June 30, 2013

LETTERS TO PATIENTS AND INQUIRERS 1

    Chapter XI of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser
1These letters have been somewhat condensed to avoid repetitions.

PORTLAND, Dec. 7th, 1861.            

Miss L.
Your letter was safely received, but my engagements have been such that I have not had time to give my attention to your case until now. Although we have lived side by side ever since we were children, we were ignorant of that power or Science that is necessary to smooth our ruffled path as we travel along the road to Wisdom, whence no child of Science returns to his former home of ignorance and superstition. You and I have a power called the inner man by the ignorant, but its true name is Wisdom or progression. This is the child of God, and although at first almost without an identity this little wisdom implanted in this earthly man or idea is held in ignorance till some higher wisdom frees it from its prison.
You remember when your little pupils would stand by your side looking up to you for wisdom to satisfy their desires. You with your power like Moses went before them leading them through the sea of ignorance, they following your light as a pillar of fire, and in the clouds of darkness your light sprang up. As you traveled along, they murmuring and complaining, you like Moses fed them with the bread of Science and eternal life. You smote the rock of wisdom that followed them and they drank of the waters that came out of your teaching and this rock or Wisdom was Christ. You have a Teacher as well as I that goes before us teaching us Science. We become the child of the one we obey. You, like Moses, held up the serpent of ignorance before your little pupils and all who looked upon your explanation and understood were healed of their disease or ignorance; but the murmuring of your pupils would make you nervous and although you, like Moses on Mount Pisgah, could see the promised land, your heart failed you and you sank down in despair. In your discontented state of mind you call, as Job did, but no answer returns from your comforters, your doctors or spiritual advisers, who being blind guides find you . . . and fall upon you and rob you of all your wisdom. So here you are a stranger among thieves, cast into prison by the very ones you have always taken for your leaders on the road to health; you are bound with bands, sick and with no hope of ever being set at liberty.
Now your belief is like a bark and your wisdom attached to it, on the water of this world, for water is an emblem of error, so that the medical wisdom or ocean is where your bark seems to be moored. Here you are tossed to and fro, sometimes expecting to be lost, while the winds of spiritualism are whistling in your ear till they shake the bark to which your wisdom is attached. So the heavens are dark and the light of wisdom is extinguished in the opinions or waves of medical science.
As you are lying tossing to and fro you see me coming. When I say “me” I mean Science in P. P. Q., not the P. P. Q. that you used to see, but Wisdom in a body, not of flesh and blood, but a body such as Wisdom gives it; for Wisdom gives to every one a body as it pleases and to every science its own body. Your body or bark is of this world and your wisdom is in it, and I have come through your wisdom to get you clear of your enemies. So you may look out of the window of your bark while reading this and you will see me coming on the water of your life saying to spiritualism and the waves of the medical faculty. “Be still, and I will come on board of your bark, [quiet] your fears and return you once more to your own house whence you have been decoyed by these blind guides.”
As disease is in accordance with the laws of man, a penalty is attached to every act so that every one found guilty must be punished by the law. As you are accused of a great many transgressions your punishment is greater than you can bear. So you sink under your trouble. I appear in your behalf to have you tried by the laws of your own country, not by the laws of these barbarians. So I will read over the indictment that stands against you. Here it is: You are accused of dyspepsia, liver complaint, nervousness, sleepless nights, weak stomach, palpitation, neuralgia, rheumatism, pains through your back and hips, lameness and soreness, want of action in the stomach. What say you to this indictment: are you guilty or not guilty? You say “guilty.” But as I appear in your behalf I deny that you are guilty of the evils which cause this punishment. I want you to have a fair trail before the judge of truth, and if you have disobeyed any law of God or Science you must answer to Science, not to man. I will call on the hypocrite or doctor who goes around devouring widows’ houses, and for a few dollars has got the people into trouble from which they cannot get out. He says you have all the above diseases.
On cross—examination when asked how he knows, his answer is [that] you told him. This is all the proof that he or any other doctor can bring. So by their false testimony you have been condemned for believing a lie, that you might be sick. Now as your case is one of a thousand I have, I have only to say a few words to your wisdom as judge. All disease is only the effect of our belief. The belief is of man and as Science sees through man’s belief it destroys the belief and sets the soul or wisdom free.
I will now sum up the evidence. You have listened to the opinions of the doctors, who are blind guides crying peace, peace, till you have embraced all their wisdom. This has produced a stagnation in your system and what their ignorance has not done the spiritualists have tried to do. So between them both you are a prisoner, and in the same state as the people were in the days of Jesus when he said to them, “Beware of the doctrines of the Scribes and Pharisees; for they say and do not, they bind burdens on you that they cannot explain.”
This keeps you nervous. So awake from your lethargy and come to the light of Wisdom, that will teach you that man’s happiness is in himself, that his life is eternal, this life is Wisdom and as Wisdom is progression, its enemy is ignorance. So seek Wisdom and believe no man’s opinion, for these opinĀ­ions make you nervous. This causes a heat to go to your head making your head feel heavy and producing a dullness over your eyes. In fact [this opinion] causes all your bad feelings.
So if I can lift your wisdom above the error or mind then you will be free. But now this nervous heat is all through you and comes to the surface. When the cold strikes you it chills you. This you take for a low state of the blood. But it is a stagnation of your own self, not able to explain the phenomena that you are affected by. As you read this it will excite you to understand it. This is like a little leaven that is put into your bread or belief. It will work till it affects the lump and causes you to feel as though you had a very bad cold. Then it will work upon your system and affect your bowels.
Then you may know that your cure is at hand. So do not despair, only remember the signs of the times and pray that your flight may not be in the night nor on the Sabbath day when you are at meeting. So keep on the lookout and I think you will be better. If so let me know. When you read this letter I will be with you and you will not think it strange, for it will produce some strange sensations, sometimes joy and sometimes grief. But it is all for the best. So keep up good courage and I will lead you through the dark valley of the shadow of death and land you safe in that world of Science where disease never comes.
I will stop at this time. But remember as long as you read this and drink in these words. For this is my [wisdom] and to drink it is to understand. Do this in remembrance of me, not P. P. Q., but Science, till your health comes. I will leave you now and come again and lead you till you can go alone. If you will see fit to show this to Julia H., when you read it we shall all be together. You know what this Truth says that when two or three are gathered together in Science, [Truth or] Wisdom will be there and bless and explain to them.

P. P. Q.                        

[This is the first installment of a five—part series originally written and published as Chapter XI. LETTERS TO PATIENTS AND INQUIRERS, 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

We are beginning a five—part serial review of Chapter 11, LETTERS TO PATIENTS AND INQUIRERS, of the 1921 publication, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser.
Today our focus is on Quimby’s letter to a Belfast neighbor and patient.
There are two handwritten copies of this particular letter preserved within the collections of Quimby’s writings. One copy is located in the Boston University collection at microfilm frame designation BU 3:0674; and the other is located in the Library of Congress collection at microfilm frame designation LC 2:0914. I have detailed the designations and locations of these microfilms in the Primary References section of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond.
Dresser identifies this patient as “Miss L.,” as recorded in the Boston University collection. In the Library of Congress collection, we learn that her name is “Miss Longfellow.” Quimby has provided us with enough internal evidence in this letter, so that coupled with a little historical research; we may target her identity.
She is Rosilla Longfellow (1804—1888), the daughter of Stephen and Deborah Longfellow. The Longfellow family moved to Belfast, Maine, in 1804, the same year as the Quimby family. Her obituary says in part, “Her Father came here in 1804 and lived here until his death in 1859. Miss Longfellow was a well—educated lady and was for many years a teacher of a private school here.”
Quimby’s letter to Longfellow is a perfect freeze—frame. It samples history, Quimby’s own spiritual progression, and his treatment methodology. It is worth taking a second look at this letter, this time working from microfilm images that I presently have on the computer screen in front of me.
The first item I would call your attention to, is the date, “Portland Dec 7th 1861.” This date appears at the end of both handwritten copies of this letter. The geographical location of Portland offers clarification of why Quimby is writing a letter, rather than treating Longfellow in person. Belfast is approximately 85 miles away from Portland, so this would be a case of absent treatment or non-localized healing.
Following the salutation, Quimby writes:
Your letter was duly received but my engagements have been such that I have not had time to give my attention to your case. Although we have lived side by side ever since we were children, we have been ignorant of that power or Science that is necessary to smooth our ruffled path as we travel along the road to Wisdom, whence no child of Science returns to his former home of ignorance and superstition. You and I have a power called by the ignorant, the inner man, but its true name is wisdom or progression. This is the child of God and although at first it is almost without an identity, this little wisdom implanted in this earthly man or idea is held in ignorance till some higher wisdom frees it from its prison.
In this opening paragraph, Quimby has acknowledged the existence of God’s immanence within each of us, and attributes “power” to Science, wisdom, progression, and a transcendent “higher wisdom.” In many of the metaphysical or spiritual treatment methodologies that would come along after Quimby, the first step, is this recognition of God. Continuing:
You remember when your little pupils would stand by your side looking up to you for wisdom to satisfy their desires. You with your power like Moses went before them leading them through the sea of ignorance, they following your light as a pillar of fire and in the clouds of darkness your light sprang up. As you traveled along, they murmuring and complaining, you like Moses fed them with the bread of Science and eternal life. You smote the rock of Wisdom that followed them and they drank of the waters that came out of your teaching and this rock or wisdom was Christ.
Here Quimby makes a distinction of Christ, from that of the natural man, Jesus.
You have a teacher as well as I, that goes before us teaching us Science and error and we become the child of the one we obey. You like Moses held up the serpent of ignorance before your little pupils and all who looked upon your explanation and understood were healed of their disease or ignorance, but the murmuring of your pupils would make you nervous, and although you like Moses on Mount Pisgah could see the promised land, your heart failed you and you sank down in despair. In your discontented state of mind, you called on your comforters, as Job did but no answer returned, from your doctors or spiritual adviser, who being blind guides, find you like the man going down to Jericho and fall upon you and rob you of all your wisdom. So here you are, a stranger among thieves, cast into prison by the very ones you have always taken for your leaders in the road to health. You are bound with bands, sick and with no hope of ever being set at liberty.
In the historical context of my earlier reference to the Longfellow obituary, we learned that her father, Stephen, had made his transition two years earlier, in 1859. This could be the triggering event of the original discontented, disturbed state of her mind. In this timeframe, Spiritualism, and communicating with the “spirits of the dead,” was rapidly gaining in popularity, and it seems quite probable, she had consulted with one of these spiritualist mediums.
Now your belief is like a barque and your wisdom attached to it, on the water of this world, for water is an emblem of error. So that the medical wisdom or ocean is where your barque seems to be moored. Here you are tossed to and fro, sometimes expecting to be lost, while the winds of Spiritualism are whistling in your ear till it shakes the barque to which your wisdom is attached, and the heavens are dark and the light of wisdom extinguished in the opinions or waves of the medical science.
As you are lying tossing to and fro, you see me coming. When I say “me” I mean Science in P. P. Q., not P. P. Q. that you used to see, but the wisdom in a body, not of flesh and blood, but a body such as wisdom gives it, for wisdom gives to everyone a body as it pleases and to every Science its own body. Your body or bark is of this world and your wisdom is in it, and I have to come through your wisdom to get you clear of your enemies. So you may look out of the window of your bark while reading this and you will see me coming on the water of your belief, saying to Spiritualism and the waves of the medical faculty, be still, and I will come on board of your barque, still your fears and return you once more to your own house whence you have been decoyed by these blind guides.
Quimby makes the distinction between his identity as a “natural man,” and the immanent wisdom working through him as a practitioner of this Science. “House” in this sense is a representation of the individual’s normal, waking state of consciousness. Quimby believes that our true inherent state of being as children of God is that of health and happiness.
(One minor point of curiosity is that this copyist alternates the spelling of “barque” and “bark.”)
Next, he moves on to his argumentative or disputation technique by invoking courtroom imagery, where the patient is the defendant. Quimby assumes the role of her defense attorney, and ultimately, the patient’s own reasoning and feelings will be her judge.
Now as disease is in accordance with the laws of man, a penalty is attached to every act so that everyone found guilty must be punished by the law, and as you are accused of a great many transgressions, your punishment is greater than you can bear so you sink under your trouble. Now I appear in your behalf to have you tried by the laws of your own country not by the laws of the barbarians. So I will read over the indictment that stands against you: here it is. You are accused of dyspepsia, liver complaint, nervousness, sleepless nights, weak stomach, palpitation, neuralgia, rheumatism, pains through your back and hips, lameness and soreness, want of action in the stomach and etc., and etc. What say you to this indictment. Are you guilty or not guilty? You say guilty, but as I appear on your behalf, I deny that you are guilty of one and all the evils which cause this punishment. I want you to have a fair trial before the judge of truth and disease, and if you have disobeyed any law of God or Science, you must answer to Science, not to man. I will call on the hypocrite or doctor, who goes round devouring widows houses and for a few dollars has got the people into trouble from which they cannot get out. He says you have all the above diseases.
On cross—examination when asked how he knows, he says you told him. This is all the proof that he or any other doctor can bring, so by their false testimony you have been condemned for believing a lie, that you might be sick. Now as your case is one of a thousand, I have only to say a few words to your wisdom as judge. All disease is only the effect of our belief, the belief is of man and as Science sees through man’s belief, it destroys the belief and sets the soul or wisdom free.
I will now sum up the evidence. You have listened to the opinions of the doctors, who are blind guides crying peace, peace, till you have embraced all of their ideas. This has produced a stagnation in your system, and what their ignorance has not done the Spiritualists have tried to do. So between them both you are a prisoner and in the same state as the people were in the days of Jesus, when he said to them, beware of the doctrines of the Scribes and Pharisees for [what] they say and do not, they bind burdens and etc. on you that they cannot explain.
This keeps you nervous, so awake from your lethargy and come to the light of wisdom, that will teach you that man’s happiness is in himself, his life is eternal and this life is wisdom and as wisdom is progression, its enemy is ignorance. So seek wisdom and believe no man’s opinion, for these opinions make you nervous. This causes a heat to go to your head, making your head feel heavy and producing a dullness over your eyes and in fact causes all your bad feelings. Not that you have any disease independent of your mind but your mind is matter not wisdom. [This underlining appears in both of the handwritten copies.]
So if I can lift your wisdom above the error or mind, then you will be free, but now this nervous heat is all through you and comes to the surface. When the cold strikes you it chills you, this you take for a low state of the blood, but it is like a stagnation of your own self not being able to explain the phenomenon that you are affected by. This is your case. As you read this it will excite you to understand it. This is like a little leaven that is put into your bread or belief and it will work till it affects the lump and causes you to feel as though you had a very bad cold, that it will work upon your system and affect your bowels causing a diarrhea and affecting the water.
Then you may know that your cure is at hand. So do not despair, only remember the signs of the times, and pray that your flight may not be in the night, nor on the Sabbath day when you are at meeting. So keep on the lookout and I think you will be better, if so let me know. When you read this letter I am with you and you will think strange for it will produce some strange sensations on your mind. Sometimes joy and sometimes grief. But it is all for the best, so keep up good courage and I will lead you along through the dark valley of the shadow of death and land you safely in that land of Science where disease never comes.
For a more elaborate example of Quimby’s courtroom disputation technique, I would recommend reading his article, The Explanation.
I will stop now, but remember as long as you read this and drink in these words, you do it in remembrance of me. Not P. P. Q. but Science, till your health comes. I will leave you now and come again and lead you till you can go alone. If you see fit to show this to Julia H. when you read it, we shall all be together and you know what this truth says, that where two or three are gathered together in the name of Science, truth or wisdom will be there and bless and explain to them.
Quimby’s goal in treating this lifelong friend, or any other patient, is to awaken them to the realization, of their own true spiritual identity.
In the meantime, he suggests a spiritual communion by paraphrasing Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” This spiritual unification includes God as Science, Truth, and Wisdom; the patient; Quimby the practitioner; and in this specific case, “Julia H.”
Again, with a little research, I have been able to determine that “Julia H.” is Julia M. (Quimby) Haraden (1822—1892). She was Quimby’s niece, (the daughter of Quimby’s oldest brother William), and she was the second wife of Quimby’s brother—in—law, Daniel Haraden (Susannah Quimby’s brother). Julia also lived in Belfast, Maine, almost directly across the road from Rosilla Longfellow on the date of this letter.
Although this brief letter isn’t a full representation of Quimby’s healing methodology, or reflect his full views on God and man, it does touch on three of the major core components.
  1. Recognition: The acknowledgement of the existence and presence of God.
  2. Unification: The spiritual communion of God, the practitioner, and the patient.
  3. Realization: Leading the patient into their understanding of his or her own divine nature.
I am particularly fond of this letter, as it was my inspiration to establish the free daily Quimby quotations for like—minded students of this science. Every day we can pause for a moment, and participate in this spiritual communion.
These free daily Quimby quotations are available by email. You can sign—up here. They are also posted daily on our Facebook page, and now on the home page of this web site.
In Wisdom, Love and Light,
Ron Hughes
P.S. Do you have your copy of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond as of yet? This is our flagship publication, and within its pages, you will find a great source of Quimby information that is published for the very first time!
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