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Chapter Four - The First Author
IN 1883, Mr.
Quimby received as a patient one who was to accomplish a very important
work in the promulgation of the new theory and practice of healing. This
was Rev. Warren Felt Evans, of Claremont, New Hampshire. Mr. Evans had
been in poor health for several years, having suffered from a nervous breakdown
coupled with a chronic disorder that had failed to respond to the methods
of treatment then in vogue. Having heard of Mr. Quimby's remarkable cures,
he visited Portland on two occasions to receive treatment by the new method.
His expectations were more than realized. Mr., Evans was not only healed
of his maladies, but became so deeply impressed by the practice and teachings
of the new therapeutist that he studied the new method and later began
to apply it, having first developed the implied philosophy in his own terms.
The turning-point came one day while in conversation with Mr. Quimby. Mr.
Evans remarked that he believed he could cure by the same method and Mr.
Quimby encouraged him to think that he could. Accordingly, Mr. Evans made
the venture as soon as opportunity offered, after his return home, and
the first attempts were so successful that the way opened for him to devote
the remainder of his life to authorship and the healing of the sick.
Mr. Evans, who was born in
1817 and died in 1889, was by profession a clergyman until this great change
came into his life. He belonged to the New Church, and he appears to have
been an average exponent of Swedenborg's teachings, so far as one may judge
by his writings, for example, The New Age and its Messenger, 1864,
published after he visited Mr. Quimby, but surely written before, since
it gives no evidence of any change of view. Mr. Evans was also well acquainted
with philosophical idealism. He possessed the ability to grasp fundamental
principles and think them out for himself. He had all the essentials, so
far as spiritual principles were concerned; for the devotee of Swedenborg
has a direct clue to the application of spiritual philosophy to life. What
Mr. Evans lacked was the new impetus, to put two and two together. He lacked
the method by which to apply his idealism and his theology to health. Mr.
Quimby gave him this impetus. He possessed the method. Mr. Evans with ready
perception saw the connection and was quick in his discernment of the values
of the new practice.
Mr., Evans had given little
evidence of originality in his earlier writings, since his chief interest
was to spread knowledge of Swedenborg's doctrines. But in his first book
on spiritual healing, or "mental science," as he sometimes called it, he
branched out in a freer style of thought and undertook to win attention
for the new views without at first indicating their origin. In his second
book, however, Mental Medicine, Boston, 1872, he ventures to use
the phraseology he had acquired from Mr. Quimby and to mention the pioneer
therapeutist by name. He Says:
"Disease being in its root
a wrong belief, change that belief and we cure the disease. By faith we
are thus made whole. There is a law here the world will sometime understand
and use in the cure of the diseases that afflict mankind. The late Dr.
Quimby, one of the most successful healers of this or any age, embraced
this view of the nature of disease, and by a long succession of most remarkable
cures proved the truth of the theory and the efficiency of that mode of
treatment. Had he lived in a remote age or country, the wonderful facts
which occurred in his practice would have been deemed either mythical or
miraculous. He seemed to reproduce the wonders of the Gospel history."
Rev. W. J. Leonard, in The
Pioneer Apostle of Mental Science, Boston, 1903, says that one who
knew Mr. Evans intimately "reiterates this sentiment in a letter to the
writer . . . in the following words: 'In his estimation, Dr. Quimby was
the highest authority in the science of healing, and a man of noble character
and purest aims, which Dr. Evans believed were indispensably necessary
to bring one into the perfect peace and the harmony with the Divine Life
required to teach or heal the sick and suffering with success.' Not only
was Dr. Evans fair enough to honor his master in the science, but, with
the humility and modesty of the truly great soul, he made no attempt to
claim that the truths he presented were absolutely new."
It is interesting also to
read the testimony of one who knew both Mr. Quimby and Dr. Evans, who followed
the latter's work with great interest, doing what was possible to make
his books known in the world. In The True History of Mental Science,
Mr. Julius A. Dresser says: "Dr. Evans obtained this knowledge of Quimby
mainly when he visited him as a patient, making two visits for that purpose
about the year 1883, an interesting account of which I received from him
at East Salisbury in the year 1876. Dr. Evans had been a clergyman up to
the year 1863, and was then located in Claremont, N. H. But so readily
did he understand the explanations of Quimby, which his Swedenborgian faith
enabled him to grasp the more quickly, that he told Quimby at the second
interview that he thought he could himself cure in this way."
Mr. Evans' first book, The
Mental Cure, Boston, 1869, is important for our purposes for several
reasons. It was the first volume issued in our country on this subject.
It was soon widely read in this country and Europe, where it was translated
into several languages. It gave extensive publicity to the new ideas for
the first time. It contains something like a demonstration of the truth
of the principles for which it pleads, that is, by reference to facts and
sound inferences based on facts; and it is still superior for this reason
to most of the New Thought literature of today. More significant still,
perhaps, from a historical point of view, is the evidence it gives of a
transitional point of view. For while the author branches out freely and
expounds Swedenborg's views in his own fashion, he is still largely dependent
on the teachings of the Swedish seer and his interpretation is more sound.
In Mental Medicine, 1872, and Soul and Body, 1875, all published
before Science and Health, by Mrs. Eddy, Evans develops the same
views in a supplementary way. But in the volume ordinarily referred to
as his best book and the one which had most to do with giving shape to
the New Thought, The Divine Law of Cure, 1881, Mr. Evans shows that
he has been reading the philosophical idealists, and that he has changed
his views to some extent, as we shall presently see.
Turning to The Mental
Cure, we find him making liberal use of the teachings of Swedenborg
concerning the influx of the divine life into the human soul, the theory
of the relationship of mind and body, the correspondence of all things
natural with all things spiritual, and the conception of causality as essentially
spiritual. He does not draw upon the theological doctrines so much as on
those which may be called in general spiritual. Adopting Swedenborg's psychology,
he endeavors to verify this in his own way, and to substantiate his argument
for spiritual healing by appeal to well-known physical facts and the principles
We may summarize Mr. Evans
theory as put forth in this volume as follows: The starting-point of all
reason is with the idea of God, regarded as the source of all life in the
universe and in the soul of man. The true science or philosophy would give
us a complete view of things in the light of their causes, their relationship
to and dependence on God. Man, created a form recipient of the divine life,
is in inmost essence divine, and this divinity within him remains untainted
whatever the vicissitudes through which man passes. In short, there is
an inextinguishable divine spark which may be fanned into flame, despite
all appearances to the contrary.
In actuality, however, man
is very far from recognition of this his divine birthright and interior
privilege. There is a blinded or disordered activity of the mind in its
outward form. There is an antagonism between the inmost essence and the
selfhood of man as commonly regarded. Hence the mental and physical unhappiness
and misery through which man passes. Hence the need of distinguishing between
human nature as it was designed to be, as it ever is in the ideal sense
of the word; and human nature in a state of moral, intellectual and physical
Very much depends, therefore,
upon our knowledge of and insight into the human self in relation to God.
The starting-point, always should be with the inner man, the spirit or
soul. The life of the soul is received by influx from God, the source of
all our life. All men are incarnations of the divine. "In all men the Divinity
becomes finitely human." The soul receives its form from the divine spirit
within. It is in the human form, yet the significance of this form is that
it is made in the image and likeness of God. The mind is not then formless
and insubstantial, as we sometimes say in our Ignorance; but it consists
of real substance, that is, spiritual substance, and is definitely formed
according to the divine ideal. Nor is the mind confined to the brain, or
limited in form by the brain's substance and activity. The mind pervades
and is interfused throughout the body, and is coextensive with the physical
organism. It thrills in every nerve and pervades every fibre. In brief,
the body corresponds or answers to the spirit, and changes brought about
in the spirit manifest themselves in the bodily organism; since mind or
spirit is a higher, diviner force "approaching many degrees nearer the
Central Life." We also see how this intimate relationship between soul
and body is possible when we remember that matter with all its properties
is merely a modification of force, and that all causality operating in
physical force is spiritual in the last analysis.
Within the spirit itself
there are orders and degrees. The spiritual degree, that is, our inmost
nature, may and ought to control the natural degree, hence the animal instincts,
the bodily activities which foster man's best estate. The spirit is endowed
with both will and understanding. The understanding is recipient of the
divine wisdom, the will receives the divine love. Thus love in us is central,
fundamental. Love is our very life. When we act from love we act from the
divine life in us. Love in this the higher or interior sense of the word
is the "moving force of soul and body," the "hidden spring that moves life's
machinery." The divine love within us may become "our fountain of health."
If there is harmony between the will and the understanding, unity in the
inner life, there is spiritual health, and if spiritual health then bodily
health. Disease, in essence mental, not physical, is due to loss of balance
between the understanding and the will, between the intellectual and affectional
departments of our nature. In saying all this, Mr. Evans is adapting Swedenborg's
psychology so as to find sure place for the truths concerning disease and
its cure which he has learned from Mr. Quimby.
Tracing out the discord between
the will and the understanding which underlies disease, Mr. Evans further
says that disease arises from some false idea which has become too prominent,
some feeling that is inordinate or uppermost in such a way that conflict
results and the body responds. To restore the balance is to cure the soul,
hence the body. As every mental condition records itself in the body, when
the state of mind is changed the bodily correspondence manifests it. In
developing this view of the relationship of the soul to the body, Mr. Evans
makes use of Swedenborg's teaching in regard to the spiritual body, which
he interprets as the "seat of all sensation," agreeing with Quimby that
the physical body in itself is destitute of feeling and intelligence.
Otherwise stated, sensation
belongs, not to the bodily organs in which we seem to feel it, but to our
"inner nature." The "inner form is the prior seat of all diseased disturbance
in the body." Disease so-called is only an outward or visible effect of
the inner disturbance. The symptoms are not the disease. The body is incapable
of generating a disease by itself. Nor is disease an entity or force that
seizes us from without. We cannot interpret the bodily condition correctly
unless we see in it an outward expression of the inner state to which it
Mr. Evans finds expression
for Quimby's teaching that every one gives off a "mental atmosphere" which
discloses the inner condition by adopting Swedenborg's view of "spiritual
spheres." "This doctrine of spiritual spheres," he says, "is of great importance
in mental philosophy, but has been almost wholly ignored. In the system
of Swedenborg it has been given that prominence that belongs to it. Every
angel, every spirit, every man, is surrounded by a spiritual sphere of
affection and thought, or radiant circles of an emanating force, within
which he imparts--often silently and unintentionally--his own feelings
and ideas. . . . There are persons who exert a secret but powerful influence
over those who come in contact with the sphere of their inner nature. This
influence is good or bad, happy or depressing, elevating or degrading,
according to the confirmed affectional state or ruling love of him from
whom it proceeds. For it is to be borne in mind, that it goes forth primarily
from the love which constitutes the soul life. If the mental state be joy
or melancholy, gladness or sorrow, contentment or impatience, faith or
fear, it affects others with a like feeling, in a degree proportioned to
their impressibility. In this way the mind propagates its own prevailing
condition, and all our mental states are contagious."
This is an intelligible statement
of a point essential to Quimby's theory. If we were to take Quimby's statement
that "disease is an error of mind" literally, it would doubtless seem absurd;
for obviously we have not consciously thought ourselves into disease. But
in Quimby's view we are unaware of the effect of our beliefs because ignorant
of our whole deeper nature, that is, our impressibility, the growth of
ideas within our minds, the influence of the mind on the body through the
intermediate substance, the subtle influence of one mind on another through
mental atmospheres, the power of the spirit to see through and master disturbing
mental states by realizing the greater reality of man's true nature. If
the later devotees of mental healing had taken account of all the factors
noted by Quimby and explained so clearly by Evans in this his first statement
of it, they would have inquired into the nature of spiritual influx and
correspondence and would have adopted an essentially spiritual view of
the whole field. Instead of a new "thought," instead of almost exclusive
emphasis on suggestion or affirmation, we might have had a new spiritual
philosophy embracing the larger truth of the new age.
Mr. Evans develops the idea
of a spiritual cure by pointing out that as disease of body is caused by
disordered and morbid states of the spiritual life, so by inducing the
opposite states disease can be overcome. What is needed in the first place
is the power, such as Quimby possessed, "intuitively to detect the morbid
state of the mind underlying the disease," and to see how to "convert the
patient to a more healthful inner life." All disease in origin is an insanity.
Its cure is the attainment of sanity. The problem is to know how to induce
any desired mental state. Mr. Evans does not claim that this can be done
by the human self alone. He does not put the emphasis on finite thought,
or what would now be called "suggestion." The true order of life, he assures
us, is that in which our hearts are open to "receive the influx of the
divine and heavenly life," with a desire "to impart the good, with which
we are blessed, to all who are willing to receive it. Such . . . is the
normal state of every soul. It is evident we can never attain to the highest
well-being of either soul or body, until we come into the divine order
of our existence, and employ the activity with which we are endowed, according
to the laws of the celestial life."
The central difficulty with
us is that the divine impulse within us is "perverted in its action, our
love terminates in self, and we become the centre of our universe." Selfishness
then is the primary trouble, "the fruitful root of more moral and physical
evil and unhappiness, than any other cause. . . . Disease is only a state
of supreme selfishness." Even insanity, especially in the form of melancholia,
is selfishness in its origin. Sexual emotion is another cause. In such
emotion, when perverted, is the "root of more diseases of body and mind
than can be traced to any other source. The sexual and conjugal love is
most intimately connected with the inmost life of the spirit, and is the
fountain of more unhappiness or misery than originates with any other affection,
according as it is properly controlled or left to a disorderly activity
In thus tracing matters to
their fountain-source, taking his clue from Swedenborg, Mr. Evans anticipates
Freud and his school by more than a generation. Freud has traced many if
not most nervous disorders to repressions of the love-nature. Hence he
places fundamental emphasis on the sexual instinct. But his view is purely
psychological. It is developed out of the cruder facts of the inner life,
arrived at through the interpretation of dreams. Mr. Evans gives us the
whole context of the love-nature and shows its high origin on the spiritual
side. From his point of view there could be no merely mental cure. The
true cure would be, as Quimby had shown, in the discovery of our real inner
nature as recipient of the divine life.
The theory of an essentially
spiritual cure starts with the principle that there is but one source of
life, that life emanates from this one living centre, from God, and is
communicated to all, is communicable to others through us. The remedy for
all our ills is at hand. "Make the heart of something outside your own
being to leap for joy. Attune your soul in harmony with the Divine Life.
Live to love, and then you will delight to live; and health will glow and
thrill in every organic structure. Find someone whose condition is unhappily
like your own. Lift up your hand and your heart, and pull down a blessing
upon his head. . . . Be, like Jesus, everyone's friend. Seek to make everybody
and everything happy. . . . Get well by curing others. Impart life, communicate
from your own stock of vital force to others, and life from God. . . ."
Faith is an important element
in the cure. It is a "spiritual force that has accomplished wonders. .
. . an actual psychological or spiritual force. To believe that we can
do a thing, especially if that faith is the result of an understanding
of nature's laws, empowers us to do it. To believe that we are well, or
that we are going to become so, excites a spiritual force within us that
goes far towards making us so. . . . The lack of faith is the loss of one
of the essential elements of a sound mental state, which underlies, as
a foundation, a healthy bodily condition. In the . . . healer it is a positive
mental force, in the patient a receptive mental state." Fear is its opposite,
and produces equally striking effects in the generation of diseased conditions
of the body. The healer should induce the spiritual state which drives
out fear, should establish as a permanent possession the state which is
the opposite of that causing the disease. The greatest motive power in
this inducing of the desirable spiritual state is love, which sets the
spiritual forces within us in operation. "Just as far as any one receives
into himself the pure unselfish love of God--a love that in him is an irrepressible
desire to communicate good--so far there is in him a power to impart life
and health and peace to others."
Agreeing with Quimby, Mr.
Evans finds the same method taught in the New Testament. "When," he says,
"we assert that life is communicable . . . we occupy undisputed ground.
It was in harmony with this recognized law of our being that Jesus cured
diseased humanity. He laid down his life for men--an expression that has
no reference to his death . . . Jesus healed . . . first the mind, then
the body. He removed the spiritual cause of disease, and the physical effect
ceased. He carried his sanative influence into both departments of our
being, the inner and the outer. This was none by the law of sympathy--a
law of the mind that means more than the world has ever understood. By
it one mind transmits its states of feeling and modes of thought to another.
. . . Jesus thus imparted to the sick and wretched the calm happiness of
his own loving and gentle heart. . . . In this way Christ carried his healing
power into the realm of spiritual causes. He addressed himself as a
spirit to the spirit of the patient."
Here we have the heart of
the spiritual method as developed by Mr. Quimby. To address oneself as
a spirit to another spirit is far more than merely to transfer thought
or feeling to another. The element of feeling is a factor. Hence the strong
emphasis which Mr. Evans puts upon sympathy. The intellectual element is
also a factor, and Mr. Evans shows that there is a "sanative power in words,"
for example, in the affirmation, "I am strong," in such statements as,
"Go in peace; Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee; Be it unto
thee according to thy faith." Here we find the factor which the New Thought
people have made so much of since the days of writers like Henry Wood.
But Evans always shows the superiority of the love-element, the divine
influx into the heart. The right directing of the will seems to him more
important than the use of such an affirmation as "I am strong." For he
sees clearly that the disease springs from the inner life in general, not
from mere belief; hence the cure must touch the whole spirit. To address
oneself as a spirit to the spirit of the patient is indeed to rise to our
highest privilege as a human being.
In the preface to his Divine
Law of Cure, 1881, Mr. Evans gives the clue to this his best known
book as follows: "Idealism, which has always had strong hold upon the deepest
thinkers of the world from Plato downward, is again coming into prominence
. . . The system of Berkeley is undergoing a resurrection, and, in connection
with the spiritual philosophy of Swedenborg, will have more influence than
ever in shaping the metaphysical systems of the future, and in giving direction
to the current of human thought. The present volume of the author is an
attempt to construct a theoretical and practical system of phrenopathy,
or mental-cure, on the basis of the idealistic philosophy of Berkeley,
Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. Its fundamental doctrine is that to think
and to exist are one and the same, and that every disease is the translation
into a bodily expression of a fixed idea of the mind and a morbid way of
thinking. if by any therapeutic device you remove the morbid idea, which
is the spiritual image after the likeness of which the body is formed,
you cure the malady. The work lays no claim to originality except in the
practical application of idealism to the cure of the diseases of mind and
body. It is the culmination of a life-long study of human nature, and to
which the previous volumes of the author may be viewed as introductory."
Mr. Evans plainly believed
that this was his chief book. Whatever opinion we may hold concerning the
change from his first book to this one, we must chronicle the fact that
it was this applied idealism with its proposition that "to think and exist
are one and the same" which has had great influence in the mental-healing
movement. We here find Mr. Evans saying less about the larger view of man's
spiritual nature, with its emphasis on will and the prevailing love or
affection, and employing the terms which his later studies in idealism
led him to adopt. Probably he did not intend to give up the spiritual in
favor of the intellectual view. His practical method was surely as effective
as before. By implication the term "thought" as he now uses it is as rich
as the former terms, and when he now uses the term "mind" we may doubt
whether he has given up the idea of the spirit which was central in the
teaching of his first book. But unluckily everybody is influenced by language,
and, unless we are extremely explicit, people fail to see that we mean
something "spiritual" when we use psychological terms. Hence we note that
the terminology of this book has sometimes been more influential than its
spirit. This is an important point for our history.
Neglecting his former emphasis
on the human spirit as recipient of power and life from the spiritual world,
Mr. Evans now says, "Mind is the only active power in the universe . .
. Mind is the only causal agent in the realm of matter, and certainly in
the human body . . . As the body is the creation of the mind, and is always
its ultimation or outward expression, a chronic disease is the fixedness
of a thought, the petrifaction of a morbid idea. Thoughts or ideas are
the most real things in the universe. They are the interior soul of things,
and the underlying reality of all outward and visible objects. . . . The
mind is the real man, and its thoughts act on the body as a spiritual poison,
or as a mental medicine, for health and disease, in their spiritual essence,
may be resolved into modes of thinking. A man is well so long as he thinks,
feels. and believes himself so, for to be sick and not know it is all
the same as not to be sick."
This is meant to be a profound
doctrine, not the superficial one which it sometimes led to on the part
of devotees of mental healing not so well-read as Mr. Evans was in the
literature of idealism. When he says that "thought is a creative power," he does not intend to take anything from the thought of God as
Creator, he is not exalting the finite ego. He has in mind what he elsewhere
in this book calls the "preconscious," the term which he prefers to the
"unconscious." By this he means "intelligent mental action beyond the range
of the external consciousness," our latent thought and intelligence.' He
speaks of thought as the "grand characteristic of man," as belonging to
the essence of the soul. He does not neglect what he has previously written
about love as "the life of man," as Swedenborg affirms; but is more inclined
to emphasize thought as "the existence or outward manifestation, of that
vital element or principle." He regards the duality of the life of love
as dependent on the character of man's thoughts. He interprets the self-determining
power which we call free will to be "thought" in its essence. Hence everything
depends for him upon man's power to turn his thoughts into another direction.
Here Mr. Evans approaches the more recent psychological emphasis on attention as the determining factor in our mental life.
Having restated the entire
theory of the origin and nature of disease with the term "thought" as central,
Mr. Evans proceeds to a restatement of the mental cure. He bases his proposition
that there is a "healing power of thought" on "the Hegelian principle that
thought is a creative force." It is a "fundamental idea of Hegel's philosophy,"
he tells us, "that everything in its last analysis, or when we come to
its inmost reality, is only a thought. What we call the external
world and the human body, which is a part of it, are the thought of God,
and we come to know them only so far as we think of them. They are revealed
to us by the same power that creates them. Disease, like every other thing, is created, or, at least has an existence only by thought. In
the phrenopathic method of cure, it is a fundamental principle that thought
is the ground of all reality."
One might neglect the bodily
conditions of disease and almost come to believe that nothing exists save
when we are thinking about it, if one were to take too seriously Evans'
statement that a "thing, a world, a disease, comes into our consciousness
only when we think of it." He seems to forget for the moment that our thinking
about it has nothing to do with the existence of the world, that our consciousness
is for the most part involuntary, and that nothing ceases to exist when
we cease to think about it. If to "bring disease into the realm of unconsciousness"
be all that we need do to make it "unreal," it would indeed be a simple
matter to banish all disease from the world.
Mr. Evans had offered a really
fundamental view of disease in his first book, by tracing it to selfishness
and showing that its cure means spiritual regeneration. He does not now
speak of healing as the operation of one spirit on another by drawing upon
the inflowing life from the spiritual world. He still puts the emphasis
on the divine mind, and by this he means the Spirit in all its fulness.
But he speaks of the mind of the patient as a "clean slate on which our
thoughts may be written," and says that what "we imagine, and believe,
and think, will be transferred" to the patient; and so he tends to give
prominence to the intellectual factors of the silent treatment.
It would be easy for the superficial reader to seize upon "thought" as
the dominant factor and overlook the spiritual meanings which Mr. Evans
had previously given to the term.
In this volume as in his
earlier books, Mr. Evans frequently quotes from Swedenborg, attributing
to him the doctrine that "man is so made that he can apply life to himself
from the Lord." He says that Swedenborg viewed the external world as the
ultimation of the spiritual universe. He also makes use of Swedenborg's
teaching in regard to spiritual influx and correspondence. But when he
couples the name of Swedenborg with idealism, as he understands it, and
says that "all time and space, as Kant and Swedenborg affirm, are in ourselves--that is, within the enclosure of our spiritual being"; when
he attributes our experience of space to "the space-creating power of the
soul," Evans is reading subjective idealism into Swedenborg and throwing
his readers upon the wrong track. He declares that "all the objects of
nature are phenomena or appearances, as Hegel, Fichte, Berkeley,
Swedenborg, and all the idealists affirm." He has been reading the idealists
so much of late that he forgets his Swedenborg, who surely never taught
that "all outward things are but the exteriorization of ideas." Nor did
Swedenborg teach that "thought is the primal force and the greatest power
in the world." He did not identify existence with thought, but characterized
God as the "divine love and the divine wisdom," teaching that there are
two powers in man recipient of these, the will and the understanding (the
intellect). As thus recipient of life from God, man is primarily a spirit,
spirit is substantial, and the body corresponds to the spirit. Swedenborg
was not, properly speaking, an idealist, if by the term "idealism" we have
in mind the idealism of Fichte and Hegel. Swedenborg's works lead the reader
into the objectivism of our true relationship in the spiritual world. They
put the emphasis on love, hence on conduct, and avoid over-emphasis on
The distinction is important.
For if, taking seriously Evans's declaration that to think and exist are
one and the same, we follow his theory of disease and its cure, we are
likely to acquire a psychology without a body, we are apt to think too
lightly of the natural world and to make the road to salvation appear easier
than it is. To see that for the time being Evans is interested in the theoretical
and on the whole impractical idealism of Fichte, is to realize that he
is temporarily neglecting the spiritual philosophy of Swedenborg with the
clue to Quimby's teaching it gave him in the early years. There was really
no reason to "attempt to construct a theoretical and practical system of
phrenopathy, or mental-cure, on the basis of the idealistic philosophy."
Mr. Evans already possessed a better philosophy. He did not improve either
his terminology or his practical method by the change. What he did do was
to mark out the way of thinking which devotees of mental healing in the
mental-science period followed by emphasizing thought as "creative," as
the greatest force in the world. The universe became less substantial for
the mental healer as a result. The mental doctrine became the popular one.
The profounder view of the spiritual life of Mr. Evans's first book was
for the most part neglected. Readers of Mrs. Eddy's Science and Health found a somewhat similar interpretation of the idealism of Berkeley
in her writings. Thus in the mental-science period preceding what is now
known as the New Thought, both those who began with Evans and those who
started with Mrs. Eddy arrived at much the same conclusion; the universe
lost for them a part of its reality, and the process of working back to
the profounder view was made difficult.
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