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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/472

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of its most distinctive positions (without their religious setting) are to be found in the writings and were used in the practice of Mr. or Dr. P. P. Quimby (1802-1866), whom Mrs. Eddy professionally consulted shortly before she began her own propagandum. On its theoretical side the system presents a series of quasi-metaphysical principles, and also a professed interpretation of the Scriptures; on its practical side it offers a means of curing or avoiding disease and includes under disease also what is more generally described as sin and misfortune. With Christian Science as a religious movement I shall not directly deal; I wish, however, to point out that this assumption of a religious aspect finds a parallel in Spiritualism and Theosophy and doubtless forms one of the most potent reasons for the success of these occult movements. It would be a most dangerous principle to admit that the treatment of disease and the right to ignore hygiene can become the perquisite of any religious faith. It would be equally unwarranted to permit the principles which are responsible for such beliefs to take shelter behind the ramparts of religious tolerance; for the essential principles of Christian Science do not constitute a form of Christianity any more than they constitute a science; but in so far as they do not altogether elude description, pertain to the domain over which medicine, physiology and psychology hold sway. As David Harum, in speaking of his church-going habits, characteristically explains, "the one I stay away from when I don't go's the Prespyteriun," so the doctrines which Christian Science 'stays away from' are those over which recognized departments of academic learning have the authority to decide.

Mrs. Eddy's magnum opus serving at once as the text-book of the 'science' and as a revised version of the Scriptures—Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures—has been circulated to the extent of one hundred and seventy thousand copies. I shall not give an account of this book nor subject its more tangible tenets to a logical review; I must be content to recommend its pages as suggestive reading for the student of the occult and to set forth in the credentials of quotation marks some of the dicta concerning disease. Yet it may be due to the author of this system to begin by citing what are declared to be its fundamental tenets, even if their connection with what is built upon them is far from evident.

"The fundamental propositions of Christian Science are summarized in the four following, to me self-evident propositions. Even if read backward, these propositions will be found to agree in statement and proof:

1. God is All in all.
2. God is good. Good is Mind.
3. God, Spirit, being all, nothing is matter.