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NUMEROUS inquiries come to us respecting the Emmanuel movement—Is it right? Is it of the Lord? etc. We reply that we believe that those identified with it are honest, sincere and well-intentioned as other Christian people, Theosophists, Christian Scientists, etc. In our opinion all of these people are beyond their depths—hoodwinked by our great Adversary. We see the whole civilized world inclining towards Christian Science, Hypnotism, Emmanuel Movement, etc.—seeking physical healing. As already pointed out in these columns we believe that Satan has considerable power under Divine restriction and that it is always a baneful, injurious power. We believe that in various ways the Adversary and the fallen angels (demons) can and do favor diseases and especially those which appertain to the mind and the nerves. We believe that the time has come in which Satan, endeavoring to hold back mankind from giving attention to the Divine Truth now due to be appreciated, has become a miracle-worker, a disease-curer, in order to attract attention away from the Truth.
Furthermore we understand that it is through such mental suggestions, etc., that the evil spirits are now attempting to gain, more than ever, control of humanity. In Christian Science we perceive the method to be a confusing of the human judgment, so as to render those under its influence incapable of rational thought along religious lines, so confused do the advocates become through false definitions. We believe that the mind cures, etc., more commonly called hypnotism, and supposed to be merely exercise of the mind, are really attempts of the fallen angels, the demons, to break down the human will, the barrier which God has granted for protection against them: that thus these evil spirits may ultimately gain a much larger control over our poor race than ever since the flood.
Physicians are paying to be taught how to exercise hypnotic influences upon their patients. One large dry goods store in New York City employs, at $8000 a year, a man who was once a minister of the Gospel of Christ and subsequently a lecturer on hypnotism and mental control. His business now is to instruct the clerks of that large establishment how to exercise hypnotic influences upon their customers so as to increase the sales of the establishment.
Finally, in the Emmanuel movement, we believe that these evil spirits are coming still closer and becoming more dangerous and seductive; because the claim is that this hypnotic power in the hands of ministers of the gospel is a duplication of the work of Christ and the apostles in healing the sick nineteen centuries ago. Books have been written explaining to ministers how to introduce this "Emmanuel Movement" into their Churches. Circulars are sent to all ministers everywhere urging the importance of these books and this method. We can imagine no more seductive method for the introduction of the influences of the evil spirits, the fallen angels, in the breaking down of the human will. Lest we should be misunderstood, we repeat that we have no thought that any of these people practise hypnotism with any suspicion that they are in collusion with the fallen angels or doing evil to the fallen race. Rather they are benevolent and desire to "do good to all men." But they do not understand the Word of God. "My people perish for lack of knowledge." They are being ensnared by the very ones who should be their pastors, assistants and protectors, and by reason of their confidence in them.
What the end of the matter will be the Lord only knows. But it is surely the fact that every time a person is hypnotised his will is the weaker. He can the more easily be hypnotised again and thus the brains and nerves of the civilized world are being trained for an onslaught from the evil spirits. Well indeed the Apostle wrote, "We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with wicked spirits in exalted positions."
As we write a clipping is handed us from the "New York Herald" which shows that some others see something of the danger in this direction. We quote the clipping and follow it with an extract from "The Housekeeper" on the same subject, which will be interesting reading.
Mr. Haldeman in his sermon said the only church that would survive would be the Christian Science Church. He added that the Emmanuel Movement is more of a peril than Christian Science because the Christian Scientists had kept apart from the orthodox church, while the Emmanuel movement was born in the Episcopal Church and invaded the Baptist ranks.
"I beg you to turn away from the Emmanuel movement," said the minister. "It will give you salvation in time and damnation in eternity. The time has come to rise up and protest against ministers turning themselves into hypnotists and their churches into mental healing hospitals."
There are many people, with ability to write, who have made a careful study of the phases of the movement, but who hold diametrically opposite views. A religious movement is perhaps the most difficult phenomenon of human life to study. If we are neither exponents nor opponents, we are the friends of neither and the enemies of both. As with the earliest Christian faith, "He who is not for Me is against Me."
The movement is comparatively new, and thus it is very hard to comprehend its principles, especially as so much has been written about it that one is confused by the mass. Any new movement or faith acquires a large number of disciples who have been waiting for something new. Until these followers leave the ranks in pursuit of something newer, it is difficult to observe the fire for the smoke.
The movement takes its name from a church in Boston whose ministers were the pioneers. Undoubtedly there are a large number of converts to the movement who [R4397 : page 153] have followed the Christian Science ideas more or less closely but have been restrained for certain reasons or beliefs from joining the Christian Science church.
Many of these people have found in the Emmanuel Movement what they have sought, good counsel for a wearied soul, the suggestion from an outside source that there is hope, the balm of spiritual peace, the evidence of optimism and power of mind over body—and have been given medicines for their sick bodies.
But if we are really to consider the movement, we cannot stop at this point. To a lay mind, the Emmanuel movement seems to be a combination of religious faith, mental faith curing, and modern medicine. At first thought this would seem to be an admirable combination, but is it not rather a compromise to salve the prejudices of all?
James M. Buckley, editor of "The Christian Advocate," has written of some "Dangers of the Emmanuel Movement." He has pointed out that hypnotism and suggestion do not always tend to induce a higher, more moral tone, although so stated, in spite of our wish that this might be so. He asks if the time of a servant of a church is not now crowded with the many duties; does he not labor seven days of a week and sigh for more time to administer to the spiritual wants of his flock? This, he suggests, should be considered before ministers enter the ranks of healers.
Consider human nature, American human nature. If ministers become medical advisers and use mental healing, in such cases will we not have experiments in suggestion, hypnosis and untrained diagnosis throughout the land which will be as foreign to the first ideals of the Emmanuel church in Boston as it is possible to imagine. If the mind becomes sick, which is one of the suggestions of the Emmanuel Movement—and a very good one—would it be any less quackery to try experimental cures upon it than upon the body?
"Psychology" is a word which it is becoming necessary to understand. However, we have not really advanced so very far in the study of psychology, only far enough to establish certain premises—and we should be careful not to take wild flights therefrom. Has not the Emmanuel Movement taken a little of psychology and assumed the rest? The very fact that we, that is, our workers, thinkers and experimenters, specialists, have been progressing should lead us to be content to wait until certain conclusions have been more definitely proved. Of course, if we wait, wait, forever wait, and never act, we will be waiting at the millennium. But we have been eating a great deal of mental food of late, and it might be wise to digest a little bit of it.
"The Housekeeper" believes that fresh air, careful diet, good living and good thoughts—the well-rounded life—this is the best physician. But like the servant of old, the physician of medicine is worthy of his hire and a very good hire.
It is well to consider what certain physicians have said of the Emmanuel Movement. In an interview in the "Boston Herald," Dr. J. J. Putnam, professor of nervous diseases at the medical school at Harvard University, said in part:—
"I consider the whole affair an injury to the progress of scientific medicine....When the Rev. Mr. Worcester talked to me he gave me to understand that his idea was to take those of his parishioners who needed suggestive help, and if there were no real physical disturbance in the individuals to lead them along the line of self-control by suggestion. I also agreed with him that many of these unfortunates needed assistance in the way of getting some occupation—something congenial that would take their minds away from themselves—to stop their introspection, the self-worry....
"At the present moment the claims of the Emmanuel people are misleading, if not something else. The public lectures at a dollar admission in other cities, and other well known commercial methods, do not look well in either priest or doctor.
"There are many reasons why this sensational movement—a veritable epidemic—should be limited and controlled. First, the notoriety given it brings out a crowd of morbid individuals who will impulsively jump at any fad which offers new sensations. This state only increases their unstable condition. The marvelous cures reported in the press and from the platform mislead the masses and put hope in the really ill, which is cruel, for many of these will believe until the second shock of disbelief comes, and by this time they have lost faith in the trained physician, in all treatment and suffer on unaided. Many of these unfortunates resort to quack medicines and thus become morphine and alcoholic victims.
"The crowd of untrained and unfitted clergymen who at once jump into the role of medical men and preach and practice what they call psycho-therapeutics is going to do great harm, is an injury to the public welfare....
"This is the whole trouble with the statements now going out to the world from the Emmanuel healers; the public are led to believe that there is a decided line between functional and organic diseases, and that the untrained—the clergymen throughout the country—can mark this line, when in truth the experienced neurologist is not at all certain."
It is always a sore trial to any sincere person to attempt to criticise or discourage a movement which is noble and generous in its conception, but like mistaken charity, the tree must be known by its fruit.