His testimony is of no value. No one wants it, no one will ask for it. He is not present to offer it (he does not know he has been accused), and if he were there to offer it, it would not be listened to.
It was out of powers approaching Mrs. Eddy's--though not equalling them --that the Inquisition and the devastations of the Interdict grew. She will transmit hers. The man born two centuries from now will think he has arrived in hell; and all in good time he will think he knows it. Vast concentrations of irresponsible power have never in any age been used mercifully, and there is nothing to suggest that the Christian Science Papacy is going to spend money on novelties.
Several Christian Scientists have asked me to refrain from prophecy. There is no prophecy in our day but history. But history is a trustworthy prophet. History is always repeating itself, because conditions are always repeating themselves. Out of duplicated conditions history always gets a duplicate product.
READING LETTERS AT MEETINGS
I wonder if there is anything a Member can do that will not raise Mrs. Eddy's jealousy? The By-laws seem to hunt him from pillar to post all the time, and turn all his thoughts and acts and words into sins against the meek and lowly new deity of his worship. Apparently her jealousy never sleeps. Apparently any trifle can offend it, and but one penalty appease it--excommunication. The By-laws might properly and reasonably be entitled Laws for the Coddling and Comforting of Our Mother's Petty Jealousies. The By-law named at the head of this paragraph reads its transgressor out of the Church if he shall carry a letter from Mrs. Eddy to the congregation and forget to read it or fail to read the whole of it.
Dishonest members are to be admonished; if they continue in dishonest practices, excommunication follows. Considering who it is that draughted this law, there is a certain amount of humor in it.
FURTHER APPLICATIONS OF THE AXE
Here follow the titles of some more By-laws whose infringement is punishable by excommunication:
Silence Enjoined. Misteaching. Departure from Tenets. Violation of Christian Fellowship. Moral Offences. Illegal Adoption. Broken By-laws. Violation of By-laws. (What is the difference?) Formulas Forbidden. Official Advice. (Forbids Tom, Dick, and Harry's clack.) Unworthy of Membership. Final Excommunication. Organizing Churches.
This looks as if Mrs. Eddy had devoted a large share of her time and talent to inventing ways to get rid of her Church members. Yet in another place she seems to invite membership. Not in any urgent way, it is true, still she throws out a bait to such as like notice and distinction (in other words, the Human Race). Page 82:
"It is important that these seemingly strict conditions be complied with, as the names of the Members of the Mother-Church will be recorded in the history of the Church and become a part thereof."
We all want to be historical.
The Hymnal. There is a Christian Science Hymnal. Entrance to it was closed in 1898. Christian Science students who make hymns nowadays may possibly get them sung in the Mother-Church, "but not unless approved by the Pastor Emeritus." Art. XXVII, Sec. 2.
Solo Singers. Mrs. Eddy has contributed the words of three of the hymns in the Hymnal. Two of them appear in it six times altogether, each of them being set to three original forms of musical anguish. Mrs. Eddy, always thoughtful, has promulgated a By-law requiring the singing of one of her three hymns in the Mother Church "as often as once each month." It is a good idea. A congregation could get tired of even Mrs. Eddy's muse in the course of time, without the cordializing incentive of compulsion. We all know how wearisome the sweetest and touchingest things can become, through rep-rep-repetition, and still rep-rep- repetition, and more rep-rep-repetition-like "the sweet by-and-by, in the sweet by-and-by," for instance, and "Tah-rah-rah boom-de-aye"; and surely it is not likely that Mrs.