My Dear Reader,
You asked me the other day to write you a letter telling some of the experiences of my life and noting down also the means which have helped me most in recovering my health, so that, now I can say, “I am almost well,” after many years of both nervous and organic diseases. If this were only an account of myself or anything I personally had done, I could not comply with your request; but as it is chiefly a record of what an Infinite Power, entirely outside myself, has enabled me to do, I must acknowledge it.
I resolved when I was ill that I would only speak of myself and experiences if I felt it would help others; and perhaps, when you have read my letter and see the lines of thought I have already worked over, you will kindly tell me where I have not been right or made inaccuracies and also suggest new efforts. I have been told it was not the greatest general who made the fewest mistakes, but the one, who in spite of the greatest handicaps, wins the victory, so perhaps I may humble apply to myself what Solomon says: “He who rules his own spirit is greater than he who taketh a city.”
Although I do not believe in heredity as commonly taught, still I came into the world with certain tendencies which I have had to fight against and to develop if possible opposite traits of character and physical strength. In my mother’s family there was nervous or mental disease and on my father’s side a tendency to consumption. My mother was an incurable nervous invalid and my father had hemorrhages, though no disease. From both my father and mother however, I received in early childhood a childlike faith and trust in God— which fact outweighs all inherited tendencies to bodily disease.
1908 E. Worcester