good a book, and that it wrought with such a blessed power upon their souls, that it was impossible it should be written by any one but God. The last had probably the greatest effect upon their minds. Then they found in the Bible so many things in harmony with their best affections, their moral instincts, and their religious feelings, that they felt as if they had proof of its heavenly origin in their own souls. I came, at one period of my life, to look on these arguments with contempt. And it is certain, that to give them much force with men of logical habits, they would require qualification, and considerable illustration. But they are none of them so foolish as I once supposed. As for the last two, they are, when presented in a proper way, unanswerable.


There was another argument that was sometimes used, namely, that though the different portions of the Bible were written by persons of widely distant ages, of different occupations and ranks, and of very different degrees of culture, they all aim at one end, all bear one way, and all tend to make men good and happy to the last degree. This is a great fact, and when properly considered, may well be accepted as a proof that the Bible, as a whole, is from God.

What effect these arguments had on my mind in my early days, I do not exactly remember, but the probability is, that they helped to strengthen my instinctive and hereditary faith in the divine origin of the Bible.

This my instinctive and hereditary faith was a great and beneficent power, and would have proved an inestimable blessing, if it had been preserved unshaken through life. And I am sorry it was not. I have no sympathy with those who speak of doubt as a blessing, and who recommend people to demolish their first belief, that they may raise a better structure in its place. We do not destroy our first and lower life, to prepare the way for a higher spiritual life. Nor do we kill the body to secure the development of the soul. Nor do we extinguish our natural home affections, in order to kindle the fires of friendship, patriotism, and philanthropy. The higher life grows out of the lower. The lower nourishes and sustains the higher. At first we are little more than vegetables: then we become animals: then men; and last of all, sages, saints, and

angels. But the vegetable nature lives through all, and is the basis and strength of the animal; and the animal nature lives, and is the basis and strength of the human; and the human lives, and is the basis and strength of the spiritual and divine. And the higher forms of life are all the more perfect, for the vigor and fulness of those by which they are preceded.

And so with faith. Instinctive faith is the proper basis for the faith that comes from testimony. And the faith which rests on testimony is the proper basis for that which comes from reason, investigation, experience, and knowledge. And in no case ought the first to be demolished to make way for the second, or the second discarded to make way for the third. To kill a tree in order to graft on it new scions, would be madness; and to kill, or discard, or in any way to slight or injure our first instinctive child-like faith, to graft on our souls a higher one, would be equal madness.

Our instincts are infallible. The faith to which they constrain us is always substantially right and true, and no testimony, no reasonings, no philosophy, ought to be allowed to set it aside. Testimony, and science, and experience, may be allowed to develop it, enlighten it, and modify it, but not to displace or destroy it. It is a divine inspiration, and is essential to the life and vigor of the soul, to the beauty and perfection of the character, and to the fulness and enjoyment of life. If you lose it, you will have to find it again, or be wretched. If you kill it, you will have to bring it to life again, or perish. It is a necessary support of all other faith, and a needful part of all religion, of all virtue, and of all philosophy. Skeptics may call it prejudice; but it is a kind of prejudice which, as Burke very truly says, is wiser than all our reasonings.

I did not fall out with my instinctive belief, though I did not know its value; but I was so formed, that I longed for proofs or corroborations of its truth. I wanted to be able to do something more, when questioned by doubters or unbelievers as to the grounds of my faith, than to say, 'I feel that it is true; or to refer to the testimony of my parents and teachers; and I did not rest till I could do so.

I had a dear, good friend, Mr. Hill, a schoolmaster, a


local preacher, and a scholar, who, believing that I had talents to fit me for a travelling preacher, and desiring to prepare me for that high office, kindly undertook to aid me in my studies. After he had taught me something of English grammar, he began to teach me Latin. When he had got me through the elementary books, and exercised me well in one of the Roman historians, he lent me a copy of Grotius, on the truth of the Christian religion, and recommended me to translate it into English, and then to translate it back again into Latin. 'It contains the best arguments,' said he, in favor of Christianity, and it is written in pure and elegant Latin; and by the course I recommend, you will both improve yourself greatly in Latin, and obtain a large amount of useful religious knowledge.


I did as I was bid, and the result was truly delightful. I found in the book proofs both of the existence of God, and of the truth of Christianity, which seemed to me most decisive. When I had got through the book, I felt as if I could convince the whole infidel world. By translating the work first into English and then back into Latin, and repeating my translations to my teacher without manuscript, I got the whole book, with all its train of reasoning, so fixed in mind, that I was able to produce the arguments whenever I found it necessary. I could, in fact, repeat almost the whole work from beginning to end.

I can hardly describe the pleasure I felt when I found that my faith had a solid foundation to rest upon,-that after having believed instinctively, and on the testimony of my parents and teachers, I could both justify my faith to my own mind, and give sound reasons for it to any who might question me on the subject.

I afterwards got Watson's Theological Institutes, which amplified some of the arguments of Grotius, and added fresh ones. Here too I found large quotations from Howe's LIVING TEMPLE, an argument for the existence of God drawn from the wonderful structure of the human body, and considerable portions of Paley's work on NATURAL THEOLOGY. About the same time I read the Lectures of Doddridge, which gave me a more comprehensive view than either Grotius or Watson, both of the evidences of the existence of God, and those of the truth of Christianity.

I afterwards met with Dwight's Theology, in which I found a number of things which interested me, though some of his reasonings seemed mere metaphysical fallacies.

I next read Adam Clarke's Commentary, where I found, besides his arguments for the existence of God, abundance of quotations from Paley, Lardner, Michalis, and others, on the credibility of the New Testament history, and the truth of Christianity. His a priori argument for the existence of God seemed only a play on words. His other arguments were much the same as Watson's.

About this time I read Mosheim's History of the Church. This did me harm. It is a bad book. It is, in truth, no real history of the Church at all, but a miserable chronicle of the heresies, inconsistencies and crimes of the worldly and priestly party in the Church, who perverted the religion of Christ to worldly, selfish purposes. The whole tendency of the book is to put the sweet image of Christ and the glories of His religion, out of sight, and to present to you in their place, a distressing picture of human weakness and human wickedness. It is a great pity that this wretched pretence to a church history was not long ago displaced by a work calculated to do some justice, and to render some service, to the cause of Christ.

I afterwards read works in favor of Christianity and against infidelity, by Robert Hall, Olinthus Gregory, Dr. Chalmers, Le Clerc, Hartwell Horne, S. Thompson, Bishop Watson, Bishop Pearson, Bishop Porteus. I also read Leland's View of Deistical Writers, Leslie's Short and Easy Method with Deists, Faber's Difficulties of Infidelity, Fuller's Gospel its Own Witness, Butler's Analogy, Baxter's Unreasonableness of Infidelity, and his Evidences of Christianity, Simpson's Plea for Religion and the Sacred Writings, Ryan on the Beneficial Effects of Christianity, Cave on the Early Christians, the Debate between R. Owen and A. Campbell, Scotch Lectures, G. Campbell on Miracles, Ray's Wisdom of God in Creation, Constable's History of Converts from Infidelity, Newton on the Prophecies, Locke on the Reasonableness of Christianity, Nelson on the Cause and Cure of Infidelity, Priestley's Institutes of Natural and Revealed Religion, Jews' Letters to Voltaire, and works by Beattie, Soame Jenyns, West,



Lyttleton, Ogilvie, Addison, Gilbert Wakefield and others. I also read sermons on different branches of the evidences, by Tillotson, Barrow, and others. One of the last and one of the best works I read on the Evidences of Christianity, were some sermons by Dr. Channing. These sermons presented the historical argument in a simpler and more impressive form than any work I had ever read.

This reading of works on the evidences did not prove an unmixed blessing. I am not certain that it did not prove a serious injury.

1. In the first place, the works I read weakened, in time, and then destroyed, my instinctive and hereditary faith, and gave me nothing so satisfactory in its place. They filled my mind with thoughts of things outside me, and even outside Christianity itself, which did not take a firm and lasting hold of my affections. They seemed to take me from solid ground and living realities, into regions of cold, thin air, and bewildering mists and clouds.

2. In the second place, the writers disagreed among themselves. They differed as to the value of different kinds of evidence. Some were all for external evidences, and some were all for internal evidences. Some said there was no such thing as internal evidence. The very idea of such a thing,' said they, "supposes that man is able to judge what doctrines are true, or rational, or worthy of God; and what precepts, laws, institutions, and examples are right and good; and man has no such power. Reason has no right to judge revelation. All that reason has a right to do is to judge as to the matter of fact whether the Bible and Christianity be really a revelation from God or not, and, if it be, what is its purport. As to the reasonableness of the doctrines, and the goodness of the precepts, reason has no right or power to judge at all.'


Others contended that miracles could never prove the truth or divinity of any system of doctrines or morals that did not commend itself to the judgments and consciences of enlightened, candid, and virtuous men. These two parties, between them, condemned both kinds of evidence.

3. Then thirdly; some used unsound arguments. They used arguments founded on mistakes with regard to matters of fact. Grotius, for instance, based two of his argu

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