This latest work from Mr. Martin's pen is unique among the books devoted to discussion of Christian Science. The fundamental ethical principles required of one who essays exposition and criticism of a movement which he does not represent are impartiality, sincerity, freedom of thought and expression, and these are characteristic both of Mr. Martin's "Appreciation" and his "Critique."
In the introductory chapter the reader's attention is drawn to the distinction between tolerance and appreciation. "Tolerance," Mr. Martin says, "is the willing consent to let other people hold opinions different from one's own; appreciation is eagerness to do full justice to those opinions. It is the spirit which grants to Christian Science a respectful hearing, persuaded that its thesis contains some measure of truth, and the more unpromising its appearance, the more diligent the search for it must be. Instead of rudely relegating the movement to the limbo of the ridiculous and the irrational, the spirit of appreciation endeavors patiently to determine what life-giving element it contains, what needs it satisfies, what wants it supplies" (pp. 8, 9).
The Critique throughout is constructive, even to the detail of Mrs. Eddy's mode of construing names and phrases from the Bible, Mr. Martin frankly admitting that all are at liberty to interpret the contents of the Bible in any way they choose; "but," he adds, "no one has a right to make the author responsible for the given interpretation. Good doctrinal material, even a Science of Health, may be extracted from the Scriptures, but this is not to be ascribed to the original intention of the author" (p. 19).
Mr. Martin justly pleads for conscience and reason in this matter of interpretation in order that we shall "see things as they are and not attribute to Bible authors ideas which arc foreign to their thought, their purpose and to the age in which they lived."
In his approach to the efficacy of Christian Science as a healing agency Mr. Martin stresses the important fact that, while all manner of cures have been attributed to Christian Science, no one as yet knows "just what it is that heals," because precisely the same cures have been effected by five different schools of drugless healing, each school accounting for the particular cure according to its own theory; consequently, no one can say what caused the cure.
All loyal students of Christian Science arc indebted to Mr. Martin for absolving Mrs. Eddy from the stigma, still cast upon her by some, of plagiarizing the teachings of P. P. Quimby. It is true that he benefited her greatly and his work served a good purpose, but she transcended his theory of healing in that she "moved forward from a purely mental system to what she called Divine Science, albeit she used words and terms that were to be found in the writings of Quimby and others" (p. 37).
Most fitting is Mr. Martin's tribute to the foundress of Christian Science for her indefatigable labor in the cause of clean journalism, as evidenced by the Christian Science Monitor, an international newspaper, whose mission is "to injure no man and to please all mankind."
As Mr. Martin has deservedly praised Mrs. Eddy for the refining influence she has exerted upon unnumbered hosts of grateful people, so he, in turn, deserves the gratitude of all who read his book in the spirit in which it is written.
-"The Ethical Outlook," Volume 9 show more