I think he is more picturesquely insane that some of us. At the same time, I am quite sure that in one important and splendid particular he is saner than is the vast bulk of the race.
Why is he insane? I told you before: it is because his opinions are not ours. I know of no other reason, and I do not need any other; it is the only way we have of discovering insanity when it is not violent. It is merely the picturesqueness of his insanity that makes it more interesting than my kind or yours. For instance, consider his 'little book'--the one described in the previous article; the 'little book' exposed in the sky eighteen centuries ago by the flaming angel of the Apocalypse and handed down in our day to Mrs. Mary Baker G. Eddy of New Hampshire and translated by her, word for word, into English (with help of a polisher), and now published and distributed in hundreds of editions by her at a clear profit per volume, above cost, of 700 per cent.!--a profit which distinctly belongs to the angel of the Apocalypse, and let him collect it if he can; a 'little book' which the C.S. very frequently calls by just that name, and always inclosed in quotation-marks to keep its high origin exultantly in mind; a 'little book' which 'explains' and reconstructs and new-paints and decorates the Bible and puts a mansard roof on it and a lightning-rod and all the other modern improvements; a little book which for the present affects to travel in yoke with the Bible and be friendly to it, and within half a century will hitch it in the rear, and thenceforth travel tandem, itself in the lead, in the coming great march of Christian Scientism through the Protestant dominions of the planet.
Perhaps I am putting the tandem arrangement too far away; perhaps five years might be nearer the mark than fifty; for a Viennese lady told me last night that in the Christian Science Mosque in Boston she noticed some things which seem to me to promise a shortening of the interval; on one side there was a display of texts from the New Testament, signed with the Saviour's initials, 'J.C.;' and on the opposite side a display of texts from the 'little book' signed--with the author's mere initials? No--signed with Mrs. Mary Baker G. Eddy's name in full. Perhaps the Angel of the Apocalypse likes this kind of piracy. I made this remark lightly to a Christian Scientist this morning, but he did not receive it lightly, but said it was jesting upon holy things; he said there was no piracy, for the angel did not compose the book, he only brought it--'God composed it.' I could have retorted that it was a case of piracy just the same; that the displayed texts should be signed with the Author's initials, and that to sign them with the translator's train of names was another case of 'jesting upon holy things.' However, I did not say these things, for this Scientist was a large person, and although by his own doctrine we have no substance, but are fictions and unrealities, I knew he could hit me an imaginary blow which would furnish me an imaginary pain which could last me a week. The lady said that in that Mosque there were two pulpits; in one of them was a man with the Former Bible, in the other a woman with Mrs. Eddy's apocalyptic Annex; and from these books the man and the woman were reading verse and verse about:
'Hungry ones throng to hear the Bible read in connection with the text-book of Christian Science, "Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker G. Eddy. These are our only preachers. They are the word of God.'--Christian Science Journal, October 1898.
Are these things picturesque? The Viennese lady told me that in a chapel of the Mosque there was a picture or image of Mrs. Eddy, and that before it burns a never-extinguished light. Is that picturesque? How long do you think it will be before the Christian Scientist will be worshipping that image and praying to it? How long do you think it will be before it is claimed that Mrs. Eddy is a Redeemer, a Christ, or Christ's equal? Already her army of disciples speak of her reverently as 'Our Mother.' How long will it be before they place her on the steps of the Throne beside the Virgin--and later a step higher? First, Mary the Virgin and Mary the Matron; later, with a change of Precedence, Mary the Matron and Mary the Virgin.