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new views on every convenient occasion. My employment was of such a nature as to give me leisure and the means of access to many individuals who were prepared to hear me inculcate any doctrines whose tendency was to lower the terms of the gospel. I found a little difficulty, it is true, with the reports that were circulated of my heresy. But I gradually fell into a habit of evading them, by saying that I was misunderstood; or by a species of duplicity which I sometimes practiced.-For when asked by the friends of evangelical views, if I rejected certain of their doctrines, I usually replied in the negative ; reserving to myself always the right of using and explaining terms in a manner entirely different from that to which I knew they were accustomeda practice which certainly cannot be justified.
In this way I went on for some time. When in the company of the friends of orthodox religious views, I avowed a belief in depravity, the eternity of future punishment, &c. When with others, I evaded, and sometimes denied and ridiculed them. It is surprising that my character for truth and integrity did not suffer more than it did; and to me still more surprising that I should have been influential in creating so strong a prejudice in the minds of many against those doctrines in which
they had been educated—a prejudice which probably no efforts of my own can ever fully remove.
And at this stage of my progress, with how much complacency did I view my own character and attainments! Naturally diffident, modest, unassuming, I became occasionally, in conversation, bold, positive, overbearing, and sometimes censorious. By my own estimate, all mankind but myself and a few other thinking men,” of “liberal views,” were “ignorant,” “illiberal," " uncharitable,” “prejudiced,” “bigoted,” “narrow," "contracted,” &c. Indeed there were no epithets which I did not apply to the multitude of my fellow men, when in the company of those whom I thought would tolerate it. Of this class, it is true, I found but a small number, but they were “choice spirits.” I had also a few “ choice” correspondents, who did all in their power to encourage “ free inquiry,” and “liberal and original thinking." I was complimented both directly and indirectly, as a “ light shining in a dark place,” destined ultimately to scatter the rays of truth over a great moral and intellectual waste. I was yet to make the “ wilderness and, the solitary place glad, and the desert rejoice and blossom as the rose."
ASSOCIATES IN ERROR.
A Colleague.-Our mutual flattery.–Our first Disciples.
My own morals.-A “liberal Correspondent.”—My mode of studying the Bible.—Interest in Sabbath schools.-Formation of a Sabbath school, and a Public Library.-Character of the Books procured.
One person, in particular, entered into all my views and sentiments, and sympathized with me at almost every step of my progress. He, too, had been led to "the light” in part, by study and effort in behalf of the young mind. Our meetings were not frequent, but always interesting; and perhaps the more so, with our views, from the fact that we made it our great business to encourage and flatter, rather than correct and improve each other. I have generally found that those persons are most benefited by social interviews who make it their business, at suitable times and places, to criticise each other's views, manners, opinions, writings, &c. This has not only been
observed in others, but found true in my own case. But under the imaginary influence of “new light,” “ freedom from prejudice, illiberality,” &c., my whole internal character and habits of feeling were strangely altered. Every thing but commendation and flattery was insipid; and doubts of my own infallibility were becoming not only unpleasant but almost intolerable.
At a certain time when my companion, in Utopia, called to see me, he brought a friend who had formerly been as thorough a disciple in what I called the “ old school” as myself. He had, indeed, been farther than I, and sustained a standing—I believe irreproachably—in an evangelical church. I had gained access to him, both by conversation and letter, before this visit; and had already slightly shaken his faith. He was now assailed from a double battery. The unreasonableness of eternal punishment was the prominent topic, against which our efforts were directed, and our weapons seemed to make some impression. On parting, we congratulated him on his progress in the path of free inquiry, and ventured to predict that he would ere long taste the sweets of rational liberty and mental independence !
This prediction was, alas ! but too well verified. My blood runs cold, when I think of the results.
This young man had received a pious education from an excellent mother and prudent father. The social influences to which he had been subjected were in the highest degree favorable. He had been united with an excellent church, and was apparently walking with them towards the house eternal in the heavens. His general reputation in the world, was that of an amiable, pious, promising young man. But possessing, in an eminent degree, the sanguine temperament, he was easily led to make an effort to start out of the common ranks of life by eccentricities of opinion, and in the same way readily seduced by the idea of "originality of character.” It was at these vulnerable points that he was assailed, and in the end successfully. He is now in a distant part of the Union, at a point where any opinions, however heterodox, pass currently, provided there is no striking departure, externally, from the rules of morality.
Here, if his letters to his friends are an index to his sentiments, he is a rank atheist, of the school of Owen and Wright, living only for the present, neither expecting nor ardently desiring an existence beyond the grave which must finally cover him. I have written him occasionally, and without direct preaching—which I knew would