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who had read? I read over the foundation to that very plausible inference, once more. “ It is said in the book of Joshua, that the Jews were circumcised in the wilder. nese." The following was the language of my feelings. “This would support the argument attempted against the Old Testament, only the opposite is asserted in the book of Joshua. Are these the kind of assertions which so many ten thousands are believing implicitly, and repeating triumphantly; and upon which they build their entire belief? Out of the millions who applaud, and who cast away the Bible, do none of them pause and investigate ?"
I began to see that things said against that book were certainly popular. I began to have some little discov. ery of the fact that things said in favour of inspiration. (able arguments, were not read, or if read, not noticed or remembered, whilst such things as I have quoted were loved and applauded at once.
I did not however know the reason of this: I saw something of the fact, but did not at that time suspect man's fallen nature of giving him more love for darkness than for light.
SEEMING TRUTH, BUT ACTUAL FALSEHOOD.
I would not continue to place before the reader, the cases of falsehood after falsehood, and perversion after perversion, were it not that it is scarcely credible to those who have never examined, that nations should
have been turned away from Christianity by volumes of unmingled untruth. In order to make the impression of this fact as perfect as the naked truth deserves the fact that there is no one truthful statement from which an important argument is drawn in any volume I have ever read; but every article is either partly or totally made up of falsehood-I must continue the presentation of instances longer, and until there is danger of these items becoming wearisome; then I shall turn to other authors of the same belief,
I read a page where the learned author concluded that the Jews were anthropophagi, cannibals, eaters of human flesh. The first argument which seemed to be presented in favour of this opinion was, that there had been cannibals in other parts of the world. This did not seem to me altogether conclusive. I read on until I came to the most commanding proof given by the philosopher, that the Jews did indeed eat human flesh. This he gave by telling us that Ezekiel promised them the flesh of horses, and of captains, and of mighty men, and if they were promised the flesh, no doubt it was that they might eat it, &c. I knew that this might be read and believed by myriads who never would take the trouble to read the prophet referred to; by thousands who would rejoice in it without consulting the Bible ; but as for myself, I had read it when a boy. I knew that the call and the invitation by the mouth of Ezekiel, was to the birds of the air and carnivorous animals of the forest. They were told that they might eat the flesh of horses and the flesh of their riders! I felt that if the prophet were ordered to declare the approach of a bloody battle, and in order to impress all hearers with the amount of the threatened devastation, was directed
to call upon ravenous beasts, and birds to come and fill themselves; it was a low kind of lying to tell those who never read, that the call was to men to come and fill themselves. I did not think it any more excusable because there were millions who were reading, and joy. fully adopting all such statements without ever reading the prophets, or a sentence penned by any one in their favour. Still this was the kind and the only kind of reasoning written by any one, as far as I could discover, who had received admiration and applause be. yond measure. I thought that if I could find nothing stronger among reputed giants, I should be under the necessity of reviewing my system, and noticing once more the objections which I myself had fabricated against Holy Writ, lest they should resemble, in some respects, that which I was reading in the works of my infidel brethren.
SEEMING TRUTH, BUT ACTUAL FALSEHOOD.
About this time, when passing from place to place, it was no uncommon night's occurrence, to meet a circle around the tavern fire, and before the evening passed, to hear remarks on Christianity.
I listened, and the objections were all of the same class of those I had been reading, or weaker. It is strange that I should have remained an unbeliever ; but, as yet, I was only sufficiently shaken to cause me
to read, inquire, and listen. I observed that those who hissed at the Bible, were very impatient, if any one on the opposite side crossed them in argument. Even when talking with each other, their eyes flashed, and the countenance assumed an expression singularly vindic. tive. Others again chose irony for their weapon, and laughed aloud where others were not always able to discover any thing indubitably jocular. But that which gave me most pain was that which I met so frequently, and which occurred almost hourly, from day to day. I saw those who assumed the lordly look, as soon as the subject was mentioned. They put on the consequential air of high authority, and with the tone of emphatic decision, they pronounced others more than idiots, whilst at the time, it was evident that they did not know Alex. ander the great from Alexander the copper-smith. It was true of the most positive and the most overbearing in this controversy, that they were unacquainted with all ancient history, and would not know Peter the apostle from Peter the hermit, had you seriously tested the matter by particular examination. I was not surprised that men should be uninformed. That this was so with most of our race, was no new discovery. Being ignorant myself, to my own consciousness, I was not disposed to judge harshly of a man merely because he did not possess knowledge. I must have included myself in the same condemnation, had I spoken severely of the uninformed; but that those who had never read a hun. dred volumes of any thing, should so confidently, and so repeatedly sneer at the learned, and the gray-headed, and the meek, who had been toiling in a fifty years? research, began to make me suspect that men hated Christianity with a spontaneous and a special dislike. I
did not hear the ploughman deciding with oaths, sar. casm, and vehemence, in matters of navigation, wherein he was totally ignorant. I did not hear the apprentice boy pronouncing all who did not hold his theory of astronomy, deluded or hypocritical.
I doubted whether in any thing, (religion excepted,) men would so generally decide so quickly, and so haugh. tily, whilst they were uninformed.
After the most common order of objections against the Bible began to grow somewhat old and worn, a new class of jeers came into much admired fashion. I will give an example from the multitude.
In different parts of the world where fuel is scarce, there have been those of the poorest class who were in the habit of making a fire from dried manure and trash. This sun-dried manure did not only make a fire, but by such a fire their bread was often baked.
In order to apprise the Israelites of the poverty and wretchedness, to which they were certainly to be reduc. ed, Ezekiel was ordered to bake his bread with such fuel, and eat it in their sight. This was perhaps all in vision, but this does not matter, nor alter the case, nor change the point we have in view. The learned of France and of America, pretended to understand it, that the prophet was told to spread fresh manure on his bread and eat it. They wrote and so asserted it, again and again, for the perusal and the exultation of those who never would read the page of prophecy. They multi. plied their joyous jests, and their untiring witticisms, on this favourite point, talking of the prophet's breakfast, of his sweetmeats, &c. &c. &c.
How much this (to those who used it,) pleasing and refined irony would have influenced me as I read it, I