July 1860


by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby


THE word science is frequently used, but so loosely defined that its true meaning cannot be understood. Ask a man what science is, he answers, "It is knowledge, a collection of general principles." This leaves the question just where we find it. So everyone sets up his standard of a collection of general principles.

Let us see if the word can be explained so that every one may know what science is. Science embraces something spiritual or a revelation from a higher state of being. Science is the name of that wisdom that accounts for all phenomena that the natural man or beast cannot understand.

To illustrate. You throw a ball into the air, every child will soon learn that the ball will return. This is not science. But to know understandingly that it will return with just as much energy as it received, is science. Science is in the act, although the person knows it not, and God is in the world and the world knows Him not. This principle Jesus tried to teach to man. The acts of man were sometimes according to this law, but the actors knew it not. So they being ignorant of Science were a science unto themselves. As they did not know the motive, they could not teach it to others.

Paul, speaking of this Science, says some have not even heard of it, and how shall they believe in what they have not heard of as a science; how shall they hear without a preacher, and how shall they preach a science unless they be sent? So he says, How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace (or the words of that person who can teach Science). He uses the word "charity" for the same wisdom, and goes on to tell that although we give all our money to the poor, and suffer our bodies to be burned, and do not understand Science or charity, it is of no use. To understand wisdom or charity so as to put it into practice, so that it becomes a science, is not an easy task. Well might the disciples say this is a hard saying, and how can a man believe or understand? Therefore, if they cannot understand, must the wisdom of God be of no effect? Wisdom says, "No! Let God (Science) be true, but every man a liar."

This Science was in the minds of the people, but the priests and doctors led the people and explained it according to their own notions, so when Jesus came to establish this truth as a science, to them it was a stumbling-block. The wisdom of this world never had put science into goodness, but thought goodness was a dispensation. This wisdom or charity was known by some to have an identity, but was never admitted as anything independent of the natural man. So goodness was considered by the priests as a sort of subjection to the rulers. A good person was like a good dog, ready to obey his master; then his master would pat him and call him a good dog, although he had just torn another dog in pieces, or had done something else to please his master.

This was the way with the Christian church: to be good was to persecute all who would not bow the knee to the leaders. All who had the boldness to speak their opinions were heretics or infidels. The priests patted the heads of their dogs and set them on the swine or those who opposed them, so that to steal from or rob one of these skeptics was a virtue rather than a wrong.

I have seen this effect in my own practice. There are people who are honest according to their religion who will come and tell me a lie, as I call it, to deceive me into a belief that they mean just what they say. I have just the same confidence in their honesty that I have in a bull dog who looks as innocent as a lamb when you have something that he wants, and when he gets it will bite you as soon as your back is turned. This all arises from smothering the Science or charity, or revelation from God. And this is done by the priest. The priests make their goodness a matter of self-interest, and charge people a fee to pardon their sins, which the honest part of the community would look upon as a wrong. The priest flatters them with the idea that they are doing just right. So they worship the priest as the masses worship the leaders, and every person knows that a leading demagogue will uphold any crime his party is guilty of, and applaud the actor for his honesty or goodness.

Charity has no friend with any of these leaders. It finds no foothold. Therefore, like the dove of the ark, after trying to find a place to rest it returns to its house and is gone to the world. This was the case in the days of Jesus. He came to establish this Science or charity. This word Science not being used to explain this truth, it was called by Jesus "Christ," and by Paul it was called "charity." By the wise who admitted it, it was called a power or gift, but it was never admitted to have an identity with the teaching to which the senses were attached. This was Jesus' religion, so that He talked His religion, instead of talking about it. To talk wisdom is Wisdom, whereas to talk about wisdom is to talk an unknown God.

Jesus tells just where the people stood in regard to this truth. There were none who understood it, but many who acted according to their principles. These he called persons who being ignorant of the law were a law to themselves, because they did right and did not know why they wanted to do it. He describes their minds as half wise and half foolish. But the wise were ignorant of the cause of their own wisdom, so that in trying to make people understand this truth, which he called the greatest of sciences or the kingdom of God, he spoke in parables.

He commences by a parable of the foundation of this Science, or the ground in which it is sown, and then shows the growth by parables. So when he was asked for an explanation of this Science or power, or kingdom, he took a little child in his arms and said, "Of such is the foundation or kingdom of heaven." Now, everyone knows that a child is a blank as far as virtue or vice is concerned, and with it "might is right." The growth of this child's wisdom depends entirely upon the direction given to its mind. Then He asks, "What shall I compare its little wisdom to? I will compare it to a grain of mustard-seed that a man sowed in his garden."

So God sowed in this little child's mind wisdom, and this wisdom if properly developed would teach him that his body, like the earth, is the casket or loom for this wisdom to develop itself in. As it developed itself, it would leave its mother earth and derive its life from a higher and more perfect mother that had no matter, but which lifts one above all the fog or atmosphere of earth, and the decomposition of matter or ideas that contain all sorts of evil. The growth of this wisdom was likely to be destroyed, for Herod sought to kill it. But its mother hid it in the ignorance or bushes, in the sea of superstition, till it could grow in the hearts of the people. So when its branches began to put forth, and the fowls or theories began to build nests or attack it, then came the devil and made war against it. Then the priests and doctors joined in and stirred up the multitude to search out where the true wisdom was, that they might take counsel together how they should destroy it.

When Jesus appeared at the common age of man, ready to defend Himself, John sent to Him to know if He was this Science or Christ, or must we look for another. As Jesus began to preach this truth or Science it struck at the root of all the old superstitions. This was the very thing the people had looked for. The prophets had prophesied that the time would come when man should act from a higher motive than dollars and cents, when goodness would be a virtue and would be appreciated: the priests had looked upon all virtue as passion, and had treated it as such. Thus sympathy or love was misrepresented by these blind guides, so that people acknowledged and thought that they were born dishonest, and all kinds of vice and passion were elements of our nature. When Jesus began to separate vice from virtue the war began. This separation was His religion.

Vice and passions were the inventions of man. I will not say brutish, for that is a stain on God or goodness. For the brutes act as they were intended to, and to compare them to man who debases himself below the brute is a stain on the whole character of the horse, for instance. I have seen a thing driving a horse who looked more out of place than he would if he were in the thrills and the horse had the reins. This sort of intellect, which is made up of the lowest passions of man, is as much beneath the brute as the hawk is beneath the dove. These two characters make up man. One is ignorance, superstition and all kinds of passion, to gratify the lusts of a low, contemptible mind which cannot see honesty in anything except as a restraint upon the appetites; so lie looks upon all restraints as burdens and oppressions. This is the wisdom of this world. This wisdom has always been in the ascendency. It has been the enemy of truth or Science. So when any new development of truth comes up, this brutal intellect catches the seed or idea and puts a low construction on its acts. This causes the war of error, to see which shall get the mastery. Science comes as a natural result of the quarrel. For the truth never makes war for anything. All the fighting is done by ignorance and superstition.

Now, as I have already said, the beasts were made perfect as they were intended to be; no change is visible in each succeeding generation. The combination of the natural brute is perfect. But it does not contain science or wisdom. Man, being what is called the noblest work of God, has a higher development, and shows that there is something outside of matter which can control matter. This something is what the world has always been looking for. It is not in the beasts, for it is not life, and that the beasts have; nor is it reason, for the beasts have that; nor is it passion, nor is it love, for all of these the beasts have. Then what is it that makes man above the beast? Science or a revelation from a spiritual world, higher than the natural world. And this wisdom or Science is progression. For it is in the beastly man, although in such it has never been developed.

Wisdom or Science makes the distinction in man by this figure: man is of the earth earthly, yet in him was this Science in the form of a rib, or this higher power, and the Science called it woman. And this woman or wisdom is to lead man or ignorance to truth and happiness. Now, neither the man nor the woman had any science, and man like the beast was willing to live under restriction, as all other animals did; for God placed all other animals under the law of might. But it was not so with the rib. The rib saw farther ahead than the beast; it had more sagacity, and like the serpent, said to itself, here is a tree or knowledge of good and evil, or judge of right and wrong, and if you eat it or investigate you shall be like the father of it, more than the brute. Here you see the true character of wisdom. It shrinks not from investigating, although it is unpopular and has the whole world to contend with. It fights its way regardless of danger. So it ate or investigated whatever it saw.

Now I will suppose the tree. Theories are something called trees. The tree that bears not good fruit, and is to be hewn down, is anything man wants to investigate. . . . You must go back to Adam and Eve, or to a little child, as Jesus said when He undertook to explain the same idea. So of course it had no reference to man and woman as we see them, but to the development of knowledge above the brute. So He takes man and woman as figures of truth and error, and shows that the mind of woman is better calculated to receive seed or investigate. Women have more endurance and more patience to investigate any new science than man. And their wisdom is not of this world, but of that higher power called Science. When they give their idea to man, he then eats or understands, and then goes to work to form the idea that has been given to him by the woman. It has always been the case that all spiritual wisdom has been received through the female. The oracle of Delphi was a woman. As men's minds are more brutal and less scientific or spiritual, they never believe till they can see with the natural man's eyes. Science to them is a shadow. Now as [the natural] man is of matter and his thoughts are a part of himself, he lives on his ideas and forms all his plans in matter and carries them out in matter; thus the natural man knows nothing about matter. The spiritual man or the woman is out of matter, and sees all the changes of matter. These two characters are in every man, and to distinguish them is what is taught by this Science. Science suffers long before it becomes a fact. It envieth not other science. It vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up; doth not behave unseemly; is not easily provoked; thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Science never faileth, but prophecies do. The knowledge of this world fails, but Science never fails.

— July, 1860

P. P. Quimby

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