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Phil White: Background of New Thought 6

How Unity Got a Transcendent God

Phil White Unity Minister

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Hello Friends,

That metaphysical Christians experience God as immanent (the God within which we refer to as the Christ) is well understood. What is not so obvious is our experience of the transcendent God (a God in which we live and move and have our being). Does such a God exist? If so, is the transcendent God comprehensible to us? If a transcendent God exists and is comprehensible, is such a God personally involved in my life? Does He or She care? Or is It impersonal Principle?

This 90 minute talk given in 1984 by Phil White explains why we have his ambiguity in Unity today. Phil explains and compares the basic belief of Phineas Quimby, “change your thoughts and you change your life” and the basic belief of Mary Baker Eddy, “Divine Mind and its ideas lead to expression”.

Phil explains that because our metaphysical beliefs originated from and passed through both Quimby and Eddy we have two understandings of life and how we can make life better. As Phil says in clip 53:

Both are valid. Can I emphasize that point? But they’re different. In Mary Baker Eddy’s emphasis, you have, as I say, this emphasis upon the transcendent aspect of God and the effort to integrate this New Thought—if you will, this new idea that Quimby had developed that if you change your thinking, you can change your world, if you change your thinking, you can change your health to something better—to integrate that with her Christianity and this Quimby had not done.

Phil White’s insights are wonderful. I hope you will click through to this talk or download and print the PDF of this page. There you will find a transcript with links to the audio clips. The questions raised here are not only in Unity, they are being raised by most people today. In 90 minutes you will have a deeper understanding of how we have come to embrace the transcendent God in Unity.

Mark Hicks
Sunday, April 24, 2022


Phineas Quimby, Mary Baker Eddy and Emma Curtis Hopkins

Phineas Quimby Mary Baker Eddy Emma Curtis Hopkins


143 Lecture 6 Opening Prayer

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Take just a moment. As we begin this morning, take a deep breath and just sort of get centered, relaxed. Let’s realize together again, the powerful meaning of the spirit of God working in each one of us. The Let’s emphasize that idea of working God’s spirit works in us. Jesus says the Father works and I work. So let’s keep that in mind. As we realize the powerful meaning of the spirit, I give thanks for the spirit of God working in my life together. I give thanks for the spirit of God working in my life. And that work is a work of wholeness, of inspiration, meaning and purpose, And we’re grateful Father, as we share in that purpose today. Amen.

144 Quimby as lawyer defending the accused

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We’re going to spend a little more time now with Phineas Quimby in about of this hour. And then we’re going to pick up Mary Baker Eddy and spend the rest of the time with Mary Baker Eddy and Emma Curtis Hopkins. I think we’ll be able to do some things with Hopkins too.

We’re talking about Quimby’s method and his way of working with people. And just before we go to his religious development, which is the fourth period of his life, let’s look at this little thing on Quimby as a lawyer, just for a moment. You should have it in your handouts. And did anybody read this? Anybody have a chance to read it? What, what is he trying to get at in this, in this whole idea? Do you have any idea where, where he is going with this?

You didn’t quite get the whole picture of it, huh? Okay. anybody else? Well, let me, let me point out what he’s trying to do. And we’ll just look at several sections. When he gets going in his writing, he gets rather involved. He says, "If you understand how disease originates, then you stand to the patient as a lawyer does to a criminal who is to be tried for a crime committed against a law that he is ignorant of breaking. And the evidence is his own confession." What Quimby sees here is that he, Quimby, as the healer or is the one who comes into the picture, is the lawyer. And he’s taking the case for the accused and the accused is the person. And the the person is accused of committing a crime or a crime committed against a law that he is ignorant of breaking. I kinda like that.

He’s not sure what it is, that what law that he has actually broken here, but the evidence is his own confession. "You know, that he is innocent, but you can get no evidence only by cross questioning the evidence against him. Disease has its attending counsel as well as truth or health. And to cure the sick is to show to the judge or their own counsel that the witness lies.”

Where is, where are all these characters they’re inside? You see the judge is an aspect. The judge is within them and eventually will hand down a judgment in the case. But Quimby sees the process of healing as taking the case for the patient, arguing the case and showing that the witness lies witness is what in the patient, the illness, the illness. Sure. And the beliefs that the, the patient has about the illness. That’s he’s showing that the witness is incorrect. Disease has its attending counsel. So there’s a lawyer for the disease. You see, that’s arguing the case too.

I think it’s a kind of interesting imagery because it’s the same imagery that Paul uses, interestingly enough, in the new Testament. Paul takes the view that a person is justified. Justification in the, in the biblical, the new Testament, biblical sense is the same thing as getting the patient in this case in Quimby’s view, getting the case for the patient to be justified is to be made right in Christ, as Paul would say. And it’s a legal term. It’s a term that was used in the legal profession of the time that Paul was written writing, And what you’ve got here is a similar image, a similar image.

He says, “the error is on one side and you on the other and out of the mouth of the sick comes the witness.” And then he is going to state the case and you, and when you read through the case, that’s where you get confused. But now skip down to the near the end where he says about two thirds of the way down, “Then I take up the evidence and show that there is not one word of wisdom in all that has been said also that she has been made to believe a lie, that she might be condemned.” What does that say about illness in Quimby’s view and healing? That in order to get healed, you’ve got to show in his terms, at least that one view is wrong. And the other view is right. You see, and that healing has a wisdom that the illness does not have.

"In this way,"" He says, "I get the case." And that’s his view. That’s his purpose you see, is to "get the case" for the patient, for the accused. So he argues the case and you see him almost arguing with if the patient in one sense, which he probably did. He probably was so vociferous in some instances that he that it appeared that he was arguing with the patient, but he isn’t, he’s arguing with the view or the attitude within the patient that would justify the disease.

“Disease being made by a belief or forced upon us by our parents or public opinion”. And this is important to understand in Quimby. On the one hand opinions, stand over against wisdom. And you’ll see this again. And again, in the manuscripts, the opinions of individuals are nowhere near a match for wisdom. Wisdom is something you get in the clairvoyant state. You get in when you get still, and you get down below that level in which the mind is running its own course. And you allow the mind to, to get in touch with its deepest wisdom. Then you come to know the truth. It’s a very simple kind of, kind of view that he has.

"Therefore it requires great shrudeness to get the better of error for disease is the work of the devil or error, but error like its father has its cloven foot. And if you are, as wise as your enemies, you will get the case. I know of no better answer than Jesus gave to his disciples when he sent them forth and told them to preach the truth and cure. Be wise as they were or serpents. And as harmless as doves is, do not get into a rage." What’s he saying there don’t get excited or upset or in a rage about this. So he’s a different kind of lawyer. He’s arguing the case out of a position of wisdom and out of a position of truth. And he is fully confident it in the truth of what he is saying in this way, you will annoy the disease and get the case. I love that he’s going to annoy the disease.

"Now, if you can face the error and argue it down, then you can cure the sick." You get the point? And I think that’s very typical of Quimby’s methodology during this, during this whole period, he’s learning to put into terms into words, into pictures, the kind of relationship that he has with the patient and the relationship in this case is that of a lawyer to the accused. It’s an interesting image.

145 Quimby and autosuggesion

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Have we had enough of Quimby’s methodology? Are you all fairly clear of with how his method works? Primarily it’s a rational method, which he, which he uses in relation to the patient, convincing the patient that truth is the truth. The truth of healing, the wholeness is the truth. And that illness is an error that the person has simply accepted from his parents or from his environment in some way. Therefore the mind as it is presently constructed or as it presently is, has the capacity in Quimby’s view to change its opinion, to change its view. So when we say mind can be changed, that’s Quimby’s basic approach. You change your thinking and you change your world, or you change your life.

And, and of course that idea gets mediated right down to a later New Thought and is at the heart of almost all New Thought teaching, how do you change your mind? What do you do to change your thinking? In Quimby’s view, it takes the healer to do that. And this is what we were talking about it yesterday that We have changed our view somewhat in this, in this way, in which we have focused on the idea of, as Coue did, auto suggestion, that words, the person learns the truth and can change his thinking through his own efforts. But you don’t find that in Quimby, you don’t find Quimby suggesting a line of thinking to people, and then you go work on it or something like that.

146 Quimby and prayer

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Another thing you don’t find in Quimby, which is very interesting is, is a whole whole emphasis on prayer. You don’t find an emphasis on prayer in Quimby, and we’ll see in just a moment in his religious development, why perhaps why that’s true, but there’s only one or two sections in there on prayer. And primarily, he is in those sections, he is rejecting the view of prayer that says that prayer is a beseeching of a God who is somewhere outside of you. So he rejects that view, that prayer is a beseeching of God, but he doesn’t really tell you what it is in his view. He simply says that is an erroneous view, and it’s used only to get something for ourselves. And if we would realize that, then we’d realize that prayer in its beseeching form is a selfish kind of approach to life instead of instead of a truly spiritual one, but he doesn’t really then sit down and, and give you a program of prayer or a way of using prayer in, in healing. And I think that’s an interesting thing to thing to observe in Quimby’s methodology.

147 Religious Period of Quimby 1859-1866

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Now let’s look at his religious development and see What happens here. You find this, especially in the chapter on God and Man in the manuscripts. I think you have a copy of that. Not the whole chapter, but just a the beginning sections of it and will make reference to that in a moment.

This is the fourth period of his life from 1859 to 1866. His period of his religious development. I want to read something from page 287 in the manuscripts. You don’t have a copy of this. Look it up here on page 287, Quimby says this:

“I am accused.” And he was probably accused by the so-called priests of his time, “of interfering with the religion of my patients. This is not the case, but if a particular passage of the Bible or some religious belief affects the patient, then I attack it. For instance, a person gets nervous from his belief that he has committed the unpardonable sin.”

Where would a person get nervous from that belief? What, what place in the Bible would a person be upset about reading that kind of idea. Anybody know? No it’s in the new Testament, anybody know the unpardonable sin? That’s right. Jesus' whole business of about those of you who would be my disciples cannot blaspheme the Holy Spirit. If you really want to understand what it is I’m teaching blaspheme of the Holy Spirit is an unpardonable sin, meaning it cannot be forgiven. The only thing is he turns right around and says, if you stop blaspheming, the Holy Spirit forgiveness flows right. And blaspheming of the Holy Spirit in Jesus terms, I think simply means anything you do to reject divine ideas in yourself, or to turn away from the spirit in yourself and to turn to something else you see, that’s the way we would interpret it. But Quimby noticed that people would read that section and believe exactly what they read there. That if in any way they had ever said some words against God or against the activity of the spirit, you know, some good, old swear words that did it, you were never going to be forgiven for that.

And what do you think people would do with that? They’d make themselves sick. Of course, if you believe that you’ve done something like that, and there’s no way to get out of it. He probably saw many people in Puritan New England who had made themselves abundantly sick and they were in their last stages and they would come to him and he would say, "how did you understand this to be true?" "Well, I read the Bible. It says so right there in the Bible and I’ve made this incredible error" and Quimby would attack it as he says, he would, he says, “if a particular passage in the Bible or some religious belief affects the patient, then I attack it.” He goes on to say “the patient’s belief or his thought is then attached to the sin of his belief and his belief is someone’s opinion about a passage in the Bible that he believes applies to his case. I know this is all false. So of course I have to destroy his opinion.” He uses those words a lot. He uses words like destroy and attack and fight and this sort of thing. “And this destroys the effect, which is disease. His senses are attached to his senses that as the patients are attached to a disease, mine are attached to the wisdom, the wisdom that shows the absurdity of the opinion, his wisdom with a small w in which he would almost put in quotes is of man. Mine is of God or science. All disease is the punishment of our belief, either directly or indirectly. And our senses are in our punishments.”

What is he saying? There we are punished, not for our belief, but what by them, you see, it’s one of those fundamental ideas that comes right down into, into Unity and New Thought. “My senses are attached to the wisdom that sees through the opinion so that my love or wisdom casteth out their disease or fear.” And he equates disease with fear, “for their fear has torment and perfect wisdom casteth out all fear or opinion.” It’s an interesting relationship. And you can see that he’s been reading the Bible which is I think happened probably a lot earlier in, in, in his work.

He says, “I am also accused of opposing the medical faculty and the religious creeds in answer to this. I plead guilty.” Don’t you like that? “plead guilty, but you must not gather from this that I oppose goodness or virtue. I oppose all religiou based on the opinions of men. And as God never gave an opinion, I am not bound to believe that man’s opinions are from God.”

So you really have this basic fundamental relationship between opinions and wisdom. Wisdom is found in the clairvoyance state opinions come front to us from folks around us and from the priests and the doctors in particular. And those are the things that make us sick. And we, as we take them on and make pictures out of them, which create a negative view inside.

148 Quimby’s understanding of God and Wisdom

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Let’s look at this section on God and man, because I’d like to just read a few things out of this. If you like, it would be helpful. I think to look at the whole chapter on God and Man. Notice what he says. Right in the middle of that first page,

“We have not a true idea of God. God is not a man anymore than man is a principle. When we speak of God, we are taught to believe in a person. So we attach our ideas to a person called God and then talk about his laws and the violation of them is said to be our trouble. How often we hear these words, if a man would obey all the laws of God, he would never be sick. But the acknowledgement of the error is the cause of nine tenths of our sickness. When God’s law is so severe, that man is liable to be put into prison for committing an act or even thinking a thought, not in accord with the law. It is no wonder people, murmur and complain. The Christian’s God is a tyrant of the worst kind.”

Well, that’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it? He’s unhappy with the view that people have of God as a person or a being who would do us in. And so he’s going to argue now for another view of God, over on the top of page 324, there, we’re looking at this sheet, this handout sheet, you all have a copy of it. “The time will come. He says, when the true God will be worshiped in spirit and truth.” Where did he get that from Bible? Where in the Bible, does anybody know? What is it John from? Yeah, it’s from the gospel of John and in the story of the woman at the well, he speaks of God as spirit. And they, that worship him must worship in spirit and truth. At least we know one section of the Bible that Quimby read. “For God is a spirit.”

He also read the king James version because that’s what it says in the king James version in the revised standard it says, “God is spirit and not a man. Wisdom is the sower and God, the vineyard. And as man is made in the image of God, his mind is spirit and receives the seed of wisdom. Down in the next section. “Man has invented a God according to his belief. So that God is the embodiment of man’s belief as man’s belief changes. So his God changes, but the true God never changes.”

And he’s right there with John Calvin. Interestingly enough, do you notice the relationship between reform reformation thought and Quimby’s ideas here? The true God never changes. He’s absolute. The difference is where Quimby locates God. God is not up in the sky somewhere or off at a distance or transcendent. Instead, He’s very, very close.

Let’s flip over to the, the next page. And “Now the God I worship has no fellowship with man’s opinions. So to cure the diseases, to break in pieces, his opinions, this places man on his own, that Wisdom independent of man’s God or opinions. Then he sees the one living and true God who rewards everyone according to his acts! that’s strange! What would you expect him to put there? Beliefs? Wouldn’t you? Why would he put, who rewards everyone? According to his acts and not his beliefs?

What is Quimby trying to get across here? How do you know what it is that you truly truly believe by what you do? There’s no question about it. If you really want to get a handle on what it is, you really believe because that’s what it matters anyway. Isn’t it not what you say you believe. So if you really want to get a handle on real belief, find out what it is that you’re willing to do. And then you’ll know your acts reflect what your real beliefs are. I think Quimby’s really seeing something here. Friend of mine who taught over at St. Paul school of theology, Bruce Rochen, he said, if you really wanna know what you believe, take a look at your checkbook and how you spend your money because that’s what you really believe, and your date book, how you use your time. And I thought, boy, that’s pretty profound. Find out how you use your time and how you use your money. And you’ll know, 99% of what you really, really believe. And I always thought that was pretty good.

He says “to believe in this, God is to know ourselves. And that is the religion of Christ. It is Christ in us, not opinions that we are in.” See his point here is that it’s so easy to have opinions. And to think that they are belief to think that they are well, they are belief. But to think that they are the substance and the heart of what we believe and what Quimby is simply saying, is that what our acts show us to be interested in is what we are truly believing in. Then you get in touch with you get very close to “the true God who rewards everyone according to his acts.”

Now a little bit further down, “All nations have a God according to their belief. There is something that stands at the door and knocks. There, it stands knocking at the door, but it is not recognized as having an identity. So it is mocked at and spit upon and hated and despised by all men. Yet it is always the same calm and unmoved, sympathizing with its friends.” Now, what is it? “It is an invisible” what? “Wisdom” capital w “which never can be seen by the eye opinion any more than truth can be seen by error for when the truth comes, the opinion or matter is seen to be the shadow of this light or substance that I call something.” He doesn’t know what to call it. See still, “What is it is what never has been acknowledged to have an identity. What is it that has been admitted, but cannot be seen and yet is not acknowledged to have an identity. Can the reader answer? Yes, it is God.”

And so he’s trying to show, I think that, and I encourage you to read the whole of this. He’s trying show that what is really, God, look over the last page, page 330 “Now, where is this God in whom, in whose wisdom? I believe he is in the hearts of what the people” that’s Quimby’s basic position. He is not a man. Neither is, has he formed? He is neither male nor female.” And then he gives you a little illustration there, which is probably more confusing than it is helpful. But his point is that the God that he speaks of is synonymous with this wisdom that is at the heart of every person that you discover in the clairvoyant state.

And I think we need to say, just to make sure that this is clear that the clairvoyant state in Quimby’s understanding is really what we mean in Unity, by the Silence, by the meditative state that you get into, when you drop your attention down below that busy, busy level of consciousness to that awareness in which you get very, very still and let the wisdom speak to you right from within.

And this is that level. Now he see he never has a program for this. That is he doesn’t get us caught up in an, in, in understanding this and then saying, now go and practice this. Instead, people remain somewhat dependent upon Quimby because they have to keep coming back to him again and again for his treatments and his treatments, while they follow this basic line, allow him to tune into the wisdom and communicate that wisdom to the patient through him, but not to let the patient tune into the wisdom. And that’s an interesting stage, I think, in the development of New Thought ideas, any questions about this and what Quimby, how Quimby understands God?

[Question about politics] Oh, I’m sure they I’m sure they are. Yes. I’m sure he, by politics, he probably means all of the rhetoric of opinion that comes out of politicians. That would be my guess, but the politician depends on opinions in order to get his work done. Sure. I’m sure that’s true; right off the top of your head. You see that kind of thing. Sure.

So Quimby’s view of God is very imminent. Isn’t it? Isn’t it. Yeah. Okay. It’s not transcendent. And his whole point is that God resides within the hearts of the people and you discover that in the clairvoyant state.

149 Four students of Quimby

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Now I’d like to take a little time for an introduction to Mary Baker Eddy, and to the followers of Quimby. Because as here, we’re going to see how New Thought begins to develop in a number of different areas. I hope that you’ve seen that, in Quimby’s view, there’s a very simple idea here that if you change your thinking, you change your world. And of course it takes a great deal of cleverness to get the better of negative thinking. And so his methods of healing are for that purpose of, of helping people get over and around and through the opinions that have kept them trapped in, in their own thinking.

The first student that comes to Quimby is Warren Felt Evans. I think you’re familiar with this from reading Braden and then the Dressers, Annette Seaberry and Julius Dresser, Julius Dresser met Annette Seaberry when they came to visit Quimby and they got married is what it amounted to. And then [came] Mary Baker Glover Patterson Eddy. Make sure you get all those names. Now, when she came to Quimby she was Mary Baker Glover Patterson, and we’ll find out how that happened. But these are the four students who really go on to develop the New Thought, the New Thought movement in a very real sense.

Warren Felt Evans was the writer who was a Methodist minister and came to visit Quimby. And I was going to bring some material for you on that. And I think I’ll go get that in the second hour and we’ll will take a little time and put Warren Felt Evans aside for a minute. I wanna share some ideas that he has from his exploration of not only Quimby, but Emmanuel Swedenborg. We will spend little time talking about that.

The Dressers Came to Quimby. Evans came in 1863. The Dressers came about the same period of time. And Julius Dresser never really [took] an interest in doing the healing work. And we’ll see how comes about even when Mary Baker Eddy asked him to do so he refused to do it. And it was only later about 1880 in that neighborhood that he and his wife come back to Boston, after traveling around the country, and begin to establish a healing work and involved themselves in the groups of people who are interested in New Thought.

150 Difficult life of Mary Baker Eddy

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But it’s Mary Baker Eddy, who is the force and the energy here. So let’s start with her. We’ll come back to Patterson or we’ll come back to, to Evans, I should say after the break.

I wanna tell you just a little bit about her life, because I think it’s instructive for us to, to see the kind of experience that some of these folks have. She was born in Bow, New Hampshire, July 16th, 1821. Her father’s name was Mark and her mother’s name was Abigail. Mark Baker. And he was a very stern Calvinist. And you know, what a stern Calvinist is. He was according to her, a very unyielding person. Mary wrote about him that “his relentless theology emphasized the final judgment day, the peril of endless punishment and a God devoid of mercy toward unbelievers.” It’s pretty stern and approach. And you’ve seen that in some of the Calvinist teaching that we’ve looked at in her early life, her health was affected, had to be taken out of school. Most of her education was gained through her own efforts and the help of her brother [who] was a graduate of Dartmouth university and later a member of the us Congress. And she wrote many letters to him. And he was very helpful to her.

She began to write poetry during that period and had some of it published in some of the some of the papers or around New Hampshire area. In 1836 her family moved from Bow to Sanbornton bridge. She was about 15 at that time. And when she was 17, she joined the Congregational church. Now in those days, they didn’t have the business of the covenant as we studied it earlier, but she was required to have certain understandings of the fundamental Congregational approach to things.

This was in 1839, I guess, that she joined the Congregational church about the same time that Quimby was experimenting with mesmerism. Her letters from this period reveal that her friendships were not that many with other folks and that she spent most of her time reading and writing poetry. And apparently not in very good health.

In 1843, she married George Washington Glover. Mr. Glover was a builder who was building a cathedral in Tahiti, and he lived in Charleston, North Carolina. So they went down there, they moved to North Carolina. She went to North Carolina. He went off to Tahiti to build the cathedral cathedral, and he died of yellow fever within just a few months after they were married.

In 1844 she gave birth to their son, George, and was forced by financial conditions to move back to Massachusetts, and to give up her son to a foster home, which he did. She never saw him very much after that one or two. And later when he was fully grown, she came, he came to see her.

In 1849. Her mother passed. And about that same period of time, she was courted by a young minister. And another suitor who was very interested in her, went off to the west coast and, and he died. Her father remarried and she felt obligated, because of her stepmother, not to stay at home. So she moved out of the house.

She left home. And in 1853, she married a dentist by the name of Patterson, Daniel Patterson. He was a practicing homeopathic doctor. The problem with Dr. Patterson is that he wasn’t a very good businessman and his income kept decreasing. They kept having to change their circumstances. She was unable to take her son back from the foster home because of their declining financial condition. They kept falling into debt. And then she discovered that he was running around with other women. Interesting? And that made her upset.

She continued to experience ill health. And by the time we reached the 1860s, about eight years later, she is totally incapacitated, unable to move in a sanitarium where she is on her last legs, and the doctor predicts that she won’t have that much longer to live. She writes a letter to her sister, trying to get some money to go visit a healer that she’s heard about out in New Hampshire, by the name of Quimby. And her sister, shocked by this request because Mary, a faithful Congregationalist, reports this to her father and her father. Disowns her.

Now, what kind of a life has she had up to this point? Terrible. It’s pretty awful. Isn’t it? Many people would’ve folded under that kind of that kind of experience. She’s been disappointed by the death of her first husband and the shenanigans of her present husband. She has lost her son to a foster home.

151 Eddy visits Quimby in 1862

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What she does is she writes to her sister for money, again, for some other purpose, and she uses it to get to Quimby and she visits him in 1862. She first saw him and within just a few months, she was as well as she ever was after having been ministered to by Quimby. We find that she goes she works for Quimby for a while and goes up to Warren, Maine to, to speak for him and to visit two of his patients.

She delivered a public lecture up there on “PP Quimby’s spiritual science, healing disease, as opposed to deism or Rochester wrapping Spiritualism.” They had long titles for talks in those days. And the whole point is that she’s contrasting Quimby’s spiritual science to Spiritualism. And the whole idea that Spiritualism is in is a valid system. So she’s come to see at least the the truth of Quimby’s system and how it works.

The fact that she knows enough about it to defend it in that talk, I think it’s fairly clear during this whole Quimby era, she’s struggling to understand Quimby’s system of thought and to, I think it’s fair to say, that her main efforts are to relate Quimby’s system to something else that is kind of bugging her through this whole period. And that is her own religious orthodoxy. How do they [broken audio] ... transcendent? Right. What kind of a God do you have in Quimby’s system? Imminent, which is in which is that them? Yes. And you have almost a direct kind of contradiction here. That’s just one of the struggles that she has during this period, trying to relate Quimby’s system to her own religious understanding.

152 Eddy discovers the transcendent God as primary source of healing

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Her father dies, leaves Mary, nothing in his will. She returned to Lynn, Massachusetts about 1865-1864 in that neighborhood. And then in 1866, Quimby dies. Can you imagine what that would be like to a woman who had dependent upon him all that time? It doesn’t, it’s not so important at the moment of his death. She writes a beautiful poem, I think, think Dr. Braden had that published in Spirits in Rebellion, there’s the poem on the death of PP Quimby, which she, which she wrote.

And then in February of 1866, she falls on the ice, injures her hip, they carry her into the house, put her in bed, the doctor comes to see her and says, you’re never going to walk again. And at that point she doesn’t have anybody. Do you see, she has no one to depend on. Her mentor, Quimby has passed on. She writes a letter to Dresser and says, "Would you please take up Mr. Quimby’s healing work?" And Dresser says, "I’ve got other things to do. I have to go off to a bus on a business trip out on the west coast, and I don’t have time." So Mary Baker Eddy is left totally at this point in her life without any resource.

[Answer to Question] Her name is Mary Baker Patterson. Yes. At this point. And she is, I didn’t mean that, but I, yeah, Mary Baker Patterson, and she’s left without anybody.

The record shows this and I’ll just relate this, and then we’ll take a break. She is lying in bed. Now this is according to her account, and there’s no reason to doubt this. There’s a Bible on this bedside stand and she picks it up and sort of like what you do, you know, when you open the folks years ago used to open the Bible and go like this, you know, and see what it says. That’s sort of what she did. She opened the Bible and she opened it to Matthew 9, verse 2. This is the story of the men who lowered the paralytic down through the roof of the house when Jesus was there. And the Pharisees challenge him when he says to the man, your sins are forgiven. And Jesus says, which is easier to say, your sins are forgiven or take up your bed and walk? And he says, I’ll show you. He says, take up your bed and walk. And what does the man do? Takes up his bed and walks.

And that’s what Mary Baker Eddy does. She leaps out bed [and] feels better than she ever has. And she says “it was this incident that showed me a truth that I have never since forgotten. And that I’ve been trying to get across for as long as my ministry has been going, the healing truth dawned upon my sense. And the result was that I rose and dressed myself and ever after was in better health than I had before enjoyed.”

She claimed that when she turned to the Bible, it dawned upon her primarily because of her religious orthodox training. I’m going to suggest—this first, what is the view of the Bible in, in it’s the authority, isn’t it? Why is it the authority? Because that’s the place where God speaks. It’s God who speaks there. It dawned upon her that God was her life. It didn’t depend upon a Quimby or some person to mediate that life to her. The activity of God was present and available right here and now, and God was her life.

And I’m going to suggest to you that this is the place where Mary Baker Eddy introduces to metaphysics, the metaphysics of the time, something fantastic. It’s unique. She introduces back into the metaphysics of Quimby the transcendent God, do you see it? The transcendent God who is present, who is the one presence and the one power of they to everybody, which means that you’re not dependent upon any human agency. Do you get the point? The fact that she didn’t need anybody, but she simply turned to the Bible, opened it, had the truth dawned upon her soul. And she was able to jump out of bed and be in better health than ever before that the transcendent God had entered into her experience at that moment. Do you get the point? Okay.

[Answer question] That’s what I was trying say. I think Bible. Turning to God. That’s exactly right. The act of opening, the Bible is turning to God is a very good way to put it.

And therefore she realizes that the transcendent God is the primary source of healing. It is only in Mary Baker Eddy that we get the Trinity that we’re so used to in Unity of Mind, Idea and Expression. Right. Be sure to remember that those of you who are going to take the test — mind idea and expression. It’s in Mary Baker Eddy that we have this fundamental Trinity.

What I’d like to suggest to you is that Quimby is dealing primarily with this part of it. You see here, Quimby is dealing with this part of it here. Mary Baker Eddy introduces the all knowing mind in which we live, move and have our being. And there is a difference then between Eddy’s system or Patterson system at this point. And, And Quimby, and I think it’s important to see that. Now I think we ought to stop and we’ll take a break.

153 Theological comparison of Eddy and Quimby

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Hey, let’s go back and pick up the thread of, of the story of Mary Baker Eddy. And at some point I’ll digress and we’ll go take a look at Warren Felt Evans in our process here.

After this great experience of Mary Baker Eddy’s of what she called “her revelation.” This is the way she put it. And I really think that if we take the theological concern here as it, it, as we should take it, that is the difference between a Mary Baker Eddy and Phineas Quimby is a theological one. Do you see it? The issues of the nature of God and the nature of man are very prominent in, in the relationship between Eddy’s thought and Quimby’s though. Both are valid. Can I emphasize that point? But they’re different. In Mary Baker Eddy’s emphasis, you have, as I say, this emphasis upon the transcendent aspect of God and the effort to integrate this New Thought—if you will, this new idea that Quimby had developed that if you change your thinking, you can change your world, if you change your thinking, you can change your health to something better—to integrate that with her Christianity and this Quimby had not done.

You see Quimby had simply had a very practical approach toward the understanding of how a changed mind also expressed in a changed set of affairs or a changed body. And her problem was—the problem she struggled with was—how do you come to change your mind? You see, do you argue yourself into it? Which is what Quimby had been doing basically. And he was the primary one who had the inspiration to, to make that argument. But for her, there had to be a larger perspective. You had to place this thing under the umbrella of God, Himself, so that you change your mind by accepting the fact in, in her terms, of the transforming power of God present in every person.

[Answering question: Would you say that or could you say that Mary Baker Eddy gave Quimby the theory of Spirit?] That’s a good way to put it. She brought the whole theological dimension into it in a much deeper way, expressing a view that the way you really change your thinking, the way you change the idea and the expression so that it reflects the true nature of God is by, first, going back to God. And that has to be done in a very, in a transcendent sense. You see, God is the one presence and the one power in the universe, and there is no other.

Now I’m going to and suggest something here. And I, I wonder if you’ve noticed it in your travels around, through the, the New Thought religious groups and, and in understanding perhaps from your own experience in Unity churches and New Thought churches, that you’ve got two views, which are still with us. You have some New Thought churches that are primarily focused right here, change your thinking and you change your world, change the idea and you change your expression. And the minister’s role is to get up there every Sunday morning and get you going on that, and that can be, be very inspiring and it can be very enthusiastic, but you gotta keep going back. There’s nothing wrong with that. I think that’s a good idea to have a time of, of worship. I think that’s very important, but when the minister’s role is understood only in terms of this, you have less of spiritual orientation, and much more of a simple sort of practical change, your thinking, and you change your life view of things. And there are many churches that focus on that view.

There are others which have included this higher, this other dimension. I won’t call it higher necessarily, but the other dimension of mind, idea and expression. And I think it’s important to observe that depending on the minister’s theological orientation, you may get one or the other of those.

Catherine would understand this because she and I are friends, Catherine Ponder. She would find much of her ministry down here. Do you notice that if you, you got all these laws of being and laws of mind, and if you apply those laws faithfully and with the right amount of will and determination, you can become prosperous. It’s true. It’s absolutely true. It works.

But with Mary Baker Eddy you have the introduction of this other dimension, which embraces the view that God is a power that has the capacity to surprise us. That when my energies are at a low ebb and I am out of ideas, and there isn’t any further for me to go in terms of my own efforts, then I can turn it over to God. And that’s the transcendent aspect. And I think that’s where Mary Baker Eddy is coming from in her whole emphasis upon this idea that she’s had this revelation and its entire fairly different from Quimby’s view.

154 Eddy pulls away from Quimby and introduces prayer

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Now what happens is that she tends from this point on, from about 1866 on, to slowly, but maturely pull away from Mr. Quimby and to divorce herself, if you’ll let me use that term, from association with Quimby, because she’s come to see, at least in her mind at least, that this is a more limited way of expressing the truth. That it’s not until you include the transcendent God and find that integration of the two together, the transcendent God and the power of man’s mind. So that man’s mind is ultimately subject to the mind of God that you really get a full freeing kind of system. That would be her view.

Because what it does is to set you free to where prayer comes into the picture. Now Mary Baker Eddy introduces a whole system of prayer in which prayer comes significant in the relationship between man and God opening up the individual to the mind of God in the Silence, it’s still the same.

You still have the use of clairvoyance. She doesn’t call it clairvoyance because that’s a term that comes out of the old mesmerist practice, but now she calls it the Silence. That’s all, but it’s the same basic state of a person’s in her life.

155 Eddy begins teaching

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In 1866, right after this experience, she and Patterson separate permanently. And it isn’t too many years before they have before she’s obtained a divorce from him. It’s interesting about his life [that] he goes off and his conditions get less and less, and he dies in the poor house in 1896 without a penny to his name. Whereas Mary Baker Eddy went on to create a system of a religious system which met her needs for the rest of her rest of her life. It’s an interesting kind of experience that she goes through.

One of the things that Mary Baker Eddy began to do in this period was to gather students around her and to teach them. And once she began to see the difference between Quimby’s system and hers, or at least what had been revealed to her, she created a series of lessons. There were 12 lessons and she taught them to interested students.

Now, some of the accusations that were set forth against her were that she charged $300 for a series of these lessons. And apparently there enough people now, you know, $300 in 1867 or eight or nine, along in that period, when she be starting to develop these ideas was quite a bit, and it may have been the life savings of some people. But she gathered students around her and they were very zealous and enthusiastic, apparently, many of them.

But one of the experiences she had was that they tended to fall away after a while. They started out with accepting her basic view of mind, idea and expression. And the transcendent aspect of God’s relationship to man. But they almost all, or at least many of them, tended to slip down and forget this part and include only this part.

156 Eddy and Malicious Animal Magnetism

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She had a young man who got interested in her teachings by the name of Richard Kennedy. It’s a good name to have if you’re from Massachusetts. He he got taken with her work and enthusiastic about her her ideas. And she was enthusiastic about his enthusiasm and felt that he was getting the teachings pretty well. And so she went into business with him in sn upper room, above a store, a store that was on the lower floor. And the picture goes like this.

She’s in the back room, looking out through the the door that’s cracked, open, watching him as he works with the patients and writing furiously on her writings, which later will become Science and Health. And later With Keys to the Scriptures, which she publishes in 1875. And he’s out there doing the, a healing work. And one day he looks out through the door or she looks out through the door and she sees him working with a patient and passing his hands over the patient like this. She raises herself up charges out the door and literally kicks him down the stairs.

This was repeated again and again with various students, the same kind of scenario where she gets disappointed in them and eventually has to reject them or to get rid of them mainly because of their confusion about this fundamental idea that she’s trying to get across. Numerous situations take place like this in the latter part of the, the 19th century as she’s developing her movement. It’s very instructive to read some of the literature that has been written about this period, because most of the people that wrote negatively about her were her former students who had been kicked down the of stairs. You see, and had not been accepted.

She attributed all this to something that she called Malicious Animal Magnetism. This is a phrase that comes right out of the the mesmerist tradition, the mesmerist literature. Animal magnetism was the evil as far as she was concerned. And it only dealt with this, you see, with the human ability or effort to change the person and with malicious animal magnetism, you could do more harm, in her mind at least, than good. And we’ll take a look at, at a piece of her, her writing in just a, in just a moment here.

157 Eddy and quimbyisms

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In 1877, after she had published her work Science and Health, which by the way, I have an original copy of published in 1875. It’s very interesting to dig into this, what you discover when you start reading the original version is that there’s one “quimbyism” after another, all the way through, she’s still using Quimby terminology. And in a number of cases in this volume, she’ll say things like, and “I got the case” when she successfully healed somebody which certainly indicates that she had read Quimby’s writings. Or at least talked with him a great deal.

158 Eddy and opposition of Spirit and Matter

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In 1877, she married Asa Gilbert Eddy, a young sewing machine salesman. And she found that, in Mr. Eddy, she had the first student who really understood what she was trying to get across. So she married him, that’s a logical thing to do.

During this latter period, she often went into court to defend her interests against those that she felt were were trying to do her in. And of course, when they tried to do her in, they were doing it with malicious animal magnetism. She again, experienced some ill health. And there’s a very interesting little passage in one of her writings. Where to ward off attacks, which she believed to be behind her pain, she surrounded herself with persons who were expected to be at her call day and night to ward off the attack. And they would surround her to ward off the malicious animal magnetism that was coming from all around.

It’s an interesting thing that she, that some of her ideas tend to degenerate into a kind of fear of the human element, because one of the major ideas in, in Christian Science is the idea of the opposition between matter and spirit. Spirit and matter are totally opposed to one another. And as a matter of fact matter does not exist, it is non-existent. And therefore to get caught up in that which would be material would be the exact opposite of what, of what a person should do.

159 Eddy's contribution to New Thought

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She died in 1910 of pneumonia, a very interesting lady, I’d say a great lady, a person who contributed as much or more to New Thought than than any person during that period. A particular brand of New Thought, the kind of New Thought that we see emerging in Unity and in certain independent groups that emphasize this fundamental Christian Science idea of mind, idea and expression. And we don’t have time to spend too much more time exploring that, but just to emphasize the idea that in Unity, you have a fundamental Christian, a Neo-Christian Science.

160 Emma Curtis Hopkins

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One of Mary Baker Eddy’s great students was Emma Curtis Hopkins. Emma Curtis Hopkins came to work for her in the 1880s, very early in 1880-8,1 as the editor of her magazine. Emma differed with Mary Baker Eddy after about a year or so of working with her over the question of introducing other great thinkers who had a similar idea to hers, into the magazine. And Mary refused to allow such a thing. And Emma Curtis Hopkins eventually left Mary Baker Eddy. She went to Chicago in about 1883-84 and established a theological seminary, a Christian Science theological seminary of her own.

The difference between her and Mary Baker Eddy is not all that great in terms of theology, but in terms of emphasis, she was willing to introduce the Upanishadss, the Bhagavad Gita, Eastern religion, Greek thought, which she claimed was the word of truth, having been spoken down through the centuries and down through the ages.

We needed to understand how it was all one in that sense, she was influenced, my guess is, by Transcendentalism because Transcendentalism in New England was very strong, as you recall, during this period. And it was out of Transcendentalism that you have an emphasis upon Eastern religious thought.

She establishes this school in Chicago and the people that come to her there are people like Emily Cady, who wrote lessons in truth, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore who established Unity.

161 Emma Curtis Hopkins and Unity

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She had a man by the name of EB weeks, who was a lecturer for her. And in 1886, she sent him to Kansas city to give a lecture. And it was in that lecture in 1886, that Myrtle Fillmore heard those profound words, “I am a child of God and I do not inherit illness.” And then later they invited Emma Curtis Hopkins to Kansas City to teach for them. And she came in 1890. And again, in 1891, I believe, to Kansas City, taught a number of classes.

Charles Fillmore wrote in his magazine, which by the way, had started out Charles Fillmore’s Modern Thought magazine scene had started out as a kind of compendium of every kind of thought that was emerging in the New Thought movement. And he had lots of contradictory material in the first year of the magazine. And people would write letters to the editor saying, “I don’t understand in the previous issue, this article said this, and in this issue, it says this, and it seems to me like it’s contradictory” and Fillmore struggled with this. He tried to respond to these people, “we’re not supporting any particular view here. We’re just presenting ideas.”

It was when Emma Curtis Hopkins came to Kansas city and she taught the series of 12 lessons, which is fundamentally out of Mary Baker Eddy’s background, you see, that Fillmore says, “we have finally discovered the order presentation of this material that we have been looking for.” And they stuck with it. The 12 lessons in Christian healing are primarily based on the 12 lessons that were taught by Emma Curtis Hopkins. That is, they come out of the same basic background, first dealing with God, then dealing with the relationship between God and man, and then dealing with the methods of changing one’s thinking as one depends upon the nature of God for the source of of one’s ideas.

[Question answered] AA? No, that’s not in that. Doesn’t influence this. It’s possible. Yeah. It’s possible that that’s true. I’m not I’m not, I have no knowledge of that. I, [Question: "What did the Fillmores incorporate these study lessons?"] Christian Healing is the work that he wrote or pulled together in the, in the late about 1907 or eight. And they began to teach out of that. Actually, they were teaching out of that before that, and it was put into book form in about 1907 or eight.

162 Question about the Theosophists and Hopkins

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[Answering question] The Theosophists don’t really come along until late 1880s, 1890s, somewhere in that neighborhood. Madame Blavatsky’s writings don’t really get going until ... I think Madam Blavatsky in the 1880s, late 1880s, her works start to emerge and I don’t have the accurate information on that, but I believe that’s correct. So Theosophy becomes much more of a corroborating influence than it does a source. Although, later New Thought and later Unity is influenced by Theosophy. Charles Fillmore is very influenced by the Theosophy and especially the incarnation modes of thought that come out of Theosophical thinking. It’s true. And I would guess that later she doesn’t die until 1925. And my guess is that she did read Theosophy and was very interested in, in the later Theosophical work.

163 Eddy’s focus on morality over mesmerism (final audio clip)

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Now I’d like you, you to look at a little piece of Mary Baker Eddy’s writing, it’s called Healing the Sick. It’s the last handout that you have. We’re going to take a look at some of the characteristic things here that she emphasizes.

Look at the, at the first page. This is the last chapter last chapter in the first edition of Science and Health, the 1875 edition. This chapter no longer exists in Science and Health With Keys to the Scripture. This has been removed some sections of it remained, but this is her little diatribe against all the animal magnetists. And we’ll just look at a few things here.

She says at the top of page 369: “We commenced our labors in the simple faith that all whom we healed would, would acknowledge it. And those we taught would live up to our teachings if from no higher motives than to promote their success in healing. But this has not always been the case.” Her point is that her students very often fell away from her, from her teaching. And that caused her a great deal of difficulty. She says, “although it is plain, that the foundations of the science of being are truth and spiritual and the seed that brings forth much fruit must fall into the good and honest heart yet all who know this are not willing to yield to it.”

And I’m going to suggest something here. If you read Science and Health very carefully, even the present edition, you’ll see a lot said about sin. Have you noticed that? It’s a lot said about sin. For her, the people who knew this, but were not willing to yield to it were just down and out sinners. That’s all. Look down at the paragraph at the bottom:

“nothing but a lack of spiritual discernment or dishonesty could prompt one who is the least who in the least comprehends this science to call it mesmerism or to practice mesmerism and call it science. When those bit of old, the feast of truth came, not our master accepted such as did come in like manner today, the servant must be as his Lord exercising, no choice of his own, but laboring for posterity bearing all blame and scorn and counting his victory in the far off years.”

And that’s what she saw herself doing. Look at the paragraph at the bottom of that page:

“Students may dwarf or destroy for the present their position in scientific healing, through error with falsehood, dishonesty or sensuality, in which case their demonstration advances no higher, and their practice, if they have one, become mesmerism and no longer science.” See, she was saying that this practice here was mesmerism and this which included mind was science. “Such students can never reinstate themselves a right, except through repentance, reformation and restitution.” Boy, if that doesn’t sound like Congregational Puritanism, doesn’t it? And it is.

I want you to see that early Christian Science is a very close relationship between Congregational Puritanism and New Thought ideas expressed by Quimby. It was her bringing the two together.

“We should welcome back the penitent and support the weak. But to him that cover with his sins and rejoice in his inequity, let the reward of his hands be given.” Meaning, let him suffer whatever comes into his life. Look at the middle of the next page:

“There has been one possible way of doing wrong with a mental method of healing. And this is mesmerism whereby the minds of the sick may be controlled with error, instead of truth. Whoever has witnessed the effect of mesmerism has seen it make a joint stiff or a limb lame, proving beyond a doubt that it can affect the body injuriously, whispering into the minds of the sick falsehoods will their bodies harm if truth, poured into their minds, does the body good. We have witnessed the proof of both of these statements. For years, we had tested the benefits of truth on the body and knew no opposite chance for doing evil through a mental method of healing until we saw it introduced by an erring student and made the medium of error.”

She’s probably talking about Mr. Kennedy, probably. Over on the next page, down near the middle. She refers to malpractice here:

“but the malpractice we allude to was more terrible than simply a change to mesmerism. It chose darkness rather than light because its deeds were evil, such a practitioner, putting aside our moral precepts retains that portion only of our teachings, which relates to the patient’s belief of disease and the method of destroying this belief by the doctor’s opposite, verbal and mental argument.”

Who’s she talking about there? Quimby? Sure. “This is the very least of the science of being. And yet the only part the mal-practitioner can avail himself of to heal the sick.”

Now, she’s not denying that people get healed by this method. You see, but she’s raising a question which has been raised again and again and again, in Christianity and in the whole history of, of Christian thought. And that is this question of, does it make a difference how a person gets healed? See I think in Unity, when I first came into Unity, there were people who said it doesn’t make any difference at all. Who cares, how you get healed? If something heals you, then you get healed. And that’s the important thing.

What Mary Baker Eddy is raising here is a question that has been around for a long time and the problem goes something like this. Let’s say that you have the problem of Anxiety. Anybody got any anxiety? Okay. Let’s say you’ve got the problem of anxiety and this is producing illness in your body somewhere. So you’re going to get rid of anxiety. Okay. Now let’s say that there are a number of different ways of getting rid of anxiety. Let’s say that you could get rid of anxiety by believing that you were not truly anxious, that an anxiety was not really real in you, and that all you have to do is take your belief and change it, change your belief and anxiety, and you free yourself from anxiety and therefore you’re free again.

Now what Mary Baker Eddy would say would be something like this. You get rid of one devil, and what happens? Remember Jesus’ little story: the house is open now and it’s clean and a whole bunch of other ones rush in. She’s saying it makes a difference what heals you. What really ought to heal you, according to her, is the introduction of a new, entirely different image of who you are in relationship to the universe and God. If something positive like that enters your life, then it displaces the anxiety and replaces it with something else which is a worldview that includes the activity of God. And that is never leaves you it’s always there.

So it’s that kind of problem, which has been around for a long time that had caused people to argue over the question of, does it matter what it is that frees you from anxiety? It might, I suppose it depends on the individual’s viewpoint, but certainly from her standpoint God was the one thing that was consistent and that would never leave the individual. Certainly I think that was true with her.

Okay. So she goes on, she says “Tthe patients have no recognition of how much error he may also mingle with this argument of truth that will affect their minds and bodies together and to bad results as well as good. If the sick recover from the effects of the doctor’s mental argument, opposed to theirs, it proves on the ground of science that he has changed their belief with regard to the disease or the body would not have responded thus. And now comes his opportunity to do evil. For if he can change their beliefs, relative to sickness. He can also change it with regard to an individual or upon any subject.”

See, she was concerned about him, introducing ideas that were also believed just as strongly as the truth ideas and that were perhaps going to be injurious to the person. You can read the rest of that. Now at the bottom of this page, she does refer to Quimby: “in defensive mesmerism is urged that Dr. Quimby manipulated the sick. He never studied this science, but reached his own high standpoint and grew to it through his own and not another’s progress. He was a good man, a law to himself.”