Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1889)/06 Animal Magnetism

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And the dragon was enraged at the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and maintain the testimony of Jesus. — Apocalypse.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat;
Oh be swift my Soul to answer Him, be jubilant my feet.
Julia Ward Howe.
If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness.

ANIMAL magnetism was first brought into notice in Germany in 1775, by Mesmer. According to the American Cyclopedia he regarded this force, which he said could be exerted by one living organism over another, as a means of alleviating disease.

His propositions are as follows: —

There exists a mutual influence between the celestial bodies, the earth and animated things. Animal bodies are susceptible to the influence of this agent, disseminating itself through the substance of the nerves.

In 1784 the French government ordered the medical faculty of Paris to investigate Mesmer's theory, and report upon it. Under this order a commission was appointed, and Benjamin Franklin was one of the commissioners. They reported to the government as follows: —

In regard to the existence and utility of Animal Magnetism, we have come to the unanimous conclusions that there is no proof of the existence of the animal magnetic fluid; that the violent effects, which are observed in the public practice of magnetism, are due to manipulations, or to the excitement of the imagination, and the impressions made upon the senses; and that there is one more fact to be recorded in the history of the errors of the human mind, and an important experiment upon the power of the imagination.

In 1837 a committee of nine was appointed, among whom were Roux, Bouillaud, and Cloquet, who tested, in several sessions, the phenomena exhibited by a reputed clairvoyant. Their report expressed the results as follows: —

The facts which had been promised by Monsieur Berna [the magnetizer] as conclusive, and as adapted to throw light on physiological and therapeutical questions, are certainly not conclusive in favor of the doctrine of animal magnetism, and have nothing in common with either physiology or therapeutics.

This report was adopted by the Royal Academy of Medicine in Paris.

My own observations of the workings of animal magnetism, during the past sixteen years, not only convince me that it is not a remedial agent, but that its pernicious effects upon the human mind and system exceed those of all other dangerous agents. It is a fundamental error.

If it seems to alleviate or cure disease, this appearance is deceptive, since error cannot remove the effects of error. To be at ease under the influence of animal magnetism is worse than dis-ease, or discomfort, under sin. In no instance is its effect other than the effect of illusion. Any seeming benefit derived therefrom is proportionate only to one's faith in error.

Animal magnetism has no scientific principle; for God is the Principle of, and governs, all that is real, harmonious, and eternal, and His power is neither animal nor human, but divine.

Its basis being a belief, and this belief an error, animal magnetism, or mesmerism, is a mere negation, possessing neither intelligence nor power.

There is but one attraction, namely, that of Spirit. The pointing of the needle to the pole symbolizes this all-embracing power, or the magnetism of Mind.

The planets have no more power over man than over his Maker, since God governs both the universe and man. Reflecting His power, man has dominion over heaven and earth, and all their hosts.

One of the grandest features of Biblical history is its honesty. Its reformatory purpose spares no error. The portrayal of Judas was no pleasant task for the loving ambassadors of Truth, but they nevertheless fulfilled it.

It is due to this period, — in which Christian Science is introduced, and the sovereignty of Mind insisted upon, — to protect humanity from abuse by mortal mind, when that mind is unrestrained by law. The belief that one mind can act upon another without being known in that action, and without the actor being seen in propria persona, suggests the need of knowing your enemy and the means of self-defence.

The mild forms of animal magnetism are disappearing, and its aggressive features are coming to the front. The looms of crime, hidden in the dark recesses of mortal thought, are every hour weaving webs more complicated and subtile. So secret are its present methods that they ensare the age into indolence, and produce the very apathy which the criminal wishes on this subject.

Animal magnetism is literally demonology. The following is an extract from The Boston Herald: —

Mesmerism is a problem not lending itself to an easy explanation and development. It implies the exercise of despotic control, and is much more likely to be abused by its possessor, than otherwise employed, for the individual or society.

Christian Science stands preeminent for promoting affection and virtue, in families and the community. Opposed to this healthful and elevating influence of Mind, as if to forestall the power of good, a baneful and secret mental influence has uprisen; but Science can and will meet all emergencies, and restore the normal standard of harmony.

If we abide in Truth and Love, this hidden foe, or secret mental malpractice, will only serve the ends of Wisdom, — whereby one learns how to master error. This uplifts and enlarges the human capacity for good, and so fulfils the Scripture: “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not harm them.”

The Apostle Paul refers to the personality of evil as “the god of this world,” and further defines it as dishonesty and craftiness, “handling the Word of God deceitfully.”

The liberation of the powers of mortal mind through Science, whereby man is to escape from mortality into immortality, blesses the whole human family. As in the beginning, however, this liberation shows itself in a knowledge of good and evil. This is unavoidable. The knowledge must come, but it must be rightly directed. Conflict there will be; but the wrong mentality must be met and mastered, and will then disappear forever.

On the other hand, Mind Science is wholly separate from this half-way knowledge. It is of God, and gives a spiritual understanding that works out the purposes of good only. The maximum of good is to-day met by the maximum of suppositional evil. To admit the verity of a false belief, or to flee before it, will involve you in hopeless error. There is but one way to handle sin, and that is to encounter it boldly. Expose it first, and you will be able to annihilate it afterwards.

Realizing my solemn responsibility to expose the methods of error, — in order to establish the method of Truth, or Christian healing, and show the power of good over evil, — I have persevered and accomplished my task.

I try to leave on every student's mind the impress of Divine Science, — a high sense of the moral and spiritual qualifications requisite for healing, well knowing it to be impossible for error and hate to accomplish the grand results of Truth and Love. The pursuit of instructions opposite to mine must always prevent scientific demonstration.

The truths of Immortal Mind annihilate the fables of mortal mind, whose flimsy and gaudy pretensions, like silly moths, singe their own wings and fall in dust.

The Scriptures say, “Offences must come, but woe to him through whom they come.” Evil must be seen, met, and mastered, since a belief in it exists in mortal mind, and will assert itself sooner or later; and the best time to encounter it, for attack and victory, is the earliest.

It is now many years since I first gained a clear sense of the obligations of Christian Science. They grew more and more imperative, as my recognition of its claims increased. These glorious recognitions rebuked in me all sensuality and selfishness; and then I knew that my discovery must be based on a Divine Principle that would stand forever.

My desire to benefit the whole human race grows stronger every year of my earth-life. The conviction that has led me thus far is in the line of light. It can “never call retreat,” or enter upon a line of darkness that will injure humanity.

When Christian Science and animal magnetism are both comprehended, as they will be some day, it will be seen why the heralds of Truth have been persecuted by the dragon. In the warfare of animal natures, the beast wounded, or at bay, turns on his assailant; so the Serpent bites the heel courageous enough to bruise its head.

If the sinner hates Truth, it is because he is unwilling to be saved. Reformatory pioneers are misunderstood, until the merits of their measures, and the cause they advocate, are appreciated. The birth of a great idea brings pain and travail. In its infancy it requires toil and sacrifice. At a more advanced stage it encounters envy. But when my nursling is menaced, I clasp him more tenderly; and when he is a man, he will speak for himself and for his mother.

Agassiz has wisely said: —

Every great scientific truth goes through three stages. First, people say it conflicts with the Bible. Next, they say it had been discovered before. Lastly, they say they always believed it.

Christian Science goes to the bottom of mental action, and reveals the theodicy, which indicates the rightness of all divine action. The inferior art returns to its wallowing in the mire, taking to itself sevenfold more sins; and “the last state is worse than the first.”

Disregarding the laws of God, trampling on the stern moral rules of Christian Science, and perverting the best method, error brings forth fruits of error.

The chief difficulty in the way of arming the age against mental malpractice, is the popular ignorance of the power of Mind, and of the secret devices and methods of sin, for working out the ends of evil.

The physician would be condemned for adulterating his drugs or giving deadly doses of poison. Remember — the medicine of Christian Science is Divine Mind; and dishonesty, sensuality, falsehood, revenge, malice, are not the mental qualities that heal the sick. The magnetizer employs one belief to destroy another. If he heals sickness through a belief, and a belief originally caused the sickness, it is a case of the greater error overcoming the lesser. This greater error thereafter occupies the ground, leaving the case worse than it was before being grasped by the power of the stronger error.

The animal magnetizer heals his patients through human, headlong will, not through Truth. Is the patient then healed permanently? No, for bad effects alone can follow animal magnetism. Expect to heal by simply repeating my words, — by right talking and wrong acting, — and you will be disappointed. Such practices as these do nut constitute the Science whereby the Divine Mind heals the sick. If certain cases seem to improve under such treatment, they will relapse, and become more difficult to cure than they were at first.

Acting from sinister motives destroys your power of healing from the right motive. If you had the inclination or power to practise wrongfully, and then should adopt Christian Science, the lesser power would be destroyed. You do not deny the mathematician's right to distinguish the correct and incorrect among the examples on the blackboard, or disbelieve the musician, when he detects the pure tone from the discord. In like manner I ought to understand what I am saying.

Men exhibit animal magnetism on the platform, not knowing its invidious spell to be unsafe; but those are not the dangerous practitioners of whom I speak.

There is great danger in teaching mental healing indiscriminately, in disregarding the morals of the student, and caring only for his money. To quote Jefferson's words about slavery, “I tremble when I remember that God is just,” whenever I see a man, for a petty consider- ation of money, teaching his slight knowledge of Mind-power, — perhaps communicating his own bad morals by mental inoculation, and in this way dealing mercilessly with a community unprepared for self-defence.

My publications alone heal more sickness than an unconscientious student can begin to reach. If patients seem the worse for reading my book, this change may either arise from the frightened mind of the physician, or mark the crisis of the disease. Perseverance in its perusal would heal them completely.

There are certain self-evident facts. This is one of them, — that whoever practices the Science I teach, through which the Divine Mind pours light and healing upon this generation, cannot pursue malpractice, or harm his patient.

As Christian Science is better understood, evil thoughts will be laid bare, and the evil intent can no longer be hid. Already I can see with the mind's eye the wrong-doer, with the evil intent he sends forth; for the Scripture truly saith, “Nothing is hid that shall not be revealed.”

There is another evil prevailing in our land, — namely, the ignorant verdict of clairvoyance. Here I do not censure the person, but the mistake. The guess-work of clairvoyants is not entirely harmless. Their descriptions and opinions are dangerous to those who trust them. These catchpenny revelations, by irresponsible persons, may imperil the character, liberty, and life of a fellow-being. The testimony of clairvoyance is not reliable, being based on the uncertain foundations of illusion, and governed by the human mind instead of Divine Science.

The evidence is clear that human mind killed the felon on whom the English students experimented. He fancied himself bleeding to death, and died through that belief, when there was only a stream of warm water trickling over his arm.

Since that day a higher discovery has been made in America. Evidence has accumulated that the Divine Mind governs man with health, harmony, and immortality. Gradually the testimony has gathered momentum and clearness, until now it nears its culmination of scientific statement and proof.

Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne.
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own.

Our courts recognize the evidence that goes to prove the motive as well as the commission of a crime. Is it not then clear that the human mind must have moved the body to a wicked act? Is not mind the murderer? Is it not properly the “malice aforethought” which kills and is sentenced? The hands, without mortal mind to direct them, could not murder. The operations of animal magnetism show that an evil mind, without the aid of hands, leads into error.

Courts and juries judge and sentence mortals, in order to restrain crime, to prevent deeds of violence, and to punish those deeds. To say that these tribunals have no jurisdiction over mortal mind, would be to contradict precedent, and admit that the power of human law is restricted to matter, while mind, which is the real outlaw, defies justice and is recommended to mercy. Can matter commit a crime? Can matter be punished? Can you separate the mind from the person over which courts holds jurisdiction? Mortal mind, not matter, is the criminal in every case; and human law rightly defines crime, and courts reasonably sentence it, according to its motive.

It is to be hoped that eventually our laws will take cognizance of mental crime, and no longer apply legal rulings wholly to such physical offences as are set forth in the old rhyme: —

The pleadings state that John O'Gull,
With envy, wrath and malice full,
With swords, knives, sticks, staves, fists, or bludgeon,
Beat, bruised, and wounded John O'Gudgeon.

Wrath may injure the body fearfully through mind, as well as through muscle.

Bulwer's apothegm, —

For in the hands of men entirely great,
The pen is mightier than the sword, —

may be truly paraphrased, —

For in the use of men entirely base,
The mind is crueler than the knife.

These words of Judge Parmenter, of Boston, in the decision of a suit to collect a note given by a student of mental healing, are destined to become historic: “I see no reason why Metaphysics are not as important to medicine, as to mechanics or mathematics.”

He who uses his developed powers like an escaped felon, to commit fresh atrocities as opportunity occurs, is never safe. God will arrest him. Justice will manacle him. His sins will be millstones about his neck, weighing him down to the depths of despair; until suffering balances the account, loosens the cold grasp of remorse, subdues the perverse will, and quenches in agony the fires of hell. The aggravation of error foretells its doom, and confirms the ancient axiom, “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”

Animal magnetism is condemned by God, and doomed to return to its native nothingness. It is destitute of power and intelligence. Knowing this, nobody need fear it. Without this knowledge the error continues, and does all the more harm, because the source is unseen.

Handle this serpent in a scientifically Christian way, and it is nothing but a staff, like the rods of the Egyptian magicians in Pharaoh's court.

From ordinary medical practice, to Christian Science, the distance is full many a league in the line of light; but to go from the use of inanimate drugs in healing, to the criminal misuse of mortal mind, is to drop from the platform of common manhood into the very mire of iniquity. To work against the free course of honesty and humility, is to push foolishly against the current that runs heavenward.

Like the Commonwealth, Christian Science has its Bill of Rights: God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, conscience.

Man is self-governed only when guided by no other mind than his Maker's, and loving his neighbor as himself. The Divine Principle, the loving Father which formed him, keeps him in perfect peace, and this harmony is not to be tampered with.

Man's rights are invaded when this divine order is interfered with. The human trespasser necessarily incurs the divine penalty, due to this human error. The heavenly law is broken by this trespass upon man's individual right of self-government. We have no more moral right to secretly attempt to influence the thoughts of another, — unless the privilege is personally granted us, for the sake of the aid we may give in return, — than a man has to strike a fatal blow, except in self-defence.

The erring opinions of mortals, their conflicting selfish motives, and ignorant attempts to do good, often render them incapable of knowing or judging accurately the

needs of their fellow-men, unless this need is expressed and aid solicited.

Any interference of one mortal mind with another, apart from the exception herein named, is opposed to the order of Divine Science, and incurs certain punishment — the darkening of the transgressor's mind, and the lessening of his power to heal. Indeed, this power will be destroyed, if the mental power is persistently misused.

Let the age, which sits in judgment on this occult Science, sanction only such methods as are demonstrable in Truth, and classify all others as did Saint Paul in Galatians, when he wrote: —

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these — adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, WITCHCRAFT, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.