Possidoneus says in relation to St. Augustine, that when he was afflicted with his last illness, there came a woman with a sick man to him and desired that he would touch the latter, that he might be cured; he having been told in his sleep that if he (St. Augustine, the bishop) laid his hands upon him, he should be relieved of his disease. St. Augustine, by request, laid his hands upon him, and he went home sound and cured of his disease. Possidoneus records this as one of St. Augustine's greatest miracles. The saint died on the 15th of September, A. D., 430.
The laws of hypnotism are only the necessary connection of certain effects with their causes. All bodily organs are in sympathy with the mind; and whatever affects one, impairs the other and vice versa. The brain is always active; and there is no such thing as dreamless sleep. From this fact it follows, that to increase mind growth, in harmony with all that uplifts and builds for righteousness and health, the environment must be made to evolve such desirable ends. We can never find the best way to be helpful, if we do not cultivate the desire to serve. Dr. W. F. Richard says: "The needs of social defense only demand the repression of criminal acts, when these are the expression of the personality of the agent; and since in the hypnotic subject the individual reaction is abolished, the acts that he does under the influence of a hypnotic suggestion are simply those of an automaton." These conclusions are at least debatable, says Binet, and rest on premises that contain an error of fact. The belief is too common to-day that it is possible to characterize the psychical state of hypnotism in a single word, and say it is a condition of automatism. In a vast number of cases the subject preserves his intellectual and moral identity.
When he receives a suggestion to act, he may resist if the act is in contradiction with his character and he may resist the order, and even absolutely refuse to obey. Campili seems to have seen this difficulty, for he recalls that in an ingenuous article M. Boullier has admitted a moral responsibility in dreams. But he meets this objection with an argument of little weight: That the hypnotized subject does not preserve his personality in the same way that a sleeping person does. Binet holds, on the contrary, that the closest connection exists between the effects produced by suggestion and the state of dreaming. The hypnotic suggestion is nothing else than a dream produced and directed by assistants. In fact, the somnambulist is not an automaton - he is an individual; and from the purely theoretical and moral point of view, he may be held partially responsible for his acts. These conclusions are in direct accord with those of M. Boullier. Auto-hypnotism: to illustrate, keep your mind sound; as wine savors of the cask it is kept in, the soul receives a tincture from the frame through which it works.
Many persons have a habit of brooding over their real or imagined ailments, and making the same appear as l>ad as they can-much worse than they really are - moping and complaining, making themselves and their friends miserable with the burden of their ills. They do this when, with a different mind, they might cast off the burden without unloading it upon others, and be well and cheerful merely by the right use of their own mind and thoughts. But remember the practical expression of the famous Roman poet, Horatius: "Mens sana in corpora sana" i. e., "A sound mind in a sound body." What is terror? Certainly nothing bodily; a mere mental condition, and yet it may be sufficient to exercise the most powerful influence over any of our organs - even to paralyzing them. How this occurs we know no more than we know how consciousness originates. That the Divine mind must be the source of all vitality, energy and evolution must be apparent to all thinkers.
Hypnotism and metaphysical teachings are attracting considerable attention just now.
Hypnotic science has advanced a part of the human family into the knowledge of eternal life. All truth - physical or metaphysical, secular or sacred - is God's will. Hypnotism's immense healing power is admitted by man. When you come to fully realize this great, invisible power, you have a little knowledge of what truth is. As soon as one desires with all his heart and soul to know the truth, avenues are disclosed which show him the way to the path of wisdom. Experiments in hypnotism lie within touch and under our very eyes. Hypnotism enables us to understand every department of the mind. "O, truth of the eternal! O, truth of things! I am determined to press my way toward you. Sound your voice! I scale mountains or dive in the sea after you!" The horrors of disease are too many to be enumerated. The evil is gigantic. E. A. Poe says:
"I stand amid the roar
On a self-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand.
How few, yet how they creep!
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep, while I weep!
O, God! can I not grasp Them with a tighter clasp? O, God! Can I not save One from the pitiless wave? Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream?"
This divine power of hypnotism lies latent in all mankind until developed. We. must continuously seek to see the good in others and to perceive greatness and merit wherever they exist. We must make our discoveries known to those whom they concern. Knowledge and wisdom have increased among the masses; while educational institutions, in their fundamental principles, have remained stationary. Unless the voice of humanity is heard and its soul needs are supplied, the present institutions will share the fate of those in bygone generations, whose wonderful structures now lie crumbled in the dust. When humanity, art, science and professional appliances were young, all persons who chanced to discover any medicinal quality in a plant were required, by the religious ruling of their time, to make a record of the fact on a tablet of stone, which tablet was left open and free to be consulted by the afflicted world. It was a compilation by Aesculapius, from this observant accumulation of ages, from which the incipient profession of medication sprung, and which was afterward improved by Galen and others. Because we have some little acquaintance with material things, we are apt to think that we understand them, when in reality we know nothing whatever of their nature or origin. All things change.
The world and the worlds, with all in and on them, are in a state of pauseless change. Restless mutation is universal law. One law only is unchangeable, it is the axis around which all revolves, and this is the law of change; this only is immutable. Times change and we in them. These changes are slow, gradual, imperceptible to the observer, and become visible by the accumulation of event after event - like the coral reef. Still the growth and the change go on continually, although imperceptible to the observer. We are apt to slight the silent forces because they are silent. The thunder, by its startling crash, attracts attention more than the silent flash of lightning; but it is not the thunder but the lightning that strikes.
The root principle supplies all the life and gives power and efficacy to all the actions. There would be no life, no feeling and no fruit, if there were no roots. There is a sublimated age. Electrical, hypnotic and magnetic science have nearly changed our conception of the laws of energy. Everything in nature gives forth an aura or vibration, just as naturally as the rose exhales fragrant perfume. All persons who come in contact with these psychological forces are capable of vibrating in unison. In hypnotism, animal magnetism and telepathy, mind is as much of a magnet as the electro-magnet in telegraphing; and maybe impressed by direct thought currents from abroad. Every mineral is necessarily a different chemical compound. But to understand what a chemical compound is, and what relation different compounds bear to one another, implies a knowledge of chemistry.
The affections of the pulse of the soul, if we would know its state, we must observe how that pulse beats.
"The steed named "Lightning," people say, Feeds on acids without hay; 'Twas Franklin's hand that caught the horse, But 'twas harnessed by Professor Morse."
Evolution, as the law of social progress, is something more than an interesting theory. It is an actual working force. In its light we may get a clear comprehension of the past movements of humanity; and what is of more immediate practical concern, we may get an understanding of present movements which would be otherwise unintelligible to us. Heretofore the human mind and human race has groped its way forward blindfolded. Philosophers have reasoned; physicians have observed; chemists have analyzed; physiologists have experimented and anatomists have dissected; but the part of man with which we are concerned has escaped them all. Remember, first mind and then matter, is the genesis of life. It is no new discovery but as old as Plato and Hindoos. The universe is a visible garment of the invisible. The earth and air all about us are teeming with life. We, in the midst of this life, are as ignorant of it as if it belonged to another1 planet. The Infinite is incomprehensible and immeasurable by! the finite mind of man - therefore, it is not expected that all will agree.
ref. Hypnotism and Suggestion by E. Virgil Neal and Charles S. Clerk