Christian Science healing is certainly not new


Christian Science healing is certainly not new. It is just as old as the Christian era, and is the revival of the application of that knowledge which in the New Testament is spoken of as the full, exact, or scientific knowledge of God, and so of Truth. This knowledge, in turn, had its roots in that gradual realization of spiritual facts which distinguished the monotheism of Israel from the gross materialism of the surrounding polytheism of the east, and was alluded to by Jesus when he declared, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad."

The roots of so-called healing by suggestion antedate the days of Nero or Marcus Aurelius. The temples of Asklepios, with their serpents and their spells, existed several centuries earlier, while centuries again before that, the magicians of Egypt knew all, and rather more than all, that the hypnotists of today are in a position to disclose. A recent writer takes a story out of Aristides, of how he was cured of a fever by bathing in ice-cold water and then racing against the north wind. He adds, "and, mirabile dictu, Aristides survived." There is nothing more remarkable in this than the changes which have taken place in our own time in the treatment of fever or consumption. Twenty years ago, consumptive patients were kept in rooms from which every breath of air was excluded. Today they are exposed in the open air, and, "mirabile dictu," they sometimes recover. One or the other system should be murder, and inquests should have followed on every death resulting from them. As a matter of fact, people got well and died under both, for the all-sufficient reason that the real remedy was the faith inspired by the treatment.

What, however, is more remarkable than all this, is that any person who has read the Bible should compare this healing with the healing accomplished by Jesus. One of the centers of the worship of Asklepios was the Asian city of Pergamum, sometimes called Pergamos. Here there was a famous temple to the god, and of it the author of the letters to the seven churches writes, "I know ... where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is." A curious description of an acknowledged seat of spiritual healing. The truth is, of course, that the medical healing of the early Christian era was a gross jumble of educated magic, unadulterated materialism, and gross superstition. The serpent-gazing of Cos constituted the first; the loathsome prescriptions of Pliny's "Historia Naturalis" the second; while the two combined to provide the third. In spite of this, it is argued that "Luke, the beloved physician," was a physician of this school. The suggestion is obviously preposterous, and a knowledge of the facts explains why Eusebius wrote: "But Luke, who was born at Antioch, being for the most part connected with Paul, and familiarly acquainted with the rest of the apostles, has left us two inspired books, the institutes of the spiritual healing art which he obtained from them." There was little of spiritual healing to be learned, one imagines, where Satan's seat was.

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December 30, 1911

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