« PreviousContinue »
with more accuracy than others, the following may not be out of place. Before entering upon the means of escape
from unbelief, it is necessary to notice the mode of descending into that abyss.
My parents were professors of religion, with a plain education, but well informed in holy things. Firm, ardent and unassuming, infidelity came not before their thoughts. It seemed to be their impression that entire unbelief very rarely existed'; and that where it was avowed it could scarcely be sincere. I never remember to have heard the truth of inspiration questioned by mortal lips until the age of sixteen ; when, having passed through the usual college course too hastily, I went to read medicine in Danville, Kentucky. As soon as I mixed with society, I of course entered the company of some who were admirers of the French philosophy. I was not as much with the world as others, but I heard them speak occasionally. When talking of religion their feelings were always awake. They seemed to believe that in disregarding inspiration there was something peculiarly original and lofty. The sparkle of the eye, the curl of the lip, and the tone of voice, if interpreted, seemed to say that the rest of mankind were contemptible fools, but “we are not." Their remarks impressed me, but not deeply. That their sarcasms and jeers influenced me towards infidelity, was because men love darkness more than light; for their arguments were so destitute of fact for foundation, that, ignorant as
was, I could sometimes see that they in reality favoured the other side.
I had some longing after the character of singular intellectual independence, and some leaning toward the dignified mien ; but I did not assume either as yet, for my habits of morality remained, and my reverence for superior age and deeper research. It was necessary that I should receive praise from some source, before all diffidence or modesty should be swallowed up in selfesteem. And this intoxicating poison was not want. ing. After the expiration of three years, I became surgeon's mate, or second physician, to a regiment of Kentucky militia, which wintered near the northern lakes. The approbation of many around me there led me to feel as though I was one of the actors on life's wide stage. After this, as I frequented the wine club or the card party, reverence for the Bible diminished ; and as my respect for holy precepts diminished, my sin. ful habits increased. Infidelity inclines us toward pride, festivity, and dissipation, whilst these engender infidel. ity. Like two ponderous metallic globes hung together on the side of a declivity, they mutually assist each other down the steep, and the farther they proceed, the greater is their momentum. After this I became first surgeon to a regiment of Tennessee troops which served at Mobile. There I became acquainted with many officers of the regular army, whose intimacy was not calculated to lead me toward God or heaven. During this time, and after this, all worldly success only injured
It increased my haughtiness, or added to my means of profuse pecuniary expenditure. Revelry darkened the cloud that enveloped my soul, and of course I advanced rapidly in unbelief. In my race of infidelity I never reached entire atheism. I was what was called a deist. After a time I began to have mo.
ments of doubt whether or not God existed; and moving still onward, it was not long before those short seasons of atheism began to lengthen and to blacken--when I was mercifully arrested. The means of my escape employ our next attention.
MEANS OF RESCUE=FALSE STATEMENTS.
I had not been brought to embrace infidelity by
! I opened the volume already named, and read the remarks of the author on a verse where he quotes Solomon as speaking of wine sparkling in the glass. This he avowed could not have been written by Solomon, for there was no glass, he said, in Solomon's day. My blood ran somewhat cold on reading this; but I had then read some history. I knew that Archimedes was said to burn the Roman fleet with burning-glasses, which no one thinks of disputing ;. and we have no more account of glass in the days of Archimedes than we have in the days of Solomon. I knew that Voltaire knew this, and it was not through ignorance that he penned his assertions. I knew that the author knew that ten thousands of boys and ploughmen would read who would know nothing of the facts, and of course the state. ment of the Dictionary would appear to them plain and conclusive. I was aware that if I had known no. thing of ancient history, this false position would have appeared to me an incontrovertible argument. How strikingly were my impressions of the unfairness of this author afterwards confirmed, by finding thạt the words quoted by him, "sa couleur brille dans le verre”—“it giveth its colour in the cup," (Proverbs, 23 : 31,) stand in the common French Bible,“ sa couleur dans la coupe," and that the word which he will have to be glass, is in the original Hebrew on? (kis)"a common cup, such as is used for drinking out of at meals;" without the slightest implication that it was glass.
But I was compelled to feel, when standing in the infidel ranks, “We should not blind the uninformed.” “We surely should support our side by sound
fact, and not by half-way lies. But this, perhaps, is merely a weak page of the author. I will read on and notice his masterly positions, and his unanswerable objections against the Bible.”
THE SUBJECT CONTINUED.
I at once opened the Philosophical Dictionary again,
page of Moses to deserved ridicule ; but I had reason to exclaim, “ Our leaders should use fair argument, founded on truth, and not