In introducing this work to the reader, my only excuse is the existence of evils that follow the opinions of the world in regard to man's health and happiness. My practice for 20 years has put me in possession of facts that have opened my eyes to the misery of mankind, from ignorance of ourselves. My object is to correct the false ideas and strengthen the truth. I make war with what comes in contact with a person's health or happiness, believing that God made everything good, and if there is anything wrong it is the effect of ourselves, and that man is responsible for his acts and even his thoughts. Therefore it is necessary that man should know himself so that he shall not communicate sin or error that will rebound to his disadvantage.
All my writings are the effect of impressions made on me while sitting with the sick so that my book is of the lives and sufferings of my patients, their trials and sorrows, and my arguments are on their behalf. It may seem strange to the well that I write upon so many subjects, but when you take into consideration the great variety of persons and the peculiar state of literature varying from the most cultivated to that of the lowest intellect, it would not be strange if my writings did not excite the curiosity of the reader.
For instance, one is all full of religious ideas and becomes almost insane, and some are entirely so. This excites me, and my thoughts run upon religion. Another will be almost insane upon spiritualism; then I have to battle that or show the absurdity of that belief. Some are excited upon Millerism and believe the world is coming to an end. This brings up arguments to refute their belief, some upon witchcraft. Now their minds are continually dwelling on all these subjects and on the Bible. So to cure, I have to show by the Bible that they have been made to believe a false construction. My arguments change their minds and the cure comes. This is my excuse for what I have said upon the Scriptures.
Some people are lovesick and disappointed. These are not a great many. Minds are affected in various ways. Some are shipmasters. Their sickness is caused by various things. But all mankind must be reached by parables so I illustrate by such parables and symbols as they can understand. All my illustrations are called out by the case I have to treat. Females are more spiritual than men; therefore with them my illustrations are drawn more from the Bible than from any other work. The medical science I have to use rather hard, for the sick have the most bitter feelings towards the physicians and the religious teachers. These two classes I have to come in contact with. The fear of these two classes makes the patient sick. I have found this out by the effect the patient has on me. I have been so provoked when sitting by the sick, with the physician and also with certain classes of disease, that it was with the greatest difficulty that I could keep my temper, and I had never seen the doctor or minister. But I always found that when I would get the patients clear from their opinions, they would express themselves in as strong terms as I had. I thought the fault might be with me, but I am now satisfied that I was only the scapegoat to carry off feelings they dare not lisp out but could not tell why. Therefore, as far as I am concerned, I have not the slightest feeling as a man towards any person but error. That I have no sympathy with. It is a hypocrite in myself and in everyone else.
You may say that I have gone out of the way to attack religious denominations. If I have, the fault is in my patient. Everyone knows that some very pious persons, when sick, are the most profane and talk the worst about the Bible. This is because they are the most in fear of it; this is the cause.
With these remarks, I will leave this part of my subject and say a word or two in regard to words. I differ from all persons about some words. One is “mind.” Mind to me is not wisdom but spiritual matter. And I think before you get through my book you will think so too and be convinced of the truth of what I say. So far as my education is concerned, I need make no apology. If I have learning enough to explain my theory, it is all I want.