A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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xii                   WHO IS QUALIFIED FOR THE TASK ?                 445
Again, an enormous amount of strain arises from bereavement. In the face of death the mind is distressed by the breaking of the bonds of friendship and by the questionings with which it is inevitably perplexed at such a time. Surely, in this respect better use could be made of the doctrine of the communion of saints which, although it is repeated every week in the Creed, has to a large extent been despoiled of its vitality because people are afraid, in these days, to affirm it with the old vigour. Yet it clearly indicates that life is to be regarded as a whole, and it encourages men to bear their sufferings in the light of eternal realities.
The following passage from John Wesley's Journal, May 12, 1759, is appropriate : ' Reflecting to-day on the case of a poor woman who had continual pain in her body, I could not but remark the inexcusable negligence of physicians in cases of this nature. They prescribe drug upon drug, without knowing a jot of the matter concerning the root of the disorder. . . . Whence came this woman's pain (which she would never have told had she never been questioned about it) ? From fretting for the death of her son. And what availed medicine whilst that fretting continued ? Why then do not all physicians consider how far bodily disorders are caused or influenced by the mind ; and in these cases, which are utterly out of their sphere, call in a minister ? ' This was not a captious criticism of the medical profession, for it is interesting to know that John Wesley was himself a physician and electrotherapist.
There is little doubt that he had a natural bent in this direction, and even during his school days he used to carry out experiments of an elementary kind. From his Oxford days his hobby was the study of anatomy and physics, and when forty-three he set up a dispensary at The Foundery, Moorfields, with such remarkable