Advice To Students
From Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy
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25 The true consciousness is the true health. One says,
“I find relief from pain in unconscious sleep.” I say,
You mistake; through unconsciousness one no more
gains freedom from pain than immunity from evil. When
unconscious of a mistake, one thinks he is not mistaken;
30 but this false consciousness does not change the fact, or
1 its results; suffering and mistakes recur until one is awake
to their cause and character. To know the what, when,
and how of error, destroys error. The error that is seen
aright as error, has received its death-blow; but never
5 until then.
Let us look through the lens of Christian Science,
not of “self,” at the following mistake, which demands
our present attention. I have no time for detailed report
of this matter, but simply answer the following question
10 sent to me; glad, indeed, that this query has finally come
with the courage of conviction to the minds of many
“Is it right to copy your works and read them for our
15 The good which the material senses see not is the only
absolute good; the evil which these senses see not is the
only absolute evil.
If I enter Mr. Smith’s store and take from it his gar-
ments that are on sale, array myself in them, and put
20 myself and them on exhibition, can I make this right
by saying, These garments are Mr. Smith’s; he manu-
factured them and owns them, but you must pay me,
not him, for this exhibit?
The spectators may ask, Did he give you permission
25 to do this, did he sell them or loan them to you? No.
Then have you asked yourself this question on the sub-
ject, namely, What right have I to do this? True, it
saves your purchasing these garments, and gives to the
public new patterns which are useful to them; but does
30 this silence your conscience? or, because you have con-
fessed that they are the property of a noted firm, and
you wished to handle them, does it justify you in appro-
1 priating them, and so avoiding the cost of hiring or
Copying my published works verbatim, compiling them
in connection with the Scriptures, taking this copy into
5 the pulpit, announcing the author’s name, then reading
it publicly as your own compilation, is—what?
We answer, It is a mistake; in common parlance, it
is an ignorant wrong.
If you should print and publish your copy of my works,
10 you would be liable to arrest for infringement of copy-
right, which the law defines and punishes as theft. Read-
ing in the pulpit from copies of my publications gives
you the clergyman’s salary and spares you the printer’s
bill, but does it spare you our Master’s condemnation?
15 You literally publish my works through the pulpit, instead
of the press, and thus evade the law, but not the gospel.
When I consent to this act, you will then be justified
Your manuscript copy is liable, in some way, to be
20 printed as your original writings, thus incurring the pen-
alty of the law, and increasing the record of theft in the
United States Circuit Court.
To The Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, which I
had organized and of which I had for many years been
25 pastor, I gave permission to cite, in the Christian Science
Quarterly, from my work Science and Health, passages
giving the spiritual meaning of Bible texts; but this was
a special privilege, and the author’s gift.
Christian Science demonstrates that the patient who
30 pays whatever he is able to pay for being healed, is more
apt to recover than he who withholds a slight equiva-
lent for health. Healing morally and physically are one.
1 Then, is compiling and delivering that sermon for which
you pay nothing, and which you deliver without the
author’s consent, and receive pay therefor, the precedent
for preaching Christian Science,—and are you doing
5 to the author of the above-named book as you would
have others do unto you?
Those authors and editors of pamphlets and periodi-
cals whose substance is made up of my publications, are
morally responsible for what the law construes as crime.
10 There are startling instances of the above-named law-
breaking and gospel-opposing system of authorship, which
characterize the writings of a few professed Christian
Scientists. My Christian students who have read copies
of my works in the pulpit require only a word to be wise;
15 too sincere and morally statuesque are they to be long
led into temptation; but I must not leave persistent
plagiarists without this word of warning in public, since
my private counsel they disregard.
To the question of my true-hearted students, “Is it
20 right to copy your works and read them for our public
services?” I answer: It is not right to copy my book
and read it publicly without my consent. My reasons are
First: This method is an unseen form of injustice
25 standing in a holy place.
Second: It breaks the Golden Rule,—a divine rule
for human conduct.
Third: All error tends to harden the heart, blind
the eyes, stop the ears of understanding, and inflate
30 self; counter to the commands of our hillside Priest, to
whom Isaiah alluded thus: “I have trodden the wine-
press alone; and of the people there was none with me.”
1 Behind the scenes lurks an evil which you can prevent:
it is a purpose to kill the reformation begun and increas-
ing through the instructions of “Science and Health with
Key to the Scriptures;” it encourages infringement of my
5 copyright, and seeks again to “cast lots for his vesture,”—while
the perverter preserves in his own consciousness
and teaching the name without the Spirit, the skeleton
without the heart, the form without the comeliness, the
sense without the Science, of Christ’s healing. My stu-
10 dents are expected to know the teaching of Christian Sci-
ence sufficiently to discriminate between error and Truth,
thus sparing their teacher a task and themselves the
temptation to be misled.
Much good has been accomplished through Christian
15 Science Sunday services. If Christian Scientists occasion-
ally mistake in interpreting revealed Truth, of two evils
the less would be not to leave the Word unspoken and
untaught. I allowed, till this permission was withdrawn,
students working faithfully for Christ’s cause on earth,
20 the privilege of copying and reading my works for Sunday
service; provided, they each and all destroyed the copies
at once after said service. When I should so elect and
give suitable notice, they were to desist from further copy-
ing of my writings as aforesaid.
25 This injunction did not curtail the benefit which the
student derived from making his copy, nor detract from
the good that his hearers received from his reading thereof;
but it was intended to forestall the possible evil of putting
the divine teachings contained in “Science and Health
30 with Key to the Scriptures” into human hands, to sub-
vert or to liquidate.
I recommend that students stay within their own fields
1 of labor, to work for the race; they are lights that can-
not be hid, and need only to shine from their home sum-
mits to be sought and found as healers physical and
5 The kindly shepherd has his own fold and tends his
own flock. Christian students should have their own
institutes and, unmolested, be governed by divine Love
alone in teaching and guiding their students. When
wisdom garrisons these strongholds of Christian Science,
10 peace and joy, the fruits of Spirit, will rest upon us all.
We are brethren in the fullest sense of that word; there-
fore no queries should arise as to “who shall be great-
est.” Let us serve instead of rule, knock instead of
push at the door of human hearts, and allow to each
15 and every one the same rights and privileges that we
claim for ourselves. If ever I wear out from serving
students, it shall be in the effort to help them to obey
the Ten Commandments and imbibe the spirit of Christ’s