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 has had; in the railway, the telegraph, and the subsidized 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 organization, and it has an effective centralization 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 two hundred millions 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 three hundred millions of the human race, and the Annex and the rest of his book-shop stock will fetch in 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 chrome-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. In that day, the Trust will monopolize 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 five million dollars 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 reader; 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 organs for any suggestion that it spends a penny on orphans, widows, discharged prisoners, hospitals, ragged schools, night missions, city 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. He has written again, and then again--not with confidence, but humbly, now--and has begged for defensive ammunition in the voice of supplication. A reply does at last come to this effect: "We must have faith in Our Mother, and rest content in the conviction that whatever She does with the money it is in accordance with orders from Heaven, for She does no act of any kind without first 'demonstrating over' it."

That settles it--as far as the disciple is concerned. His mind is satisfied with that answer; he gets down his Annex and does an incantation or two, and that mesmerizes his spirit and puts that to sleep--brings it peace.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book