What must I do to get rid of them?'
'There is no occasion to get rid of them, since they do not exist. They are illusions propagated by matter, and matter has no existence; there is no such thing as matter.'
'It sounds right and clear, but yet it seems in a degree elusive; it seems to slip through, just when you think you are getting a grip on it.'
'Well, for instance: if there is no such thing as matter, how can matter propagate things?'
In her compassion she almost smiled. She would have smiled if there were any such thing as a smile.
'It is quite simple,' she said; 'the fundamental propositions of Christian Science explain it, and they are summarised in the four following self-evident propositions: 1. God is All in all. 2. God is good. Good is Mind. 3. God, Spirit, being all, nothing is matter. 4. Life, God, omnipotent Good, deny death, evil sin, disease. There-- now you see.'
It seemed nebulous: it did not seem to say anything about the difficulty in hand--how non-existent matter can propagate illusions. I said, with some hesitancy:
'Does--does it explain?'
'Doesn't it? Even if read backward it will do it.'
With a budding hope, I asked her to do it backward.
'Very well. Disease sin evil death deny Good omnipotent God life matter is nothing all being Spirit God Mind is Good good is God all in All is God. There--do you understand now?
'It--it--well, it is plainer than it was before; still--'
'Could you try it some more ways?'
'As many as you like: it always means the same. Interchanged in any way you please it cannot be made to mean anything different from what it means when put in any other way. Because it is perfect. You can jumble it all up, and it makes no difference: it always comes out the way it was before. It was a marvellous mind that produced it. As a mental tour de force it is without a mate, it defies alike the simple, the concrete, and the occult.'
'It seems to be a corker.'
I blushed for the word, but it was out before I could stop it.
'A--wonderful structure--combination, so to speak, or profound thoughts-- unthinkable ones--un--'
'It is true. Read backwards, or forwards, or perpendicularly, or at any given angle, these four propositions will always be found to agree in statement and proof.'
'Ah--proof. Now we are coming at it. The statements agree; they agree with--with--anyway, they agree; I noticed that; but what is it they prove--I mean, in particular?'
'Why, nothing could be clearer. They prove: 1. GOD--Principle, Life, Truth, Love, Soul, Spirit, Mind. Do you get that?'
'I--well, I seem to. Go on, please.
'2. MAN--God's universal idea, individual, perfect, eternal. Is it clear?'
'It--I think so. Continue.'
'3. IDEA--An image in Mind; the immediate object of understanding. There it is--the whole sublime Arcana of Christian Science in a nutshell. Do you find a weak place in it anywhere?'
'Well--no; it seems strong.'
'Very well. There is more. Those three constitute the Scientific Definition of Immortal Mind. Next, we have the Scientific Definition of Mortal Mind. Thus. FIRST DEGREE: Depravity. 1. Physical--Passions and appetites, fear, depraved will, pride, envy, deceit, hatred, revenge, sin, disease, death.'
'Phantasms, madam--unrealities, as I understand it.'
'Every one. SECOND DEGREE: Evil Disappearing. 1. Moral--Honesty, affection, compassion, hope, faith, meekness, temperance. Is it clear?'
'THIRD DEGREE: Spiritual Salvation. 1. Spiritual--Faith, wisdom, power, purity, understanding, health, love. You see how searchingly and co-ordinately interdependent and anthropomorphous it all is. In this Third Degree, as we know by the revelations of Christian Science, mortal mind disappears.'
'No, not until the teaching and preparation for the Third Degree are completed.'
'It is not until then that one is enabled to take hold of Christian Science effectively, and with the right sense of sympathy and kinship, as I understand you.