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ter his." An ancient Greek philosopher believed that he had learned certain things of the Syrians. A citizen of New York is very positive that the Syrians learned them of the philosopher. Which shall we believe? or rather, let us ask the more profitable question, Why should that man assume that position with dog. matic confidence, without inquiry and without research? It was for the same reason that ten thousand others in that and other cities, assume ten thousand similar positions, with as little information, and as much assurance. Since the fall of our race, men have had an appetite for falsehood, so spontaneous, that they often adopt it without inquiry, in matters of religion. It does not seem to man, that he prefers falsehood in points of religious faith. If he were aware of it, this know. ledge would become a part of the remedy,
Cure of Infidelity.
We now have offered a few thoughts on the cause of infidelity. We could, as it were, only pen a few hasty words; endeavouring to offer some of the more simple and obvious reasons, by which we may know that it is caused by a want of knowledge, and by a want of love for the truth. Each of these items assists in promoting the growth of the other. We may resume the subject hereafter, and devote other chapters to the consideration of the cause of infidelity; but at the present we feel disposed to say something of its cure. The cure of infi. delity! What a subject. The cure of infidelity! Can
it be cured? Indeed it can. There are difficulties in the way, but all that is arduous, is not impracticable. It may be cured thoroughly. All who have ever taken the remedy, were cured, therefore it is safe to say that it may be cured with certainty. It is known to the world of physicians, that the treatment of those diseases wherein the sick deem themselves entirely whole, is attended with unusual difficulties, because they are not willing to use the remedy. Unbelievers usually think themselves well informed, (particularly those whose minds are well stored with other knowledge,) when the opposite fact is the truth. Whether this is or is not the cause, something does cause them to be very backward, in the business of research. Their hands hang down, and their nerves are all unstrung as soon as vigorous and industrious rescarch is proposed.
Unbelievers inquire not after a remedy for their dis. ease. If one is proposed, they turn away. If it is urged upon them, and they employ it, it is slowly, reluct. antly, and perhaps sparingly and imperfectly. There are two remedies, or two modes of cure. Men may take either. One of these remedies is infallible; it succeeds wherever and whenever used. The other is almost uni. versally successful, but under certain circumstances has been known to fail. We will distinguish these two modes of cure by the appellation of the powerful, and the all-powerful remedy. We will leave the second, viz., the all-powerful remedy for the last consideration. Men are more averse to the use of this; they dislike it more than they do the first. The powerful is not so certainly efficacious as the all. powerful; but men may be more readily induced to give it a trial. Therefore we will begin with it, and endeav.
our to make it plain, and to guard against obscurity, or that which may cause us to be misapprehended in any particular.
A REMEDY PROPOSED.
The powerful remedy.- If one of the causes of infi. delity consists in ignorance, then it is not hard for us to understand that the opposite of ignorance must be a promising remedy. We mean ignorance of the Bible and of ancient literature connected with the Bible. Information almost always cures ; but it is not an easy matter to prevail on the unbeliever to labour for this knowledge. That knowledge is a powerful remedy, the author of these pages has seen tested during eighteen years of continued trial. He has watched these eighteen years of experimental process, with unusual and unin. terrupted solicitude. By presenting a history of these years of trial, the doctrines which we deem important, can be made plain, and misapprehension easily avoided. We
may form theories, and believe that certain things are practicable, but our belief is not confirmed entirely, until we have tested the matter by long and faithful trial.
History of eighteen years'observation. As soon as the author had escaped from the pit of infidelity, he felt an indescribable solicitude for those who are unbelievers. He felt a painful anxiety which impelled him to inquire them out, and to cultivate (if he could,) their acquaint. ance and friendship. The sailor who reaches shore,
who looks back and sees the companions of his voyage approaching imminent peril, or clinging to the fragments of a shivered vessel, feels more for them, because he has been the associate of their voyage. Unbelievers will converse with a friend, or even with an ordinary acquaintance, without growing angry, provided they are alone, and provided the approach is made in a plain and affectionate manner.
Those who are in danger of meeting with insult when conversing on the subject of religion, are mostly such as begin the conversation before others; and the danger is more or less prominent in proportion to the number of those who are present, and who compose the company.
Some unbelievers you may prevail upon to read. Some will even read industriously, if any one will furnish them with books. (They will not inquire after books, or borrow for themselves.) Others will not read, unless it is in some work of satire, ridicule, or abuse of the Bible. Others will promise a friend, who may request it, to read, and may even commence, intending to investigate, but they soon neglect and forget it. Others again, may be prevailed on to read and inquire after knowledge, provided the friend furnishes the books, makes frequent visits, reminds them of their undertaking, and inquires minutely after their advancement. The author, from having mingled in their ranks for many years, was aware of the fact, that there are more, very many more, infidels in each town, and village of our country, than ministers of the gospel, or followers of the Saviour, are in the habit of supposing. He knew that
many who were looked upon by professors of reli. gion as almost Christians, were, in reality, infidels, but from a variety of considerations, felt disinclined to avow
it. To inquire out such, to seek the acquaintance of others, of all sceptics who might be prevailed on to read, and to induce them faithfully to investigate the subject of Christianity, has been a business, which, for the last eighteen years, he has followed with more interest than any other. He never, during that time, met with a case where an individual made anything like an honest and sincere investigation of the evidences of Christianity, that he did not conclude by saying of the Bible, “ this is God's book," two only excepted. We will give a history of these two exceptions, or seeming exceptions. A faithful narrative of actual occurrences, will make plain the doctrines concerning the cure of infidelity. Each case will require an entire chapter.
Case I.-A young man of Kentucky received his col. legiate education at an institution where the students became infidels with great uniformity. He was a son of one of the governors of that state. He was wealthy, and the hospitality of his board extended with western profusion. I became acquainted with him mostly at his own fireside. After our intimacy had continued some time, I ventured to speak to him privately and affectionately, of eternal existence. He told me that his sentiments were deistical, and that inasmuch as he did not rever. ence the Bible, whilst I did, he supposed our conversation with each other would be unprofitable. I told him that I only wished to speak with him concerning the hea.