Cornerstone Books Home Page
The Philosophy of P. P. Quimby
by Annetta Gertrude Dresser
The Philosophy of P. P. Quimby With Selections from his Manuscripts and a Sketch of his Life By Annetta Gertrude Dresser
Third Edition Boston Geo. H. Ellis, 272 Congress Street 1899
Dedicated To the sick everywhere
The rapidly growing interest in the philosophy and practice of mental healing in its various forms has created a desire to know more about the man to whose discoveries this new development is due, and to know wherein his teaching differed from the prevailing systems of thought. The facts concerning the discovery were published in 1887, in a pamphlet entitled "The True History of Mental Science," by Julius A. Dresser, in which quotations from Dr. Quimby's writings were then made public for the first time. By kind permission of those who have the manuscript in charge the author of the present volume is enabled to make further quotations from these writings, and also to republish a number of articles which were written for the press during the last years of Dr. Quimby's practice. In this way the facts are made to speak for themselves, and to show, without further comparison, the scope and scientific value of the parent philosophy.
A.G.D. 481 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass., May 1, 1895
1. Historical Sketch
2. Extracts from the press, 1857-65
4. An Exposition of Dr. Quimby's Philosophy
5. Selections from the Manuscripts of P. P. Quimby
It frequently happens in the progress of invention and discovery that the man through whose genius and labor some great work is begun passes away from public notice with scarcely a word of recognition in gratitude for what he accomplished, while others receive not only the benefit of his researches, but the credit of the discovery or invention. Nearly all great movements originate in the pioneer work of some man of genius, struggling in the isolation for a time, amid the opposition of established modes of thought, until an army of lesser intellects scatter the new thought broadcast; and it becomes a permanent factor in human thought. But the time comes when people are eager to know all that can be learned about the few original thinkers to whom human progress is mainly due.
Every detail is interesting; and there is no more fascinating record of achievement than the stories of genius caught working at its task. All this applies with unusual emphasis to the movement which, originating in the researches of P. P. Quimby more than half a century ago, now numbers among its followers many thousands of people in this country and abroad. The new philosophy has gradually won its way, despite all opposition, to a recognized place among the educational factors of our time. It has its literature, its army of workers, and its organizations. It has brought untold relief to suffering humanity, and opened the way to the final mastery of the many diseases and affliction which hold mankind in bondage. Yet the new thought has been brought forward mainly by those who dwelt on the outskirts of its central truth.
Erroneous conclusions derived from Dr. Quimby's sound premises have passed current as a genuine philosophy, which others have claimed to discover. His method of cure has been adopted by thousands who never heard of its real originator; while only the few have known of the patient effort, and the years of unsparing devotion to truth, whereby Dr. Quimby sought to build up a science of life and happiness which should destroy all disease, -- a work which was but half finished when his earthly career came to an end.
It would seem well, then, now that Dr. Quimby's teaching in its derived form has won a permanent hearing, to make more generally known what he really taught, and to distinguish his philosophy from this derived teaching. He was one of the few profoundly original men.
Working wholly alone, without aid from books, and according to methods of his own, he not only regained his own health after being condemned by the medical faculty, but saved the lives of thousands of others during his twenty-five years of practice, and founded a philosophy which, combining, as it does, theory, practice, religion, and the science of health, has wrought a transformation in a vast number of lives. It is no exaggeration to say, in the light of what is coming to the world as the result of that one life, that few men ever lived who, working single-handed in a new field, have accomplished as much as he.
As we turn, then, to a consideration of the main facts in his life, it is worth the feeling that we are studying to career of a man who is still with us, and whose great work is even now but in its inception. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby was born in the town of Lebanon, N.H., Feb. 16, 1802. When about two years of age, his parents emigrated to Maine, and settled in the own of Belfast. His father was a blacksmith, and the subject of this sketch was one of a family of seven children. Owing to his father's scanty means and to the meager chances for schooling, his opportunity for acquiring an education was limited.
During his boyhood he attended the town school a part of the time, and acquired a brief knowledge of the rudimentary branches; but his chief education was gained in after life from reading and observation. He always regretted his want of education, which was his misfortune rather than any fault of his. He had a very inventive mind, and was always interested in mechanics, philosophy, and scientific subjects.
During his middle life he invented several devices on which he obtained letters-patent. He was very argumentative, and always wanted proof of anything rather than an accepted opinion. Anything that could be demonstrated he was ready to accept; but he would combat what could not be proved with all his energy rather than admit it as a truth. With a mind of this combination, it is not strange that, when a gentleman visited Belfast about the year 1838, and gave lectures and experiments in mesmerism, Mr. Quimby should feel deeply interested in the subject. Here was a new -- to him at least -- phenomenon; and he at once began to investigate the subject, and on every occasion when he could find a person who would allow him to try, he would endeavor to put him into a mesmeric sleep. He met with many failures, but occasionally would find a person whom he could influence.
At that time Mr. Quimby was of medium height, small in stature, his weight about one hundred and twenty-five pounds; quick-motioned and nervous, with piercing black eyes, black hair and whiskers; a well-shaped, well-balanced head; high, broad forehead, and a rather prominent nose, and a mouth indicating strength and firmness of will; persistent in what he undertook, and not easily defeated or discouraged.
In the course of his trials with subjects he met with a young man named Lucius Burkmar, over whom he had the most wonderful influence; and it is not stating it too strongly to assert that with him he made some of the most astonishing exhibitions of mesmerism and clairvoyance that have been given in the modern times. Mr. Quimby's manner of operating with his subject was to sit opposite him, holding both his hands in his, and looking him intently in the eye for a short time, when the subject would go into that state known as the mesmeric sleep, which was more properly a peculiar condition of mind and body, in which the natural senses would or would not operate at the will of Mr. Quimby.
When conducting his Experiments, all communications on the part of Mr. Quimby with Lucius were mentally given, the subject replying as if spoken to aloud. "For several years Mr. Quimby traveled with young Burkmar through Maine and New Brunswick, giving exhibitions, which at that time attracted much attention and secured notices through the columns of the newspapers. It should be remembered that at the time Mr. Quimby was giving these exhibitions, over forty-five years ago, the phenomenon was looked upon in a far different light from that of the present day. At that time it was a deception, a fraud, and a humbug; and Mr. Quimby was vilified and frequently threatened with mob violence, as the exhibitions smacked too strongly of witchcraft to suit the people.
As the subject gained more prominence, thoughtful men began to investigate the matter; and Mr. Quimby was often called upon to have his subject examine the sick. He would put Lucius into the mesmeric state, who would then examine the patient, describe the disease, and prescribe remedies for its cure. After a time Mr. Quimby became convinced that, whenever the subject examined a patient, his diagnosis would be identical with what either the patient or some one present believed, instead of Lucius really looking into the patient, and giving the true condition of the organs; in fact, that he was reading the opinion in the mind of some one rather than stating a truth acquired by himself.
Becoming firmly satisfied that this was the case, and having seen how one mind could influence another, and how much there was that had always been considered as true, but was merely some one's opinion, Mr. Quimby gave up his subject, Lucius, and began the developing of what is now known as mental healing, or curing disease through the mind. In accomplishing this, he spent years of his life, fighting the battle alone, and laboring with an energy and steadiness of purpose that shortened it many years.
To reduce his discovery to a science which could be taught for the benefit of suffering humanity was the all-absorbing idea of his life. To develop his 'theory' or 'the Truth,' as he always termed it, so that others than himself could understand and practice it, was what he labored for. Had he been of a sordid and grasping nature, he might have acquired unlimited wealth; but for that he had no desire. He used to say, 'Wait till I get my theory reduced to a science, so that I can teach the Truth to others, and I can Make money fast enough.'
Each step was in opposition to all the established ideas of the day, and was ridiculed and combated by the whole medical faculty and the great mass of the people. In the sick and suffering he always found staunch friends, who loved him and believed in him, and stood by him; but they were but a handful compared with those on the other side.
While engaged in his mesmeric experiments, Mr. Quimby became more and more convinced that disease was an error of the mind, and not a real thing; and in this he was misunderstood by others and accused of attributing the sickness of the patient to the imagination, which was the very reverse of the fact. 'If a man feels a pain, he knows he feels it, and there is no imagination about it,' he used to say. But the fact that the pain might be a state of the mind, while apparent in the body, he did believe. As one can suffer in a dream all that it is possible to suffer in a waking state, so Mr. Quimby averred that the same condition of mind might operate on the body on the form of a disease, and still be no more of a reality than was the dream.
As the truths of his discovery began to develop and grow in him, just in the same proportion did he begin to lose faith in the efficacy of mesmerism as a remedial agent in the cure of the sick; and after a few years he discarded it altogether. Instead of putting the patient into a mesmeric sleep, Mr. Quimby would sit by him; and, after giving a detailed account of what his troubles were, he would simply converse with him, and explain the causes of the troubles, and thus change the mind of the patient, and disabuse it of its errors and establish the truth in its place, which, if done, was the cure.
He sometimes, in the cause of lameness and sprains, manipulated the limbs of the patient, and often rubbed the head with his hands, wetting them with water. He said it was so hard for the patient to believe that his mere talk with him produced the cure, that he did his rubbing simply that the patient would have more confidence in him; but he always insisted that he possessed no 'power' nor healing properties different from anyone else, and that his manipulations conferred no beneficial effect upon the patient, although it was often the case that the patient himself thought they did. On the contrary, Mr. Quimby always denied emphatically that he used any mesmeric or mediumistic power. He was always in his normal condition when engaged with a patient. He never went into any trance, and was a strong disbeliever in Spiritualism, as understood by that name.
He claimed, and firmly held, that his only power consisted in his wisdom, and in his understanding the patient's case and being able to explain away the error and establish the truth, or health, in its place. Very frequently the patient could not tell how he was cured; but it did not follow that Mr. Quimby himself was ignorant of the manner in which he performed the cure. Suppose a person should read an account of a railroad accident, and see, in the list of killed, a son. The shock on the mind would cause a deep feeling of sorrow on the part of the parent, and possibly a severe sickness, not only mental, but physical. Now, what is the condition of the patient? Does he imagine his trouble? Is it not real? Is his body not affected, his pulse quick; and has he not all the symptoms of a sick person, and is he not really sick? Suppose you can go and say to him that you were on the train, and saw his son alive and well after the accident, and prove to him that the report of his death was a mistake. What follows? Why, the patient's mind undergoes a change immediately; and he is no longer sick.
It was on this principle that Mr. Quimby treated the sick. He claimed that 'mind was spiritual matter, and could be changed'; that we were made up of 'truth and error'; that 'disease was an error, or belief, and that the Truth was the cure.' And upon these premises he based all his reasoning, and laid the foundation of what he asserted to be the 'science of curing the sick' without other remedial agencies than the mind. "In the year 1859 Mr. Quimby went to Portland, where he remained till the summer of 1865, treating the sick by his peculiar method.
It was his custom to converse at length with many of his patients who became interested in his method of treatment, and to try to unfold to them his ideas. Among his earlier patients in Portland were the Misses Ware, daughters of the late Judge Ashur Ware, of the United States Court; and they became much interested in 'the Truth,' as he called it. But the ideas were so new, and his reasoning was so divergent from the popular conceptions, that they found it difficult to follow him or remember all he said; and they suggested to him the propriety of putting into writing the body of his thoughts.
From that time he began to write out his ideas, which practice he continued until his death, the articles now being in the possession of the writer of this sketch. The original copy he would give to the Misses Ware or the writer of this, and then reread to him, that he might see that all was just as he intended it. Not even the most trivial word or the construction of a sentence would be changed without consulting him. He was given to repetition; and it was with difficulty that he could be induced to have a repeated sentence or phrase stricken out, as he would say, 'If that idea is a good one, and true, it will do no harm to have it in two or three times.'
He believed in the hammering process, and of throwing an idea or truth at the reader until it would be firmly fixed in his mind. In a circular to the sick, which he distributed while in Portland, he says that, 'as my practice is unlike all other medical practice, it is necessary to say that I give no medicines, and make no outward applications, but simply sit by the patient, tell him what he thinks is his disease, and my explanation is the cure. And, if I succeed in correcting his errors, I change the fluids of the system, and establish the truth, or health. The truth is the cure.'
Mr. Quimby, although not belonging to any church or sect, had a deeply religious nature, holding firmly to God as the first cause, and fully believing in immortality and progression after death, though entertaining entirely original conceptions of what death is. He believed that Jesus' mission was to the sick, and that he performed his cures in a scientific manner, and perfectly understood how he did them. Mr. Quimby was a great reader of the Bible, but put a construction upon it thoroughly in harmony with his train of thought.
Mr. Quimby's idea of happiness was to benefit mankind, especially the sick and suffering; and to that end he labored and gave his life and strength. His patients not only found in him a doctor, but a sympathizing friend; and he took the same interest in treating a charity patient that he did a wealthy one. Until the writer went with him as secretary, he kept no accounts and made no charges. He left the keeping of books entirely with his patients; and, although he pretended to have a regular price for visits and attendance, he took at settlement whatever the patient chose to pay him.
The last five years of his life were exceptionally hard. He was overcrowded with patients and greatly overworked, and could not seem to find an opportunity for relaxation. At last nature could no longer bear up under the strain; and, completely tired out, he took to his bed, from which he never rose again. While strong, he had always been able to ward off any disease that would have affected another person; but, when tired out and weak, he no longer had the strength of will nor the reasoning powers to combat the sickness which terminated his life.
An hour before he breathed his last he said to the writer: 'I am more than ever convinced of the truth of my theory. I am perfectly willing for the change myself, but I know you will all feel badly; but I know that I shall be right here with you, just the same as I have always been. I do not dread the change any more than if I were going on a trip to Philadelphia.'
His death occurred Jan. 16, 1866, at his residence in Belfast, at the age of sixty-four years, and was the result of too close application to his profession and of overwork. A more fitting epitaph could not be accorded him than in these words:-- "'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.' For, if ever a man did lay down his life for other, that man was Phineas Parkhurst Quimby."
EXTRACTS FROM THE PRESS, 1857-65
It may now be of interest to the reader, before considering a more detailed account of Dr. Quimby's philosophy and practice, to learn what was said of him by those who made the first attempts to describe his work among the sick.
The selections are made from a series of newspaper articles, dating from 1842, many of which are testimonials of the wonderful cures wrought among people of all classes, and including disease in its worse forms, such as lameness, deafness, blindness, etc. It is not to be expected that such articles would do justice to Dr. Quimby's teaching, nor that the writers had more than a faint glimmering of the scope and value of his work. Yet they are interesting as showing the high opinion of him held by those whom he had restored to health, and who were eager to put his ideas before the world.
A NEW DOCTRINE OF HEALTH AND DISEASE.
A gentleman of Belfast, Maine, Dr. Phineas P. Quimby, who was remarkably successful as an experimenter in mesmerism some sixteen years ago, and has continued his investigations in psychology, has discovered, and in his daily practice carries out, a new principle in the treatment of diseases.
All medical treatment of previous schools deals with the effect, and not the cause, -- treats the disordered body, and not the mind which is the active agent of that disorder. It is universally acknowledged that the mind is often the cause of the disease, but it has never before been supposed to have an equal power in overcoming it.
His theory is that the mind gives immediate form to the animal spirits, and that the animal spirit gives form to the body, as soon as the less plastic elements of the body are able to assume that form. Therefore, his first course in the treatment of a patient is to sit down beside him, and put himself en rapport with him, which he does without producing the mesmeric sleep. He says that in every disease the animal spirit, or spiritual form, is somewhat disconnected from the body, and that, when he comes en rapport with a patient, he sees that spirit form standing beside the body, that it imparts to him all its grief and the cause of it, which may have been mental trouble or shock to the body, as over-fatigue, excessive cold or heat, etc. This, of course, impresses the mind with anxiety; and the mind, reacting upon the body, produces disease. In the case of a young child, one might say, "Surely, here the mind can have nothing to do with the disease." But not so. If a child coughs, its mind is cognizant of it, and dreads it, as he would dread the fire that has just burned him; and that dread increases the tendency to cough, and thus the disease is produced.
With this spirit form Dr. Quimby converses, and endeavors to win it away from its grief; and, when he has succeeded in doing so, it disappears, and reunites with the body. Thus is commenced the first step toward recovery. This union frequently lasts but a short time, when the spirit again appears, exhibiting some new phase of its troubles. With this he again persuades and contends until he overcomes it, when it disappears as before. Thus two shades of troubles have disappeared from the mind, and consequently from the animal spirit; and the body has already commenced its efforts to come into a state in accordance with them.
Dr. Quimby says that there is no danger from disease when the mind is armed against it. That he will treat a person who has the most malignant disorder without danger to himself, though his sympathy with the patient is so strong that he feels in his own person every symptom of the disease; but he dissipates from his mind the idea of it, and induces in its place an idea of health. He says the mind -- the thinking principle-- is what it thinks it is, and that, if it contends against the thought of disease, and creates for itself an ideal form of health, that form impresses itself upon the animal spirit, and through that upon the body, that his understanding is a positive power, and aids the spirit, which is not strong enough in itself to contend against the idea of disease.
Of course, I have given but the barest outline of this theory, which opens a new field full of interest and beauty to the lover of psychology. To many minds it would seem speculative and fantastic, were it not substantiated by cures so remarkable as to seem almost miraculous. Indeed, Dr. Quimby asserts that he believes nothing but what he sees, -- that he is unaided by any powers of reasoning. He practices in a comparatively narrow sphere with rare simplicity, and has done nothing to call the attention of the public to his system; but it seems to me to be founded upon true philosophical principles, and to be deserving of a wide acceptance.
(Bangor (Maine.) Jeffersonian, 1857.)
The following was written by a lady whom Dr. Quimby had cured during the first year of his practice in Portland, and who had become very much interested in his ideas: -- The Art of Healing.
Of all subjects affecting the happiness of mankind, health stands foremost in importance; for without it little can be enjoyed and nothing effected. Why, in the design of an overruling Providence, so many are innocently condemned to be miserable invalids, to annihilate their existence as useful beings, and yield up their lives to disease, are questions continually recurring to the sick, rendering life more a mystery to them even than to the well.
Notwithstanding the advancement that has been in the science which is intended to lessen suffering and prolong life, still the signs of the times would indicate that the wave of disease will swell with the increasing tide of new generations. Every person's experience teaches him the value of health, so that its consideration occupies a large share of individual attention; and each person has a standard of his own by which he endeavors to preserve it.
Theories, rules, and opinions are just as good as their effects show. If we can keep our health good by applying our own rules, well and good. If not, we need help. Every theory admitting evil as an element cannot annihilate it. If disease is ever driven out of existence, it must be by a theory and practice entirely at variance with what we now put our trust in.
There are those who indulge in the belief that humanity contains the principles of self-perfection, and that there is in every person a power superior to reason or education, by which sciences are discovered and miracles effected. This principle is not recognized as a natural capacity in man; but its appearance is generally considered as an exclusive gift, and its possessors are geniuses and sorcerers. Both are judged be their works to have a power that is not allotted to the masses, and their explanation places them in one of the above classes.
In every age there have appeared individuals possessing the power of healing the sick and foretelling events. Their theory or explanation veils this power in superstition and ignorance, so that the world is not enlightened in regard to where it comes from or how it operates. We only know the effects. Spiritualists, mesmerists, and clairvoyants, making due allowance for imposition, in later times have proved that this power is still in existence.
Like this in the vague impression of its character, but infinitely beyond any demonstrations of the same intelligence and skill, is the practice of a physician who has been among us a year, and to whose treatment some helpless invalids owe their recovered health. I refer to Dr. P. P. Quimby. With no reputation except for honesty, which he carries in his face, and the faint rumor of his cures, he has established himself in our city, and by his success merits public attention.
Regarded by many as a harmless humbug, by others as belonging to the genus mystery, he stands among his patients as a reformer, originating an entirely new theory in regard to disease, and practicing it with a skill and ease which only comes from knowledge and experience. His success in reaching all kinds of diseases, from chronic cases of years' standing to acute diseases, shows that he must be practicing upon a principle different from what has ever before been taught. His position as an irregular practitioner has confined him principally to the patronage of the credulous and the desperate; and the most of his cases have been those which have not yielded to ordinary treatment.
Those only who have been fortunate enough to receive benefit from him can have any appreciation of the interest which the originality of his ideas excite, and of the benefit, when understood, which they will be to society. To attempt to describe his mode of treatment to the well would be like offering money to an already wealthy man; while the sick person, who is like one cast onto prison for an unjust debt, can feel the force of his system. With a sympathy which the sick alone call forth, and a knowledge which he proves alone to them, he leads a invalid along the path to health. His power over disease arises from his subtle knowledge of mind and its relation to the natural world, to which subject his attention was turned some twenty years ago by mesmerism.
His investigation in this region, hitherto unsatisfactorily explored, has developed in him a clairvoyant faculty, which he exercises with his reason and natural senses, and has yielded to him facts which he explains upon a principle admitted, but little understood, educing therefrom a theory of universal application by which he cures diseases.
(H. Portland (Maine.) Advertiser, February, 1860.)
From an article in the Lebanon (N.H.) Free Press of Dec. 3, 1860, we quote the following:-- . . . It is here Dr. Quimby stands, his explanations and his cures go hand in hand. While his senses are penetrating the dark mystery of the experience of the sick, he is in complete possession of his consciousness as a man. Not fearing to investigate the operation of the mind, he penetrated the region where but few have dared to venture; and going far beyond others in his experiments, he arrived at the knowledge of the principle regulating happiness. Therefore, his curing disease is perfectly intelligent, and is in itself a new philosophy of life.
The foundation of his theory, regarded simply as a belief, is that disease is not self-existent, nor created by God, but is purely an invention of man. Yet it is so firmly established in our belief, and substantiated by so much wisdom, that its existence as an independent identity is never questioned. In his treatment he makes a complete separation between the sufferer and the sickness. For the latter he has no respect; and, while he is battling and destroying the faith or belief of which it is made, he respects the intelligence of the patient, which he leaves free and unchained.
The following article was written by a young lady whose mother had been restored to health after being given up as incurable by the doctors, and having been unable to use her voice for three years. The young lady had also recovered her health under Dr. Quimby's care:--
DR. QUIMBY'S MODE OF CURING DISEASE.
One of the noticeable characteristics of the present time is a growing distrust in the virtue of medicine as in itself able to cure disease; and this state of the public mind, this demand for some better mode of treating the sick, has either created, or finds ready, an army of new-school practitioners of every possible kind, some sincerely desirous of doing good, and firmly believing what they profess, while others are only too willing to impose upon credulity, and benefit themselves thereby. Under such circumstances it would be extremely difficult for a true reformer, who not only sees the errors of the past and present, but dares to take entirely different views even of the origin of disease, to acquire for himself a reputation distinct from the many who also profess to have advanced far in the new paths they have chosen, though, in reality, having started from the same point that all others have in times past, they will in the end arrive at nearly the same conclusions. Even great success in the practice of his theory might for a time be insufficient to establish public confidence, and prevent his being ranked with all the innovators of the day.
Many people who have lost faith in the ancient school are at the same time startled by such reasoning as Dr. Quimby uses with regard to disease. It is so contrary to the commonly received opinions, they hardly dare believe there can be any truth in it. They hear of remarkable success in his practice, but are them still more incredulous, and say, "The age of miracles has passed away, and this is too much to believe." But "seeing is believing," the proverb says; and, after having an opportunity to see some of the remarkable effects which Dr. Quimby has had upon obstinate cases of long-standing disease, they are compelled to yield, though it may be reluctantly, that there is living truth in his principles, that he has cast off the shackles of opinion which would narrowly enclose the limits of investigation, and studying the mysterious workings of the mind, discovered there the true explanation of that which has so long been misunderstood and unsatisfactorily accounted for.
They came to him suspicious, almost unwilling to believe what they saw, ignorant of his theory, which, even after it was explained, they found difficult to understand, and therefore had to go through with this process of gradual conviction before they would receive its truths. So it may be said that he has to contend with those who would be his friends as well as his enemies.
The following outline of his theory was written after having passed trough similar change of feeling , and may give some general idea -- though a very imperfect one -- of the principles which are so effective in opposing disease:--
According to this new theory, disease is the invention of man. It is caused by a disturbance of the mind, -- which is spiritual matter, -- and therefore originates there. We can call to mind instances where disease has been produces instantly by excitement, anger, fear, or joy. Is it not the more rational conclusion that disease is always caused by influences upon the mind rather than that it has an identity, comes to us, and attacks us?
Living in a world full of error in this respect, and educated to believe that disease is something we cannot escape, it is not strange that what we fear comes upon us. We take the opinions of men, which have no knowledge in them, for truth. So we all agree to arbitrary rules with regard to our mode of life, and suffer the penalties attached to any disobedience of the same. These diseases or penalties are real to us through the result of belief. It is reasonable to infer from these statements that the only way to approach and eradicate disease must be through the mind, to trace the cause of this misery, and hold it up to the light of reason or disbelief in the existence of disease independent of the mind. Then the cloud which shadows us vanishes, as error always will when over-powered by the light of truth.
Dr. Quimby proves the truth of his belief by his daily works. The marvelous cures he is effecting are undeniable evidence of his superior knowledge and skill in applying it for the benefit of suffering humanity. He does not use medicine or any material agency, nor call to his aid mesmerism or any spiritual influence whatever, but works on scientific principles, the philosophy of which may be understood only by the patient. Therefore, he is not only able to rid of the present trouble, but also to the liability to disease in the future.
Accepting this new theory, man rises superior to circumstances. Easily adapting himself to any necessity, free from all fear of disease, he lives a more simple, natural, and happy life. He is enabled to control the body, and make it subservient to his will instead of his being a slave completely at its mercy, which he will be if he allows that it is subject to disease. This truth is capable of extensive practical application in all the exigencies of life, and we learn to make constant use of it as we advance in knowledge. It helps us to place a just estimate upon everything, the value of life is enhanced; and, as we have more of this true knowledge in ourselves, we shall love and worship God, who is the source of all wisdom, more sincerely and intelligently.
(VERMONT. Portland Advertiser, 1862.)
The next article was also written by a lady whom Dr. Quimby had cured, and was published in the Portland Advertiser of March 22, 1862:--
OUTLINE OF NEW PRINCIPLES IN CURING DISEASE. It is an ancient and time-honored custom for the educated classes to oppose every new thing that they cannot comprehend and account for. Being themselves the standard of intelligence, they deny every fact that does not come from the development of their own knowledge, and oppose en masse the possibility of intelligence coming from any other source than their researchers. So when a question comes before the people, originating outside of their education, it meets every species of opposition, is misrepresented and abused in every possible shape before it reaches a successful stand. Therefore, to obtain a candid hearing for a subject not understood or admitted by the world is impossible. Its first appearance will be mistrusted, and considered as an absurdity.
The experience of Dr. Quimby has not been an exception in this respect. Curing disease without medicine is looked upon as a humbug, and its advocates considered as visionary fanatics. Yet it comes forth again, claiming public respect and attention. He is misunderstood and mistrusted by many, because they class him among things which hold no respectable position in the world; and the opposition which they feel towards him arises from the mistaken character of their opinions.
Some persons think he cures by power from the devil, and consequently have no respect for him. From their acquaintance with the aforesaid personage, they conclude that the doctor must be wicked and powerful as he is; and so they consider him a questionable character. This judgment is the basis of the prejudice that exists in the community against him. There are others, however, who are willing to allow him a hearing in explaining his way of curing. Dr. Quimby claims that he cures disease under the guidance of a principle which, being understood, must set free the sick. Consequently, his system, as far as he carries it, is an intelligible one, and his position in regard to disease entirely new and original.
Instead of treating the body as an intelligent organization with independent life, he finds the life and intelligence in the man who occupies it. His process reverses their relation to each other, making the visible form the shadow, while the everlasting substance is not seen in the natural world. His theory separates them, and brings to light the pure intelligence of man, letting it work in the world of matter as master, not slave. From this standpoint he advocates the cause of the sick against the whole world; for everybody believes that the body is diseased, and the mind, or real man, is not affected.
He says the voice of the sick is not heard in the world. It is what the well say about them that gets the public ear; while they, passive and helpless, are completely controlled by the influences coming from the knowledge of those whose duty it is to cure them. He also says the well know nothing of themselves about the sick, and consequently their judgment is uncharitable and fallible. It is his duty to get the sick free from the charges made against them; and this he does by a full knowledge of their feelings, which he takes upon himself. These feelings, which are the evidences against them, he explains in a way that destroys what they prove to the world.
Statements made by him to the sick have a strange sound, and need an explanation to render them intelligible; for he often tells a person he has no real disease, when nothing is plainer than that he has. Here comes in his personal belief, which to him is knowledge. He does not trace disease to a hidden or mysterious source, or no source at all, neither does he pay any respect to it as though it came from God. He refers it directly to man himself, under the dominion of errors invented by man, believed in as true, and of independent origin; and to cure it intelligently and in the most beneficial way to mankind is to destroy the error on which it is based. Then he lifts disease from its pretended basis of truth, and places it on its proper basis of error. Consequently, in his reasoning, disease is not the ruling power; and he does not admit it except as a deception.
In demonstrating this position, he comes in contact with prejudices which are as strong as our existence, and in many cases meets with opposition from the strong and bitter religious prejudices which are so common in the community. He cannot admit a disease and then cure it any more than a court can pronounce judgment on a criminal without trying the case. Dr. Quimby gives the sick the same chance for their health as an indicted supposed criminal has for his life; and, if he, by analyzing his symptoms, can destroy the evidence of disease, then his patient is cured. In this he follows no track before trodden by man, and ventures into a field entirely unknown to regular physicians; and hence he cannot be ranked with any association of practitioners.
He does not place disease upon the presumption that it is imagination, and, if a person would only think he was well, he would be so. The anguish of the body is as real as anything; but it is not intelligent of itself, and is dependent on the construction of those who never felt it to receive a name and character determining the condition of the organs and the danger of the patient's life. He says the body does not act of itself, but is acted upon by its owner or some other outward influences; and it is the development of his principles to detect those influences and correct them when wrong. With the sick the reverse is true in common belief. The body is sick, suffers, and dies; and very little is known of the owner. To them the body is a cruel tyrant, the organs all conspiring, together or singly, to kill them. The lungs say he shall not have any air, the stomach refuses to give him food in peace, and there is a general confusion of threats and compromise. The body haggles and encroaches, man becomes cowardly, and is finally overcome, and gives up to whatever the body agrees upon; and disease gains the victory. And where is man? Where are his ambitions, his self-respect, his power of taking care of himself? He has become a weak, complaining being that he would despise in the day of his health.
This is the being that Dr. Quimby cures; and, according as he restores to him a sense of his lost rights, and makes him feel that he is and ought to be master, just so the body ceases to be a tyrant, and becomes a servant, subject to his direction. Then, when it is asked by what power Dr. Quimby cures disease, it is answered, By the knowledge of the wisdom that gives man the control of his body, and the understanding of which produces health and happiness. Just according as a man walks in the knowledge of this truth, he is wise and happy; but any deviation from it, admitting matter superior to man, creates an error, which really imprisons him. Ages of education have condensed these errors into living facts, and now nothing is plainer to those who still are young than the inevitable approach of many sorrows and trials. To free the burden of life of one of its greatest evils, and prepare the way for greater works of the same plan, is the effect of the establishment of Dr. Quimby's system.
In a brief communication like this it is impossible to do justice to a subject like this. Time will prove that his cures are wrought under a principle that must work out the redemption of mankind from disease; and his system will be found based on eternal principles, and as capable of being explained and understood as the science of astronomy and music. - E. G. Ware.
A LETTER FROM DR. QUIMBY. INTERNATIONAL HOUSE, February, 1862.
As you have given me the privilege of answering an article in your paper of the 11th inst., where you classed me with Spiritualists, mesmerists, clairvoyants, etc., I take this occasion to state where I differ from all classes of doctors, from the allopathic physician to the healing medium. All these admit disease as an independent enemy of mankind, but the mode of getting rid of it divides them in their practice. The old school admit that medicines contain certain curative properties, and that certain medicines will produce certain effects. This is their honest belief. The homeopathic physicians believe their infinitesimals produce certain effects. This is also honest. But I believe all their medicine is of infinitely less importance than the opinions that accompany it. I never make war with medicine, but opinions. I never try to convince a patient that his trouble arises from calomel or any other poison, but the poison of the doctor's opinion in admitting a disease. But another class, under cover of Spiritualism and mesmerism, claim power from another world; and to these my remarks are addressed.
I was one of the first mesmerizers in the state who gave public experiments, and had a subject who was considered the best then known. He examined and proscribed for diseases just as this class do now. And I know just how much reliance can be placed on a medium; for, when in this state, they are governed by the superstition and beliefs of the person they are in communication with, and read their thoughts and feelings in regard to their disease, whether the patient is aware of them or not.
The capacity of thought-reading is the common extent of mesmerism. Clairvoyance is very rare, and can easily be tested by blindfolding the subject and giving him a book to read. If he can read it without seeing, that is conclusive evidence that he has independent sight. This state is of very short duration. They then come into that state where they are governed by surrounding minds.
All the mediums of this day reason about medicine as much as the regular physician. They believe in disease and recommend medicine. When I mesmerized my subject, he would prescribe some little simple herb that would do no harm or good of itself. In some cases this would cure the patient. I also found that any medicine would cure certain cases if he ordered it. This led me to investigate the matter, and arrive at the stand I now take: that the cure is not in the medicine, but in the confidence of the doctor or medium. A clairvoyant never reasons nor alters his opinion; but, if in the first state of thought reading he prescribes medicine, he must be posted by some mind interested in it, and also must derive his knowledge from the same source the doctors do.
The subject I had left me, and was employed by -- who employed him in examining diseases in the mesmeric sleep, and taught him to recommend such medicines as he got up himself in Latin; and, as the boy did not know Latin, it looked very mysterious. Soon afterwards he was at home again, and I put him to sleep to examine a lady, expecting that he would go on in his usual way; but instead he wrote a long prescription in Latin. I awoke him, that he might read it; but he could not. So I took it to the apothecary's, who said he had the articles, and that they would cost twenty dollars. This was impossible for the lady to pay. So I returned, and put him asleep again; and he gave his usual prescription of some little herb, and she got well. This, with the fact that all the mediums admit disease, and derive their knowledge from the common allopathic belief, convinces me that, if it were not for the superstition of the people, believing that these subjects, merely because they have their eyes shut, know more than the apothecaries they could make few cures.
Let any medium open his eyes, and let the patient describe his disease, then the medicine would do as much good as brown bread pills. But let the eyes be shut, and then comes the mystery. It is true they will tell the feelings, but that is all the difference.
Now, I deny disease as a truth, but admit it as a deception, started like all other stories without any foundation, and handed down from generation to generation till the people believe it, and it has become a part of their lives. So they live a lie, and their senses are in it. To illustrate this, suppose I tell a person he has the diphtheria; and he is perfectly ignorant of what I mean. So I describe the feelings, and tell the danger of the disease, and how fatal it is in many places. This makes the person nervous, and I finally convince him of the disease. I have now made one; and he attaches himself to it, and really understands it, and he is in it soul and body. Now he goes to work to make it, and in a short time it makes its appearance. My way of curing convinces him that he has been deceived; and, if I succeed, the patient is cured. As it is necessary that he should feel I know more than he does, I tell his feelings. This he cannot do to me, for I have no fears of diphtheria.
My mode is entirely original. I know what I say; and they do not, if their work is to be taken. Just so long as this humbug of inventing disease continues, just so long the people will be sick and be deceived by the above-named crafts.
P. P. QUIMBY Portland Advertiser, Feb. 13, 1862.
The following is one of the last public notices of Dr. Quimby's work previous to his departure from Portland:--
It is with feelings of surprise and regret that many of your readers receive the announcement given in your advertising columns, that Dr. P. P. Quimby has determined to leave Portland. The doctor has been in this city for nearly seven years, and by his unobtrusive manners and sincerity of practice has won the respect of all who knew him. To those especially who have been fortunate enough to receive benefit at his hands, -- and they are many, -- his departure will be viewed as a public loss.
That he has manifested wonderful power in healing the sick among us, no well-informed and unprejudiced person can deny. Indeed, for more than twenty years the doctor has devoted himself to this one object; namely, to cure the sick, and to discover through his practice the origin and nature of disease. By a method entirely novel and at first sight quite unintelligible, he has been slowly developing what he calls the "Science of Health"; that is, as he defines it, a science founded on principles that can be taught and practiced, like that of mathematics, and not on opinion or experiments of any kind whatsoever.
Hitherto he has confined his efforts to individual cases only, seeking to discover in them what disease is, how it arises, and whether it may not, with the progress of truth, be entirely eradicated. The results of his practice have been such as to convince him that disease, that great enemy of our happiness, may be destroyed, and that, too, on grounds and by a method purely rational; and he goes from us not to abandon the cause, we are rejoiced to learn, but to enter a broader field of usefulness, wherein he hopes not only to cure, but, as far as he can, to prevent disease.
The path he treads is a new one and full of difficulties; but, with the evidence he has already given, in numberless instances, of his extraordinary ability in detecting the hidden sources of suffering, we are led to hope he may accomplish something for the permanent good of mankind. An object so pure and a method so unselfish must, when understood, claim the favorable attention of us all. We bid him God-speed.
G. Portland (Me.) Advertiser, 1865.
It was some time in 1860 that I first heard of Dr. Quimby. He was then practising his method of curing the sick in Portland, where he had been located about a year. My home was a few miles from that city, and we often heard of the wonderful work he was doing. We also heard something about his philosophy; and, as he made war with the prevailing theories of the day, there was a strong prejudice against him in the minds of many people. His patients, however, became his friends, and he gradually won his way into the hearts of the people, especially among those who had received benefit from him, either through his practice or his ideas; and his fame spread more and more.
My own experience with Dr. Quimby was a very interesting one, and attended with most happy results. In fact, my first interview with him in May, 1862, as a patient, after six years of great suffering, and as a last resort, after all other methods of cure had utterly failed to bring relief. I had barely faith enough to be willing to go to him, as I had been one of those who were prejudiced against him, and still had more of doubt and fear than expectancy of receiving help. But all fear was taken away as I was met by this good man, with his kindly though searching glance.
The events connected with this first interview are as vivid in mind as those of yesterday. It was like being turned from death to life, and from ignorance of the laws that governed me to the light of truth, in so far as I could understand the meaning of his explanations. In order to understand the great change which then came into my life, let the reader picture a young girl taken away from school, deprived of all the privileges enjoyed by her associates, shut up for six years in a sick-room, under many kinds of severe and experimental treatment in its worst forms, constantly growing worse, told by her minister that it was the will of God that she should suffer all this torture, seeing the effect of all this trying experience upon the dear ones connected with her, -- simply struggling for an existence, and yet seeing no way of escape except through death, -- and the reader will have some idea of the state I was in when taken before this strange physician. And, in order to complete the picture, let the reader imagine the inner conflict between all this that was so disheartening and a hope that never wavered, a feeling that there was a way of escape, if it could only be found, a conviction deeper than all this agony of soul and body that the whole situation was wrong, that the torturing treatment was wholly unnecessary, and that it was not God's will that anyone should be kept in such a prison of darkness and suffering.
To have this great hope realized was, indeed, like the glad escape of a prisoner from the darkest and most miserable dungeon. Yet timid, and expecting to find a man without sympathy, who would attempt some sort of magic with me, it was naturally with much fear and trembling that I made my first visit to his office. Instead of this, I found a kindly gentleman who met me with such sympathy and gentleness that I immediately felt at ease. He seemed to know at once the attitude of mind of those who applied to him for help, and adapted himself to them accordingly. His years of study of the human mind, of sickness in all its forms, and of the prevailing religious beliefs, gave him the ability to see through the opinions, doubts, and fears of those who sought his aid, and put him in instant sympathy with their mental attitude. He seemed to know that I had come to him feeling that he was a last resort, and with but little faith in him or his mode of treatment. But, instead of telling me that I was not sick, he sat beside me, and explained to me what sickness was, how I got into the condition, and the way I could have been taken out of it through the right understanding.
He seemed to see through the situation from the beginning, and explained the cause and effect so clearly that I could see a little of what he meant. My case was so serious, however, that he did not at first tell me I could be made well. But there was such an effect produced by his first explanation that I felt a new hope within me, and began to get well from that day. He continued to explain my case from day to day, giving me some idea of his theory and its relation to what I had been taught to believe, and sometimes sat silently with me for a short time. I did not understand much that he said, but I felt "the spirit and the life" that came with his words; and I found myself gaining steadily. Some of those pithy sayings of his remained constantly in my mind, and were very helpful in preparing the way for a better understanding of his thought, such, for instance, as his remark, that "Whatever we believe, that we create," or "Whatever opinion we put into a thing, that we take out of it."
The general effect of these quiet sittings with him was to lighten up the mind, so that one came in time to understand the troublesome experiences and problems of the past in the light of his clear and convincing explanations. I remember one day especially when a panorama of past experiences came before me; and I saw just how my trouble had been made, how I had been kept in bondage and enslaved by the doctors and the false opinions that had been given me. From that day the connection was broken with these painful experiences, and the terrible practices and experiments which had added so much to my trouble; and I lived in a larger and freer world of thought.
The most vivid remembrance I have of Dr. Quimby is his appearance as he came out of his private office ready for the next patient. That indescribable sense of conviction, of clear-sightedness, of energetic action, -- that something that made one feel that it would be useless to attempt to cover up or hide anything from him, -- made an impression never to be forgotten. Even now in recalling it, after thirty-three years, I can feel the thrill of new life which came with his presence and his look. There was something about him that gave one a sense of perfect confidence and ease in his presence, -- a feeling that immediately banished all doubts and prejudices, and put one on sympathy with that quiet strength or power by which he wrought his cures.
We took our turn in order, as we happened to come to the office; and, consequently, the reception-room was usually full of people waiting their turn. People were coming to Dr. Quimby from all parts of New England, usually those who had been given up by the best practitioners, and who had been persuaded to try this new mode of treatment as last resort. Many of these came in on crutches or were assisted into the office by some friend; and it was most interesting to note their progress day by day, or the remarkable change produced by a single sitting with the doctor. I remember one lady who had used crutches for twenty years, who walked without them after a few weeks.
Among those in waiting were usually several friends or pupils of Dr. Quimby, who often met in his rooms to talk over the truths he was teaching them. It was a rare privilege for those who were waiting their turn for treatment to listen to these discussions between the strangers and these disciples of his, also to get a sentence now and then from the doctor himself, who would often express some thought that would set us to thinking deeply or talking earnestly. In this way Dr. Quimby did considerable teaching; and this was his only opportunity to make his ideas known. He did not teach his philosophy in a systematic way in classes or lectures. His personal explanations to each patient, and his readiness to explain his ideas to all who were interested, brought him in close sympathy with all who went to him for help. But further than that he had no time for teaching, as he was always overrun with patients, although it was his intention to revise his writings and publish them.
Those were days to be remembered. One who never saw him can hardly imagine the conviction of truth that one felt when he uttered a sentence. He seemed to see through all the falsities of life, and far into the depths and into the spirit of things; and his penetrating vision was so keen and true that one felt as if in the presence of a great light that could destroy the darkness of all that stood in his way. We all loved him truly and devotedly; for how could we help it? He was full of love for humanity, and he was constantly laboring for others without regard to himself.
It has always seemed strange to me that anyone who knew him could ever forget his loving sympathy and kindness of heart. He was one that inspired all honest souls with a conviction of his own sincerity. He had nothing to gain nor lose; for his own life was a constant outflowing of the spirit of truth in which he lived. Consequently, he freely gave of all that he had; and, if anyone evinced any particular interest in his theory, he would lend his manuscripts and allow his early writings to be copied. Those interested would then in turn write articles about his "theory" or "the Truth," as he called it, and bring them for his criticism. But no-one thought of making any use of these articles while he lived, nor even to try his mode of treatment in a public way; for all looked up to him as the master whose works so far surpasses anything they could do that they dared not try.
Among the more devoted followers were the daughters of Judge Ware, already mentioned, and Mr. Julius A. Dresser, also of Portland, who spent much of his time for several years in the endeavor to spread Dr. Quimby's ideas. It was also at this time, 1862, that Mrs. Eddy, author of "Science and Health," was associated with Dr. Quimby; and I well remember the day when she was helped up the steps to his office on the occasion of her first visit. She was cured by him, and afterwards became very much interested in his theory. But she put her own construction on much of his teaching, and developed a system of thought which differed radically from it. This does not seem strange when one considers how much there was to learn from a man as original as Dr. Quimby, and one who had so long investigated the human mind. Unless one had passed through a similar experience, and penetrated to the very centre of things as he had, one could not appreciate his explanations sufficiently to carry out his particular line of thought. Hence none of the systems that have sprung up since Dr. Quimby's death, although originating in his researches and practice, have justly represented his philosophy, as the succeeding chapters will show.
His treatment did not consist of denials and affirmations, nor did he treat any two cases alike. He had a wonderful power of adaptability, and used such language and illustrations as were suggested by the calling or belief of his patients. In talking with a musician, he would thus use music as an illustration. His treatment was largely explanatory, -- an explanation of the real as opposed to the seeming condition of the patient. He seemed to make a complete separation between the sufferer and the sickness, and he talked to the sufferer in such a manner that, gradually his senses would become attached to the new life or wisdom which his words conveyed instead of the painful sensations; and, as this continued, the sickness disappeared.
In one of his articles, written in 1861, Dr. Quimby thus describes his method of cure: -- "A patient comes to see Dr. Quimby. He renders himself absent to everything but the impression of the person's feelings. These are quickly daguerreotyped on him. They contain no intelligence, but shadow forth a reflection of themselves which he looks at. This contains the disease as it appears to the patient. Being confidant that it is the shadow of a false idea, he is not afraid of it. . . . . Then his feelings in regard to the disease, which are health and strength, are daguerreotyped on the receptive plate of the patient, which also throws forth a shadow. The patient, seeing this shadow of the disease in a new light, gains confidence. This change of feeling is daguerreotyped on the doctor again. This also throws forth a shadow; and he sees the change, and continues to treat it in the same way. So the patient's feelings sympathize with his, the shadow changes and grows dim, and finally disappears, the light takes its place, and there is nothing left of the disease."
It was Dr. Quimby's own clear-cut perception and understanding of the case which enabled him to make this separation between the better or real self of the patient and the personal fear and beliefs which, as he says in the above illustration, were daguerreotyped on him. The perception or explanation was itself the cure, and there was no need either of argument or of an attempt to transfer his thoughts to the patient. The separation once made, a change was bound to result; for the senses were carried with it, the whole mental attitude changed as well, and the patient was freed from the tormenting sensations and fears which had been so all absorbing, -- absorbing so long, and only so long, as the consciousness was turned in the wrong direction. His first effort, then, in every case was to free the sufferer from whatever held soul and body in bondage, and to make his explanation so clear that the patient should consciously see the whole matter in its true light; and everyone knows that, when we see through a thing that has caused us trouble, its power over us is lost, just as when a startling rumor is denied, or as though one were to meet a lion in the forest, and then learn that he was chained, and could do no harm.
There seemed to be no obstacle to Dr. Quimby's mental vision. I once knew a lady to go to him simply to test his ability to read her. She remarked to others that she did not believe he could help her, nor tell her what caused her trouble. He received her as he would have anyone, and after a few moments -- without a word having been spoken-- took his chair, and, placing it before her, sat down with his back to her, saying to her: "This is the way you feel towards me. I think that you do not need my services, and that you had better go home."
The following extract from a letter to a clergyman, under date of Oct. 28, 1860, illustrates the care with which he discriminated between his own opinion and that of the higher Wisdom which enabled him to perform his wonderful cures:-- "Your letter of the 18th was received; but, owing to a pressure of business, I neglected answering it. I will try to give you the wisdom you ask. So far as giving my opinion is concerned, it is out of my power as a physician, though as a man I might, but it would be of no service; for it would contain no wisdom except of this world. My practice is not of the wisdom of man, so my opinion as a man is of no value. Jesus said, 'If I judge of myself, my judgment is not good, but, if I judge of God, it is right'; for that contains no opinion. So, if I judge as a man, it is an opinion; and you can get plenty of them anywhere.
"You inquire if I have ever cured any cases of chronic rheumatism? I answer, Yes; but there are as many cases of chronic rheumatism as there are of spinal complaint, so that I cannot decide your case by another. You cannot be saved by pinning your faith on another's sleeve. Everyone must answer for his own sins or belief. Our beliefs are the cause of our misery, and our happiness and misery is what follows our belief. . . . "You ask if my practice belongs to any known science. My answer is, No, it belongs to a Wisdom that is above man as man. . . . It was taught eighteen hundred years ago, and has never had a place in the heart of man since, but is in the world, and the world knows it not."
Again, in reply to a young physician in a letter dated Sept. 16, 1860, he says:-- . . . "To answer any question with regard to my mode of treatment would be like asking a physician how he knows a patient had the typhoid fever by feeling his pulse, and request the answer direct, so that the person asking the question could sit down and be sure to define the disease from the answer. My mode of treatment is not decided in that way. . . . If it were in my power to give to the world the benefit of twenty years' hard study in one short or long letter, it would have been before the people long before this. The people ask they know not what. You might as well ask a man to tell you how to talk Greek without studying it, as to ask me to tell you how I test the true pathology of disease, or how I test the true diagnosis of disease. All of these questions would be very easily answered if I assumed a standard, and then tested all disease by that standard.
"The old mode of determining the diagnosis of disease is made up of opinions about diseased persons, in their right mind and out of it, and under a nervous state of mind, all mixed up together and set down, accompanied by a certain state of pulse. In this dark chaos of error, they come to certain results like this: If you see a man going towards the water, he is going in swimming; but, if he is running, with his hat and coat off, he is either going to drown himself or some one is drowning, and so on. This is the old way. Mine is this: If I see a person, I know it, and, if I feel the cold, I know it; but to see a person going towards the water is no sign that I know what he is going to do. . . .
"Now, like that latter [ the old practitioners ], do not deceive your patients. Try to instruct them and correct their errors. Use all the wisdom you have, and expose the hypocrisy of the profession in any one. Never deceive your patients behind their backs. Always remember that, as you feel about your patients, just so they feel towards you. If you deceive them, they lose confidence in you; and just as you prove yourself superior to them, they give you credit mentally. If you pursue this course, you cannot help succeeding.
"Be charitable to the poor. Keep the health of your patient in view, and, if money comes, all well; but do not let that get the lead. With all this advice, I leave you to your fate, trusting that the true Wisdom will guide you, -- not in the path of your predecessors. P. P. Q."
It was thus characteristic of Dr. Quimby to sink the man or personal self in his work, or that larger Self or Wisdom whence he derived his power; and whatever he urged upon another he always practised himself. Throughout his writings this same humility is uppermost; and whatever he wrote and said had a wonderful staying power, since it bore the emphasis of his own stimulating and kindly personality.
After the lapse of twenty-nine years since Dr. Quimby passed away, the most and the best I can say of his teaching and the power of his example is that his theory has stood the severest tests of trouble and sickness in my own family as well as in many others, while his example has been an ever-present ideal. With him his theory was a life, a larger and nobler, a freer and wiser, life than that of the average man. To know the inexpressible depth and value of his teaching, one must live this life, and prove through long experience the truth of his philosophy. That his teaching has never failed in its application, and has been more than a substitute for all that it displaced, is at once the best evidence of its truth and the strongest argument in its favor.
IV. AN EXPOSITION OF DR. QUIMBY'S PHILOSOPHY
It was Dr. Quimby's chief aim to establish a science of life and happiness, which all could learn, and which should relieve humanity of sickness and misery. He had penetrated far enough into the meaning and mystery of life to grasp certain great laws and principles with mathematical clearness. He saw that these laws were universal, that they did not depend on the opinions and learning of men for their support, but that, deep within every human soul, there was a source of guidance and inspiration which all could learn to know, even the simplest and least educated; for it was common to all. He believed that goodness was a science, and could be taught scientifically; and by the word "science" he always meant, not what is commonly understood by that word, but something spiritual, -- the higher nature or wisdom of man, which accounts for all that is mysterious to the natural man or every-day man of the world. Therefore, he sought to make clear the distinction between the ever-changing opinions of the world, the beliefs and inherited ideas of the natural man, and the unvarying wisdom of the inner or truly scientific man.
He often spoke of these two elements of knowledge as two kingdoms, one of this world, or opinions, errors, and beliefs, and the other not of this world, but an unchanging realm of truth, goodness, and eternal life. All that he wrote was permeated with this thought, this distinction between the two worlds, which he called science and ignorance, wisdom and opinions, the real man and the natural man, Jesus and Christ; for he always distinguished between the merely personal self and that Christ or Wisdom in man which, so far as he possesses it, makes man a part of God.
His long-continued study of the human mind led him to emphasize the truth that man possesses a dual nature. Man himself is often a mere tool in the hands of others, to be moved here and there at the mercy of minds stronger than his own. But every man is also an inlet to this higher Wisdom; and, consciously or unconsciously, every one partakes of these two kingdoms of science and ignorance, and his happiness or misery depends on which one is uppermost. Therefore, it is of the highest importance that man should understand himself, should know his real relations to society, how he is influenced and how to overcome the subtle influences by which he is surrounded; and to possess the knowledge is to know this science or wisdom which separates truth from error.
To know the one self or kingdom from the other, to obey and develop the real or spiritual self, and destroy the self or man of opinions, is not only to possess, but to live the science of life and happiness. Health and happiness will come in proportion as this truth is made vital in daily life. But to know one's self in terms of Dr. Quimby's philosophy is no slight task. With him this one word, "science," embraced the fruits of twenty years' experience and much that was incommunicable to those who had not experienced it. It is difficult to make clear and to do justice to a line of thought which depended so much on the originality and unusual penetration of its author; and we shall have to limit the discussion by asking with Dr. Quimby, What is man? and by approaching his answer somewhat systematically.
1. Dr. Quimby's first discovery was in regard to the influence of opinions and beliefs. He found his patients in a position similar to that in which human beings were placed at the very dawn of civilization, when natural phenomena, which now receive a scientific interpretation, were attributed to beings and shapes each of which had a separate office to perform. That is, they were suffering from a wrong, a superstitious and harmful interpretation of what actually existed, but misund- erstood. They were allured by false theories, false and exciting stories, and false leaders. They had been deceived, they had felt some slight pain, and in their fear had consulted a doctor, who had made a diagnosis which was of no value, described the symptoms, and named the sensation; or they had become wrought up over some religious belief, and in their despair had become a prey to their own fancies and fears. It was his task to undeceive them, to explain the phenomena and the sensations correctly, to show the absurdity of their superstitious beliefs, and to explain how, with the doctors' help, they had created their own disease out of some slight disturbance which in itself amounted to nothing.
Dr. Quimby did not, therefore, make his explanations by denying the reality of the patient's trouble or attributing it to the imagination. He made no such denials, but frankly admitted the existence of certain conditions which, to the sick person, were as real as life itself. But just as he sought the Wisdom above the world of opinion, and the Substance or Life beneath the realm of matter, so he looked for the cause of disease and suffering of all kinds in the mind which knew it. This he found, like the superstitious belief of prehistoric man displaced by modern science, in a wrong interpretation of what was in itself an actual existence.
His own effort in every case, then, was to understand the actual situation, and to separate and free the senses from the fears, wrong beliefs and feelings which had held the sufferer in bondage. In one of his articles written to show the effect of these false interpretations and beliefs, Dr. Quimby uses the following illustration:-- "When sitting by a sick person who had a pain in the left side, which I felt and described, I said, 'You think you have consumption.' The patient acknowledged it, saying that her physician had examined her lungs, and found the left one very much affected. This she believed; and, when I told her that her disease was in her mind, it was as much to say that she imagined what was not the case. I told her she did not understand what I meant by the mind. "Then, taking up a glass of water, I said: 'Suppose you should be told that this water contained a poisonous substance that works in the system and sometimes produces consumption. If you really believe it, every time you drink the idea of poison enters your mind. Presently you begin to hack and cough a little. Would your fears then grow less that the water was poison? I think not.
"'Finally, you are given over by your doctor and friends, and call on me. I sit down by you, and tell you that you are nervous, and have been deceived by your doctor and friends. You ask, How? You have been told what is false; that the water you drink contains a slow poison, and now your cure hangs on the testimony in the case. If I show that there is no poison in the water, then the water did not poison you. What did? It was the doctor's opinion put in the water by your mind. As the mind is matter, or something that can receive an impression, it can be changed. This change was wrought by the doctor's opinion. So calling mind something, it is easy to show that it can be changed by a wisdom superior to an opinion.'" . . . .
Many of the articles on this subject, written to expose the fallacy of the prevailing ideas about disease, read like trials in court. Dr. Quimby himself appears as the judge, pleading the cause of the sick and showing the absurdity of the arguments whereby his patients were condemned to a life of suffering. He introduces both the minister and doctor, oftentimes the mother or some friend, allowing each one to speak freely in regard to the sufferer; and the case is often argued at great length. Dr. Quimby is always fair in conducting such a case. His facts were drawn directly from the lives of the sick, -- what the doctors and friends had said about the case, -- and were often written out immediately after performing the cure which the article described. But he exposes the fallacies of the Church and of so-called medical scienc with an unsparing hand. He does not hesitate to call the minister and doctor blind guides leading the blind; and, while he has no personal feelings against them, he combats the errors and opinions by which they have held the sick in bondage with a determination to destroy every vestige of their false teachings.
He is most eloquent at times as he shows how the sick have been held in disease and superstition, when a simple explanation would have turned their thoughts and feelings into another channel and set them free. It is safe to say that never before or since has the cause of the sick been pleaded with such vigor, such power of conviction, and such truth as in these writings of Dr. Quimby.
He placed no intelligence nor strength in matter, and never looked upon the bodily condition as the disease. "The world," he says, "puts disease in the phenomenon, and guesses at the cause." The doctor's opinion is put together from observation and questioning; therefore, "he is a doctor only in name." But "to cure an error intelligently is to know how to produce it, to know the real cause; and this embraces all man's ideas and wisdom." This knowledge of the real cause Dr. Quimby possessed, and he found it, not alone in the conscious mind and the opinions and beliefs about the disease, but the mental influences and thoughts by which every person is surrounded, and in the unconscious or subconscious mind; and he could tell an idea or cause from the sensation produced by it, "just as a person knows an orange by the odor."
2. But how, the reader will ask, can fears, unconscious mental influences, doctors' opinions, and false interpretations of sensation be so influential in the creation of disease? We have seen that Dr. Quimby placed the disease, not in the body, but in the mind that can feel it and the opinion about some painful sensation. The disease is therefore primarily a wrong direction or attitude of mind, strong enough and persistent enough to carry the senses or consciousness with it. "Man, in his natural state, was no more liable to disease than the beast, but as soon as he began to reason he became diseased; for his disease was in his reason." This mind that can be affected by false reasoning Dr. Quimby called spiritual matter; and this was his second important discovery concerning the importance of man. He attributed no intelligence to the mind, used in this sense, but often compared it to the soil into which errors and opinions are sown like seed, where they germinate and come forth in the form of disease and all kinds of misery.
Therefore, a person who, feeling some painful sensation, consults a doctor, and hears a description of the symptoms he is likely to suffer, is all the time entering into the description given by the doctor. The person has been born with the belief that disease is an entity independent of man, which can seize him regardless of his belief. He has been taught that he must not eat this nor do that, must not go here or go there, lest he catch some disease, and has lived all his life -- unconsciously to himself -- subject to these erroneous beliefs. The entire medical practice is ready to help the matter on; and the physician, instead of wisely turning the person's thought into another and healthier direction, -- away from all thought of disease, -- makes a physical diagnosis, says he thinks the person has this or has that trouble, tells how people will feel with that disease, and what the result is likely to be, and proceeds to doctor the effect, ignoring the real cause or disease completely.
Those who know much about the medical practice of today know that the same thing is going on now, the only difference being that the fashions, names, and theories have changed; and we now hear more about germs and bacteria, to which the same harmful opinions are attached. With all the advance in medical science since Dr. Quimby's time -- and even he would not have denied that there are many good doctors -- the physicians will give one opinion about a case one day, and another the next, while another doctor would express an opinion differing from both. All this Dr. Quimby understood, and he could hardly restrain himself when he thought of the misery that was brought upon enslaved humanity by such false methods; for his investigations taught him that these descriptions and opinions, if accepted as true, acted like poison on the sufferer's mind.
The mind, or spiritual matter, is a subtle, ethereal substance, wonderfully impressionable or responsive, on which these opinions, together with the person's fears and beliefs in disease, are impressed or daguerreotyped, where they take form, become more and more deeply rooted, until finally they become all-absorbing and controlling. Thus "whatever we believe, that we create"; for man is controlled primarily, not by physical states, but by his directions of mind. Every idea or thought, then, according to Dr. Quimby, was also spiritual matter, but of a different combination from the mind in which it was sown like a seed. "Every idea," he says, "is the embodiment of an opinion resolved into an idea. This idea has life, or a chemical change; for it is the offspring of man's wisdom condensed into an idea, and our senses are attached to it." Its power over us depends on the reliance we place upon it; and, if it comes from one whose word we trust, it is likely to master us, and finally to assume a character which makes it as real as life itself. And the reason is found in the existence of this ever-changing mind or spiritual earth in which ideas germinate or take form.
Dr. Quimby understood the law so clearly, that man's happiness and misery depend on his belief, that he could penetrate to the very centre of a patient's trouble without fear. He described man as "a compound of opinions, belief, wisdom, science, and ignorance." Knowing that mind was matter and could be changed, and also knowing that he possessed a wisdom which could not change, he was a master of the situation, and could clearly separate all that was eternal in man from the changing beliefs of fear and ignorance. Without asking any questions of the patient, he would discover intuitively how the person had been deceived, and by giving the true explanation would produce a change in the spiritual matter, or mind.
He described the sick person as one in prison, and held in ignorance or darkness, like the rosebud trying to come forth to the light; and it was his task to enter these dark prisons of ignorance and superstition, quicken the intelligence of his patient, and set the prisoner free. "The mind," he says in one of his articles, "is under the direction of a power independent of itself; and, when the mind or thought is formed into an idea, the idea throws off an odor: this contains the cause and effect." This mental atmosphere, or odor emanating from the spiritual matter, was sufficient to tell Dr. Quimby all he wished to know about the patient's trouble; and, when he had discovered the hidden cause, a short audible explanation was often all that was necessary to produce a marked effect. For instance, he told one young man, who was a very strong Calvinist Baptist, that his religion was killing him; for he saw that the young man was so intense in his narrowing belief that he was shutting all his energies into one channel, and cramping his whole life in his too eager effort to realize his spiritual ideal.
3. But, if this changing mind, or spiritual matter, contains no intelligence, and can be molded by the opinions and fears which cause man's misery, like clay in the hands of the potter, there must be some abiding principle in man which gives him a permanent identity. This abiding self Dr. Quimby called the real man, or the senses, seldom using the word "soul." Here, too, Dr. Quimby's theory was wholly original; and this was his most suggestive discovery. His ability to detect the mental atmosphere or odor emanating from a patient was not limited by space; for he very early discovered that he could detect such atmospheres, thoughts, mental odors, and feelings at a distance of many miles from his patients, and that he could heal them at a distance. This led to the discovery that the senses could act independent of the body, and that the five natural senses, or the occasional medium of the spiritual senses, embraced but a small part of man's perceptions: in short, that the senses are, like light, a universal substance, an attribute of God, which we use, just as in displaying genuine wisdom we partake of the very nature of that Wisdom which transcends all definition.
Man, then, possesses a soul, a consciousness, or knowledge of himself or identity, independent of matter, and is capable of hearing, seeing, smelling, and communicating thoughts and feelings without the aid of matter. In fact, man could exist with all his faculties, even if the body were laid aside; and "his happiness is in knowing that he is no part of what is seen by the eye of opinion." Life, or the invisible reality, is the substance; and man's life embraces all his faculties.
Many of our perceptions and experiences really take place through the activity of this spiritual self, acting side by side with the natural; for, in the last analysis, "the senses are all there is of a man." It is interesting to note that at the present time many students of psychic science are reaching this same conclusion, in part, which Dr. Quimby reached so long ago; namely, that the facts of clairaudience, clairvoyance, telepathy, and the ability to heal mentally at a distance prove the existence of an identity which can live and act independent of matter. This spiritual identity was to Dr. Quimby the real man or life, who dwelt in the real or scientific world, in contrast to the natural identity or man of opinions which Wisdom could destroy. "All the senses are life," he said, "not death, and their existence does not depend on a body for their identity. . . . We cannot teach anyone to see or taste, smell or know; but all these faculties are independent of matter, and matter is the medium for these faculties to act upon." He therefore affirmed that "there is no matter independent of mind or life."
While, then, he never denied the existence of matter, he always spoke of it as an idea, which, like language, is used to convey some meaning to another. A sensation coming from matter contains no intelligence, in his view, but the intelligence is in us; and, if we put a false construction on it, then we suffer the consequences. Whereas, if we possess the true science of life, our interpretation is scientific, and our happiness is in our wisdom. He looked upon matter as the condensation or embodiment of some idea, on the one hand, giving expression to the purpose of the invisible Wisdom, or God, and on the other revealing some state in the mind of man.
He often spoke of man as matter, meaning, of course, the mind that can be changed. But, whenever he considered man from the point of view of intelligence, he referred to the senses, or the real man, of which matter is merely a medium. The real man, or the senses, may either be enslaved by the world's opinions, as in the case of disease and false ideas about religion, -- in which case Dr. Quimby sought to free the senses from their bondage to matter, -- or his senses may be attached to the Wisdom which is superior to matter and opinion. In any case, wherever the thought or consciousness is concentrated, there the senses are attached; and, if they are free from all slavery to opinion, the man is ready to realize the science of life and happiness, to separate the truth from the error, and to destroy superstition wherever he finds it.
4. Man, to know himself then, according to Dr. Quimby, must push his analysis farther than the mere discovery that he leads a life of mind; and, unless one stops to consider what Dr. Quimby meant by the word "mind," one is not likely to understand his theory of disease. He did not refer to the conscious thought alone; and therefore, when people say, as if in refutation of this doctrine, that they never thought of the disease before they took it, there is no refutation or argument at all.
Dr. Quimby brought to light the hidden influences which cause man's trouble; and usually the household atmospheres, the power of language, the effect of poisonous theories, of religious creeds and dogmas, of inherited beliefs and education, are so subtle that only the keenest scrutiny can detect these influences. We do not know that we are causing our own trouble. We do not know that we are constantly affected by the opinions and preconceptions which we put into a thing; for all this is second nature to us. We do not know that we really lead a life of mind. All these facts are hidden in the hurry of our daily thought. And we never know when we are subject to another mind or to some opinion; for, if we did, we would rise in our strength, and overcome this bondage. Nevertheless, all this affects us; and the changes in the wonderfully responsive mind, or spiritual matter, quickly reflect our conscious states, as well as all the above and many other unconscious influences.
Whatever we believe in, we not only create, but attach our senses or our life to; and all this must be borne in mind in endeavoring to grasp Dr. Quimby's theory. But deeper than all this that can change is the unchanging Wisdom, the one true and living God, of whose nature we partake, and who awaits our recognition. Dr. Quimby had little fellowship with the God of man's belief. He found that this God differed just as man's opinions differ; in short, that he was simply "the embodiment of man's belief," and inspired fear, hatred, and anger, and was the source of much of the superstition which he had to combat in effecting a cure.
Penetrating deeper, into the very heart of the universe, this truly devoted and spiritual man identified God with the very attributes of love, wisdom, and peace which lift man from the depths of superstition and make him more than human. He wrote of God as the first cause, and as an omnipresent Spirit, but more especially as the immanent life of man, the power behind the senses, the love that stirs in the hearts of the people, and is ever ready to help those who are in need. He therefore took no credit to himself for any unusual power. He was a most unassuming man. The element of self and self-esteem is wholly lacking in his writings, as it was in his life and his practice. Instead, there is this larger self, this Wisdom which belongs to all, as it was most surely a vital factor in all that he wrote and did.
He stood for certain great principles, and sought the truth without regard to any personal inclinations, letting it shine through him and through his words, -- an everlasting evidence alike of its power and of its high origin. So convinced was he that the same power which he used with such effect was latent in the minds of all that he believed every man could become his own physician, and apply the science of life in the cure of disease. He prophesied that the time would come "when men and women should heal all manner of diseases by the word of their mouth." He thoroughly believed that all disease could be overcome, since "it was the product of ignorance and superstition, and never had any foundation except in opinion." He testified of himself that he "had passed from death unto life," for he spoke of his science as eternal life, comparing it to the truth taught by Jesus. He declared that the fear of death was also an enemy or opinion which held man in bondage. Not only believing, but understanding, that man had an identity independent of matter which made him a part of the eternal life, he looked upon human life as continuous. He said he could conceive of no beginning and no ending, and looked upon death as a change only which did not affect the real man, or the soul.
5. Dr. Quimby's most marked characteristic, then, was his wonderful spiritual perception. He made almost no use of books, saying that they were full of unproved assertions, and developed his philosophy wholly alone, without any aid but his own keen penetration and desire for practical, mathematical truth. His perception reached to the very pith of every argument, the very centre of life, so that he possessed the thing itself, and put it into his works and his words instead of simply talking about it. His writings are therefore confined almost entirely to his own experiences, and many of his illustrations are drawn from the Civil War and the United States government. He often changed his subject when halfway through an article, with some reference to the war or some prophecy concerning it. Then, too, he uses words interchangeably and in a sense peculiar to himself, as, for example, the words "mind," "senses," and "science," already referred to. These peculiar usages should be borne in mind in reading the succeeding chapter.
But his articles abound throughout in graphic pictures and telling parables, and, while not always adapted to the general reader, are, as a whole, unusually convincing and suggestive. He is concerned throughout with the actual course of events in human life, the dual nature of man, and the directions of mind which resistlessly bring happiness or misery, according to the nature of man's belief. He emphasizes the truth again and again that action and reaction are equal, and that man is therefore responsible for his happiness and misery. He therefore believes that everything in life is law-governed. First in importance is the law of progress. "Man is a progressive being." Into his life has entered a higher element or power, which Dr. Quimby often speaks of as the woman or spiritual perception, while man is of the earth, earthy. The two are in conflict, the two are present in every man. And, since man begins life an epitome of creation, "with all the elements of the material world," "it is not strange that phenomena should appear, while man is so ignorant of what he is composed of, which can be traced to the animal kingdom with which they are most identified."
These conflicts or diseases Dr. Quimby called "progressive action"; and, if man understood that his life was a progressive process, or evolution, he would be free from or superior to these conflicts through his science or wisdom. Conduct, then, following the example and teaching of Dr. Quimby, should be wise adjustment to the conditions of progress, so that they shall not bring friction, and a recognition of this higher element which is trying to come forth.
Throughout his writings there is a sense of repose, based on firm conviction, which shows how strong in him was his ideal of health and happiness, and how clear his understanding of life's actual conditions. There is an entire lack of that enthusiasm and excitement which characterizes many of those who are interested in mental healing today. With him there was no straining after ideals, no overdrawn affirmations and assertions. He was eminently practical, and devoted to the needs of the eternal now. His philosophy teaches one to recognize what actually exists here and now, since God is not somewhere afar off, but immanent in his world of manifestation and in the soul. It is theory and practice, philosophy and life, religion and life combined, and, although especially applied by him to the healing of the sick and the instruction of those who cared to converse with him about his ideas, is sufficiently comprehensive to be a guiding factor in every moment of life. It is a life rather than a mere philosophy.
No single article, nor all that Dr. Quimby wrote, nor any exposition, does it full justice; for to those who knew him, and who received the direct benefit of his work, his own life was far larger and nobler than anything he wrote. Therefore, one who knows this deeper and more personal element instinctively turns from the written page to the large, unselfish, and deeply original nature behind it, as to one whose privilege it was to be of unusual benefit to humanity, and to utter words of wisdom and perform acts of love rare in the history of man.
V. SELECTIONS FROM THE MANUSCRIPTS OF P. P. QUIMBY
I am often asked what I call my cures. I answer, the effect of a science, because I know how I do them. If I did not know, they would be a mystery to the world and to myself. (May, 1861.)
After I found that mind was matter, I found that ideas were matter condensed into a solid called disease, and that this, like a book, contained all the wisdom of its author. Seeing the book,-- for sight with Wisdom embraces all the senses, -- I open it, and see through it. To the patient it is a sealed book; but to Wisdom there is nothing hid which cannot be revealed or seen, nor so far off that it cannot be reached. So I read the contents of the book to the patient, and show that it is false. Then, as the truth changes his mind, light takes the place of darkness, till he sees through the error of disease. The light of Wisdom dissipates the matter, or disease, the patient once more finds himself freed of opinions, and happiness is restored. (August, 1861.)
I have been trying all my life, ever since I was old enough to listen, to understand the religious beliefs of the world, and see if people understood what they profess to believe. After some fifty years of observation I have come to the conclusion that ninety-nine hundredths of mankind are listeners to someone telling a story, like the "Arabian Nights" in marvellousness; and they get excited like a mesmerized person, till they really create the scene in their own minds, and will suffer rather than abandon their belief. This is the state of society in regard to the subject of religion.
But, as science has progressed, it has explained some of the grossest errors. Still, nine-tenths of every man's religious belief is of that kind. I know I was as free from superstition as almost anyone; yet I was full enough of it, and all the while I was not aware that I had a belief of any kind. For the last twenty years I have been ridding myself of my old superstitions, and am now better prepared to see it in others. I have sat with more than three hundred individuals every year for ten years, and for the last five years I have averaged five hundred yearly, -- people with all sorts of diseases, and in every possible state of mind, brought on by all kinds of ideas in which people believe. Religion in its various forms embraces many of these causes. Some cases have been occasioned by the idea that they had committed the unpardonable sin. When asked what it was, no two persons ever answered alike. (September, 1861.)
I am often accused of opposing the medical faculty and the religious creeds. In answer to this, I plead guilty; but you must not gather from this that I oppose goodness or virtue or wisdom. I oppose all religion which is based on the opinions of men; and, as God never gave an opinion, I am not bound to believe that man's opinions are from God. The difference between man's opinion and God's wisdom is more than one would naturally suppose; but the former is taken for a truth, and this makes the trouble with which the wise have to contend. If man knew himself, he would not be misled by the opinions of others; and, as disease is the result of our knowledge or opinions, it is the duty of all to know themselves, that they may correct their own errors. (June, 1861.)
Man is made of opinions, -- of truth and error; and his life is a warfare like all other lives before him. . . . Man goes on developing error upon error till he is buried on his own belief; and it makes him but little higher than the animal kingdom. It is the office of wisdom to explain the phenomena in man called disease, to show how it is made, and how it can be unmade. This is as much a science as it is to know how to decompose a piece of metal. (December, 1861.)
One thing is certain: the time will come when the opinions of priests and doctors must give way to the science of life; for their opinions lead to death and misery, and the science of life is health and happiness. (March, 1861.)
THE SCIENCE OF LIFE AND HAPPINESS. -- I will show where I differ from Spiritualists and, in fact, all other sects. My theory is founded on the fact that mind is matter; and, if you will admit this for the sake of listening to my ideas, I will give you my theory. I assert that, according to man's belief, there are certain facts admitted and established beyond a doubt; and, as my wisdom is not of this world, or man's belief, only in part, it follows that what I know I have no opinion about.
All this knowledge that is of man is based on opinions. This I call this world of matter. It embraces all that comes within the so-called senses. Man's happiness and misery are in his belief; but the wisdom of science is of God, and not of man. Now to separate these two kingdoms is what I am trying to do; and, if I can succeed in this, I shall accomplish what never has been done, but what has been the aim of all the learned philosophers ever since the world began. The secret of life and happiness is the aim of all mankind; and how to get at it is the mystery that has baffled the wisdom of the world.
I should never undertake the task of explaining what all the wise men have failed to do but for the want of some better proof to explain the phenomena that come under my own observation, which have never been explained from the fact that the error exists now as much as ever. The remedies have never destroyed the cause, nor can the cause be destroyed by man's reason; and science cannot admit what cannot be proved. Until some better proof of what we see and feel and hear can be produced, the world must grope on in darkness and skepticism.
My object is not to strike at any science that is established. I admit such, for fear I may be misunderstood. I will separate the two worlds of which I am now speaking, and show what one of them has failed to do; also that the other is not acknowledged independent of the first. The world of opinions is the old world: that of science is the new; and a separation must take place, and a battle must be fought between them. The world of error and opinions has held science in bondage ever since man began to act independent of the savage life.
The child of science has been nourished in the bosom of its mother, in the wilderness of error, till it grew up so as to assume a character. Then, when it has undertaken to assume its rights, it has always been met with the thunder of error. But, as it is so much of a friend to the happiness of man, the enemies, or error, could never prevent its growth, for that was in the scientific world; and that world has no matter, or it is so rarefied that error cannot see through it. So the scientific man can pass through the errors and instruct the child of science, till it bursts forth and becomes a man, or law. Then the natural man, or error, destroys its leaders, and falls down, worships the scientific laws, and acknowledges them as king of this world. So, as the science is now acknowledged, the kings of the earth are cut off, and the kingdom is divided against itself. The leaders, with their armies, flee into the wilderness, there to rally for another attack when any new science is started.
Now, the science of life and happiness is the one that has met with the most opposition, from the fact that it is death to all opposers. It never compromises with its enemies, nor has it any dealings with them. Its kingdom is of science, not of error. Therefore, it is not of this world of matter. I will state its laws, -- how much it admits, how much it condemns, and how it puts its laws in force. Its habitation is in the hearts of men. It cannot be seen by the natural man, for he is of matter; and the scientific man is not matter. All he has is his [spiritual] senses. There is his residence for the time. He has no abiding city, but is a traveler or sojourner in the world of matter. His house is not made with hands, but is in the scientific world. So his whole aim is the happiness of man.
Now, as [the natural] man is of matter, his belief embraces all there is of him. The scientific man sees through this matter, which is only an error acknowledged as a truth, although it is to the natural man a reality. Now, as error holds on to all territory as under its power, it keeps the scientific man in slavery or bondage. So, to keep the science of life down, they invent all sorts of humbugs, in the shape of invisible things, attributing life to them, while they pretend to be the people's guide to wisdom. It is almost impossible to tell one character from another, as both communicate through the same organs. As the scientific man has to prove his wisdom through the same matter that the natural man uses, he is often misrepresented and put down by false stories, -- representations of the errors of the natural man. This was where Christ found so much trouble in his days, for the people could not tell who was speaking. The scientific man was called an angel by the natural man. So, if an angel spoke, they would listen.
The natural man, being superstitious and ignorant, is easily led by the cunning errors of the world. The leaders, being crafty and superstitious, believe in every phenomenon which is produced; and they attribute it to a power from the invisible world. The locality of this world is the mystery. So all varieties of speculations are got up about it. It opens all the avenues of matter, through which to give the inhabitants communications; but the natural man has possession of the mediums, so that the scientific man is misrepresented in nine-tenths of all he says. Now, to be in the scientific world is not necessarily to be wise, but to acknowledge a wisdom above the natural man, which will enter that world where wisdom sees through matter. This is the condition of those persons who are thrown into a clairvoyant state. To them matter is nothing but an idea that is seen or not, just as it is called out. All their senses are in this state, but are under the control of the natural man. So it is always hard to establish a fact in this world which goes to destroy the power of the natural man. All the explanation of this scientific world is given by these blind guides, who have eyes but cannot see, ears but cannot hear, and hearts but cannot understand science. They are afraid of the truth, lest it will destroy them; for the death of error is the introduction of the science of life and happiness. . . .
. . . . I will now try to establish this science or rock, and upon it I will build the science of life. My foundation is animal matter, or life. This, set in action by Wisdom, produces thought. Thoughts, like grains of sand, are held together by their own sympathy, wisdom, or attraction. Now, man is composed of these particles of matter, or thought, combined and arranged by Wisdom. As thought is always changing, so man is always throwing off particles of thought and receiving others. Thus man is a progressive idea; yet he is the same man, although he is changing all the time for better or worse. As his senses are in his wisdom and his wisdom is attached to his idea, or body, his change of mind is under one of the two directions, -- either of this world of opinions or of God, or science; and his happiness or misery is the result of his wisdom. Now, as the idea man has always been under the wisdom of this world, the scientific man has always been kept down, from the fact that no man has ever risen to that state where the scientific man could control the wisdom of the natural man. This has always caused man to be at war with himself. These two powers compose him, and the science lies in keeping the natural man in subjection to the scientific man, in this warfare. If the natural man rules, disease and unhappiness is the fate if the scientific man. If the latter rules, life and happiness is the reward.
Now, I stand alone on this rock, fighting the errors of the world, and establish the science of life by my works. What is my mode of warfare? With the axe of truth I strike at the root of every tree or error and hew it down, so that there shall not be one error in man showing itself in the form of disease. My knowledge is not matter or opinions. It decomposes the thoughts, changes the combinations, and produces an idea clear from the error that makes a person unhappy or diseased. . . .(March, 1861.)
My object is the good of mankind, independent of all religious sects and creeds. It is a philosophy which, if understood, will make men free and independent of all creeds and laws of man, and subject him to his own agreement, he being free from the laws of sin, sickness, and death. (1861.)
Every one is made of matter, and matter is continually going through a chemical change. This change is life, not wisdom, but life, like vegetable or mineral life. Every idea is matter, so of course it contains life in the name of something that can be changed. Motion, or change, is life. Ideas have life. A belief has life, or matter; for it can be changed. Now, all the aforesaid make up [the natural] man; and all this can be changed. (1861.)
Every disease is the invention of man, and has no identity in Wisdom, but to those that believe it it is a truth. It may seem strange to those in health that our beliefs affect us. The fact is, there is nothing of us but belief. It is the whole capital and stock in trade of man. It is all that can be changed, and embraces everything man has made or ever will make. (1865.)
People never seem to have thought of the fact that they are responsible to themselves for their belief. To analyze their belief is to know themselves, which is the greatest study of man. There is one thing that man is ignorant of. It is this: that he is a sufferer from his own belief, not knowingly, but by his own consent. Not being intelligent enough to judge of cause and effect, he becomes the victim of his own free will. . . . When a person tells you anything which you cannot understand, you are not bound to believe it unless you please; but, if you do, you convict yourself of a crime which you have acknowledged right.
Our belief cannot alter a scientific truth, but it may alter our feelings for happiness or misery. Disease is the misery of our belief, happiness is the health of our wisdom, so that man's happiness or misery depends on himself. Now, as our misery comes from our belief, and not from the thing believed, it is necessary to be on the watch, so as not to be deceived by false guides. Sensation contains no intelligence or belief, but is a mere disturbance of the matter, called agitation, which produces mind, and is ready to receive the seed of error. Ever since man was created, there has been an element called error which has been busy inventing answers for every sensation. (September, 1861.)
Man from ignorance has associated truth with error, till error has got to be as true as life itself. Human misery universally arises from some error that man admits as true. We confound our fears with the idea feared, and place the evil in the thing seen or believed. Here is a great error, for we never see what we are afraid of. Man's belief is his heaven or his hell.
DISEASE.-- What is disease? This question involves much speculative reasoning. Some suppose that disease is something independent of man, some think it is a punishment from God for the wrongs of our first parents, others that it comes from disobeying the laws of God. Now let us analyze all the above, and see if there is any truth in these statements. If there was not a living thing on earth, there could not be any disease, or, otherwise, disease must have had an existence before man was created; and, if so, God created it for some purpose. According to man's reasoning, disease is his enemy; and, if God created an enemy to destroy man, then God cannot be man's friend, as is thought. Thus the idea that a benevolent God had anything to do with disease is superstition. Then the question comes up again, Where does it come from? I answer, It does not come: it is created, not by God, but by man. (1861.)
Disease is false reasoning. True scientific wisdom is health and happiness. False reasoning is sickness and death. On these two modes of reasoning hang all our happiness and misery. The question is, How can we know how to separate the one from the other? The truth cannot be changed: the false is always changing. The one is science: the other is error, and our senses are attached to one or the other. One is the natural development of matter, or mind; and disease is one of the natural inventions of error.
To show how disease is not what it is supposed to be by those who use the word, I must show the absurdity of error's reasoning; for error is the father of disease. We are all taught by this error to call disease something that is independent of man. To make it more plain and show where the two modes of reasoning act, I will suppose a case, and take that of a young man who, feeling a little disturbed, calls on a physician. The physician sounds his lungs, examines his heart, and tells the patient he is very liable to have the heart disease. The patient asks him how he got it, and is told that he is liable to catch disease and have it; for it is not a part of him, and to get it or have it or catch it is to admit that it exists independent of himself, and, though the patient be dead, yet it would exist the same, and others would be liable to get it.
At last the patient really has the heart disease which the physician described to him. Now has he created it himself, or has the doctor created it for him? I propose to show that he has made what the world calls heart disease himself, without any one's help. To show how a building is raised is to frame one, and then take it down again. So I will take down this building, heart disease, which this man has raised; and then he can see how ideas are made or raised. I will say to the patient, You have built the disease yourself in your sleep or ignorance. This he cannot understand. So I tell him how he has worked in his sleep, and made the very edifice, heart disease, that he has got. I begin to tell him his dream by telling how he feels, in which he admits I am correct. Now, when he was asleep or ignorant of the feelings that disturb him, behold, a spirit in the form of a doctor sat by him; and, lo! and behold he called up from the dead a person with the heart disease, as he called it. And he handled you; and your sleep departed from you, your limbs became cold and clammy, and your pulse quickened. This excited your brain, and at last a figure of a person arose like unto the one you saw in your dream. Then you were afraid, and you awoke in your fright. At last the image became more terrible, till at length it overshadowed you and became a part of yourself, so that, when you awoke, you looked, and, lo! and behold, the dream had become reality, and you had the heart disease.
Now whose was it, the doctor's or yours? Did you catch the doctor's, or did you create it yourself by your own reasoning in your sleep or ignorance, according to the pattern set you by the doctor? I say, you made it yourself. Now to cure you, or take down the building, is to show you that all the feelings that you had at the commencement arose from trifling cause, and that, when I can make you understand it, I have performed the cure.
Instead of giving medicine or going to work by guess to destroy the building, I commence by showing the patient how he framed it by his own hand or wisdom. So I reason in this way. You listened to the doctor to try to understand what caused the heart disease. He explained every variety of feeling or symptom, and you listened till you understood it. Now, without knowing it, you created in your mind the disease, as much as you would if an artist or mechanic had taught you how to draught a building, and you would carry in your mind the building, and in your sleep you created it. The only difference would be that one would please you, for it would contain wisdom; while the other would bind you, for it would contain fear, and would threaten to destroy your life. Your trouble is the material with which to build the building, or disease. A chemical change in the fluids of your system takes place, and you condense them into a phenomenon corresponding with your draught. The fluids become diseased, and your ingenuity in manufacturing the disease has been the destruction of your happiness.
To destroy the disease, I convince you that what the doctor said was an idea gotten up by error, not knowing how to account for some little disturbance which in itself amounted to nothing. But by the doctor's mode of reasoning about what he knew nothing, you were led astray into the darkness of heathen superstition where all kinds of evil spirits and diseases dwell in the brain of man. Superstition always shows itself through the ignorance of man's reasoning, assuming as many names and forms as the father of all lies, the devil, or the error of mankind. (1864.)
Every word is supposed to have a meaning. Now, words are like nuts. Some are full, some partially full, and some are empty. The food, or wisdom, is the word; and, if the word contains no wisdom, then it is like husks or froth. It fails to satisfy the desire of the person who seeks the substance. Natural food is to satisfy the natural man; and spiritual food, or wisdom, is to satisfy the inner, or scientific, man. The child before it begins to know is fed by natural food, while its spiritual food is opinions expressed in words. Therefore, as I said, words contain more or less truth. All are not full, and some are empty. But, when a person speaks a word that contains the real substance, and applies it to the thing spoken of, that is what is called the bread of life; and he neither hungers nor thirsts for wisdom in regard to that.
The sick have been deceived by false words, and have fed on food that contains no wisdom. Hungry and thirsty, they apply to strangers for food, they ask for health, or the bread of life, and the natural man, taking bread as a natural substance, brings bread to them; but their state of mind does not hunger for natural food. Therefore, to them it is a stone. There is a bread which, if a man eat, he is filled; and this bread is Christ, or science. It is the body of Christ. Jesus says, "Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life; for my flesh is meat, indeed, and my blood is drink." The Jews of his days were like the scholars of the present day. Bread is bread, and blood is blood; and they say, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" They do not understand that wisdom is a body, and opinion a shadow. The natural man's belief is his body; and to eat and drink the world's wisdom is to eat condemnation, or disease.
Now, I will illustrate a cure. I sit down by a sick person, and you also sit down. I feel her trouble and the state of her mind, and find her faint and weary for the want of wisdom. I tell her what she calls this feeling that troubles her; and, knowing her trouble, my words contain food that you know not of. My words are words of wisdom, and they strengthen her; while, if you speak the same words, and the sound should fall on the natural ear precisely as mine, they are only empty sounds, and the sick derive no nourishment from them. I will describe this food, that you may taste it, and be wiser for your meal. In order to prove that food satisfies a person's hunger, I must find a person who is hungry; and, in order to prove that my words satisfy the sick, I must take one who hungers and thirsts for the bread of life, or health.
Being weak and faint from exhaustion, she applied to a physician for food to satisfy her desire; for she was famished for the want of wisdom in regard to her trouble. Instead of giving her wisdom, which would have satisfied her, he, in his ignorance, gave her these words full of poison: "Your trouble is a cancer in the breast." As she received these words, she became more faint and exhausted till she became sick at her stomach. She ate of this poisonous food till seeds of misery began to agitate the matter, the idea began to form, and a bunch appeared in the breast. As she attached the name "cancer" to the bunch, the name and the bunch became one body. The physician's words contained the poison, the poison produced the bunch, their ignorance associated the name with the bunch, and called it cancer.
I was called to see the lady, and, being perfectly ignorant of her trouble, I felt the faint and hungry feeling; and, as I felt the effect of the doctor's food, or opinions, on her, I said, "The food you eat does not nourish you: it gives you a pain in the breast." (This I said in reference to the way she reasoned in regard to her trouble.) "How do you know?" said she. I then told her that she thought her trouble was a cancer, and she admitted that it was so. I then told her she had no cancer except what she made herself. "I will admit the swelling," said I; "but it is of your own make. You received the seed from the doctor, and he prepared the mind, or matter, for its growth; but the fruit is the work of the medical faculty.
"Let us see how much the idea cancer exists in truth. The name exists before the bunch. Then the bunch, before it appeared, must have been in the mend; for it was not in sight when the word was first applied to it, or when you were first told that you had one. You know that you can be affected by another mind?" "Certainly." "Now I wish to show you that every phenomenon that takes form in the human body is first conceived in the mind. Some sensation is felt which we cannot account for. We then conjure up some idea which we create into a belief; and soon it is condensed on to a form, and a name given to it. Thus every phenomenon taking the name of a disease is a pattern of some false idea started without the least foundation in truth. Now, this bunch I call a phenomenon; for I cannot call it a cancer, because if I do, I admit a thing outside of the mind. The senses are the man independent of flesh. That is one thing. The word 'cancer' is another. "Now, I want to find the matter that the word is applied to. To say a thing exists and prove its existence are two different things. If any doctor will tell me where that cancer was before it was in sight, I will ask him how he knows. Let him say that it was in the blood, that the state of the blood indicates the presence of cancerous humor. Now do you deny that I told your feelings?" "Certainly not." "Then have I a cancerous humor?" "By no means." "Then there is no wisdom in that argument.
Again, he never knew you had an ill-feeling till you told him. Then where did he get his knowledge? Not from you, for you never thought of a cancer. It must have been from what you said about your pain. Suppose that I had said that I felt these same pains, and you had held your peace. Then, according to his theory, I must have a cancerous humor. Now, I know that I have no humor, nor had I an idea or pain till I sat by you. Therefore, this story of a cancer is a lie made out of whole cloth, without the least shadow of truth. It is like the stories of Sinbad the Sailor, or some witch fables that have no existence in truth. Then you will ask, What is this bunch? It is a bunch of solid matter, not a ghost or any invisible thing; but it was made by yourself, and no one else. I will tell you how you made it. "You remember I spoke of your having a heat. This heat contained no good or ill; but it was a mere decomposition of your body, brought about by some little excitement. It troubled you. . . . Then your superstitious fear of disease began to haunt you in your sleep, creating an action in the part of your breast where the error had made a stand. You commenced then to foster the idea, till at last you have excited the muscles to such an extent that the bunch has appeared.
If now I have proved the cure, I have effected it; and the bunch will disappear. Do you wish to know why?" "Yes." "Can the effect remain when the cause is removed?" "I presume not." "How do you feel?" "I feel easy." "How do you feel in regard to your trouble and in regard to what I have said?" "I think you are right, and it looks more reasonable than the doctor's story." "Then your senses have left his opinion, and have come to my wisdom. This is the new birth: you have risen from the dead, and you are free from the doctor's ideas. This truth has destroyed death, and brought life and health through science. Now I say unto you, Take up your bed or this truth, and go your way; and, when the night of error comes, spread out the garment of wisdom that enfolded Jesus, and wrap yourself in its folds, or truth, till the sun of life shall shine upon your body, or truth, and you rise free from the evils of the old beliefs." (1864.)
Of all mean-looking things, a human being that is completely under the medical faculty is the lowest. He is as much a slave as the negro at the South, and, in fact, more so. Look at the sick women suffering from some opinion that the doctors have made her believe. See their minds, -- they are completely under the doctor. They are not allowed to eat or drink, or even walk or think, except as their family physician gives direction. They have given their souls to the priests and their bodies to the physicians. Then they tell about the good doctor, -- how much he has done for them, -- showing that he has deprived them of all noble, manly feelings, and left them sick, feeble in mind and body. . . . This may seem strange; but it is God's truth that the sick are a mere tool in the hands of the medical faculty, to be treated just as they please.
It never will be any better till the sick rise in their wisdom, and declare their independence. . . . I am a white abolitionist. The blacks, it is true, are slaves; but their slavery is a blessing compared with that of the sick. I have seen many a white slave that would change places with the black. The only difference is that white slavery is sanctioned by public opinion. But make the slave know that he is one, and you will see a difference in the result. It is hard for me to keep myself within bounds when I think of the groans of the sick, knowing that it is all the effect of superstitious ignorance. Does not the South quote the Bible to prove that slavery is of divine origin? Do not the priests and doctors quote the old heathen superstition to bolster up a weak and feeble edifice, just ready to crumble and crush the leaders? Is not Science raising her voice, and crying aloud to the people, saying, How long shall it be till the old heathen idolatry shall come to an end, and man shall learn wisdom, and be his own master, and not a slave? (November, 1861)
DEATH.-- What is the true definition of death? Death is the name of an idea. An idea is matter, so that the destruction of an idea is death. Every opinion has its centre, and the centre is the idea. Now, if a person believes in anything that is founded on an opinion, the idea is in the opinion; and the senses, being also in the opinion, are attached to the idea. This imprisons the senses in the opinion. The idea is of itself nothing but an opinion condensed into a solid called matter, and every word goes to make the idea. So, to make an idea, men reason about something they have no proof of only as an opinion. . . . If they succeed in establishing their opinion, they imprison their opponent in their opinion; and the misery is what follows from the idea.
I will illustrate. Take the word "consumption." This word is of itself nothing to the person that never heard of it. To make it is to create the opinion, or building, and then reduce it to an idea, or matter. So matter in the form of words is so arranged as to make the idea in the opinion. Now, as the opinion is forming in the mind, a chemical change is going on; and the matter is held in solution till it is condensed into a form according to the pattern given by the direction. . . . So the senses become wedded to the idea; and both are held in the belief, or opinion. Now, to separate the senses from the idea is death to the idea, but life to the senses. This separation is what is called death; but it is only death to the one idea [not to the real man or the senses]. Man is always dying and living in progression; for error, or opinion, must always be in the mind, and mind must always exist till time is no more.
Man is made of science and ignorance, or life and death. Man, seen by the senses, is the centre of our belief; and the senses are attached to the idea called man. So the idea man varies as much as one star differs from another. No two men or ideas are alike. . . . Man lives all his life subject to death, so that to destroy one idea called death he is liable to die again and again to the end of time, unless his wisdom destroys death by the science of life. The last enemy to science is death, so the scientific man, or idea, shall reign till all error is destroyed....
Man's life is a life of progression governed by science of error, and to know what makes happiness is to know what makes misery. The science of life is to know how to keep man from getting into death, or error. This is my theory: to put man in possession of a science that will destroy the ideas of the sick, and teach man one living progression of his own identity, with life free from error and disease. As man passes through these combinations, they differ one from another. . . . He is dying and living all the time to error, till he dies the death of all his opinions or beliefs. Therefore, to be free from death is to be alive in truth; for sin, or error, is death, and science, or wisdom, is eternal life, and this is the Christ. (March, 1861.)
THE SENSES.-- I have spoken of the senses as something that can exist independent of our natural body. This is new to the world, or it has never been admitted; for the senses are attached to and a part of the body, and the idea of their being separated is something that has not dawned on the intelligence of the world. It may be a belief among some persons, but it is not admitted among the scientific. To have a knowledge of this science is to know when an impression is produced on the senses. The senses contain no knowledge of themselves. When a sensation is produced on them, if the soul, or identity, is aware of it and knows its true meaning, it does not produce the same sensation as though the soul were ignorant of the true meaning. . . I believe matter to be nothing but an idea belonging to the senses. . . . The senses of themselves do not embrace any idea of good or bad, but are simply the act of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling.
All these are independent of knowledge, for the beast and child contain them. Mesmerism proves the life of all of them independent of the body. So I set them down as senses, not matter, or mind, but life, or the medium of the soul. . . . The senses are life, and are sensitive to impressions, not through flesh and blood, but through this medium called senses. This fills all space, and contains all sight, smell, etc. All these are light; and light contains all the elements of the senses. The senses may be compared to particles of light. . . . Each person is a particle of this great light, or sense; and the knowledge of it, the soul. . . . Therefore, the life of the body, or ideas, is the knowledge of its senses. (1860.)
Are our senses mind? I answer, no. . . . Mind and senses are as distinct as light and darkness; and the same distinction holds good in wisdom and knowledge, Jesus and Christ. Christ, wisdom, and senses are synonymous. So likewise are Jesus, knowledge, and mind. Our life is in our senses; and, if our wisdom is in our mind, then we attach our life, wisdom, senses, etc., to matter. But, if our wisdom is attached to science [ or that which is spiritual ], then our life and senses are in God, and not in matter; for there is no matter in God, or wisdom, but matter is the medium of wisdom. . . .The idea [disease] is matter; and it decomposes, and throws off an odor that contains all the ideas of the person affected. This is true of every idea or thought. Now, my odor comes in contact with this odor; . . . and I, being well, have found out be twenty years' experience that these odors affect me, and also that they contain the very identity of the patient whom this odor surrounds. This called my attention to it; and I found that it was as easy to tell the feelings or thoughts of a person sick as to detect the odor of spirits from that of tobacco. I at first thought I inhaled it, but at last found that my senses could be affected by it when my body was at a distance of many miles from the patient.
This led to a new discovery; and I found my senses were not in my body, but that my body was in my senses. My knowledge located my senses just according to my wisdom. If a man's knowledge is in matter, all there is of him [to him] is contained in matter. But, if his knowledge is in wisdom, then his senses and all there is of him are out of the matter. (1861.)
The senses are all there is of a man. Therefore, when he changes his senses, it is necessary to know what he gains or loses by the change, and also what he embraces. To suppose a man has but five or seven senses is as absurd as to suppose he has but a certain number of ideas. His senses are himself, -- what he knows and what he thinks he knows. (July, 1864.)
As man knows himself, he learns that all he is is life. His senses are in his life. Opinions are mind, subject to his life. His life embraces all his faculties, and his happiness is in knowing that he is no part of what is seen by the eye of opinion. . . . All that is seen by the natural man is mind reduced to a state called matter. Man is just as large as he is wise in science. When man speaks of himself as a man, he is matter; but, when he speaks a scientific truth, he is out of matter, and so far equal to God. Is man spirit or matter? Neither. Then what is he? He is life. What are his attributes? A knowledge of himself as a living, thinking, seeing, and moving being without matter, or mind. Then what is this body that we see? A tenement for man to occupy when he pleases; but, as a man knows not himself, he reasons a though he were one of the fixtures of his house, or body. . . . We do not think or know that all there is of us is our wisdom, and [that] happiness and misery is what follows our belief. If we had no belief, we should either be fools or wise men. So a belief makes neither, but [makes] a man of error, or matter that can be changed. All of these faculties are out of the idea body but one; that is, error. (1861.)
We often speak of man's identity a though there were but one identity attributed to him. This is not the case. Man has as many identities as he has opinions, and the one his senses are attached to last is the one that governs him. Now, this may seem strange; but, nevertheless, it is true. Our senses are not our identity, because they cannot change; for they are principles. But our belief, thoughts, and opinions can change; for they are matter. So, when we say a person never changes, it is as much as to say he is nothing but a brute; for he really denied the principles of progression, because he does not admit such a thing as change. Now, we know that our tastes change. Does principle change or our belief? The fact that we are aware of the change shows the change must be in that which can change, and this must be matter. Then what is it that does not change? It is that principle that never moves, or the foundation of all things. It is that which says when we have found out something new, "Why did you not find it out before?" It says to us, when we are investigating certain mathematical truths, "This truth has always existed, and we believed it." This is the something that is Wisdom. It does not come nor go, but is like light. You cannot keep it out of sight; and, in fact, you acknowledge it in every act. . . . The trouble is to get our senses attached to this, so that we shall not change. (1864.)
Perfect wisdom embraces every idea in existence; and, therefore, every idea that comes to the light through the senses existed before to Wisdom. Every person who was, or ever will be, existed as much before he ever came to our senses as afterwards. . . . Man's intelligence is a truth that existed before he took form or was seen by the natural eye. . . . The real man is never seen by the natural senses; but the real man makes himself known through science to his natural senses, as a person who knows a fact, and can teach it to another. . . . The real man is God, or the first cause. (1865.)
GOD.--We have not a true idea of God. God is not a man anymore than a man is a principle. When we speak of God, we are taught to believe in a person. So we attach our senses to a person called God, and then talk about his laws and the violation of them is our trouble. . . . The Christian's God is a tyrant of the worst kind. God is the name of man's belief. . . The God of the savages is their belief, the God of the Mohammedans is their belief, and so on, to the Christian's God. . . . Man has invented a God according to his belief, so that God is the embodiment of man's belief. As man's belief changes, so his God changes; but the true God never changes. The wisdom of man condensed into a being called God is set up for the ignorant to worship; . . . and we have revered and worshipped it not from love, but from fear.
The true God is not acknowledged by this man's God, but is in the hearts of the people working like leaven till it leavens the whole lump. To believe in this God is to know ourselves, and that is the religion of Christ. It is Christ in us, not opinions we are in. Just as we know this truth, we are of and a part of God, . . . . and will be guided by the Father of all truth. This purifies and cleanses our minds from all opinions, and leads us into the world of science where opinions never come. Then one man shall not lead us by his opinions; but; if one says, "Here is the truth," let him prove it. This raises man to a higher self-respect; and, if man does not respect himself, he cannot complain if others do not respect him. . . . This something [God] is what the world of opinions reasons about. . . . It has always been in the world, or in man's belief; but man knows it not. It has no place in men's hearts nor in the religious world except as an unexplained mystery. It comes to man's senses, but man knows it not. It stands knocking at the door, but is not recognized as having an identity. So it is mocked at, spit upon, hated, and despised by all men. Yet it is always the same, calm and unmoved, sympathizing with its friends, who are bound down by opinions of this world's belief.
Now, what is it? It is an invisible Wisdom, which never can be seen by the eye of opinion any more than truth can be seen by error. . . . It is the key that unlocks the innermost secrets of the heart. . . . It is in the prison of man's belief, and it leads the prisoner who has been bound captive to health. . . . It is a Wisdom which fills all space, whose attributes are all light, all goodness and love, which is free from all selfishness and hypocrisy, which makes or breaks no laws, but lets man work out his own salvation, which has no laws or restrictions, sanctions all men's acts according to their belief, and holds them responsible for their belief, right or wrong, without respect to persons. This Wisdom teaches man that, when our senses are attached to opinions of any kind, we become the subject of that opinion, and suffer according to the penalty attached to it, unless forgiven, or the debt paid by the truth. This is the new truth spoken of by Jesus. To know this is to have eternal life; and the life is the Wisdom that can enter the dark prisons of man's mind, find his life imprisoned by the opinions of this world, hear his groans, feel his sorrows, break the prison walls of his belief, and set him free. (August, 1861)
Where is the God in whose wisdom I believe? He is in the hearts of the people. He is not a man nor a being, neither has he form: he is neither male nor female. I will give you an illustration of his wisdom. If you see a man in trouble, you are or you are not bound to help him. If you have admitted it right to help a man in great distress, then he will put you in mind of your agreement. If you neglect your duty, punishment must follow; for that action and reaction are equal is a truth which never varies. This embraces the law and the gospel, and on this hang all man's happiness and misery.
If man is governed by this truth, it develops his higher wisdom, and enables him to prove all things by a standard based not on opinions, but on truth. August, 1861 Jesus always wished to make a difference in regard to his opinions and what he knew as a science. To show how he separated himself as Jesus the man of opinions from Christ the scientific man, it was necessary to show something as proof. So the sick was the problem to be solved. This separation was a mystery to the people, their superstition was called into action, and, instead of listening to Jesus when he talked the Christ, or truth, they attributed his works to a power from God; and all the cures were taken as proof of that fact. If the people believed he came from God, it was useless to know how he cured; for, if they knew this, it would destroy the belief that he came from God, and so overthrow their religion. Therefore, the leaders labored to prove to the people that Jesus had a mission from heaven to save souls, and the cures which he performed were only to prove that he came from God. (March, 1861.)
This same Christ which you crucify by your theories is the same that Jesus taught eighteen hundred years ago. It was taught by the prophets of old, and has always been in the world, but has never been applied to the curing of disease, although false Christs have arisen and deceived that people, and the true Christ has been crucified by the priest and doctor to this time. Jesus was the oracle, and Christ the wisdom, shown through this man for the happiness of the sick, who had been deceived by the priest and doctor. (1861)
The natural world is full of figures that may illustrate man's belief. The silkworm spins out his life, and, wrapping himself in his labor, dies. The infidel and brutal man reason that they do the same. The caterpillar is a good illustration of the natural man groping in the dark, guided by a superior wisdom that prompts his acts. When his days are numbered, wrapped in the mantle of this earth, he lies down to sleep the sleep of death; but the wisdom that brings forth the butterfly also develops its science. In order that truth may come forth, error must be destroyed; and science, groping in the darkness, bursts into light, and rises from the dead as the butterfly, not the caterpillar. All men have sinned, or embraced beliefs. So all must die to their belief. Disease is a belief: health is in wisdom. So, as man dies to his belief, he lives in wisdom. My theory is to destroy death, or belief, and bring life and wisdom into the world. Therefore, I come to the sick, not to save their beliefs, or life in disease, but to destroy it. And he that loseth his life for wisdom will find his health, or life. (1865.)
Biography of P. P. Quimby
Biography of Annetta and Julius Dresser
Cornerstone Books Home Page