In the nineteen centuries which have elapsed since the...

Bournemouth (Eng.) Visitors' Directory

In the nineteen centuries which have elapsed since the commencement of the Christian era, almost innumerable phases of what is termed Christian thought have been expressed in as many innumerable dogmas, each of which has been the orthodox view just so long as popular opinion has supported it. What exact relationship, it is to be wondered, does your correspondent imagine the Christianity of St. Francis and St. Dominic bore to the Christianity of Luther and of Calvin, and what relation does he suppose the Christianity of Luther and of Calvin bore to the Christianity of Stanley or of Darwin? These are the dogma-made shades of Christianity, heretical in one century, orthodox in the next. John Wycliffe is known as "the first heretic," the Christian Scientists of today are apparently the last.

Now it so happens that there is in the Bible a definition of a Christian which the opponents of Christian Science are not too eager to quote. It is contained in the Gospel of John, in the declaration of Christ Jesus that those who believed on him would be able to do the works which he did, and it is repeated, in the Gospel of Mark, in the enumeration of the signs which should follow who believed. In these two passages, to select these two alone, Christ Jesus made the power to heal the sick and work other miracles the test of a man's faith, and so necessarily of his Christianity. If these words represent anything more than vox, et praterea nihil, they are the declaration of the fact that a man's faith, and consequently his Christianity, is in exact proportion to his ability to overcome the evidence of evil and materiality; in a word, to heal the sick, to bind up the broken-hearted, and to reform the sinner, for, in the words of Christ Jesus himself, "Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?"

This is the doctrine of Christian Science as taught by Mrs. Eddy from one end to the other of the Christian Science text-book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and anybody who is prepared to declare that it is unchristian must be prepared to prove it by something more substantial than a mere obiter dictum.

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August 7, 1909

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