That I do not cure all who come to see me as easily as I do some seems strange to the well. The reasons are plain to me and I can explain them to the sick, but to the well it is a mystery from the fact that they are under an influence that is adverse to the sick. For the well have no sympathy with the sick and every dollar they pay comes as hard as though they had contributed to some charitable object that they took no interest in, but from fear of being called mean they would subscribe a small sum. All mankind are affected by these feelings, and when a sick person is brought to me, the real person is not known in the controversy but the error or person that brings them. So I have to address myself to that character, called by this world our natural man, but the victim is not known and has nothing to say.
Every case is a variation of these feelings, and I know the difficulty I have to contend with, while the well or those in error do not, and to make the world comprehend I must explain by such natural figures and emblems as they can understand. I divide man into two characters. One governed by selfishness and the other by sympathy, and every man's senses are attached to one or the other of these elements. Truth is an element of itself but error is a combined substance under a false direction and our senses are attached to one or the other.
Suppose fire is an element of itself and your senses are attached to it and you live and move in it. Now cold is a chemical element composed of various substances. The senses of the man who lives in the fire are out of his natural element in the cold, and he knows no other except as a mystery. Occasionally a warm substance passes through the element cold and it affects him. He looks for the cause but not knowing whence it came, it is a mystery that cannot be explained. In this flash is intelligence that penetrates the cold, icy mind and melts his error; so for awhile he really believes it comes from the sun or some superior power so that he begins to set himself to work. Motion creates friction; friction creates action, action heat, heat expansion till the icy band of superstition breaks like ice and the soul or truth rises into the element of heat. As heat contains light or wisdom and cold is transparent or error, the light penetrates the cold but the cold knows it not till it melts or dissolves by the power of heat and is absorbed in the light or wisdom; it has its own senses but its error is burnt up and its wisdom is saved by fire.
Disease is in this element, not in the senses; neither is the heat wisdom but the element that wisdom lives in, so the warfare is not in the heat but in the cold; fear is cold; death is the medium of all misery and as it is the combined element of disease, it is the king of terrors. So all combinations that lead to disease are like little streams that run into this ocean of death. As all men live and move in their belief, their belief is like a house or barque, either in the ocean of death or the rivers that enter into it. Men find it hard to stem the current when the tide of public opinion is running so fast that they are in danger of being driven onto the rocks and ledges that are under the water or their wisdom. The pilots who are waiting to get a call are found to be under the pay of the master of the seas, the devil. So the streams or rivers are filled with false lights to deceive mariners while sailing on a voyage of discovery. This may seem strange to the well, but I can make it plain to the sick.
These two oceans are invisible to the natural man but they are as real as the earth we stand on. When a mariner is tossed about on the ocean, he is like a man in an idea or belief tossed about by the opinions or waves of public opinion, and in ancient times peoples' beliefs were compared to havens or places of safety. Noah's theory or belief was illustrated by an ark floating on the ocean of death. Noah was one thing, his ark another, and the ocean was the sea or world that we are all on or in, more or less. This truth descends like a fish hawk, and it dives into the sea and rescues the drowning who have been washed overboard from their old superstition and are being carried down the gulf of despair till they are released by someone like the fish hawk and are carried into the ocean of science or light. Every person is in these two elements but is not aware of his characters, and being ignorant, he wanders into the dark till he loses his way and is carried by the rapid stream into the ocean of death.
Spiritual wisdom is always shadowed forth by some earthly or literal figure. Thus the Bible is spiritual truth illustrated by literal things, but the world accepts the shadow or literal explanation and knows nothing of the spiritual meaning. These remarks are made to show how little the well know of the sick, and in fact, the sick if you judge by their talk are as far out of the way as the well. And they were brought out by some patient that I had under my charge. The difference of feeling in each patient and the influences that affect them and the burdens I have to overcome cannot be understood by the world. The sick are a burden on the well, and if it were not for a certain sort of pride which would object to being looked upon as a low-minded person, the sick would be thrown onto the cold, icy hand of the world there to be dealt with as the public law provides. When the poor ask food of the rich, the latter will frequently send them to the overseers of the poor saying, "They will help you," and shutting the door, feel very nervous and say, "I do not like to be troubled by these miserable creatures." This is literally true. I know it from my own experience with the sick. I have often used my efforts to restore them to health when their friends would drive them away as though they were strangers, but fashion and pride cover a multitude of sins. I do not like to blame the well, but we are so constituted as to look upon disease as an evil and the sick person afflicted that we cannot help being affected by it. Disease is like the natural man. The Christian has no sympathy with his neighbor's children and they do not walk up to the mark, while his own children are provided with a seat in heaven because he is a pious man.
This hypocrisy runs through every vein in the natural man, yet it is not known. I will cite one case for illustration. A child of about 11 or 12 years was brought to me by its parents to be cured; it had lost the use of its lower limbs. The child of course had nothing to say so I had to be governed by the parents. They were affectionate and tender parents but the earthly man had the advantage in them and he was the one with whom I was to come in contact. The question of course came up if I thought I could cure the child, and a categorical answer was expected. This placed me in a very unpleasant position, for if I said I could help the child, then I became responsible to the parents for the cure. And if I should say I could not, then the child would feel very badly, for the child would think I might. I cannot act independently from the fact that there has been so much deception that the well look upon the medical faculty with suspicion, and well they may, for the people have been humbugged out of their money and health. People do not stand in relation to each other as they should, owing in a great measure to our religion.
Religion, instead of soothing down the rough paths of life, throws stumbling blocks in the way of man's happiness making him selfish, superstitious, penurious, narrow-minded, dictatorial and overbearing. This gets up a counter reaction and brings in another set of skeptics that look upon all men as selfish and imposters so that the wise men of the ages have used their wisdom for their own personal advantage and have no idea of pure sympathy, and their lives have been the guide board for others to follow till the masses have lost all confidence in them. It is therefore hard to correct this evil that has crept into the church. Money, it is said, is the root of all evil, but this is not the case. Pride, selfishness and power are the evil. This creates the desire for money in order to obtain the power and influence so much coveted by man.
Now let man be made acquainted with his true character and his relation to his fellow man and you will not see so many miserable creatures without friends or money. But as long as the present theology stands and the medical men have sway, misery and disease must follow.
To return to the case I have mentioned. In order to cure the child, it was necessary to have her with me or where I could see her often. This would of course be expensive to board her and her mother at a public house. I was aware, but the parents were not, that I could not have the same control over the child by letting them dictate the terms of her cure for their fears lest she should not get well, in which case they would lose their money and place me in a relation to them as a sort of money maker. They could not help this, and I knew it, so I must give them security by an opinion that I could help the child or they would have their doubts about leaving her. The child had nothing to do; its life and health was the same as an old mill. If it did not cost much to have it repaired, the owners would have it done; but if there was a doubt, then comes in the cost and how it could be done the cheapest. Competition came in and the poor old mill was cut to pieces and none the better.
Let the well know that there is a higher power in man than dollars and cents, and that is the wisdom that sees the misery of the sick, and it is for their interest as well as the sick that it should be understood. Then instead of my coaxing the sick or their pretended friends, they both would coax me and excite my sympathy in their favor, and instead of putting me to the trouble of running after the sick, they would run after me.
P. P. Quimby