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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Historical Newspaper Articles

[For the Courier.]
What I do not Know, and what I do Know.

When our Shakespeare decided that “there were more things in this world than was dreampt of in your philosophy,” I cannot say of a verity that he had a foreknowledge of P. P. Quimby. And when the school Platonic anatemized the soul and divided it into halves to be reunited by elementary attractions—and heathen philosophers averred that old Chaos in sullen silence blooded o’er the earth until her inimitable form was hatched from the egg of night, I would not at present decide whether the fallacy was found in their premises or conclusions, never having dated my existence before the flood.

When the startled alchemist discovered, as he supposed an universal solvent, or the philosopher’s stone, and the more daring Archimedes invented a lever wherewithal to pry up the universe—I cannot say that in either, the principle obtained in the nature or in art, or that it worked well, having never tried it.

But when by a falling apple an immutable law was discovered, we gave it the crown of science, which is incontrovertible and capable of demonstration, hence that was wisdom and truth. When from the evidence of the senses my reason takes cognizance of truth, although it may appear in quite a miraculous view, I must acknowledge that as science which is truth uninvestigated. Hence the following demonstration:

Three weeks’ since, and I quitted my nurse and sick room en route for Portland. The belief of my recovery had died out of the hearts of those who were most anxious for it. With this mental and physical depression I first visited P. P. Quimby, and in less than one week from that time I ascended by a stairway of one hundred and eighty—two steps to the dome of the City Hall, and am improving ad infinitum. To the most subtle reasoning, such a proof, coupled too as it is with numberless similar ones, demonstrates his power to heal. Now for a brief analysis of this power:—

Is it Spiritualism? Listen to the words of wisdom, “Believe in God, believe also in me; or believe me for the very works sake.”

Now then his works are but the result of superior wisdom which can demonstrate a science not understood: hence it were a doubtful proceeding not to believe him for the work’s sake. Well then, he denies that his power to heal the sick is borrowed from the spirits of this or another world; and let us take the Scriptures for proof. “A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand;” how then can he receive the friendly aid of the disenthralled spirit, while he rejects the faith of the solemn mystic who crosses the threshold of the dark unknown to conjure up from the fasty deep the awe—struck spirit of some invisible squaw?

Again is it by animal magnetism that he heals the sick? Let us examine. I have employed electro magnetism and animal magnetism, and for a brief interval have felt relief from the equilibrium which I fancied was restored to an exhausted system, or by a diffusion of concentrated action; but in no instance did I get rid of a return of all my ailments, and because I had not been helped out of the error in which opinions involve us, my operator believed in disease independent of the mind, hence I would not be wiser than my teacher. But now I can see dimly at first and only as trees walking, the great principle which underlies Dr. Quimby’s faith and works; and just in proportion to my right perception of truth, is my recovery. This truth which he opposes to the error of giving intelligence to matter and placing pain where it never placed itself, if received understandingly changes the currents of the system to their normal action and the mechanism of the body goes on undisturbed. That this is a science capable of demonstration becomes clear to the minds of those patients who reason upon the process of their cure. The truth which he establishes in the patient cures him (although he may be wholly unconscious thereof) and the body which is full of light, is no longer in disease. At present I am too much in error to elucidate the truth, and can touch only the key note for the master hand to wake the harmony. May it be in essays instead of notes, say I. After all, this is a very spiritual doctrine—but the eternal years of God are with it and it must stand firm as the rock of ages. And to many a poor sufferer may it be found as by me, “the shadow of a great Rock in a weary land.”

[There is a handwritten notation along the side of the article which states: “Mary M. Patterson is the new celebrated Mary B. G. Eddy of Christian Science fame.” A second handwritten notation at the bottom of the article states: “Mary M. Patterson” and “First visited Dr. Quimby in October 1862”.—RH]
[Published Date: Friday, November 7, 1862; Paper: Evening Courier (Portland, ME).—Ron Hughes.]

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