There are the Mind Cure, the Faith Cure, the Prayer Cure, the Mental-Science Cure, and the Christian-Science Cure; and apparently they all do their miracles with the same old powerful instrument--the patient's imagination. Differing names, but no difference in the process. But they do not give that instrument the credit; each sect claims that its way differs from the ways of the others.
They all achieve some cures, there is no question about it; and the Faith Cure and the Prayer Cure probably do no harm when they do no good, since they do not forbid the patient to help out the cure with medicines if he wants to; but the others bar medicines, and claim ability to cure every conceivable human ailment through the application of their mental forces alone. They claim ability to cure malignant cancer, and other affections which have never been cured in the history of the race. There would seem to be an element of danger here. It has the look of claiming too much, I think. Public confidence would probably be increased if less were claimed.
I believe it might be shown that all the 'mind' sects except Christian Science have lucid intervals; intervals in which they betray some diffidence, and in effect confess that they are not the equals of the Deity; but if the Christian Scientist even stops with being merely the equal of the Deity, it is not clearly provable by his Christian-Science Amended Bible. In the usual Bible the Deity recognises pain, disease, and death as facts, but the Christian Scientist knows better. Knows better, and is not diffident about saying so.
The Christian Scientist was not able to cure my stomach-ache and my cold; but the horse-doctor did it. This convinces me that Christian Science claims too much. In my opinion it ought to let diseases alone and confine itself to surgery. There it would have everything its own way.
The horse-doctor charged me thirty kreutzers, and I paid him; in fact I doubled it and gave him a shilling. Mrs. Fuller brought in an itemised bill for a crate of broken bones mended in two hundred and thirty-four places--one dollar per fracture.
'Nothing exists but Mind?'
'Nothing,' she answered. 'All else is substanceless, all else is imaginary.'
I gave her an imaginary cheque, and now she is suing me for substantial dollars. It looks inconsistent.
Let us consider that we are all partially insane. It will explain us to each other, it will unriddle many riddles, it will make clear and simple many things which are involved in haunting and harassing difficulties and obscurities now.
Those of us who are not in the asylum, and not demonstrably due there, are nevertheless no doubt insane in one or two particulars--I think we must admit this; but I think that we are otherwise healthy-minded. I think that when we all see one thing alike, it is evidence that as regards that one thing, our minds are perfectly sound. Now there are really several things which we do all see alike; things which we all accept, and about which we do not dispute. For instance, we who are outside of the asylum all agree that water seeks its level; that the sun gives light and heat; that fire consumes; that fog is damp; that 6 times 6 are thirty-six; that 2 from 10 leave eight; that 8 and 7 are fifteen. These are perhaps the only things we are agreed about; but although they are so few, they are of inestimable value, because they make an infallible standard of sanity. Whosoever accepts them we know to be substantially sane; sufficiently sane; in the working essentials, sane. Whoever disputes a single one of them we know to be wholly insane, and qualified for the asylum.
Very well, the man who disputes none of them we concede to be entitled to go at large--but that is concession enough; we cannot go any further than that; for we know that in all matters of mere opinion that same man is insane--just as insane as we are; just as insane as Shakespeare was, just as insane as the Pope is. We know exactly where to put our finger upon his insanity; it is where his opinion differs from ours.