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"MY NAME IS LEGION: FOR WE ARE MANY"

From the June 1910 issue of The Christian Science Journal


IT is recorded in the fifth chapter of Mark's Gospel that Jesus on one occasion approached a man possessed of "an unclean spirit." And the man, perceiving Jesus afar off, ran and worshiped him. Mrs. Eddy tells us that Jesus saw clearly "the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals" (Science and Health, p. 476), and he said: "Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit." Then he asked him, "What is thy name?" And the reply was: "My name is Legion: for we are many."

The writer was reared in a theological atmosphere and was taught the approved statements respecting a perfect creator of an imperfect creation—of God and fallen man. He was taught that the offspring of this man possessed a three-in-one identity: a mind, a material body, and a soul. This creature was conceived materially by man, mentally by man, and spiritually by God. He was then born, grew materially to maturity, thence to decay and death. From birth this man also grew mentally to maturity and thence to decay; but the soul of this remarkable orthodox creation supposedly did not increase in size or importance, and while at all times the soul was responsible for its future state, after death should overtake the material body, no way was provided whereby the soul could assume the responsibility and become active in its behalf, for God the All-wise, knowing aforetime the outcome of the struggle of the soul to save itself from the paradoxical end of "everlasting destruction," had also foreordained the fate that should overtake the spiritual part of man at the death of the body. The sentence of death upon the body, the prejudging of the soul, and the unaccountable disappearance of the mind at death—such was the foreordination of this copartnership creation of God and man.

Asked to accept this theory, the writer invariably put the question: "But what of the mind? You account for the soul and the body of man, by saving or damning the one and utterly destroying the other: but whence goes the mind of man?" After leaving college, where these questions were never answered, the writer entered upon the study of medicine. What little reverence for God this creedal teaching had left to him, was surely destroyed when the study of medicine had progressed a few months. Soon he learned that, no matter how deeply he searched for this elusive mind, supposedly resident in the body, no reliable trace of it could be found. He did find that the new-born infant was possessed of little if any mind, and little by little was brought out the fact that this creation became possessed of mind only by means of education. Thus an answer was partially arrived at to the question that theology had so signally failed to answer. This vaunted mind of man was but an accretion of education after all. While this could not be said to be satisfactory, still it at least accounted for the disappearance of the mind when dust returned to its own.

The writer thus entered upon the work of healing the sick with a skepticism resulting largely from the inability to locate or in any logical way account for the soul of man, but he did accept the belief, blind and unreasoning, of God, of heaven, and of hell. Entering thus upon his profession, he treated the sick in the usual accepted manner, approaching all patients from the view-point of a separate identity, consisting of a body, a mind, and probably a soul, which latter was of no interest to him as a physician. The sick mortal he attempted to treat upon the basis of a sick body or sick mind, separately diseased or correlatively. Both the body and the mind were subject to any one or any number of ills, which, although classified in a sort of way, were often so obscured by symptoms as to be indeterminate. For each disease and class of diseases there was a remedy or class of remedies. These many remedies for many diseases affecting the bodies and the minds of many men, were administered in many combinations to meet many symptoms, or to remove specifically the many ills to which the mortal flesh and mind were liable; and above all this multiplicity of details in the attempt to restore the unfortunate, stood the discouraging chance of error in diagnosticating the case and in selecting the remedy, as well as the frequent refusal of the body or the mind to respond to treatment.

Striving thus to heal the sick, struggling with the multitude of problems involved in this theory of the multiplication of minds and medicine (whether drugs, diet, or hygiene), and the subdivision of intelligence, the writer was gradually forced to a recognition of the futility of the effort to restore health by material means, and to the acknowledgment of his utter inability to heal the sick. In his work one thing was forcefully impressed upon him: namely, that, in spite of his best endeavors, certain of his patients he lost, while others recovered. Thus he came to know in his own heart his helplessness in the face of disease.

Then came Christian Science, and after he experienced its healing,—felt the truth applied to error, and knew the Christ-cure in his own case,—he applied himself to the study of this Science. Earnest search led directly to the solution of all these problems, theological and medical. In place of the false statement: "My name is Legion: for we are many," came the scientific statement: "Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord." Not a legion of minds, but one Mind,—intelligence indivisible. Not a legion of diseases, but one disease,—the fiction, the illusion, the lie that man, God's own image and likeness, could be less than perfect; the lie about health, man's natural state. Not a legion of remedies and systems of treatment, but one curative agent, the truth about "perfect God and perfect man" (Science and Health, p. 259); the truth which, applied to any phase of error, casts out, annuls, repudiates the lie.

Applying this truth to the erroneous medical theories and to the equally erroneous theological dogmas, the writer experienced the joy of demonstration, as singly and by groups the "legion" of errors answered to the Christ command, "Come out of the man." In the incident referred to, when the legion had come out of the man they entered into swine, which all ran violently down a steep place into the sea and were choked. Thus the false beliefs of many men of many minds, of many bodies, of many souls, and all the host of errors, leave the consciousness, going out as only lies can be destroyed. Being wholly false, they have no identity, no author, no origin, no one and no thing to father them; and they are choked in the sea of nonexistence.

We read further that when the man had been healed, he was found "sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind." When the Christ came, the unclean spirit was cast out; the man was no longer naked, but found himself clothed and mentally sound. The taking away of the false did not deprive him of anything, nor did he suffer loss of mind, body, or soul; but to him came the realization of man as the image and likeness of God, the only Mind,—hence "his right mind,"—the Mind of man. But when in his gratitude he who had been delivered of the "legion" besought Jesus that he might go with him, Jesus said to him: "Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee and hath had compassion on thee."

The writer trusts that he has conveyed to his readers somewhat of the great things the Lord has done for him. Christ, through Christian Science, has cast out of him a "legion" of falsities. There remains much to be done, for, like Paul, he is led to say: "I count not myself to have apprehended;" but from the depths of a grateful heart arise thanks to God for the cleansing of one who was "possessed of an unclean spirit," whose ways were not God's ways, but who is now trying to follow Him in the Christ way.

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