“THE EMPTY VESSEL MAKES THE GREATEST SOUND”
[Lucifer, Vol. III, No. 17, January, 1889, pp. 436-437]
Miss Susie C. Clark, of Cambridgeport, Mass., says in substance:
“I am a mental healer . . . Of late rumours reach me of prominent theosophists who are confirmed invalids, of others who use quinine for ailments, not scorning to lean on the arm of the servant—matter—when the infinite resources of the Master (Spirit) are at their command.
Even Lucifer countenances the use of mineral and other remedies. If the ‘Truth maketh free,’ why not free from all physical bondage? Why are we, on the lower rounds of the ladder, freer than those who have climbed higher? I have been raised from invalidism to immaculate health.” She then goes on to ask us for our views on what she calls “metaphysical thought” in America, and wishes us to exclude what is known there as “Christian science,” on the ground that it “has not yet grown to recognise or to hold to proper conceptions of the Wisdom Religion.”
ANSWER. This reply is not exhaustive of the subject but will cover the inquiry. We cannot give the “views” asked for, since it is not clear what is wanted. The correspondent speaks of “metaphysical thought” evidently meaning the strained use made in America of the term. As we do not wish to pronounce on this without experience on the spot, the writer’s wish cannot be gratified. But we cannot help noticing that she claims for her branch of this so-called “Science” a pre-eminence over a rival in the field, namely “Christian Science,” the latter being the same as the other however, except that it is more or less closely attached to Christianity. As our correspondent infers that because she has been cured “the infinite resources of the Master are at her command,” those resources and that Master (or Spirit) could easily show her that Christian science is just as good as her own.
We know little of either, except, perhaps, that both show an arrogance in their supposed superiority over Science, Theosophy, and everything else in creation with results that do not seem to us proportionate with the loud claims made. We have received, however, a letter from a prominent Christian Scientist who is as distinguished a metaphysician as she is a valuable and good a theosophist; and we mean to treat of it at length in our next number. Meanwhile, we must reply a few words to Miss S. Clark’s queries.
The main question with her is, why do prominent, or any, theosophists use medicine for cure of disease? We think all theosophists have the right to do so or not, as theosophy is not a system of diet, or that which is simply to help our bodies, but is a metaphysical and ethical system intended to bring about among men a right thought to be followed by action. There are deep questions involved in the matter: deeper than our correspondent will solve in one life. We have no objections against anyone getting cured in any way they think good, but we have decided objections to “mind-curers” or “metaphysicians,” taking theosophists to task for not adopting their system and at once discarding all remedies. They argue that because they were thus cured, others must go the same road. This is our present difference with mental healers, and our correspondent should know that theosophists grant to all the right to use or dispense with medicine and claim for themselves similar privileges. They do not meddle with other persons’ liberty of thought, and demand the same independence for themselves.
Evidently Miss Clark has not reflected that “prominent theosophists” use medicine because of some bearings of Karma upon their lives and on account of its occult properties; nor has she, apparently, thought of what is called “delayed Karma”; nor that, perhaps, through too much attention to her body she is reaping a temporary enjoyment now, for which, in subsequent lives, she will have to pay; nor that again, by using her mind so strangely to cure her body she may have removed her infirmities from the plane of matter to that of the mind; the first effects of which we can trace dimly in her strictures on “Christian Science,” as she has acquired a slant, as it were, against the latter and in favour of her own, and a tone of lofty superiority with the Theosophists.
The claim that “the infinite resources of the Master” are within our present reach is not tenable, and the use of the text, “Truth shall make us free,” to show freedom from ills is not permissible. At any rate, truth does not
seem to have made all mental Scientists free from conceit and prejudice. The man who uttered the words had, himself, a certain infirmity, and we think freedom of mind and soul is meant only. The acceptance of Truth and the practice of virtue cannot avert Karma waiting from other lives, but can produce good effects in lives to come, and what the extreme practice of mental curing does is to stave off for a time an amount of Karma which will, later on, reach us. We prefer to let it work out naturally through the material part of us and to expel it quickly if we may with even mineral remedies. But for all that we have no quarrel with mental healing at all, but leave each one to his or her own judgment.
Finally we would say that whenever it shall be proved to us and the world in general that among all the hosts of Mental curers, Mind healers, Christian Scientists, et hoc genus omne, there is even a large majority in perfect bodily health, instead of as at present only a minority, though a noisy and boastful one—then will we admit the justice of the arrogant claims made by our correspondent.
Cures—real, undeniable cures have been effected at Lourdes also, but is that any reason why we should all become Roman Catholics?
“When you begin with so much pomp and show,
Why is the end so little and so low?”