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Mark Twain > Christian Science > Book II - Chapter XII

Christian Science

Book II - Chapter XII


It is evident that she made disciples fast, and that their belief in her
and in the authenticity of her heavenly ambassadorship was not of the
lukewarm and half-way sort, but was profoundly earnest and sincere. Her
book was issued from the press in 1875, it began its work of convert-
making, and within six years she had successfully launched a new Religion
and a new system of healing, and was teaching them to crowds of eager
students in a College of her own, at prices so extraordinary that we are
almost compelled to accept her statement (no, her guarded intimation)
that the rates were arranged on high, since a mere human being
unacquainted with commerce and accustomed to think in pennies could
hardly put up such a hand as that without supernatural help.

From this stage onward--Mrs. Eddy being what she was--the rest of the
development--stages would follow naturally and inevitably.

But if she had been anybody else, there would have been a different
arrangement of them, with different results. Being the extraordinary
person she was, she realized her position and its possibilities; realized
the possibilities, and had the daring to use them for all they were
worth.

We have seen what her methods were after she passed the stage where her
divine ambassadorship was granted its executer in the hearts and minds of
her followers; we have seen how steady and fearless and calculated and
orderly was her march thenceforth from conquest to conquest; we have seen
her strike dead, without hesitancy, any hostile or questionable force
that rose in her path: first, the horde of pretenders that sprang up and
tried to take her Science and its market away from her--she crushed them,
she obliterated them; when her own National Christian Science Association
became great in numbers and influence, and loosely and dangerously
garrulous, and began to expound the doctrines according to its own
uninspired notions, she took up her sponge without a tremor of fear and
wiped that Association out; when she perceived that the preachers in her
pulpits were becoming afflicted with doctrine-tinkering, she recognized
the danger of it, and did not hesitate nor temporize, but promptly
dismissed the whole of them in a day, and abolished their office
permanently; we have seen that, as fast as her power grew, she was
competent to take the measure of it, and that as fast as its expansion
suggested to her gradually awakening native ambition a higher step she
took it; and so, by this evolutionary process, we have seen the gross
money-lust relegated to second place, and the lust of empire and glory
rise above it. A splendid dream; and by force of the qualities born in
her she is making it come true.

These qualities--and the capacities growing out of them by the nurturing
influences of training, observation, and experience seem to be clearly
indicated by the character of her career and its achievements. They seem
to be:

A clear head for business, and a phenomenally long one;
Clear understanding of business situations;
Accuracy in estimating the opportunities they offer;
Intelligence in planning a business move;
Firmness in sticking to it after it has been decided upon;
Extraordinary daring;
Indestructible persistency;
Devouring ambition;
Limitless selfishness;
A knowledge of the weaknesses and poverties and docilities of human
nature and how to turn them to account which has never been surpassed, if
ever equalled;

And--necessarily--the foundation-stone of Mrs. Eddy's character is a
never-wavering confidence in herself.

It is a granite character. And--quite naturally--a measure of the talc
of smallnesses common to human nature is mixed up in it and distributed
through it. When Mrs. Eddy is not dictating servilities from her throne
in the clouds to her official domestics in Boston or to her far-spread
subjects round about the planet, but is down on the ground, she is kin to
us and one of us: sentimental as a girl, garrulous, ungrammatical,
incomprehensible, affected, vain of her little human ancestry, unstable,
inconsistent, unreliable in statement, and naively and everlastingly
self-contradictory-oh, trivial and common and commonplace as the
commonest of us! just a Napoleon as Madame de Remusat saw him, a brass
god with clay legs.



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