The Impotence of Evil

The belief in what is popularly known as dualism is as old as the human mind itself. The primitive man, conscious of the storm, the avalanche, and the volcano, came almost naturally to regard nature itself as the seat of everything which had terror for him. In the existence of these things he founded his worship of nature, with the result that the storm god, or the personification of the storm, gradually drew to himself the worship originally extended to the storm itself, so that there grew up thousands of "other gods," the worship of some one or another of which was perpetually drawing the Israelites from the sterner religion of monotheism. Now as the altars and temples of these gods were raised, as the groves in their honor were planted, and the ritual of their worship was established, there developed around them a priestcraft which undertook not merely to speak in their names, as the priests of Delphi spoke for the oracle, but to demand contributions for them of gifts and sacrifices, to stand as mediators between them and their victims, and even to disseminate penalties for disobedience.

Out of such conditions there arose gradually the whole army of magicians, necromancers, divinators, and exorcists, who levied such a tribute on human ignorance in the ages of darkness, and from whom have descended those traffickers in mental manipulation who claimed to be able to control the will of their neighbors, in medieval and even in comparatively modern times, through recourse to spells, incantations, and magic, and in later days through what have come to be known as mesmerism and hypnotism. The descendant of these Egyptian magicians and these necromancers of Asia, in more recent times, was the German doctor, Franz Mesmer. His theory, which has ever since been known as mesmerism, predicated that there was a power which could be exercised over the human body, similar to the attraction of metal to the magnet. This theory placed the human being at the disposal and under the control of the person capable of exercising such control, in a way which linked up the pretensions of the priests of Egypt with the pretensions of the philosophers of the French Revolution, in what might be termed a series of consecutive centuries of mental suggestion. Such an idea was only conceivable in the terms of the dualism which proclaimed the joint powers of good and evil, and which gave the greater power rather to the devil, willing to do evil, than to the deity endeavoring to protect man through his benevolence. Thus Mrs. Eddy summed up the whole hideous theory, with unerring accuracy, on page 103 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," when she declared: "As named in Christian Science, animal magnetism or hypnotism is the specific term for error, or mortal mind. It is the false belief that mind is in matter, and is both evil and good; that evil is as real as good and more powerful. This belief has not one quality of Truth."

The Sure Basis
May 29, 1920

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