Portland, Aug. 9, 1861
To Mrs. L. Emerson:
In your letter, you have saved me the trouble of finding out your case myself by stating your feelings; so as I have your symptoms before me, I will try to affect you as much as I am able to. I will say that it is hard labor on my part to sit and take a person's symptoms at a distance, and as my time is so much occupied, I cannot absent myself from my business to do so. But since, by sending your symptoms, you have saved me that labor, I will say a word to you, while I am trying to affect you.
You say that if you were not able to reward me, you have no doubt that the Lord will in the world to come. So far as your honesty goes, I have no doubt but that you think so. I would rather trust to that than to any Lord of any world to come, that I know of. I have no confidence in this God of man's invention. He asks too much of man and never pays. He is too much like a man; in fact he is the embodiment of man's opinions. Just look at the absurdity of what you say, and it is what we all often say, and yet it contains no wisdom at all. You say that if I should help you, you cannot pay me; God will reward me in the world to come. Suppose there is another world and I should not go there for twenty years. You don't suppose the Lord will look me up, when he has credited me for curing you? And of course, I should not put in a claim myself; so I rather think it will all be forgotten. I have lost all confidence in the God of such opinions.
I will give you a description of the God I worship. He has respect for persons. He is a God of love and truth. He feels our misery and administers to our wants. He never keeps any accounts but pays me my wages as soon as they are earned. So if I help you, my God is your God; and to do good to myself is to do good to you, as far as lies in my power. So my God is in me; and his rewards are with him. If I do a good act, he pays me down, for he does not need to have any account with man. He has enough to pay all his debts; and if I neglect to fulfill my part, after I know and acknowledge it, I shall surely get my punishment.
All this is the other world, not the world of opinions; for that world must be destroyed. God, and all the world of progression and science, can never be destroyed; for it never had a beginning and therefore cannot end. This is the world I believe in. If I help you, my God rewards me; for the reward is in the act. It is as much my gain as yours. To make you happy makes me so; and if I help you and make you happy, you, of course, share your happiness with me.
I will stop, till I learn if you get any better, and which God you think the most of.