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"Blessed is he that cometh in the Science of Wisdom." ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

March 16, 2014


    Chapter XVI of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser

Dr. Quimby is so greatly interested in calling attention to the power of human beliefs in relation to all man’s troubles that he does not give much space to a description of the natural world, does not state his idea of matter very definitely, and often leaves the reader wondering how he distinguishes between matter and “spiritual matter” or the mind of opinions. He is especially interested to point out that matter can be “condensed into a solid by mind action,” that it undergoes a “chemical change” as a result of mental changes. He sometimes speaks of it as an “error” or shadow, as “an idea seen or not, just as it is called out.” Whatever its objective reality in the Divine purpose, matter in itself is inanimate, there is no intelligence in it. His view of matter is idealistic, therefore, and in considering his theory of disease and its cure we need to bear in mind that matter for him is plastic to thought. The ordinary or external mind which is “spiritual matter” is the intermediate term. Above this mind is the real man with his spiritual senses, his clairvoyant and intuitive powers. The final term is Wisdom, making known its truths in so far as there is responsiveness and intelligence on man’s part. This is said to possess a real “identity.” To find himself as an “identity” in every truth, man should know himself as the “scientific man,” able through Wisdom’s help to banish all errors from the world.” ~Horatio W. Dresser

[Continued from last week.—editor.]


What proof can be brought to show that a man is just what he thinks he is? My answer is: his works. Man is known by his works, for they are the fruit of belief and where there is no fruit there is no belief, in that case man is either perfectly ignorant or perfectly wise, and stops work because he is God and God has finished His work. Now man is not supposed to be either of the two, God or an idiot. So he must be a being between both. That makes him a man of opinions and beliefs. To show whether the works are of God or error is the great aim of man. Both cannot be of God, for one reasons from what he believes and the other from what he knows.

I will introduce a man of error who bases his knowledge on others’ belief, still thinking he has an opinion of his own. The effect of his wisdom or belief is seen by its fruits. The younger son is he who listens to the wisdom of his brother and sees him contradict himself and shows him his absurdity. This is the scientific man and he is not known, for when the man of opinions is destroyed by the scientific man he is not seen at all. Take two persons talking about mesmerism; one never heard anything, the other is posted in all things pertaining to the law of mesmerism. Let A. be the wise man and B. the ignorant man. A. sits down and expounds the principles of mesmerism. He reads from those who have written on the subject, how a man sits down, takes hold of another’s hand, looks him in the eye, and at length the man is affected; his eyes close and he goes to sleep. Then B. asks how this is done. Here comes the mystery or “Science” of A. Finally it enters the head of A. to go to the world of spirits. Here is a large field for operation. C. finds the dead and explains about them to A. and B. By this time they have become so wise that their light has lit up the whole world of spirits, so that everything is perfectly plain. This is as far as they can go. The whole world stops here and here ends mesmerism according to the world’s belief. At last there comes a report that spirits made their appearance at Rochester, and raps and table tipping take place. Then B. asks A. how he explains these things. A. “It is by the presence of electricity.” B. “I cannot believe that, I want to see something of it.” So they go to a medium and everything goes to prove the belief of the medium that it is spirits. One rap means “yes” and two means “no,” and these prove the spirits. B. asks A. what he thinks of that. A. says “It is a development of animal magnetism.” B. says “No, I believe it must be spirits.” Here is a difference of opinion. B. is as well posted as A. The medium agrees with C. B. believed A. till A. showed his ignorance, then B. embraced the opinion of the medium. So it goes on. One opinion is believed till some other opinion comes up that cannot be explained, then some one states an opinion and the multitude follow.

Like the rest of the world I began with no belief or opinion. Like a child I wanted to see. As B. did, I asked A’s explanation and took it, then I went to work to prove it and did prove beyond a doubt according to my belief that it was governed by electricity. At last I ran against a stumbling block which upset all my theory and left me without anything but the bare experiments. I then went to work to prove my belief, and the experiments proved anything I believed, and I concluded that man is just what he thinks he is to himself. I have waded through the mire of ignorance, crossed the ruin of superstition, have walked on the water of my belief and at last landed on the shores of Wisdom, where I have found the other branch of truth that tells me that the water or error had dried up so that the dry land of reason is ready to receive the seed of Wisdom into the earth, or mind of man. As I have passed through the fire of superstition and been baptized in the water of error and belief, I have come up out of the water and the heavens or Wisdom are open to me and I see Wisdom in the form of a dove or sympathy saying to every one: “Behold, the truth hath prevailed to open the book of superstition; it hath broken the seal and introduced a new form of reasoning.”

I have no belief in regard to religion of any kind, neither have I any belief in another world of any kind.1 I have no belief in what is called death. In fact I am a total disbeliever in any wisdom that ever taught any religion outside of man’s belief. Then you may ask what kind of a man are you without a belief? I have a belief like all men but it does not apply to what I have been talking about. I have a belief on all subjects that are agitating the country.

1 Quimby sincerely believed in the real spiritual world of the living, in contrast with “the other world” of the dead.

I believe there was one person who had these same ideas and to that person I give all the credit of introducing this truth into the world, and that was Jesus. I have no doubt of His being the only true prophet that ever lived who had ideas entirely superior to the rest of the world. Not that He as a man was any better, but He was the embodiment of a higher Wisdom, more so than any man who has ever lived.

Perhaps you do not understand my meaning. Take the discovery of electricity. There were men who had conceived some of the ideas of Franklin,—not that Franklin was of himself the discoverer or the person who reduced it to a science, but his mind was the medium that brought the wisdom of the wise into focus, so that an experiment might be made to prove the principle. The wisdom of the world is not confined to any person, but when it begins to condense into a truth it must exhibit itself through some medium. This great truth called Christ was exhibited through the man Jesus, the same as a great truth was exhibited through the man Franklin and called “electricity.” There was a belief at the time of destruction or overthrow of this great truth at the crucifixion of Jesus that it should rise again. Since then there has been a constant development of facts showing that there was some wisdom or power superior to man and the superstition of the world has kept it down, as the superstition of slavery has kept Freedom in chains.

Now, I as a man claim no preeminence or superiority over other men, but admit my superiority to the learned and wise... I have none of these sins to answer for. I am free from all that false religion. But I had to contend with the devil or error for more than twenty years before I was free. Now [1864] I stand as one that has risen from the dead or error into the light of truth,—not that the dead or my error has risen with me: I have shaken off the old man or my religious garment, and put on the new man that is Christ or Science, and I fight these errors and show that they are all the makings of our own mind. As I stand outside of all religious belief, how do I stand alongside of my followers? I know that I, through this Wisdom, can go and impress a person at a distance. The world may not believe it, but to the world it is just such a belief as the belief in spirits. To me it is a fact and this is what I shall show.

[This is the third installment of a twelve–part series originally written and published as Chapter XVI. DISEASE AND HEALING, 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 a twelve–part serial review of Chapter 16, DISEASE AND HEALING, of the 1921 publication, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser.

In Wisdom, Love, and Light,
Ron Hughes

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