Chapter XIV of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser
[The articles published under this head constitute Vol. I of the Quimby writings. They are published here in the order in which they were copied from the originals, as written, save for a few changes made under Quimby’s supervision, and slight condensations. They are printed in this order instead of being arranged in connection with other pieces on the same topics, because they were the first papers containing a statement of the general theory, and the copybook containing them was sometimes loaned to patient—students, including the one who made liberal use of their contents.
In these studies Quimby speaks of mind, in the ordinary sense of the term, as a “substance” which can be changed, in which thoughts are sown as seeds. Mind is put in contrast with intelligence or Wisdom. Thus intelligence is said to possess an “identity” or reality which mind does not have. The next step is to show that the human soul has clairvoyance or intuition, independent of the natural senses. This fact Quimby had proved by repeated experiments in diagnosing the sick.
The term “matter” is used in a peculiar sense throughout, to cover the processes of change attendant upon suggestion and taking place subconsciously. “Thoughts are things,” later writers have said.] (Horatio W. Dresser.)
[Continued from last week.—editor.]
DIFFERENCE OF OPINION ABOUT THE DEAD
Why should there be such a difference in opinion in regard to the dead? It is of the body, I suppose. If the body is matter, has matter life? If it has then the life is a part of the body, and if the body dies the life dies also. If you mean that this is the end of man, what lives after the life and body die? You will say, the soul. Where is the soul? Has any one ever seen it? or is it an opinion? The fact is that the theory of the body and soul is not in keeping with the progress of truth or science. It leaves everything in the dark. It gives no proof of any phenomenon, but assumes that man must take an opinion of some one about which no proof can be shown, unless you admit an opinion of something that took place five thousand years ago, and was renewed eighteen hundred years ago. Jesus tried to establish the kingdom of truth in man so that men could teach it, but man was not developed enough to receive it.
It is sometimes supposed that the wisdom of God or Science is made manifest in some simple girl or man. This is the case, and phenomena are constantly occurring, which baffle the world’s wisdom to explain. . . . I can prove that mind is spiritual matter, that there is no matter without mind, and that death is nothing but an opinion or state of mind made up of matter which can be destroyed like any other opinion. It is true to the soul that is in matter, but to the Science that is out of the matter it is nothing but an idea. The word matter is applied to man in his lowest state, just a little above the brute. . . .
It is not to be supposed that every man who walks upright is to be set down as a scientific man, nor is it true that every one who calls himself scientific is so. But it is he who can show himself so to the world by his acts, who can explain some truth, thereby putting the world in possession of a fact that it has been ignorant of, increasing the wisdom and happiness of mankind. This is the case with Science.
Now, if death can be explained away so that man can be put in possession of life eternal, the world will be put in possession of a fact it is now ignorant of. This I will try to do. What is life? It is admitted that it is something. It is consciousness of existence, and death is the fear of the annihilation of that consciousness. The natural man never sees anything beyond the idea of his belief. Therefore he lives in death and is all his life subject to his own belief. Convince man that there is something independent of this belief that is true, that there is no such thing as matter only as it is spoken into existence, and he will then see that mind is the matter or error that is his belief. As his belief changes the matter or opinion will change, and when a chemical change takes place the mind or opinion will be destroyed and truth or Science take its place. Then Science will stand out from mind or matter and show how mind can be made the medium of any soul to bring about any belief. When man arrives at that then death will be swallowed up in Science. Then the world will rejoice in the Science that teaches man that he can be moulded to any belief taking a form to suit its author, and that all misery is in ourselves arising from some idea that our soul is in like a prison. The destruction of the prison is the destruction of our belief, and the liberation of our soul from bondage is life eternal. This is God or Science.—April, 1860.
It has been generally taught that there is a resurrection of this flesh and blood, or that this body should rise from the dead. Now if death is anything independent of ourselves, then it is not a part of our identity, and if death is the annihilation of life, then life dies and if your life dies it is not life. This absurdity arises from the fact that man began to philosophize before he understood himself. Man is superstitious from ignorance. He sees through a medium of ignorance called matter, therefore he sees nothing outside of his belief. His reason is a part of his belief, therefore he is to himself just what he thinks he is. But his belief makes his life and death of the same identity. Therefore when he speaks of life he speaks of saving it or losing it, as though it were matter and must go through a chemical change before it could go to heaven or be separated from itself. Thus we are taught to believe that our lives are liable to be lost and cast into some place of torment, if we do not do something to save the soul, as though life were a thing independent of ourself, and we must look out for it or lose it. Absurd as this is, it is the belief of all mankind, infidel or Christian.
Therefore we are taught to believe that Jesus came to make all right, suffered and died and rose again, to let men know that they should rise. Let us see what was really accomplished by His mission according to His followers’ opinions of Him. We are told that man had wandered away from God, and had become so wicked that it was necessary that something should be done, or he would be in danger of being banished from God’s presence. What was required of him in order to be saved was to repent and return to God, only believing that he should never die. Therefore, his life depended on his belief, for if he did not repent or change his mind, he would be damned. Now, what are we called upon to believe? In the first place, you must believe that Jesus, the man, was Christ or God, and that He died on the cross, and that the man Jesus rose from the dead and went to heaven, there to appear before God and sit down with God in heaven. If we believe this we will be saved. If we do not believe it, we must be damned. Now you see that our lives are in our belief, and our belief is made up of some one’s opinion who knows just as much as we.
I, for one, do not reason in that way. I know that man has two identities, one in this state called Christian or diseased, and one in the spiritual or scientific state. Death and life are the two identities. Life is the knowledge of our existence, which has no matter. Death is the name of that state of mind that reasons as man reasons. The life of this state depends on its reason. It reasons that life is in it and a part of it, and at the same time acknowledges that life is something that can be lost or saved, and reasons about it as one man reasons with another. Death reasons also with the idea that it is saving its life, and invents all sorts of diseases which destroy its state of self. It prays to be saved, it fasts and observes forms and ceremonies. It is very strict in its laws to protect its life. Knowledge is its destruction, so it fears God or Science. Its life is not destroyed but its opinions are, and its opinions are matter. The destroying of its opinions is death, but not annihilation of matter, but of error. The matter returns to its former condition ready to be formed into some other idea. These beliefs are from the knowledge of this world, and are the inventions of man; but the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God or Science. This world is made up of the above beliefs and is subject to a higher power.
The wisdom of God does not go into the clouds to call truth down, nor into the deep to call God up, but shows us that God is in us, even in our speech. It sees matter as a, cloud or substance that has a sort of life (in the appearance). It sees it move around. It also sees commotion, like persons moving to and fro upon the earth. It can come into this state called “this world” and reason with its followers who are in this world, imprisoned by a belief. To be clear from this world is to know that an opinion is not knowledge, and when this is found out the opinion is destroyed and Science takes its place. I am now speaking of the wisdom of this world.
You see your friend walking about, and you talk with him. Finally he dies, as you would say. Now his identity with you is that he once lived, but is now dead. You do not know but he may live again, though this is only an opinion. You follow him with the same idea or belief. So you never enter into the world of Science, for flesh and blood cannot enter Truth, it cannot understand the separation from this world or belief.
Where do I stand ? I know that all the above is the reasoning of matter, and when people learn the truth, they will make matter subject to Science. Then the wisdom of this world will become subject to the scientific world. This world calls the world of Science a “gift.” To call it a gift is to say that those who practise it for the benefit of man are either ignorant of this Science, are humbugs, or are fools talking about what they do not know. Those who call Jesus’ knowledge of this Science a power or gift place him on the same level with all the sorcerers of his day.—April, 1860.
[This is a supposed “communication” from one said to be “dead,” to show how little reality there is in death.]
“William, will you give me your idea of death?” “I can give you my opinion, but you will say an opinion is no proof, and therefore is of no force.” “Well, tell me what you think.” “Well, if you want me to tell you what I have no proof of, and what is only my opinion, I suppose I can do it, if it will be of any use. You remember when I was sick in bed, and one night when you were sitting by me, you know I was very weak, and you all thought I was worse, and I thought so. Mother thought I would die, and I thought sometimes that I should; and don't you remember that I told you to put me to sleep?” “Yes.” “Well, that was to get rid of that feeling, and when I went to sleep I felt a little nervous, I suppose, and I had a dream that I never told of before, because it troubled the family and made them feel badly. I dreamed that I was dead; and you wanted me to go to Bangor and stay till the trouble was over, and I seemed to go there, but I knew all about it. But as it was a dream, and the association made me feel so badly, I could never speak of it to mother, for it seemed they had the same dream, so I kept it to myself.” “How long did you sleep?” “Till the trouble was over, and when I woke up, it seemed like a reality.” “Did you have any sort of knowledge in this sleep of your opinion while awake?” “Yes, I reasoned I was with you, just as you and I used to be when you would talk me to sleep before, but I never was conscious, before, of the idea of death having so much effect on a person, for I could reason with myself, and I am satisfied if I had been taught to believe as some people do, my belief would have governed my dream, and I should have been ten times more unhappy; for when I woke up it did not affect me so long, from the fact that I knew it was only an opinion, and you say that is no proof, and I always remembered that. But I know how to pity those who take an opinion for a truth, for an opinion is as real to the person who believes it as though it were true. As I have reasoned myself into a belief that man never dies, I shall not try to give myself any trouble about others’ belief. If people believe that they die, and their spirits come back and talk with their friends, I have no doubt but what they do. But it is their opinion and that is of no consequence, except to lessen their belief that there is such a state as death; perhaps it gives them some happiness. But as far as I am concerned I am satisfied with my belief.” “Suppose I should believe that you were dead?” “Suppose that you should, would that make it so?” “No.” “Suppose I should believe that you were dead, what would you say to that?” “I should say, if I knew anything, I know I am alive.” “Well, can’t you be as charitable toward another as you would like them to be towards you?” “Yes, but I can’t believe that you are dead.” “Did you ever know a dead man to speak?” “No, but you know that we all believe that the body dies and the soul lives.” “Yes, but did you ever see a soul?” “No.” “Then why do you believe the soul lives, when you say an opinion is of no force? Have you any proof that a person is alive, when you see him dead?” “No, only my belief.” “You say that your belief is of no force, for it contains no proof, is it not so?” “Yes.” “Well, suppose I admit that I am dead, will that make you any better satisfied?” “No.” “Well, what shall I admit.” “I don’t know, but I wish I really knew whether I was talking to you.” “Don’t you believe your own senses?” “Certainly, but you don’t come within my senses.” “Why not?” “Because I can’t see you.” “Then because you think you can’t see me, I am dead?” “Yes.” “Can you see John?” “No.” “Is he dead?” “No.” “How do you know?” “I think he is alive.” “That is nothing but an opinion which you say is of no force.” “Will you give me your opinion about it?” “I have no opinion about it. I know that I am here now, and that is all I care about it. If I am dead, it is news to me: I don’t know any more about it than Lucius knew when he was asleep, that he was asleep. So if death is only a mesmeric sleep, it is not much to go through.”—Dec. 1859.
[This is the fourteenth installment of a fifteen—part series originally written and published as Chapter XIV. CHRIST OR SCIENCE, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond is the ultimate reference source for historically accurate information of this nineteenth-century clockmaker turned metaphysical teacher and healer. Including the Missing Works of P. P. Quimby; based on new and independent research by the editor, the present volume surpasses all previously published “complete” compilations of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby’s writings in size, scope and historical accuracy. Published by the Phineas Parkhurst Quimby Resource Center.
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Today we are continuing a fifteen—part serial review of Chapter 14, CHRIST OR SCIENCE, of the 1921 publication, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser.
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