Portland, Apr. 27th, 1862
To Mrs. Marsh:
Your daughter's letter was received, and it gave me much joy to hear that he was still going ahead. For you, I cannot say that the news was so gratifying, but I must say I think it is all for the best. We know that God sometimes uses rather strong means to accomplish his end; this is according to the Christian belief, but I don't believe that my God ever uses any means. He is the end to obtain; and the means of obtaining to this end, everyone tried to find.
Man is the inventor of his own misery. Man's happiness is not an element, but is the reaction of his own belief or acts. If you throw up a stone into the air, it must come down; so the reaction returns with the same power that it receives. So if I do you an evil, the evil will return on me; but God is not in the good or evil. He is in that wisdom that measures out to every one, just according to his acts. God can't be seen by the natural eye, but he is seen by the sympathy of our acts. When man acts, he either acts according to happiness or misery; for the reward is in the act, and the knowledge of this is God. So God is in us, and we are in our acts. And God won't censure man's acts, unless man censures them, himself.
We too often mistake our lives for some other person in this way. If I tell you not to eat or drink this or that, and you believe me, when you really believe you are me, and not yourself; and you attach your senses to this belief, and all the misery follows, for the superstitious man; for God is not in an opinion. So when the minister tells you that this is wrong, and this is right, he deceives himself and makes the word of God of no effect; for God can't give an opinion. And the minister can't give any proof that he ever got the truth from God, but man.
Now all such foolish beliefs make one nervous, for you are bound; yet you were not born a slave, for God does not enslave anyone. But man is a slave to his own beliefs and forges his own fetters. So take heed that none of these blind guides shall deceive you by their smooth words. But keep your light shining, so when they come and commence to give an opinion, ask for proof, and they will leave you. Then I will come to you, and greet you, and try to explain to you this truth that will set you free from this nervousness; for it is the fruits of your old errors.
I told you that your body was like a picture which was given to you by a friend, but it has been covered up by opinions of the priests, till you have lost all interest in it. They have made you believe that it is of no value, and as you set a great value on it, you grew nervous. Now I want to show you that the value is in the picture; and then you will respect the donor, who is the father of all gifts. But the blind guides or devils want to destroy your happiness and get the picture. So remember what I tell you, and read this, and I will be with you and make you quiet, till your health comes.
P. P. Quimby