Elmdale lyceum

Elmdale lyceum


Material Information

Elmdale lyceum or, God's mighty workers
God's mighty workers
Physical Description:
320 p. : ill. ; 18 cm.
Dyer, Sidney, 1814-1898
Griffith, Benjamin ( Publisher )
B. Griffith
Place of Publication:
Philadelphia (No. 1420 Chestnut Street)
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- 1877   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1877
Juvenile literature   ( rbgenr )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia


Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 001525091
oclc - 20899733
notis - AHD8364
System ID:

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Full Text

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41 This Library is designed for the use of the Teachers and
Scholars of the Sunday School, and members of the Young
People's and Missionary Societies. But any Member of the
Church or congregation may draw books on the same condi-
tions as the scholars of the school.
E The Library will be open during each session of the
Sunday School, and at such other times as occasion may
(J No Book shall be retained more than two weeks without
4 All Books shall be returned to the Library and no Book
shall be left about the Church.
ql "A good Book is the precious life-blood of a Master
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life." Therefore "as good almost kill a Man as a good Book."
1 I "It hurts me to have my back broken," said a little Book.
"It lessens my influence to appear in a dirty dress. You, Dear
Reader, will determine the length of my life and my usefulness.
Treat me as your friend and I in your lonely hour will befriend

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1877, by

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
--CILC- -- -

Siereotyfers and Electrotyfers, Phila. Printers, Phila.

As a slight testimonial of an uninterrupted, intimate personal
and official intercourse of twenty years, this volume is respect-
fully dedicated to the


Uniting the highest generosity of character with an untiring
Christian zeal and a large-hearted benevolence, it will be one
of the richest treasures of memory that the most important and
successful era of the Author's literary life was cheered by his
friendly encouragement and advice.


PARSON LITTLE'S TROUBLE........................0....**s...... 9

THE SCHOOLHOUSE AND LYCEUM..................... ........ 21

THE PURPOSE REVEALED.............. .............. ...... ... 32

PARSON LITTLE RESIGNS................... ............ ..*.... .. 43

PREPARING FOR THE CONFLICT................. ......e...... 52


1* 5


MOTIVES TO INVESTIGATION. .................. ..... ....**.... 73

NATURE A REVELATION OF GOD............................... 84







THE SQUIRE MAKES A NEW MOVE........................... 134





MR. BROWNING SEEKING FOR LIGHT......................... 171








IZER ....... .... ............................. ................... 219










AN UNEXPECTED DENOUEMENT...................... ......... 282


LIFE, THE BREATH OF THE ALMIGHTY...................... 297


A MARRIAGE, DEATH, AND RETROSPECT................ .... 313





G OOD PARSON LITTLE was in trouble,
there could be no doubt of that. True, no
bereavement had happened in his family, nor
was his cruse of oil so low or the meal in
the barrel so scanty as to cause anxious thoughts
about the future supplies. It had also been a
long time since the doctor's services were re-
quired at the parsonage, nor were there any in-
cipient tokens indicating that they might soon
be demanded. Yet Parson Little was in great
strivings of heart. Nor must it be inferred that
the good pastor had departed a little from the
straight line of ministerial propriety, for no
touch of scandal had ever been coupled with his


name. His bitterest enemies would attest to
that. But, notwithstanding all these happy con-
ditions, the solemn, anxious face of the vener-
able man, and the nervous strides with which he
was pacing his study, showed plainly that good
Parson Little was in sore affliction. He could
be submissive and resigned in bereavement,
trustful in necessities, and glory even in tribu-
lations; but-the great secret-he had seen the
track of the wolf at the very door of the be-
loved fold. Nay, worse than this, the marks of
his cruel paws could be traced on the very bars
of the sacred enclosure; and he could in imag-
ination see the great fierce eyes as they peered
gloatingly over at the lambs of the precious
flock. Neither was it any chance visit; there
was method about it, a look of determined per-
severance, as though resolved to enter and de-
vour at pleasure. Parson Little trembled as the
fearful truth forced itself on his mind; and the
more he thought of the matter the greater was
his perplexity. His first thought was to give
the alarm and arouse his beloved parishioners to
Lhe great danger which threatened them; but he
was a man of thought and observation, and had
not failed to learn that such a course often pre-


cipitates the very thing sought to be avoided.
Like the sheep, at the first alarm there is a sud-
den start away from the point of danger, but the
run is short, and then there is a stop and a facing
about to watch the approaching foe, curiosity
overmastering the sense of danger. No; he had
better keep the dread secret to himself, and per-
haps a way of averting the threatened inroad
might be discovered.
For near twoscore years the faithful shep-
herd had watched and fed the flock of Elmdale,
giving it the strength of his mind and manhood.
It had been a loving service, not rendered for
the value of the scanty but cheerfully given
compensation, but from the love of souls and
for the honor of his Divine Master; but now, in
his advancing years, he could hardly expect to
make the walls of the fold higher or stronger;
nor would his utmost energy and watchfulness
effectually keep off the prowling blood-seekers.
The flock was certainly in danger, and his re-
sources were inadequate to the peril.
But-and now another cause of Parson Little's
disquietude will come out-other and younger
hands might do what he felt incompetent to per-
form. Of this fact the good man became more


and more convinced as he walked to and fro and
thought the subject over and over; but the
stronger the conviction was impressed on his
mind, the more unwilling was his heart to lay
aside his crook and step out of the leadership
of such a beloved and affectionate people. The
love for his flock, and the love of his flock were
balanced against the question of their spiritual
But to explain Parson Little's quandary, and
to justify his hesitation when so much was at
stake, it will be necessary to leave him ponder-
ing the grave subject while we go a long way
back and learn how this endeared relationship
of pastor and people was brought about, and
trace out the causes which had set the danger
so alarmingly before the good man's mind.
Near forty years before the beginning of our
story, a young man was teaching a district school
in one of the beautiful green valleys that nestle
so cozily among the mountains of Vermont. Un-
assuming and undemonstrative, he was highly
esteemed for probity of character, general intel-
ligence, and a faithful attention to the duties of his
profession. Besides this general standing in the
community, he was known in the church as one


of sterling piety and of earnest zeal for the cause
of religion, ready for every good word and work.
Secluded and quiet as this little home-valley
was, the Western fever at length reached it, and
so quickened the pulse of many of its sturdy
inhabitants as to result in a determination on the
part of quite a number to go West, where they
hoped to find a more genial and productive soil
than their native valley afforded. Grubbing up
stumps, and constantly heaping up massive stone
walls to get rid of the superfluous rocks, in order
to reclaim a few acres from rough sterility to only
moderate productiveness, seemed to them very
unwise, to say the least, when so many thousands
of acres of the most fertile land awaited their
occupation. Interest was stronger than the home
ties, and so westward they resolved to take their
way; but in so doing they did not lose all their
New England regard for order and morality;
they must take the schoolmaster, the Bible, and
the Lord's Day with them. In making pro-
visions for these safeguards of society, so re-
quisite for the abiding presence of the God of
their fathers, they began at once the search for
one to fill the double place of teacher and Bible-
reader, the latter office to be filled until better


provisions could be made for the spiritual wants
of the colony. With great unanimity the choice
of the emigrants centred upon Thaddeus Little
as fully meeting the wants of the new colony,
and they at once proceeded to lay the matter
before him. The inducements presented to Mr.
Little were sufficiently weighty to lead him to
cast in his lot with the Western enterprise, and
he accordingly began to make arrangements for
his removal to the new location.
Copying a striking scriptural example, the
prudent leaders of the migration commissioned
a few of their most sagacious members, including
the teacher, to go up and spy out the country
and bring back a true report. If they found the
goodly land equal to the richness which had been
reported, they were to make a suitable location,
and then the main body would go up with herds
and flocks and occupy it.
In that early day a -journey even to the bor-
der States was no trifling or speedy matter. It
was a choice between the old-fashioned stages
and the canal packet and lake boats; but as the
pioneers wished to be at liberty to make slow
and careful examinations of the country, they
chose the cheaper and more accommodating


mode of journeying on horseback, as this en-
abled them to pass through the land at will and
see its promise. As the men resolved to be
careful and faithful in their work, it was many
weeks before word came back to the anxious
Vermont homes of the success of the prospect-
ers; but when it did come it set all hearts aglow.
The half had not been told; it was indeed a land
flowing with milk and honey, and the delegation
felt sure that they had got at the very fountain-
head of both; hence the message was, "Mind
not your stuff, but make haste to come up to the
goodly land and possess it."
The locality fixed upon for the new settlement
was situated in Central Michigan, and the dele-
gation were exceedingly fortunate in their selec-
tion, as the chosen site possessed many rare ad-
vantages both as to the richness of the landscape
and the exceeding fertility of the virgin soil.
Near the centre of the sections of land entered
for settlement a beautiful crescent-shaped bluff
of more than a mile in extent followed the bend
of a watercourse, or rather a
"( Winding brook peeped in and out
From overhanging rushes,
And sung itself down the vale
In dulcet music-gushes."


From the bluff to the stream a gently-sloping
plateau of near a half mile in width was spread
out, interspersed with large and graceful syca-
mores, oaks, and especially rich with grand old
elms, luxuriantly festooned with wild grapes and
vines. On the opposite side of the stream, extend-
ing for many miles in gentle undulations, lay a
section of prairie-land of the richest variety of
soil; which was fixed upon as the site of the farms
of the new colony. The space between the grand
bluff before mentioned and the river was laid out
as the central hamlet of the settlement, and, out
of regard to the glory of its native trees, re-
ceived the very appropriate name of ELMDALE.
No sooner was the location fixed upon, and
the proper entries made at the land-office, than
the pioneers of the colony began the erection of
the usual log cabins of the frontier for the occu-
pancy of the families when they should arrive.
This latter event did not occur for many weeks
afterward, for the moving was done after the
early fashion of that day, in heavy-covered wag-
ons, making but a few miles a day and camping
by the roadside at night. Nor was the move-
ment made in one grand migration, as many of
the families did not reach the new destination


until many months had intervened. When, how-
ever, the entire number of the colonists who had
entered into the enterprise found a resting-place
in the settlement, there was a thrifty colony of
over twenty families full of New England push
and pluck. Their antecedents were at once
illustrated by the large log structure which was
erected near the centre of the new town dedi-
cated to the double purpose of schoolhouse and
sanctuary. Here Mr. Little was installed to pre-
side over both departments-teacher during the
week and Bible-and sermon-reader on the Lord's
Day; being excused from the latter service when-
ever a regular minister made a chance visitation.
They were so far removed from any neighboring
settlements better off than themselves, that min-
isterial help was very seldom obtained, and so it
came to pass that Teacher Little was called upon
to officiate at funerals, visit the sick, and to render
such other spiritual service as he felt competent
or authorized to give. In these experiences he
rendered himself so useful to the people that
they began by one consent to urge upon him
the duty of giving himself to the regular work
of the ministry. This he was slow to accede to,
not from any unwillingness to do his Master's
2* B


work, but from a sincere distrust of his ability to
thus honor his cause; and it was not until the
Lord had so blessed his labors as to leave no
doubt of the divine approbation, that he finally
consented to enter fully into the sacred calling
as the pastor of the little flock which had been
gathered at Elmdale principally through his efforts.
The new preacher's literary qualifications were
limited to the usual acquirements gained in the
common schools of New England of forty years
ago; but Mr. Little was gifted with an unusual
share of common sense, a quick and close ob-
servation, and possessed of deep piety and great
earnestness, wholly consecrated to his Master's
service. But for the circumstances which laid
necessity upon him, he would probably never
have presumed to enter the sacred vocation;
nor did he, being now invested with the high
office, ever contemplate exercising his functions
in any other field than that of Elmdale. He
ever regarded that as the scene of his future
labors and responsibilities; and, as it' will be
seen, Providence so ordered events as to se-
cure the full accomplishment of his purpose.
Thus the reader has learned how Parson Lit-
tle became the teacher and pastor at Elmdale,


and will begin to understand something of the
good man's feelings in view of the dangers
threatening to counteract his labors of love, and
disrupt the happy relationship which had so long
The selection of Elmdale for a new settlement
was a happy one; and under the industry and
thrift of its founders, the place soon presented
such striking evidences of prosperity as to at-
tract not only many of the old neighbors of the
first settlers, but emigrants from almost every
part of the country, with the usual intermixture
of foreign elements. With these large tribu-
taries, in a few'years Elmdale was known as one
of the most flourishing of Western towns. It
boasted its stores, shops, and other establish-
ments providing the requisites of an active com-
munity. The primitive log structures were
rapidly giving way to more pretentious and con-
venient frame buildings. The beautiful stream
was utilized by mills and small manufacturing
establishments, supplying the great wants of the
The doctor's sign was an early mark of prog-
ress in the new village, but it had been the
proud boast of the citizens that the lawyer's ser-


vices had seldom been required either in criminal
or civil suits; hence it was a long time before a
lawyer's office was reckoned among the institu-
tions of the place.
"It has already been stated that the spiritual
and intellectual welfare of the community was
early cared for, and hence it may be inferred
that these great essentials of prosperity were kept
constantly under the fostering care of the man-
agers of public affairs, in which the faithful pastor
was ever first and most earnest. The original
log schoolhouse early gave place to a more at-
tractive one of hewed timber; and, after serving
its generation, the question of supplanting this
with a still more substantial and elegant struc-
ture was agitated a few years before the opening
of our narrative, coupled with the propriety of
now separating the building from its double use
of schoolhouse and church. When this ques-
tion was finally settled in favor of a separate
church edifice, Mr. Little became so wholly oc-
cupied with his pastoral labors as to make it
necessary to surrender his office of teacher into
other hands. And this was the beginning of
Parson Little's troubles, as the reader will see
before we reach the end.



A YEAR or two before commencing the
new schoolhouse, the borough of Elm-
dale was roused from the even tenor of its
way by the advent of a new settler very dif-
ferent from the ordinary run of Western home-
seekers. Squire Lansing bore with him to the
new settlement the reputation of possessing great
wealth and social standing. The truthfulness
of the first statement was soon verified by the
fine mansion which he began to erect, far ex-
ceeding in size and ornamentation any structure
yet seen in that section of the country; and his
affable manners and marked intelligence led all
to concede that his claims in the latter respect
were not vain assumptions.
Mr. Lansing had been a very successful busi-
ness lawyer in the city of New York. Having
gained an ample fortune in the practice of his
profession, he resolved to get out of the press


and whirl of business, and seek some new and
rapidly-growing Western town, where he could
invest his funds in real estate, whose increase in
value would yield a larger return than dealing
in the ordinary securities of the stock-market,
with less of personal attention and risk. In
seeking this new location, Elmdale was so for-
tunate as to attract his attention, and its great
local beauty and large promise of coming pros-
perity secured him as a permanent citizen. His
coming was a matter of universal gratulation;
and his prompt and liberal outlays in private and
public improvements placed him at once among
the first men in the affairs of the borough and in
general esteem. His personal presence added
largely to his influence. He was tall and portly,
with a pleasant countenance and an air of easy
refinement that made him alike at home and
respected in all classes of society.
Soon after his location in Elmdale, Squire
Lansing opened a real-estate office, and was
speedily engaged in large and successful trans-
actions in wild lands, village lots, building mills,
and other speculations which make up the ad-
vance of new settlements; he was, indeed, re-
cognized as the business-man of the place.


Parson Little was among the first and most
cordial in giving a welcome to the opulent
citizen, and was much rejoiced to see him and
his family regularly occupying a pew in the
humble meeting-house where he ministered.
One thing, however, began to cause the good
man great anxiety; while the squire was a con-
stant attendant at church and quite liberal in his
support and contributions, his religious views
were carefully kept to himself. Only this much
could the curious pastor learn: he was not a
member of any religious body. If the subject
of personal religion or a discussion of theologi-
cal views was introduced, Mr. Lansing would at
once divert the conversation to some other topic;
hence with all his anxiety and all skilful attempts
to penetrate the true inwardness of the squire's
religious condition, the pastor was as ignorant
of his new hearer's spiritual state as he was the
first day he came under his ministry. It was
only in pecuniary matters connected with the
church that he seemed to feel any interest, and
even the merit of this was much lessened by a
growing conviction that it was prompted by a de-
sire for the material prosperity of the place, rather
than for the spiritual growth of the church.


Mr. Lansing subscribed liberally toward the
new church edifice, and as one of the building com-
mittee was very active in prosecuting the work,
which in its completeness and finish owed much
to his taste and liberality. In the erection of the
new schoolhouse, however, the squire manifested
the greatest zeal. When the new building was
finally decided on and plans were discussed, he
was peculiarly active and liberal. Indeed, he
surprised the community by a generous offer to
erect the structure mostly at his own cost, pro-
vided he was allowed to connect with it a second
story which should be properly finished and des-
ignated as the Elmdale Lyceum. It was to be
devoted to public literary gatherings, scientific
lectures, and other purposes promotive of the
intellectual progress of the people. The offer
was regarded as very liberal, and accepted with
many grateful acknowledgments.
Thus arranged, the two structures, meeting-
house and -schoolhouse, were pushed forward
with great zeal to their completion, the latter
building being left almost entirely to the direc-
tion of the squire.
The two edifices stood but a few rods apart,
and formed the attractive point of the village, the


sharp tall spire of the house of God contrasting
finely with the dome-shaped finish of the lyceum
as they both emerged from the luxuriant grove of
native trees with great picturesque effect. They
were the pride of the new settlement, as they
were the evidences of its thrift and public spirit.
When the new church edifice was dedicated
the squire was present, but took no special inter-
est or part in the services, seeming to reserve all
his zeal for the formal opening of the more sec-
ular structure.
When the lyceum-hall was completed it was
very natural that he who had devoted so much
time and money to its construction should be in-
vited to make the opening address-a service
which Mr. Lansing performed with much accept-
ance; and by his special invitation an Eastern
friend, whose name is not unknown to literature,
was secured to deliver two or three lectures on
professedly scientific subjects. It was not re-
garded at the time as indicating any fixed pur-
pose that the speaker was known as one of the
most advanced advocates of the so-called liberal
school. His theme was general literary culture
and the important part which lyceums and lec-
ture-halls serve in the intellectual advancement


of the people. His discussion was able and in-
structive, gratifying his hearers, and greatly in-
creasing their sense of obligation to him whose
liberality had provided so rich a treat.
While Parson Little was interested and in-
structed by the lectures, he felt a sense of un-
easiness creeping over him, because neither in the
squire's opening address nor in the lectures which
followed was there any reference to Christianity
or any recognition of it. In these movements he
began to obtain an insight into the squire's re-
ligious views, and had the first inkling of his
coming trouble.
Parson Little took possession of his new pul-
pit, but while feeling grateful for the more
commodious and tasteful surroundings of the
new house of worship, his pleasure was much
diminished by a sense of uneasiness which
came over him. He felt his heart and hands
weakened by the change. He did not feel at
home in the place, and the secret longing of his
heart was, Oh that I were as in months past! "
Every new convenience and ornament about the
sanctuary seemed a mouth crying out for him to
step down and out, and let a new and more cul-
tivated man occupy the place. He could sing


with a realization of its truthfulness the ballad
of the Old-Fashioned Meeting-house."

Alas! for the days when the feet of our sires
Devoutly went up to the worship of God
In temples whose glory was not in their spires,
Nor carpeted aisles so irreverently trod.
Their altars were rude, but their worship was true,
And brought the Shechinah their temples to fill,
Till dearer and dearer the sacred fane grew,
The old-fashioned meeting-house up on the hill!
"The half-oval pulpit perched up in the gable,
The sounding-board jutting far out from the wall,
The squarely-set pews, so capacious and stable,
And the old russet Bible, more precious than all!
Though rosewood and fresco now glitter in fashion,
And the,.richly-paid proxies may quaver and trill,
They move not the heart with the sanctified passion
That blest the old meeting-house up on the hill!
"The revered old pastor adorning the place,
Who sought not for hearers by themes that were odd;
The cross was his glory, that wonder of grace,
Atoning for guilt and restoring to God.
And many the seals to his faithfulness given,
Though slight were his gifts in the orator's skill;
They heard the glad word as he pointed to heaven
In the old-fashioned meeting-house up on the hill!

"The fathers were grave, and the matrons were meek,
The children sat reverently down by their side,
And thus, on the blessed first day of the week,
They came up to worship, not pander to pride.


But, alas! since the fathers have passed to their rest
Devotion has yielded to aesthetic skill;
The form is still there, but the soul is unblest
In the new Gothic meeting-house up on the hill!

The long fretted vault and the organ's loud peal,
The show and the glitter, may draw to the place,
But often the raptures such worshippers feel
Are sensuous passions, not kindlings of grace.
'Twas not in adornings that man can devise,
But splendor of worship surpassing man's skill-
The glory of God bursting forth from the skies-
That filled the old meeting-house up on the hill!

Return to our Zion, ye scenes that once thrilled
The hearts of our fathers who heavenward trod,
When our passion shall be, in the temples we build,
Not art in adorning, but worship of God.
Ah! then on our altars his glory will shine,
The house and the heart of the worshipper fill,
And heaven will descend, with its raptures divine,
To the old-fashioned meeting-house up on the hill!"

The good pastor tried hard to hush these des-
ponding whisperings, and to cheer his heart by
resolves to push forward his good work with re-
newed energy, saying to himself, "True, the
house is new and grand, and I have a few hear-
ers of more advanced culture, but the old famil-
iar faces are before me; the church is not new,
nor are the affections of my dear people turned


from me. It is God's work in the new house as
well as it was in the old; therefore doubt not,
falter not." Thus the perplexed man reasoned,
but it was in vain to resist the influences of his
grander surroundings. The new house caused
Parson Little more anxiety than satisfaction, as
has been the case in a thousand instances be-
sides. An old minister who promotes the build-
ing of a new house of worship most generally
is rendering the service for one of his younger
brethren. Somehow, the old pastor seldom seems
to fit the new place. It is trying to put the new
wine into old bottles, and it seems to be the nat-
ural order of things that the latter should be
rent by the operation.
The new schoolhouse-or, as it was now dig-
nified, the Lyceum-must have a more advanced
teacher, one who understood more of the mys-
teries of education, than those heretofore em-
ployed, and who could carry his pupils beyond
a knowledge of the three R's. If not a pro-
fessor, he must at least, so the squire said, have
some sort of an appendage at the other end of
his name-A. M., A. B., or B. S.; and fortunately,
if they would trust him, he thought he knew
one who possessed the first and more honorable
3 YK:


distinction who could be secured-just the man
for the place. How could the good people sus-
pect any covert design, or do otherwise than re-
spond to the kind offer by saying, Invite him
at once to Elmdale" ?
Squire Lansing promptly accepted the com-
mission, and in due time, at his summons, Mr.
Arthur Browning, A. M., appeared in Elmdale,
and was installed as the principal of the lyceum
school. The personal appearance of the new
teacher was quite attractive, and his manner
affable and winning. In addition to these quali-
fications he soon proved himself a most success-
ful educator. It gave Mr. Little great satisfac-
tion to see his former office so well filled, yet
the addition to his hearers of a real live A. M.
only served to increase his sense of his own lack
of intellectual culture. He felt that in mental
endowments and qualifications a minister should
be what Saul was among his brethren, "a head
and shoulders above the people."
The coming of the new teacher added to the
weight of another cause of the pastor's anxiety.
He soon observed that there was not only
a marked personal congeniality between Mr.
Browning and the squire, but that he also man-


ifested the same reserve on religious subjects,
every circumstance indicating that they held a
mutual sympathy of views. Mr. Browning at-.
tended church quite regularly on the Lord's Day,
and read a chapter from the Bible at the opening
of his school, followed by the Lord's Prayer re-
peated in unison; but even this seemed to be
done more out of regard to the requirements
of the trustees than from any personal interest
in the exercise. Now, had Mr. Little and those
acting with him been consulted in the choice of
a teacher, his religious qualifications would have
been held of paramount importance; hence they
began to realize that they had not acted dis-
creetly in delegating to the squire the engaging
of an instructor for their children without exami-
nation. But the mistake had been made, and,
as in other respects the teacher gave general sat-
isfaction, it was thought best not to agitate the
subject; so Parson Little had to bear his disap-
pointment, consoling himself as far as possible
by prayerfully watching the direction of affairs,
with a determination to be prompt and faithful
if an hour of danger should arise.



S OON after the occupation of the new school-
house, Squire Lansing suggested that, as
they now had a suitable hall, provision ought
to be made for a course of lectures during the
coming winter-a hint which met the approba-
tion of all the leading citizens. At a special
meeting held to carry out this purpose a com-
mittee was appointed to arrange for a course
of lectures and secure the proper persons to
deliver them. As usual, the squire was placed
at the head of this body, having associated
with him Mr. Little and the new teacher. The
reason given by Mr. Lansing for placing on
the committee Mr. Browning, who had so re-
cently located in the place, was that he was lately
from the East, and therefore better acquainted
with those most distinguished in that field of lit-


erature. With his suspicions already awakened,
Mr. Little was not so well satisfied with this ar-
rangement, and would have much preferred an
older and well-proved citizen; but as it would
have seemed captious and ungrateful to ques-
tion the motives of Mr. Lansing when as yet no
really objectionable measure had been brought
forward, he acquiesced in the selection, resolving,
however, to be the more careful as to the cha-
racter of the men and the themes which should
make up the winter's entertainment.
When Parson Little began revolving in his
mind the course he should pursue in the com-
mittee, he became painfully conscious of his
great ignorance of the literary progress of the
day. He had been so far removed from the great
centres of literary influence, and so deeply en-
grossed in the welfare of his church and the de-
velopment of the new settlement, that he was
absolutely unacquainted with the names of pro-
fessional lecturers and the topics mostly dis-
cussed. With all his canvassing, he could ven-
ture to suggest but a name or two himself, and
these confined to persons of his own denomina-
tion. From a like want of understanding, he felt
that he could not venture to make objections to


those speakers who might be proposed by the
other members of the committee; hence he
found that his action in the case must be con-
fined to carefully guarding the community against
any assaults on the Bible or the vital doctrines
which it inculcates. He began to regard his ne-
glect of current news, of general literature and
of the progress of thought as something more
than a personal loss; he saw that there was a
responsibility to his people which he had failed
to meet.
A course of eight or ten lectures was decided
upon, and Mr. Little was requested to name such
persons as he might wish to be included among
the lecturers. Accordingly, he proposed the
names of two ministers of his own denomination,
both of whom were widely and equally well
known in the pulpit and lecture-halls. Some
objection being urged against one of his nomi-
nees, his name was dropped, and the other put
down for the first lecture in the course. The
good pastor saw nothing objectionable in this
arrangement, and so the matter passed without
challenge; but before the season was ended lie
had occasion to know that it was a cunning de-
vice, another step in the development of a subtle


plan which had been concocted by the enemy to
undermine the foundations of his beloved Zion.
Squire Lansing and Mr. Browning filled up
the programme for the lecture course, assuring
Mr. Little of the pre-eminent character and abil-
ity of the speakers named, and that their themes
would be strictly literary and scientific. In look-
ing over that list any one familiar with the times
could not fail to notice that nearly every one be-
longed to the most advanced and outspoken ad-
vocates of the so-called liberal school. True,
some had the prefix of Reverend to their names,
but nevertheless gave their whole voice and
influence against the inspiration of the Bible
and the cherished doctrines of evangelical Chris-
It could no longer be doubted that under an
affable exterior and a character modeled by a
respectable regard to the received standards of
worldly morality, Squire Lansing was a subtle
and bitter opponent to vital religion, and that
he had been all the while planning a direct as-
sault on the stronghold which Mr. Little and
his worthy compeers had built up in Elmdale.
His seeming aid to the church had only been
rendered to lull suspicion until his time for ac-


tion had come, and his liberality in building the
lyceum had been incited by the desire to secure
a place in which to propagate his noxious sen-
timents, a stronghold from whence he might
shoot forth his arrows against the righteous.
Mr. Browning he had chosen as a worthy com-
peer and brought into the battlefield, where it
was evident they were planning together for a
final victory. They had carefully masked their
batteries and held out a false flag. Religion was
not to be directly attacked, but under the garb
and with the nomenclature of science it was to
be held up as a superstition and an encroach-
ment on human liberty. Nature was to be ex-
alted, and shown to possess inherently the
"promise and potency of all terrestrial life."*
The Bible was to be represented as only a
"poem, and beautiful" as thus considered, but
when regarded as a truthful account of crea-
tive energy, "obstructive and hurtful."t In the
same line of argument, spiritual existence or
spiritual force was to be treated as an impossi-
bility; and finally, the deductions of science held
up as the only reliable data for human action
and the ground of human hopes. In preparing
"* Tyndall's Belfast Address." -- Ibid.


for the conflict no great opposition was antici-
pated. Intellectually, indeed, none was feared,
for the squire had taken the intellectual measure
of the simple-minded pastor, and well knew that
he was utterly unprepared to meet the forces
which would be marshalled against him; it was
only the influence of his great personal worth,
and the entire confidence which the people re-
posed in his truthfulness as a spiritual teacher,
that were to be overcome or counteracted. His
ministry had been unquestioned and uncontra-
dicted; but, it was argued, when the people saw
how weak he was in the hands of the disputants
whom they should bring into the field, they
would distrust the power which had so long
held them in the bonds of superstition. In this
way it was hoped the field would be easily won.
The victory once secured, thenceforward Elm-
dale would be known as a place of liberal views,
the lyceum would take the place of the church,
and the restraints of the Lord's Day yield to
a time of physical rest and social enjoyment.
These considerations, it was hoped, would draw
to its inhabitants the liberal and refined, and give
it a standing as one of the most attractive places
in the West.


In preparing for the contest, Squire Lansing
had not calculated on any change in the forces
with which he might have to contend, for he
counted on the long and warm attachment exist-
ing between pastor and people as security against
any danger in that direction. His conclusions in
this regard were largely based on the ungenerous
charge so often made against the ministry, that
one is not apt to leave a flock while there is any
fleece to be shorn unless a more promising
yield is in prospect somewhere else. However
just this imputation may be as a general charge,
the sequel will show how far it was truthful in
the case of the pastor of Elmdale.
The manner of warfare as indicated in the pre-
ceding pages was fully carried out. The min-
ister nominated by Mr. Little delivered the first
lecture of the course, his theme being "The
westward march of Christianity;" and then the
squire had it all his own way. Religion was not
specifically named, but the whole drift of the
lectures was to sap its foundations, the appi)oach
being covert and gradual at first, and then bold
and defiant. The results of the campaign might
well awaken the anxiety of every true lover of
Christianity, and fill with painful solicitude the


heart of a watchful pastor. Some were alarmed
and some perplexed, while not a few of the
young and thoughtless were more or less tainted
by the plausible sophistries of the speakers. Par-
son Little could not be unconscious of the fact
that the friends of true religion looked to him
for a defence of the doctrines which he had so
long and earnestly inculcated, and he was as
fully sensible of his utter inability to meet the
assault with any strong hope of ultimate success.
The topics discussed were mostly new to him,
and the manner of answering them still beyond
the range of his reading. He pondered long
and prayerfully over the subject, many times de-
cided on some course of action, and as often re-
considered his determination. He resolved to
resign, and thus shake off the responsibility by
giving the reins into other and stronger hands,
only to shrink repeatedly from the pain which
such a step would be sure to cause.
In this vacillating manner the summer and
early part of the autumn passed away, and the
time had come when the subject of a course of
lectures would be again under discussion. An-
other unchecked campaign of the enemy might
yield a clear conquest; and should he stand in the


way and bear the responsibility of the defeat ?
This was the condition in which the faithful
pastor was introduced to the reader: "Good
Parson Little was in trouble-there could be no
doubt of that." After pacing his study for an
hour or two, balancing inclination with duty,
the interests of the church with the interests of
self, and half resolves to go forth with only his
smooth stones from the brook to meet the Go-
liaths of liberalism-a purpose failing of fulfil-
ment from a consciousness that he was no longer
a stripling-he stopped abruptly and said,
"Well, something must be done; and I may
as well. admit the plain truth, that my part of the
doing is to get out of the way."
Immediately he was astonished; in fact, he
was so shocked that his heart almost seemed to
jump out of his breast. His heavy burden was
gone, and he was conscious of being happier
than he had been for months, and spontaneously
began singing,
"Wait, 0 my soul, thy Maker's will;'
Tumultuous passions, all be still;
Nor let a murmuring'thought arise;
His ways are just, his counsels wise."

He fell on his knees and offered most devout


thanksgiving for the self-conquest which grace had
enabled him to achieve, and when he arose from
his prostration before the throne of grace he
felt a strong premonition that deliverance would
come to Israel. His prayer was, Lord, send by
whom thou wilt, but 'rise up, and let thine ene-
mies be scattered, and let them that hate thee
flee before thee.' "



TIHEN Parson Little had fully settled the
question of his resignation, his thoughts
very naturally turned toward a suitable suc-
cessor, and he began to turn over in his mind
what manner of man he should be; but after a
long study and a careful review of the qualifica-
tions of such of his ministerial brethren as were
personally known to him, he could settle upon
no specific person to recommend to his church.
"But," said he to himself, "the Lord knows the
wants of the people better than I do, and I re-
member that it was in answer to prayer that
Paul and Barnabas were set before the church
and separated unto the work whereunto the Lord
had called them; and perhaps the Master will hear
me in behalf of the dear flock over which he has
given me the watch-care so long." Thus reason-
ing, the good man in an earnest appeal to the
throne of grace laid the peculiar needs of his


dear church before the King of Zion, beseeching
that God would speedily send the right man to
fill the place which his providence had made it
his duty to vacate-one able to defend the flock
from the ravening wolves and pull down the
strongholds of the enemy. Calmed by this ex-
ercise and the consciousness that self had been
conquered for the glory of his Divine Master,
he took his pen and paper to write out his res-
ignation, but somehow his heart recoiled, and
suitable words refused to come to his aid; and
there he sat, pen in hand, unable to trace the
lines which would sever the long and endeared
relation which he had sustained to the church.
The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak.
As he thus sat pondering the path of duty he
took up his denominational paper, and casting
his eyes carefully over its pages, they chanced to
light upon an item that at once arrested his at-
tention. Its purport was that the Rev. Doctor
Boyington, owing to indisposition caused by
local influences, had resigned the chair of natural
science in a prominent Eastern university, and
was about to seek another field of labor in one
of the newer States of the West. This piece of
intelligence came to the good pastor like an in-


spiration in answer to his fervent supplication.
Professor Boyington, though comparatively a
young man, was widely known as an eloquent
preacher and a popular lecturer on scientific sub-
jects. He was the very man of all others whom
Mr. Little would have selected to take the charge
which he had decided to lay down; and the ques-
tion which now leaped to his thoughts was, Can
Professor Boyington be induced to visit Elm-
dale ?" He had asked the Master to direct in
this matter, and this providence seemed to have
the guiding hand of the King of Zion. His pen
now found its office, and very soon a letter was
on its way to the doctor, embodying the facts
thought necessary to induce him to take Elm-
dale in his way in his westward visitation. Mr.
Little stated that he should withhold his own
resignation until a reply was received, expressing
the hope that he should have the happy privilege
of nominating as his successor one so eminently
fitted to take up the work where he was com-
pelled to lay it down.
After a few days an answer was received from
Doctor Boyington, in which he wrote, "that
after a consultation with his physician, who had
pronounced the climate favorable, he had de-


termined to visit Elmdale, and, so far as the
question now lay in his mind, if the voice of the
church called him to the work, he saw no reason
why he should not consent to remain. The place
and church were in a rapid state of growth, and
the peculiar circumstances surrounding the latter,
as set forth in the letter which he had received,
seemed a special call for his services. He sought
no controversy with the advanced thinkers who
were trying to array science against religion and
the so-called forces of nature against the cre-
ative power of God; but, as one devoutly loyal
to both, he did not fear to stand up in defence
of the perfect harmony of God's works and
word. As a scientist not altogether unac-
quainted with modern investigations and modes
of thought, he was prepared to stand up for the
"old record, that 'In the beginning God created
the heaven and the earth,' and that 'without
him was not anything made that was made.' "
The purpose of Squire Lansing, as evinced
during the course of lyceum lectures, to assault
evangelical religion was so evident that it had
not failed to attract the attention of many of the
leading members of the Elmdale church and
make the danger apparent. Conversations had


been held in a confidential way which indicated
that the opinion was held by not a few that their
pastor was not quite abreast with the discussions
of the day, and hence not so harnessed with the
armor of truth as to join battle with the subtle
enemy and give hopeful confidence of a final
victory. But then he had served them so long
and faithfully that they could cherish no purpose
of intimating to him the desirableness of a change.
It was left for events to shape themselves as
might be indicated by the providence of Him
who ruleth as Head of the church.
Mr. Little had hinted at no intention to resign
his pastoral office, nor had he made any show
of his disquietude during the occurrence of the
events which have been set before the reader;
when, therefore, he gave notice at the close of
service that on the ensuing Lord's Day he should
peremptorily resign his pastoral care and nom-
inate one to fill his place, Elmdale was in a state
of unusual excitement. No one had anticipated
such a step, and all began to canvass the whys
and wherefores. Among the number, none ex-
pressed more surprise than the squire. Least
of all, was his desire for such a change. The
friends of the new movement knew their man,


and I having concluded that they had little to fear
from his opposition, they were quite willing to
pay liberally to keep him in the field until the
success of their plans was assured. In the com-
ing change they suspected a purpose to inter-
pose some stronger barrier in the way of their
progress; hence the squire and Mr. Browning
manifested an unusual interest in Mr. Little's
welfare. They were loud in their protestations
against his removal, avowing their willingness,
if money was required, to liberally increase their
subscriptions. They represented how cruel it
was to dismiss one who had rendered such long
and faithful service; and when informed that it
was Mr. Little's own desire, they tried to con-
vince him that he was unjust to himself. When
they found that his purpose could not be shaken,
they became deeply anxious to learn who was to
be the probable successor; but Parson Little
kept his own counsels, determined to thwart any
effort to prejudice the people against the man
whom he had resolved to name as his choice to
take the oversight of the church.
The day appointed for the resignation brought
a crowd to the meeting-house of Elmdale. A
few came from curiosity, but most were led there


by a deep interest in the occasion. Their love
for their old pastor and true friend was ardent
and abiding; hence it was a melting season with
most of them. The discourse was based on
Philippians ii. 17 : Yea, and if I be offered upon
the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and
rejoice with you all." The theme was, "The
absorbing nature of a pastor's desire for the wel-
fare of his church." After unfolding his text
and setting forth the doctrine which it inculcated,
he showed its aptness to the deeply-interesting
occasion which had brought them together to
sunder the intimate relation which had so long
existed. He then reviewed the protracted years
*of his service, replete with deeply-touching in-
cidents and scraps of history affecting almost
every family in the neighborhood. His sketches
were pathetic and graphic, awaking emotions of
sympathy even in those who were not directly
involved in the providence which called them
forth. His early compeers were mostly sleeping
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap;"
and now he saw before him their children and
children's children. He had buried the fathers
and mothers, married their sons and daugh-
ters, and those who had made the blessed


Saviour their choice he had inducted into the
membership of the dear church. No language
could express how ardently he had cherished the
hope of remaining their spiritual guide as long
as life might be spared to him; and never was
his affection for his dear people stronger than
now, when the hour had come that made it his
duty to give up his bright dream of years, sever
the endearing relation, and say farewell as their
pastor. He could truly say that if it was neces-
sary for him to be sacrificed for the service of
their faith, he could glory and rejoice in render-
ing this test of his love; and, to a certain extent,
this proof had been demanded at his hands, and
must be accepted as an explanation of the step
he was about to take, and which must be under-
stood as the result of his own convictions of duty.
After this review of the past, without directly
naming the subtle movements which have been
disclosed to the reader, Mr. Little stated his
solemn conviction that the welfare of the church
and a proper defence of the doctrines which they
so dearly cherished demanded that one more
competent for the service should fill the place
which he had so long occupied to the best of
his ability. To mitigate the grief of the separa-
5 D


tion, the Lord had granted him the happy priv-
ilege of proposing as his successor one whose
qualifications to meet the demands of the hour
no one would question who knew him. It was
with unmingled satisfaction and, as he believed,
in direct answer to prayer, that he had the
pleasure of proposing to the church as a can-
didate for the office resigned into their hands,
the Rev. Doctor Boyington, long a distinguished
professor of natural science, widely known for
his eloquence in defence of the doctrines of the
Bible, and equally so in setting forth the wonders
of God in the works of nature.
When the name of this distinguished minister
was announced the squire exchanged a sur-
prised glance with Mr. Browning, and began to
manifest an unusual restlessness. He saw that
his subtle designs had been penetrated, and that
concealment was no longer possible. He began
to realize also that victory was not to be secured
on such easy conditions as had been anticipated.
Indeed, if won at all, there would be blows to
take as well as to give; hence it would be neces-
sary for sharper counsels and a new marshalling
of forces.
As Mr. Little desired an immediate action on


his resignation, the church and congregation
were requested to remain after the benediction
to give an expression to their views. It was
noticed that the squire and Mr. Browning-a
thing unusual on like occasions-left the house
as soon as the pastor stepped into the lecture-
room, and from that time they ceased their co-
operation with the church and began their open
efforts to build up a liberal organization. As
Mr. Little had made his resignation peremptory,
the church had no alternative but to accept it;
but a special meeting was called, to which the
entire community was invited, to give a proper
expression to their high sense of the personal
worth and long and faithful services of the retir-
ing pastor, and to devise some more substantial
token of their esteem.
At this meeting, which was very numerously
attended, a unanimous invitation was extended
to Doctor Boyington to visit Elmdale with refer-
ence to a settlement as the pastor of the church.
At the same gathering, the old pastor was made
the recipient of a substantial mark of the love of his
people in the shape of a sum sufficient to pay off
all liabilities on the large section of land which he
had entered when first coming to the settlement.



IN due time Doctor Boyington appeared in
Elmdale, and preached for several Sundays
with the greatest acceptance, thereby greatly
increasing the desire of the church for his settle-
ment among them. After a careful survey of
the field he was led to accord with the wishes
of the people, and signified his acceptance of the
proffered trust, and entered at once upon his
pastoral duties.
Squire Lansing and Mr. Browning attended
the ministrations of Doctor Boyington, but
when called upon for the usual subscription to
help make up the salary, they both declined,
giving as the ostensible reason the unkind action
of the church in accepting the resignation of the
old pastor, for whom they professed the highest
regard. They made no positive objections to
Dr. Boyington, but urged that he was a new and
untried man, whom they did not feel free to sup-


port until they knew more of the doctrines which
he might preach. Mr. Little and a few of the
more observing put their own construction on
this action of the two objectors.
As the church was now in a flourishing con-
dition financially, the loss of the squire's support
led to no serious embarrassment; which was no
small disappointment to him, as he had imagined
that his withdrawal would be a matter of such
moment that earnest efforts would be made to
bring him once more to the rescue.
The new pastor went forward with his work
zealously and with a constantly increasing repu-
tation for marked ability. His manner of preach-
ing was fresh and popular, characterized by great
independency of treatment, especially in hand-
ling those questions mooted by the advocates of
the so-called liberal system of theology.
His views were expressed with emphasis and
in sharp-cut sentences; nevertheless, he was cour-
teous, and exhibited such an evident intention
not to misrepresent adverse thinkers that no just
cause of offence was given. No one could ob-
ject to his manner, however much he might call
in question the matter of his discourses.
It may be inferred that the new pastor made


it a special duty to gain correct information as
to Mr. Lansing's movements and intentions;
hence he obtained the names of the lecturers
who had appeared in the first course, their topics,
and the outline of their manner of treatment.
From a careful survey of the whole array of
facts, he fully concurred with his venerable pre-
decessor that there had been a determined and
subtle attack on the doctrine of a divine and per-
sonal Creator, upon the authority of the Bible
and the great truths of the Christian religion,
coupled with an attempt to exalt Reason into a
god and endow Nature with creative attributes.
" Liberty" and reason had been placed in
strong contrast over against "superstition and
" fanaticism "-the realities of science with the
"impossibility of spiritual existence."
As the summer wore on, Doctor Boyington's
influence became wider and deeper, convincing
not only the old pastor but the entire church
that God had most highly favored them in send-
ing one so pre-eminently able to defend the
truths which they so' dearly loved. It was evi-
dent also that Squire Lansing had a conscious-
ness that his plans had met with a severe check,
making it necessary for him to change essen-


tially his future tactics. Though generally pres-
ent at the morning service, he was reserved, and
seemed carefully to shun all intercourse with
pastor and people. He was often observed to
take notes, especially when the course of remarks
trenched on the mooted topics of the day; and
on Sunday afternoons and evenings he and Mr.
Browning were sure to be found in close consul-
tation. These facts, with other indications which
it is not necessary to name, had led to an infer-
ence that some new movements would be de-
veloped for the coming season-a conclusion
which had its verification, as we shall see in the
Mr. Browning, owing to his position of prin-
cipal of the public school, outwardly arid pro-
fessedly pursued a conservative course, though
most of the people considered that this was less
an act of prudence than a marked partiality for
Parson Little's charming daughter, Dora. For
this few could blame him, either on the score
of taste or regard for her personal excellence of
character, for by the unquestioned verdict of the
town she was beautiful as she was good and
good as she was beautiful. Good Deacon Cra-
mer expressed the public opinion when he said,


" It does not matter whether you call her angel
Little, or Little angel, as she fills the bill in either
The fact may as well be stated that the atten-
tions' of Mr. Browning to the daughter had been
so marked as to attract Parson Little's notice,
and he began to fear lest in shaking off one re-
sponsibility he had brought another pressing upon
him. Dora was his only child, and dearer to
him than the apple of his eye. Being a widower,
she was -his housekeeper and the very light of
his home. To make her unhappy would be like
plucking out his own heart, but to give her over
to a rejecter of Christianity was to imperil her
spiritual interests. The struggle was again be-
tween self and duty-a battle we all have to
fight more than once through life, in which self
too often gains an easy victory; but he who sub-
dues the foe in one contest is doubly armed for
the next encounter, and so we may predicate a
coming triumph for the perplexed father of Dora.
The return of autumn revived the subject of a
series of lectures for the winter, and a meeting
was called to make the proper arrangements.
The attendance was unusually large, indicating
the interest felt in the measures which might be


taken. For several weeks before the meeting it
had been evident that Squire Lansing was deeply
exercised about the matters which were to be
discussed. He talked much about the lyceum,
and hinted at the liberality which he had shown
in its construction, leaving the plain inference to
be drawn that he felt that he had a claim to hold
the direction of its affairs. His very manner in-
dicated that he was a little dubious about being
implicitly trusted as he had been in the former
season; and especially he had plainly intimated
that Doctor Boyington was too new a comer
among them to be honored with a place on the
committee of arrangements. This was another
straw which clearly showed the direction of his
When the meeting convened Mr. Lansing was
on hand, and was prompt in his statements as to
his course during the former lecture-season. His
remarks were so equivocal that it was hard to
determine whether he meant them for apology
or self-praise. They were to the effect that he
had contributed liberally and given much time
to make the lyceum a success, and he felt sure
that the learned gentlemen who had appeared
before them during the last winter w uld be re-


garded as some proof of his ability to cater for
the literary entertainment of the people. Of
course, they must not expect to hold him respon-
sible for every sentiment uttered by the speakers,
but he trusted that the citizens of Elmdale were
intelligent and liberal enough to listen to what-
ever was interesting the world in science and
morals, and could then determine as to what was
true and valuable. The experience of the past
would certainly enable them to make up a more
interesting programme for the coming winter, and
he hoped that the old committee would be re-en-
trusted with the duties in which they had already
gained an experience that was valuable to the
It was plain to every one present that the
squire did not want Doctor Boyington on the
committee, and that his indirect compliment to
the old pastor was but a blind to conceal his
purpose. Unfortunately for him, the people had
formed different notions both abotit the past and
about the course for the future. In view of his
liberality in building the lyceum, his objectionable
action was overlooked, and he was again placed
at the head of the committee, but had associated
with him Mr. Little and Doctor Boyington,


When this action was taken the squire saw at
once that all attempts to covertly carry out his
scheme would be useless, and he threw off the
mask under the plea that the course pursued
was a reflection on himself and Mr. Browning
which he could not submit to. It was equivalent
to charging them with incompetency or unfair-
ness, and in either case he should decline to
act with the gentlemen named. Besides, they
were ministers holding the same theological
views; which he, for one, thought quite behind
the spirit and intelligence of the age. As they
most likely would be unwilling to allow any
outspoken opinions on the more liberal side, he
felt that the time had come when he must take
a more decided stand for greater freedom of in-
vestigation. As, however, he had spent much
valuable time and expended large sums in erect-
ing the lyceum, he thought he should not be
claiming too much when he asked that he and
his friends should be allowed to use it a certain
number of evenings as they might elect, with the
right to discuss such subjects as they should
deem best suited to the spirit of the age. What
he asked for himself he would grant to others.
The other members of the committee could ar-


range for such a course of lectures as they might
think most profitable, and he would do the same,
a mutual understanding being had as to the par-
ticular evenings each should occupy.
The squire's proposition was at once acceded
to, and he took his leave of the assembly, accom-
panied by his friend Mr. Browning. This step
ended all co-operation with the friends of relig-
ion, and was regarded as the gage of open war-
After this defiant withdrawal, the subject which
had called the friends together was still further
discussed, during which it was frankly admitted
that the want of Mr. Lansing's pecuniary help
would seriously affect their future plans. A
fewer number of lectures must be included in
the course, or speakers obtained who would be
satisfied with a smaller compensation. In this
dilemma, Mr. Little suggested that Doctor Boy-
ington be especially requested to favor them with
a series of lectures on such subjects as he might
select. He felt assured that such a course would
be as popular and as profitable as any that might
be arranged with the help of foreign aid. He did
not wish to put unnecessary burdens on their
pastor, nor did he think it would, for he had been


so long engaged in teaching and lecturing on
scientific subjects that he would have to resort
to no extra study to meet their wishes; his old
dishes would have a new relish to them. The
proposition of the old pastor was at once and
unanimously adopted.
Being thus brought face to face with the re-
sponsibility, Doctor Boyington did not feel at
liberty to shun the task laid upon him, and ac-
cordingly he gave assent to the wishes of the
people, only coupled with the condition that he
should be allowed to invite any other speakers
whom he might think best to share with him the
labors of the course, provided time and circum-
stances should demand such assistance.



A FTER the agreement entered into at the
public meeting, Doctor Boyington began
carefully to arrange his plans for the coming
season, both as to his regular work and as to
the extra course of lectures, aiming so to corre-
late them as to make them co-ordinate forces in
advancing the interests of true religion. It was
a time that would compel him to use both sword
and trowel-to build on the wall of the temple
with one hand, while with the other he should
beat back the foes who were watching every op-
portunity to assail it. Like Nehemiah, he be-
took himself to prayer for divine direction and
assistance, and then began carefully and quietly
to spy out the situation in order that he might
ascertain the weak places and reinforce them
before the enemy could enter in and spoil the
Squire Lansing was equally on the alert, and


seemed to have adopted the opinion of Napo-
leon, that promptness and boldness were the
surest roads to victory; for before Mr. Boyington
had fairly digested his plans, Mr. Lansing was
out with an appeal to his neighbors, proclaiming
himself as the champion of liberality. He af-
firmed that his only motive was to deliver the
community from what he was pleased to term
the dominion of bigotry and antiquated notions.
Coupled with this manifesto was a list of dis-
tinguished speakers for a course of lectures to
commence at once. An examination of this list
revealed the fact that the squire meant an assault
of a sharp and relentless character against the
established order of things. It was evident that
he had spared no pains to obtain those best
qualified to do the work which he had in hand;
for among his engagements were two or three
names with a wide European reputation, not only
for their scientific attainments, but for the bold-
ness with which they used their abilities in at-
tempts to overthrow the doctrines of the Bible,
while one of them was the boldest of avowed
atheists. They seemed to be on a mission to
this country, hoping doubtless to find a rich soil
for their pernicious seed; and the squire was


prompt to give them an early opportunity to
begin their work of darkness.
Well knowing that his doctrines were unpala-
table, he had evidently planned to draw the peo-
ple of Elmdale under their influence by the great
reputation of those whom he had invited to ad-
vocate his ideas, hoping, doubtless, to secure
a large adherence before any forces could be
brought in opposition. The subjects to be dis-
cussed had been so arranged as to take the hear-
ers along by degrees; hence the first lecture was
not to be offensive, but rather to expose the
weakness of the enemy. The theme chosen
was Effete Superstitions. In treating his subject
the speaker classed Christianity with paganism,
Mohammedanism, and papalism, and represented
them as equally obstructive and hurtful to sci-
entific and human progress. He was polished,
and at times eloquent, but he met with little
sympathy from his audience, which was dis-
hearteningly small and lacking in intelligence,
though Mr. Little and Doctor Boyington gave
the speaker a respectful hearing.
The second speaker was a distinguished Eng-
lish advocate of Evolution, who discoursed on
his favorite topic. He made a great show in


trying to demonstrate his new doctrine, but ut-
terly failed to produce any evidence stronger
than his own inferences and assertions. He had
to confess that all experience and observation
were against him, his strong point being that we
must hold each order of animals as a separate
creation, or that a series is evolved from one
primordial type. The logic here is so weak as
hardly to challenge an answer, for certainly the
Power that could bring one form of life into ex-
istence could just as easily repeat the special
creative act any number of times-a conclusion
far more rational than to suppose that having
created one order, the Creator would evolve out
of it another of quite a different nature.
In point of attendance and interest this lecture
was more unsatisfactory than the first, and the
squire was evidently getting desperate, as his
bills were heavy and his returns so small both
in money and success.
The third speaker discussed the Great Antiq
uity of Man. He presented a number of flint ar-
row-heads and stone hatchets, and some uncouth
pottery, which he asserted were found associated
with fossils too low in the geological series to
have been fashioned by a race living within the
6* E


time mentioned in Genesis, and hence he in-
ferred that the Adamic theory must fall, and in
the wreck carry down the book in which it is
found. The lecture made no very strong im-
pression, and was meagrely attended.
At this stage Squire Lansing seemed to think
that the time had arrived in which it would be
safe to make a bolder advance, for he announced
as the fourth speaker a German doctor known
as the most audacious denouncer of the Bible
and its divine Author. His theme was Matter
and Spirit, in the treatment of which he most
emphatically maintained his reputation for bold-
ness and blasphemy. It will not do to repeat
the shocking utterances of that occasion, but,
divested of its profanity, his argument was that
Christianity is founded upon a superstitious be-
lief of a spiritual existence-an intangibility that
could not be proved, and was only held true by
an act of sheer credulity called faith. Science
knew of no existence apart from matter, and
hence the notions of God, the soul, and future
existence were the merest figment of a super-
stitious dream.
From a disrelish of the former themes dis-
cussed, and likely an inkling of the character


of what was to come, there was not a score of
listeners present at this bold exhibition of blas-
phemy. This want of appreciation seemed to
irritate the bold German, more especially as
several of the few present t left the hall during
his address, not being willing to encourage even
by their presence such an outrage .on common
sense and decency.
Matters had taken an unexpected turn, and
Squire Lansing saw that his tactics were likely
to fail, and so at the close of the lecture he
thought it necessary to try and recover from his
mistake by a sort of apology. He stated that
each speaker must be held responsible for his
own utterances, and that it must not be sup-
posed that he approved of every sentiment that
might be advanced. He only contended for lib-
erty and opportunity to hear all questions dis-
cussed in which there might be a general
This disguise was too thin, however, for the
people well knew that the subjects which had
been brought before them were arranged by the
direct agency of Mr. Lansing, and that he had
taken special pains to induce the last speaker to
visit Elmdale. With this common conviction



dwelling in the minds of the people, it was not
surprising that on the next lecture evening, the
audience consisted of the squire, Mr. Browning,
and three or four common loungers, though the
speaker announced was a man of considerable.
reputation. After waiting until all hope of an
addition to their meagre audience had faded
away the .lights were extinguished, and the
squire's enterprise came to an inglorious end.
The moral sense of the community had been
too severely taxed by the German materialist
whom he had introduced, and by a common im-
pulse the people refrained from any further pat-
ronage of the squire's literary catering.
In the mean while, Mr. Browning had not es-
caped scrutiny for his connection with the mea-
sures which had so suddenly terminated. The
citizens began seriously to consider whether he
was a proper person to be entrusted with the
education of their children. No one questioned
his ability as a technical teacher, nor was he
charged with any neglect in methods or manner,
for he had continued the usual Scripture read-
ing and the repetition of the Lord's Prayer at
the opening of his daily sessions. But his con-
tinued presence and evident sympathy in all the


movements of Squire Lansing had awakened
public suspicion. When questioned as to his
relations to these matters, he uniformly evaded
the subject, so that even the curiosity of Dora-
to call it by no other name-failed to get any
definite response touching the questions at issue.
In view of all the facts, however, the opinion
was becoming quite general and settled that at
the close of the term it would be wise to have a
change in the principal of their public school.
About the time that Mr. Lansing's experiment
came to an end, Doctor Boyington had com-
pleted his plans for the winter and was ready
to announce his course of lectures. In making
his arrangements he had very wisely resolved
not to become a propagator of objectionable doc-
trines under the guise of stating the views which
he wished to combat, but to go right forward in
presenting the great truths which Nature has so
plainly stamped upon her pages, the ineffaceable
handwriting of the great Architect of the uni-
verse. He determined to make only such refer-
ence to the doctrines which had been presented
by the speakers who had preceded him as might
be necessary to correct their perversions, and to
treat in like manner the whole range of the so-


called liberal ideas. He resolved that his aim
should be to establish truth, not to win a triumph
over opponents.
The course of lectures which had so abruptly
terminated had, however, furnished him with
some very apt suggestions of which he resolved
to make good use, and which, in a measure,
would give shape to the series which he was
about to deliver. No battery is more effective
than the enemy's guns turned upon himself;
there is then a short range and sure work, the
moral effect being more potent for victory than
the missiles which may be thrown. How suc-
cessfully the doctor availed himself of this strat-
egy will be seen further on.
It may rightly be inferred that the events nar-
rated had caused no little stir in Elmdale, and
the people were anxiously waiting to learn what
course the new pastor would pursue. Of'his
ability in the pulpit they had received ample
proof, but they had yet to learn of his power
to deal with the scientific questions which the
skeptical were so persistently turning against
the Christian faith; hence they awaited his com-
ing efforts with double interest. When, there-
fore, Doctor Boyington announced his readiness


to commence his course of lectures, there was a
curiosity that ensured a full attendance.
In giving notice of his intended efforts, Doctor
Boyington said-
"We may as well remain idle and uninformed
as to squander our time and labors on unworthy
and unprofitable investigations; hence, before
we enter upon our series of lectures, let us see
to it that we have something to attain worthy
of the expenditure. What is the end we aim at?
And when we have reached it, will it make us
richer, happier, wiser, and better? To aid in
reaching a just conclusion, I announce as the
theme of my first lecture, The Motives to Inves-
tigation. And here permit me to say that my
only motive in acceding to the wishes of my
friends to deliver a few lectures is the establish-
ment of truth, not controversy. I challenge no
men nor measures simply for an exhibition of
dialectical skill, but nevertheless wish it to be
distinctly understood that I shall shun neither
when a victory for truth is demanded. Progress
and liberality in a true sense I advocate and
earnestly strive for, but when they become cant
words to cover subtle attempts to dethrone the
Almighty, impugn his wcrd, crush out the im-


mortal soul, and to pour darkness and despair
over all the hopes of man, I shall not fail to
brand the blasphemies as they justly deserve,
and warn my hearers of the dangers that are
threatening them.
"With these statements I respectfully ask an
attentive hearing from the citizens of Elmdale,
assuring them that I shall utter no word and
advocate no sentiment that will tend to cor-
rupt the heart or weaken in any degree the
social bands or the higher relations which reach
forth to the responsibilities of the judgment.
And, finally, let me say that when my efforts are
ended I shall stand ready to be judged accord-
ing to my deservings"



W HEN the evening arrived for Doctor Boy
ington's opening lecture he found a full
audience, which received him with sympathetic
greeting. Among the number he was happy to
notice Mr. Browning, though whether he was
brought there by his interest in the subject or
through the influence of Dora was somewhat
uncertain. Squire Lansing was notably absent,
though he was observed sitting at his window,
from whence he had a full view of all who might
pass into the lyceum.
After an anthem was sung, the old pastor
opened the course by a fervent appeal to the
throne of grace, supplicating divine help for the
speaker and a triumph for truth and righteous-
ness. Dr. Boyington then opened his address by
"A certain good Book, with which we are
more or less familiar, contains numerous and
7 73


urgent exhortations for the benevolent to go
forth on missions of mercy and comfort to the
distressed: Visit the widow and the fatherless
in their afflictions;' Comfort the feeble-minded,
support the weak;' Lift up the hands which hang
down, and the feeble knees;' 'Rejoice with them
that do rejoice, weep with them that weep.'
These divine injunctions, and scores of others
which might be quoted, at once commend them-
selves to our hearty approval, and in their con-
sistent practice we recognize the highest form of
true benevolence. It is noble, it is Godlike, to
go forth with a sympathetic intent to bind up
the broken heart, to stay the flood of sorrow's
tears, and stand beneath weakness and infirmity.
Nor will the heavenlike office be any the less
praiseworthy though the heart ministered unto
should be broken beyond cure, the fountain of
tears too deep to be assuaged, and the weak-
ness devoid of all powers of recuperation. The
kind ministration mitigates, even if it cannot
heal; a loving sympathy will often take away
from the poor sufferer half the grief of his
wound. The brightest names of earth are those
who have given themselves most faithfully to
these ministrations of love. Beginning with him


who 'bore our griefs and carried our sorrows,'
through the long line of those who, drinking in
of his Spirit, 'went about doing good,', we can
challenge the world to produce a like array of
glorious names. Going back no further, a How-
ard, a Judson, a Crozer, Mrs. Fry, Florence Night-
ingale-these, and a thousand like them who
have blessed the world with angelic service-are
the names that have enriched the world more
than its all-conquering heroes or those gifted
ones who have been seen only by the light which
they shed around themselves.
We have the highest possible motives to lead
us to active ministries of love. They make us
in some degree like to God himself, who doeth
good to all, and whose tender mercies are over all
his works. They ennoble every one who devotes
to them his powers, whether the ministration be
designed to succor a body in want or a mind in
perplexity and distress-whether the aim is to
carry the succor direct or to open a path which
will enable another to render the needed service.
"But let us look at other and different minis-
trations for a brief moment; let us suppose that
under the plea of aiming at the establishment of
abstract truth, one should go forth to carry hope-


lessness and death wherever he can find subjects
for his dread ministry. He does not ask what
are to be the fruits of his mission; he looks at the
woes of those who are bleeding and broken-
hearted, and instead of aiming to soothe the
sufferer's grief, instead of pouring healing oil
into his wounds and binding them up, he cru-
elly crushes out all hope and callously proclaims
his wounds past all hope of medication. He
opens wide to the sorrowing the floodgate of
tears; he adds new pangs to weakness and want.
"Now in these two courses-and they are not
overdrawn-every one can perceive that in the one
case there is a worthy inspiration to action, while
in the latter instance the supposed actors are
either awfully self-deceived or wickedly cruel.
Far, far better were it to do nothing at all than
to fill such a hope-crushing office. If you can-
not heal a wound, for mercy's sake do not tear
it open wider; if it is not in your power to cheer
a burdened heart, do not crush it into despair
by rashly and needlessly telling the hopeless-
ness of its grief.
"Now let us apply this reasoning to the mo-
tives which are inspiring the activities of this


"The universal history of mankind has made
it fully evident that three things are essential to
human happiness-a belief in God, in the im-
mortality of the soul, and a hope of future exist-
ence. Go where you may and search any page
of past history, and there you find man anxiously
struggling up to a clearer conception of these
verities. The greatest benefactors of the race
have been those who have given their lives and
best efforts to aid in this aspiration Godward.
Alas! man has mostly followed a false guidance
or stopped before his journey was well begun.
Hopeless until he has a God, he has too often
enthroned the creature without pressing on to
know and glorify the Creator. His pause left
him before his block of wood or stone, but there
he builds his altar, that at the light of its fire he
may kindle the flame of hope in his own soul.
Sadly, grossly mistaken as he is, his condition
is nevertheless far preferable to that of the fool
who 'hath said in his heart, There is no God,'
for the heathen enjoys the illusions of hope,
while the poor Godless dupe knows nothing but
endless despair.
"If, indeed, there were no God, no soul, and
no hereafter, yet every reflective mind could see
7 *


a motive worthy of the noblest devotion to in-
spire the heart with a belief in these sublime
truths. Better, certainly, to live a while in the
sunshine of hope than to dwell under a never-
lifting cloud of darkness and death!
"I know of nothing in all my reading more
horrid and heart-sickening than the self-chosen
position of an old man who, standing on th'e
brink of eternity and looking back to take a re-
view of his past life and its work, gives the dark-
est reckoning of it possible. His work had not
been carelessly done nor by the use of stinted
preparation. Here is the dread record: 'I have
taken away your God, your soul, and your here-
after, and now you may ask what have I to put
in their place? Well, if you have not learned
during the discussion what I would substitute,
it will be in vain to add anything further.'
"This is no fancy sketch, but the sober state-
ment of one of the most learned German schol-
ars, who was most fatally led astray by science,
falsely so called. Poor man! when he had taken
away God, and soul, and hereafter, he had taken
away everything, and there was nothing left to
substitute. Such is the 'new faith' which it is
proposed to establish in the place of the dear


old Book where 'life and immortality are
brought to light in the gospel.' Even if the
German doctor's statements were the abstract
truth, were the conclusions worthy of so many
years of patient investigation ? Better not have
reasoned at all than to have reached such fatal
And what shall we say of those who, know-
ing the hope-killing results of their predecessor's
reasoning, yet accept the dread facts and come
among us with the avowed purpose of leading us
into the same Godless and hopeless condition ?"
This last point of the speaker was well taken,
and a telling one against Mr. Lansing, and, though
severe, it was just, and fully opened the eyes of
the people to his wickedness, and alienated all
respect for his judgment in regard to social and
moral questions.
Only the main points of Doctor Boyington's
remarks have been spread before the reader, but
they are sufficient to give an idea of their charac-
ter and force. He closed his address by saying--
In the few familiar talks which I propose to
give during the winter my chief motive will be
to show the creative wisdom and goodness of
God, from a consideration of the mighty forces


by means of which he carries on the wonderful
economy of Nature. I shall not aim so much at
strictly technical scientific exactness, but rather
to give a common-sense view, for the great facts
of Nature's lessons lie very near the surface.
'For the invisible things of him from the cre-
ation of the world are clearly seen, being under-
stood by the things that are made, even his eter-
nal power and Godhead; so that they are without
excuse.' Nature has its profound secrets, but it
never hides Jehovah from the eyes of him who
is seeking to behold the divine Presence. If one
misses the revelation, it is 'because that when
they knew God, they glorified him not as God,
neither were thankful; but became vain in their
imaginations, and their foolish heart was dark-
ened. Professing themselves to be wise, they
became fools.'
"It is charged against our religion that it
deals with intangibilities. Its objects of belief
and worship are invisible and spiritual, and hence
absurd. You have heard statements like these
lately advanced, coupled with the assertion that
nothing can exist separate from matter. It will
come within the range of my purpose to show
that even in Nature the mightiest forces are in-


visible, and some of them immaterial. The
'promise and potency of all terrestrial life,' to
use the favorite expression of one of the advo-
cates of the new doctrine, do not inhere in mat-
ter, but come as the impulsions of the omnipo-
tent One; it is God that 'stretcheth out the
north over the empty place, and hangeth the
earth upon nothing.' This I shall try and es-
tablish by a law of evidence which comes within
the range of universal observation, and to which
even those who reject our reasoning make resort
when seeking to establish their new theories.
"Let me finally say, as preliminary, that
whether I succeed or fail, I can at least claim
pre-eminence in this-that I do not aim to take
away your God, your soul, your immortality,
and leave you stranded on the shore of a never-
lifting darkness. My motive is to bring you into
a clearer recognition of the divine Father, and a
closer sympathy with him, and to make smoother
and brighter the pathway that leads to life and
"In beginning the direct discussion I an-
nounce as the theme of my next lecture, Nature
a Revelation of God."
On the way home from the lyceum, Dora


ventured to ask Mr. Browning how he was
pleased with the lecture, and was somewhat
startled by the promptness and emphasis of the
"Why, Miss Little, the doctor certainly gave
us something worth thinking about, and I am
frank to admit that I have been led to doubt the
correctness of some positions which I thought
I had definitely settled. The light in which he
presented motives to investigation was very
forcible, and undoubtedly there are grave re-
sponsibilities incurred by those who weaken the
foundations of public confidence."
Dora's voice was perceptibly tremulous and
keyed to a softer tone when she replied,
Oh, Mr. Browning! how can you be an in-
fidel? It's terrible to have no God and no
Yes," was the reply, "but I hope, Miss Lit-
tle, you do not consider me quite as bad as that?
I am not an atheist, though it is true that I have
not regarded God and the Bible just in the same
light as you do."
Ah, Mr. Browning," was Dora's earnest an-
swer, "to have no Bible is to have no blessed
Saviour to bring you to a proper knowledge of

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God, for he has said that 'no man knoweth the
Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the
Son will reveal him.' I have always noticed of
those who believe as you do that their God is
so far off they take no comfort in him."
Well, Miss Little," was the response, "I
must confess that my ideas have not brought
me the satisfaction which it is evident you have
so richly shared in common with your excellent
"Then you will listen to all that our dear
pastor has to say ?" was the pleading inquiry of
Yes," was the frank reply, I promise to
give a respectful hearing to Doctor Boyington,
and if he convinces me that I am in error I will
accept the truth with joy."
Oh, thank God for that!" was the devout
response of the interested girl; "and I will pray
earnestly that God may bring you to the true
light of the gospel."
"Amen to that!" said her friend, "if it will
bring me more light and joy than I have found
in the opinions which I have hitherto cherished;
and so, good-night and pleasant dreams 1"



O N the Lord's Day following his introduc-
tory lecture, Doctor Boyington aimed to
deepen the impression made, by selecting as his
text Eph. ii. 13: "But now in Christ Jesus ye
who some time were far off are made nigh by
the blood of Christ."
"Nature and society," said he, "are full of
broad antagonisms, and the skill of the chemist
and moral philosopher is taxed to the uttermost
in searching for agencies which have power to
bring these opposing forces into profitable uni-
ties. Thus, oil and water utterly refuse to come
into fellowship, nor can any change of place or
application of force overcome their mutual re-
pulsion. The skilful chemist does not waste his
time in attempts to break down Nature's affinities
by doing outrage to her laws, but places an alkali
between the repugnant elements, and behold
they come at once into intimate unity.


It is a matter of general observation that
society grades itself by a similar law of social
affinity, making true the old adage, that 'Birds
of a feather will flock together.' Like seeks like
everywhere; and the powers and resources of
human wisdom have ever been earnestly em-
ployed to find moral forces that were potent to
remove the repulsions of the low and vicious,
and grade them into sympathy with the higher
and purer.
It requires no argument to prove that man
in a natural state is at a moral distance from God,
for it is a matter of universal consciousness,
abundantly established by the multiplied systems
of religion and forms of worship extant in the
world. These religious acts are but the strug-
glings of poor sinful humanity to lessen the dis-
tance between the soul and God. In all this
painful striving to bridge over the moral repul-
sion that separates the heart from God, only
one remedy has proved efficacious-the medi-
ation of Jesus Christ. His blood is the great
moral alkali. The proof of the alkaline power
when placed between the oil and the water is
the resultant new substance. The two antag-
onisms have ceased to exist, but they reap-


pear in a new form of most intimate associa-
Now, we have the victories of the cross just
as palpably set before the world. While all
forms of government and all human measures
of reform must point to the mournful failures
of ages in attempting to rescue degenerate hu-
manity, we direct the gaze with joyful exulta-
tation to John Bunyan, the besotted tinker, trans-
formed into the glorious dreamer; and to John
Newton, the heartless man-stealer, changed into
the devout preacher of righteousness and sweet
singer in Israel. These, with thousands of like
instances, are the trophies of the soul-renewing
power of the blood of Jesus. 'In Christ Jesus '
these glorious saints were brought from their
moral distance from God into a spiritual unity
with him; and during the process the 'old man
which was corrupt passed away, and the 'new
man was put on, 'which is renewed in know-
ledge after the image of Him who created him.'
No wonder-working law of chemistry comes
more obviously under notice than do these liv-
ing proofs of the efficacy of the atoning blood
of Christ. It has proved before the world that
it is the power of God unto salvation to every


one who truly believes the gospel. Until the
advocates of such liberal views as leave the soul
without a mediator before God, can produce
some trophies of reformed humanity that will
sufficiently attest the virtues of their doctrines,
we must hold them as deceiving and being de-
ceived. While we can point to the ever-increas-
ing hosts of the redeemed of the Lamb, history
lhas not failed to put on record the sad lives and
terrible end of those who, denying God, had
no knowledge left, and became so corrupt that
some special visitation of divine justice was called
forth to put them to shame, because God hath
despised them' "
The above sketch gives but the spirit of the
discourse founded on the text quoted, and it was
evident during the delivery that God was bless-
ing his word, for the attention was fixed and sol-
emn; and the speaker was glad to notice that
Mr. Browning was among those who seemed pe-
culiarly interested.
The following Tuesday night brought another
large assembly to the lyceum, showing that
Doctor Boyington had got the ear of the people,
which proved a happy stimulus for the occa-
sion. He began by remarking-


"We are assembled with the purpose of prov-
ing that Nature is a revelation of God, not a
chance splinter thrown off from some bursting
star, nor the condensation of some misty neb-
ulosity. Our emphatic avowal is, that 'in the
beginning God created the heaven and the earth,'
and we as boldly assert that it bears such abun-
dant evidence of the divine handiwork as to leave
no just question as to its origin.
In a lecture to which some of you listened
a short while ago it was attempted
to establish not only the pre-his-
toric, but the pre-Adamic, existence
of man; and the principal arguments
employed were the production of
certain rude flint arrow-heads, stone
hatchets like these which I now show
you (Figs. I and 2), and some
uncouth pottery. These, it was
averred, were found associated with
fossil remains too low in the geolog-
ical series to admit of having been
FIG. frro7 fashioned by a race living within the
head. period mentioned in Genesis, and
hence that statement must fall, and with it the
authority of the book in which it is found. The


inference intended to be drawn from this asser-
tion, though not stated, was nevertheless plainly
apparent-the Bible account of creation is not
Now, it will be noticed

that these rude imple- ...
ments bear but the faint-
est traces of design, yet
you observed that it was
not thought necessary to
s and a single word to
prove the fact that they k l
had their shaping from
human hands and were
fashioned to meet some
want of their fabricators. F Stor hatsat.
To have demanded this would have only called
from the speaker a smile at your simplicity, and
he would have treated you as you would have
deserved. \Vhen we look at a house, we do not
ask the silly question, Is there a carpenter ? or,
standing before a locomotive, inquire how it
came into existence. But whatever of design
these structures of human skill may possess, it
is as nothing compared with the marks of infinite
skill which Nature everywhere exhibits; and


who but a 'fool,' looking at her marvellous adap-
tations, could say 'in his heart, there is no
God '?
There is no fact more thoroughly established
by human observation than that every mark f
design is primdfacie evidence of an intelligent
personal. supervision. The law has been tersely
stated by Dugald Stewart: 'A combination of
means conspiring to a particular end implies in-
telligence.' Nor do we stop to take into consid-
eration the distance in space at which the design
was worked out, nor the lapse of time involved
in producing the thing observed, for these facts
have nothing to do in determining the question
of adaptation; far or near, long or short, the fact
is obvious-an intelligent actor was working out
a purpose. It was perfectly plain that the rude
arrow-head was for killing; the hatchet, for bruis-
ing or cutting; and the pottery, for domestic uses.
Of course, the degree of intelligence will be
measured by the intricacy involved in the pur-
pose wrought out, and the power of the forces
controlled in the process. Now, the gap between
the rough utensils exhibited and a splendid
chronometer or a steam-engine is so vast as
hardly to admit of a contrast; yet these poor


implements were considered a sufficient evidence
to establish the existence of a race of whom his-
tory makes no mention except as identified with
these fragments, and as absolutely invisible to
the reasoner as is the Almighty Creator to us
to-nirht. Yet, strange obtuseness! a demand
was made that we should admit the personal
existence of the savage and give him the glory
due to his rude achievement, while, standing
amid the unapproachable works of Jehovah, the
marks of his handixTorks were denied, and Na-
ture charged with giving no proofs of his exist-
ence! Truly, it may be said of those guilty of
such folly 'that they are without excuse.'
We may take the highest achievements of
human genius and ingenuity, and they will bear
no comparison, in clearly-marked evidences of
adaptation, with the works of God, turn where
we will. Yet what is visible in creation is but
the lesser half of God's creative wisdom and
power. The sublimest potencies of Nature, like
their divine Author, are hidden from common
observation. The work is seen, but not the
worker, unless 'devoutly sought for and with
diligence. Among the greatest achievements
of human investigation have been the searching


out of some of God's mighty agencies and the
inventing of machinery which under constant
and wise control will make them subservient to
man's benefit. Though man has succeeded in
finding out the existence of many of these mighty
workers, and has turned them to useful purposes,
the wisest are yet profoundly ignorant of the real
nature of the most familiar. We know some-
thing of what they can do, but nothing of what
they are, save only that they are the agencies
through which God carries on the operations of
the visible world. We all, and very justly,
glorify the men who have skill enough to de-
sign methods of utilizing the force; but, alas !
there are some who are so dull or wilfully blind
as not to see a greater than man behind the
power made subservient. It was very perti-
nently remarked in the London Punch of these
rejecters of God's creative wisdom and power,
that 'they had lived long enough and searched
far enough to find out that there was a law; and
perhaps if they should live a little longer and
search a little farther, they might find out that
there was a Lawgiver.'
In the subsequent lectures which I propose
to deliver I shall pass by the more obvious


works of God's hand as seen in structural or-
ganizations, and select only those mighty forces
which most strikingly embody the wisdom and
omnipotence of the Creator. Mankind have
struggled long and hard to find them out,
though, like God himself, these agencies were
not far from any one of the searchers; nay, they
were the very essentials of the life and energies
employed in the investigation. When we ask
to know more of the essential nature of the
power invoked, science stands dumb, and reve-
lation alone breaks the silence as it proclaims
the majesty of Omnipotence : 'Lift up your eyes
on hiCh, and behold who has created these
things, that bringeth out their hosts by number;
he calleth them all by names, by the greatness
of his might, for he is strong in power.'.
No mechanism of a watch nor anything that
human skill can fabricate will serve as a fitting
comparison in point of special adaptation with
the grand forces by which God works out his
wonderful designs. Invisible, subtle, and some
of them, as far as now known, immaterial, they
take hold of the smallest atom of matter float-
ing unseen and hold it to its office-work, and
grasp with equal potency the whole heaven-


ly array of incomprehensible worlds, guiding
them in their circuits with a like perfection and
Truly, it must be a very strangely constituted
mind that can look down the ages past, and per-
ceive through the medium of some rude imple-
ments evidence sufficient to establish the exist-
ence of a race that has left no other monuments
to testify in its behalf, yet can follow the sublime
leading of any of these mighty workers and
fail to reach the throne of the Almighty! None
but a being wearing this peerless title could
bring such forces into existence and hold them
in subservient control.
"As was shown in my first lecture, it would
be a motive worthy of the noblest ambition to
follow these grand agencies upward, searching
for an all-wise Creator; but surely there could
be no sufficient inducement for one to push his
researches downward with the assurance that
the farther he went the less would be the reward
of his assiduity, and the only final ending dis-
appointment and death. No higher aim can be
cherished than to seek a relationship with the
Infinite One. This thought filled the hopes and
ambition of the devout Psalmist, and he ex-


claimed, 'I shall be satisfied when I awake in
thy likeness.' Certainly, one would judge that
it could be no stimulant to hope or ambition to
seek relationship with a monkey or a clot of in-
visible jelly. It would rather be the dictates
of prudence and self-respect, if facts linked us to
such an ignoble lineage, to conceal our low an-
cestry rather than to proclaim it abroad. Those
who do otherwise would rather indicate that,
having found their instincts in harmony with
such grovelling associations, they act upon the
policy of the fox, who, having lost his tail in the
trap, would persuade his associates to submit to
a like mutilation. I trust that the people of
Iilmdale are not so anxious to become cousins
to a baboon as to induce them to spend large
sums to bring witnesses from a distance to prove
the relationship. For the present we will waive
our claims and leave the monopoly of such rela-
tions to those who have no higher tastes or am-
bition. Our song and prayer shall still be,

Nearer, my God, to thee-nearer to thee!'

Having, as I trust, established the general
fact that Nature as a whole is but a revelation
of the wisdom and power of God, I propose to


go more into detail in the future lectures which
I hope to give, and will announce as my next
subject, Gravitation, the Invisible Hand of