The Multiplication of Nothing

The story is told of a millionaire's daughter, who said to her father, "If you will give me a cent to-day, and twice that amount to-morrow, and so continue to double the amount each day for a month, I will never ask you for any more allowance." Allowing thirty-one days for a month, a compliance with this request would have made the father indebted to his daughter to the amount of $10,737,418.24. This seems almost incredible at first thought, especially to one inexperienced in mathematics, but the working out of the problem can bring no other result, and with patience it can be proved almost as easily by a child as by an adult. To state to the average person, however, the enormous result of such a multiplication usually elicits an emphatic denial of its truth.

In much the same way the testimonies of Christian Scientists are first listened to with incredulity, but those who have patiently worked out the lesser problems, step by step, very soon perceive that the farther one advances the greater become the demonstrations and the more astonishing the results.

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Ten Years After
May 14, 1904
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