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Christian Science: Its Advantage to Mankind
Originally published in the 1918 pamphlet “Christian Science: Its Advantage to Mankind”
[This lecture was delivered in Queen's Hall, London, England, May 22, 1908, by Edward A. Kimball, C.S.D., of Chicago. A synopsis, including about three-fifths of the lecture, was published in The Christian Commonwealth, of London. This pamphlet contains all that was then published, together with the unpublished portion of the address, which Mr. Kimball has reproduced from memory, practically as delivered, and to which he has added some further amplifications for the information of the reader.]
NAUGHT but ignorance or folly will deny that the subject of Christian Science is largely engaging the attention of the English-speaking people throughout the world. Because of this attention it seems to be rational on the part of men to want to know what Christian Science is, what it does, and what it promises, for no other reason, if need be, than that the man of ordinary intelligence desires to scrutinize all great educational and religious movements, whether they have his sanction or not. It is usually conceded that in all debate or discussion the affirmative side should first be presented and considered, and it ought to be admitted that such affirmation is entitled to be formulated by its advocate rather than by its opponent, and that such an advocate may also vindicate it, if possible, by means of argument, analysis, and proof. It is doubtful if an educated man can be found in Great Britain who would resist or deny the fundamental soundness of this declaration; but on the other hand, as a matter of fact or practice, it is true that in all discussions of Christian Science by the religious press and by religious and medical societies and conventions, the structure of Christian Science is formulated by its opponents, who generally erect a man of straw that easily may be demolished. I never read a sermon, or an editorial in a religious paper, or a report of a discussion in a religious or medical convention, that indicated to me any adequacy of appreciation of what Christian Science really purports to be and to do. It is not for me to demur if a man is willing thus to ignore or overturn the rules of essential mental process in order to persuade himself; but it is historically true that no great religious or intellectual advance ever was frustrated by recourse to such an illogical substitute for pure reason.
Your noted Englishman, Professor Huxley, has indicated that humanity presents no more pitiable aspect than, that afforded by its disposition persistently to resist every footstep of its own progress. In view of this, it is significant that a great religious paper of London has indicated a desire to place before its readers some sort of statement of Christian Science that has been formulated by one who speaks with some semblance of authority, and who may be relied on to speak in a mood of loving fairness toward his theme. With this purpose in thought, the editor has announced his intention to publish a report of this lecture. I recognize this as being a sensible, enlightened thing to do, but I do not in any degree felicitate myself, or the Christian Scientists, or their Cause, in consequence of this transaction.
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