Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Who are to judge of the phenomena of spiritualism - those who see the phenomena, or those who can produce them? It seems to be the opinion of those who see the experiments and cannot explain them that they must be brought about by spirits. So all explanation that is given which goes to show that it is the works of the living cannot be true; for these men, wise in their own conceit, cannot admit what these narrow minds cannot comprehend to be true. So this set of wise men must give their opinion, and the world is bound to believe what they know nothing about; for they admit it is only their opinion.
Now I fall in company with such persons every day and have conversed with them, and they cannot give one single fact to prove their theory; only those based on a belief in spirits of the dead. This error is so common and is believed by nearly every person, that to deny it is to deny our own existence. Now every person that believes in spirits of any kind is a believer in spiritualism, although he may deny it. Yet he is ready to believe at the first phenomenon that takes place that he cannot account for. So it is with disease. All men who believe in disease admit it as a thing (or spirit) outside of themselves - like spirits; and so they are liable to catch one, when they are in a right condition to take place or see a spirit. This is the same with religion. Every religion embraces these evils.
Now to suppose that Jesus was a believer in this is to make him a spiritualist, which he positively denies. For when he was accused of being a spirit, he denied it and said, “A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” Now Jesus had a different idea of spirit from the rest of the world. His spirits were of this world. They were a belief; not of wisdom - but what flowed from a superstitious mind.
I will give one parable of his; the parable of the spirits leaving the man when he wanders about and at last returns and finds the house swept and garnished, and then goes off and gets other spirits more wicked. Then he returns and takes possession, and then he sees the last state is worse than the first. Now in this parable we shall see what Jesus thought of spirits; how much life they had and what injury they could do.
I will now make a proper illustration. Take a sick man who believes he has consumption or any disease. His belief is, itself, a spirit; not the spirit of truth, but of disease. Now let a person sit down and explain away his belief, and the spirit (or fear) leaves him and wanders around like a man's mind when he is convinced of an error. At last it comes back in the form of a doubt; but everything seems to be cleared up, and his house (or belief) seems to be completely swept of every error (or doubt), and he wanders around for happiness.
At last he runs against a doubt (or bad spirit). This excites him, and more doubt comes up - and these are spirits; so at last they return to his mind (or house) and enter. Then comes the conflict with truth. If the spirit (or error) gets the advantage, the truth is enslaved, and error (or evil spirits) rule - and this last state is worse than the first. This is spiritualism - and this was Jesus' spiritualism. But the religious spiritualism is the belief in dead spirits, good and bad, that inhabit another world. The only difference in them is whether they come and converse with the living or not.
Now Jesus never had any such belief. He labored to convince the world of a science in regard to the working of the mind; showing that the mind is capable of changes, and that in these changes is what we call reason and thought. And the science is to cultivate these thoughts; for they take form - and if we do not understand that they are the creation of ourselves or of some other person, then our superstition calls them spirits.
So the act of thinking is the foundation of spiritualism; for if there was no thought, there would be no improvement. This is the case with brutes. Their power of thought is limited to their race; but if the brute be placed under a wisdom superior to themselves, their matter (or mind) is lifted up, producing a higher state than the original one. This is the same with the human species. Man is a thinking machine. His thoughts are spirit (or matter) - like the shock of a battery; controlled by this wisdom. If his wisdom is of science, his thoughts are, to him, the reflection of his wisdom; but if his thoughts are from his belief, they are spiritual. So a corrupt fountain cannot bring forth pure water; nor a belief explain a scientific fact. The science is to change the man (or wisdom); not that you can bring a clean thing out of an unclean thing, but there is such a thing as sound to those who can hear - and there is an echo.
Call the sound the “real” and the echo the “spiritual” - like action and reaction. The echo is opposed to the sound. Reaction is the man of opinions and contains nothing but noise; yet it has its identity and name, and ignorance puts as much life in it as he does in action. For those who see no reaction cannot see action; so when the action is not seen, to such, the action is dead. But to the scientific man, reaction is a spirit - or the echo of his own act.
Now there is no life in the belief that wisdom is in the shadow (or reaction). Make man understand that what he sees is not himself, but the shadow (or reaction) - and then he will not put life into the vessel, but will see himself outside of the thing (or world), looking into it, instead of being in the thing (or vessel) (or body), looking out.
Here is the difference. The man of belief is in his belief; the man of wisdom is in his wisdom. One is looking out of his belief to find wisdom; and the other is in wisdom, looking into the belief to put wisdom (or the real man). Such is the difference between the religious world and Christ. The religious world is looking for Christ to come; but Christ is outside, looking into their beliefs, saying, “I am with you - even in your own beliefs (or hearts), and you know me not; so repent and break from your belief, and rise in the truth.” So the diseased man is in his disease (or spirit); for a spirit is a belief - whether of disease, of God, of witches or of the other world. All are of this world - and science will destroy them all.
Our feeling is a state of mind, like water. Cold water is expressed by some intelligence outside the water. Hot water and all the varieties of heat are expressed by language which expresses the change in the water. This is the same with ideas. Like water, they affect man; and the misery or pain depends upon his fear; and his fears are the result of his error. Let man know that his thoughts are as harmless, of themselves, as water - and he will not be getting into trouble, as he does.
Disease is one of the troubles that follows his ignorance. Make him learn that any spiritual idea is the out-bursting of a fountain and that the water contains nothing bad, but is a mass of water let loose - and he will be better off. So it is with mind that is under the direction of a belief. It lets off a volley of matter (or opinions) in the form of every evil that can be imagined. To the wise, it is as harmless as the water; but to the ignorant it contains what is bad and frightful.
So wisdom separates the wheat from the chaff; and the separation is the end of the world (or the error) - and this is science. As I give my wisdom to one particular branch of this wisdom - that is, the correcting of the false ideas of the sick - I have to make war with every idea that affects them; and the effect is shown on and in the body, through the mind, as it is called. Now the natural man treats the body as the man and knows nothing of the owner. So he enters his neighbor's house and upsets everything that is in harmony, and sets up his kingdom of darkness (or opinion). So the children of darkness destroy the house. But when the true master (or wisdom) comes, then he turns out the children of false ideas and puts in a more intelligent set of ideas, that will render unto the truth a better offering.