June 29, 2014

RELIGIOUS QUESTIONS

    Chapter XVIII of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser

[Continued from last week.—editor.]

JESUS’ HEALING AND HIS MISSION

Why should there be such a controversy in regard to the way in which Jesus cured disease, also what was the real object of His mission in this world? These questions naturally arise in the minds of men and bring up doubts. By some it is believed that Jesus came to save man from being lost in another world and it is thought that He intended to reform the world. All admit He had a gift superior to other men but what it was has never been ascertained. The same controversy was going on in the days of Jesus and in fact it has always been a mystery to the natural man. Phenomena are taking place everywhere proving this power or gift and all admit it, but as yet it has not been reduced to a science so that it can be taught and learned. Its opponents speak as though it were governed by natural laws, but when asked to put these laws into practice they get off by saying, “Why it is nothing but mesmerism.” When asked to explain mesmerism they say it is “psychology.” Ask what psychology is, the answer is mesmerism. So the world is as wise as before. Mesmer tried to explain this power on the ground of electricity. Those who believe it is governed by some law attribute it to galvanism. The religious classes vary. The spiritualists ascribe it to the spirits of the dead; Christians to the power of God when speaking of Jesus, but when they speak of this power in man they attribute it to natural causes. Some say it is the power of the devil. When Herod the king was told Jesus was performing cures he said it was John the Baptist, that is, John’s spirit came and took possession of Jesus and cured disease. When the Pharisees asked Jesus where it came from, Jesus said if they would tell Him where John’s power came from then He would tell them how He performed his cures. This they could not do. So it has never been explained. Settle this point and you establish a basis for investigation. As it stands it puts Jesus on a level with all the spiritualists of His day. If it is a gift or power, why should He be called God or anything else above His followers? And if He knew how He wrought miracles it is knowledge and not a gift, and to call it a gift or power is depriving Jesus of any knowledge superior to His followers. When it is admitted as a Science that Jesus taught for the happiness of man, man will try to learn it. Then the inquiry will be made, how can it be proved a Science? I answer, never till the people admit that matter and mind are under direction of Intelligence superior to matter. Then man will take a higher standard and be governed by Science, not mind. When matter becomes subject to Science and is the medium or power to be put in motion, this medium or matter can be changed into any form or state and be destroyed but not lost. The identity of a thing can be put out of this world, as it is called, and only remains as a thing that once was but now is not.

I will give an illustration: Suppose a person believes he has a tumor in his left side. His error believes in the idea of tumors independent of his mind; he then admits an error to begin with. His mind gives direction to matter and the idea is formed; this seems to be proof that there is such a thing as a tumor. No one will deny that one is a phenomenon brought about by false knowledge, and that true knowledge or Science can destroy that tumor or idea and establish a knowledge of the truth that will prevent the person from being deceived into that error again . . . Our bodies [in relation to mind] are nothing but an idea of matter that is either under the control of error or false knowledge, or under the control of Science or true knowledge. If Truth or Science reigns, all goes well; if error reigns the wage is death, for all acts of error lead to death; death is an idea or matter,1 and all the acts of Science destroy death and lead to life and happiness.

1 This is explained below, Chap. 19.

RELIGION

What does Jesus mean by the kingdom of heaven? We all know the common opinion was that heaven was a place. Some suppose it to be a state of mind. Had Jesus either of these ideas? I say He did not, and will show what His ideas were. God is represented as all wisdom and love. Now love is not wisdom, but a desire for wisdom, and a desire to get wisdom for the sake of happiness that follows is the highest love. This is heaven and to be deprived of this love is to be out of heaven. The sick are strangers to this heaven. It is true they have a sort of love but it is governed by the light or wisdom of man. This leads to death. The sick being strangers, are deceived into a false belief that lulls them to sleep. To cure them it is necessary to arouse them from their lethargy and show them their errors.

I will now give the true conversion of a sick man of this world converted to the religion of Christ or cured intelligently, and also one converted from one disease or error to another. I call all error disease that leads to death. The remedy is religion or a knowledge of the Truth that will save us from the evils that flow from our sins. To illustrate the different forms of religion is to show the different modes of restoring the lost child of disease to health and happiness. To show how Jesus differed from all others is to show each religion separately and how the belief affects mankind.

All will admit that Jesus opposed the religion by which medical men and priests used to save the people from sins or evils called diseases. For to be diseased was an evil and the sick were dealt with accordingly, and the false idea that the sins or diseases of the parents are visited upon the children is handed down to this generation.1 To save them from their sins was to cure them of their disease. . . .

1 Quimby did not believe in the heredity of disease save so far as one generation adopts the beliefs (not the diseases) of another.

Now what was the idea the world had of heaven? People never had such an idea as Christians have now. They never seriously believed in any other world. But their suffering was their evil and to be cured was their heaven or happiness. For this object they employed every means in their power according to their belief. The people were taught that there were certain rivers and pools the angels would disturb and all who visited them were healed. Certain diseases were held so sinful that the victims were kept aloof from the people till the priest cured them. So their religion was all for their health or happiness. It is true there was a small class who believed that at the end of the world the dead would rise.

Jesus called the people to Him and said, “Beware of the doctrines of the Scribes and Pharisees, for their doctrines bind burdens on you.” It made them superstitious; made them believe in ghosts, spirits, and all sorts of juggling. This kept the people under the rule of the priests who invented all sorts of craft to deceive, pretending to take away sins so that God would not torment them with evil spirits and disease. Jesus knew it all in their belief, and if He could introduce a higher principle or better mode of reasoning that could take away their sins or errors so that they would be more enlightened, He would be doing them a great favor, and would establish universal truth that would work out a more excellent law. To do this it was necessary to bring proof of His superior wisdom. He was talking about this great truth called God that governs every true and scientific mind. He made two worlds, one the natural or superstitious man that all were in: the other the scientific man, which He called a resurrection from the dead. Not that the dead rose, for if you cannot get a man out of his error there is no resurrection. As Paul says (1 Cor. XV, 12), if Christ (or this Science) be preached that it rose from the dead (or error) how say some among you that there is no higher truth than man’s opinion? As Science is spiritual it must be explained by literal things. So Jesus used parables to explain how this truth grows in the minds, and he takes for example a little child, before its mind is filled with errors of the priest as a figure of heaven. Not that the mind contains any wisdom, but like the soil of the earth it is pure from foul seeds or error, ready to receive the true seed of wisdom. He says, “Of such is the kingdom of heaven:” this truth could live and grow in the child. Not that heaven or kingdom was happiness, but happiness was in the one who entered into it. But as the kingdom grew, false ideas would creep in; for it is not to be supposed that Jesus ever intended to make His kingdom perfect till every enemy or error should be destroyed. So he likens it unto a great many things, to a sower in a field, and an enemy sowing in the same field. Here you have good seed and bad seed, truth and error, good and evil. But the good was good, and the bad was bad, and they never mingled.

I will take a person as he would come to Jesus, and show how He preached the kingdom of heaven. Take the little child. Jesus asked how long this child had been in this way, (Mark IX, 21). When told, He said, “Do you believe all things possible with God?” They said, “Yes.” So then He cured the child, not by a “power,” but by His wisdom, for He knew what He was about. So their faith in Him kept the child from having any more fits. All His cures went to prove His theory of the Christ, which He preached and illustrated by parables, and proved by showing Himself to the multitude after they believed Him dead. The identity of it was a body, and the doctrine of it was its blood. So He says, “if you eat not my flesh and drink not my blood, you have no life in you.”

I will give an illustration. Suppose a person comes to me to learn navigation. I say, “You must be born again, for your ideas of navigation are all false.” He says, How can I learn or be born again when I am so old? I answer, “You must be born in the science of navigation.” This he cannot understand, but still he wishes to learn. So I begin to explain. As he begins to learn, this is called the love that is spoken of with which God so loved the world. Now, love for wisdom prompts him to learn, and as he learns his happiness is full. This is entering into heaven. This is the heaven God has prepared for every one who will try to learn, and if every one will search for God or Wisdom God will not cast him off.

I will apply this to disease. I take upon myself your infirmities that I may lead you to health, for health to you is heaven. The love for health prompts you to come. My love for you prompts me to lead you to health. This I do by teaching you the errors of your belief and showing you where you have been deceivd. The truth like love leads you to see your error, and the happiness of your recovery is heaven. People believe that religion is one thing and health another. This is a false idea, and if you look at it you will see that to be happy is the chief end of man. Happiness is what we think we have obtained. Take the religion of our day: that is a poor illustration of happiness, for the misery it occasions is twice the happiness. We are taught our belief is one thing, and our health another. But it is not so. Man”s belief is his heaven or his hell. You may not be aware of the effect of your belief.

Disease is one of the evils that follow our belief. For instance, take a young lady: begin to tell her that her happiness depends upon her having religion. She has no idea of what you mean. So to convince her you give an account of what religion is and show that she must get it or be eternally lost. This makes her nervous. So you tell her to come to Christ. This to her is blind. You say Christ is standing with His arms extended to embrace her. Now to fall into the arms of a stranger is more than she can do. She weeps, not knowing what to do. This you tell her is the conversion of her soul. At last she is made to believe she is not worthy to be a Christian. Then comes the soothing words of the priest and his words soothe her aching head and she quiets down. Then you tell her this is a change of heart. Now she is in a state to get religion.

What has been brought to pass? The young lady has been deceived into a belief that has cost her all the happiness she had. It will be said her religion had nothing to do with her health, but this cannot be the case; for every person is responsible to God or Wisdom for his belief, and he must take the consequences of his belief.

Now, as I said, religion is a belief and disease or happiness is what follows. So as all men have sinned or got a belief, the sentence of death has been passed upon them, for all have come short of the truth. So this truth came into the world of opinions to open the eyes of the blind, or appeal to a higher intelligence to lead them to the Truth that would cure them of their sins or errors. Now a religion or theory was to explain to the masses to keep them out of their trouble. We suppose that Jesus wanted to convey the idea that man was in danger of being destroyed after death, but if he would believe in Jesus be should be saved. So our belief depends upon our beliefs. Now what was Jesus’ idea?

Jesus had no words or ceremonies but a love for a higher development of the human soul. This was Jesus’ religion and He put it in practice by His acts upon the sick. Not by giving an opinion of what He knew nothing, but by showing that their sickness was the effect of their belief.

How often have you heard persons say they are not nervous and they never change their mind. That is as much as to say they have no wisdom, for wisdom changes the mind. Make a person believe a thing. The belief being matter or mind it is an obstacle to wisdom. This obstacle must be removed before the truth can shine. If there is not wisdom enough to remove the obstruction we say such a man has a strong mind. It is true he has a strong error to be overcome, but his mind embraces just as much intelligence as a stumbling block in the way of a train of cars. The dissensions among the passengers represent the contrast between the strongminded and the intellectual man. One sees no way to remove the obstacle and concludes that it cannot be overcome, and settles down in the strength of his own mind, while wisdom investigates the chances and sets himself to work to remove the burden. As the intellectual man works, his mind changes, while the strong man sits and contends that he knows, and when he makes up his mind nothing can change it. The other is fickle and therefore has no mind or stability. This is the case with disease. The belief is the burden to be overcome. In any disease the strong mind means a man deficient in mechanical wisdom who can’t see whether the world develops him, or he develops the world. The strong–minded man is a man whom the world develops, his foundation is on what has been handed down from one generation to another.

[This is the second 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 are continuing 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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