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Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit
Letters on the Inspiration of the Scriptures.
An Essay on Faith
Notes on the Book of Common Prayer
A Nightly Prayer
A Sailor's Fortune
Essay I
Essay II
Essay III
Essay IV
Essay V
Essay VI

My dear friend,

I employed the compelled and most unwelcome leisure of severe
indisposition in reading The Confessions of a Fair Saint in Mr.
Carlyle's recent translation of the Wilhelm Meister, which might, I
think, have been better rendered literally The Confessions of a
Beautiful Soul. This, acting in conjunction with the concluding
sentences of your letter, threw my thoughts inward on my own
religious experience, and gave immediate occasion to the following
Confessions of one who is neither fair nor saintly, but who, groaning
under a deep sense of infirmity and manifold imperfection, feels the
want, the necessity, of religious support; who cannot afford to lose
any the smallest buttress, but who not only loves Truth even for
itself, and when it reveals itself aloof from all interest, but who
loves it with an indescribable awe, which too often withdraws the
genial sap of his activity from the columnar trunk, the sheltering
leaves, the bright and fragrant flower, and the foodful or medicinal
fruitage, to the deep root, ramifying in obscurity and labyrinthine
way-winning -

In darkness there to house unknown,
Far underground,
Pierced by no sound
Save such as live in Fancy's ear alone,
That listens for the uptorn mandrake's parting groan!

I should, perhaps, be a happier--at all events a more useful--man if
my mind were otherwise constituted. But so it is, and even with
regard to Christianity itself, like certain plants, I creep towards
the light, even though it draw me away from the more nourishing
warmth. Yea, I should do so, even if the light had made its way
through a rent in the wall of the Temple. Glad, indeed, and grateful
am I, that not in the Temple itself, but only in one or two of the
side chapels, not essential to the edifice, and probably not coeval
with it, have I found the light absent, and that the rent in the wall
has but admitted the free light of the Temple itself.

I shall best communicate the state of my faith by taking the creed,
or system of credenda, common to all the Fathers of the Reformation--
overlooking, as non-essential, the differences between the several
Reformed Churches, according to the five main classes or sections
into which the aggregate distributes itself to my apprehension. I
have then only to state the effect produced on my mind by each of
these, or the quantum of recipiency and coincidence in myself
relatively thereto, in order to complete my Confession of Faith.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940012019981
  • Publisher: SAP
  • Publication date: 1/6/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 119 KB

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