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Chapter Sixteen - Instantaneous Healing
MANY years ago Dr. Quimby
remarked that the time would come when people would once more be healed
by word of mouth as in the case of the remarkable healings wrought by Jesus
and the apostles. How is such healing possible and when may we expect "the
greater works" promised by the Master?
At first thought the prospect
of instantaneous healing seems incredible if not utterly impossible. This
is probably the reason which led devotees of the church to classify scriptural
healing as miraculous. Apparently there is no way by which a person can
suddenly be lifted from a well-nigh hopeless state of disease, especially
if it comes on gradually out of cumulative causes; for we know that time
is required for recovery in case of diseases of long standing. There seems
to be no way of ridding the human system of its disorders except through
a regular series of changes.
If, however, we examine the
scriptural record to learn what we can about the works of healing, we find
that there is a certain resemblance in the several instances which affords
us a clue. So far as the record informs us the works of healing were wrought
among the "common people," who heard the Master gladly. Such
people, we know from acquaintance with them today, have greater emotional
responsiveness, greater powers of self-abandonment, than the socially elect
and the learned possess. These come by their maladies more quickly, and
whatever they yield they let go of more readily. They are, therefore, able
to give themselves with more implicit faith to any power or any person
inspiring faith. It is wholly credible that people of this responsive type
should so have given themselves in faith to the Master as to have been
made suddenly "whole."
Such healing would, let us say,
lift the spirit of the sometime sufferer to a higher level of consciousness
with such power, with such an impetus that a new mode of life would result,
as in the case of those remarkable conversions which still occur from time
to time through missionary work in the slums of a great city. This changed
centre of equilibrium would bring its attendant consequences and make the
cure complete so far as it could be wrought by another. The subsequent
results would depend upon the intelligence of the individual in living
the new mode of life thoughtfully.
From the point of view of
the therapeutist, instantaneous healing would result from penetrating insight
into the real state of soul, the true inner life of the patient. This insight
would be accompanied by power to make it good. The keener the insight,
the more sharp would be the separation made through the Christ-consciousness
between the spirit of the patient and his former malady. The patient would
not only receive the benefit of the display of healing power, but hear
such a thrilling word as "Thy faith hath made thee whole," "Take
up thy bed and walk." The Christ would both act and speak "as
one having authority."
Dr. Quimby used to say that
"the explanation is the cure." By this he meant the penetrating
truth which struck home and touched the real cause of disease, whatever
appearances might be. Strictly speaking, the cure was wrought by that insight,
and if the patient grasped it, the cure was immediate, so far as the inner
life was concerned. For we either see a thing or we do not. What
leads up to it is preliminary. When the insight really comes, nothing more
need be said. Hence Quimby very suddenly and convincingly spoke to some
of his patients that illuminating word which carried the most far-reaching
results, results affecting not only the health but the religion, business,
mode of life and happiness of the patient. With the growth of this power
of discernment, Quimby found himself able to speak the healing word more
effectively. Hence, he foresaw the time when the clarifying word would
itself be sufficient.
We have all on occasion made
inner changes as quickly as that. For example, a man sees that he has been
a fool, and in detecting his folly grasps in an instant the cause of much
trouble and as quickly drops his trouble with all its side issues. A person
realizes in a flash that he has been duped and in the same flash utterly
changes his attitude toward the people and things involved. Thus in a moment
of electrifying self-consciousness, a young person who has been infatuated
realizes his predicament. The "affair" is all over at once. There
is nothing more to say. It would be utterly out of the question to pretend
to love the other partner to the experience. As quickly, also, a commercial
deal may come to an end.
Granted truth-seeking and truth-telling
people enough in the world, people would be taken out of their hypocrisies
and pretensions right and left. Nothing is so swift in its effect as truth.
The only difficulty in the world in this regard is that truth is not welcome.
If we encouraged the man of insight, it would become customary for people
to cure one another of their errors and conceits, to say nothing of what
are called their "sins."
We may expect the greater works
promised by the Master when people more seriously adopt the healing principle
which goes straight to the heart, down to the very foundation of human
life. As of old, those who are responsive in type will give themselves
most readily to such healing. But there is hope for us all. Ideally speaking,
it is possible that a word should be spoken to any one of us which would
take us immediately out of our darkness. When we see the light, the rest
Many of the instances of spontaneous
healing of which we hear from time to time are instantaneous in type. A
bedridden invalid may suddenly do the impossible when a threatening fire
breaks out and there is no one at hand to help. This happened in the case
of one who rose from her bed, packed her trunk and dragged it down four
flights of stairs to a place of safety, suffering no relapse. It sometimes
happens when a physician or some member of the family despairingly resorts
to a trick in order to arouse the bedridden creatures of habits to help
themselves. If a shock may kill, a shock can also cure. What some people
need is the equivalent of a shock.
But spiritual healing will become
more intelligent as we proceed, and it will no longer be necessary to shock
people into activity. That is to say, the sick and the sorrowing will be
more quickly restored if they so will. There are always people who refuse
to look at the truth as long as they are able to be evasive. Many could
be cured quickly enough now if they wished to be. But people either avoid
the effort or the direct view which discloses their inward self in all
the actuality of concealed motives and intentions.
Death is probably an instantaneous
healing for many people, or rather the process of coming to judgment which
follows it when there is no longer any way to hide from oneself. Some of
us would prefer to look reality straight in the eye here and now. There
is marvelous help, there are unbounded resources for those who are ready
to give themselves in full confidence to the Spirit. We might even be raised
suddenly from a state of "spiritual death" into one of hearty
responsiveness to the Life whose resources are infinite. It is not a question
of the length of time the soul has lain in the tomb of carnal consciousness,
but of the summoning power of the Christ. "Lazarus, come forth,"
"Maiden, I say unto thee, arise!" is the great word.
Someone has said that the only
healing is self-healing. This is true if by such healing we mean the dawning
in our own consciousness of the truth which has set us free, the awareness
Life to which we owe our restoration.
So, too, a conversion or any other spiritual change becomes truly ours
when we see it, and, touched to the quick, will to make the new life our
In a more profound sense, it
might be said that the only genuine healing is the cure of our selfishness.
Other healings are introductory. It is surely within our power to turn
abruptly from our selfishness within a single day, in an hour, a moment.
We do not even need to wait for a quickening vision like that which came
to Saul on the road to Damascus and made him, by his consent, Paul, the
greatest of apostles; for we have much more enlightenment now. The world
now sees with crystal clearness that selfishness is the one great trouble.
Then, too, there are countless aids at hand if one wills to become unselfish.
We need not stop to plead, to ask for reasons and await results. As suddenly
as an apparently obscure private may become a hero at the front by venturing
to do the brave deed at which his comrades hesitate, so any one of us might
step forth a new man; for either "we have the mind of Christ"
or this transfiguring mind is close at hand in the person of someone who
will manifest it in our presence. The response made to us by the Christ
is never limited. "Be thou made clean." "According to thy
faith be it unto thee."
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