In view of misapprehensions which have recently appeared...

The Boston Post

In view of misapprehensions which have recently appeared in the public press, it seems proper that we should devote some space to the consideration of the term "malicious animal magnetism" as used in Christian Science parlance. We are well aware that we have undertaken the discussion of a subject with which the general public is not very familiar, although it is not by any means new. The lesson which analyzes and repudiates the supposed influence called animal magnetism and shows how it may be counteracted and destroyed by a reliance upon divine power, is an advanced one in the Christian Science course, and ordinarily we would leave it for the future, so far as concerns the public press; but since the subject has already been introduced and in large measure misstated, we feel compelled to consider it in the interest of fair representation.

The word magnetism was first applied to a peculiar attraction of iron ore, and in itself has no significance, being called magnetism because it was discovered in the city of Magnesia. Later the term "animal" was joined to it, and it was used with reference to a supposed influence which one person was believed to be able to exert over another by physical contact. The meaning of the term "animal magnetism" has gradually broadened, and now applies to any and all supposed action of the human mind, and is similar if not identical in meaning with the term mesmerism or the more modern term hypnotism. From this description it may be noted that from the very introduction of the term to the present time the word has been applied to that particular power, influence, or force which is supposed to be possessed by the creature in contradistinction to the creator.

Christian Science teaches that there is in reality but one power or force; that is, God, Spirit, Mind, Truth, Love; and that, therefore, the Christian warfare is the struggle of mankind to become subject to the Mind which was in Christ,—to become submissive to the divine Mind and thus silence human will, which the Scriptures denominate the "carnal mind." St. Paul described this warfare in the following words: "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh : and these are contrary the one to the other." Science always settles the battle on the side of Spirit, because "Spirit is the real and eternal" and "matter [flesh] is the unreal and temporal" (Science and Health, p. 468). Since Science has introduced the proposition that God is the only real Mind, the carnal mind in all its varied manifestations is naturally, in the interest of self-preservation, arrayed against it. Therefore every wilful phase of this supposed human opposition which is aroused by the introduction of Science is malicious. Hence the use of the term "malicious animal magnetism." It is called magnetism because it refers to a supposed power independent of God; and malicious, in keeping with the Scriptural declaration, "The carnal mind is enmity against God."

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