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Chapter Three - Quimby's Method of Healing
IT was a long step from dependence
on the medical practice of the day to Mr. Quimby's experiments with his
subject, Lucius. It was a much longer step, involving a more courageous
departure from accepted beliefs, when he gave up his subject and developed
a mode of treatment not at that time practised anywhere else in the world.
The first change was from one theory of mental life to another, and the
change did not necessarily imply a different view of the natural world.
But the second was radical. It implied a spiritual philosophy of life as
a whole. The emphasis was shifted from human beliefs in relation to bodily
processes to divine causality and its meaning in the progress of the human
soul. Mr. Quimby's discovery concerning the influence of belief in the
cause and cure of disease was incidental to his profounder discovery that
man is a spiritual being, living an essentially spiritual life in the higher
world above the flesh, the eternal spiritual world of our relationship
The progress which Mr. Quimby
thus made was natural and logical. His experiments first made him acquainted
with the clairvoyant or intuitive powers of his subject, Lucius, then showed
him that he too possessed such powers and so need not depend on Lucius.
His reasoning was that these higher powers in the human spirit imply the
existence of a guiding principle or wisdom common to us all, that this
principle is God in us; hence that the soul is in immediate relation with
the divine mind. Furthermore, he had concluded that, whatever the explanation
offered, all healing takes place according to one principle, and this too
he attributed to the divine in man. His experiments had taught him that
one mind can influence another directly, the one being receptive, the other
affirmative. It was but one step more to adopt the principle that as thought
may influence another's mind directly spiritual power is capable of such
influence too. Hence Mr. Quimby advanced from the discovery that thoughts
and mental atmospheres affect another's mind according to the belief or
expectation to the conclusion that one spirit may operate directly on another
spirit, and that the basis of this spiritual activity is the divine in
us. Although naturally active, affirmative in type, with exceptional powers
of concentration, Mr. Quimby was as we have seen above also humble, not
inclined to take credit to himself. It was natural, therefore, that he
should reach the highest conclusion of all, namely, that the efficiency
was divine, that it was through the divine wisdom that he achieved his
The acceptance of these principles
and conclusions implied a different philosophy of life because, in the
first place, it became clear that all reality fundamentally speaking is
spiritual. Mr. Quimby did not undertake to develop his theory into a philosophy
of the universe as a whole. That was not his province. Nor did he have
the training or the acquaintance with idealism. The references to the outer
world which he makes in his manuscripts were purely practical in nature,
to the effect that life for each of us is essentially what we make it by
our belief, our attitude or way of taking it. This attitude was, for most
people, so he saw clearly, largely the effect of opinions taken for truth.
But he also saw that there was a way of taking life which implied the supremacy
of the spiritual over the material. For him all causes were in reality
spiritual. The world springs from spiritual sources. Experience is for
the benefit of spiritual beings. We might then acquire a complete spiritual
view. This would disclose the truth in contrast with mere opinion, the
truth which is the same for all. It would imply a spiritual science. And
this science was involved in the method by which Mr. Quimby wrought his
The instructive consideration
for those of us who are concerned to follow the development of this philosophy
and test its principles for ourselves lies in the fact that Mr. Quimby
found the guiding principle in his own inner experience, and proved it
through the recovery of his health and the healing of others before he
found any evidences that what he called "the truth" or "theory" had ever
been held before. Fortunately, his mind was not encumbered by doctrines
which had first to be outgrown, save that he had shared the conventional
beliefs of his day in medical practice and was at least a believer in a
general way in the Bible. His real study of the Bible began with the conclusion
that the way which life had led him was the way described in the New Testament,
hence that he had rediscovered the method of healing by which Jesus wrought,
not his "miracles," but his highly intelligible works of healing. His work
with the sick seemed to him to imply a spiritual science, a "science of
life and happiness," as he called it. This science he found implicit in
the teachings of Christ. The Bible thus became doubly true for him, because
of his former belief in God, now transfigured in the light of his discoveries;
and because his insight into the nature and meaning of life had made plain
the way to the spiritual interpretation of the Scriptures. His manuscripts
are for the most part devoted to a study of his experiences with the sick
in such a way as to show that the truths they implied were the truths which
Jesus came to reveal.
Just as his guidance had
led him to attribute his cures, which were indeed remarkable, to the divine
efficiency, not to any power which he, the man Quimby, possessed; so now
he looked to the Bible as containing a higher than human wisdom, a wisdom
which he called "the Christ" in contrast with the man Jesus who came to
teach this science of the Christ. Had Mr. Quimby been understood by the
writer who later did more than anyone to popularize the less profound principles
for which he stood, the history of the mental-healing movement might have
been very different. For what Mr. Quimby intended was that all should come
to recognize the divine wisdom in themselves, that they should take no
credit to themselves, should not exalt the finite self; but should acquire
and teach the spiritual principles which Jesus gave to the world as a science,
calling attention to that science, not to themselves.
According to Mr. Quimby's
version of this Christian science, as he calls it in two of his articles,
although his usual term is "the science of life and happiness," the emphasis
is put upon the truth which sets the soul free. For his practice with the
sick had taught him that when a patient understood the real causes of his
trouble the disease could be banished. The "explanation is the cure," he
repeatedly said. This explanation involved the discovery of the inner or
spiritual point of view. The emphasis being put upon the truth, Mr. Quimby
did not make use of "denials," as the affirmations were later called by
those who grasped this theory in part only. When the truth is seen, it
is not necessary to deny its opposite. The error or "false belief" that
led to the trouble was negative or destructive. The truth through which
the cure was wrought was positive or constructive. What Mr. Quimby endeavored
to do was to build up a different attitude toward life on the basis of
principles which all could understand.
Mr. Quimby's departure from
the point of view of his experiments therefore involved a radical change
in attitude towards a patient. The mesmeriser or hypnotist merely tries
to influence or control another's mind, as Quimby directed Lucius. But
the spiritual healer regards himself as an organ of the divine life, a
means only, not a controlling agent. He does not try to influence. He makes
no attempt to control. He has no desire to control or manage. He regards
himself as a lamp-bearer disclosing the way out of the dark places of the
soul into the light of the divine wisdom. There can be no freedom and no
cure unless the patient sees for himself. Thus Mr. Quimby was healer and
teacher at the same time. Unless we understand this two-fold office which
he fulfilled, we are likely to misinterpret statements, such as the proposition
that "disease is an error the only remedy for which is truth," and we are
in danger of dismissing many of his views as absurd.
To understand what Mr. Quimby
meant is to see that he regarded every man in the light of the divine guidance.
That is, there is divine wisdom for each of us, resident within us, accessible
through intuition. Mr. Quimby was the friend of those who needed to be
brought into relation with the divine within them. He sought the guidance
for the individual in question, according to need, for the occasion. Naturally
then there could be no mere formula or arrangement of words, no magic affirmation
by which to dismiss a disease as with a gesture of command. There was no
reason to deny either what the patient thought was his disease or the physical
symptoms, to ignore the body or make light of the natural world. What was
needed was a new point of view of all these things. The misinterpretation
of symptoms would disappear with the acceptance of the true view. The bodily
effect would be understood when the cause should become plain. The flesh
would assume its proper place in the light of the new spiritual vision.
Mr. Quimby aimed at nothing short of a religious or spiritual conversion
such that the whole of life should appear under a different aspect. This
wonderful work he wrought for his more responsive followers. It is not
surprising that they became his friends and found occupation for a lifetime
in the development of his teachings.
There was one more discovery
which we need to bear in mind in order to have Mr. Quimby's method completely
before us. His practice with the sick in the early years while he was acquiring
his method taught him that there is much more in the human mind than we
are ordinarily or even at any time conscious of. Not by any consent on
our own part have we become the recipients of the beliefs, notions, and
ideas which give us our erroneous views of life. We have taken them on
from our mental environment. Our minds are fertile places in which beliefs
germinate. The mind in this deeper, hidden sense, is indeed very much like
the soil. It consists of spiritual substance, "spiritual matter" was Quimby's
term at first. Its products directly influence us and our bodies without
the intervention of the will. It is indeed unconscious or subconscious.
But this hidden mind is accessible to the spiritual healer. Its contents
can be discerned. The hidden and disturbing influences can be brought to
light. Changes wrought within it will become manifest in the body. It is
in fact an intermediary between mind and body, an intermingling substance.
In contrast with the beliefs
discoverable in this hidden mind, Mr. Quimby in the constructive part of
his treatment addressed himself to the "real man,'' the spirit, who needed
to be summoned into power. He held that there is a part of the soul that
is not sick, that is potentially or ideally one with God in image and likeness.
For God did nut create man to be ill. He created him for health and freedom.
Disease is the invention of man through misinterpretation of sensation,
through judgments based on appearances, on symptoms, effects, externals.
Health is ours by divine birthright, hence by implication in our very being
in that "secret place" of the soul, that part of us that can never be ill.
This element of our selfhood can be summoned into activity. We can become
aware of it and begin to live by it. We can throw off our bondages. We
can learn to live as God would have us live.
The silent spiritual treatment
which was Mr. Quimby's chief discovery, his greatest gift to the world,
consisted in a process of inner realization calculated to awaken this inner
spiritual nature into exercise. The intuitive diagnosis with which the
treatment began led the way to the main point, the centre of need in the
patient. It disclosed the real as opposed to the apparent condition. It
yielded the divine guidance for the occasion, according to the need. The
spiritual realization then grew out of the intuitive discovery of the patient's
inner state. It was made effective by Mr. Quimby's great power of concentration
quickened by his consciousness of the divine wisdom, his practical way
of realizing the presence of God. The treatment was spiritual rather than
mental since the thought or idea was secondary to the power, the human
agent or organ secondary to the divine wisdom. Mr. Quimby had no way of
his own to impose on another's mind. Hence his spirit was open to "the
wisdom of the occasion."
In setting forth his method
of treatment, Mr. Quimby always drew a distinction between the lower mind
which he called "spiritual matter" (or substance), and the mind we might
come into possession of by learning our true nature as spiritual beings.
Thus he says in one of his articles, "My theory is founded on the fact
that mind is matter; and, if you will admit this for the sake of listening
to my ideas, I will give you my theory . . . All knowledge that is of man
is based on opinions. This I call this world of spiritual matter. It embraces
all that comes within the so-called senses. Man's happiness and misery
are in his belief; but the wisdom of science is of God, and not of man.
Now to separate these two kingdoms is what I am trying to do: and, if I
succeed in this, I shall accomplish what never has been done. . . . I should
never undertake the task of explaining what all the wise men have failed
to do but for the want of some better proof to explain the phenomena that
come under my own observation. . . . The remedies have never destroyed
the cause, nor can the cause be destroyed by man's reason. . . .
"The world of opinions is
the old world: that of science is the new; and a separation must take place,
and a battle must be fought between them. Now, the science of life and
happiness is the one that has met with the most opposition, from the fact
that it is death to all opposers. It never compromises with its enemies,
nor has it any dealings with them. . . . Its habitation is in the hearts
of men. It cannot be seen by the natural man, for he is of matter; and
the scientific man is not matter. All he has is his [spiritual] senses.
There is his residence for the time. . . . It is almost impossible to tell
one character from another, as both communicate through the same organs.
As the scientific man has to prove his wisdom through the same matter that
the natural man uses, he is often misrepresented. . . .This was where Christ
found so much trouble in his days, for the people could not tell who was
Mr. Quimby described human
life as a warfare between the spiritual power in man and the opinions which
relate and bind him to the natural world. When he says, "My foundation
is animal matter or life," he refers to the lower mind with its opinions.
"This," he says, "set in action by Wisdom, produces thought. Thoughts,
like grains of sand, are held together by their own sympathy, wisdom, or
attraction." The natural man is composed of these groupings of ideas. "As
thought is always changing, so man is always throwing off particles of
thought and receiving others. Thus man is a progressive idea; yet he is
the same man, although he is changing all the time for better or worse."
That is, he changes in the direction of the world with its opinions or
towards God in His wisdom.
"Disease is the invention
of man, and has no identity in Wisdom," that is, no place or purpose in
the divine providence. It can be overcome because the mental life underlying
it is of this lower mind which can be changed by the Wisdom which "decomposes
the thoughts, changes the combinations, and produces an idea clear from
the error that makes a person unhappy or diseased." "Ideas have life. A
belief has life . . . for it can be changed." Man is unwittingly a "sufferer
from his own belief. . . . Our belief cannot alter a scientific truth,
but it may alter our feelings for happiness or misery. Disease is the misery
of our belief, happiness is the health of our wisdom, so that man's happiness
or misery depends on himself." The difficulty does not lie with sensation,
for "sensation contains no intelligence, but is a mere disturbance which
. . . is ready to receive the error, that is, respond to an erroneous interpretation.
. . . Ever since man was created, there has been an element called error
which has been busy inventing answers for every sensation."
Mr. George Quimby, in endeavoring
to make clear this point of view, uses the following illustration: "Suppose
a person should read an account of a railroad accident, and see, in the
list of killed, a son. The shock on the mind would cause a deep feeling
of sorrow on the part of the parent, and possibly a severe sickness, not
only mental but physical. Now, what is the condition of the patient? Does
he imagine his trouble? Is his body not affected, his pulse quick; and
has he not all the symptoms of a sick person, and is he not really sick?
Suppose you can go to him and say to him that you were on the train, and
saw his son alive and well after the accident, and prove to him that the
report of his death was a mistake. What follows? Why, the patient's mind
undergoes a change immediately; and he is no longer sick. It was on this
principle that Mr. Quimby treated the sick. He claimed that 'mind was spiritual
matter,' and could be changed; that we were made up of truth and error;
that disease was an error, or belief, and that the Truth was the cure.
And upon these premises he based all his reasoning, and laid the foundation
of what he asserted to be the 'science of curing the sick.' " *
* The Philosophy of
P. P. Quimby,
In one of his articles, written
in 1861, Mr. Quimby thus describes his method of cure: "A patient comes
to see Dr. Quimby. He renders himself absent to everything but the impression
of the person's feelings. These are quickly daguerreotyped on him. They
contain no intelligence, but shadow forth a reflection of themselves which
he looks at. This [mental picture] contains the disease as it appears to
the patient. Being confident that it is the shadow of a false idea, he
is not afraid of it. Then his feelings in regard to health and strength,
are daguerreotyped on the receptive plate of the patient. . . . The patient
sees . . . the disease in a new light, gains confidence. This change is
daguerreotyped on the doctor again . . . and he sees the change and continues
. . . the shadow changes and grows dim, and finally disappears, the light
takes its place, and there is nothing left of the disease."
A writer in the Jeffersonian of Bangor, Maine, in 1857, thus expounds Quimby's view: "A gentleman
of Belfast, Maine, Dr. Phineas P. Quimby, who was remarkably successful
as an experimenter in mesmerism some sixteen years ago, and has continued
his investigations in psychology, has discovered, and in his daily practice
carries out, a new principle in the treatment of diseases. . . . His theory
is that the mind gives immediate form to the animal spirits, and that the
animal spirit gives form to the body, as soon as the less plastic elements
of the body are able to assume that form. Therefore, his first course in
the treatment of a patient is to sit down beside him, and put himself en
rapport with him, which he does without producing the mesmeric sleep.
"He says that in every disease
the animal spirit, or spiritual form, is somewhat disconnected from the
body, and that, when he comes en rapport with a patient, he sees
that spirit form standing beside the body, that it imparts to him all its
grief and the cause of it, which may have been mental trouble or shock
to the body, as over-fatigue, excessive cold or heat. This of course impresses
the mind with anxiety, and the mind reacting upon the body produces disease.
. . .
"Dr. Quimby says that there
is no danger from disease when the mind is armed against it. That he will
treat a person who has the most malignant disorder without danger to himself,
though his sympathy with the patient is so strong that he feels in his
own person every symptom of the disease; but he dissipates from his mind
the idea of it, and induces in its place an idea of health.
"He says the mind . . . is
what it thinks it is, and that, if it contends against the thought of disease,
and creates for itself an ideal form of health, that form impresses itself
upon the animal spirit, and through that upon the body, that his understanding
is a positive power, and aids the spirit, which is not strong enough in
itself to contend against the idea of diseases." *
* The Philosophy of
P. P. Quimby,
For the term "animal spirit"
as used by this writer one should substitute the unconscious, the spiritual
substance or "spiritual matter" of Mr. Quimby's later teaching, together
with his teaching that the individual gives off a mental atmosphere as
a rose gives off an odor by the discernment of which the healer can detect
the patient's interior state; otherwise the above account gives an intelligible
idea of the psychological aspect of the treatment. Mr. Quimby held that
there is a spiritual body between the natural body and the human spirit.
In this he agreed with seers of an earlier time, and pointed the way to
the idea of the intimate correspondence between the spirit and the body.
He did not teach that the spirit-forms of the departed occupy our bodies,
or that disease in any of its forms is due to obsession.
Another interested observer
wrote as follows in an article in the Portland Advertiser, February,
1860: "In every age there have appeared individuals possessing the power
of healing the sick and fore-telling events. Their theory or explanation
veils this power in superstition and ignorance, so that the world is not
enlightened in regard to where it comes from or how it operates. We only
know the effects. Spiritualists, mesmerists, and clairvoyants, making due
allowance for imposition, in later times have proved that this power is
still in existence.
"Like this in the vague impression
of its character, but infinitely beyond any demonstrations of the same
intelligence and skill, is the practice of a physician who has been among
us . . . and to whose treatment some helpless invalids owe their recovered
health. I refer to Dr. P. P. Quimby. With no reputation except for honesty,
which he carries in his face, he has established himself in our city, and
his success merits public attention. Regarded by many as a harmless humbug,
by others as belonging to the genus mystery, he stands among his patients
as a reformer, originating an entirely new theory in regard to disease,
and practising it with a skill and ease which only come from knowledge
and experience. His success in reaching all kinds of diseases, from chronic
cases of years' standing to acute diseases, shows that he must be practising
upon a principle different from what has ever been taught.
"His position as an irregular
practitioner has confined him principally to the patronage of the credulous
and the desperate; and the most of his cases have been those which have
not yielded to ordinary treatment, Those only who have been fortunate enough
to receive benefit from him can have any appreciation of the interest which
the originality of his ideas excites, and of the benefit, when understood,
which they will be to society.
"To attempt to describe his
mode of treatment to the well would be like offering money to an already
wealthy man; while the sick person who is like one cast into prison for
an unjust debt, can tell the force of his system. With a sympathy which
the sick alone call forth, and a knowledge which he proves alone to them,
he leads an invalid along the path to health. His power over disease arises
from his subtle knowledge of mind and its relation to the natural world,
to which his attention was turned some twenty years ago by mesmerism.
"His investigation in this
region, hitherto unsatisfactorily explored, has developed in him a clairvoyant
faculty, which he exercises with his reason and natural senses, and has
yielded to him facts which he explains upon a principle admitted, but little
understood, educing therefrom a theory of universal application by which
he cures disease."
This account, coming from
one who had nothing to gain or lose, shows how Mr. Quimby's work was regarded
when he began to practise in Portland. His deep sympathy for suffering
humanity was noted by all. His work appealed to those who would be called
credulous or those who had been given up by other practitioners, because
they had the receptivity or willingness to try this method when other methods
had failed. He impressed upon all who were sufficiently interested to inquire
into his views the fact that he endeavored to put his work on the basis
of intelligible explanation. Hence he sought to clear away all sense of
mystery and to show that there was nothing akin to mediumship in the silent
treatment. His own exceptional power, as a man was of course a factor in
establishing a cure. Everybody who knew him has borne testimony to this
power. But Mr. Quimby always insisted that the works he wrought could be
reproduced. In fact, he held that spiritual healing would some time take
place in less time, and by "word of mouth," when the underlying principle
should be understood.
Still another writer, in
an article in the Portland Advertiser, 1862, signing herself "Vermont,"
gives first-hand impressions of Mr. Quimby's method: "Many people who have
lost faith in the ancient school are at the same time startled by such
reasoning as Dr. Quimby uses with regard to disease. It is so contrary
to the commonly received opinions, they hardly dare believe there can be
any truth in it. They hear of remarkable success in his practice, but are
still more incredulous, and say, 'The age of miracles has passed away,
and this is too much to believe.' But 'seeing is believing,'. . .and after
having an opportunity to see some of the remarkable effects which Dr. Quimby
has had upon obstinate cases of long-standing disease, they are compelled
to yield, although it may be reluctantly, that there is living truth in
his principles, that he has cast off the shackles of opinion which would
narrowly enclose the limits of investigation, and, studying the mysterious
workings of the mind, discovered there the true explanation of that
which has so long been misunderstood and unsatisfactorily accounted for.
They came to him suspicious, almost unwilling to believe what they saw,
ignorant of his theory, which, even after it was explained, they found
difficult to understand, and therefore had to go through with this process
of gradual conviction before they would receive its truths. So it may be
said that he has to contend with those who would be his friends as well
as his enemies. . . .
"According to this new theory,
disease is the invention of man. It is caused by a disturbance of the mind
. . . and therefore originates there. We can call to mind instances where
disease has been produced instantly by excitement, anger, fear, or joy.
Is it not the more rational conclusion that disease is always caused by
influences upon the mind rather than that it has an identity, comes to
us, and attacks us?
"Living in It world full
of error in this respect, and educated to believe that disease is something
we cannot escape, it is not strange that what we fear comes upon us. We
take the opinions of men, which have no knowledge in them, for truth. So
we all agree to arbitrary rules with regard to our mode of life, and suffer
the penalties attached to any disobedience of the same. These diseases
or penalties are real to us through the result of belief.
"It is reasonable to infer
from these statements that the only way to approach and eradicate disease
must be through the mind, to trace the cause of this misery, and hold up
to it the light of reason or disbelief in the existence of disease independent
of the mind. Then the cloud which shadows us vanishes, as error always
will when over-powered by the light of truth.
"Dr. Quimby proves the truth
of his belief by his daily works. The marvelous cures he is effecting
are undeniable evidences of his superior knowledge and skill in applying
it for the benefit of suffering humanity. He does not use medicine or any
material agency, nor call to his aid mesmerism or any spiritual [spiritistic]
influence whatever, but works on scientific principles, the philosophy
of which may be understood by the patient. . . .
"Accepting this new theory,
man rises superior to circumstances. Easily adapting himself to any necessity,
free from all fear of disease, he lives a more simple, natural, and happy
life. He is enabled to control the body, and make it subservient to his
will instead of his being a slave completely at its mercy, which he will
be if he allows that it is subject to disease. This truth is capable of
extensive application in all the exigencies of life, and we learn to make
constant use of it as we advance in knowledge. It helps us to place a just
estimate upon everything, the value of life is enhanced; and, as we have
more of this true knowledge in ourselves, we shall love and worship God,
who is the source of all wisdom, more sincerely and intelligently." *
* The Philosophy of
P. P. Quimby,
When we note that the writer
of this clear statement of the possibilities of wider and wider application
of Mr. Quimby's teaching went to Quimby as a patient suffering from a disease
of long-standing and in every way a devotee of the older way of thinking
about life and disease, we realize how great was the change sometimes wrought
by his treatment and the conversations which followed. Here we have an
indication at least of the spiritual effect produced by the change. We
have a different attitude toward life, one that looks forward affirmatively
to success. We note that the new teaching applies not only to disease but
looks beyond this to triumph over circumstances in general, in favor of
a simpler, happier mode of life. It also gives a religious outlook, and
in a very practical way directs attention to God as the immanent source
of all wisdom.
Speaking in general of those
whom one has known well enough to see how radical was the change wrought
under Mr. Quimby's treatment and instruction, it may be said that his greatest
power came from the quickening sense of the divine love and wisdom which
he carried in his presence. His method of sitting silently by the sick
to learn the real state of the inner life as spiritual light should disclose
it, enabled him to make the presence of God more vivid than it is ordinarily
made by prayer and public worship. He was prompted by earnest desire to
do good. His patients came to him in need, often in great distress of mind
and body, sometimes at the point of death. He was aroused by this need
and this desire to do his utmost, and was able fully to give himself to
his work. His power increased with the years. His courage and faith strengthened
him to persist in the new mode of healing despite the fact that he was
alone and subject to adverse criticism on every hand. Under these circumstances
it was natural that the spiritual consciousness which his presence inspired
should be the really great result of his work.
Looking back over the years
in the light of the good that has come from this work, we see plainly that
sufficient power was with him to win this triumph and make this deep impression.
The value of his work was on the side of power, in the impetus which he
gave, an impetus sufficient to quicken those who were to transmit his ideas
and methods, and apply them in their own way. This sense of power came
from the fact that as a pioneer he found the great sources for himself
and spoke from experience. What he communicated was life. His "theory,"
as he called it, was secondary to this. He did not impose his theory upon
others or try to give it the authority of a "revelation." All those who
have written about this theory in the papers have put their own construction
on it to some extent. The early authors and teachers developed his views
in their own way. But behind the various versions of his teaching was the
strong evidence of his power and of his works. No one ventured to heal
as he did while he continued in practice, for no one had the confidence
in view of his remarkable cures. The spiritual impetus, however, had been
given, and in the course of time the results were seen.
When we look back over history
we find that something like this has always been the result. The spiritual
pioneer, sage or prophet, has accomplished the work, conveyed the impetus.
Followers have appeared who gathered about the new leader, observed his
work, acquired his ideas. Then after his death the spreading of his ideas
variously stated and interpreted has begun. Some of the followers have
been very loyal. Others have taken credit to themselves. There have been
disputes, and eventually a scattering of forces or a division into sects
has come about. The moral always has been: return to the sources, see what
the original impetus was, put yourself in line with it and test it for
yourself; pay little attention to the later effete restatements or the
controversies, but try to grasp the spiritual truth and put this in relation
with other truths.
The further inference in
the case of Mr. Quimby would be: return to the Bible to see if it be true
that it contains an inner or spiritual meaning, to see if indeed there
be a neglected science of the Christ in the New Testament, implying principles
of universal application through spiritual healing. If so, this inner or
spiritual truth may be the great truth of the new age, it may imply the
second coming of the Lord in deepest reality. If so, let us look back of
the superficial theories of merely mental healers to find touch anew with
the original spiritual impetus. It need not concern us that so many have
tried their hands at the spiritual interpretation of the Bible that there
is a mere confusion of tongues. In the Bible itself there undoubtedly is
a science of spiritual things which all might understand alike. Mr. Quimby
had at least the vision of it. His practice with the sick was in some measure
at least a rediscovery of the original therapeutic gospel. Its application
to healing is a part only of the science which came to give men fulness
of life. But healing had been the neglected part of the gospel. It was
necessary that someone should arise to specialize upon this. Such in brief
was the work given Mr. Quimby to do. This was the work he accomplished
with such impressive success.
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