by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
We speak of an intelligent, or scientific, or patriotic man; when he dies, all intelligence, science or patriotism dies with him. What are all these when he dies? Do they emanate from his material organization and die with it as a stream proceeds from a fountain? In short are wisdom, progress etc. the development of matter? If so, then they must have the properties of matter and die.
It is the design of Dr. Quimby to prove that man lives and acts in an element different from matter, that the universal nature of man can be traced to a different principle than that which would have him a transitory being. What element is that, that is not matter yet in which man acts and lives? It is impossible to describe in one word or in a few words, an existing medium that is not recognized or known as such, but it can be illustrated by facts that are common to all.
A child knows its mother, not by looks or voice, but by something not included within these two senses; it is that something that makes her different in her relation to the child from any other woman. Suppose it be called love or a desire for the child’s happiness identified with her own. According as she directs the child in the pure intelligence of that love or yields her feelings to wisdom derived from a source which does not contain that love, “so shall the fruits be.” What Dr. Quimby would establish is this, that this love contains an intelligence which if followed in spirit and truth, might destroy every obstacle in the way of that child’s happiness and develop it into a self governing responsible being. Then why is it not so? Because from our religious and social education, no woman can carry out the high principle of her affection. She is taught by established morality to put restrictions on her child that would make her miserable in its place.
Patriotism also contains an eternal principle which acts on man guiding him to the right course of action, for the happiness of his country. When a man is under the influence of a patriotic feeling, he knows it and there is no division of opinion in his mind as what is best to do.
Aug. 18th, 1861
[Originally untitled, this article is published for the first time in Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond, on page 240.]
by Emmet Fox
The intellectual understanding of law was one of the conditions needed for the re-birth of this truth; and an outward condition of political freedom with a tradition of personal independence of judgment was the other essential factor.
We will now pause to consider why, when this doctrine was to come into the world, it should need the special social and political conditions which were only to be found in the United States, and to provide which, in fact, the United States had really been brought into existence. It actually came into expression among the simple, unlearned, everyday people of New England―farmers, small traders, artisans, and so forth. A great idea never arrives in the world at one isolated point: it always "comes through" at about the same time, but in varied degrees of clearness, in a number of different places. When we understand that there is a general race-mind common to all human beings, we see why this must be so. These ideas percolate through at various points whenever, for one reason or another, there is an easy passage. We say that certain ideas are "in the air." Now these ideas were "in the air," i.e., in the race-mind, at this period; and so it happened that several people got them in various degrees of intensity about the same time. There has since been some little discussion in various quarters as to who should have the honor of priority, but that point is of no importance whatever. The honor of priority, if it is to go to anyone, probably belongs to Phineas Park [Parkhurst] Quimby, a practical clockmaker of Portland [Belfast], Maine. Quimby was quite without what is conventionally called education. He had practically no schooling, much less scholarship; but he was naturally a very spiritual man, and he had the great quality of open-mindedness, and much natural intelligence. Like Faraday, a working bookbinder and a genius of somewhat similar type who is sometimes called the Father of Electrical Engineering, Quimby had a natural gift for scientific experimentation, and this he applied to the subject of mental and spiritual healing. But the thing was in the air generally. Emerson, of course, is the prophet of the teaching―but Emerson with his academic detachment from actualities did not discover its practical application to the healing of the body and affairs. Prentice Mulford got it too, independently, but by no means as clearly as Quimby did, and he seems never to have distinguished definitely between the spiritual and the psychic. There were a number of other pioneers, too.
A natural question that presents itself at this point is this: Why was this discovery, the most important discovery in the whole history of mankind, left to a self-educated working clockmaker? Why was the discovery not made at Harvard, or Yale, or Oxford, or Cambridge, or any of the great centers of learning on the Continent? Why, for that matter, was not the Great Truth revealed to one of the Bishops or Archbishops, or to any of the recognized intellectual or spiritual leaders? Is it that the Holy Spirit has a preference for simple uneducated people, and a prejudice against learning and leadership? The answer is, of course, that the Holy Spirit, which really means the Wisdom of God in action, has no preferences whatever. Do we not know that God is no respecter of persons? But there is one indispensable condition that must be present if spiritual revelation is to be received―there must be an open mind, and freedom from spiritual pride. Jesus formulated this rule when he said, "If you want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven you must become like a little child," and our modern academic education, both religious and secular, has manifested one paralyzing defect―it has not developed spiritual or intellectual humility. On the contrary, it has displayed a fatal tendency to foster spiritual pride. Men and women of academic training too often come to feel―not always consciously―that things must happen in a certain way, because that is the way that they have been trained to expect them to happen―and the voice of God is forever whispering, "Behold, I make all things new."
Other things being equal, this message would have come to the leaders of the great universities, or to the heads of the great churches, because, in consequence of their official positions, such people would have been able to give the message out more quickly, and to larger numbers of people than any obscure man could have done; and as Divine Wisdom always chooses the way of efficiency it would have chosen such channels in preference; but alas, these channels were closed. The clearest open channel for the Jesus Christ teaching was the clockmaker of Portland [Belfast], and because we always get at all times just what we deserve (which means just what we are ready for), the clockmaker got the revelation. Once more the finger of God had put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted the humble and unknown.
[Extracted from Alter Your Life, "The Historical Destiny of the United States," pages 206-209.]
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This is still a period of transition and more information will be available once the "dust has settled."
In Wisdom, Love and Light,
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