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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Death [II]

I will now say a few words in regard to the state called death. As this error is so well established that it is folly to deny it, I must explain my grounds for denying what everyone believes. Let us see what man loses by the change called death. If you make a man admit that his happiness is in this state of error or opinions, then to get out would be death. But convince every person that he might sit down and fall into a state in which he might go where he pleased and enjoy the society of those he did in his waking state, and be responsible for his acts the same as though awake, and if his ability and genius and good character earn for him the sympathy of some friend that would like to have him accompany him to some foreign country, and he should go and see all the beauties and enjoy all the privileges of a guest and then wake up, don't you suppose he would like to take another trip?

Now destroy all ideas of death and that would destroy disease. Then man would labor for wisdom, and when he grew rich he would say to himself, “I am rich enough, so I will lie down and rest and enjoy my friends and listen to the world's talk.” So he gives up his cares and lies down and like a man that has got rich rides around and enjoys himself. One is a figure of the other; but one is real, and the other is a shadow. The man who is rich in this world's goods to the exclusion of some scientific capital cannot travel in the world of science with his money. To have money and no wisdom is to be like the rich man in the Bible spoken of by Jesus. He had been to work and got rich, and his crops were so large that he said to himself: “I will tear down my old house and barn and build me a more expensive establishment; or I will dress up and go into more educated society among the literary world and enjoy myself.” But science says to him, This night shalt thou be satisfied that all thy riches will not make thee a man of science.

So you must lose all that foolish pride that impels the rulers of the world, for when science comes, riches take to themselves wings and fly away into the wilderness of darkness. When these two characters lie down together, they are received into society just according to their worth or talent. For money is not wisdom. So the rich man of this world may be the beggar of the scientific, while this beggar or man of small means with scientific riches will be as far removed from this neighbor as Dives from Lazarus. One must die to become the other. See the man that is made of money and knows nothing but his money and see him when he is past making it. He is feverish and all he thinks of is his money. This is his happiness and someone is all the time getting it away; so he is in trouble, while the man of science is investigating all the improvements of the age and becoming acquainted with all the scientific secrets. Now they both lie down to enjoy their riches. The miser is all the time nervous and frightened about his money, while the scientific man is traveling on the interest of his capital. And if an expedition is fitted out for some great discovery where his science is wanted, he receives an invitation and goes and enjoys himself, while the miser is prowling around to buy some second-hand lock to put on his door to keep out the robbers. These two characters may go on for hundreds of years, for time is nothing in eternity.

So we see every day figures of change. How many persons are there in this city who get up in the morning and pass the day without gaining enough wisdom to last them till nine o'clock? But you will see them up in the morning before day looking around to find some hole to creep into to get a drop of water or a substitute to moisten their tongue, for they are tormented by an appetite for this world's goods. So their life is one continual state of excitement, always opposing everything that enlightens men's minds and elevates their character.

Such a man is dead to the world of science, whether he is on top of the ground or underneath; while the man of science is alive whether on the earth or in it. They both lie down in their own sepulcher. If one is made of opinions, he must take it. If the other is science, he will be in it. So while one is progressing, the other is looking on. They are both rewarded for their acts.

1864

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