Imágenes de páginas

may have faith, for instance, in the waters of Contrexéville): faith, hope, and love are real and useful powers on this plane; but in the spiritual world they are something more — they are the "three theological virtues."

All spiritual succour, therefore, the healing, converting, cleansing, inspiring of man by the power of religion, whether it be his body that is healed, or his soul, or his spirit— is just the use of powers that are higher and stronger than those which are mental. Instead of faith in the doctor (or in addition to it) we have the theological virtue of faith in God. Instead of hope as a matter of temperament we have the theological virtue of hope as a triumphal quickening of the spirit. Instead of the natural love, which the Greeks called eros, instead even of that ethical virtue which is called philadelphia, we have that Love, for which the Church found the new name of agapé,2 as to which nothing higher could be said of God than that he is Love, and nothing higher of man's destiny than that he who dwelleth in Love dwelleth in God. So it is that when we speak of spiritual healing, whether of body, soul, or spirit, we mean that there is, in addition to the mental or psychic influence of one person upon another, the pouring in of the "grace" of God through prayer or sacraments, through faith and silence and meditation,

1 Among the Greeks this word did not attain the Christian meaning of love between all men because they are brothers, but meant no more than love between brethren in blood.Archbishop Trench, Synonyms, p. 42.

2 ""

"Ayan is a word born within the bosom of revealed religion. It occurs in the LXX, but there is no example of its use in any heathen writer whatever." Ibid., p. 41.

through the charged atmosphere of common worship, through human intercession and religious benediction.

That is the difference between mental and spirit✔ual. It is a difference, I think, of degree, and not of kind. For we cannot set up a barrier between what is secular and what is religious. Nor ought we to allow the word mental to be used as if the mind were some inferior form of the spirit, and mental gifts due to some lower source than God. One of the central lessons of Christianity is that religion is "Wisdom"; and that the intellectual gifts are the particular inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Some people talk as if the inspiration of God was merely emotional, and as if there were something pious in being foolish. Yet the whole faith of the Church is based on the presence of the Holy Spirit whom Christ described as the "Pleader" arguing, convincing, instructing, as the "Spirit of truth," 2 who was to teach and remind, to convince or convict. The work of the Holy Spirit consists by the common consent of the Church in the dower of Seven Gifts, which are wise powers of the mind, enabling a "right judgment in all things"-seven mental gifts in the intellect and will, as well as in the heart:- Wisdom, to choose what is right; Understanding, to know how to carry it out; Counsel, to think resolutely before we act; Strength, to act firmly when we have thought; Knowledge, to pos


[ocr errors]


1 Jn. 14 16. "Paraclete" (πарákληтos), literally one who is summoned to plead a cause, advocate. Comforter" is an inexact translation here. 4 Jn. 16 7-11, ἐλέγξει,

2 Jn. 14 17.

3 8 Jn. 14 26.

sess truth; Godliness, to live in the love of God, and Reverence before his holiness and power. To be a good Christian is thus to have the splendid strength and judgment which we expect in a statesman and find in a saint. It is a sin to be silly; and we cannot be spiritual without being mental also.

All things come of God, and not least the dower of noble thought. All things indeed come of God, both high and humble, for spirit, soul, and body; all means of health and healing, spiritual, psychic, material, may be used under God and with his blessing. But mighty works may be done by spiritual means when all others have failed.

The Unworthiness of the Minister


Much may be done on the psychic plane, and is done in ordinary medical practice. Nay, it is done also by the veriest quacks and impostors, who owe their existence to the fact that they do manage to have successes because they often get hold of the subconscious self when the methods of reputable men have failed. It may be done also by a mental healer" who has some mental or psychic power, but who may for all that be without morals, science, or religion. For psychic research has shown beyond controversy that certain people have peculiar gifts, which may be, as Mesmer thought, due to a "fluid " that passes from the operator, or may be due to a special power of focusing the will, or may be due, as Myers considered, to some combination of both.

It is remarkable that one of the sayings of our Lord takes it for granted that wicked people would


have power to do mighty works, and even to do them in his name. Speaking of those false prophets who bear evil fruit and refuse to do the will of the Father in heaven, he says


Many will say to me, in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many powers? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."1

Thus the greatest Healer in the world's history warns us that men may have great psychic powers without goodness, that quacks and unworthy persons may have success; and that we are not to believe a person to be a true prophet because he happens to heal us. This is just what people are always forgetting: they argue that because some one has been changed and healed, therefore the healer must be a true prophet or prophetess, and that the healer's views about things in general must be true also. It does not in the least follow. Mental or spiritual healing has gone on in the temples of many religions, ancient and modern, in ancient Egypt and Greece, in India and in China,2 as well as in the Christian Church and in many Christian or non-Christian sects or heresies: it is practised by spiritists and by agnostics, by mesmerists and by hypnotists, by faith-healers and by mind-healers, by "Mental Science," "Christian

[ocr errors]

1 Matt. 7 22-23, R. V. Marg. We have seen on p. 117 that powers" and "works" are technical New Testament names for the miracles of healing.

2 The curious in these matters will find some material in an old book, Ennemoser's History of Magic (1843), which was translated by W. Howitt in 1854, for Bohn's Scientific Series (Geo. Bell & Sons, new ed. 1893).

[ocr errors]

Science," and "Higher Thought," by believers in relics and the apparition of Mary at Lourdes and by the simplest of Puritan sects Shakers, for instance, who would have been horrified at the idea of relics and shrines. They may all have got hold of a great truth; but they cannot all be entirely right; and it was in this very connection that our Lord warned us to "Beware of false prophets."

Yet, though there may be unworthy, sordid, or mistaken people who produce genuine results by ◄ mental means, it does not at all follow that the power which they use is not spiritual. It was practical experience that led the Church to declare (in another connection) that the unworthiness of the minister hinders not the effect of the Sacrament; and this may well be true also about the application of spiritual power to the bodies of men. Our forefathers did not disbelieve in magic, but they held that it was generally “black.”

To take a simple illustration-a barrel may be full of very precious liquid, but it does not follow that only a very good person can turn the tap. It may be, as in the case of the sacraments, that certain ministers are entrusted with the key; and they are sometimes unworthy of their trust. Or it may be in the case of mental healing that the tap is rather hard to turn, and a man goes with his cup and fails to move it, and someone else comes along who has stronger hands with perhaps no other qualification. He turns the tap, and the patient fills his cup and is happy. In some such way is spiritual power stored up, and a man may be helped by one who is less spiritual than himself. After

« AnteriorContinuar »