February 7, 2016
Concerning the Use of Medicine
by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
I am frequently asked if I am opposed to the use of medicine. To this question I answer that as the people are now educated, they believe a lie as a truth and therefore to tell such persons the truth would be to them like telling lies. So I would not destroy the law but fulfill it and wisdom is the end of the law to all who believe. To those who believe in disease there is, according to their belief, neither forgiveness nor cure except through the medium of medicine. But to those who have been born again or who have learned that disease is the result of a belief, disease has no power, and consequently medicine is useless. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.” That is, seek first the science of health which is wisdom, and then all things will appear plain to your understanding. To take a person who believes in disease to cure the sick is like taking the hair of a dog to cure it’s wound or like punishing a crime by a penalty similar to the offense, which barbaric custom is still kept up and sustained as much as the medical faculty. All remedies are based on the law of health. The doctors admit health to be the standard and a deviation from it a crime, deserving punishment. So if you have any complaint, you are examined by the doctors; and if found guilty, a blister, emetic or some other proper punishment is administered till you repent. And then if life enough remains in you and you are not found guilty of other offenses, you recover. And if not, you are found guilty of another offense.
Now if by explanation simply, a person can be cleared from the charges brought against him without the use of any remedies and be thereby convinced of his error and can learn to do good, which is to understand; then he is born again and ready to enter the kingdom of heaven or science. He can then enter this world of opinions and plead the cause of the sick and rescue them from the hands of their enemies without paying any great penalty. Perhaps if the criminal believes he must take a little cathartic to pay the debt that he has contracted, he may be allowed to take it, not because the person rescuing him believes it to be necessary or because the criminal is liable but because it gratifies the patient, who believes there is honor even among thieves. His protector only yields to an old prejudice which still clings to him.
When Paul converted a person or performed a cure and the patient wished to be baptized, he complied, not because he believed there was any creative properties in the water, but simply to gratify the convert. There are a class of ideas or persons who are never satisfied until they cause the poor to suffer for their sins. Man is a government of himself and some have certain animal propensities which cause them to torment themselves and such feel happier to be punished, like the man in the days of the Salem Witchcraft who, believing himself to be possessed of a witch, was not content till he was beaten almost to death in order to show that the witch might be cast out. The sick at the present day are not satisfied till they have been purged and blistered almost to death in order to kill the disease or witch which possesses them. When the reformation came, reason took the place of the stake and whip; so when science shall come, wisdom will take the place of the drugs of the physicians and the tormenting hell fire of the priests. Men will be guided by the star of science which points the way to wisdom. But medicine will be administered to the sick till the time when science shall step in and make a sacrifice of all these errors and then will come the end.
Jesus, seeing the folly of the world’s belief, offered himself or his opinions as a willing sacrifice to the world in order to show man a higher and better way to salvation or the recovery of one’s health. And then he rose from the natural world into the scientific world, there to appear in heaven or science for us. Once for all he laid down his life or belief and put his trust in science, believing it is able to cure the sick and save man from his sins or errors. The priests and doctors are still offering up sacrifices in the form of opinions, prayers and blisters, etc., none of which can take away the sins or errors of the world. When science comes, it makes an end to all these deceptions and introduces a new mode of reasoning to all who will receive it. The new heaven is this new mode of reasoning and to enter into it is to be baptized in the blood or belief of Jesus which is Christ or Science and which will wash away all opinions. I baptize with water, but when the real truth rises out of your opinions, then you will be baptized with fire or wisdom and the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is Science or the explanation of the Father which is Wisdom.
All persons who come to the truth must be born again or baptized. And it is not strange, as in the case of the disciples, if some persons should cling to the old ideas; and therefore we must sometimes yield to their superstition. If they believe themselves ill with a bilious disease and cannot consent to go through the fire of truth but wish to be baptized of their old ideas, then we must administer some simple medicine, not that it possesses any curative qualities but simply as an offering to their ignorance which they imagine must be made; otherwise they cannot recover or be pardoned of their sins. Medicine contains nothing to me except as an effect and if a patient believes he must use it, I sometimes allow him to do so, but I always tell him the cure is in himself or in his belief and not in the medicine. If schools were established where persons could be taught to correct the errors of the sick in regard to disease, then they could approach the sick, armed with science, and the opinions of the sick would melt away before their reasoning, as darkness before the light of the sun. Disease is a cowardly belief and he who knows it is to the sick as a teacher to his pupil. The errors of the pupil can be destroyed by the wisdom of the teacher. The passengers on board the steamer can be enlightened by the wisdom of the Captain. But if he is as ignorant as they, and the ship, encountering a gale, succeeds in coming out safely, it is not by the skill of the captain but by a universal wisdom that sometimes guides man through the darkness unknown to all. A person outside of all those beliefs in disease is to the sick a savior, whether the sick are aware of it or not, but if they know it of themselves, they become their own pilots.
It may appear strange at first thought that belief can cure us, but it is readily admitted that belief can make us sick. Now I affirm that the belief is the very thing that I wish to destroy. If there was nothing to believe, we should have no belief. When you see a person you know to be your friend, you do not fear he will hurt you; but to have a belief that he might injure you, you might have some cause for your belief. Whether real or imaginary, to you it is real. Now if you were aware that your suspicions were wrong, the belief that he would injure you would vanish. So with disease, the error is the same. The cause was invented by the superstition of the world, and the people have been so imposed upon through their ignorance by the priests, till the idea disease has taken a living form and now is to man as real as his existence, and yet in reality it is as false as the religion. The time of the foundations of the Mohammedan religion can be ascertained, but now it is a living reality with as much life as the Catholic or Protestant Church and contains as much truth as either of these.
The medical faculty has exercised more power over men’s minds than the priests, for all men believe in disease if they do not in religion. To me, both are alike. One tree produced both. The popular belief in religion as explained by the clergy of the present day is as absurd as the belief in disease. Yet every person believes more or less of each. Some persons appear and profess to disbelieve in religion and also in medicine but they still cherish a belief in both, and at the least approach of danger, they fly to one. The opinions of the priests have as little influence on me as do the doctors. They only strengthen my conviction that if honest, they are deceived and ignorant, and if not honest, they are hypocritical. And to those I can only hope that they will repent and turn aside from their wickedness ere it is too late.
Daily Quotation of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby for Sunday, February 7, 2016
Therefore to know God is to get wisdom, but to be separated from God is to be religious and believe that there is a fountain of water large enough to quench the thirst of everyone if they can find it. This is religion. But to the wise, it is to know this fountain is in yourself, a well of water springing up into everlasting wisdom. Then you will ask of this wisdom, and just as you understand, you will receive and your wisdom will teach you that you cannot ask of wisdom by your belief and have your prayers answered. God is like mathematics, for mathematics is wisdom put into practice or reduced to man's comprehension. To receive an intelligent answer in mathematics, you must ask in wisdom, not in opinion, and just according to your wisdom, the answer comes.” ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Article: Foundation of Religious Belief
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Today’s featured article is Concerning the Use of Medicine, and begins on page 175 of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond.
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