Chapter 9 – Spiritual Medicine

Chapter IX
W. John Murray
The Realm of Reality
Divine Science Publishing Assoc.
New York, 1922.

“I will restore health unto thee, I will heal thee of thy wounds.”
–Jer. 30:17

[95] These words of Jeremiah embody one of the sweetest promises ever made to the race, and yet it is one all too frequently unfulfilled. Is it because God has forgotten His promise, or because we have lost the art of relying on this promise that it has come to read as if it were written for a special people, or a limited period? If history tells us truly, there was a time when men as naturally turned to God for the healing of their infirmities as they now turn to material remedies. In the ancient Jewish religious consciousness, the idea that health, as well as life, was from God, seems to have been firmly rooted. Hence it was that they sought unto the Lord in their disease, and never thought of applying elsewhere until the Egyptian sorcerers and medicine men corrupted their thought and weaned them from their reliance on That Only Which can be relied upon.

“In that age of simple child-like faith in God,” says one, “men knew no better than to apply to [96] Him directly for the cure of their diseases.” It would seem from this as if the old saying were true that “where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.” If men had remained in this blissful and healthful ignorance, the traffic in drugs would be much less, but the general health of the world would be vastly better, as is so clearly set forth by Dr. Mason Good, who asserts: “If all the drugs in the pharmacopeia of Materia Medica were thrown into the sea, it would be much better for mankind but worse for the fishes.”

Professor Bowen says: “After poisoning their patients with drugs through many centuries the doctors have at last come to know their business better, and now stand aside, so as to leave free course to the curative agencies of the unconscious, which alone can restore the patient to perfect health.” If a spiritual healer had said this he would be accused of belittling the “learned profession,” but even the spiritual healer may be pardoned if he agrees with Dr. Good, the physician, and Professor Bowen, the philosopher.

Our object is not to ridicule the practice of medicine in its material aspects, but to ask if there is not, when this practice has been tried and found wanting, a court of final appeal to which the invalid may take his case with some hope of a cure? If physics cannot minister to a mind diseased, then it were well, as Shakespeare says, to “throw physic to the dogs.” When material remedies are found inadequate, as they often are, it is well to go back to those old practitioners of the [97] early centuries who are quoted in ancient works on medicine, and see how greatly they emphasized the value of the mental. Says one: “To give joy to the sick is natural healing; for once make your patient cheerful, his cure is accomplished.” The wise man asserts in his Book of Proverbs, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” and another has said it doeth more good than a medicine, for it leaves no bad after-results.

These are all ways of stating that there is therapeutical value in the mental attitude of the physician. A noted doctor has said that “sympathy is a powerful drug in the hands of a skillful administrator.” And this brings us to the consideration of Spiritual Medicine as a something which one may carry about with him far more conveniently than he can carry the most daintily bottled homeopathic pellets. If a smile is worth $5,000 a year to a physician, as Oliver Wendell Holmes once declared, then it behooves us to cultivate such qualities of soul as will help and not injure humanity. A woman once told me that one who is very near and dear to her said to her as she groaned with pain, “For goodness’ sake don’t groan so; it makes me nervous,” and this to a woman who was seemingly in the valley of the shadow.

It is at such times as these that a patient needs love more than lotions, and if we cannot give love and exhibit unlimited patience, it were better for the patient that we stay out of the sick chamber, for we are more of a menace to health than a [98] means to its recovery. We injure those whom we would benefit, and later suffer the gnawing pangs of remorse when we remember our past impatience, as we are bound to do sooner or later. An irritable nurse, no matter how much she thinks she conceals her irritability behind a forced smile, is more harmful than she realizes, and if she cannot overcome her irritability the only honorable course left open to her is to seek some other profession in which irritability is not so injurious to others, though it will always be so to herself.

An ill-natured physician can do more in a minute to depress the spirits of his patient than all the drugs in his little black bag can overcome in years. Physicians have told me, and I have observed it in my own practice, that when certain persons visit their patients they recognize it at once by the quickened pulse and heightened temperature of the patient. From this it would seem that it were a matter for serious consideration concerning our state of mind when we visit our ailing friends. We should be very careful not to discuss sickly subjects or symptoms of disease, knowing, as we should, that ailing people are very sensitive and find it difficult to throw off negative suggestions with the same ease that they would if they were well. An inconsiderate person will never become a successful dispenser of Spiritual Medicine, for the reason that he lacks that without which there can be no healing accomplished.

[99] If we would heal as Jesus healed, we must cultivate that mental attitude which differentiated him from all other men. If Jesus had one thing more than another it was compassion, without which the letter of the Law is but “sounding brass and tinkling cymbal.” Compassion is something more real and vital than mere sympathy, as is evidenced by the fact that sympathy can often be more injurious than helpful. Sympathy has been defined as, “that which takes on the condition of that sympathized with,” as when we are told that one limb is gouty through sympathy with the other, or that an eye has become inflamed through sympathy with the other eye. Compassion may be defined as that attitude of the awakened soul which recognizes the sufferings of others and hastens to relieve them. It is for this reason that the word compassion is always used in the New Testament in reference to the attitude of Jesus toward suffering humanity, and never the word sympathy.

This does not mean that Jesus was unfeeling; it simply denotes that while he recognized his own power to dissipate those sorrows; and when one does this he becomes an infinitely more helpful servant to humanity than if he merely wept with those who weep, without in any wise assisting in removing the cause of their griefs. He had a medicine to give that they knew not of, and it was a specific for every ill that is known to the flesh. In the first place he had cast out from his own [100] consciousness everything that was unlike God, for it is only as we do this that we can cast out other evils from the minds and bodies of other men. We cannot give what we have not got; therefore if we have no spirituality of our own we cannot impart it to others. Loving words without a love nature back of them are as powerless to heal the sick as moonshine is ineffectual to melt ice. The hard Puritan who has no forgiveness in his heart for the weaknesses of other men will never heal the sick, no matter how pious or devout he may be, for he lacks that fire of Divine Love which alone can consume with “fervent heat” the sins and sickness of the erring children of men.

Spiritual Medicine can never be administered by one who is terrified in the presence of disease, for terror closes the tube through which Love and Truth are poured into human consciousness; neither can it be successfully administered by one who is so good in his own estimation that he is appalled by the sins which are the causes of other men’s sufferings. A true divine compassion is neither terrified in the presence of sickness nor disgusted in the presence of sin, for it knows that both are only apparent, because only God is Real. When a man knows that that only is real of which God is the Author, he becomes inspired with confidence in his ability to rise above his own sicknesses and sins, and this at once acts as a stimulant in the direction of urging him to assist others to rise above theirs.

[101] The Spiritual Medicine which is always acceptable and never distasteful to any invalid is the blessed assurance that the love of God is greater than all his fears and false beliefs, and that this Love of God will heal him if he will only trust It. One thing must be clear to us, and that is if God is the Author of disease there is no remedy for it, and any attempt to cure it with or without drugs is as foolish as the attempt to empty the ocean with a teaspoon. The fact that disease can be cured by any system, human or divine, proves that it is not of God, for whatsoever is of God shall endure to eternity.

When the Psalmist sang, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies, who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s,” he expressed in poetic language the idea that all healing that is permanent must come from the same source from which all Health comes. So fully convinced was David that God is the “strength of our life” that he believed he could save us from the so-called most fatal conditions. In his wonderful 91st Psalm he expresses this profound conviction when he says that God will deliver him “from the pestilence that walketh in darkness, and from the destruction that wasteth at noonday.”

When Jesus healed the sick he did so by bringing them into conscious contact with the One and [102] Only life, and this then flowed through them as water will flow through a pipe when one turns on the tap. In proportion as we look away from material appearances to spiritual Realities, we shall center into that Dominion originally bestowed upon man by his heavenly Father. Fear of disease is the most prolific cause of disease, and the only medicine that will destroy fear is faith in God, for faith is a spiritual medicine for which there is no substitute in the drug store. Someone has said that “Fear is faith in the wrong thing.” If we had no faith in disease we should never fear it, and if we never feared it we would never have it; therefore, it is easy to understand that fear is faith in the wrong thing.

The best Spiritual Medicine that can be given to the sick and suffering is the assurance of their exemption as the children of God from everything that is unlike God. It is astonishing what changes can be brought about when a man becomes convinced that his diseases are not divine visitations. At once they lose their terror for him, and as consciousness expands in the direction of this Truth, disease disappears. It is literally starved to death, for the only food disease has to feed upon is fear and false belief; cast these out by the purifying medicine of Love and Truth and the patient is made “every whit whole.” When a man says to himself, “I am sick,” it is as if he were taking a slow poison; when he says, “I am well,” it is as if he were taking a sure and certain antidote.

[103] When the Prophet Joel declared, “Let the weak say I am strong,” he was prescribing a remedy more infallible in its efficacy than anything in the material world. If weakness were real in the sense that we have defined Reality it would be folly for the weak to say, “I am strong,” but if it is only apparent, and it is only apparent if God is not the creator of it, then the sooner he learns to say, “I am strong,” the better, for by his words he will be justified, even as by his words he has been self-condemned.

In the system of Jesus, the body of man was healed by the restoration of the mind to its normal functions. Jesus, so far as we are able to discover, never examined his patients to ascertain the condition of temperature, pulse and blood pressure, for he knew these were mere effects of which some morbid idea or spiritual ignorance was the predisposing cause. Jesus, two thousand years ago, knew what Sir George Paget discovered only recently when he said, “In many cases I have reason for believing that cancer had its origin in prolonged anxiety.”

The results of modern medical research are, day by day, proving that not only was Jesus the Great Physician, but that Spiritual Medicine is the only safe and reliable medicine in the universe. When we say that the method of Jesus in the healing of the body by spiritual means was the restoration of the mind to its normal state, after which the body had to get well, on the principle that an effect must disappear on the disappearance of its [104] cause, we say what may be demonstrated by any person who will set aside his prejudices long enough to give this method a fair trial. If long continued grief can produce a malignant disease, and it can, and the love of God operating through the mind of Jesus can dissipate, first the grief and then the physical manifestation of it, is not this a brief in favor of Spiritual Medicine, and a hint to the wise for a more general use of it? If fear is such a disease producer as we now have reason to believe it is, and if, “Perfect Love casteth out fear,” as John the Apostle declares it does, then it seems that the more we take of this spiritual medicine the better.

Hate and anger create poisons of their own, as Professor Gates’ experiments show, for he assures us that “Enough (poison) would be eliminated in one hour of intense hate, by a man of average strength, to cause the death of perhaps four score persons, as these ptomaines are the deadliest poisons known to modern science.” Then how careful we should be to avoid these emotions, if for no nobler reason than sheer self-protection. From all that we have said and quoted it would seem as if the need for spiritual medicine were great indeed, so much so that every physician should also be a preacher of the Gospel. When he heals a case which he knows is the result of wrong thinking he should say what Jesus said to his patients, “Go, and sin no more.” To do otherwise is like saving or rescuing a [105] drowning man’s hat, while allowing the man himself to sink.

To center our attention on the body while leaving the soul untouched is nothing short of quackery, no matter how “regular” the doctor may be. It is like breaking off the points of a troublesome tooth while leaving the root and the exposed nerve to give greater trouble and suffering later. The aim of all true healing should be to pour Truth and Love to the waiting minds of men, allowing these to do their own work of purification.

Chapter 10

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