I sometimes wonder if all anonymous correspondents are...

Chelsea Mail

I sometimes wonder if all anonymous correspondents are merely one chameleon. They seem to be all instinct with the same instinctive incivility, the same inability to argue, and the same tendency to fiction. Again, the chameleon lives long on nothing, and the anonymous letter writer carries on a voluminous correspondence witha an unblushing paucity of ideas; as a rule, indeed, he is engaged in showing that his opponent has no right to think either. "Theosophism," for instance, begins with a few choice flowers of speech from certain self-constituted biographers of Mrs. Eddy. He takes two American ones, and ignores the whole torrent of appreciation which rolled across the entire breadth of that continent when Mrs. Eddy passed away, and to these he adds one English one, who has simply picked up the grains of sectarian bitterness which have fallen from the American table. As a matter of fact, any one who wants to read a biography of Mrs. Eddy by some one who knew Mrs. Eddy and knew also what she was writing about, can get Sibyl Wilbur's book. Miss Wilbur was one of the journalists sent to interview Mrs. Eddy on a famous occasion, and was so disgusted at the treatment at that time shown to Mrs. Eddy by the press, that she sought from Mrs. Eddy and obtained the information to assist her in her undertaking.

Finally "Theosophism" winds up with the usual statement the everybody understands Christian Science better than Christian Scientists who have been studying it carefully and patiently for years but who are absolutely mistaken in it and are being deceived; while "Theosophism," who has not devoted a tithe of the attention to it which they have, can explain it to them. And so he ends with the usual bag of texts torn out of their contexts, and, in the way he uses them, devoid of any meaning at all. Any one of these taken at random will prove this. "Take heed," he quotes from Matthew, "that no man deceive you," as if this had not been used by every sect in the past and would not be used by every sect in the future. That is exactly why Christian Science insists that the people who quote texts should go a little farther and obey the command of Jesus to demonstrate their knowledge of them. "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also." The critic will impress people a great deal more when, instead of writing to the papers to attack his neighbor's religion, he devotes himself to showing that he can heal the sick, and so obey the command of the Founder of the Christian religion more successfully than Christian Scientists. A negative criticism which attacks other people for doing what you are not attempting yourself is neither particularly intelligent nor particularly convincing.

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