And so he was a healthy and cheerful man, now, and astonished.

But I am not astonished, for from other sources I know what must have been his method of applying Christian Science. If I am in the right, he watchfully and diligently diverted his mind from unhealthy channels and compelled it to travel in healthy ones. Nothing contrivable by human invention could be more formidably effective than that, in banishing imaginary ailments and in closing the entrances against subsequent applicants of their breed. I think his method was to keep saying, 'I am well! I am sound!--sound and well! well and sound! Perfectly sound, perfectly well! I have no pain; there's no such thing as pain! I have no disease; there's no such thing as disease! Nothing is real but Mind; all is Mind, All-Good, Good-Good, Life, Soul, Liver, Bones, one of a series, ante and pass the buck!'

I do not mean that that was exactly the formula used, but that it doubtless contains the spirit of it. The Scientist would attach value to the exact formula, no doubt, and to the religious spirit in which it was used. I should think that any formula that would divert the mind from unwholesome channels and force it into healthy ones would answer every purpose with some people, though not with all. I think it most likely that a very religious man would find the addition of the religious spirit a powerful reinforcement in his case.

The second witness testifies that the Science banished 'an old organic trouble' which the doctor and the surgeon had been nursing with drugs and the knife for seven years.

He calls it his 'claim.' A surface-miner would think it was not his claim at all, but the property of the doctor and his pal the surgeon--for he would be misled by that word, which is Christian-Science slang for 'ailment.' The Christian Scientist has no ailment; to him there is no such thing, and he will not use the lying word. All that happens to him is, that upon his attention an imaginary disturbance sometimes obtrudes itself which claims to be an ailment, but isn't.

This witness offers testimony for a clergyman seventy years old who had preached forty years in a Christian church, and has not gone over to the new sect. He was 'almost blind and deaf.' He was treated by the C.S. method, and 'when he heard the voice of Truth he saw spiritually.' Saw spiritually. It is a little indefinite; they had better treat him again. Indefinite testimonies might properly be waste-basketed, since there is evidently no lack of definite ones procurable, but this C.S. magazine is poorly edited, and so mistakes of this kind must be expected.

The next witness is a soldier of the Civil War. When Christian Science found him, he had in stock the following claims:

Indigestion, Rheumatism, Catarrh, Chalky deposits in Shoulder joints, Arm joints, Hand joints, Atrophy of the muscles of Arms, Shoulders, Stiffness of all those joints, Insomnia, Excruciating pains most of the time.

These claims have a very substantial sound. They came of exposure in the campaigns. The doctors did all they could, but it was little. Prayers were tried, but 'I never realised any physical relief from that source.' After thirty years of torture he went to a Christian Scientist and took an hour's treatment and went home painless. Two days later he 'began to eat like a well man.' Then 'the claims vanished--some at once, others more gradually;' finally, 'they have almost entirely disappeared.' And-- a thing which is of still greater value--he is now 'contented and happy.' That is a detail which, as earlier remarked, is a Scientist-Church specialty. With thirty-one years' effort the Methodist Church had not succeeded in furnishing it to this harassed soldier.

And so the tale goes on. Witness after witness bulletins his claims, declares their prompt abolishment, and gives Mrs. Eddy's Discovery the praise. Milk-leg is cured; nervous prostration is cured; consumption is cured; and St. Vitus's dance made a pastime. And now and then an interesting new addition to the Science slang appears on the page.

The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg and other Stories Page 52

Mark Twain

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

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book