To Mrs. Doland:
I will try to drive these devils away that trouble you, but I must say, they originated in this world or matter. They are not the work of God, but they are the invention of man. God is not sin or error. We often hear persons say, while we are looking at nature, that we see God in everything. This, to me, is all folly. If you should see an orange and had not the sense of smell, nor had intelligence, but smelling the orange and knowing it contained a peculiar odor, you worship the orange for what it contains. So it is with God. We see fields, streams and flowers, and all nature seems delighted to spring from its cold prison. We are not aware of any wisdom in the flowers, nor grass, nor in anything that hath life; yet they all have their peculiar ways of expressing their feelings to the great wisdom of all; not by language, but in their own way. Their life is the father of all life, and when the cold breezes of November come, they leave the icy tenement of the world of matter and live again in a sphere far superior to this world of matter. Not losing their identity, they return in the spring and appear as though nothing had happened. To the observer, the flowers seen in June are not the flowers of the next June; but yet they are.
So man, like the plant, with one exception, is the higher element of God's wisdom. He partakes of the mathematical in man that plans and directs all. He is introduced into this world with the highest order of God's wisdom; not being perfect, for some cause not known to himself. He is left to work out his problems for his own happiness. So he becomes an inventive being; and as he becomes ambitious, he sets up standards of right and wrong and wants everyone to obey his peculiar notions. This makes war between truth and error. Error is arbitrary and wants to bind truth. Truth is gentle and never binds at all but, like a shepherd, leads his flock. Error is always lying about the truth and trying to confine it. Every idea has an atmosphere around it; and in it, the truth is confined.
Disease is the invention of man, and like all inventions of man, according to our belief, liable to perish. So decomposition is always taking place in every variety of matter. The destruction of anything we have an interest in affects us, just according to our belief. Your body, being matter, is liable to the same destruction that any other matter is. To you it is a vineyard, and you enjoy the fruits of your own vines. Now to be a good husbandman is to keep all the trees or ideas in good health, so that no crooked branches should shoot out to injure the growth of the rest. The idea of rheumatism is the fruit of a tree called “trouble” that grows in the most barren part of the soil.
P. P. Quimby