PRECISION OF LANGUAGE AND CANT

The Christian Scientist needs quite frequently to remember that the English language has been too largely fashioned under the potter's wheel of erroneous philosophical and theological notions, else he may find himself using many words, terms, and phrases which represent erroneous ways and habits of thinking. When thus confronted, what shall he do? Shall he try to reject erroneous terminology altogether, or shall he compromise somewhat? In the writer's opinion, occasional compromises are wiser and better than attempts to preserve at all times a strictly scientific precision of language.

In order to illustrate the point under consideration, let us take the words, "patient" and "patients." Let us suppose that a Christian Science practitioner is asked, "Will you take me as a patient?" Shall he answer, No, that he never takes patients? Or, if he is willing to take the case, shall he compromise somewhat, for the time being at least, and so answer, Yes? Is it not plain that his wiser and better answer is, Yes? Mrs. Eddy is a purist in her language whenever practicable; yet we find that she has employed the words, "patient" and "patients" frequently in her writings. There were no practical substitutes for her to use. She has explained carefully in the Christian Science text-book that she has found herself forced to use objectionable words and terms, at times, because there were no better ones to be found. May we not opine that in such instances she deemed it unwise to "distinguish and divide a hair 'twixt north and northwest side"?

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OBSERVATION
November 12, 1910
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