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Topic: Quimby Manuscripts
Section: Chapter 18 - Religious Questions, part 1 of 3
Table of Contents to this Topic
Chapter 18 RELIGIOUS QUESTIONS
DEFENCE AGAINST AN ACCUSATION OF MAKING MYSELF EQUAL TO CHRIST
I am often accused of making myself equal with Christ. When I ask what Christ is I am told that Jesus Christ is one and the same. If I ask if Jesus the man was God, the answer is, "no, but God manifest in the flesh." Then can flesh and blood be God? "No." Then what was that being of flesh and blood crucified eighteen hundred years ago? "Jesus Christ." Is Christ God? "Yes." Is God flesh and blood? "No" Will you give some idea of what that being was called Jesus Christ? "Why, that God took upon Himself flesh and blood." Then what took upon itself flesh and blood? "God." Is God a substance? "No." Then can that which is not matter take matter upon itself? "You ask too many questions." Well, if you cannot answer my questions, must I believe what you say without any proof? "No, but we have the Bible and that says Christ is God." Well suppose it does and you are asked to explain Christ, and I receive this answer, "God manifest in the flesh." When I ask to have this explained I get no correct answer. Some think words are all that is necessary, so they quibble about the name "Christ," said to mean "anointed." Well, anointed is the name of something and this is what I want explained. To call it Christ or Messiah, the Prince of Peace or God, is only hopping from one name to another. I want to know what made Jesus different from other men. His birth I care nothing about, nor is it of consequence why He was called Jesus Christ. If different from other men how was the world benefited by that difference ?
Jesus was a man of flesh and blood like any one else. The difference between Him and other men was called Christ. Now what did the difference consist in? "In His life." What had His life to do with the healing of the sick? Has your life anything to do with healing a palsied limb? "No." Then your good life cannot cure diseases? Did Jesus' life cure? "Yes." Then you must not claim to be a disciple of Jesus, for if you claim to be a good man and we see no proof of your goodness on others, your goodness is of this world and not of Christ. You say He had a "power," now what do you mean by a power? We call steam a power and electricity a power but no one ever associates wisdom with it. Do you mean that Jesus' power was like the above, or was it what He said and did? "It was in what He said and did." Well, what did He do? Did He not cure the sick? "Yes." Well, how did He do it? Was it His power? "Yes, it came from God." Did you not say that Jesus was God? "Yes." Then how could God come from one place when you and I believe that God fills all space? "Well, there is a mystery in the Godhead or trinity that man cannot find out or understand." Was not the Bible written for our understanding? "Yes, but mystery cannot be found out, so we have no right to penetrate the ways of God, for there is enough in the Bible to learn and make us happy without searching into the mysteries of another world." If the Bible was not for man's belief what was it for? If we are to take it for the Word of God, who is to explain it? "It explains itself." Do you understand it? "In a measure." What do I understand by your answer? Can you give me any more light in regard to what Christ is than you have? "No." Then I am as ignorant as I was when I began. "Give me your opinion of Jesus Christ." Well, if you will listen I will tell you what I know of Christ and what I believe of the man Jesus. . . .
RELIGION IN DISEASE
The question is often asked why I talk about religion and quote Scripture while I cure the sick. My answer is that sickness being what follows a belief the belief contains the evil which I must correct. As I do this a chemical change takes place. Disease is an error the only remedy for which is the truth. The fear of what will come after death is the begin?ning of man's troubles, for he tries to get evidence that he will be happy, and the fear that he will never arrive at happiness makes him miserable.
We are taught to believe that if we pray we shall receive an answer to our prayer. A superstitious person believing this is ready to believe that he may be punished, for some one may pray that God may remove him. Each army prays that God will direct the weapons that will slay their enemies. In biblical times did not God answer the prayer of those who wished to destroy their enemies and did they not die? The facts prove that what we believe may follow. We really believe in disease, hence it is the result of our belief. People never seem to have thought that they are responsible for their belief. To analyze their beliefs is to know themselves, which is the greatest study of man. All theories for the happiness of man contain more misery than happiness, either directly or indirectly. To destroy the beliefs of man is to leave him where God left him: to work out happiness by His own wisdom. One half of the diseases arise from a false belief in the Bible. It may seem strange that the belief in the Bible affects us, yet every belief affects us more or less, directly or indirectly.
I will relate a case where the religious belief affected the patient and caused the disease. The lady was aged. She was so lame and bound down that she could hardly rise from her chair, and could take only a step by the aid of her crutches, feeling so heavy that she dare not step. In this condition she had lived some years, and all the happiness she had was in reading and thinking on the Bible. She was a Calvinist Baptist and by her belief she bad imprisoned her senses [consciousness] in a creed so small and contracted that she could not stand upright or move ahead. Here in this tomb of Calvin her senses were laid, wrapt in her creed. Yet in this tomb was Christ or Science, trying to burst the bars and break through the bands and rise from the dead. She labored to be free from the bands and no one came to her relief. When she would ask for an explanation of some passage the answer would be a stone, and then she would hunger for the bread of life. At last in her misery she called upon me and I found her as I have stated. I knew not what caused her trouble. She thought it was from a fall. After explaining how she felt, I told her her trouble was caused by a series of excitements from studying upon what she could not reconcile. She thought upon religious subjects and not seeing the Scriptures clearly her mind became cloudy and stagnated. This showed itself on the body by her heavy and sluggish feeling which would terminate in paralysis. She said she could not understand how her belief could make her so numb.
I said to her, you will admit I have described your feelings. "Certainly," she replied. Then, said I, what do you suppose Jesus meant by these words, "a little while I am with you, then I go my way," and "you shall seek for me and where I go ye cannot come." Do you believe that Jesus went to heaven? "Yes," she replied. Now let me tell you what I think He meant by these words. I had told her before that in order to cure her I must make a change in the fluids and produce a healthy circulation, for she by her belief had produced stagnation. You have admitted that I have told you your feelings. Then I was with you as Christ was with His disciples in sympathy. And when I go my way I go into health and am not in sympathy with your feelings. Therefore where I go you cannot come, for you are in Calvin's belief, and I am in health. This explanation produced an instantaneous sensation, and a change came over her mind. This mortal put on immortality or health, and she exclaimed in joy, "This is a true answer to my thoughts." I continued explaining Scripture and a complete change took place. She walked without her crutches. Her case is so singular an example of my practice, that I will give the substance of my reasoning. It seemed as though all her feelings were in her belief, and if I wished to give her an idea of them I would make a comparison from the Bible. She was as it were dead in sin or error, and to bring her to life or truth was to raise her from the dead. I quoted the resurrection of Christ and applied it to her own Christ or health, and produced a powerful effect on her. I commenced in this way :
Your belief is the sepulchre in which your wisdom is confined. The world is your enemy. Your opinions and ideas are your garments, and the truth is the Holy Ghost or angel which will roll away the stone and heal your grief. The God in you will burst the bands of your creed and you will rise from the dead or your belief into the truth. You will then walk into the sitting room, and the friends will start as though you were a spirit, and you will say, "Hath a spirit flesh and bones as ye see me have? Give me a chair." Then the friends will inquire where the Christ is. The truth will say, "She has risen from her old religious body of sin and death and gone to meet her friends in heaven." Then will come false ideas, and as they cannot see the truth, the body being changed to them will seem to be gone, and they will report it stolen. You will leave the body of belief and take that of Science and rise into health. This is the resurrection of the dead.
This with the explanation produced such an effect on the lady that she could rise from her chair as quickly as any person of her age.
The natural world is full of figures that may illustrate man's belief. The silk worm spins out his life and wrapping himself in his labor dies. The infidel and brutal man reason that they do the same. The caterpillar is a good illustration of the natural man groping in the dark, guided by a superior wisdom that prompts his acts. When his days are numbered, wrapt in the mantle of this earth he lies down to sleep the sleep of death; but the Wisdom that brings forth the butterfly, also develops its science. In order that truth may come forth, error must be destroyed, and Science groping in dark?ness bursts into light and rises from the dead as the butterfly, not the caterpillar.
All men have sinned or embraced beliefs, so all must die to their belief. Disease is a belief ; health is in Wisdom. So as man dies to his belief he lives in Wisdom. My theory is to destroy death or belief and bring life and Wisdom into the world, therefore I come to the sick, not to save their beliefs or life in disease, but to destroy it. And he that loseth his belief for Wisdom will find his health or life.
I will now give what I believe to be the ideas of Jesus on the resurrection. I address my words to the sick, for I cannot make illustrations for the well; they are not affected [in the same way] by their belief. According to the Scriptures sin is a transgression of the law. What law? It must be of God, for it says, "the soul that sinneth shall surely die." So sin is death, and the law to which man is liable whose penalty is death is God's law. Therefore God is supposed to make laws to punish man for his thought, for every idle word is to be accounted for. This law heads countless evils and it is the part of Wisdom to correct it. But to believe that God is the author of our evils is as absurd as to believe that He made the remedies and laws before He made man. How often do you hear this remark: "There is a remedy for every disease." When we ask what it is, we are referred to some root or herb. But no hint is ever given that disease can be cured by the power of Truth.
Did Jesus employ such remedies? On the contrary had not the sick whom He cured tried them? He said: "my words are life eternal, and by my words I cure all manner of diseases." If the palsied limb was the thing to be cured, why did He say to the man: "Stretch forth thy hand, and immediately it was made whole?" Why did He not apply remedies to the arm? The fact was Jesus knew that the arm was not the cause but the effect, and he addressed Himself to the intelligence, and applied His wisdom to the cause. "He spake as never man spake," for He spoke to the cause. But when man speaks he gives an opinion. All the acts of Jesus were based on Truth, while man acts from an opinion and chooses darkness rather than light. The light of truth will showman his error. He shrinks from investigating his belief since he knows it cannot stand the test of Science. It is folly to apply an inanimate something to cure an inanimate disease, for neither contains any intelligence. If a man's face is dirty and he is satisfied, there is no disease; but if it troubles him, the trouble is in him not in the dirt. To cure him would be to tell him to wash. If the person believes he is cured, the water proves that what was told him was true.
The war between my patients and myself is here: they make disease the dirt. I make the dirt the cause. They put intelligence in the dirt. I put intelligence in the person. To cure him I must convince him that the dirt is nothing that need trouble him, and that water will remove it. By knowing the truth they are able to remove the cause. The doctors put the trouble in the dirt as though the trouble and the dirt were one and the same. They never address the intelligence, but the opinions, while the cause being unintelligent, like the dirt, affects the intelligence and is reflected on the body.
JESUS' HEALING AND HIS MISSION
Why should there be such a controversy in regard to the way in which Jesus cured disease, also what was the real object of His mission in this world? These questions naturally arise in the minds of men and bring up doubts. By some it is believed that Jesus came to save man from being lost in another world and it is thought that He intended to reform the world. All admit He had a gift superior to other men but what it was has never been ascertained. The same controversy was going on in the days of Jesus and in fact it has always been a mystery to the natural man. Phenomena are taking place everywhere proving this power or gift and all admit it, but as yet it has not been reduced to a science so that it can be taught and learned. Its opponents speak as though it were governed by natural laws, but when asked to put these laws into practice they get off by saying, "Why it is nothing but mesmerism." When asked to explain mesmerism they say it is "psychology." Ask what psychology is, the answer is mesmerism. So the world is as wise as before. Mesmer tried to explain this power on the ground of electricity. Those who believe it is governed by some law attribute it to galvanism. The religious classes vary. The spiritualists ascribe it to the spirits of the dead; Christians to the power of God when speaking of Jesus, but when they speak of this power in man they attribute it to natural causes. Some say it is the power of the devil. When Herod the king was told Jesus was performing cures he said it was John the Baptist, that is, John's spirit came and took possession of Jesus and cured disease. When the Pharisees asked Jesus where it came from, Jesus said if they would tell Him where John's power came from then He would tell them how He performed his cures. This they could not do. So it has never been explained. Settle this point and you establish a basis for investigation. As it stands it puts Jesus on a level with all the spiritualists of His day. If it is a gift or power, why should He be called God or anything else above His followers? And if He knew how He wrought miracles it is knowledge and not a gift, and to call it a gift or power is depriving Jesus of any knowledge superior to His followers. When it is admitted as a Science that Jesus taught for the happiness of man, man will try to learn it. Then the inquiry will be made, how can it be proved a Science? I answer, never till the people admit that matter and mind are under direction of Intelligence superior to matter. Then man will take a higher standard and be governed by Science, not mind. When matter becomes subject to Science and is the medium or power to be put in motion, this medium or matter can be changed into any form or state and be destroyed but not lost. The identity of a thing can be put out of this world, as it is called, and only remains as a thing that once was but now is not.
I will give an illustration: Suppose a person believes he has a tumor in his left side. His error believes in the idea of tumors independent of his mind; he then admits an error to begin with. His mind gives direction to matter and the idea is formed; this seems to be proof that there is such a thing as a tumor. No one will deny that one is a phenomenon brought about by false knowledge, and that true knowledge or Science can destroy that tumor or idea and establish a knowledge of the truth that will prevent the person from being deceived into that error again . . Our bodies [in relation to mind] are nothing but an idea of matter that is either under the control of error or false knowledge, or under the control of Science or true knowledge. If Truth or Science reigns, all goes well; if error reigns the wage is death, for all acts of error lead to death; death is an idea or matter, (1) and all the acts of Science destroy death and lead to life and happiness.
(1) This is explained below, Chap. 19.
What does Jesus mean by the kingdom of heaven? We all know the common opinion was that heaven was a place. Some suppose it to be a state of mind. Had Jesus either of these ideas? I say He did not, and will show what His ideas were. God is represented as all wisdom and love. Now love is not wisdom, but a desire for wisdom, and a desire to get wisdom for the sake of happiness that follows is the highest love. This is heaven and to be deprived of this love is to be out of heaven. The sick are strangers to this heaven. It is true they have a sort of love but it is governed by the light or wisdom of man. This leads to death. The sick being strangers, are deceived into a false belief that lulls them to sleep. To cure them it is necessary to arouse them from their lethargy and show them their errors.
I will now give the true conversion of a sick man of this world converted to the religion of Christ or cured intelligently, and also one converted from one disease or error to another. I call all error disease that leads to death. The remedy is religion or a knowledge of the Truth that will save us from the evils that flow from our sins. To illustrate the different forms of religion is to show the different modes of restoring the lost child of disease to health and happiness. To show how Jesus differed from all others is to show each religion separately and how the belief affects mankind.
All will admit that Jesus opposed the religion by which medical men and priests used to save the people from sins or evils called diseases. For to be diseased was an evil and the sick were dealt with accordingly, and the false idea that the sins or diseases of the parents are visited upon the children is handed down to this generation. (1) To save them from their sins was to cure them of their disease. . . .
(1) Quimby did not believe in the heredity of disease save so far as one generation adopts the beliefs (not the diseases) of another.
Now what was the idea the world had of heaven? People never had such an idea as Christians have now. They never seriously believed in any other world. But their suffering was their evil and to be cured was their heaven or happiness. For this object they employed every means in their power according to their belief. The people were taught that there were certain rivers and pools the angels would disturb and all who visited them were healed. Certain diseases were held so sinful that the victims were kept aloof from the people till the priest cured them. So their religion was all for their health or happiness. It is true there was a small class who believed that at the end of the world the dead would rise.
Jesus called the people to Him and said, "Beware of the doctrines of the Scribes and Pharisees, for their doctrines bind burdens on you." It made them superstitious; made them believe in ghosts, spirits, and all sorts of juggling. This kept the people under the rule 'of the priests who invented all sorts of craft to deceive, pretending to take away sins so that God would not torment them with evil spirits and disease. Jesus knew it all in their belief, and if He could introduce a higher principle or better mode of reasoning that could take away their sins or errors so that they would be more enlightened, He would be doing them a great favor, and would estab?lish universal truth that would work out a more excellent law. To do this it was necessary to bring proof of His superior wisdom. He was talking about this great truth called God that governs every true and scientific mind. He made two worlds, one the natural or superstitious man that all were in: the other the scientific man, which He called a resurrection from the dead. Not that the dead rose, for if you cannot get a man out of his error there is no resurrection. As Paul says (1 Cor. XV, 12), if Christ (or this Science) be preached that it rose from the dead (or error) how say some among you that there is no higher truth than man's opinion? As Science is spiritual it must be explained by literal things. So Jesus used parables to explain how this truth grows in the minds, and he takes for example a little child, before its mind is filled with errors of the priest as a figure of heaven. Not that the mind contains any wisdom, but like the soil of the earth it is pure from foul seeds or error, ready to receive the true seed of wisdom. He says, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven:" this truth could live and grow in the child. Not that heaven or kingdom was happiness, but happiness was in the one who entered into it. But as the kingdom grew, false ideas would creep in; for it is not to be supposed that Jesus ever intended to make His kingdom perfect till every enemy or error should be destroyed. So he likens it unto a great many things, to a sower in a field, and an enemy sowing in the same field. Here you have good seed and bad seed, truth and error, good and evil. But the good was good, and the bad was bad, and they never mingled.
I will take a person as he would come to Jesus, and show how He preached the kingdom of heaven. Take the little child. Jesus asked how long this child had been in this way, (Mark IX, 21). When told, He said, "Do you believe all things possible with God?" They said, "Yes." So then He cured the child, not by a "power," but by His wisdom, for He knew what He was about. So their faith in Him kept the child from having any more fits. All His cures went to prove His theory of the Christ, which He preached and illustrated by parables, and proved by showing Himself to the multitude after they believed Him dead. The identity of it was a body, and the doctrine of it was its blood. So He says, "if you eat not my flesh and drink not my blood, you have no life in you."
I will give an illustration. Suppose a person comes to me to learn navigation. I say, "You must be born again, for your ideas of navigation are all false." He says, How can I learn or be born again when I am so old? I answer, "You must be born in the science of navigation." This he cannot understand, but still he wishes to learn. So I begin to explain. As he begins to learn, this is called the love that is spoken of with which God so loved the world. Now, love for wisdom prompts him to learn, and as he learns his happiness is full. This is entering into heaven. This is the heaven God has prepared for every one who will try to learn, and if every one will search for God or Wisdom God will not cast him off.
I will apply this to disease. I take upon myself your infirmities that I may lead you to health, for health to you is heaven. The love for health prompts you to come. My love for you prompts me to lead you to health. This I do by teaching you the errors of your belief and showing you where you have been deceivd. The truth like love leads you to see your error, and the happiness of your recovery is heaven. People believe that religion is one thing and health another. This is a false idea, and if you look at it you will see that to be happy is the chief end of man. Happiness is what we think we have obtained. Take the religion of our day: that is a poor illustration of happiness, for the misery it occasions is twice the happiness. We are taught our belief is one thing, and our health another. But it is not so. Man's belief is his heaven or his hell. You may not be aware of the effect of your belief.
Disease is one of the evils that follow our belief. For instance, take a young lady: begin to tell her that her happiness depends upon her having religion. She has no idea of what you mean. So to convince her you give an account of what religion is and show that she must get it or be eternally lost. This makes her nervous. So you tell her to come to Christ. This to her is blind. You say Christ is standing with His arms extended to embrace her. Now to fall into the arms of a stranger is more than she can do. She weeps, not knowing what to do. This you tell her is the conversion of her soul. At last she is made to believe she is not worthy to be a Christian. Then comes the soothing words of the priest and his words soothe her aching head and she quiets down. Then you tell her this is a change of heart. Now she is in a state to get religion.
What has been brought to pass? The young lady has been deceived into a belief that has cost her all the happiness she had. It will be said her religion had nothing to do with her health, but this cannot be the case; for every person is responsible to God or Wisdom for his belief, and he must take the consequences of his belief.
Now, as I said, religion is a belief and disease or happiness is what follows. So as all men have sinned or got a belief, the sentence of death has been passed upon them, for all have come short of the truth. So this truth came into the world of opinions to open the eyes of the blind, or appeal to a higher intelligence to lead them to the Truth that would cure them of their sins or errors. Now a religion or theory was to explain to the masses to keep them out of their trouble. We suppose that Jesus wanted to convey the idea that man was in danger of being destroyed after death, but if he would believe in Jesus be should be saved. So our belief depends upon our beliefs. Now what was Jesus' idea?
Jesus had no words or ceremonies but a love for a higher development of the human soul. This was Jesus' religion and He put it in practice by His acts upon the sick. Not by giving an opinion of what He knew nothing, but by showing that their sickness was the effect of their belief.
How often have you heard persons say they are not nervous and they never change their mind. That is as much as to say they have no wisdom, for wisdom changes the mind. Make a person believe a thing. The belief being matter or mind it is an obstacle to wisdom. This obstacle must be removed be?fore the truth can shine. If there is not wisdom enough to remove the obstruction we say such a man has a strong mind. It is true he has a strong error to be overcome, but his mind embraces just as much intelligence as a stumbling block in the way of a train of cars. The dissensions among the passengers represent the contrast between the strongminded and the intellectual man. One sees no way to remove the obstacle and concludes that it cannot be overcome, and settles down in the strength of his own mind, while wisdom investigates the chances and sets himself to work to remove the burden. As the intellectual man works, his mind changes, while the strong man sits and contends that he knows, and when he makes up his mind nothing can change it. The other is fickle and therefore has no mind or stability. This is the case with disease. The belief is the burden to be overcome. In any disease the strong mind means a man deficient in mechanical wisdom who can't see whether the world develops him, or he develops the world. The strong-minded man is a man whom the world develops, his foundation is on what has been handed down from one generation to another.