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Mind, and no mind in matter; no nerves in Intelligence, and no intelligence in nerves; matter in Life, and no life in matter; no matter in Good, and no good in matter" (p. 7). We take leave to add one other illustration: Black is White; the converse of which is, to say the least of it, as true as the proposition itself. But, in the long run, the test to which Mrs Eddy appeals is the successful cure of illness -"the adaptation of truth to the treatment of disease"-or, in other words, "metaphysical healing" (p. 1).
In support of her pretensions as an effective healer, Mrs Eddy, although she has "never believed in receiving certificates or presenting testimonials of (p. 86), is nevertheless kind enough to favour us with a few such certificates or testimonials. As might have been anticipated, they have all the true death-cured-in-six-doses ring about them, and differ materially neither in tone nor substance from the tributes paid by grateful railway guards or old wives to the sovereign virtues of Glanders's Blue Boluses for Bilious Bounders, or any other proprietary remedy. Far be it from us to challenge the good faith of such evidence. We have no means or opportunity of sifting it, and indeed have no desire to do so. It might be pointed out as a singular feature that the cures, instead of being absolutely instantaneous, seem to require two or three days for completion. But we are perfectly willing
to take for granted the correctness of any number of similar "yarns" which any Christian Science quack may choose to spin; and we proceed to ask, What, on Mrs Mrs Eddy's own principles, do such stories prove?
Observe her chain of reasoning. Any given disease is a disease, not of the body, but of the mind. It manifests itself, however, in certain bodily symptoms. "A change of belief changes all the physical symptoms, and determines a case for better or worse (p. 90). Mrs Eddy, we shall suppose, is called in to attend a patient, and from his physical appearance she has no difficulty in inferring that he has measles in his mind. She applies a high attenuation of truth. rash disappears; the nose desists from running; the eyes cease to water; the patient gets up and goes about his ordinary occupations. Mrs Eddy infers that his mind is cured of measles; and she draws that inference once more from the symptoms presented by his body. But her only source of information as to those symptoms is her physical senses"the five personal falsities" whose evidence is radically erroneous, and whose testimony it is the business of science to
reverse. When Mrs Eddy, accordingly, sees that the physical symptoms of measles have disappeared, she is bound in consistency to infer that the mind is more measly than ever. When, on the contrary, the symptoms become more marked and alarming, she is bound to
infer that the mind is convalescent. She cannot be allowed to approbate and reprobate; and thus, if her record of successful cures proves anything, it demonstrates that the patients were truly in much worse case after her treatment than they had been before. It is all, to be sure, the most imbecile nonsense; but if you profess to go in for logic and for scientific deduction or induction, you must abide by the rules of the game, and not play fast and loose with your fundamental propositions.
It is only fair to say that Mrs Eddy makes a considerable parade of the ethical side of her teaching, and lashes sin and vice with great heartiness; which seems rather a waste of time, inasmuch as sin and vice, on Mrs Eddy's showing, are mere illusions, and do not really exist. At the worst, we should have thought that they could be "vanished," as conjurors say, by thinking them to be goodness and virtue. However that may be, it is satisfactory to note that "Christian Science pre-eminently promotes affection and virtue in families, and therefore in the community" (p. 283). We cannot honestly say that the precepts of Christian Science in this aspect are of a highly novel or original character. Unselfishness, temperance, meekness, charity, and the like have been inculcated by most moralists with remarkable unanimity since the beginning of the Christian dispensation, and even before it; and we have failed to discover that Christian Science suggests a
single new motive for putting the virtues which it recommends
into practice. We strongly suspect, however, that the real attraction of Mrs Eddy's nostrum lies in the practical department as illustrated in "metaphysical healing." It is not so much that this branch holds out inducements of a pecuniary nature. It may be the case that business men have found that Christian Science "enhances their physical and mental powers, enlarges their perception of character, gives them acuteness and comprehensiveness, and an ability to exceed their ordinary business capacity" (p. 21). And yet that may not draw many business men into Mrs Eddy's net. The crucial point is that in the healing department what may compendiously be called the Mumbo Jumbo element comes into full play; and without a strong infusion of MumboJumbo no system of quackery can hope to make a popular hit.
Disease, let us once more remind our readers, is, according to Christian Science, an affection of the mind and not of the body. Drugs, being material, can have no effect upon the mind. Such efficacy as they may possess is entirely due to the faith with which the chemist, the botanist, the druggist, the doctor, and the nurse equip them (p. 48). Attention to what are popularly termed the laws of health is as mischievous as the use of drugs; and tubbing appears to be worst of all in its demoralising tendencies (p. 414).
"Drugs, cataplasms, and whisky are stupid substitutes for the dignity and potency of divine mind and its power to heal" (p. 51). If a prescription appears to have one effect upon one man and another upon another, the reason is to be found in the different mental states of the patients (p. 42).
"Chills and heat are often the
form in which fever manifests itself. Change the mental state, and chills and fever disappear" (p. 374). "If the body is material, it cannot, for that very reason, suffer with a fever. Because the body is mental, and governed by mortal mind" (which is elsewhere, by the bye, defined as "only a false sense of matter"), "it manifests only what that mind impresses upon it. Therefore the efficient remedy is to destroy the patient's unfortunate belief, by both silently and audibly arguing the opposite facts in regard to harmonious being-representing man as healthful instead of diseased, and showing that it is impossible for matter to suffer, to feel pain or heat, to be thirsty or sick" (p. 375). "If your patient believes in taking cold, mentally convince him that matter cannot take
cold, and that thought governs this liability" (ibid.)
We have known people who believed that they could not get intoxicated on champagne, but we never found that the thought governed this liability.
"When the first symptoms of disease appear, dispute the testimony of the senses by divine science. Let your higher sense of justice destroy the false process of mortal belief, which you name law; and then you
will not be confined to a sick-room, or laid upon a bed of suffering, in payment of the last farthing, the last penalty demanded by belief.. Suffer no belief of sin or sickness to grow upon the thought. Dismiss it with an abiding conviction that its claims are illegitimate" (p. 389).
"Meet the incipient stages of disease with such powerful eloquence as a legislator would employ to defeat the passage of an inhuman law" (ibid.)
The next time we feel a cold coming on, we shall certainly employ the most powerful arguments at our command against it; but we shall reserve to ourselves the right to have recourse to the old-fashioned remedy of a little hot whiskytoddy at bedtime, the last few tumblers to be drunk in bed. It makes no difference whether a disease be functional or orChristian Science will ganic. cure every single one. "Let 'em all come "-all, that is to say, excepting one; for we are assured on the authority of an enthusiastic devotee that Christian Science has hitherto totally failed to relieve corns!
The directions given for the application of mind-science to particular cases are significant if vague. That the perusal of Mrs Eddy's publications frequently heals sickness (p. 443) we are prepared to hear. If they fail, you are instructed to "treat sickness mentally just as you would sin, except that you must not tell the patient he is sick, or give names to diseases; for such a course increases fear, the foundation of disease, and impresses more deeply the wrong mind-picture (p. 450). This is analogous to the course which the hunted ostrich has proverbially followed time out of mind with but indifferent success. You are allowed, however, to call the disease by name mentally and silently; for then, as a general rule, "the body will respond
more quickly" (p. 409). This brings us into touch with Mumbo-Jumbo. It would be bad enough if a man's health depended upon his own belief. But it is a great deal worse that it should depend upon the belief of several millions of
people besides. Children, for example, are apparently wholly at the mercy of their parents and guardians. If you give children medicine, and are on the alert for their becoming ill, you will "convey mental images to children's bodies, and often stamp them there" (p. 411). It is thus that so-called hereditary disease is transmitted from father to son; it is thus that infection is spread. The general opinion of mankind is bound to overrule the correct view taken by the patient himself. Drugs, as we have already seen, derive their efficacy from the faith of the person who provides or administers them. And so it is with poisons. "If a dose of poison is swallowed through mistake and the patient dies, even though physician and patient are expecting favourable results, does belief, you ask, cause this death? Even so, and as directly as if the poison had been intentionally taken. In such cases a few persons believe the potion swallowed by the patient to be harmless; but the vast majority of mankind, though they know nothing of this particular case and this special person, believe the arsenic, strychnine, or whatever the drug used, to be poisonous, for it has been set down as a poison by mortal mind. The consequence is that
the result is controlled by the majority of opinions outside, not by the infinitesimal minority of opinions in the sickchamber" (p. 70). This is the "tyranny of the majority" with a vengeance. It is, then, no mere idle fancy that a man can satiate his vengeance by merely wishing evil to his enemy. Was there ever superstition so childish, so enervating, so despicable? The wretched crones who used to earn a livelihood by sticking pins into wax dolls, in order to gratify the spite of their clients against enemies or rivals, were much less ridiculous than your Christian Scientist.
Such-omitting, as we have indicated, much gross blasphemy, and a vast deal of jargon about discord being the nothingness of error, and harmony the somethingness of truth-such is the system put forward for regenerating mankind, and the one atom of fact on which the whole of this elaborate superstructure is raised seems to be the familiar enough phenomenon that on the dentist's doorstep the toothache is apt to disappear! We owe an apology to our readers for even affecting to treat such a tissue of nonsense seriously. Our excuse must be that human folly, even in its most egregious forms, may be instructive by way of warning, and that this precious creed has not only a considerable following in the United States, but has begun to make converts in " "smart society in this country. Ladies of fashion, whose time hangs heavy on their hands, and to whom the sublime truths of
Christianity are mere foolishness, apparently find something to satisfy and to console in the crude and transparent scheme of imposture which we have endeavoured to expose. Nor, so long as their purses can stand the strain, are they likely to be neglected by those who "run the Christian Science business for their own livelihood. There are few more lucrative occupations, we take it, for women than that of a "metaphysical healer." The fees are good, and there are no bad debts, for prepayment is imperative. Money, to be sure, has no real existence, and what money can buy is an illusion induced by the physical senses. Yet the apostles of that high-toned doctrine seem to hug the dear error with astonishing fidelity, remembering, doubtless, that in order to qualify for their office the fees paid to the highpriestess were not of the lowest.
Christian Science, like all other systems of quackery, will produce much misery within the sphere which it influences. It will raise false hopes in the breasts of those who have been visited by Providence with incurable disease. It will cause dissension and bitter strife in families, as it has already done; for the dictates of conjugal or filial duty and the inclinations of pious affection must yield
precedence to the behests of Mrs Mary Baker G. Eddy and her satellites. But there is little fear, we think, of the sphere of its influence enlarging. It is essentially a creed for the idle, the half-educated, and the vain. It is not a religion that will stand wear and tear. It is meant for fair weather, not for foul. The first blast of sickness, calamity, or affliction, will tear its sophistries to tatters. On this point, at all events, we are quite prepared to "trust the people." This is not the sort of "dampnabil opunyeon," as the Scots Acts have it, that one is likely to turn to one's own personal use. It may be very easy and very edifying to try to persuade one's neighbour that pain is a delusion, or that he can move his arm rather better without muscles than with them. But we shall be surprised if the first bout of toothache, or earache, or stomachache in his own person does not send the neophyte post-haste to a qualified practitioner. Without intending to boast, we believe we could make a Christian Scientist squeak, and the first squeak gives his whole case away.
He was a shrewd and sagacious dental surgeon who remarked the other day, "Find
the Christian Scientist's tooth, and I'll find you the Christian Scientist's nerve!"