Chapter 12 – The Movement in Foreign Lands – A History of the New Thought Movement

Chapter 12
Horatio Dresser
A History of the New Thought Movement

“THE New Thought Movement came because mankind built it with their desires.” This quotation stands at the head of an article on “The Great Power in and Through All,” by M. Douglas Fox, in The Rally, London, the official organ of the New Thought Extension Work in England. The article is significant and interesting as an indication of the way in which the growth of the movement is regarded in England.

“If we think for a moment we shall see that these words are a demonstration of the great cosmic law of demand and supply. Looking down the pages of history we find that whenever there was a crying, pressing need, and the souls of men went out in a great cry to the Infinite Source, back from the Source came the supply.

“For a very long time there has been going out from the souls of men a great cry for a wider religion and a greater inclusion, and their cry has waxed stranger and stronger.

“At the beginning of the nineteenth century the accepted ideas of God had become the opposite of those taught by Jesus the Christ, and they were to all intents and purposes those of the Jews of old. God was not a loving, tender Father; but a revengeful, capricious tyrant, who placed His newly created spirits in various bodies, and strongly contrasted environments. Here a child born with a criminal body, with wretched surroundings, and little incentive to virtue; and there another born of pure parents, with good conditions, and little incentive to evil.

“Yet, the religion of that day, taking no account of causes, taught that all the placidly and easily good ones would enjoy the everlasting bliss of heaven; while all others would find everlasting torment in the piece they called hell. Thus God was represented as sitting apart from His world, in the bright, clear sky; while the devil stalked triumphant through the world. But the race-mind was rapidly evolving beyond such teaching; it no longer met the need–the great yearning of the race.

“Everywhere men were awaking to consideration of the inequalities; and the seeming injustices of human life; and to their question of why these things were so, the Church had only one answer, viz., that ‘God’s doings were inscrutable and must not be questioned.’

“But the answer to the earnest cry was poured out from the Infinite Source of Love; and little by little, a more rational religion was filtering through the old; and man began to understand more and more of his own complex nature, with its various planes of expression on which his evolution from the atom of God takes place.

“At the beginning of the nineteenth century man knew little of those finer planes of Nature which interpenetrate our physical plane; and he was ignorant also of the true facts relating to the physical plane, and its evolution.

“Orthodox science taught that man was a special creation, owing nothing to the kingdoms below him. Darwin’s discovery of the evolution of the physical man, shattered the old belief, and satisfied a small part of man’s great longing. But there are other and finer planes of man’s being, which, if he live entirely on the physical, must be starved. And so, by giving too much consideration to this physical plane, man came to think this was all; and to lose his belief in a life after death; and to regard death as final. Heaven and hell became to him fairy tales to be discarded; and his heart sickened and failed because of his unbelief.

“Then came a new philosophy, which declared that the dear dead were not lost forever, were not far away; but living and loving still; nearer than ever, only on a different plane of life.

“The spiritualistic movement restored hope to many a soul who had lost all joy of life. The astral plane was studied; and found by many to be very wonderful, and very beautiful. But this does not comprise all the finer natures, and man must learn to live evenly on all planes if he would live in Power.

“The truth about the third plane came to be taught by H. P. Blavatsky, from a deep study of Eastern lore. The mental part of man, then, forms another plane of life; and the discovery was followed by an over-appreciation of this plane.

“Then a fuller and deeper revelation was shed abroad on the earth, through the Christian Scientists, whose teaching that man is a spiritual being, in a spiritual world proclaimed to the world the true nature of man; but while looking to the spiritual the Christian Scientists denied the physical, which is the garment of the spiritual; and equally a part of man.

“Our New Thought Movement teaches a still wider inclusion; having for its first vital fundamental, the one mind in all and through all. This is not a religion; not a sect; it is a principle, which links and unifies the world thought.

“New Thought is constructive; and will destroy nothing as it condemns nothing. Its open-armed welcome to those of every class, creed and color, has drawn into the movement a motley crowd; and New Thought is seeking to harmonize these just as every note in a chord of music is harmonized; as the varied tints of a landscape create the glorious beauty of the scene; or as the perfume of every flower in your garden mingles to make glad the heart of man.

“We shall never be alike; never think alike. There will be sects, and schools of thought. There will be greater and stronger individuality; but there will be a cessation of the jarring, and the jangling of creeds and opinions; a truer liberty, and a deeper love as we come to realize that men, nations and things are joined in the One Life in all and through all, and that there is nothing outside of God.”

The history of the movement in England did not differ essentially from its development in the United States. In England as in America, interest was aroused by Christian Science, then came a gradual reaction and the establishment of independent branches of the movement. Leaders of the Higher Thought appeared after a time, and it became customary for New Thought leaders from America to visit London and other cities, exchanging views with English leaders and holding classes. Among these may be mentioned Mr. Patterson, Dr. Julia Seton, who established the New Thought Centre, and Mrs. Militz, in connection with her lecturing tours of the world. The Woman’s Union, on Ebury Street, London, led in time to the Higher Thought Centre, 40 Courtfield Gardens, Kensington, and some of the leaders, notably Miss Alice Callow, secretary, have been connected with the work in London from the beginning. Similar centres were established in different parts of England and Scotland, also in Ireland. With the coming of The New Thought Alliance to London in 1914, the devotees of the movement in the British Isles became identified with the international movement and the Alliance has since been recognized as the world’s New Thought society.

The most widely read of the English New Thought writers was Judge T. Troward (1834-1916), born in India, educated at the Victoria College, Island of Jersey, divisional judge, and author of Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science and other volumes.

The Higher Thought Centre in Nottingham was established in September, 1906. The New Life Centre, a healing and educational home, was founded at Spring Grove House, Isleworth, London, W., in 1910. Sunday services were established later, and a library, with rooms for healing. Spring Grove House has since become the largest establishment of its kind in England, and its founder, Dr. O. E. Miller, one of the chief workers. The plan is to build up an industrial cooperative educational centre where men and women may come to live and engage in all branches of useful and artistic work. A printing department has already been established. Other centres in cooperation with the one at Isleworth have been organized in Hastings and Wolverhampton. In July, 1914, Mr. Paul Tyner, who acquired his interest in the New Thought from the publications of Helen Wilmans, in 1893, became the leader of the New Thought Centre, 85 Hanover Street, Edinburgh. Mr. Tyner, author of The Living Christ, editor of The Temple, Denver, Colorado, and in 1898-99 editor of The Arena, was associated with Mr. Patterson in the Alliance School of Applied Metaphysics, in New York; and, in cooperation with Mr. Eugene Del Mar, author of Spiritual and Mental Attraction, and The Divinity of Desire, organized the first Mental Science Temple in New York. He was minister of the New Thought Temple, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1909-10, and of the Dayton, Ohio, Truth Centre, 1910-11. Later, while in New York, Mr. Tyner organized in connection with the New Thought Magazine, edited by W. W. Atkinson, Chicago, Illinois., 140 New Thought reading rooms in different parts of the country.

Among others recently to do a large work in the British Isles, is Mr. F. L. Rawson of London, whose teaching is almost identical with Christian Science without the claims ordinarily made in behalf of Mrs. Eddy. Formerly a consulting engineer, Mr. Rawson was retained by the Daily Express to make a professional examination into mental healing. The result was the discovery that such healing was practised all over the world, and Mr. Rawson became an ardent therapeutist. During the war he turned to the care of soldiers, and in a pamphlet entitled How to Protect our Soldiers, he gives what he calls the “secret of divine protection.”

In this pamphlet Mr. Rawson says, “Today there are many millions of mental workers, containing some fifty or sixty schools. Only four or five of these work on the basis that Jesus did, namely, by turning in thought to God. The remainder work in the same way as the sorcerers and witches of the past and the black magic workers and hypnotists today, namely, with the human mind. This means that they use one or other of the five different forms of hypnotism, all of which are more or less harmful, not only to the patient, but to the practitioner.

“The real value of my investigation for the Daily Express and of Life Understood, which contains the results of my work, does not lie in proving that all disease is mental. . . . Nor to prove that matter is mental phenomena. The real value lies in proving the difference between the right and wrong method of mental working. . . . The right method of healing [is] by the realization of the divine mind . . . the scientific method of right thinking which was taught and demonstrated by Jesus the Christ, the most perfect and the most scientific man that ever lived.

“There is a hard and fast line drawn between the two methods of mental working, and between the right and the wrong method of prayer. Jesus pointed out the difference more than once. If, when you are mentally working, you are thinking of reality, that is, of God, of heaven, the real world, of the Christ, or of the spiritual man, you are helping your patient, yourself, and the world. If, on tile contrary, you are thinking of the material man or the mental world, whatever you are thinking about them, unless you are denying their reality, you are harming your patient, harming yourself, and doing no good to the world. Even by strong, determined thinking, or will-power, trying to bring about what you think is good, you can neither destroy the evil thoughts nor purify the so-called human mind. Truth and Love, that is, God, alone heals. The healing, then, is perfect and permanent, whether of disease, sin, or any of the many troubles that make this world a veritable hell to so many. . . . Jesus relied on his knowledge of God, not on strong thinking and will-power. There is no limit to this apparent effect of thought. If you are certain enough that you are dead, you are dead instantly. . . . If, on the contrary, you turn to heaven and think clearly enough of God, then the action of God takes place, and good for all must ensue. . . . You have to think of absolute good, the world of reality. You have to think of an ideal world, the highest good that you can possibly imagine. You have to think of God and heaven; heaven being a perfect state of consciousness, a mental world, in which all is perfect, because all is governed by a perfect God, by the Principle of absolute good.

“When I found that every thought a man thinks has an effect, I came to the conclusion that the highest thought I could think ought to give me the best result. The highest thought I could think was to turn in thought to heaven and realize the absolute love of God, getting away from all recognition of the material world . . . God became a living fact to me. . . . Rest on God. It is God’s business to look after you. . . . The realization ‘There is nothing but God,’ I have found the most effective against accidents. ‘It is a lie; all is spiritual,’ is perhaps easier for some to realize. . . . When you see someone in pain, instead of thinking of him as in pain and so increasing it, turn in thought to heaven and realize that there is no such thing as pain there, and then think of the absolute joy, bliss, and happiness in that perfect world.”

The pioneer work of Sister Veni Cooper-Mathieson in Australia began in 1903, under the title of “The Woman’s White Cross Moral Reform Crusade,” and a three years’ lecture course in Sydney on “The Truth Seekers.” The first magazine, The Truth Seeker, was established in January, 1905. In April, 1909, the Church Universal in Perth, Western Australia, was organized. In December, 1914, this church was moved to Sydney, and a Truth Centre was established. The first magazine was united with The Healer and called The Revealer, in 1915, the year of the founding of The Universal Truth Publishing Co. of Australasia. A Home of Truth was also established that year.

The Church Universal daily affirmation is introduced as follows in The Revealer, “These affirmations are spoken to the Real Self, the Spiritual Being within each of us. The physical body–the flesh and blood–is but the temple wherein He dwells, and is therefore but that which is at our service to transmute by the Word into a Spiritual expression of our real God-being brought forth from the perfect Image.

“The real Man and Woman of each of us is the Divine Being; and as we allow this true Self to rule our lives, we put on the ‘Mind of Christ,’ and so reveal God’s Son within the Son of Man. As the God-Self thinks and acts through us, so will these true ideas–or Immaculate Conceptions –and good healthful thoughts be expressed in the outer self–the body–and we thus daily build that ‘House not made with hands’ by the Power of Thought, which is the one Creative Power of the Universe.

“Speak the Word only. ‘According to Thy WORD be it unto thee.’

“JEHOVAH-ALMIGHTY, Great Father-Mother God; I, thy child, acknowledge Thee to be my Creator. Thou hast endowed me with all Thine own glorious Creative Powers. Thou hast given me richly of Thyself. There is nothing that I lack. All is mine. I am created in Thy perfect Image, and as a pure spiritual being must reveal Thy perfect Likeness. The Seed of the Christ is within me. I am Thine Only Begotten and Well-beloved Son, full of Grace and Truth. Thy Word is now made flesh and dwells in me, the Son of God within the Son of Man. Thy Eternal LIFE is my Life. Thy Infinite WISDOM guides me. Thy Wondrous INTELLIGENCE illumines my mind. Thy Glorious SUBSTANCE feeds me. Thy Perfect HEALTH is revealed in me. Thy Infinite POWER upholds me. Thy Almighty STRENGTH is my support. Thy unchanging LOVE surrounds me. Thy Eternal TRUTH has made me free. . . .

“With glad recognition of my glorious birthright, I rejoice and give praise unto Thee, my Everlasting Father, who liveth, loveth, moveth, and hath Thy Perfect Being in me, Thy Beloved Child. GOD and MAN are inseparably ONE, Now and throughout Eternity.”

Mr. Philip O’Bryen Hoare started the New Thought work in New Zealand in 1905. Later, Mr. Hoare lectured in New South Wales and Queensland, and settled in Adelaide, South Australia, where he established The First School of New Thought and Mental Science. Later still, Mr. Hoare lectured in Johannesburg, South Africa, and reestablished his school of New Thought in Melbourne, Australia.

As elsewhere, the New Thought Alliance has been welcomed as the unifying society of the mental-healing movement. Miss Eunice Jones, Adelaide, is the vice-president for South Australia; Mrs. Preshaw, of Clarmont represents Western Australia; Miss Emilie A. Hulett, Melbourne, represents Victoria; Mrs. Grace Victor, North Sydney, is vice-president for New South Wales; Miss Grace M. Aguilar, Brisbane, represents Queensland.

In Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, Mrs. Melville Moncrief, vice-president for the Islands, reports the establishment of The Happy Thought Coffee House on the water-front, a resort for the men of the streets, the aim being to reach the human derelicts, and through a kind word and a little material assistance help the men to a place where they may be able to help themselves. An Employment Bureau, with free baths, and a bowl of soup and bread, or coffee and doughnuts, for five cents, affords a man a place to rest and refresh himself. . . . The men are given every freedom. There are no rules. They are allowed to play cards and smoke, and keep their hats on if they want to. . . . An intoxicated man is shown the same respect as a sober one, and given the same kind of treatment. The law of love is put to a practical test, and it has been found to work great changes in some of these lives. Mrs. Melville and Mrs. O. B. Guest give their time to this work, free, and employ two assistants to serve the meals. New Thought books are given out when the men are ready to receive the new idea. . . . Silent treatments have been given the drinking men, and many lives have been rehabilitated, and useful members of society made from men who have been on the city’s scrap-heap. Other activities in Honolulu consist in class-instruction and the general work of the New Thought Centre. Mrs. Militz, Mrs. Helen Van-Anderson-Gordon, and other leading New Thought teachers have lectured in the Islands.

The pioneer worker in Chile was Georgina Hooper de Hammerton, whose interest in the inner life began in 1902, when she attended lectures on spiritualism intermixed with some of Swedenborg’s teachings, and organized a theosophical society in Valparaiso. The next impetus came from reading The New Thought, edited by W. W. Atkinson. The work of healing and teaching the New Thought began in December, 1904. The only book available in Spanish at that time was a translation of Mr. Trine’s In Tune with the Infinite. The healing work was transferred to Santiago in March, 1910. The first organization was founded May 7, 1912, the Instituto de Ciencia Mental Armonia, with 20 members, most of whom had been healed by the new method. The first books to be translated into Spanish and published in Chile were Law of the New Thought, by W. W. Atkinson, and Mental Healing Made Plain, by Kate A. Boehme. The vice-president for South AmerIca is Margot Polet de Varvalla, of Santiago, Chile.

The work in Brazil began in June, 1907, with the founding of the Circulo Esoterico da Cummunhao do Pensamento, in San Paulo, on the basis of teachings derived from the writings of Prentice Mulford, W. W. Atkinson/Yogi Ramacharaka, and others. The first magazine, the O Pensamento, edited by Antonio Olivio Rodrigues, was established in November, 1907. The Circulo had in 1917, 7,000 associates in Brazil and other lands, There were at that time 50 allied circles, organized on the same basis as the parent circle in San Paulo. Portuguese, not Spanish, is the language used. O Pensamento, the title of the magazine, signifies “Mind.”

It is difficult to obtain information concerning the influence of New Thought literature in foreign languages. The works of Mr. Trine, Dr. Marden, H. W. Dresser, and others have been translated into various European languages, such as French, German, and Spanish, and these books have been extensively sold. But since the beginning of the war communication has been more or less interrupted. The fate of New Thought books in Germany, for example, is matter of doubt. The interesting fact is that in Germany, as in other foreign lands, there has been a call for such books.

The International New Thought Alliance has steadily extended its work and its influence throughout foreign lands. In 1918, the vice-presidents outside of North America included the following: South Australia, Miss Eunice Jones, Adelaide; Western Australia, Mrs. Preshaw, Clarmont; Victoria, Australia, Miss Emilie A. Hulett, Melbourne; Queensland, Australia, Miss Grace M. Aquilar, Brisbane; British Isles, Rev. J. Bruce Wallace, Limavady, County Londonderry, Ireland; France, Mme. Florence Struve, Paris; Hawaiian Islands, Mrs. Melville Moncrief, Honolulu; New Zealand, Mr. M. Walker, Auckland; New Zealand, South Island, Mrs. Marie Barrie, Marlborough; Tasmania, Mr. Willoughby Conner, Hobart; South America, Margot Polet de Varalla Miguel-Clara, Santiago, Chile.

Henry Wood’s Ideal Suggestion has been translated into Chinese. There is a movement in Japan known as “Healing by the Good.” It is a well known fact that mental healing has always been in vogue in India from ancient times. In the Upanishads there are teachings closely resembling those of the New Thought. Very little has been done, however, to trace out the resemblences. Representatives of the Vedanta philosophy who have lectured in the United States have called attention to certain points of contact between the ideas that prevail in the Orient and those originating independently in the Occident. In general, it is plain that the New Thought stands for the individual in contrast with the Oriental tendency toward mysticism and pantheism. As the New Thought works its way into the far East, it will be on a practical basis, by supplying a method of realization and healing, and an activity or affirmationism usually lacking in countries where mysticism prevails.

The New Thought has often been stated in mystical language, as if it meant the confusion of man with God. But there is no advantage in such statements. What is meant is individualism in the better sense. The New Thought stands for the affirmation or freedom of the individual. It is thus distinctly American in its idealism. There is an advantage in maintaining this its distinctiveness, in contrast with Orientalism in all forms.

Chapter 13

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A History of The New Thought Movement

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