I believe that there was a man called Jesus, the same that was called by some the son of David and by others the Son of God and by quite a number of names. I believe that he was a very good man from all accounts of him, but to take his own story, he was not the man represented in our days. This man always admitted a wisdom superior to himself.
Now if there was a power superior to himself, what was this power? It must be God. Now is God inferior to himself, for this man Jesus prayed to this wisdom. How do you reconcile that prayer where he says: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." This was the earthly man. Then the earthly man could pray like all other men? Yes, like earthly men. The ignorance of the people attributed to Jesus what he as a man never asked for or desired. On the contrary, he tried to prove to the people that there was a higher intelligence than they had ever acknowledged, except as a power without knowledge. This wisdom that Jesus had put him above the errors of the age. The ignorance of the people could not understand and in their zeal to worship what they could not understand they confounded the man Jesus with his power as they called it and named it Jesus Christ. So now they worship the shadow of a substance called Christ. Christ is the name of something that the people applied to Jesus and in their ignorance they called it God manifest in the Flesh. This explanation is as clear as any part of their belief.
Every one knows that there cannot be a shadow without a substance to reflect it. So when you speak of a thing, it shadows forth a form that has matter or substance. Now this world is made of matter and when we speak of anything that has form, the thing spoken of casts a shadow in the mind and the senses are attached to the shadow. For instance, if you speak of a man, you make a man in your mind; this is the shadow of your belief. Your senses are attached to the shadow of your belief, so if the shadow embraces a very bad man, the shadow is the same, and the effect on the body corresponds to the effect that the shadow produces.
Now when Christians speak of Jesus, they shadow forth a being with form and without form which is three persons, and only one that fills all space and yet is condensed into one person or being with all love, all hatred, and all power, but who will not use it, who knows all things and dictates all our acts so that not a sparrow can fall to the ground without his knowledge. Then they make another shadow of a man that fills some six and a half feet in height and contains all the power and wisdom of the above. This man they shadow in the mind as standing in one place calling persons to believe and they shall be saved. When asked, Saved from what? The answer is: From their sins. When I ask, What is sin? Everything wrong. If I ask if there is anything wrong of itself, I get no answer. So I come to this conclusion: that wrong is in ourselves and not in God and to act wrong is to do something that we have a feeling is not right. So if you agree that to injure another is wrong, you shadow forth your belief and the punishment attached to it, and your punishment is just according to your belief.
Now the truth is we believe in two powers: one wisdom called God, and the other, the devil. These were the names of these two powers in the days of Jesus. He acknowledged these two powers and tried to explain them. The true power was called Christ or God or by some other name. These powers have always been a mystery to the world. For when they hear the same person speaking through the same organs, it is very hard to believe and give the credit to another power. So when the people heard the man Jesus speak of himself and then of what he called God, it was a mystery to them. Therefore they in their ignorance put God in the man Jesus and called him Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Now if the people had understood Jesus they never would have associated the Christ with him, any more than they would the science of mathematics with a man. Jesus was a man of flesh and blood as you or I, and he never intimated that he was anything more but always gave to Science or God the credit of all the impressions which he felt and which the natural man could not. Now this to you is a mystery, that one person can be two. But when you understand what the two means it will be plain enough to see what Jesus was trying to make the people understand. The people had no idea of Science, but thought that everything that happened which they could not account for was a mystery. So when they saw a phenomenon, they attached it to some invisible power. Their superstition put every phenomenon in some mysterious being. They were looking for some power to be developed that would put them in possession of some wisdom from heaven. So all that Jesus could say was of no force. The people would make him more than he wanted them to.
Jesus wanted to teach them a science that would make them better and happier but their superstition would not permit his explanation. They would rather believe in a power than learn a science. So they put false constructions on his acts and you cannot get Jesus' explanation of himself nor of this power called Christ. Now there must be some way to get at the meaning of this power or Christ. If we can settle down on a true explanation of that, then we have the same rock that Jesus had. He had the same trouble in his days. All the people admitted a power, even the Scribes and Pharisees, but they thought it was like the others that had appeared so they attributed it to the devil, for the belief in the power of the devil was common. Thus they classed Jesus among the sorcerers of his day, and had he been willing to be classed with them, he would not have met with the opposition that he did. But to explain what was never thought could be explained brought him in contact with all the learned men of his time. And as they were well, it was very hard to explain to them the feelings of the sick. Therefore Jesus said, "Those that are well need no physician," and as the standard of the well is applied to the sick, the sick had to be judged by the well. Thus you see the sick have no voice in correcting the evils that the well bind upon them.
Jesus could not sympathize with the well for they opposed him because he exposed their craft by which they held the sick in bondage. Now as every substance throws forth a shadow, the well throw forth one. This to the world is not frightful and does not produce any fear. Now all shadows that affect a person arise from a belief based on error and not wisdom, for true wisdom casts no shadow, neither does entire ignorance. Shadows come from error, so the fool knows no fear. And if a person was entirely wise he would know no error, for all would be light. So the light of God or Science is in the darkness or ignorance, but ignorance knows it not. Error sees the shadow of the light in the darkness of its mind and takes the shadow for the substance. Not knowing that it is a shadow, it reasons about the shadow as one man reasons with another not knowing that he is talking to himself but thinking that he is talking to some invisible being. So he is a man beside himself. All this is the effect of the natural man. In all this I embrace the religious man, the superstitious man, the infidel, the atheist and the deist. All the above are standing, reasoning about the shadow of their own belief, some denying it in toto, others believing it in full, but all affected by their own belief. Here on this platform stands all classes looking for the Messiah or Wisdom to explain the mystery of their belief. Yet the world is just as ignorant of the phenomena as though they all settled down on one belief, for there is no knowledge of science in their belief.
I will make a comparison to show this. Suppose Mr. A is ignorant of shadows and by chance sees himself on the wall by a lamp that he holds in his hand. The lamp makes the shadow. The error puts the fear of his belief in the shadow, so he calls on Mr. B, the skeptic, to explain the phenomenon. As darkness or ignorance is necessary to produce a phenomenon, they enter a room or state of mind about as dark as a room that cannot produce a shadow. So while waiting for the spirits, they kindle up a fire or error like a light. So the medium holds the lamp lit up and a shadow appears on the wall. The skeptic starts, his faith is shaken in ignorance, for wisdom he never had.
Mr. A says, "Do you see that?"
"Yes but it is not a spirit."
"Then what is it?"
"Oh, your imagination."
"Don't you see it?"
"Yes, I see something but I cannot make out what it is, but this I know, it is not a spirit."
"If it is not a spirit, what is it?"
"Oh, you get nervous and imagine anything."
"Well, take this lamp and go up to it yourself."
Mr. B takes the lamp and approaches the shadow and it is gone, so he believes.
An infidel, that does not believe in any God or devil but is as bold as a lion and fears not God or man, goes to investigate the phenomena. The conditions being right, they all enter the room. A lamp is produced and three persons appear on the wall. The infidel starts, his knees like Belshazzar's tremble; he is asked if he sees anything, any spirits.
In a quivering voice he replies, "I don't know. I cannot exactly see."
The medium who has the light steps one side; one of the spirits move.
The infidel pauses and says to the medium, "Ask the spirit to hold up his hand."
The medium holds up his hand and the spirit does the same. A great many experiments are tried until one of the strongest minded men in the world is frightfully convinced that it must be spirits from another world. These are fair illustrations of the wisdom of the world in regard to the mysteries of life. In this, you see that three persons all agree in the phenomena. Their superstition, based on their ignorance, produced the phenomena. Their belief in spirits is as real as their existence so that want of wisdom in regard to lights and shadows keeps them in an error, and all their misery arises from their shadows or beliefs. This makes them nervous.
All of this is the effect of priestcraft. Their nervousness makes in themselves all sorts of evil spirits. This affects the body. Then comes a more hungry swarm of locusts called doctors, and they try to enlighten the sick. This class is worse than the others, for they admit their fears as a real existence independent of spirits. They condemn the phenomena of the spirits but admit all the proof that follows their belief as real phenomena. So you get a superstitious world within a world like a wheel within a wheel. So now all can be satisfied with the effect of their own belief. All this has nothing to do with the wisdom of God or Science. Science is not in the above, neither is Christ; all belong to the superstitions of the natural man or Jesus. Christ never made war with science. Jesus was never known to declaim against any truth that was based on science. All the war he fought was against the priests and doctors. The priests never could understand how there was any intelligence independent of man that could act through the senses. So Christ to them was an impostor.
Jesus tried to separate his knowledge called Christ from his own knowledge as a man. This was the hardest thing to be done, for if this one fact could be settled, it put an end to all the controversy, and the science of health and happiness would be established on earth as it was in heaven. This never was established, so the people to this day look forward to Christ just as they did eighteen-hundred years ago. And the Christians say that if Christ was on earth now as he was then they could be cured of all their diseases. For when I ask them, Do you suppose that if Jesus was alive they could be cured? They all say, Oh, yes! Now was it the flesh and blood that cured or was it the power that acted and took flesh and blood? Of course, it was the power and not the flesh. Now if it was the power and not the flesh, what was that power? Here we are just back to the question we started with, this something or power called Christ.
I will now try and see if I cannot separate it, and to do so I must take a patient, for the well know not Christ. It is the sick alone that know him. I will commence with one of my patients.
You will admit I take your feelings.
"Could I have taken them through your ordinary senses?"
"Well if I feel your symptoms, I must be in sympathy with you, must I not?"
"Can you tell me how I get in sympathy with you and still retain my own senses?"
"What do you call this knowledge; is it not something higher than you possess?"
"Yes." "Is it not more than any one of himself possesses?"
"I cannot speak for another, but for myself, it is more than I can do."
"You admit that I can tell your feelings. "
"I have no doubt of that, but the well will not believe it."
I am aware of that and to such I am not sent, but to the lost sheep or sick of Adam's race. Therefore it is to the sick and not to the well that this is written, to open their eyes so that they can see how they have been deceived. I will now take you as a sick person and try to separate the Christ from the Jesus. You admit that I am with you or your feelings when I tell you what they are.
Well, what do you call that power?
"I do not know."
I call that power or that wisdom or that science which feels your feelings: Christ. Now Jesus says that false Christs shall spring up and deceive many, so he warned the people against them, and he told them how we should distinguish a true Christ from a false one. It is not every one that can tell your feelings that is a true Christ, but the one that can take your feelings and explain them away so that you can understand and be wiser by understanding; that is the true Christ. Now what makes the feelings? They are what arises from our belief.
"Will you explain what you mean?"
If we are in the dark, there are no shadows. Now suppose I tell you of something you never heard of. You of course knew nothing of it only as I explain. Suppose I should tell you of a man and give you a very minute description of his person. You would create such a person in your mind, would you not?
This creation of a man contains no effect on you one way or another.
After I have made you see him plainly, your belief condenses itself into what is called matter in the shape of an idea called man, but your senses are not affected by it. But suppose I tell you he is a very bad man. Now your mind is affected. This affects your idea or man. This, being your belief condensed into a man, is now disturbed and shadows forth a man according to my description. This last man is the offspring of your belief. So it is your child and I am the father. For you being married to my belief, this is the offspring. Now your senses being attached to the shadow, it troubles you and your trouble is your feelings; all this belongs to this world. Now suppose I sit down and talk to you about another world and try to explain it to you. Can you not see how you create it in your mind? "Yes." I explain heaven and hell and you have the two beliefs condensed into two ideas: heaven and hell. The former for the good and the latter for the bad, and you must govern your life according to the laws I lay down. For I am a minister of the Gospel and have wisdom that you must not dispute. After I bind burdens and lay them on your shoulders, I leave you to shape your life just as you please with this caution: that you must render to God according to your acts. Your life is now in the hands of man's God and as all things that man invents are his own, God has nothing to do with it at all. But you listen to man's wisdom and this excites your belief and sets your heaven and hell in trouble. This shadows forth all the terrors of a bad place and makes you nervous.
The doctor is called and he, like the minister, commences by introducing his stock in trade, which consists of all kinds of diseases from the gout to the consumption. He asks you all kinds of questions about yourself and then condenses them into a disease of which you are a stranger. This newcomer, like a lover, is not very acceptable at first. But by talking over his false wisdom, you become interested in it; and at last your mind or belief is completely overcome, and you become married to his belief. If you had any belief before, you have left it and become wedded to this new belief. Now as this new belief or husband is of this world, it is like all other bad husbands who are never happy except when they see others miserable. It begins to show its authority by laying restrictions on you. And if any of your old ideas or lovers appear, your new husband or belief puts his threats into execution. Suppose your new husband or belief is Mr. Consumption. Every one knows that he is a very bad character. Of all hypocrites in the world, he is the worst, for he keeps you in fear all of the time. If you attempt to speak, he seizes you by the throat. And if you try to get rid of him, he seizes you by the side and in fact you are completely in his power. Now in your lonely hours, for you are always alone except when your tormentor is near, this belief throws out a shadow and the shadow is the child of your belief. So you attach your senses to this shadow and cling to it as a mother clings to her child.
Although her husband may be a bad man and her tormentor, yet she has some sympathy with him. The priests have invented a belief and called the people together. They pour out their wine or belief and the people drink of it and get intoxicated. And in their intoxication as in other dissipation, they fall in love and bad results follow. So the priests by their craft excite the people and in their excitement they marry the very belief that three days before they would not have listened to at all. The party breaks up and the company retires and as in all other gatherings where wine is drunk to excess a great deal of evil is done. After the excitement is over the lovers come; some have gotten married, others insulted, and some have left their father's house or innocent state of mind and have become the wife or husband of some bad belief. This was the case in the days of Jesus. He saw all of the above and saw where people were deceived. This knowledge of his was not of the priests or people but of a higher and more excellent wisdom that acted through Jesus and could see all the phenomena that the priests produced. This was called Christ or Science and was never applied to the testing of our beliefs.
Science was acknowledged in everything that could be demonstrated by a principle, but that man's belief should be made by science was something so new that when Christ came to test their belief by Science, they said that their craft was in danger. For if a man's thoughts could be felt and the effects of their thoughts on the body explained, the priests could see that their acts would come to naught. So this science of analyzing mind was a new idea that the natural man knew nothing of. This science came from the father of all and was always in the world but never acknowledged. So that all phenomena that were taking place in the world were looked upon by the priests as a revelation from God, and they were ordained to explain all the mysteries of the Godhead. So their explanation made the people seek this man Jesus. They saw from his peculiar organization that he could take the feelings of the sick, and the feelings being the shadows of their belief, science discovered the substance. And when Jesus' science or Christ analyzed the substance, he found it to contain hypocrisy and deception, based on ignorance. So he called this substance or belief the devil and the shadow was its child. So he said to them, You are the children of the devil and his works ye will do. He was a liar and abided not in the truth or science, for science has no beliefs but tries all beliefs to see whether they are of God or man.
Paul understood this science when he said, It was better not to marry or have a belief, but if you are not able to take care of yourself, it is better to have some belief than to be ignorant of all beliefs. Now the Christ that Jesus had was confined to the intelligence of mankind, to the opening of the eyes of the superstitious, loosening the tongues of the dumb, making the lame to walk and instructing those oppressed by the priests in the truth that sets them free. This was the true Christ. How can you tell a true Christ from a false one? By his science. If I tell a person how he feels and then he tells me his opinion, he is a liar and the truth is not in him. That is a false Christ. And if one tells you how you feel and attributes your feelings to the wisdom of man by locating a disease, believe him not, for there shall be many false Christs or theories.
The true Christ comes in this way. He takes no thought what he will say but it comes to him when he sits down by the sick and the answer corresponds with the feelings. For instance, if you feel a pain you have a wisdom of what the substance or belief is that makes it. So your Science or Christ will analyze the substance and explain it to the patient in language so plain that he will understand it. And as he understands, he embraces your wisdom and that lights up the error or belief till the belief is lost in wisdom and the shadow is gone. And you rejoice in the Christ or Truth that sets you free. This is the true Christ. So the word Christ is the name of that wisdom that can feel a sensation of another, analyze it so as to explain the error and destroy the belief so that the patient is set free from his belief. Christ is light. So is science and to be equal with Jesus is to do as he did. If you, by any power not understood, should do miracles or anything far beyond Jesus and do not know how you do it, then you would be a Christ, but an ignorant one. To be equal with Christ is to do the things intelligently and the wisdom is Christ; let it come through Jesus or any other man, for God has no respect for persons. All can learn to be Christ or Science if they only study.
P. P. Quimby