"Blessed is he that cometh in the Science of Wisdom." ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
September 10, 2017
by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
The word man, according to the world, embraces the two ideas of matter and spirit. This I think will be admitted by Christians and all who do not believe in annihilation. The wisest reasoner commences with man in matter and reasons him into spirit, always keeping him the same man and only changing from a natural to a spiritual body. The mystery is what to do with the natural senses belonging to the natural body. Some say they die, and others, that they are lost. Now if man cannot determine what becomes of the bodily senses or what they are, how can they tell of what does not come within this knowledge? For they have never seen a spiritual body; therefore their belief is in what has been conjured up from some unaccounted phenomena. I will illustrate the explanation of these two men according to the theory of truth which I practice.
It is a well known fact that the subject can see whatever the mesmerizer imagines. The latter can make the object move and have life to the subject, knowing all the while that the life is his own idea. But the subject seeing life, to him it is a truth and the object has an identity as a living being subject to the same laws as himself. Like that of every idea, this life is kept in existence till it begins to act on its own account, according to the laws of life, under the principle of man's belief. This represents the natural man, put into this form by God, the first cause. This wisdom animates matter or error and man reasons as though he was the author of his own being. His knowledge is confined to his senses, and as they cannot see outside of his belief, he lives in his own wisdom. Job says of such, “Ye are the wisdom of this world, but your wisdom will die with you.” I will now introduce the scientific man.
He is the Son of God, while the other is the son of man. The latter is merely the changing of matter to become a medium of a higher development, as a forest is cut down to prepare for a higher cultivation of the earth. The life of this man is ignorant of itself, for he knows not what manner of man he is. As matter becomes freed from error, it is more rarefied, and as man becomes more acquainted with himself, he will see that he is only the shadow of a wisdom which he never knew; and although he seemed to have life, he had deceived himself believing that he was the author of his own being. So he is in a certain sense, in his belief, but that would only keep him in existence for a certain time.
The beginning of the scientific man is to know that the natural man is nothing but ideas, like furniture, made from matter, having no value of himself but is merely a medium for a higher wisdom. The first thing is to make the invisible man wise. Mesmerism proves that the invisible man is the same man as in the visible state, with all his senses, faculties, etc. He is like a blind man suddenly receiving his sight. Imprison a man and educate him in all the branches of science, literature and philosophy as far as possible; then while asleep transfer him to the light and he is a spiritual or mesmeric man. How much more does he know out-of-doors than in his dungeon? Where is the difference? In the light, he sees what he read of but he is the same being. This is the spiritual man. He is in matter with all his senses, and those left in the dark look upon him according to their belief. He is dead to that class of persons who never had an idea of light.
When the wise tell the ignorant that those who are gone come back, they won't believe and those who have never seen the light except by faith think there must be a change in those who have left. So even to them it is a mystery. Now here is a man in the light but still in the dark. Get all men into this light and then men have taken one step towards wisdom. Then those in the dark are dead to those in the light. Each man is to himself the same as he was. Suppose he who is in the light be placed again in the dark. Then he is one risen from the darkness into the light and who returns to the darkness to instruct those still there. What is the difference in the man who has returned to the prison from what he was before he went into the light? He differs in his sight. He has seen what he read and thought about, so now he is in a different condition, for what to his friends is a mystery is to him a reality. Suppose one of the prisoners born blind and deaf suddenly brought to the light, he would not see objects but shadows like clouds. Now as you associate his sight with your explanation (for I am supposing his eyesight comes and also his hearing and other faculties), you must teach him like a child. If he was as ignorant as a child, his sight would be as contracted and as his knowledge increased, his sight would expand; for wisdom is sight, whether coming through the eye, ear, taste or smell.
If you know a fact, that is light, but if you think you know anything, that is twilight, but neither is science. Let all men be in this light; they are then in this world of matter but purer. The natural man and brute are in matter, like the earth; the error is out of the earth in mortar. The so-called wise are in liquid, the scientific, in ether. Each grade sees the one below and admits the one above in a mystery. As one works out of himself, he becomes the medium of the one above him; he imparts life to the matter but the same identity continues. The river that runs down the Kennebec is the same, but the water is changed and that is the Kennebec and not the banks. So the intellect of man is the man, not the identity body, for the intellect like the water can make a body or river when it pleases. There is still a higher person than those I have spoken of, that is he who can sit and know that he is in two places at the same time and prove it by others admitting it. He has passed from death unto life and all below him is either darkness or twilight.
All wisdom is outside of man's opinion and belief and that which does not come to his senses is to him a mystery. So the mystery is his God. To know the mystery is to know God, and when the mystery is understood, the religion vanishes. One great trouble comes from teaching us to believe in an overruling providence in the shape of a God who will answer our desires without our making any effort. It makes man indolent and superstitious and a burden on society. It makes man unhappy and even insane and draws out sympathy from a class of persons who know their religion is the effect of superstition. I will show how a person in a similar state from the lady above might be benefited by some persons without any knowledge through the senses. This would look as though it were by the divine influence of God, while God has just as much to do with every act that we take the credit of to ourselves and it really belongs to us.” ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Article: Foundation of Religious Belief
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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 Belief of Man that begins on page 141 of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond.
In Wisdom, Love, and Light,
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