as far as Jesus stands, I - for one - do not pretend to be or not to
be a disciple of Jesus;
for I let my life and acts as a man speak for themselves.
~ Phineas Quimby
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Spiritual Interpretation of Love
What is the element that receives all sensation? Love for ourselves. This is the ground mark (or foundation) of all our acts - to gratify its own element. It is the mortar (or dough) in which all sensation is made. Of itself, it contains no knowledge. It is perfect harmony. Its element (or language) is its perfection. It embraces all the senses, but not wisdom. It is the power that wisdom uses to bring all things into harmony with itself.
This, to this world of error, is not known, but admitted. The matter (or ideas of this world) is put into this element. So it is like the ocean. It can hold all sorts of ideas, and like the ocean, disturb error to its lowest depths; and then calm, by wisdom, so that not a ripple on the surface can be seen. But in the depths of this ocean of love lie all kinds of evil spirits that are gnawing the life of the soul, that are identified with it. This is the disease in the mind.
When the storm of ignorance and superstition was raging, and all the ships (or minds) were tossing to-and-fro, and even Jesus' disciples were in danger of being swamped by the errors of the age; when their barque (or belief) was just sinking into heathen idolatry, and when their enemies disturbed the walls (or belief) - then in the darkness of the night (or error), when there was no eye to see, nor heart to feel, nor arm to reach out nor voice to be heard, Jesus was seen walking upon the water of their belief, saying to the waves, “Be still” - and the winds and waves obeyed him, and there was a great calm.
This was the state of the minds in the days of Jesus. The people's belief was their disease, and to embrace their errors was to take their disease. Then misery was what followed their belief, and their happiness was the unlearning of their errors. Their ships were their theories, and the water was their mind and their ideas, their danger. Their wisdom was of this world of matter; while the wisdom of God could say to their wisdom, “Be still,” and their ideas of wind and mind (or matter) would obey.
Now the idea of Jesus' ideas was a new heaven (or wisdom) and a new earth (or belief). The new heaven, under the direction of the wisdom of God (or science) could create a new belief, wherein could be peace and happiness that the old heaven (or wisdom) knew nothing of; where there should be peace and power in the Holy Ghost (or explanation) of this new world; where no errors nor selfishness nor strife could dwell; so that all ignorance and superstition should be cast out into outer darkness, never to return.
Now as Jesus was walking by the seaside of the belief of the leaders' ideas, he saw two men, Peter and Andrew, spouting (or fishing) in the old Mosaic laws (or sea) and said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you teachers of this truth to man - and not slaves to the priest.” So they abandoned their nets (or old belief) and followed him. They went on and saw others in their ships (or beliefs), mending their nets (or creeds); for their nets, like the priesthood, had weak places and were like a garment ready to drop to pieces. They also left their father (or old belief) in their ships of error and followed Jesus. So he traveled all through the land, preaching the kingdom of heaven and curing all kinds of diseases. And his fame went through all the land, and great multitudes followed him. And he went up into the higher state - into the science - and opened his mouth to them in truth (or parables).
Now the laws of Moses had a tax on the people to pay the priest for forgiving their sins, and the doctors had a fee for curing the sins that affected the body. So all persons who were not of their belief were strangers and needed teaching (or needed to have their eyes opened to the truth of their belief); and their ideas (or opinions) were like fish in the great sea; and they asked tribute money (or an answer to all of their questions) to pay for teaching strangers. When Jesus came into Capernaum, they that received the tribute money (or gave information in regard to the truth) asked Peter if his master paid tribute money (or wanted any information in regard to their religion), and Peter said, “Yes.” So as he came into the house (or belief), Jesus asked of Peter, “Who paid tribute money - the children (or the believers) or the skeptic (or the strangers)?”
He answered, “Strangers.”
So Jesus said, “Lest they be offended, let us ask a question for them to answer. Go to the priest (or sea), and cast in a hook, and put a question, and catch an idea (or fish), and open it, and you will find a piece of money. Go and give it, for you and for me.” Now the sea (or belief) was the ocean in which was all the wisdom of the world. So the preachers (or spouters) fished in it; and the ships were the little society (or church) where the people congregated to catch some spiritual food (or fish).
When Peter and Andrew left their father (or belief) and their nets and society (or ship) and followed him - then they left all for his sake. When the young man came to Jesus and asked him what he should do to inherit eternal life (or wisdom), he said, “Keep the commandments.”
The young man replied, “This have I done from my youth upwards. What lack I more?”
“If you would be perfect, go - give all your old religious ideas away, and follow the science (or me).”
So as he could not understand, he went away sorrowful; for he had much wisdom of this world. When the disciples heard this, they thought it a hard saying, so they said to him, “We have left our old ships and nets and even father, and all, for your science - and what shall we have?” Jesus answered, if they could understand all his truth, so that they could teach the people - then they should sit on twelve thrones, judging (or teaching) the twelve tribes of Israel. But this they could not understand. So when they were called upon to stand up and defend the science, they all forsook him - and there never has been a person since Jesus who could throw one particle of light on Jesus' science.
As soon as Jesus was crucified, the disciples were driven away or killed; so all of the teachings of Jesus fell into the hands of men who knew nothing of Jesus' science, and they took the record and put just such a construction as they pleased. So you see that all we have is the opinions of men who lived hundreds of years after the crucifixion of Jesus. Now as they could not cure any person, the teachings of Jesus must be explained in some way that did not require proof. So right in the face of Jesus' teachings, where he gave his disciples power (or wisdom) to teach and told what would follow - that they should cure all diseases as he did and greater cures should they perform - the priest had to get over this by saying the days of miracles are past.
The people believed these blind guides, so they have crucified Christ in every way that error could invent. Now Jesus stood alone in the world with no living man of flesh and blood, feeling the sorrows of this world of flesh and blood, weeping over their sins (or errors) that bound them down, and well might he say, as he did, “Oh! Jerusalem, thou that stoneth the wisdom of God and hated those that teach it to you - how often would I have gathered you together in love for each other, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings of sympathy and runs the risk of her life for her young.”
This, to them, was all without meaning. They could not see any sympathy, outside of dollars and cents, nor feel another's woes. So he said to them, “Ye have eyes but cannot see, and ears but cannot hear the voice (or misery), and no heart to feel another's woes.”
Now they did not want to understand, for it would make them break off from their sins and turn to the truth and become honest and good. Jesus' sea was love, for the sake of the world's happiness. This love, he laid down for the sins (or beliefs) of man and received him into the bosom of this love (or sympathy), which was pure - not a selfish idea independent of all, but a love for the sake of all. Jesus, as a man of flesh and blood - as we all are - purified his own life, received this eternal life in the name of Christ and took all our opinions that would have killed him, if he had been ignorant of the truth; rose again, pure and clean from all priestcraft and superstition and then denounced the priests and doctors as the enemies of the happiness of man.
Now to be a follower of Christ is to do the things that he did, but to be a believer in Christ embraces what you know nothing of, only as a belief. There is a vast difference between a belief and knowledge. Knowledge is wisdom and does not contain a belief. A belief is error (or the wisdom of this world), and the only way to tell them apart is to detect them by their works (or fruits).
I will give you the key to heaven (or science), as far as correcting the errors in regard to your health is concerned, so that you cannot be deceived by the errors of the world. I will give you a sign, so you can tell the difference between my theory as a teacher of Christ (or science) and my opinion, as a man; so you shall not be deceived by false teachers, who will come and say to you, “I understand - I do just as Dr. Q. does. It is all spiritualism. I can tell your feelings just as well as he can.”
If you know me, then you will say, “By your fruits, I shall know you.”
Now if they tell you how you feel and locate disease, offering any opinion in regard to your diet or advice concerning what you shall do; if they give a name to your trouble and tell you that your feelings are the symptoms of some disease of a serious nature, thereby giving you a glimpse of a long train of troubles to which you are liable - to such you can say, “That is not like Dr. Q. You are known by your fruits.” Now if he had been a true disciple of me, he would have taken upon himself all your feelings. These feelings are my knowledge of your trouble, as they are yours - but to me they contain the true answer; and when my explanation satisfies you, then your difficulty is gone, and you are happy.
Jesus knew that all the troubles of mankind arose from ignorance of immortality, and Christ revealed to the people that man was spiritual and that his unhappiness lay in a wrong belief. This belief amounted to this - that the natural world is all there is, and as man required something higher to satisfy him, the spiritual world was admitted and made to contain all sorts of witches and frightful things to keep the people in subjection. So this spiritual world, as it is called, has never been investigated as a science, and all revelations from it and allusions to it are steeped in mystery and superstition. Thus most of us are in this mystic land. We only know our bodies, and further than that, we are in the dark. Christ is that revelation - a science of the spiritual world, which is a knowledge and cure of all the ills flesh is heir to.
The people are divided in two classes - followers of Christ and followers of Jesus. This is a great mistake. To illustrate the difference between Jesus and Christ, I will take myself. There are a great many persons who believe in my healing power but know nothing of the truth of it. So they make me, as a man, responsible for all my acts and belief in all things. Thus my private character is brought into my belief - just as though I could not be a teacher of truth, unless my character as a man was in harmony with the errors of the world. Now I stand before the people, judged according to my outward acts by one class and by my science, by another. So if I should put on the cloak of hypocrisy and attend meetings, pay tithes and be very strict in all things pertaining to the wisdom of this world, then I am received by the wisdom of this world, but the scientific world looks upon me as a hypocrite.
Jesus' private character as a man had just about as much to do with Christ as P. P. Q. has with his cure. Jesus, as a man, knew nothing of Christ, as P. P. Q., as a man, knows nothing of this wisdom (or truth); but when he feels it, he speaks - not as P. P. Q., but as the patient's trouble is revealed to him. So this science in P. P. Q. takes the trouble (or sins) of the patient, and the answer is accompanied with the feelings. Thus P. P. Q. is the medium of the truth to correct the errors of the world, just as Jesus was the medium of God (or truth) (or Christ) to convince man of his errors and lead him to Christ (or health) (or truth).
I will now give you an illustration to show where the followers are and where the disciples are. I will take myself as a figure. Suppose that music had never been reduced to a science, and I discovered that it could be taught to others and undertook to teach it. Suppose I called the science “Christ.” Then it would be P. P. Q.'s Christ (or theory). Suppose, further, that you should try to learn it, so as to teach it - would my character as a man have anything to do with my Christ (or theory)? All will say, “No.” If I am a very good man, that has nothing to do with my science. It may make it more admired, or perhaps it might make persons give more heed to what I say. Now suppose that I am as bad a man as I can be. Does that prevent me teaching my Christ (or science)?
Now suppose the wisdom of the world sits in judgment on me. They will all admit that I play very well, but I know no more about it than they do. So they say. “He has a power, but it is of God.” But I know nothing of it, myself. So they put all the power in me, as a man, and call my name “P. P. Q.'s Music.” Now suppose that I am a very good man and a pattern in society, kind in my manners, possessed of every quality that belongs to a good man of this world.
There are two classes - one the scientific and the other, the aristocratic (or ignorant). Each professes to believe in me, and as they can't agree, it is left for me to decide. So I decide in this way. All of you that believe in me, as a scientific musician (or a Christ) and understand the science, shall do as I do. And all of you that don't understand but believe that I, the man P. P. Q., have a power that you acknowledge, shall be called followers of me. So you undertake to follow me by acting as I do and trying to imitate my character; while those who are the disciples of my theory care nothing about my character, except as a secondary thing. Of course, we all would like a person that is amiable and pleasant if he is a teacher of any science, but it is not absolutely necessary that he be a good or a bad person.
Now as far as Jesus stands, I, for one, do not pretend to be or not to be a disciple of Jesus; for I let my life and acts as a man speak for themselves. I do not pin my belief on Jesus' character, nor care anything about it, any more than he did himself. Like all other men who are willing to be judged by their acts, he let his character speak for itself. It was the Christ that Jesus was proud of; so all men ought to be proud of any science that would make the world wiser and better. I believe the same, so I profess to be a disciple of Christ - not of Jesus (or the man). I let my man speak for himself, but I believe in Christ and put him in practice on all those who live in this world of misery without this science (or truth). So all my prayers are offered up to Christ, not to Jesus. The world prays to Jesus, but Jesus prayed to God to forgive them (or teach them), for they knew not what they prayed to.
this Christ is in this element of love (or sympathy) that contains no
error, but is pure love that will wash away all error that chances to
get into it. It knows no evil. It sees no wrong. And in itself, it is
perfect harmony and attraction. It contains our senses. So it is, as
it were, our life and all that is good and harmonious. It seeks the
wisdom of this world of error, as a person seeks gold - to purify the
gold from the dross. Its happiness is the developing of God's love
(or science). It analyzes all misery and trouble to liberate the soul
that is bound in this world of error.