It becomes necessary at times for us to differentiate between Christian Science and Christian Scientists. Otherwise we may, through a confused and illogical association of ideas, charge against Christian Science some of the faults and inconsistencies of its adherents. We may do this without being conscious of it. Or, it may be done consciously and perversely. Strictly speaking. of course, a Christian Scientist is one who is consistently loyal to his tenets and professions,—consistently loyal at all times in conduct and motive and thought as well as in utterance. This is a very high standard. It is the high and difficult standard of the ideal Christian Scientist. I am referring in this connection to the ordinary concept of a Christian Scientist as one who adopts and openly accepts the doctrine and practice of Christian Science as true, and who is honestly trying to think, act, and live consistently, whatever may be his shortcomings. There are many thousands of good men and women who belong to this class. If I can read myself aright, I belong to this class. The absolutely ideal Christian Scientist is, surely, a rara avis, but this does not excuse any relaxation of effort to attain the highest standard.

It ought to be obvious at once to every one who reads these words, that Christian Science cannot justly be charged with the faults and inconsistencies of its professed adherents. Higher mathematics is no less true and useful because there are many mathematicians who fail to understand and apply its laws. A sonata is no less harmonious and beautiful though there are countless lovers of music who are incapable of performing it on a piano. It is a musical ideal and incentive, however, which benefits all of them; yes, and thereby the world.

If it could justly be charged that Christian Science has in any way led or contributed to any errors manifested by its followers, then it ought to be held responsible; otherwise, not. Any general accusation along these lines is nothing better than a mere expression of ill-will, if unsupported by a proven bill of particulars. When, or where, or by whom has such a bill of particulars been produced? On the other hand, is it not true that the testimony shows that the influences of the Christian Science doctrine and practice have been beneficial to mankind at large? If these influences have seemed in any instance not to be beneficial to any particular individual, is not the fault traceable to the peculiarities of the individual, or to his environment, rather than to the influences? Would you decry milk because some person may drink it unwisely? Or sincere piety because there are hypocrites and Pharisees? Or the piano because an ignorant or unskilled hand may evoke discord from its keys? It is the consensus of instances, and not the occasional exceptions, which justify a verdict of approval or of condemnation.

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September 12, 1908

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