Truth Versus Error
From Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy
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“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures
of silver.” It is a rule in Christian Science never to re-
25 peat error unless it becomes requisite to bring out Truth.
Then lift the curtain, let in the light, and countermand
1 this first command of Solomon, “Answer not a fool accord-
ing to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him,”
A distant rumbling and quivering of the earth foretell
the internal action of pent-up gas. To avoid danger from
5 this source people have to escape from their houses to the
open space. A conical cloud, hanging like a horoscope
in the air, foreshadows a cyclone. To escape from this
calamity people prepare shelter in caves of the earth.
They who discern the face of the skies cannot always
10 discern the mental signs of these times, and peer through
the opaque error. Where my vision begins and is clear,
theirs grows indistinct and ends.
There are diversities of operation by the same spirit.
Two individuals, with all the goodness of generous na-
15 tures, advise me. One says, Go this way; the other
says, Take the opposite direction! Between the two I
stand still; or, accepting the premonition of one of them,
I follow his counsel, take a few steps, then halt. A true
sense not unfamiliar has been awakened. I see the way
20 now. The guardians of His presence go before me. I
enter the path. It may be smooth, or it may be rugged;
but it is always straight and narrow; and if it be up-
hill all the way, the ascent is easy and the summit can
25 God is responsible for the mission of those whom He
has anointed. Those who know no will but His take
His hand, and from the night He leads to light. None
can say unto Him, What doest Thou?
The Christian Science Journal was the oldest and
30 only authenticated organ of Christian Science up to
1898. Loyal Scientists are targets for envy, rivalry,
slander; and whoever hits this mark is well paid by the
1 umpire. But the Scientists aim highest. They press for-
ward towards the mark of a high calling. They recog-
nize the claims of the law and the gospel. They know
that whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap. They
5 infringe neither the books nor the business of others; and
with hearts overflowing with love for God, they help on the
brotherhood of men. It is not mine but Thine they seek.
When God bids one uncover iniquity, in order to
exterminate it, one should lay it bare; and divine Love
10 will bless this endeavor and those whom it reaches.
“Nothing is hid that shall not be revealed.”
It is only a question of time when God shall reveal His
rod, and show the plan of battle. Error, left to itself,
accumulates. Hence, Solomon’s transverse command:
15 “Answer a fool according, to his folly, lest he be wise in
his own conceit.”
To quench the growing flames of falsehood, once in
about seven years I have to repeat this,—that I use no
drugs whatever, not even coffea (coffee), thea (tea), cap-
20 sicum (red pepper); though every day, and especially at
dinner, I indulge in homœopathic doses of Natrum muri-
aticum (common salt).
When I found myself under this new régime of medi-
cine, the medicine of Mind, I wanted to satisfy my curi-
25 osity as to the effect of drugs on one who had lost all
faith in them. Hence I tried several doses of medicine,
and so proved to myself that drugs have no beneficial
effect on an individual in a proper state of mind.
I have by no means encouraged students of the Massa-
30 chusetts Metaphysical College to enter medical schools,
and afterwards denied this and objected to their entering
those schools. A student who consulted me on this sub-
1 ject, received my consent and even the offer of pecuniary
assistance to take lessons outside of my College, provided
he received these lessons of a certain regular-school physi-
cian, whose instructions included about twelve lessons,
5 three weeks’ time, and the surgical part of midwifery. I
have students with the degree of M. D., who are skilful
obstetricians. Such a course with such a teacher would
not necessitate essential materialization of a student’s
thought, nor detract from the metaphysical mode of
10 obstetrics taught in my College.
This student had taken the above-named course in
obstetrics when he consulted me on the feasibility of enter-
ing a medical school; and to this I objected on the ground
that it was inconsistent with Christian Science, which he
15 claimed to be practising; but I was willing, and said
so, that, notwithstanding my objection, he should do as
he deemed best, for I claim no jurisdiction over any stu-
dents. He entered the medical school, and several other
students with him. My counsel to all of them was in
20 substance the same as the foregoing, and some of these
students have openly acknowledged this.
In answer to a question on the following subject, I
will state that I preached four years, and built up the
church, before I would accept the slightest remuneration.
25 When the church had sufficient members and means to
pay a salary, and refused to give me up or to receive my
gratuitous services, I accepted, for a time, fifteen dollars
each Sunday when I preached. I never received more
than this; and the contributions, when I preached,
30 doubled that amount. I have accepted no pay from my
church for about three years, and believe that I have
put into the church-fund about two thousand dollars of
1 my own contributions. I hold receipts for $1,489.50 paid
in, and the balance was never receipted for.
I temporarily organized a secret society known as the
P. M., the workings whereof were not “terrible and too
5 shocking to relate.” By and with advice of the very
student who brings up the question of this society, it
was formed. The P. M. (Private Meeting) Society met
only twice. The first subject given out for considera-
tion was this: “There is no Animal Magnetism.” There
10 was no advice given, no mental work, and there were
no transactions at those meetings which I would hesitate
to have known. On the contrary, our deliberations
were, as usual, Christian, and like my public instruction.
The second P. M. convened in about one week from the
15 first. The subject given out at that meeting was, in sub-
stance, “God is All; there is none beside Him.” This
proved to be our last meeting. I dissolved the society,
and we have not met since. If harm could come from
the consideration of these two topics, it was because of
20 the misconception of those subjects in the mind that
handled them. An individual state of mind sometimes
occasions effects on patients which are not in harmony
with Science and the soundness of the argument used.
Hence it prevents the normal action, and the benefit that
25 would otherwise accrue.
I issue no arguments, and cause none to be used in
mental practice, which consign people to suffering. On
the contrary, I cannot serve two masters; therefore I
teach the use of such arguments only as promote health
30 and spiritual growth. My life, consecrated to humanity
through nameless suffering and sacrifice, furnishes its
own proof of my practice.
1 I have sometimes called on students to test their ability
and meet the mental malpractice, so as to lift the burdens
imposed by students.
The fact is, that for want of time, and for the purpose
5 of blessing even my enemies, I neglect myself. I never
have practised by arguments which, perverted, are the
weapons of the silent mental malpractice. I have no skill
in occultism; and I could not if I would, and would not
if I could, harm any one through the mental method of
10 Mind-healing, or in any manner.
The late much-ado-about-nothing arose solely from
mental malicious practice, and the audible falsehood
designed to stir up strife between brethren, for the purpose
of placing Christian Science in the hands of aspirants
15 for place and power. These repeated attempts of mad
ambition may retard our Cause, but they never can place
it in the wrong hands and hold it there, nor benefit
mankind by such endeavors.