Advice To Students | Plainfield Christian Science Church, Independent

Advice To Students

From Miscellaneous Writings by

Click here to play the audio as you read:

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

Page 299

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
         public services?”

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-

Page 300

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
         in it.

         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.

Page 301

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
         as follows:—

         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.”

Page 302

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

Page 303

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

Print this page

Share via email

Love is the liberator.