As to moral criticism, my mind was practically prostrate before the Bible. By the end of this period I had persuaded myself that morality so changes with the commands of God, that we can scarcely attach any idea of immutability to it. I am, moreover, ashamed to tell any one how I spoke and acted against my own common sense under this influence, and when I was thought a fool, prayed that I might think it an honour to become a fool for Christ’s sake. Against no doctrine did I dare to bring moral objections, except that of “Reprobation.” To Election, to Preventing Grace, to the Fall and Original Sin of man, to the Atonement, to Eternal Punishment, I reverently submitted my understanding; though as to the last, new inquiries had just at this crisis been opening on me. Reprobation, indeed, I always repudiated with great vigour, of which I shall presently speak. That was the full amount of my original thought; and in it I preserved entire reverence for the sacred writers.
As to miracles, scarcely anything staggered me. I received the strangest and the meanest prodigies of Scripture, with the same unhesitating faith, as if I had never understood a proposition of physical philosophy, nor a chapter of Hume and Gibbon.
[Footnote 1: Very unintelligent criticism of my words induces me to add, that “the credentials of Revelation,” as distinguished from “the contents of Revelation,” are here intended. Whether such a distinction can be preserved is quite another question. The view here exhibited is essentially that of Paley, and was in my day the prevalent one at Oxford. I do not think that the present Archbishop of Canterbury will disown it, any more than Lloyd, and Burton, and Hampden,—bishops and Regius Professors of Divinity.]
[Footnote 2: Borrowed from Acts viii. 37.]
[Footnote 3: Virgil (AEneid vi.) gives the Stoical side of the same thought: Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.]
After the excitement was past, I learned many things from the events which have been named.