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quite plain to see whence her inspiration in this regard is derived.
"Leaning on the sustaining Infinite, to-day is big with blessings." "The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honoured systems, knocks at the portal of humanity." "The looms of crime, hidden in the dark recesses of mortal thought, are every hour weaving webs more complicated and subtile." "Mind and matter glide swift into the vortex of immensity. Howls the sublime, and softly sleeps the calm Ideal, in the whispering chambers of Imagination."
We defy any one to distinguish between the voice of Mrs Eddy and the voice of Miss Toppit and Miss Codger, the two L.L.'s presented by the mother of the modern Gracchi to Elijah Pogram.
There is one other respect in which we are free to confess ourselves handicapped in deal ing with this subject. With stupefying audacity, Mrs Eddy professes to find the rudiments of her system in the Bible, and more especially in the life and teaching of the Founder of Christianity Himself. Accordingly she has not scrupled, when she finds such a course convenient or necessary, which she frequently does, to garnish her treatise with texts of Scripture, the true meaning of which she deliberately wrests to suit her own ends. Into this department it is needless to say that we do not propose to follow her. It would serve no good purpose to shock the reader by repeating her arrant blasphemies, even for the purpose of demonstrating their absurdity.
Braced, then, to some extent by the assurance that "no intellectual proficiency is requisite in the learner, but sound morals are most desirable" (Pref., p. x), and at the same time sobered by the reminder that a simple perusal of the volume will not enable one to absorb its whole to be meaning-"it needs studied" (p. 40)—we proceed to grapple with "the leading factor in mind-science," to wit, the proposition that "Mind is All and matter is naught (p. 3). "Mind governs the body [though, of course, there is really no body] not partially but wholly" (p. 5). "Matter possesses neither sensation nor life" (p. 2). "Matter is nothing but a mortal illusion wholly inadequate to affect man through its supposed organic action or existence" (p. 19). Elephants and microbes, we take it, are equally mere figments of imagination, for "matter exists in human belief only, and not in the spiritual understanding of Being" (p. 107). "Spirit and its formations are the only realities of Being.
Matter disappears under the microscope of Spirit (p. 160), which certainly shows what an odd kind of instrument the microscope of Spirit must be.
"We define matter as error because it is a false claim to life, substance, and intelligence (p. 174). "The theory that Spirit is not the only substance and creator is pantheistic heterodoxy which ultimates [sic] in sickness, sin, and death" (p. 153).
It follows clearly that error, sin, sickness, disease, and death
are all but "the false testimony of false material sense" (p. 2), whatever "material sense" may be, considering that "matter has no sensation, and that "the human mind is all that can produce pain" (p. 59). And here, the reader will observe, we are introduced to a third term "mortal" or "human" mindto serve as a buffer between Spirit or Mind (with a capital), which is everything, and matter, which is nothing. This "mortal mind" plays the very mischief with everybody. To it, as bad luck will have it, sickness "is neither imaginary nor unreal" (p. 457), though Mind, strictly so-called, knows well enough that disease is a mere illusion"a latent creation," in fact, "of mortal mind before the sensation appears in matter," though how the sensation is to appear in matter when matter is expressly said to be devoid of sensation, is not at first sight apparent. Mortal matter or body is, indeed, nothing more or less than "a false conception of mortal mind" (p. 70). In short, we don't believe there's no such person. It is not, we are solemnly bidden to recollect, the body but mortal mind which reports food as undigested (p. 388), and of course such a report must be pure nonsense, for there is no such thing-or at any rate there ought to be no such thing as food. Mortal mind is therefore "a liar," and never more so than "when it claims to govern every organ of the mortal body" (p. 45). It has no control of what is termed the human mechanism (ibid.) Yet these arrogant pretensions seem to be
not altogether without warrant. "The valves of the heart, opening and closing for the passage of the blood, obey the mandate of mortal mind as directly as does the hand" (p. 81). Nay, mortal mind "forms all conditions of the mortal body, and controls the stomach, bones, lungs, heart, and blood as directly as the volition of will moves the hand" (p. 116). The great thing, however, seems to be to get rid of it (which ought to be all the easier that "it is meant to designate something which has no real existence"), and then Terewth will have fair play. It will become obvious, we presume, that "blood, heart, lungs, brains, &c., have nothing to do with Life," and are pure illusions of material sense. "You say a boil is painful; but that is impossible, for matter without mind is not painful. The boil simply manifests your belief in pain, through inflammation and swelling; and you call this belief a boil. Now administer mentally to your patient a high attenuation of truth on this subject, and it will soon cure the boil" (p. 47). Could anything be more convincing? You call in "mortal mind" to account for the operations of a human body which has no existence, and you politely bow it out when it ventures to call cousins with Mind or Spirit, which is the only source of true Being.
Yet, after all, mortal mind is not so much to blame, poor thing; for its mistakes and illusions are largely, if not wholly, due to the physical senses. those "five personal falsities"
-which are "the avenues and instruments of human error (p. 190). And these same senses are terrible fellows-utterly untrustworthy and unreliable.
"If you wish to know the spiritual fact, you can discover it by reversing the material testimony, be it pro or con--be it in accord with your preconceptions, or utterly contrary thereto" (p. 22). Science reverses the testimony of the physical senses, and by this reversal mortals arrive at the fundamental facts of being" (p. 14). "Any conclusion pro or con deduced from supposed sensation in matter, or matter's supposed consciousness of health or disease, instead of reversing the testimony of the physical senses, confirms that testimony as legitimate, and so leads to disease" (ibid.)
The divine Principle of Science, "reversing the testimony of the physical senses, reveals man as harmoniously existent in Truth, which is the only basis of health; and thus Science denies error, heals the sick, overthrows false evidence, and refutes materialistic logic" (p. 14). That is to say, if the senses say "Yes," the "fundamental fact of being' is ipso facto "No." It is well to have a clear understanding on the point, as well as to be able to make allowances for mortal mind. No wonder it habitually goes astray! But, cheer up! A better time is in store, when Science-Christian Science is no longer "kep' out of her rights," like the soi-disant Sir Roger Tichborne.
"The seasons will come and go, with changes of time and tide, cold and heat, latitude and longitude." [It is notorious how the latitude and longitude vary with the time of year!] "The agriculturist will find these changes cannot affect his crops in seed-time or harvest. The mariner
will find himself having dominion over the atmosphere and the great deep, over the fish of the sea and the fowls of the air. The astronomer will no longer look up to the stars, but he will look out from them [all at once?] upon the universe; and the florist will find his flower before he beholds its seed."
It will be a big day indeed In that for Covent Garden. happy state of circumstances harvest will be a preliminary to ploughing, and six-year-old mutton will gradually mature into New Zealand lamb. Plays will begin with Act V., and novels will end with page 1: both of which arrangements will be highly convenient for the general public. Men will be born at the age of ninety, and be carried to the grave, full of years and honour, in infancy. Consequences will inevitably be followed by their antecedents, and effects will infallibly produce their own causes. We shall have entered with Alice into the region behind the Looking - glass, and shall live there happily ever after.
Inconceivability, then, is one of the tests of truth, though in a sense vastly different from that in which the doctrine has hitherto been received. There is, however, another criterion, and that is, the convertibility of a proposition. If a sentence will be obliging enough to read backwards, the battle is more than half-won already. "The metaphysics of Christian science, like the rules of mathematics, prove the truth by inversion. For example: there is no pain in Truth, and no truth in pain; no matter in
Mind, and no mind in matter; no nerves in Intelligence, and no intelligence in nerves; no 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 healer, Mrs Eddy, although she has "never believed in receiving certificates or presenting testimonials of cures (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 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
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. The 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 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).