Le 9 septembre 2016, 07:33 dans Humeurs • 0
But the word "suggestion," having acquired official status, is unfortunately already beginning toplay in many quarters the part of a wet blanket upon investigation, being used to fend off allinquiry into the varying susceptibilities of individual cases. "Suggestion" is only another name forthe power of ideas, SO FAR AS THEY PROVE EFFICACIOUS OVER BELIEF ANDCONDUCT. Ideas efficacious bioderma matriciumover some people prove inefficacious over others. Ideas efficaciousat some times and in some human surroundings are not so at other times and elsewhere. The ideasof Christian churches are not efficacious in the therapeutic direction to-day, whatever they mayhave been in earlier centuries; and when the whole question is as to why the salt has lost its savorhere or gained it there, the mere blank waving of the word "suggestion" as if it were a banner givesno light. Dr. Goddard, whose candid psychological essay on Faith Cures ascribes them to nothingbut ordinary suggestion, concludes by saying that "Religion [and by this he seems to mean ourpopular Christianity] has in it all there is in mental therapeutics, and has it in its best form. Livingup to [our religious] ideas will do anything for us that can be done." And this in spite of the actualfact that the popular Christianity does absolutely NOTHING, or did nothing until mind-cure cameto the rescue.
 Within the churches a disposition has always prevailed to regard sickness as a visitation;something sent by God for our good, either as chastisement, as warning, or as opportunity forexercising virtue, and, in the Catholic Church, of earning "merit." "Illness," says a good Catholicwriter P. Lejeune: (Introd. a la Vie Mystique, 1899, p. 218), "is the most excellent corporealmortifications, the mortification which one has not one's self chosen, which is imposed directly byGod, and is the direct expression of his will. 'If other mortifications are of silver,' Mgr. Gay says,'this one is of gold; since although it comes of ourselves, coming as it does of original sin, still onits greater side, as coming (like all that happens) from the providence of God, it is of divinemanufacture. And how just are its blows! And how efficacious it is! . . . I do not hesitate to say thatpatience in a long illness is  travel trade publication ; mortification's very masterpiece, and consequently the triumph ofmortified souls.'" According to this view, disease should in any case be submissively accepted, andit might under certain circumstances even be blasphemous to wish it away.
Of course there have been exceptions to this, and cures by special miracle have at all times beenrecognized within the church's pale, almost all the great saints having more or less performedthem. It was one of the heresies of Edward Irving, to maintain them still to be possible. Anextremely pure faculty of healing after confession and conversion on the patient's part, and prayeron the priest's, was quite spontaneously developed in the German pastor, Joh. ChristophBlumhardt, in the early forties and exerted during nearly thirty years. Blumhardt's Life by Zundel(5th edition, Zurich, 1887) gives in chapters ix., x., xi., and xvii. a pretty full account of his healingactivity, which he invariably ascribed to direct divine interposition. Blumhardt was a singularlypure, simple, and non-fanatical character, and in this part of his work followed no previous model.
In Chicago to-day we have the case of Dr. J. A. Dowie, a Scottish Baptist preacher, whose weekly "Leaves of Healing" were in the year of grace 1900 in their sixth volume, and who, although hedenounces the cures wrought in other sects as "diabolical counterfeits" of his own exclusively"Divine Healing," must on the whole be counted into the mind-cure movement. In mind-curecircles the fundamental article of faith is that disease should never be accepted. It is wholly of thepit. God wants us to be absolutely healthy, and we should not tolerate ourselves on any lowerterms.
An idea, to be suggestive, must come to the individual with the force of a revelation. The mind-cure with its gospel of healthy-mindedness has come as a revelation to many whose hearts thechurch Christianity had left hardened. It has let loose their springs of higher life. In what can theoriginality of any religious movement consist, save in finding a channel, until then sealed up,through which those springs may be set free in some group of human beings?
The force of personal faith, enthusiasm, and example, and above all the force of novelty, arealways the prime suggestive agency in this kind of success. If mind-cure should ever becomeofficial, respectable, and intrenched, these elements of suggestive efficacy will be lost. In its acuterstages every religion must be a homeless Arab of the desert. The church knows this well enough,with its everlasting inner struggle of the acute religion of the few against the chronic religion of themany, indurated into an obstructiveness worse than that which irreligion opposes to the movings ofthe Spirit. "We may pray," says Jonathan Edwards, "concerning all those saints that are not livelyChristians, that they may either be enlivened, or taken away; if that be true that is often said bysome at this day, that these cold dead saints do more hurt than natural men, and lead more souls tohell, and that it would be well for mankind if they were all dead."
 Edwards, from whose book on the Revival in New England I quote these words, dissuadesfrom such a use of prayer, but it is easy to see that he enjoys making his thrust at the cold deadchurch members.
The next condition of success is the apparent existence, in large numbers, of minds who unitehealthy-mindedness with readiness for regeneration by letting go. Protestantism has been toopessimistic as regards the natural man, Catholicism has been too legalistic and moralistic, foreither the one or the other to appeal in any generous way to the type of character formed of thispeculiar mingling of elements. However few of us here present may belong to such a type, it isnow evident that it forms a specific moral combination, well represented in the world.
Finally, mind-cure has made what in our protestant countries is an unprecedentedly great use ofthe subconscious life. To their reasoned advice and dogmatic assertion, its founders have addedsystematic exercise in passive relaxation, concentration, and meditation, and have even invokedsomething like hypnotic practice. I quote some passages at random:-"The value, the potency of on which the New Thought moststrongly insists--the development namely from within outward, from small to great.
Consequently one's thought should be centred on the ideal outcome, even though this trust beliterally like a step in the dark. To attain the ability thus effectively to direct the mind, the NewThought advises the practice of concentration, or in other words, the attainment of self-control.
One is to learn to marshal the tendencies of the mind, so that they may be held together as a unit by the chosen ideal. To this end, one should set apart times for silent meditation, by one's self,preferably in a room where the surroundings are favorable to spiritual thought. In New Thoughtterms, this is called 'entering the silence.'"
 H SUV. W. DRESSER: Voices of Freedom, 46.