by Horatio W. Dresser
[Continued from last week.]
Had Mrs. Eddy known this, she would have seen the futility of calling Quimby an “ignorant mesmerist” at any point in his career. An unenlightened mesmerist he was just as long as he adopted the prevailing theories, while trying them out. His own mind was free and his world of thought a free one from the time he saw that the right thing to do was to seek that Wisdom which “disabuses the mind of its errors.” It then became necessary to draw a radical line of distinction between the “mind of opinions,” subject to suggestions and in certain instances to hypnosis; and the “mind of Science,” the “mind of Christ,” possessed by the real self. It was a long road to travel from the point where Quimby started out, a believer in medical practice and a student of mesmerism, to faith in an inner or higher self immediately open to the Divine presence with its guiding Wisdom quickening the “mind of Christ.” The guide throughout was love of truth, leading the way to inductions from actual experience. One of his patients who understood the prime results as he saw them fulfilled in Quimby’s work among the sick has said:
“This discovery, you observe, was not made from the Bible, but from mental phenomena and searching investigations; and, after the truth was discovered, he found his new views portrayed and illustrated in Christ’s teachings and works. If you think this seems to show that Quimby was a remarkable man, let me tell you that he was one of the most unassuming of men that ever lived; for no one could well be more so, or make less account of his own achievements. Humility was a marked feature of his character (I knew him intimately). To this was united a benevolent and an unselfish nature, and a love of truth, with a remarkably keen perception. But the distinguishing feature of his mind was that he could not entertain an opinion, because it was not knowledge. His faculties were so practical and perceptive that the wisdom of mankind, which is largely made up of opinions, was of little value to him. Hence the charge that he was not an educated man is literally true. True knowledge to him was positive proof, as in a problem of mathematics. Therefore, he discarded books and sought phenomena, where his perceptive faculties made him master of the situation. Therefore, he got from his experiments in mesmerism what other men did not get,—a stepping—stone to a higher knowledge than man possessed, and a new range to mental vision.” (1)
(1) J. A. Dresser in the “True History,” p. 10.
Quimby sums up his results in one of his tentative introductions, in which he says:
“My object in introducing this work to the reader is to correct some of the errors that flesh is heir to. During a long experience in the treatment of disease I have labored to find the causes of so much misery in the world. By accident I became interested in what was then called mesmerism, not thinking of ever applying it to any useful discovery or to benefit man, but merely as a phenomenon for my own gratification. Being a sceptic I would not believe anything that my subject would do if there was any chance for deception, so all my experiments were carried on mentally. This gave me a chance to discover how far Mesmer was entitled to any discovery over those who had followed him. I found that the phenomenon could be produced. This was a truth but the whys and wherefores were a mystery. This is the length of mesmerism, it is all a mystery, like spiritualism. Each has its belief but the causes are in the dark. Believing in the phenomenon I wanted to discover the causes and find if there were any good to come out of it.
“In my investigation I found that my ignorance would produce phenomena in my subject that my own wisdom could not correct. At first I found that my thoughts affected the subject, and not only my thought but my belief. I found that my own thoughts were one thing and my belief another.
“If I really believed in anything, the effect would follow whether I was thinking of it or not. For instance, I believed that silk would attract the subject. This was a belief in common with mankind, so if a person having any silk about him, for instance a lady with a silk apron, the subject’s hand would be affected by it and the hand would move towards the lady, even if she were behind him. So I found that belief in everything affects us, yet we are not aware of it because we do not think. We think our beliefs have nothing to do with the phenomenon. But anything that is believed has reality to those that believe it, and it is liable to affect them at any time when the condition of the mind is in a right state.
“Minds are like clouds, always flying, and our belief catches them as the earth catches seeds that fly in the winds. My object was to discover what a belief was made of and what thought was. This I found out by thinking of something Lucius could describe, so that I knew he must see or get the information from me in some way; at last I found out that mind was something that could be changed. I called it spiritual matter, because I found it could be condensed into a solid and receive a name called ‘tumor,’ and by the same power under a different direction it might be dissolved and made to disappear. This showed me that man was governed by two powers or directions, one by a belief, the other by a science. The creating of disease is under the superstition of man’s belief. [Conventional] cures have been by the same remedy. Disease being brought about through a false belief, it took another false belief to correct the first; so that instead of destroying the evil, the remedy created more.
“I found that there is a Wisdom that can be applied to these errors or evils that can put man in possession of a Science that will not only destroy the evil but will hold up its serpent head, as Moses in the wilderness held up the errors of religious creeds, and all that looked upon his explanation were cured of the diseases that followed their beliefs. Science will hold up these old superstitious beliefs and theories and all that listen and learn can be cured not only of the disease that they may be suffering from but they will know how to avoid the errors of others.
“I shall endeavor to give a fair account of my investigations and what I have had to contend with and how I succeeded. I have said many things in regard to medical science but all that I have said was called out by my patients being deceived by the profession. The same is true of the religious profession. Every article was written under an excited state brought about by some wrong inflicted on my patient by the medical faculty, the clergy or public opinion. All my arguments are used to correct some false opinion that has affected my patient in the form of disease, mentally or physically. In doing this I have to explain the Bible, for troubles arise from a wrong belief in certain passages, and when I am sitting by my patient those passages that cause trouble also trouble me, and the passage comes to me with the explanation and I, as a man, am not aware of the answer till I find it out [intuitively].
“There is a wisdom that has never been reduced to language. The science of curing disease has never been described by language, but the error that makes disease is in the mouth of every child. The remedies are also described but the remedies are worse than the disease, for instead of lessening the evil, they have increased it. In fact the theory of correcting disease is the introduction of life.”
[This is the fourth and last installment of a four part series originally written and published as Chapter V. THE PRINCIPLES DISCOVERED, 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 concluding the current phase of Phineas Quimby’s personal development, with the fourth installment of The Principles Discovered, as outlined in chapter 5 of The Quimby Manuscripts, by Horatio W. Dresser in 1921. Next week, we will move on to The Intermediate Period of his progression.
Follow along with us as we trace his footsteps!
Horatio Willis Dresser, the first child of Julius Alphonso Dresser and Annetta Gertrude (Seabury) Dresser, was born on January 15, 1866, or the day before Quimby died. His parents first met, fell in love and then married while they were each patients of Dr. Quimby during the years of his healing practice in Portland, Maine.
In other news, three more articles written by C. Alan Anderson Ph.D. are recent additions to our On-Line Reading Archives:
A New Thought Centennial. Originally published in New Thought Quarterly, XLVIII (Winter, 1966).
A New Thought Sesquicentennial. Originally published in the Autumn, 1987 issue of the INTA New Thought quarterly magazine, in recognition of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby.
The Complete Quimby. Written in 1989 for Creative Thought magazine.
I would like to thank Dr. Deborah G. Whitehouse (Mrs. Alan Anderson) for sharing these articles with us, and remind you that she continues the Process New Thought message at Anderson-Whitehouse Process New Thought. Visit their web site and sign-up for the weekly newsletter, The Philosopher’s Stone.
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