November 18, 2012

Is Language Always Applied to Science?—Part I

    by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

Everyone must answer, No; then it must sometimes be applied to error. Language when applied to science is true if it represents the thing it means, but when applied to error, it contains no real meaning but is merely words used to represent what the author thinks is true, which he does not pretend to prove but only states as opinion. This is knowledge; it contains no wisdom but is matter that can be changed; therefore when a man tries to explain what he knows as a science, he is not understood by a man of knowledge. Wisdom is eternal truth, and the language that can explain that cannot be changed, although other words may be used to explain the same truth. Knowledge is seen represented by language which contains no wisdom, and as Paul said, words with no meaning.

Take two persons, one with wisdom or science, the other with knowledge. When the former undertakes to talk with the man of knowledge, he is not understood but is misrepresented by the latter whose wisdom being in his words contains opinions only and not science. Such men are always referring to some celebrated author. For instance, if their knowledge of the Bible is disputed and the absurdity of their opinions shown, they will fall back on the authority of someone who, not understanding, gave an opinion to agree with what he happened to think was right. That will not be admitted by the scientific man who proceeds to give another explanation of the Bible. Then comes the contradiction on language. He is accused of ignorantly perverting the meaning of words and flying into obscurity when the man of knowledge cannot follow him. This last may be true, for he contains no wisdom and to talk science to such a person is like casting pearls before swine. If the man of science will labor with the man of knowledge till he makes him understand his meaning, then the language is without fault.

I have seen this in my own case. The world has no idea of what I wish to communicate; so in his ignorance, each one thinks the obscurity lies in my want of knowledge. While if I excite their muddy brains and create my idea in their mind, then they can see and understand it and my language is correct. This was the case with Jesus. The priests and scribes found fault with his education, for after he had been telling them of this great truth, which they could not understand, the Jews marvelled saying, How knoweth this man letters having never learned? Jesus answered, My doctrine is not mine, but from him who sent me. Here he was accused of being ignorant and he would be now by the same class were he on earth. Jesus taught not opinions but a truth based on eternal science that he could practice which was the science of health and happiness. He called this truth his father, and when it spoke it was not Jesus; therefore he makes a difference between himself as a natural man and himself as this truth or science. He says, If any man will do his will (this truth), he shall know of the doctrines, whether they be of God or whether of man. Again, He that speaketh of himself speaketh his own glory, but he that speaketh His glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

Quotation by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

Here Jesus shows that his doctrine or wisdom was not of man but from a higher power which he acknowledged superior to himself. This the people could not understand for it did not come within their senses, and they said he had a devil; others said he was ignorant, and others said he made himself equal with God. In the same spirit when I say that the wisdom that I speak to the sick is superior to my natural senses and yet I understand if, some say it is all myself. And if I undertake to explain it and they cannot understand it, some say it is from want of education on my part and others say that I make myself equal with Christ. While talking with a Christian, if I contend for my own explanation of the scriptures which differs from their own, this is to make myself equal with Christ. It is the same with the medical faculty. They are the truth or Christ, and if I contradict them and show the absurdity of their theory, then I make myself equal with Christ. Christ is their standard, and if I refuse their explanation which I know is false, then I am accused of making myself equal with them or Christ. Jesus warned the public against false Christs and told the people to test them by their works. The Christ that he taught healed all manner of diseases, while they who profess to be followers of Christ in these days cannot do one thing that Jesus did. Still they assume to be leaders of the true religion which really contains not a shadow of truth. It is made up of forms and ceremonies and sacrifices and can never take away sin or disease that man is suffering from. This is the kingdom I am making war with.

    December 1862

Source: Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond, beginning on page 339.


HISTORY OF THE MANUSCRIPTS

    by Horatio W. Dresser

[Continued from last week.]

It will be seen then with what care the exact wishes of Dr. Quimby were carried out. The manuscript books were loaned to some extent by the Misses Ware, Mrs. Sabine and Mr. Dresser, but only when they deemed it wise and under conditions. The copies were kept in security after Dr. Quimby's death so that their teachings should be given to people who appreciated them, and so that they should not be published before the right time. Thus the few came to know that they existed. From the Misses Ware we had abundant opportunity to learn the method of producing and copying the writings as above described.

Mr. A. J. Swarts, one of the pioneers of the movement now known as New Thought, took pains to investigate the facts in order to clear away misapprehensions which prevailed concerning the discovery of Christian Science. Mr. Swarts had nothing against Mrs. Eddy nor any reason for defending Dr. Quimby except to bring out the truth. After visiting Belfast, where he had opportunity to read excerpts from the press concerning Quimby's work and to hear portions of the manuscripts read by George Quimby, Mr. Swarts published his findings in the Mental Science Magazine, Chicago, April, 1888. (1) Learning that the facts of her indebtness to Quimby were becoming known through the endeavors of Mr. Swarts, Mrs. Eddy sent from Boston over her own signature to the Portland Daily Press, while Mr. Swarts was in Portland, a paid article called an "Important Offer." Among other things, Mrs. Eddy offered to pay the cost of printing the Quimby manuscripts, the qualification being, in Mrs. Eddy's own words, "provided that I am allowed first to examine said manuscripts, and that I find they were P. P. Quimby's own compositions, and not mine that were left with him many years ago, or that they have not since his death, in 1865, been stolen from my published works." Inasmuch as everything depended on her own decision, of course no attention was paid to this offer. Readers interested to follow this controversy in detail will be able to do so by means of the summary in the Appendix. They will then see that with the publication of this volume the matter has become one of "internal evidence," since the writings show plainly that they were produced by a mind of Dr. Quimby's type as that mind has been characterized by those who knew him intimately, hence that the manuscripts could not have been the products of the one who claimed to have written them.

    (1) Reprinted in "The True History of Mental Science," revised edition, 1899.

Most of the writings were produced prior to October 1862, the later articles being mostly repetitions of earlier statements and on the whole not so clear. All the significant terms and expressions such as Science, Science or Christ, Science of Health, the Science of Life and Happiness, were in regular use by 1861. No patient of Quimby's could have explained to him in 1862 that there was a "deeper principle" than magnetism or mesmerism underlying his cures, for he had come to that conclusion himself in 1847, when he gave up his former practice. Nor would this patient have undertaken to explain away his "manipulations," because she knew that the occasional rubbing of the head was no essential part of the treatment. In The Evening Courier and the Portland Advertiser, Mrs. Eddy committed herself publicly to the view that Quimby's works were wrought by the Christ-principle, in contrast with the idea that he healed as did spiritists, mesmerisers and magnetic healers. After Quimby's death she made good this view of his work by writing her "Lines on the Death of Dr. P. P. Quimby, who healed with the Truth that Christ taught, in contradistinction to all isms." The internal evidences show that this estimate was the true one, and that every adverse opinion since circulated has been created since 1872.

The most important date in the whole history might be called January 7, 1921, when there came into the editor's hands the entire collection of letters, original writings, copies, and the other material so carefully preserved since the death of Dr. Quimby. I went through the entire collection in the spirit of fresh investigation. Some of the material I had never seen, and the collection proved richer in valuable data than I had thought. The rest I had not seen for twenty-seven years, with the exception referred to above. I give the facts concerning all this material as thus found.

The material consisted of the following: (1) Original manuscripts of articles and letters in P. P. Quimby's handwriting, with his own spelling,(*) and no changes made by any other hand; (2) 6 manuscript books containing revised articles copied by the Misses Ware and George Quimby, with emendations made here and there by these writers under the direction of Dr. Quimby; (3) 3 sets of manuscript books containing the copies formerly belonging to Miss Sarah Ware, Mrs. Sabine (formerly Miss S. M. Deering, Dr. Quimby's patient), and Julius A. Dresser; (4) a manuscript book of pieces by Dr. Quimby prior to 1856, Dr. Quimby's letters to patients, 1860, and Miss Emma Ware's catalogue of all the articles, 1859-65; (5) the private journal of Lucius Burkmar, 1843, Quimby's "subject" in his mesmeric period; (6) miscellaneous notes, letters and articles in separated sheets, copied from the originals on these sheets before being copied into books; (7) letters of patients to Dr. Quimby, including 14 by Mrs Eddy, then Mrs. Patterson, and letters by Dr. Patterson; (8) Quimby's letters to patients after 1860; (9) 3 copies for circulation of Quimby's "Answers to Questions," 1862, with George Quimby's note on one of them that these were writ­ten before Mrs. Eddy visited Mr. Quimby as patient; and (10) newspaper scrapbook of articles about Dr. Quimby, 1840-65. There was also placed at my disposal the entire correspondence between George Quimby and inquirers and critics, as well as all newspaper and magazine articles on the Christian Science controversy to date. And the material put into my hands was all that had existed, save that it was customary to destroy articles in their first form after they had been revised in consultation with the Misses Ware and copied as before indicated. P. P. Quimby's handwriting is distinctive, unmistakable, as the facsimiles show. So too is that of Miss Emma Ware, Miss Sarah Ware and George Quimby.

    (*) See the facsimile of George Quimby's writing on the wrapper at the end of this volume.

[This is the third installment of a four part series originally written and published as Chapter II. HISTORY OF THE MANUSCRIPTS, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]


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Editor's Corner

In addition to our continued examination of the early history of the Quimby writings as detailed by Horatio W. Dresser in his 1921 publication of The Quimby Manuscripts, today, we begin a three-part series written by Quimby in December, 1862, that is entitled, “Is Language Always Applied to Science?”

The original manuscripts and writings of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby are archived in the Library of Congress, Boston University, and Harvard University. Additional information about these collections may be found on our web site here.

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