There is a strange relation between the mind and the body. Diseases of each affect each. Involuntary actions of the heart, digestion, etc., are affected by the mind. Certain nerve-cells in the brain restrain other nerve-cells. One center causes contraction of the small blood-vessels: If this continued, the contraction would be too severe and prolonged. Another center therefore restrains the action of the first, thus balancing up the work of contraction, so that the proper supply of blood goes to all the body. This principle is called “inhibition.” Coughing and sneezing may be controlled by opposite nerve-cells. Cells that inhibit action of other cells lie in the front part of the large brain, or cerebrum. Here lies the power to exercise the will.
We can inhibit wrong desires and curb evil inclinations. At first self-indulgence is a moral sin; then it becomes a physical disease. If we allow certain cells to act daily, always in certain ways, – that is, in our thoughts – this action becomes easier the oftener done; in other words, habit is formed. When we do a wrong act once, it is easier the next time, and becomes easier with each repetition. So with right ways. If we conquer evil and do right, it will become habitual. God gives us power if the will is submitted to him to overcome habit. While we cannot understand the will wholly, we know it is that which makes character, and character is what we are. This will live forever if the individual believes in Jesus Christ, and lives with the will submitted to Him.
As one accustoms himself to think along certain lines, so the brain-cells become set, and thought runs in a certain groove, or channel. Think pure, sweet, happy thoughts, in harmony with the love of God and Christ’s example, and the brain and mind are thus attuned to heaven’s music. Philippians 4:8 is a good mental exercise. Proverbs 23:7 states a fact. A man once confessed to a Christian worker that it was impossible for him to think pure thoughts. Even Scriptures read in his hearing were, in his evil mind, associated with impurity in some form. He said that he had allowed his mind so to develop that it was impossible for him to be saved, for he could not think of anything but sin. God hates sin, and he will pour out his wrath upon it; but he does not destroy men: this they do themselves. How? – By thinking on evil, and then acting it out. In this way it becomes ingrained in them, a part of them; in fact, it is they themselves, SIN! This God will consume in the last day, because it has already consumed the man. If we heed the invitation of mercy before this condition of mind becomes fixed, there is hope. God wrought miracles in the past, and healed the lesions of the brain-cells, so that it was possible for pure thoughts to travel their course, and thus affect the character; and where a heart is now truly desirous of such a change, God freely gives it.
The Youth’s Instructor, December 13, 1900.