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ABSENT TREATMENT

From the January 1915 issue of The Christian Science Journal


Perhaps no phase of Christian Science teaching has been more subject to misapprehension and ridicule than has that of "absent treatment," and many honest people have labored under the impression that the treatment of those who are absent from the practitioner is a sort of occult proceeding which, in some measure at least, preys upon the credulity of the ignorant and of those who in their desperation are grasping at straws. Even kindly critics have been known to say that they could understand and believe in the Christian healing of a patient in direct contact with the practitioner, but that the idea of effectual absent treatment imposed too great a tax upon their faith.

The New Testament contains at least two positive accounts of absent treatment by the Master,—the healing of the nobleman's son, and the healing of the centurion's servant. It is also shown that what he did is not only possible to his followers but is expected of them, in accordance with his remarkable declaration, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also." Christian Scientists take Jesus at his word in this statement, as in all others, and their faith has been so many times justified by its application under all conditions that they know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that "the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear."

It may be a surprising statement to make, but the weight of evidence justifies the conclusion that all the Christian churches, theoretically at least, believe in absent treatment and teach its practice to their adherents. True, in this as in their teaching and practice regarding prayer for those present in the body, their belief in healing usually extends to sin only, and takes no note of physical disease; though if it be true that God can heal the sinner afar off, it must also be true that the same rule will apply to the healing of the sick, provided it is once conceded that He can and does heal sickness through the spiritual understanding of the practitioner who is present with the patient. Who has not heard the infant at its mother's knee pray to God to "take care of papa while he is away," and what minister has not prayed for absent members of his congregation, for the workers in foreign lands, for presidents and rulers, and even for the absent sick? Then why should any one question the right of Christian Scientists to do these things? Is it not that some religionists render lip service without expectation of an answer, and in reality draw the line at Christian healing of the sick whether they be present or absent?

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