« ForrigeFortsett »
nominations.-Appropriated all as part of my patrimony.-Results.--Suspi-
cions and fears among my brethren.-Mutterings: Backbitings: Controversy.
My style of preaching.-Decidedly practical.-Using Christianity as a means for
making bad people into good ones, and good ones always better.-Reasons for
this method.-A family trait.-Hereditary.-Great need of practical preach-
ing. Folly of other kinds of Preaching.-Littleness of great Preachers.-Worth-
lessness of great sermons.-The Truly Great are the Greatly Good and Greatly
Useful. My Models.-The Bible.-Jesus.-My Favorite Preachers.-Billy Daw-
son, David Stoner, James Parsons.-My Favorite Books.-The Bible.-Nature.-
Simple Common Sense, instructive, earnest, moving books.-How my preaching
was received by the people.-Its effects on churches and congregations.-Un-
easiness of my colleagues.-Fresh mutterings; tale bearings; controversies;
Extracts from my Diary.-A strange preacher.-Horrible sermons.-Lights of the
world that give no light.-Theological mist and smoke.-Narrow-mindedness.-
Intolerance.-T. Allin,-Great preaching great folly.-A. Scott,—A good preach-
er.-Sanctification.-Keep to Scripture.-R. Watson: theological madness.-Big
Books on the way of salvation; puzzling folks.-Antinomian utterances about
Christ's work and man's salvation.-Preachers taking the devil's side; and
doing his work.-Scarcity of common sense in priesthoods, and of uncommon
sense.-The great abundance of nonsense and bad sense.-Common religious
expressions that are false.-Favorite Hymns that are not Scriptural.-Baxter's
good sense,............................................... .................
Reforming tendencies.-Corruptions in the Church.-Bad trades.-Faults in the
Explanations about the different Methodist Bodies.-Grounds of my reformatory
proceedings.-About immoralities.-Christianity not to blame for the faults
of professors and preachers.-My own defects,.........
Story of my life continued.-Results of my expulsion.-Fierce fighting.-Des-
rences; seemed Providential.-A lying opponent unexpectedly confronted and
Approach to Unitarianism.-Kindness of Unitarians.-Preaching and lecturing in
The Bible.-My earliest views of its origin and authority.-Changed as I grew up.
-Further changes.-Important facts about the Bible.-False theories of its
Divine inspiration.-The true-the Bible's own,-doctrine on the subject.—
Needful to keep inside of this.-No defence outside either for the Bible or for
Bible men.-Explanations: illustrations: testimonies of celebrated writers.-
The PERFECTION of the Bible-in what does it consist.-Foolish and impossible
notions of perfection.-No absolute perfection in any thing.-No need for it.-
Foolish talk about infallibility.-Other important testimonies,..................... 202
Enters politics.-Advocates extreme political views.-Republicanism.-Foretells
the French Revolution of 1848.-Great political excitement in England.-Go-
vernment alarmed.-Get arrested.-Lodged in prison.-Trial.-Triumph over
Government.-Great rejoicings.-Elected member of Parliament for Bolton, and
Town Councillor for Leeds.-Exhaustion from excess of labor.-Health fails.-
Terrible Pains.-Voyage to America and back.-Removes to America.-Objects
in doing so.-Settles on a farm.-Gets into fresh excitement.-The Abolition-
ists.-Women's Rights.-All kinds of wild revolutionary theories.-Go farther
into unbelief instead of getting back to Christ.-A mad world, with strange un-
written histories, and awful, nameless mysteries,....
Story of my descent from the faith of my childhood, to doubt and unbelief.-Bad
theological teaching in my early days.-Dreadful results.-Perplexity.-Mad-
ness. Survive all, and get over it.-The first arguments I heard for the Bible.
-True basis of religious belief.-Reading on the evidences.-Effects.-Unsound
arguments. Their effect.-Internal evidences best.-Negative criticism, long
continued, ruinous both to faith and virtue.-Moving ever downwards.-The
devil as a theologian, a poet and a philosopher.-Bible Conventions.-W. L.
Garrison, A. J. Davis.-Public discussions in Philadelphia with Dr. McCalla.-
The Doctor's disgraceful failure.-Great,-mad,-excitement.-Narrow escape
from murder.-Eight nights' debate with Dr. Berg.-The good cause suffered
through bad management.-The Doctor took an untenable position.-Under-
took to prove too much and failed.-Substantially right, but logically wrong.-
Other debates in Ohio, Indiana, England and Scotland.-Mean and mischievous
opponents.-Honorable and useful ones.-Bad advocates of a good cause, its
Continuation of my Story.-Lectures on the Bible in Ohio.-Trouble.-Riot.-Rot-
ten eggs.-Midnight mischief.-Had to move.-Settlement among Liberals,
Comeouters.-Too fond of liberty.-Would have my share as well as their own.-
Fresh trouble.-Another forced move.-Settlement in the wilds of Nebraska,
among Indians, wolves, and rattlesnakes.-Experience there.-A change for the
better.-How brought about.-Quiet of mind.-Reflection.-Horrors of Atheism.
-Destroys the value of life.-Deceives you; mocks you; makes you intolera-
bly miserable. Suggests suicide.-Prosperity not good for much without reli-
gion adversity, sickness, pain, loss, bereavement intolerable.-Strange adven-
tures in the wilderness; terrible dangers; wonderful deliverances.-Solemn
thoughts and feelings in the boundless desert.-Solitude and silence preach.-
Religious feelings revive.-Recourse to old religious books.-Demoralizing ten-
dency of unbelief.-Lecture in Philadelphia.-Cases of infidel depravity.-You
can't make people good, nor even decent, without religion.-Infidelity means
utter debasement.-A good, a loving, and a faithful wife, who never ceases to
pray. Return to England.-Experience there.-Unbounded licentiousness of
Secularism. Total separation from the infidel party.-My new Periodical.-Re-
solution to re-read the Bible, to do justice to Christianity, &c.—A sight of Jesus.
-Happy results.-Change both of head and heart.-Happy transformation of
character.-A new life.-New work.-New lot.-From darkness to light,-From
death to life, from purgatory to paradise,—from hell to heaven,................. 310
Parties whose Christian sympathy, and wise words, and generous deeds, helped
The steps by which I gradually returned to Christ.-Lectures and sermons on
Lessons I have learned.-1. Men slow to learn wisdom by the experience of
others.-2. Danger of bad feeling.-3. Of a controversial spirit.-4. Old ministers
should deal tenderly with their younger brethren.-5. Young thinkers should
be prayerful, humble, watchful; yet faithful to conscience and to truth, trust-
ing in God.-6. With Christian faith goes Christian virtue.-The tendency of
unbelief is ever downwards.-7. Unbelievers are not irreclaimable.-We should
not pass them by unpitied or unhelped.-8. Converts from infidelity must look
for trials. They must not expect too much from churches and ministers.
Paul's case.-9. They must risk all for Christ, and bear their losses and troubles
patiently.-10. They should join the Church, right away.-Not look for a perfect
Church.-Keep inside.-Bear unpleasantnesses meekly.-Stones made smooth
and round in the stream, by the rubbing they get from other stones.-Reformers
should move gently, and have long patience.-The more haste the worst speed.
-Killing rats.-12. Unbelief, when not a sin, is a terrible calamity: a world of
calamities in one,.............................................................................................................................
THE object of this Book is, First, to explain a portion of my own history, and, Secondly, to check the spread of infidelity, and promote the interests of Christianity. How far it is calculated to answer these ends I do not pretend to know. I have no very high opinion of the work myself. I fear it has great defects. On some points I may have said too much, and on others too little. I cannot tell. I have however done my best, and I would fain hope, that my labors will not prove to have been altogether in
I have spent considerable time with a view to bring my readers to distinguish between the doctrines of Christ, and the theological fictions which are so extensively propagated in His name. It is exceedingly desirable that nothing should pass for Christianity, but Christianity itself. And it is equally desirable that Christianity should be seen in its true light, as presented in the teachings and character, in the life and death of its great Author. A correct exposition of Christianity is its best defence. A true, a plain, a faithful and just exhibition of its spirit and teachings, and of its adaptation to the wants of man, and of its tendency to promote his highest welfare, is the best answer to all objections, and the most convincing proof of its truth and divinity. And the truth, the reasonableness, the consistency, the purifying and ennobling tendency, and the unequalled consoling power of Christianity, can be proved, and proved with comparative ease; but to defend the nonsense, the contradictions, the antinomianism and the blasphemies of theology is impossible.
I have taken special pains to explain my views on the 7
Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures. I am satisfied that no attempts to answer the objections of infidels against the Bible will prove satisfactory, so long as men's views on this subject go beyond the teachings of the Scriptures themselves. To the fanciful theories of a large number of Theologians the sacred writings do not answer, and you must therefore, either set aside those theories, and put a more moderate one in their place, or give up the defence of the Bible in despair. I therefore leave the extravagant theories to their fate, and content myself with what the Scriptures themselves say; and I feel at rest and secure.
The views I have given on the subject in this work, and in my pamphlet on the Bible, are not new. You may find them in the works of quite a number of Evangelical Authors. The only credit to which I am entitled is, that I state them with great plainness, and without reserve, and that I do not, after having given them on one page, take them back again on the next.
How far my friends will be able to receive or tolerate my views on these points, I do not know. I hope they will ponder them with all the candor and charity they can. I have kept as near to orthodox standards as I could, without doing violence to my conscience, and injustice to the truth. I would never be singular, if I could honestly help it. It is nothing but a regard to God, and duty, and the interests of humanity, that prevents me going with the multitude. It would be gratifying in the extreme to see truth and the majority on one side, and to be permitted to take my place with them: but if the majority take sides with error, I must take my place with the minority, and look for my comfort in a good conscience, and in the sweet assurance of God's love and favor.
In looking over some manuscripts some time ago, belonging to a relation of my wife's father-in-law, I found the following story of a dream. Some have no regard for dreams, but I have. I have both read of dreams, and had dreams myself, that answered marvellously to great realities; and this may be one of that kind. In any case,