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.
We find that in comparison with the Mormons, Spiritualists, Mind-Curers, Roman Catholics, and Mag-netizers, the Protestant Faith-Healers can accomplish as much, but no more; that they have the same limitations as to diseases they cannot heal, and injuries they cannot repair; as to particular cases of diseases that they can generally cure, but which occasionally defy them; and as to their liability to relapses. We also find that their phenomena can be paralleled under the operation of laws with which "experts" upon the subject, whether medical or otherwise, are acquainted, but which are not recognized by the general public, including many physicians of various schools, clergymen, lawyers, educators, and literary persons of both sexes who might be expected to understand them.
It is necessary to examine the New Testament, to ascertain whether Christ was subject to the limitations which have marked all these. The record states that he healed "all manner of disease, and all manner of sickness." It declares that "they brought unto him all that were sick, holden of divers diseases and torments, possessed with devils, and those that were lunatic [new version, epileptic] and palsied; and he healed them." He did these things uniformly, and sent word to John, " The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up." He restored the withered hand, not by the slow process of a change in the circulation, and gradual change in the nutrition, followed by structural alteration; but it was instantly made "whole like as the other." Not only so, he restored limbs that had been cut off. See New Revision, Matthew xv. 30: "And there came unto him great multitudes having with them the lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and they cast them down at his feet; and he healed them; insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb speaking, the maimed ivhole, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing." The last miracle that Christ wrought before his crucifixion, according to St. Luke, was one that could defy all these "faith-healers" of every species to parallel. See New Revision, Luke xxii. 50: "And a certain one of them smote the servant of the high priest and struck off Ms right ear. But Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear and healed him".
Rational men familiar with the laws expounded in this paper could not believe this record if the mighty works told of Christ and the apostles were comprised simply in an account of wonderful tales. They would reason that it is much more probable that those who testified to these things were deceived or exaggerated, or that those who received the original accounts added to them, than that they should have happened. But when those who make the record convey to us ancient prophecies attested and still preserved by the Jews and fulfilled in the character and works of Christ; the account of his rejection and crucifixion by the Jews; the Sermon on the Mount; the parable of the prodigal son; the Golden Rule; the sublime and spiritual doctrines taught by Christ; and the picture of a life and of a death scene that have no parallel in human history or fiction, and declare that he who taught these things did such and such mighty works before us, we saw them and were convinced by the miracles that he did, "that he was a teacher come from God," it is no longer a question simply of believing things not included in the laws of nature. When these doctrines are applied to men's own needs and lives, they prove their divine origin by the radical and permanent changes which they make in character. Then the subjects of these changes accept the truthfulness of the record of miracles in a remote past which they cannot now test upon the authority of the spiritual truths which they are capable of subjecting to the test of practical experience.
Some allege that even the apostles could not restore limbs that had been cut off, or that had been wanting from birth. The record shows that the apostles made no distinction in cases. Ananias prayed for Paul, and "straightway there fell from his eyes as it had been scales." When Tabitha lay dead, Peter, after prayer, "turning to the body said, 'Tabitha, arise,'" and he " presented her alive." The chains fell off Peter in the prison, and " the iron gate opened for him and the angel of its own accord." As Peter had, in the first miracle after Pentecost, given strength to a man who had been lame from his mother's womb, so Paul, seeing a man at Lystra, "a cripple from his mother's womb who had never walked," said, " with a loud voice, 'Stand upright on thy feet,' and he leaped up and walked." They cast out devils wherever it was necessary, and when Eutychus fell from the third story, and " was taken up dead," Paul restored him to life again. On the island of Melita, a viper hung upon the hand of Paul, and " when the barbarians saw the beast hanging from his hand, they said one to another, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped from the sea, yet justice hath not suffered to live"; but when they remained long in expectation and beheld nothing amiss come to him, they changed their minds and said he was a "god." We are informed that after that the diseases of the entire population of the island were healed.