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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Illustrations of this Truth

I will illustrate to you the way in which I cure or correct the sick. You know I speak in parables to you. To the well this is of no consequence, for they cannot see any sense in my talk. So it is in every science with those who are ignorant of the meaning the person wishes to convey. This was the trouble Jesus had to contend with. All His knowledge of science must be explained by parables, for the people's belief was in themselves and in the thing believed. Therefore to reduce their belief to a science was a very hard task, for it had to be done by parables of things that each person could understand. When He talked to the multitude it was about the science or principle that was intended to be applied to each person's individual case.

The parable of the sower illustrated the principle like an illustration on some science. It was not intended to be applied to any individual; therefore when the disciples heard the parable, they did not understand it as it did not apply to their case, and they wanted an explanation. Now His explanation to them is as much of a parable to the rest of the world as His parable to the multitude was to His disciples.

So a parable of mine is of no use to the well, for it is not intended for them but is for the sick and must be varied to suit the case that calls it out. Like a lawyer's argument, it depends upon the case to be tried; one plea does not answer for all cases. So it is with the sick; each one's case must be explained to himself. The science can be explained to the well, but not by the same parables that are necessary to be applied to the sick.

I will illustrate. A lady called on me whose feelings were as follows. She felt so weak that she could not keep from stooping over; it was with much difficulty that she could sit up. This feeling I could feel but the woman who was with her could not. Therefore to cure her and make her sit up, the work must be done by an explanation that she could understand, and this must be done by a parable because the lady's identity was in her belief.

It seemed as though I could see the lady sitting in that posture but her body had an identity separate and apart from the earthly body, and this sick (spiritual) body is the one that tells the trouble. This body is the belief, and it seemed to be holding up the natural body till it was so weak it could barely sit up. These were the lady's feelings. This spiritual body is what flows from or comes from the natural body and contains all the feelings complained of. It speaks through the natural body and, like the heat from a fire, has its bounds and is enclosed by walls or partitions as much as a prison. But the confinement is in our belief, its odor is its identity, its knowledge is in its odor, its misery arises from its false ideas, and its ideas are in itself and connected with its natural body. This is all matter and has an identity. The trouble, like sound, has no locality of itself but can be directed to any place. Now as this intelligence is around the body, it locates its trouble in the matter or body and calls it pain or some other name. Now the sick soul is imprisoned in this prison with the body, which body feels as though it contained life. But the life is in the spiritual body which being ignorant of itself places its own identity in the flesh and blood. This is because the heat from the body contains the identity, and the soul puts such construction as has been taught, and thinks its own trouble is in and a part of the natural body. This is the prison that Christ, not Jesus, entered and broke the walls by His word or power and set the captive free. At this door He stands and knocks, and if we will let Him in, He will explain away the error or forgive the sin and save the soul. He will deliver us from our earthly hell that is made by the wisdom of the world.

March 1860

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