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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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What Is God? Part I

I have said that according to the religious world, God is the embodiment of man’s belief. All nations have a God according to their belief and show their God in their religion. The belief contains no wisdom but is a shadow of something that cannot be seen and is worshipped by man who knows not what it is. This something is what the world of opinions reasons about. The Jews prophesied about it and attached their senses to it, looking for its coming as for a man of great power who would free them from the Roman yoke. Heathen nations had a vague idea of this something. They incorporated it into their beliefs as a monarch or king, so it has always been in the world or in man's belief, but man knows it not. Language was never invented with the idea that it could be felt or described and to the wise it is a stranger. It has no place in their hearts or 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 it 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 the opinions of this world's belief.

Now, what is it? It is an invisible wisdom which never can be seen through the eyes of opinion, any more than error can see truth, for when the truth comes the opinion or matter is a shadow of this light or substance that I call something. Again what is it? If I should tell you what it is you would ask for proof, so I will give the proof of it from your own opinions, for opinions always admit but cannot understand it. So when opinion is convinced what it is, opinion is not opinion but is this something. Still what is it? It is what never has been acknowledged to have an identity. Then what is it that has been admitted but cannot be seen and yet is not acknowledged to have an identity? Can the reader answer? “Yes, it is God.”

I ask, Is God without an identity? You say no. Then it is not God. What then is it? I will try and tell you and bring the opinions of the world to prove my answer. It is a key that unlocks the innermost secrets of the heart in the prison of man's beliefs, and it leads the prisoner who has been bound a captive to health. What is that that you call the key? It is wisdom, not opinions, and this I will prove. Opinions are like a shadow, the substance is God. True wisdom is attached to the substance; false wisdom to the shadow. Language is attached to the shadow, wisdom to the substance; therefore language is not in harmony with wisdom; the discord is in the opinion; the senses are life or wisdom. If the senses are attached to opinion, when opinion is lost, man loses his opinion but saves his life, for his life is his wisdom of self-existence. This life is embodied in our senses and the knowledge of sensation, so if all sensation is dead, life is still life but not active. The sensation is made in this world of matter and all religion is the result of man's opinions. This makes up the Christian and his senses are attached to his opinions. The errors of their opinions are the misery of their life, it being subject to the world’s opinion.

Now this something is a knowledge of this wisdom which puts man in possession of a truth that he can explain to another. It does not come to the man of opinions. This shows that every man has two selves, one of knowledge by the natural man, the other by the spiritual man. Here is the proof. The sick will admit that I can tell them how they feel better than they themselves can do. This shows that I know more than they do and also that this wisdom is not known by the natural man. If so it must be superior to his wisdom, and what is it? It must be proved by an admitted fact, for simply telling it would be no proof.

I must make the reader detach his senses from a God of man's belief and attach them to this invisible wisdom which fills all space and whose attributes are all light, all wisdom, all goodness and love, which is free from all selfishness and hypocrisy, which makes or breaks no laws and restrictions but sanctions men's acts according to their belief, right or wrong, without respect to persons. For the natural man is only a shadow of man's wisdom, and if the shadow is from this world of opinions, it will be destroyed when the light of the wisdom of truth comes. But the life will be saved by wisdom and when the senses shall be attached to this wisdom, then shall be brought to pass that saying, “Oh, death! Where is thy sting! Oh, grave! Where is thy victory!” Death is robbed of its victim; the grave gives up its idea of death. Then life rises to that happy state where death, hell, and disease and the torments of existence find no place from whence no traveler ever returns but where man knows himself. This knowledge teaches him 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 and find his life imprisoned by the opinions of this world and there hear his groans, feel his sorrows and break the prison walls of his belief and set him free. When a person gets this wisdom and attaches his life to it, then his life is to him a blessing, for it is of use to man. Then he is happiest when relieving those who have fallen into the hands of thieves, been robbed of their substance and imprisoned in a creed, there to languish from the wounds of the priests and doctors till the angel of wisdom or the tide of progress forced along by popular opinions shall beat against the walls of this superstition and break down the medical opinions, lay priest-craft low and overflow the superstitious world with science and good order. Then all men will be judged by what they know, not what they think they know, and all can prove themselves by this standard.

Aug. 9, 1861

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