my-infidelity-and-what-became-of-it.doc

my-infidelity-and-what-became-of-it.doc - My Infidelity and...

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My Infidelity and What Became of It By B. H. Carroll From Sermons and Life Sketch of B. H. Carroll, D. D. , complied and edited by J. B. Cranfill. American Baptist Publication Society, 1893.
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My Infidelity and What Became of It I cannot remember when I began to be an infidel. Certainly at a very early age- even before I knew what infidelity meant. There was nothing in my home life to beget or suggest it. My father was a self-educated Baptist minister, preaching -- mainly without compensation -- to village or country churches. My mother was a devoted Christian of deep and humble piety. There were no infidel books in our home library, nor in any other accessible to me. My teachers were Christians -- generally preachers. There were no infidels of my acquaintance, and no public sentiment in favor of them. My infidelity was never from without, but always from within. I had no precept and no example. When, later in life, I read infidel books, they did not make me an infidel, but because I was an infidel I sought, bought, and read them. Even when I read them I was not impressed by new suggestions, but only when occasionally they gave clearer expression of what I had already vaguely felt. No one of them nor all of them sounded the depths of my own infidelity or gave an adequate expression of it. They all fell short of the distance in doubt over which my own troubled soul had passed. From unremembered time this skepticism progressed, though the progress was not steady and regular. Sometimes in one hour, as by far-shining flashes of inspiration, there would be more progress in extent and definiteness than in previous months. Moreover, these short periods of huge advances were without preceding intentions or perceptible preparations. They were always sudden and startling. Place and circumstances had but little to do with them. The doubt was seldom germane to the topic under consideration. It always leaped far away to a distant and seemingly disconnected theme, in a way 2
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unexplained by the law of the association of ideas. At times I was in the Sunday-school or hearing a sermon or bowed with others in family prayer -- more frequently when I waked at night after healthful sleep, and still more frequently when rambling alone in the fields or in the woods. To be awake in the stillness of the night while others slept, or to be alone in forest depths, or on boundless prairies, or on mountain heights has always possessed for me a weird fascination. Even to this day there are times when houses and people are unbearable. Frequently have I been intoxicated with the thoughts of immensity of space and the infinity of nature. Now these were the very times when skepticism made such enormous progress. “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou has ordained ; what is man, that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man, that thou visitest him.” Thus, before I knew what infidelity was, I was an infidel. My child-mind was fascinated by strange and sometimes horrible questionings concerning many religious subjects.
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