This section is from the book "Faith - Healing. Christian Science And Kindred Phenomena", by James Monroe Buckley. Also available from Amazon: Faith-Healing, Christian Science and Kindred Phenomena.
By a careful examination of the works of those who have written upon this subject, including Evans, Grimke, Stuart, Arens, Taylor, Baldwin, Hazzard, Nichols, Marston, etc., and by conversation with Mental Healers, Christian Scientists, and their patients, I have ascertained that most of them concur with Mrs. Eddy in the fundamental principles of the system, and that where they diverge it is upon minor points.
Her hypothesis is that " the only realities are the Divine Mind and its ideas. . . . That erring mortal views, misnamed mind, produce all the organic and animal action of the mortal body. . . . Rightly understood, instead of possessing sentient matter, we have sensationless bodies. . . . Whence came to me this conviction in antagonism to the testimony of the human senses? From the self-evident fact that matter has no sensation; from the common human experience <>f the falsity of all material things; from the obvious fact that mortal mind is what suffers, feels, sees ; since matter cannot suffer".
The method of Mrs. Eddy's reasoning may be seen in the following extracts:
The ineradicable belief that pain is located in a limb which has been removed, when really the sensation is believed to be in the nerves, is an added proof of the unreliability of physical testimony. . . . Electricity is not a vital fluid, but an element of mortal mind,—the thought-essence that forms the link between what is termed matter and mortal mind. Both are different strata of human belief. The grosser substratum is named matter. The more ethereal is called human mind, which is the nearer counterfeit of the Immortal Mind, and hence the more accountable and sinful belief. . . . You say, " Toil fatigues me." But what is this you or me f Is it muscle or mind ? Which one is tired and so speaks ? Without mind, could the muscles be tired ? Do the muscles talk, or do you talk for them ? Matter is non-intelligent. Mortal mind does the talking, and that which affirms it to be tired first made it so.
Having adopted a theory, she does not shrink from its logical sequences:
You would not say that a wheel is fatigued; and yet, the body is just as material as the wheel. Setting aside what the human mind says of the body, it would never be weary any more than the inanimate wheel. Understanding this great fact rests you more than hours of repose.
Her most frequently repeated assertions are such as these:
God is supreme ; is mind; is principle, not person; includes all and is reflected by all that is real and eternal; is Spirit, and Spirit is infinite; is the only substance; is tho only life. Man was and is the idea of God; therefore mind can never be in man. Divine Science shows that matter and mortal body are the illusions of human belief, which seem to appear and disappear to mortal sense alone. When this belief changes, as in dreams, the material body changes with it, going wherever we wish, and bo-coming whatsoever belief may decree. Human mortality proves that error has been engrafted into both the dreams and conclusions of material and mortal humanity. Besiege sickness and death with these principles, and all will disappear.
As these doctrines are unquestionably in substance such as have been held by certain metaphysicians in past ages, Mrs. Eddy feels called upon to answer those who make that charge:
Those who formerly sneered at it as foolish and eccentric now declare Bishop Berkeley, David Hume, Ralph Waldo Emerson, certain German philosophers, or some unlearned mesmerist, to have been the real originators of Mind Healing. Emerson's ethics are models of their kind; but even that good man and genial philosopher partially lost his mental faculties before his death, showing that ho did not understand the Science of Mind Healing, as elaborated in my "Science and Health"; nor did he pretend to do so.
Sickness, then, is a dream of falsity, to be antagonized by the metaphysical healer, mentally, and audibly when it may be necessary.
Mrs. Eddy's theories are her religion, and her Science— so called — is based upon the religious principles which she holds.
One of Mrs. Eddy's former students, named Arens, for whom she entertains a strong spiritual antipathy, has published a volume called "Old Theology in its Application to the Healing of the Sick." In the introduction he writes:
It will be unnecessary to ask the reader for charitable criticism when I say that I make no claims to being a ripe scholar, and that my knowledge of the English language is very imperfect. The truths set forth in this volume have been expressed as clearly as possible, considering the disadvantages under which I have labored, one of which is the poverty of words in the English language to express spiritual thoughts. It has been found necessary to employ close punctuation, and in .some instances to disregard some rules of grammar and rhetoric, in order to give the requisite shade of thought.
The mental difficulty in understanding him arises from his incompetency as a writer. His reflection upon the poverty of the English language is another form of confessing his ignorance of it; and his disregard of the rules of grammar and rhetoric does not result from his difficulty in giving shades of thought, but from his lack of knowledge of the language. Mrs. Eddy thus described him in 1883:
When he entered the class of my husband, the late Asa G. Eddy, in 1879, he had no knowledge whatever, and claimed none, as can be shown under his own signature, of Metaphysics or Christian Science. . . . While teaching him my system of Mental Healing, his motives and aims and the general constitution of his mind were found so remote from the requirements of Christian Science, that his teacher despaired of imparting to him a due understanding of the subject. Perhaps it was to meet this great want without remedying it, and cover his lack of learning, that he committed to memory many paragraphs from my works, and is in the habit of repeating them iu his attempts to lecture. He, who now proclaims himself a professor in the solemn department that he assumes as a jay in borrowed plumes, was the most ignorant and empty-minded scholar I ever remember of examining.