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Questions Answered Extempore by Miss Emma Hardinge 1866


Question 8


PHYSICIANS and physiologists call the wonderful function of healing, in the restoration of animal or vegetable bodies which are wounded or sick, the vis medicatrix. What is this healing property? Is it a distinct power? Is it of, or does it afford any analogy to, any restrictive economy by which the disordered condition of the soul is to be supernaturally regenerated?




THE question involves some points to which we must take exception. For instance, we could not render our response comprehensible to you were we to speak of whatsoever the physicians may denominate as the life principle, unless we call it by the name of its nearest approximate element, namely, “magnetism.” We believe that human structures are made up of the atoms of matter which have become sublimed in infinitely varied organisms below man, and that all these bring in the grand assemblage of elements found in man, all the peculiar magnetic forces that belong to them, the concentration of which is the life principle in man. Now, in the act of what is called healing by touch or magnetism, the whole action is simple, and requires no peculiar and incomprehensible phrases to define it. It is merely the projection of the life principle from one healthful body to another less physically strong and well balanced. All disease has its origin in the imponderable forces of life. Wheresoever the life currents flow equally and freely through the system they produce an equilibrium which we call health; the disturbance of these life currents, therefore, is the true source of disease, and wheresoever there is a debility in the flow of the magnetic life there is decay; where there is undue stimulant and excitement there is fever, and these are the two proximate causes of all disease, and every external evidence of disease surely originates (from foregone causes of course) in one or other of these states of the vital currents of the human system.


Now the action of cure is to restore an equilibrium in the life currents. The entire of the cures effected by magnetism proceed on this principle. The mode of cure practised by the allopathist is to introduce foreign substances into the system, and by these to produce a radical change; or, in other words, to create a new disease which conquers the original one, and this they call the “restoration of health!” The action of every drug is medicinal, and its function is so to disturb the system as to produce disease in the healthful subject and a fresh disease in the sick. By this latter process it purposes to achieve a conquest over the original complaint, and that even at the cost of introducing a new one, for in almost every instance the drug leaves foreign conditions in the system, which deranges its integrity and remains to the latest period of life. And the difference between allopathy and homoeopathy (and we are now speaking of facts and principles, not of personalities), the difference between the mode of treatment in the allopathist and homoeopathist is but a difference of degree. Some of the principles vary, because the first of those claimed by the homoeopathist is that “like cures like”



while the allopathist demands no condition of similitude between the disease and the drug disease. Still with the homoeopathist the drug disease must be introduced into the system, by way of destroying one demon by the presence of a stronger than that which is already there; but it is claimed that in its infinitesimal size the homoeopathic drug demon is too petty to effect harm, although it is assumed to be potent enough to do good. We must confess to a want of faith in this mode of argument, and fear that the potency works both ways, and whilst it quenches one disease leaves another in its place. In one system then we introduce the seven demons into the mansion; in the other, after our house is swept and garnished, we introduce one who is more potent than the whole seven put together. Now supposing, instead of either of these systems, that we can introduce that which is always healthful - the life itself; that instead of dealing with the effect we touch the cause; instead of legislating for the disease, we attack the very source, and restore the equilibrium, the lack of which originated the disease? And by projecting life within the system, permit that life to do its own normal work, and conquer the disease for itself. We believe that to be the true curative mode, but mark, in introducing this to the medical faculty, we must remember that we present it in the form of a science, and not of a mere phenomenal adjunct of Spiritualism; moreover we must present it with all the elements that constitute a science, and that at the present time we certainly are not prepared to do. We are too apt to assume that all magnetisms that are sufficiently powerful to produce an effect are curative in their action. This is not the case; all magnetisms partake both of the spiritual and intellectual as well as the physical characteristics of the operator; when that operator projects his magnetism upon another his psychology follows it: let him look to it that that psychological force be pure and healthful. Though the life principle may be strong enough to conquer the disease and produce the required equilibrium, nevertheless if the magnetizer conveys the irregularities of character, and perhaps the impurities of mind with which the magnetism may be charged, he introduces a yet worse demon than the drug disease of allopathist or homoeopathist.


I ask that Spiritualists shall reflect upon this, and remember that it constitutes one of the grandest elements of their philosophy to study magnetism, and not only its action upon the human system but upon the human soul. Let them remember that the magnetizer possesses within himself the fountain of life but also with it the fountain of moral disease. Again, there is yet another portion of the science of magnetism which is altogether misunderstood amongst us. It is this: that there must be an adaptation in the magnetisms that are to associate together to produce health. All human beings have magnetisms peculiar to themselves, and though these may be classified, and large groups of individuals may be all good magnetizers and capable of dispensing the fountain of health from themselves to others, nevertheless their subjects must be magnetically related to each of them individually; there must be chemical affinities between the magnetisms of all bodies ere they produce the required results. And so we close these questions tonight by reiterating once again the solemn charge of old - “Know thyself.” Surely we have entered upon one of the grandest pages of self-knowledge, when we have stepped behind the veil of matter and stand before the solemn mystery of life; when we begin to realise it by its effects, as it is pulsating in our midst in the form of magnetism, rapping on our tables, heaving up ponderable bodies before our eyes without a visible agency; when it is illuminating our chamber by the combustion of unknown elements producing spirit-lights; when it is pouring its stream of strange mysterious influence on the human brain, producing semi-conscious in one direction, and exalting self-consciousness in another, as in the



state of trance and inspiration. When all these effects are present with us, we may study them as so many pages by which we can analyse the action of magnetism. Besides this, there are the lessons of the spirit-circle with all its mysterious antipathies and repulsions, whose neglect constitutes its danger; the varied effects which the magnetisms of certain individuals produce upon others; the excess of sensibility that shrinks away from the magnetisms of some individuals, and yields control to others. Even this night we have had in our midst an evidence of the over-stimulating effect of the magnetism of this platform, which has produced from its overpowering action the same effects upon the brain of the sensitive who has been removed from this chamber as partial intoxication might have done.


The spiritual magnetism that controls your speaker stimulated to immense nervous force by the combined action of your several magnetisms all projected on one individual, and again by her returned upon yourselves, acts with such excessive force that this room is charged with influence from roof to floor, and to some its power is (as in the example we have witnessed) overpowering to the physical system. When you remember how little you know of the laws of these magnetic relations, manifest as are the effects, when you perceive what a grand foundation for the Lyceum of a spiritual science is now opened to you, you may begin to echo the words of old, “Behold I make all things new.” Still I say with the writers of Judea, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing here?” “Oh Spiritualists, why stand ye regarding these phenomena only, without attempting practically to apply them in use, without tracing the teachings of the risen spirit that soars above the phenomenal evidence of its presence?” Seek for the knowledge that carries you into the realms of immortality. Grand and sublime is the foundation upon which you are building your church of the future, that broad church where every living creature shall know his God for himself, that magnificent temple where all men shall worship. But remember it is for you Spiritualists to prepare the stones ere they are fit for the final erection of this temple. It is for you, builders in this great masonic lodge of the New Jerusalem, each one of you to bring your stones hewn, and fair and square, and true for the perfection of the whole work. It is for each one of you, whatsoever be your sphere, your station, or your principles, to cultivate the knowledge you may now attain for the practical improvement of your own soul and the general welfare of the race, and as you go hence care not to reflect upon the external form or mode of the expression that has been presented to you, but accept the suggestions to enquire that grow out of these utterances. Go hence every one of you and question what you have gained. If you answer “nothing,” still query what you might and will gain of the subjects presented to you by following out their suggestions in methods of study. The words which are here spoken are but goads to stimulate your own spirits to effect the work of progress which at last must be individual effort; and, above all, reflect upon the affirmation which the deepest scrutiny, the most earnest investigation will ever prove to be the noblest study of the human mind, namely MAN, the grand volume of creation, whose first and last page is spirit, whose interpreter is Magnetism.


Question 1  February 5th, 1866