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saints. Even in heaven there was war, until Lucifer and his wicked angels were cast out and, by the grace of God, there must be war on earth, until the seductive songs of all the satanic Sirens have been at last silenced, and men are no more lured by them to their ruin. Therefore, while some severe things are going to be, and from the very nature of the case, must be said, yet it shall all be done in a kindly spirit, with a love for God and man in my heart.
It would be most ungracious of me not to acknowledge the debt I owe to the friends who have constantly encouraged me in the work of preparing this little book for publication. But they have given more than mere sympathetic encouragement, for material assistance has been freely and most cordially rendered. To the following I feel especially indebted: Mrs. Alzine Heath Gwin, Miss Anna B. Batts, Mrs. Wm. C. Rose, Miss Ida M. Shipman, Rev. Doctor Judson B. Palmer, and Dr. L. P. H. Bahrenburg, of Galveston, Texas; Arno C. Gaebelein, Editor of "Our Hope," of New York City, and Rev. Harman H. McQuilkin, D. D., of San Jose, California.
With the earnest prayer that it may help some who are anxious and honestly in doubt concerning the matters here discussed, this little book is sent forth upon its mission.
ROBERT MCALPINE HALL.
MARY BAKER EDDY
The picture of a downright homely person may be really handsome. The landscape painting of a dreary and altogether uninteresting piece of scenery may be embellished until the truth is suppressed, criticism disarmed, and the painting, instead of being drawn from nature, becomes the delightful creation of an artistic fancy. In either case we greatly admire the work of the artist and wonder how he managed to get so much out of so little. Ask him how he did it, and he will tell you that it is a trick of the trade, or maybe, will answer with a single word, Genius!
I have just had the pleasure of reading The Life of Mary Baker Eddy, by Sibyl Wilbur O'Brien, under whose name the book was copyrighted in 1907 and 1908; but I am told by Christian Scientists that since securing a divorce from Mr. O'Brien she prefers the old name of Sibyl Wilbur. Well, if ever a beautiful and inspiring picture has been got from a most discouraging subject, it has been done in this case. The art of the author is beyond question, her fancy, in apotheosizing the subject of her boundless admiration, is exceeding fertile, and her skill in steering her barque through the breakers, between the Scylla of logic on the one side and the Charybdis of ethics on the other, is most truly consummate. And yet, the careful and impartial reader of the book cannot but see that she both strikes the rock and is caught in the treacherous and deadly whirlpool.
Our sources of information here are not meager. After Mrs. Eddy had reached the zenith of her popu
larity and power, scores of those that had known her, her character and manner of life, either from childhood or during the period of her greatest development, have borne witness concerning her life and character. It is true that the author, already referred to, has said in the introduction to her book, "As to the memories of a few old people still surviving who associated with Mary Baker in her youth, it must be said that they are not always all that could be desired!" Indeed, from the point of view of Eddyism, this is true beyond all controversy, and such a statement from such a source is extremely funny. But the straits to which the author of the aforesaid biography, written in defense of the claims of a woman who claimed to be inspired, are manifest to everyone, when we quote the following gratuitous and unworthy charge made by her concerning the above mentioned witnesses: "And a deplorable thing is that they betray evidence of having been tampered with by suggestion, the imagination having been incited by vanity or cupidity."
One cannot help but wonder as to the means used by the other side in accumulating evidence in Mrs. Eddy's behalf. Was it sought and secured by the excitation of the imagination with thoughts of vanity or cupidity? Or, to be perfectly explicit, were they bribed? If not, then why so swift in charging others with the crime? All fair minded people are agreed that invective or innuendo is a shockingly poor substitute for argument. Affidavits, duly and officially sworn to, cannot be met with feeble denials and unworthy aspersions. Why then attempt to impeach the testimony of worthy and reputable men and women by slanderous insinuations, when just such testimony would establish cases in
any court of justice? A cause thus defended is thereby itself brought under suspicion.
Another source of information is most illuminating. Mrs. Eddy was a great writer of books, but especially of letters, and these throw a flood of light on the subject. We shall have occasion to refer discriminately to both these sources.
The mind of an American gentleman impulsively and uniformly rebels against the necessity of ever speaking or writing a word that would reflect upon the character or motives of a single member of the gentler sex. But, in Mrs. Eddy's case, she became so distinctly a public person, that the finer and more delicate feelings, recognized by common consent among us, must be laid aside, and she must be dealt with, not as Mrs. Eddy, a New England lady, but as Mrs. Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science sect, and preeminently a public personage.
If the public knew the real facts in her case, fewer people would be deceived by her destructive, but fascinating philosophy. It shall be my purpose in this chapter to state these facts as best I may. With the very kindliest feelings towards all those upon whom the blight of this damaging error has fallen, I most solemnly affirm that every statement made here is the result of careful and prolonged, as well as unprejudiced, deliberation, and is fully sustained by the records in the case. And more than that, her own words in her own handwriting prove this to be true far beyond any reasonable doubt, and all the people everywhere ought to know it.
Mary Baker was the youngest of six children. Mark Baker was her father, Abigail Ambrose Baker