commission--that is to say, one dollar and eighty- cents. Mrs. Eddy escapes this blistering tax, because she owns the Christian Science canvasser, and can compel him to work for nothing. Read the following command--not request--fulminated by Mrs. Eddy, over her signature, in the Christian Science Journal for March, 1897, and quoted by Mr. Peabody in his book. The book referred to is Science and Health:
"It shall be the duty of all Christian Scientists to circulate and to sell as many of these books as they can."
That is flung at all the elect, everywhere that the sun shines, but no penalty is shaken over their heads to scare them. The same command was issued to the members (numbering to-day twenty-five thousand) of The Mother-Church, also, but with it went a threat, of the infliction, in case of disobedience, of the most dreaded punishment that has a place in the Church's list of penalties for transgressions of Mrs. Eddy's edicts --excommunication:
"If a member of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, shall fail to obey this injunction, it will render him liable to lose his membership in this Church. MARY BAKER EDDY."
It is the spirit of the Spanish Inquisition.
None but accepted and well established gods can venture an affront like that and do it with confidence. But the human race will take anything from that class. Mrs. Eddy knows the human race; knows it better than any mere human being has known it in a thousand centuries. My confidence in her human-beingship is getting shaken, my confidence in her godship is stiffening.
SEVEN HUNDRED PER CENT.
A Scientist out West has visited a bookseller--with intent to find fault with me--and has brought away the information that the price at which Mrs. Eddy sells Science and Health is not an unusually high one for the size and make of the book. That is true. But in the book-trade--that profit-devourer unknown to Mrs. Eddy's book--a three-dollar book that is made for thirty-five or forty cents in large editions is put at three dollars because the publisher has to pay author, middleman, and advertising, and if the price were much below three the profit accruing would not pay him fairly for his time and labor. At the same time, if he could get ten dollars for the book he would take it, and his morals would not fall under criticism.
But if he were an inspired person commissioned by the Deity to receive and print and spread broadcast among sorrowing and suffering and poor men a precious message of healing and cheer and salvation, he would have to do as Bible Societies do--sell the book at a pinched margin above cost to such as could pay, and give it free to all that couldn't; and his name would be praised. But if he sold it at seven hundred per cent. profit and put the money in his pocket, his name would be mocked and derided. Just as Mrs. Eddy's is. And most justifiably, as it seems to me.
The complete Bible contains one million words. The New Testament by itself contains two hundred and forty thousand words.
My '84 edition of Science and Health contains one hundred and twenty thousand words--just half as many as the New Testament.
Science and Health has since been so inflated by later inspirations that the 1902 edition contains one hundred and eighty thousand words--not counting the thirty thousand at the back, devoted by Mrs. Eddy to advertising the book's healing abilities--and the inspiring continues right along.
If you have a book whose market is so sure and so great that you can give a printer an everlasting order for thirty or forty or fifty thousand copies a year he will furnish them at a cheap rate, because whenever there is a slack time in his press-room and bindery he can fill the idle intervals on your book and be making something instead of losing. That is the kind of contract that can be let on Science and Health every year. I am obliged to doubt that the three-dollar Science and Health costs Mrs. Eddy above fifteen cents, or that the six dollar copy costs her above eighty cents.