The Woman who had the Issue of Blood
10. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ “But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark, 5: 25 to 34).
11. These words, “At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him,” are significant. They express the movement of the fluid which Jesus transferred to the sick woman. Both have felt the action which has just been produced. It is remarkable that the effect has not been provoked by any will-power of Jesus. Neither magnetism nor laying-on of hands were employed. The normal fluidic-radiance was sufficient to effect the cure.
But why was this radiance directed to the woman rather than to others, since Jesus did not think of her, and he was surrounded by a multitude of people?
The reason is very simple. The fluid, being given as therapeutic matter, must reach
organic disorder in order to repair it. It can be directed upon the evil by the will of the healing medium, or attracted by the ardent desire, the confidence, or, in one word, the faith of the sick one. In regard to the fluidic-current the first is the effect of forcing it, and the second of suction. Sometimes the simultaneousness of the effects is necessary; at others one alone suffices. The second has taken place in this circumstance.
Jesus was then right in saying, “Your faith has healed you.” The faith expressed here is not the mystical virtue which some believe it to be, but a veritable attractive force; while he who has it not, opposes to the fluidic-current a repelling force, or at least an inert one, which paralyzes action. Knowing this, one can comprehend how two sick persons attacked by the same illness, in the presence of a healing medium, one can be cured, and the other not. This is one of the most important principles of healing mediumship, and which explains, by a very natural cause, certain apparent anomalies (chap. XIV, n° 31 to 33).
The Healing of a Blind Man at Bethsaida
12. They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t go into the village.” (Mark, 8: 22 to 26).
13. Here the effect of magnetism is evident. The cure has not been instantaneous but gradual, and in consequence of sustained and reiterated action, although more rapid than in ordinary magnetization. The first sensation of this man is that which blind men experience in recovering sight. By an optical illusion, objects appear to them of an inordinate size.
Jesus Heals a Paralytic
14. Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on Earth to forgive sins....” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” And the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men. (Matthew, 9: 1 to 8).
15. What could these words signify, “Yours sins are forgiven?” And how could they help the cure? Spiritism gives the key to them, as well as to an infinite number of other sayings misunderstood till now. It teaches us, by the law of the plurality of existences, that the evils and afflictions of life are often expiations of the past, and that we submit in the present life to the consequence of faults that we have committed in an anterior existence; the different existences being connected with one another, until we pay off the debt of our imperfections.
If, then, the malady of this man was a punishment for evil which he had committed, by saying to him: “your sins are forgiven,” was equal to saying: “You have paid your debt. The cause of your malady is effaced by your faith; consequently you merit to be delivered from your malady.” He therefore said to the scribes: “It is as easy to say, Your sins are forgiven, as to say: arise, and walk;” the cause ceasing, the effect must cease also. The case is the same with a prisoner to whom they would go and say: “Your crime is expiated and pardoned;” which is equivalent to saying: “You can leave prison.”
Ten Healed of Leprosy
16. Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him - and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke, 17: 11 to 19).
17. The Samaritans were schismatic, as Protestants stand in regard to Catholics, and despised by the Jews as heretics. Jesus, by curing indiscriminately the Samaritans and the Jews, gave at the same time a lesson and an example of tolerance; and, by showing that the Samaritan alone returned to give glory to God, it proved that there was in him more true faith and gratitude than with those who were called orthodox. By saying: “Your faith has made you well,” he shows that God regards the feeling of the heart, and not the exterior form of adoration. However, the others have been cured; it was necessary for the lesson which he wished to give, and to prove their ingratitude. But who knows the result of it, and if they have profited by the favor which was accorded them? By saying to the Samaritan: “Your faith has made you well,” Jesus gives us to understand that it will not be the same with the others.
The Withered Hand
18. Another time he went into the synagogue and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. When they heard all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. (Mark, 3: 1 to 8).
A Crippled Woman Healed on the Sabbath
19. On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing. (Luke, 13: 10 to 17).
20. This fact proves that at this epoch the greater number of maladies were attributed to demons, and that they confounded victims of obsession with people ill from other causes, but in an inverse sense; that is to say, now, those who do not believe in bad spirits think obsession is a pathological malady.
The Healing at the Pool
21. Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie, the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ “So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” (John, 5: 1 to 17).
22. Pool (from the Latin pisces, fish) was with the Romans a reservoir or nurse-pond for fish. Later, it was understood to be a public bathing-place.
The Pool of Bethesda, at Jerusalem, was a cistern near the Temple, fed by a natural spring, the water of which possessed healing properties. It was doubtless a circulating fountain, which, at certain times, burst forth with strength, and moved the water. According to common belief, this moment was the most favorable for cures. Perhaps, in reality, at the moment it gushed out, it had more active properties, or that the agitation produced by the gushing water stirred the mud at the bottom, which was beneficial for certain diseases. These effects are natural and perfectly well known now. But then there was but little advance in science, and they saw a supernatural cause for all or the most part of unknown phenomena. The Jews attributed the agitation of this water to the presence of an angel; and this belief seemed to them so much the more reasonable, as at this moment the water was more salutary.
After having cured this man, Jesus said to him: “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” By these words he makes him to understand that his disease was a punishment, and that, if he did not cease sinning, he would be again punished more severely than ever. This doctrine conforms entirely to that which Spiritism teaches.
23. Jesus appears to have taken pains to perform cures on the Sabbath, in order to have occasion to protest against the rigorous observance of the Pharisees of this day. He wished to show them that true piety consisted, not in the observance of forms and of outside things, but in the true worship of the heart. He justifies himself by saying: “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working,” that is to say, that God does not suspend the workings of nature on the Sabbath. He continues to produce that which is necessary to your nourishment and health; and I am here to do his will.
The Man Born Blind
24. As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.” “How then were your eyes opened?” they demanded. He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” “Where is this man?” they asked him. “I don’t know,” he said. They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?” So they were divided. Finally they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” The man replied, “He is a prophet.” The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?” “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God,” they said.” We know this man is a sinner.” He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen.
Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out. (John, 9: 1 to 34).
25. This recital, so simple and artless, carries in itself an evident character of truth. There is nothing marvelous or fantastic about it; it is a scene from real life. The language of this blind man is that of one in which good, natural common sense supplies the place of knowledge, and who combats the arguments of his adversaries with simplicity, yet with an ability which is not wanting in justice. Is not the speech of the Pharisee like that of proud men who think there is no knowledge outside of their own, and that a man of the people is unworthy of a single thought or remonstrance? Barring the name, we have the same kind of people in our day.
To be expelled from the synagogue was equivalent to being excommunicated from the Church. The Spiritists, whose doctrines are those of Christ, interpreted according to the progress of the present light, are treated as the Jews who recognized Jesus as the Messiah. By excommunicating them, they place them outside of the Church, as the scribes and the Pharisees did in regard to the followers of Jesus. In this narrative the man is expelled because he can believe only in him who has cured him, whether he be a sinner or one possessed by a demon, and because he glorifies God for his cure! Is not the same thing done to Spiritists? Because they obtain wise counsel from spirits, have returned to goodness and God, and perform cures, it is said to be the work of the Devil, and anathema is cast at them. Have we not heard priests from the high altar say, “It is better to remain an incredulous than to return to the faith by Spiritism?” Have we not heard them tell the sick ones that they must not be cured by Spiritists who possess this gift, because it is a gift from Satan? Have we not heard them telling the sick to reject the bread given by Spiritists, for it is the bread of the devil? What did and said the Jewish priests and Pharisees more than that? Moreover, it is written that the same unbelief must be felt by some at this epoch of the world’s history, as in the time of Christ.
This question of the disciples — viz., “Is this man blind because of sin?” — indicates the knowledge of an anterior existence; otherwise no sense could be made of it; for the sin which would be the cause of an infirmity, which is born with a person, must have been committed before this birth, and consequently in an anterior existence. If Jesus had recognized a false idea in the question, he would have said to them, “How could this man have sinned before birth?” Instead of that, he replies, that, if this man is blind, it is not because he has sinned, but that the glory of God may be shown in him; i.e., that he must be the instrument of a manifestation of the power of God. If it were not an expiation of the past, it was an experience which must have advanced him towards perfection; for God’s laws are just, we have no suffering without compensation.
As to the means employed to cure him, it is evident that the clay formed of soil and saliva obtained its healing properties from the healing fluid with which it was impregnated. Thus the most simple agents — water, for example — can acquire powerful and effective qualities under the action of the spiritual or magnetic fluid, to which they serve as vehicle, or reservoir.
The Numerous Cures performed by Jesus
26. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him (Matthew, 4: 23 to 25).
27. Of all the acts which testify to the power of Jesus, without doubt the cures he performed are the most numerous. He wished to prove by that that true power is that which does good; that his object was to render himself useful, and not to satisfy indifferent curiosity by the performance of extraordinary things.
By alleviating suffering, he touched the hearts of men, and made more proselytes than if he had alone gratified their curiosity. By this means he made himself beloved. Whilst, if he had limited himself to producing surprising material effects, as the Pharisees demanded of him, the greater part of the people would have seen in him only a sorcerer or skillful juggler with whom idlers had been amused.
Thus, when John the Baptist sends to him his disciples to ascertain if he is the Christ, he does not say, “I am he;” for every impostor could have been able to say as much. He does not tell them of the marvelous things he has accomplished, but simply replies, “Go say to John, the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, and the Gospel is preached to the poor.” It was equivalent to saying: “recognize me in my works; judge the tree by its fruit:” for there is found the veritable character of the divine mission.
28. It is also by the good it does that Spiritism proves its divine mission. It cures physical evils, but, above all, moral maladies, which are the most important works by which it affirms itself. Its most sincere adepts are not only those who have been astonished by the sight of its extraordinary phenomena, but those who have been touched to the heart by the consolation it gives; those who have been delivered from the tortures of doubt; those whose courage has been sustained by it in affliction, who have drawn strength from the certitude of the future which it has brought to them, with a knowledge of their spiritual being and destiny; those whose faith is unchangeable because they feel it and comprehend.
Those who see in Spiritism only material effects cannot comprehend its moral power; as incredulous, who know it only by its phenomena of which they do not admit its first cause (God), see in Spiritists only jugglers and charlatans. It is then, not by the performance of wonderful works that Spiritism will triumph over incredulity; it is by multiplying its moral benefits. For, if they will not believe in the mighty works it accomplishes, they experience, like all the world, sufferings and afflictions, and no one refuses alleviation and consolation.