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Miscellaneous Writings - page 353 / 358

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that to your surprise and disgust you found it to be a

work on faith-cure, and ask by what process of reason-

ing I could possibly bring myself to adopt or accept

such visionary theories. In answer to your very nat-

ural question, I will try, in my own way, to give you

what appears to me to be a reason for the hope that is

in me.

My religious views of fifteen years ago are too famil-

iar to you to need any exposition at my hands at this

time. Suffice it to say that the religion of the Bible,

as taught by the churches, to my mind appeared to be

Page 464

self-contradictory and confusing, and their explanations

failed to explain. During the next eleven years my

convictions underwent little change. I read everything

that came in my way that had any bearing upon, or

pretended in any degree to explain, the problem of life;

and while I gained some knowledge of a general nature,

I was no nearer the solution of life's problem than when

I began my investigations years ago, and I had given

up all hope of ever being able to come to a knowledge

of the truth, or a satisfactory explanation of the enigma

of life.

In all my intellectual wanderings I had never lost my

belief in a great First Cause, which I was as well satis-

fied to call God as anything else; but the orthodox ex-

planations of His or its nature and power were to my

mind such a mixture of truth and error, that I could not

tell where fact left off and fancy began. The whole ef-

fort of the pulpit being put forth, seemed directed to the im-

possible task of harmonizing the teachings of Jesus Christ

with the wisdom of the world; and the whole tendency

of our religious education was to befog the intellect and

produce scepticism in a mind that presumed to think

for itself and to inquire into the why and the wherefore.

I fully believe that the agnosticism of yourself and my-

self was produced by the futile attempt to mix and har-

monize the wisdom of the world with the philosophy of

the Christ.

In my investigations into the researches of the savants

and philosophers I found neither any satisfactory expla-

nation of things as they seemed to exist, nor any solu-

tion of the great and all-absorbing question, "What is

Truth?" Their premises appeared to be sound, and

Page 465

their reasonings faultless; but in the nature of things,

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