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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Body of Jesus and the Body of Christ, The

Did Jesus intend to convey to the world that he was God? I answer he did not and I also contend that his whole teaching went to destroy the idea that he (Jesus) was Christ, but he labored to convince the people that the Christ was the truth which he, Jesus, spake and that this truth is from God and not of man. Jesus embodied it in an intelligence called Christ, embracing all the attributes of man, and being a revelation of a higher wisdom than had before appeared on the earth. This Christ was what prompted Jesus and when the Jews crucified the man Jesus, the Christ rose from the world's belief or body and disappeared in the clouds of their opinions. They laid the body of Jesus in the sepulcher but the chief priests said that the disciples stole the body of Christ or truth. The body of Jesus and the body of Christ were two, one visible to the natural man and the other the spiritual or scientific man clothed with a garment of truth which was stolen and parted among them. What the body of Christ was has never been explained to the satisfaction of the Christian world. Jesus spoke of a body of flesh and blood which the people should eat, etc., which plainly referred to the Christ although the people and his disciples could not understand his meaning.

Every discovery of truth is a Christ, having a spiritual and a natural body. For instance, the magnetic telegraph, when discovered, had a spiritual body of truth not visible to the natural man, but when it was demonstrated to man it spoke into the natural world a material body with all the elements of a working telegraph. Every discovery founded in truth has its Christ, but when founded in error, it has its false Christ. Every man who has the true Christ or Science feeds the multitude with its body and those who understand or drink its blood live on it; its body is their life. Jesus possessed the Christ which could free the people and to him it was meat and drink, and to all who ate and drank it was eternal life. Therefore he called it his body, as Morse might call the telegraph his body or idea. All truth being of God, Jesus called it his father, and says, “I, (this truth) and the father are one.” In speaking of this truth Jesus gives it an identity. Sometimes he calls it himself, Christ, and sometimes he speaks of himself as Jesus. In John 14:1, it says, “Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me.” These are not the words of Jesus but of Christ or truth. “In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” These are also the words of truth and I hold that they mean as follows. While this truth was with them in their understanding, they would rejoice in it, but in teaching them what they did not understand, it went away to prepare a place for them, so that the truth could explain how they had wandered away from it, through their errors and he (truth) would lead them back to their right senses.

Therefore, Christ or this Truth is a living substance and has an identity as much as God, for it is a part of God as much as a child is a part of its parents. The prophets spoke of it, but not as a being of intelligence separate from man. Moses believed that God himself spoke through him and sometimes that he talked with God. Jesus believed the same. But the difference between them was this. The bread or spiritual food of Moses belonged to this life and did not teach immortality. Moses believed in God as much as Jesus did, but his God had nothing to do with man after death. He taught nothing beyond death. His teaching was spiritual and was so understood by the people. Paul in 1st Cor. 10, says, “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink, for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.”

This cloud and sea were symbols of their superstitions and beliefs. The spiritual food was Moses' truth; his arguments quenched their thirst for knowledge. The rock was his truth or Christ, but that threw no light on to another state of life but was confined to the cloud that followed them. Although his food and drink was spiritual and was all confined to this world, yet Moses saw the promised land or had a vague idea of progression, but he never taught it, so the people ate his food and died. Jesus showed the difference between Moses and himself as men. Moses believed that God governed man by certain laws and regulations, that he rewarded the good and punished the bad and that he was the expounder of God's wisdom.

Jesus as a man understood all that Moses believed and knew that his wisdom or spiritual food was all confined to man's natural life, and if men lived up to the letter of that belief, they would die, for Moses never taught anything after death. But Jesus' food came from a higher wisdom which made man an immortal progressive intelligence. This truth he called his Father and he prayed to it to guide him. When guided by this great truth, he was God or the son of God. Therefore when he (the truth) spoke, it was God. He calls it the bread of life and tells how it differed from Moses' bread or manna, for he says, John 6:48, “I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.” He meant that this truth which he taught is the bread of life, for it taught no continuation of man's existence; therefore all who believed in it died and there was an end to them. His wisdom was the bread of life or this doctrine of an eternal progression and being superior to the belief of Moses, it assured that the wisdom of Moses was not the end of man. In the words of Christ, “This is the bread which came down from heaven that a man may eat thereof and not die,” which being interpreted means, that if man understands it (the bread of life), he will live when Moses' belief would call him dead. “I am the living bread which came down from heaven” (Moses' was not this kind of bread) “if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.”

Here is the difference between the doctrine of Jesus and that of Moses. The latter did not contain eternal life. Jesus' did. One lived to die, the other died to live. If a man died to Moses' belief, he lived in Christ. “And the bread that I will give is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world.” Jesus believed in the perfect identity of man with all his attributes of mind and matter just as he stood before his disciples. The disciples and the people could not understand such a belief. So the Jews strove among them saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” They could not even compare in their understanding the reality of Christ's truth to the reality of Jesus' flesh and blood, and as he affirmed that his words of truth were his body and his spiritual food, they could not understand such purely spiritual doctrine. He tried to teach them that the body which they saw was nothing of itself and existed only as a shadow of the truth of Christ, which Christ was meat and drink and all that made up man. Jesus replied to the Jews in this way. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.”

This truth spoken through Jesus proved a hard saying to many of the disciples. Feeling that they did not understand him, he tried to explain by a figure. “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” From that time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will you also go away? All these words are perfectly intelligible to me, but at the time they were spoken, the people made the man Jesus responsible for them and they accused him of assuming to be greater than Moses, who was their guide, and also of making himself equal with God. In the same way at the present day, the priests assume to be oracles of the wisdom pertaining to spiritual things and the people admit their words as being truth from God. Therefore if any man doubt their explanation, he must be crucified or stoned because he makes himself equal to them, or as they say, “compares himself to Christ.”

The Pharisees hearing that Jesus opposed forms and ceremonies found fault and asked him, “Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?” This was an old tradition from the laws of Moses enjoined on the people by the priests as a commandment of God. Jesus answered, “Full well ye reject the commandments of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honor thy father and thy mother; and whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death; but ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, ‘It is Corban, that is to say a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me.’ ” By the words Father and Mother is meant this truth which the people worshipped. Jesus then upbraided them for making the word of God of no effect through your tradition, thus really acting the part of hypocrites. For in the beginning he says, “Ye hypocrites, well hath Esaias prophesied of you, as it is written: This people honoreth me with their lips but their heart is far from me. Howbeit: in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” This is a condemnation of the Mosaic priesthood, for it contained no life. It was idolatry, embodying no spirit or principle.

January 1863

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