November 9, 2014

Am I a Spiritualist?

by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

The question is often asked if I am a spiritualist. My answer is that I am not, after the manner of the Rochester rappings, but I am a believer in the spirits of the living. Here seems to be a difference of opinion. The common opinion of the people in regard to the dead I have no sympathy with, from the fact that their belief is founded on an opinion that I know is false; yet I believe them honest but misled for the want of some better explanation of the phenomenon. We see men, women and children walking around; by and by they pass away from us, and their bodies are laid in the earth.

This is one of the phenomena of the world. We look on the scene and pause. A cold icy sensation passes through our frame. We weep from our ignorance. We have seen the matter in a form moving about as though it contained life. Now it lies, cold and clammy, and our hope is cut off. Perhaps it is a son or a daughter in whom we had our hopes raised to the highest extreme of seeing them stand before the world, loved and respected for their worth, now gone forever. Doubts and fears take possession of our minds. We want to believe that they will know us, and in this state of mind, we often ask this lump of clay if it does know us, but no answer returns. We weep and repeat the question but no answer comes, and in a convulsive state of mind we leave and retire to some lonely spot to pour out our grief. Some kind friend tries to console us by telling us that our friend is not dead, but still lives, by talking what they have no knowledge of, only a desire that it may be so.

Their sympathy and ignorance mingle in a belief, and we try to believe it. This is the state of the people in regard to the dead. Their belief rises from the necessity of the case, but it keeps them in ignorance of themselves and all their lives subject to bondage.

Now where do I differ from all this belief? In every respect. My belief is my knowledge, my knowledge is my practice, and my practice gives the lie to all my former belief. I believed as all others did, but my theory and practice were at variance with each other. I therefore abandoned all my former beliefs as they came in contact with my practice, and at last followed the dictates of the impressions made on me by my patients. In this way I got rid of the errors of the world or my old opinions and found an answer to all my former opinions. These former opinions embraced all sorts of disease and ideas that contained error, disease and unhappiness which lead to death. The unraveling of my old opinions gave me knowledge of myself and happiness the world knew nothing of, and this knowledge I found could be taught to others. It teaches man that he is not in the body but outside of it, as much as the power is outside of a lever; and the body is to the soul as the steam engine is to the engineer, a machine without knowledge or power, only as it is given by something independent of itself.

January 1860


Illustrations of this Truth

by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

I will illustrate to you the way in which I cure or correct the sick. You know I speak in parables to you. To the well this is of no consequence, for they cannot see any sense in my talk. So it is in every science with those who are ignorant of the meaning the person wishes to convey. This was the trouble Jesus had to contend with. All His knowledge of science must be explained by parables, for the people’s belief was in themselves and in the thing believed. Therefore to reduce their belief to a science was a very hard task, for it had to be done by parables of things that each person could understand. When He talked to the multitude it was about the science or principle that was intended to be applied to each person’s individual case.

The parable of the sower illustrated the principle like an illustration on some science. It was not intended to be applied to any individual; therefore when the disciples heard the parable, they did not understand it as it did not apply to their case, and they wanted an explanation. Now His explanation to them is as much of a parable to the rest of the world as His parable to the multitude was to His disciples.

So a parable of mine is of no use to the well, for it is not intended for them but is for the sick and must be varied to suit the case that calls it out. Like a lawyer’s argument, it depends upon the case to be tried; one plea does not answer for all cases. So it is with the sick; each one’s case must be explained to himself. The science can be explained to the well, but not by the same parables that are necessary to be applied to the sick.

I will illustrate. A lady called on me whose feelings were as follows. She felt so weak that she could not keep from stooping over; it was with much difficulty that she could sit up. This feeling I could feel but the woman who was with her could not. Therefore to cure her and make her sit up, the work must be done by an explanation that she could understand, and this must be done by a parable because the lady’s identity was in her belief.

It seemed as though I could see the lady sitting in that posture but her body had an identity separate and apart from the earthly body, and this sick (spiritual) body is the one that tells the trouble. This body is the belief, and it seemed to be holding up the natural body till it was so weak it could barely sit up. These were the lady’s feelings. This spiritual body is what flows from or comes from the natural body and contains all the feelings complained of. It speaks through the natural body and, like the heat from a fire, has its bounds and is enclosed by walls or partitions as much as a prison. But the confinement is in our belief, its odor is its identity, its knowledge is in its odor, its misery arises from its false ideas, and its ideas are in itself and connected with its natural body. This is all matter and has an identity. The trouble, like sound, has no locality of itself but can be directed to any place. Now as this intelligence is around the body, it locates its trouble in the matter or body and calls it pain or some other name. Now the sick soul is imprisoned in this prison with the body, which body feels as though it contained life. But the life is in the spiritual body which being ignorant of itself places its own identity in the flesh and blood. This is because the heat from the body contains the identity, and the soul puts such construction as has been taught, and thinks its own trouble is in and a part of the natural body. This is the prison that Christ, not Jesus, entered and broke the walls by His word or power and set the captive free. At this door He stands and knocks, and if we will let Him in, He will explain away the error or forgive the sin and save the soul. He will deliver us from our earthly hell that is made by the wisdom of the world.

March 1860


Quotation by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby


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Editor’s Corner

Recently, one of our readers expressed the idea to me that these newsletters are like weekly sermons by Phineas Quimby. He may be on to something.

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In Wisdom, Love, and Light,
Ron Hughes

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