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appeared to me unintelligible, others doubtful, and I early absented myself from the public assemblies of the sect, Sunday being my studying day, I never was without some religious principles.”

With the greatest fraternity and charity he subscribed to all the religious denominations as they came to establish themselves in the city, while he quietly evolved a religion of his own. This consisted mainly in the worship of One Supreme God whom he addressed as "Powerful Goodness,' in dwelling upon all the qualities of God, and attributes of His nature, such as temperance, order, industry, sincerity, justice, tranquility, chastity, humility, etc. and in daily striving to bring out these virtues in his own living. He made out a special chart, and tried to practise one special virtue for a whole week, and to take them all in turn until they became an habitual part of his thinking. He had the most quaint way of describing all sins and mistakes as "errata.” When conscious of some wrong he had inflicted on himself or another, and the opportunity occurring to make good, he would say "so that erratum was in some degree corrected," or "thus I corrected that great erratum as well as I could.” The prayer which he made to use with his chart of virtues is truly remarkable:

"O! powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest. Strengthen resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates.' Accept my kind offices to thy other children, as the only return in my power for thy continual favours to me.”

In this system of Benjamin Franklin we can trace in embryo some of the fundamental teachings of Christian Science, viz. the recognition of God as the all-Good and all-wise; of man as His child, image or idea, and manifesting His nature; of evil as a mistake, a false sense to be blotted out by the establishment of the right thought and action, and of religion as the sincere, silent purpose of the heart, best expressed in virtuous living and goodwill to men.

If Franklin had pursued his early intention of publishing in book form his “Art of Virtue,” he would probably have been the leader of a religious revolution. As it was,

a he was diverted from this purpose by the pressure of the affairs of Government, and he ended instead by being a great discoverer in the realm of physical science. It was he who insisted that lightning was a phenomenon of electric action, and he set all Europe thinking and talking of this wonderful fact. From a purely moral apprehension of divine power, he had dropped down to the material counterfeit, to the physical plane of the human concept. Though his definition of the lightning was in advance of any theory established in the world of his day, it remained for Mrs. Eddy to utter a profounder philosophy when

she says:

"In reality, the more closely error simulates truth and so-called matter resembles its essence, mortal mind, the more impotent error becomes as a belief. According to human belief, the lightning is fierce and the electric current swift, yet in Christian Science the flight of one and the blow of the other will become harmless. The more destructive matter becomes, the more its nothingness will appear, until matter reaches its mortal zenith in illusion and forever dis

appears.” (Science and Health, p. 97.) In unison with this passage is another of profound scientific import on page 293, where she writes:

“The material so-called gases and forces are counterfeits of the spiritual forces of divine Mind, whose potency is Truth, whose attraction is Love, whose adhesion and cohesion are Life, perpetuating the eternal facts of being. Electricity is the sharp surplus of materiality which counterfeits the true essence of spirituality or truth,—the great difference being that electricity is not intelligent, while spiritual truth is

Mind.” If Franklin's discovery that lightning was a manifestation of electricity, was a great one, Mrs. Eddy's discovery is obviously far in advance of it though few may be disposed so to consider it, because few as yet understand her meaning. Nevertheless it is certainly true that every year is bringing the verdicts of physicists more and more into line with the truths which Mrs. Eddy has so simply but emphatically uttered. The world's awakening is at hand.

Franklin, forceful and independent as he was in his thoughts, was not content with dwelling upon the physical phenomena of the earth and heavens. Visions beyond the world of time and sense attended his deeper meditations. How much he may have breathed them to other kindred souls in his life-time we cannot know, but somewhere between the years 1757 and 1762, when he spent much time in England representing the American Colonies, he did a very curious and unique thing which was wholly characteristic of his practical genius for finance and his idealistic hope for the progressive development of the race. He placed the sum of £100 in the hands of members of the Society of Friends as a trust, to be invested with accumulations for not less than one hundred and fifty years. After that period awards were to be made from the fund for the most valuable contributions to science on the subject of cures in relation to surgery, the nervous

a

system, and the part “mind healing” has in the recovery and preservation of health. In January, 1924, a notice appeared in the English “Times” stating that the very first award has been made from this "Historic Trust," and P. W. Banning, of Los Angeles, heads the list of three awards with a scholarship of £2,500 for his published work “Mental and Spiritual Healing!"

That Franklin should have gained the prophetic sense that spiritual healing was the ultimate of scientific investigation, and that in one hundred and fifty years from his own day the world should be found ready to receive it, is a bit of very wonderful news indeed. Of course spiritual and material methods were still very much jumbled together in Franklin's mind. His was but a tiny candle of enquiring light held up bravely in the caverns of human ignorance, but it was a brave and truth-seeking ray. Mrs. Eddy carefully investigated the action of the material beliefs of the human mind before she rejected them as just as impotent as drugs to heal, and she ultimately reached a mental status in which she was prepared to receive a purely spiritual revelation. In her restatement of the wholly spiritual nature of the Christ-healing she stands quite alone but in the presence of these awards from Franklin's Trust Fund, which are so interesting and which make us feel as if his advanced thought were here with us today, it is peculiarly pertinent to study his religious convictions, and to note what this great savant and philanthropist thought about God, and how he applied his ideas concerning our relation to Him to the solution of the problem of overcoming sickness.

We are obliged to confess that his views are of a nature entirely new in Christian experience, that is to say, entirely new to the Eighteenth Century. As a strong and swift

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river suddenly enlarges its banks, and creates a majestic tide, which carries great cargoes to the distant sea, so the Puritan stream of faith in the soul of Franklin overflowed the bounds of prescribed doctrine, and flowed outwards to merge with the forces of an infinite spiritual law. His religion cannot be outlawed as a merely ethical system founded on Greek philosophy, for regardless of its freedom from accepted forms and especially from all emotionalism, it still remained Christian. It was the outcome of reverent study of the Bible, of deep appreciation of the character of Jesus, and of alertness to the necessity of bringing forth the fruits of the spirit. It was, however, a complete revolt against mysticism. He affirmed that since God is Truth, He can be humbly and gratefully understood by a logical and reasonable being. That which is not yet understood must remain an open question for prayerful enquiry, but human humbug about the unknown can be swallowed wholesale. In this Franklin stands as a link between the old Puritanism and the new that was yet to come. He tears away the veil of ritualism and priestcraft. He dethrones the supreme anthropomorphic Ego, and places religion on the basis of principle and law. God to him is the One Supreme Infinite Individuality. He lovingly cares for Creation, but His will is made manifest through goodness, majesty and order, not through any erratic juggling or whimsical disturbance of the logical workings of good versus evil.

On the subject of the Incarnation, Franklin is silent. We surmise that he was not satisfied with the particular way in which the churches of Pennsylvania were explaining it. Yet he had no better explanation to offer himself. Indeed Franklin at this point may be deemed the first great Unitarian among Christian thinkers, and it is just at

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