December 15, 2013
THE WORLD OF THE SENSES
Chapter XV of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser
[These selections have been chosen from articles written between June, 1860, and July, 1865, and arranged, with condensations, according to topics. The omitted portions have been left out to avoid repetition. The sub–titles are usually the titles of the original articles. The first is a tentative introduction for a book.] (Horatio W. Dresser.)
TO THE READER
IN introducing this work to the reader my only excuse is the existence of evils that follow the opinions of the world in regard to man’s health and happiness. My practice for twenty years has put me in possession of facts that have opened my eyes to the misery of mankind, from ignorance of ourselves. My object is to correct the false ideas and strengthen the truth. I make war with what comes in contact with health and happiness, believing that God made everything good, and if there is anything wrong it is the effect of ourselves, and that man is responsible for his acts and even his thoughts. Therefore it is necessary that man should know himself so that he shall not communicate sin or error.
All my writings are the effect of impressions made on me while sitting with the sick, so that my book is of the lives and sufferings of my patients, their trials and sorrows, and my arguments are in their behalf. It may seem strange to the well that I write upon so many subjects, but when you take into consideration the great variety of persons, and the peculiar state of literature, varying from the most cultivated to that of the lowest intellect, it would not be strange if my writings did not excite the curiosity of the reader.
For instance, one is full of religious ideas and becomes almost insane, and some are entirely so. This excites me, and my thoughts run upon religion. Another will be almost insane upon spiritualism; then I have to battle that, or show the absurdity of that belief. Some are excited upon Millerism, and believe the world is coming to an end. This brings up arguments to refute their belief. Some upon witchcraft. Now their minds are continually dwelling on all these subjects and on the Bible. So to cure I have to show by the Bible that they have been made to believe a false construction. My arguments change their minds and the cure comes. This is my excuse for what I have said upon the Scriptures.
Some people are love–sick and disappointed. These are not a great many. Minds are affected in various ways. Some are ship masters. Their sickness is caused by various things. But all mankind must be reached by parables. All my illustrations are called out by the case I have to treat. Women are more spiritual than men, therefore with them my illustrations are drawn more from the Bible than from any other book. Medical science I have to use rather hard, for the sick have the most bitter feeling towards physicians and religious teachers. These two classes I have to come in contact with. The fear of these two classes makes the patient sick. I have found this out by the effect the patient has on me. I have been so provoked when sitting by the sick, with the physician and in regard to certain classes of disease, that it was with the greatest difficulty I could keep my temper, and I had never seen the doctor or minister. But I always found that when I would get the patients clear from their opinions, they would express themselves in as strong terms as I had. I thought the fault might be with me, but I am now satisfied that I was only the scape–goat to carry off feelings they dared not lisp out, but could not tell why. Therefore I have not the slightest feeling as a man towards any person, only regarding error. That I have no sympathy with. It is a hypocrite in myself and in every one else.
You may say I have gone out of the way to attack religious denominations. If I have, the fault is in my patient. Every one knows that pious persons when sick are the most profane and talk the worst about the Bible. This is because they have the most fear.
With these remarks I will leave this part of my subject, and say a word or two in regard to words. I differ from all persons about some words. One is “mind.” Mind to me is not wisdom, but spiritual matter. And I think before you get through my book you will think so too, and be convinced of the truth of what I say. So far as my education is concerned I need make no apology. If I have learning enough to explain my theory, it is all I want.
FALSE REPORTS CONCERNING MY RELIGIOUS BELIEF
In giving to the public my ideas in regard to curing the sick it will be necessary to correct some false ideas that have been circulated in regard to my religious belief. So I will say I have no belief and in regard to any person’s religion or disease I know they are based on a false idea of wisdom. I take the sick as I find them and treat them according to their several diseases. As their diseases are the result of their education or belief I have to come in contact with their beliefs. Their religious beliefs are often the cause of their trouble, but the medical theory causes more than all the rest at the present day. In times of old when the priests led the masses the causes emanated from the priests, but since the right of religious freedom has been granted to all, truth has destroyed the power of the priests. Yet it has not enlightened the people, but transferred the idea of disease to the medical fraternity. . . .
All the religion I acknowledge is God or Wisdom. I will not take man’s belief to guide my barque. I would rather stand at the helm, myself, but the priest and medical faculty have assumed sway, and one pretends to look after the body and the other the soul. So between both they have nearly destroyed soul and body, for you cannot find one person in ten but complains of some trouble in the form of disease. As disease leads to destruction or death, death is one of the natural results of disease. So to save persons from what may follow, a religious belief is introduced and another world is made which is to receive all men, who are to be rewarded according to their acts. This makes up the whole progress of man’s life. In all this intelligence and goodness are not included. It is true we are told that to live a virtuous life is good, but you never bear that to be posted in the wisdom of the world gives a person advantage over the weak and humble believer who swallows everything the priest tells him. To be a good Christian according to their explanation of religion is to be humble and not wise at all. Now every man partakes of his belief, and in fact they are all made of belief, for everything you can think of or remember is such. Now all thins must end according to man’s belief, and there has been nothing as yet that has come in collision with it. Therefore life and death are said to be the natural destiny of man. It is true that the medical faculty try to stave off death but the harder they work the surer they are to destroy the thing they are trying to save. Man’s belief is the thing either to be saved or lost and to this end all their skill is directed. This was the state of the world when Jesus appeared.
[This is the first installment of an eleven–part series originally written and published as Chapter XV. THE WORLD OF THE SENSES, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]
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Today we are beginning an eleven–part serial review of Chapter 15, THE WORLD OF THE SENSES, of the 1921 publication, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser.
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