cures of Christian Science are explicable by the influence of the mind upon the body, through hypnosis or suggestion; (see A. A. Bennett, in Watchman, Feb. 13, 1903). Mental disturbance may make the mother?s milk a poison to the child; mental excitement is a common cause of indigestion; mental depression induces bowel disorders; depressed mental and moral conditions render a person more susceptible to grippe, pneumonia, typhoid fever. Reading the account of an accident in which the body is torn or maimed, we ourselves feel pain in the same spot; when the child?s hand is crushed, the mother?s hand, though at a distance, becomes swollen the medieval stigmata probably resulted from continuous brooding upon the sufferings of Christ (see Carpenter, Mental Physiology, 676-690).
But mental states may help as well as harm the body. Mental expectancy facilitates cure in cases of sickness. The physician helps the patient by inspiring hope and courage. Imagination works wonders, especially in the case of nervous disorders. The diseases said to be cured by Christian Science are commonly of this sort. In every age fakirs, mesmerists, and quacks have availed themselves of these underlying mental forces. By inducing expectancy, imparting courage, rousing the paralyzed will, they have indirectly caused bodily changes, which have been mistaken for miracle. Tacitus tells us of the healing of a blind man by the Emperor Vespasian. Undoubted cures have been wrought by the royal touch in England. Since such wonders have been performed by Indian medicine men, we cannot regard them as having any specific Christian character, and when, as in the present case, we find them used to aid in the spread of false doctrine with regard to sin Christ, atonement, and the church, we must class them with the ?lying wonders? of which we are warned in 2Thess. 2:9 . See Harris, Philosophical Basis of Theism, 381-386; Buckley, Faith Healing, and in Century Magazine, June, 1886:221-236; Bruce, Miraculous Element in Gospels, lecture 8; Andover Review, 1887:249-264.
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