Mesmerism or animal magnetism was first brought
into notice by Mesmer in Germany in 1775. According to the American
Cyclopaedia, he regarded this so-called force, which he said could be exerted
by one living organism over another, as a means of alleviating disease. His
propositions were as follows:
"There exists a mutual influence between
the celestial bodies, the earth, and animated things. Animal bodies are
susceptible to the influence of this agent, disseminating itself through the
substance of the nerves."
In 1784, the French government ordered the
medical faculty of Paris to investigate Mesmer's theory and to report upon it.
Under this order a commission was appointed, and Benjamin Franklin was one of
the commissioners. This commission reported to the government as follows:
"In regard to the existence and utility of
animal magnetism, we have come to the unanimous conclusions that there is no
proof of the existence of the animal magnetic fluid; that the violent effects,
which are observed in the public practice of magnetism, are due to
manipulations, or to the excitement of the imagination and the impressions
made upon the senses; and that there is one more fact to be recorded in the
history of the errors of the human mind, and an important experiment upon the
power of the imagination."
In 1837, a committee of nine persons was
appointed, among whom were Roux, Bouillaud, and Cloquet, which tested during
several sessions the phenomena exhibited by a reputed clairvoyant. Their
report stated the results as follows:
"The facts which had been promised by
Monsieur Berna [the magnetizer] as conclusive, and as adapted to throw light
on physiological and therapeutical questions, are certainly not conclusive in
favor of the doctrine of animal magnetism, and have nothing in common with
either physiology or therapeutics."
This report was adopted by the Royal Academy of
Medicine in Paris.
The author's own observations of the workings
of animal magnetism convince her that it is not a remedial agent, and that its
effects upon those who practise it, and upon their subjects who do not resist
it, lead to moral and to physical death.
If animal magnetism seems to alleviate or to
cure disease, this appearance is deceptive, since error cannot remove the
effects of error. Discomfort under error is preferable to comfort. In no
instance is the effect of animal magnetism, recently called hypnotism, other
than the effect of illusion. Any seeming benefit derived from it is
proportional to one's faith in esoteric magic.
Animal magnetism has no scientific foundation,
for God governs all that is real, harmonious, and eternal, and His power is
neither animal nor human. Its basis being a belief and this belief animal, in
Science animal magnetism, mesmerism, or hypnotism is a mere negation,
possessing neither intelligence, power, nor reality, and in sense it is an
unreal concept of the so-called mortal mind.
There is but one real attraction, that of
Spirit. The pointing of the needle to the pole symbolizes this all-embracing
power or the attraction of God, divine Mind.
The planets have no more power over man than
over his Maker, since God governs the universe; but man, reflecting God's
power, has dominion over all the earth and its hosts.
The mild forms of animal magnetism are
disappearing, and its aggressive features are coming to the front. The looms
of crime, hidden in the dark recesses of mortal thought, are every hour
weaving webs more complicated and subtle. So secret are the present methods of
animal magnetism that they ensnare the age into indolence, and produce the
very apathy on the subject which the criminal desires. The following is an
extract from the Boston Herald:
"Mesmerism is a problem not lending itself
to an easy explanation and development. It implies the exercise of despotic
control, and is much more likely to be abused by its possessor, than otherwise
employed, for the individual or society."
Mankind must learn that evil is not power. Its
so-called despotism is but a phase of nothingness. Christian Science despoils
the kingdom of evil, and pre-eminently promotes affection and virtue in
families and therefore in the community. The Apostle Paul refers to the
personification of evil as "the god of this world," and further
defines it as dishonesty and craftiness. Sin was the Assyrian moon-god.
of mental powers 103
The destruction of the claims of mortal mind
through Science, by which man can escape from sin and mortality, blesses the
whole human family. As in the beginning, however, this liberation does not
scientifically show itself in a knowledge of both good and evil, for the
latter is unreal.
On the other hand, Mind-science is wholly
separate from any half-way impertinent knowledge, because Mind-science is of
God and demonstrates the divine Principle, working out the purposes of good
only. The maximum of good is the infinite God and His idea, the All-in-all.
Evil is a suppositional lie.
genus of error 103
As named in Christian Science, animal magnetism
or hypnotism is the specific term for error, or mortal mind. It is the false
belief that mind is in matter, and is both evil and good; that evil is as real
as good and more powerful. This belief has not one quality of Truth. It is
either ignorant or malicious. The malicious form of hypnotism ultimates in
moral idiocy. The truths of immortal Mind sustain man, and they annihilate the
fables of mortal mind, whose flimsy and gaudy pretensions, like silly moths,
singe their own wings and fall into dust.
In reality there is no mortal
mind, and consequently no transference of mortal thought and will-power. Life
and being are of God. In Christian Science, man can do no harm, for scientific
thoughts are true thoughts, passing from God to man.
When Christian Science and animal magnetism are
both comprehended, as they will be at no distant date, it will be seen why the
author of this book has been so unjustly persecuted and belied by wolves in
Agassiz, the celebrated naturalist and author,
has wisely said: "Every great scientific truth goes through three stages.
First, people say it conflicts with the Bible. Next, they say it has been
discovered before. Lastly, they say they have always believed it."
of divine government 104
Christian Science goes to the bottom of mental
action, and reveals the theodicy which indicates the rightness of all divine
action, as the emanation of divine Mind, and the consequent wrongness of the
opposite so-called action, - evil, occultism, necromancy, mesmerism, animal
of Truth 104
The medicine of Science is divine Mind; and
dishonesty, sensuality, falsehood, revenge, malice, are animal propensities
and by no means the mental qualities which heal the sick. The hypnotizer
employs one error to destroy another. If he heals sickness through a belief,
and a belief originally caused the sickness, it is a case of the greater error
overcoming the lesser. This greater error thereafter occupies the ground,
leaving the case worse than before it was grasped by the stronger error.
Our courts recognize evidence to prove the
motive as well as the commission of a crime. Is it not clear that the human
mind must move the body to a wicked act? Is not mortal mind the murderer? The
hands, without mortal mind to direct them, could not commit a murder.
Courts and juries judge and sentence mortals in
order to restrain crime, to prevent deeds of violence or to punish them. To
say that these tribunals have no jurisdiction over the carnal or mortal mind,
would be to contradict precedent and to admit that the power of human law is
restricted to matter, while mortal mind, evil, which is the real outlaw,
defies justice and is recommended to mercy. Can matter commit a crime? Can
matter be punished? Can you separate the mentality from the body over which
courts hold jurisdiction? Mortal mind, not matter, is the criminal in every
case; and human law rightly estimates crime, and courts reasonably pass
sentence, according to the motive.
When our laws eventually take cognizance of
mental crime and no longer apply legal rulings wholly to physical offences,
these words of Judge Parmenter of Boston will become historic: "I see no
reason why metaphysics is not as important to medicine as to mechanics or
Whoever uses his developed mental powers like
an escaped felon to commit fresh atrocities as opportunity occurs is never
safe. God will arrest him. Divine justice will manacle him. His sins will be
millstones about his neck, weighing him down to the depths of ignominy and
death. The aggravation of error foretells its doom, and confirms the ancient
axiom: "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."
The distance from ordinary medical practice to
Christian Science is full many a league in the line of light; but to go in
healing from the use of inanimate drugs to the criminal misuse of human
willpower, is to drop from the platform of common manhood into the very mire
of iniquity, to work against the free course of honesty and justice, and to
push vainly against the current running heavenward.
Like our nation, Christian Science has its
Declaration of Independence. God has endowed man with inalienable rights,
among which are self-government, reason, and conscience. Man is properly
self-governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine
Truth and Love.
Man's rights are invaded when the divine order
is interfered with, and the mental trespasser incurs the divine penalty due
Let this age, which sits in judgment on
Christian Science, sanction only such methods as are demonstrable in Truth and
known by their fruit, and classify all others as did St. Paul in his great
epistle to the Galatians, when he wrote as follows:
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest,
which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry,
variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders,
drunkenness, revellings and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I
have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not
inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such
there is no law."