Mind (or matter) is like mortar (or potter's clay).
And no one can deny that the clay in experienced (or scientific) hands
can be made into better vessels than in the hands of an unscientific person.  
~  Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

Dr. Phineas P. Quimby

The Brothers

There once were two brothers who looked very much alike. They were in the same business, dressed alike, were both lame, and each had a pumple foot. Their names were John and William R. A gentleman wished to find John but could not recall to mind his given name, and he asked a friend if he had seen Mr. R.

Which one? There are two brothers.

The lame one.

They are both lame.

Well, the pumple-footed one.

They are both so.

Well, he is a pedlar.

They are both so.

Well, this man trades, too.

So do both.

Well, my man is a democrat.

So are they both.

(After thinking awhile, he says)

He wears a buffalo coat and drives a lame horse.

So they both do, replied the other.

Well, said he, I will give up and wait till I can see him.

The difficulty was that the gentleman was not aware that there were two brothers. As soon as he learned the fact, he must find out the name in order to discover the right one. Wisdom is the surname, and Science and Error the given names. Science is the Christian name of wisdom; and Error that of ignorance. Neither ignorance nor wisdom act; but as matter is the medium of both, it is difficult to distinguish them, unless you know their surnames.

All through the Old Testament these two opposites are found as Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, etc.; and in the New Testament as Jesus and Christ, Paul and Saul, etc. These two characters are in every person, but the natural man recognizes only one. Both can create; God (or science) through the scientific man - and Error, through the natural man. And if you do not know their names, you will be liable to be deceived.

Opinions is the man that can invent stories and give false directions; that is, creating disease. Wisdom never creates an idea that tends to make man unhappy. Wisdom is outside of matter, while opinions are in matter. The masses of the people are the medium to act upon. An error exists in the masses which sets the mind at work, and after error has created a disturbance, it has not wisdom enough to guide it. Being in ignorance of its wrong ideas, it finds fault only with itself and guides and controls the storm by what intelligence there is in matter.

Error will fault, but cannot show any reason for its acts. After the storm has raged and destroyed the country, as those out of matter had prophesied, then the same ones who caused the trouble commence a war against the expenses the government have been to; to put out the fire these same persons have kindled. Error commences the trouble by exciting the minds, till a phenomenon is produced. And while science is all the time trying by mild means to correct the lie, error is attributing the cause to science. After it succeeds in correcting the lie, then error berates it, on account of the cost it has been to for nothing; trying to show that, had the capital been spent in another way, how much better it would have been. This is a fair example of how error works. When error is so subdued that science takes the lead, then the two characters will be recognized and kept separate, and the acts will determine which is of science and which of error.

In order to show how error can invent a lie and have it admitted as truth, I have only to refer to the rebellion. Every intelligent person will admit that, had there been no slavery in this country, we should not be engaged in the present war. Here we have a starting point - slavery. Now the idea slavery exists in the minds of man, and every man, individually, will admit that he wants his liberty; yet, if everyone had his liberty as the world is now, there would be no liberty at all; for by abolishing all laws, perfect liberty would be granted everyone. Then might would be right, and man is so constituted that the stronger would enslave the weaker. A compromise must be made between liberty and slavery. In this compromise, man has no right to bind or enlarge its bounds beyond the contract which is confined to what the parties agree to.

The United States has great extent of territory, and it embraces the two brothers - freedom and slavery. To act on the agreement of equal rights as far as possible, an agreement was made that the majority should decide which brother should govern them when any new territory was annexed to the old homestead. As the party for freedom increased, as it always will, slavery - being the opposite - contracted with aristocracy and wanted that which it could not get by the agreement.

These two brothers are elements in every person, and the government is the voice of the one or the other. They are chosen as President (or oracle) to utter the voice of the people, and the people are the matter to be acted upon. Slavery is advocated and wants its power extended, and all the elements of the institution are brought to bear to help its progress. Freedom also appeals to the people to prevent the spread of slavery.

Now as freedom and slavery are wedded together, as it were, a family quarrel ensues, and the children take sides with one or the other of their parents. Slavery is the father (or brutal man). Freedom is the mother. As slavery has the brutal strength of the father, it endeavors to crush out freedom. But freedom, having the sagacity of the mother, is shrewder and keeps herself more on her guard; while slavery, having no other motive than to rule, tries to govern by its will. Freedom is more powerful and is always on the lookout; while slavery, being a brutal element, has no regard to self preservation. Its motto is, “Let us eat, drink and be merry and take no thought of the the morrow.” So it does eat and drink - till the flood of liberty comes and washes it away.

Man's life, his health and his happiness is as much a science as chemistry; and his errors will submit to wisdom as much as they do in chemistry. Tell a person, or a multitude of persons, that you can raise a ship upon the hydraulic principle with a gallon of water, and they will laugh you to scorn. You tell them, “I do not wish you to believe what I say, merely because I say it, as I can demonstrate it.” Then when you show the experiment to be true, their mouths are closed, and they bow in reverence to the law (or principle). When man can be shown, scientifically, that his life is one that can be lengthened or shortened by scientific computation - or changed from good to bad and bad to good - then he will bow to that principle. The good does not change to bad, nor the bad to good - but science destroys the bad, and the good lives; while error only creates bad and covers up the good.

Man's life and happiness are the things to be attended to, as that is for his happiness. For if he is unhappy and without health, he is of all beings the most miserable. It has not entered man's mind that his happiness is an effect, and not a cause. In mathematics, when a person is working out a problem, if it is difficult, he is unhappy until he arrives at the answer. Then if the answer is correct, he is happy, and his error is swallowed up in science, and his science becomes wisdom.

Man has analyzed everything but himself, which to him is a complete wilderness and full of false ideas, which run wild and destroy all his prospects. He rises in the morning, apparently safe from these wild beasts (or ideas), but before night, he is caught and devoured; else his estate is mortgaged to the devil for a ransom to get rid of some error that he has been accused of, such as going out-of-doors and taking cold, contrary to the laws of his God. Man becomes a slave to the medical and religious world and is all his life subject to their laws. This is the way that science is punished by its own. It comes to its own, and its own receives it not, but turns and opposes it.

All the happiness that man has, has had to pass through the fire of excitement, before it could establish its claim; yet, there never has been a person who has been able to resist this wicked generation that holds the life of man in slavery. Let man's wisdom once get its standard established - that he must fight his way through the rebel armies of medical and religious ideas, before they will abandon the field to him - then he will buckle on the armor of God (or wisdom) and fight the battle of liberty from religious and medical slavery and establish the science of God in the intelligence of man. Then opinions will be cast out, and man will live by science; for opinions lead to death and misery, while science leads to health and happiness. Then he will see that disease is the creation of error and that the introduction of science is its destruction.

Man's happiness is in his wisdom, and as he frees himself from the medical faculty and their opinions by analyzing them, he destroys the phenomenon of disease which he has built in himself; and this edifice (or disease) is matter and is made by error and can be destroyed by science; for wisdom does not recognize any matter, and man's life is in it. Science is the light of his life with which to light up the lamp of wisdom; and as the light springs up, the error dissolves. Now admit this truth as a science, and then the man will walk by science (or light), instead of error (or darkness). Then he will learn that this world, which contains all kinds of disease, evil spirits and every miserable idea that makes us unhappy is of our own make and created by our beliefs.

We can create this idea called “matter” and condense it into any form that our belief is capable of forming. And if our power of imitation is sufficient, we can form any idea we choose. Every disease is a manufactured article of our own make; and children, being but a lump of our own ideas, their mind (or matter) is as much under our control as their education. We can teach our children to be just what we wish - and even give form to their matter and certain actions to their bodies. So we can create tumors, coughs and every disease that flesh is heir to.

Mind (or matter) is like mortar (or potter's clay). And no one can deny that the clay in experienced (or scientific) hands can be made into better vessels than in the hands of an unscientific person. Mind is like the clay, and wisdom and error are the potters. Error can make vessels which wisdom can destroy; for error is merely an apprentice to wisdom, as it were - and when wisdom molds the clay, error stands aside. The two characters are spoken of by different names. Paul spoke of them as the inner and outward man. If there is not some way to distinguish one from the other, how are we to know which one speaks?

The word “science” is not used but once in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament. The people knew that there was a difference between a truth and an error, but the two characters could not be known, except through the oracle (or medium) through which they spoke. The natural man (or error) put the wisdom in the oracle - but the scientific man puts the oracle in the wisdom. This makes two invisible beings acting through one oracle. Therefore to know which one spoke, it was necessary to have them named. They named one; and the other ,when it became old enough to have a being. Science was never applied to the inner or the outer man by the world; but science is the one - and error is the other.

The natural man is composed of gases, and these gases must have a separate identity. If the gases ever had identities, they must have had them in their original state. If the gases separate, there are the two characters of man; then man can have an identity when he is separated from the gases, which make what is called flesh and blood. If oxygen is the life of man, then there must be life outside of matter; for the oxygen cannot be destroyed or changed. Therefore the oxygen is the outward man. Now divide the gases into two characters - one, that character called truth (or wisdom); the other, error - and then the element embracing truth cannot be changed; it includes all intelligence without matter. The other element is under the control of wisdom, which is the element I call God. It cannot be seen, for it is all wisdom.

The other element is the gases which compose the natural man. These elements are the gases which are combined together to produce certain effects. For instance, oxygen and nitrogen united go to make up the air. Then there are elements called carbon and hydrogen; the carbon being a solid, and the hydrogen being a gas. Water is formed by the combination of oxygen and hydrogen, in certain proportions. Could we take away oxygen from the water, what remains, being hydrogen, will burn.

Now the caloric is the invisible principle that we call heat. This principle is something, but we do not find any intelligence which man admits, except these gases when they are combined into the form called “body.” Then the life is visible - or the body has motion. If these gases, when combined, produce wisdom and when separate, are nothing - what was it that made the gases whose combination makes wisdom? The element of caloric does not seem to belong to any of these gases; yet it is a power (or principle) which cannot be seen.

Oxygen is not water; neither is nitrogen - yet when mingled together in certain proportions, these two produce water. Water is matter, and the two gases, which are not matter, can produce it; therefore nothing can produce something. Remove the oxygen from the water, and what remains burns; so according to this theory, oxygen is water, and nitrogen is fire.

It is certain that everything - animate or inanimate, matter or solid - dies (or dissolves) and passes out of sight. Now if each and every one of these endless bodies (or beings) that are formed by the combinations of these gases, when resolved into their original state, do not hold their distinct identities - then there can be no First Cause. I assume that every element, when disturbed, is combined with other elements to produce some idea; and when the idea is destroyed, the elements of which it is composed return to their original state. If life is a combination of elements which, when they are dissolved, destroys life - then life is not an element, of itself; but a result of a combination. And let me ask - what was it that made the elements a combination? It must be something that is outside these gases.

I contend that wisdom contains all this, and everything in the form of gases or fluids are subject to it. Then we have an endless space filled with invisible matter and governed by an invisible wisdom, which sees things that are invisible to our eyes. Give wisdom an existence outside of matter, and give it a being, and then you can have something which will exist when opinions are gone. I assume wisdom to be the father of all and science, the son of wisdom; and those of us who know science (or the son) know wisdom (or the father); for wisdom and science are one.

Science is the Christian name of wisdom. Error is the child of ignorance - and the generation of ignorance will roll on, till it destroys itself; and out of its ashes rises science, the child of wisdom. Wisdom and error are both in the world together; but error, being the elder - it keeps science in subjection as long as it can. But as science grows, it expands, and error loses its hold of science.

Now these two distinct identities have been kept up ever since wisdom began to act; yet they have always been applied to matter, and the world has always been trying to convert the one into the other. The religious world have made a man of matter and endowed him with these two principles; thus making the word of no effect by their doctrines; for wisdom is not of this world. Man is ever trying to make a wheat out a tare, but Jesus never confounded the two together. He called them by various names - sometimes the rich man and the poor man; the law and the gospel; and sometimes the difference was made in one person, as Saul and Paul.

Jesus was one character and Christ was another, but the religious people of his day, and the Christians of ours, had the same opinion of Jesus. They considered “Jesus Christ” was like “George Washington” - that is a single person with a double name. So it was with Paul. His other name was Saul. No one believes that Saul was the surname, for it was the Christian name, and Paul was the other; yet they did not belong to the same character - and we have Paul's own words to prove this testament correct. We also have Jesus' own words to prove that he was not God, but Christ was. Paul tried to show the difference between himself and Saul, whom he called brother; for he says, “If meat make my brother to offend, I, that is Paul, will eat no more meat while the world stands, lest I make my brother to offend.”

Here are the two ideas - error and wisdom - in one body. Wisdom says if meat (or argument on false ideas) offend my brother, error - I will not argue any more, so long as these false ideas stand. In other words - cease from arguing about what you do not understand, till you learn what you are talking about.

The people have no idea of God at all. It is true they have a belief about God, but it is as absurd as their belief in heaven; and they cannot locate him either in heaven or earth or under the earth - and yet they believe in Him. The great fault is in the first state. Man has been taught to believe that matter is intelligent and that matter can be developed, as science can. This is an error; for when science is developed, it is done through matter - not that there is the least wisdom in matter, however.

The old idea that beauty and ugliness, good and evil, strength and weakness, pleasure and pain is in the thing spoken of, causes all the trouble. There is no intelligence in anything that can be seen by the eye; one can only see the working of intelligence in matter. With pain, the pain is in the invisible, while the effect is apparent in the visible; the visible being one character and the invisible, another. Science has one character and is not seen; but its brother is seen in matter (or the natural man). For instance, science acting through matter (or man's body) gives to the world some scientific fact; and the matter is the brother - and science can only be seen through its brother.

Aaron has an impediment in his speech. So has science; and it makes its brother (or Moses) speak for it. Error has the same brother to speak through, so the brother becomes the oracle of the two; yet in fact they are all separate beings. When wisdom is acknowledged to contain every idea, and it is acknowledged that nothing can exist without its knowledge, then - although man, as we call him, cannot admit it, because of his unbelief - it will not prove that it does not exist.

Teach this truth - that matter is nothing but gases combined together by wisdom for certain purposes and directed just according to the will of wisdom; then he will see that, although he - that is, the Christ (or the scientific man) - is not seen by the natural man (or Jesus), yet he exists with all his wisdom. He will find that errors and opinions exist, and he can see them; yet they cannot see him.

All that you know scientifically is God (or wisdom), and to prove what you know, so all will admit it, is science. For instance, when the idea first started that a steamer could cross the Atlantic, error disputed the fact. The ignorant said nothing; the scientific believed, but even their wisdom had not rid itself of the old garment of error. When the voyage was accomplished, then science threw off the old garment of error and arrayed itself in the white robes of wisdom; which shone like the star of science in the heaven of wisdom. This light threw its rays on the world of error, which caused its dry bones to shake; and those that had been dead in the grave of doubt came forth, saved by the everlasting truth. Some of these false prophets were in the city of Gotham, lecturing to the people that the steamer never could cross the ocean. And even while they were eating and drinking at the feast of error, the steamer arrived at their very city. Then those that were dead were resurrected, and those that slept awoke; some to everlasting shame and others, to life. This was the first resurrection of steam - and those that rose at that resurrection never die again.

We never have been taught to believe that what we see is not that which sees. Being ignorant of ourselves, we have put all our wisdom into matter and believe that matter can bring forth life. All the theories of the ancients prove that what we call intelligence was the result of the combination of gases formed into what is called man. The Christian believes the same, but they have a superstition of the ancients of a “light.” But as to what it is, or where it goes, they are as much in the dark as ever.

Every generation has made a distinction between good and bad, and truth and error; but they have never given either an identity. If man would call them elements, like “light” and “darkness” and admit that every person is in one or the other - then he will easily learn to distinguish between the two. All kinds of evils are darkness; and science - from the least to the greatest - is light. Man should choose light, rather than darkness; but he has got so far in the dark, that to come to the light (or science) is a greater cross than he can bear and, rather than be the subject of conversion, they remain in the dark. For then they are in company with their own flesh, who are the children of darkness and whose father was a liar in the beginning and abode not in the truth.

The elements of error are as real as that of darkness, and no one disputes the fact that there is darkness; but take it and bring it to the light, and it vanishes. So error vanishes when brought to the light of science. These two characters spoken of in the Bible are contained in the present rebellion - freedom and slavery. Slavery is the natural working of error, yet it seems hard that these wars must take place. There is such a thing as ignorance - and that begets ignorance. At last they get quarreling among themselves, and out of the war comes error.

Science is an element that is kept in reserve, till the time of reformation comes; and matter must go through certain processes, before it can be molded by science. For instance, take paper - cotton is the matter; rags is the error. The rags go through a process to destroy their identity, and then comes the pulp (or ignorance). Then comes a higher process. The pulp goes through a number of changes. All the error (or impediments) are removed, and the wheels of time set the rocks of freedom in motion; and the hand of science, guided by the power of wisdom, rolls out the white scroll which John held in his hand, when the angel wrote the things which shall shortly come to pass. This is the parable of the end of slavery to the African race.

There are many other rebellions yet to be battled, before man can sit by the throne of wisdom in every department of science. The nation, like an individual, embraces these two characters - science and error; and both are elements. Science is the element of freedom in the lawful minds; and error is the element of slavery in the slavish minds. These two elements have been acting together like white lead and oil, but each element (or substance) retained its own identity. Slavery (or the brutal element) has tried to keep freedom in chains; but freedom expands, while slavery contracts. Therefore, the bands that once bound freedom are broken, and the cry has gone forth from the temple of liberty to those that are bound to prepare for the battle; and the word of freedom has gone forth to all the world - even to the whole length and breadth of the kingdom - and will not return till everyone shall acknowledge the rights of the enslaved at the cradle of liberty.





Dr. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby



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