April 20, 2014


    Chapter XVI of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser

Dr. Quimby is so greatly interested in calling attention to the power of human beliefs in relation to all man’s troubles that he does not give much space to a description of the natural world, does not state his idea of matter very definitely, and often leaves the reader wondering how he distinguishes between matter and “spiritual matter” or the mind of opinions. He is especially interested to point out that matter can be “condensed into a solid by mind action,” that it undergoes a “chemical change” as a result of mental changes. He sometimes speaks of it as an “error” or shadow, as “an idea seen or not, just as it is called out.” Whatever its objective reality in the Divine purpose, matter in itself is inanimate, there is no intelligence in it. His view of matter is idealistic, therefore, and in considering his theory of disease and its cure we need to bear in mind that matter for him is plastic to thought. The ordinary or external mind which is “spiritual matter” is the intermediate term. Above this mind is the real man with his spiritual senses, his clairvoyant and intuitive powers. The final term is Wisdom, making known its truths in so far as there is responsiveness and intelligence on man’s part. This is said to possess a real “identity.” To find himself as an “identity” in every truth, man should know himself as the “scientific man,” able through Wisdom’s help to banish all errors from the world.” ~Horatio W. Dresser

[Continued from last week.—editor.]


The question is often asked me, do you impart anything to your patients when you talk? I answer, I do, and I will try to make you understand how. To do this I must give you an illustration in language applied to something that you wish to know which gives you trouble. Suppose you are purchasing goods, and in your hurry you lose your wallet containing all your money. You do not miss it till you go to pay your bills, and then you find you have lost your cash. Now the shock excites your system or mind according to the amount you are disturbed. You become excited and very nervous. This is accompanied by a feverish state of mind or body, for the bodily condition is only the reflection of the state of the mind. At last you let your trouble be known to some person and begin to look for the money. You can’t find it, and borrow money to pay the person for assisting you. This adds to the trouble, and at last you take your bed and send for a physician. He feels of the pulse, says your head is affected, and orders your head shaved and a blister applied. This only aggravates the nervous excitement. So you keep on till you finally give up and dismiss all the doctors, and come to the conclusion that your money is gone and you must make the best of it. The next day you feel more reconciled, and your doctor calls a friend and finds you better and says the medicine you took has had a good effect on you. Now the question arises, who gave the medicine? Not the doctor, but wisdom took possession of you and you began to reason and send for me. I know nothing of the trouble, but have found a pocket-book, containing $10,000 and am going to advertise it. At the sight of the pocket book you start and say, “that is mine.” The shock changes the mind and the cure is made. Now who imparted the cure? The $10,000 I gave you. So this is the way I cure. The person has lost something that he cannot find or has got into some trouble he cannot get rid of. He wants something to satisfy his desires, and whatever that is it is the same as the money, and the one who can impart it gives him the remedy. Suppose a person receives a shock from falling into a river, and returns home excited with a state like a cold. This produces a cough. Now, as there are many ghosts in the form of disease, he fears some of them may get hold of him. So he goes to a doctor and lays his case before him. The doctor says you are very liable to have consumption. Now of course you are troubled, and are all the time like the man who was looking for his lost money. So he inquires of every person what is good for a cough; or if they can tell where his money is. So every person gives his opinion, and there is just as much in one opinion as another. At last in despair he gives it up, and I am sent for. I first tell him what he is afraid of by telling him how he is affected. Here is something he can’t get from the doctor. This makes him feel more comfortable, and then I go on to show him how he has been living on husks or opinions about an idea that never had an existence only in the superstition of the people. As he is full of these opinions I have to give him something in the form of truth that will dissolve the error and satisfy him.


For many years I was very sick and finding no benefit resulting from the various modes of cure that I had employed, I thought of visiting Dr. Quimby. So I inquired of some friends in regard to his treatment. Some said he was a spiritualist and others that he was a mesmeriser, and others said he made war on all religious beliefs, and as I could not see what my belief had to do with my disease I gave up the idea of going to see him, but finally I was brought to the subject again through utter hopelessness and despair of recovery, so I went to see him. In my first interview I asked him if he could cure the spinal disease. He answered that he never wished a patient to tell him his feelings. “Very well” said I, “what do you want me to do?” “Nothing,” said he, “but listen to what I say.” I then asked him if he gave medicine. “No.” “Do you employ any agent from the world of spirits?” “No” said he. “Then,” said I, “it must be mesmerism.” He replied “that may be your opinion but it is not the truth.” “Then will you please tell me what you call your way of curing?” He said he had no name.1 “Well,” said I, “is it original with you?” He said he never knew anyone who cured as he did. “Can you give me some idea how you cure?” He said, “it would be very hard to convince a person how he felt unless I feel myself.” “Yes,” I said, “it would be hard for you to tell my feelings.” “Well,” said he, “if I tell you how you feel will you admit it?” “Certainly, but how do you cure?” He answered, “I will illustrate one thing. Do you believe the Bible?” “Certainly,” I said. “When Jesus said to His disciples ‘a little while I am with you, then I go my way and you shall seek me. Where I go you cannot come,’ What did He mean by the passage?” “I suppose He spoke of the crucifixion.” “Then you think,” said he, “that Jesus alluded to another world when He said ‘If you loved me you would rejoice that I go to the Father...’ In another place He says ‘if I do not go away the Comforter will not come, but if I go away I will send the Comforter who will guide you to all truth.’ Now I suppose you think all this refers to another world?” I said, “Yes.”

1 This is the kind of statement a critic distorted into the notion that Dr. Quimby did not know how he cured.

“Well,” said he, “now I will sit down and see if I can tell your feelings.” He then sat down and took my hand and soon passed his hand on one of the vertebrae of my spine and said “You have a very sharp pain in this vertebra at this time.” I said I had. Then he placed his hand on the left temple and said “you have a very bad pain here and it affects the sight of your left eye.” I then told him he was right. “Now,” said he, “I will explain how I cure. Will you admit that Jesus took upon Himself our infirmities?” I said yes. “Have I not taken your pain in the spine, also in the temples and eyes?” “Yes,” I said. “I will now explain those passages which I have mentioned. My theory is that disease is the invention of man, a burden bound on the people, laid on their shoulders, grievous to be borne; that man has been deceived and led away and is unable to get back to health and happiness; that Jesus’ mission was to break the bands that bound the sick and restore them to health and happiness. In order to do this He had to find them, for they had wandered away like sheep without a shepherd. So He took their aches and pains to show them He was with them and knew how they felt and said, ‘Come unto Me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.’” I said, “You seem to talk a great deal about the Bible. I came here to be cured and not to have my religion destroyed.” He answered, “Have I said anything about religion?” “No, but I cannot see why you quote the Bible.” “I will tell you” said he, “you admit I took your feelings?” “Yes.” “Well, I want to give you to understand that when I take your feelings I am with you, not myself as a man but this great truth which I call Christ or God.” “What do you mean by that? That you are equal with Christ?” “What do you mean by Christ?” he asked. “I mean Jesus.” “Then Jesus and Christ are one?” “Yes.” “Then” said he, “how is Jesus God?” “God manifest in the flesh,” I replied. He asked, “What do you mean by God manifest in the flesh?” “That God took upon Himself flesh and blood to convince man of His power and save man from an endless eternity of misery.” “Can God exist outside of matter?” he asked. I answered “Yes.” “Is there anything of man that exists when God is out of him?” “Yes,” said I, “flesh and blood.” “Then flesh and blood is something of itself?” “Yes.” “What do you call that, the natural man?” “Yes,” “This Jesus would be the natural man of flesh and blood and Christ the God manifested in the man Jesus?” I said, “Yes, I think so.” “Well,” said he, “that is just what I want to prove to you, that the Christ is the God in us all. Do you deny that you have a particle of God in you?” “No. I believe it” I said. “Then we do not disagree in this. I want to make you understand that this Christ or God in us is the same that is in Jesus, only in a greater degree in Him, like this: You teach music?” “Yes,” I said. “Do your pupils know as much about the science of music as you do?” “No, if they did I could not teach them.” “Then you have the science more than they?” “Yes.” “They have some?” “Yes.” “What they know is science? Is it not equal to the same amount in you?” “Yes,” I said. “Then if one of your pupils should say I understand the science of music, it is to be understood that he is equal to you?” “No.” “Well, so it is with me” said he; “when I say that by this great truth I cast out error, or in other words correct your opinion and free you from that curse of all evils, disease, I do not mean to say that P. P. Quimby is equal to the man Jesus or equal to His wisdom or Christ, but merely admit that I recognize the great principle in man, of God as a distinct Being.

“While I am explaining this Christ I will give you the trinity that I believe in, that is P. P. Quimby’s trinity, not that P. P. Q. is the trinity but that P. P. Q. believes it. He believes in one living and true wisdom called God, in Jesus (flesh and blood) a medium of this truth, and in the Holy Ghost or explanation of God to man. Here is my trinity and the Holy Ghost is the Science that will lead you into all truth: it will break the band of error and triumph over the opinion of the world. This Holy Ghost is what is with your Christ that your fleshly man knows not of; this is the Christ in you that has been cast into prison since you were first sick; it is the Christ that Jesus speaks of that preached to the prisoners long before the flood. This same Christ was crucified at the death of Jesus and laid in the tomb of Joseph’s new doctrines, not with the body of Jesus. The Jews crucified Christ by their false religion and the masses crucified the man Jesus, so Christ in the tomb of every true disciple had the Christ lying in his breast crucified by the world of opinions. This Christ is the one that Jesus Christ spake of, not of the flesh and blood that the people saw by their natural eyes. So all the truth that came through the man Jesus was Christ and it was the garment of Jesus. So Jesus was clothed with the gospel or wisdom of God. When the error murdered the man, they stole the body of Christ and parted His garments or wisdom among them, while the people believed that the flesh and blood that was laid in the tomb was the one that they heard, when it was nothing but the medium of the one whom they never saw, only in a mystery. This same Christ rose again and is still in the world of matter reconciling the world of error to the science of God.

“I will now commence anew to preach Christ to you to cure you of your errors or disease and bring you into this living Truth that will set you free from the evils of man’s opinions that binds burdens upon you in the form of a disease. So when I say I am with you I mean this Christ or truth, not P. P. Quimby as a man. I have acknowledged it as my leader and master. So when I speak of it I speak of it as a wisdom superior to P. P. Q’s, and you have the same Christ in you confined by the errors of this world. So I will now sit down by you again and listen to your groans, for I feel the pain of the bands that bind you across the chest. Now this that feels is not P. P. Quimby, but the Christ and that which complains is not Mrs. P. but the Christ in Mrs. P. struggling to roll the stone from the sepulchre of her tomb, to rise from the dead or error, into the living God or Wisdom. You see that, I, that is, this Wisdom, makes a sick man two,—a man beside himself and the servant above his master. When the master is acknowledged the servant is not known, no more than an error is known when the truth comes. I will show my meaning by an illustration: If you believe your lungs are diseased, the servant or belief is the master, and Wisdom the true master becomes the servant; but when the Lord of the vineyard comes, then the wicked servant is cast out and another is put in his place that will render to his Lord his dues. So when I, this truth, shall convince the error of its wrong, it cannot stand the fire of Truth, so it will submit to Wisdom, then truth will resume its sway and health and happiness will be the result. Your disease is the result of your belief and to change your belief is to convince you of an error that binds you and the pains and depleted state of mind are the natural results of your punishment. Truth never binds or separates one truth from another and all belief that has a tendency to separate us is error and makes unhappiness. Error always tries to separate one from another.

“I will illustrate: Suppose you are my child and you become sick as you are now; according to the religious belief we must separate and perhaps at some future time we shall meet again in that world whence no traveller ever returned. The chances according to your own and your friends’ belief are that you are bound for that world of spirits. Suppose I believe as you and the rest of the religious world, what must be my feelings when I see you hastening to that world whence no traveller returns; how must you feel, knowing that you are about to be snatched from the bosom of your friends to enter that dark and dismal grave, with only the hope of a resurrection from the dead and that based on a belief? Is not that enough to rock the very foundation of your building and make the walls of your belief tremble even to the foundation? To me this is a horrid belief.

“Now this is your true state, standing trembling between hope and fear, holding back through fear and clinging to your friends, while the nearest and dearest of them are trying to drive you off through their blind faith. Suppose you are a parent and your only son should be pressed into the army and your neighbors who have sons should come round and console you by saying he would be better off for going even if he should die fighting for his country, would you feel happy to part with him? Must not the separation be almost enough to break your heart? Then your husband is called upon and now your cup is filled to overflowing. Can all this happen without a sunken eye, a pale and hollow cheek, with hectic flush, a purple lip, and nervous cough? In all this the chances are not one out of fifty that they will not both return to cheer you up in your last moments when your life is almost run out. In all this your spirits mingle as though you were only separated like other friends, but when they die, according to our belief, the thread that binds us is severed by the knife that cuts our life and our souls launch into the world of our belief. Which is worse? To go through either is bad enough, but I believe the religious belief is worse. The religious belief prepares the mind for the medical belief, one is based on old superstitions; this gets the mind worked up like mortar, then the potter or doctor moulds the mind into disease. I have no sympathy with either. Science knows no such beliefs; Science never separates, it is from everlasting to everlasting, it has no beginning nor end.

“I will now return to you again as my child to convince you that although your eyes are sunken and your cheek hectic your pains and trouble are all in your false ideas of yourself. We are all a part and parcel of each other, that is, in our wisdom or that life eternal which cannot be severed, but our beliefs may hold it in bondage. Now as you sit and listen, suppose you grow quiet and pass into that happy state of mind where you meet your husband and son, talk with them about the war and learn from them that they find it rather a hard life, but they will not return till the rebellion is crushed. On the whole you are satisfied that they are better off so far as their situation is concerned than you thought for. Would you not feel relieved? I know you would. While you are in this state suppose you believed you were dying and your friends were weeping around you for the last time and you could not speak. Which do you think would have the most reviving effect on you when you awoke? You need not answer. Now, my belief is this: Wisdom never separates you from me but makes us a part of each other in Wisdom; for what I feel I know and what I do not know I cannot feel. To believe my child is separate and apart from me is a horrid belief to us both, but to know that God cannot be divided is to know that we cannot be separated from our Heavenly Father. The error is only held together by opinions that can deceive, but Science is eternal life. This is in all mankind and is progress, it knows no death or separation. To know this is more than the religious world ever had. This was the doctrine of Jesus; Christ is the child of this wisdom and this is what I am trying to get into your mind like the little leaven that leaveneth the whole lump. If this is infidel doctrine, then P. P. Quimby is an infidel; but I would rather part with everything on earth than part with this Truth which is my shepherd that leadeth me through the dark valley of the shadow of death, and lodges me where no belief or opinion can give me one drop of water to cool my tongue when tormented by religious belief.”

[This is the eighth installment of a twelve–part series originally written and published as Chapter XVI. DISEASE AND HEALING, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]

Quotation by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

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Editor’s Corner

Today we are continuing a twelve–part serial review of Chapter 16, DISEASE AND HEALING, of the 1921 publication, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser.

In Wisdom, Love, and Light,
Ron Hughes

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