Chapter XIV of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser
[The articles published under this head constitute Vol. I of the Quimby writings. They are published here in the order in which they were copied from the originals, as written, save for a few changes made under Quimby’s supervision, and slight condensations. They are printed in this order instead of being arranged in connection with other pieces on the same topics, because they were the first papers containing a statement of the general theory, and the copybook containing them was sometimes loaned to patient—students, including the one who made liberal use of their contents.
In these studies Quimby speaks of mind, in the ordinary sense of the term, as a “substance” which can be changed, in which thoughts are sown as seeds. Mind is put in contrast with intelligence or Wisdom. Thus intelligence is said to possess an “identity” or reality which mind does not have. The next step is to show that the human soul has clairvoyance or intuition, independent of the natural senses. This fact Quimby had proved by repeated experiments in diagnosing the sick.
The term “matter” is used in a peculiar sense throughout, to cover the processes of change attendant upon suggestion and taking place subconsciously. “Thoughts are things,” later writers have said.] (Horatio W. Dresser.)
[Continued from last week.—editor.]
When I talk to the sick I talk my theory, when I talk to the well I talk about it. It is so with my religion, I have no religion independent of my acts. When I am religious, I talk it and put it into practice. When I am not putting my religion into practice for the benefit of the sick and those whom I can help, then if I talk I am talking about something. Here is a distinction that may at first seem curious to some, but if you will look at it rightly you will see that there is more in it than you would at first suppose. One of Christ’s followers made a remark like this in regard to the same distinction, only he called their talk or belief, Faith, which is religion put in practice. He said, show me your religion or faith independent of works, and I will show you may religion or faith by my works. There is no such identity as goodness by itself.—Jan. 1860.
What is happiness? It is what follows any act of the law of science, but it is not always understood. Sin and misery are the effects of our belief put in practice, governed by the law of sin and death. Man is the medium of the two laws; the one, chance or ignorance, which is of this world; the other, God or Science, which is of a higher. The wisdom of one is called the law, the knowledge of the other is the Gospel. These two laws enter into all our acts. Mathematics contains the two laws. The solving of a problem does not establish the science, although it may be right, but it develops a phenomenon for a more wise and excellent law so that the world may be benefited by it. So by establishing the law of science we destroy the law of ignorance. This holds good of all the laws of science, the introduction of the one is the destruction of the other, to all who understand. To such there is no offering up of sin or sacrifices, but a fear of judgment because of wrong—doing. This keeps us on our guard. Now, it has not entered into man’s heart to conceive a more excellent law whereby man may be saved from the sins or errors that bind him down by the laws of sin and death. To introduce a Science that can explain the errors that keep us in trouble is what prophets foretold and wise men have looked for ever since the world began. This knowledge has been called by various names. It was called the New Jerusalem that came down from heaven, and it was called the kingdom of heaven. This is the law that was written in the heart; it is the knowledge of ourselves that can see the evils of our own misery.
It may be asked, how can we distinguish between the two, for every one has a right to his own opinion? That is true, but science does not leave it answered in that way, but proves it so that there can be no mistake. Now as disease is an error, so the mind, as in any error, must be corrected by a power independent of itself, and this power must be governed by a science in all cases; though it may not be necessarily understood by the person applying this power. As Science, like God, never acts except like a balance which judges correctly, it contains no [mere] thought or reason, but judges every one according to his worth. As error is a chemical action and contains all of the above, it is like two rogues, at war with itself. There is an old saying, and a very good one that, when two rogues fall out an honest man gets his due; so when error is at war, it develops some truth. As the degrees from total darkness or ignorance are progressive, they embrace all kinds of talent, like teachers from the lowest classes of this world to the highest of the spiritual world. All science to the natural world is looked upon as mystery, witchcraft, sorcery, etc., because the natural world cannot see anything beyond itself. But there is a mind that can teach it, and another that can learn it, and so on till it reaches Science. Then comes the end of the world of error, and the introduction of a more excellent law of God. As a person’s happiness is the effect of his knowledge, to be good is the fruit of Science. All religion that embraces creeds is of this world, and is governed by laws, and contains rewards and punishments; therefore holding out inducements to be good with one hand, and retribution with the other, is not the religion of Christ. He is in us, and a part of us, and to know ourselves is to know Christ, and to preach Christ is to help each other out of our troubles, destroying the enemy that has possession of us.
The laying down of your life for your friends is not so easy a matter as some might think. It is easier to talk about religion than to talk it. To talk it is to put it into practice, and to put it into practice is to give it to those who ask, for to give them a stone when they ask for bread is what any one can do, as then you part with nothing. To give to every one that asks of you some spiritual food or knowledge, that will cool their feverish tongue, or soothe their excited brain, and lead them like the true shepherd to their home or health, where they can rejoice with thir friends, is not so easy as to sit down and thank the Lord that you are not like other men.
To be a follower of Christ is not an easy thing, but to be a representive of the kingdom of heaven is not very hard, it only requires one to become as ignorant as a child.
To call yourself a follower of Jesus, is to call yourself a pattern of goodness, and that was more than Jesus did of Himself, for He never sounded the trumpet of His own praise. We are all called upon to become followers of Jesus so that the world may be benefited by His truth. This is our happiness and the happiness of others, for we are all workers for the same truth. Therefore dismiss error, and embrace the true Science, and fight the enemy of health, like a soldier of Science.—Feb. 1860.
Can any good come out of prayer? I answer yes, but not in the sense that is supposed. A phenomenon can be produced in the same way that is brought about by mesmerism, but there is no knowledge in the church—prayer. It is the effect of superstition and ignorance. It is not of Christ, but from a mind ignorant of self and God. No man prays except the one who wants a favor, to be rewarded for more than he deserves, or one who has more of this world’s goods than his neighbor. Witness the effect of the prayer on this world, those who pray to the earthly man, who belong to the lowest class of mankind. No man of character will beg or pray for the sake of gain.
True prayer is the desire of the heart, and if the heart is right the prayer will be answered. For as the heart is only the figure or emblem of knowledge, a true heart must have scientific knowledge, and a corrupt heart must be full of superstition and ignorance, deceit and hypocrisy.
It is generally admitted that prayer is of divine origin, but if it is to be offered to God this is not the case. If it is of the devil, I will admit that it is as old as its father, for we read that the devils prayed, as when the devil wanted Christ to worship him. So do all men of narrow minds like to be worshipped for what they have no claim to. One great argument offered in favor of prayer is that Christ said, “He who humbles himself shall be exalted.” What is required of a person to humble himself is to get down on his knees and hold up his bands, and in a hypocrital cant ask of God some favor which he is not entitled to. But God rewards everyone according to his acts, and He knows our wants before we ask. So to ask of a Being whom we acknowledge knows our wants is either to curry favor or flatter Him with the idea that we think He will be pleased to see how much we honor Him. This is the wisdom of this world, but not the wisdom of God. God asks no such worship. To worship God is to worship Him in spirit and in truth, for He is in the truth, not in the error. Our reward is in our act and if we act rightly and honestly we get the reward. If we act selfishly we get the result also. He who expects God to leave Science and come down to ignorance and change a principle for a selfish motive to please Him, is either a knave or fool and knows not God. God is like the fire which throws heat or love on all around. Those who will can enjoy the heat or love, but if we choose to stand out in the cold, we cannot expect exclusive privileges; for God has no respect to one over another. I have no account with God, He pays me as soon as my work is done, and I do not ask favors of Him apart from His principles. If I act wrongly He will not step out and correct me. I must do it myself. If I act rightly I get my reward, for our happiness or misery is in our acts, and as we are a part of each other, our happiness is in our neighbor, and to love our neighbor as ourselves is more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. If you understand this, Jesus said, you are not far from the kingdom of heaven. Jesus had no sympathy with the hypocrites’ prayers. He warned His disciples and the multitude against all such prayer. His prayer was that God would forgive them for they knew not what they did. A desire to know God, is a desire to know ourselves, and that requires all our thoughts to come into that happy state of mind. That will lead man in the way to health. This is a science and is Christ’s prayer.—March, 1860.
[This is the ninth installment of a fifteen—part series originally written and published as Chapter XIV. CHRIST OR SCIENCE, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond is the ultimate reference source for historically accurate information of this nineteenth-century clockmaker turned metaphysical teacher and healer. Including the Missing Works of P. P. Quimby; based on new and independent research by the editor, the present volume surpasses all previously published “complete” compilations of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby’s writings in size, scope and historical accuracy. Published by the Phineas Parkhurst Quimby Resource Center.
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Today we are continuing a fifteen—part serial review of Chapter 14, CHRIST OR SCIENCE, of the 1921 publication, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser.
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