To whom does Spiritualism appeal? Necessarily to the few; its 'boom' has lasted for half a century and I believe it claims short of four millions of adherents in America. Who are attracted by Swedenborgianism and some of the other fine and delicate 'isms?' The few again: Educated people, sensitively organised, with superior mental endowments, who seek lofty planes of thought and find their contentment there. And who are attracted by Christian Science? There is no limit; its field is horizonless; its appeal is as universal as is the appeal of Christianity itself. It appeals to the rich, the poor, the high, the low, the cultured, the ignorant, the gifted, the stupid, the modest, the vain, the wise, the silly, the soldier, the civilian, the hero, the coward, the idler, the worker, the godly, the godless, the freeman, the slave, the adult, the child; they who are ailing, they who have friends that are ailing. To mass it in a phrase, its clientele is the Human Race? Will it march? I think so.
Remember its principal great offer: to rid the Race of pain and disease. Can it do it? In large measure, yes. How much of the pain and disease in the world is created by the imaginations of the sufferers, and then kept alive by those same imaginations? Four-fifths? Not anything short of that I should think. Can Christian Science banish that four-fifths? I think so. Can any other (organised) force do it? None that I know of. Would this be a new world when that was accomplished? And a pleasanter one--for us well people, as well as for those fussy and fretting sick ones? Would it seem as if there was not as much gloomy weather as there used to be? I think so.
In the meantime would the Scientist kill off a good many patients? I think so. More than get killed off now by the legalised methods? I will take up that question presently.
At present I wish to ask you to examine some of the Scientist's performances, as registered in his magazine, 'The Christian Science Journal'--October number, 1898. First, a Baptist clergyman gives us this true picture of 'the average orthodox Christian'--and he could have added that it is a true picture of the average (civilised) human being:
'He is a worried and fretted and fearful man; afraid of himself and his propensities, afraid of colds and fevers, afraid of treading on serpents or drinking deadly things.'
Then he gives us this contrast:
'The average Christian Scientist has put all anxiety and fretting under his feet. He does have a victory over fear and care that is not achieved by the average orthodox Christian.'
He has put all anxiety and fretting under his feet. What proportion of your earnings or income would you be willing to pay for that frame of mind, year in year out? It really outvalues any price that can be put upon it. Where can you purchase it, at any outlay of any sort, in any Church or out of it, except the Scientist's?
Well, it is the anxiety and fretting about colds, and fevers, and draughts, and getting our feet wet, and about forbidden food eaten in terror of indigestion, that brings on the cold and the fever and the indigestion and the most of our other ailments; and so, if the Science can banish that anxiety from the world I think it can reduce the world's disease and pain about four-fifths.
In this October number many of the redeemed testify and give thanks; and not coldly but with passionate gratitude. As a rule they seem drunk with health, and with the surprise of it, the wonder of it, the unspeakable glory and splendour of it, after a long sober spell spent in inventing imaginary diseases and concreting them with doctor-stuff. The first witness testifies that when 'this most beautiful Truth first dawned on him' he had 'nearly all the ills that flesh is heir to;' that those he did not have he thought he had--and thus made the tale about complete. What was the natural result? Why, he was a dump-pit 'for all the doctors, druggists, and patent medicines of the country.' Christian Science came to his help, and 'the old sick conditions passed away,' and along with them the 'dismal forebodings' which he had been accustomed to employ in conjuring up ailments.