Your correspondent's ideas on the subject of what constitutes...

Bradford (Eng.) Telegraph

Your correspondent's ideas on the subject of what constitutes biography are not, it is to be feared, altogether commendable. They consist of taking a few statements which seem to fit in with a preconceived conception, and advancing them without a solitary atom of proof or the slightest regard for the logic of the conclusions. He tells us that Mrs. Eddy was the daughter of a farmer. Absit omen! There have been a vast number of historical farmers from Cincinnatus to Cromwell, and from Cromwell to Louis Botha. When, however, your correspondent goes on to explain that Mrs. Eddy did not receive any education, or else a very elementary one, he explains not only that he does not know what sort of an education she received, but that he is apparently ignorant that some of the world's greatest men have received quite indifferent educations without the fact ever in any way detracting from their success. To give a single instance, it is only necessary to mention Mrs. Eddy's great compatriot Abraham Lincoln. As a matter of fact, Mrs. Eddy received a very good education, including the study of natural philosophy, logic, and moral science, as well as Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Spiritual things, however, are spiritually discerned, and it is the spiritual perception of Mrs. Eddy, and not her intellectural training, which has made Science and Health more read than any other book during the lifetime of its author. A single one of the great Biblical commentators possesses more scholarship than all the men who wrote the Bible joined together, and compared with the spiritual understanding of the writers of the books in the Bible, what does their learning amount to? A couple of fishermen, a tent-maker, a publican, and a physician who had deserted medicine practically wrote the New Testament between them. It is very much to be feared that they all received, at the best, "a very elementary" education.

The mistake into which your correspondent has stumbled is not a new one. It was made some nineteen hundred years ago in Palestine in the confusion which arose in the minds of the Jews between the supposed power of the human mind and the power by which Jesus healed the sick, and was framed by them in the accusation, "He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils." The Jewish people knew all about the claims of mental manipulation. For centuries their prophets had waged relentless war against the whole race of wonder-workers, and only a few years later Paul came in violent conflict with certain of their tribe, in Ephesus. Jesus saw with perfect clearness the implication, and his answer contains the repudiation of mental suggestion as a factor in Christian healing for all time. "A house," he said, "divided against a house falleth." The wonder-worker had claimed not only to cast out devils, but to conjure them up, and so, today, the claim to remove an impression from the consciousness by mental manipulation necessitates the claim to be able to imprint an impression by the same means. This is exactly what the writer of the Jehovistic document, in the book of Genesis, describes as the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the eating of which, as he went on to explain, obviously must end in death. Jesus' words constituted at once a commentary on and an amplification of those of the Jehovist. Relatively speaking, that writer had expressed a great truth, but besides and beyond the relative there was the absolute, and the absolute was expressed in the omnipotence of God, with its corollary of the unity of good. Therefore, he continued, "if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you." The kingdom of God, and with it the peace of God, never came to any man through mental suggestion. The human mind, even at its best, is torn with conflicting passions, and is in consequence, no matter in how lessening a degree, always the corrupt tree bringing forth more or less corrupt fruit.

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