W. F. (Warren Felt) Evans.

The primitive mind-cure : the nature and power of faith, or, elementary lessons in Christian philosophy and transcendental medicine online

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goal toward which the path on which we now enter conducts
our willing feet. Then we are glorified with the glory which
we had before the world had an existence in us and for us.

This is not a new doctrine, but belongs to the Platonic
philosophy, and is well stated by Plotinus. "May we not


say that prior to this subsistence in a state of becoming, we
had a subsistence as men in true being, tliough different men
from what we now are, and possessing a deiform nature?
We were likewise pure souls and intellects conjoined with
universal essence, being parts of the intelligible (world) ;
not disjoined or separated from it, but pertaining to the
whole of it. For neither are we now cut off from it. For
even now the man that is here wishing to be another man,
accedes (or approaches in thought) to the man that is there,
and which, finding us (for we are not external to the uni-
verse), surrounds us with himself, and conjoins himself to
that man which each of us then was. Just as if one voice
and one discourse existing, some one from a different place
applying his ears should hear and receive what was said, and
should become in energy a certain hearing, in consequence
of having that which energizes present with itself. After
the same manner we become both the mab which is in the
intelligible (or ideal world) and the man which is here."
{Translations from the Greek of some Treatises of Plotinus,
by Thomas Taylor, p. 41.)

This is only the soul or psychical man, uniting itself to the
inward divine jyneuma or spirit. The two extreme links of
the chain of our being are brought together in a circle, and
man in the discrete degrees of his existence is made a com-
pleted unity. The ideal and immortal man, which is latent
in most, becomes the actual and conscious man. This is
salvation in the Pauline and true Christian sense, but is a
conception which belongs to a spiritual philosophy that had
an existence in ages long anterior to the advent of Chris-




The pliilosophy of idealism as presented in the preceding
lesson is to be applied to the cure of disease, as it was by
Jesus the Chi-ist. All disease, so far as it has a material or
bodily expression, must have had a preexistence in us as a
fixed mode of thought, that is, as an idea. To expunge
from the mind and obliterate from our soul-life the idea of it,
is to remove the cause of it, and hence to cure the malady.
How best to accomplish this is the problem to be solved by
our transcendental medical science and practical metaphysics.
To its solution we will now devote our best energies.

It is our aim to reproduce the system of cure practiced by
Jesus, and adapt it to modern modes of thought and expres-
sion. Now Jesus was the prince of idealists, as Keshub
Chunder Sen has said, and his religion is supreme idealism.
(Oriental Christ, by P. C. Mozoomdar, p. 34.) Without a
knowledge of the philosophy of idealism it is impossible to
corapreliend the profound truths of Christianity or any of the
Oriental religions. With Jesus, as with Gautama the
Buddha, ideal things, existing in a sphere of being interior
to the world of sense, were the only real and enduring things.
All else was evanescent and ever changing.

We have endeavored to find in the realm of mind certain
fixed principles as fundamental, immutably true, and trust-
worthy as the principles of geometry, by which the mariner
guides his course upon the pathless deep. In the New Tes-
tament doctrine of faith, as it was viewed by Jesus, and


Paul, and even Plato, we affirm that we have such a principle
in its application to the cure of the diseases of the soul and
the body. When properly understood we see why, as Jesus
declared, it is ever unto us according to our faith (Matt.
ix : 29). This is a principle as certain in the laws of mind,
and as reliable as that a straight line is the shortest distance
between two given points, or the dem nstrated theorem that
in every right-angled triangle the square of the hypothenuse
is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.
Faith may be defined to be the power of perceiving spir-
itual realities that lie above and beyond the range of the
senses, and a confidence in those higher truths. This is
essentially the definition of it given by the unknown Kabal-
istic author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Heb. xi : 1) .

Faith is the source of all spiritual power. The end and
purpose of all education is, and will be of our present
studies, the achievement of spiritual development and the
attainment of a truly spiritual mode and habit of thought.
In other words, our aim should be expressed in the compre-
hensive prayer, " Lord, increase our faith" (Luke xvii : 5).
This implies that we already have faith in a degree, which
only needs to be augmented and turned in the right direc-
tion. On this subject INlJi'. A. P. Sinnett very justly remarks :
" One may illustrate this point by reference to a very
common-placj physical exercise. Every man living, having
the ordinary use of his limbs, is qualified to swim. But put
those who cannot swim, as the common phrase goes, into
deep water, and they will struggle and be drowned. The
mere way to move the limbs is no mystery ; but unless the
swimmer in moving them has a full belief that such move-
ment will produce the required result, the required result is
not produced. In this case we are dealing with mechanical
forces merel}', but the same principle runs up into dealings
with subtler forces." Of the power which resides in faith, he
gives as instances the marvels wrought by the genuine


Oriental adepts. Their training is designed to develop the
principle of faith. {Esoteric Buddhism^ p. 12.) Read also
on the same subject the eleventh chapter of the Epistle to
the Hebrews. But every one will ask, " How may we get
this faith ? " In this case the questioner is like the man who
is anxiously hunting around the house to find his spectacles,
but all the time has them on and is looking through them.
We already have faith, and are perpetually acting under its
influence and guidance, but have not learned its higher appli-
cations and uses. Faith is only that intuitive intellectual
perception that lies above the range of the sensuous plane
of the mind's action, and which we call into exercise every
time we correct the illusions of our senses, and judge and
act contrary to their deceptive appearances. "VVTienever we
judge, not according to appearance, but judge righteously or
according to a divine rectitude of thought, we exercise faith.
When I perceive that the reflected image from a mirror is
not a solid object behind the mirror, or that the earth turns
on its axis, and that the sun does not rise and set, it is that
higher form of knowledge which is called faith.

According to the idealistic philosophy, thought and exist-
ence are absolutely identical and inseparable. This is a prin-
ciple as universally true as that two straight lines which are
parallel will never meet, however far they may be extended,
or the proposition that the whole of a thing is equal to the
sum of all its parts. Bishop Berkeley, after remarking that
time is nothing abstracted from the succession of ideas iu
our minds, and that the duration of any finite existence
must be estimated b}- the number of ideas, or actions, suc-
ceeding each other in that individual spirit or mind, says :
"Hence, it is a plain consequence that the soul always
thinks ; and, in truth, whoever shall go about to divide in
his thoughts, or abstract the existence of a spirit from its
cogitation, will, I believe, find it no easy task." {Principles
of Human Knowledge, sec. 98.)


Pure thought is the summit of our being. It is the Kabal
istic Crown, and is spu-it ; and, by divine appointment, gov-
erns and controls all below it. It is the point where our
individual existence flows out from the "Unknown." The
attainment of the power to think spiritually and spontane-
ously, in contradistinction from the possession of a set of
borrowed opinions, is the "crown of life." Since to think
and to exist ai'C one and the same, a man in whatsoever con-
dition he is, whether in health or disease, whether happy or
the opposite, is only the expression or external translation of
his thoughts and ideas. He is the perpetual creation of his
fixed mode of thought. The world and all the things it con-
tains, including the body of man, having no thought in them-
selves, do not exist in and for themselves, but exist only in
us, and as Schopenhaur has truly said, are to us only what
we think and believe them to be. As thought and existence
are identical, a change of thought must necessarily modify
our existence. To thinTi a change in our bodily condition,
and not merely to think about it, will determine all the living
forces toward that result, as certainly as a stream issuing
from a fountain will flow in another direction when we change
the direction of its channel.

If thought is the first act of our individual spiritual exist-
ence, and a perpetual concomitant of it, and is the primal
force and most subtle energy in the universe, the question
will arise, is thought free and subject to no law above itself?
Can we think when and what we please? In disease, can I
think that I am well? In pain, can I think that I have no
pain? I answer unhesitatingly, I can. All things are pos-
sible to thought. I can tliinh that five plus four is twelve,
but may not be able to believe it until the thought is joined
with feeling in some degree. A man may think that his
dwelling is on fire when it is not, and he is affected by
it ; or he may think that his house is not on fire when it is,
and in the latter case he feels no alarm. In bc*th cases


his thought modifies his existence. A man may think he is
dying when he is not ; or, when he is passing through what
the world calls death, he may both think and feel that it is
only a higher form of life, and that there is no death. In
sickness, it is possible to think, and even believe, that the
disease does not belong to the class of truly existing tilings,
but is only a phenomenon or appearance, a false seeming,
an iUusion. This thought maintained will vindicate its
right to be called the Crown by transforming all below it
into its expression. Thought may be subject to certain
laws or fixed rules of action, as may be predicated of the
Divine nature itself, but is absolutely free ; for the laws of
its activity arise from its own essence. It knows no higher
law than itself. Pure thought is the first emanation from
God, as is seen in the Kabalistic scheme of the Ten Sephi-
roth. It is not a mere attribute or faculty of spirit ; it is
spirit itself. We cannot abstract thought from spirit any
more than a smile can be separated from a human face, and
left as an entity in empty space ; and the spirit as the first
emanation from God, as the Kabala affirms, is the Son of
God. And as the Father has life in himself, so he has given
to the Son (or the spirit) to have life in himself ; and he
o-ave him authority also to execute judgment because he is
also the son of man. (John v : 26, 27.) . The essential
characteristic of spirit, and which inheres in its very essence,
as Hegel has said, is freedom and spontaneity. It originates
action or motion, as Plato teaches. The essential property
of matter is passivity or fatality. Thought is not lilvC the
vane on the church tower, turning in every direction from
the action of a force existing outside of itself. But the
spu'it is a wind or breath of God that bloweth where it
listeth. (John iii : 8.) It chooses its own direction in
which to act. There is nothing above it but the " Un-
known God," out of whom it porpetiially springs. As tho
sun is never separated from any of his rays, but acts as ono


with each and all of them, so the " Father of spirits " always
approves and sanctions the action of pure spiritual thought.
For pure thought is the Protogonos, the first begotten, the
son and perpetual offsi)ring of God, and from him it is never
sundered. If thought and existence are identical, then it
follows that to think rightly is to be well and happy. All
matter including the human body exists only in mind, which
is the only substance. It exists from thought and in thought.
Hence, the body is to me, and for me, what I think it to be.
This is an absolute and irrepealable law of our being, as
much so as that all right-angled triangles are equal to each
other, or that every circle, great or small, contains three hun-
dred and sixty degrees. How soon a change of thought and
feeling, as in passing from melancholy to cheerfulness, trans-
lates itself into a bodily expression ! So when doubt and
despair give place to hope and the full assurance of faith,
the change expresses itself immediately in the face, which
is the index of our interior states of mind and body. Be-
hold in this the creative omnipotence of thought and feeling.
Thought and feeling are the Elohim, the Dii Poteiites, the
creative potencies in our microcosm or lesser world, as they
are in the macrocosm or greater world of ideas, and they are
continually saying in us, " Let us make the body after our
image and likeness." In the above short sentence, as in a
casket, lies the golden key which unlocks the mj'steries of
health and disease.

That which we most need is to develop into consciousness
our inner and higher life, and to give to it what rightfully
belongs to it — an absolute sovereignty over all below it.
It should be our aim to elevate the principle of thought above
the plane of the senses, and free it from their distorting
influences. " This elevation above sensual things was known
to the ancients, and their wise men said that when the mind
is withdrawn from sensual things, it comes into an interior
light, and, at the same time, into a tranquil state, and into


a sort of heavenly blessedness. Man is capable of being
yet more interiorly elevated ; and the more interiorly he is
elevated, into so much the clearer light does he come, and at
length into the light of heaven, which is nothing else but
wisdom and intelligence from the Lord." {Arcana Celestia,
6313.) As thought becomes more internal, or elevated
above the body and the external senses, it becomes more
potential. This is the true meaning of healing ourselves or
others. It is the emancipation of the soul from material
thraldom. And, when the soul is saved from its illusions,
the body can well be left to take care of itself. Says Paul :

TO Se (jipovrjjjia tov TTi/eu/Aaros C^r] koI elpiivr], the thought of the

spirit is life and peace ; but the thought of the fleshly mind
(or the habit of thinking on a level witli the body) , is death.
(Rom. viii : 6, 7.) This passage contains, in a small com-
pass, the true philosophy of salvation in the full sense of the
word. It will be our work to develop this living germ and
fruitful seed of truth into a tree whose leaves shall be for
the healing of the nations.

We encounter at the outset in our instruction a great evil,
and one that has served to hold humanity down and prevent
its rising from the plane of sense to the life of faith. I refer
to the fact that the church. Catholic and Protestant, has
claimed a monopoly of the principle of faith. They have
connected it with certain dogmas which are, to many intelli-
gent minds, unreasonable, absurd, and incredible. They
have enclosed the divine and saving principle of faith in
what looks to many as an unseemly wrapper, like the pre-
cious goods of the merchant in coarse paper, and they refuse
to deliver the merchandise unless you take it in the unsightly
wrapper. The invalid or sinner (as the case may be) desires
to be healed or saved, and works himself into a M'illingness
to take the standard theological medicine as the less of two
evils, but he cannot avoid saying (or at least thinking) with
Whitticr : —


" I trace your lines of argument ;
Your logic linked and strong
I weigh as one who dreads dissent.
And fears a doubt as wrong.

But still my human hands are weak

To hold your iron creeds ;
Against the words ye bid me speak

My heart within me pleads."

But, at the present time, many people are beginning to
feel that they can buy directly of the Clirist " gold tried in
the fii-e," and enclose the celestial and enduring good in their
own theological envelope. Faith is a philosophical and
scientific principle much older than even Plato, and belongs,
by just right, as an exclusive property to no one sect, but
to all mankind, as much so as the light of the sun. In these
lessons we shall try and put you in possession of this "pearl
of great price," and leave you to find your own casket. I
can but feel that those persons in the various churches who
have unselfishly devoted themselves to the practice of the
faith cure, and who include in their number many of the
choicest spirits on earth, would find their success still greater
if they could divorce more fully the saving principle of faith
from un-Christian and mentally unwholesome theological
dogmas. In other words, let us give allopathic prescriptions
of pure religion, but infinitesimal doses of the popular
theology. It is to be hoped this suggestion will be taken in
the spirit in which it is given ; for, as one has beautifully
said : —

"A bending staff I would not break,
A feeble faith I would not shake,
Nor even rashly pluck away
The error which some truth may stay.
Whose loss might leave the soul without
A shield against the shafts of doubt."




It is the object of these lessons to lead gradually, and by
succeijsive steps, to the development of the unexplored, and,
in modern times, almost universally unrecognized, but really
vast powers for good that belong to a trul}' religious and spirit-
ual faith — a faith that perceives being in opposition to a mere
sensuous and illusory appearance. There is a faith that per-
ceives and consciously recognizes those truths and realities
which lie beyond the grasp of the animal or psychical man
or mind. In the Sanscrit language, in which is locked up
the profoundest truths ever revealed to the human mind, tht^
word for truth is sat or satya, which is the participle of the
verb as, to be. Hence, truth is that which is, in contradis-
tinction from that which only seems to be. It is the rb ovrojs
01', or truly existing being of Plato ; the amen of Jesus and
Paul. Faith is the perception of these supersensuous truths,
and says of them, "these are that which really is," and
maintains this attitude of thought in opposition to the falla-
cious and deceptive appearances of the senses.

In order to reach this position of thought, we must first
discover our true self. To him who would become spiritual
this is of supreme importance. When we discover our i-eal
self, we find at the same time God, and health, and heaven.
In the philosophy of the Vedas, which means real knowledge,
all the ordinary names of God, as the Almighty, the Creator,
etc., are laid aside, and the single name Atman, the Self,
is used to denote the divine Being. This does not refer to


the Aditi, the Boundless, the Absolute Behig, which is name*
less, but to the highest manifestation of the Supreme Divine
Essence. It is the Self, or underlying, or inmost Reality, of
all that is. It is the Absolute Self, which includes our indi-
vidual self in it. The Atman is the Self in which each in-
dividual self must find rest, must come to himself, must find
his own true self, the immortal Monad, the spiritual and
imperishable entity. All this teaches the sublime truth of
faith, that in our inmost being we become identified with the
Divine Nature. The highest wisdom of Greece was expressed
in the precept, "know thyself." "When we find our real
self, everything afterwards in our path is easy. We must,
in the outset, as the French would say, find our true East
{s'orienter) , and fix our true position among created things.
We must ascertain the direction in which we are to look for
spiritual wisdom, and the region of our being where alone it
can be found.

In the Vedanta philosophy of India, the oldest religious
philosophy of the world, it is said: "There is nothing
higher than the attainment of the knowledge of the Self."
Again: "Despising everything else, a wise man should
strive after the knowledge of the self." This highest Self
is called in the Vedanta, which means the end or goal of the
Veda, the " silent thinker," as being the inmost spring of all
thought. It is also called "the one who knows," as it
partakes of the Divine Omniscience. It is also the " old man
within," who is identical with the Kabalistic "Ancient of
Days," " the holy elder," which means the inward sage, the
source of all true knowledge, and fountain of all tiaie wisdom,
for at this point it opens into that in which are hid all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge. This inmost self in us
is a person only in the true sense of the word, as a mask that
conceals and partly reveals the universal spirit. To discover
our real self, and to find it included in the being of the mnn-
ifested God, the Christ of Paul, is the Platonic idea o^*


redemption, and is tlie summit of all spiritual knowledge.
It is faith in its supreme sense.

The Atman of the Vedanta, the highest Self, and the
Christ of Paul, the Adam Kadmon of the Kabala, are the
same as the "Over-Soul" of Emerson. He says of it:
"The Supreme Critic on the errors of the past and the
present, and the only prophet of that which must be, is thai
great nature in which we rest, as the earth lies in the soft
arms of the atmosphere ; that Unity, that Over-Soul, withia
which every man's particular being is contained and made
one with all others." (Essays, First Series, p. 214.)

In another place, speaking of the Over-Soul, Emerson
says: "Of this pure nature every man is at some time
sensible. Language cannot paint it with his colors. It is
too subtile. It is undefinable, unmeasm-able, but we know
that it pervades and contains us. We know that all spiritual
being is in man. A wise old proverb says, ' God comes to
see us without bell' ; that is, as there is no screen or ceiling
between our heads and the infinite heavens, so is there no
bar or wall in the soul where man, the effect, ceases, and
God, the cause, begins. The walls are taken away. We lie
open on one side to the deeps of spiritual nature, to the
attributes of God." {Essays, First Series, p. 216.)

The importance of finding this higher self, and develop-
ing it into consciousness, cannot be overstated. It is neces-
sary to all spiritual growth. It has always been earnestly
insisted upon by all who have written anything on the
deeper philosophy of human nature. The celebrated Ara-
bian philosopher, Muhammed Al Ghazzali, who was born
A.r>. 1056, wrote a work entitled The Alchemy of Happiness.
It contains the principles of a profound spiritual science,
the same that were taught under impenetrable symbols by
the Alchemists of the middle ages. Al Ghazzali commences
his work with these important words, which are the key to
all spiritual science : " O seeker after the divine mysteries J


know thou that the door to the knowledge of God will be
opened to a man first of all, when he knows his own soul,
and understands the truth about his own spirit, according as
it has been revealed. ' He who knows himself, knows his
Lord also.' Again, in the books of former prophets it is
written, ' Know thine own soul, and thou shalt know thy
Lord ' ; and we have received it in a tradition, ' He who
knows himself, already knows his Lord.' This is a con-
vincing argument that the soul (or spirit) is like a clean
muTor into which, whenever a person looks, he may there
see God." This was written eight centuries ago. But
thousands of years before this it was said in the Vedanta of
India, " There is one eternal thinker, thinking non-eternal
thoughts ; he, though one, fulfils the desires of many. The
wise who perceive him within their self, to them belongs
eternal life, eternal peace." {India, hj Max Miiller, p.

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Online LibraryW. F. (Warren Felt) EvansThe primitive mind-cure : the nature and power of faith, or, elementary lessons in Christian philosophy and transcendental medicine → online text (page 2 of 18)