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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 17.djvu/553

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KEW THOUGHT 537 KEW THOUGHT

practically this level that New Thou^t em. New psychology, will yield to mental treatment and Tliought employs in practice vanous methods: this in general is the explanation of their cures, al- (1) The tactual^ e.g. placmg the hand on the head of though New Thought leaders hold that their system the ])atient; this the exponents claim causes contact is "spiritual rather than mental. The immofal of mind with mind ana the transmission of healthy tendency of New Thought (fortunately New Thought- emotional states to the mind of the patient. This ists do not always follow their doctrines to their they claim to be the explanation of many of the cures natural conclusions) is evident from its perversion of performed by Christ. (2) The vwual, not in common the teaching on sin, from its rejection of the super- use; it is claimed to be derived from the Scriptural natural, of the Atonement of Christ, of the doctrine account of the healing of the lame man by St. Peter of future punishment, and from the absence of super- and St. John (Acts, iii). (3) The silent which is natural means enabling man to stru^le against practised when m tactual contact with the patient or temptation and overcome the promptings of his when he is at a distance; a telepathic mental messa^ lower nature.

being delivered to the mind of the latter. This History. — ^The New Thought movement can be theory enables New Thought practitioners to carry traced back to Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802- on their trade without coming in contact with their 1866), a native of New Hampshire, at one time a patients, and in some New Thought magazines ad- pupil of Charles Poyen, a French mesmerist, who vertisements of such practitioners appear. (4) The visited the United States in 1836. Beginning in verbal method consists in the patient audibly repeat- 1840 to practise mesmerism, Quimby began to 'lieal ing formulas denying the existence of fear, sickness, by putting a "subject." one Lucius Burkmar, into and affirming motives of trust, confidence, power, the mesmeric state, ourkmar then diagnosing the oneness with God. These four methods may be patient's disease and prescribing the remedy, designated by the general title of -'health-affirmation Claiming to have been himself cured of kidney trouble method." (5) There is another quite different (by Burkmar placing his hands on Quimby and species that can be designated the harmonj^with- "reuniting" to one kidney a diseased piece three inches disease method in which the patient "vibrates" with lonj^ whicn had become almost entirely separated), the disease, and through non-resistance is supposed Quimby came to the conclusion that the cure had to recover his heaith. (6) An extension of the healing really been a mental process on his own part, that treatment is found in the prosperity treatment which, disease is "a deranged state of mind," that it, its on the ground that failures in busmess and life gen- power over life and its curability "are all embraced erally, are due to the same causes as sickness, namely m belief, and that the curative "principle" consists in fears, beliefs and the like, seeks by "affirmation" to producing changes in the belief of the patient. He destroy poverty. then gave up mesmerism and set himself to reduce While New Thought is not an organized church, his "(fiscovery" to a "science," asserting that it was yet it bases the teachings outlined above on a philo- more than mental suggestion and claiming a "spiritual" sophy of life which it heralds as an "advance on the foundation for his work. Holding 'that "one spirit older ethical and religious systems;" which preaches may operate directly on another spirit, and that "the univers^ity of religion" (by this it seems to thebasisof this spiritual activity is the Divine in us," mean simply individualism) and receives among its he claimed to have "rediscovered the method of followers members of any religious denomination, healing by which Jesus wrought, not his 'miracles,' Starting; with the idea that God is an immanent, but his highly intelligible works of healing." About indwcllmg spirit (as actually applied this is pantheis- 1860 Quimby began to formulate his ideas in writing, tic, and must not be comusea with the Catholic thus bringing into being the "Quimby manuscripts , teaching that God is everywhere and that He dwells in about which so much controversy nas raged in con- each soul) New Thought holds that therefore evil is nection with Christian Science. After Quimby 's merely a negative quantity, the absence of good, death, Julius A. Dresser, one of his patients, resent- that "sin and moral evil are largely an ienorant sel- ing Mrs. Eddy's claims (see Christian Science) fishness" and, "it would proclaim toman his freedom took up the practice of mental healing, following from the necessity of belief in disease, poverty, and Quimby's eystem. Another of Quimby's pupils, all evil as a part of God's plan." In brief, the true Kev. Warren Felt Evans, of the New Church (Sweden- and eternal nature of man is good; he is not hampered borgian), did likewise, publishing in 1869 "The Mental by moral inability, by natural smfulness; he is god- Cure," "Mental Medicine" in 1872, "Soul and like and spiritual bein^^ is potentially within him; Body" in 1875, and "The Divine Law of CXire" in "the spirit of man is sinless, diseaseless, deathless, 1881, the last named being especially instrumental sharing the very nature of God and destined to im- in giving impetus and direction to the New Thought mortali^ory." The important point to remember in movement. By 1882 and 1883 the movement hadso evaluatmg these enunciations is that New Thought many "practitioners" and followers in Boston that it holds that this sharing in the nature of God takes was known as the "mind-cure" or the "Boston place here and now; it is considered as the naiiaral craze." In 1886 the first society or "church" was state of man; the supernatural is denied; man's heaven founded by J. W. Winkley . a Unitarian minister, is as much on earth as elsewhere. Hence, prayer, under the title of the "Churcn of the Divine Unity." grace, the sacraments, find no place in this system; "Metaphysical Clubs" were foimded in many places; the "Affirmations of Being" are declared to be the and in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York true form of prayer and this they claim will finally societies were onanized under the name, "Light, supersede the older forms of worship. Hence it may Love, Truth." The movement spread also to the be seen that the hope and intention of New West, being known as "Practical ChriBtianity" in Thought is to establish itself as the universal re- Kansas City (two of whose branches were called "The ligion, despite the absence of any such apparent Society of Silent Unity/' and tiie "Unity School of present purpose. In point of fact not a few New Chnstianity"), and "Divine Science" in Denver Thought churches have been organized in which and San Francisco.

Sunday services are held wherein "the silence" and Until 1890 the general name of the movement was

"healing" are a part of the program, while, as in "mental science"; after that date the term "New

Christian Science, Wednesday "experience" meetings Thought" came into vogue, being first officially

are also conducted. That New Thought does per- applied to a magazine founded in 1894. The first

form some cures is not to be denied; nervous diseases "New Thought" society with a regular organization,

and similar disorders, it is known from the laws of after the new name had come into general use, was