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MIND-HEALING HISTORY

From the June 1887 issue of The Christian Science Journal


The fool hath said in his heart, "There is no God."—Psalms xiv. 1.

By reason of "mining and tunnelling," and the sinister, silently directed mental influence of our latest aspirant to the discovery of Christian Science,—a student who, about one year ago, received his first lesson from me,—Mr. J. A. Dresser has again "let loose the dogs of war." In other words, he has loosed from the leash his pet poodle, to alternately bark and whine at my heels. In a peppery pamphlet, Mr. Dresser delivers a stupendous eulogy over the late P. P. Quimby, as his healer, and exaggerates and fabricates in Quimby's behalf; but all that is kind, and I wish it was honest. I commend gratitude, even in the child who hates his mother; and this gratitude should be a lesson to that suckling litterateur, Mr. Marston, whom I taught, and whose life I saved three years ago, but who now squeaks out an echo of Mr. Dresser's abuse.

Did I write those articles, in Mr. Dresser's pamphlet, purporting to be mine? I might have written them, twenty or thirty years ago, for I was under the mesmeric treatment of Dr. Quimby from 1862 until his death, in 1865. He was illiterate, and I knew nothing then of the Science of Mind-healing; and I was as ignorant of mesmerism as Eve, before she was taught by the serpent. Mind-science, was unknown to me; and my head was so turned by Animal Magnetism and will-power, under his treatment, that I might have written something as hopelessly incorrect as the articles now published in the Dresser pamphlet.

After turning in despair from Materia Medica to new remedies in the realm of mortal mind, I struck out blindly, and imagined that any other mode of medicine might be more scientific. I even believed that hygiene and physiology were scientific; though I dropped all such conclusions, after discovering the Science of Mind-healing, and immediately gave up the idea that Mr. Quimby's practice was anything above its physical method of manipulation, or that its basis was anything but mortal mind. Indeed, I often asked him for an explanation of his practice, but he never gave it. Once he told me, that by manipulation, and the use of water, he conveyed a healthy electricity to my body. At length his method lost its power over my belief, and the disease was more formidable than ever. I was not healed until after the death of Mr. Quimby; and then healing came as the result of my discovery, in 1866, of the Science of Mind-healing, since named Christian Science.

If, as Mr. Dresser says, Mr. Quimby's theory (if he had one) and practice were like mine, purely mental, what need had he of such physical means as wetting his hands in water and rubbing the head? Yet these appliances he continued until he ceased practice; and in his last sickness, the poor man employed a homoeopathic physician. The Science of Mind-healing would be lost by such means, and it is a moral impossibility to understand or to demonstrate this Science through such extraneous aids.

It can be shown that Mr. Dresser tried Quimby's method, and relinquished it because he could not heal by it. I denounced it, after a few of my first students rubbed the heads of their patients, and the immorality of one student opened my eyes to the horrors possible in Animal Magnetism. A mesmerist contemporary with Mr. Dresser, Dr. Evans, had it announced on his business cards, until 1884, that he practised mesmerism. Mr. Quimby never, to my knowledge, taught that matter was mind; and he never intimated to me that he healed mentally, or by the aid of Mind. Did he believe matter and mind to be one, and then rub matter, in order to convince the mind of Truth? Which did he manipulate with his hands, matter or mind? Was Mr. Quimby's entire method of treating the sick intended to hoodwink his patients, as Mr. Dresser would now have us believe?

Mr. Dresser says Mr. Quimby "progressed gradually out of mesmerism, into a knowledge of the hidden powers of mind." How does Mr. Dresser know this? Let him produce a single proof of it. Mr. Quimby told me and others, that he did not know how he healed. I never heard him intimate that he healed disease mentally; and many others will testify that, up to his last sickness, he treated us magnetically,—manipulating our heads, and making passes in the air while he stood in front of us. During his treatments I felt like one having hold of an electric battery, and standing on an insulated stool.

His healing was never considered or called anything but Mesmerism. I tried to think better of it, and to procure him public favor. He was my doctor, and it wounded me to have him despised. The last time I saw him, he said, "You have made me all I am in Portland." In those days he needed friends. Why did not Dresser lecture then for Quimby, as he does now? He had no defender then but myself. I believed he was doing good; and even now, knowing as I do the harm in his practice, I would never revert to it, but for this public challenge. I was ignorant of the basis of Animal Magnetism twenty years ago, but know now that it would disgrace and invalidate any mode of medicine.

He says: Quimby "found in man a principle, or a power, that was not of man himself, but was higher than man, and of which he could only be a medium." The Principle of Christian Science is not to be found in man, for Science shows that God is the Principle of man; and that as the greater cannot be in the lesser, God cannot be in man. Science also shows that a sinning, sick, and dying mortal is a poor medium for the harmonious, eternal, and divine Life.

Mr. Dresser says: Dr. Quimby "found that disease was nothing but an erroneous belief of mind. Here was a discovery of truth, and on this discovery he founded a system of treating the sick, and founded a science of life." Now it is clear that finding disease to be an error of belief was not the discovery of the Truth that could heal it. When did Mr. Quimby found a system? He neither wrote a book, taught a student, nor explained how he healed. Where is his system? This system is laid on the shelf; and Quimby's manuscripts are withheld from the people, under the pretence that, although the system is so important to this age, his writings are so unfit for it, that nobody must read them. Yet Mr. Dresser can practise this system; and Mrs. Eddy's works, which (as he insinuates) include the substance of this system, are in demand and are doing good. The Science of Life is not founded on a practice, but on Principle. A discovery is not Principle; and an error of belief is neither the foundation nor the Truth of a true discovery. Will this able advocate and expositor, now that he comes to the front, please explain the Principle of the Science of Life, on the basis of the Quimby practice? If he will, then, in the far future, we may hope to climb the hidden heights of this system.

For the past fifteen years the public have been semiannually notified that the Quimby manuscripts would soon be published; and I now offer a premium for the publication of those alleged manuscripts,—provided, when examined, they prove to be Mr. Quimby's own writings.

Dresser again quotes from Quimby: "Disease and its power over life, and its curability, are all embraced in our belief." I have heard Quimby talk like that myself. He believed in the reality of disease, and its power over life; and he depended on man's belief in order to heal him, as all mesmerists do. Nothing is more remote than this from Science, whose Principle is God, and whose power is vested in its Principle, and not in man. In the Science of Mind you find no disease, and no power superior to Life, because Life is God. This Science substitutes, for human belief, the Divine Mind and His power; and it shows that mortal, erring belief has no curative power. The so-called cure, wrought through belief, is an effect produced by human will, inducing a state of mesmerism that is worse than the disease.

Dresser quotes Quimby as saying: "I know that I can distinguish that which is false from a truth, in religion or in disease." Here Mr. Quimby says there is truth in disease; yet Dresser says that Quimby found disease to be error. The fact is, Mr. Dresser borrows from my Science and Health, though without giving the author due credit, and then attributes these statements to Mr. Quimby's lore. Incapable of deciphering Christian Science Mind-healing, Mr. Dresser does not understand it well enough even to state its ideas correctly, and could not demonstrate Mind-science through his own statement.

If Truth is in disease, or disease is in Truth, surely disease cannot be destroyed by Truth. Dresser's theory, throughout, is an outgrowth of Animal Magnetism. It presupposes disease to be an Intelligence, Soul to dwell in sense, Truth in error, and Mind in matter.

Those statements, which Dresser covertly calls misstatements, were facts elicited by his uncalled-for attacks upon me in the Boston Post, four years ago; facts that exposed his falsehoods, and which he had opportunity to disprove in Court,—though he did not venture to appear there. In his eulogy on Quimby he contradicts his past statements in newspaper articles; for in one of them he wrote: "Dr. Quimby claimed no authorship that was eternal, but simply the discovery that disease was an error; and Mrs. Eddy knew that he [Quimby] never used mesmerism in treating the sick."

In his pamphlet Dresser states that Quimby "discovered the science of life,"—God. Must not the science of life be of necessity eternal? Later, Mr. Dresser owns that Quimby had been a mesmerist.

Who is the Haman, to whom Mr. Dresser alludes? Is it not he who rests not, but would trouble the peace of the dead, so long as a Mordecai is at the gate,—even though this Mordecai had given Haman his only place and power as a so-called healer?

Was it "an evil hour," as Dresser hints, when I exchanged poetry for Truth, grasped in some degree the understanding of Truth, and undertook at all hazards to bless them that cursed me? Was it an evil hour when I discovered Christian Science Mind-healing, and gave to the world, in my work called Science and Health, the leaves that are "for the healing of the nations"?

Was it "for some strange reason" that the impulse came upon me to endure all things for Truth's sake? Does ceaseless servitude, while treading the thorny path alone and for others' sake, arise from "a purely selfish purpose"? This obscure history, which Dresser foists upon the public, provides no legacy of Mind, whereby Quimby's unscrupulous advocate can take one forward step for the human race. After the death of this so-called Originator of Mind-healing it required ten years of nameless experience for me to reach the standpoint of my first edition of Science and Health, the book which gave Mr. Dresser his only knowledge (meagre as it is) of the Science of Mind-healing.

Is it love for our "mutual friend," or envy of the living, that would drag the silent departed so mercilessly before the people? I would touch tenderly his memory, speak reverently of his humane purpose, and name only his virtues, did not this man Dresser drive me, for conscience-sake, to sketch the facts. I cannot defraud humanity of its claims, hide the true discovery, or close my eyes to usurpers, casting lots for Truth's seamless robe. Silencing my grief at treading less lightly on the ashes of the dead, I must write down Christian Science Mind-healing as the antipodes of Mr. Quimby's theory (if he had one!) and of his treatment of disease; for true Mind-healing is the opposite of all modes of mortal mind or matter, whether taking the form of Animal Magnetism, of drugs, of hygiene, or of eclectic pathology.

It has always been my misfortune to think people better and bigger than they really are. My mistake is, to endow another person with my ideal, and then make him think it his own. This is apparent, even in those articles credited to me. When I thought Mr. Quimby was doing good, it was natural for me to help him; and hundreds of others I have helped since then, sparing neither ease, time, nor money for this end.

The most unselfish motives evoke the most ingratitude; yet it is only by such motives that the best results are achieved. My final discovery of the Science of Mind-healing was the outgrowth of my motives and method.

A dozen years before meeting Mr. Quimby, I healed desperate cases of disease with unmedicated globules. This was then my modus operandi, arising from such ignorant therapeutics; but it was by no means Christian Science Mind-healing. The lost chord of Truth (healing, as of old) I caught consciously from the Divine Harmony, vibrating its own sweet music. It was to me a revelation of Truth,—God; and Science, explaining the Principle of this Divine Harmony, enabled me to understand it, and to systematize and demonstrate Truth.

It was after the death of Mr. Quimby, and when I was apparently at the door of death, that I made this discovery, in 1866. After that, it took about ten years of hard work for me to reach the standard of my first edition of Science and Health, published in 1875.

Before understanding and settling the great question of my discovery, I wrote to Mr. Dresser, who had tried Mr. Quimby's cure by manipulation, and asked him if he could help anybody, or tell me how Quimby healed. He replied, in a letter which I have, to the effect that he could not, and was unable to heal his wife of a slight ailment; adding, that he did not believe anyone living knew how Mr. Quimby healed the sick.

As long ago as 1844 I was convinced that mortal mind produced all disease, and that the various medical systems were in no proper sense Scientific. In 1862, when I first visited Mr. Quimby, I was proclaiming—to druggists, spiritualists, and mesmerists—that Science must govern all healing.

When, therefore, I believed that Mr. Quimby had healed me, I naturally wrote and talked as if his method must be genuine Science, and I was too proud to believe it could be aught else.

Afterwards I suffered a relapse; then I saw my bitter mistake. I then realized the harmful influence, mentally and physically, of such a false human concept. This I hastened to acknowledge. In proportion as the mischief of misconceived mental bases and methods of treating disease were discovered, I took back my words, uttered in ignorant enthusiasm, and stated the Truth as it is in Science.

Misinterpretations and misapplications of Truth constitute all error; and error can only be destroyed by the correct interpretation and application of Truth. The animal poison imparted through mortal mind, by false or incorrect mental physicians, is more destructive to health and morals than are the mineral and vegetable poisons prescribed by the matter-physicians. This acknowledgment brings the wrath of mediums and mesmerists upon me, but never warps my purpose to enlighten mankind.

I discovered the Science of Mind-healing, and that was enough. It was the way Christ had pointed out: and that fact glorified it. My discovery promises nothing but blessings to every inhabitant of the globe. This glorious prospect seems to incense some degraded minds, and stimulate their unscrupulous efforts to thwart its benign influence and defeat its beneficence.

If ever Mr. Quimby's ominous manuscripts are brought to light, it will be when my copyrights have expired, and the dear-bought treasures of Truth are appropriated by both the evil and the good. Then, arm-in-arm, Mr. Dresser and his skeleton (like Dorcasina and her hero, in Female Quixotism) may enter the drawing-rooms of Mind-healing Science. Stumbling up my stairs, they may fall unexpectedly into good company.

Alas for the future of Mind-healing, if built on the sand of falsehood! He who is not honest and unselfish can never steer the Ark of Christian Science, casting out error and healing the sick, over the waters of this or any future age. No wonder envy and hate dare not risk their false claims on this sea, where none but Truth can walk the wave. I have sown for others' reaping, and a righteous Father will give the harvest. In the words of Paul: "I have labored, and others have entered into my labors....Paul may plant and Apollos water, but God giveth the increase."

In the suit brought by me against E. J. Arens, in 1883, for pirating my works,—in his Replication to my Bill of Complaint, he declared that I was not the author of my books; but, on the contrary, that these books were substantially copied by me from manuscripts originally composed by Dr. Phineas P. Quimby. He was unable to prove his claim, and the United States Circuit Court decreed that a perpetual injunction be issued against Arens, restraining him from repeating the offence of pirating my works. He was fined the costs of court; and about four thousand of his pamphlets were destroyed in Boston, being chopped into pieces by the officers of the law. The Records of the United States Circuit Court, in Boston, show this history, in case 1850. Further allowances might have been awarded me; but I refused them, having gone to law not for money, but the cause of Truth.

Mr. Arens swore that he was not continuing to publish, give away, distribute, or otherwise circulate his infringing pamphlets, and had not done so for more than a full year previous; but his testimony was proven false by testimony of my witnesses, who produced a copy of his pamphlet, purchased at his house within six months of the date of the writ served on him for stealing my writings.

If Arens's Replication to my Bill of Complaint had been true, as Mr. Dresser would have it appear, why did Arens not support it with this alleged profuse evidence? Arens's present course shows conclusively that, if his claims had been honest, he would have sustained them in court. "The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish."

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