January 1861 (estimated date)
(Dr.) You may seat yourself in this chair.
(P.) (Patient) Do you wish me to tell you how I feel?
(Dr.) No — I will tell you.
(P.) Oh, that is all the better — for doctors all want their patients to tell them how they feel.
(Dr.) Yes, I know that, and here is where I differ from them. I tell you your feelings, and you tell the doctors. Do you understand that?
(P.) Yes, I think I do.
(Dr.) Well, which do you like better?
(P.) Your way of course, for if you tell me how I feel, I shall think that you know more about it than I do — for I always supposed that you had to tell the doctors how you felt.
(Dr.) So it is, and then the doctor gives his opinion based on your feelings, and you know just about as much of your case as he does. So you see, it is the blind leading the blind — and if the blind lead the blind, they both fall into the ditch.
(P.) Yes, so says the good book that never lies.
(Dr.) Now I do not do any such way. I sit down by the patient and take hold of his hand and sit, till I feel a sensation in the mind.
(P.) How do you do that?
(Dr.) That is the mystery.
(P.) Well, it must be a mystery, for I cannot understand how you can take my feelings.
(Dr.) Do you know how Jesus took the feelings of the sick?
(P.) No — but I suppose that it must be by the power of God.
(Dr.) Do you believe the Bible?
(P.) Oh, yes.
(Dr.) Then you believe that Jesus Christ was God?
(P.) Yes, the Bible says so — and of course it must be true.
(Dr.) Then God took upon himself the feelings of the sick.
(Dr.) Is man equal to God?
(Dr.) Then if I take upon myself the feelings of the sick — what is it that does it?
(P.) It must be a power.
(Dr.) What do you mean by a power?
(P.) I cannot tell — it is a mystery to me.
(Dr.) So I supposed. . . but now I will tell you how you feel.
(P.) Well, I would like to get well, and I do not care to know how it is done.
(Dr.) Well, if you will give me your attention, I will try to describe your feelings. Please look me in the eye. You have a strange feeling in your head.
(P.) Yes — I will tell you.
(Dr.) I do not wish you to tell me anything. Only say “yes” or “no” to my questions.
(P.) I believe I understand you.
(Dr.) This feeling in the head affects you over the eyes and at the bridge of the nose between the eyes; this produces over your eyes a heavy sensation that makes you want to close them.
(P.) I don't know what it is — but that is just the way I feel.
(Dr.) Then I am right so far?
(P.) Perfectly. But I cannot see how you take my feelings.
(Dr.) I will explain that by-and-by. This heavy feeling in your head causes you to sit with your head inclined forward, and that tires your neck and causes a pain in the back of your head.
(P.) That is just so.
(Dr.) And you try to hold up your head, and that strains the muscles in your neck and heats up those that surround the chest. This heat contracts them and makes you feel a weight pressing on your chest.
(P.) That is just as I have felt a thousand times.
(Dr.) This numbs the whole of your chest and head, so your head would incline forward, and you feel as if you had twenty pounds hanging from your neck. This of course, bows you down, and the effort of the will to sit up is more than you can make, so you want to lie down.
(P.) I don't see how you tell my feelings so easily. I could not tell them as near myself.
(Dr.) This heavy feeling causes you to give way at the pit of the stomach, and that causes a pain in the left side and at times a suffocating feeling.
(P.) How near that is. It is just so.
(Dr.) And then it causes a bloated feeling in the pit of your stomach, and you have to loosen your dress.
(Dr.) This causes a full feeling, first below the stomach and across the bowels, to feel like a weight pressing down and pulling from the pit of the stomach, as though something was giving way at the side.
(Dr.) Now all this seems to come across the hips when you walk, so when you attempt to, it makes you feel weak in the back and weak all over.
(P.) Yes, you are right — but can you help me?
(Dr.) I must first find out all your troubles, before I can explain to you the cause of them — for they are all in the mind.
(P.) Oh, dear — I know that it is not my mind that makes me feel all these feelings.
(Dr.) Then what is it?
(P.) Why, it is my back and stomach and head and side that feels — and ever so many more that you have not spoken of.
(Dr.) Are all these feelings independent of yourself?
(P.) No — but I never thought anything about them, till they came.
(Dr.) Then you are sure that they came of themselves?
(P.) Of course I am.
(Dr.) Can you tell where they came from?
(Dr.) Do you suppose that they came from anyone?
(P.) I do not know anything about that.
(Dr.) You admit I feel them.
(Dr.) From where did I get them?
(P.) From me, I suppose.
(Dr.) Then if my feelings came from you — why could not yours come from someone also?
(P.) I do not know.
(Dr.) This is just where the trouble lies. We take a disease as something independent of the mind, and here is the trouble; it is in us — and not in the mind that the trouble lies. The effect is in the mind, and the cause is in the direction. Your feelings, as far as I have gone, are like witnesses that testify against you. You have no one to appear on your behalf, and you are cast into prison by these false witnesses, put up by blind guides who profess to lead the people into light — but they lead them into darkness and rob them of all they have.
Like the man going down to Jericho, you have fallen among thieves, and you have been robbed of all your money (or wisdom) and been left alone in the dark. Now here you are, without friends or wisdom; ignorant of all these enemies, cast into prison, there to live a miserable life of suffering, till death releases you from these evil beings.
Now I appear on your behalf at the prison; for I find you there, indicted for all the above which, if true, you cannot escape. This power, as you call it, I call Christ, acting through the man Quimby. This wisdom is like the light (or day); while your wisdom (or belief) is like the night (or darkness), and your light is like the moon's light that makes shadows. Now as all shadows are the reflection of a substance, there must be some darkness to make a shadow. Error is matter, and of course a substance. Its author is a belief. As science is of light, it makes no shadow — but like the rising of the sun, it dissolves the darkness and destroys it; and so it burns up the error (or disease).
Now in this prison all looks dark and gloomy. The sentence of death is nearly pronounced, your trial being nearly finished. The doctors and priests, who have gotten you into this trouble, like hypocrites of old, come to your prison wall to torment you, as the Jews did Jesus when they held vinegar to his mouth. They come to you pretending to be your friends, not knowing that their friendship is tormenting you.
Now I suppose you would like to know whom I saw by you, for I talk as though I am speaking to someone else. Well, so I am — and that one is your life, imprisoned by the ignorance of man. This life is the scientific life (or man); its growth is science, and its life is progression — and to check its progression is to imprison it in error. So the prison is the checking of the scientific man. Your scientific man (or life) is imprisoned by the wisdom (or error) of this world. When I speak to you, I speak to the scientific man; and when I speak of an opinion, I speak of the priests and doctors and sometimes of public opinion. These opinions are like the fish spoken of by Christ; that is, not engrafted into a theory or creed.
We often hear persons disputing about the origin of language. Now there never was a man who could translate the original language of God, for God never spoke at all. If Jesus was God, then God had to learn — and from all accounts Jesus was not much of a scholar. So either man or God lies. Now if God spoke to Moses — how did he speak? If he spoke, he must have spoken in the common language of Moses' day. So you see, man must have invented language before God could communicate with him — so God keeps up with the times, and every now and then man finds out that God was mistaken about certain passages in the Bible.
Did God or Jesus misrepresent — or were the people deceived by his language? You see there is a mystery about the original language of God, for the Bible says that God spoke not as man speaks, for God was before Adam. So if God ever spoke, he spoke in the same language at the beginning as he does now, for he is unchangeable. So we must listen to the sound of God's voice, not in the language of any person; for God speaks in that still, small voice of sympathy that says to the poor sick, like yourself, “Be of good cheer, your sins (or errors) will be explained and your soul set at liberty.”
I will tell you how you may know when God speaks to you and when your prayers are heard. When you came here, your prayer was to be cured.
(P.) Yes, that has been my prayer night and day for a long time.
(Dr.) God hears in secret — and your prayers were in secret, were they not?
(Dr.) Could your doctor hear your prayers or feel your woes?
(Dr.) Could the priest?
(Dr.) Then neither of them could answer your prayers by returning sympathy for sympathy that they could not feel.
(Dr.) If Jesus was here — would he not feel your troubles or prayers?
(Dr.) Did he not give his disciples the same power?
(Dr.) Well, if they cannot do what he did — have they any claims to apostleship?
(Dr.) The true original language of God is this. If you are in trouble, you know it and feel it.
(Dr.) This comes within your senses. For me to understand your feelings (or language) is to feel it and then invent some words or signs, so as to give your outward man a sign that I do feel it. (This last invention is only to explain to the well as nearly as possible how the sick feel). So to know what the language of Jesus was is to know how he was affected by the person or persons he was addressing.
There is a mistaken notion about the senses. The senses are just what a person knows, and the difference between man and beast is in their senses; for man's senses is his wisdom. The beast has five senses — and a great many human beings have not half so many. Because a human being is deprived of sight, hearing, taste, smelling — does that make him of less value than the brute, who has all the above?
The truth is, what a man knows is his senses, not what he smells; his senses are in everything that contains his wisdom. Show an orange to a child; the child's wisdom embraces sight, not smell nor taste nor anything else. Give the child wisdom of what the orange is, and put him in full possession of all the knowledge. Then the child is wiser than he was before. So his senses grow with his wisdom, and this makes man different from the brute — and the difference is in his senses (or wisdom). If a man is as ignorant as the brute, he is worse than one — for he has neglected to fulfill his obligations to himself and God. Now you may ask what has all this to do with your disease.
(P.) Yes, I do not see as that has anything to do with my aches and pains.
(Dr.) This is now what I am going to show you — how your mind is the disease. You know I told you about your head, neck and side, etc.
(Dr.) Well, do not forget that, for I shall refer to it when I come to the trial.
(P.) Have you not come to that yet?
(Dr.) Oh, no. I have not come to the disease yet.
(P.) I thought you had been telling me my disease.
(Dr.) No, these feelings are some of your symptoms; they are the effect and not the cause.
(P.) Oh. Well, tell me the cause.
(Dr.) Listen, and I will try to explain the cause of your trouble, as far as I have gone. These symptoms are in the first indictment, and as it will be necessary for me to prove all I state, I must draw your attention to what you will acknowledge to be true. You are aware that you have thought a good deal about the Scriptures and another world, as you call it.
(P.) Oh, no! Not half as much as I ought to.
(P.) Oh, I think we all ought to read the Bible more than we do.
(P.) To make us better.
(Dr.) Do you think that the Bible makes you better?
(Dr.) Then you really feel as though you got some good out of the Bible?
(Dr.) Do you think you understand it?
(P.) Not as well as I wish I did.
(Dr.) Do you get any more light in regard to it when you read it?
(P.) Oh, yes.
(Dr.) How long have you studied it?
(P.) I have always been taught to read the Bible.
(Dr.) Do you belong to any church?
(P.) I do not know as that has anything to do with my disease.
(Dr.) It may have — and as your belief is the witness, I first want to examine the witness; so it is necessary that I should know all the facts that have a bearing on the case.
(P.) I do not know as my belief has anything to do with the case.
(Dr.) Well, we will see about that by-and-by. Please answer.
(P.) I suppose I am a member of a church.
(Dr.) What church?
(P.) The Calvinist Baptist.
(Dr.) You say you study the Bible to find out your duty to your neighbor and yourself, and also your duty to your God as a Christian?
(Dr.) Well, what progress have you made?
(P.) I cannot say that I have made much, for it still looks dark.
(Dr.) Do you think you understand it?
(P.) Not as well as I should like to.
(Dr.) Does anyone understand it?
(P.) Why, I suppose Parson B. knows more about it than I do.
(Dr.) Where did he get his information?
(P.) He is a very learned divine.
(Dr.) So were the Pharisees and Levites — but Jesus shut their mouths, did he not?
(Dr.) Was Jesus a learned man?
(P.) Why — Jesus was God.
(Dr.) Well, was God ever supposed to study any languages?
(P.) No, for he knows all things.
(Dr.) Then God knew all things before language was invented.
(Dr.) Then language was not for God's benefit, but for man's.
(Dr.) Then God could communicate his will to man without language.
(Dr.) If God formerly talked to men, do you suppose he spoke in an audible voice?
(P.) I suppose he did, for it said he spoke unto Moses.
(Dr.) Did he not speak to Saul when he was going to Damascus?
(Dr.) Did anyone but Saul hear him?
(P.) I believe not.
(Dr.) Did he not speak to Jesus, when he saw the heavens open and the Holy Ghost come down and heard the voice of God saying, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased?" Did any others hear it?
(P.) It did not say they did — but when the devil spoke, they all heard.
(Dr.) Do you suppose that if anyone had been up in the mountain when Jesus was tempted, they could have heard the devil talking to Jesus?
(P.) No, that was his earthly feelings or passions — like the rest of us, when we are tempted to do wrong.
(Dr.) The Bible says the devil talked, and Jesus answered. Why do you put another construction on that passage?
(P.) No one supposes that it was a devil in human shape.
(Dr.) Then why did he tell him to get behind him?
(P.) Oh! There are many passages hard to be understood.
(Dr.) Yes, but such plain language as that ought not be misrepresented. Did not the people once believe in the devil in human form?
(P.) Yes, I suppose they did.
Dr.) Well, if he ever had an existence, is he dead?
(P.) We often hear that he is.
(Dr.) Now if there never was a devil, then the story in the Bible is false, is it not?
(P.) I cannot disbelieve in the Bible, because I cannot understand it.
(Dr.) Was not Christ sent to save sinners?
(Dr.) What is a sinner?
(P.) Why — we are all sinners.
(Dr.) Why did he say, “I am not sent to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance?”
(P.) Oh! I cannot explain that, but if Parson B. was here, he could. I should like to hear him talk with you. There he comes — shall I call him? Will it interfere with your cure?
(Dr.) Oh! Yes, I should like to hear him explain some of these passages.
(P.) I will rap on the window, but he seems to be coming in.
(P.) Good morning, this is Dr. Quimby. He is trying to see if he can cure me.
(Parson B) Good morning, Doctor. I suppose you find Sister A. very nervous.
(Dr.) Yes, somewhat so.
(Parson) I have spent a great deal of time in trying to reconcile her to the Holy Scriptures, where she must go for happiness in this world of woe, and where she must look for happiness, and where she will find Christ ready to lead her to her father in heaven.
(Dr.) Do you suppose she is prepared to meet her God?
(Parson) Oh, yes, she has been a bright and shining light in my church for over three years.
(Dr.) What was the state of her mind when she first began to see the necessity of a change?
(Parson) She was probably one of the most bewitching little creatures you ever saw.
(Dr.) Did she ever do anything out of the way?
(Parson) Oh, everyone liked her, but she was like all others — without that hope that one must have to fit them for that place where sinners can never enter.
(Dr.) I suppose you mean heaven.
(Dr.) Well, who has caused this change?
(Parson) The spirit of God.
(Dr.) How did she receive it?
(Parson) Through my feeble voice.
(Dr.) Then you take the credit of being an instrument in the hands of God to explain the Scriptures, so that she could understand and prepare her mind to receive the Holy Ghost or Christ?
(Dr.) Have you any proof that she has received the Holy Ghost?
(Dr.) What is it?
(Parson) Why, she has met with a change of heart.
(Dr.) What do you mean by a change of heart?
(Parson) The love of God shed abroad in her heart — and a promise that if she continues in the true faith delivered to the saints, she shall be saved.
(Dr.) Can you give me any sort of reason for the faith you or she has in your beliefs?
(Parson) Of course I can.
(Dr.) Well, please tell me what you mean by religion?
(Parson) To love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself.
(Dr.) Do you live up to that?
(Parson) Yes, sir, I think I do.
(Dr.) Then you profess to be a follower of Christ, do you?
(Dr.) Could not Jesus raise this young lady, if he was on earth?
(Parson) Yes — for he could do all things.
(Dr.) Can you?
(Parson) The days of miracles are past, since the crucifixion of Christ.
(Dr.) Have there not been any miracles since?
(Parson) I think not.
(Dr.) How did Jesus cure?
(Parson) By the power of God.
(Dr.) Was not Paul an apostle of Christ?
(Dr.) Was he not converted some thirty years after the crucifixion of Jesus?
(Parson) Yes, I believe he was.
(Dr.) Did he not perform miracles?
(Parson) I cannot say about that.
(Dr.) Well, you remember where it says that God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul; so much so that aprons from his body were brought to the sick, and the evil spirits went out of them, and they were healed of their diseases?
(Dr.) Do you call yourself a converted man?
(Dr.) And feel as though you were born of God?
(Parson) I do.
(Dr.) Was God Christ?
(Dr.) I thought you said that Christ cured by the power of God.
(Parson) I mean Jesus received his power from God.
(Dr.) So that I understand you now — was that power that Jesus received the same that Paul received; for they both claimed it was from God?
(Dr.) Was it the power of wisdom — or a gift?
(Parson) I do not know as I understand you.
(Dr.) Did Jesus know how he cured — or was it a gift?
(Parson) Why of course he knew how he performed the cures.
(Dr.) Then it was wisdom — not a gift.
(Dr.) Was Paul's the same?
(Parson) I suppose it must have been.
(Dr.) Then the wisdom was not of this world.
(Dr.) Is not wisdom a power?
(Dr.) Is there any power in error?
(Parson) Yes, for we read of the power of the devil.
(Dr.) Then there are two powers.
(Dr.) Was the devil's power of God?
(Dr.) Then where did he get it?
(Parson) I do not know, but God said it was from the beginning and that he was a liar from the beginning.
(Dr.) How are we to distinguish these two powers? You say wisdom is God's power; and the Devil's, you say, did not come from God — so it cannot be wisdom, can it? Then it must be of this world.
(Dr.) Then this world is matter?
(Dr.) Then man is made of matter?
(Dr.) And wisdom in man, if he has any, must be God — is it not so?
(Dr.) Then man is under two powers — wisdom of God and wisdom of the devil (or error).
(Dr.) Is wisdom matter?
(Dr.) Is error (or the devil) matter?
(Parson) I don't know.
(Dr.) What does it mean when it says, “God shall reign till he has put all enemies under his feet, and the last enemy is death. So death and hell and he that hath the power of death shall be destroyed.” Is not all the above matter — or something that can be destroyed?
(Dr.) Are you not preparing this young lady to be resigned to the devil — or death?
(Parson) What do you mean? I think if you would cure your patients and not instruct them in regard to the Bible, you would do much more good.
(Dr.) Did not Christ cure?
(Parson) I hope you will not compare yourself with Christ.
(Dr.) Why not?
(Parson) Because it is blasphemy.
(Dr.) Did Christ preach?
(Dr.) Do you?
(Dr.) What kind of religion?
(Parson) The religion of Christ.
(Dr.) Do you mean to compare yourself with Christ?
(Parson) Not in the sense that you do.
(Dr.) How do you compare yourself with Christ?
(Parson) By preaching his Gospel.
(Dr.) Can you illustrate in what way you preach Christ, as the twelve apostles whom he called together, giving them power over all disease and to cast out devils and telling them how to distinguish between the false Christ or teachers? Now if you are a true disciple of Christ — here is a case to prove it. Save this young lady from the hands of death, where ignorance and superstition have placed her.
(Parson) Here is no place to discuss questions of this kind. I will just say to this young lady, “Beware of evil spirits. Your soul is of more value than his theory — for if that is true, farewell to religion. We might live and enjoy ourselves, as you did before you received the promise of eternal life.”
(Dr.) Did you not say that you were preparing her for the solemn scene of death?
(Parson) It is not worthwhile for me to try to convince an infidel — so I will leave you, hoping you will see the error of your ways. Good morning.
(Dr.) Now you have heard your minister talk — and would his talk explain away your disease?
(Dr.) Then what is it good for?
(P.) Well, I do not know — only it makes us happy.
(Dr.) Does his talk or belief make you feel any better?
(P.) I do not know as his talk would cure me, but I think his power could.
(Dr.) I thought you admitted that he knew what he was doing?
(P.) So I did.
(Dr.) Well, how can a person let you know a truth, without using language and talking?
(P.) I do not know as they can.
(Dr.) Now if I should cure you, without explaining how I changed your mind — then you would be as ignorant as before.
(P.) Yes, but I do not see that the mind has anything to do with the cure. For you say you have to change the mind to make the cure — and you say that you can cure me, without my knowing how it is done.
(Dr.) Yes, that is so; and I will try and explain — and if you do not believe, ask for proof. Mind is matter, but mind is not wisdom. So if your mind is disturbed and your wisdom imprisoned in the disturbance, I can, by disturbing your mind, set your wisdom at liberty — and you be none the wiser. But if I use language to communicate to your error and convince it of its fault — then your error becomes wisdom. And then your wisdom increases, just as you lose error; so that unto him that hath wisdom shall be given, and unto him that hath not wisdom, but error, that shall be taken away — or that which he thinks he has by wisdom and given to wisdom, and he shall have more wisdom.
Now I will illustrate this in your case. Your wisdom was of this world and was based on your religious opinions. They, being of man's invention, were false. But being acknowledged as true, the world has been deceived by these false guides into a belief that really has been acknowledged as true. So that everyone that is afflicted by these blind guides makes themselves a religion that is according to the wisdom of man. Now your wisdom (or science), by being misled by these blind guides, disturbs your mind, and the false direction given to it attaches it to a belief that you take for a truth.
You may say, “If your wisdom is of God, how can it be deceived?” Your wisdom is progression, as well as science; so it may be misled, as though it was of this world of error. Your belief is made of that substance called matter; and that, to wisdom, is called an idea, and nothing more. For it can be destroyed or changed into another belief.
I want you to understand what I mean by a belief and how it affects you. So I will suppose myself your minister, and I will commence by asking you if you were ever affected by religious experience. You must listen like a child, ready to receive instruction — so of course you have no mind (or opinion) on the subject. Your wisdom is excited, and it wants to be developed, so you listen and take it for granted that I have more wisdom than you. And not being able, or not knowing the mode of testing my wisdom — you, being honest and simple — take me as a guide. I introduce my wisdom as a guide (or truth), and being ignorant of myself, lead you into a belief that I may believe myself or I may not.
If I am honest, I am more sincere, and my sincerity affects you differently from my hypocrisy. But let it be as it may; I commence by calling your attention to another world, and that to you is all Greek; but as I talk, you become excited, and you begin to condense my argument into a belief, like a building; so that it looks clear to your little wisdom — and you frame a belief (or building) to agree with the plan I have introduced.
As your belief is condensed, it looks plainer and like a shadow, till it becomes so plain that you cease to have an opinion — and it then becomes a truth.
Now all beliefs, being the invention of man, are of matter and liable to be changed or disturbed. So restrictions, creeds or penalties are attached to them, and certain forms and ceremonies required of persons for their happiness; and the neglect of them is the forfeiture of their happiness. Your belief in your religion requires some sacrifice on your part, but Jesus says in sacrifices, he takes no delight. Science requires no sacrifice, but all priesthoods are made up of sacrifice (or offerings). If you comply with the creed (or belief), then you shall be saved; if you see fit to doubt their wisdom, then you are judged guilty of the law and are tried by the creed — and being guilty, you are bound and cast into prison. In this state of mind, your wisdom being deceived, you become the child of these blind guides, and in your trouble you call on the Lord, as you think.
If you really do call on science, it would answer you, but you cannot call on whom you have never heard, and receive an answer. So you receive the answer from your false leader, and in this way you are held in prison, till Christ (or science) sets you free — as some revelation sets a criminal free by opening the door of his prison.
Now your state of mind first commenced by some little excitement that sent a flash to your head, and this made you a little nervous. Then the parson commenced his story; this affects you more and more, and your reason keeps you in a state of excitement. At last you see no way by which you can be saved, except through Christ — and Christ is these blind guides' belief. This you cannot understand. So in your trouble, you think you are not as good as you ought to be. This troubles you, till at last you settle down in a state of complete despair.
This was the state of mankind when Jesus introduced this wisdom called Christ. This wisdom separated the false Christ (or theories) from the true Christ (or wisdom). One he called the wisdom of this world and the other, the wisdom of God; so when he explained it, he used the parable of the talents. He who had the one talent — being young and not understanding — knew just enough not to be deceived — but not enough to put his theory into practice; sat still (or hid it in the dust of ignorance), till the time came to render up to wisdom the things that belong to God.
You know how he thought wisdom had been a hard master, etc. But wisdom knew that it was error who talked, so he cast out his error, gave him the wisdom of God (or science) and said unto him, “Unto him that hath shall be given, and he shall have more abundance.” (Or unto him that hath a little wisdom shall be given more; and unto the same person who hath error that he takes for truth, it shall be taken away, and truth shall take its place).
Now this is your case. You have hidden your wisdom in the dust of ignorance and used the reason of error; as error never had any truth, but is the wisdom of darkness. When the Christ (or true wisdom) comes, it calls your error to an account; and as it cannot give any good account of itself, it is cast into prison. Your wisdom, being attached to your error — you follow its father; (and Christ knew the devil) — and of course your error becomes the child of the devil. Jesus says, “Christ shall reign, till he has put all things under his feet, and the last thing is death.”
See how near your teacher agrees with this Christ. Your Christ (or teacher) calls on you to prepare you for the very thing that my Christ came to destroy. If you will stop and look at your belief, it does not contain one single truth that Christ taught — but is directly in contradiction to all his teachings. So the very burdens are put upon you by your false teachers who cry, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.
Now you know as well as I do that your ministers cannot help you at all; but they can torment you by their creeds and leave you like the man going down to Jericho, who fell among thieves. They have robbed you of all your comfort and have left you to be devoured by wolves in men's clothing, who come prowling around, undertaking to heal your wounds by tormenting you with their drugs. So at last, with their smooth tongues and poison, they quiet you to sleep — and like the strong man who enters your house while asleep, poisons you to destroy your health.
Now this is your case. While you were quietly traveling along the journey of life, young and happy, these blind guides decoyed you from your father's house (or health) and carried you off into a strange land (or belief), robbed you of your happiness and left you among strangers (or physicians), who come to you pretending to be your friends; offering you wine and opium and drugs to soothe your wounded heart. Then, robbing you of all your health, they leave you on the ground. The priests and doctors come along, and seeing you as the one they have robbed, pass by.
Now I come and find you lying on the ground, and taking you up, carry you into an inn (or happier state of mind), bind up your heart that the priests have broken, and pour into your soul that they have wounded, the oil of truth; leave a few pence (or ideas) of value with your wisdom (or landlord) and go my way. When I come again, if the debt of health is not paid, I will explain the balance. Now who is your friend?
I will now bring you before your enemies, that you may be tried by the laws of God (or science). And as you are held in bondage by man's laws, the laws of science will set you free. I will read over your indictment. Here you stand before the tribunal of man, accused of sundry offenses, which I shall read to the court; all of which you have been made to believe. If true, they must cast you into prison; there to live a miserable life.
Here is the indictment. You are accused of a heavy feeling over the eyes, so it is with difficulty you keep them open; also shooting pains in the head; cold, neuralgia, pains in the back of the neck, shooting across the chest; faintness at the stomach; sudden palpitation of the heart, etc.; a heaviness about the hips, causing great pains in the small of the back; a bearing down of the lower part of the abdomen; shortness of breath in walking — accompanied with a low state of mind; feeling at times as though you were alone in the world.
All of the above are the feelings brought against you, and you have pleaded guilty to them. Now I have undertaken your case, and in reading over the indictment, I see that all the offenses you stand indicted for are offenses against the laws of man; not against God (or science). So that man's laws (or opinions) cannot hold the child of science in bondage, if she can be proved clear. It is not incumbent on me to show that you are innocent of all you are accused of, so I will state my defense to the court.
In the first place, God never made a law that man can show; and in the next place, if he did, you never disobeyed it. And I am ready to have you tried by the laws of truth. If you have offended against truth, let your accusers come forward and show wherein. I will call the doctor to the stand and let him tell his story.
(C.) (Counsel) So Doctor, you may take the stand and state all you know about this lady.
(Dr.) I was called to see her some six months ago and found her laboring under a nervous excitement caused by congestion of the lungs.
(C.) Well, what else?
(Dr.) I administered to her and found her the next morning laboring under very severe pains in the head and across the eyes.
(C.) Have you any name for these feelings?
(Dr.) The pains across the chest were congestion of the lungs, and the pains in the head and back were tic douloureux or neuralgia. The pains in the back of the neck running down the spine were caused by a spinal affection. After a day or two, the symptoms changed somewhat, assuming another form; a weakness at the pit of the stomach, with a slight irritation about the heart, causing great tenderness around the left side. These symptoms I treated in the usual way.
(C.) Are you a regular?
(Dr.) I am.
(C.) Go on.
(Mother) When the doctor came, he examined her and treated her accordingly.
(C.) Did you hear the doctor's testimony?
(C.) Did you ever have such an opinion of her case, till you were told so by the doctor?
(C.) Did you ever hear your daughter intimate that she had such a disease, before the doctor came?
(Mother) No — and she went on from one disease to another, just as the doctor had said.
(C.) And you are satisfied that the doctor understood her case?
(Mother) Oh yes, for I remember when he told her that her lungs were affected, she was much surprised — and so was I, for we never dreamed of such a thing.
(C.) How did it affect her?
(Mother) At first it shocked her very much, so that she did not sleep that night — but the parson came in the morning and prayed with her, and she seemed more calm. Religion is the only thing the poor child has to cling to, for her disease went on so rapidly that it seemed as though we had all been blind to her danger. I really believe if she had not seen the doctor as she did, she would have been in her grave.
(C.) You need not give your opinion, only tell what you know.
(Mother) Well, that is what the doctor said — if we did not send for him just as we did, she would have been in her grave.
(C.) Then all you know is what the doctor said?
(Mother) Yes, of course, for I know nothing of disease myself. I have brought up six children and never had a doctor in the house before.
(C.) Then you have a very good opinion of your doctor?
(Mother) Why should I not, when he could foresee just how my daughter's disease would go on? I was very particular to listen to all he said and remember how he would tell how the disease would affect her.
(C.) You may retire. Miss____, will you please state to the judge how you were when the doctor came to see you first? You need not rise — keep your seat.
(Patient) I do not remember my feelings, as they were at that time, well-enough to describe them now — but when the doctor stated them, I remembered them.
(C.) Had you all the diseases that he said you had?
(P.) I do not know anything, except what he said.
(C.) How did it affect you?
(P.) It at first made me very nervous.
(Judge) Do you stop here?
(C.) Not quite yet. This is a case of great importance — not only to the person accused, but to the whole people at large; for if a person is to be convinced on such testimony as that — science is of no use. If opinion is law, then the wisdom of God is of no effect. Now this young lady is accused of sundry and divers diseases, named in the writ as offenses against the laws of God; and she has been arraigned before you as a judge of truth and science, and it becomes necessary on my part to prove to the court that the whole of the above testimony is false; that it does not contain one word of science, but is all the invention of man; that she is not guilty of any of the diseases named, as arising from any disobedience of God's laws.
I must show to the court that she is innocent of all she is accused; that all her symptoms, as they are called, are the effect of her belief; that the witnesses here are the very ones who have betrayed and deceived her into an acknowledgment of what she had never known anything before. Being threatened with everlasting punishment, she became so nervous that she was not in her right mind — and in this state, she was made to confess whatever she was requested to do; and then her deceivers turned against her — and here she is. I will now show that all they have accused her of is false. I will call on the parson and show that his wisdom is based on an opinion of which he cannot show the first shadow of proof. You can state by what authority you so deceived the lady.
(Parson) By what authority do you call my profession in question?
(C.) By the authority of God (or wisdom).
(Parson to the Judge) Have you any jurisdiction over a minister of the Gospel of Christ?
(Parson) Then why am I arraigned before you to answer for an offense which, if true, would be a stain on my Christian character?
(C.) I will state one thing which I stand ready to prove — that this minister is not in fellowship with the character of Jesus, nor is he a disciple of Christ; but is decidedly in opposition to all of Jesus' teachings; and that he is one of those blind guides spoken of by Jesus and his disciples, who go about entering the houses of the mind while the inmates are asleep (or ignorant of his character), bind them and then destroy their goods (or happiness). This same minister entered her happy home (or mind) some three years ago, and by the dim light of heathen superstition, frightened her into a confession that she had been guilty of disobeying the laws of God; and unless she repented and acknowledged it, she must suffer eternal punishment. This frightened her into a belief that made her nervous, and in this state of mind the doctor was sent for. I will call the doctor on the stand again.
(C.) If I remember rightly, doctor, you said when you were called to see this young lady, you found her under great nervous excitement.
(C.) Did you make up your mind what was the cause?
(Dr.) Not exactly, but supposed it must have been from some over-excitement of the brain.
(C.) Did you know that it was by religious excitement?
(Dr.) In fact, I never thought of that, till now.
(Further evidence objected to, but overruled).
(C.) Did you ever see a person laboring under excitement caused by attending these religious meetings?
(Dr.) Yes, frequently.
(C.) If you should be particular to notice their talk and acts — could you not tell whether it was by religious excitement or not?
(C.) Well, please say whether or not you think this young lady's first excitement was caused by that.
(Dr.) I am now certain of it — and if this court will let me state what I know, that will show my feelings at the time.
(C.) Go on.
(Dr.) Some two or three weeks before the revival in which she was very much interested, together with a number of other young ladies who all experienced religion, I was at a ball where she was present, and in the course of conversation with her, expressed my interest in her health. She replied that, as long as she could keep clear of doctors and priests, she should do well enough — and in less than two weeks after that time, the excitement commenced.
(C.) How long did it keep up?
(Dr.) Some five or six days.
(C.) Then it was at one of these protracted meetings?
(C.) How long ago was that?
(Dr.) I don't know — but think it must have been some three years and-a-half ago.
(C.) You say that there were some other young ladies that were affected?
(C.) How have they come out?
(Dr.) One is in an insane hospital, and another died of depression of the most horrid kind. In fact, I do not know of anyone who was not affected.
(C.) Now you have heard the doctor's opinion of your meetings. What does the parson say to that?
(Parson) I do not deny that those that he named came to their death, as he said — but it was not by religion, for religion never makes anyone crazy.
(C.) How do you know? You give no proof.
(Parson) I know that.
(C.) You have stated something you cannot prove. If it was necessary to prove that this man is a false teacher, I could do it — but I have shown enough to prove that all his knowledge is based on an opinion of someone who is as ignorant as himself. So you may leave and answer to wisdom for your inability to preach Christ.
Now I think I have the foundation for the medical doctor. I will show to the court that the medical doctor is as ignorant of his profession as the priest. And between them both, they have kept this young lady in prison for three years. I will now ask the medical doctor a few questions.
(C.) What causes disease?
(Dr.) Disobeying the laws of God.
(C.) You are sure of that?
(Judge) Have you the laws of God, in regard to health?
(Dr.) I have not.
(Judge) Did you ever hear of such laws?
(Dr.) Oh yes, often.
(Judge) Did you ever see any such laws?
(Counsel against the prisoner) You do not say that there are no such laws.
(Judge) I never saw them.
(Dr.) Are there any laws in regard to health?
(Judge) Oh, yes, there are many — but who made them?
(Dr.) Man, I suppose — but are they not founded on the laws of God?
(Judge) I never saw such laws in the book of life.
(Dr.) Where are the laws that man disobeys?
(Judge) The laws of their own make. Every man is a book and is judged out of his own book — and he that is found in the book of life (or wisdom) is not judged by the laws of man.
(Counsel) The patient is accused of certain offenses committed against the laws of God, and by these laws she is to die. Here I stand, ready to show that she had been deceived by the medical doctor, who is ignorant of his calling; and being ignorant, had made her believe a lie, that she may be damned or die. So I will call the medical doctor to answer a few questions.
(C.) You say that when you first called on the patient, you found that she was laboring under nervous excitement, caused by congestion of the lungs?
(C.) How did you ascertain the fact that it was congestion of the lungs?
(Dr.) By sounding them and by respiration.
(C.) Are you sure that you cannot be deceived?
(Dr.) I think I am.
(C.) Do you, on your oath, before the judge of wisdom, say that there was congestion of the lungs?
(Dr.) No, I won't swear, for I might be mistaken.
(C.) Do not all medical doctors get mistaken often?
(Dr.) Oh, yes.
(C.) Then it is your opinion that her lungs were affected?
(C.) You caused a blister-plaster to be applied?
(Dr.) Yes. I applied a blister-plaster all over the chest to relieve the irritation.
(C.) Does not a blister-plaster irritate?
(C.) Does it not make some persons so nervous that it has to be removed?
(C.) Was it so in her case?
(Dr.) She made a great deal of objection and wanted it to be removed.
(C.) Would not this, of itself, affect her whole system and cause her head to ache?
(Dr.) I suppose it might.
(C.) Well, have you proof of any disease — except your opinion?
(Dr.) A great many things.
(C.) Would you have known anything by your own feelings, if you had been blind and the lady dumb?
(C.) Your wisdom was founded on your sight and her voice?
(C.) Can you see pain?
(C.) Can you feel another's pain?
(C.) Then how do you know that anything ailed her — only by her looks and what she said?
(Dr.) That is the only way.
(C.) Are not persons very nervous when they are not sick?
(C.) Well, that is all. I suppose the Judge is satisfied that the medical doctor's opinion is founded on circumstantial evidence, and there is not one single particle of wisdom in all his testimony. So she is not guilty of any disease by man's laws, from the testimony of the medical doctor; only that she has been frightened into an acknowledgment of something that she never knew anything about.
I propose to show, in the first place, that God never made a law of any kind — and if he never made a law, then man could never transgress what was never made. I will introduce the original book of God (or nature), and see if the translation was right to make God responsible for man's laws. It reads in God's book that man was created a little above the brutes. Jesus said that the foxes have holes, and the birds have nests, but the son of man had nowhere to lay his head — so that Jesus was a fair specimen of man in his original state; cast among brutes of all kinds. His life was one of terror and bloodshed, and as 'might was right' with brutes and man, it became necessary for man to invent some way to protect himself against the brute; so he invented laws and penalties to govern man.
God is not found in any law containing rewards and punishments. We often hear the word science — but this is not found in God's book. Science is the name of wisdom reduced to practice. We often hear of the laws of God. When we ask for an illustration, we are told, if a person falls off a building, it will kill him. Suppose it does — has he disobeyed any law? I say no. All will admit that bodies are attracted to the earth. This is a truth — and to reduce this wisdom to man's senses, so that he shall know the fact, man calls it the effect of the science of God's laws; or a knowledge of God's wisdom.
Now if you let a rock fall from a building, it falls according to the laws of God — but if man falls, he has disobeyed some of God's laws. And if by chance it does not kill him, he must be punished by God with pains, until he will cease from breaking that law. And God has just about as much to do with the rock as with the man.
It is impossible to disobey God in any one thing, for wisdom is not of this world of matter. For wisdom is that which fills all space, so there cannot be any real space occupied by matter. Matter, as man calls it, is only a shadow of substance — so a shadow cannot fill space; it is a vacuum, ready to be filled by wisdom, when man arrives at the truth of the substance that makes the shadow.
Opinions are, by the wisdom of this world, admitted to be true. These opinions are condensed into a belief and pass off for substance. In this way, matter has been introduced into this world by error; and out of this error (or matter) man has been made. But the scientific man (or wisdom) came from God, and like the mind that penetrates through the pores of all matter, it was breathed into this shadow, and it became a progressive being. This wisdom sees through the error (or earthly man). It will not be subject to his will, but does not interfere with the natural man's opinions; it only sanctions what man agrees to. If man condenses his wisdom into any belief that makes him liable to any law that he may make, and it becomes a fixed law, then he must be punished by that law. But if he seeks wisdom from above and obtains it, then the laws of matter cannot bind him in bondage.
If I show by the wisdom of God that this young lady has not committed any offense against the laws of God, then the Judge of science will release her from the laws of man. This is my defense — that disease is not self-existent, but is the invention of this world of error. To show that, it is necessary to go back some ages, and see how the ancient philosophers of Greece and Rome entertained the same ideas that Jesus did. Both condemned religion with the most vehement denunciation they could invent. Lucretius condemns it as the greatest tyrant of man; holds that it is directly against science and everything that tends to enlighten man. He shows that mind is master; that there is nothing else than mind and matter. He called them matter and void (or space), which is the same.
For matter is not seen by the natural man, except by the effects. He shows that the idea of weight, as it is called, is impossible; but people cannot understand when they see a thing fall that it does not contain weight. Let our philosophers discard the idea of weight, and introduce the words gravitation and attraction. These last are as false as the first; for there cannot be such a thing in wisdom as gravitation. Everyone knows that the air presses on all matter; so that it is filled with air, or something that makes a vacuum; so that when there is the most vacuum in matter, the lighter it is. The air penetrates like sound (or matter); so that matter and mind are all that there is to be seen, even by the spiritual man.
His idea is that, as all matter decomposes, it passes into void and out of sight to the natural man. So if matter is matter when it is not visible — why does it not fall to some center and there remain? (All wisdom shows that it does not act in that way). Now as matter is dissolved by some solid which comes in contact with it, I call this solid the essence of wisdom. This essence breaks in pieces all the matter (or error). And as it fills all space, it holds all matter in solution, as it is in the very air. It is always dissolving all bodies, and as they dissolve, they pass off — not rise; for there is no rise or fall, nor length or breadth, but vacuum (or essence).
This essence is governed by wisdom, and wisdom sees through all error (or matter). Matter is the name of that which we see and feel — and that which we cannot see and can only feel is mind. This mind is what rises from the idea matter, and as the idea is destroyed, the particles are held in solution; not destroyed, but separated by this essence of wisdom. So that the word (or idea) is not in existence as such, or as matter — but as a remembrance.
I will try to illustrate. The word disease contains an idea of disturbance of the mind. As there is no identity, it is a mere sensation in this essence where the mind is. Now the idea of a tumor is made or spoken into existence; this matter, set in motion by this essence — an idea is formed (or belief that there is such a thing as a tumor). This belief is the light of the person that believes it; his body is lighted by it, being nothing but the shadow of substance that can never be destroyed.
This belief can enter the shadow and set up its standard of wisdom and keep the wisdom of God from developing itself; like a rock that defies the essence to dissolve it. But wisdom can break it in pieces by its power. Error gives direction; and as this matter, like electricity, is set in motion; and as vacuum is composed of vacuum and matter (or error) of error — by excluding all wisdom (or science) from itself, makes to itself a tumor as solid as its ignorance can invent. This process has been carried to that perfection that man, in his ignorance, can almost turn his identity into a pillar of salt.
P. P. Quimby