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A sermon preached in Chickering Hall by the pastor of the Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston.

From the September 1891 issue of The Christian Science Journal

But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.—Acts xxvi. 25.

Are Christian Scientists cranks; and is Christian Science a religion, or system of beliefs to produce cranks? Does it help to make visionaries and star-gazers? That is the charge our enemies make against us. Suppose we look into the matter, and see if this be so,

That we may have a clear and intelligent idea of this matter, would it not be well, at the outset, to state what the word "crank" really means? Within the last ten or fifteen years its common use, in the sense in which we are to examine it, has multiplied. Going to Webster's unabridged, where we would most naturally turn, I find that it is not used in any such sense as we wish to use it. I find it there, it is true, but with meaning such as, "a handle to turn a machine," and the like. But I happened to recall the fact that a new, revised edition of this great English classic has appeared, so turning to that, we get this definition, which serves our turn: "Crank, a person full of crotchets; one given to fantastic or impracticable projects; one whose judgment is perverted in respect to a practical matter,"—i. e., a crank is a stargazer; a visionary; one totally unbalanced; one incapable of seeing things as they really are. Quite often, too, your crank is a being who learns nothing by experience; one who can be told nothing, or who can learn anything that ordinary mortals learn. This definition serves to answer our purpose.

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