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.[55]

[55] 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&nbsp 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."[56]

[56] 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.[57]

Consequently  one's thought should be centred on the ideal outcome, even though this  trust beliterally like a step in the dark.[58] 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.'"[59]

[57] H SUV. W. DRESSER: Voices of Freedom, 46.