Historical Notes. - Mind Cure in Ancient Times. - Bible Accounts. - Miracles of the Church. - Healing by the King's Touch. - Views of Paracelsus and Pomponazzi. - Bernheim's Experiments. - The Modern Schools. - Their Theories. - The True Hypothesis applicable to all Systems. - Illustrations of the Theory. - Producing a Blister by Suggestion. - Bloody Stigmata. - Letters of Blood. - Objective Control of Subjective Mind.- Subjective Control of Bodily Functions. - The Necessary Mental Conditions. - The Precepts and Example of Christ. - Subjective Faith alone required. - Discussion of Various Systems. - Christian Science, etc. - General Conclusions.
IN the whole range of psychological research there is no branch of the study of such transcendent practical interest and importance to the world as that which pertains to its application to the cure of disease. That there resides in mankind a psychic power over the functions and sensations of the body, and that that power can be invoked at will, under certain conditions, and applied to the alleviation of human suffering, no longer admits of a rational doubt. The history of all nations presents an unbroken line of testimony in support of the truth of this proposition. In the infancy of the world the power of secretly influencing men for good or evil, including the healing of the sick, was possessed by the priests and saints of all nations. Healing of the sick was supposed to be a power derived directly from (God, and it was exerted by means of prayers and ceremonies, laying on of hands and incantations, amulets and talismans, rings, relics, and images, and the knowledge of it was transmitted with the sacred mysteries.
Numerous examples of the practice of healing by the touch and by the laying on of hands are related in the Old Testament. Moses was directed by the Lord to transmit his power and honor to Joshua by the laying on of hands. Elijah healed the dead child by stretching himself upon the body and calling upon the name of the Lord, and Elisha raised the dead son of the Shunammite woman by the same means. It was even supposed that the power survived his death. The New Testament is full of examples of the most striking character, and the promise of the Master to those who believe, - "In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay their hands on the sick, and they shall recover," - applies to all mankind to-day as well as to his followers upon whom he had conferred his power in person. That this power was transmitted to future generations, and that the saints and others regarded it as the heritage of the Church and employed it with humble faith, in imitation of the Master, for the good of mankind, is shown by numerous examples.
While the chroniclers have undoubtedly embellished many actual cures and recited many fictitious ones, the fact that the saints and others possessed healing powers cannot be questioned. Thus, Saint Patrick, the Irish apostle, healed the blind by laying on his hands.
"Saint Bernard," says Ennemoser, "is said to have restored eleven blind persons to sight, and eighteen lame persons to the use of their limbs in one day at Constance. At Cologne he healed twelve lame, caused three dumb persons to speak, ten who were deaf to hear, and, when he himself was ill, Saint Lawrence and Saint Benedict appeared to him, and cured him by touching the affected part. Even his plates and dishes are said to have cured sickness after his death! The miracles of Saints Margaret, Katherine, Hildegarde, and especially the miraculous cures of the two holy martyrs, Cosmos and Dami-anus, belong to this class. Among others, they freed the Emperor Justinian from an incurable sickness. Saint Odilia embraced in her arms a leper who was shunned by all men, warmed him, and restored him to health.
"Remarkable above all others are those cases where persons who were at the point of death have recovered by holy baptism or extreme unction. The Emperor Constantine is one of the most singular examples. Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, had the' power of assuaging colic and affections of the spleen by laying the patients on their backs and passing his great toe over them. The Emperor Vespasian cured nervous affections, lameness, and blindness, solely by the laying on of his hands. According to Ccelius Spartianus, Hadrian cured those afflicted with dropsy by touching them with the points of his fingers, and recovered himself from a violent fever by similar treatment. King Olaf healed Egill on the spot by merely laying his hands upon him and singing proverbs. The kings of England and France cured diseases of the throat by touch. It is said that the pious Edward the Confessor, and, in France, that Philip the First were the first who possessed this power. In England the disease was therefore called 'king's evil.' In France this power was retained till within a recent period. Among German princes this curative power was ascribed to the Counts of Hapsburg, and also that they were able to cure stammering by a kiss.