A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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How strongly entrenched in early times was the belief in Jesus as a healer can be seen in a letter said to have been written by Abgarus, King of Edessa, about the middle of the third century, in which these words appear : ' I have heard of Thee and of Thy healings, which Thou performest without medicine or drugs. For, as is reported, Thou makest the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the lepers to be clean ; Thou drivest out unclean spirits and demons, and healest those who were tormented by long-standing sicknesses, and Thou awakenest the dead/ IU This witness rests on the same foundations as do the healing stories in the four Gospels the firmly established tradition of the healing activity of Jesus. Yet, in their present form, the Gospels seem a strange medley of fact and fiction, of harmony and contradiction, of eternal truth and contemporary Jewish mythology and superstition. But to admit the presence of myth and legend, of error and exaggeration, in a body of ancient literature, is not to deprive them of historical value and reliability. The tendency of the ignorant and impatient, as of clever but ill-balanced people, is to rush to extremes. After spending infinite labour in scrutinizing and analysing these documents, modern critics have revealed certain facts which have utterly discredited the views of extremist interpreters ; and it is in the light of these discoveries that we shall pursue our studies here.