After taking away all the liberties of the branch Churches, and in the same breath disclaiming all official control over their affairs, she smites them on the mouth with this--the very mouth that was watering for those nobby ground-floor honors--
"No First Members. Branch Churches shall not organize with First Members, that special method of organization being adapted to the Mother- Church alone."
And so, first members being prohibited, we pierce through the cloud of Mrs. Eddy's English and perceive that they must then necessarily organize with Subsequent Members. There is no other way. It will occur to them by-and-by to found an aristocracy of Early Subsequent Members. There is no By-law against it.
I uncover to that imperial word. And to the mind, too, that conceived the idea of seizing and monopolizing it as a title. I believe it is Mrs. Eddy's dazzlingest invention. For show, and style, and grandeur, and thunder and lightning and fireworks it outclasses all the previous inventions of man, and raises the limit on the Pope. He can never put his avid hand on that word of words--it is pre-empted. And copyrighted, of course. It lifts the Mother-Church away up in the sky, and fellowships it with the rare and select and exclusive little company of the THE's of deathless glory--persons and things whereof history and the ages could furnish only single examples, not two: the Saviour, the Virgin, the Milky Way, the Bible, the Earth, the Equator, the Devil, the Missing Link--and now The First Church, Scientist. And by clamor of edict and By-law Mrs. Eddy gives personal notice to all branch Scientist Churches on this planet to leave that THE alone.
She has demonstrated over it and made it sacred to the Mother-Church:
"The article 'The' must not be used before the titles of branch Churches--
"Nor written on applications for membership in naming such churches."
Those are the terms. There can and will be a million First Churches of Christ, Scientist, scattered over the world, in a million towns and villages and hamlets and cities, and each may call itself (suppressing the article), "First Church of Christ. Scientist"--it is permissible, and no harm; but there is only one The Church of Christ, Scientist, and there will never be another. And whether that great word fall in the middle of a sentence or at the beginning of it, it must always have its capital T.
I do not suppose that a juvenile passion for fussy little worldly shows and vanities can furnish a match to this, anywhere in the history of the nursery. Mrs. Eddy does seem to be a shade fonder of little special distinctions and pomps than is usual with human beings.
She instituted that immodest "The" with her own hand; she did not wait for somebody else to think of it.
A LIFE-TERM MONOPOLY
There is but one human Pastor in the whole Christian Science world; she reserves that exalted place to herself.
A PERPETUAL ONE
There is but one other object in the whole Christian Science world honored with that title and holding that office: it is her book, the Annex--permanent Pastor of The First Church, and of all branch Churches.
With her own hand she draughted the By-laws which make her the only really absolute sovereign that lives to-day in Christendom.
She does not allow any objectionable pictures to be exhibited in the room where her book is sold, nor any indulgence in idle gossip there; and from the general look of that By-law I judge that a lightsome and improper person can be as uncomfortable in that place as he could be in heaven.
THE SANCTUM SANCTORUM AND SACRED CHAIR
In a room in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, there is a museum of objects which have attained to holiness through contact with Mrs. Eddy-- among them an electrically lighted oil-picture of a chair which she used to sit in--and disciples from all about the world go softly in there, in restricted groups, under proper guard, and reverently gaze upon those relics. It is worship.