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Chapter 27 The Influence of the Spiritual World upon Mental Health and Disease

The subject introduced into the preceding chapter leads us naturally, and by an easy gradation, to the consideration of the laws that govern in the transmission of sanative spiritual influences, and psychological forces, from the inhabitants of the inner world, for the cure of pathological states of the body and mind. We take it to be self-evident, that all the effects that can be produced by one mind acting upon another in this world, can be produced, in a still higher degree, in accordance with the same laws, by the intelligences who have graduated to tile superior range of life. But the question may be asked, Is it allowable and in agreement with the divine order, for good spirits to use the powers they manifestly possess for the relief of the sufferings of men? It is an axiomatic truth, that a good deed, an act of benevolence, being in harmony with the ruling principle of the divine nature, is always in order. An opinion is current among religious people, that it would greatly mar the happiness of those in the heavenly world to have any knowledge of the affairs of this world, and to feel any sympathy with the ills and the pains of those they have left below. Supposing it had that effect, what then? We have a thousand times by the law of sympathy, taken upon ourself the diseased feelings of a patient, both those of his body and mind, and thought it a far happier, as it certainly was a more useful life, than singing psalms, or selfishly seeking the enjoyment that arises from the activity of the devotional sentiments of our nature.

Jesus sometimes even cured disease by taking it upon himself. “Himself took our infirmaties, and bore our sicknesses.” (Matt. viii. 17; Isa. liii. 4.) This did not destroy the calm happiness of his nature, although for doing it on ignorant world afterwards “esteetncd him smitten of God and afflicted.” From this sympathetic bearing of human griefs and carrying the sorrows and pains of men in his own person, sprang up in a subsequent age the great theological error of a vicarious atonement for sin. He was the physician of soul and body, and used nature’s most efficient remedies, but never administered medicines, not even so much as herb drinks nor homeopathic pills. He sometimes relieved the sufferers by sympathetically taking upon himself their diseased condition, and assured all his followers who were willing to do the same, that~ if they should “drink any deadly thing,” or imbibe any morbid influence, “it should not hurt them.” The effect upon the magnetic healer is sympathetic and transient; but the benefit to the invalid is permanent. Whatever Jesus did, a Christian man might reasonably believe was proper for us and even angels to do. If Jesus is viewed as the highcst revelation of the Godhead to the world, and was God manifest in the flesh, and in this character went about doing good to the souls and bodies of men, “healing all manner of sickness and disease among the people,” the highest angel ought not to deem it beneath his dignity or out of order to follow his example. All those who worship Jesus as a God, as an incarnation of the Divinity, as the Word made flesh and dwelling among us, ought to deem it the highest moral attainment of a worshiper to be like the Being he adores.

He spent much more of his time in healing the sick, and ministering to minds diseased, than in the devotional exercise of singing hymns and saying prayers. He did both these, but it was evidently a secondary matter, to he attended to when no higher use was to be accomplished. And it ought not to be improper for redeemed spirits to lay aside the golden harp, on which they are supposed to play so skillfully, and exchange the pleasures of music and devotion, for the higher and diviner enjoyment of relieving the ills that their earthly friends are subject to. To do the works of Jesus, cannot be deemed an impossibility by anyone who has faith, though like a grain of mustard, in his plain promise and declaration,’’The works that I do, shall ya do also, and greater works than these shall ye do, because I go to my Father.”

We take it to be a maxim, that no man should ever undertake by magnetic treatment to cure disease alone, and by his own unaided strength. He should be humbly, trustingly, and passively negative toward the higher realm of life to receive, and intensely positive toward the patient to impart. He should be in a state of vital sympathy with Jesus, and the angel-world. Without divine and angelic aid he will be as inefficent in imparting sanative influence and vital force, as was the staff of the prophet, in the hands of his servant, to bring the apparently dead child of the Shunamite woman to life.

At the commencement of the Christian era, spiritual obsessions, or as they have been called, demonical possessions, were of frequent occurrence in Judea and in other parts of the world. By psychological influences disorderly spirits gained control over the subject, and so conjoined themselves to him, as to use his body as the instrument of their own will, and for the expression and manifestation of their thoughts and feelings. They spake through his vocal organs, and acted through his members. This originated, or at least aggravated, the diseased tendencies of the unfortunate sufferer. Many of the diseases, healed by Jesus, were thus caused, and the cure was effected by releasing the patient from the chains of this disorderly psychological influence. Similar phenomena have been exhibited in every age. One of the most illustrious instances is found in the so-called Salam witchcraft. In fact all morbid conditions of mind and body, by the great law of sympathy by which we are more or less controlled, connect us with disordered mind in the other world, and the cure of disease is a casting out of devils.

In the Arcana Celestia (5711-5727); the author affirms that all diseases have correspondence with the spiritual world, and he gives an interesting account of his experience of the effects of the sphere of certain spirits upon his own system. Those whose conscience was over-scrupulous affected “the part of the abdomen beneath the diaphragm,” that it the duodenum. Adulterous spirits occasioned pain in the periostea, or membranes investing the bones, and also in the loins or small of the back. Some induced a sence of oppression in the stomach, and numbness in the members and joints. Others caused an extreme weakness of the muscles. The sphere of some spirits acted upon the excrementitious matter of the brain, aggravating its deleterious nature. Hypocritical spirits affected him with a pain in the teeth and jaws. This is what might reasonably be expected. The teeth and jaws receive their cerebral stimulus from the organ of secretiveness or from a part of the brain in immediate connection with it. In the animal races, which are characterized by the largest development of it, we find the greatest strength in the teeth and jaws, as the lion, and the feline species generally. Hypocrisy uses the organ of secretiveness for its manifestation, and it is easy to believe that the sphere of such spirits would affect the teeth. The whole chapter is suggestive to one who would investigate the connection of disordered mental states with disease. This diseased spiritual influx was found to affect the bodily tissues, not directly, but indirectly. Its first effect was upon “the smallest and altogether invisible vessels which are continued to a man’s interiors.” This vitiation of the spiritual organism, when continued, occasions disease and death.

We would put the question to every man’s intuitive reason, that if Providence has deemed it proper to allow such unhappy psychological influences, as must, from the vital relation subsisting between the mind and body, either generate or intensify a diseased condition, if it would not be far more allowable to permit angelic spirits to influence men, in as great a degree, in the direction of a sound mind in a sound body? For a truthful solution of this query, we would send every man, for the answer, where Jesus himself directs him to go — to the oracular response of the divine light within “Why judge ye not from yourselves what is right?” Would it not be as mnch in harmony with every attribute of God, and as consistent with the principles of the divine proceedure, to permit and empower good spirits to employ a psychological force to heal both mind and body? It is worthy of remark that the term improperly rendered devils by King James’ translators, is from a Greek word meaning happy or prosperous, and primarily signifies good and happy spirits. In the crucible of a false theology many good things have been transmuted to evil. A demon, which originally was a term expressive of an angelic human spirit, has been transformed into a devil, with all the mythic attributes of such a being.

In the superstitious alchemy of the church, the finest gold has often been basely alloyed, or even changed to a valueless lump of earth. The first definition of the word daimon or demon, in your Greek lexicon, will be found to be the Divinity, the Godhead, and the next, a guardian spirit. To be influenced by a demon is necessarily no bad thing. Socrates had a demon, but was very far from being possessed of the devil. Angels or demons came and ministered to Jesus, and may they not to our humanity as well? If not, why?

There are several ways, in harmony with the laws that govern psychological influences, in which they may greatly aid in the cure of disease. In experiments in magnetism, and in inducing upon a subject the mesmeric sleep, it is found that when several persons direct their mental force to the operator, with a wish to aid the process of induction, it facilitates and increases the effect of his manipulations. This is among the things proved. May not angels do as much in increasing and intensifying the transmission of sanative influence and vital force to an invalid under treatment by a magnetic healer? Where is the impossibility of this? Who can assign a reason why they either cannot or would not do it? The benevolent end aimed at in the cure of disease, would justify the employment of all their powers, and it is characteristic of them that they “excel in strength.”

It is recorded in the Jewish Scriptures, that an angel, in one night, smote, with the blast of death, one hundred eighty-five thousand men in the camp of Sennacherib king of Assyria. Also in the reign of David, a destroying angel was let loose upon the Jewish population, and by three days of pestilence caused the death of seventy thousand people from Dan to Beersheba. If credit is given to these statements as historical facts by anyone, he ought to find no difficulty in believing that celestial intelligences and the principalities and powers of heaven were adequate to cure hcre and there a patient of a fever or a consumption. And would it not be more in harmony with the known character of Him who takes more delight in saving mens lives than in destroying them, to permit them to do so? We present these statements in the Jewish annals, in order to use them as an argumentum ad hominem, rather than as either crediting or justifying them ourselves. Such angels, surely, ought not to run at large in the universe, if it be true there are any such in it.

There is a hidden semi-spiritual principle that operates within the body of nature, which is the cause of all its visible phenomena. What we call causation is always unseen, at least it cannot be cognized by our senses only so far as it is ultimated in effects. The visible world is the region of effects; the unseen world is the realm of causes. The subtle essence to which we refer, is everywhere present and pervades all things, as the soul the body, and is the life of nature. It is the anamus mundi, the soul of the universe. It is the intermediate essence through which mind acts upon matter. It is manifestly under the control of spiritual intelligences, and may be so concentrated upon ponderable bodies, as to enable them to move them by their will-force. Or it may be detached from the living organism of certain persons, as it was from the Seeress of Prevorst, and by means of it enable them to move solid bodies, as articles of furniture. A multitude of well attested phenomena of the kind find here a rational explanation, as those occurring in the Wesley family. In the early history of the church, it is recorded that, while the apostle Peter and the rest of the twelve were engaged in healing great numbers of the sick in Jerusalem, they were arrested by the Jewish authorities and put in prison. But at night (for darkness has been proved to facilitate the action of psychological force) an angcl opened the doors of the prison, took off the chains from the apostles, and brought them forth from their confinement. In a similar way and by a like instrumentality Paul and Silas, while in prison at Philippi, with their feet in the stocks, were released at midnight. The foundations of the prison were shaken, and the doors were opened.

Angels also are said to have rolled away the stone from the mouth of the sepulch-er in which Jesus was placed. We have no hesitation in crediting these things as veritable facts of history, and many others chronicled by ancient annalists, for the law by which they could be done has been discovered, and taken them out of the class of miracles. But the idea which we are most desirous of impressing upon the readers mind is this: Here is an exhibition of a spiritual force that could be made available for some higher use. A force adequate to remove a ponderous stone from the entrance of a sepulcher, might just as easily reduce a dislocated joint. If an angel can open a prison door, and take a man’s feet from the stocks, and release him from chains, why is not the same power equal to the restoration of the lost equilibrium of the organic forces in disease? To take off a man’s handcuffs is not a more benevolent work, nor more in accordance with the angelic nature, than to loose a man from his bodily infirmities and mental unhappiness. A being who is supposed able to do the one, ought to be believed adequate to the other.

‘I’he subtle, imponderable force of which we have spoken, is available to spirits, and even to the truly spiritual man, for the cure of mental and physical disorders. The organism that is animated by an enlightened mind and loving heart, and vigorous will, may become receptive of it, the organ of its diffusion, the reservoir of its distribution, and the radiating center of its communication. It can be controlled by angelic spirits, as well as we can direct the flow of water, or cause light and heat to be reflected from polished surfaces. It can be directed to the inner and outer organism of a diseased person, just as well, and far easier, than we can turn a rivulet into the parched ground of a garden to revive its withered vegetation, or admit a ray of sunshine through an opening into the dampness and darkness of a dungeon. All the imponderable forces, which are now deemed correlative of the organic forces of the human body, may be controlled by spiritual agencies.

It is practicable for us to call to our aid invisible powers, and the intelligent living forces of the spiritual world, in the cure of disease, or, more properly, we can cooperate instrumentally with them, in the relief of suffering humanity. Let us illustrate this by tangible representations. If you conceal in the earth a plate of copper, which is electrically positive, and a hundred, miles away, another of zinc, which is a negative substance, and then connect the two by a wire, there will pass from the one to the other a constant current of magnetic or galvanic influence, which will operate as long as the conjunction of the two substances continues. A vibratory circuit is thus formed between the positive and negative poles. To multiply the number of the plates, thus connected, increases the effect. So between the operator and patient a conjunction maybe formed analogous to this. The operator is represented by the positive plate; the patient by the negative. Both may be pass-sive, or exert no mental force except to direct the thoughts to each other. They may be miles away or in the same room. Along the invisible cord, the odylic bond of connection, a spiritual therapeutic influence and force may pass from angelic beings. A circuit of the living forces of the spiritual world may be formed. And he whose inner vision is purged, so that to him “the invisible appears in sight,” this vibratory current may be seen passing from one to the other, resembling a mild light. It is an essential property of spirit to eommunicate itself, its life, to others, and of good spirits to transmit their good to all who are admissive of it.

The positive and negative distinction exists among them as well as among the inhabitants of this world. This is not merely a difference of sex, but there me those in whom the love-principle predominates and controls their activities, and others in whom the intellect is the governing force. If those who are vitally positive should conjoin themselves to the operator, and those who are negative with the person at the other end or pole of the odylic line, the psychological influence would be greatly intensified and the effect increased. And it must never be forgotten that all psychical forces directed to any part of the organism. cause a change in its physiological movements. Under the direction of intelligence any desired result can, in this way, be effected in the action of the vital forces.

But would good angels and spirits do this? It is implied that they would in the fact that they are good, for goodness is only a desire to impart happiness and promote the well-being of others. It is benevolence, that is, as the word signifies, good-willing, or wishing well to the neighbor. This point being settled, we have only further to ask, “Is it possible” He who has but an imperfect knowledge of the arcane forces of nature, both in the realm of matter and of mind, and believes in the Scriptural and rational doctrine of their subjection to angelic powers, and their passiveness under their hands, will not hesitate for an answer. ]But whatever is possible, such is their benevolent nature, they will do for the benefit of mankind, whom they love and serve. They are all ministering spirits, who have passed through the discipline of this first stage of human development, and have graduated to the higher life. We need have no more doubt of their aid in curing disease, then in the accepted account of the New Testament of their ministrations to us in general.

In the writings of Swedenborg, it is affirmed that every man is attrended by at least two spirits and two angels. These correspond to the two departments of the mind, the intellectual and affectional. Our conneetion with them was viewed by him as a vital one. If they were withdrawn from us, consciousness would be suspended, and even life become extinct, A man is allowed to believe the doctrine of the angelic ministry or service to men, always taught by the church, and found in all religious systems, Pagan and Christian, without subjecting himself to the odious charge of heresy, provided he does not consider it too real a thing, but accepts it by faith as an undemonatrated proposition, or an unimportant item of a creed. The heresy consists in the demonstration of the truthfulness of the creed. For men are supposed to be saved much easier by faith, than by knowledge. Suppose it was asserted for the first time in the history of the world, that infancy and childhood were accompanied by an angel guard, We might ask, “Is it consistent to suppose that an angcl would lay aside his golden harp, and permit his endless round of devotional exercises to be suspended, to guard the cradle of a sleeping infant?” Ask the love of a fond mother, and she will answer.

Jesus also responds to the question. ‘’See to it, that ye undervalue not one of these little ones, for I say unto you, that their angels in the heavens do always behold the face of my Father in the heavens.” (Matt. xviii, 10) We give the correct translation of the passage, which implies two things, — that little children will be unfolded into angels, and that angels watch over them. To wipe a teer from an infant’s eye is not a work beneath the dignity of the loving nature of the most exalted finite intelligence, nor even of the Deity. There is no room to doubt, that what is possible, they will do to heal our mental and bodily maladies, relieve our suffering, and add to the sum total of our happiness. They are human spirits, not disembodied souls, for we have shown that souls are never destitute of a substantial body. They feel an interest in all that concerns the welfare of humanity. And we may more certainly and unhesitatingly rely upon their aid in any work of love and mercy, than upon the feebler assistance of good men and women in this world. We may place the same confidence in them that we do in the forces of nature in any mechanical operation. It is no more natural for water by its gravitating force to run down hill and carry the mechanic’s wheel, or for steam to expand and do the same, than it is for a pure unselfish love to impart all possible good to others, and save them from all possible evil.

In calling to our aid the laws of nature, we have no misgiving, no doubt, no unbelief. Why not have the same confidence in spiritual aid? In the one case as in the other, knowledge is power. To know how a thing is done in harmony with nature’s laws, is to be able to do it. And to all who are sick and in trouble, in body and mind, may Jesus, according to his promise, “come to you in the glory of the Father, and with his holy angels.” It is one of the principles of the divine government, that God imparts good to men through the mediation of angelic human spirits. The spiritual world is not far off in the unsympathetic distance of the milky-way, nor separated from this by distance of space.

“some men there are, I have known such, who think that the two worlds — the seen and the unseen, The world of matter and the world of spirit — Are like the the hemispheres upon our maps,

And touch each other one at a point.

But these two worlds were not divided thus, save for the purposes of common speech.

They form one globe, in which the parted seas all flow together and are intermingled,

While the great continents remain distinct”

“The spiritual world lies all about us, and its avenues are open to the unseen feet of phantoms

That come and go, and we perceive them not save by their influence, or when at times

A most mysterious Providence permits them to manifest themselves to mortal eyes”


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