This section is from the book "Faith - Healing. Christian Science And Kindred Phenomena", by James Monroe Buckley. Also available from Amazon: Faith-Healing, Christian Science and Kindred Phenomena.
A radical error in mental physiology which most of these persons hold relates to the will. Referring to the theory which explains the cure of many diseases by bringing the person to exercise special will power, Mr. Simpson says:
Why is it that our physicians and philanthropists cannot get the sick to rise up and exercise this will power? Oh! that is the trouble to which we have already adverted. The will is as weak as the frame, and the power that is needed to energize both is God: and Faith is just another name for the new divine WILL which God breathes into the paralyzed mind, enabling it to call upon the enfeebled body to claim the same divine power for its healing. We are quite willing to admit the blessed effect of a quickened faith and hope and will upon the body of the sick. This is not all. There must also be a direct physical touch.
A hotel-keeper in New Hampshire, lingering at the point of death, as was supposed, for weeks with typhus, saw the flames burst from his barn. "Great God!" cried he, " there is nobody to let the cattle out!" He sprang from the bed, cared for the cattle, broke out in a profuse perspiration, and recovered. The burning barn gave him no strength, but the excitement developed latent energy and will.
Mrs. H. had long been ill, was emaciated and so weak that she could not raise a glass of water to her lips. One day the house took fire. She sprang from the bed, seized a chest full of odds and ends, and carried it out of doors. This, as a result of an effort of will, she could not have done when in health without help.
A letter recently received from the Rev. J. L. Humphrey, foe many years a missionary in India, now of Richfield Springs, N. Y., says:
The following instance came under my observation in India. An officer of the Government was compelled to send native messengers out into a district infected with cholera. As he sent them out they took the disease and died; and it came to such a pass among the Government peons under his charge that a man thought himself doomed when selected for that duty. A German doctor in that region had put forth the theory that inoculation with a preparation of quassia was a specific for cholera ó a simon-pure humbug. But this gentleman seized the idea; he cut the skin of the messenger's arm with a lancet so as to draw some blood, and then rubbed in the quassia, telling them what the doctor had said about it. Not a man thus treated died.
The surprising strength and endurance exhibited by lunatics and delirious persons often show that the amount of power which can be commanded by the will under an ordinary stimulant by no means equals the latent strength. Equally true is it that mental and emotional excitement often renders the subject of it unconscious of pain, which otherwise would be unendurable. Even without such excitement, a sudden shock may cause a disease to disappear.
The following was narrated to me by an eminent physician:
I was once called to see a lady, not a regular patient of mine, who had suffered for months with rheumatism. Her situation was desperate, and everything had been done that I could think of except to give her a vapor bath. There was no suitable apparatus, and I was obliged to extemporize it. Finding some old tin pipe, 1 attached it to the spout of the tea-kettle and then put the other end of the pipe under the bed-clothes, and directed the servant to half fill the kettle, so as to leave room for the vapor to generate and pass through tho pipe into the bed. I then sat down to read, and waited for the result. The servant girl, however, desiring to do all she could for her mistress, had filled the kettle to the very lid. Of course there was no room for steam to form, and the hot wateróboiling, in fact óran through the pipe and reached the body of the patient. The instant it struck her she gave a shriek and said. "Doctor, you have scalded me!" and as she said this she leaped out of bed.
"But now," said the physician, "came the wonder. The rheumatism wTas all gone in that instant, nor did she have any return of it, to my knowledge".