I am reluctant to return to the subject of Mark Twain's...


I am reluctant to return to the subject of Mark Twain's attitude towards Christian Science, but "A Christian Believer's" remarks in his last letter make it necessary. The following personal note by Mark Twain's biographer, A. B. Paine, is conclusive on the subject: "I was at this period interested a good deal in mental healing, and had been treated for neurasthenia with gratifying results. Like most of the world, I had assumed from his [Mark Twain's] published articles, that he condemned Christian Science and its related practices out of hand. When I confessed, rather reluctantly, one day the benefit I had received, he surprised me by answering, 'Of course you have been benefited. Christian Science is humanity's boon. She [Mrs. Eddy] has organized and made available a healing principle that for two thousand years has never been employed except as the merest kind of guesswork. She is the benefactor of the age.' It seemed strange at the time to hear him speak in this way concerning a practice of which he was generally regarded as the chief public antagonist. It was another angle of his many-sided character." So that his biographer was in no doubt about the change of opinion; and he was in a better position for knowing than your correspondent, whose rehash of Mark Twain's former opinion is thus canceled. Mrs. Eddy's worth and reputation are secured for all time by the work she did.

Your correspondent's statement that Christian Science pours denunciation upon doctors and physicians is not true. Mrs. Eddy referred to the majority of the profession as "grand men and women" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 164). And she said in so many words that a worthy physician was more to be relied on than are "false claimants to Christian Science." Further, Christian Scientists are enjoined (ibid., p. 444) "to be charitable and kind... towards differing forms of religion and medicine" and "to those who hold these differing opinions." Christian Scientists recognize the need for doctors and hospitals; for unless people have some faith in, or intelligent desire for, Christian Science treatment, it is practically ineffective. And such are in a great minority. But when your correspondent states that the creator has given to herbs and minerals their healing properties, he is drawing upon old wives' fables. Surely, if it had been so, would not Jesus have revealed these properties? He healed only by the power of God, and called upon his followers to do the same. Moreover, if the creator had really given such properties, how comes it about that medicines lose their virtue, that the remedy of one period loses its value and has to be replaced by another? How is it that the medical profession are relying less and less on medicines than formerly? How is it that bread pills and colored water often prove effective? The fact is, your correspondent's entire criticism of Christian Science is based upon a concept of God and the universe which is derogatory to the divine character and attributes. It assumes that God made man and the universe partly material, subject to the limitation, imperfection, and frailty of matter, and then designed such uncertain means as herbs, drugs, and ecclesiastical institutions to provide a way out. On the other hand, Christian Science takes its stand upon the spiritual truths and facts of revelation, which indicate that God, Spirit, made man in His image and likeness, therefore spiritual, and that the worlds are not made of the things they appear to be made of, but are "framed by the word of God." It declares that Jesus taught the spiritual nature of all things, and that they are governed by divine or spiritual law, which he came to reveal, the understanding of which would deliver mortals—those misled by ignorance and sin—from sin and disease. "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

And so Christian Science, the "epignosis" of God, is repeating in some measure the works of Christ Jesus which he required from all his followers. Your correspondent is like those of old who deprecated the assertion that Jesus had healed the blind man because Jesus was a sinner. The reply is a classic: "Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." Your correspondent implies that Christian Science is sinful and foolish. But there are hundreds of thousands of people in the world to-day who would reply in terms similar to those of the man who was blind.

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