Animal Magnetism Unreal

The beginner can hardly expect to grasp the vast subject of Christian Science in its entirety by a single perusal of its textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy. It is true that reading understandingly even a part of this wonderful book has healed disease and sin, in some cases of long standing; but as Christian Science is the Science of infinite, divine being, it need scarcely be said that no limit can be put to the time which must be expended upon it by the diligent student in his endeavor to gain a fuller understanding of the divine Principle which it explains and shows how to demonstrate.

One of the greatest difficulties Mrs. Eddy experienced in elucidating Christian Science was in finding language to convey the facts of Spirit and of spiritual experience to human thought, as well as suitable terms to adequately represent the beliefs of what in Christian Science is referred to as mortal mind, that false mentality which claims to be and to act in opposition to the one divine Mind. Animal magnetism is an example of one of those terms. Mrs. Eddy defines animal magnetism several times in Science and Health, and leaves no doubt whatever as to its meaning. Thus, on page 103, in the chapter entitled "Animal Magnetism Unmasked," she writes: "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." That is how it stands, then, with regard to animal magnetism. It is "the specific term for error, or mortal mind." Thus, every form of error is a phase of animal magnetism. Notice that Mrs. Eddy definitely states it to be identical with hypnotism; and, moreover, that it is the same thing as the illusion that mind is in matter, the error from which springs the fallacy that evil has reality and power in opposition to the absolute, spiritual truth that good is infinite and all-powerful.

Now, the Christian Scientist does not shut his eyes to the claims of animal magnetism. He knows how the world is hypnotically bound by it in so many directions, and how the activities of individuals may be swayed by it and oftentimes made by it to deviate from the paths of rectitude and honor. These he knows; and far more also of its subtle workings. But he recognizes them, through his understanding of divine Principle, not as things over which to despair, but as errors of mortal mind, illusions of material sense to be scientifically proved powerless through this same spiritual understanding. The Christian Scientist is equipped, in proportion to his knowledge of God as infinite and perfect Mind, to recognize every false belief of mortal mind as error, or, simply, as nothing. There can be no mental compromise with error in Christian Science, no neutral mental position can be taken with regard to it, if its elimination from human thinking is to be attained. In the light of divine revelation,—which declares that God is All-in-all, infinite Mind, unlimited good,—error must be seen to be an imposition without a vestige of Principle supporting it, a dream of material sense, the nothingness of baseless supposition.

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March 18, 1922

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