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is silently resting even on some sober and believing minds. St. Peter has touched one of the sources of infidelity when he says, ' Since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.' The regularity of the laws of nature, though designed as light to reveal, becomes a cloud, to hide the interposition of God.
I should be a very imperfect Puritan, if I did not confess myself to be a firm Christian; and yet, I must confess, I have often felt my mind exercised on the obscurity of the proofs of revelation. I have longed to see the Deity step out from his hiding-place, and give some visible tokens of his power. I have hungered and thirsted after a miracle. I have tried to imagine the emotions of surprise and adoration, which would shake my heart, could I once see the laws of nature suspended. But no; she rolls on, in the same rigid uniformity. No spiritual voice meets my spirit, to attest the presence of anything in nature but the plastic power, which executes her silent laws. I have walked on the sea-shore, and heard the roaring of its waves; I have sat amidst the tombs, at midnight; I have listened, with the intensest interest, amidst the deep solitudes of the woods; I have fled from the living, and implored the dead for some supernatural voice to break on the abstracted ear of faith and meditation.
'Tell us, ye dead!—will none of you, in pity?
O, that some courteous ghost would blab it out!'
But all has been in vain. Nature, rigid, silent, unconscious nature, is always interposing her material images between me and my God.
I have sometimes been led to envy the privileges of the first Christians; and to wish that I had been born in those happier days. I should then have heard the gospel as it was delivered from the lips of Infinite Wisdom, and seen the proofs, which might silence. skepticism and awaken a conquering faith in the most sluggish heart. I might have caught some notes of the heavenly hosts, as they sung over the quiet innocence' of the shepherds, at midnight, and have stood at the tomb of Lazarus, when the voice of his Redeemer called him from the dead. There is an impression resting on my heart, that I should have conquered my sins with more facility; and have lived more devoted to that celestial power, which was everywhere manifested around. Hail, ye happy spirits! Why have ye not transmitted to later ages your wonderful works?-and thou, bright morn of Christianity, why were thy dews so transient, and thy reign so short? I have but little faith; I own it. But no angel has ever visited me from the skies; no saint has spoken to my midnight dreams; no miracle has ever met my eye. I have but little faith; but my heart longs to find an excuse and a cause in the little proof.
Full of these reflections, I lately retired to sleep; and, the impressions of the day following me, I was favored with a dream.
I seemed to be walking beneath a steep precipice, on the eastern shores of the lake Gennesaret. The waters seemed to be hushed in the profoundest tran-` quillity, and their color was tinged with the purple rays of the setting sun. The day was declining; the
shadows of the mountains were stretched upon the waters; and a secret sanctity seemed to pervade the scene, which witnessed the wonders once wrought in it by the Redeemer of men. I felt an increase of faith, as my eye stole over the objects around me, and I could almost fancy I could see the lake agitated by a storm; the bark of the disciples laboring amid the waves. I could almost fancy I heard his voice speaking to the tempest, and saying, 'Peace, be still!' But still, the laws of nature seemed to regain their invisible hold on every object around me. The waves laved the shores, as other waves do; and the rocks reflected their gigantic shadows, in the bosom of the lake, like other rocks. I still felt the chilling influence of unbelief.
While I was walking, I noticed, at a little distance from me, a pale old man, dressed in the habits of antiquity, with a remarkable, incredulous aspect. He appeared to be counting his fingers, walking with an irregular step, until at last he fixed his eyes with a look of compassion on me. I immediately knew him to be Thomas Didymus, the apostle so famous for his unbelief. I approached him, with low reverence, and thus began: "O thou once frail mortal on earth, now
certainly a saint in glory, have compassion on my weakness, and hear me tell my wo. Thou hast been the prey of doubt; thy mind was once the region of darkness, as mine is now; thou didst say, when on earth- Except I shall see in his hands the print of his nails, and put my fingers in the print of the nails, (here the vision shook his head, and dropped a tear,) and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.' Such is exactly my condition. I long for ocular proof. Tell me, where shall I find it? The saint fixed his eyes upon me, and, with his long white finger, kept pointing at my breast. But, though his countenance was full of meaning, he spoke not a word, and continued pointing to my heart, while he fixed his eye constantly and fearfully upon me. I felt an irresistible disposition to look away to the lake; I expected to see it ruffled by storms and stilled by some word of miraculous power; I called for signs from Heaven; I gazed, to see if the wing of some angel would not cleave the clouds, and, from its silver feathers, dart some supernatural light into my mind. Still, the apostle continued pointing his finger at my breast; and, with a deliberate step, he approached nearer and nearer to the spot on which I stood. There was something inexpressibly awful in his long-continued silence. My heart beat with apprehension. Speak!' said I; speak, thou dumb vision, and tell how I may be satisfied.' He still approached me, and pulling a little pocket Bible from
my pocket, began, with a melancholy air, to turn over