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Mark Twain > Christian Science > Book II - Chapter V

Christian Science

Book II - Chapter V


It is hard to locate her, she shifts about so much. She is a shining
drop of quicksilver which you put your finger on and it isn't there.
There is a paragraph in the Autobiography (page 96) which places in
seemingly darkly significant procession three Personages:

1. The Virgin Mary
2. Jesus of Nazareth.
3. Mrs. Eddy.

This is the paragraph referred to:

"No person can take the individual place of the Virgin Mary. No person
can compass or fulfil the individual mission of Jesus of Nazareth. No
person can take the place of the author of Science and Health, the
discoverer and founder of Christian Science. Each individual must fill
his own niche in time and eternity."

I have read it many times, but I still cannot be sure that I rightly
understand it. If the Saviour's name had been placed first and the
Virgin Mary's second and Mrs. Eddy's third, I should draw the inference
that a descending scale from First Importance to Second Importance and
then to Small Importance was indicated; but to place the Virgin first,
the Saviour second, and Mrs. Eddy third, seems to turn the scale the
other way and make it an ascending scale of Importances, with Mrs. Eddy
ranking the other two and holding first place.

I think that that was perhaps the intention, but none but a seasoned
Christian Scientist can examine a literary animal of Mrs. Eddy's creation
and tell which end of it the tail is on. She is easily the most baffling
and bewildering writer in the literary trade.

Eddy is a commonplace name, and would have an unimpressive aspect in the
list of the reformed Holy Family. She has thought of that. In the book
of By-laws written by her--"impelled by a power not one's own"--there is
a paragraph which explains how and when her disciples came to confer a
title upon her; and this explanation is followed by a warning as to what
will happen to any female Scientist who shall desecrate it:

"The title of Mother. Therefore if a student of Christian Science shall
apply this title, either to herself or to others, except as the term for
kinship according to the flesh, it shall be regarded by the Church as an
indication of disrespect for their Pastor Emeritus, and unfitness to be a
member of the Mother-Church."

She is the Pastor Emeritus.

While the quoted paragraph about the Procession seems to indicate that
Mrs. Eddy is expecting to occupy the First Place in it, that expectation
is not definitely avowed. In an earlier utterance of hers she is
clearer--clearer, and does not claim the first place all to herself, but
only the half of it. I quote from Mr. Peabody's book again:

"In the Christian Science Journal for April, 1889, when it was her
property, and published by her, it was claimed for her, and with her
sanction, that she was equal with Jesus, and elaborate effort was made to
establish the claim.

"Mrs. Eddy has distinctly authorized the claim in her behalf that she
herself was the chosen successor to and equal of Jesus."

In her Miscellaneous Writings (using her once favorite "We" for "I") she
says that "While we entertain decided views . . . and shall express
them as duty demands, we shall claim no especial gift from our divine
origin," etc.

Our divine origin. It suggests Equal again. It is inferable, then, that
in the near by-and-by the new Church will officially rank the Holy Family
in the following order:

1. Jesus of Nazareth.--1. Our Mother.
2. The Virgin Mary.




SUMMARY

I am not playing with Christian Science and its founder, I am examining
them; and I am doing it because of the interest I feel in the inquiry.
My results may seem inadequate to the reader, but they have for me
clarified a muddle and brought a sort of order out of a chaos, and so I
value them.

My readings of Mrs. Eddy's uninspired miscellaneous literary efforts have
convinced me of several things:

1. That she did not write Science and Health.
2. That the Deity did (or did not) write it.
3. That She thinks She wrote it.
4. That She believes She wrote it under the Deity's inspiration.
5. That She believes She is a Member of the Holy Family.
6. That She believes She is the equal of the Head of it.

Finally, I think She is now entitled to the capital S--on her own
evidence.

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