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arguments of which he is master, and lays the objections before me for elucidation at our next interview. Our last conversation consisted principally of a dissertation upon the Hebrew Elohim (Gen. i.,) and the argument in favour of the plurality in singularity of the Divine Being to be deduced therefrom, in connection with other passages. He had met with some objection upon the subject.
Mr. L. is in a hopeful spiritual condition, and is one of four Gipseys who have long settled on my district. Two are fortune-tellers, etc., and the third a street knife-grinder. I have been distressed to see this poor man wading through the mud in bad weather behind his grinding barrow, with scarcely rags to cover him, and remnants of shoes almost hanging off his feet. Had he a better opportunity to obtain a livelihood, and but for his large family, he would, I think, like to itinerate the country in a Gipsey tent. These tents are stated to me to be
very warm and comfortable with a good fire, and that the health of Gipsies does not suffer from exposure. The last statement I much doubt, but use will of course effect much. Mr. L.'s grandfather, with whom he for many years itinerated in tents,
camping in driftways, etc., died at the very advanced age of one hundred and three; his grandson has a water colour portrait of him in his room.
I wish I could speak favourably respecting the morality of those atheists with whom I have met; such, however, is far from the case; I have discovered their morality to be just what might be expected from their creed :
dark and crooked reasoning,
a cold and fatherless,
Their reasoning on morals, I have found to be quite as crooked.
The so-called atheists with whom I have met, have proved, with few exceptions, upon being closely questioned, not really to be atheists at all. They have admitted some causation, and when pressed closely upon the subject of intelligent causation, and required to define terms, they have fairly broken down, and become angry. Atheism is to be regarded as the desperate shift of an ill-regulated mind, determined to rid itself of
responsibility at the expense of all reason and argument.
The Scriptures speak of the atheist by the Hebrew word nabal (Psa. xiv. i.,) which has several significations. It denotes an empty fellow - a contemptible person - a villain. If his atheism be assumed, and his object be to rid men's minds of the fear of God and belief in Christian verities for sinister purposes, he is indeed nabal-a villain; and in any other case, his atheism can only proclaim him nabal stilla vessel of emptiness and folly.
“ The fool hath said, “There is no God:'
No God! Who lights the morning sun,
A fair and brilliant course to run ?
Who, when the radiant day is done,
And bids the planets, one by one,
“No God! Who gives the evening dew,
The fanning breeze, the fostering shower ?
And paints the summer's noontide flower ?
Who spreads, in the autumnal bower,
And sends the winter's icy power
“No God! Who makes the bird to wing
Its flight like arrow through the sky,
From rock to rock triumphantly?
With thousand feelings soft and sweet,
The earth we tread beneath our feet?
“ No God! Who fixed the solid ground
On pillars strong that altered not ?
Who doth the ocean bounds allot?
Who all things to perfection brought
Go, ask the fool of impious thought,
Conversing lately with one of the most professedly staunch atheists with whom I am acquainted, after replying to a variety of geological objections, I asked him if he really did not recognise a something within him which he could not identify with matter ; I referred to thought, and various attributes of what others than atheists term mind. He endeavoured to evade this, but on being pressed upon the point in a variety of ways,t he at last said, “Well, I
* Knox. † One method of placing this argument is as follows :-In must confess I do." He confessed further, that he recognised that within him of which he could not conceive as matter. It follows that this man, although professing in the strongest manner to be a materialist, could not really be one, when his conceptions carried him above materialism. Self-contradiction is a phase of the genius of atheism.
I have thrown a very important remark or two upon atheism into a note.* It is quite evident the course of about seven years, it is conceded by all physiologists, a man has not one particle of matter in his body or bones he had previously, but mind remains-personal identity and recollection even of the incidents of childhood are preserved.
* To deny a cause to an effect is contradictory to man's ordinary mental impulse. This we see in the structure of every language under heaven-language the expression of man's ideas. In all languages we find such words as cause, efficiency, effect, production, produce, effectuate, create, generate, etc. ; and all verbs, moreover, in all languages, except intransitive imper. sonal verbs and the verb substantive, involve causation and efficiency; and atheists who profess belief in eternal operations of matter without a previous cause, belie their own creed in ordinary conversation. For example, if we suppose an atheist to have been robbed, and to call his servants together, and say, where there is a theft there must be a thief, it would be quite useless for the delinquent to assert that, according to his master's theological sentiments, an effect did not always require to be preceded by a cause.
And further, it is conceded alike by atheist and Christian, that we do see in the heavens above, in the earth beneath, and