Phases of Faith eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 272 pages of information about Phases of Faith.

[Footnote 5:  I thought that the latter part of this book would sufficiently show how and why I now need to modify this sentiment.  I now see the doctrine of the Atonement, especially as expounded in the Epistle of the Hebrews, to deserve no honour.  I see false interpretations of the Old Testament to be dogmatically proposed in the New.  I see the moral teaching concerning Patriotism, Property, Slavery, Marriage, Science, and indirectly Fine Art, to be essentially defective, and the threats against unbelief to be a pernicious immorality.  See also p. 80.  Why will critics use my frankly-stated juvenile opinions as a stone to pelt me with?]

CHAPTER II.

STRIVINGS AFTER A MORE PRIMITIVE CHRISTIANITY.

My second period is characterized, partly by the great ascendancy exercised over me by one powerful mind and still more powerful will, partly by the vehement effort which throughout its duration urged me to long after the establishment of Christian Fellowship in a purely Biblical Church as the first great want of Christendom and of the world.

I was already uneasy in the sense that I could not enter the ministry of the Church of England, and knew not what course of life to choose.  I longed to become a missionary for Christ among the heathen,—­a notion I had often fostered while reading the lives of missionaries:  but again, I saw not how that was to be effected.  After taking my degree, I became a Fellow of Balliol College; and the next year I accepted an invitation to Ireland, and there became private tutor for fifteen months in the house of one now deceased, whose name I would gladly mention for honour and affection;—­but I withhold my pen.  While he repaid me munificently for my services, he behaved towards me as a father, or indeed as an elder brother, and instantly made me feel as a member of his family.  His great talents, high professional standing, nobleness of heart and unfeigned piety, would have made him a most valuable counsellor to me:  but he was too gentle, too unassuming, too modest; he looked to be taught by his juniors, and sat at the feet of one whom I proceed to describe.

This was a young relative of his,—­a most remarkable man,—­who rapidly gained an immense sway over me.  I shall henceforth call him “the Irish clergyman.”  His “bodily presence” was indeed “weak!” A fallen cheek, a bloodshot eye, crippled limbs resting on crutches, a seldom shaven beard, a shabby suit of clothes and a generally neglected person, drew at first pity, with wonder to see such a figure in a drawing-room.  It was currently reported that a person in Limerick offered him a halfpenny, mistaking him for a beggar; and if not true, the story was yet well invented.  This young man had taken high honours in Dublin University and had studied for the bar, where under the auspices of his eminent kinsman he had excellent prospects; but his conscience

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Phases of Faith from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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