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.
In endeavoring to ascertain the causes of recoveries which undoubtedly occur when the patient is under the supervision of Christian Scientists and Mind Curers, it would be a blunder to omit the testimony of Mrs. Eddy as to her experiments with homeopathy. She says that she has attenuated common table salt until there was not a single saline property left; and yet with one drop of that in a goblet of water, and a teaspoonful administered every three hours, she has cured a patient sinking in the last stage of typhoid fever. Describing a case of dropsy given up by the faculty, she says that after giving some medicines of high attenuation, she gave the patient unmedicated pellets for a while, and found that she continued to improve. Finally she induced the patient to give up her medicine for one day, and risk the effects. After trying this, she informed Mrs. Eddy that she could get along two days without the globules; but on the third day had to take them. She went on in this way, taking unmedicated pellets, with occasional visits from Mrs. Eddy, and employing no other means was cured. Thus Mrs. Eddy says she discovered that mind was potent over matter and that drugs have no power.
It is not to be inferred from the above that homeopathic remedies, which have been modified by the discoveries made and the experience attained since the time of Hahnemann, are generally powerless. That question is not essential to this inquiry. But the confession of Mrs. Eddy that her experiments were the means of teaching her that mind and not matter effects the cure, will be regarded by all who do not accept her theories as containing the principal key to the problem. She made the common error of generalizing from a few particulars, and ever since has endeavored to test facts by theory instead of making facts the test. Because she found a supposed mental cause adequate to a cure in a few cases, she leaped to the wild conclusion that all causes are mental. Notwithstanding these numerous absurdities and the radical error, it would be unwise to lose sight of the specific elements in the practice of Christian Science and the various forms of Mind Cure as a profession.
The patients who are treated by these practitioners have, to begin with, the ris medicatrix naturce, which is the final element in every cure, recognized to be such by the leaders of the medical profession for a long period of time. Sir John Forbes, M. D., one of the most eminent regular physicians of England, remarks of the practice of his own School in his famous article on homeopathy:
First, that in a large proportion of the eases treated by allopathic physicians, the disease is cured by nature, and not by them. Second, that in a lesser but still not a small proportion, the disease is cured by nature in spite of them ; in other words, their interference retarding instead of assisting the cure. Third, that in, consequently, a considerable proportion of diseases it woidd fare as well or better with patients if all remedies—at least all active remedies, especially drugs — were abandoned.
Sydenham long ago said, "I often think more could be left to Nature than we are in the habit of leaving to her; to imagine that she always wants the help of art is an error, and an unlearned error too".
Sir John Marshall. F. R. S., in opening the session of the London University Medical School in 1865, said, The vis medicatrix natural is the agent to employ in the healing of an ulcer, or the union of a broken bone; and it is equally true that the physician or surgeon never cured a disease; he only assists the natural processes of cure performed by the intrinsic conservative energy of the frame, and this is but the extension of the force imparted at the origination of the individual being.
Under the Mind Cure this force of nature is still at work, and in the great number of self-limited diseases which tend to recovery, it is left free from all error of practitioners. If it loses any advantages which the introduction of the proper drugs might give, it is saved from the consequences of the administration of the wrong ones.
The number of instances in which the prescriptions interfere with nature is so great that Dr. Paris wrote, many years ago, "The file of every apothecary would furnish a volume of instances where the ingredients of the prescription were fighting together in the dark. This is especially true of diseases of children. The late Dr. Marshall Hall said, " Of the whole number of fatal cases of diseases in infancy, a great proportion occur from the inappropriate or undue application of exhausting remedies".
Further, those who are treated by the Mind Curers in many cases derive benefit from the freedom of diet, air, and exercise allowed. They are told to pay no attention to symptoms, think nothing whatever about their diseases, and not talk about them; to eat, sleep, drink, and act as nearly as possible as if they were well; and in a large majority of chronic diseases, this is all that is needed to produce a return to health.
They have also the benefits of faith and fancy; as they are taught to imagine healthy, vigorous organs, and their whole bodies in the condition of health, and with such mental pictures to drive away all consciousness of symptoms, they summon to their aid that most potent of all influences, a calm and fearless mind. The presence of the practitioner and her methods greatly contribute to this calming influence.
She enters with a cheerful air and, without taking your hand or approaching your bed, seats herself and asks you to tell her all your symptoms. [She may, however, belong to the class which will not allow any description of symptoms.] She receives your budget of ailments calmly, without one expression of sympathy, for she has none, considering all your maladies as an illusion or dream from which it is her divine mission to awaken you. You are made to feel, immediately, that there is little of eonsequeuee in all that you have been telling her. She then relapses into a silence of ten or fifteen minutes, in which her kind face wears a resolute expression, making it almost stern. . . . After this silent treatment she speaks to you in the most encouraging manner, endeavoring to call you away from yourself to the contemplation of spiritual truth.