Thought, like the blossom of the rose or tree, contains all the elements of the tree or rose. Now as the law of vegetation governs the tree or rose, so the law of mind acts upon the idea or spiritual tree, known by the name of good or evil. Now although this tree differs from all other trees in the garden of man, it cannot be detected except by its fruits, and as the fruits appear pleasant to the eye of the mind and are supposed to make men happy, it is cultivated without knowing the peculiar properties it contains.
Now as this tree grows it sends forth its thoughts like blossoms, and as it is looked upon as a fruit much desired to make one well, it is received with joy and cultivated in the garden of our minds. Now in the beginning of the creation of man this tree was a tree that differed from all others in men and was very like the tree of life. The fruits of this tree have been the foundation of all the philosophy of man ever since man was created.
Now as man's natural body contains the soil for this tree to grow, as the earth is the soil for the rest of the trees and herbs and creeping things that have life, it is the duty of man to investigate this tree and see what its fruits contain. The tree is to be known by its fruits. This tree is an idea like all other ideas in man, but differing in one peculiarity, happiness and misery. All the rest of the trees of knowledge contain right and wrong without any regard to happiness or misery. This is the difference between the trees.
Now as this tree can bear the fruits of other trees, it is another reason for its being cultivated, but to understand the tree or idea is to understand its fruits or thoughts.
I shall now call this tree an idea which contains happiness or misery and also truth and error. Now as error, like the serpent, is more subtle than any other idea in man, it acts upon the weaker portion of our thoughts and ideas and engrafts them into the idea of happiness and misery. Now as this idea grows and sends forth its fruit, it is conveyed by error to other trees or ideas in others, and thus spring up false theories, false doctrines etc. Now as this tree or idea sends forth such a variety of thoughts or fruit, it is like Joseph's coat of many colors, hard to tell what was the original color or idea. This throws man into darkness and doubt and he wanders about, like a sheep without a shepherd, running after false ideas. Being blind, he is not capable of judging for himself and suffers himself to be led by the blind.
Now as the tree of knowledge of good and evil was an idea of happiness and misery, it is easy to detect its fruits. All other ideas are spiritual, and the fruits or thoughts are spiritual and are not perceived till they come within our senses. We are very apt to get deceived by them, for they come like a thief in the night when man is off his guard. Now as health and happiness is the greatest blessing that can be bestowed on man, and this was the original fruit of the tree, it can be very easily detected from the grafted fruit or ideas. The original fruit is spiritual and cannot be detected by the eye, for it does not contain even spiritual matter. Its qualities are sympathy, harmony and peace; the fruit of evil contains matter, and has form and can be seen and felt.