It is nourished by human wisdom which says, A cancer is a living thing independent of our knowledge, that will eat and eat till it eats away life. This fact takes root in every part of man's sensitive system till his whole frame has become adjusted to it. The result is that the body takes form according to the growth of the seed; the mind, deriving its productive power from wisdom, keeps changing and changing till a living cancer is brought forth in the flesh.
The mind of man is like matter or soil which will bring forth vegetation, and man himself is the planter. When a new sensation is felt, we want to know what made it; and as all our knowledge of ourselves makes causes of things which come to our bodily senses, we reason that it was occasioned by some of our acts in which we disobeyed some law of nature and therefore this new feeling is the punishment. We may reason still further and discover what particular law we disobeyed and the name or nature of its penalty. This we ascertain without difficulty; perhaps it is one that attacks our very life, consumption. This terrible name disturbs the mind to its very depths; it takes root and the whole body is set to work to produce the disease. It derives its principle of life from the changeableness and futility of the mind; its poison is that of a falsehood; its efficiency is in our receiving and believing it as true. It may be asked what one's wisdom had to do with this? It simply sustains the power of creating.
It does not originate or condemn anything wrong, but sets men to work to try to correct their troubles themselves. This is only done successfully in any department by the application of truth to human reason. At one time all mankind believed in a personal devil, but in the progress of intelligence, he has been reasoned entirely out of existence in many of his relations to man. But although he is nearly dead as an individual, yet his works live after him and flourish like a green bay tree. They contain the subtlety, the poison and the hypocrisy of the serpent and are neatly covered up in our reasoning and opinions, often forming the most fascinating and respectable qualities of individuals.