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[71] be a dissenter from the established faith; nor was there any dissenting sect or society in the vicinity; nor was any periodical of a heterodox character taken in the neighborhood; nor did any heretical works fall in the boy's way till years after his religious opinions were settled. Yet, from the age of twelve he began to doubt; and at fourteen—to use the pathetic language of one who knew him then—‘he was little better than a Universalist.’

The theology of the seminary and the theology of the farm-house are two different things. They are as unlike as the discussion of the capital punishment question in a debating society is to the discussion of the same question among a company of criminals accused of murder. The unsophisticated, rural mind meddles not with the metaphysics of divinity; it takes little interest in the Foreknowledge and Free—will difficulty, in the Election and Responsibility problem, and the manifold subtleties connected therewith. It grapples with a simpler question:— “ Am I in danger of being damned?” “Is it likely that I shall go to hell, and be tormented with burning sulphur, and the proximity of a serpent, forever, and ever, and ever?” To minds of an ampler and more generous nature, the same question presents itself, but in another form:— “Is it a fact that nearly every individual of the human family will forever fail of attaining the welfare of which he was created capable, and be ” lost, “ beyond the hope, beyond the possibility of recovery?” Upon the latter form of the inquiry, Horace meditated much, and talked often during his thirteenth and fourteenth years. When his companions urged the orthodox side, he would rather object, but mildly, and say with a puzzled look, ‘It don't seem consistent.’

While he was in the habit of revolving such thoughts in his mind, a circumstance occurred which accelerated his progress towards a rejection of the damnation dogma. It was nothing more than his chance reading in a school-book of the history of Demetrius Poliorcetes. The part of the story which bore upon the subject of his thoughts may be out-lined thus:—

Demetrius, (B. C. 301,) surnamed Poliorcetes, besieger of cities, was the son of Antigonus, one of those generals whom the death of Alexander the Great left masters of the world. Demetrius was one of the “fast” princes of antiquity, a handsome, brave, ingenuous

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Demetrius Poliorcetes (2)
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