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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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When we speak of life, we speak of it as though it was a thing. Now there are as many kinds of life as there are birds or fish or anything that grows. The life of a plant is not the same as that of a tree. Neither is the life of man the same as that of a beast. All life is matter and it lives on life or matter. Therefore man is made up of life and death. This life is all the time changing, so that we live on life that we get from others. Ideas are matter and of course they contain life. We eat or receive life in the wrong sense. For instance, the Jews, when they ate pork, thought that they ate life, for their belief was that it would produce a disease. So that although the pork was dead, yet its life would rise again in the form of scrofula. So, not to have that life in them, they would not eat pork. Now, as absurd as this idea is, it is the basis of all our knowledge. How often are we reminded not to eat or drink such things. Now just look at our beliefs. We all admit that animal food has life in it. So we eat it as life, for when we say it is so far decayed that it is not good, then we look upon it as poison. So we receive into our stomach life, as though it really added to our life or strength. How often do we talk about fat making us warmer, etc. Now all these ideas are the result of error and the fruits of disease. Does the dog eat meat as though it had life? No. He eats it as though it was dead and expects no bad effect from it. So it is with all living life but man.

Man has reasoned himself into a belief that all he eats and drinks contains life, and this life is his enemy if he does not look out for it. So it keeps him on the lookout what kind of life is in him. Although his life is death, yet his belief is life, and he is affected by his belief. Now when I eat or drink, the life that was in the substance eaten is dead to me and has no life in it. So I am not afraid in eating pork that I shall become a swine, or in eating turkey that I shall become one. Nor am I afraid if I listen and take a person's feelings of scrofula and any other disease that I shall have it, for the life of the disease is in the person who believes it.

Now, what is the weapon that destroys this life or disease? Science! This is eternal, and to have that destroys all other life. This is to the animal life, death. So life, or science, to the natural man is nothing that contains life. It is a sort of principle, but this is the only living and true life. This was what rose from the dead or natural life. 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; therefore his reason was his life, which made him afraid of his reason. This, the doctors call nervousness and to prevent this nervous life, they introduce this enemy in everything we eat and drink. Now let man get rid of these blind guides and follow the command of God, to take no thought of what you shall eat or drink as having anything to do with your health. Look first for the science of every phenomenon and pay no attention to your food, any more than the rest of God's creatures. If man was as wise in regard to what goes into his stomach as the beast, he would be much better off. Let the health alone. Seek how to enlighten man in science, and as science is developed, man becomes wise and happy. His life is in his knowledge, and his knowledge is a science. So to put his science into practice for his own happiness is to correct some error that man has embraced, and to prove the science is to take something that man is troubled about, in the form of disease, and correct his opinion so that it changes his health.

August 1860

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