Eddy to First Members assembled in solemn Council, and provide lists of candidates for Church membership. The select body entitled First Members are the aristocracy of the Mother-Church, the Charter Members, the Aborigines, a sort of stylish but unsalaried little College of Cardinals, good for show, but not indispensable. Nobody is indispensable in Mrs. Eddy's empire; she sees to that.
When the Pastor Emeritus sends a letter or message to that little Sanhedrin, it is the Clerk's "imperative duty" to read it "at the place and time specified." Otherwise, the world might come to an end. These are fine, large frills, and remind us of the ways of emperors and such. Such do not use the penny-post, they send a gilded and painted special messenger, and he strides into the Parliament, and business comes to a sudden and solemn and awful stop; and in the impressive hush that follows, the Chief Clerk reads the document. It is his "imperative duty." If he should neglect it, his official life would end. It is the same with this Mother-Church Clerk; "if he fail to perform this important function of his office," certain majestic and unshirkable solemnities must follow: a special meeting "shall" be called; a member of the Church "shall" make formal complaint; then the Clerk "shall" be "removed from office." Complaint is sufficient, no trial is necessary.
There is something very sweet and juvenile and innocent and pretty about these little tinsel vanities, these grave apings of monarchical fuss and feathers and ceremony, here on our ostentatiously democratic soil. She is the same lady that we found in the Autobiography, who was so naively vain of all that little ancestral military riffraff that she had dug up and annexed. A person's nature never changes. What it is in childhood, it remains. Under pressure, or a change of interest, it can partially or wholly disappear from sight, and for considerable stretches of time, but nothing can ever permanently modify it, nothing can ever remove it.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
There isn't any--now. But with power and money piling up higher and higher every day and the Church's dominion spreading daily wider and farther, a time could come when the envious and ambitious could start the idea that it would be wise and well to put a watch upon these assets-- a watch equipped with properly large authority. By custom, a Board of Trustees. Mrs. Eddy has foreseen that probability--for she is a woman with a long, long look ahead, the longest look ahead that ever a woman had--and she has provided for that emergency. In Art. I., Sec. 5, she has decreed that no Board of Trustees shall ever exist in the Mother- Church "except it be constituted by the Pastor Emeritus."
The magnificence of it, the daring of it! Thus far, she is
The Massachusetts Metaphysical College; Pastor Emeritus; President; Board of Directors; Treasurer; Clerk; and future Board of Trustees;
and is still moving onward, ever onward. When I contemplate her from a commercial point of view, there are no words that can convey my admiration of her.
These are a feature of first importance in the church-machinery of Christian Science. For they occupy the pulpit. They hold the place that the preacher holds in the other Christian Churches. They hold that place, but they do not preach. Two of them are on duty at a time--a man and a woman. One reads a passage from the Bible, the other reads the explanation of it from Science and Health--and so they go on alternating. This constitutes the service--this, with choir-music. They utter no word of their own. Art. IV., Sec. 6, closes their mouths with this uncompromising gag:
"They shall make no remarks explanatory of the Lesson-Sermon at any time during the service."
It seems a simple little thing. One is not startled by it at a first reading of it; nor at the second, nor the third. One may have to read it a dozen times before the whole magnitude of it rises before the mind. It far and away oversizes and outclasses the best business-idea yet invented for the safe-guarding and perpetuating of a religion.