By Emma G. Ware
[Miss Ware was a patient and follower of P. P. Quimby.]
To answer this question it is necessary to understand what is the origin of disease. Medical authority asserts that it is of matter, and that the germs of various diseases have been found and analyzed. Popular belief acknowledges its existence independent of man, and certain localities are believed to be infected by it, thereby rendering human life in danger from the poison emanating from it. If the materialistic theory is true, the medical authority is correct, and the popular belief that disease is a creation as much as man is well founded. But the truth we are studying denies this in principle and in fact. Health is like liberty, directly from God, and it can be kept and enjoyed. Man can learn to live in health as truly as he can learn to govern his morals. With a full understanding of the truth man need not be sick and diseased any more than he need be vicious. The universal belief in disease is founded on the universal belief that matter has life, power, and can direct itself. If this is true, it accounts for disease, but it does not destroy it, and so long as this belief in matter lasts just so long will disease be in the world. Therefore, to destroy it we must take away its foundations.
Can all life and intelligence be taken from matter and yet allow man to remain with his senses and faculties? This is what the truth will do if it is allowed to work. The first point to settle in investigating and phenomenon is the relation between the Creator and the thing created. The Creator is omnipresent, and all his works praise Him. In Him is all life and all love. Matter we can assume is without power and without comprehension of any kind.1 Like figures, it is without good or evil, but can be used to work out a result. It is not even an agent. It is constantly changing and shifting to work out some plan, the design of an intelligence superior to and independent of the matter employed. Man’s body is the obstacle that stands between him and progress, virtue and health. The materialists say that it is alive and that it measures out to man his intellectual capacity, and contains a nature or a tendency to vice or disease which he cannot control. This belief arises from attributing intelligence and power to matter, and the results accord with the belief. Man’s body is indeed of matter, but it is for him to control and use, and his intelligence is equal to the task. It may be compared to the surface of a river whose waters constantly change, but where the same appearance is kept up.
1 This was a cardinal principle with Mr. Quimby.—Ed.
Man acts in wisdom and in ignorance, and the fruits show which of these is dominant. Good and evil are what he brings forth. Disease certainly is an evil, and the whole foundation on which it rests is of ignorance, for Wisdom’s works are good. Lift disease from matter into error, and then it can be reached by reason, like any other evil. To do this is to learn Wisdom and to separate the works of God from the inventions of man. We must not put the responsibility of error upon God and look to Him as the author of our sufferings, for if this is followed we shall never arrive at truth. We must find out what our particular fear is and what error governs us when we are in trouble, and then we can have something to work upon. The foundation of an error must be destroyed, and then the error will cease to exist.
When the sick ask a question they ask for a substance like food. Their life is in danger, they are in torment and they ask for help. But when those in health ask a question they ask from curiosity and a desire to be enlightened. Each requires a different answer. One says, Deliver me from my enemies, and the other says, How can I understand the absurd statements you make? For instance, when you say that there is no death or disease, what do you mean? The answer which the sick requires comes from perfect love which casts out fear. This Love is the open door to Wisdom, which will heal all sickness. When one has it, his selfishness, his prejudices and his opinions are dissolved, as it were, and he is prepared to hear the voice of Wisdom. Everything evil yields before Wisdom, and in order to attain it man must give up his errors. Whatever he loves more than Truth stands between himself and Wisdom.
The mental cure as founded and practised by Dr. Quimby claims to be based upon a truth. To learn to apply that truth to the healing of the sick requires devoted and conscientious study. To answer the questions in regard to it is to teach it, and what we hope to do is to make people see that there is something to learn.
The question whether the mental cure would work, while the person pursued a course of overeating during the time it was going on, would be like asking if a slave can be set free and still serve his master as he did in the days of his bondage. The man who overeats is a slave, and serves a master. Procure his freedom, and he serves himself. He then eats from another motive. The Truth puts no restrictions upon him, nor does it prescribe any rules of living. His fetters are struck off and he is his own master, and he eats from an understanding of truth. It has been said that laws made to prevent crime by punishing the criminal are instrumental in increasing crime. So regulations made to prevent man from going into evil do not instruct him, but they ignore his capacity for self-government in regard to health. Health denies disease and Liberty denies slavery. If health is true, disease is counterfeit and only passes where it has not been detected. The difference between a slave and a prosperous gentleman is as the difference between an invalid and one who enjoys sound health. The slave is under restrictions and is weak and timid. To lay down any rules which if followed would make the slave as strong and influential as the citizen is impossible, and it is equally impossible to give any directions about diet, by which a dyspeptic could feel as comfortable as a man in the most natural state, i.e., a savage. Both are under different laws. One eats to satisfy his craving for food and the other to gratify his taste. To cure the epicure requires a healer to understand the wisdom of God and to pity man in his follies and errors. The path he takes him is through a wilderness of error to perfect truth.
[Can Disease Be Entirely Destroyed? Written by Emma G. Ware who was one of the copyists that assisted Dr. Quimby in his Portland, Maine healing office from 1859 to 1865. This article was originally published in The Spirit of the New Thought: Essays and Addresses by Representative Authors and Leaders, Editor: Horatio W. Dresser, Publisher: Thomas Y Crowell, New York, N.Y. 1917, pp. 67-72.—Ron Hughes]