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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physics. This word was introduced into philosophy by
Aristotle, and is composed of two Greek words which signify
after physics. In a system of education, it was supposed
that the study of physics, or of visible nature, came first,
and the study of the spiritual side of nature and of the mind
came last, or, as Paul expresses it, first that which is natural


or psychical, then that which is spiritual. (I Cor. xv:46,)
To seek the achievement of spiritual development, in order
to emplo}' our powers in making money, is a total perversion
of the divine order of life, and such a person becomes
spiritually blind by an immutable law of our being. If we
are now in the full light of the noonday sun, when the earth
is fully inverted and we with it, we find ourselves in mid-
night darkness. So the spirit of man, which is full to over-
flowing of an iiTepressible love and good will to all men, is
the light side. The selfish animal soul is the dark side.
We must see to it that our microcosm, or little world, does
not turn bottom side up, but ever remain in its true position.


" Thou must be true thyself,

If thou the truth wouldst teach;
Thy soul must overflow, if thou

Another's soul wouldst reach; —
It needs the overflow of heart

To give the lips full speech.

"Think truly, and thy thoughts

Will the world's famine feed ;
Speak truly, and each word of thine

"Will he a fruitful seed ;
Live truly, and thy life will be

A great and noble creed."




As disease exists only on the mental plane of sense, as
we have before shown, and this is the region in us which is
subject to illusions and deceptive appearances, and as the
disease itself for which we are often called to administer a
remedy is in many cases only a sensuous seeming, so spirit-
ual truth, which is only another name for faith, is the most
efficient remedy in nature. It is a specific having a divine
sanative virtue and potency in it. This should never be
forgotten. Spiritual truth expresses the reality of things, or
that which is, and when vocally expressed, or silently sug-
gested and by a thought impulse projected into the mind of
an invalid, is an infallible antidote to that sin (or error, or
false belief) , which is the underlying cause of disease, which
is often unreal and in itself no-thing. In the case of a given
disease, we are first to find out what is false and um-eal in
regard to it in the mind of the patient, and all this counts
for nothing. It is a minus quantity. Subtract it from the
diagnosis, and there is often no remainder — nothing which
amounts to a concrete realitj'. Physicians frequently feel
this, but may deem it inexpedient to say so. To ascertain
what a so-called nervous patient thinks about his own case,
is in nine cases out of ten the best statement of the sensuous
delusions which are to be corrected. This he is only too
willing to give us, and to pour it into the listening ear of
every visitor. His statement of his condition is the one to
be combated, and his confirmed ideas are to be expunged
from his mind — not by reasoning merely, for that of*.^n


only confirms him in them. His reason (so called) is the
head of the serpent, that the seed of the woman, or the
truths of wisdom, is to crush. Having heard his statement
of the case, he should be instructed ever after to keep silent,
as it is a law of our being, that to express a feeling in words
gives intensity and fixedness to it. "When I say " I am
sick," my thought or existence is run into a different mould,
from what it is when I say " I am well."

How a change in our mode of thought reaches the body
through an intermediate form, organism, or inedium, is told us
by Swedenborg, which we quote not as an authority, but as an
illustration. He says : "There was a philosopher who ranked
among the more celebrated and sane, who died some years
ago, with whom I discoursed concerning the degrees of life,
and that one form is more interior than another, but that one
exists and subsists from another ; also that when an inferior
or exterior form is dissolved, the superior or inferior form still
lives. It was further said that all operations of the mind are
variations of the form ; in the purer substances these varia-
tions are in such perfection that they cannot be described ;
and that the ideas of thought are nothing else ; and that these
variations exist accoi'ding to changes of the state of the affec-
tions. How the most perfect variations are given in the
purer forms may be concluded from the lungs, which fold
themselves variously, and vary their forms according to every
expression of speech, every note of a tune, every motion of
the body, and according to every state of thought and affec-
tion; what then must be the case with interior things which,
in comparison with so large an organ, are in the most perfect
state? The philosopher confirmed what was said, and de-
clared that such things had been known to him when he lived
in the world, and that the world should apply philosophical
things to such uses, and should not be intent on bare forms
of expression, and on disputes about them, and thus labor in
the dust." {Arcana Celestia, 632G.)


According to this philosophy, when expressed more clearly,
a change of thought — as an act of faith, or imagination, or
any modification of the mind, on its higher plane — adjusts
the form of the intellectual soul into its representative image,
and this latter moulds the animal soul-principle and psychical
body into its expression, and tkrough this it passes outward
to the physical organism. So a morbid and fixed idea forms
the lower soul into its image, and this by a law of corre-
spondence changes the outward body into a condition that
expresses the idea on a material plane. Here it can go no
further, as it has reached the outside boundarj- of existence.
The term " bod}'," in its radical sense, signifies that which is
fixed or set. Hence the human body, in its diflfereut condi-
tions, is always only the fixedness of an idea. This is also
true of all matter, as all the endless variety of plants. They
are divine ideas printed in the book of nature by the demi-
urgic intellect. So an act of faith, or a perception of spirit-
ual truth, by supplanting the idea of disease, passes outward
into a psychical or soul manifestation, and finally is translated
into a bodily expression. Since every idea of the mind forms
the soul and interior body, which are the inward man, into
its expression, it has been aflSrmed, and is eternally true,
that in the other life, as we call it, the whole quality of a
man is exquisitely perceived from a single idea of his thought,
for every idea is an image of the man. {Arcana Celestia,
301.) And by those whose inner vision is unveiled, and who
have emancipated the intellectual soul from the body, the
same can be seen now. When the Christ as the primal Light
and Life comes to a man, — and he may come every day and
not merely at the end of the world to us, — the veil of sense
is removed.

" He comes from thickest fihns of vice,

To clear the mental ray,
And on the orbs oppressed with night.

To pour celestial day."


If we have a man's ruling idea and his central love, we
have the whole man, all that he is or can be for the time
being ; for all his thoughts and feelings revolve around these,
and never break entirely loose from their orbit. Hence Emer-
son very truly says, " The key to every man is his thought.
Sturdy and defying though he look, he has a helm which he
obeys, which is the idea after which all his facts are classified.
He can only be reformed by showing him a new idea which
commands his own." {Essays, First Series, p. 241.) In
having your picture taken, the artist always recommends you
to have some pleasant thought in your mind, because this
gives you the best expression. But thought affects not only
the face, but the whole body. Would it not be well for some
nervous invalids to sit for their picture several times a day,
until they become themselves the fixed and finished picture
of their pleasant thought? "Every distinct idea of man,
and every particular affection, is an image and effigy of him,
even as to its minutest fraction ; that is, there is something
therein which partakes, in a nearer or remote degree, of all
his intellect and of all his will " (or love) . {Heavenly Secrets,
803.) A man's ruling idea, to the inner eye, is a spiritual
image of the real man, far more so than our picture taken by
the photographic artist is a representation of ourselves. For
in the one there is life, while the other is but an inanimate
shadow. But we must never lose sight of this deep law of
our being, tJiat all ideas have an inherent tendency to actualize
or externalize themselves in the corporeal organism.

The science of modern times has never appreciated the
power of intense thought directed to a person with a benefi-
cent end or healing intention. Medical science admits the
influence of the imagination of a patient upon himself, but
wholly ignores the influence of our imagination and faith
upon others, which is by no means an unimportant matter.
The mind can thus act at any distance. In the realm of
sjnrit, thought is a movement (so to speak) of the spirit, a


transportation or extension of the spirit, a being "carried
away in the spirit " to the place or person that is the object
of thought. Our inner being accompanies its thought, so
that wherever the thought is, there the spmt is, and there it
can act ; for it is the spirit that thinks, and its thought is in-
separable from it. This fact is recognized by Charlotte Brontd,
and illustrated in her novel of "Jane Eyre." She makes
her heroine hear the voice of her lover, calling her name,
though they were far apart in space ; and she was so strongly
impressed with its reality that she leaves all and goes to him,
finds him blind and suffering, and needing her love and
sympathy, and really calling her in spirit. Such a phenom-
enon is not wholly a fiction, and much less a miracle. It
comes within the domain of the laws of the mind. Such
mental telegraphy is an every-day occurrence among the true
adepts of spiritual philosophy.

The proclamation of the spiritual truth, in regard to a given
malady, will have more effect in removing its cause and weak-
ening its hold, than the whole list of drugs described in the
United States Dispensatory. Few diseases can long with-
stand the light of truth, but will silently disappear before it
like birds of night at the approach of day, or like the mists
of the morning before the rising sun. The man who habit-
ually occupies the idealistic and spiritual plane of thought,
and can speak with confidence from that commanding posi-
tion, can say with Jesus, " The words that I speak unto you
are spu-it and are life." (John vi : 63.) And his utter-
ances or tacit affirmations addi-essed to the patient will have
a sanative and redeeming potency far beyond the prescrip-
tions of the superficial learning of the medical schools, though
I would not undervalue a true medical science.

The advantage we gain in speaking to a patient in thought
rather than by vocal utterance, is that in the former case
we are met by no opposition of will, no tendency to question
and raise objections, and what we thus say to him reaches


the interior degree of his being, whereas a verbal utterance
may penetrate no further than the external plane of hia
mind, or even lodge in the external ear. The arrow of truth
falls into the morass, and does not pass to the flowery fields
bej'ond. When we speak to a patient in thought and in
silent prayer, we touch the hidden spring of his Hfe if he is
in a condition of receptivity, and thus filter the stream at its
fountain. We can thus act upon him independent of distance
and all material limitations and restraints, if we have learned
to speak the inner language. In the system of Jesus, as sin,
in the sense of an error or fallacious idea (and not merely
what we call wickedness, for in the original that is expressed
by another word) , in the mind, was recognized as the cause
of disease and as constituting its spiritual essence, so truth
was deemed to possess the highest therapeutic efficacy.
This is to be spoken in love, according to the direction of
Paul (Eph. iv : 15), and in the same spirit we should tena-
ciously adhere to it. Such truth is not an empty abstraction
or '■'airy nothingness," but the most vitally real and poten-
tial thing in the universe. It inherits God's loving omnipo-
tence, from whom it is perpetually born. All forces are
spiritual, and a spiritual truth is a divine force. As Paul
asserts, " we can do nothing against the truth." (II Cor.
xiii : 8.) That will hold its own against all odds, and in the
end have everything its own way. Single-handed and alone,
it is more than a match in its silent omnipotence against a
noisy mob of delusions. In dispensing truth as a curative
agency we are not dealing in empty abstractions (for truth
is never sundered from the Divine Mind), nor in the infini-
tesimal triturations of matter, but in the diviuest and most
substantial force in the whole realm of nature.

There is a marvellous power in a living thought, especially
when it proceeds from the theocentric region of our being ;
and this power is becoming recognized by science. Says
J. II. Stirling (the translator and commentator of Hegel) in


his triumphant reply to Huxley's " Physical Basis of Life,"
" Throughout the entire universe thought is the controlling
sovereign, nor does matter anywhere refuse its aUegiance. So
it is in thought too that man has his patent of nobility, and
beheves that he is created in the image of God, and himself
a freeman of infinitude." (Half Hours with Modern Scien-
tists, p. 125.) A friend of ours, a physician of Boston, in a
letter, writes, " It occurred to me a short time since that we
should think well of all, and not ill of any, because the
thought of another has some power to make him what we
think him, not only physically but morally. Momentous
realities are involved in our thoughts. How little of such
realities are realized by the majority."

He who has attained to the power of spiritual thought has
been anointed and crowned a king. This is the Kabalistic
" crown of life." The ruling idea of the minds of such men
as Appolonius of Tyana, who was, I think, nearly contempo-
rary with Jesus, was the rightful sovereignty of the spirit,
the supreme and real man, over all below it in the scale of
life. (Gen. i: 26-28.) An intelligent apprehension of this
truth, and the feeling of it gave him his marvellous power, as
it did also to Pythagoras and to Jesus. Such men are not
mere spectators of natux'e, mere lookers on, but control it
and make it subservient to their will. Jesus was a king
(John xviii : 36-38) , and so is every man in the unseen
depths of his spirit, wherein lies the image or idea of God.
But it is of little use to be a king and not know it. To have
the sovereign power of spirit, and not to know it or be con-
scious of it, is all the same as not to have it. And we can
know it only by faith, which is " the evidence of things not

On the sovereign power of the mind, Dr. Nichols, a distin-
guished chemist, very truly and eloquently says, " The mind
of man is the great overpowering force in the world, a prin-
ciple dominating everything. No form of energy acting


under law has escaped its conu'ol, no physical forces have
become its master ; they all combined bow to its behests and
become its servants. It must be a supernatural principle, a
distinct creation, a divine essence, a mighty force, standing
apart, and designed to stand apart, from all the other forces
of nature." {]Vhe7ice ? What? and WJiere? By James R.
Nichols, M.D., p. 12.)

The inquiry will be raised, ' ' Of what use is it to think the
real truth of a person unless he is influenced to think the
same of himself? " In answer to this, let it be observed that
thought spontaneously takes a fixed form in an idea, which
is a thing of life. When we think of a patient near or far
off in space, if we think spiritually or in a state of abstraction
from the body, and hold steadfastly to our thought of him, it
will be transferred to him if he is receptive, and will assume
form in his mind as an idea the same as in ours. If we
recognize the truth that his spiritual and real self, the immor-
tal Ego, is not sick or unhappy, the thought will take form
in his mind as an idea and belief and this makes it to him a
reality so long as the idea and belief remain. Swedeuborg
affirms that when an angel of heaven determines his sight,
that is, his thought, to another, his interiors are transferred
and communicated to him according to his state of receptiv-
ity. (Heavenly Secrets, 10,130.) The same is true of our
spirit, or of man as a spirit. ^VTien we think of a person the
real truth in regard to him, that the real self is not invaded
by disease, and think this with a feeling of its truth and with a
beneficent desire to do him good, our " interiors" are trans-
ferred to him tlu-ough the medium of the universal mind, and
he thinks from us, but all the time not knowing otherwise
than that he thinks wholly from himself. The thought will
arise in him, " I am not sick." He is, in a certain true
sense, inspired by us, and caused to think and feel above
his ordinary level. This supplies the missing link that con-
nects our thinl ing with the mind of the patient, which we


shall more fully illustrate in our instruction regarding the
universal life-principle. "We often witness thi'ough the oper-
ation of this occult law two or more persons in the same
room who are found to have been thinking of the same object
or person at one and the same time. So all the great dis-
coveries and inventions have been made by men in different
parts of the world at about the same time. Our thoughts
and ideas are recorded on the imperishable tablet of the
universal intellect, and through this become contagious.
This is a principle of the Hermetic philosophy, which has
more influence on human hfe and its manifestations than has
been recognized by modern science.

It is to be observed that the powers of the soul increase in
proportion as it is freed fx'om the influence of the body. The
intermediate or intellectual soul can be aS"ected either by the
higher spu'it or by the lower animal soul and the body, as was
taught by Plato. And to teach the initiate how to liberate the
soul from the body and set it free from the distorting influence
of the senses was one of the aims of the esoteric science of
the ancients, — a subject to which we shall recur in our next
lesson. The potency of the will and the imagination in a
state of ecstasy was an idea familiar to the old occult philos-
ophy, and is mentioned by Paracelsus and Van Helmont, the
fathers of modern magnetic science. But the state which
was called by the Neo-Platonists ecstasy is not necessarily
an abnormal one, but is in reality only the intellectual soul
acting independent of the body. There are persons who can
enter into this condition at wiU, and act from a higher or
interior degree of the mind, and thus be "endued with
power from on high."




The doctrine of the triune nature of man is one of the
oldest doctrines of philosophy, and is absolutely fundamental
in a true spiritual science. It was an occult doctrine, and
was revealed in the fuUest degree only to the highest initi-
ates, or the " perfect," as they are called by the apostle Paul.
In the Kabala man is viewed under the three divisions, or
distinct regions, of mental being, named spirit, soul (ruach),
and crude spirit (nephesh). The latter is the " serpent" of
Genesis, and designates the principle of sense, and the mere
animal mind or man. The body was very properly viewed
as no part of man, as all its elements belong to the so-called
external world. Man is identical with mind, as the term is
from a Sanscrit word meaning to think. Man is mind ; and
each degree of the mind is man as he thinks and acts on
either of thi-ee discrete planes of being.

In the Platonic philosophy, — which professedly was bor-
rowed from the arcane science and religion of India, Egypt,
and the East, — man, or mind, is viewed under the three
degrees of pneuma (spirit), psyche (soul), and tJmmos (ani-
mal and irrational soul) . The spirit, sometimes called nous,
was considered as the real man, or man as he exists in the
divine idea ; and as it is generated by the Father (pure
thought), and is the first emanation from the "Unknown,"
it possesses a nature kindred and even homogeneous with
the Divinity, and is capable of beholding the eternal reali-
ties. The lowest degree is the blind animal life-principle, or


soul, techuically called thumos. The word is derived from
the verb Oxxn {thuo), meaning to burn and also to sacrifice.
It means, also, to move with a rapid, violent, impetuous
motion, and hence was considered the seat of all disordered
and vehement passions, such as govern the life of animals.
In the New Testament Psychology it is called the flesh and
the carnal mind, and to be under its dominion is death. It
is the sensuous mind, the seat of all sensation, as many ani-
mals have the senses more acutely developed than man. All
its perceptions are illusory and fallacious, — a false seeming.
Life on this plane, the basement story of conscious being,
is a dream, rather than a reality, when the innermost divine
spirit is latent, and not developed into conscious activity.
Plato, in the " Republic," represents such men as captives in
a subterranean cave, with their backs turned toward the light,
and who can see nothing but the reflected shadows of things,
and yet think them actual realities. In order to the percep-
tion of the real truth of things, we must rise to a higher plane
of thought and life.

The intermediate degree, or distinct region of mind, which
is situated between the two extremes of mental existence,
and which is capable of being influenced by either the higher
or the lower, — the inmost divine spirit or the irrational ani-
mal soul, — was called psyche, or the rational soul. "When
freed from the distorting influences of the physical senses
and the selfish animal passions, and disencumbered of the
body, it is the Logos or Word, — the true light of every man
that cometh into the world. It dwells in the '^ intelligible
-^orld," — the world of ideas and of enduring realities. It
is the region of creation and of formation. It is the true
object of all education to free the soul from the trammels of
the body, and raise it from the plane of sense to the percep-
tion of the real and the enduring, in the place of the mere
seeming, the ever-changing, and the evanescent. This is the
liberty wherewith the Christ, the inward "Word, makes us


free (Gal. v: 1). It is the "Justice," or right thinking of
the Kabala, a rectitude of mental perception, called by the
apostle Paul the righteousness which is of faith. For faith
is the action of the mind above the plane of sense.

Swedenborg's doctrine of degrees, or of three discrete
regions of the mind, was borrowed and reproduced from
the Hermetic philosoph}'. He says : "In every man there
are from creation three degrees of life, — the celestial,
the spiritual, and the natural." {True Clirisiian Religion^
sec. 239.) These degrees constitute three distinct ranges
or planes of life, or three worlds or heavens. In another
place, Swedeuborg says: " I have been instructed concern-
ing these degrees of life, that it is the last degree of life
which is called the external or natural man, by which degree
man is like the animals as to concupiscences and phantasies.
And that the next degree of life is what is called the internal
and rational man, by which man is superior to the animals ;
for by virtue thereof he can think and will what is good and
true, and have dominion over the natural man b}- restrain-
ing and also rejecting its concupiscences and the phantasies

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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 9 of 18)