June 22, 2014

RELIGIOUS QUESTIONS

    Chapter XVIII of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser

DEFENCE AGAINST AN ACCUSATION OF MAKING MYSELF EQUAL TO CHRIST

I am often accused of making myself equal with Christ. When I ask what Christ is I am told that Jesus Christ is one and the same. If I ask if Jesus the man was God, the answer is, “no, but God manifest in the flesh.” Then can flesh and blood be God? “No.” Then what was that being of flesh and blood crucified eighteen hundred years ago? “Jesus Christ.” Is Christ God? “Yes.” Is God flesh and blood? “No” Will you give some idea of what that being was called Jesus Christ? “Why, that God took upon Himself flesh and blood.” Then what took upon itself flesh and blood? “God.” Is God a substance? “No.” Then can that which is not matter take matter upon itself? “You ask too many questions.” Well, if you cannot answer my questions, must I believe what you say without any proof? “No, but we have the Bible and that says Christ is God.” Well suppose it does and you are asked to explain Christ, and I receive this answer, “God manifest in the flesh.” When I ask to have this explained I get no correct answer. Some think words are all that is necessary, so they quibble about the name “Christ,” said to mean “anointed.” Well, anointed is the name of something and this is what I want explained. To call it Christ or Messiah, the Prince of Peace or God, is only hopping from one name to another. I want to know what made Jesus different from other men. His birth I care nothing about, nor is it of consequence why He was called Jesus Christ. If different from other men how was the world benefited by that difference?

Jesus was a man of flesh and blood like any one else. The difference between Him and other men was called Christ. Now what did the difference consist in? “In His life.” What had His life to do with the healing of the sick? Has your life anything to do with healing a palsied limb? “No.” Then your good life cannot cure diseases? Did Jesus’ life cure? “Yes.” Then you must not claim to be a disciple of Jesus, for if you claim to be a good man and we see no proof of your goodness on others, your goodness is of this world and not of Christ. You say He had a “power,” now what do you mean by a power? We call steam a power and electricity a power but no one ever associates wisdom with it. Do you mean that Jesus’ power was like the above, or was it what He said and did? “It was in what He said and did.” Well, what did He do? Did He not cure the sick? “Yes.” Well, how did He do it? Was it His power? “Yes, it came from God.” Did you not say that Jesus was God? “Yes.” Then how could God come from one place when you and I believe that God fills all space? “Well, there is a mystery in the Godhead or trinity that man cannot find out or understand.” Was not the Bible written for our understanding? “Yes, but mystery cannot be found out, so we have no right to penetrate the ways of God, for there is enough in the Bible to learn and make us happy without searching into the mysteries of another world.” If the Bible was not for man’s belief what was it for? If we are to take it for the Word of God, who is to explain it? “It explains itself.” Do you understand it? “In a measure.” What do I understand by your answer? Can you give me any more light in regard to what Christ is than you have? “No.” Then I am as ignorant as I was when I began. “Give me your opinion of Jesus Christ.” Well, if you will listen I will tell you what I know of Christ and what I believe of the man Jesus. . . .

RELIGION IN DISEASE

The question is often asked why I talk about religion and quote Scripture while I cure the sick. My answer is that sickness being what follows a belief the belief contains the evil which I must correct. As I do this a chemical change takes place. Disease is an error the only remedy for which is the truth. The fear of what will come after death is the beginning of man’s troubles, for he tries to get evidence that he will be happy, and the fear that he will never arrive at happiness makes him miserable.

We are taught to believe that if we pray we shall receive an answer to our prayer. A superstitious person believing this is ready to believe that he may be punished, for some one may pray that God may remove him. Each army prays that God will direct the weapons that will slay their enemies. In biblical times did not God answer the prayer of those who wished to destroy their enemies and did they not die? The facts prove that what we believe may follow. We really believe in disease, hence it is the result of our belief. People never seem to have thought that they are responsible for their belief. To analyze their beliefs is to know themselves, which is the greatest study of man. All theories for the happiness of man contain more misery than happiness, either directly or indirectly. To destroy the beliefs of man is to leave him where God left him: to work out happiness by His own wisdom. One half of the diseases arise from a false belief in the Bible. It may seem strange that the belief in the Bible affects us, yet every belief affects us more or less, directly or indirectly.

I will relate a case where the religious belief affected the patient and caused the disease. The lady was aged. She was so lame and bound down that she could hardly rise from her chair, and could take only a step by the aid of her crutches, feeling so heavy that she dare not step. In this condition she had lived some years, and all the happiness she had was in reading and thinking on the Bible. She was a Calvinist Baptist and by her belief she bad imprisoned her senses [consciousness] in a creed so small and contracted that she could not stand upright or move ahead. Here in this tomb of Calvin her senses were laid, wrapt in her creed. Yet in this tomb was Christ or Science, trying to burst the bars and break through the bands and rise from the dead. She labored to be free from the bands and no one came to her relief. When she would ask for an explanation of some passage the answer would be a stone, and then she would hunger for the bread of life. At last in her misery she called upon me and I found her as I have stated. I knew not what caused her trouble. She thought it was from a fall. After explaining how she felt, I told her her trouble was caused by a series of excitements from studying upon what she could not reconcile. She thought upon religious subjects and not seeing the Scriptures clearly her mind became cloudy and stagnated. This showed itself on the body by her heavy and sluggish feeling which would terminate in paralysis. She said she could not understand how her belief could make her so numb.

I said to her, you will admit I have described your feelings. “Certainly,” she replied. Then, said I, what do you suppose Jesus meant by these words, “a little while I am with you, then I go my way,” and “you shall seek for me and where I go ye cannot come.” Do you believe that Jesus went to heaven? “Yes,” she replied. Now let me tell you what I think He meant by these words. I had told her before that in order to cure her I must make a change in the fluids and produce a healthy circulation, for she by her belief had produced stagnation. You have admitted that I have told you your feelings. Then I was with you as Christ was with His disciples in sympathy. And when I go my way I go into health and am not in sympathy with your feelings. Therefore where I go you cannot come, for you are in Calvin’s belief, and I am in health. This explanation produced an instantaneous sensation, and a change came over her mind. This mortal put on immortality or health, and she exclaimed in joy, “This is a true answer to my thoughts.” I continued explaining Scripture and a complete change took place. She walked without her crutches. Her case is so singular an example of my practice, that I will give the substance of my reasoning. It seemed as though all her feelings were in her belief, and if I wished to give her an idea of them I would make a comparison from the Bible. She was as it were dead in sin or error, and to bring her to life or truth was to raise her from the dead. I quoted the resurrection of Christ and applied it to her own Christ or health, and produced a powerful effect on her. I commenced in this way:

Your belief is the sepulchre in which your wisdom is confined. The world is your enemy. Your opinions and ideas are your garments, and the truth is the Holy Ghost or angel which will roll away the stone and heal your grief. The God in you will burst the bands of your creed and you will rise from the dead or your belief into the truth. You will then walk into the sitting room, and the friends will start as though you were a spirit, and you will say, “Hath a spirit flesh and bones as ye see me have? Give me a chair.” Then the friends will inquire where the Christ is. The truth will say, “She has risen from her old religious body of sin and death and gone to meet her friends in heaven.” Then will come false ideas, and as they cannot see the truth, the body being changed to them will seem to be gone, and they will report it stolen. You will leave the body of belief and take that of Science and rise into health. This is the resurrection of the dead.

This with the explanation produced such an effect on the lady that she could rise from her chair as quickly as any person of her age.

The natural world is full of figures that may illustrate man’s belief. The silk worm spins out his life and wrapping himself in his labor dies. The infidel and brutal man reason that they do the same. The caterpillar is a good illustration of the natural man groping in the dark, guided by a superior wisdom that prompts his acts. When his days are numbered, wrapt in the mantle of this earth he lies down to sleep the sleep of death; but the Wisdom that brings forth the butterfly, also develops its science. In order that truth may come forth, error must be destroyed, and Science groping in darkness bursts into light and rises from the dead as the butterfly, not the caterpillar.

All men have sinned or embraced beliefs, so all must die to their belief. Disease is a belief; health is in Wisdom. So as man dies to his belief he lives in Wisdom. My theory is to destroy death or belief and bring life and Wisdom into the world, therefore I come to the sick, not to save their beliefs or life in disease, but to destroy it. And he that loseth his belief for Wisdom will find his health or life.

I will now give what I believe to be the ideas of Jesus on the resurrection. I address my words to the sick, for I cannot make illustrations for the well; they are not affected [in the same way] by their belief. According to the Scriptures sin is a transgression of the law. What law? It must be of God, for it says, “the soul that sinneth shall surely die.” So sin is death, and the law to which man is liable whose penalty is death is God’s law. Therefore God is supposed to make laws to punish man for his thought, for every idle word is to be accounted for. This law heads countless evils and it is the part of Wisdom to correct it. But to believe that God is the author of our evils is as absurd as to believe that He made the remedies and laws before He made man. How often do you hear this remark: “There is a remedy for every disease.” When we ask what it is, we are referred to some root or herb. But no hint is ever given that disease can be cured by the power of Truth.

Did Jesus employ such remedies? On the contrary had not the sick whom He cured tried them? He said: “my words are life eternal, and by my words I cure all manner of diseases.” If the palsied limb was the thing to be cured, why did He say to the man: “Stretch forth thy hand, and immediately it was made whole?” Why did He not apply remedies to the arm? The fact was Jesus knew that the arm was not the cause but the effect, and he addressed Himself to the intelligence, and applied His wisdom to the cause. “He spake as never man spake,” for He spoke to the cause. But when man speaks he gives an opinion. All the acts of Jesus were based on Truth, while man acts from an opinion and chooses darkness rather than light. The light of truth will show man his error. He shrinks from investigating his belief since he knows it cannot stand the test of Science. It is folly to apply an inanimate something to cure an inanimate disease, for neither contains any intelligence. If a man’s face is dirty and he is satisfied, there is no disease; but if it troubles him, the trouble is in him not in the dirt. To cure him would be to tell him to wash. If the person believes he is cured, the water proves that what was told him was true.

The war between my patients and myself is here: they make disease the dirt. I make the dirt the cause. They put intelligence in the dirt. I put intelligence in the person. To cure him I must convince him that the dirt is nothing that need trouble him, and that water will remove it. By knowing the truth they are able to remove the cause. The doctors put the trouble in the dirt as though the trouble and the dirt were one and the same. They never address the intelligence, but the opinions, while the cause being unintelligent, like the dirt, affects the intelligence and is reflected on the body.

[This is the first installment of an eight–part series originally written and published as Chapter XVIII. RELIGIOUS QUESTIONS, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]


Quotation by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby


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Editor’s Corner

Today we begin an eight–part serial review of Chapter 18, RELIGIOUS QUESTIONS, of the 1921 publication, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser.

In Wisdom, Love, and Light,
Ron Hughes

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