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JUDGE SEPTIMUS J. HANNA, CSD
Here then is an unequivocal declaration that man is God, and the only God. Such a doctrine, we fancy, would be startling even to the heathen, for they acknowledge the existence of gods that are superior to mortals; but this remarkable doctrine, seeking to gain for itself adherents under the name and guise of Christian Science, would annihilate even the gods of Paganism, and substitute man as the only God. Such audacity exhibited in this age, and in Christendom, seems quite unaccountable. Yet to those who have made a study of mental phenomena, and are thus more or less familiar with the irrational extremes to which mesmerism, both from without and from within, will lead its victims, it is not as strange as to others. It is a phase of mental gymnastics along religious lines peculiar to these latter days that is scarcely less awry than the restless and feverish mental atmosphere so noticeable in the social, business and political world. Even Nature (so-called) would seem to be in a state of general fermentation, if we may judge from the irregular conditions exhibited in weather, storm, flood, earthquake, and other physical commotion. Surely these are times of "chemicalization"; this word, introduced by the author of Science and Health for the first time into religious nomenclature, is becoming more and more expressive as time goes on and its prophecies are being fulfilled. Old conditions are breaking up, thought is being recast in various departments of mortal life, and we can scarcely hope to avoid seeing many chemicalizations in the mental realm, such as will lead certain temperaments to almost any excess of riot. We may be sure that whenever mortal man seeks to make himself Deity or erect for himself a belief in any intelligence, power, mind, or principle apart from God, he will run riot, for he has no other refuge than himself. He can feed his self-esteem and satisfy his mad ambition for supremacy only by referring to himself all-power, all-wisdom, all-presence; thus to his upheaved imagination he becomes the only God, and seeks to enthrone his own supremacy. Can any thinking, unmesmerized person fail to see that such conceptions are the wild errantry of overweening egotism?
It is unfortunate, from any point of view, that any sentient being should become so blinded. It is more unfortunate that any who were personally taught by Mary Baker Eddy, and whose opportunities for acquiring a true knowledge of her teaching were of the very best, should become prime movers in the kind of teaching and preaching we are considering. Yet it is true that for some years past such persons have been travelling from Maine to California spreading this pernicious heresy, and quoting the Bible and our textbook in support thereof. They claim prestige and privilege because they were taught in the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, and have been conferring (and we are informed are still conferring) upon their students the degree of C. S. B. (Bachelor of Christian Science). It is well understood that no one has, or ever had, the right to confer this degree other than Mrs. Eddy herself as President; and it cannot be that the persons so unauthorizedly conferring it are ignorant of that fact. It seems they go ahead regardless of right or authority, as recklessly defying all human order and authority, as divine. Whoever before heard of an alumnus of a college conferring degrees pertaining to his alma mater upon his students? With as much propriety might a graduate of Harvard, who goes forth as a teacher from that institution, confer the Harvard degrees upon his students. Can anyone fail to see the ridiculousness of such a thing?
We hereby notify all upon whom such pretended degrees have been conferred, no matter by whom, that they were wholly unauthorized, and those who assume them do so without a shadow of right. Let them govern themselves accordingly, and cease further imposition upon uninformed and honest truth-seekers.
It should, and but for the situation above set forth, would be wholly unnecessary to say a word in refutation of such distortions of the Bible and our textbook. But in view thereof, and with the hope of awakening honest seekers to the deception practiced upon them, we feel it our duty to call attention to some of the more striking Scriptural passages showing God's supremacy and allness. "I am the almighty God." Gen. 17:1. "I am God, and there is none else. I am God, and there is none like me." Isa. 46:9. "There is no God like to thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath." 1 Kings 8:23. Similar statements abound throughout the Old Testament. The New Testament reemphasizes them from Matthew to Revelation. Jesus thus addresses the supreme God: "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth." He ascribed to God not only the supreme, but the only fatherhood: "Call no man your father upon the earth; for one is your Father which is in heaven." Matt. 23:9. He recognized no other Good, than God, the supreme Good: "And he said unto them, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God." He subordinated himself to God: "The Son shall come in the glory (not of himself but) of his Father." "Of myself I can do nothing." "I am in the Father and the Father in me; the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." "The Father is greater than I."
What rational, thinking person can read these words and draw from them the inference that man is God? He who attempts it is placing himself on a higher plane than Jesus, according to his own statements, occupied. Not only this, but there is but one possible logical result of such foolish reasoning, namely, that there is no God, and that man is the only supreme being.
Now as to the teaching of Science and Health upon this question, read the definition of God as given in the glossary, page 578: "God. The great I am; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; Substance; Intelligence." Read the Platform commencing on page 225, the first statement of which is: "God is supreme Being, the only Life, Substance, and Soul, the only Intelligence of the universe, including man." In Recapitulation, page 461, God is defined as "supreme incorporeal Being." These statements reflect the entire scope and intent of Science and Health.
Where then is the warrant for the inference that our textbook teaches the supremacy of man? Such an inference is the direct opposite of its teaching. To undertake to so distort these plain definitions of the supremacy of God as to support the theory that man is supreme, is an insult to ordinary human intelligence.
Those who have departed from the teachings of our textbook have themselves made the issue that there is no God but man. We find this claim running, in more or less plausibly disguised form, through all the literature promulgated by the class in question; that is, those who claim to have gone on in advance of Mrs. Eddy. The issue is thus clearly made. It will henceforth be distinctly understood that all who follow this false teaching and literature have arrayed themselves on the side of man's supremacy and God's nothingness. All who remain true to the Bible, and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures in the truth and purity of their teachings, will acknowledge God as the only supreme Being, the only Power, the only Intelligence, the only God of the universe, and man as His image and likeness. All who seek to climb up some other way are not entitled to the name or recognition of Christian Science nor will they much longer be able to continue their deception. Thus, we say, they have made the issue squarely. So let it be.
The early Christians had experiences quite like these through which Christian Scientists are passing today. The following from Irenaeus, one of the early Christian Fathers, a student of the pious Polycarp, who wrote and labored in A. D. 120 to 202, shows somewhat of their experiences, and is another evidence of the manner in which history is repeating itself:
Inasmuch as certain men have set the truth aside, and bring in lying words and vain genealogies, which as the apostle says, minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith, and by means of their craftily-constructed plausibilities draw away the minds of the inexperienced and take them captive, I have felt constrained to compose the following treatise in order to expose and counteract their machinations. These men falsify the oracles of God, and prove themselves evil interpreters of the good word of revelation. They also overthrow the faith of many, by drawing them away, under a pretence of superior knowledge, from Him who founded and adorned the universe: as if, forsooth, they had something more excellent and sublime to reveal, than that God who created the heaven and the earth, and all things that are therein. By means of specious and plausible words, they cunningly allure the simple-minded to inquire into their system; but they nevertheless clumsily destroy them, while they initiate them into their blasphemous and impious opinions respecting the Demiurge; and these simple ones are unable, even in such a matter, to distinguish falsehood from truth.
Irenaeus wrote several books entitled "Irenaeus Against Heresies," in which he shows the vagaries of the ancient Gnostics much as in these days those of the false-Scientists are being shown, and it is amazing how close a resemblance there is between many of their fantastic notions of man's supremacy and those of these latter-day Gnostics. This voice of gods many is the same serpent-whispering which beguiled Adam and Eve. Obey me, says this serpent of mortal egotism, and "ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Verily those who are thus deluded see "that this tree of knowledge is good for food," and is "pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise." Wise in their own conceit, so wise that they cannot tolerate the thought of a wisdom superior to their own.
Nevertheless the voice of the Lord God calls to them, "Where art thou?" And will continue to call until through shame, sorrow, humiliation and "many stripes" "their eyes are opened" and they shall "see their nakedness."
The foundation principle of Christian Science is the first article of the Mosaic Decalogue: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Upon this hinges every religious truth. No system of Christianity can exist on any other basis. All of Jesus' teachings are based upon it; and the Bible from beginning to end is but an amplification of it. Upon this Platform Christian Scientists stand. Those who depart from this teaching and go back to a worse than heathen doctrine of gods many, must, in order to be consistent or honest, abandon the name of Christian Science along with their abandonment of its principles. Until they do this we have a right, and it is a duty, to classify them as imposters and deceivers of the people.
Judge Septimus J. Hanna, CSD
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