There is an old story which furnishesso good an illustration on this point thatI will give it here. It is said that inthe middle ages, the bones of a saint,[Pg 13]kept in one of the monasteries, wereworking miracles of healing; on certaindays a great crowd of the afflicted gatheredto touch the relics, and all who didso were healed. On the eve of one ofthese occasions, some sacrilegious rascalgained access to the case in which thewonder-working relics were kept andstole the bones; and in the morning,with the usual crowd of sufferers waitingat the gates, the fathers found themselvesshorn of the source of the miracle-workingpower. They resolved to keepthe matter quiet, hoping that by doingso they might find the thief and recovertheir treasures; and hastening to thecellar of the convent they dug up thebones of a murderer, who had beenburied there many years before. Thesethey placed in the case, intending tomake some plausible excuse for the failureof the saint to perform his usualmiracles on that day; and then they letin the waiting assemblage of the sickand infirm. To the intense astonish[Pg 14]mentof those in the secret, the bones ofthe malefactor proved as efficacious asthose of the saint; and the healing wenton as before. One of the fathers is saidto have left a history of the occurrence,in which he confessed that, in his judgment,the healing power had been in thepeople themselves all the time, and neverin the bones at all.
Whether the story is true or not, theconclusion applies to all the cureswrought by all the systems. The Powerthat Heals is in the patient himself; andwhether it shall become active or notdoes not depend upon the physical ormental means used, but upon the waythe patient thinks about these means.There is a Universal Principle of Life,as Jesus taught; a great spiritual HealingPower; and there is a Principle ofHealth in man which is related to thisHealing Power. This is dormant oractive, according to the way a manthinks. He can always quicken it intoactivity by thinking in a Certain Way.[Pg 15]
The way a man thinks about thingsis determined by what he believes aboutthem. His thoughts are determined byhis faith, and the results depend uponhis making a personal application of hisfaith. If a man has faith in the efficacyof a medicine, and is able to applythat faith to himself, that medicine willcertainly cause him to be cured; butthough his faith be great, he will not becured unless he applies it to himself.[Pg 16]Many sick people have faith for othersbut none for themselves. So, if he hasfaith in a system of diet, and can personallyapply that faith, it will curehim; and if he has faith in prayers andaffirmations and personally applies hisfaith, prayers and affirmations will curehim. Faith, personally applied, cures;and no matter how great the faith orhow persistent the thought, it will notcure without personal application. TheScience of Being Well, then, includesthe two fields of thought and action. Tobe well it is not enough that man shouldmerely think in a Certain Way; he mustapply his thought to himself, and hemust express and externalize it in hisoutward life by acting in the same waythat he thinks.
The thoughts of disease produce theforms of disease. Man must learn tothink health; and being Original Substancewhich takes the form of itsthoughts, he will become the form ofhealth and manifest perfect health in allhis functioning. The people who werehealed by touching the bones of the saintwere really healed by thinking in a certainway, and not by any power emanatingfrom the relics. There is nohealing power in the bones of deadmen, whether they be those of saint orsinner.
The people who touched the saint'sbones had faith; and so great was theirfaith that in the instant they touchedthe relics they SEVERED ALL MENTALRELATIONS WITH DISEASE,AND MENTALLY UNIFIED THEMSELVESWITH HEALTH.
In the case of the people who arehealed by medicines, the result is obtainedin the same way. They have,consciously or unconsciously, sufficientfaith in the means used to cause them tosever mental relations with disease andenter into mental relations with health.[Pg 34]Faith may be unconscious. It is possiblefor us to have a sub-conscious orinbred faith in things like medicine, inwhich we do not believe to any extentobjectively; and this sub-conscious faithmay be quite sufficient to quicken thePrinciple of Health into constructiveactivity. Many who have little consciousfaith are healed in this way;while many others who have great faithin the means are not healed because theydo not make the personal application tothemselves; their faith is general, butnot specific for their own cases.
The best way to do this is to form a[Pg 36]mental image or picture of yourself asbeing well, imagining a perfectly strongand healthy body; and to spend sufficienttime in contemplating this imageto make it your habitual thought ofyourself.
The less you go into the detailed studyof physiology, the better for you. Ourknowledge of this science is very imperfect,and leads to imperfect thought.[Pg 39]Imperfect thought causes imperfectfunctioning, which is disease. Let meillustrate: Until quite recently, physiologyfixed ten days as the extreme limitof man's endurance without food; it wasconsidered that only in exceptional casescould he survive a longer fast. So theimpression became universally disseminatedthat one who was deprived of foodmust die in from five to ten days; andnumbers of people, when cut off fromfood by shipwreck, accident, or famine,did die within this period. But theperformances of Dr. Tanner, the forty-dayfaster, and the writings of Dr.Dewey and others on the fasting cure,together with the experiments of numberlesspeople who have fasted fromforty to sixty days, have shown thatman's ability to live without food isvastly greater than had been supposed.Any person, properly educated, can fastfrom twenty to forty days with little lossin weight, and often with no apparentloss of strength at all. The people who[Pg 40]starved to death in ten days or less didso because they believed that death wasinevitable; an erroneous physiology hadgiven them a wrong thought aboutthemselves. When a man is deprived offood he will die in from ten to fifty days,according to the way he has been taught;or, in other words, according to the wayhe thinks about it. So you see that anerroneous physiology can work verymischievous results.
This, for the most part, is true of allhygiene. There are certain fundamentalpropositions which we shouldknow; and these will be explained inlater chapters, but aside from thesepropositions, ignore physiology andhygiene. They tend to fill your mindwith thoughts of imperfect conditions,and these thoughts will produce the im[Pg 42]perfectconditions in your own body.You cannot study any \"science\" whichrecognizes disease, if you are to thinknothing but health.
The Original Intelligent Substance isin man, moving toward health; and itis pressing upon him from every side.Man lives, moves, and has his being ina limitless ocean of health-power; andhe uses this power according to hisfaith. If he appropriates it and appliesit to himself it is all his; and if he unifieshimself with it by unquestioning faith,he cannot fail to attain health, for thepower of this Substance is all the powerthere is.
A belief in the above statements is afoundation for faith in health. If youbelieve them, you believe that health is[Pg 51]the natural state of man, and that manlives in the midst of Universal Health;that all the power of nature makes forhealth, and that health is possible to all,and can surely be attained by all. Youwill believe that the power of health inthe universe is ten thousand timesgreater than that of disease; in fact, thatdisease has no power whatever, beingonly the result of perverted thought andfaith. And if you believe that healthis possible to you, and that it may surelybe attained by you, and that you knowexactly what to do in order to attain it,you will have faith in health. You willhave this faith and knowledge if youread this book through with care anddetermine to believe in and practice itsteachings.
Mentally take the attitude of beingwell, and do not say anything or do anythingwhich contradicts this attitude.Never speak a word or assume a physicalattitude which does not harmonizewith the claim: \"I am perfectly well.\"When you walk, go with a brisk step,and with your chest thrown out andyour head held up; watch that at alltimes your physical actions and attitudesare those of a healthy person.When you find that you have relapsedinto the attitude of weakness or disease,change instantly; straighten up; thinkof health and power. Refuse to consider[Pg 53]yourself as other than a perfectlyhealthy person.
Remember that, as Swedenborgtaught, there is a continual inflow oflife from the Supreme, which is receivedby all created things according to theirforms; and by man according to hisfaith. Health from God is continuallybeing urged upon you; and when youthink of this, lift up your mind reverentlyto Him, and give thanks that youhave been led to the Truth and into perfecthealth of mind and body. Be, allthe time, in a grateful frame of mind,and let gratitude be evident in yourspeech.
Form this conception, and then thinkonly thoughts of perfect health in relationto yourself, and, so far as may bepossible, in relation to others. When athought of sickness or disease is presentedto you, reject it; do not let it getinto your mind; do not entertain or considerit at all. Meet it by thinkinghealth; by thinking that you are well,and by being sincerely grateful for thehealth you are receiving. Wheneversuggestions of disease are coming thickand fast upon you, and you are in a\"tight place,\" fall back upon the exerciseof gratitude. Connect yourselfwith the Supreme; give thanks to Godfor the perfect health He gives you, andyou will soon find yourself able to controlyour thoughts, and to think whatyou want to think. In times of doubt,trial, and temptation, the exercise of[Pg 61]gratitude is always a sheet anchor whichwill prevent you from being swept away.Remember that the great essential thingis to SEVER ALL MENTAL RELATIONSWITH DISEASE, AND TOENTER INTO FULL MENTAL RELATIONSHIPWITH HEALTH. Thisis the KEY to all mental healing; it isthe whole thing. Here we see the secretof the great success of Christian Science;more than any other formulatedsystem of practice, it insists that itsconverts shall sever relations with disease,and relate themselves fully withhealth. The healing power of ChristianScience is not in its theologicalformulæ, nor in its denial of matter; butin the fact that it induces the sick toignore disease as an unreal thing andaccept health by faith as a reality. Itsfailures are made because its practitioners,while thinking in the CertainWay, do not eat, drink, breathe, andsleep in the same way. 153554b96e