If it had been thought of and put in force eighteen hundred and seventy years ago, there would be but one Christian sect in the world now, instead of ten dozens of them.
There are many varieties of men in the world, consequently there are many varieties of minds in its pulpits. This insures many differing interpretations of important Scripture texts, and this in turn insures the splitting up of a religion into many sects. It is what has happened; it was sure to happen.
Mrs. Eddy has noted this disastrous result of preaching, and has put up the bars. She will have no preaching in her Church. She has explained all essential Scriptures, and set the explanations down in her book. In her belief her underlings cannot improve upon those explanations, and in that stern sentence "they shall make no explanatory remarks" she has barred them for all time from trying. She will be obeyed; there is no question about that.
In arranging her government she has borrowed ideas from various sources-- not poor ones, but the best in the governmental market--but this one is new, this one came out of no ordinary business-head, this one must have come out of her own, there has been no other commercial skull in a thousand centuries that was equal to it. She has borrowed freely and wisely, but I am sure that this idea is many times larger than all her borrowings bulked together. One must respect the business-brain that produced it--the splendid pluck and impudence that ventured to promulgate it, anyway.
ELECTION OF READERS
Readers are not taken at hap-hazard, any more than preachers are taken at hap-hazard for the pulpits of other sects. No, Readers are elected by the Board of Directors. But--
"Section 3. The Board shall inform the Pas. for Emeritus of the names of candidates for Readers before they are elected, and if she objects to the nomination, said candidates shall not be chosen."
Is that an election--by the Board? Thus far I have not been able to find out what that Board of Spectres is for. It certainly has no real function, no duty which the hired girl could not perform, no office beyond the mere recording of the autocrat's decrees.
There are no dangerously long office-terms in Mrs. Eddy's government. The Readers are elected for but one year. This insures their subserviency to their proprietor.
Readers are not allowed to copy out passages and read them from the manuscript in the pulpit; they must read from Mrs. Eddy's book itself. She is right. Slight changes could be slyly made, repeated, and in time get acceptance with congregations. Branch sects could grow out of these practices. Mrs. Eddy knows the human race, and how far to trust it. Her limit is not over a quarter of an inch. It is all that a wise person will risk.
Mrs. Eddy's inborn disposition to copyright everything, charter everything, secure the rightful and proper credit to herself for everything she does, and everything she thinks she does, and everything she thinks, and everything she thinks she thinks or has thought or intends to think, is illustrated in Sec. 5 of Art. IV., defining the duties of official Readers--in church:
"Naming Book and Author. The Reader of Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures, before commencing to read from this book, shall distinctly announce its full title and give the author's name."
Otherwise the congregation might get the habit of forgetting who (ostensibly) wrote the book.
This consists of First Members and their apostolic succession. It is a close corporation, and its membership limit is one hundred. Forty will answer, but if the number fall below that, there must be an election, to fill the grand quorum.
This Sanhedrin can't do anything of the slightest importance, but it can talk. It can "discuss." That is, it can discuss "important questions relative to Church members", evidently persons who are already Church members. This affords it amusement, and does no harm.
It can "fix the salaries of the Readers."
Twice a year it "votes on" admitting candidates.