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.
[Continued from last week.—editor.]
6. “If I understood how disease originates in the mind and fully believe it why cannot I cure disease?
If you understand how disease originates, then you stand to the patient as a lawyer does to a criminal who is to be tried for a crime committed against a law that he is ignorant of breaking, and the evidence is his own confession. You know that he is innocent, but you can get no evidence, only by cross—questioning the evidence against him. Disease has its attending counsel as well as truth or health, and to cure the sick is to show to the judge or their own counsel that the witness lies. This you have to show from the witness’ own story, then you get the case. The error is on one side and you on the other, and out of the mouth of the sick comes the witness. I will first state a case. A sick person is like a stranger in his own land, or like an ignorant man not knowing what is law or right and wrong according to law. Both are strangers and both are liable to get into trouble, so each is to be punished according to the crime he has committed. Now the man, ignorant of state laws wants a horse, seeing one he takes it, not knowing that he is liable to any punishment, but as a matter of convenience, and when he has used him as much as he pleases he lets him go. Now, he is arrested for stealing, and being ignorant he is cast into prison to await his trial. I appear against him as state’s attorney, and you appear for the prisoner. All the testimony is on my side, but if you are shrewd enough to draw from me an acknowledgment that the law cannot punish a man that is ignorant of the law (and not know it) after I have shown the testimony and made my plea, then if you can show that the prisoner has been deceived, and led into the scrape by me, I having received pay from him, then the court will give you the verdict, and arrest and imprison me. A sick person is precisely in this very state. The priests and doctors conspire together to humbug the people, and they have invented all sorts of stories to frighten man and keep him under their power. These stories are handed down from one generation to another till at last both priest and doctors all believe they are God’s laws and when a person disobeys one he is liable to be cast into prison. Suppose you are a doctor of the law of health as it is called, and you call on her and commence explaining the necessity of being acquainted with the laws pertaining to health. She being ignorant or like a child sees no sense in your talk; but you continue to explain, and as she grows nervous you keep it up till she shows some sign of yielding to your opinion, then you tell her she has the heart disease, or lung disease and it will soon be found out, and then she will be punished with death at any time that the Judge sees fit to call her. In her fright, she acknowledges she is guilty, then you enter a complaint against her. She is arrested and cast into prison, there to await her trial, you are the devil or error's attorney and she is the judge; she is brought into court to be tried by error’s tribunal. Now I appear, for I have heard her story, unknown to the judge or attorney. I have the evidence and see that the very attorney against her is her disease and the author of her trouble. This I keep to myself, till I draw from the judge that a person cannot be tried for a crime which they were forced to commit. This being done, I commence my plea for the victim and show that she has never committed any offense against the laws of God and that she was born free, etc. Then I take up the evidence and show that there is not one word of wisdom in all that has been said, also that she has been made to believe a lie that she might be condemned. In this way I get the case. Disease being made by a belief, or forced upon us by our parents or public opinion, you see there is no particular form of agreement, but everyone must suit his to the particular case. Therefore it requires great shrewdness to get the better of the error: for disease is the work of the devil or error, but error like its father has its cloven foot and if you are as wise as your enemies you will get the case. I know of no better answer than Jesus gave to His disciples when He sent them forth and told them to preach the truth and cure. Be ye wise as they were, or serpents, and as harmless as doves, that is, do not get into a rage. In this way you will annoy the disease and get the case. Now if you can face the error and argue it down, then you can cure the sick.
7. “I can see this belief places man entirely superior to circumstances, but will it not therefore take away all desire for improvement and cause invention to cease, and the whole go back rather than progress, and cause us also to become indifferent to friends and social relations, and say of everything that it is only an idea without substance, and so take away the reality of existence?”
The answer to this is involved in the last. You can answer it by your own feelings, when you plead the case of the sick, condemned by the world, cast into prison with no one to say a cheering word, but left to the cold icy hand of ignorance and superstition, who have no heart to feel and whose life depends on its destruction. If you can be the means of pleading their case and set them free from their prisons or superstitions and error, into the light of wisdom and happiness, there to mingle with the well and happy, knowing that you were the cause of so much happiness, would it not be enough to prompt you to continue your efforts for the salvation of the sick and suffering, till the great work of reformation is completed? You may answer for yourself, and say if it does not place man superior to the interests of this world, and instead of taking away the reality of existence it makes man’s existence an eternal progression of joy and happiness, and its tendency is to destroy death and bring life and immortality to light.
8. “Suppose a person kept in a mesmeric state, what would be the result? Would he act independently if allowed? If not, is it not an exact illustration of the condition we are in, in order to have matter which is only an idea seem real to us, for we act independently?”
I think I understand your question. God is the great mesmeriser or magnet,1 He speaks man or the idea into existence, and attaches His senses to the idea and we are to ourselves just what we think we are. So [man] is a mesmerised subject, they are to themselves matter. You may have as many subjects as you will and they are all in the same relation to each other as they would be in the state we call waking. So this is proof that we are affected by one another, sometimes independently and sometimes governed by others, but always retaining our own identity, with all our ideas of matter and subject to all its changes, as real as it is in the natural or waking state.
1 Quimby says this to try to bring meaning from an obscure question. He uses no such expression in his other writings.
9. “What do you think of phrenology?”
As a science it is a mere humbug. It is at best a polite way of pointing out the soft spots of a man’s vanity.
[This is the third 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 continuing 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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