Chapter 18 RELIGIOUS QUESTIONS
DEFENCE AGAINST AN ACCUSATION OF MAKING MYSELF EQUAL TO CHRIST
I am often accused of making myself equal with Christ. When I ask what Christ is I am told that Jesus Christ is one and the same. If I ask if Jesus the man was God, the answer is, "no, but God manifest in the flesh." Then can flesh and blood be God? "No." Then what was that being of flesh and blood crucified eighteen hundred years ago? "Jesus Christ." Is Christ God? "Yes." Is God flesh and blood? "No" Will you give some idea of what that being was called Jesus Christ? "Why, that God took upon Himself flesh and blood." Then what took upon itself flesh and blood? "God." Is God a substance? "No." Then can that which is not matter take matter upon itself? "You ask too many questions." Well, if you cannot answer my questions, must I believe what you say without any proof? "No, but we have the Bible and that says Christ is God." Well suppose it does and you are asked to explain Christ, and I receive this answer, "God manifest in the flesh." When I ask to have this explained I get no correct answer. Some think words are all that is necessary, so they quibble about the name "Christ," said to mean "anointed." Well, anointed is the name of something and this is what I want explained. To call it Christ or Messiah, the Prince of Peace or God, is only hopping from one name to another. I want to know what made Jesus different from other men. His birth I care nothing about, nor is it of consequence why He was called Jesus Christ. If different from other men how was the world benefited by that difference ?
Jesus was a man of flesh and blood like any one else. The difference between Him and other men was called Christ. Now what did the difference consist in? "In His life." What had His life to do with the healing of the sick? Has your life anything to do with healing a palsied limb? "No." Then your good life cannot cure diseases? Did Jesus' life cure? "Yes." Then you must not claim to be a disciple of Jesus, for if you claim to be a good man and we see no proof of your goodness on others, your goodness is of this world and not of Christ. You say He had a "power," now what do you mean by a power? We call steam a power and electricity a power but no one ever associates wisdom with it. Do you mean that Jesus' power was like the above, or was it what He said and did? "It was in what He said and did." Well, what did He do? Did He not cure the sick? "Yes." Well, how did He do it? Was it His power? "Yes, it came from God." Did you not say that Jesus was God? "Yes." Then how could God come from one place when you and I believe that God fills all space? "Well, there is a mystery in the Godhead or trinity that man cannot find out or understand." Was not the Bible written for our understanding? "Yes, but mystery cannot be found out, so we have no right to penetrate the ways of God, for there is enough in the Bible to learn and make us happy without searching into the mysteries of another world." If the Bible was not for man's belief what was it for? If we are to take it for the Word of God, who is to explain it? "It explains itself." Do you understand it? "In a measure." What do I understand by your answer? Can you give me any more light in regard to what Christ is than you have? "No." Then I am as ignorant as I was when I began. "Give me your opinion of Jesus Christ." Well, if you will listen I will tell you what I know of Christ and what I believe of the man Jesus. . . .
RELIGION IN DISEASE
The question is often asked why I talk about religion and quote Scripture while I cure the sick. My answer is that sickness being what follows a belief the belief contains the evil which I must correct. As I do this a chemical change takes place. Disease is an error the only remedy for which is the truth. The fear of what will come after death is the beginning of man's troubles, for he tries to get evidence that he will be happy, and the fear that he will never arrive at happiness makes him miserable.
We are taught to believe that if we pray we shall receive an answer to our prayer. A superstitious person believing this is ready to believe that he may be punished, for some one may pray that God may remove him. Each army prays that God will direct the weapons that will slay their enemies. In biblical times did not God answer the prayer of those who wished to destroy their enemies and did they not die? The facts prove that what we believe may follow. We really believe in disease, hence it is the result of our belief. People never seem to have thought that they are responsible for their belief. To analyze their beliefs is to know themselves, which is the greatest study of man. All theories for the happiness of man contain more misery than happiness, either directly or indirectly. To destroy the beliefs of man is to leave him where God left him: to work out happiness by His own wisdom. One half of the diseases arise from a false belief in the Bible. It may seem strange that the belief in the Bible affects us, yet every belief affects us more or less, directly or indirectly.
I will relate a case where the religious belief affected the patient and caused the disease. The lady was aged. She was so lame and bound down that she could hardly rise from her chair, and could take only a step by the aid of her crutches, feeling so heavy that she dare not step. In this condition she had lived some years, and all the happiness she had was in reading and thinking on the Bible. She was a Calvinist Baptist and by her belief she bad imprisoned her senses [consciousness] in a creed so small and contracted that she could not stand upright or move ahead. Here in this tomb of Calvin her senses were laid, wrapt in her creed. Yet in this tomb was Christ or Science, trying to burst the bars and break through the bands and rise from the dead. She labored to be free from the bands and no one came to her relief. When she would ask for an explanation of some passage the answer would be a stone, and then she would hunger for the bread of life. At last in her misery she called upon me and I found her as I have stated. I knew not what caused her trouble. She thought it was from a fall. After explaining how she felt, I told her her trouble was caused by a series of excitements from studying upon what she could not reconcile. She thought upon religious subjects and not seeing the Scriptures clearly her mind became cloudy and stagnated. This showed itself on the body by her heavy and sluggish feeling which would terminate in paralysis. She said she could not understand how her belief could make her so numb.
I said to her, you will admit I have described your feelings. "Certainly," she replied. Then, said I, what do you suppose Jesus meant by these words, "a little while I am with you, then I go my way," and "you shall seek for me and where I go ye cannot come." Do you believe that Jesus went to heaven? "Yes," she replied. Now let me tell you what I think He meant by these words. I had told her before that in order to cure her I must make a change in the fluids and produce a healthy circulation, for she by her belief had produced stagnation. You have admitted that I have told you your feelings. Then I was with you as Christ was with His disciples in sympathy. And when I go my way I go into health and am not in sympathy with your feelings. Therefore where I go you cannot come, for you are in Calvin's belief, and I am in health. This explanation produced an instantaneous sensation, and a change came over her mind. This mortal put on immortality or health, and she exclaimed in joy, "This is a true answer to my thoughts." I continued explaining Scripture and a complete change took place. She walked without her crutches. Her case is so singular an example of my practice, that I will give the substance of my reasoning. It seemed as though all her feelings were in her belief, and if I wished to give her an idea of them I would make a comparison from the Bible. She was as it were dead in sin or error, and to bring her to life or truth was to raise her from the dead. I quoted the resurrection of Christ and applied it to her own Christ or health, and produced a powerful effect on her. I commenced in this way :
Your belief is the sepulchre in which your wisdom is confined. The world is your enemy. Your opinions and ideas are your garments, and the truth is the Holy Ghost or angel which will roll away the stone and heal your grief. The God in you will burst the bands of your creed and you will rise from the dead or your belief into the truth. You will then walk into the sitting room, and the friends will start as though you were a spirit, and you will say, "Hath a spirit flesh and bones as ye see me have? Give me a chair." Then the friends will inquire where the Christ is. The truth will say, "She has risen from her old religious body of sin and death and gone to meet her friends in heaven." Then will come false ideas, and as they cannot see the truth, the body being changed to them will seem to be gone, and they will report it stolen. You will leave the body of belief and take that of Science and rise into health. This is the resurrection of the dead.
This with the explanation produced such an effect on the lady that she could rise from her chair as quickly as any person of her age.
The natural world is full of figures that may illustrate man's belief. The silk worm spins out his life and wrapping himself in his labor dies. The infidel and brutal man reason that they do the same. The caterpillar is a good illustration of the natural man groping in the dark, guided by a superior wisdom that prompts his acts. When his days are numbered, wrapt in the mantle of this earth he lies down to sleep the sleep of death; but the Wisdom that brings forth the butterfly, also develops its science. In order that truth may come forth, error must be destroyed, and Science groping in darkness bursts into light and rises from the dead as the butterfly, not the caterpillar.
All men have sinned or embraced beliefs, so all must die to their belief. Disease is a belief ; health is in Wisdom. So as man dies to his belief he lives in Wisdom. My theory is to destroy death or belief and bring life and Wisdom into the world, therefore I come to the sick, not to save their beliefs or life in disease, but to destroy it. And he that loseth his belief for Wisdom will find his health or life.
I will now give what I believe to be the ideas of Jesus on the resurrection. I address my words to the sick, for I cannot make illustrations for the well; they are not affected [in the same way] by their belief. According to the Scriptures sin is a transgression of the law. What law? It must be of God, for it says, "the soul that sinneth shall surely die." So sin is death, and the law to which man is liable whose penalty is death is God's law. Therefore God is supposed to make laws to punish man for his thought, for every idle word is to be accounted for. This law heads countless evils and it is the part of Wisdom to correct it. But to believe that God is the author of our evils is as absurd as to believe that He made the remedies and laws before He made man. How often do you hear this remark: "There is a remedy for every disease." When we ask what it is, we are referred to some root or herb. But no hint is ever given that disease can be cured by the power of Truth.
Did Jesus employ such remedies? On the contrary had not the sick whom He cured tried them? He said: "my words are life eternal, and by my words I cure all manner of diseases." If the palsied limb was the thing to be cured, why did He say to the man: "Stretch forth thy hand, and immediately it was made whole?" Why did He not apply remedies to the arm? The fact was Jesus knew that the arm was not the cause but the effect, and he addressed Himself to the intelligence, and applied His wisdom to the cause. "He spake as never man spake," for He spoke to the cause. But when man speaks he gives an opinion. All the acts of Jesus were based on Truth, while man acts from an opinion and chooses darkness rather than light. The light of truth will showman his error. He shrinks from investigating his belief since he knows it cannot stand the test of Science. It is folly to apply an inanimate something to cure an inanimate disease, for neither contains any intelligence. If a man's face is dirty and he is satisfied, there is no disease; but if it troubles him, the trouble is in him not in the dirt. To cure him would be to tell him to wash. If the person believes he is cured, the water proves that what was told him was true.
The war between my patients and myself is here: they make disease the dirt. I make the dirt the cause. They put intelligence in the dirt. I put intelligence in the person. To cure him I must convince him that the dirt is nothing that need trouble him, and that water will remove it. By knowing the truth they are able to remove the cause. The doctors put the trouble in the dirt as though the trouble and the dirt were one and the same. They never address the intelligence, but the opinions, while the cause being unintelligent, like the dirt, affects the intelligence and is reflected on the body.
JESUS' HEALING AND HIS MISSION
Why should there be such a controversy in regard to the way in which Jesus cured disease, also what was the real object of His mission in this world? These questions naturally arise in the minds of men and bring up doubts. By some it is believed that Jesus came to save man from being lost in another world and it is thought that He intended to reform the world. All admit He had a gift superior to other men but what it was has never been ascertained. The same controversy was going on in the days of Jesus and in fact it has always been a mystery to the natural man. Phenomena are taking place everywhere proving this power or gift and all admit it, but as yet it has not been reduced to a science so that it can be taught and learned. Its opponents speak as though it were governed by natural laws, but when asked to put these laws into practice they get off by saying, "Why it is nothing but mesmerism." When asked to explain mesmerism they say it is "psychology." Ask what psychology is, the answer is mesmerism. So the world is as wise as before. Mesmer tried to explain this power on the ground of electricity. Those who believe it is governed by some law attribute it to galvanism. The religious classes vary. The spiritualists ascribe it to the spirits of the dead; Christians to the power of God when speaking of Jesus, but when they speak of this power in man they attribute it to natural causes. Some say it is the power of the devil. When Herod the king was told Jesus was performing cures he said it was John the Baptist, that is, John's spirit came and took possession of Jesus and cured disease. When the Pharisees asked Jesus where it came from, Jesus said if they would tell Him where John's power came from then He would tell them how He performed his cures. This they could not do. So it has never been explained. Settle this point and you establish a basis for investigation. As it stands it puts Jesus on a level with all the spiritualists of His day. If it is a gift or power, why should He be called God or anything else above His followers? And if He knew how He wrought miracles it is knowledge and not a gift, and to call it a gift or power is depriving Jesus of any knowledge superior to His followers. When it is admitted as a Science that Jesus taught for the happiness of man, man will try to learn it. Then the inquiry will be made, how can it be proved a Science? I answer, never till the people admit that matter and mind are under direction of Intelligence superior to matter. Then man will take a higher standard and be governed by Science, not mind. When matter becomes subject to Science and is the medium or power to be put in motion, this medium or matter can be changed into any form or state and be destroyed but not lost. The identity of a thing can be put out of this world, as it is called, and only remains as a thing that once was but now is not.
I will give an illustration: Suppose a person believes he has a tumor in his left side. His error believes in the idea of tumors independent of his mind; he then admits an error to begin with. His mind gives direction to matter and the idea is formed; this seems to be proof that there is such a thing as a tumor. No one will deny that one is a phenomenon brought about by false knowledge, and that true knowledge or Science can destroy that tumor or idea and establish a knowledge of the truth that will prevent the person from being deceived into that error again . . Our bodies [in relation to mind] are nothing but an idea of matter that is either under the control of error or false knowledge, or under the control of Science or true knowledge. If Truth or Science reigns, all goes well; if error reigns the wage is death, for all acts of error lead to death; death is an idea or matter, (1) and all the acts of Science destroy death and lead to life and happiness.
(1) This is explained below, Chap. 19.
What does Jesus mean by the kingdom of heaven? We all know the common opinion was that heaven was a place. Some suppose it to be a state of mind. Had Jesus either of these ideas? I say He did not, and will show what His ideas were. God is represented as all wisdom and love. Now love is not wisdom, but a desire for wisdom, and a desire to get wisdom for the sake of happiness that follows is the highest love. This is heaven and to be deprived of this love is to be out of heaven. The sick are strangers to this heaven. It is true they have a sort of love but it is governed by the light or wisdom of man. This leads to death. The sick being strangers, are deceived into a false belief that lulls them to sleep. To cure them it is necessary to arouse them from their lethargy and show them their errors.
I will now give the true conversion of a sick man of this world converted to the religion of Christ or cured intelligently, and also one converted from one disease or error to another. I call all error disease that leads to death. The remedy is religion or a knowledge of the Truth that will save us from the evils that flow from our sins. To illustrate the different forms of religion is to show the different modes of restoring the lost child of disease to health and happiness. To show how Jesus differed from all others is to show each religion separately and how the belief affects mankind.
All will admit that Jesus opposed the religion by which medical men and priests used to save the people from sins or evils called diseases. For to be diseased was an evil and the sick were dealt with accordingly, and the false idea that the sins or diseases of the parents are visited upon the children is handed down to this generation. (1) To save them from their sins was to cure them of their disease. . . .
(1) Quimby did not believe in the heredity of disease save so far as one generation adopts the beliefs (not the diseases) of another.
Now what was the idea the world had of heaven? People never had such an idea as Christians have now. They never seriously believed in any other world. But their suffering was their evil and to be cured was their heaven or happiness. For this object they employed every means in their power according to their belief. The people were taught that there were certain rivers and pools the angels would disturb and all who visited them were healed. Certain diseases were held so sinful that the victims were kept aloof from the people till the priest cured them. So their religion was all for their health or happiness. It is true there was a small class who believed that at the end of the world the dead would rise.
Jesus called the people to Him and said, "Beware of the doctrines of the Scribes and Pharisees, for their doctrines bind burdens on you." It made them superstitious; made them believe in ghosts, spirits, and all sorts of juggling. This kept the people under the rule 'of the priests who invented all sorts of craft to deceive, pretending to take away sins so that God would not torment them with evil spirits and disease. Jesus knew it all in their belief, and if He could introduce a higher principle or better mode of reasoning that could take away their sins or errors so that they would be more enlightened, He would be doing them a great favor, and would establish universal truth that would work out a more excellent law. To do this it was necessary to bring proof of His superior wisdom. He was talking about this great truth called God that governs every true and scientific mind. He made two worlds, one the natural or superstitious man that all were in: the other the scientific man, which He called a resurrection from the dead. Not that the dead rose, for if you cannot get a man out of his error there is no resurrection. As Paul says (1 Cor. XV, 12), if Christ (or this Science) be preached that it rose from the dead (or error) how say some among you that there is no higher truth than man's opinion? As Science is spiritual it must be explained by literal things. So Jesus used parables to explain how this truth grows in the minds, and he takes for example a little child, before its mind is filled with errors of the priest as a figure of heaven. Not that the mind contains any wisdom, but like the soil of the earth it is pure from foul seeds or error, ready to receive the true seed of wisdom. He says, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven:" this truth could live and grow in the child. Not that heaven or kingdom was happiness, but happiness was in the one who entered into it. But as the kingdom grew, false ideas would creep in; for it is not to be supposed that Jesus ever intended to make His kingdom perfect till every enemy or error should be destroyed. So he likens it unto a great many things, to a sower in a field, and an enemy sowing in the same field. Here you have good seed and bad seed, truth and error, good and evil. But the good was good, and the bad was bad, and they never mingled.
I will take a person as he would come to Jesus, and show how He preached the kingdom of heaven. Take the little child. Jesus asked how long this child had been in this way, (Mark IX, 21). When told, He said, "Do you believe all things possible with God?" They said, "Yes." So then He cured the child, not by a "power," but by His wisdom, for He knew what He was about. So their faith in Him kept the child from having any more fits. All His cures went to prove His theory of the Christ, which He preached and illustrated by parables, and proved by showing Himself to the multitude after they believed Him dead. The identity of it was a body, and the doctrine of it was its blood. So He says, "if you eat not my flesh and drink not my blood, you have no life in you."
I will give an illustration. Suppose a person comes to me to learn navigation. I say, "You must be born again, for your ideas of navigation are all false." He says, How can I learn or be born again when I am so old? I answer, "You must be born in the science of navigation." This he cannot understand, but still he wishes to learn. So I begin to explain. As he begins to learn, this is called the love that is spoken of with which God so loved the world. Now, love for wisdom prompts him to learn, and as he learns his happiness is full. This is entering into heaven. This is the heaven God has prepared for every one who will try to learn, and if every one will search for God or Wisdom God will not cast him off.
I will apply this to disease. I take upon myself your infirmities that I may lead you to health, for health to you is heaven. The love for health prompts you to come. My love for you prompts me to lead you to health. This I do by teaching you the errors of your belief and showing you where you have been deceivd. The truth like love leads you to see your error, and the happiness of your recovery is heaven. People believe that religion is one thing and health another. This is a false idea, and if you look at it you will see that to be happy is the chief end of man. Happiness is what we think we have obtained. Take the religion of our day: that is a poor illustration of happiness, for the misery it occasions is twice the happiness. We are taught our belief is one thing, and our health another. But it is not so. Man's belief is his heaven or his hell. You may not be aware of the effect of your belief.
Disease is one of the evils that follow our belief. For instance, take a young lady: begin to tell her that her happiness depends upon her having religion. She has no idea of what you mean. So to convince her you give an account of what religion is and show that she must get it or be eternally lost. This makes her nervous. So you tell her to come to Christ. This to her is blind. You say Christ is standing with His arms extended to embrace her. Now to fall into the arms of a stranger is more than she can do. She weeps, not knowing what to do. This you tell her is the conversion of her soul. At last she is made to believe she is not worthy to be a Christian. Then comes the soothing words of the priest and his words soothe her aching head and she quiets down. Then you tell her this is a change of heart. Now she is in a state to get religion.
What has been brought to pass? The young lady has been deceived into a belief that has cost her all the happiness she had. It will be said her religion had nothing to do with her health, but this cannot be the case; for every person is responsible to God or Wisdom for his belief, and he must take the consequences of his belief.
Now, as I said, religion is a belief and disease or happiness is what follows. So as all men have sinned or got a belief, the sentence of death has been passed upon them, for all have come short of the truth. So this truth came into the world of opinions to open the eyes of the blind, or appeal to a higher intelligence to lead them to the Truth that would cure them of their sins or errors. Now a religion or theory was to explain to the masses to keep them out of their trouble. We suppose that Jesus wanted to convey the idea that man was in danger of being destroyed after death, but if he would believe in Jesus be should be saved. So our belief depends upon our beliefs. Now what was Jesus' idea?
Jesus had no words or ceremonies but a love for a higher development of the human soul. This was Jesus' religion and He put it in practice by His acts upon the sick. Not by giving an opinion of what He knew nothing, but by showing that their sickness was the effect of their belief.
How often have you heard persons say they are not nervous and they never change their mind. That is as much as to say they have no wisdom, for wisdom changes the mind. Make a person believe a thing. The belief being matter or mind it is an obstacle to wisdom. This obstacle must be removed before the truth can shine. If there is not wisdom enough to remove the obstruction we say such a man has a strong mind. It is true he has a strong error to be overcome, but his mind embraces just as much intelligence as a stumbling block in the way of a train of cars. The dissensions among the passengers represent the contrast between the strongminded and the intellectual man. One sees no way to remove the obstacle and concludes that it cannot be overcome, and settles down in the strength of his own mind, while wisdom investigates the chances and sets himself to work to remove the burden. As the intellectual man works, his mind changes, while the strong man sits and contends that he knows, and when he makes up his mind nothing can change it. The other is fickle and therefore has no mind or stability. This is the case with disease. The belief is the burden to be overcome. In any disease the strong mind means a man deficient in mechanical wisdom who can't see whether the world develops him, or he develops the world. The strong-minded man is a man whom the world develops, his foundation is on what has been handed down from one generation to another.
THE EFFECT OF RELIGION ON HEALTH
I will give my opinion of the inconsistency of our religious beliefs and their effect upon health. I was visiting a patient whose state differed very much from what is called rheumatism and general disability of the nervous system. (1) The doctors had tried their best to relieve her but to no effect; their efforts only made her worse, and at last she sent for me. I found her very nervous, complaining of aches and pains all over. When I told her that it was her mind that was disturbed she replied, "Oh, no, my mind is at rest. I know I am in the hands of a merciful God who will deal with me according to His will. I have full faith in Him." Do you suppose He knows your troubles? I asked. "Yes, He knows all things." Suppose Jesus were here as He was eighteen hundred years ago do you think He could cure you? "Oh, yes. I know He knows all my suffering." Then why does He not cure you? "Because it is His will that I should go through all this suffering to fit me for the kingdom of heaven." Now suppose your daughter should be taken sick away from home in a strange land among strangers and suppose some kind friend should call on her and say, "You seem very low spirited" and she should reply, "Oh, no I know that it is all right." "Suppose your mother were here, would you not get well?" "Yes, she knows all my sufferings, but she knows it is all right to make me better prepared to enjoy her company when I get home." "Do you believe that if she had a mind to cure you she could do so ?" "Certainly." "Can you say you love your mother when you admit your life is in her hands and she permits you to suffer so much?" "Oh, she is my mother, and I feel that she knows what is for the best. It gives me comfort to know that I am in the hands of a merciful being." [Despite this reasoning the patient fails to admit a point, and so Dr. Quimby, once more addressing her, says:] Would you like to have me cure you? "Yes, if you can, but not if I must give up my belief in my religion. I should rather go down to the grave with my religion than be cured and lose my belief. If you can cure me of my lameness and not talk to me about my religion I should like to get well, but if you cannot cure me without that I do not know as I will be cured, for I don't think my religion has anything to do with my disease." Do you not think your belief has something to do with your happiness? "Oh, yes, but it has nothing to do with my disease." What is your disease? "Why it is rheumatism, the doctors say, and a general prostration of the nervous system" What is that? "Neuralgia, I suppose." What is that? "I do not know." Suppose I should try to explain how you came to be in this condition, would you listen? "Yes, if you do not talk religion." I have no religion to talk. "I know you have not." Have you? "I hope I have." Well, I do not want it if it makes me as sick and unhappy as you. "All the comfort I take while lying here all these long nights is to think that I am in the hands of a merciful God who will do all things right." Would you like to get well? "If it is the will of God, I should be very glad to get well." Do you think I can cure you? "I do not know, but I hope you can; if you can't I shall give up all hopes of ever being well." Then you think your health depends on my science? "Yes." If I should cure you would you give me credit? "Oh, yes." But would it be right to upset the will of God who is keeping you in this misery for His own pleasure? "Oh, if God sees fit to have it I believe it is all right. I know I feel badly and I should like to feel better, but if it is the will of God that I must suffer I will submit for I know it is for the best. God suffered in the flesh to teach us to be better prepared for heaven."
(1) This is a typical instance of Quimby's method of re-education.
Then you think if you should die you would go to heaven ? "I hope so, for I cannot suffer these pains always." Where is heaven? Do you believe it is a place? "Oh, no." Then what is it? "It is a state of mind." Then you are not very near it, I should judge by your own mind. "Well, I do not know as that has anything to do with my pains." What is pain? "I don't know what it is, but I know how it feels." How do you know it? "I know it through my senses." Are your senses affected by your mind? "I suppose so." Then if your mind is disturbed and you put a false construction on the disturbance, won't it produce an unpleasant effect upon the senses? "I suppose so." Suppose this unpleasant effect should be pain, is it not the effect produced on the mind? "I don't know what that has to do with my lameness. I want to get well." Who wants to get well? "I." That is, you, Mrs. H-? "Yes." Is not that all there is of you that has any mind or knowledge? "Yes." You do not expect this flesh and blood to go to heaven? "No." Why not? "Because the Bible says flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven." I thought you just said heaven was a state of mind. "So I did." Well, do you mean that flesh and blood are in the mind? "Oh, you make me so nervous, you will kill me." Why? "Because I don't like to hear you talk so. My mind is all made up and I do not want to be disturbed in this way." Do you mean your flesh and blood are disturbed? "Oh you disturb my mind and body." Then your mind is one thing and your body another. You believe in the soul? "Yes." You believe it goes to heaven when you die? "Yes." I thought you said heaven was a state of mind. "Oh, yes, but we must die." What dies? "This flesh and blood." Well, has it life? "Yes." Has it feeling? "You would think so if you suffered as much as I" Then this that suffers is the flesh and blood? "Yes" Then it is conscious of all these bad feelings? "Yes." Are the feelings its consciousness or has it another consciousness independent of itself? "No." Then at death you mean that all of these aches and pains leave you and you will be happy? "Yes."
Then these aches and pains are the body's identity and belong to the flesh and blood? "Yes." Are you happy when you feel so badly? "No." Then you are not in heaven? "I don't expect to be happy until I get to heaven." Can you get there and have these pains? "No." Then when the pains leave you it will be heaven on earth? "Yes, if that ever takes place."
Now, let us see where you stand. You have admitted enough to show that your mind is in a confused state like a person in trouble. You have not one particle of true knowledge. Your supposed knowledge is the effect of an impression on the senses, due to the opinion of some one who explained some one's ideas according to his own view of truth. This opinion taken for truth makes you nervous and brings about all your suffering. You are afraid of your enemies and you pray to the God whom you admit keeps you in misery. You are taught to believe that God is watching all your actions, that He has laid down certain laws and regulations for you to follow and if you disobey you will be punished. This keeps you in bondage and all your life subject to disease. But to suppose God selects you to be punished above your companions is to believe God is partial. This you cannot believe.
Now look at those who worship God; they have a false idea of the God they worship. God is not in any kind of worship that man has established. God is not an identity as man is, if He were He would be in matter. The ignorance of man cannot see intelligence out of matter, so all prayers are in matter, and all that people are afraid of contains matter. This false idea keeps man in the dark. You never see a man praying to the fire that warms him, nor does he pray to the elements. How is it with steam? Is not the person who knows the most about steam the best one to control it, and does not every one have more confidence in such a person than in one who is ignorant of it? So it is with the elements. Man differs in one respect from living matter: he has undertaken to control the elements so as to make them subservient to his will. We often hear persons talking about the laws of nature, as though they were the laws of God and they say if we did not disobey them all would go right. Now, here is the mistake. The laws of nature are very simple of themselves and they never trouble man if he does not trouble them. The beasts conform to these laws, for when they are thirsty they find the laws that quench their thirst, if left to themselves, and when hungry the same intelligence dictates the remedy. But man in his eagerness to be lord over the brutes and elements has developed faculties called senses. These are under a superior wisdom which can control the elements and use them for the benefit of the human race. Now, it is not to be expected that every person who happens to think of flying can make a flying machine that will be successful. Nor is it certain that any invention to control the elements will always work so that accidents as they are called will not take place and lives lost and much trouble made before Science is established. So it is with life. Life is a science that is little understood. The brutes have no desire to investigate science. Man is the only one who has undertaken it. Let us see how far he has progressed. It is a fact that man's life is shortened by his own belief, for his belief is his practice and the length of his life is in his theory. Every one has his theory in regard to the lengthening of life, but all admit it must end, that it is set in motion and may run down sometime. Some think life is a perpetual machine that never was set in motion and can never stop. To solve this life and save it from being lost is the great problem. Theories for the benefit of man are invented to save his life. He is given the knowledge of every danger he is liable to pass through and is warned against them. These call out the science and skill of the world, to put man in possession of a science to save his life as though his life were something independent of himself. This makes competition. . . .
Our lives are like a journey through a wilderness. We first take the priests' opinion, that is, to trust in God. When we ask an explanation of God we are answered that He knows all things and not a hair of our head falls to the ground without God knows it; if we look to Him, He will deliver us from all danger, and He takes better care of us than a parent does of his child. This is a brief sketch of God's goodness. Now suppose we should not do quite as well as we expect, then what follows? God has made a devil, a something worse that stands ready to catch us if we don't go according to His will or laws. These things are not defined, but like the laws of the United States, every president can construe them according to his belief. The laws of God made by man are arbitrary, though not acknowledged as such. Jesus said "Call no man master but one and that is God" Here you see you have made a God that is full of inconsistencies and cannot stand the test of common reason. Now look at the true scientific answer to all our beliefs and it shows us that they contain no knowledge of God or life, for God is life eternal and this life was in His Son, Jesus, which was Christ or Science. Now to suppose you lose your life is to be cut off from God, for God is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him. Now destroy man's belief and introduce God's truth, then we are set free from this world of error and introduced into the world of light or Science, where there is no death but the living God. This Science will lead us to that happy state where there is no sickness, sorrow, or grief, where all tears are wiped away from our eyes, and there we shall be in the presence of this great Truth that will watch us and hold us in the hollow of its hand and will be to us a light that will open our eyes. We shall not then be deceived by blind guides who say peace, peace, when there is no peace. Then we shall call no one master or leader, for there is but One that leads us and that is God. He puts no restriction upon us, for our lives are in His hands or Science. . . . If you can see God in your knowledge you will admit that everything you do intelligently you do under the direction of a power or intelligence superior to yourself. So when you do anything ignorantly and the effect is bad, giving you trouble, you try to correct your errors, thereby showing that you admit a power superior to yourself. This power is called Christ or God and if you have not this power or Christ you are not o f Him. To know God is to know ourselves, and to know ourselves is to know the difference between Science and error. Error is of man and truth is of God, and as truth is not in the cause of disease it is not in the effect. Therefore to say we are happy when in disease is to admit we have no disease, for disease is the error and the effect. Now as opinions contain either truth or error (not known) we are affected by the effect when it comes to the light of Science and then the happiness or misery follows. This is called by the doctors disease and they treat the effect, denying the cause or letting it go as of no account. Here is the difference. I put the disease in the direction of mind and then I know what will be the effect.
Our happiness is the result of correcting our impressions when first made. Our error is the ignorance of these impressions. The opinions of the world and ignorance of ourselves are the causes of our trouble. Suppose you were afraid of some person and you dare not stir lest he should kill you, do you think you would be any worse off to know that he was your friend and he felt unhappy to know that you had such an opinion of him? So it is in every act of our lives, knowledge o f ourselves never harmed man. Disease is not in knowledge but in ignorance. For instance, the fear of any trouble is the disease.
Go with me back to the time of the persecution of the church and the Salem witchcraft. All the people believed in evil spirits and witches and considered it wrong to have anything to do with them. Here you see was the disease in the people's belief, and their belief was put in practice for the safety of mankind. Therefore every invention of their belief was called out to get rid of an evil that was tormenting man. Here you see the belief was one thing and the evil another, and so it is in everything. The wisdom of this world sees the mind one thing and disease another, and reasons by saying the pain came before I had any thought about it, and I had no mind about it. . . . So it is with rheumatic pains, the state of mind or disease is admitted to have an existence as much as evil spirits and we are affected by our belief. If anything disturbs our happiness we fly to some one for protection and in our trouble create a form of something in the mind to locate it in some place in the body. We suffer ourselves to be tormented to get rid of the enemy or disease, as those who believed themselves bewitched would suffer being whipped to drive out the devils. I could name hundreds of cases where persons have called in physicians and between them both they, have made an enemy, the patient suffering himself to be poulticed and blistered almost to death to get rid of the bronchitis or spinal disease or white swelling or some other devil supposed to exist independent of the mind. The doctors who use these means show about as much knowledge as the people in Connecticut did who beat the beer barrel if it worked on Sunday. It is the relic of heathen superstition that wisdom will some time eradicate from the mind by explaining it on scientific principles. Till then the knife, the lance and calomel and such things that are only introduced by a show of truth not much in advance of nailing a horse shoe over the door, or sleeping with the Bible under you to keep off the witches, must govern the people. Jesus knew that all the foregoing belief was founded in ignorance, therefore He was not afraid of these beliefs and said these words: "Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends."
CONTROVERSY ABOUT THE DEAD
The religious world has always been in a controversy in regard to the dead. Before Jesus taught a resurrection from the dead, the Pharisees believed the dead rose at the end of the world. Others believed spirits came back and entered the living, but there was no idea that was satisfactory to the thinking classes. The Sadducees disbelieved in everything but admitted one living God. This was the state of man's belief at the time Jesus appeared before the people. He spake as never man spake for He spoke the Truth and gave the lie to all the opinions of mankind. I will take the liberty of putting my own construction on Jesus' truth and leave it to the common sense of the people to decide which is consistent with Science. You see that at the time Jesus spoke the idea [the persistence] of an identity after death was never taught, and to teach that was to the Jews blasphemy. So Jesus admitted their various beliefs, but attached a spiritual meaning to them. Jesus spoke to the people in parables, for His object was to rid the world of superstition. His words were called out in answer to some question asked by the rulers of the people, and His answer was in accordance with the question, but in it was shown the absurdity of the belief; so they could not catch Him.
The greatest evil to overcome was the resurrection of the dead. This was a difficult question to solve, for Jesus never believed in the natural body rising and to deny the resurrection of man was as absurd as to deny the resurrection of the body, so to deny one and prove the other was to admit a resurrection and teach it. But as the people called sin "death" and truth "life," it was easy to adopt these meanings. He could then show that the resurrection from the dead was a resurrection from an error to a truth. But this must be explained by a parable. Here is what Jesus intended to convey: that this power that the people could not account for and which they ascribed to evil spirits or the dead was a Science of ourselves, which embraces all we are and our senses. It is life itself, and a knowledge of it is to put it into practice so the world can be benefited. Ignorance of it embraces all phenomena. This makes man superstitious, for he is ignorant of himself, man thinks his belief is all there is of him, and so it is till he is brought into a higher state which shows that he has two minds. One mind embraces matter and is in it. The other is Science and is out of matter, and uses matter as a medium to convince the natural man of a higher knowledge of himself. It was Jesus' mission to convince the natural man of this truth; so when He spoke of Jesus He spoke of the earthly man, but when He spoke of Christ He spoke of the heavenly man or Science. This the people could not understand, so when He said He should rise from the earthly man, (Jesus) He spoke of this Christ, and the people had no idea what He meant to convey to them. So when they saw Him taken and tried they all forsook Him and stood afar off and some denied Him. This showed that they expected that Jesus would be crucified. This embraced Jesus Christ and all of His preaching and when He was crucified that ended the life of Jesus Christ to them.
Now, to rise from the dead was what He had promised His followers and they believed that Jesus intended to prove that His body, or Jesus, which was flesh and blood, should rise. Here was where they misunderstood Him. Jesus never intended to convey any such idea. If the people had understood what Jesus meant they would have put a different construction on everything. If they had known the facts they never would have troubled themselves about the man Jesus, but would have let that body remain in the tomb and when Christ showed Himself to His disciples and others they could have seen the flesh and blood in the tomb. Then He, that is Christ, had established the saying, although you destroy this flesh and blood you do not destroy the knowledge of it, and this same knowledge can make to itself another body and show it to the people, to convince them of eternal existence, not after death, but after a progress of our knowledge.
Now, I want to be as liberal as I can to the friends of Jesus, but I must say that in their zeal to establish what Jesus told they made a great mistake. For I do believe they did steal or take away the body of Jesus to establish their belief that it rose again. This upset what Jesus intended to prove, that is, that although they should destroy this flesh and blood, Christ would show Himself to prove that man can live and have all his faculties and knowledge after the world calls him dead. But as it stands it shows nothing, for no one expects the body to rise. Like all religious fanatics, in their zeal to carry out an idea they left the whole affair in a worse state than before. This gave rise to all sorts of controversies, and as Christ had made Himself manifest to the people they of course believed that Jesus' body rose, Others saw the absurdity of the idea that flesh and blood rose, so it was not long before the believers were fighting, just as in our days.
Paul said to them, "I understand there is a dissension among you as touching the resurrection of the dead. Now, "if Christ be preached (not Jesus but this truth or Science) that he rose from the dead (or from Jesus) how say some among you, there is no resurrection (or Science) and all is of no force?" You see the people confounded the two ideas, that is, the people called Jesus Christ one and when Jesus Christ rose He was one because they had no idea of two identities. Those that differ from them had to contend against the deception of these fanatics who stole the body of Jesus, for those who believed the body rose were more enthusiastic in their belief than those who believed in the science. You see how all those persons that can work themselves up to believe that the time is coming when our bodies will rise again are about as far behind the times as those old persons who believe the time will come when the factories will be abolished and the girls will return to the spinning wheel and loom, when steam will be abolished. If they can get any comfort out of that kind of food I for one will not disturb their repose. I have commenced climbing Jacob's ladder, whose top round I have never heard of it is said to reach to heaven so that the angels could descend on it. The Christian ladder has from one to seventy or eighty rounds, so when man climbs half his life it takes the other half to get back to where he started. That makes him once a man and twice a child. So I suppose he commences a child and climbs to a man and then steps over and returns back to a child. This is proof that the natural man is a mere bubble.
What is the true meaning of another world? It is supposed that man lives in this world and goes to God or a spirit-world. This is the general belief and if this is true, why should it be so strange that some persons should believe their friends return to earth and appear to the people? This was the belief of a large class of mankind in the days of Jesus. All this is called truth, it is founded on an opinion that there is another world and the Bible is quoted in proof of it. To me this is error based on ignorance of Science. Science would never have led man to that belief.
It is said men had wandered away from God and become so wicked that they were in danger of eternal punishment. What does this mean? Man is here on the earth as he always was, so it did not mean that he got off the globe. To wander away from God is to suppose that He had some locality, and to be in His presence is to return to His place of residence. This place must be somewhere where God resided because the belief was that Christ came to lead man back to God. If God is in another world and Jesus came from that place down to the earth to lead man there, or to open a way whereby man could get there himself, then it is to be supposed man had been in heaven in the presence of God but had wandered away and could not get back. All this looks very silly when we think of asking men to believe it, but we embrace it without giving it the least thought.
Man is made up of thought and ideas. There is nothing about man unchangeable but his science, for Science embraces a principle [and the spirit] and principles are not matter or ideas but a knowledge of them. Life is an evidence of Science, so is feeling, taste, etc. All the senses are admitted by Science to exist independently of matter, and the senses are all there is of man that cannot be changed. (1) They may be obstructed by error but not destroyed. To separate these two is to explain the true meaning of life and death.
(1) Dr. Quimby's term "senses" is here widely inclusive.
All the people believed in death. Jesus did not; therefore His arguments were to prove that death was a false idea. So if we believe in death we are in our belief, if we know it as an error we are in life. Jesus had to prove that what we call death was only a separation of His Truth from the people's belief. But the crucifixion of Jesus was death according to their belief. Jesus never intended to allude to the natural body. So when He speaks of a resurrection it is from the dead; not that the dead rise, for that would go to show that He was still a believer in matter, and if He believed in matter [in that way] He must have believed it dies and then rises again. But if He believed it is nothing but a medium for the senses to use and control, then all that He meant was that His senses should rise from the dead or the error of the people who believed that the senses are a part of the idea called body. To prove His truth was to show Himself to the disciples, after they had seen Him as they supposed dead, alive again. To them this was a resurrection of the dead, or the same idea. But if Jesus' same idea or body rose it would have been a resurrection of the dead, not Christ's or Jesus' ideas. Jesus' teachings were to show that Christ was a truth o f God, a higher knowledge that separated Science from ignorance, and this Christ was in Jesus.
When the people saw their idea of form destroyed their hope was cut off. But when in the clouds of their ignorance they saw this same Christ or Truth take form again they were afraid, and as it became dense enough to be identified it was recognized as Jesus' body. But it was not the body or idea that they had believed in some days before. This is where the trouble was. The people's mind was changing but not scientifically, and they were left in a more nervous state than before. For now they thought Jesus' body rose and if Jesus' body rose it went to show that His ideas were not changed from the common belief. It amounted to nothing at all, for no man has ever risen since, and there was no proof of Jesus' soul being separated from His body.
So man has to get up a belief in opposition to the Bible's belief, he must believe Jesus went to heaven with a body of flesh and blood. So the common explanation of the resurrection leaves it worse than before. But to take the man Jesus as a man of flesh and blood like all other men and give Him the knowledge that matter is under the control of a higher power that can act independently of matter, and that He, Jesus, could be in two places at the same time and be outside of the body called Jesus-then it would not be hard to believe that this knowledge called Christ which Jesus had should say, though you destroy the idea of Jesus, Christ will rise or make Himself known to the people. For this Christ or Truth had the power to assume any form it pleased. But as the people knew it only as it came within their senses as the natural man, they could not believe till it took the form of Jesus as a man. This form the people called Jesus; therefore the report went out that Jesus rose from the dead, and it has always been believed by those who call themselves disciples of Jesus.
Now, here is my belief: I believe in Christ or the Truth. Christ knew that they knew not what they did; therefore the Christ said, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." This same Christ was not in the idea that the people had, but just as far as this power was made known, it could make itself manifest. Now to believe that the idea, or Jesus, or flesh and blood, rose is to believe that the dead rise. This Jesus denied when he said that what rises from the dead never marries or is given in marriage. As touching the dead that they rise, He says: "God is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live unto Him."
Did St. Paul teach another world as it is taught by Christians? I answer "no," and shall prove that Paul preached this very Science I am trying to preach and that he put it into practice as far as he was able; but he taught it more than he put it into practice from the fact that it was necessary that the theory should be acknowledged. The world believed in religion and religion taught another world. This was Paul's belief before he was converted to this Science, but this Science taught him that the wisdom or religion of this world was foolishness with the wisdom of God. Paul admitted Jesus as his teacher and Christ as God or Science. Therefore when he spoke of Christ he meant something more than the natural man or Jesus. When Paul tried to make the Corinthians understand the difference he said that he came not to teach the wisdom of this world, so that their faith should stand on the wisdom of God. But he spake of the wisdom of God in a hidden mystery that was with God before the world or man was formed, which none of the princes of this world knew, for if they had known this Science they would not have crucified the man who taught it. Even to this day it is not admitted by the Christian churches except as a mystery. Still they stand as they always have, looking for it to come, when it is in their mouth and they know it not, but eat and drink with the wisdom of this world as they did in the old world till the floods came and swept them all away. So it will be. The world will all oppose it, it will be crucified by the church, hated by the doctors, despised by the proud, laughed at by fools and received by the foolish of this world. . . . So to teach Science is to put it in practice so that the world shall be put in possession of a truth that shall be acknowledged above the natural man. If you will read all Paul's writings you will see that this Science was what he was trying to make the people understand, for if they could understand it it would change their motives of action. I have been twenty years trying to learn and teach it and I am at times nearly worn out, but when I think of Moses teaching it for forty years and then only seeing for other generations what he could never enjoy it makes me almost sink to the earth. Even Jesus as a man thought it would become a science in his generation, but he was not sure for he says, "no man knoweth, not the angels in heaven (or the men wise in God's wisdom) but God alone." He knew that it would be established on earth as in heaven. So eighteen hundred years have passed and the same angel is sounding with a loud trumpet saying, "how long shall it be till the wisdom of the world shall become reduced to Science so that it can be taught for the healing of the nations, and man shall cease from teaching lies and learn to speak the truth?" Then an opinion will be looked upon as an opinion and Science will judge of the correctness of it. Then all kinds of opinions will be weighed in the balance and the wisdom of this world will come to naught. Then will arise a new heaven and a new earth to free man from disease or error, for this old world or belief shall be burned up with the fire of Science and the new heaven shall arise wherein shall not be found these old superstitions of bigotry and disease, but there will be no more death or sighing from an ache or pain which arises from the superstitions of the old world. . . . Eternal life was taught to man by Jesus and called Christ instead of Science, and to know this Christ is to know eternal progress. This science teaches man how to break off from all error or bad habits that lead to disease, for as disease is in his belief to be good is to be wise. But health does not always show itself in science, for the fool in his heart says there is no science of God, therefore the fool is happy in his knowledge. So are a great many persons happy, according to Paul's idea, who are wise in their own conceit and puffed up by the flattery of the world. They come up like the flower of the field and flourish as a politician in some other way for a time. But the dew or wisdom of Science passes over them and they wither for the want of something to sustain them; and seeing themselves behind the times as scientific men and all their wisdom taken from them and turned out with the ox to eat this world's food or grass, they then see themselves as a man sees himself in a glass and then turns round, walks off and forgets what manner of man he was. Then his place that once knew him shall know him no more, for his wisdom is numbered with the dead ideas that never had any life except of the wisdom of this world. So here ends the life of the small and the great, the earthly prince and the ignorant beggar find their level in the grave of their belief.
WHAT IS RELIGION?
This question is more easily asked than answered, for when you ask to have it defined it vanishes as a thing and only remains as a belief. All persons have a right to a belief, so all persons can have religion if they have any desire to get up a belief. I have tried to find if there is any such thing defined in the dictionary, and I find the definition of religion to be a system of faith and worship or pious practice. Then pious means religious or godly, and so you get right back where you started from, as you do in thousands of errors founded on error. For instance, ask a physician what causes pains on the shoulders or side. The answer is, rheumatism. What is that? Neuralgia. What is that? Nervous affection. So he will go on from one thing to another till you get him angry and drive him back where he started. Is it so in science ? No. The chemist tells the truth, and if you do not believe he shows you the fact so you have no doubt. In all the above theories there are phenomena which cannot be accounted for by the natural man, for he reasons in matter and he never can understand the things of the Spirit; for all these are governed or created in the heavens or spiritual world, and this spiritual world, is Science. . . . When Science comes wisdom takes the place of religion, and this world of opinions gives way to the scientific world. Then is established Christ's kingdom or religion in this world as it is in heaven.
THE OTHER WORLD
I will take the man Jesus as I find Him and see if I can gather from what He has said and done what His ideas of another world were. No one doubts that He was a very good man, independent of what He taught, but so far as this world's goods went He had no where to lay His head; so His goodness must spring from another source than dollars and cents, as He had none of these. His food or wisdom was not of man, it was above the common opinion of the world. As far this world's goodness went He did not make much account of it, for when they were boasting about the Christian goodness, He asked, "If you love and help them that love you what reward have ye? Do not sinners the same?" His goodness was not in anything that man, could do as man, for when called to pay His tribute money He sent Peter to catch a fish and get the money out of it. Here He showed some wisdom to know that the very fish that would bite the hook contained the money. Perhaps the opinions of the wise may explain whether Jesus caused the fish to come round and bite or how it was. I shall not try to explain now but leave it to those who believe it a literal truth.
Now I think I can give an explanation of Jesus' belief. At the time of the birth of Jesus the people were superstitious and ready to catch at any marvelous thing they could not explain. Jesus had been studying into the laws of the mind till He came to the conclusion that the priests were a set of blind guides, talking about what they knew nothing of, except as an opinion, and that they were deceiving the people by pretending to have power from another world. Jesus knew all their theories and pretences were based on ignorance of opinion, but He could see there must be something in all the phenomena. Hearing of John's preaching He went to hear him, and then saw how the truth might be reduced to a Science. Here was His temptation; if He used this wisdom for money-making business He could not meet with the same results, it must make Him selfish. So He concluded He would risk all the sneers and opposition of the religious world and stand up and defend a Science that struck at the roots of all religious superstition and public opinion and tested all things by one living and true principle. The Old Testament being their Bible, He had to explain its meaning and show that the writers taught this great truth, so He had to speak in parables. His wisdom being based on 'Science that He could prove, He commenced to put it in practice toward disease. . . . All the world's wisdom was based on an opinion, and to meet it was to spiritualize every idea. They believed in a literal heaven; to this He gave a spiritual meaning, saying His heaven was not of this world of opinions but of Science, and He would bring it down to man's understanding. This they could not understand, for their belief located His kingdom in space and attached their senses to it as a place. But the priests had condensed these phenomena into an identity called God, had given Him power over everything they could not understand, and robbed Him of wisdom that explained their ignorance. They created a God after their own wisdom and set Him in the heaven of their own belief. Thus the priests have placed misconstruction on every passage in the Bible which condemns superstition and taken all the wisdom to themselves; while the very Science that the Bible contains is their worst enemy. This has made the man spoken of in Revelation, which seemed to be written by an insane man. If any one will look at it it will be seen it is a book of the progress of Science over the opinions of the priest. It will be seen how John labored to show the people that the priests' ideas bound them and kept them in bondage. But his writings fell into the hands of the priests who put their own construction upon them and turned the minds of the people, who might be taught to see through their wisdom. So the book of Revelation, like all the others of the New Testament, has been stolen by the priests, turned and twisted and misconstrued to prove that men were writing to establish the truth of the priests' opinions.
Now I know by the cures I make that disease was made by the false construction of priests and I shall show that not one of the writers of the New Testament ever had an idea of priestcraft; but the priests knowing that the people fell in with their views stole the ideas and persecuted the authors, just as they do at this day. The priests claim to be the teachers of morals and good order.
Jesus had to establish a kingdom as the priests had done; theirs was based on opinions, His on Science, so everything that they believed was only an opinion, which His Science could tear to pieces. So He begins by saying "Seek first the kingdom of heaven;" That is, seek wisdom, then all their craft could be explained. Then He says, the kingdom of heaven has come unto you and ye will not receive it, that is, the Science is here but you will not try to understand. In the Old Testament David called this Science wisdom and exhorted his son to seek it first of all. Jesus called it the kingdom of heaven and calls on all men to seek it. If this wisdom and the kingdom of heaven were not the same, then Jesus and David had different ideas of wisdom. Does the priest call on the people to get understanding? No, that is what be fears. The priests want them to have religion, that is, to believe in the creeds which cramp the intellect and bind burdens upon them so that they can lead them. They fear investigation, for it is death to their craft. . . .
DEFENCE AGAINST AN ACCUSATION OF PUTTING DOWN RELIGION
I am often accused of putting down religion and when I ask what is religion I am told the same old story that every one knows, to be good and to worship God. Now all this sort of cant may do if it is not analyzed, but if you undertake to analyze it it vanishes like dew before the morning sun. Religion is what it was before Christ and I think I know what that was. The religion that Christ opposed consisted in forms and ceremonies. Now why did Jesus oppose it if belief had nothing to do with health and happiness? He said they that are well need no physician. So if a person were well it made no difference to Jesus what he believed, but he came to those that had been deceived. Well, how did he cure them? By changing their minds, for if he could not change their minds he could not cure them. This was the way with the young man who was rich who came to Jesus to know what he should do to be saved. Now if the young man was really in danger of being doomed to "eternal punishment," as we are taught, then all that was wanted was to believe; so if his belief changed him I ask if it changed his identity or mind? We are taught that man cannot do anything of himself to save himself, but was this the case with this young man? No, for Jesus told him what to do, to keep the commandments and these were not Jesus' but Moses' commandments. The young man said. "This have I done from my youth upward." So according to the young man's story he was a very good man and Jesus found no fault with him but said, if you will be perfect go sell all you have and follow me. Now here was a young man who had done everything to be saved and Jesus would not save him unless he would give all that he had to the poor and follow Him. As absurd as this looks you cannot find any one who will comply with it, but people get over it by saying we must give up all sinful acts. Well, be as honest to that young man who went away sorrowful, for he could not understand. This is a fair specimen of the parables. Jesus never hinted that He or the young man had the slightest idea of another world, but it shows on the face of it that a man like Jesus could not be so little or narrow minded as to send a person to endless misery because he would not give all his riches to the poor.
Now I will give my construction, and if I do not make Jesus more of a man than the other I will never explain the Bible again. The Jews thought they were the chosen people of God and were the best and knew the most. So riches were wisdom and they were rich in the laws of Moses. This young man came to Jesus to ask Him what be should do to obtain this belief that Jesus taught. Jesus said, "Keep the commandments." This he had done. Well, go and give away your ideas and try to learn mine. This he could not do for he could not see into it. So he went away sorrowful. Jesus' own disciples were in the same way for they said, "we have forsaken all, what lack we more?" He then goes on to tell what they must do, but they did it not for they all forsook Him. Now if it requires such a sacrifice to go to heaven, he never found one that went, for they asked Him if these things are so how a man can be saved. . . .
My religion, like Jesus', is in my acts, not in my belief. The sick are in their belief and not in their acts, for if it were in their acts they would be better; for to be wise is to be good and to be good is to show your goodness by your acts. So if a man is sick he is not good and if he is not good he is not happy, and if he is not good his evil must be something else than good. His goodness is Science or Christ, his badness must be an opinion or religion. Now to be born again is to separate the true religion from the dross, and I know of no better rule than Jesus laid down when He said, "by their fruits ye shall know them." I am willing to be judged by my works, and if they bear me out I do not know as the wisdom of this world of opinions has any right to pass judgment on me....
When I sit by a person, if I find no opinion I find no disease, but if I find a disease I find an opinion, so that the misery that is in the opinion or belief is the disease. I have to make war with the disease or opinion and as there are a great many that make their disease out of the world's religion it is my duty to change the belief to make the cure, and it is astonishing to see persons cling to their opinions as though they contained the substance, when if they knew the substance of their belief they would laugh at their folly. Now to me it is as plain as twice two makes four. I can sum up the religion of Jesus in one simple parable and that is the parable of the child when the people were disputing about the kingdom of heaven. Jesus took up a little child from their midst and said, "of such is the kingdom of heaven" Every one knows it is harder to unlearn an error than to learn a truth, so Jesus, knowing that a child was free from both, took him as a parable. So the Christian world must get rid or give away all errors and become as a little child to receive the Holy Ghost or Science. This was the new birth; therefore to enter into Science or the kingdom of heaven was not a very easy thing. So if any one says he is born of God or Science let him show it for many shall come saying, "I am Christ," and shall deceive many, but by their fruits ye shall know them. So you see that Jesus' religion had nothing to do with the opinions of the world. (1)
(1) It is important to note that Quimby's Christian Science was founded on two principles: (1) the idea of "the Christ within," or the Divine wisdom which Jesus taught, which is the guide to the spiritual interpretation of the Bible; and (2) the idea that all causation is mental and spiritual: the body contains no intelligence or power of its own; hence "every phenomenon that takes form in the body was first conceived in the mind." The latter proposition Quimby demonstrates in his reasonings concerning such a disease as cancer, and in what he writes about strength. See above, Chap. 16.