim selected was her Church —called, in those days, The National Christian Scientist Association.
She delivered this sorrow to those lambs as a "gift" in consideration of their "loyalty to our great cause."
Also—still thinking of everything—she told them to retain Mr. Bailey in the editorship and make Mr. Nixon publisher. We do not know what it was she had against those men; neither do we know whether she scored on Bailey or not, we only know that God protected Nixon, and for that I am sincerely glad, although I do not know Nixon and have never even seen him.
Nixon took the Journal and the rest of the Publishing Society's liabilities, and demonstrated over them during three years, then brought in his report:
"On assuming my duties as publisher, there was not a dollar in the treasury; but on the contrary the Society owed unpaid printing and paper bills to the amount of several hundred dollars, not to mention a contingent liability of many more hundreds"—represented by advance —subscriptions paid for the Journal and the "Series," the which goods Mrs. Eddy had not delivered. And couldn't, very well, perhaps, on a Metaphysical College income of but a few thousand dollars a day, or a week, or whatever it was in those magnificently flourishing times. The struggling Journal had swallowed up those advance-payments, but its "claim" was a severe one and they had failed to cure it. But Nixon cured it in his diligent three years, and joyously reported the news that he had cleared off all the debts and now had a fat six thousand dollars in the bank.
It made Mrs. Eddy's mouth water.
At the time that Mrs. Eddy had unloaded that dismal gift on to her National Association, she had followed her inveterate custom: she had tied a string to its hind leg, and kept one end of it hitched to her belt. We have seen her do that in the case of the Boston Mosque. When she deeds property, she puts in that string-clause. It provides that under certain conditions she can pull the string and land the property in the cherished home of its happy youth. In the present case she believed that she had made provision that if at any time the National Christian Science Association should dissolve itself by a formal vote, she could pull.
A year after Nixon's handsome report, she writes the Association that she has a "unique request to lay before it." It has dissolved, and she is not quite sure that the Christian Science Journal has "already fallen into her hands" by that act, though it "seems" to her to have met with that accident; so she would like to have the matter decided by a formal vote. But whether there is a doubt or not, "I see the wisdom," she says, "of again owning this Christian Science waif."
I think that that is unassailable evidence that the waif was making money, hands down.
She pulled her gift in. A few years later she donated the Publishing Society, along with its real estate, its buildings, its plant, its publications, and its money—the whole worth twenty—two thousand dollars, and free of debt—to—Well, to the Mother-Church!
That is to say, to herself. There is an act count of it in the Christian Science Journal, and of how she had already made some other handsome gifts—to her Church—and others to—to her Cause besides "an almost countless number of private charities" of cloudy amount and otherwise indefinite. This landslide of generosities overwhelmed one of her literary domestics. While he was in that condition he tried to express what he felt:
"Let us endeavor to lift up our hearts in thankfulness to . . . our Mother in Israel for these evidences of generosity and self-sacrifice that appeal to our deepest sense of gratitude, even while surpassing our comprehension."
A year or two later, Mrs. Eddy promulgated some By-laws of a self-sacrificing sort which assuaged him, perhaps, and perhaps enabled his surpassed comprehension to make a sprint and catch up. These are to be found in Art. XII., entitled.
THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PUBLISHING SOCIETY
This Article puts the whole publishing business into the hands of a publishing Board—special. Mrs. Eddy appoints to its vacancies.
The profits go semi-annually to the Treasurer of the Mother-Church. Mrs. Eddy owns the Treasurer.
Editors and publishers of the Christian Science Journal cannot be elected or removed without Mrs. Eddy's knowledge and consent.
Every candidate for employment in a high capacity or a low one, on the other periodicals or in the publishing house, must first be "accepted by Mrs. Eddy as suitable." And "by the Board of Directors"—which is surplusage, since Mrs. Eddy owns the Board.
If at any time a weekly shall be started, "it shall be owned by The First Church of Christ, Scientist"—which is Mrs. Eddy.
I think that any one who will carefully examine the By-laws (I have placed all of the important ones before the reader), will arrive at the conclusion that of late years the master-passion in Mrs. Eddy's heart is a hunger for power and glory; and that while her hunger for money still remains, she wants it now for the expansion and extension it can furnish to that power and glory, rather than what it can do for her towards satisfying minor and meaner ambitions.
I wish to enlarge a little upon this matter. I think it is quite clear that the reason why Mrs. Eddy has concentrated in herself all powers, all distinctions, all revenues that are within the command of the Christian Science Church Universal is that she desires and intends to devote them to the purpose just suggested—the upbuilding of her personal glory —hers, and no one else's; that, and the continuing of her name's glory after she shall have passed away. If she has overlooked a single power, howsoever minute, I cannot discover it. If she has found one, large or small, which she has not seized and made her own, there is no record of it, no trace of it. In her foragings and depredations she usually puts forward the Mother-Church—a lay figure—and hides behind it. Whereas, she is in manifest reality the Mother-Church herself. It has an impressive array of officials, and committees, and Boards of Direction, of Education, of Lectureship, and so on—geldings, every one, shadows, spectres, apparitions, wax-figures: she is supreme over them all, she can abolish them when she will; blow them out as she would a candle. She is herself the Mother-Church. Now there is one By-law which says that the Mother-Church:
"shall be officially controlled by no other church."
That does not surprise us—we know by the rest of the By-laws that that is a quite irrelevant remark. Yet we do vaguely and hazily wonder why she takes the trouble to say it; why she wastes the words; what her object can be—seeing that that emergency has been in so many, many ways, and so effectively and drastically barred off and made impossible. Then presently the object begins to dawn upon us. That is, it does after we have read the rest of the By-law three or four times, wondering and admiring to see Mrs. Eddy—Mrs. Eddy—Mrs. Eddy, of all persons—throwing away power!—making a fair exchange—doing a fair thing for once more, an almost generous thing! Then we look it through yet once more unsatisfied, a little suspicious—and find that it is nothing but a sly, thin make-believe, and that even the very title of it is a sarcasm and embodies a falsehood—"self" government:
"Local Self-Government. The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, shall assume no official control of other churches of this denomination. It shall be officially controlled by no other church."
It has a most pious and deceptive give-and-take air of perfect fairness, unselfishness, magnanimity—almost godliness, indeed. But it is all art.
In the By-laws, Mrs. Eddy, speaking by the mouth of her other self, the Mother-Church, proclaims that she will assume no official control of other churches-branch churches. We examine the other By-laws, and they answer some important questions for us:
1. What is a branch Church? It is a body of Christian Scientists, organized in the one and only permissible way—by a member, in good standing, of the Mother-Church, and who is also a pupil of one of Mrs. Eddy's accredited students. That is to say, one of her properties. No other can do it. There are other indispensable requisites; what are they?
2. The new Church cannot enter upon its functions until its members have individually signed, and pledged allegiance to, a Creed furnished by Mrs. Eddy.
3. They are obliged to study her books, and order their lives by them. And they must read no outside religious works.
4. They must sing the hymns and pray the prayers provided by her, and use no others in the services, except by her permission.
5. They cannot have preachers and pastors. Her law.
6. In their Church they must have two Readers—a man and a woman.
7. They must read the services framed and appointed by her.
8. She—not the branch Church—appoints those Readers.
9. She—not the branch Church—dismisses them and fills the vacancies.
10. She can do this without consulting the branch Church, and without explaining.
11. The branch Church can have a religious lecture from time to time. By applying to Mrs. Eddy. There is no other way.
12. But the branch Church cannot select the lecturer. Mrs. Eddy does it.
13. The branch Church pays his fee.
14. The harnessing of all Christian Science wedding-teams, members of the branch Church, must be done by duly authorized and consecrated Christian Science functionaries. Her factory is the only one that makes and licenses them.
[15. Nothing is said about christenings. It is inferable from this that a Christian Science child is born a Christian Scientist and requires no tinkering.]
[16. Nothing is said about funerals. It is inferable, then, that a branch Church is privileged to do in that matter as it may choose.]
To sum up. Are any important Church-functions absent from the list? I cannot call any to mind. Are there any lacking ones whose exercise could make the branch in any noticeable way independent of the Mother. Church? —even in any trifling degree? I think of none. If the named functions were abolished would there still be a Church left? Would there be even a shadow of a Church left? Would there be anything at all left? even the bare name?
Manifestly not. There isn't a single vital and essential Church-function of any kind, that is not named in the list. And over every one of them the Mother-Church has permanent and unchallengeable control, upon every one of them Mrs. Eddy has set her irremovable grip. She holds, in perpetuity, autocratic and indisputable sovereignty and control over every branch Church in the earth; and yet says, in that sugary, naive, angel-beguiling way of hers, that the Mother-Church:
"shall assume no official control of other churches of this denomination."
Whereas in truth the unmeddled-with liberties of a branch Christian Science Church are but very, very few in number, and are these:
1. It can appoint its own furnace-stoker, winters. 2. It can appoint its own fan-distributors, summers. 3. It can, in accordance with its own choice in the matter, burn, bury, or preserve members who are pretending to be dead—whereas there is no such thing as death. 4. It can take up a collection.
The branch Churches have no important liberties, none that give them an important voice in their own affairs. Those are all locked up, and Mrs. Eddy has the key. "Local Self-Government" is a large name and sounds well; but the branch Churches have no more of it than have the privates in the King of Dahomey's army.
Mrs. Eddy, with an envious and admiring eye upon the solitary and rivalless and world-shadowing majesty of St. Peter's, reveals in her By-laws her purpose to set the Mother-Church apart by itself in a stately seclusion and make it duplicate that lone sublimity under the Western sky. The By-law headed "Mother-Church Unique" says—
"In its relation to other Christian Science churches, the Mother-Church stands alone.
"It occupies a position that no other Church can fill.
"Then for a branch Church to assume such position would be disastrous to Christian Science,
Therefore no branch Church is allowed to have branches. There shall be no Christian Science St. Peter's in the earth but just one—the Mother-Church in Boston.
"NO FIRST MEMBERS"
But for the thoughtful By-law thus entitled, every Science branch in the earth would imitate the Mother-Church and set up an aristocracy. Every little group of ground-floor Smiths and Furgusons and Shadwells and Simpsons that organized a branch would assume that great title, of "First Members," along with its vast privileges of "discussing" the weather and casting blank ballots, and soon there would be such a locust-plague of them burdening the globe that the title would lose its value and have to be abolished.
But where business and glory are concerned, Mrs. Eddy thinks of everything, and so she did not fail to take care of her Aborigines, her stately and exclusive One Hundred, her college of functionless cardinals, her Sanhedrin of Privileged Talkers (Limited). After taking away all the liberties of the branch Churches, and in the same breath disclaiming all official control over their affairs, she smites them on the mouth with this—the very mouth that was watering for those nobby ground-floor honors—
"No First Members. Branch Churches shall not organize with First Members, that special method of organization being adapted to the Mother-Church alone."
And so, first members being prohibited, we pierce through the cloud of Mrs. Eddy's English and perceive that they must then necessarily organize with Subsequent Members. There is no other way. It will occur to them by-and-by to found an aristocracy of Early Subsequent Members. There is no By-law against it.
I uncover to that imperial word. And to the mind, too, that conceived the idea of seizing and monopolizing it as a title. I believe it is Mrs. Eddy's dazzlingest invention. For show, and style, and grandeur, and thunder and lightning and fireworks it outclasses all the previous inventions of man, and raises the limit on the Pope. He can never put his avid hand on that word of words—it is pre-empted. And copyrighted, of course. It lifts the Mother-Church away up in the sky, and fellowships it with the rare and select and exclusive little company of the THE's of deathless glory—persons and things whereof history and the ages could furnish only single examples, not two: the Saviour, the Virgin, the Milky Way, the Bible, the Earth, the Equator, the Devil, the Missing Link—and now The First Church, Scientist. And by clamor of edict and By-law Mrs. Eddy gives personal notice to all branch Scientist Churches on this planet to leave that THE alone.
She has demonstrated over it and made it sacred to the Mother-Church:
"The article 'The' must not be used before the titles of branch Churches—
"Nor written on applications for membership in naming such churches."
Those are the terms. There can and will be a million First Churches of Christ, Scientist, scattered over the world, in a million towns and villages and hamlets and cities, and each may call itself (suppressing the article), "First Church of Christ. Scientist"—it is permissible, and no harm; but there is only one The Church of Christ, Scientist, and there will never be another. And whether that great word fall in the middle of a sentence or at the beginning of it, it must always have its capital T.
I do not suppose that a juvenile passion for fussy little worldly shows and vanities can furnish a match to this, anywhere in the history of the nursery. Mrs. Eddy does seem to be a shade fonder of little special distinctions and pomps than is usual with human beings.
She instituted that immodest "The" with her own hand; she did not wait for somebody else to think of it.
A LIFE-TERM MONOPOLY
There is but one human Pastor in the whole Christian Science world; she reserves that exalted place to herself.
A PERPETUAL ONE
There is but one other object in the whole Christian Science world honored with that title and holding that office: it is her book, the Annex—permanent Pastor of The First Church, and of all branch Churches.
With her own hand she draughted the By-laws which make her the only really absolute sovereign that lives to-day in Christendom.
She does not allow any objectionable pictures to be exhibited in the room where her book is sold, nor any indulgence in idle gossip there; and from the general look of that By-law I judge that a lightsome and improper person can be as uncomfortable in that place as he could be in heaven.
THE SANCTUM SANCTORUM AND SACRED CHAIR
In a room in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, there is a museum of objects which have attained to holiness through contact with Mrs. Eddy —among them an electrically lighted oil-picture of a chair which she used to sit in—and disciples from all about the world go softly in there, in restricted groups, under proper guard, and reverently gaze upon those relics. It is worship. Mrs. Eddy could stop it if she was not fond of it, for her sovereignty over that temple is supreme.
The fitting-up of that place as a shrine is not an accident, nor a casual, unweighed idea; it is imitated from age—old religious custom. In Treves the pilgrim reverently gazes upon the Seamless Robe, and humbly worships; and does the same in that other continental church where they keep a duplicate; and does likewise in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem, where memorials of the Crucifixion are preserved; and now, by good fortune we have our Holy Chair and things, and a market for our adorations nearer home.
But is there not a detail that is new, fresh, original? Yes, whatever old thing Mrs. Eddy touches gets something new by the contact—something not thought of before by any one—something original, all her own, and copyrightable. The new feature is self worship—exhibited in permitting this shrine to be installed during her lifetime, and winking her sacred eye at it.
A prominent Christian Scientist has assured me that the Scientists do not worship Mrs. Eddy, and I think it likely that there may be five or six of the cult in the world who do not worship her, but she herself is certainly not of that company. Any healthy-minded person who will examine Mrs. Eddy's little Autobiography and the Manual of By-laws written by her will be convinced that she worships herself; and that she brings to this service a fervor of devotion surpassing even that which she formerly laid at the feet of the Dollar, and equalling any which rises to the Throne of Grace from any quarter.
I think this is as good a place as any to salve a hurt which I was the means of inflicting upon a Christian Scientist lately. The first third of this book was written in 1899 in Vienna. Until last summer I had supposed that that third had been printed in a book which I published about a year later—a hap which had not happened. I then sent the chapters composing it to the North American Review, but failed in one instance, to date them. And so, in an undated chapter I said a lady told me "last night" so and so. There was nothing to indicate to the reader that that "last night" was several years old, therefore the phrase seemed to refer to a night of very recent date. What the lady had told me was, that in a part of the Mother-Church in Boston she had seen Scientists worshipping a portrait of Mrs. Eddy before which a light was kept constantly burning.
A Scientist came to me and wished me to retract that "untruth." He said there was no such portrait, and that if I wanted to be sure of it I could go to Boston and see for myself. I explained that my "last night" meant a good while ago; that I did not doubt his assertion that there was no such portrait there now, but that I should continue to believe it had been there at the time of the lady's visit until she should retract her statement herself. I was at no time vouching for the truth of the remark, nevertheless I considered it worth par.
And yet I am sorry the lady told me, since a wound which brings me no happiness has resulted. I am most willing to apply such salve as I can. The best way to set the matter right and make everything pleasant and agreeable all around will be to print in this place a description of the shrine as it appeared to a recent visitor, Mr. Frederick W. Peabody, of Boston. I will copy his newspaper account, and the reader will see that Mrs. Eddy's portrait is not there now:
"We lately stood on the threshold of the Holy of Holies of the Mother-Church, and with a crowd of worshippers patiently waited for admittance to the hallowed precincts of the 'Mother's Room.' Over the doorway was a sign informing us that but four persons at a time would be admitted; that they would be permitted to remain but five minutes only, and would please retire from the 'Mother's Room' at the ringing of the bell. Entering with three of the faithful, we looked with profane eyes upon the consecrated furnishings. A show-woman in attendance monotonously announced the character of the different appointments. Set in a recess of the wall and illumined with electric light was an oil-painting the show-woman seriously declared to be a lifelike and realistic picture of the Chair in which the Mother sat when she composed her 'inspired' work. It was a picture of an old-fashioned? country, hair cloth rocking-chair, and an exceedingly commonplace-looking table with a pile of manuscript, an ink-bottle, and pen conspicuously upon it. On the floor were sheets of manuscript. 'The mantel-piece is of pure onyx,' continued the show-woman, 'and the beehive upon the window-sill is made from one solid block of onyx; the rug is made of a hundred breasts of eider-down ducks, and the toilet-room you see in the corner is of the latest design, with gold-plated drain-pipes; the painted windows are from the Mother's poem, "Christ and Christmas," and that case contains complete copies of all the Mother's books.' The chairs upon which the sacred person of the Mother had reposed were protected from sacrilegious touch by a broad band of satin ribbon. My companions expressed their admiration in subdued and reverent tones, and at the tinkling of the bell we reverently tiptoed out of the room to admit another delegation of the patient waiters at the door."
Now, then, I hope the wound is healed. I am willing to relinquish the portrait, and compromise on the Chair. At the same time, if I were going to worship either, I should not choose the Chair.
As a picturesquely and persistently interesting personage, there is no mate to Mrs. Eddy, the accepted Equal of the Saviour. But some of her tastes are so different from His! I find it quite impossible to imagine Him, in life, standing sponsor for that museum there, and taking pleasure in its sumptuous shows. I believe He would put that Chair in the fire, and the bell along with it; and I think He would make the show-woman go away. I think He would break those electric bulbs, and the "mantel-piece of pure onyx," and say reproachful things about the golden drain-pipes of the lavatory, and give the costly rug of duck-breasts to the poor, and sever the satin ribbon and invite the weary to rest and ease their aches in the consecrated chairs. What He would do with the painted windows we can better conjecture when we come presently to examine their peculiarities.
THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PASTOR-UNIVERSAL
When Mrs. Eddy turned the pastors out of all the Christian Science churches and abolished the office for all time as far as human occupancy is concerned—she appointed the Holy Ghost to fill their place. If this language be blasphemous, I did not invent the blasphemy, I am merely stating a fact. I will quote from page 227 of Science and Health (edition 1899), as a first step towards an explanation of this startling matter—a passage which sets forth and classifies the Christian Science Trinity:
"Life, Truth, and Love constitute the triune God, or triply divine Principle. They represent a trinity in unity, three in one—the same in essence, though multiform in office: God the Father; Christ the type of Sonship; Divine Science, or the Holy Comforter. . .
"The Holy Ghost, or Spirit, reveals this triune Principle, and (the Holy Ghost) is expressed in Divine Science, which is the Comforter, leading into all Truth, and revealing the divine Principle of the universe —universal and perpetual harmony."
I will cite another passage. Speaking of Jesus—
"His students then received the Holy Ghost. By this is meant, that by all they had witnessed and suffered they were roused to an enlarged understanding of Divine Science, even to the spiritual interpretation . . . . . of His teachings," etc.
Also, page 579, in the chapter called the Glossary:
"HOLY GHOST. Divine Science; the developments of Life, Truth, and Love."
The Holy Ghost reveals the massed spirit of the fused trinity; this massed spirit is expressed in Divine Science, and is the Comforter; Divine Science conveys to men the "spiritual interpretation" of the Saviour's teachings. That seems to be the meaning of the quoted passages.
Divine Science is Christian Science; the book "Science and Health" is a "revelation" of the whole spirit of the Trinity, and is therefore "The Holy Ghost"; it conveys to men the "spiritual interpretation" of the Bible's teachings and therefore is "the Comforter."
I do not find this analyzing work easy, I would rather saw wood; and a person can never tell whether he has added up a Science and Health sum right or not, anyway, after all his trouble. Neither can he easily find out whether the texts are still on the market or have been discarded from the Book; for two hundred and fifty-eight editions of it have been issued, and no two editions seem to be alike. The annual changes—in technical terminology; in matter and wording; in transpositions of chapters and verses; in leaving out old chapters and verses and putting in new ones—seem to be next to innumerable, and as there is no index, there is no way to find a thing one wants without reading the book through. If ever I inspire a Bible-Annex I will not rush at it in a half-digested, helter-skelter way and have to put in thirty-eight years trying to get some of it the way I want it, I will sit down and think it out and know what it is I want to say before I begin. An inspirer cannot inspire for Mrs. Eddy and keep his reputation. I have never seen such slipshod work, bar the ten that interpreted for the home market the "sell all thou hast." I have quoted one "spiritual" rendering of the Lord's Prayer, I have seen one other one, and am told there are five more. Yet the inspirer of Mrs. Eddy the new Infallible casts a complacent critical stone at the other Infallible for being unable to make up its mind about such things. Science and Health, edition 1899, page 33:
"The decisions, by vote of Church Councils, as to what should and should not be considered Holy Writ, the manifest mistakes in the ancient versions: the thirty thousand different readings in the Old Testament and the three hundred thousand in the New—these facts show how a mortal and material sense stole into the divine record, darkening, to some extent, the inspired pages with its own hue."
To some extent, yes—speaking cautiously. But it is nothing, really nothing; Mrs. Eddy is only a little way behind, and if her inspirer lives to get her Annex to suit him that Catholic record will have to "go 'way back and set down," as the ballad says. Listen to the boastful song of Mrs. Eddy's organ, the Christian Science Journal for March, 1902, about that year's revamping and half-soling of Science and Health, whose official name is the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, and who is now the Official Pastor and Infallible and Unerring Guide of every Christian Science church in the two hemispheres, hear Simple Simon that met the pieman brag of the Infallible's fallibility:
"Throughout the entire book the verbal changes are so numerous as to indicate the vast amount of time and labor Mrs. Eddy has devoted to this revision. The time and labor thus bestowed is relatively as great as that of—the committee who revised the Bible.... Thus we have additional evidence of the herculean efforts our beloved Leader has made and is constantly making for the promulgation of Truth and the furtherance of her divinely bestowed mission," etc.
It is a steady job. I could help inspire if desired; I am not doing much now, and would work for half-price, and should not object to the country.
PRICE OF THE PASTOR-UNIVERSAL
The price of the Pastor-Universal, Science and Health, called in Science literature the Comforter—and by that other sacred Name—is three dollars in cloth, as heretofore, six when it is finely bound, and shaped to imitate the Testament, and is broken into verses. Margin of profit above cost of manufacture, from five hundred to seven hundred per cent., as already noted In the profane subscription-trade, it costs the publisher heavily to canvass a three-dollar book; he must pay the general agent sixty per cent. commission—that is to say, one dollar and eighty-cents. Mrs. Eddy escapes this blistering tax, because she owns the Christian Science canvasser, and can compel him to work for nothing. Read the following command—not request—fulminated by Mrs. Eddy, over her signature, in the Christian Science Journal for March, 1897, and quoted by Mr. Peabody in his book. The book referred to is Science and Health:
"It shall be the duty of all Christian Scientists to circulate and to sell as many of these books as they can."
That is flung at all the elect, everywhere that the sun shines, but no penalty is shaken over their heads to scare them. The same command was issued to the members (numbering to-day twenty-five thousand) of The Mother-Church, also, but with it went a threat, of the infliction, in case of disobedience, of the most dreaded punishment that has a place in the Church's list of penalties for transgressions of Mrs. Eddy's edicts —excommunication:
"If a member of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, shall fail to obey this injunction, it will render him liable to lose his membership in this Church. MARY BAKER EDDY."
It is the spirit of the Spanish Inquisition.
None but accepted and well established gods can venture an affront like that and do it with confidence. But the human race will take anything from that class. Mrs. Eddy knows the human race; knows it better than any mere human being has known it in a thousand centuries. My confidence in her human-beingship is getting shaken, my confidence in her godship is stiffening.
SEVEN HUNDRED PER CENT.
A Scientist out West has visited a bookseller—with intent to find fault with me—and has brought away the information that the price at which Mrs. Eddy sells Science and Health is not an unusually high one for the size and make of the book. That is true. But in the book-trade—that profit-devourer unknown to Mrs. Eddy's book—a three-dollar book that is made for thirty-five or forty cents in large editions is put at three dollars because the publisher has to pay author, middleman, and advertising, and if the price were much below three the profit accruing would not pay him fairly for his time and labor. At the same time, if he could get ten dollars for the book he would take it, and his morals would not fall under criticism.
But if he were an inspired person commissioned by the Deity to receive and print and spread broadcast among sorrowing and suffering and poor men a precious message of healing and cheer and salvation, he would have to do as Bible Societies do—sell the book at a pinched margin above cost to such as could pay, and give it free to all that couldn't; and his name would be praised. But if he sold it at seven hundred per cent. profit and put the money in his pocket, his name would be mocked and derided. Just as Mrs. Eddy's is. And most justifiably, as it seems to me.
The complete Bible contains one million words. The New Testament by itself contains two hundred and forty thousand words.
My '84 edition of Science and Health contains one hundred and twenty thousand words—just half as many as the New Testament.
Science and Health has since been so inflated by later inspirations that the 1902 edition contains one hundred and eighty thousand words—not counting the thirty thousand at the back, devoted by Mrs. Eddy to advertising the book's healing abilities—and the inspiring continues right along.
If you have a book whose market is so sure and so great that you can give a printer an everlasting order for thirty or forty or fifty thousand copies a year he will furnish them at a cheap rate, because whenever there is a slack time in his press-room and bindery he can fill the idle intervals on your book and be making something instead of losing. That is the kind of contract that can be let on Science and Health every year. I am obliged to doubt that the three-dollar Science and Health costs Mrs. Eddy above fifteen cents, or that the six dollar copy costs her above eighty cents. I feel quite sure that the average profit to her on these books, above cost of manufacture, is all of seven hundred per cent.
Every proper Christian Scientist has to buy and own (and canvass for) Science and Health (one hundred and eighty thousand words), and he must also own a Bible (one million words). He can buy the one for from three to six dollars, and the other for fifteen cents. Or, if three dollars is all the money he has, he can get his Bible for nothing. When the Supreme Being disseminates a saving Message through uninspired agents—the New Testament, for instance—it can be done for five cents a copy, but when He sends one containing only two-thirds as many words through the shop of a Divine Personage, it costs sixty times as much. I think that in matters of such importance it is bad economy to employ a wild-cat agency.
Here are some figures which are perfectly authentic, and which seem to justify my opinion.
"These [Bible] societies, inspired only by a sense of religious duty, are issuing the Bible at a price so small that they have made it the cheapest book printed. For example, the American Bible Society offers an edition of the whole Bible as low as fifteen cents and the New Testament at five cents, and the British Society at sixpence and one penny, respectively. These low prices, made possible by their policy of selling the books at cost or below cost," etc.—New York Sun, February 25, 1903.
We may now make a final footing-up of Mrs. Eddy, and see what she is, in the fulness of her powers. She is
The Massachusetts Metaphysical College Pastor Emeritus; President; Board of Directors; Board of Education; Board of Lectureships; Future Board of Trustees, Proprietor of the Publishing-House and Periodicals; Treasurer; Clerk; Proprietor of the Teachers; Proprietor of the Lecturers; Proprietor of the Missionaries; Proprietor of the Readers; Dictator of the Services; sole Voice of the Pulpit; Proprietor of the Sanhedrin; Sole Proprietor of the Creed. (Copyrighted.); Indisputable Autocrat of the Branch Churches, with their life and death in her hands; Sole Thinker for The First Church (and the others); Sole and Infallible Expounder of Doctrine, in life and in death; Sole permissible Discoverer, Denouncer, Judge, and Executioner of Ostensible Hypnotists; Fifty-handed God of Excommunication—with a thunderbolt in every hand; Appointer and Installer of the Pastor of all the Churches—the Perpetual Pastor-Universal, Science and Health, "the Comforter."
There she stands-painted by herself. No witness but herself has been allowed to testify. She stands there painted by her acts, and decorated by her words. When she talks, she has only a decorative value as a witness, either for or against herself, for she deals mainly in unsupported assertion; and in the rare cases where she puts forward a verifiable fact she gets out of it a meaning which it refuses to furnish to anybody else. Also, when she talks, she is unstable, she wanders, she is incurably inconsistent; what she says to-day she contradicts tomorrow.
But her acts are consistent. They are always faithful to her, they never misinterpret her, they are a mirror which always reflects her exactly, precisely, minutely, unerringly, and always the same, to date, with only those progressive little natural changes in stature, dress, complexion, mood, and carriage that mark—exteriorly—the march of the years and record the accumulations of experience, while—interiorly—through all this steady drift of evolution the one essential detail, the commanding detail, the master detail of the make-up remains as it was in the beginning, suffers no change and can suffer none; the basis of the character; the temperament, the disposition, that indestructible iron framework upon which the character is built, and whose shape it must take, and keep, throughout life. We call it a person's nature.
The man who is born stingy can be taught to give liberally—with his hands; but not with his heart. The man born kind and compassionate can have that disposition crushed down out of sight by embittering experience; but if it were an organ the post-mortem would find it still in his corpse. The man born ambitious of power and glory may live long without finding it out, but when the opportunity comes he will know, will strike for the largest thing within the limit of his chances at the time-constable, perhaps—and will be glad and proud when he gets it, and will write home about it. But he will not stop with that start; his appetite will come again; and by-and-by again, and yet again; and when he has climbed to police commissioner it will at last begin to dawn upon him that what his Napoleon soul wants and was born for is something away higher up—he does not quite know what, but Circumstance and Opportunity will indicate the direction and he will cut a road through and find out.
I think Mrs. Eddy was born with a far-seeing business-eye, but did not know it; and with a great organizing and executive talent, and did not know it; and with a large appetite for power and distinction, and did not know it. I think the reason that her make did not show up until middle life was that she had General Grant's luck—Circumstance and Opportunity did not come her way when she was younger. The qualities that were born in her had to wait for circumstance and opportunity—but they were there: they were there to stay, whether they ever got a chance to fructify or not. If they had come early, they would have found her ready and competent. And they—not she—would have determined what they would set her at and what they would make of her. If they had elected to commission her as second-assistant cook in a bankrupt boarding-house, I know the rest of it—I know what would have happened. She would have owned the boarding-house within six months; she would have had the late proprietor on salary and humping himself, as the worldly say; she would have had that boarding-house spewing money like a mint; she would have worked the servants and the late landlord up to the limit; she would have squeezed the boarders till they wailed, and by some mysterious quality born in her she would have kept the affections of certain of the lot whose love and esteem she valued, and flung the others down the back area; in two years she would own all the boarding-houses in the town, in five all the boarding-houses in the State, in twenty all the hotels in America, in forty all the hotels on the planet, and would sit at home with her finger on a button and govern the whole combination as easily as a bench-manager governs a dog-show.
It would be a grand thing to see, and I feel a kind of disappointment —but never mind, a religion is better and larger; and there is more to it. And I have not been steeping myself in Christian Science all these weeks without finding out that the one sensible thing to do with a disappointment is to put it out of your mind and think of something cheerfuler.
We outsiders cannot conceive of Mrs. Eddy's Christian Science Religion as being a sudden and miraculous birth, but only as a growth from a seed planted by circumstances, and developed stage by stage by command and compulsion of the same force. What the stages were we cannot know, but are privileged to guess. She may have gotten the mental-healing idea from Quimby—it had been experimented with for ages, and was no one's special property. [For the present, for convenience' sake, let us proceed upon the hypothesis that that was all she got of him, and that she put up the rest of the assets herself. This will strain us, but let us try it.] In each and all its forms and under all its many names, mental healing had had limits, always, and they were rather narrow ones —Mrs. Eddy, let us imagine, removed the fence, abolished the frontiers. Not by expanding mental-healing, but by absorbing its small bulk into the vaster bulk of Christian Science—Divine Science, The Holy Ghost, the Comforter—which was a quite different and sublimer force, and one which had long lain dormant and unemployed.
The Christian Scientist believes that the Spirit of God (life and love) pervades the universe like an atmosphere; that whoso will study Science and Health can get from it the secret of how to inhale that transforming air; that to breathe it is to be made new; that from the new man all sorrow, all care, all miseries of the mind vanish away, for that only peace, contentment and measureless joy can live in that divine fluid; that it purifies the body from disease, which is a vicious creation of the gross human mind, and cannot continue to exist in the presence of the Immortal Mind, the renewing Spirit of God.
The Scientist finds this reasonable, natural, and not harder to believe than that the disease germ, a creature of darkness, perishes when exposed to the light of the great sun—a new revelation of profane science which no one doubts. He reminds us that the actinic ray, shining upon lupus, cures it—a horrible disease which was incurable fifteen years ago, and had been incurable for ten million years before; that this wonder, unbelievable by the physicians at first, is believed by them now; and so he is tranquilly confident that the time is coming when the world will be educated up to a point where it will comprehend and grant that the light of the Spirit of God, shining unobstructed upon the soul, is an actinic ray which can purge both mind and body from disease and set them free and make them whole.
It is apparent, then, that in Christian Science it is not one man's mind acting upon another man's mind that heals; that it is solely the Spirit of God that heals; that the healer's mind performs no office but to convey that force to the patient; that it is merely the wire which carries the electric fluid, so to speak, and delivers the message. Therefore, if these things be true, mental-healing and Science-healing are separate and distinct processes, and no kinship exists between them.
To heal the body of its ills and pains is a mighty benefaction, but in our day our physicians and surgeons work a thousand miracles—prodigies which would have ranked as miracles fifty years ago—and they have so greatly extended their domination over disease that we feel so well protected that we are able to look with a good deal of composure and absence of hysterics upon the claims of new competitors in that field.
But there is a mightier benefaction than the healing of the body, and that is the healing of the spirit—which is Christian Science's other claim. So far as I know, so far as I can find out, it makes it good. Personally I have not known a Scientist who did not seem serene, contented, unharassed. I have not found an outsider whose observation of Scientists furnished him a view that differed from my own. Buoyant spirits, comfort of mind, freedom from care these happinesses we all have, at intervals; but in the spaces between, dear me, the black hours! They have put a curse upon the life of every human being I have ever known, young or old. I concede not a single exception. Unless it might be those Scientists just referred to. They may have been playing a part with me; I hope they were not, and I believe they were not.
Time will test the Science's claim. If time shall make it good; if time shall prove that the Science can heal the persecuted spirit of man and banish its troubles and keep it serene and sunny and content—why, then Mrs. Eddy will have a monument that will reach above the clouds. For if she did not hit upon that imperial idea and evolve it and deliver it, its discoverer can never be identified with certainty, now, I think. It is the giant feature, it is the sun that rides in the zenith of Christian Science, the auxiliary features are of minor consequence [Let us still leave the large "if" aside, for the present, and proceed as if it had no existence.]
It is not supposable that Mrs. Eddy realized, at first, the size of her plunder. (No, find—that is the word; she did not realize the size of her find, at first.) It had to grow upon her, by degrees, in accordance with the inalterable custom of Circumstance, which works by stages, and by stages only, and never furnishes any mind with all the materials for a large idea at one time.
In the beginning, Mrs. Eddy was probably interested merely in the mental-healing detail, and perhaps mainly interested in it pecuniary, for she was poor.
She would succeed in anything she undertook. She would attract pupils, and her commerce would grow. She would inspire in patient and pupil confidence in her earnestness, her history is evidence that she would not fail of that.
There probably came a time, in due course, when her students began to think there was something deeper in her teachings than they had been suspecting—a mystery beyond mental-healing, and higher. It is conceivable that by consequence their manner towards her changed little by little, and from respectful became reverent. It is conceivable that this would have an influence upon her; that it would incline her to wonder if their secret thought—that she was inspired—might not be a well-grounded guess. It is conceivable that as time went on the thought in their minds and its reflection in hers might solidify into conviction.
She would remember, then, that as a child she had been called, more than once, by a mysterious voice—just as had happened to little Samuel. (Mentioned in her Autobiography.) She would be impressed by that ancient reminiscence, now, and it could have a prophetic meaning for her.
It is conceivable that the persuasive influences around her and within her would give a new and powerful impulse to her philosophizings, and that from this, in time, would result that great birth, the healing of body and mind by the inpouring of the Spirit of God—the central and dominant idea of Christian Science—and that when this idea came she would not doubt that it was an inspiration direct from Heaven.
[I must rest a little, now. To sit here and painstakingly spin out a scheme which imagines Mrs. Eddy, of all people, working her mind on a plane above commercialism; imagines her thinking, philosophizing, discovering majestic things; and even imagines her dealing in sincerities—to be frank, I find it a large contract But I have begun it, and I will go through with it.]
It is evident that she made disciples fast, and that their belief in her and in the authenticity of her heavenly ambassadorship was not of the lukewarm and half-way sort, but was profoundly earnest and sincere. Her book was issued from the press in 1875, it began its work of convert-making, and within six years she had successfully launched a new Religion and a new system of healing, and was teaching them to crowds of eager students in a College of her own, at prices so extraordinary that we are almost compelled to accept her statement (no, her guarded intimation) that the rates were arranged on high, since a mere human being unacquainted with commerce and accustomed to think in pennies could hardly put up such a hand as that without supernatural help.
From this stage onward—Mrs. Eddy being what she was—the rest of the development—stages would follow naturally and inevitably.
But if she had been anybody else, there would have been a different arrangement of them, with different results. Being the extraordinary person she was, she realized her position and its possibilities; realized the possibilities, and had the daring to use them for all they were worth.
We have seen what her methods were after she passed the stage where her divine ambassadorship was granted its executer in the hearts and minds of her followers; we have seen how steady and fearless and calculated and orderly was her march thenceforth from conquest to conquest; we have seen her strike dead, without hesitancy, any hostile or questionable force that rose in her path: first, the horde of pretenders that sprang up and tried to take her Science and its market away from her—she crushed them, she obliterated them; when her own National Christian Science Association became great in numbers and influence, and loosely and dangerously garrulous, and began to expound the doctrines according to its own uninspired notions, she took up her sponge without a tremor of fear and wiped that Association out; when she perceived that the preachers in her pulpits were becoming afflicted with doctrine-tinkering, she recognized the danger of it, and did not hesitate nor temporize, but promptly dismissed the whole of them in a day, and abolished their office permanently; we have seen that, as fast as her power grew, she was competent to take the measure of it, and that as fast as its expansion suggested to her gradually awakening native ambition a higher step she took it; and so, by this evolutionary process, we have seen the gross money-lust relegated to second place, and the lust of empire and glory rise above it. A splendid dream; and by force of the qualities born in her she is making it come true.
These qualities—and the capacities growing out of them by the nurturing influences of training, observation, and experience seem to be clearly indicated by the character of her career and its achievements. They seem to be:
A clear head for business, and a phenomenally long one; Clear understanding of business situations; Accuracy in estimating the opportunities they offer; Intelligence in planning a business move; Firmness in sticking to it after it has been decided upon; Extraordinary daring; Indestructible persistency; Devouring ambition; Limitless selfishness; A knowledge of the weaknesses and poverties and docilities of human nature and how to turn them to account which has never been surpassed, if ever equalled;
And—necessarily—the foundation-stone of Mrs. Eddy's character is a never-wavering confidence in herself.
It is a granite character. And—quite naturally—a measure of the talc of smallnesses common to human nature is mixed up in it and distributed through it. When Mrs. Eddy is not dictating servilities from her throne in the clouds to her official domestics in Boston or to her far-spread subjects round about the planet, but is down on the ground, she is kin to us and one of us: sentimental as a girl, garrulous, ungrammatical, incomprehensible, affected, vain of her little human ancestry, unstable, inconsistent, unreliable in statement, and naively and everlastingly self-contradictory-oh, trivial and common and commonplace as the commonest of us! just a Napoleon as Madame de Remusat saw him, a brass god with clay legs.
In drawing Mrs. Eddy's portrait it has been my purpose to restrict myself to materials furnished by herself, and I believe I have done that. If I have misinterpreted any of her acts, it was not done intentionally.
It will be noticed that in skeletonizing a list of the qualities which have carried her to the dizzy summit which she occupies, I have not mentioned the power which was the commanding force employed in achieving that lofty flight. It did not belong in that list; it was a force that was not a detail of her character, but was an outside one. It was the power which proceeded from her people's recognition of her as a supernatural personage, conveyer of the Latest Word, and divinely commissioned to deliver it to the world. The form which such a recognition takes, consciously or unconsciously, is worship; and worship does not question nor criticize, it obeys. The object of it does not need to coddle it, bribe it, beguile it, reason with it, convince it—it commands it; that is sufficient; the obedience rendered is not reluctant, but prompt and whole-hearted. Admiration for a Napoleon, confidence in him, pride in him, affection for him, can lift him high and carry him far; and these are forms of worship, and are strong forces, but they are worship of a mere human being, after all, and are infinitely feeble, as compared with those that are generated by that other worship, the worship of a divine personage. Mrs. Eddy has this efficient worship, this massed and centralized force, this force which is indifferent to opposition, untroubled by fear, and goes to battle singing, like Cromwell's soldiers; and while she has it she can command and it will obey, and maintain her on her throne, and extend her empire.
She will have it until she dies; and then we shall see a curious and interesting further development of her revolutionary work begin.
The President and Board of Directors will succeed her, and the government will go on without a hitch. The By-laws will bear that interpretation. All the Mother-Church's vast powers are concentrated in that Board. Mrs. Eddy's unlimited personal reservations make the Board's ostensible supremacy, during her life, a sham, and the Board itself a shadow. But Mrs. Eddy has not made those reservations for any one but herself—they are distinctly personal, they bear her name, they are not usable by another individual. When she dies her reservations die, and the Board's shadow-powers become real powers, without the change of any important By-law, and the Board sits in her place as absolute and irresponsible a sovereign as she was.
It consists of but five persons, a much more manageable Cardinalate than the Roman Pope's. I think it will elect its Pope from its own body, and that it will fill its own vacancies. An elective Papacy is a safe and wise system, and a long-liver.
We may take that up now.
It is not a single if, but a several-jointed one; not an oyster, but a vertebrate.
1. Did Mrs. Eddy borrow from Quimby the Great Idea, or only the little one, the old-timer, the ordinary mental-healing-healing by "mortal" mind?
2. If she borrowed the Great Idea, did she carry it away in her head, or in manuscript?
3. Did she hit upon the Great Idea herself? By the Great Idea I mean, of course, the conviction that the Force involved was still existent, and could be applied now just as it was applied by Christ's Disciples and their converts, and as successfully. 4. Did she philosophize it, systematize it, and write it down in a book?
5. Was it she, and not another, that built a new Religion upon the book and organized it?
I think No. 5 can be answered with a Yes, and dismissed from the controversy. And I think that the Great Idea, great as it was, would have enjoyed but a brief activity, and would then have gone to sleep again for some more centuries, but for the perpetuating impulse it got from that organized and tremendous force.
As for Nos. 1, 2, and 4, the hostiles contend that Mrs. Eddy got the Great Idea from Quimby and carried it off in manuscript. But their testimony, while of consequence, lacks the most important detail; so far as my information goes, the Quimby manuscript has not been produced. I think we cannot discuss No. 1 and No. 2 profitably. Let them go.
For me, No. 3 has a mild interest, and No. 4 a violent one.
As regards No. 3, Mrs. Eddy was brought up, from the cradle, an old-time, boiler-iron, Westminster-Catechism Christian, and knew her Bible as well as Captain Kydd knew his, "when he sailed, when he sailed," and perhaps as sympathetically. The Great Idea had struck a million Bible-readers before her as being possible of resurrection and application—it must have struck as many as that, and been cogitated, indolently, doubtingly, then dropped and forgotten—and it could have struck her, in due course. But how it could interest her, how it could appeal to her—with her make this a thing that is difficult to understand.
For the thing back of it is wholly gracious and beautiful: the power, through loving mercifulness and compassion, to heal fleshly ills and pains and grief—all—with a word, with a touch of the hand! This power was given by the Saviour to the Disciples, and to all the converted. All—every one. It was exercised for generations afterwards. Any Christian who was in earnest and not a make-believe, not a policy —Christian, not a Christian for revenue only, had that healing power, and could cure with it any disease or any hurt or damage possible to human flesh and bone. These things are true, or they are not. If they were true seventeen and eighteen and nineteen centuries ago it would be difficult to satisfactorily explain why or how or by what argument that power should be nonexistent in Christians now.
To wish to exercise it could occur to Mrs. Eddy—but would it?
Grasping, sordid, penurious, famishing for everything she sees—money, power, glory—vain, untruthful, jealous, despotic, arrogant, insolent, pitiless where thinkers and hypnotists are concerned, illiterate, shallow, incapable of reasoning outside of commercial lines, immeasurably selfish—
Of course the Great Idea could strike her, we have to grant that, but why it should interest her is a question which can easily overstrain the imagination and bring on nervous prostration, or something like that, and is better left alone by the judicious, it seems to me—
Unless we call to our help the alleged other side of Mrs. Eddy's make and character the side which her multitude of followers see, and sincerely believe in. Fairness requires that their view be stated here. It is the opposite of the one which I have drawn from Mrs. Eddy's history and from her By-laws. To her followers she is this:
Patient, gentle, loving, compassionate, noble hearted, unselfish, sinless, widely cultured, splendidly equipped mentally, a profound thinker, an able writer, a divine personage, an inspired messenger whose acts are dictated from the Throne, and whose every utterance is the Voice of God.
She has delivered to them a religion which has revolutionized their lives, banished the glooms that shadowed them, and filled them and flooded them with sunshine and gladness and peace; a religion which has no hell; a religion whose heaven is not put off to another time, with a break and a gulf between, but begins here and now, and melts into eternity as fancies of the waking day melt into the dreams of sleep.
They believe it is a Christianity that is in the New Testament; that it has always been there, that in the drift of ages it was lost through disuse and neglect, and that this benefactor has found it and given it back to men, turning the night of life into day, its terrors into myths, its lamentations into songs of emancipation and rejoicing.
There we have Mrs. Eddy as her followers see her. She has lifted them out of grief and care and doubt and fear, and made their lives beautiful; she found them wandering forlorn in a wintry wilderness, and has led them to a tropic paradise like that of which the poet sings:
"O, islands there are on the face of the deep Where the leaves never fade and the skies never weep."
To ask them to examine with a microscope the character of such a benefactor; to ask them to examine it at all; to ask them to look at a blemish which another person believes he has found in it—well, in their place could you do it? Would you do it? Wouldn't you be ashamed to do it? If a tramp had rescued your child from fire and death, and saved its mother's heart from breaking, could you see his rags? Could you smell his breath? Mrs. Eddy has done more than that for these people.
They are prejudiced witnesses. To the credit of human nature it is not possible that they should be otherwise. They sincerely believe that Mrs. Eddy's character is pure and perfect and beautiful, and her history without stain or blot or blemish. But that does not settle it. They sincerely believe she did not borrow the Great Idea from Quimby, but hit upon it herself. It may be so, and it could be so. Let it go—there is no way to settle it. They believe she carried away no Quimby manuscripts. Let that go, too—there is no way to settle it. They believe that she, and not another, built the Religion upon the book, and organized it. I believe it, too.