May 25, 2014


    Chapter XVII of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser

WHAT is disease? This question involves much speculative reasoning. Some suppose that disease is independent of man; some think it is a punishment from God for the wrongs of our first parents; others that it comes from disobeying the laws of God. Now let us analyze the above and see if there is any truth in these statements. If there were not a living creature on earth then there could not be any disease. Otherwise disease must have had an existence before man was created, and, if so, God created it for some purpose. According to man’s reasoning disease is his enemy and if God created an enemy to destroy man, God cannot be man’s friend as is thought. Thus the idea that a benevolent God had anything to do with disease is a superstition; then the question comes up again, where does it come from? I answer, it does not come, it is created, not by God, but by man.

We have not a true idea of God. God is not a man any more than man is a Principle. When we speak of God we are taught to believe in a Person, so we attach our ideas to a Person called God and then talk about His laws and the violation of them is said to be our trouble. How often we hear these words: “If a man would obey all the laws of God he would never be sick.” But the acknowledgment of the error is the cause of nine–tenths of our sickness. When God’s law is [deemed] so severe that man is liable to be put into prison for committing an act or even thinking a thought not in accord with the law, it is no wonder people murmur and complain. The Christian’s God is a tyrant of the worst kind.

God is the name of a man’s belief and our senses are attached to our opinions about our belief or God. The God of the savages is their belief; the God of the Mohammedans is their belief, and so on to the Christian’s God. The Christian’s God like themselves is like a house divided against itself. The God of the North and the God of the South are as much at war as the Christian worshippers; each prays to God for help and each condemns the other. Thus it is plain that gods of this kind are a farce and all our worship of such is from a superstitious fear of a tyrant whose name we dare not take in vain.

The time will come when the true God will be worshipped in spirit and truth, for God is a Spirit and not a man. Wisdom is the sower and God the vineyard, and as man is made in the image of God his [inner] mind is spirit and receives the seed of Wisdom.

Wisdom has no laws, it is the true light. The law of man is the invention of evil thoughts. In proportion as Wisdom is in us the law is dead. So to be wise is to be dead to the law, for law is man’s belief and Wisdom is of God or Science. Now if we could understand the true idea of causes and effects, we could learn where the true cause of disease originated.

Man has invented a God according to his belief so that God is the embodiment of man’s belief. As man’s belief changes so his God changes, but the true God never changes. So the wisdom of man condensed into a being called God is set up for the ignorant to worship, and as all men have been made to acknowledge what they have no proof of the idea of a personal God is received, so that no one questions the identity of such a being. This God was made up for the wisdom of the heathen world and we have revered and worshipped it not from love, but from fear. Its only opponent is Science, so as Science enters this God gives way, but not without a struggle. The true God is not acknowledged by this man’s God, but it is in the hearts of the people working like leaven till it leavens the whole lump. It is called by the children of this world of opinions infidelity. So to be an infidel is to question the God of man’s opinions. Jesus saw through all this hypocrisy, that the God of the heathen was not the God of peace, but of war, and this same God is worshipped now as then. He is called on now [1861] more than he has been since the American revolution. He is the most convenient God I know of. He listens to the North and the South and leads their men on to battle and from the prayers of his followers is as much interested in the victory as the winning party. All this sort of cant is kept up with a certain solemnity of form as though there were real truth in it. But the time will come when all this must give way to a higher worship, for it is a vain worship that shows itself in every church in Christendom. They worship they know not what. This false idea is the foundation on which the Christian world stands and the waters that flow from this fountain are corrupt, for where the foundation is corrupt the stream is also. When the angel of truth disturbs the waters they throw forth every kind of corruption, this poisons the minds of the multitudes and makes them sick. The true wisdom like Science explains away this earthly God and brings man into a more happy state where opinions give way to facts.

1. In the preceding article I asked the question, what is disease? And in that I gave the cause. Now I will describe how it is brought about and the cure. I said that God was the embodiment of man’s belief or opinions. These opinions have been forced on man like burdens, till the people have had to yield to their weight and make the best of it. Yet they murmur and complain but dare not raise their voice in support of the God of wisdom. Opinions of themselves have no element of adhesion, therefore their life depends on coercion. So laws are established and penalties attached and if the people grumble, laws and penalties are applied, sanctioned by God, and you are told of the laws of God, while this same God is only the embodiment of their opinions reduced to a law. Disease is the result of disobeying these laws, so man is made to believe a lie that he may be condemned to disease. For instance, we are often told that if we go out and expose ourselves to God’s cold or law we shall be sick. Here man makes God the author of his own act that he sometimes cannot help and then punishes him for disobeying it. If he exposes himself he dare not find fault with the punishment, so he lives all his life subject to a tyrant that will take advantage of his ignorance to torment him. This belief makes him a servant to sin and to man’s opinion. So his life is in the hands of priests and doctors to be handled to suit their convenience. Thus man is a mere lump of clay in the hands of blind guides and whatever they say to the people they believe. Their beliefs disturb their minds and the doctors sow the seed of disease which they nurse till it grows to a belief, then comes the misery.

Now the God I worship has no fellowship with man’s opinions, so to cure the disease is to break in pieces his opinions. This places man on his own wisdom, independent of man’s God or opinions. Then he sees the one living and true God who rewards every one according to his acts, not his beliefs. To believe in this God is to know ourselves and that is the religion of Christ. It is Christ in us, not opinions that we are in. Just as we know this truth we are of and a part of God; then we become joint heirs of God and will be guided by the wisdom of the Father of all Truth. This purifies and cleanses our minds from all opinions and leads us into the world of Science where opinions never come. There one man shall not lead us by his opinions, but if one says “here is the truth,” let him prove it. This raises man to a higher self–respect, and if man does not respect himself he cannot complain if others do not respect him.

All nations have a God according to their belief. A belief contains no wisdom but is a shadow of something that cannot be seen, worshipped by man who knows not what it is. This something is what the world of opinions reasons about. The Jews prophesied about it, looking for its coming as for a man of great power who would free them from the Roman yoke. Heathen nations had a vague idea of this something. They incorporated it into their beliefs as a monarch or king. So it has always been in the world or in man’s belief, but man knows it not. Even to the wise it is a stranger. It has no place in their hearts or in the religious world except as an unexplained mystery. It comes to man’s senses but man knows it not. It stands knocking at the door but it is not recognized as having an identity; so it is mocked at, spit upon, hated and despised by all men. Yet it is always the same, calm and unmoved, sympathizing with its friends, who are bound down by the opinions of this world’s belief.

Now, what is it? It is an invisible Wisdom which never can be seen by the eye of opinion, any more than truth can be seen by error, for when the truth comes the opinion or matter is seen to be the shadow of this Light or Substance that I call something. Again, what is it? If I should tell you what it is you would ask for proof, so I will give the proof of it from your own opinion. Still what is it? It is what never has been acknowledged to have an identity. Then what is it that has been admitted but cannot be seen and yet is not acknowledged to have an identity? Can the reader answer? “Yes, it is God.” I ask, Is God without an identity? You say no. Then it is not God. What then is it? I will try and tell you and bring the opinions of the world to prove my answer. It is the key that unlocks the innermost secrets of the heart in the prison of man’s belief, and it leads the prisoner who has been bound a captive to health. Opinions are like a shadow, the substance is God. True wisdom is attached to the substance; false wisdom to the shadow. Language is attached to the shadow, which is attached to the substance; language is not in harmony with wisdom; and the discord lies in opinion. If the senses are attached to opinion, when the opinion is lost man loses his opinion but not his senses or life, for his life is his wisdom or self–existence. . . .

This something is a knowledge of this wisdom which puts man in possession of a truth that he can explain to another. It does not come to the man of opinions. This shows that every man has two selves, one acknowledged by the natural man, the other by the spiritual man. Here is the proof. The sick will admit that I can tell them how they feel better than they themselves can do. This shows that I know more than they do and also that this wisdom by which I tell these things is not known by the natural man.

To give the proof I must make the reader detach his senses from a God of man’s belief and attach them to this invisible Wisdom which fills all space, and whose attributes are all light, all wisdom, all goodness and love, which is free from all selfishness and hypocrisy, which makes or breaks no laws, but lets man work out his own salvation; which has no laws, and restrictions and sanctions men’s acts according to their belief, and holds them responsible for their belief, right or wrong, without respect to persons. For the natural man is only a shadow of man’s wisdom, and if the shadow is from this world of opinions it will be destroyed when the light of the Wisdom comes. But the life will be saved, and when the senses shall be attached to this Wisdom, then shall be brought to pass that saying, “Oh! death! where is thy sting! Oh, grave! where is thy victory!” Death is robbed of its victim, the grave gives up its idea of death. Then life rises to that happy state where death, hell, and disease and the torments of existence find no place, from whence no traveler ever returns but where man knows himself. This wisdom teaches him that when our senses are attached to opinions of any kind we become the subject of that opinion and suffer according to the penalty attached to it, unless forgiven or the debt paid by the truth.

This is the new truth spoken of by Jesus; to know this is to have eternal life and the life is the wisdom that can enter the dark prisons of man’s mind and find his life imprisoned by the opinions of this world and there hear his groans, feel his sorrows and break the prison walls of his belief and set him free. When a person professes this Wisdom and attaches his life to it, his life is to him a blessing, for it is of use to man. Then he is happiest when relieving those who have fallen into trouble or into the hands of thieves, who have been robbed of their substance and imprisoned in a creed, there to languish from the wounds of the priests and doctors till the angel of Wisdom or the tide of progress, forced along by popular opinions, shall beat against the walls of this superstition and break down the medical opinions, lay priestcraft low and overflow the superstitious world with Science and good order. Then all men will be judged by what they know and all can prove themselves by this standard.

2. Every science has its standard, based on actual knowledge, not on opinion. I say nothing about such, for they prove their wisdom by their works. But it is of false standards with no evidence of truth except the misery they produce that I shall speak. The two most dangerous to the happiness of man are those of medical science and the priests. These two classes are the foundation of more misery than all other evils, for they have such a strong hold on the minds of the people by their deception and cant. They claim all the virtue and wisdom of the nation, and have so deceived the people that their claims are acknowledged in war and peace. Let us analyze the beliefs of these guides. Take the medical man, what is his science except that of killing human beings?

Is the world wiser by their opinions? Do not the very medical men themselves recommend to the people not to read medical books? Does the mathematician warn the people to keep clear of mathematical books? Is not the world wiser, better and more enlightened by them? Is the world made wiser or better by quack medicine or opinions of the faculty? Are not their opinions like the locusts of Egypt in everything you eat and drink? Science and progress have had to fight both theories ever since the world began to think and act.

It is a common saying that the religious and Christian souls are the foundation of God’s moral government, but let us see if it is not the reverse. Take the North and South of this American Republic as specimens of mankind. According to religious statistics, the South is more religious than the North, for all religion is confined to sectarian creeds. For instance, how long is it since the Unitarians were admitted as Christians? Even now the Universalists are scarcely admitted within the pale of Christianity. The religion of which I speak and with which Science and revelation has had to contend includes more of the liberal classes. Show me where the people are called the most intelligent. It is in New England. This mixing up of religion and science is like establishing honor among thieves. Religion and politics always went together, but Science, progress and good order never had anything to do with either.

Religion was what crucified Christ. Pilate’s wisdom found no fault with Him, but the religion of the priests said “crucify him.” Paul had this idea of religion when he said to the Athenians, “I perceive you are altogether too religious or superstitious.” Then he goes on to show them how their religion led them to worship this something of which I am talking, so he said, “This something that you so ignorantly worship, I declare unto you.” Here you see that Paul was not a religious man, but was converted from a man of religious and superstitious opinions to a man of science and progress and he showed that this, something was not far off, though the religious world did not know it. And the world will never know it till wisdom separates religion and politics from the scientific world. All Science is spiritual and is not known by the priests and demagogues or doctors. The theories of these three classes are not based on wisdom but on opinions. Wisdom is the solid or substance. Matter or mind is the shadow of the spirit of real wisdom. Now put man in possession of this wisdom so that he can make an application of it for the benefit of the suffering community, then this wisdom will soon separate the chaff from the wheat.

3. All the parables were intended to illustrate the two principles, truth and error. Truth is the wisdom of God; error is the god of opinions, and the two have no dealing with each other. Each has his disciples, the God of opinion and the God of science or love; but their acts are so different that their characters can be easily explained. I will give you the religious or political god. He is represented as watching the movements of the armies and dictating to the heads of the nation. No one approaches him except the ordained priest. He takes particular care of the president and the heads of departments, in fact he is ruler and dictator of all things. But he must be approached with as much reverence as a king. The South have another god, not so great, according to the account of Jeff Davis; he seems to be of a lower intellect for he sanctions this low guerilla warfare and a kind of cruelty which is only practised by the Indians. These are the gods of the religious world.

Now where is the God in whose wisdom I believe? He is in the hearts of the people. He is not a man, neither has He form, He is neither male nor female. I will give you an illustration of His wisdom. If you see a man in trouble you are or you are not bound to help him. If you have admitted it right to help a man in distress then He will put you in mind of your agreement. If you neglect your duty, punishment must follow, for that action and reaction are equal is a truth which never varies. This embraces the law and the gospel, and on this hangs all man’s happiness and misery. If man is governed by this truth, it develops his higher wisdom and enables him to prove all things by a standard based not on opinions but on truth. All man’s happiness or misery is in keeping or breaking this agreement. Now if a man is in trouble, although you may bind yourself to help him to the best of your ability, if you do not know it you cannot be punished. . . . This higher law is not known as having any responsibilities, but it is the most perfect of all laws. It is very little understood, and not at all intelligently. To understand it intelligently is to make it your rule of action with the sick, or those in trouble, for the well are not bound by it.

I will show how a well person is not bound by this higher wisdom. Suppose a person is sick or in great distress. A well person sees the sick one but cannot feel his aches and pains. Then he is not bound to relieve him. In order that a person in trouble may be bound so that he is responsible for his acts, he must be born again as it is said of Christ so that he can feel another’s feelings. Then he knows what the world of opinions is ignorant of. Here he stands in relation to the sick as one man stands to another of the natural world who is in trouble. I will take myself as one risen from these dead ideas or opinions into that higher kingdom of wisdom where my acts have as much restriction over my life as they have over the well.

I will here say a word or two which the well must take as an opinion but which the sick will admit as a truth. The sick are imprisoned for their belief; the imprisonment is what they suffer. When I come in contact with them they affect me not in the way one man of opinion affects another. Their language is different. The well speak in my own tongue, but the sick cannot do that for the language of the well cannot describe the feeling of the sick. Thus they are prisoners in their own land, among strangers and not understood.

4. I will illustrate the manner in which the sick express themselves. Ideas or thoughts are matter or opinions. These opinions are in the world of matter and our senses or life are attached to our belief or opinion. As opinions are something believed and admitted they become matter according to the wisdom of the world. Thus the priests invent creeds with penalties attached to their disobedience and the doctors invent diseases with other penalties. The teachers of the young are instructed to establish the sayings of the priests and doctors in the children’s minds. Now everyone knows if he will stop and think that if a child when it is first born is given to the savages it will grow up one and with all the peculiarities of one, or nearly so; this proves that the life of the child is attached to the belief of the savage and the child has become subject to its teachers. In the same way religion or belief in another world is binding on the child and the penalties of the doctors’ belief are also binding. Suppose you bring the same child into our country at the age of a man, will anyone say or believe that he is bound in his conscience to obey the laws of our priests and doctors? I think not. This then shows that the child’s mind or wisdom can be moulded into a savage and if this can be done it will not require a great stretch of imagination to make a disease. Just admit this child’s mind as matter. According to common belief every form of matter can make a shadow according to its identity or description. For instance, consumption is a belief, this belief is matter and throws off a shadow. As life is in the senses and the senses are in the mind or matter, they are all associated together; here is where the mistake lies.

I will make an illustration to show where the mind affects the senses or life and yet you will see they are different. Suppose you are ignorant of the effect of a charcoal fire. You sit down in a room, the heat affects the mind or matter; all this contains no intelligence. At last the life is disturbed, just as the cold would be and would wish to rid itself of the sensation of heat. The senses being attached to life become disturbed. Opinions enter which are like more coal and increase the heat or excitement. Reason which is another element of fire fans the flames till life and the senses are so affected that they will not remain. This is disease. Suppose I come in; the instant the heat affects my mind my wisdom communicates to my senses [consciousness] the cause and the remedy. My senses become composed, my wisdom directs my senses, and they act on the body; the door is opened, the trouble is explained, the patient is saved from his torment, his mind or opinion is destroyed, but his life is saved and his trouble is at an end. Opinions are the elements used to torment life or the senses. They contain no wisdom above the brute, but are matter and can be destroyed. All the opinions of the priests are condensed into a solid according to their belief, and although they cannot be seen by the natural eye, the eye of opinion can see them and lead the senses that are attached to the opinion to the locality where the beliefs are. For instance, the priests tell their hearers that there is another world separate from this. They give such a glowing account of it that their opinions like fuel set fire to the audience and a chemical change takes place; their minds are disturbed like mortar and their senses are affected by the opinions of the priests and an expedition is fitted out to go to this world, which is actually created by the priests’ opinions. The minds are so disturbed that the life, losing its relish for this world, is persuaded to embark for the world of the priests’ opinions, to which their thoughts are attached. Their senses are held between two opinions, not knowing what to do; this is called by the doctors “disease of the mind.” They, not knowing the cause of the trouble take the story of the patient, who also being ignorant, is ready to be deceived by the ignorance of the doctor. So the doctor, like the priest, gets up a false idea of disease and engrafts into the patient’s belief a new idea of some disease which affects the body. Then he reasons till it takes root in the mind and comes forth in the image of its father. The life or senses are then attached and the thing is brought to the doctor to receive a name. So after he examines it he gives it the name of cancer. The patient now wants to know what is to be done. The doctor gives the punishment of such a disease; this troubles the life or senses so that life wants to leave the opinions of the doctor or cancer and escape to the priests’ world where they are told that diseases never come. Here they are halting between two opinions; this last stand is called a real disease of the body. Now these two blind guides quarrel with each other. The doctor accuses the priest of frightening the patient and the priest accuses the doctor of the same. Between the two a war is made and the whole world is affected by their opinions. Parties spring up, reason is brought to inflame the minds and the weakest portion of the people are disturbed till the whole world of man’s mind is overrun with false theories.

5. In the darkness of this superstition, when all are either sleeping or ignorant of the danger that awaits them and the sentinels on the watch tower of those minds that see the craft of these two classes are warning the multitude of the danger, when the enemies of Science and progress are mustering the thoughts of the scientific world and casting every one into prison for their belief, I enter this land of darkness with the light of liberty, search out the dungeons where the lives of sick are bound, enter them and set the prisoners free. These prisons, like the prisons of this world, can be detected by the atmosphere or description. I have said all diseases were opinions condensed into an idea of matter that can be seen by the eye of Wisdom. In like manner all ideas of the priests can be seen, each throws off its shadow or spiritual matter, and each has its particular odor, so that it can be detected as easily by the eye of Wisdom as an apple or an orange can be detected by the eye of opinion. . . .

To be in a state to become a teacher of this unknown God is what never has been acknowledged by the opinions of man’s wisdom. Thousands of persons have undertaken to penetrate this land of mystery and have returned with the idea that they have made the discovery and thus have deceived many people, broken up families, led the weak and timid, stimulated the strong, till the people, like the children of Israel, have left their happy land or state of mind to follow these blind guides, and they have wandered so far from health or home that they have lost their way and fallen among strangers or doctors, who pretending to be their friends have robbed them of their happiness and left them like the prodigal son sick and disheartened in this land of superstition. Like Moses, I enter this land and lead them out, and as I pass through the sea of blood or beliefs of those blind guides I feed them with the bread of wisdom and smite the rock of truth and the water or wisdom gushes out and cools the parched tongues. I go before them in this wilderness, holding up the (priests,) serpent or creed, and all that listen to my explanation are healed from the bite of these creeds. The people murmur and complain, some call me humbug and quack; others want to return to their old ideas of religion, but I stand up and entreat them, stimulating them to press forward and not to give up till I have restored them once more to the happy land of health whence they have been decoyed away. So I am hated by some, laughed at by others, spit upon by the doctors, and sneered at by the priest, but received into the arms of the sick who know me.

6. Perhaps by this time it would be well to sum up all this journey, describing how I entered this land and how I passed through it. I will do so in a few words. After I found that mind was spiritual matter I found that ideas were matter, condensed into a solid called disease, and that this, like a book contained all the wisdom of its author. Seeing the book (for sight with Wisdom embraces all senses; hearing, tasting, etc.) I open it and see through it. To the patient it is a sealed book but to Wisdom there is nothing hid which cannot be revealed or seen, nor so far off that it cannot be reached. So I read the contents of the book to the patient and show that it is false, then as the truth changes his mind light takes the place of darkness, till he sees through the error of disease. The light of Wisdom dissipates the matter, or disease, the patient once more finds himself freed of opinions and happiness is restored. What I have said is produced on me by the patient, by lighting up the mind and making the patient clairvoyant, so that he sees through the priests’ and doctors’ opinion. This dissipates the opinion, for it is nothing but a shadow taken for a substance and the misery comes from mistaking the opinion for a truth; here is the trouble that arises from opinions. Now let men cease from giving opinions or let the people understand that there is no wisdom in one, then you shut the mouths of these barking dogs, howling night and day, which keep the people in constant excitement.

How often you hear this expression used, “such a person murders the King’s English” This I admit may be the case, if language is applied to the things of this natural world, but if it is to be applied to the spiritual world, or to ideas that cannot be seen by the natural man, then I beg leave to differ from the knowledge of this world, for I know that in such a case the world cannot judge of the correctness of language. In the first place a healthy person is not a judge of a sick person’s feelings. Therefore, if anyone gives a name to a feeling which a sick person has he names a sensation that he knows nothing of except as described by the sick. In this there is no standard of right or wrong that the people can agree upon. So every one sets up his own standard of right and wrong, and if a person is ever so sensitive to another’s feelings, he must use such terms as the world admits, or he is ignorant of the King’s English. So the invisible things must be judged by the visible. Here is a great mistake, for if the learned had to prove to the unlearned everything they said, it would be as hard as for those who are sensitive to feelings of the sick to prove them to the learned. Who is to say what God is? Webster, Worcester, or any author, unless he can give some evidence that comes within a person’s feeling or senses? Here is where the trouble commences, with the idea of God. What is God? This is the question, and let man come forward and show who and what God is.

The word God is the name of something material or immaterial. If He is material then God can be seen by the material eyes, and if He is immaterial, the natural man cannot see Him. So that if His name sprang from the natural man, he gives a name of something that he knows nothing of. Therefore one man’s opinion is as good as another’s, till some one can give the substance or impression that caused the word to be applied. Now suppose that man calls Wisdom the First Cause, and that from this Wisdom there issues forth an essence that fills all space, like the odor of a rose. This essence, like the odor, contains the character or wisdom of its father, or author, and man's wisdom wants a name given to it, so man calls this essence God. Then you have wisdom manifest in God or the essence, then this essence would be called the Son of Wisdom. Then Wisdom said, “let us create matter or mind or man in our image,” or in the likeness of this essence or God. So they formed man out of the odor called matter or dust, that rises from the grosser matter, and breathed into him the living essence, or God, and the matter took the form of man.

[This is the first installment of a four–part series originally written and published as Chapter XVII. GOD AND MAN, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]

Quotation by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Editor’s Corner

Today we are beginning a four–part serial review of Chapter 17, GOD AND MAN, of the 1921 publication, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser.

In Wisdom, Love, and Light,
Ron Hughes

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