Chapter VII of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser
[These articles and letters are taken from a manuscript book containing copies of “pieces,” as they are called, written previous to the first volume of articles, which was begun in October, 1859. Most of the pieces were written before 1856. They were copied by Miss Emma Ware from the originals, and are here printed without any changes whatever. (Horatio W. Dresser)]
[Continued from last week.]
BELFAST, Nov. 4th, 1856.
Madam: Yours of the 2nd. inst. was received, and now I sit down to answer your inquiry in regard to your lameness.
It seems to me that the skin on the knee is thinner and has a more healthy appearance. But you cannot be made to believe anything that is in plain contradiction to your own senses, and as your opinions have been formed from the evidence of persons in whom you have placed confidence, and facts have gone to prove these opinions correct, it is not strange that you should hold on to your belief till some kind friend should come to your aid and lead your mind in a different direction.
Now to remind you of what I tried to make you understand is a very hard task on my part; for as I said to you, some of my ideas fall on stony ground, and some on dry ground, and some on good ground. These ideas are in your mind like the little leaven, and they will work till the whole mind or lump is changed.
You have asked me many questions which time and space will not permit me to answer, but I shall write that which seems to be of the most benefit to you. In regard to your coming to Belfast, use your own judgment. The cure of your limb depends on your faith. Your faith is what you receive from me, and what you receive is what you understand. Now if you understand that the mind is the name of the fluids of which your body is composed, and your thoughts represent the change of the fluids or mind, you will then be in a state to act understandingly.
I will try to illustrate it to you so you can apply your thoughts to your body so as to receive the reward of your labor. As I told you, every thought contains a substance either good or bad, and it comes in and makes up a part of your body or mind, and as the thoughts which are in your system are poisoned, and the poison has come from without, it is necessary to know how to keep them [the thoughts] out of your system so as not to be injured by them.
Now suppose you have around you a sort of heat like the light of a candle, which embraces all your knowledge, your body being the centre and you having the power to govern and control this heat: you then have a world of your own. Now in health this globe of which your body is the centre is in harmony. The heat of this globe is a protection to itself, like a walled city, to admit none but supposed friends. Now as every person has the same globe or heat, each person is a world or nation of itself. This is the state of a person in health.
Now as we wish to change and interchange with other nations, so does our house like to enjoy the society of other persons, and as we are liberal we admit strangers to our city or world as friends. When this proclamation goes out our globe is filled with all sorts of people from all nations, bringing with them goods, setting up false doctrines, stirring up strife till the whole population or thoughts are changed, and man becomes a stranger in his own land and his own household becomes his enemies. This is the state of a person in disease. Now as there is nothing in your own system of itself to disturb you, you must look for your enemies from the strangers whom you have permitted to come into your land.
MADAM: Yours of the. . . is at hand. But a lack of faith on my part to describe your case and explain my ideas to you so you could rightly comprehended my meaning is my only excuse for not writing before. But thinking you would expect an answer, I now sit down to talk with you a short time.
After reading your letter I tried to exercise all the power I was master of to quiet and restore your limb to health. But to give a satisfactory answer to you or myself was more than I was capable of. I therefore will disturb your mind or fluids once more, and try to direct them in a more healthy state by repeating some of my ideas which I repeated to you when here.
You know I told you that mind was the name of something, and this something is the fluids of the body. Disease is the name of the disturbance of these fluids or mind. Now as the fluids are in a scalding state, they are ready to be directed to any portion of the body. You remember I told you that every idea contained this fluid, and the combination varied just according to the knowledge or idea of disease.
I will explain. Two persons are told they are troubled with scrofula. One does not know anything about it, and has never heard of the disease, is as ignorant as a child. No explanation is given to either. The other is well posted up in regard to all the bad effects of this disease. Now you can readily see the effect on the minds of these two persons. One is not affected at all till he is made acquainted with the case, while the other one’s mind or fluids are completely changed and combined, so all that is necessary is to give direction and locate the disease in any part of the body.
I think I hear you say that a child can be troubled with scrofula, and they have no mind; then they have no body or fluids; for the fluids are the mind, as I said before. Your mother probably changed the fluids of your body, when an infant or at any early age, and some circumstance located it in your leg. Now as it is there you want to know how to get rid of it, and as it was directed there through ignorance you can’t get rid of it without some knowledge.
Now as this disturbance comes like a fright or sensation, it is to be understood as a fright. Now as disease is looked upon as a thing independent of the mind, the mind is disturbed by every sensation produced upon the senses, and the soul stands apart from the disturbed part and grieves over it, as a person grieves over any trouble independent of the body. Now to cure you, you must come with me to where the trouble is, and you will find it to be nothing but a little heated fluid just under the skin, and it is kept hot and disturbed by your mind being misrepresented. (1)
(1) That is, in bondage to error. The sensation of heat under the skin has been misinterpreted.
Now I believe that I can impart something from my mind that can enter into that distressed state of the fluids and change the heat and bring about a healthy state. I shall often try to produce a cooling sensation on your limb, at other times a perspiration so as to throw off the surplus heat. If I succeed in helping or relieving you, please let me know. But do not expect another explanation. . . . If you think you would improve faster by coming to Belfast, please let me know, and I will get you a private boarding house, if desired. I think I can hear you say by this time that your limb feels better, if so I shall be satisfied.
[This is the third installment of a four part series originally written and published as Chapter VII. EARLY WRITINGS, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]
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Today we are continuing to explore the EARLY WRITINGS of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby as outlined in chapter 7 of Horatio W. Dresser’s, The Quimby Manuscripts. The original first drafts of the letters above, penned in Quimby’s own handwriting, are located in the Library of Congress collection of Quimby materials.
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