"Blessed is he that cometh in the Science of Wisdom." ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
March 12, 2017
by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
A lecturer when he analyzes ideas is in a different atmosphere from the masses, and those who are led by public opinion instead of truth see no force in his reasoning. This is why public speakers are always lauded to the skies by one class of persons and cried down by another who cannot find anything worthy of praise in what they say. He who sees and comprehends spiritual ideas in illustrating them to the ignorant can readily find natural ones to match them. But if the minds of men are settled on an opinion in regard to a certain idea, then his illustrations of the truth by changing their minds will destroy their opinions. Hence, they, not seeing the basis of his reasoning, would misrepresent him. When a lecturer resolves the two ideas North and South into their spiritual elements, he gives a different picture of our national affairs from one who is bound by his opinions. He says that the North means freedom in every department of civil and national life: free press, free speech, free thought, free schools and free labor, while the South contains the opposite elements of slavery, oppression and ignorance. Also he says that so long as man and nations are in error, they must continue to change till their redemption from sin and ignorance is worked out and they arrive at truth.
Truth and error are identified in the powers which act upon man. They are always at variance and set men to fighting. And they can never exist in the same place or mingle any more than light and darkness, for one is the destruction of the other. Truth is from God and Science is its embodiment. Its attribute is freedom and the discussion of unsolved problems. Error is an offshoot from matter and consequently it must perish. Its representative is slavery and its effect is to keep man in darkness and suppress all discussion. These two principles under different names are in every person and keep up a continual warfare to get possession of the individual and have charge of his actions. When reason is under the control of error, man gets up false issues and tries to deceive himself as to the real facts, but when guided by truth, he reasons from principle whose demonstration destroys error. A child seeing no sense in science is opposed to it and if left to himself would become indolent and brutal in intellect, but spurred up by truth, shakes off the earthly element and rises into a higher order of intelligence. Under the light of wisdom, man necessarily develops himself, and as truth and error cannot live in the same mind at peace, when the man of truth has fought and conquered the ignorant man, he finds his freedom or his separation from the man of error. But each has its respective ideas that continue the battle on a lower scale. For instance, science, annoyed at the idleness of ignorance, sees that its contentment is a stumbling block to wisdom, so it sends an idea into the domain of ignorance which stirs up discontent. And parties spring up and array themselves against the truth; like individuals, they are of mixed motives and show their position towards the truth by their acts. Error being a step higher than ignorance rouses it into action and then seeks to enslave it.
Science is the friend of ignorance but being spiritual cannot be seen, so it has to act through error on ignorance. Error seeing that it works for another power than itself is jealous and seeks to deceive ignorance, that it may still hold it in bondage. So it misrepresents the arguments of science and by incorrect version renders them absurd. Then science goes off and seeks a home in a far country where it can develop itself. This led our pilgrim fathers to cross the ocean and settle in the wilderness in a climate where no idle or ignorant people would follow to molest them in their right of worship. Thus New England was settled by those stern followers of science who sacrificed all ease and pleasure for the truth, while the indolent and aristocratic preferred a milder climate and more fertile soil where they could rule without so much labor. Therefore in our country these ideas separated and took different localities. Those who loved power settled south, while those who were industrious, ingenious and enterprising and cared not for power remained North.
So the land was divided and the division was spiritual and it could be seen in the corresponding dissensions of men. Ignorance not knowing the cause tries to smother or subdue the evil. And by its measures of encroachments and conciliation stirs up hatred, for while freedom and slavery are the real combatants, men cannot stay their passions till the battle is over and one is victorious. The hatred is not towards those for whom it is felt. It is the stern and resolute opposition of freedom against tyranny that stirs up the evil of slavery in men's minds and rouses feelings of patriotism and hatred of wrong in others. Every one capable of reasoning stands somewhere between science and ignorance on all disputed questions. He either inclines towards freedom or slavery, and when they are at war, he will find himself forced to fight on the side where he belongs. In working out universal freedom, science has never revealed its identity, for it has no party or locality and is only known as a missionary. But it dwells in every heart and rules the destinies of nations. Its power is felt by both parties alike in an individual and a nation and controversies spring up in regard to its character. That which is fighting for error maintains itself by keeping truth out of sight or in a mystery and taking the whole field itself.
This splits the party and men come forward who will not agree to such extremes of error. They learn from wisdom that the principle of wisdom carried out to its extent will free man from mental, moral and human slavery. And likewise that slavery unresisted in power would subject man to every kind of servitude. Science will work out the principle of freedom and error, that of slavery. Error being a disease, its death is science. So to save its life, it tries to cripple science, and in the struggle, it destroys itself. Controversy is its destruction and to prevent that, it galls the masses by arbitrary measures and they complain. This starts another party who try to gain the ascendancy, making a political war. Science standing to the world as a friend, each party quotes it as authority from God. One quotes largely from the Bible that slavery is a divine institution. Another party seeing that progress is the order of the day opposes this as an error handed down from the dark ages. One believes that the masses are not fit to govern themselves; the other pretends to believe that the people are intelligent enough for self-government.
The rock on which they split is democracy, that being the mortar to hold the ideas together and build up the party. Each class wants to lead it. One tries to get control of the masses by appealing to their passions and love of domineering. The other attempts a more intelligent plan and tries to reason with them. Each party is composed of three elements and these form a trinity: Aristocracy, a love of power; Hypocrisy, inventing false issues and Democracy, the masses. These are the principles of one. The other stands up for the administration putting down the rebellion and freedom to all mankind. Science is an unknown power in the matter and acts silently on the leaders. Neither of the parties at the present time appeals to the true idea at issue. Yet, it is working itself into light and will bring about the destruction of slavery. One party at the South honestly believes that slavery is a divine institution and there are many such at the North. But the North being more under the element of truth, it is more enlightened and thus the minds are divided. Whenever the true issue is revealed and admitted, then the slavery party will go down; but until it is understood in all its length and breadth, the party will be popular. All those minds ranging from the brute to the higher intellect will show their grade in talking. No man of narrow mind can appreciate freedom. He may admit it, but he cannot understand it, so he is as easily led into error as truth.
It is the same with disease. When ignorance is roused to action, it is confined in error which being disease struggles to keep ignorance in bondage. So when science, the friend of ignorance, attacks error, ignorance is frightened and not seeing science, it is deceived and compelled into submission and slavery by error. In this way, the priests retain their power over the people, the doctors over the sick and demagogues over the masses. Science is that still small voice that says to error, Thus far shall thou go and no further.
I have given the trinity of error in politics. I will now give it in disease: God, the father, the maker of arbitrary laws whose punishment is disease; the ignorance of man, the medium between the law and mankind; and the medical science which explains the other two. This is the trinity of superstition. I will give that of wisdom: Wisdom, Man and Christ or Science. Man being matter must pass through the wilderness of superstition or slavery to arrive at true wisdom or the father, for the worshippers of the true God are not in medical colleges nor in an aristocracy of wealth but in a heart free from man's opinions. To rebel against the God of man's opinions is to erect the kingdom of heaven in the temple of man's mind and write on it, To the living God or Science. To him shall every knee bow and every tongue confess that the only true religion of liberty is Science. In every civilized society, liberty and slavery divide society. In all barbarous nations, slavery is uppermost and their religion corresponds with their intelligence. It is the same in our country. Science and religion are not the same, they are considered separate and apart in character. Religion is cultivated by men of aristocratic principles and hypocritical motives and modified as men become religious. The former govern the world, but in the end the scientific man will reign. Whenever the intelligence of the masses can be approached by the scientific reasoning, then democracy will crumble to dust in respect to an idea that the people wish to investigate.
Take, for instance, religion; now it contains the same trinity that runs through all error. But let people become so enlightened that they will worship science as their God instead of man's opinion about God, then religion would prove by its works whether it be of science or opinion. Ignorance is the natural growth of matter. Out of ignorance comes error and science is the wisdom that will destroy both and put matter in a state of cultivation to become the medium of science. When the identity of science is acknowledged as much as that of matter, then it will be seen that every man is like an uncultivated wilderness inhabited by rude ideas which, like wild beasts, live on each other till a higher intelligence comes among them, subdues their savage ideas and introduces those of arts and sciences. Whenever these two classes of ideas come in contact with each other, a war commences which is kept up till the brutal party is subdued. The natural man having acknowledged that science has an identity outside of matter, working in man or matter preparing him for a higher capacity than the intellect of the brute, looks upon it as its teacher whose object is his own development.
The great error that stands in the way of this truth is this. Wisdom is not matter. It governs the brutes and all living things, but matter reasons as though itself was intelligent. Ideas governed by science and error are the material of man. One set are matter and are like building materials; the other set are spiritual and are not visible, but they dwell in the temple of the material ideas and exercise an unseen influence on matter, which matter attributes to its own intelligence. This false reasoning makes one world, science the other. The scientific man knows that the man of opinion is not a developed man though he is a step higher than the brute and his intellect ranges from the brute to the man of wisdom. Because they are all of God, we place them on the same platform. This is a mistake, for if it was so, then there would be no chance for improvement. If we class intellect as children without regard to age or color and let the standard of development be wisdom, then we should see old people very young in wisdom and young ones old. Principles are the foundation of the scientific man. He is not in matter but dwells in wisdom, while to the man of matter, he is like a man who once was and now is not. This error arises from the fact that man places his wisdom in matter and cannot see either intelligence or matter outside of himself. Therefore, his wisdom is in his light and his light is in his body. If his body is full of darkness, he cannot see any light but the false one of darkness. If however, his body is of science, he is full of light. And looking upon his body, he sees it as a thing or idea like any other idea that can be changed and destroyed, and he is not affected by what the world calls destruction of the body. This is the wisdom of Christ which Jesus professed; therefore, he, like other scientific men, was to the world a mystery.
Eternal life is Christ or Science; this teaches us that matter is a mere shadow of a substance which the natural man never saw nor never can see, for it is not matter; it never changes; it is the same today and forever.” ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
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Henry Wood (1834-1909) can be described as one of the pioneers of the New Thought movement, even though he was neither a minister nor the founder of a church or center. A successful businessman and author, Wood was forced by ill health to retire. He somehow came across the principles later known as New Thought, was healed, and sought to help others learn to heal themselves. He was one of the founders of the Metaphysical Club and at one time served as its president.
Wood, along with Horatio W. Dresser, was one of two New Thought authors specifically singled out for praise by William James in his Varieties of Religious Experience. Here is what James had to say about New Thought, known at the time as “mind cure”:
The plain fact remains that the spread of the movement has been due to practical fruits, and the extremely practical turn of character of the American people has never been better shown than by the fact that this, their only decidedly original contribution to the systematic philosophy of life, should be so intimately knit up with concrete therapeutics. (p. 94)
On the same page, James, after describing “a good deal of the mind-cure literature” as “so moonstruck with optimism and so vaguely expressed that an academically trained intellect finds it almost impossible to read it at all”, states in a footnote that he considers Horatio W. Dresser and Henry Wood “far and away the ablest of the group” of mind-cure authors.
The present volume is based on a long series of weekly columns commenting on Wood’s thought over the course of ten books. It includes the Suggestions and Meditations from Wood’s flagship work, Ideal Suggestion Through Mental Photography, and the Suggestive Lessons from The New Thought Simplified.
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We are continuing our exploration of Phineas Quimby’s Christology. What was his interpretation of the work and person of Jesus Christ in his own words?
Today’s featured article is The Analysis of Ideas by a Lecturer that begins on page 130 of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond.
In Wisdom, Love, and Light,
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