A recent critic says, with the courtly grace which distinguishes...

The Telegram

A recent critic says, with the courtly grace which distinguishes all his letters, that I see evil in matter because I have an evil mind, and then he adds, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." This critic will have it that matter is real. He says I argue that it does not concern whether a man is personally clean or not. Surely he is mixing me up with Sir Almroth Wright, who has been telling an awestruck audience of materialists like the critic, of the dangers of washing, and how the microbe respects only the thoroughly dirty. After all, if the image and likeness of God was made out of dust, he must at least be dusty. Yet the critic speaks of "God manifest in the flesh, the express image of His person," which if it means anything as he uses it, means that God, too, was made out of dust. As a matter of fact, if the critic would give up, as I have already explained, running together unrelated texts from different parts of the Bible, he might learn, by reference to the Revised Version, that it is not "God was manifest," but "He who was manifested." Then he might pursue his studies as to how that alteration came about.

Possibly the most extraordinary of all the critic's arguments in support of the reality of matter is his use of the text, "The kingdom of God is within you," which, he ingenuously insists, proves Mrs. Eddy to be wrong, by proving that God does dwell in matter. Now he insists that the human being is the image and likeness of God; consequently God, in the inexorable logic of Matthew Arnold, is a huge non-natural man. This infinite man dwells, however, within the separate bodies of millions of finite human beings, and moreover he has taken up his abode in the flesh, which Jesus says "profiteth nothing," and Paul says cannot be pleasing to Him. The critic, in short, while striving to prove Christian Science pantheistic, reveals himself a paragon among pantheists; for if an infinite Deity dwells in matter, He must dwell in all matter, and here indeed is pantheism naked and unashamed.

And now, putting aside the critic's extraordinary arguments, may I try to explain something of what Christian Science does teach on the subject of the unreality of material phenomena? First of all, it is necessary to define the word "real" as it is used in Christian Science, and, having defined it, to remember that in dealing with Christian Science you are compelled to adhere to that definition. If, for instance, you were allowed to alter Euclid's definitions, there would be no difficulty in proving that he wrote an almost unthinkable amount of nonsense. The word "real," then, is used by Mrs. Eddy in Christian Science as a synonym for spiritual. The only reality is God, divine Mind, and the spiritual creation. The mortal or carnal mind, with all the material phenomena produced by it, Christian Science teaches, is nothing but the negation of the spiritual or real. A lie is never a truth, and consequently never a reality, though, so long as it is undetected, it may pass for such. In order, however, to tell a lie, you must have a truth to tell it about, and consequently the delusion of materiality is the lie about the spiritual reality. Now, the only way in which a lie may be known for a lie, and so cease to exercise even a supposititious relative actuality, is by a knowledge of the truth. That was why Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,"—free from what, except the belief in the lie which was binding the world with the chains of sorrow, sickness, and sin?

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