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

March 30, 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.]


I am often asked what I call my cures I answer, the effect of a Science because I know how I do them. If I did not know they would be a mystery to the world and myself. Science is Wisdom put into practice. To the natural man it is a power or mystery. All wisdom that has not been acknowledged by the natural man is called a “gift” or spiritual demonstration, not a science. The curing of disease has never been acknowledged to be under any wisdom superior to the medical faculty, so people have kept the world in darkness till now, and how much longer they will do so I cannot tell. If I succeed in changing the minds of men enough to investigate they will see that disease is what follows an opinion, and that wisdom that will destroy the opinion and make the cure. Then the cure will be attributed to a superior Wisdom, not a power.

I am accused of interfering with the religion of my patients. This is not the case, but if a particular passage in the Bible or some religious belief affects the patient I attack it. For instance, a person gets nervous from his belief that he has committed the unpardonable sin. His thought is then attached to the sin of his belief, and his belief is some one’s opinion about a passage in the Bible that he believes applies to his case. I know this is all false, so of course I have to destroy his opinion, and this destroys the effect which is disease. His senses are attached to a disease, mine are attached to the Wisdom that shows the absurdity of the opinion. His wisdom is of man, mine is of God or Science. All disease is the punishment of our belief either directly or indirectly, and our senses are in our punishments. My senses are attached to the Wisdom that sees through the opinion, so that my love or Wisdom casteth out their disease or fear; for their fear hath torment, and perfect wisdom casteth out all opinions...

I am often accused of opposing the medical faculty and the religious creeds. In answer to this I plead guilty, but you must not gather from this that I oppose goodness or virtue. I oppose all religion based on the opinions of men, and as God never gave an opinion I am not bound to believe that man’s opinions are from God. The difference between man’s opinions and God’s wisdom is more than one would naturally suppose, but the former is taken for a truth. This makes the trouble with which the wise have to contend. If a man knew himself he would not be misled by the opinions of others, and as disease is the result of our opinions it is the duty of all to know themselves, that they may correct their own errors. Now if error is something to correct it must require more wisdom than the knowledge which invented it. When I find a person diseased I know his trouble must have a father or beginning. If it is ignorant of its father, it is not to be supposed that it is not without a father or mother. So to destroy your earthly father is to destroy your opinions, and to be with your heavenly Father is to be wise; so that every one that loses his opinions and arrives at the truth is dead to the natural world, but alive to Wisdom or Christ.

When I sit down by a sick person and he or she wants to tell me what the doctor says, to me it is nonsense for I have not the least regard for their knowledge. Their opinions are what I try to destroy and if I succeed their opinions have no power to create disease. Man’s profession, not his wisdom, is the standard of his popularity. I stand in direct opposition to all others in this respect and here is the conflict, whether man’s opinion is to rule or his wisdom. If the medical profession is based on wisdom, then it will stand the test, and disease must have its origin outside of the profession; either this must be true or the opposite. I assert that disease is the off-spring of opinion. Ignorance produces the phenomenon or effect, as in the brute creation, but the wild animal differs from that of the domesticated animal. So it is with man; the perfect fool knows no aches or pains, where there is no fear there is no torment. Fear is error, Wisdom casts out fear, for it knows no fear. You often hear persons attempt to explain my cures by their own opinions. Thus they make themselves out wise by their own ignorance, since they deny the very power of wisdom which they acknowledge by admitting it as a mystery to them. So they admit a power outside of their knowledge and worship that of which they are completely ignorant. Now I know that this something which is a mystery to them is wisdom to me and that my wisdom sees through their opinions; and also that the explanation is the conversion from an opinion to truth or health. The two characters, wisdom and opinion, stand before each other and the people choose the one they will obey, just as they do in national affairs...

Disease is the offspring of error and as long as the people worship men’s opinions, just so long will they be sick. To me it is perfectly plain that if the people could see themselves they would discard all the priests’ and doctors’ opinions and become a law unto themselves. All I do is to put the world into possession of a wisdom that will keep them clear from these two classes of opinions. You may think I have some feeling against the character of the physicians but this is not so. Neither do I think that they who know me have anything against me as a man, but they scout the idea that I know any more about how I cure disease than any one else; they think they have the wisdom and I have the power. I stand to the medical faculty in the light of a harmless humbug perfectly ignorant of what I profess to know, and all my talk being to amuse the patients and make them believe that disease is in their imagination. If I succeed in doing this it is all well, but so far as wisdom goes, that is folly. I am aware that this is my position with the faculty and their opinions have such a strong hold on the people that most of them look upon me in the same light, and if by chance some one chooses to see that I am not the person these blind guides call me, they in time are looked upon in the same light. I acknowledge that all this is true with regard to my position in society, and how do I feel in regard to it? I know that it is all false, although my word does not prove it so, but I suppose I have the same right to give my opinion with regard to these two classes as they have to give their opinions about me and I will now give it and let the masses judge for themselves.

The principles which I am trying to establish are something new. All established theories purporting to help mankind are merely the effect of the effort which one set of demagogues make to gain the ascendency over another; the people are no better off, but worse. Disease of a person is like that of a nation, each is governed by arbitrary laws and the governing of both is alike. Disease is acknowledged to have an identity independent of man, and man makes laws to govern it, attaches penalties to their disobedience and calls these laws the “laws of God.”...

I stand alone, as one arisen from the dead, or the old theories, having passed through all the old ideas and risen again, that I may lead you into this light that will open your eyes to the truth of Him who spake as never man spake, and who spake the truth. This truth condemns all man’s opinions, it settles all creeds and priestcraft and upsets the medical profession and brings peace and good will to man. It teaches that man in order to break off from his wickedness or opinions and learn to speak the truth, must not try to deceive his fellow man by pretending to know what is merely an opinion.

Show me the doctor that really thinks his medicine has any curative qualities or any intelligence except as it is associated with his opinion and I will show you a fool, for no intelligent physician would dare risk his reputation on a homeopathic pill to cure a cough, supposing the patient took the medicine in his food and did not know it. This shows that they believe they work on the imagination of the patient. There are certain drugs that will act as an emetic or cathartic; but if the patient should take an emetic by accident, it would make him vomit. Now when the patient vomits, if a wrong direction is given, another effect might be produced; so it all goes to show that the mind must be guided by some wisdom superior to itself. If error directs, nothing certain is known of the effect. If wisdom is at the helm no medicine is wanted, for Wisdom can break opinions in pieces.

Ignorance not knowing how the mind can be affected by a direction outside of itself, identifies wisdom with error or matter, so that truth is a stranger, and it is all the time fighting against itself to get rid of an enemy of its own creation. Now teach men this simple fact, that in all action the wisdom of reaction is in the act though the act knows it not, and their happiness will be the result.

[This is the fifth 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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