Only a little thinking will remind any one that fear, the slavish fear that dreads, is inbred in most people.
From the cradle up, the whip of fear is the commonest thing known. This fear is instilled, unconsciously, unintentionally, ignorantly, habitually, from earliest years on through school life and long after.
It is inbred further by the very evil abnormal atmosphere of our surroundings. It becomes a habit of mind. And the actual bodily injury done is quite beyond calculation.
An illustration that has become notable of this sort of thing is the story of the man condemned to death for murder. A group of physicians proposed an experiment as a matter of scientific research. The civil authorities concerned agreed.
They proposed to the condemned man that he submit to a serious surgical operation. And if he survived his sentence of death would be remitted and he allowed to go free. He agreed.
He was stretched on the operating table, face down. A thin bit of cold steel was slowly drawn across his back as though a knife cutting.
At the same time it was arranged that water would drip from his back, drop by drop, steadily down, so it could easily be heard.
The physicians talked together in his hearing, giving the impression that he was bleeding from a wound, and would certainly bleed to death.
The man actually expired. Yet his body had not been touched except as described. I am not defending the deceit used.
It is a striking illustration of the slavery of the body to the imagination. He imagined he was surely bleeding to death. And the imagination actually brought death. He feared a fear and it came upon him.
I recall a mother whose baby was ill. The mother's milk didn't agree, but seemed to nauseate. The mother had been a trained nurse. She is an earnest Christian woman.
But certain very difficult circumstances that touched her very closely had embittered her spirit extremely. As she thought into things prayerfully she was led to see just where her baby's trouble lay.
She frankly told the physician that she knew why her baby was sick. Her bitter spirit was poisoning the milk in her breast. And the milk was poisoning the child.
She set herself by prayer to overcome that bitter spirit. Her mental attitude was injuring her own body, and her babe's.
The changed mental attitude was followed by a change in her babe's health. The true Christian spirit certainly had a healing effect on both her own body and her child's.
If one's heart is full of spirit of confidence and love the mother's milk is more nourishing. If one is angry the spittle becomes poisonous; if love dominates the spittle is healing. Love heals one's body, Its reverse hurts the body.
I know intimately the instance of a friend who was under sore stress of spirit regarding one tenderly loved. The thing ran along for a good while.
She was utterly consecrated Christian. But unconsciously to herself her anxiety was greater than her faith in the outcome. And her hair began to grow gray quite perceptibly.
Some bit of the Book in a time of prayer brought a change. She quit the unconscious worry, and rested, actually rested mentally and in spirit, on the word of Christ regarding the loved one.
And again it was quite noticeable that the graying of her hair stopped. It stopped quite definitely from that time. Those closest to her marked it and spoke of it.
It is a commonplace with the medical fraternity that the mental attitude affects, and affects most seriously, bodily conditions.
It has been demonstrated that anger, fear, and the like, not only check secretions and have a paralyzing effect internally, but actually cause the secretion of poisonous substances within the body.