Indeed, there is no other being on earth so nearly Godlike in power as the mother who realizes what her influence over her unborn child may be.
The hard and painful path for you to walk is but a short one compared to the long roadway to eternity for your child.
Perhaps some great statesman, or some great artist, or some great scientist or philosopher is lying under your heart, and it is in your power to make or mar his development. Perhaps a Joan of Arc, or a Rosa Bonheur, or a Martha Washington will crown you with pride.
Such genius and influence for good as the world has never before known, from mortal sources, may be given to it through your unborn child. How wonderful your privilege, how vast your power!
Only a few short months, and then the growing wonder of a child’s unfolding mind, to beautify your days.
Think of it in this way, dear little tired and nervous woman, and God and all his angels will hover over you, I know, and all will be well with you.
My prayers are with you.
To Mr. Alfred Duncan
Concerning the Ministry
And so you have changed your plan of life and, instead of becoming an experimenter with the flesh, are going to be a healer of souls.
And what do I think about it? I am glad you are not to be an M.D. There is an era coming when the doctor will be a prehistoric creature. Oh, it is far, far away, but already the most progressive minds have ceased to regard the family physician as an infallible being.
Medicine has made the least progress of any of the sciences in the last few centuries.
Credulity has cured more people than pills.
Were you to study medicine, I should advise you to take up surgery, osteopathy, electricity, the Kneippe Cure, milk diet, and all the various methods of stimulating circulation; for the people who patronize these treatments are increasing, as the powder and pill patrons are on the decrease.
Then, too, I should urge you to make a careful study of mental and spiritual methods of cure, that you might be wholly equipped for the dawn of the new age. You are a young man, and you will probably live to see a wonderful change in the treatment of disease, and to find the physician of the old school relegated to the historian.
But just as carefully you should now survey the religious horizon, before beginning your studies for the ministry.
It is utterly useless to stand with lifted eyes and say, “The faith of my parents is good enough for me—good enough for all mankind.”
Had the children of ancient Salem said that, and their children repeated it, you would probably be lighting faggots at this moment to roast a “witch,” instead of a brother of the opposite creed.
The narrow, intolerant old dogmas have been forced into elasticity by the later generations, and the broadening work still goes on.