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To the same.

Boston, July 27, 1834,
I have at last obtained the “Christian Examiner,” and read your article. As the old Quaker wrote me about the “Mother's book,” 1 “I am free to say to thee, it is a most excellent thing.” I think I never read a better article in my life; not even excepting the “Edinburgh.” I was delighted with it.

You bow most reverently to Wordsworth, “that great poet,” that “confidant of angels,” as Lavater says of Klopstock. Did not your conscience twinge you for throwing Peter Bell and the Idiot Boy in my teeth so often, and for laughing me to scorn when I said Milton's fame was the sure inheritance of Wordsworth? [14]

I was glad for what you said concerning the state of the affections with regard to the perception of elevated truths.

I believe the more you look inward the more you will be convinced of the truth of what you advanced on that point, and that, too, not merely in a general point of view, but as applied to your own mind, and the different states of your own mind. When wishing to defend a truth merely from the love of intellectual power, or for the sake of appearing superior to some other person, I have felt my mind darkened, a thick fog arose, and scarcely one fine edge of light gave token of the glories I had hidden from myself: but while sitting in my own apartment, looking out upon the water or the heavens, or, in childish mood, watching the perpetual motion of the doves opposite my window, unconscious (as the “t Edinburgh” says) of the existence of any of the little passions and impure motives which at once blind and harass the intellect, in such a state of feeling, the same truth, that I had before lost in darkness, is written on the mind with the power and certainty of a sunbeam; and to doubt it would appear to me as insane as to require proof that the moon is not an optical delusion.

I believe there can be no real religion where reason does not perform her high and very important office, but here again comes the important point, reason cannot do her perfect work unless the affections are pure. If we wish a thing to be true, or to make it appear true, for the sake of our party or our theory, or because it gives us an apparent superiority in morals, in intellect,--in a world, if self mingles with the motive, “the tree of knowledge is not the tree of life.” We may imagine that it makes us as gods, [15] knowing good from evil, “but the moment we eat thereof, we shall surely die.”

I believe it is more safe and useful to dwell upon the necessity of keeping the heart pure, than of enlightening the understanding. An uneducated man can more safely trust to his conscience than to his understanding.

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