The question is often asked how I hold my patients when I give no medicine and make no applications. I answer, it is through my belief or my knowledge. Then you may ask me where I differ from others. In everything so far as disease and what produces it is concerned. All persons believe in disease and their belief is in the thing believed. For instance, take consumption. People are not aware that consumption has an identity as much as a serpent or canker worm, that it has life or a sort of knowledge. It is liable to get hold of us, and if it does, we cannot shake it off as Paul did the viper from his hand.
All diseases have an identity and the well are subject to be deceived by them and if they once get hold of them, they must surrender arms or compromise. These diseases are in the mind as much as ghosts, witchcraft or evil spirits, and the fruits of this belief are seen in almost every person. These beliefs show what the people are afraid of and what they have to contend with, and make it necessary for them to have some help in driving off their enemies. For if a person cannot conquer his enemy or disease himself, he must have help. Now those employed admit the existence and superiority of their enemy or disease and commence making war with him by first firing calomel, and if that does not start him, the next is blistering or burning, etc. This only enrages the enemy, and a regular battle commences. Finally a council of physicians is called, a suspension of arms takes place, a compromise is made and health yields up all claims to happiness and enjoyment. And the victim has the privilege of going about a cripple and an outcast the balance of his natural life, knowing all the time that he is liable to be caught by any of his enemies at any time, either asleep or awake. This keeps him in a nervous state of mind, not fit for any business, like a man who is in prison under sentence of death. This is just the state of this world.
Now, is it strange that a person is known by this character and is afraid of this state of mind or disease? And when one who has the power of restoring health and destroying these enemies comes up to another who is tormented by these devils, is it strange that he likes him and feels safe in his presence until he himself is perfectly free? This feeling is not always known by the sick, but it is felt. It cannot be understood, for its language is its feelings, and it cannot talk till it learns to speak through the senses. It knows and feels its friend and clings to him as a child does to its parent before it can walk; it is led by sympathy till it can go alone and can understand that it has power over its enemy.
Then its knowledge is its cure. Till then it feels the need of someone who can protect it from its enemy. Now my belief is their protector and my explanation is their cure. My belief is accompanied by my sympathy for their trouble; and like a shepherd who leads his sheep, I lead the sick, by my belief alone, home to health and deliver them to their friends. Then I leave them happy and feel that they appreciate the benefit I have been to them. This money cannot buy. This is what holds my patients. It is what none but the sick can appreciate. The well know nothing of the feelings of the sick; therefore to them it is a stumbling block and to the doctors, foolishness.