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There is a large notion abroad that science and faith-healing are opposed; but, in fact, the issue between the "mind-healer" and the medical profession has no more bearing upon the salvation of the body offered by Christ than the quarrel between the Church and Galileo had upon the revolutions of the solar system. The doctrine that medicine and surgery are injurious is not any part of the gospel. Hygiene and medicine must bear to the salvation of the body the same relation that all education in right living, and the machinery of law and justice, bear to the salvation of the soul. Thus, every Christian believes that sudden moral reformation of character is, by God's grace, possible and desirable; but he believes also that every help to virtue is at the same time necessary to the community. There is no antagonism between the two methods; nay more, they are recognised as complementary, God working in and through every agency for moral health as truly as in his more rapid work on more receptive souls. 226
chap, v FAITH A D THE DOCTORS 227 If the most spiritually minded priests or mission preachers of our own day were to undertake the uplifting of some degraded district, they would believe and teach that God could and would make a sudden reformation possible to the most degraded man if he had the spiritual insight requisite to conversion. But, no doubt, at the same time a great part of their activity would be directed to the establishment of institutions for the prevention and more gradual cure of moral failure. The
spiritual director, the schoolmaster, the gymnast, the librarian, the policeman, the judge, the master of the reformatory, the jailer, would have their place in the scheme of reformation. They would be necessary, because the kingdom of God does not come suddenly to a whole community. It spreads like leaven, grows like a plant. It requires human instruments for its establishment and culture. These agents, as far as they educate and help forward what is good, would be helpful even in the lives of those men most suddenly and most soundly converted; and in so far as they are required to cure or suppress moral disorder, they would be necessary because conversion depends upon a degree of spiritual insight which every man does not, perhaps cannot, exercise. From the Gospels we gather that bodily welfare likewise comes in both these ways. Whether we can fit it into our theories or not, the fact remains that human nature does not, except in a few instances, avail itself of the best opportunities that offer. People often prefer practically to refuse both God's direct and indirect ways of giving
22 8 GOD'S CITADEL O EARTH health. Man is like a household dog that for the most part prefers the neighbour's garbage tub to the most delicate morsels in the supplies of his master's loving providence. We are told that when Jesus lived on earth he healed all who came or were brought to him ; but no one has ever dreamed that all the sick in Palestine came to him. We need to pause long in thought over that simple statement of St. Mark that he could do no mighty work in his own district; and the limitation was not in him ! If we take his works of healing, of which the details are given us, we find every degree between the word spoken at a distance from the patient to some intercessor full of faith, and a somewhat elaborate process of visible means. For this one the Master's presence is enough, for another his touch, for another merely the touch of his garment. From some the
burden of sins must first be removed by forgiveness, while others require the caution, "Sin no more lest a worse thing come upon thee." Is it not evident that even here, where so many received health suddenly, there could have been no sudden raising of the standard of national health ? Further, there is no clash between the Master's method and such methods of healing as were then in vogue. Jesus did not denounce other physicians ; on the contrary, he said that whatever good was done was by God's power. The physician then and now had no reason to find fault. Can we suppose that the "many physicians" who had tried and failed to heal a poor woman, could have been so wicked as to refuse to be glad when she
chap, v FAITH A D THE DOCTORS 229 obtained health by approaching the Christ ? ay, if at the beginning she could have got it in that way, would they have been so ruthless as to desire that she should suffer many things at their hands, and waste her substance, before she appealed to him ? Certainly our brothers of the medical profession to-day are incapable of such cruelty. They do not, most of them, believe that the sick can obtain health by spiritual contact with Jesus Christ, but they can have no objection to the experiment, and its success must rejoice every physician worthy of the name. They may fear precious time being lost in a futile experiment; but we have no reason to suppose that the operation of faith and the healing grace of God requires time on the divine side; and for every man its reception must be by the grace of faith, which ought not to cover long periods of indecision. The cases are very few where medical aid and the exercise of faith need be even for a day in opposition. If they are, it is faith that is at fault, not science. Every physician, however uncertain he may be in all matters of faith, is quite certain that he can only accomplish anything by co-operation with what he calls "nature" or "vitality." All that he
can do is to evoke, encourage, and strengthen this vital force. This has been a commonplace of all schools of medicine since they existed. More recent, but now as clearly acknowledged, is the power of certain conscious mental tendencies to help in raising the vitality or lowering it, — a cheerful, hopeful, and serene frame of mind; an enthusiastic desire for health; a firm purpose to
230 GOD'S CITADEL O EARTH regain it, — all these are now freely admitted to be the physician's best friends, and in many cases his necessary allies. If religion, by a renewal of faith in God, should bring strong reinforcements to the innate vitality of the body, strong enough to keep the body well, or to restore it without medical aid when it is diseased, or to co-operate swiftly and surely with recognised means, this would be a result that every physician would hail with delight, whether or not he agreed with the religious view of the how and why of the increased vitality. It is a conservative religious sentiment which has made objection to the exercise of faith in regard to health, never the true scientific spirit. What every medical man desires for his patient is life, more abundant life; and he knows far better than a layman the limits of his power — the diseases which he cannot cure, the disabilities which he cannot remove. Faith-healers must be wrong in pronouncing any means that produce health of body or mind to be evil. The principle is clearly laid down by Jesus that evil can never produce good; that wherever an evil thing is cast down, the human agent, whatever his doctrine, is the instrument of the finger of God. There is really no ambiguity in the well-known passage in which our Lord rebuts the charge of Satanic power, not by the slightest counter-charge, but by laying down the principle for all time that good is of God, and of God only. Then, too, even an imperfect acquaintance with the history of religious thought in its connection with the application of a dawning
chap, v FAITH A D THE DOCTORS 231 knowledge of nature to man's welfare ought to make it clear that no line can be drawn between the application of scientific truth to the preservation of health (hygiene), and its application to the restoration of health (medicine and surgery). There is no boundary-line, the two merge; if one is of God so is the other. As a good example of the alliance of science and faith in the promotion of health, we may remember that Christian saints at one time believed in the sanctity of dirt, that when one gleam of scientific light swept away from Christendom the idea that cleanliness was a sinful luxury, and when dirt also came to be regarded as a sign rather of impurity than of purity of soul, and the proverb "Cleanliness is next to godliness " became a possibility, with dirt disappeared from Christian civilisation the more hideous forms of disease. The movement was scientific; the Church assimilated it to her great gain. We conclude that there can be no real opposition between medical science and a salutary power over the body gained by faith in divine healing.
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