"Blessed is he that cometh in the Science of Wisdom." ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
October 9, 2016
by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
The word science is frequently used but so loosely defined that its true meaning cannot be understood. Ask a person what science is, he answers, “It is knowledge, a collection of general principles.” This leaves it just where it finds it. So everyone sets up his standard of a collection of general principles.
Let us see if the word can be explained so that everyone may know. Science embraces something that is spiritual or a revelation from a higher state of mind than that of the brutes, so to me science is the name of that wisdom that accounts for all phenomena that the natural man or beast cannot understand. To illustrate. You throw a ball into the air; every child will soon learn that the ball will return. This is not science. But to know understandingly that it will return with just as much force as it received is science. To acknowledge it simply as a fact is not science, but science is in the act, not known, as God is in the world and the world knew Him not.
This principle or science Jesus tried to teach to man. The acts of man were sometimes according to this law but the actors knew it not. So they, being ignorant of the science, were a science to themselves; but as they did not know the motive, they could not teach it to others.
Paul, speaking of this science, says some have not heard of it, and how shall they believe in what they have not heard of, as a science, when it was never taught, and how shall men know about it unless someone teaches them, and how can a man teach a science that he knows nothing of? So, he says, How beautiful are the words of that person who can teach science but all cannot understand. He uses the word charity for the same wisdom that we use science and goes on to tell that although we give all our money to the poor and suffer our bodies to be burned and do not understand science or charity, it is of no use; it profiteth nothing. The world is none the wiser. To understand science or charity so as to put it into practice so that it becomes a science is not an easy task. Well might the disciples say, This is a hard saying and how can a man believe or understand? Many shall try but few can understand. Therefore, if they cannot understand, must the wisdom of God or science or charity be of no effect? Wisdom says, No! Let science be true but every man a liar. This science was in the minds of people, but the priests and doctors led the people and explained it according to their own notions so that when Jesus came to establish this truth as a science, to them it was a stumbling block. The wisdom of this world never has put science into goodness but thinks goodness is cultivated or a dispensation. It never thinks it is a revelation from a higher power that distinguishes man from the other living creatures. This wisdom or charity was known by some to have an identity, but was never admitted as a creature or anything independent of the natural man. So goodness was considered by the priests as a sort of subjection to the rulers. A good person was like a good dog, ready to obey his master; then his master would pat him and call him a good dog, although he had just torn another dog in pieces or had done something to please his master.
This was the way with the Christian Church—to be good was to persecute all who would not bow the knee to the leaders and all who had the boldness to speak their opinions were heretics or infidels. The priests patted the heads of their dogs and set them onto the swine or those who oppose them, so that to steal or rob from one of these skeptics was a virtue rather than a wrong. I have seen this effect in my own practice. There are persons who are honest according to their religion who will come and tell me a lie, as I call it, to deceive me into a belief that they mean just what they say. I have just as much confidence in their honesty as I have in a bull dog who looks as innocent as a lamb when you have something that he wants, and after he gets it he will bite you as soon as your back is turned. This all arises from smothering the science or charity or revelation from God. And this is done by the priests. The priests make their goodness a sort of self interest and charge people a fee to pardon their sins which the honest part of the community would look upon as a wrong. The priest flatters them with the idea that they are doing just right so they worship the priest as the masses worship the leaders and every person knows that a leading demagogue will uphold any crime his party is guilty of and applaud the actor for his goodness or honesty. Charity has no friend with any of these leaders; it finds no foothold, therefore, like the dove of the ark, after trying to find a place to rest, it returns to its house and is gone to the world. This was the case in the days of Jesus. He came to establish this science or charity. This word science not being used to explain this truth, it was called by Jesus, “Christ” and by Paul it was called “charity” and by the wise men who admitted it, it was called a power or gift, but it never was admitted to have an identity, to the teaching of which, the senses were attached. This was Jesus' religion, so that he talked his religion, not talked about it. Because to talk wisdom is wisdom, whereas to talk about wisdom is to talk about an unknown God.
To be continued next week.
I am certain that I know what Jesus meant to convey to the people, for I have seen death myself and eternal life that he spoke of and can testify that I have passed from death unto life, as he taught his disciples. And knowing this life that is in Christ I teach it to you, not by opinions but by words of wisdom that will destroy death and put you in possession of that true life that will make death only an idea, like all other ideas man must get rid of to enjoy himself. If you will listen to me while I explain the mystery of life, you will see just where the people were at the time Jesus taught this eternal life. The world was in darkness in regard to one thing—that was life independent of a belief. It never entered into their minds that wisdom was not an idea or that their wisdom was nothing but opinions, not life but shadows that depended on the light of this life or science. So as the lamp of science lit up, it dispelled the shadow of opinions and embraced life. Matter, as it is called, with science is nothing but a shadow; life attaches itself to its own belief and as its belief is changed, death is destroyed and life takes its place.” ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
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Henry Wood (1834-1909) can be described as one of the pioneers of the New Thought movement, even though he was neither a minister nor the founder of a church or center. A successful businessman and author, Wood was forced by ill health to retire. He somehow came across the principles later known as New Thought, was healed, and sought to help others learn to heal themselves. He was one of the founders of the Metaphysical Club and at one time served as its president.
Wood, along with Horatio W. Dresser, was one of two New Thought authors specifically singled out for praise by William James in his Varieties of Religious Experience. Here is what James had to say about New Thought, known at the time as “mind cure”:
The plain fact remains that the spread of the movement has been due to practical fruits, and the extremely practical turn of character of the American people has never been better shown than by the fact that this, their only decidedly original contribution to the systematic philosophy of life, should be so intimately knit up with concrete therapeutics. (p. 94)
On the same page, James, after describing “a good deal of the mind-cure literature” as “so moonstruck with optimism and so vaguely expressed that an academically trained intellect finds it almost impossible to read it at all”, states in a footnote that he considers Horatio W. Dresser and Henry Wood “far and away the ablest of the group” of mind-cure authors.
The present volume is based on a long series of weekly columns commenting on Wood’s thought over the course of ten books. It includes the Suggestions and Meditations from Wood’s flagship work, Ideal Suggestion Through Mental Photography, and the Suggestive Lessons from The New Thought Simplified.
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We are continuing our exploration of Phineas Quimby’s Christology. What was his interpretation of the work and person of Jesus Christ in his own words?
Today’s featured article is Science that begins on page 494 of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond. This is the first of three installments.
In Wisdom, Love, and Light,
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