from WL Worcester (H Blackmer, ed.), 
The Sower.  Helps to the Study of the Bible in Home and Sunday School
(Boston: Massachusetts New-Church Union, n.d.)

Table of Contents


Lesson 8

Topical and Doctrinal Notes

Leading Thought: Healing Diseases

What is it that keeps our bodies in health? The body is a wonderful piece of machinery. There is nothing like it. What keeps it up? What is it that causes the blood to furnish all the materials needed in every part of the body? What keeps the hinges oiled, the ropes and cables strong, the telephone wires always up and connected, the electric batteries constantly in order, and the countless other things in such condition that the work of the body can be carried on smoothly and perfectly? We call this health. Where does it come from?

You say, "From the Lord."

That is true. Yet the Lord makes use of linemen to keep the telegraph wires in order on earth. He makes use of people's intelligence and care to see that locomotives and tracks are in running order and safe. And so He employs people to keep the powerhouses, the factories, the stores, the roads and the thousands of other things in the body in order. But these are not people who live on earth. They live in heaven. The Lord keeps the body in order and thus in health through angels. Heaven is constantly inflowing into the body and into every part of it, keeping it in the best, condition possible. What then causes trouble in the body? What brings about pains and aches, and malignant diseases?

The opposite of heaven, that is to say, hell.

Ordinarily hell is not permitted to affect the solid parts of the body. But there are conditions when it can. Some of these conditions are brought about by ourselves. If you overload your stomach with candy or ice cream, you are liable to have a pain after a while. You have introduced disorder into the stomach, and evil spirits can act upon it, and may even bring about a fever and other troubles. If you play too hard, or if you study too long, going beyond your strength, you are again bringing about disorder in your body, with similar results.

All diseases come from hell. And just as there are many kinds of diseases, some light, others worse, and some deadly, so there are many different kinds of hells. In fact every disease answers to some kind of evil in hell.

We read in today's chapter about several kinds of diseases which the Lord healed. He came into the world in order to free men from hell, for at that time hell was like a cruel tyrant who held all mankind in slavery to himself, and in very many cases people were sick even as to their bodies from this cruel influence and power of hell. So the Lord healed them; and in this way He showed us, that He heals men also of the evils to which the diseases corresponded, and which, therefore, they represented.

First came the leper. Now you know that leprosy is carefully described in the Old Testament in Leviticus 13, 14, and that it was a very loathsome disease, causing the skin to be sore and to be covered with small white scales or scabs. It represented the worst kind of evil: profanation, which is to believe in the Lord's truth and live according to it, and then to live against it and make truth seem to teach that it is right to live such an evil life. Leprosy was contagious: that is, people would contract the disease if they touched one who had it. Therefore it was forbidden to come near a leper. But when this leper prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ to heal him, and believed that Jesus could do it, because He was the Lord, then Jesus actually touched him and, instead of the leprosy cleaving to the Lord, by the touch, the leper himself was healed by it. Such power the Lord has to heal even those who sin the most, the profane, although it is very rare that those who profane the truth are saved.

The next disease was the palsy. When a person has the palsy, or is paralyzed, he cannot move his arms or feet, or whatever the members are that are paralyzed. What would this correspond to in our souls? Our wishing to do what is right, and yet not being able to do it, because our mind is not in order. The will and the understanding are not united. They are disjoined. That is the case with many outside of the Church. They wish to worship God who created them and keeps them alive, but they have not the true religion and so they cannot do it right. Notice that it was not one of the Jewish boys who were taught to read the Hebrew Scriptures, but the son of a "centurion," a Roman soldier, who was sick. And the Lord healed him, without going near him. So the Lord sends help to those who are far away from the Church. He sends His Word of Truth and heals them.

The third disease was a fever. In a fever, as you know, the body grows very hot. Did you ever notice a soul get hot? Yes, hot with anger. Hot with a feeling of "paying back," or revenge. Hot with a love to quarrel. Hot with an impure love. The evil spirits who cause the fever of the body are those who love the evil things we have just mentioned. They are in such unclean heats. The fever in our lesson represented such infernal evils. And the Lord, with His powerful hand, through which flowed the health of His pure and infinite love, took hold of the woman's hand, and fever left her, so that she could wait on her Lord and on those who were with Him. So if we are inclined to be hot with such unclean loves as anger, revenge, quarreling, impurity and the like, if we pray to the Lord, and wish to serve Him by doing His will, He will heal us.

Of those possessed with devils, or, more correctly speaking, with "demons," we shall learn in our next lesson.

Notice, that while the Lord taught the beautiful and lofty beatitudes (as the Ten Blessings are called) on a high place, a mountain, He met the sick when He had come down from the mountain, and the great number of those that were possessed of demons were brought in the evening, as it was growing dark. We are told all this in the holy Word, to show that disease and evil are low things, and that they have to do with dark states, or states of ignorance and falsity.

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