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    November 1903

    “Healing Through Faith, or Divine Healing” The Medical Missionary 12, 11.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    The subject of faith healing is a very great subject, and cannot be exhausted in a few minutes. Yet it seems to me that it would not take more than five minutes for any one who knows and believes the Bible to settle the subject. I know that the term has fallen into disrepute. Most people think it savors of quackery. Just as soon as one hears of faith healing, one thinks of fanaticism. The only way to arrive at an understanding of anything is to reduce it to its simplest terms. So we will take first the last part of the term, namely, healing. Whence does healing come? What is the source of life and health? Who is the healer? Everybody knows the psalm, “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life form destruction; who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” There we have the whole story: the saving of one from destruction, the renewing of his youth, and the healing of all diseases, is all from the Lord.MEDM November 1903, page 274.1

    Or, take the words spoken to the Israelites in the desert, just after they had crossed the Red Sea, and had come to the bitter waters of Marah. The waters were bad, and there the Lord proved them, and said, “If ye will hearken to the voice of the Lord, and diligently keep all these statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee which I brought upon the Egyptians, for I am the Lord that healeth thee.” Literally, “I am the Lord thy physician.” The Lord is the physician, and he gives the preventive medicine that keeps us from getting ill.MEDM November 1903, page 274.2

    A little later on the Lord said, on condition that they would be obedient to his commandments, “I will take disease away from the midst of you;” so the two statements go together, to the effect that the Lord would let no disease come upon them, and would take away that which they had. There the Lord is shown as the healer.MEDM November 1903, page 274.3

    Take the words of the wise man: “My son, attend to my words, ... keep them in the midst of thine heart; for they are life to those that find them, and health [or, “medicine” in the margin] to all their flesh.” And so I might multiply texts. We have the truth, with which we are all agreed, unless we deny that the Bible is true, that God is the healer, and that there is no healing except from him. God is our life. “In Him we live, and move, and have our being.” All these are familiar texts, showing that there is no life, there is no power of motion, except from God; and he himself is the strength and the power.MEDM November 1903, page 274.4

    Now that we have the matter of healing settled, it is easy to settle the matter of faith healing. Faith, in this connection, is simply the recognition of the fact that God is the healer. It is the grasping of that truth, and the believing of it, so that healing shall be a reality with us. It is simply to recognize the life that is manifested, and consciously, and with fixed purpose, and with absolute faith in its power, to come into harmony with it; not always by the same means, not always in the same way, but always to the same end-the receiving of life. Now we well know that while God is the only source of life and healing, there are very many people who do not believe it. there are very many people who never give it a thought; they do not know whether they believe it or not, because they never think about it. They are healed without considering who heals them. They are kept alive, and their life is renewed day by day, without their thinking about it. The Lord is good to the evil and the good, to the just and the unjust. He gives to all, regardless of their attitude to him, “life, and breath, and all things.” Now the proposition is,-and it certainly is a fair one,-that men should come to a recognition of the things that are, and see them as they are, and acknowledge the truth. And when they do that, then they have faith healing.MEDM November 1903, page 274.5

    That settles the question of faith healing; but that is only the beginning. The end can be found only as we recognize the operations of the life.MEDM November 1903, page 275.1

    Let us for the present leave out of our calculations that statement in the book of James about praying and anointing, and recognize faith healing aside from that direct prayer. And yet, we cannot leave it out entirely, because, as we read the Bible, we find multitudes of cases of instantaneous healing. People who read those records misapprehend them very much. Some people read them as a sort of fairy tale, a novel. They find them interesting as a story, but have no idea that they are intended for anything more practical. Others read them, believing that they took place, but assuming that the day of miracles is past, and that God never works in that way now. They forget that God does not change-that the Lord Jesus Christ, who performed so many of those miracles, is “the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever,” that with Him “there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning;” and that because of that, we may know that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.” It is strange that with those simple statements men cannot arrive at the facts.MEDM November 1903, page 275.2

    THE USE OF MEANS

    Others read the record of miracles, and assume that that is the way God would always bring people up from disease, and that there is no other way; that it is a denial of God and the Bible for anybody ever to expect healing in any other way than simple to pray, and then to wait for the result, regardless of anything else. I have talked with many good people who think that they believe fully in faith healing, but who are most strenuous in their opposition to “the use of means.” But, to say that God intended people should be healed of their diseases by absolutely nothing else than simply praying to the Lord, and then waiting for the healing to come, is a denial of the Bible, and of all the teaching and the whole spirit of the Bible. I am sure we are justified in believing that the miracles of healing were performed and recorded for the same purpose that other miracles were performed; that is, to bring us to some sort of understanding-limited, of course, as all our understanding of God is-of how God ordinarily works, and of making us understand that healing, as well as everything else, comes from him.MEDM November 1903, page 275.3

    ACCELERATING OF THE ORDINARY PROCESS

    Take the first miracle that Jesus did, the turning of water into wine. This was a wondrous miracle; and yet I am sure we have all thought of that enough to see that it was only a quickening of the ordinary process of the making of wine, not decomposed wine, but real and perfect wine. In the ordinary process the vine is planted, and it grows only by rain and dew from heaven. It depends absolutely upon moisture for its life; for all the nourishment that the plant receives, and the animal as well, must be in liquid form. Food has to be liquefied before the system can do anything toward assimilating it; so that it is a fact that nourishment can be appropriated by neither man, animal, nor plant, except as it is in a liquid form. And the rain that comes down from heaven is the medium, the means of life. Very interesting it is to study that thought from the Scriptures. We know that “the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater.” We read in the sixty-fifth psalm that all his “paths drop fatness.” Fatness comes down from heaven to the earth. The rain that comes from heaven makes the earth capable of giving life to all that dwell upon it. The rootlets of the vine absorb the water, and it ascends the plant, penetrating into the utmost branches; and leaves grow, and buds are put forth, and the clusters of grapes are formed, which are nothing more nor less than the concentrated fatness of the vine. The fatness of the clouds coming up through the vine and making it grow, is concentrated in the clusters of grapes. Then the sun looks upon it, and that mysterious change takes place which makes it what we call wine. The new wine is found in the cluster, and it is just as surely wine while it is there, before it has been pressed out, as it is afterward, when we have it in a vessel.MEDM November 1903, page 275.4

    Now when Jesus turned the water into wine, he did instantaneously what he ordinarily does through a series of months. He shortened the process-that is all. He is the true vine, and he is the sun of righteousness. You see he comprehends in himself everything. He is the living water. There you have all the elements necessary for the formation of wine,-water from heaven, a vine, and the sun to look upon it, and turn the water into wine. And so He, the Sun of Righteousness, looked upon the water, and instantaneously it became wine. Now he could do that all the time, but the world would not be nearly so enjoyable as it is if that were the way it were done, because if it would, God would have done it that way always. He has done it the best way, and I know, and you know when you stop to think, that this world would not be nearly so pleasant a place if the Lord simply took water and turned it into wine instantaneously, as it is now that we see the grape vine with its beautiful foliage, and those rich clusters of fruit. Moreover, he wants us to cultivate the vine, and thus be workers together with him. Like the wise Father that he is, he trains his children to help in the work as much as they are able. Does not that make the earth far more enjoyable than as if the Lord did it all by himself in that direct way? That shows that the Lord uses means, does it not? The grape vine that we see is the means that the Lord uses, and it shows us himself.MEDM November 1903, page 276.1

    The same thing is revealed in the feeding of the multitudes with bread. A few loaves were taken, and they were multiplied, and the people ate, and were filled. Now what was done simploy for the purpose of emphasizing the fact, and making it so clear that nobody could mistake it, that the food that we eat comes directly out of the hand of God. We trace that bread back to its source, and we find that it is grain that is sown in the ground and comes up. The good seed is the word of God. The first grain that ever grew, from which bread could be made, was the result of God’s saying to the earth, Let grass be brought forth. He sowed the seed-his word-in the ground; but the Word is God; and so when we have those seeds, the grain, we know that a portion of God’s life is there, invisible in the seed itself, but the seed is the means by which God’s life is conveyed to us. God did it that time instantaneously, in order that we might be led to think upon the ordinary way, and trace the process. It is very simple, when you think of it. And then, too, I know that life is much more enjoyable, and the earth is much more pleasant, when we see the bread come in the ordinary way, from the waving fields of grain that are as beautiful when they are yellow and ready for the harvest as they are when they are rich with the fresh green of spring. It is far more enjoyable to get our bread that way than it would be if it were manufactured ready to hand all the time. If it were not so, God would have done it the other way, but he has done everything the best way. It was grand to have bread rained down every day from heaven; but that came only because the people were in the desert. Wouldn’t you rather dwell in a fertile country and have bread grow than to live in a desert and have it rained down ready made?MEDM November 1903, page 276.2

    We can see another reason why God has not given us the bread and the wine and all things that we need, ready made direct from his hand, and that is, that we may have the privilege of co-operating with him in his work, for our encouragement and education. In the training of the vine, the tilling of the soil, the sowing of the seed, in the gathering of the grapes, and the reaping of the harvest, we are laborers together with God, seeing his works, that we may learn his ways. The bread of idleness is never sweet; and so God allows us to assist him, partly in order that we may enjoy our food, as we should not if he always dropped it into our mouths.MEDM November 1903, page 276.3

    We might take a number of instances of healing, but I will only refer to the case of the woman with the issue of blood. We have had this before us a number of times, and have demonstrated that it was only a representation of what is constantly going on: it shows us not only the way that God has healed multitudes, but the way he keeps us alive, by the stream of life form the great heart of God going out throughout all created things. Thus in him we live and have our being.MEDM November 1903, page 277.1

    (To be continued.)

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