Chapter 19 SCIENCE, LIFE, DEATH
[By the term Science Dr. Quimby meant that wisdom which, superior to all opinions or wisdom of the world, and all knowledge founded on externals, mere facts or speculation, is Divine in origin; is beyond all doubt, and capable of verification by all. It is Divine, not in the sense of a "revelation" given on authority, but because it is "Wisdom reduced to self-evident propositions," "reduced to practice for the benefit of man," therefore the basis of sciences such as chemistry or mathematics in which unchangeable principles are implied. Science is aggressive, it is the Truth which shall set men free, the Christ which Jesus came to declare. It is discoverable in the Bible, if we have spiritual eyes to see the meaning beneath the symbols. It is within the reach of all who, led by intuition and, aware of man's true nature, distinguish between shadows and realities, the mind which is always changing and the spirit which never changes. Man then may learn to identify his true self with Science as the "scientific man," the man with spiritual senses and an immortal identity. Dr. Quimby did not undertake to found a new religion on this "great truth" or Science, but believed that spiritual science is altogether superior to religion as ordinarily understood. His writings as a whole show what he means by the term. The first selection is from an article written in July, 1860, in which he defines his meaning, in part:]
THE word science is frequently used, but so loosely defined that its true meaning cannot be understood. Ask a man what science is, he answers, "It is knowledge, a collection of general principles." This leaves the question just where we find it. So every one sets up his standard of a collection of general principles.
Let us see if the word can be explained so that every one may know what science is. Science embraces something spiritual or a revelation from a higher state of being. Science is the name of that wisdom that accounts for all phenomena that the natural man or beast cannot understand.
To illustrate. You throw a ball into the air, every child will soon learn that the ball will return. This is not science. But to know understandingly that it will return with just as much energy as it received, is science. Science is in the act, although the person knows it not, and God is in the world and the world knows Him not. This principle Jesus tried to teach to man. The acts of man were sometimes according to this law, but the actors knew it not. So they being ignorant of Science were a science unto themselves. As they did not know the motive, they could not teach it to others.
Paul, speaking of this Science, says some have not even heard of it, and how shall they believe in what they have not heard of as a science; how shall they hear without a preacher, and how shall they preach a science unless they be sent? So he says, How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace (or the words of that person who can teach Science). He uses the word "charity" for the same wisdom, and goes on to tell that although we give all our money to the poor, and suffer our bodies to be burned, and do not understand Science or charity, it is of no use. To understand wisdom or charity so as to put it into practice, so that it becomes a science, is not an easy task. Well might the disciples say this is a hard saying, and how can a man believe or understand? Therefore, if they cannot understand, must the wisdom of God be of no effect? Wisdom says, "No! Let God (Science) be true, but every man a liar."
This Science was in the minds of the people, but the priests and doctors led the people and explained it according to their own notions, so when Jesus came to establish this truth as a science, to them it was a stumbling-block. The wisdom of this world never had put science into goodness, but thought goodness was a dispensation. This wisdom or charity was known by some to have an identity, but was never admtted as anything independent of the natural man. So goodness was considered by the priests as a sort of subjection to the rulers. A good person was like a good dog, ready to obey his master; then his master would pat him and call him a good dog, although he had just torn another dog in pieces, or had done something else to please his master.
This was the way with the Christian church: to be good was to persecute all who would not bow the knee to the leaders. All who had the boldness to speak their opinions were heretics or infidels. The priests patted the heads of their dogs and set them on the swine or those who opposed them, so that to steal from or rob one of these sceptics was a virtue rather than a wrong.
I have seen this effect in my own practice. There are people who are honest according to their religion who will come and tell me a lie, as I call it, to deceive me into a belief that they mean just what they say. I have just the same confidence in their honesty that I have in a bull dog who looks as innocent as a lamb when you have something that he wants, and when he gets it will bite you as soon as your back is turned. This all arises from smothering the Science or charity, or revelation from God. And this is done by the priest. The priests make their goodness a matter of self-interest, and charge people a fee to pardon their sins, which the honest part of the community would look upon as a wrong. The priest flatters them with the idea that they are doing just right. So they worship the priest as the masses worship the leaders, and every person knows that a leading demagogue will uphold any crime his party is guilty of, and applaud the actor for his honesty or goodness.
Charity has no friend with any of these leaders. It finds no foothold. Therefore, like the dove of the ark, after trying to find a place to rest it returns to its house and is gone to the world. This was the case in the days of Jesus. He came to establish this Science or charity. This word Science not being used to explain this truth, it was called by Jesus "Christ," and by Paul it was called "charity." By the wise who admitted it, it was called a power or gift, but it was never admitted to have an identity with the teaching to which the senses were attached. This was Jesus' religion, so that He talked His religion, instead of talking about it. To talk wisdom is Wisdom, whereas to talk about wisdom is to talk an unknown God.
Jesus tells just where the people stood in regard to this truth. There were none who understood it, but many who acted according to their principles. These he called persons who being ignorant of the law were a law to themselves, because they did right and did not know why they wanted to do it. He describes their minds as half wise and half foolish. But the wise were ignorant of the cause of their own wisdom, so that in trying to make people understand this truth, which he called the greatest of sciences or the kingdom of God, he spoke in parables.
He commences by a parable of the foundation of this Science, or the ground in which it is sown, and then shows the growth by parables. So when he was asked for an explanation of this Science or power, or kingdom, he took a little child in his arms and said, "Of such is the foundation or kingdom of heaven." Now, every one knows that a child is a blank as far as virtue or vice is concerned, and with it "might is right." The growth of this child's wisdom depends entirely upon the direction given to its mind. Then He asks, "What shall I compare its little wisdom to? I will compare it to a grain of mustard-seed that a man sowed in his garden"
So God sowed in this little child's mind wisdom, and this wisdom if properly developed would teach him that his body, like the earth, is the casket or loom for this wisdom to develop itself in. As it developed itself, it would leave its mother earth and derive its life from a higher and more perfect mother that had no matter, but which lifts one above all the fog or atmosphere of earth, and the decomposition of matter or ideas that contain all sorts of evil. The growth of this wisdom was likely to be destroyed, for Herod sought to kill it. But its mother hid it in the ignorance or bushes, in the sea of superstition, till it could grow in the hearts of the people. So when its branches began to put forth, and the fowls or theories began to build nests or attack it, then came the devil and made war against it. Then the priests and doctors joined in and stirred up the multitude to search out where the true wisdom was, that they might take counsel together how they should destroy it.
When Jesus appeared at the common age of man, ready to defend Himself, John sent to Him to know if He was this Science or Christ, or must we look for another. As Jesus began to preach this truth or Science it struck at the root of all the old superstitions. This was the very thing the people had looked for. The prophets had prophesied that the time would come when man should act from a higher motive than dollars and cents, when goodness would be a virtue and would be appreciated: the priests had looked upon all virtue as passion, and had treated it as such. Thus sympathy or love was misrepresented by these blind guides, so that people acknowledged and thought that they were born dishonest, and all kinds of vice and passion were elements of our nature. When Jesus began to separate vice from virtue the war began. This separation was His religion.
Vice and passions were the inventions of man. I will not say brutish, for that is a stain on God or goodness. For the brutes act as they were intended to, and to compare them to man who debases himself below the brute is a stain on the whole character of the horse, for instance. I have seen a thing driving a horse who looked more out of place than he would if he were in the thills and the horse had the reins. This sort of intellect, which is made up of the lowest passions of man, is as much beneath the brute as the hawk is beneath the dove. These two characters make up man. One is ignorance, superstition and all kinds of passion, to gratify the lusts of a low, contemptible mind which cannot see honesty in anything except as a restraint upon the appetites; so he looks upon all restraints as burdens and oppressions. This is the wisdom of this world. This wisdom has always been in the ascendency. It has been the enemy of truth or Science. So when any new development of truth comes up, this brutal intellect catches the seed or idea and puts a low construction on its acts. This causes the war of error, to see which shall get the mastery. Science comes as a natural result of the quarrel. For the truth never makes war for anything. All the fighting is done by ignorance and superstition.
Now, as I have already said, the beasts were made perfect as they were intended to be; no change is visible in each succeeding generation. The combination of the natural brute is perfect. But it does not contain science or wisdom. Man, being what is called the noblest work of God, has a higher development, and shows that there is something outside of matter which can control matter. This something is what the world has always been looking for. It is not in the beasts, for it is not life, and that the beasts have; nor is it reason, for the beasts have that; nor is it passion, nor is it love, for all of these the beasts have. Then what is it that makes man above the beast? Science or a revelation from a spiritual world, higher than the natural world. And this wisdom or Science is progression. For it is in the beastly man, although in such it has never been developed.
Wisdom or Science makes the distinction in man by this figure: man is of the earth earthly, yet in him was this Science in the form of a rib, or this higher power, and the Science called it woman. And this woman or wisdom is to lead man or ignorance to truth and happiness. Now, neither the man nor the woman had any science, and man like the beast was willing to live under restriction, as all other animals did; for God placed all other animals under the law of might. But it was not so with the rib. The rib saw farther ahead than the beast; it had more sagacity, and like the serpent, said to itself, here is a tree or knowledge of good and evil, or judge of right and wrong, and if you eat it or investigate you shall be like the father of it, more than the brute. Here you see the true character of wisdom. It shrinks not from investigating, although it is unpopular and has the whole world to contend with. It fights its way regardless of danger. So it ate or investigated whatever it saw.
Now I will suppose the tree. Theories are something called trees. The tree that bears not good fruit, and is to be hewn down, is anything man wants to investigate. . . . You must go back to Adam and Eve, or to a little child, as Jesus said when He undertook to explain the same idea. So of course it had no reference to man and woman as we see them, but to the development of knowledge above the brute. So He takes man and woman as figures of truth and error, and shows that the mind of woman is better calculated to receive seed or investigate. Women have more endurance and more patience to investigate any new science than man. And their wisdom is not of this world, but of that higher power called Science. When they give their idea to man, he then eats or understands, and then goes to work to form the idea that has been given to him by the woman. It has always been the case that all spiritual wisdom has been received through the female. The oracle of Delphi was a woman. As men's minds are more brutal and less scientific or spiritual, they never believe till they can see with the natural man's eyes. Science to them is a shadow. Now as [the natural] man is of matter and his thoughts are a part of himself, he lives on his ideas and forms all his plans in matter and carries them out in matter; thus the natural man knows nothing about matter. The spiritual man or the woman is out of matter, and sees all the changes of matter. These two characters are in every man, and to distinguish them is what is taught by this Science. Science suffers long before it becomes a fact. It envieth not other science. It vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up; doth not behave unseemly; is not easily provoked; thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Science never faileth, but prophecies do. The knowledge of this world fails, but Science never fails.
[In most of his articles Dr. Quimby used the expressions "Christ or Truth," "Christ or Science," and so the term Science came to stand for "the Science of the Christ," or "Science of Health and Happiness." In an article on "Aristocracy and Democracy," written, February, 1863, he uses the term "Christian Science" for the first time. The paragraph in which the term occurs is as follows:]
The leaders of the medical schools, through the hypocrisy of their profession, deceive the people into submission to their opinions, while democracy forges the fetters which are to bind them to disease. Science, which would destroy this bondage, is looked upon as blasphemy when it dares oppose the faculty, and religion has no place in medical science. So in the church the religion of Jesus' Science is never heard; for it would drive aristocracy out of the pulpit, and scatter seeds of freedom among the people. Nevertheless, the religion of Christ is shown in the progress of Christian Science, while the religion of society decays as the liberal principles are developed. Man's religion labors to keep Science down in all churches North and South, by suppressing free discussion, for aristocracy will not have anything tending to freedom.
[In lengthy articles devoted to biblical interpretation, Dr. Quimby endeavored to show that there is a spiritual Science in the Bible underneath the letter of the Word, and in all these studies he contrasts the two forces at work within man, for example, Cain and Abel, Law and Gospel, Saul and Paul. He believed that the Bible was never intended as a religious book in the common acceptance of the term, it "has nothing to do with theology," but contains a "scientific" explanation of cause and effect, showing how man must act and think for his happiness. Thus the account of creation pertains to man's spiritual development, not to the production of a literal earth. Dr. Quimby also expounded many passages in the New Testament so as to free his patients from a literal view and show that Jesus' sayings implied "the Christ within" or true healing principle. Thus he set the example followed by all his adherents who have found a key to the Scriptures in spiritual interpretation.
[It will be noticed that statements appear from time to time in the foregoing selections from which it would be easy to make the inferences on which "Christian Science" ordinarily so-called was based. For example, in "Questions and Answers" we read, "There is no wisdom in matter," and that the truth or understanding on which Quimby bases his teaching "is God, . . . for in that there is no matter; and so to understand is Wisdom, not matter." Matter is said to be merely "an idea" or "shadow." Combine these statements with the proposition that "matter contains no life or intelligence" and that life or intelligence is to be attributed to God only, and it is only a step to infer that "all is mind, there is no matter"-that is, no matter in God. Matter comes into view when it is a question of opinions or errors which take shape according to our allegiance to them, our bondage to the mind of opinions-called by Mrs. Eddy "mortal mind." Dr. Quimby did not deny the existence of matter as an expression of mind. But he did say that there is "no matter in God." Hence it is legitimate to say in that connection "all is mind, there is no matter."
[Again, we find Quimby saying, "The Science of Health which I teach was practised by Jesus. . . . His Science or Christ put man in tune." "This knowledge which I put in practice is the Science of Health." He also refers to the "Principle that never moves, the foundation of all things." God to Quimby was this "Principle" which Jesus taught as "the Christ." Here we have the origin of the term "Science and Health," and the other terms on which the later "Christian Science" was founded. This Science was to Quimby the clue to the spiritual interpretation of Scripture. He also speaks of it as "revelation."
[It is noticeable that in "Questions and Answers" there is no clear idea of the human self, and that other points obscure in that manuscript are obscure in "Christian Science," also. On the whole "Questions and Answers" is very obscure. Nor is there to be found anywhere in the earlier writings a clear idea concerning the nature and origin of evil. Hence it would have been easy to make the inference: "all is good, there is no evil," since Quimby attributes all evil to human opinion or error, and finds no reality in an ultimate sense in human opinions and errors. Later, he is more explicit, and plainly says that goodness is to be attributed to God only, goodness is due to Science, and should be taught to young and old as a Science. It is therefore right to infer that evil is due to our ignorance, to opinion. Had we been taught Science from the beginning, we would have grown up without diseases, without evil; and we would never have mistaken appearances or shadows for reality.
[Dr. Quimby never uses the language of denial. He never explicitly says, "there is no matter," or "there is no evil." This is a legitimate back-handed way of declaring what to him was the greatest truth: there is no reality save that which exists in God or Science. His realization of this truth was so strong that he did not need denials. Furthermore, as the foregoing selections make plain, he believed it necessary to explain as well as cure or heal; and to explain was to show precisely in what way shadows had been misinterpreted as substances. His realization for Mrs. Patterson-Eddy gave her the impetus which started her on the way we find her following as indicated by her letters, 1862-64, while she is gradually gaining strength and learning to apply the new "Science." Her later statements, like those of Rev. Mr. Evans and the other followers of Quimby, are conditioned by her understanding of what Quimby meant. Whether her inferences were right. or not, or whether Evans in his "Mental Cure" and "The Divine Law of Cure" was a clearer reasoner, must be left for the reader to determine.]
When we speak of life we speak of it as though it were a thing. But there are as many kinds of life as there are birds or fishes or anything which grows, and the life of a plant is not the same as that of a tree; neither is the life of man the same as that of a beast. All life is the result of the chemical action of some idea, so that life is matter, and it lives on life or matter; therefore the material man is made up of life and death. This life is continually changing, so that we live on life which we receive from others. Ideas are [spiritual] matter and of course they contain life.
We eat or receive life in the wrong sense. For instance, the Jews when they ate pork thought they ate life, for their belief was that it would produce a disease: although the pork was dead it would rise again in the form of scrofula. So to avoid having that life in them they would not eat pork.
Now, as absurd as this idea is, it is the basis of our knowledge about disease. How often are we reminded not to eat such and such things. We all admit that animal food has life in it. So we eat it as life; for when we say that it is so far decayed that it is not good we look on it as poison. So also we receive life into our stomach as though it really added to our life or strength. How often we talk about fat making us warmer. All these ideas are the result of error and their fruits are disease.
Does the dog eat meat as though it had life? No, he eats it as "dead" and expects no bad effects from it. So it is with all living beings but man. Man has reasoned himself into a belief that all he eats and drinks contains life, and this life or food is his enemy or friend according to his belief. Thus he is kept continually on the watch what kind of food he receives. Although the life or food that he receives contains the idea of death, yet his belief is that he lives, and he is affected by his belief.
Now when I eat or drink, the life that was in the substance eaten is dead to me, and has no life in it. So I am not afraid in eating pork of any bad effects. Neither am I afraid if I listen and take a person's feelings arising from scrofula or any other disease that I shall have the disease, for the life of the disease is in the person who believes it.
What is the weapon that destroys this life or disease? Science. This is eternal, and that destroys all other life. This is to the animal life, death. So Science to the natural man is nothing that contains life. But this Science is a Principle. This is the only living and eternal life. This Science is what rose from the dead or natural life.
Man in his natural state was no more liable to disease than the beast. But as soon as he began to reason he became diseased, for his disease was in his reason. Therefore his reason was his life, and this made him afraid of his reason. This the doctors called nervousness, and to prevent this nervous life they introduced disease in certain things we eat or drink.
Let man rid himself of these blind guides and follow the command of God, and take no thought of what he shall eat or drink as having anything to do with his health and he will then be much better off. Seek first Science at the appearance of every phenomenon, and pay no attention to your food any more than the rest of God's creatures do. If man were as wise in regard to what goes into his stomach as the beast he would be much better off. Let the health alone. Seek to enlighten man in Science, and as Science is developed man will become wise and happy. This life is in his wisdom and his wisdom is a science. To put his science into practice for his own happiness is to correct some error that he has embraced. To prove the science to others is to take something that man is troubled about in the form of a disease which creates unhappiness, ,and correct the opinion so that health is established.
I have shown that there is no matter independent of mind or life. It is proved by geologists that matter is going through a process of change which is called life. Then life is in the atmosphere or space. And if life is in a state invisible to matter it may fill all space. In this space there must be diversity of matter or life, namely, the life of minerals, the life of vegetables, and the life of animals; and all these are in the atmosphere like the mist that went up from the earth at creation. Thus matter or life is in an invisible state to the visible matter, but governed by the same God. This makes the material earth or natural world. God made matter and condensed it into certain forms and elements that were necessary for man. And to be a combination of these it was necessary that there should be a chemical union of all matter dissolved into space before man could be formed. For man's body is made of the dust of this living matter.
As man contains all the elements of this material world or life, he is a minature world in himself. This matter or life under the wisdom of God forms the identity of what is called the natural man, so that man, spoken into being, was made up of all the elements of the material world. . . . The natural man commences his life in a higher state of matter. The field or garden in which he is placed is with all the creation of animal forms, and he is liable to all the evils which his life is capable of knowing. . . . It is not strange that phenomena should appear while man is so ignorant of what he is composed of which can be traced to the animal kingdom. All phenomena are the effect of what man receives from this animal life . . . and as his life is in his belief he reasons his life out of existence. Being a progressive process, his life has to contend with all the grosser life or matter of the animal. But as he is the rib or purest part of animal life, he contains the elements of knowledge, and this the lower life does not contain. . . .
MAN AND WOMAN
Man, like the earth, is throwing off a vapor, and that contains his knowledge. Out of this vapor comes a more perfect identity of living matter, more rarified than the former, and consequently in danger of being devoured by it. The latter life is less gross, therefore more spiritual, so that what it loses in physical strength it receives from a higher power approaching God or Science. This Science is the wisdom of God that controls the higher intellect. As the earth is composed of different kinds of soil, so man varies from the lowest grade of animal intelligence to that higher state of consciousness which can receive Science. . . . The spiritual rib that rises from man is more perfect matter or soil, called woman. . . . I do not mean that. woman means every female. Nor do I pretend to say that man means everything of the animal. But that the mind of the female contains more of that superior substance required to receive the higher development of God's wisdom. For this element is pure love that has been purified by the change life has gone through. . . .
Phenomena have always occurred in the form of Science, as though man had once been advanced far beyond his present condition. . . . The male creation feeds on the lower order of life. It makes the higher order a sort of pet for a while, the natural man sports and plays with the female. While the purer part of his nature is sympathizing with its own love in a higher soil or life, the animal life is prowling around to devour the little pleasure that is striving to grow in this barren soil. This keeps science down, for it is not known to the natural man. But put this science into the life or soul of the female, and then she is safe from the animal life, and it puts her in possession of a Science that the natural man knows nothing of. It separates her from matter and brings her into that spiritual state that rises from all animal life with a knowledge of its character. Like a chemist she then stands among all kinds of matter, which are under her control, and which she has the power of changing. Then she becomes a teacher of that Science which puts man in possession of a wisdom that can subject all animal life to his own control, and separate the wisdom of this world from the wisdom of God. Then woman becomes a teacher of the young, and man stands to woman as a servant to his Lord, ready to investigate all phenomena by Science. The woman is the one who gives all the impressions to the child. . . . But man from some cause, probably from having more physical strength, and looking upon all things as inferior to his own wisdom, is not content to subject all the brute creation to his will, but must subject the very creature that his best life or nature adores, and in this way woman is deprived of carrying out the science that God intended. By this physical force woman is kept down, and does not take the place in the world which God intended. But I maintain that wherever in the world matter or life becomes pure enough for science to reign over ignorance, then Science will become the master and ignorance the servant. . . Mind is only another state called life that is purifying itself to receive a higher life that will never end; that is Science. . . . Man lives on such active life as his appetite craves, and as he separates the animal from the spiritual, his appetite or passions change till he is completely carried away by the spiritual life. . . .
Science teaches man that although he is not of this world he is a teacher in it, and being a teacher he is a soldier in the hands of Science. To fight the life of error like a soldier and contend for the truth or Science requires more courage than it does to fight for your own bread. . . . As the soil of California is rich enough to produce gold, so the soul or life of the female is rich enough to produce the wisdom of Cod. It does not follow that the life of woman is the only soil capable of producing Science, but it contains more spiritual wisdom than is found in man. This is as should be, and if it could be admitted by man, so that woman could have her place in the life of man, the world would in a short time be rid of the scourges, the medical faculty and priests that now infest the land. Women are religious from Science naturally, and had not man instructed them the world would have been free now from superstition and evils that follow our belief. Woman is not so superstitious as man. . . . Her sympathy is inexhaustible. While men would get out of patience and would leave the sick, woman will cling to them as much as to say, "Death, you shall not have this life."
Now, where is woman placed? Just where man puts her to satisfy himself. She has nothing to do with her situation, but she must be content with what man chooses to assign her. In wisdom he of course is to be the great center of attraction, and although he has no light, only as it is thrown from the sun or higher power of his wisdom, woman thinks his light is derived' from a power superior to himself. . . . But a female coming forward in public to advocate man's ideas is as much below the male as a male who personifies a brute for the gratification of an audience is below the brute itself. . . . Where is woman's true position? As a teacher of the Science of Health and Happiness. This is what man does not want to do. It is too much like labor to toil over little children, and sit by the sick and take their sufferings upon oneself. Men will not do this. But they are very willing to bind burdens upon their neighbors, which they will not lift one finger to remove: by teaching false doctrines, whose effect on the people they do not know, which keep the people in bondage and all their lives subject to death. . .
Man is the life of all life before him. He becomes a sort of living matter, subject to all the laws of life or matter. . . . At last he becomes more refined, and becomes the medium of the life of Science or everlasting life, where there is no death, but where all things are tried by Science. . . .
Every man is a part of God, just so far as he is wisdom. So I will tell what I know, not what I believe. I worship no God except my own and I will tell you what He teaches me. In the first place He puts no restrictions on me, in fact He is in me, and just as I know myself I know Him; so that God and I are one, just as my children and I are one. To please myself I please God, and to injure myself is to injure my God. So all I have to do is to please myself. As God and I are one so you and I are one, and to please myself is to please you, and to injure myself is to injure you, so just as I measure out to you I measure out to myself. As you and I are one, you and your neighbor are one, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more than all the prayers made by all the priests in the world. I know that if I do by another as I would be done by in like circumstances I feel right, so I judge no man. I do not judge of myself, for my knowledge of this Wisdom is as plain to me as my senses.
To the world this is a belief, but to me it is wisdom that the religious world knows not of. It they did they would never crucify me as they do in their ignorance. So my religion is my wisdom which 'is not of this world, but of that Wisdom that will break in pieces the wisdom of men. Man's wisdom is the superstition of heathen idolatry; all Science is at variance with it. I stand alone, not believing in anything independent of Science; so you can put me down as having no sympathy with any belief or religion concerning another world, or in anything belonging to the Christian death. Neither have I any belief in the resurrection of the body. My death is this, ignorance; life is Wisdom, death is darkness or matter. All men have wandered from light and believed in darkness. To destroy matter you introduce light or life.
I will illustrate. Suppose you are sitting in the dark, call that this world. Now as the light springs up where is the darkness? The light is the resurrection of this body or darkness. What becomes of it when the light rises? So it is with man. Man is an idea of matter or darkness, and as his mind becomes lit up or clairvoyant the darkness of the idea of matter is gone, and he is in light that the wisdom of this world or darkness has not. So light came into darkness and the darkness comprehended it not.
When I sit down by a patient I come out of this matter or darkness and stand by the patient's senses, which are attached to some idea of the wisdom of this world which troubles him. I retain my former man and senses. I also have another identity independent of matter, and as I (knowing what is the cause of his misery) stand by the matter or belief of my patient and destroy his belief or the effect it has on his senses, then as the darkness or belief is lit up by the wisdom of Science, his darkness disappears and he rejoices in the light. The light leads him back to his health, from whence he had been decoyed by the blind guides spoken of in scripture. Here you have what I believe and what I disbelieve-the two are my law and gospel. By the law no one can be saved, but by the gospel of Truth, Science will have all saved, -not from the Christian world, but from this world of superstition and ignorance, saved for the greater truth that was prepared from the beginning of the world for all those who search and try to find it. You cannot go into the clouds to call it down, nor into the sea to call it up, but it is in you, in your very thoughts. It is not of this world, but of a higher state, that can penetrate this earthly matter as light through darkness. As the senses are the body of truth they travel through the light, as a man with a lamp travels through the dark. So it is not every one who has a lamp with oil, nor is every one wise who says he is so. But he is wise who can come up to the one in the dark, and lead him through this wilderness of disease into the light of reason and health. Like the good man who had the hundred sheep and one wandered away in the dark, he left the ninety and nine that were in the light and went and found the lost one and restored him to the fold. Now let those who pretend to be shepherds of the sheep, or of poor sick persons starving to death like the prodigal son for spiritual food, eating the husks of science, not the priest's food, go and guide them along to the father of health where they can eat and be glad and have music and dancing. This was Christ's truth; He was the good shepherd, the people were His sheep, and all who looked at Him and listened to the true wisdom, were saved from the errors of the priests and doctors. As Moses lifted up the serpent of the old Egyptian theology or creed, and explained them, and all those who looked on his explanation were healed of their errors that made disease, so Christ was lifted up, and all who understood were healed from the doctrine of the Scribes and Pharisees. So in our day [November, 1860] I hold up the serpent of creeds and doctors' theories, and show the absurdity of their beliefs and all who understand are healed of their diseases.
What is death? Man from ignorance has associated truth with error till error has got to be as true as life itself. Life cannot be seen except as it is made manifest in some idea. This idea is called matter, and it has become so identified with life that life cannot exist without it. This is the way man reasons: To destroy life is to destroy the idea that contains it. Therefore when we see our idea without life we say our life is dead. This would be true if death were life. But this is not so, according to the words of Jesus. He says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." He came to destroy death, and him who had the power of death, that is, the devil. Now if the devil has the power of death, death cannot mean what the people think it does. If death means what we are taught to believe it does, then Jesus knew not what He said. It either means an idea can be changed or it means the destruction of life, and in the latter case what Jesus said amounts to nothing.
I am certain that I know what Jesus meant to convey to the people, for I have seen death myself and the eternal life He spoke of, and can testify that I have passed from death unto life, as He taught the disciples. And knowing this life that is in Christ I teach it to you, not by opinions but by words of wisdom that will destroy death and put you in possession of that true life that will make death only an idea, like all other ideas man must be rid of to be happy.
At the time Jesus taught this eternal world the world was in darkness in regard to one thing, that was life independent of a belief. But as the lamp of Science was lit up it dispelled the shadow of opinions and embraced life. Matter is with Science nothing but a shadow. As its belief is changed death is destroyed and life takes its place. . . .
We have all been made to believe that we were flesh and blood. . . . I believed as all the world did that this body would die, and that I might be raised and reunited with my friends in another world, either happy or miserable. Now, all this is under the law, but by the law no flesh can be saved. In the darkness of this error the light sprang up and I rose from the dead or unbelief to the light of Science, and am now out of my old belief.
I will illustrate. You were once ignorant of mathematics. If some one had given you a mathematical book it would have been darkness to you. But the principle or spiritual wisdom. was in the book. As you began to understand you would have life, and the life would be in your understanding. You would still have a body of flesh and blood in your belief. Losing your ignorance, you would rise from the dead into the scientific world, where those in the law or ignorance would not see you; for the dead know nothing of mathematics.
Instead of being in the book, therefore, you are out of it, and to prove this you say to those who are struggling with the world that you will show yourself by your resurrection. So you do a mathematical problem without the book, and then show people that they are to be judged by their own books, and if they are not found in the book of Science they are dead in their own sins or ignorance. You have a body of flesh and blood in both worlds.
So it is with all other error. Death is ignorance, and unless you are made to destroy it by your own belief [effort] you cannot get rid of it. The world has made an end of life, but Jesus was the end of the world's life; so the world's life to Him was death and His life was the destruction of their belief. So I believe in flesh and blood but not in death, for I have passed from that belief into a life that is eternal. I have flesh and blood, as you all see; I shall never be without it [never without a body]. But you from belief may destroy my life to yourself, while to me it is the same today and forever. Here you have the belief of one who has seen the idea death swallowed up in Science, therefore to me the change is not a thing of belief but a truth.
You may ask me if I do not believe in what is called death. I answer, yes, if I did not I should not try to destroy it in others. To know that my friends are separated from me on account of their unbelief makes me more earnest that they should believe the truth. If your father or mother were carried out of your sight and you thought they were dead, if they knew it would they not weep for your unbelief ? They know they are alive with flesh and blood. But your belief makes a wall so dense that you cannot penetrate your own belief.
I will now say a few words in regard to the state called death. As this error is so well established that it is folly to deny it, I must explain my grounds for denying what every one believes. Let us see what man loses by the change called death. If you make a man admit that his happiness is in this state of error or opinions, then to get out of it would be death. But convince every person that he might sit down and fall into a state in which he might go where he pleased, and enjoy the society of those he did in his waking state, and be responsible for his acts the same as though awake, and if his ability and genius and good character earn for him the sympathy of some friend that would like to have him accompany him to a foreign country, and he should go and enjoy all the privileges of a guest, then wake up, don't you suppose he would like to take another trip ?
Now destroy all ideas of death and that would destroy disease. Then man would labor for wisdom, and when he grew rich he would say to himself, "I am rich enough, so I will now lie down and rest and enjoy my friends, and listen to the world's talk." So he gives up his cares and lies down, and rides around and enjoys himself. One is a figure of the other; but one is real, and the other is a shadow. The man who is rich in this world's goods to the exclusion of some scientific capital cannot travel in the world of Science with his money. To have money and no wisdom is to be like the rich man in the Bible spoken of by Jesus. He had been at work and got rich, and his crops were so large that he said to himself: "I will tear down my old house and barn, and build me a more expensive establishment; or I will dress up and go into more educated society, among the literary world and enjoy myself." But Science says to him, "This night shalt thou be satisfied that all thy riches will not make thee a man of Science." So you must lose all that foolish pride that impels the rules of the world, for where Science comes riches take to themselves wings and fly away into the wilderness of darkness. When these two characters lie down together, they are received into society according to their worth or talent. For money is not wisdom. So the rich man of this world may be the beggar of the scientific, while this beggar or man of small means with scientific riches will be as far removed from his neighbor as Dives from Lazarus. One must die to become the other. See the man that is made of money and knows nothing but his money when he is past making it. He is feverish and all he thinks of is his money. This is his happiness and some one is all the time getting it away; so he is in trouble, while the man of science is investigating all the improvements of the age and becoming acquainted with scientific secrets. Now they both lie down to enjoy their riches. The miser is all the time nervous and frightened about his money, while the scientific man is travelling on the interest of his capital; and if an expedition is fitted out for some great discovery, where his science is wanted, he receives an invitation and goes and enjoys himself; while the miser is prowling around to buy some secondhand lock to put on his door to keep out robbers. These two characters may go on for hundreds of years, for time is nothing in eternity. So we see every day figures of change. How many persons are there in this city who get up in the morning and pass the day without gaining enough wisdom to last them till nine o'clock? But you will see them up in the morning before day looking around to find some hole to creep into to get a drop of water or a substance to moisten their tongue, for they are tormented by an appetite for this world's goods. So their life is one continual state of excitement, always opposing everything that enlightens men's minds and elevates character. Such a man is dead to the world of Science, whether he is on top of the ground or underneath, while the man of Science is alive whether on the earth or in it. They both lie down in their own sepulchre. If one is made of opinions, he must take it. If the other is science, he will be in it. So while one is progressing, the other is looking on. They are both rewarded for their acts.
What is the true definition of death ? Death is the name of an idea; an idea is matter, so that the destruction of an idea is death. Every opinion has its center, and its center is the idea. Now if a person believes in anything that is founded on an opinion the idea is in the opinion, and the senses being also in the opinion are attached to the idea. This imprisons the senses in the opinion. Now the idea is of itself nothing but an opinion condensed into a solid and called matter and every word goes to make the idea. So to make an idea men reason about something they have no proof of only as an opinion. So they build their building and in the center is the idea, and if they succeed in establishing their opinion they imprison their opponent and the misery is what flows from the idea.
I will illustrate. Take the word "consumption" This word is of itself nothing to the person who never heard of it. To make it is to create the opinion or building and then reduce it to an idea. So matter in the form of words is so arranged as to make the idea in the opinion. While the opinion is forming in the mind a chemical change is going on, and the matter is held in solution till it is condensed into a form according to the pattern given by the direction of mind, and after the opinion is fairly established in the mind and the person in the idea which is in the center, the senses are attached to the idea and become part of it. Now to separate the senses from the idea is death to the idea, but life to the senses. This separation called death is only death to the one idea.
Man is always dying and living in progression, for error or opinion must always be in the mind and mind must always exist till time is no more. Man is made of science and ignorance, or life and death. Man, seen by the senses is the center of our belief, and the senses are attached to the idea called man, so the idea "man" varies as much as one star differs from another. . . .
The animal is content to be just as he is, and seeks no wisdom above his kind; he lives the animal and when his identity is destroyed he is forgotten by his race, but this is only my opinion. But the animal that is dead to the living is as much alive in the higher state of matter or mind as the man who loses his idea. Each retains his own identity, but man is progressive and the beast is the same forever. The beast has but one rotation of life and death, but man lives all his life subject to death. So although he destroys one idea called death, he is liable to die again and again to the end of time unless his wisdom destroys death by the Science of Life. The last enemy is death, so the scientific man or idea shall reign till all error is destroyed. All identities called man are not the same. There is the well identity of man, the lame, the sick, the deaf, the dumb, and so on. All men are liable to have a combination of all these identities. For instance, a well man or child is an identity. Now it changes to a sick identity, so the well identity is destroyed, and the child's senses are attached to the identity of a disease. The Science of Life is to know how to keep man from getting into death or error. This is my theory; to put man in possession of a Science that will destroy the ideas of the sick and teach man one living progression [development] of his own identity, with life free from error and disease. Now as man passes through these combinations, they differ one from another. So it will be in the resurrection (of the dead), to life, freed from false ideas and in truth. Suppose a man could be so wise as to know every sensation that affects his senses. He could never change, so he would be always the same. Now take another who believes in all the opinions of man, and he is dying and living all the time, dying to error and living to truth, till he dies the death 'of all his opinions or beliefs. Therefore to be free from death is to be alive in Truth, for sin or error is death and Science is eternal life, and this life is in Christ.
I said that every opinion had a center, and this center was an idea. I will try to make this more plain, for it is the center or foundation on which all error rests. Destroy this and disease is out of the mind, for this central idea is the fortress error erects to keep the subject in submission. As wisdom is its enemy, it keeps up a constant cannonading to frighten wisdom into subjection. This idea is built by public opinion, got up by demagogues or doctors and priests, its father or founder was a liar, its foundation is ignorance and superstition; its reign is tyranny and slavery to wisdom, its victims are ignorance. This kingdom of darkness is the error of man, every man's mind is subject to this prince of darkness, its power is in its popularity; its laws are arbitrary and binding on all; it knows no mercy; its chief end is the destruction of man's happiness. For that purpose it holds out large rewards, as it did to Jesus, to those who will enter its service. Its honesty is hypocrisy, and in fact its whole aim is slavery and power. What classes does it embrace? It embraces every opinion of man. Ignorance is the foundation, destruction to freedom or Science is its chief end, so its leaders invent all sorts of falsehoods and bind them on the people, or matter, which is liable to be changed or moulded into their belief. Every inducement is held out to persuade the senses to become interested in their idea or opinion. Now an opinion is like a city or town that has its center or laws. So as man's senses are traveling, like the man going down to Jericho, who fell among thieves, he listens to these false leaders and hears of some idea like a place. It is described to him by some doctor or priest in an earnest manner; this excites the mind, curiosity is aroused, the senses leave their home or father's house like the prodigal son, and wander away into this place or state; here he is accused of being a stranger and is cast into the belief. The belief is a prison, the idea is the laws, and if he chances to hear of diphtheria, he believes it is as much a place as Boston; so if he chances to go near the place and happens to feel a soreness in the throat, he is accused, and if he acknowledges that he has it, his acknowledgment becomes a belief, this places him in the prison and the sentence being passed, punishment commences. The prison or belief embraces all persons who have transgressed the laws of diphtheria. So every opinion is a. prison or place, to hold the person that believes it, and man's senses may have as many indictments against him as he has opinions. So Science or Christ enters the cities or towns, and pleads the case of the senses that are impriseoned, and if he gets the case, the prisoner is set at liberty, or the senses detached from the idea, and the error in the mind explained. Then the prisoner or senses rises from the place of torment into the kingdom of health. Its boundaries are opinions, its subjects are superstitions, and its laws are for the destruction of science. To destroy this kingdom is to introduce Science, is that the warfare is endless, for neither party will yield, no compromise is entered into by Science, but as the kingdom is divided against itself it cannot stand. Now as these two parties are in one man, it may be necessary to define their tactics and show how the senses may keep clear of both. One party assumes an idea and uses all their cunning to make it admitted by the senses, so when that is established, then commences the argument. The opposite side being more ignorant, but more honest, admits the idea but tries to destroy it. Here is an illustration; the children of the kingdom assert that sin is of divine origin, so the opposite acknowledge it and then try to reason it out of existence. They say that Adam's sin was the cause of all sin. Admitting it, then they try to show how inconsistent it is. They say sin is death; when admitted it becomes a law, so they go on assuming anything, and the other side admit, then argue about it, so that the kingdom of Science is not known in all their reason. Science has battled down the walls of error and established liberty or truth in much of their kingdom. It has hewn down the trees of superstition and established the science of mathematics. It has struck at the Science of Health, this is an unbroken wilderness never entered by man. Ever since the days of Moses there have been adventurers, but none has as yet planted the standard of life with such an inscription, "the Science of Life is in the wilderness." Jesus tried to do it but was crucified, Paul and all of his disciples also tried, but no one has ever yet been able to penetrate this dark wilderness and raise the standard and sustain it. . . .
As I explained but one side of the question I will now give the other which is life. I showed that death is opposed to life. I did not use that term, but you will see that is what I mean. Now death is life to the natural man as much as error is. Truth and error have their kingdom, and our senses are in one or the other according to our acts. I gave an explanation of the natural man or error which is matter and showed that all our misery is in our ignorance of the other kingdom called life or Science. This Kingdom is that spoken of in the Scriptures, which was hewn out and came down to earth or the natural man, and became embedded in the hearts of the people. This was the stone or Science that the builders of error rejected which has been the head or foundation of the new Science of Life, and on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. This child was the one without father or mother. It had no beginning of days nor ending of years, but it is from everlasting to everlasting. It was the rock that followed Moses in the wilderness of superstition. It is progress, it knows no evil. It is a consuming fire, that will rage till it burns up every selfish idea. It is never found boasting of its wisdom; it is not puffed up, it sits and sees itself swell in the hearts of the people, but they see it not. Their minds are now seeing the light that is going before them; they are afraid, so that even the kingdom of darkness is in rebellion against itself. The leaders begin to tremble, for they see that the angel of Science has sounded his trumpet, the earth or matter is moved out of its place, the stars or parties are falling, and the powers of the kingdom are shaken.
The spears of superstition have been beaten into ploughshares, Science has ploughed up all the stubble and burnt up the rubbish, the fields of life are bringing forth flowers of happiness, the streams of blood have turned into living waters. The birds of wisdom are sounding their notes of peace, and all the people rejoice. The old beliefs are passed away, and a new belief or heaven is established in the hearts of men where all beliefs shall be tested by Science and the wicked or error shall be destroyed. Wisdom aims at opinions, its march is progress. It knows no fear, its qualities are love. It neither turns to the right nor to the left. It is death to error, when error undertakes to retard its progress, it seeks not its own kingdom or happiness but works on earth or in man for his happiness. Its aim is to establish wisdom in man, and as it is a Science, its identity is eternal life or progress. For this cause it leaves father and mother or error and ignorance, goes into the kingdom of darkness, and seeks out the sick ideas which are prisons, wherein are the children of Science who have been deceived by blind guides. It enters the prison or belief, unknown to the keeper; for wisdom can not be seen by error, and error or matter is no obstacle to wisdom. It pleads in the prison with the captive, reasons and teaches the Science of Happiness, and protects the prisoner from its enemies in the wilderness of darkness.
If these principles are true, there is no good in dying, for that does not change us at all. We are just what we were before. If we have any ideas which make us unhappy we still have them. Our influences are changed, it is true, for our friends believe us to be dead and away from all communication with them. So we stand a chance to be changed. But that we get rid of all sickness and sorrow when we shuffle off this mortal coil is a mistaken idea.
If mind is spiritual matter, and all effects in the natural world have their cause in the spiritual world, it is evident that heat and cold, food, in short all those things which are addressed to the outward senses, as we call them, must first gain access to us through other means than are apparent.
The first mistake is in locating the senses in the body, when they really exist entirely independent of it. But "according as a man thinketh, so is he," and if we believe that taste is in the tongue, hearing in the ear, sight in the eye, and feeling in the nerves of the surface, etc., we must be affected according to our belief.
Our spiritual senses are often more acute and sensitive than the natural ones.
Is experience wisdom? Certainly not. Experience is the construction which we put upon any event which occurs in our life. For instance, the death of a friend : one person may draw one experience from it, and another, another. When Science proves that there is no such thing as death, all the various experiences which are the result of belief in the idea are annihilated.
Jesus, when he appeared after the crucifixion, had condensed His spiritual self so that it could be seen by the natural eyes, and He did it scientificallv.
I use words merely for convenience which I say are wrong. For example, "death." The time will come when such words will be obsolete. They will not be used when there is knowledge.
If we become acquainted with each other spiritually, where is the need of the natural senses, and how can we ever be separated ?
Our next world is here where we are and always must be. This teaches us to do to others as we would have others do to us, because we are all a part of each other. When we injure one part the whole feels it.
Destroy the man of opinions and Christ lives in the flesh.
Man is just as large as he is wise in Science.
Man is a complete image of the God he ought to worship.
This which I put in practice I call Christ acting through the man Quimby.
As Science is of light, it makes no shadow, but like the rising sun burns up the darkness or error.
God, not being matter, has no matter only as an idea. So matter to God or Science is a medium of communication with the natural man in his own language or semblance.
Every man is a part of God just so far as he is Wisdom. To cure an error intelligently is to know how to produce it. The idea that matter and mind make the man prevents man from understanding himself.
Jesus had no religious opinions; His works were in His life, and His life was His Christ or theory. His natural man had become subject to His scientific man or Wisdom.
Death is the name of something error wants to destroy, and this something is life. So the warfare is between life and death. Life cannot be destroyed but death can. Man is the battlefield of these two, life and death.
There never was a man who could translate the original language of God, for He never spoke at all. So we must listen to the sound of God's voice, not in the language of any person, for God speaks in that still small voice of sympathy which says to the poor sick, "Be of good cheer, your sins or errors will be explained, and. your soul set at liberty."
If God spoke [to Moses] it must have been in the common language of the day. So man must have invented language before God could communicate with him. This God keeps up with the times, and every now and then man finds out that God was mistaken about certain passages in the Bible.
The beast has five senses, and a great many human beings have not half so many.
We are affected according to the fear we associate with our senses.
Death and disease are matter, and when the senses are attached to the body we become subject to the laws of matter.
Here is the theory of my religion: My God is wisdom, and all wisdom is of God; where there is no wisdom there is no God. God is not matter, and matter is only an idea that fills no space in Wisdom, and as Wisdom fills all space, all ideas are in Wisdom. To make creation larger than the Creator is absurd to me. The Christian God is in everything; my God is in nothing, but everything is in Him. Attach all sight, smell, and all the senses to Wisdom, then they fill all space; everything to which we attach wisdom, and all inanimate substances are in this Wisdom.
There is no such thing as reality with God except Himself. He is all Wisdom and nothing else. All other things having form are things of His creation. His life is attached to all that we call life.
God is the embodiment of light or clairvoyance, and to His light all is a mere nothing. When He spoke man into existence His wisdom breathed into the shadow and it received life. So the shadowed life is in God, for in this light it moves and has its being, and it becomes the son of God.
As Jesus became clairvoyant He became the son of God, and a part of God. He said, Although you destroy this temple (or thought) I, that is, this clairvoyant self, can speak into existence another like the one you believe you have destroyed. Jesus attached His senses as a man to this light or Wisdom, and the rest of the world attached theirs to the thought of darkness or the natural man.
Every man is a representative of the natural and spiritual worlds as taught in the religion of Jesus and illustrated in His life and death. The natural world spoken of by Jesus is man's belief, and the knowledge of the truth is the spiritual world; and as opinions and error die truth and science rise from the dead.
Like other men, Jesus bore the image of opinions, but He also bore the image of God or Science.
When Jesus cured the sick He saved them from the other world into which the priests were forcing them.
Christ is that unseen principle in man of which man is conscious, but which he has never considered as intelligence. It is God in us, and when man comes to recognize it as intelligence transcending belief and learns its principles, then death will be swallowed up in Wisdom.
A river has its bed into which little streams flow to supply it. So man has an intellect which is sustained by various streams from the fountain of Wisdom. The banks take the name of the river as a man's name is affixed to his bodily form, but both man and river existed before they were named. . . . Man's wisdom exists and when it is discovered it is named, and the name is of man. The water of the river is like the mind, both are continually changing . . . and the mind seeks the heights of Wisdom that it may draw others to it. Suppose every particle of water to have an identity of intelligence; its continual motion does not destroy its identity; it is water alike in the stream, the lake, the river and the sea; and when it is taken into the earth and replenished it is water still. So man's intellect has its identity whether in one condition or another, and the body is to the intellect what the banks of the river are to the water: an identity to signify that water can be condensed into a form.
Wisdom outside of matter is not recognized, but when it is reduced so that its effects can be seen it is acknowledged, though not separated from matter. The banks are generally admitted to be the river, and when there is no water in the bed we say it is dead. Now the water is as much alive as ever, and it retains its identity, but man's name is destroyed. In the same way God in man is not recognized except in the body, and when man sees the wisdom depart, to him the man is dead.
Intellect, like water, is always flowing and cutting new channels, and each new channel is like the birth of a child it receives a name but retains that of its father.
Man in his wisdom gives life to his own name, and when his idea is destroyed the life seems to be dead. Man puts wisdom in the water and not in the principle, so when matter is destroyed the principle appears to be dead. But man's wisdom is not of God. God's wisdom is not in matter but outside of it and through it, as the identity of water is distinct from a particular valley. It may be said that this is what all men believe, but actions show that our wisdom is placed in the natural man or matter. Man has no idea of wisdom identified with anything but his own belief. But if God or Wisdom is the First Cause everything that is seen is only a representation of Wisdom developed into form. Therefore all identities of man and beast exist with the Father. . . . When a form is seen the world says it is in existence, but it existed before Wisdom brought it to man to name. Thus everything exists with God and man names it. But Wisdom has already given it a name which man does not recognize, and by that name it will always exist and recognize itself.
My body sits and writes, and all that can be seen is myself and it is my opinion. But the Wisdom that knows what I say as a man is not an opinion. . . . There cannot be an identity without intelligence, therefore man's identity is not in what we see, but in the Wisdom which cannot be seen, and only shows itself through some medium of expression. . . . Look beyond the body for the created being which is prior to intelligence.
We speak of an intelligent, scientific or patriotic man as if all intelligence, science or patriotism died with him. What are all these when he dies? Do they emanate from his material organism, and die with it? In short, are wisdom and progress the developments of matter?
Man lives and acts in an element different from matter, the universal nature of man can be traced to a different principle than that which would have him, a transitory being. What element is that which is not matter yet in which man lives and acts? It is impossible to describe it in one word or in a few words, but it may be illustrated by facts that are known by all.
A child knows its mother, not by looks or voice, but by something not included within these two senses: it is that something that makes her different in her relation to the child from any other woman. Suppose it be called love, or a desire for the child's happiness identified with her own. According as she directs the child in the pure intelligence of that love or yields her feelings to knowledge derived from a source which does not contain that love, so shall the fruits be. This love contains an intelligence which if followed in spirit and truth might destroy every obstacle in the way of the child's happiness, and develop it into a self-governing responsible being. Then why is it not so? Because from our religious and social education no woman can carry out the high principle of her affection. She is taught by established morality to put restrictions on the child that would make her miserable in the child's place.
All feelings and thoughts have an origin and can be referred to their causes as certainly as actions can be proved the result of a certain state of mind. The spiritual man has a knowledge of these causes and knows what every sensation is good for, where it springs from, what its effect would be if not corrected before it condenses into a belief.
It seems strange to the well why I do not cure every one who comes to me as easily as I do some. The reasons are plain to me and I can explain them to the sick, but to the well it is a mystery from the fact that they are under an influence that is adverse to the sick. The well have no sympathy with the sick, and every dollar they pay comes as hard as though they had contributed to some charitable object which they took no interest in but from fear of being called mean they would subscribe a small sum. When a sick person is brought to me the real person is not known in the controversy, but the error or person that brings him. So I have to address myself to that character called by the world our natural man, but the victim is not known and has nothing to say. Every case is a variation of these feelings, and I know the difficulty I have to contend with, while the well do not understand.
I divide man into two characters. One governs by selfishness and the other by sympathy, and man's senses are attached to one or the other of these elements. . . . Every combination that leads to disease is like the little streams that run into the ocean of death. As all men live and move in their belief, their belief is like a house or barque either in the ocean of death or the rivers that enter into it. Men find it hard to stem the current when the tide of public opinion is running so fast that they are in danger of being driven on the rocks. The pilots who are waiting to, get a call are found to be under the pay of the master of the seas, the devil. So the streams and rivers are filled up with false lights to deceive the mariners while sailing on a voyage of discovery. This may seem strange to the well, but I can make it plain to the sick.
Fashion and pride cover a multitude of sins. I do not like to blame the well, but we are so constituted as to look upon disease as an evil and the sick as afflicted that we cannot help being affected by these opinions. . . . The Christian has no sympathy with his neighbor's children if they do not walk up to the mark, while his own children are provided with a seat in heaven because he is a pious man. . . .
People do not stand in relation to each other as they should, owing in a great measure to our religion.
Money, it is said, is the root of all evil, but this is not the case: pride and selfishness and love of power are the evils; this creates the desire for money.
Spiritual wisdom is always shadowed forth by some earthly or literal figure. Thus the Bible is spiritual truth illustrated by literal things, but religious people follow the shadow or literal explanation and know nothing of the true meaning. When God said "Let us create man in our own image," it means Wisdom created man in the image of Truth. When He formed man or matter, that was the medium for this image to have and control, like all other living things that He made out of matter.
What is there that all will admit as existing independently of matter? Take the senses of man and see if there is any matter in them. All will admit that God is not matter. No one will say that sight is matter, for God sees all things, His sight penetrates the darkest places, and not a thing can be hidden from His sight. So it is with all the [spiritual] senses of man, and there is no matter in them. A knowledge of these senses condensed into an idea, spoken into existence called man and the senses attached to it- this is man in the image of his Maker.
Sympathy annihilates space. Discord makes it. Man is in one and Christ in the other. To be with Christ is to be in harmony with his wisdom, and this Wisdom will keep us from the evils of man's opinion. When our senses are attached to Truth we are heirs of Christ, and when attached to error we are heirs of this world. The Christ is to separate the error from the truth, for truth is harmony and error discord.
Man reasons in this was about the body: a child commences to grow, and man calls the growth of the child "life." When the child has reached a certain maturity the body begins to decompose and die, like the tree; then the dust returns to the dust and the life of the body departs. No such ideas as these come from Wisdom, for Wisdom puts life in the spiritual senses: if we attach these to Wisdom, our life is in Wisdom, and as that never dies our life never dies.
Happiness is contentment, not life or death. Misery is discord, not Wisdom but error. If then you attach your life to an error, like distributing life to the body, then your life is unhappy according to the loss or disturbance.
If our happiness is from Wisdom it becomes a part of ourselves, but if it is from a belief it is adopted and we may lose it.
We often hear people say that their religion makes them happy. But if religion is anything outside of ourselves it contains neither happiness nor misery. Can any person define what he gets except that it is a belief? A belief that will make one person happy will make another miserable.
Look at any religious society and you will find that the individuals cannot agree in belief. So those who cannot agree are slaves to those whose authority they admit as their rulers.
The poor soldier who fights for the leaders sinks under the burden bound upon him. To keep up his courage the officers hold out the idea that he is fighting for a great and good cause, and a crown of glory in heaven awaits those who die upon the battlefield. This is all the happiness the privates get. So they fight to keep society from ruin while their reward is the satisfaction of fighting the devil and supporting the officers.
Reverse the tables, making the priest the soldier, and tax him to pay the former soldier for his instructions, then it would be shown how well their principle of action, which they preach to others, applies to themselves.
The minds of individuals mingle like atmospheres, and every person's identity exists in this atmosphere. The odor ascends and contains all the passions and feelings of the natural man.
Jesus contended that He understood what He said and did, but that the prejudices of the people were so strongly in favor of His having a "power" that they could not understand when He tried to teach them that His acts and words proceeded from a Wisdom superior to their belief, and that it could be taught. To question their belief was to make Himself equal with God. In the same way when I say that I know how I cure, people say I blaspheme and make myself equal with Christ. They do not know how I cure and dislike to admit that any one else does. Consequently they strive to make my explanation as objectionable as possible.
According to my experience, mind in solution is a thing in common, which all admit contains life. Each person has his senses in this life or mind, as a globule of water in the ocean. So if a sensation is made on the water each particle is affected, and each person may locate the trouble in himself. For instance, when the idea "consumption" is called up man's senses see the image in this mind. Fear comes and the reflection is thrown on the idea-body... . When sitting by a patient I feel the sensation in my mind, and immediately a figure or spirit is made which is reflected as an impression on my body. Now, if I were not aware of the cause I might think I was the author or originator of this horrid belief. But knowing that it is only the reflection from my patient's mind, the idea dies. The wisdom that puts me in possession of this truth is Christ, the Wisdom above my patient. By this wisdom I explain the fears away and destroy the torments, and this process is a science. Is it a sin to know this and teach it for the happiness of mankind, and do I make myself equal with Christ? If I do then I will submit to the odium willingly.
Ideas are as separate as seeds. An apple seed will not produce a pear, neither will the seed or idea of consumption produce liver complaint.
To know that you exist is a truth, but to prove that you always will exist is a science.
The matter which is seen is the condensation of the matter not seen, and the unseen matter is mind, and in that are all our beliefs, opinions, emotions, etc. When the mind is disturbed by some opinion, or unknown fear, it must take a form before it can affect the body. So when the mind is disturbed the disturbance is shown in the body.
The Christ or Truth can walk on the water of opinions and know that it is no part of itself.
I fitted out my barque some twenty years ago and started without chart or compass, trusting to the wisdom of my experience, determined to be guided by the inhabitants of the land where I journeyed, and make my way to the passage that led to the other world, or to a new world on this globe. . . .
Sometimes I was nearly exhausted and on the point of returning, when a light would spring up, or a solitary bird would sing its beautiful notes from the clear sky, while from this light came a mild breath of pure air that would revive my very soul. In this warmth it seemed as though I heard a voice say, "Come up hither."
The earth is round . . . and man is ambitious to explain the outside and also the inside of it. So exploring parties are fitted out to discover hidden truths. But there is a different class of minds who believe there is another world called the spiritual or scientific world which is as much a world as the natural world and which contains the latter. So the people are all inside the spiritual world together. . . . The scientific contains strata of scientific wisdom whence all science springs.
When this came to light that all I had been doing was to burn up my error by progressing in wisdom, and as the light of science sprang up in my mind I could see men walking on their belief as I was walking on my science, I asked, How can I make the natural man understand this? The answer came, The natural man is not of the world of Science, but the child of Science is in the world of error striving to escape and this is disease.
Then came an illustration of all I saw: Man as we see him is a representation of the earth; his internal structure is the attraction for the natural man to explore, the surface of his body is where he looks to see how he is affected by outward sensations, his wisdom sits in the upper chamber, called his brain, and in the majesty of his knowledge he gives his opinion and all lesser lights bow their heads in subjection to his will. This kingdom being all over the world, it rules its subjects. So when the son of Science encounters it, a decree goes forth to put every one to death.
Science is light and the wisdom of this world is in darkness, hence it does not see the light. Therefore Wisdom governs the natural man, although to him it is unknown. It suggests to the natural man, and he being vain and dishonest assumes to be the author of his own wisdom. . . . Like all demagogues, error pretends to be kind to the poor, especially when its life depends on holding wisdom in slavery.
. . . So the error in the sick brings the patient to me. The Science which is confined in bondage knows the language of Wisdom and secretly tells me its misery, but the natural man or error knows it not. When I tell error how the sick feel, to him it is a mystery; for error is matter and has no feeling, while sympathy is the language of the sick. While I sit by the sick I feel their pain, which is the grief of their wisdom; this is outside of their opinions or body, and my wisdom being outside of my opinions, I, in my wisdom, see their belief, but their errors do not see me, therefore to them I am a mystery.
Suppose a patient sits by my side who has the idea of heart disease. If he believes it, to him it is a reality, his belief contains the substance or identity of a man with heart disease. From this substance goes an atmosphere, and in it is the person. His body is to his mind a sort of mirror which reflects the shadow of the idea: by the doctors this is called disease. I see the original idea and also the shadow, and to cure the disease I destroy the matter by explaining the error, and the shadow on the body disappears.
Language is used in two senses. The natural man uses it to express whatever can be demonstrated. This embraces what is called truth by the learned. But the feelings of the sick and wretched cannot be described by one who cannot feel them, and the sick are at the mercy of those who cannot understand their feelings, and who attempt to relieve them of something they have no sympathy with. Now the Bible is written to convey to such the cause of their trouble, and the New Testament applies more particularly to the sick. The language which Jesus used was not used to describe anything that could be seen, or understood by the wisest men of the day. For if what He wished to explain could be seen then language could have described it.
Sympathy is not matter but is what is troubled by matter. A patient has feelings which cannot be felt by another in his natural state, and which cannot be described by the natural man. But the latter without any knowledge of himself names a feeling and undertakes to account for it.
To understand how I cure is to see yourself outside of the natural man or your opinions, with all your senses and reason; then instead of the essence being in matter [you will see that] matter is in the essence. It is often said that God is in everything. This makes God less than the thing He is in. Now make God the essence with all the senses attached to it, then you have an eternal and everlasting Essence without matter or [visible] form, a point without magnitude but eternal. Call this eternal Wisdom the Father of all that is out of matter, see this Wisdom by its will speak the idea matter into existence, and every shape and form that ever was or will be, and everything that man calls life. All these things are in the knowledge of this Wisdom, not the Wisdom in the things that are spoken.
It is the same with man. His wisdom is the living man. To put his wisdom into his body or natural man is to make an opinion greater than a scientific truth. Disease is an opinion. To put man's wisdom into it is to make the disease larger than the real man.
It is a common remark that after we shake off this mortal coil the spirit will be set free. This is to acknowledge that the body is larger than the spirit or wisdom. No wonder with such a belief men pray to be delivered from the body of sin and death.
Thanks to this wisdom I, my wisdom, can see myself outside this earthly belief and afloat in the ocean of space, where opinions are like stones and pebbles that men throw at each other, while to me they have no weight at all. All these are in me, that is, in my wisdom, and not wisdom in them. I stand in my wisdom to the sick who are in their opinions trying to get me out, and the harder they try the deeper they go into the mire. So Wisdom pleads their case, and if I get their case then opinion is destroyed and health resumes its sway. If you understand this you can cure.
All that is seen by the natural man is mind reduced to a state called matter.
Man's happiness is in knowing that he is no part of what can be seen by the eye of opinion.
This world is the shadow of Wisdom's amusements.
It is noticeable that Dr. Quimby holds very steadily to a few great ideas, those that yield a vision of the spiritual life in contrast with worldly matters. Thus we find him contrasting Science with opinion, the spiritual with the natural man, and the spiritual senses with bodily sensibility. He dwells without limit upon the superstitions to which the race has been subjected by priests and the bondages which are traceable to medical opinion. With endless repetition he classifies disease as an "error of mind" or "invention of man," showing how sensations or pains of minor import have been misinterpreted so as to generate such maladies as cancer and consumption. He is always tracing a patient's trouble to the particular beliefs, religious, social, medical, which have been accepted in place of realities. Thus his main interest seems to be to disclose the power of adverse suggestion, fear, error, ill-founded belief. His thought therefore seems to lack scope. He seldom takes his readers into the larger world of social problems. He draws few illustrations from history. Even when describing the inner life he passes by such subjects as poise, composure, serenity, spontaneity, and interior self-control; he does not analyze faith, inward guidance or receptivity.
Yet amidst this apparent narrowness he emphasizes certain characteristics which he believes to be universally verifiable, and it is for the reader to see their scope. Having learned, for example, the power of words or names, when associated with painful sensations and supported by medical authority, he passes to a study of the nature and origin of language; and in lengthy articles which we have not had space for he contrasts truth and error so as to show the difference between language as a human invention and that tongue which the spirit speaks, "the language of sympathy" understood by those who know the meaning of the "still, small voice." Having seen that the sick are slaves to those who pretend to heal them, he turns to African slavery and discourses at length on the Civil War, then in full progress, taking Lincoln and Jefferson Davis as types of men prominent in the struggle. So too he writes at length concerning aristocracy and democracy, and discovers in all human society the same typical forces which he finds in the inner life. Again, his knowledge of the inner life leads- him to write on government, the standard of law, the origin f political parties, and the nature of patriotism. History is to him an enlargement of the conflict taking place within. Society becomes intelligible when we understand the forces operating upon man.
There are but few references to nature as the subject of study of the special sciences, although chemistry and mechanics sometimes figure by way of illustration. Physical substances are usually referred to from the point of view of the effects which people produce upon themselves through adverse suggestion, as in the case of medicines and poisons, or food associated with trouble-making opinion. But this is for the sake of acquainting man with the fact, never adequately recognized till Quimby's time, that because of the dominance of beliefs man is often more influenced by suggestion than by the actual qualities of foods, drugs and poisons. Quimby aims to show that through acceptance of prevalent beliefs man often lives in realms of shadows, subject to his own fancies, literally creating what he believes in. Before we can see things as they are, as God meant them to be, we must learn what it is we think we see. The natural world is beset by appearances. The natural man knows nothing as he ought to know. What we need is a wholly different point of view. Then, in possession of true Science, we should be able to found the special sciences on Divine wisdom. Matter is a term which Quimby uses in so many ways that some of his statements are scarcely intelligible. Matter is what appears before us in the physical world, without intelligence, inanimate; it can be condensed into a solid by mind-action, undergoes changes as the result of mental changes and responses in "the fluids" of the system ; it is the natural man's mind, the stuff which ideas are made of, "an idea used like language to convey some wisdom to another," "the shadow of our wisdom," in which are all our beliefs, opinions, emotions; and so as "spiritual matter" or substance it is "an idea seen or not, just as it is called out," and is compared to a belief or casket. "Matter which is seen is the condensation of the matter not seen, and the unseen matter is mind." "God, not being matter, has matter only as an idea." "God is not matter, and matter is only an idea that fills no space in Wisdom."
What is meant by this apparent confusion is that we should disengage our thought from matter altogether at times, in order to look upon life with the spiritual eye. If by the term "mind" you mean a vague, airy something without influence on the body, then Quimby shows that it is indeed substantial, that thoughts are things which take shape or condense and come forth in bodily manifestation. If by the word "spirit" you mean anything as indefinite as spiritists believe in, he points out that spirit too is substantial, is alive, not "dead." But when you realize what he means by "substance" your thought has travelled far from material things to the thought of God, in whom is no matter at all, who manifests Himself through matter as a mere vehicle or language. "There is no such thing as reality with God except Himself. He is all Wisdom and nothing else." "All will admit that God is not matter, for God sees all things. His sight penetrates the darkest places, and not a thing can be hidden from His sight." You must see the true Substance or "invisible Wisdom that can never be seen by the eye of opinion" before you can look forth upon the panorama of the world, beholding forms taking shape, coming and going at the behest of spiritual powers.
The mind is the medium in which ideas are sown. Ideas, as distinct from one another as different kinds of seeds, grow like seeds, take to themselves character, and become known by their fruits. When the mind is disturbed, the disturbance is shown in the body as a result of sub-conscious processes and "chemical changes." Mind in relation to body is "spiritual matter" because it can be changed, is excited through fears, is always in process even when we sleep, is not intelligence but subject to it, and because it receives thought-seeds as the earth receives plant-seeds.
Sensation contains no intelligence in itself, but is a mere disturbance of the spiritual matter called "agitation," ready to respond to any direction given it by our suggestion. So pain is "in the mind," not in the hip, for example, not in any organ. It contains no intelligence, but might be wisely interpreted. Disease is due to the misconstruing of sensation or pain, it is due to a wrong direction of mind. Hence it is not an evil but an "error." It is not inflicted on us by God God created man to be well, happy, free. The reflection or shadow' on the body is what the doctors call disease. Our senses or life become imprisoned in the false direction of mind, as a result of "false reasoning." Dr. Quimby says that he sees both the reflection on the body, the symptoms diagnosed, and the original which casts the shadow, that is, the inward disturbance which might have been wisely interpreted. To cure disease is to (1) see its mental causes, (2) understand the false directions of mind or reasonings, (3) see the truth concerning health as a Divine ideal, (4) realize the great truth that the spirit is not sick; hence (5) to separate the true or "scientific" man from the man of opinion or error. This means undoing the "false reasoning" and learning what would have been the right interpretation of the first sensation or pain.
The senses give us a "knowledge of sensation, with or without Science." They have their spiritual counterparts, the true or "real" senses, not in and of matter. These are "light," "life," and are "in light," in contrast with the wisdom of this world (in darkness). The true senses constitute the real man or, spirit, the child of God. They are larger than the natural man or body. Hence they are not "in" the body. They include our higher consciousness, clairvoyance or intuition, with the inner impressions coming to us independently of the brain. Thus we have discernment of objects at a distance, we behold spiritual events, conditions, states; we detect "odors" or mental atmospheres at a distance. Through these senses we have immediate access to Divine wisdom and love. They include the feminine side of our nature, the receptivity or higher love. In brief, they yield Science or "the Christ within." Through this priceless possession man is able to make Divine wisdom manifest in spiritual healing.
Science or Truth is fundamental knowledge of this our real nature, with its inner states and possibilities. It is light in contrast with the wisdom of the world. It is harmony in contrast with disease or discord. It corrects all errors, holds no doubts, proves all things, explains causes and effects. It is Divine wisdom "reduced to self-evident propositions." It is the basis of all special branches of knowledge when those other sciences are rightly founded. It is Christ, the wisdom of Jesus. It is in all, accessible to all. We all become parts of it in so far as we discern real truth. In fact, Quimby often says the real man "is" Science. In contrast with it, the body is only a "tenement for man to occupy when he pleases."
Jesus was the man who brought the true light or Christ to light. Christ was His religion, the God in Him. It is the sympathy "which annihilates space." It separates Truth from error, Wisdom from opinion. "Christ is that unseen principle in man of which he is conscious, but which be has never considered as intelligence." It is in reality the basis of all true intelligence. It is Wisdom reduced to practice so that it is made tangible or visible in the concrete things of life. More than that, it is the real man in us all, the spiritual self or ego. To be a disciple of Jesus is not only to realize the Christ within as an individual possession, but to put this wisdom into practice in daily life. The New Testament, rightly understood, is the great book o f life. We might read the Bible, as indeed we might read the human heart, if we began with the Christ, if we had overcome bondage to the wisdom of the world. To overcome this servitude is to become spiritually free.
God is an eternal and everlasting Essence without matter or visible form. 'This eternal Wisdom spoke the idea "matter" into existence and everything else that man calls life. The original language was not then the invention of man but was God, sympathy, going forth into expression in the human heart and the world. Man invented language to some extent, but because he had lost the original and was not content to live by Divine guidance: he invented language to "explain his own wisdom." But language might be used to undeceive. Even now the language of sympathy is the language of the sick. What we need is intuition to read that language, according to Divine guidance. Quimby is a great believer in the guidance of the moment, the inward light which shows where a patient stands, what the needs are, what wisdom is needed to clear away the errors. He emphasizes guidance as wisdom, rather than "power." He claims no special "power" and maintains that any one can learn to read the original language.
This language discloses man's true identity or inner consciousness. Man, to be sure, has as many identities as he has directions of mind. But these are transitory. We "attach our senses" to that which we take to be real for the time being, we are imprisoned in certain directions of mind through our "false constructions" or errors. The great point is to observe the central contrast within the self, between (1) the mind of opinions, man's natural mind, subject to suggestion, changeable like plastic substance, amenable to falsities, "the mind of the flesh;" and, (2) the mind of the scientific man, accessible to Divine truth, possessing an intelligence which does not change, "the Christ within." There is need of the most clear-cut distinction between the two. Divine truth can accomplish great results in us, far more than the mere "power of thought." A fundamental change can be wrought by making this incisive distinction, through intuition or "clairvoyance," by direct openness to Divine wisdom. Then error or darkness will be dispelled.
Again, there is a great contrast between the natural and spiritual worlds. For the moment, in some of Quimby's critiques on religion, the "other world" seems to have disappeared, and there is apparently nothing left but a collection of beliefs. But this is because Quimby is chiefly concerned with man's religious belief in a supposed other world as a place of punishment or mere beatitude; because he is convinced that Jesus did not refer to the same sort of "world" which the Jews believed in. Man must first see that his theological heaven or hell is an artifical region created for him by his religious creed, peopled by his own fancies or made vivid by his own fears. The two worlds thus far are in man's mind and nowhere else. Jesus came to destroy both the world of opinion and the "other world" of theology, that He might reveal the Christ within. But once aware that our "other world" is non-existent, we are ready for the profound truth that all phenomena appearing in the natural world are manifestations of the spiritual world, or world of causes. To attain this vision is no small accomplishment, for it means total victory over all conventional ideas of death, with all its terrors, its supposed decisiveness for salvation and everything else which theology has invented.
The Bible, strange as it may seem, "has nothing to do with theology." It is a scientific explanation of cause and effect, showing how man must act and think for his happiness. It is a study of contrasted elements, such as Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Moses and Aaron, Saul and Paul, Law and Gospel, tares and wheat. It was never intended as a religious book according to the opinion of the world. As a book it "contains no intelligence of itself," but Intelligence is in it. That is to say, it contains what Swedenborg called "the Word." Had Quimby been acquainted with Swedenborg's "Arcana Coelestia," he would have found a completely worked out science of spiritual correspondences which he would have been inclined to accept at once in principle, although his teachings concerning Jesus are not those of Swedenborg concerning the Lord. His writings contain long articles based on his endeavors to interpret the Scriptures spiritually to his patients. Further than that his exegesis did not go. But he went far enough to set the example followed by Christian Scientists and New-Thought devotees to the present time. He had at least the ideal of a spiritual Science which should be its own evidence, which any one might verify by seeking out the Word.
Religion in the true sense was to Quimby a Science which can be applied for the happiness and health of man here and now. To be religious is to be "more than the natural man." It yields that wisdom which can say to the sick and palsied man, Stretch forth thine hand, and I will apply the Christ or Science and restore it. Naturally enough Quimby is not interested in the question of sin, and he hardly ever uses the word "evil." For him it is all a question of ignorance or error. There is neither ignorance nor error in Science, hence no sin or evil. The problem of evil differs in no way from that of disease. Therefore Quimby says nothing about repentance and regeneration. Man already is good in reality. He is Science. He becomes "a part of God" by accepting Divine wisdom as his guide. Quimby does not mean this in the sense of pantheistic submergence of individuality, but in the sense of intimate relationship with that "invisible Wisdom which never can be seen by the eye of opinion."
If, however, Quimby's spiritual exegesis might have been fulfilled in Swedenborg's science of correspondences, we find nothing in his writings pertaining to the realms of evil spirits and angels, and nothing that tells us what for him was the content of the spiritual world. He is not at all interested in psychical experiences except so far as they imply belief in the spiritism of the day, and he opposes this because be finds it fundamentally misleading. He does not raise the question whether there is anything real behind the phenomena, for his interest is to direct attention to the world of Science or "the Christ within." He is clairvoyant in high degree, but not as "mediums" are, not through self-surrender, but through openness to Divine guidance and intuition.
In one of his critiques of spiritualism, for example, Quimby puts to the typical spiritist the direct questions: "When I speak is it I or my spirit? If it is I, do I think also, and if I think when do I cease thinking? If I lose my organs of speech, etc. belonging to the body, where am I? Am I anything? If I am a spirit, when was I not one? How came I to be flesh and blood and then a spirit? I am either a spirit all the time or I am not, and if I am one what is the change called death, and what dies?" He goes on to say that if the spirit is not "dead" it cannot. give an account of what is supposed to have happened, and if it does not "die" there is apparently no way to account for communications purporting to come from the "dead."
He protests, therefore, against the whole notion that the spirit is the mere thing a seance would make it out to be. Our real existence or selfhood does not change. True memory persists, for it is eternal, while memory attached to this existence "belongs to the idea, matter." Our real life is composed of light and wisdom, while matter is employed to work out our problems. We are spirits now even while in the flesh. In the spirit we do our real thinking, real living. Hence our real "future life" will have continuity with this life according to the persistence of our most interior identity.
To realize what the spirit is now we should lift our thoughts into spiritual light, bringing together the various items of inner experience to make vivid our conception of the self with all its real or spiritual senses. We do not need to "die" to apprehend these apart from matter, for there never was any matter in them. They are from God or Wisdom. They are what give us visions of objects at a distance, disclosing the inner states of the sick, acquainting us with interior thoughts, revealing "odors" or atmospheres, in short, the whole sphere of the inner life.
A mesmeriser or spiritist medium has, in Quimby's description, but one identity; while he, Quimby, when clairvoyant has two. To have but one is to yield one's selfhood to a mysterious power or "spirit" without awareness of what is taking place. But if one has learned, as Quimby knew from long experience, that the real identity, self or spirit possesses these inner powers as a completely equipped being of intelligence, made in the Divine image and likeness, endowed with Divine wisdom as guidance, then one also has a secondary consciousness or identity which is aware of what is going on in the natural world and in man's natural mind.
So acute was Quimby's own intuition that in two of his descriptive articles he tells what he saw as if beholding reality itself, when sitting by patients who thought they were dying, and who visualized death by peopling the supposed future world according to their own belief. So vivid was his experience in one instance that he refers to evil spirits almost as if he were afraid of them, though speaking of them as mere creations in the world of opinion. That is, he saw the alleged future life with the eyes of his patient, knew that it was an alleged world simply, and that tho patient's real world was still an unknown quantity to the patient himself. So he was in the habit of entering the thought-world of all his patients, to see how the situation appeared to the patient. He was able to do this with remarkable sympathy. But thereupon he would make the sharpest sort of distinction between this world of seeming reality and the true spiritual world of the Divine wisdom. A spiritist's world may be as full of error as a theologian's future state. Each world sends off its "atmosphere" which the intuitive can discern. We are not free until we make the same discrimination, noting the difference between the world we have been taught to create through error or belief and the world we might know through the inner disclosures of Wisdom.
The spirits most of us believe in are the shadows of our own imagination as surely as the ghosts supposed to haunt graveyards at night. Man should know that he lives in the world of his beliefs. "The whole error on which spiritualism is based is a belief in a world separate and apart from the living." We should learn that "belief separates, Wisdom unites." We should begin by learning„ therefore, what the true basis of union is even here and now while we live with the flesh, when we communicate with the living. For the real world of the living is the same for all, whereas the world of mere belief is purely relative. Not until we have begun to grow in first-hand acquaintance with spiritual truth, not until we enter the world of Science do we know the one true spiritual world which exists for all. We might go on generating phenomena to the end of time, each in his particular world of Protestantism or Catholicism, Mormonism, reincarnationism and the like, and never arrive anywhere. The only way to arrive is to put a stop to the whole procedure, right about face and ask ourselves what we actually know, what the facts are, what that truth is which can be demonstrated like mathematics.
Dr. Quimby's great conviction is that there is a spiritual Science, superior even to the most exact of the natural sciences, which is the basis of all true knowledge and the source of all true wisdom. He is willing to be misunderstood, charged with putting down religion, making himself equal to Christ, classified as a mere mesmerist or in any other way if only he can make it clear that there is a straight pathway to this Science. So he frequently speaks of himself as a lawyer pleading the case of the sick in "the court of Science." In some of his longest articles he introduces the patient first, questioning her to show how little the patient really knows, then he summons the typical doctor, afterwards a typical minister, till the whole case is perfectly clear so far as the wisdom of the world is concerned. He speaks with entire fearlessness when exposing hypocrisy and sordidness. He proves that the sufferer has been victimized. Then when error has not a vestige of reality to stand upon he bespeaks "the Christ within" as manifesting real justice, true health and freedom.
It is impressively significant that Quimby never judges a case by affirming abstract perfection. The patient would not be free if he did not understand his own case, its causes and illusions. The doctor's verdict or the minister's diagnosis in terms of sin is as real to the victim as a spiritist's world to a believer in spiritism or the political world to a demagogue. We are all victims of some sort of demagogue, and must know this for a fact. Why then should we deny what we must understand in order to overcome our servitude? The patient realizes that he is entering an entirely new world when he finds his great healer so sympathetic that the healer puts himself absolutely in the patient's place, taking upon himself the burdens which doctors and priests have created. This wins the patient's confidence. Then he is astonished to find that the whole burden dissipates when the power of Quimby's Science is brought upon it.
This is the picture Quimby would have us bear away with our study of his writings. God or Wisdom is so very real that external forms are mere semblances put on to objectify His truth. We are not to think of the universe as the home of matter, as that in which God dwells; instead all things are in God as intimately as ideas are in the mind, all things are meant for good, all things are guided by Wisdom. This Wisdom is in us, we live in this Wisdom, and when we identify ourselves with His image and likeness the new birth will begin, we shall begin in very truth to live and think from Him. This Life within us will accomplish the work, as shadows disappear before the morning sun. This Wisdom will create the same true world in us all.