The Main Thing

W. John Murray
The Astor Lectures
Divine Science Publishing Assoc.
New York, 1917.

”Be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.”–Romans 12:12.

[7] The force which utilizes and dominates all other forces is the force of mind. Those who, through study and experimentation, became acquainted with its laws, were able to prove these laws by what have been called miracles, but a miracle is nothing more than the application of any law not generally understood. When the law is explained the miracle disappears, and this applies to the cures wrought by Jesus, as well as to the phenomena of electrical science. The influence of one mind on the mind of another is a fact long established.

We are all more or less affected by the thoughts of others, even when no audible word is spoken. The power of thought is the foundation of that system of mental therapeutics which Jesus and his immediate followers understood and practiced, and which is being revived in this day. It is a [8] matter of common experience that when a person of melancholy mood enters a room where other people are congregated, he, without speaking a word, affects those present to the degree that a current of cold air would be felt, if a window were suddenly opened.

How often, on the other hand, have we seen a person of cheerful and healthy state of mind enter a dining-room where a family sat eating, as if it were the most serious work in the world, and suddenly transform the atmosphere into one of gaiety and laughter. By his very presence he drives away incipient indigestion and provokes a jollity which aids in the flow of those gastric juices so essential to the enjoyment and digestion of a meal which would, otherwise, have been the performance of a mere duty, the duty of eating at stated intervals. The man of melancholy mood is a disease germ walking on two legs, while the man of cheerful temperament is a health microbe radiating an atmosphere of happiness, which includes health within it as surely as depression includes disease. We owe it to humanity, especially that portion of it with which we come in daily contact, to heed the injunctions of Jesus concerning our mental attitudes. When he tells us to “Be of good cheer,” it is not only for the effect this will have upon our health, but for the effect it will have upon others, for by the tie which links one thing to another, “what affects one must of necessity affect all.”

If two instruments tuned to the same key [9] are placed sufficiently near each other, and the key of one is struck, the corresponding key in the other instrument vibrates in unison. This is true of the minds of men, so that it is easy to understand the effect of one mind on another, although until within the last few years, the medical faculty have paid little, if any, attention to the most important medical factor in the cause and cure of disease. The study and application of the force of mind was left to the psychologist, and others who cured where materia medica had failed, thus the cry went up, “Quack.”

In the year of 1866 Sir James Paget, the most noted physician of his day in England, writing to another doctor regarding a case which had baffled their combined skill, said, “What unsatisfactory cases these are! This clever, charming and widely known lady will some day disgrace us all be being juggled out of her maladies by some bold quack who, by mere force of assertion will give her the will to heal, or forget, or suppress all the turbulence of her nervous system.” While admitting that the cure may be effected, this Doctor envies the one who performs it; that is according to Sir James, one who is not recognized by the prevailing systems of medicine would be far more efficient in the cure of disease than the regular school. In Sir James’ day, there was no place in materia medica for mental therapeutics, and consequently we find these very distinguished men of medicine admitting their inability to cure a malady which they frankly admit [10] some quack may accomplish. They admit a fact which they are unwilling to give a place in their pharmacopoeia.

Since that day, however, the so-called quacks have grown to an innumerable host, so great in fact, that they make Medical Boards here and in England somewhat apprehensive. The charlatan in this case is not necessarily a fakir or pretender; rather is he one who studies and applies the laws of Mind to the cure of bodily ailments. The “bold quack” who uses in the case of the “widely known lady” the “force of assertion,” is only doing what Sir James Paget himself might have done, had he only been willing to admit that there are some things to be learned which are not necessarily in medical text books.

Why should the medical profession have to look to the “quack” for the “boldness of assertion,” which sets men free from the pangs of the flesh? Why not study Divine Science, which is the sovereign power of mind, and add this to its curriculum? The quack may have something to learn from the regular, but may it not be that the regular might have something to learn from the quack? The antiquity of a method is not always a sufficient proof of its infallibility. If it were not so, there would be no progress. The new school may exaggerate the force of mind, as some aver, but it can well afford to investigate and adopt it, for the day has gone by when the mental factor in disease can be sneered at, since the most advanced thinkers in the medical world [11] now recognize its potency on the cause and cure of disease. When such an authority as Sir. B. W. Richardson says, “Diabetes from a sudden shock is a pure type of a physical malady of mental origin,” and Dr. Snow in the London Lancetasserts that, “the vast majority of cases of cancer, especially of breast and uterine cancer, are due to mental anxiety,” and Dr. Murchison assures us that, “these cases have been far too numerous to be accounted for as mere coincidences,” we do well to think soberly of this Force of mind.

If morbid thinking can cause disease, as these men, who are medical men in good and regular standing, and not quacks, assure us it can, then why should it be a thing incredible that mind can cure it? When Canon Wilberforce became convinced of the therapeutic value of thought, he looked for further evidence of it in his daily life and practice. He says that his prayers were attended by positive cases of bodily healing as the result of what he calls “wireless spiritual telegraphy.” He gives us extracts from two taken from a great number. He prayed for a young girl who was about to face an examination for a post, and who was tormented with nervous headache. The statement is made that, “It was a positive miracle. There was not a headache after that night; and the examination was passed most successfully.” Again he prayed two Sundays in succession for a youth in the north of England. The letter says, “He was dying; the [12] doctors had given him up and he himself had no thought of recovery. To-day he is well and a new man; people are expressing the greatest astonishment, declaring that no one understands it. They do not know the explanation.”

Canon Wilberforce explains these cures by stating that, “The first thought of to-day is that the world is ruled by mind and not by matter”; that, “there is a Soul in all things and that Soul is God.” That is the true philosophy of creation. Every atom, every germ has within it a principle, a life, a purpose, a degree of consciousness, appropriate to its position in the scheme of things. That consciousness or mind differs in magnitude in its different manifestations, being higher in the insect than in the vegetable, higher in the animal than in the insect, and that occasionally there is evidenced in the animal a shrewdness which implies observation and close reasoning.

“For example,” he writes, “recently I was at Christ Church in Hampshire and was conducted by Mr. Hart over [to] his unique museum of birds. Now in order to deceive the bird amongst whose eggs the cuckoo intends to place its own egg, the cuckoo causes the egg it is about to lay to assume the color and markings of the eggs of the small bird, who is to become the foster-mother. Mr. Hart showed me over forty cuckoos’ eggs, each one colored to imitate the natural egg of the bird whose nest the cuckoo had commandeered. This had been done with extraordinary [13] accuracy, from the bright blue of the hedge sparrow’s egg to the dull olive of the nightingale’s egg, and even the peculiar markings, like notes of music, of the yellow-hammer’s eggs had been imitated.

Consider the extraordinary mental power implied. The cuckoo has first to decide which nest she will lay her contribution in. She has then to study the coloring of the eggs in that nest: then with some amazing exercise of the power of thought, she has to cause her egg to assume that color, after which she lays it on the ground, takes it in her beak and carefully carries it to the nest on which she has decided to place it. “What an intense, ever-present reality is that Infinite Mind!” It has been suggested that, if the human parent would follow the cuckoo’s example and mark her children after that fashion spiritually, what a wonderful race we would have.

In view of the fact that every child is marked before birth in one form or another, the pity is that this marking is not so intelligently done as in the case of the cuckoo, and there is no reason why this should not be accomplished. Most children are marked by the thoughts of their parents, but unfortunately all of these thoughts are of a negative or a fearful character. Therefore what the cuckoo knows by instinct, the human parent should be taught through mental science, in order to make a happy and harmonious civilization, which is to be the race of the future.

The only limit to the force of mind is that [14] which is placed upon it by one using this force or the thinker of thoughts. The influence of the mind as a producer of disease has been emphasized so often that intelligent humanity is fairly well convinced of it, but like every other important question, we are beginning to see that this one has two sides. If negative thinking can produce disease, positive thinking can produce health. This has ceased to be a theory and has become a matter of practical demonstration. Not only can we improve our own health by a scientific application of the force of mind, but we can improve the mental and physical health of those who are near or remote from us, who are in sympathy with the spiritual method of healing.

It is now as well established as any principle of chemistry, that one mind can impress its thoughts and feelings upon another mind without intervention of spoken words. To think with an intensity is to abolish time and space, so that what one would say to another if he were present, he may say to him by means of the Spirit. When the thought of an absent friend is one of health and wholesomeness, it will be taken up by the receptive soul of him who needs it, and presently translated into terms of mental peace and bodily vigor. Telepathy is as much a science as telegraphy, and much older.

Ideas are the most real things in the universe, and these are transmissible from one mind to another;–not by means of the spoken word, but by what we now popularly call suggestion. Ideas [15] are mental pictures which excite similar mental pictures in the minds of others by means of thought transference. This is no more difficult to him who understands the law than is wireless telegraphy. That there is no visible means of communication between transmitter and receiver in either case, is no argument against the possibility. When we send a Marconigram from a ship at sea to a friend on shore no noise is heard along the line of travel. Neither the fish in the sea nor the birds in the air are disturbed by it, and yet it reaches him for whom it is intended. Thus, when one minds acts upon another mind, whether the bodies of these individuals are in the same room or separated by miles of space, the effect is produced in a similar manner. No audible sound is necessary, only the transmission of a spiritual force, causes the action and reaction of one mind upon another.

This explains the cures wrought by Jesus for those who came to him, as well as for those whom he never saw, as in the case of the Centurion’s servant. It is the calling into manifestation of the force of the Holy Spirit, by the power of mind, which cleanses from sin and redeems from sickness. It is the function of the Holy Spirit to disperse the Life which is God.

The only effort of the will which is used in this method of spiritual healing is the willingness to cooperate with Divine law, and to let the force which is Divine flow through one as through a free and unobstructed channel. There [16] are three things which may serve to obstruct the channel. They are fear, sin and ignorance. Remove these and the energy of the Holy Spirit comes down from above as water from a reservoir, refreshing the hope and stimulating the courage of the invalid, restoring him at last to the health and strength which God intends him to manifest. All one has to do in order to heal the sick as Jesus healed them, by the force of mind, is to know the Truth as Jesus taught it, and the opportunities for acquiring this knowledge are greater to-day than at any time in the world’s history. Divine Science is in the world, and it may be understood and demonstrated. Having eyes we see not, and having ears, we hear not, lest seeing and hearing we should become converted and Christ should heal us, not only of our diseases, but of the sins which produce them. In a vague way, humanity sees the demands of Divine Science for a truly religious life, which it hesitates to embrace because it still loves the ways of the world, the flesh and evil.

Would we know the force of mind and demonstrate it, we must be willing to comply with its requirements. Would we heal the sick and reform the sinner and comfort the sorrowing, then we must lose sight of self in our curative effort. We must trust God and understand His law of unselfed Love. We must believe in the force of mind and the possibility of impressing our ideas of Truth on the receptive minds of those who really desire to be healed of sin and sickness. [17] We must know that the idea of health, or the picture of man’s perfectness as the son of God, is as communicable as any other idea, and may become externalized in man as the seed sown in the soil is externalized in fruit or flower. In sickness, the best remedy is Truth. When all other systems have failed, we may still have recourse to the method of Jesus, which was not one of pills and potions, but of prayer, scientific prayer, and having recourse to these we may be healed and made “every whit whole.”

Christianity is coming to have a deeper meaning to those who investigate it through the laws of Divine Science, for it means not only salvation from sin, but salvation from the consequence of sin, which is called disease. The Christianity of Jesus and his disciples was the understanding and demonstration of this force of mind which resulted in what have since been called miracles. But the healing of the sick by Jesus through the application of the force of mind was no more miraculous to him than the lighting of a room by the force of electrical energy is to Edison. That which took place in the days of Jesus is miraculous to us in this day and in our present state of spiritual ignorance, but may it not be that the inventions of to-day would have been just as miraculous to those of that era? A miracle is only the scientific application of a force not generally understood.

The system of spiritual healing, which is gaining so rapidly all over the world, is not new, [18] but is a re-discovery of the oldest system in the universe, and when the race comes to a realization of the force of mind, and the individual becomes convinced of his right and power to use this force for constructive and healing purposes, sin, sickness, disease and death itself will disappear from the face of the earth, and men shall be as the angels which are in heaven.

Next: The Philosophy of Common Sense

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