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Chapter 20 The Communication of Life and of Sanative Mental Influence

The inmost life of all that exists is the divine Love. Creation has gone forth from this, and the life that thrills in the universe owes its origin to this primal source. Life emanates from this living center, and is communicated to all, constituting the ground of all finite existence. From this focal source, it goes out in endless and perpetual undulations, and all live by virtue of life transmitted from him. It finds its highest, completest manifestation in man, in the human soul made into the divine image and likeness. Man is a finite created receptacle of the divine love and wisdom. For as the Father has life in himself, he has given to every human being to have life in himself, and to be a reservoir for its distribution. And man is vitally positive towards all the lower degrees of creation, and they exist from God through him. His life, in essence, is love springing eternally from the depth of the divine being. As life is communicated from God, so also is it from man, but from some more than from others.

We have shown that our affectional states are transmissible, from one person to another by the touch. Life is a force, and motion and force are communicable from one body to another. It is a fact that the world has long recognized, that one person may derive vital force from another person. Thus when the monarch of Israel was enfeebled by age, they procured for him a young and healthy damsel to impart vital heat to his negative organism. It is a truth recognized by all physiologists and schools of medicine, that a young child occupying the same bed with an old person, will be robbed of its vitality, as certainly as a heated body will impart a thermal influence to another near or in contact with it. The child will pine away and sometimes die, without any apparent organic disease, but by a gradual lowering of the vital tone, while the older person becomes proportionately more vigorous, and maintains a parasitic existence.

When we assert that life is communicable, that vital force is transmissible from one human being to another, we occupy undisputed ground. It wits in harmony with this recognized law of our being, that Jesus cured diseased humanity. He laid down his life for men, — an expression that has no reference to his death. In the tenth chapter of John’s Gospel, he calls himself the good shepherd, and affirms that he lays down his life for the sheep. One definition of the word rendered here to lay down, is to impart, to put into or within anyone. In another place it is so used in reference to the sphere of the divine life, — as “I will put my spirit upon or into him.” (Mat. xii. 18). In this sense he every day laid down, or imparted his life to diseased humanity, and he taught his disciples qr scholars to do the same, “to cure all manner of sickness and disease among the people,” a power that ought to have continued in the church to this day, and would if the charity or love from which it sprang had not died out. He gave his life a ransom for many, or by this impartation of sanative virtue and vital force, he delivered multitudes from diseased states of mind and body. Thus men were saved by him, not by his death, as men have blindly supposed, but as Paul avers, “much more by his life” (Rom. v. 10.) He employed, in his benevolent mission to the unhappy and suffering, all the means through which life is transmissible frorn one person to another — the imposition of hands, the silent sphere of his mind, the going forth of his love for them in prayer, and he used the spiritual power of words.

There have been those, in every age of the world, who have, to a more limited extent, done the same. His cures were none of them miracles, in the theological sense, but were effected in harmony with laws that are operative today. The word miracle signifies what excites wonder, from the Latin verb miror, to be astonished. And wonder is the child of ignorance. As soon as any phenomenon is understood, and we come to an apprehension of the laws that govern it, it ceases to be a wonder. Miracles belong only to a dark age, — to a wicked and adulterous generation. They disappear before the light of science, like birds of night at the approach of day.

The Kings of England, for many centuries, employed the vital magnetism of the hand for the cure of scrofula, and with a success that seemed to an ignorant age miraculous. No one would now suppose that the power to cure a person of a scrofulous diathesis by imparting vital force to the action of the excreting organs through the magnetism of the hands, was a prerogative confined to royality. Hundreds of others, both in civilized and savage nations, have effected the care of disease in the same way. Love is the life of man — the inmost vital force of his organism. To apply the hands to a diseased part, or to the nerve-conductor leading to it, or to the point of the brain with which it is in sympathetic connection, with a benevolent wish to effect the necessary change, and restore it to a healthy state, by either increasing or diminishing its vital action, imparts to it a spiritual force, which affects its physiological motions, and tends to produce the desired result. This is effected in proportion to the purity and strength of the love, in which the healing effort has its birth, and of which the kind wish is only a modification.

But love acts by wisdom. To attain the highest success in this mode of cure, a person must know what the pathological state of the organs is in disease, and what change it is necessary to effect in their action in order to restore the body to a healthy condition. He must have an accurate knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system, the connection of the various bodily organs with the brain, and of the nature of those spiritual disturbances and morbid mental states that underlie all diseaaed conditions of the bodily organism. It is emphatically true of this system of medical treatment, that knowledge is power. Faith, both in the operator and patient, is desirable. It is a spiritual force that has accomplished wonders. The power of faith, of which we might give numerous illustrations, drawn from the recorded facts of ancient and modern times, in restoring both mind and body to a healthy state, and the law that governs its action and influence, are but poorly understood by the world at large. It is a subject worthy of investigation by thinking minds. It is an element of strength in the will, — and an essential ingredient in a sound and harmonious mental state, and thus necessary to a restoration to life and health. It is an actual psychological or spiritual force. To believe that we can do a thing, especially if that faith is the result of an understanding of nature’s laws, empowers us to do it. To believe that we are well, or that we are becoming so, excites a spiritual force within us, that goes far towards making us so. If we firmly believe that a certain remedy will cure us of a diseased condition, though it may have no chemical adaptation to the removal of the disorder, we shall be benefitted by it.

Disease has often been cured by faith alone in the patient. The familiar case of the woman mentioned in the Gospel history, who had suffered for twelve years from a dangerous uterine hemorrhage, baffling the skill of various physicians, is known to all. She undoubtingly believed that if she could touch the hem of Jesus’ garment she would be restored. With this assured faith, amounting to a eertainty in her mind, which comes next to knowledge, she touched the fringe of his outer robe, and her faith, and nothing else, made her whole. This was no miracle, but only the natural triumph of the mind over the morbid condition of the body. The same cause will produce the same effect now, for whatever takes place in harmony with the laws of our being, belongs to all ages and all lands. The lack of faith is the loss of one of the essential elements of a sound mental state, which underlies, as a foundation, a healthy bodily condition. In the magnetic or psychological healer, it is a positive mental force; in the patient, a receptive mental state. But however valuable it may be, knowledge is better. An undoubting belief is what we call certainty, but it should be based upon a positive knowledge of the laws by which a desired result is effected. God created and still creates the world by wisdom. Love can only operate successfully through the intellec.

There are two things in a patient necessary to the reception of a spiritual sanative influence. One is a desire to get well. The other is a faith in the efficiency of the remedial agency. Without these two, the cure of disease by any mode of treatment, is, to say the least, if not impossible, exceedingly difficult. To put to the patient the
questions, Wilt thou be made whole? and, Believest thou that I am able to do this for thee? is of more importance than to feel the pulse, or examine the state of the mucous surface of the tongue. Unless an honest affirmative answer can be given to both inquiries, the case may be dismissed, or be treated with pure water drops, or cracker pills, or homeopathic pellets. The only sure thing about the case will be the entry of the fee upon the physician’s books, or into his pocket.

The influence of faith in the cure of disease is well illustrated by a fact mentioned in Paris’s Life of Sir Humphrey Davy. In the early period of his scientific career, Davy was assisting Dr. Beddoes in his experiments on the inhalation of nitrous oxide. Dr. Beddoes, thinking the oxide must be a specific for paralysis, a patient was selected for trial and placed under the care of Sir Humphrey. Before administering the gas, wishing to ascertain the temperature of the palsied man’s blood, a small thermometer was inserted under his tongue. The paralytic, wholy ignorant of the process to which he was to be subjected, but deeply impressed, by Dr. Bed-does, with the certainty of its success, no sooner felt the thermometer between his teeth, than he concluded that the talismanic influence was at work, and in a burst of entthusiasm declared he felt its healing power through his whole body. Here was ap opportunity to test the influence of the mind in the cure of palsy that was not to be lost. The gas was not used, but on the following day, the thermometer was again employed with equally marked effects; and at the end of two weeks the patient was dismissed cured, no remedy of any kind having ever been used except the thermometcr. His faith made him whole, not by accident, nor by a miracle, but by an invariable law of our being. So important a principle ought not to be ignored by medical science, and left to ignorant quacks, who often perform astonishing cures by means of it.

Fear is the opposite of faith, and produces equally striking effects in the generation of diseased conditions of the body. Many facts of this kind have been collected to illustrate what is falsely called the influence of the imagination. Persons have been shot dead with blank cartridges. A familiar fact is that of the Edinburgh criminal who died from a supposed loss of blood, when it was only warm water that was made to trickle over his arm after it was barely pricked by the surgeons. Dr. Moore mentions the case of a lady who died with every symptom of hydrophobia, under the mistaken notion that she had been bitten by a rabid dog, when it was demonstrable that the animal had only torn her dress.

One of the most instuctive and satisfactory experiments on record, showing the inftnence of the mind in the generation of fatal diseases, is that tried upon four Russian criminals, who had been condemned to death for political offences. It was reported in the London Medical Times. The cholera was raging at the time in Russia, and the criminals, while ignorant of the fact, were made to occupy beds on which persons had recently died with the disease. Although thus exposed to the contagion, not one of them exhibited the least symptom of the malady. After this they were told that they must sleep on beds that had been occupied by persons who had been sick with the cholera. But in fact, the beds were entirely new, and had never been used by anyone. Their fear proved to be a more powerful influence than the contagion, for three out of the four took the disease in its most fatal form, and died in four hours after the attack.

Such a fact, coming as it does to us well authenticated, speaks volumes in favor of the doctrine of the spiritual origin of disease, and the effciency of psychical remedies. But the current medical science, while convinced of the truth of this, makes no practical use of it as a remedial agency. Yet it is an interesting fact, that the’ longer man has been engaged in the practice of the healing art, the less confidence he has in medical compounds, and the more he relies upon the vis medi-catrix naturae, and upon the principles of Mental Hygiene. An aged physcian recently informed the author of a remarkable cure he had accomplished upon a nervous patient by the potent virtues of clear water, tinged with rosemary, a few drops of which were taken before each meal. Her restoration was complete and apparently permament. Faith is so essential a condition in the cure of disease, that in Nazareth and the adjacent region, Jesus could do but few mighty works, because of the unbelief of the people, (Matt. xiii 58.) The reason assigned by him for the disciples’ want of success in curing the lunatic child, was their unbelief, showing that faith is an element of power in him who would heal diseases of body and mind by the psychological method of treatment. (Matt. xvii. 14—20.)

The life of the body, or the force by means of which the vital movements are accomplished, is heat, — not a mere dead caloric, but a heat generated by the spiritual principle. The living forces of the human system and animal heat, are now believed by physiologists to be correlative, or are mutually transmutable and interchangeable. A direct relation certainly exists between them. M. Jules, and M. Serres, Prof. Faraday, and other scientists, have demonstrated the identity of heat and mechanical force. They are correlative and equivalant to each other. In the animal mechanism the same law holds good. If the living force of the body is heat — a heat that is the correspondent of the love — then all those means by which heat is generated and transmitted from one body to another, become the means of communicating life, and are a therapeutical agency.

Among these may be mentioned friction. If your hands are cold, you rub them till the vital action is restored. If your child’s hands are cold, you use the same means to warm them. The amount of heat generated in this way is proportioned to the force employed. If we feel a pain in any part, our first impulse is to place the hand upon it. By this means the accumulation of vital heat in the tissue is soon diminished, being conducted into the hand, and conveyed to another part of the system. The hand of another person would be equally or still more efficient. In this way we have cured a burn, or allayed the most painful inflammations, in a short time. To place the hand upon any part of the body of another person, creates a tendency in the vital force of both toward the point of contact. This is perceived as an increased glow of vital heat. If the part be cold and negative it soon becomes warm, and exbibits an augmented vascular action. These are nature’s remedies, prescribed by our intuitions and instincts, and are as efficient as they are natural.

Compression produces heat. A piece of cold wood subjected to a powerful hydraulic pressure is immediately warmed. Percussion generates heat, or the force expended in the act is transmuted into the thermal force. A piece of cold iron on an anvil, struck by a hammer, is warmed. This principle seems to have been employed in the remotest ages as a curative agency. We have a work published at Frankfort in 1698 entitled “Curious account of how Blows will often Cure, promptly and well, all kinds of Chronic Diseases.” The prophet Elisha manifestly employed this means in the cure of disease. The Syrian general who came to him to be healed of his leprosy, supposed he was going to “smite his hand over the place” and thus cure him. But why should he have expected this treatment unless it was common in that region of country?

Motion is correlated to life. The movement of a part determines the vital force to the part moved. All motions, passive or active, generate heat. A person riding in a cold day is warmer than he would be to sit still in the open air. Water poured from one vessel to another, or made to revolve in a cylinder, is warmed. This has been shown by the thermometer. It has been estimated that the falls of the Rhine generate enough heat in one day to melt twelve thousand metres of ice. All the movements employed in the system of Ling, especially the so called duplicated movements, or those where the patient is passive — the frictions, vibrations, compressions, percussions — are effcient therapeutic agencies. We have employed the system for several years in the treatment of the various terms of chronic derangements of the body, and with a success that has sometimes seemed to those who did not understand the laws that govern it, to border on the miraculous. But we have always supposed that it owed a great part of its efficiency to an imparta-tion of vital magnetism from the operator to the patient, an opinion entertained by the German practitioners of the art. They adopt Reichenbach’s theory of the odic force, and assert that an influence of this kind is actually communicated to the system of the patient. The nervous energy of the invalid is thereby exalted, and the reaction of the vital powers against disease greatly increased. Dally gives a beautiful drawing of the human hand in its minute and microscopic anatomy, showing that it is an instrument skillfully adapted to perform the office, as a part of its physiological functions, of imparting something like vital magnetism to another person, and argues that an important advantage is derived by the invalid from this transmission of life. We are convinced of the correctness of this theory. It is in perfect harmony with the principles and laws unfolded in this work.

But there is manifestly an agency concerned in the cure of disease, far more subtle and potent than the semi-spiritual odic force, — a psychological influence. This acts upon the mind of the patient, thence upon the spiritual body, and through this upon the material orgsanism. The law of its action, is from within outward. The living forces of the system are spiritual. And there is a direct and potential influence of mind upon mind. This goes to the root of all diseased conditions, and carries a remedial agency into the realm of causation. There is a variety of phenomena, passing under the names of Mesmerism, Psychology, Biology, Animal Magnetism, Pathetism, Hypnotism, and even Psychometry, that are reducible to one general principlc, — the influence or action of mind upon mind, and the communication of spiritual life from one person to another, who is negatively receptive of it.

If all diseases originate in some disturbed or inharmonious mental states, which ultimate themselves in corresponding bodily conditions, it becomes a question of primal importance how to induce upon a patient, as a permanent possession, the state of mind which is the opposite of that causing the disease. Is there any law that governs in effecting such a spiritual conversion or metamorphosis? There is a sort of polarity about our feelings as well as about the diffcrent organs of the body. In fact it is coming to be recognized by science that polarity is a universal property of things, belonging to the atom as well as to the world. Even light has polarity, and by transmitting it through certain substances, as a bundle of thin glass plates or certain crystals, a change is effected in the direction of the vibratory wave, which inverts its polarity.

Gravitation may be only the attraction between the positive and negative forces of things. Something analogous to it belongs to spiritual essences. There are what may with propriety be called positive and negative states of the mind, and a dual action of the feelings. There may be a loss of balance here, or an inverted action of every faculty and of its organ in the brain — as faith and fear. The one is positive; the other negative. The mind employs the same part of the cerebrum in the outward manifestation of the two distinct sentiments or feelings. Or fear and anxiety are the inverted action of faith. All the organs may undergo this transposition of their forces. In some cases of insanity, which we have had under treatment, the patients have exhibited an inverted action of the social instincts, so that those they once loved the most, become correspondingly repugnant to them. In the action of conscience, there may be approval or condemnation. There may be mirth-fulness or sadness. But the same organ in the brain is used in the manifestation of both feelings, only one is a positive and the other a negative action. The same maybe said of hope and despondency. The predominance of the latter over the former constitutes the negative state of the former, or its inverted action.

In the case of a magnet, if there should be this transposition of its forces, how could it be restored to its normal state? Or if there should be a loss of balance and equilibrium between the positive and negative poles, how could the harmony be re-established? We have only to bring the negative pole in contact with the positive pole of another magnet, and it attracts into itself the appropriate magnetism, and becomes charged with it. So of the other pole. In a similiar way, a negative or evil mental state may be made to give place to a positive or good one. The magnetic or spiritual healer should approach the patient’s mind on the side of its disturbance, and if he desires to be relieved, his mind will attract into itself, with all the force of a hungry sympathy, the feelings and thoughts of the operator. The good-will also of the physician, his benevolent wish to impart his own better mental states will assist and facilitate the process of spiritual induction.

Nearly everything in science is now explained by the theory of vibration, especially the phenomena ot the imponderable forces — light, heat, color, electricity, and magnetism. If two strings of equal length are set to vibrating, but not in harmony, there will be a tendency in them to a perfect samencss and oneness of movement. And if they can be made to continue their motions, they will soon both vibrate at the same distance and in the same time. Further still, if two strings be stretched parallel to each other, and one be caused to vibrate, it will instantly communicate its motion to the other. In a way analogous to this, one mind may induce upon another mind its own emotions, its thoughts and feelings. Our love is our life, and the excitement of the love is a spiritual motion. If a patient is afflicted with certain abnormal feelings or mental states, whose depressing influence has caused his diseased condition, and if he desires to be delivered from the spiritual causes of his physical disorder, let him submit himself to the magnetic treatment of some kind and sympathetic friend. He should be passive like the unmoved string. Then the movements of the operator’s mind, his emotions and affectional states, will be communicated to him. The effect will be permanent also.

One mind may daguerreotype itself upon another. It may make an ineffaceable impression upon it, and effect a lasting metamorphosis in it. Just as certainly as one harp played upon, will cause another standing by it, to sound also, so certainly, and by an unerring law of our spiritual nature, one mind, by a sort of mysterious vibration, will communicate its mental forces to another mind. Under the proper conditions, we need have no doubt of producing the desired result. There is no miracle here, no departure from law, anymore than in the phenomena we have mentioned as illustrations. Both are natural, and we may be as certain of the desired result in one case as the other.

In this way, Jesus healed the sick, first the mind, then the body. He removed the spiritual cause of disease, and the physical effect ceased. He carried his sanative influence into both departments of our being, the inner and the outer. This was done by the law of sympathy — a law of the mind that means more than the world has ever understood. By it one mind transmits its states of feeling and modes of thought to another, and oftentimes without intending it. Jesus thus imparted to the sick and wretched the calm happiness of his own loving and gentle heart. His habitual mental condition, when communicated to the afflicted, was the panacea for all their spiritual abnormality. His mind was a perfect harmony, everywhere exactly balanced, and thus contained in itself all that anyone, however wretched, needed to restore his soul to soundness and health. Hence his cures were mostly, if not always, instantaneous.

If we, who make but a distant approach to the perfection of character exhibited by Jesus, can not instantaneously cure every form of mental and bodily disorder, we can do it more slowly, but as surely, if we are moved by the same love. The little we impart of mental good and sanative influence, will propagate and diffuse itself like leaven, until the whole mental nature of the patient is changed and becomes homogeneous with it. A little contagion, though it be but an infintesimal amount, will multiply itself and propagate itself, until the whole system is assimilated to it. But a person may be inoculated with health as well as with disease. All contagions operate through the spiritual essence in them. Some false notion imbibed, some groundless fear, often lies at the bottom of chronic disease. It predisposes the outward organism to a state of things in harmony with it, for there is a cona-tus in both the soul and body to adjust themselves to each other, so as to be in agreement. One false notion, somehow acquired, will work like leaven, until the mind of the recipient is changed, and his whole life modified by it. Thus Jesus, understanding this law of mental impregnation, and the tendency of any thought or feeling to diffuse and propagate itself, charged his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, referring to their false and pernicious notions.

If the evil and the false work such changes, why may not the good and the true produce still greater and diviner results? “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven (as well as the false doctrines of Pharisees), which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until the whole was leavened.” But the highest heaven is only the greatest degree of love, and the most exalted range of the intellect. If heaven be in us, we may impart it to others, and it will prove like leaven in the flour — it will spread until the whole soul is assimilated to it. We may avail ourselves of these hitherto hidden laws of our spiritual essence in the cure of mental and physical disorders. As mankind become more elevated in the intellectual scale, the remedial agencies employed by them, will become less gross and material,
and more spiritual. Doctrines that once were satisfactory and useful to the mind of man, cannot now nourish his inner life. So remedies, that people once used without injury, and perhaps with benefit, in the present advanced stage of the development of the race are no longer adapted to the cure of disease. The New Age demands not only a better theology and philosophy, but a more spiritual system of medication.


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