(What the Parables Taught)


August 1860


by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby


All the parables that Jesus made were to establish the kingdom of heaven or God's science in this world of man's mind. This science was to put man in possession of a knowledge superior to the natural man, so to the natural man it was a mystery. They could not understand how there could be any power which could see the workings in the natural man's thoughts. So to establish this was not an easy task. This cannot be told literally to the natural man, because it is not of matter. The only way it can be taught is by illustration.

It has generally been supposed by all the wisdom of this world that Jesus wanted to teach a resurrection from his body and that man should go to a place independent of this globe. This being his belief, he had to illustrate it by parables. Now as absurd as this side is, it is the belief of nine-tenths of the people of this world. Now let us look at it one moment. If there is another world independent of this natural world, then I have no doubt that the parables were intended to refer to it. But there seems to be, in the minds of all those who believe in this old theory, another idea warring against the old one. It is like this, that the other world is only a state of mind and that Jesus never intended to teach the resurrection of the body; and that heaven is not a place, but a state of mind that will follow us after death.

So you see that even with this idea, all believe in death. This places man in the same state that Paul was in, after he was converted to the truth of science. He would often find himself talking or thinking upon these truths, and his old superstitious ideas would come and nearly upset him. So that at the time he would exclaim, “When I would do good or think right, my old ideas are present with me, and that truth that I would like to understand, I cannot; for my old ideas or evil thoughts are present with me. So it is no more I, the man Paul, but the old theory, Saul, that is present with me!”

So you see that most of the writers of the Old and New Testaments are explaining the difference between good and bad or wisdom and error. Error and misery make up one character of man; ignorance another. Wisdom is science and has a character of its own, unlike all others. It contains no sensation; it is wisdom and nothing else. That is God. Man is in the other two characters and is made up of matter, with this wisdom in it; so this wisdom is in the matter or mind, and the mind or matter knows it not. This wisdom is like the chicken in embryo. It grows and breaks the shell and then assumes a character in another element. So science is in ignorance, and it grows until it bursts through the shell of superstition and then assumes a character.

These two characters are not known in the natural world. The scientific world of wisdom knows the two; but the natural man knows it not. These two characters are in every person and are the cause of all the trouble in the world. The standard of science is not admitted in the natural world and never will be, as long as knowledge is looked upon as a gift or power. So long as this state of mind exists, it keeps up a warfare of opinions.

I will give an illustration to show where the trouble is. Wisdom is not puffed up; error is. Wisdom is not vain of itself; error is. Wisdom is not dependent on matter for an existence; error is. Wisdom cannot be destroyed; error can. Wisdom is God; error is matter. And as man is matter, God put wisdom into matter to control matter for its own happiness. God contains neither happiness nor misery, of himself. Happiness and misery are in the act of matter, not of wisdom.

— August, 1860

P. P. Quimby

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