It is a reasonably safe guess that in America in 1910 there will be 10,000,000 Christian Scientists, and 3,000,000 in Great Britain; that these figures will be trebled by 1920; that in America in 1910 the Christian Scientists will be a political force, in 1920 politically formidable--to remain that, permanently. And I think it a reasonable guess that the Trust (which is already in our day pretty brusque in its ways) will then be the most insolent and unscrupulous and tyrannical politico-religious master that has dominated a people since the palmy days of the Inquisition. And a stronger master than the strongest of bygone times, because this one will have a financial strength not dreamed of by any predecessor; as effective a concentration of irresponsible power as any predecessor had; in the railway, the telegraph, and the subsidised newspaper, better facilities for watching and managing his empire than any predecessor has had; and after a generation or two he will probably divide Christendom with the Catholic Church.
The Roman Church has a perfect organisation, and it has an effective centralisation of power--but not of its cash. Its multitude of Bishops are rich, but their riches remain in large measure in their own hands. They collect from 200,000,000 of people, but they keep the bulk of the result at home. The Boston Pope of by-and-by will draw his dollar-a-head capitation-tax from 300,000,000 of the human race, and the Annex and the rest of his book-shop will fetch in double as much more; and his Metaphysical Colleges, the annual pilgrimage to Mrs. Eddy's tomb, from all over the world--admission, the Christian-Science Dollar (payable in advance)--purchases of consecrated glass beads, candles, memorial spoons, aureoled chromo-portraits and bogus autographs of Mrs. Eddy, cash offerings at her shrine--no crutches of cured cripples received, and no imitations of miraculously restored broken legs and necks allowed to be hung up except when made out of the Holy Metal and proved by fire-assay; cash for miracles worked at the tomb: these money-sources, with a thousand to be yet invented and ambushed upon the devotee, will bring the annual increment well up above a billion. And nobody but the Trust will have the handling of it. No Bishops appointed unless they agree to hand in 90 per cent. of the catch. In that day the Trust will monopolise the manufacture and sale of the Old and New Testaments as well as the Annex, and raise their price to Annex rates, and compel the devotee to buy (for even to-day a healer has to have the Annex and the Scriptures or he is not allowed to work the game), and that will bring several hundred million dollars more. In those days the Trust will have an income approaching $5,000,000 a day, and no expenses to be taken out of it; no taxes to pay, and no charities to support. That last detail should not be lightly passed over by the read; it is well entitled to attention.
No charities to support. No, nor even to contribute to. One searches in vain the Trust's advertisements and the utterances of its pulpit for any suggestion that it spends a penny on orphans, widows, discharged prisoners, hospitals, ragged schools, night missions, city missions, foreign missions, libraries, old people's homes, or any other object that appeals to a human being's purse through his heart.
I have hunted, hunted, and hunted, by correspondence and otherwise, and have not yet got upon the track of a farthing that the Trust has spent upon any worthy object. Nothing makes a Scientist so uncomfortable as to ask him if he knows of a case where Christian Science has spent money on a benevolence, either among its own adherents or elsewhere. He is obliged to say no. And then one discovers that the person questioned has been asked the question many times before, and that it is getting to be a sore subject with him. Why a sore subject? Because he has written his chiefs and asked with high confidence for an answer that will confound these questioners--and the chiefs did not reply.