Retrospection and Introspection

Retrospection and Introspection

Plagiarism

75The various forms of book-borrowing without credit spring from this ill-concealed question in mortal mind, Who shall be greatest? This error violates the law given by Moses, it tramples upon Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, it does violence to the ethics of Christian Science.

    Why withhold my name, while appropriating my language and ideas, but give credit when citing from the works of other authors?

    Life and its ideals are inseparable, and one’s writings on ethics, and demonstration of Truth, are not, cannot be, understood or taught by those who persistently misunderstand or misrepresent the author. Jesus said, “For there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.”

    If one’s spiritual ideal is comprehended and loved, the borrower from it is embraced in the author’s own mental mood, and is therefore honest. The Science of Mind excludes opposites, and rests on unity.

    It is proverbial that dishonesty retards spiritual growth and strikes at the heart of Truth. If a student at Harvard College has studied a textbook written by his teacher, is he entitled, when he leaves the University, to write out as his own the substance of this textbook? There is no warrant in common law and no permission in the gospel 76for plagiarizing an author’s ideas and their words. Christian Science is not copyrighted; nor would protection by copyright be requisite, if mortals obeyed God’s law of manright. A student can write voluminous works on Science without trespassing, if he writes honestly, and he cannot dishonestly compose Christian Science. The Bible is not stolen, though it is cited, and quoted deferentially.

    Thoughts touched with the Spirit and Word of Christian Science gravitate naturally toward Truth. Therefore the mind to which this Science was revealed must have risen to the altitude which perceived a light beyond what others saw.

    The spiritually minded meet on the stairs which lead up to spiritual love. This affection, so far from being personal worship, fulfils the law of Love which Paul enjoined upon the Galatians. This is the Mind “which was also in Christ Jesus,” and knows no material limitations. It is the unity of good and bond of perfectness. This just affection serves to constitute the Mind-healer a wonder-worker, — as of old, on the Pentecost Day, when the disciples were of one accord.

    He who gains the God-crowned summit of Christian Science never abuses the corporeal personality, but uplifts it. He thinks of every one in his real quality, and sees each mortal in an impersonal depict.

    I have long remained silent on a growing evil in plagiarism; but if I do not insist upon the strictest observance of moral law and order in Christian Scientists, I become 77responsible, as a teacher, for laxity in discipline and lawlessness in literature. Pope was right in saying, “An honest man’s the noblest work of God;” and Ingersoll’s repartee has its moral: “An honest God’s the noblest work of man.”