(What is Happiness?)


February 1860


by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby


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 everyone 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 anyone can do, as then you part with nothing. To give to everyone 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 their 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 representative 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.

P. P. Quimby

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