Chapter X of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser
[Continued from last week.—editor.]
March 10th, 1861.
To Miss B.
Owing to a press of business I have not had time to answer your letter until now, but I often see you [in spirit] and talk to you about your health.1 I feel as though I had explained to the spiritual or scientific man the cause of your trouble, which I may not have made plain in my letters to the natural man. But it may sometimes come to your senses, or you may see me: then I can tell you what I cannot put on paper. As for the cause affecting you now: I feel as though I had removed the cause, and the effect will soon cease, and you will be happy and enjoy good health. I wait to hear that my prophecies have fulfilled. But I shall keep a lookout for your health till I hear you say that you are well.
P. P. Q.
1 Quimby conversed with his patients in the same friendly way in spirit as during the talks which followed treatments in his office. He addressed the inner self, speaking what to him was the direct truth, in contrast with the patient’s consciousness in bondage to opinion.
March 10th, 1861.
To Miss S.
In answering your letter I will say that I have used my best efforts to help you, and I feel as though I had [succeeded]. Now I will once more renew my promise not to forsake you in your trouble, but to hold you in the influence of this great Truth that is like the ocean. While your bark is tossed by the breeze or storms of error and superstition, while the skies are dark with error and you are moved by your cable or belief, feeling as though you may be blown on to the rocks of death, you may look to that Truth that is now beating against the errors and breaking them in pieces, scattering them to the winds and even piercing the hardest flinty hearts, grinding them into pieces. This Truth shall shine like the sun and burn up all these errors that affect the human race.
So be of good cheer and keep up your courage, and you shall see me coming on the water of your belief and saying to the waters or pain, “Be still,” soothing you till the storm is over. Then when the sun or Truth shall shine, and the pure breeze from heaven spring up, slip your cable and set sail for the port of health, there to be once more in the bosom of your friends. Then I will shake hands with you and go exploring for some other bark that is out in the same gale.
P. P. Quimby.
March 10th, 1861.
To Mrs. W.
I have not been able to answer your letter until now. But I have often . . . talked to you. How much you have been aware of it, I cannot say. But I now see you and your husband sitting looking as easy as possible. I shall visit you as an angel, not a fallen one, but one of mercy, till you are able to guide your own bark.
It is true your husband can travel the briny deep, but he has never entered this ocean of this higher state. . . Our belief makes our bodies or barks, the sea is troubled, error is the rocks and quicksands where we are liable to be driven by the cross—currents while the wind of error is whistling in our ears. . . . Now keep a good lookout and you will see the breakers ahead. So brace up and see that your compass is right. Keep all snug and fast. Remember what I told you . . . not to lose control of yourself, but stand on deck and give your orders, not in a whining way, but bold and earnest. Then your crew will obey your orders. You will steer clear of all danger and land safe in the port of health.1
P. P. Quimby.
1 Quimby habitually inculcated the affirmative attitude by employing the terms familiar to his patients according to their occupation.
PORTLAND, March 19th, 1861.
To Mr. A.
Your change of mind when you got your religion was the effect of error, not of Truth. So you worship you know not what. But I worship I know what, and “whom you ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.”. . . This same Christ, whom you think is Jesus, is the same Christ that stands at the door of your dwelling or belief, knocking to come in and sit down with the child of Science that has been led astray by blind guides into the wilderness of darkness. Now wake from your sleep and see if your wisdom is not of this world. . . . To be born again is to unlearn your errors and embrace the truth of Christ: this is the new birth, and it cannot be learned except by desire for the truth, that Wisdom that can say to the winds of error and superstition “Be still!” and they will obey.
It is not a very easy thing to forsake every established opinion and become a persecuted man for this Truth’s sake, for the benefit of the poor and sick, when you have to listen to all their long stories without getting discouraged. This cannot be done in a day. I have been twenty years training myself to this one thing, the relief of the sick. A constant drain on a person’s feelings for the sick alters him, and he becomes identified with the suffering of his patients: this is the work of time. Every person must become affected one way or the other, either to become selfish and mean, so his selfish acts will destroy his wisdom . . . or his wisdom will become more powerful. . . .
It is not an easy thing to steer the ship of wisdom between the shores of poverty and the rocks of selfishness. If he is all self, the sick lose that sympathy which they need at his hand. If he is all sympathy, he ruins his health and becomes a poor outcast on a charitable world. For the sick can’t help him and the rich won’t.1
1 The resource, Quimby points out elsewhere, is found through knowledge that this Wisdom is from God; brings strength, guidance, freedom. Contrast Quimby’s spirit as disclosed in this letter with that of later therapeutists who lacked his great sympathy.
[Whenever in his letters to the sick Dr. Quimby speaks of spiritism we find him sceptical concerning alleged messages from the “dead.” In one letter he says, “As my mode of treating disease is entirely new to the world, the spiritualists claim me as a medium. I deny this, but believe that mind acts on mind, and that it is the living, and not the dead; so here is where we differ.” He then goes on to tell about a woman who was greatly misled by an unscrupulous medium. The result was so serious that the woman left her husband in a fit of jealousy, and when Dr. Quimby was called had tried to take her own life by cutting her throat. After hearing all sides of the case, and finding the woman virtually insane, Dr. Quimby sat by her to restore her, her state being so violent that he had to hold her by main force. After four or five hours she was brought to her senses and so quieted that she fell asleep. Then followed Quimby’s explanations to both husband and wife, showing how they had been misled, the explanation was convincing and a complete reconciliation followed. This instance shows the thoroughness with which Quimby searched matters out to the end. He endeavored to give a complete substitute for spiritism by showing how one mind can mislead another.]
[Sometimes Quimby declined to take cases of certain types, inasmuch as he was working alone and had the force of public opinion against him. What he says with reference to blindness in a letter to an inquirer in 1861, is significant. He says, “I should not recommend any one like your description to come to see me, for I have no faith that I could cure him. If a man is simply blind I have no chance for a quarrel, for we both agree in that fact. But if a person has any sickness which he wants cured and is partially blind besides, then I might affect his blindness, but that is thrown in. I never undertake to cure the well and if a man is blind and is satisfied I can’t find anything to talk about: if I undertake to tell him anything he says, Oh! I am all right but my eyes. So he is spiritually blind and cannot see that his blindness had a beginning . . . I refuse to take such cases till my popularity is such that my opinion is of some force to such persons; for opinions of popular quacks are law and gospel about blindness, and so long as the blind lead the blind they will both fall in the ditch.”]
[When asked if he could cure any one using intoxicating liquors, he answered by considering all matters involved. Quimby did not undertake to judge a man simply because he drank. For he wrote, “I judge no man. Judgment belongs to God or Science, and that judges right, for it contains no opinion. Giving an opinion is setting up a standard to judge your neighbor by, and this is not doing as you would be done by.” He goes on to say that if some one under condemnation as a criminal who has taken to drink comes to him, he pleads his case by tracing every factor to the foundation. Convincing the man that he has been misled by his enemies and has taken to drink to “drown his sorrows,” Quimby brings him to his reason, the victim of persecution abandons his old associates, and is ready to change his habits. But, says Quimby, “if he likes smoking or drinking, he is satisfied and wants no physican. If [he is] sick and I find that liquor is his enemy, then it is my duty to tell him so. If I convince him, he has no more difficulty.” Quimby’s caution in indulging in any opinion of his own is indicated in a letter, dated April 10, 1861, in which he says:]
An opinion involves more responsibility than I am willing to take. Moreover, an opinion is of no force . . . and it might do a great deal of harm. I always feel as though disease was an enemy that might be conquered if rightly understood. But if you let your enemy know your thoughts, you give him the advantage. Therefore I never give the sick any idea that should make them believe that I have any fears. . . . Making health the fixed object in my mind, I never parley nor compromise. Once when your sister remarked she never expected to be perfectly well, I replied that I never compromised with disease, and as she had been robbed of her health I should not settle the case except on condition of the return of her health and happiness. . . . When your sister came to me I found her in a very nervous state from the fact that she had lost her sister and expected soon to follow her. This made her very nervous and stimulated her to that degree that she appeared to be quite strong. As I relieved her fears she became more quiet. This she took for weakness. But every change has come just as I told her it would. [Thus Dr. Quimby gradually brought his patient into the affirmative attitude, so that she could see for herself.]
[This is the third installment of a four—part series originally written and published as Chapter X. LETTERS TO PATIENTS, 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 continue our review or examination of Chapter 10, LETTERS TO PATIENTS, in Horatio W. Dresser’s 1921 publication of The Quimby Manuscripts.
These letters and more, now preserved in the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center of Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, and Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, Washington D. C., provide testimonial evidences of the correspondences between Dr. Quimby and his patients.
Through these communications, we can see the types of challenges faced by these patients. We can also learn what Quimby expected of them, as he stood with them on their road to recovery.
Whether this is your first exposure to these letters, or it is a review, I would invite you to follow along with us in the coming weeks.
In Wisdom, Love and Light,
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