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The Body

For of the soule the bodie forme doth take;
For soule is forme, and doth the bodie make.
—Edmund Spenser

The human body is a holy temple. The external sanctuary of the soul, unlike temples made with hands, is built from within. It is the acme of God's material handiwork; the masterpiece of the Divine Architect. The living statue is modeled and shaped with transcendent delicacy, grace, and symmetry. It is a cosmos in miniature; an epitome of the natural universe. Robing, as it does, the offspring of the Infinite, it is hallowed and sanctified. The breath of God has gently swept through its aisles and corridors and dedicated it as His own cathedral. Its walls and towers are built of living stones. Something has been taken from every known substance and blended in beautiful and harmonious proportion to form the finished structure. From its deep recesses the aortal organ sends out its rhythmical energy, which penetrates every highway and byway to the utmost limits. Its drum-beat never tires, and its measured pulsation is unceasing. Five temple gates open outward into highways which extend to the world of form, and through them messages and freights are going and coming in endless succession.

The body is a superlative example of cooperation; a general partnership where each member holds a unique office. It unceasingly works, not so much for itself as for all the others. Each one is an example of altruistic energy and ministry. Every tissue and molecule is on the alert, and its part is promptly and intelligently performed. All are good, for each is divinely perfect, and therefore the various offices of the members are alike honorable. Any seeming dishonor is only an abuse and degradation of that which has received Christly consecration. Says Paul in his letter to the Romans, "Nothing is unclean of itself: save to him that accounteth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean." All God's creations are good, and all impurity exists only in the perverted human consciousness. This beautiful and perfect instrument is the ideal human body, untouched by abnormity.

But turning from the normal and ideal to actualized expression, we find the instrument discordant and unreliable. Instead of exercising sweet ministry, it at length demands to be constantly pampered and indulged. It insists upon much consideration, flattery, and idolizing, and finally mounts the throne as a capricious monarch. It compels homage; refuses to render reasonable cooperation, and, if its sway continues, finally destroys all harmony and revels in discord.

God made man a "living soul," and therefore he is a soul, not has a soul. His body is a temporary material correspondence; a set of instruments for his convenience on the plane of sense. Through their use, the real man—who can never be seen or heard—translates and manifests himself outwardly.

Just behind the seen and material human organism there is a sensuous mind, the most outer and fleshly of the immaterial part, which pertains especially to the body and acts directly upon it. Next within is the intellectual zone, and still deeper, in the innermost, is the spiritual ego, the divine image. This is the Christ-plane, where dwells the perfect humanity. Here should be the throne and abiding-place of the consciousness. When there seated its primal spiritual energy is radiated, and it shines through, controls and harmonizes, the lower planes and expressions. When thus dominated, these inferior domains, in their own order and place, are concordant and symmetrical.

When from ignorance or perversion the human consciousness builds its tabernacle in the outer and inferior planes of its organism, the result is inversion. That which otherwise would be orderly becomes chaotic. This abnormal inward condition finds outward expression in sin, suffering, disease, and all kinds of inharmony. It has reversed the divine order, and the "day of judgment," when the inner tribunal renders its righteous verdict of condemnation, has come. To satisfy this judgment and restore harmony through the resumption of the true and normal ideal, is the aim and object of mental and spiritual science.

Matter is only a form of expression, and has no character or basis of its own. It is "clay in the hands of the potter," never an actor, but only acted upon. It appears, disappears, and reappears only to outwardly articulate different qualities and grades of life. Life, or spirit, is the only intrinsic reality. The physical man is merely the out-picturing of his inner and intrinsic counterpart. The body is a grand composite photograph of previous thinking and mental states. It is "a living epistle known and read of all men." Owing to the great complexity and apparent slowness—by our sensuous measurement—of the printing process on the outer form, its vital relation to the inner type has not been superficially evident. It is quite true that the model has received some early color and bias from heredity, but this does not in any way affect the order of manifestation, which is uniformly from within outward.

If bodily harmony or inharmony be the natural and direct result of the past prevailing quality of thought, it is at once evident that the only normal and scientific healing agency is resident in mentality. No stream can possess purity unless its fountain be pure. There is no exception to the rule that to modify or correct any effect we should address ourselves to the cause. It is also rational and scientific to carefully discriminate between primary and secondary causation. The latter is really not causation at all, but only a link in the chain of orderly sequence. Through the whole cosmos of God, cause and effect are bound by a tie that no man can sever.

It follows that notwithstanding materia medica may be respectable and "regular," its logical assumption is fallacious. It lacks an exact and scientific basis. It is an antiquated experimental system of modifying and dealing with results. It would be reasonable, provided that the soul (man) were a function of body. Its philosophy can only be interpreted by the assumption that such is the case. Where would this hypothesis lead? It is evident that the functions of anything cannot outlast the thing itself, because they depend upon it and have no basis of their own. When the body dissolves, its functions or exercises must also perish. This is blank materialism with no immortality of spirit. With the utmost liberality of interpretation it seems impossible to discover any other alternative. Materia medica is a complicated cumulative structure of formula, which assumes a resident energy in material objects which have no life or force in themselves wherewith to add to the vigor of the human organism. God's life or spirit in man—conventionally called "nature"—will always express itself healthfully when unobstructed. "Loose him and let him go."

Surgery is an exact science in which there has been great advances in the recent past. The surgeon is a mechanical expert who with great skill adjusts the parts, and then the divine recuperative forces vitalize and accomplish the work. Without these forces all the surgeons in the world could not heal the smallest cut.

Newly discovered material remedies while fashionable and much in the public mind have some power, but as they recede their efficacy actually seems to fade away. This suggests that their potency resides more in their mental accessories than in the drug. Sometimes, through personal belief, a "bread-pill" proves to be a powerful cathartic, but only general belief would insure uniform results. The "discovery" of a remedy is generally in the nature of a chance, or an experiment, thus possessing but a very slight original basis; but cumulative belief gradually adds and confers power which is not inherent. Good remedies should remain, but as a matter of fact they pass rapidly by in an endless procession. Fashions and fads—of which the "Elixir of Life" and "Lymph" are recent examples—are no less capricious in medicine than elsewhere, and nowhere do they reign with more autocratic sway. Diagnosis, and even death itself, is somewhat subject to fashion and conventionalism. At the present time the correct exit seems to be via "heart-failure."

A great variety of unconscious mental influences and accessories surround the drug and subtly clothe it with power. Among them may be mentioned the psychological influence of the physician, conscious and unconscious; the trust and confidence of the patient; individual and general belief in the mysterious power of the prescription, together with the elements of faith, imagination, hope, and expectation secretly at work in the minds of patient and friends; and last, but by no means least, beneficent mother "Nature," which is really Mind below the surface of consciousness. The patient recovers, and the result is credited to the drug. If it were possible to thoroughly eliminate all these enumerated accessories, then, and then only, could its inherent power for good be ascertained. But we may fancy that we have a crucial test in the cases of infants, the sleeping, insane, or idiotic, who are incapable of knowledge or mental operation. Not in the least. By well-ascertained psychological law, all these influences are so present in the psychic atmosphere that they impress themselves upon unconscious mentality, and most of all upon the sensitive and passive mind of an infant.

It may be admitted that the great army of material props cannot be ruthlessly swept away until something higher replaces them in human consciousness. There is an unconscious homage paid to whatever seems to possess power; therefore, almost universal materialistic thought mistakenly locates energy in sensuous objects. These are not real forces, but only the phenomena of forces. However, from the outlook of the plane of sense, nothing higher can come into the field of vision. The two kingdoms are distinct.

In the general criticism of a "system" there is no disparagement cast upon the honesty and ability of its professional exponents. It has been handed down, and they cannot be held responsible for it. As rapidly as is practicable they are outgrowing its limitations. As a rule they are professionally much in advance of their creed, while for the personal qualities of devotion, self-sacrifice, honor, and courage, they are the peers of any other class or profession. They naturally fill a demand which has existed, and will exist for some time to come. In the economy of evolution everything comes and goes at the proper time, and therefore materia medica should and will keep its place until the world is ripe for something higher. It is therefore not "bad," but only a passing stage. Each stage forms a terrace from which the next step higher can be reached.

It is often claimed by those who believe in the special and " supernatural," and who profess to worship one Great Force—"and Him only,"—that we should use "divinely bestowed means," and then pray that the "means" should be blessed. But there is no warrant for the assumption that drugs are "means" in any true sense. They will not sever cause and effect, nor make an atonement for violated divine order. If we are out of the path which has been made smooth for us by law—complied with—we must come back again. If we have crossed its righteous lines we shall be goaded—and that beneficently and correctively—until we again parallel them. The crossing of lines signifies subsequent crucifixion.

Another assumption often put forth is, that there is a correspondence between food and drugs. Not so. One is normal, the other abnormal; one contains nourishment, the other does not; one furnishes natural material for the life-forces to grasp and build up, the other proposes to alter and correct the life-forces themselves. Can they ever be wrong? They are the divine energy in humanity and never need correction. This vital force being immutably accurate, only requires that we remove obstructions and come into at-onement with it, in order that it may have free course. There is a mistaken idea that the drug, by some mysterious magic, will remove penalty. Food meets a normal demand; not to add more life, but to furnish material for life's outward expression. As the drug is not needed for any such purpose, its presence is an anomaly. There is but One Force, and to create other forces—which is possible only in the consciousness—is in the nature of idolatry.

The power of mind over matter is a trite expression often employed; but, like many other abstract statements, its great utility has hardly been dreamed of by the world in general. We " look on things after the outward appearance," but in reality that which is before us is only symptomatic. As well try to suppress heat without extinguishing the flame, as to truly heal by merely restraining expressive sequence.

Human pride naturally seeks for the causation of its ills from without. It is interesting to note the prolific ingenuity which shifts all responsibility upon external things. One would naturally conclude that He who made the air, water, climate, heat and cold, cloud and sunshine, had made innumerable mistakes. These elements are often regarded as unfriendly, and they have a variety of deadly qualities gratuitously linked to them by human ignorance and perversity. God's creations are all good ; but when they are antagonized they become, to us, subjectively evil. As we make them unfriendly, to us they are unfriendly. "As a man thinketh so is he." Just here is the weak point in formulated modern hygiene—so called. Though it is a great advance upon the drug, it emphasizes outside conditions. Not that we should disregard reasonable and common-sense regulations, but that the supreme dependence should be within. The true ideal is to get gradually less and less dependent upon externals, so as not to always act "under the circumstances."

An invalid is sent to some country with a mild climate, or induced to visit a German spa, and an improvement is the result. Thought which has been centered upon the body and its inharmonies is diverted into new channels, therefore the body is loosed from its pressure, and its inward energy and elasticity cause a rebound towards health. It is unnecessary to observe that the climate and the spa receive all the credit.

It is significant that the normal constitution and laws of the human mind require that it be centered upon the highest and the inmost. Man will be restless until he learns to rest his thinking upon God, and that not alone objectively, but upon His image within. By a singular infatuation, and in disregard of universal human experience, men continue to look for satisfaction and fullness in the external. Material scientific progress is the great ignis fatuus which is supposed to lead to a prospective Golden Age or general millennium.

It is physiological fact, that when thought, for any length of time, is concentrated upon any part of the body, it causes an increased flow of circulation in that direction. Abnormal conditions manifested by the body are always the result—even though not directly traceable—of past perverted mental conditions. Surface indications are utterly unreliable in locating inherent causation.

Asceticism was a mistake, or, at most, only a half truth. The body is not a thing to be repressed and mortified, for the reason that it is inherently good. When the conscious life-energy and thought has its chief outlet and exercise through the higher and spiritual nature, the body will need neither watching nor repressing. As a subordinate, it will be divinely harmonious. "Take no thought for your body." Thought centered upon the body presses downwards and obstructs its harmonious and free expression.

The hyper-sensitive victim of drafts or indigestion increases his morbidity every hour that he feels himself to be the victim of these conditions. Dwelling in the feelings of the body is only a false and animalized sense of life. It puts man upon a low plane, where he meets, absorbs, and subjects himself to all the multitudinous disorders that have been built up in human consciousness. He should make his home in soul; in the body, but not of it; and this will give him such a grasp and control of his corporeal structure that it will not be open to every discordant wave that is wafted towards him in the sensuous atmosphere. The body was not intended to be an opaque shell to obstruct the inner light, but rather the pure crystal through which the rays shine out, beautifying itself and illuminating its related environment.

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Henry Wood

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