I came across this title in The Kindergarten-primary Magazine, Volume 4 (1891 or ‘2). They were recommending another book, by the same author:
“It Is Possible, by Helen Van Anderson, is a charming novelette just issued. It is after the new order of romance basing itself upon the higher ethics of life as embodied in the writings of Henry Wood and others. The author has appeared before in The Right Knock and is also editor of the new child’s magazine The Cup Bearer. All are published by the New Era Pub. Co. Chicago.”
Here’s the preface to The Right Knock:
Although most excellent food is to be found on the table of metaphysical thought, there has never yet been a metaphysical story setting forth a picture of every-day life, in its search for, and attainment of satisfaction through the knowledge of Christ Philosophy.
Knowing the pressing need of such a book among the many inquirers and students on this theme, and with the hope of helping to fill that need, this story is told.
It is a book of facts, not fiction, although wearing the dress of fiction. Every case of healing, every seemingly marvelous experience has come under the observation of the writer and can be authenticated as a veritable fact.
That there are hundreds, yea, thousands to-day, who leave their homes and go to distant cities for the sake of pursuing the study of Christ Philosophy, or receiving the benefit of its healing ministry, is proof enough that the story of one woman’s experience will be interesting and helpful to all.
While the lessons contained in Mrs. Hayden’s letters are not exhaustive, they are valuable for their very simplicity, and are thoroughly practical, complete instructions for the beginning and continuance of the study of this wonderful truth.
With every lesson supplemented by personal experiences, the reader sees not only the theory but the practice demonstrated, and in this simple story he may find the mirror of his own inner hopes and aspirations, with a broader view of their possible attainment than he has yet seen.
Carlyle says: “If a book come from the heart, it will contrive to reach other hearts.” “The Right Knock” is presented with no other apology than this: it has come from the heart.
PREFACE TO THE PRESENT EDITION.
To a new and awakened public the author gives greetings and begs to say a few more words about The Right Knock.
After all these years of work along the lines laid out in the book and with a wide knowledge of prevailing systems of mental training, the author is happy to be able to say with unbounded confidence that there is nothing to excel this system for beginners, for those desiring to lay a lasting foundation. The emphasis laid upon the necessity for persistent, regular and systematic practice of word speaking by audible repetition, is great, but none too great. For the faithful student this never fails to bring results, never fails to put him in the way of understanding and demonstration. With regular practice and constant application in the daily life, with good judgment as to the details of practice, length of time at one exercise, etc., the pupil is assured in one way or another certain convincing experiences which develop individuality and, with that, his God-like gifts. Thousands have proven this.
The unnumbered letters of gratitude, the kind words, the warm hand-clasps, the many testimonials of sick beds forsaken, depressed spirits revived, vices discontinued, of physical and moral strength regained, prove that the work of the Spirit is not to be measured by puny human standards of judgment, prove that simple things—the things from which we expect the least, in which we put the least ambition or worldly desire may be those which will yield the “hundred fold” of real blessing.
The test of any spiritual truth lies in its demonstration and in the inspiration and faithfulness with which it can be lived. Be true to the truth and you will demonstrate it. Live the Christ life and the works will follow; yet seek truth for its own sake, not for its power.
A word about Christian Science. Sometimes persons aver of The Right Knock that it teaches Christian Science pure and simple. With all due respect and a recognition of the grand and marvelous work done by Mrs. Eddy, the author feels called upon to say, in justice to Mrs. Eddy as well as herself, that this is not true.
There are undoubtedly many similar statements, yet there are many differences which the careful reader will discover. Please note, for example, that not matter itself, but matter as the real substance or power, is denied. Not sickness of the body, but sickness of the Spirit, is a falsity, etc., etc.
In brief, the author of The Right Knock believes there is a name, place and condition for everything, and that the discrimination of the plane on which a thing or condition exists, is the key to placing it in the right relation to the whole.
In conclusion, the author would say most earnestly, study one writer or teacher at one time, just as you would study music of one instructor at one time. It is not the many books but the Book within which is to reveal all things.
God speed you.
The Right Knock is now in its THIRTEENTH edition, a fact which speaks for the great helpfulness of the book, and proclaims without further comment its world wide Scope.[Pg 9]
A little of that goes a long way, does it not? I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve been reading a caricature from a P.G. Wodehouse novel, but she was perfectly serious.
Here’s the conclusion to The Right Knock:
“I have been learning a lesson too.” It was Kate who broke the silence. Her voice was reverential. Her eyes were bright with an inner light. “I have been holding strongly to the name—the name of Jesus Christ—and realizing what it means, and it has helped me more than anything.”
“What does it mean, Kate? That is something which is still a little tainted with the old superstitious worship of a personality,” said Grace.
“Beware, Grace; that is criticism. Put it away until you know,” warned Mrs. Hayden.
“Thank you. Tell me every time,” returned Grace humbly.[Pg 316]
“Indeed, this contemplation of the name takes one farther from personality or the recognition of mere person than anything else,” Kate went on earnestly. “Jesus Christ means God or Truth manifest. Holding the words with that thought, all sense of person, limitation, or time, disappears. Wisdom and power come to fill your consciousness, until the Christ life seems not only a possibility but a real demonstration.” Kate paused. Perhaps she had said too much!
But there was no mistaking the vibration of a sympathetic thought, even if the pressure of friendly hands had not reassured her.
“It is wonderful how many ways there are of attaining the same end,” mused Grace. “Now I can gain the same state of mind Kate speaks of, by holding to the idea of Law. To me everything is embodied in that, although of course, any great word understood as to its real meaning is an all-inclusive term. But we cannot always live in an ecstasy.”
“We should not if we could,” said Mrs. Hayden. “We must get beyond that if we ever attain the mental poise that will carry us through everything.”
“But I am so weak,” murmured Kate. “How shall I ever—”
“There, child, you are doing the very thing that will keep you from growing strong. What right have you to pass judgment on Katherine Turner anymore than on anyone else?” said Mrs. Hayden almost sternly; then suddenly softening her tone she added, “Dear heart, we must not let self judgment or self condemnation creep in upon us to leave[Pg 317] their blight of discouragement or failure. No, the only way is to keep our eyes fixed on the mark of the high calling, resisting nothing, carrying on our lips, success, in our hearts love, in our lives truth. By the outer we judge nothing: by the inner we know all. Personally, that is, physically we are only a part of all external limitation. Individually, that is, spiritually, we are the potentiality of Infinity itself.”
“And that means the possibility of true living, which is positively necessary to perfect demonstration,” added Grace.
“Yes, perfect demonstration in oneself or in others,” said Mrs. Hayden emphatically. “In fact the first, last, and only consideration is or should be true living, or the ability to be lived.”
“That is what it amounts to, after all,” accorded Grace, “for what is true living but the setting aside of self, so that the great, infinite Life may be established in our action, as a manifest reality?”
Kate rose softly, and went to the piano. Then spoke the mighty Voice through Music, and through that wondrous harmony a consciousness of the perfect Life, with all its power and presence, burst upon these three who were no longer three but One. For that moment they knew and lived only as the One, and in that moment the world received a baptism of blessed, healing tenderness.[Pg 318]
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I’m not amused any more. It rather gives me the creeps.
The Wikipedia article on this “new thought” and where it shows up today is also informative.
It’s something to keep in mind when somebody tells you that today is somehow worse than some previous era (especially the Victorian). Some things are worse, some are better, and age is no guarantor of truth.
After all, one of the oldest metaphysical discussions known to mankind had rather disastrous results.