Sympathetic Vibratory Physics -It's a Musical Universe!
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Topic: Quimby Manuscripts
Section: Chapter 14 - Christ or Science, part 1 of 5
Table of Contents to this Topic

[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 super?vision, 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 copy?book 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.

One of the copybooks containing these studies has emendations in pencil, made under Quimby's directions by Miss Sarah Ware, in preparation for a book. The following introductory note by Dr. Quimby is written on the page opposite the first article. It is given here word for word as written.]

It will be necessary to give the reader some idea of what suggested the following article, headed Mind is Spiritual Matter. I found that by the power of my own mind I could change the mind of my patient and produce a chemical change in the body, like dissolving a tumor. Now the word mind is not the substance, only the name of the substance that can be changed. The world makes mind intelligence, i. e., direction. I put no intelligence in it, but make it subject to intelligence. The word fire, for instance, doesn't mean the substance to be consumed but the process of consuming it. So mind is the name of a spiritual substance that can be changed. We speak of a cold fire or a hot fire, yet we do not mean that the fire itself is cold or hot, only that we make it hotter or colder; yet it is fire, subject to our direction. Wisdom I do not use in this piece. I call the power that governs mind, spirit. But you will see that I recognize a Wisdom superior to the word mind, for I always apply the word mind to matter, but never apply it to the First Cause.


Thought is also matter, but not the same matter, any more than the earth is the same matter as the seed which is put into it. Thought like the seed germinates and comes forth, like the tree, in the form of an idea. It then waits like the fruit to be eaten. Curiosity is excited and wants to be gratified; it tastes and then inquires; the answer comes and the spirit is affected in proportion to the answer. Illustration: A thought is sown in the mind while asleep or ignorant, it grows and comes forth. The curiosity tastes; it produces a strange sensation in the throat. The spirit inquires, the answer comes, Bronchitis. The spirit is disturbed and tries to rid itself of its enemy. This disturbance is the effect called disease. Now if no name had been given or fears excited, the idea or tree would have died of itself. ?Oct. 1859.


Disease is what follows the disturbance of the mind or spiritual matter. When I speak of disease I do not mean to confine the word to any particular phenomenon or disturbance of the mind, but that mind is disturbed like the soil of the earth ready to receive the seed. This disturbance contains no knowledge or thought, any more than a house on fire which disturbs the inmates or spirits, who flee out, not knowing the cause. It embraces mind without truth or error, like weight set in motion with?out direction. Weight like mind could never set itself in motion, but being set in motion it is called mechanical power. So is mind set in motion spiritual power. Both are governed by laws of truth or error, the fruit shows which of the two powers governs. If it is directed by the wisdom of God no bad results can follow, but if directed by error and ignorance, as ignorance is the enemy to truth, the truth will show which governs. As there is no knowledge in error, it sometimes happens that some results follow, as it did in the case of selling Joseph to the Ishmaelites. They, it is said, meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. Truth does not work in that way (that is, by accident). Truth works by laws, like mathematics;-error like chance.

The answer may come right, or may come wrong (in error) either way it contains no law by which the world is wiser. Ignorance is its life and truth its death. So by error comes disease or death. But by the destruction of error comes the introduction of Truth or Science, or health; and as error is matter or mind, it is the instrument of its own destruction. The matter is not annihilated, but the opinion is.

The combination which shows itself in persons in the form of an opinion, indicates its character by a peculiar show of wisdom superior to its followers, and when disturbed by Wisdom or Truth, it dies, but when not opposed, its opinions are sown into the minds of others, like seed in the ground, which comes forth in some form.

This form which follows the disturbance of the mind the doctors call disease. Here is where all the error lies; they take the effect for the cause. We confound the error and truth together; we take an opinion for a truth. This is an error, for what we know we have no opinion of. Knowledge is the destruction of an opinion or disease. Disease is what follows an opinion, it is made up of mind directed by error, and Truth is the destruction of this opinion.

These ideas, and hundreds of others, have been given to explain the effect of the mind. All admit the mind one thing and disease another. This theory that mind is one thing and disease another, has left the people in darkness, and caused more misery than all other evils put together. It has always been admitted that a theory that cannot be put in practice is not good.

Mind is a spiritual matter which, being agitated, disturbs the spirit. This disturbance contains no knowledge of itself, but produces a chemical change in the fluids of the system. These disturbances may be produced in various ways, for instance, by a shock on the mind, by the death of a friend, or by religious excitement, witchcraft, etc. All of the above contain what is called knowledge, which is communicated to the spirit and sets it to work to form disease, after the form the spirit gives the mind. The mind being the matter under the control of the spirit, is capable of producing any phenomenon. -Oct. 1859.


I will give the symptoms of a person who called on me to be examined. The upper part of his body above his hips felt so large that his legs were not strong enough to carry the weight, therefore he complained of weakness in his knees. This idea of weakness was in his mind, for there never was any strength or knowledge in his knees of themselves, any more than there is power in a lever of itself. If the lever, or legs, had to create its own power his body would never move. Therefore, if his body ever moved, it must be by some power independent of his knees or legs. There is such a thing as pressure, but pressure is not power, for it contains motion and motion is another element.

These two elements together we call mechanical power, so mind agitated is called spiritual power. Neither matter nor mind contains any knowledge. As this man's mind was in a state in which it contained motion or error, (for error is motion, not knowledge), it was not all pressure. As health is the enjoyment of all our faculties, any foreign substance trigs the wheels so as to retard the motion, so error trigs the mind or retards the motion. This was the state of this man's body. To put this man in full possession of his faculties is to remove the burden that binds him down. These burdens are the effect of error having control of the mind. These errors are made of mind or matter first formed into an opinion, then comes reason, then comes disease or death, accompanied by all the misery the idea contains.-Oct. 1859.


Intelligence contains no thought, nor opinion or reason. Mind contains them all. Disease is the offspring of the mind, not of intelligence. All the above is the result of a chem?ical change, to bring about and develop some scientific law that will put man in possession of a knowledge of himself, so that he will avoid the evils which man [through his ignorance] is subect to.

Thoughts are like electric sparks. Knowledge classifies and arranges them in a language nearer itself so as to use them for a medium with which to communicate an idea to another. This is the state of all men. Under this state of mind all the laws of science have been developed. Every day brings to light some new idea not yet developed, but bursting forth to the natural world. During this process, the mind undergoes very powerful changes which affect the body, even to the destruction of the same. But this destruction contains no wisdom, it is only the destruction of the idea. The effect still agitates the mind till its end is accomplished. Then the mind returns to its quiet state, and the law is understood.

While all this is going on, as in all sciences, ideas come forth and the minds are affected, and try for the prize; for instance, the idea of navigating the air. All minds are excited. Experiments are tried; accidents, as they are called happen, and lives are lost to this world of error. But that which governs life cannot be lost; but must mingle in with the idea of progression-not losing its identity. What man loses in weight or matter, he makes up in science or knowledge. Therefore, accidents as they are called must happen, and we say, woe to them that are affected; it would have been better, as we think, if they had never been born. This would be true, if it were the end of their existence. Now as these laws develop themselves, is the trouble in the laws or in ourselves? Accidents are the errors or diseases. Correcting these errors and establishing the Truth or Science is curing the disease or establishing the law.

I have said that when any new idea comes up a class of persons enter into the investigation of it, but very few are ever able to put the idea into practice, or get the prize, though most all can understand something of the theory. There is a vast difference between talking a theory, and talking about a theory. Talking about a theory is like talking about a science we do not understand; it contains no wisdom. Wisdom contains no opinion or selfishness; and, like charity, has no ill will towards its neighbor, but like the rays of the sun, is always ready to impart heat to all who will come to the light.

To cure a disease is to understand the law by which that disease was produced. To make it more plain, I will suppose a case. In supposing a case the person you address must suppose himself perfectly well. Now as thoughts contain a substance set in motion by error to form an idea, this sub?stance acts upon another like a galvanic battery, and keeps up a deposit of thought till the idea is formed in the mind. These thoughts may arise from different causes. I will select one. Suppose you become acquainted with a person, the first impression is a shock from his mind, this shock is kept up till an idea is formed in your mind. The motive or disease is in the idea of the person from whom you receive the shock. To you it contains no knowledge. You receive it as a sweet morsel that you can roll under your tongue. You nurse and foster it in your breast till it becomes a part of yourself. You form a strong attachment for it, and as it contains the character of this father, you become attached to the author. When the idea becomes developed and you find what it con?tains, you see you have been fostering a viper, that will sting you to the heart. Grief, passion, fear and love, take possession of your mind; reason enters into the combination, and a warfare commences. Hatred takes the place of love, truth the place of ignorance, firmness takes the place of weakness, and a battle ensues. As truth works through this error or disease, wisdom and happiness take its place, the evil is cast out, the author or idea is despised, and the mind is changed. You see the deception. Your knowledge is the enmancipation of the error, and all that followed it, the Truth sets you free and happy, which is the cure.

Now sensations can be learned (1) before they affect the body or produce disease, so that they [will] fall harmless at your feet. It is necessary that all persons have a teacher, till they can teach themselves. The question then arises, How can a person believe in one whom he has never heard, and how can he learn without a teacher, and how can one teach without he is sent?-Nov. 1859.

(1) Our aches and pains may be more wisely interpreted.


I answer, yes. You may ask, Who is the founder of that Science? I answer, Jesus Christ. Then comes the question, What proof have you that it is a science? Because Christ healed the sick, that of itself is no proof that He knew what He was doing. I answer, If it was done, it must have been done by some law or science, for there can be no such thing as accident with God, and if Christ was God, He did know what He was doing. When He was accused of curing disease through Beelzebub or ignorance, He said, "If I cast out devils or diseases through Beelzebub or ignorance, my kingdom or science cannot stand; but if I cast out devils or disease through a science or law, then my kingdom or law will stand, for it is not of this world" When others cast out disease, they cured by ignorance or Beelzebub, and there was no science in their cures, although an effect was produced; but not knowing the cause the world was none the wiser for their cures.

At another time when told by His disciples that they saw persons curing or casting out devils in His name, and forbade them, He said, "They that are with us are not against us, but they that are not with us, or are ignorant of the laws of curing, scattereth abroad, for the world is none the wiser." Here, you see, He makes a difference between His mode of curing and theirs. If Christ's cures were done by the power of God, and Christ was God, He must have known what that power or science was, and if He did, He knew the difference between His science and their ignorance. His Science was His Kingdom therefore it was not of this world, and theirs being of this world, He called it the kingdom of darkness. To enter into Christ's Kingdom or Science, was to enter into the laws or knowledge of curing the evils of this world of darkness. As disease is an evil, it is of this world, and is in this kingdom of darkness. To separate one world from the other, is to separate the truth from the error, and as error is death and truth is life, the resurrection of one is the destruction of the other. (1) -Nov. 1859.

(1) This is the first article in which Dr. Quimby identifies Science with Christ. Later he used the term Christian Science.


I answer it is, for an individual is to himself just what he thinks he is, and he is in his belief sick. If I believe I am sick, I am sick, for my feelings are my sickness, and my sickness is my belief, and my belief is my mind. Therefore all disease is in the mind or belief. Now as our belief or disease is made up of ideas, which are [spiritual] matter, it is necessary to know what beliefs we are in; for to cure the disease is to correct the error, and as disease is what follows the error, destroy the cause, and the effect will cease. How can this be done? By a knowledge of the law of harmony. To illustrate this law of harmony I must take some law that you will admit. I will take the law of mathematics. You hear of a mathematical problem, you wish to solve it; the answer is in the problem, the error is in it, the happiness and misery are also in it. Your error is the cause of your sickness or trouble. Now to cure your sickness or trouble, is to correct the error. If you knew the real state of things, you would not call on a person who knows no more than you do, if you knew that fact.-Nov. 1859.


True life is health, knowledge, and happiness. Death is disease, error, misery and pain; all in this belief. Each of the above is called our knowledge, and to believe in one is to disbelieve in the other, for our life is in our belief. Death is the destruction of the one, and the life of the other, or the disbelief of the one, and the belief of the other. Christ came to destroy death or belief, and bring life and immortality to light, and this life or belief was in Christ. They that lost their life or belief for his sake should find it. Upon this rock I build my faith, and the gates of death cannot change me. Now your life is in your belief, and you are known by the fruits. As I impart my Truth to you, it is your life or health. As you receive my life you die to your own. My life in you grows to a truth and this is your health or happiness.-Nov. 1859.


What is disease? It is what follows the effect of a false direction given to the mind or spiritual matter. The body is composed of matter, not mind, but when agitated, that part which is called heat, and is thrown off, is mind or spirit. It is not intelligence, but a medium to be used according to the direction given it, by a power independent of itself, ?like that direction given to mechanical power. The effect of this direction (call it what you please) on the body, is to destroy itself, for its life is its own destruction.-Dec. 1859.


What is the strongest feeling in man or woman? Love for the sake of love for others. For this love they will lay down their lives, when directed by knowledge, for no passion can follow true love. What makes what is called animal passion? Ignorance of ourselves, not understanding the truth. Love contains no fear; ignorance puts a false con?struction on love. Here lies all the trouble. Love and ignorance are the mother and father of all error or disease. Now to know ourselves is to know the truth of this problem. Love is an element of itself, without any form; it has no length or breadth, or height or depth; it neither comes nor goes, it fills all space, and melts all error down that comes within its power. Its power is its heat, its heat is its love, it is heaven. For this love Christ laid down His animal life or passions for mankind, that they might understand themselves and be saved from the endless hell of misery that follows our ignorance of this power or love. On these two powers, love and ignorance, hang all the law and the prophets. The gospel is love, the law is error; therefore when you are under the law, you become subject to the laws and penalties. When you are freed from that law, it has no power over you. This law of love is that love in mankind that is working in us or our error to bring us to truth and set us free from the law of sin or death. The laws of love are the destruction of the laws of error, and they make us a law to ourselves. This law of love has no penalties or prisons; but, like the bird that flies in the sky, is not troubled with earthly laws, but is a law to itself. Its purity is its buoyancy, its ignorance is its weight or stupidity. Each is governed by a sort of intelligence, like science and ignorance. As ignorance and superstition are what are under the law of error, Science and Truth are their opponents, and the mind is the medium of them both, like the telegraph?wire a medium of truth and error. Love is a substance like food that comes from heaven to feed the soul. Er?ror is matter, and contains reason and all the faculties. Love is the true answer to our desire; in our desire is our hope, and when we get that which we hope for, it contains nothing but true knowledge or love, no sorrow, nor pain, nor grief, nor shame, nor fear.-Dec. 1859.


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 which 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. We look on the scene and pause. A cold icy sen?sation 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 daughter, in whom we have had 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 oar 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. 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 arises from the necessity of the case, but it keeps them in ignorance of themselves, and all their life 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 and found an answer to all my former opinions. These former opinions embraced all sorts of dis?ease, and ideas that contained error, disease and unhappiness, which led to death. The unravelling 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 medium without knowledge or power, only as it is given by something independent of itself.-Jan. 1860.


Clairvoyance is a state of existence independent of the natural senses or the body, which has no matter nor reason, but is perfect knowledge. Thought-reading is a lower order connected with mind, but superior to the natural man. This state is what would be called spiritualism, and contains the knowledge and reasoning of this world. Clairvoyance is a higher state entirely disconnected with the natural man, but can communicate information through him while in a dreamy or mesmeric state which the company cannot know. This principle is in every man. (1) The understanding of it is eternal life. This eternal life was in Jesus, and was Christ. It has manifested itself in various forms in all ages of the world, whenever Science has been discovered. This ignorance of the world with regard to this higher state of knowledge looks upon the manifestions of the thought-reading state as the highest development of man. This state dies and the clairvoyant state rises from the dead. It is all that is left. It can act on mind. It has an identity, and never knew of its beginning nor ending. It is all the intelligence in man. (2)

(1) That is. without mediumship, spiritism, etc.
(2) Man's true intelligence or intuition.
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