Let the artist get ready with his canvas and his brushes; the new Renaissance is on its way, and there will be money in altar-canvases--a thousand times as much as the Popes and their Church ever spent on the Old Masters; for their riches were as poverty as compared with what is going to pour into the treasure-chest of the Christian-Scientist Papacy by-and-by, let us not doubt it. We will examine the financial outlook presently and see what it promises. A favourite subject of the new Old Master will be the first verse of the twelfth chapter of Revelation--a verse which Mrs. Eddy says (in her Annex to the Scriptures) has 'one distinctive feature which has special reference to the present age'--and to her, as is rather pointedly indicated:

'And there appeared a great wonder in heaven--a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet,' etc.

The woman clothed with the sun will be a portrait of Mrs. Eddy.

Is it insanity to believe that Christian Scientism is destined to make the most formidable show that any new religion has made in the world since the birth and spread of Mohammedanism, and that within a century from now it may stand second to Rome only, in numbers and power in Christendom?

If this is a wild dream it will not be easy to prove it is so just yet, I think. There seems argument that it may come true. The Christian-Science 'boom' is not yet five years old; yet already it has 500 churches and 1,000,000 members in America.

It has its start, you see, and it is a phenomenally good one. Moreover, it is latterly spreading with a constantly accelerating swiftness. It has a better chance to grow and prosper and achieve permanency than any other existing 'ism;' for it has more to offer than any other. The past teaches us that, in order to succeed, a movement like this must not be a mere philosophy, it must be a religion; also, that it must not claim entire originality, but content itself with passing for an improvement on an existing religion, and show its hand later, when strong and prosperous--like Mohammedanism.

Next, there must be money--and plenty of it.

Next, the power and authority and capital must be concentrated in the grip of a small and irresponsible clique, with nobody outside privileged to ask questions or find fault.

Next, as before remarked, it must bait its hook with some new and attractive advantages over the baits offered by the other religions.

A new movement equipped with some of these endowments--like spiritualism, for instance--may count upon a considerable success; a new movement equipped with the bulk of them--like Mohammedanism, for instance--may count upon a widely extended conquest. Mormonism had all the requisites but one--it had nothing new and nothing valuable to bait with; and, besides, it appealed to the stupid and the ignorant only. Spiritualism lacked the important detail of concentration of money and authority in the hands of an irresponsible clique.

The above equipment is excellent, admirable, powerful, but not perfect. There is yet another detail which is worth the whole of it put together-- and more; a detail which has never been joined (in the beginning of a religious movement) to a supremely good working equipment since the world began, until now: a new personage to worship. Christianity had the Saviour, but at first and for generations it lacked money and concentrated power. In Mrs. Eddy, Christian Science possesses the new personage for worship, and in addition--here in the very beginning--a working equipment that has not a flaw in it. In the beginning, Mohammedanism had no money; and it has never had anything to offer its client but heaven--nothing here below that was valuable. In addition to heaven hereafter, Christian Science has present health and a cheerful spirit to offer--for cash--and in comparison with this bribe all other this-world bribes are poor and cheap. You recognise that this estimate is admissible, do you not?

To whom does Bellamy's 'Nationalism' appeal? Necessarily to the few: people who read and dream, and are compassionate, and troubled for the poor and the hard-driven.

The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg and other Stories Page 50

Mark Twain

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book