Chapter XIII of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser
[In order to clear the way for real understanding of his theory, Dr. Quimby wrote in February, 1862, answers to fifteen questions put to him by one of his patients. Copies of this manuscript were kept on hand to loan to new patients, and some of the patients made their own copies. On the cover of a copy made in June, 1862, George Quimby has written, “Mrs. Patterson first saw Dr. Quimby in Oct., 1862, 4 months after this was written. Questions and Answers. Portland, June, 1862” George Quimby loaned a copy of this manuscript to Miss Milmine when she was tracing out the various changes made in “Questions and Answers,” as recorded in her “Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy.” 1 This manuscript is not so clear as the brief articles printed in the following chapter, and known as “Volume I,” also loaned to patients and Mrs. Patterson—Eddy. It is printed as originally written, with a few changes in punctuation and capitalization to conform to writings of the same year. Obscure points will be made plain by selections from later articles, in Chapters XV-XVIII.] (Horatio W. Dresser.)
1 See Appendix, “The Quimby-Eddy Controversy.” 166.
QUESTION 1. You must have a feeling of repugnance towards certain patients. How do you overcome it and how can I do the same?
Answer. In order to make you fully understand how I overcome the repugnance it will require some little explanation of my mode of curing, for my cures are in my belief or wisdom, and the patient’s disease is in his belief or knowledge. Now my wisdom is not knowledge, for what a man thinks he knows is knowledge or opinion, but what is wisdom to a man, he has no opinion about. As God is Wisdom, Wisdom is Science and we call the proof of getting Science knowledge, belief or reason; but when the answer comes, our knowledge vanishes and we are swallowed up in God or Wisdom. The sick are strangers to this Wisdom, being led by false guides without it, who have eyes and see not, ears and hear not, and hearts that cannot understand, therefore like strangers they are at the mercy of every one’s opinion. Having a strong desire for wisdom or health, they call on every one for their food or wisdom. So when they ask for bread they receive a stone, or for water they receive vinegar, and thus they are driven like sheep to the slaughter, not daring to open their mouths. This is the state of the patient who asks the above question. My wisdom sees their condition, feels their woes and comes to the rescue, but to get them from their enemy is often an arduous task. The repugnance of which you speak is not towards their personal senses, but to the ideas their senses are attached to. As the ideas are knowledge to them, they are a person besides themselves and it is the identity disease that I first come in contact with. This is what I have to annihilate, and at first I sometimes feel a repugnance towards the sick such as a man will feel in entering a penitentiary to rescue a victim, who has been innocently confined, the disturbance of the rescue sets the house in an uproar, the victim not knowing the cause is as much frightened as her enemies. But when I succeed in destroying her enemies or opinion and get her to wisdom or [her real] self she receives me as one who has saved her from the jaws of death. This to her is health and happiness. You say how can I do the same? If you believe this Wisdom is superior to opinions, and that opinions are nothing but error that man has embraced, then when you come in contact with a person diseased, your wisdom will throw the mantle of charity over their errors, if it is for the restoration of their health. But if the repugnance arises from some unknown cause, examine yourself and see if the fault lies at your own door. If not you may be sure it is some false opinion in the person that troubles them. So to overcome their evil or error, pour on coals from the fire of love or charity in the form of right reason till you melt down the image of brass that is set up in their minds, and they will leave their errors and embrace the truth. This is heaven.
2. “You say when you know a thing, it is not an opinion. I can understand that, but how may I be really sure I know a thing? I have felt perfectly sure of a thing and still afterwards found I had been in error, or had been mistaken.”
Knowledge, as I have said, is not wisdom, but it may be harmony and it may seem like wisdom. Yet there is a discord. So discord is harmony not understood. To know how to correct this harmony or knowledge that it may be wisdom is the question to consider. The first part of your question where you say “I can understand that” is contradictory to the last sentence, showing that you do not understand. Here is the discord. You say you have been perfectly sure of a thing and yet found you have been mistaken. Now if your wisdom had been perfect, in the thing you thought you knew, it would have revealed the discord or error. So to purify yourself from error so that you may know the truth or Wisdom, is a process of reasoning outside of matter, for there is no wisdom in matter. So that when you have arrived at a truth, if you find it attached to a belief, you may know it is not a truth, for it may change; but this is a truth, that a belief may be changed. God is Truth and there is no other truth, and if we know God the same is known to us.
I will now try to attach your senses to God, not the God of this world or Christian’s God; but the God of the living, and not of the dead. My God is my standard of truth, and as I know God the same is known to me. I know I am writing this if I know anything; but to know that I shall finish it admits a doubt and to know that you will understand it admits more doubt. This doubt is not wisdom but belongs to that class of man’s inventions called reason, knowledge, etc. God is not seen in this question, perfect, except as far as I see, but He is seen in the clouds of my knowledge. When you read this if you understand it, then you will see God face to face but not as Moses did. I await your answer, to know whether He does appear to your understanding; if so then here is your proof that you are born of God in this one thing then you cannot know anything more so far as this question goes. Man’s God is all the time listening to his prayers and setting all sorts of trouble.
My God does not act at all, He has finished His work and leaves man to work out his happiness according to his own wisdom. I will give you the attributes of my God. The Wisdom or God is in this letter, and if you understand, you will hear His voice saying I understand this. So the understanding is God, for in that there is no matter, and to understand is Wisdom, not matter, and to know wisdom is to know God, for that is Wisdom.
I will give you some ideas of God, reduced to man’s knowledge. All science is a part of God, and when man understands Science the same is known to God; but the world’s God is based on man’s opinion and right and wrong is the invention of man, while God is in their reason, but not known. Here is an illustration. The bells are ringing. I walk to church and take a seat. The minister opens the Bible and reads the text from John. The fact of going to church, and seeing the minister is known to me, but there might be a doubt in regard to the Bible, for it might be another book. This last I admit with a doubt, and also the verse and chapter is a doubt. He reads the thirteenth chapter of John, 36th verse, where Peter says, “Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.” All the above as far as words go is true, but when he comes to explain where Jesus went, when He came back, or if He went at all, and why His wisdom was knowledge, he reminded me of Paul’s words: “All men have knowledge, knowledge puffeth up, charity or wisdom edifieth.” I could see nothing but an opinion of what he had no wisdom, a parable of something which he might know as a belief but not wisdom. The explanation of the Bible is founded on man’s opinion, and not on Wisdom. The Bible contains Wisdom, but it is not understood, and to prove a thing is to put your proof into practice, for all men can give an opinion.
Jesus came into the world not to give an opinion, but to bring light into the world upon something that was in the dark. What was it? where was it? how did He describe it? and what was the remedy? He tells the story Himself, where He called His disciples together and gave them power or wisdom. Now if it was power and not wisdom, then He knew not what Wisdom was. So far as I can see, it admits a doubt, but I have no doubt of what He meant to command them to do. In Math. Ch. XI. He went to preach, and put His preaching into practice. John was cast into prison for preaching the coming of some one who would put this great truth into practice, so he sent one of his disciples to Jesus to inquire if He was the one that was to come, or do we look for another. Now what was He to come for?
Jesus answers this question when He said, “Go tell John the things you have seen and heard, how the blind receive their sight, etc.” After telling how John or this truth had suffered, how it had been put down by force, He made a parable of the ignorance of his generation. “We have piped unto you and ye have not danced.” Then giving a statement about error, He says “Oh Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hidden this truth from the wise and revealed it unto babes,” even so is it. All things concerning these errors are revealed unto me by my Father. No one knows the truth but the Father, save the son, Jesus, and those to whom He shall teach this truth. Then He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for my burden is light.” You see that His labor was with the sick, and not the well, and all His talk was to explain where the people had been deceived by the priests and doctors, and if they learned wisdom they would be cured. The knowledge of man puts false construction on his wisdom and gets up a sort of religion which has nothing to do with Jesus’ truth. There is where the fault lies. If you do not believe the Bible as they explain it then you are an infidel. So all who cannot believe it as it has been explained, must throw it away. I do not throw the Bible away, but throw the explanation away, and apply Jesus’ own words as He did and as He intended they should be applied, and let my works speak for themselves, whether they are of God or man, and leave the sick to judge.
[This is the first installment of a four—part series originally written and published as Chapter XIII. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]
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Today we are beginning a four—part serial review of Chapter 13, QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS, of the 1921 publication, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser.
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