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Christian Science

( Originally Published 1921 )

IN the year 1828 the school board of Lancaster, Ohio, addressed the following letter to a debating society of young men:

"You are welcome to the use of the school house to debate all proper questions in, but such things as railroads and telegraphs are impossible and rank infidelity. There is nothing in the word of God about them. If God had designed that His intelligent creatures should travel at the frightful speed of fifteen miles an hour by steam, He would have clearly foretold through His holy prophets. It is a device of Satan to lead immortal souls down to hell."

This is a reminder of the declaration of Lombroso, that "man is by nature the enemy of innovation."

If this letter instead of saying in general terms that the railway and telegraph were a device of Satan, had followed the usual custom by specifically uttering a libelous attack on the character and motives of Morse and Stephenson; if it had violated every rule of justice, honor, and loving kindness for the purpose of misrepresenting the intent and declarations of these discoverers and had done it in order to discredit them before the world, it would have shown forth the ever-continuing disposition of the human mind to resist its own progress and to thrust martyrdom on every one who is first to discern that which is true. What argument or protest would have prevailed with the dense traditional ignorance which constructed that letter? None. Nothing but demonstration with its persistent assertiveness; nothing but the dynamics of proof will suffice to overwhelm and drive such mental perversity into silence and oblivion.

It is fortunate for mankind that the discoverers and reformers throughout the ages have had the moral courage and superb mental poise which enabled them to endure the storm of antagonism and persecution while they persisted in impressing the facts of being on the world in spite of itself. It is fortunate that these discoverers have known enough to expect that the rude hand of ignorance would strive to thrust back every scientific advance and promise of advance. It is well that they knew it would be folly to attempt to stem the tide of unfriendly bias, or to keep pace, by means of dispute and recrimination, with a bewildering flood of utterances which were unjust or benighted. It is well that the great benefactors of the world have known that there is but one thing that will be sufficient to answer all slander and to put to rout all antagonism. That one thing is justification. The one who has discovered a scientific verity and knows that it is demonstrable may wait, in serene calm, until demonstration justifies him and his cause. If it were not thus, most of them would falter and go down in heart-broken despair, and humanity would either stagnate or revert to barbarism. All the discoveries and inventions which by means of demonstration have forced themselves on a resisting world, have served to show how largely the world was in need. If humanity had rightly heeded these things, it would have realized that it is barely on the threshold of knowledge and really needs to progress indefinitely and constantly in every direction. Its monotone of complaint and lamentation; its tears, poverty, and disaster,—these things are by way of both confession and testimony that mankind is in dire trouble and in supreme need of deliverance.

For nearly two thousand years Christendom, on bended knee, has been a constant petitioner for re-lease. Its attitude of importuning prayer would be irrational and futile, yea, unutterably pitiable, if it were not entitled to response. It has tried many ways and they have failed. If there be a way which is equal to the need, it must be somewhat or wholly different from the ways that have failed. Inasmuch as all ills are the effect of some cause, the only way to get out of trouble is to exterminate the cause. Is there any promise or prospect that this can be done?

Since the day when the serpent learned to talk and beguiled Eve in the garden of Eden, the human family has been confronted and baffled by the problem of evil. The ancients, generally, had no expectation of redemption. They believed that mortals were not only under stress of continuous misery on earth, but that their only hope was of extinction after death. Buddha, Plato, the prophets, and others broke through the terrifying gloom of the ages somewhat and pronounced a hope of amelioration and redemption. Since then the various religions of the world have found favor in proportion to the redemptive promise which they included. A survey of the philosophies and religions of all time reveals that when the teaching and demonstrations of Christ are considered as a unit, then primitive Christianity is found to stand alone as the promise and proof of complete redemption of all men from all evil, including sickness. Jesus clearly told his followers that they could not understand him, and it is evident that they had a very limited sense of his mission and teaching. Nevertheless, they continued for three centuries to heal the sick and to do mighty works, and then, gradually, it was all lost to them through disobedience, and the invidious degradation of the moral and spiritual status of the Christians themselves.

For fifteen centuries afterward, in the name of Christianity, people devised numerous creeds and formed many sects, no two of which were alike or in a state of unity. Not one of all the number included the declaration or assumption that Jesus' healing work was in accord with natural law and was available to all men at all times, according to scientific and unmysterious rule and modus. Not one asserted that Jesus' way was the only right way to heal the sick and that such healing is an absolute essential of genuine Christian practice.

Today more than one hundred Christian sects are in activity, each one differing from all the others and all manifesting more or less religious antipathy and confusion of creed. It goes without argument, that this aloofness of one hundred denominations from Christian unity, really indicates that they do not adequately or correctly represent the Christianity of Christ. There surely is the exact indivisible truth about it all; there must be the science of Christianity, or Christian Science.

During the last century the religion denominated Christian Science appeared on the human scene and added one more to the long list of those sects which were already in a state of disagreement. In accordance with the inveterate custom, it was in-hospitably received. The rude ethics which governs in such cases grants privilege for the rough handling of a new religion which claims to present that which others have long prayed for, namely, a basis for Christian unity. The fact that Christian Science has stirred the ire of those who are reluctant to change their minds and of those who never change their minds is not so much to be wondered at. The religion which for generations has held to the belief in the damnation of unbaptized infants can scarcely approve of Christian Science, which denies that God has inflicted any such penalty on an irresponsible babe. The one who believes that God created a devil or something that became a devil in time to destroy the first man and woman, and that He provided an eternal hell and perpetual anguish for those who have committed finite offenses, and that He has even foreordained that most of His children shall be damned; such a believer as this cannot tolerate Christian Science, which repudiates this impeachment of divine Love. Those who believe that God has instituted disease, for any reason, and who believe disease to be an essential concomitant of the divine economy, have no love and scant courtesy for Christian Science which declares that God does no evil and does not cooperate with it for any purpose whatever. The hard attrition which occurs in the alembic of religious and philosophic conflict maketh the heart of humanity sick, but it were useless to repine. It will go on and on until Christ reigns and his own prophecy shall have been fulfilled, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Every promise of Christian Science converges at the possibility and availability of complete, ample redemption from all evil; from sickness and poverty; insanity and pain, as well as from sin. The incomparable hope and prospect which it presents to the one who is in trouble is greater than that which is included in all other schools of religion, philosophy, and science combined, but not greater than the promise of Christ, and not greater than the promise of actual Christianity should be. If they were not of possible fulfilment, then mankind would be irretrievably doomed.

Inasmuch as the purpose of this article is to declare the practical benefit which Christian Science confers, let us consider the prodigious value of that which displaces fear and despair and opens up for the distracted invalid a vista at whose end is joy instead of a tomb.

The chief torment of human living is fear. It causes nearly all sin, disease, and pain, and disfigures human existence throughout its entire range. The Bible warns us to cast it out; to "fear not," to "be not afraid." Christian Science alone explains this phenomenon and its illegitimate origin and tenure, and alone of all the world's teaching, it explains how fear may be abolished. The redemption of the race begins at this point, "be not afraid," "I have overcome the world." The primary fear of mortals is concerning God and man's relation to God. It is fear that has its rise in the supposition that God has ordained and procured much of our own distress and our dreaded fate. It is because of the theory of a divine dualism of both good and evil; the belief that God is intent upon the death of man and is given meantime to anger, wrath, and retribution. This widespread and ingrained fear, like the sword of Damocles, has hung portentously over the human consciousness for centuries and untold millions have died because of it who might have prolonged their lives had they known that God is Love.

After these long centuries Christian Science pleads with the world to learn that this tragic conception of God is utterly wrong. The command, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" means thou shalt have no god but the one that is infinitely good; none but the one that is Life and means life. None other than the one who "created man that he might have being;" the man who for that reason has a right to live.

Christian Science declares that there is one infinite entity,—one supreme and adequate noumenon; one all-knowing, divine intelligence or Mind; one individual and self-existent Deity, who is the basis, foundation, cause, origin, source, and Principle of all that has actual existence; one infinity of good, Life, Truth, and Love,—and it declares that this in-finite One, who has done all things well, is God and is alone entitled to be called God. It declares that the substance of God and His creation is Spirit and that our spiritually perfect God is not only the sole creator, but is the only law, power, and presence in the realm of the real.

The entire structure of Christian Science rests consistently on this basis, and it necessarily repudiates all assumption that the deific nature includes any evil or necessity for the employment of evil in order to be God and to govern His kingdom.

A practical salvation can proceed from a practical God only. If God included both good and evil, the only offspring would be chaos and pandemonium. It may be assumed that in the main Christian people will sanction all of this statement about God except the averment that God is not implicated in evil, but there are many who do not believe there is a God or that the universe has been created by Spirit. They cling to the belief that the "first cause" of the universe is material and that the phenomena thereof are procured by a process of evolution. By denying the statement that an individual intelligent God is the author of all that really exists, they deny the entire structure of Christian Science. There are very many reasons why Christian Scientists are reconciled to the spiritual or mental life basis instead of a material hypothesis, and by way of support thereof, the following analysis is presented:

A cause cannot produce an effect superior to itself. An effect cannot excel or show forth any phenomenon which is unlike its cause. An effect or phenomenon cannot by evolutionary process improve itself, or improve upon its cause. Man exists at the standpoint of effect. He did not produce himself and is not a state of self-existence. Every man exhibits intelligence, which is also the effect of some cause. Matter is non-intelligence; it not only is not an instance of self-existence, but it cannot create anything. It certainly cannot produce intelligence nor has it any process by which non-intelligence can become intelligence. The irresistible conclusion is that the creator of an intelligent man is an intelligent creator.

The divine nature and law were manifested to humanity through Christ Jesus. He represented and was governed by the Mind which is God. Herein is the divinity of Christ. The world has minimized and obscured the splendid significance of his mission by veiling it with mystery and emotion. Christian Science teaches that Christ's work was absolutely practical, in demonstration of divine purpose and the enforcement of divine or natural law. He did everything that was done in the only right way and his way and proof show conclusively that there is something that will heal the sick and master the evils which afflict humanity. Christian Science pleads for the recognition of the scientific nature of his knowledge and purpose, the scientific nature of his analyses and teaching, and the lawful nature of his modus operandi. He knew that disease was an illegitimate abnormity which was contrary to God and had no right to exist. He knew that the so-called law of disease is spurious. His whole process was one of expulsion or extermination of disease and its rule. He clearly indicated that this process was of universal application, utility, and availability.

For forty years Mrs. Eddy has been insisting that the divine Mind which is God is the supreme power of the universe and that the power which was equal to the procurement of the universe, including man, is equal to the cure of disease. She insists that Christ Jesus is proof of the availability of this divine, supreme power, and is proof that the divine law, which is present wherever the sick may be, is contrary to disease and may be so enforced as to expel it by a scientific process. She declared and proved that the primary cause or essence of disease originated in the mental realm and is erroneously continued mentally.

Mrs. Eddy solved the problem of causation, and this solution has made it possible for humanity gradually to become the master of sickness by a process of elimination.

In the first issue of her textbook, Science and Health, she stated the Science of "Christian Science" and the rule for demonstration. There has been no change whatever in these primary statements, but she constantly changes words for the purpose of making it simpler for the reader to understand what she means. Every one knows the difficulty in using ordinary terminology to express spiritual Truth so that the reader will comprehend the text in its highest meaning. Mrs. Eddy has repeatedly declared the truth about her discovery; the originality of her book and of her scientific exposition of the mission of Christ. If anything were needed to confirm her statements, it would be found in the fact that all the books and papers that were published or exhibited prior to her book do not contain enough of Christian Science to make one page of Science and Health. Moreover, no book or manuscript ever contained five hundred consecutive words that did not betray a radical and irreconcilable difference from "Science and Health" and from Christian Science as she teaches it.

The effect of her discovery and teaching on the human race is seen in the fact that religious, philosophic, and scientific teaching is all drifting toward the scientific verities for which she has con-tended, and in the fact that ministers, physicians, dentists, teachers, lawyers, and others from among the professional and commercial classes are espousing Christian Science and its teaching. The most palpable indication of the practical benefits that are being derived through Christian Science practice is that afforded by the multitude of people who insistently bear witness to such benefits. The Christian Science churches hold mid-week meetings every Wednesday night. Nearly all protestant churches hold such weekly meetings, at which the members acknowledge the benefits they have received through Christianity, particularly describing their deliverance from sin and vice. At the Christian Science meetings those present testify that they have been healed of sickness as well as of sin and vice and almost every other form of distress and wretchedness that infests humanity. It is correct to say that on each Wednesday night of the year between five thousand and ten thousand people testify to the healing of bodily impairment and disorder. A number of these are repetitions, but, on the other hand, fully as large a number of cases are never announced in these meetings because many of those who are healed do not attend Christian Science churches at all. Some of the testimonies of those who are healed (say one in five hundred) are written out by them and published in our periodicals for the comfort and encouragement of people who are sick and perhaps despairing. In these meetings where so many people are at liberty without selection to testify, it may be observed that some of the testimonies are trivial and some are over-stated, but after making allowance for such instances of temperamental zeal as well as for the lack of mental discipline or poise, it remains as an unparalleled verity that multitudes of intelligent, upright, and competent men and women are bearing witness to their deliverance from conditions of unspeakable anguish and disability, including practically every disease that is incidental to humanity. None of these testimonies are boastfully presented. If Christian Scientists were inclined to make a vainglorious display, they might secure three hundred thousand affidavits from persons who have been cured of disease, each case of which had been pronounced organic by from one to twenty-five reputable physicians; and if it would not be an execrable violation of good taste and good manners, the names of the physicians might be given in each case together with collateral testimony.

In the early stages of Christian Science practice, it was deemed expedient by its opponents to deny the healing in toto. Later, and recently, it has been thought expedient to admit the healing and to try to dissipate its significance by declaring that the maladies were all nervous or functional, trivial and inconsequential. The many medical theories as to the primary cause and the cure of disease are so widely different as to be well nigh intolerable to each other. The theory of Christian Science is like-wise unlike all the others. Nevertheless, for the purpose of explaining the service of Christian Science in human behalf rather than in a mood of controversy, let it be declared that diseases may be generally classified as functional and organic. Also that because some functional forms merge into organic forms, there may be times when it is difficult to determine the type against which one needs to contend. This is not the case, however, with hernia, tumors, external malignant cancers, total blindness, and many others that easily may be discerned and determined. In any event, it seems to be a doubtful expedient to impeach the entire medical profession in order to belittle Christian Science. This surely would be the case if it were declared that physicians indiscriminately employed had made a mistake in every one of the three hundred thousand cases which had found their way to Christian Science. If all the physical improprieties that are experienced, from a slight pain in the finger tip to death, were to be disregarded; if the patients were to have no recourse to any adventitious means, such as material or mental remedies, or anything else; if the patients were to do nothing, and particularly if they were to "be not afraid," then seventy-five per cent of them would recover spontaneously according to the rule which at present governs in the case. A large pro-portion of the cases which are treated by medical processes, Christian Science, and otherwise, would recover if the patients simply waited to get well with-out any professional aid.

The real test of the efficacy of any curative system is not exhibited by what it will do for a man who has a right to recover without any interposition, but by that which it will do for the man who has been pronounced incurable. It would be simple enough for one who is in the mood to explore the Christian Science testimonies and to find one hundred or one thousand that indicated nothing but functional disorders, and then to say that these are the cases which Christian Science has some effect upon. Or if another person with a different purpose in hand were to seek, he might find one hundred or one thousand which declared the healing of organic diseases only, and he might with equal propriety say that Christian Science treatment was confined to organic cases. In such event both of them or either one would be wrong and possibly reprehensible. Considering this matter further, it is to be said that if either were to insinuate that a community of people who do not use one testimony in five hundred was under the necessity or disposition to manufacture fraudulent testimony, the imputation would be insufferably cheap. It is not a matter of controversy but of fact, and the fact is that Christian Science has effected the cure of diseases that have never been cured by any other means since history dipped its pen to record the annals of this race.

The crusade of Christian Science against sickness is because sickness has no right to invade or harass mankind. It has been unrighteously imposed and it is being established by proof that, scientifically considered, there is no such thing as incurable disease. The admission that drugs will not heal certain diseases is a negation; it is not conclusive. Dr. William A. Hammond is much more scientific in his recent assertion that there is no physiological reason why the body of a man should die.

It is now generally admitted that such mental states as hatred, fear, remorse, and anger will cause functional disturbances of the body. For the same reason that fear or hatred will distort the face of a man, it may distort the liver. Physicians declare that anger will arrest digestion, or cause cerebral congestion, or constipation, or disturb the bladder or kidneys and the secretions, or affect the heart; in-deed that it might procure all of these conditions in one patient at the same time.

Whatever the diagnosis may be, it is true that every symptom is the effect of some cause and the cause is anger or fear as the case may be. The mat-ter physician is taught to discern the physical symptoms, and the metaphysician is taught to men-tally discern the cause. In order to destroy the effect called disease, the cause must be abolished. If the cause to be annulled is anger, it matters not whether the symptom is headache or palpitation of the heart, and in any case the supreme power of the universe, the power of Mind, is proving to be more efficacious than a mustard plaster.

The practice of Christian Science has been in vogue for more than a generation. In recent years a large proportion of cases of the acute type comes under Christian Science treatment, but in the earlier years nearly all the cases were of the chronic or organic type. While it is asserted that Christian Science as a "thing in itself" is competent to rid humanity of disease and will in time accomplish that end, the practitioners themselves do not pretend as yet to have fully mastered this healing art. They do not pretend to be entirely immune from sickness, but it is positively true that a large part of the admitted success has been with cases that others have tried to heal and failed or else have said a cure was impossible. It is also true that most patients do not turn to Christian Science except as a last resort after everything else has failed.

There have been failures, and these have been magnified and exaggerated because failures under this practice are regarded as sensational events. If, however, these failures are compared with the fifty million cases that die annually in spite of material means, the number and ratio of failures under Christian Science will be seen to be infinitesimal.

The great success of the healing work has attracted the attention of the exponents of the different phases of mental manipulation, and proposals are made to coalesce or combine with them so as to accomplish healing in some other way than that which we pursue. It is useless to expect Christian Science to form any coalition with any system unlike itself, because it is impossible to do so. It would be as difficult as to establish a chemical union between a pail of water and a pail of sand. It is not a question of amiability or catholicity or good fellow-ship. All the systems or theories confess their in-competency to cure certain organic diseases, whereas Christian Science promises to abolish them. A combination of Christian Science and medical practice or any of the phases of hypnotic suggestion would result in a house divided against itself. For the reason that Christian Science is competent, it needs no extraneous reinforcements. On the other hand, it is scarcely to be expected that two incompetent systems would be any better than one that is incompetent. Christian Scientists never molest nor seek to hinder any one who is intent on the endeavor to abolish sin and disease, but we who understand Christian Science and are satisfied with it have nothing to do but cling to that which has delivered us from unspeakable depths and has fulfilled its promise of redemption.

Although Mrs. Eddy announced from the beginning that the primary object is to effect a moral reform and to advance the race to a higher standard of morality and to more righteous living, it has transpired that because Christian Science has brought to light the scientific fact of man's dominion over evil, the Christian Scientists are bringing to pass better conditions in all the departments of life.

The subject of Christian Science is vast; indeed it is infinite. The textbook of six hundred pages presents the Principle and rule, but the limitless amplification thereof would fill eternity. Nothing less than a careful, long-continued study of the textbook in good faith qualifies any one to pass judgment on the subject. Contributions to newspapers and periodicals, pamphlets, and conversations on the subject do not afford an adequate basis for proper conclusions.

The Christian Scientists do not demur because other people cling to their own opinions or because they discuss Christian Science, but the many articles that are written in an unfriendly vein are devoid of value because they invariably display a misapprehension of what Christian Science really is. For this reason it is necessary to refute the misstatements, not for the purpose of controversy and dispute, but in order that the public may consider the statements of its friends as well as of its opponents. Humanity permits itself to wage a fierce and ruthless conflict at each step on the highway of its experience. Every right idea which impresses itself on the consciousness of men does so after resisting a warfare which disregards the human sensibilities and omits all compassion in its choice of means. The history of every reform confirms the statement that mortal man "is by nature the enemy of innovation." Mrs. Eddy has been no exception to the universal rule. She was wise enough long ago to deny categorically the essential misstatements concerning her purpose and her work. She was spiritually minded enough to rise above a sense of injury, sorrow, and self-pity be-cause of grievous wrongs, but having done this and having cancelled all resentment or desire for reprisal, she has ceased to deny the time-worn imputations and has refrained from further denials, discussions, and controversies. She has also requested that other Scientists will refrain absolutely from all else except simple statement of fact concerning her without effort to placate those who are willing to wound her and without denying any further the oft-denied allegations of those who are unfriendly. Mrs. Eddy was born in an atmosphere of piety and religious devotion such as was incidental to the New England home nearly a century ago. She was a church member from her early youth and throughout her life has been an earnest, diligent Christian woman. Since her discovery and proof, she has devoted herself for forty years to the work of presenting the facts of Christian Science and demonstrating its consummate blessedness.

She stands before the world in joint effort with all good people to effect a moral transformation of the race. She insists that its poverty, sin, disease, and the tumult of its life may be overcome, and that the man who has the right to life, peace, health and prosperity may possess them. She does this in the name of the infinite One who is God—who is Spirit or Mind and who is good. She does it in the name of Christ Jesus who demonstrated the law and will of God. She does it in the name of a pure, competent, irresistible Christianity which is entitled to show forth complete salvation. No one who was not compelled by deep love toward God and compassion toward man would have endured the travail of this ministry. Earth has no compensation to bestow upon her, which can possibly offset the storms that have beaten upon her devoted head.

After forty years of striving, far out at the front of human conflict and in the glare of human criticism, what is the result of her single-handed crusade for an afflicted race? The result is that more than one million people are ready to testify that through this ministry and mission, they have been lifted out of abnormal depths of calamity and woe.

For all this, we who are Christian Scientists, be-stow upon her our reasonable gratitude, esteem, and confidence, and we lovingly rejoice because of the limitless value of Christian Science with its gentle impulsion and ever-growing kindliness of aspect.

Answer to attacks on Christian Science in McClure's Magazine, publication of which was declined.

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