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ten, though probably others may have advanced many of the same ideas. Since the whole was written, I have heard of Professor Bush's work on the resurrection, but have not yet seen it; and from accounts, I think it probable we should agree on that subject. I have before published some portions of this work through the periodical
press. I have not designed this to be so much a Biblical, as a philosophical and metaphysical view of the subjects. Yet sufficient reference is made to the sacred writings to evince the harmony of my positions with divine revelation. The reader, if very sensitive, may find some strong language and sarcastic expressions; but he is assured, that these were designed to expose error, and not to injure those who honestly differ with me in opinion. None can be justly blamed for their honest opinions, however erroneous they may be. Persons of large combativeness, like the author, are most irresistibly inclined to use strong and pugnacious expressions, in controverting great error; but when at the same time, like him, their destructiveness is small, they feel no malignity toward their opponents. The little work is now presented to the reader with the liope, that it may contribute something toward the onward progress of liberal Christianity.
THE AUTHOR, Erie, Sept. 18, 1845.
A SKETCH OF THE AUTHOR'S LIFE.
The writer is aware that writing of one's self is delicate business; and very liable to be attributed to vanity, and charged with partiality. I am free to confess, that I have never done any thing sufficiently wonderful or extraordinary, to justify an Autobiography, excepting upon one ground. That is, incidents in my public course, have been very much subjected to misapprehension and misrepresentation. And as I here present a little work to the reader, he may reasonably be supposed to desire some information upon such matters. Besides, I am admonished by a knowledge of my organic condition, that I have but little time probably left for the correction of errors. Uninteresting details, will be omitted, therefore; and this concern will be reduced to a very limited sketch.
I was born in North Haven, Conn., Feb. 17th, 1794. When an infant was removed to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., N. Y. My father was a farmer by occupation, in limited circumstances, and a member of the close communion Baptist Church: of which he finally became an Elder; and preached in Salisbury, (the town adjoining that of his residence,) for about twenty years. He received no salary, and probably such preaching was worth none; but labored on his little farm to support his family. He was uneducated; and his people thought such noise as a man could make without study or reflection, was good preaching enough; especially since it cost them nothing. He possessed some reasoning powers and consid
erable independence of mind. He had originality of thought enough to often feel perplexed with the inexplicable dogmas of his Church. As my father was poor, I was given away at the age of six years to be done better by. Parents must be very poor not to be able to do as well by their children as strangers. I would exhort all such to wa hard before they give up their defenceless children to those who love or profess to love a cruel and malicious God. The people who took me, out of great kindness, and kept me four years, were devoted to Presbyterianism. And they understood the Proverb well, 'He that spareth the rod spoileth the child.” And they taught me the Catechism; and learned me to reverence a Presbyterian priest, as the very essence of all that is holy, and the very acme of all human greatness. At ten years of age, my father, being dissatisfied, took me home, where I was trained to hard work, till I became 21 years of age. In my early life, I was very diffident and dull
, but my mind was much inclined to religious feeling and reflection. The terribleness of God—the glories of Heaven--and the flames and agenics of hell, were most constant subjects of my waking or sleeping dreams. At the age of 12, I had learned to read, write, and spell, but very imperfectly. From that time, I could not be spared for school until I was 18 years of age. My father's library consisted of a Bible, Watt's Psalms, a Dictionary, and Almanac. During this period I frequently spent leisure hours in writing composition. These articles were much like other juvenile productions, I only mention this, because I believe boys cften have a particular taste or turn of mind which is natural, and which often manifests itself in spite of all disadvantages, which parents should consider in educating and fitting thein for the pursuits of life.
When I was about fourteen years of age, our vicinity was visited with what was called “a great revival." Í then supposed all the awful stories I had heard of "ghosts and goblins damned" were perfectly true; and believed
the awful judgment was then probably at hand. I took hold in good earnest to get religion so as not to go to hell. I had never heard of any other reason why people should have such an awful thing as religion seemed to be thought to be. I repented—and agonized and prayed, and felt horrified, and terrified; and when these feelings subsided, I felt better of course, and concluded I was “brought out in religion.” Others thought so too, and advised me to unite with the church. But after a little reflection upon my "experience," I began to discover that I was after all, just about the same kind of a boy as before; and had experienced no supernatural change! And as I had prayed most earnestly, and tried to get religion and could not get it, I began to conclude myself to have been reprobated from all eternity to damnation. This gave me many gloomy forebodings and terrible apprehensions; but as it could not be helped, I thought I would make the best I could of it. This
te things continued, till the summer of my eighteenth year, when I went to hear the Rev. Paul Dean, a Universalist preacher, who had commenced preaching occasionally in that county. Mr. Dean was then one of the most popular and interesting preachers in the U. States. His eloquence was so far above any thing I had ever heard before, that it appeared to me entirely superhuman. It seemed as if this must be indeed a messenger from heaven, who was sent to bring down its truth and grace to comfort and bless mankind. New and joyful ideas and reflections thronged my mind. I felt entranced, captivated, and enraptured. I was then "born again,” because then I experienced a thrill of delight and reverence, that all subsequent events has never totally obliterated. I knew very little of the eridence of his doctrine, but I felt perfectly certain that it was true; and that Mr. Dean was inspired from heaven to promulgate it. After this, my father and myself frequently debated the subject, while at work together, as long as I remained at home. I soon discovered, that
my father's views were undergoing a gradual but certain change; which after some five or six years, resulted in an open avowal of Universalism. He was on that account expelled from the Baptist Church-expelled for believing or guessing that all men would finally return unto the Lord, just as all the Baptists wished them to do. What a crime! Had he continued to believe that somebody, if only one of Adam's race would never become good, then all would have been right. He might have prayed for the conversion of all men; but to believe his prayers would be answered-Oh, that was most horrible!
On my eighteenth winter, I was permitted, for the first time in six years, to attend a little school in the vicinity, for the term of six weeks. Daring this six weeks I studied English grammar, which is all the time I ever devoted to that branch. It is true, I improved that time with all my might. My nineteenth winter allowed me eight wecks for school, which was devoted to Arithmetic mainly. And I found myself master of such works on that science, as were used in common schools. On my twentieth winter my father engaged me to teach school in our own neighborhood for four months and a half. My evenings and mornings were all devoted to Arithmetic and Mathematics. I detail these trifling matters, to show our boys, that if they wish to learn, and are willing to work forit, very few can find an excuse in the want of opportunity. Those who have no taste and do not love study, should never be sent to collegeit is not their place. Education cannot be given, nor bought, por sold-it must be acquired.
The next two years after I became twenty-one, I devoted to teaching school and attending the academical institution at Fairfield. During this time, I passed through the Latin and Greek Grammars, Virgil, Cicero, the Greek Testament, Surveying, Euclid, Algebra, and Logic. . I liked the study of Mathematics, but loathed that of the dead languages. I came to the conclusion,