April 1862


by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby


Has music a body like any substance? Yes, and parents as much as a child. Music is the offspring of wisdom or truth and contains the feelings of its author as much as the child contains the feelings of its parents; and when aroused by an instrument or voice of another, it throws off an odor or atmosphere as much as a rose. All persons take in the tune or odor as much as they take in the rose by the odor, and they take the feelings or state of mind of the author at the time the tune was produced. Music contains as much language as anything else. All the works of nature contain an odor or atmosphere of wisdom with God in it, and everything created by man contains an atmosphere that contains the author. All things must perish and of course decomposition is the proof; so man decomposes and his body or idea like the invention of man decays and wears out. The decomposition of each contains the author and the author is in the odor. Ideas are the invention of man. All the elements of nature are perfect. Man is imperfect. The tree is an illustration of man and his invention. God never engrafts, for he has nothing to add or diminish. He makes man as he does trees and surrounds him with the atmosphere of himself, thus giving him all the senses necessary to develop what man has made of himself. So man sets up for himself like a child out of his time. The child has eyes, so has the father; but the eyes of the child are the mirror of its spiritual sight, so it sees not itself as a shadow. The spiritual sight is not seen at all except as a mystery.

To illustrate the idea, suppose there are two children: one born blind but has the sense of smell, the other has no sense of smell but can see. Both grow up together. One goes by his sight, the other, by his smell. You present an apple to each. One attaches to it the sense of smell, the other, that of sight. Each cultivates his peculiar faculty and each is a mystery to the other. They act in different spheres. One cultivates his sight and looks into all creation, and he sees trees grow and he engrafts and cultivates them. All nature seems to be under his control. He reasons about the blind man as a phenomenon out of the common course of nature. His sight is not deep enough to penetrate the mystery of the blind man's sense of smell, but at last he admits it as a gift coming from some invisible agent. Being ignorant of the cause, he becomes nervous and religious, so he sets up this man as a superior being and refers all things that contain life to his test of his peculiar gift. The man of smell sees no reason for this sort of religious worship and tries to convince the man of sight that his smell is as much a sense as his sight and both belong to the human race, but he, from cause, was born blind and the other had not the sense of smell. This wisdom he gets from his father who has been teaching the child who has this sense that all men have both, but sometimes they are deprived of one or the other. At last the child that was born blind receives his sight. Then he is a natural man and a spiritual man. He attaches his sense of life to the sense of smell or odor when in the dark so that his light is in the darkness of the man of sight who sees it not.

As I have said, all ideas contain an odor of the parent or author, but the man of sight cannot see it nor smell it, so to him it is a mystery. Disease is the invention of the man of sight but, being ignorant of the odor, he often creates ideas that are full of poisonous substances and engrafts them into the idea man. Now as disease grows, its odor cannot be detected by the author till it comes to his sight, as it is sown in the mind and grows and works on the system like a canker worm till it has entered every part of the flesh and shows its skin on the surface as yellow as saffron. Then the man starts as though he was shot and wants to know what kind of a disease has got hold of him. His limbs quiver, his eyes become glassy, his hand trembles, his voice is husky and he almost imagines he sees living snakes crawling over him. When told by the man of odor that he has seen all this long ago, he will not believe it, for he has no idea of the sense of smell. Every living thing throws off an odor and in the odor, like a looking glass, are the senses which take form according to the feelings.

So it is with all vegetables. The healthy and the diseased throw off their odor, and in the odor the body or identity of the vegetable is seen by its odor which is sight to the one that is affected by it. The natural kingdoms are all governed by the law of decomposition, and the science is to replace the affected parts or keep up the health of the system or matter. Man is like all other creatures of God's wisdom. But God has endowed man with one faculty that no other living being has and that is science that can correct an error. This makes man separate from himself. Sympathy cures and all animals are governed by this power, for it is a power until it is reduced to language and can be taught to others. Then it ceases to be a power and becomes a science. The greatest error in the way of progression is that man admits an error to begin with and then tries to prove it is a lie their error makes.

P. P. Quimby

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