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[215] away from it, he seems never to have disavowed or changed it, and for fifty years it remained perhaps his most popular work.

To Beecher's Western period also belong short pieces which first appeared in an Indiana agricultural paper and were later (1859) reprinted as Plain and pleasant talk about fruit, flowers and farming. Of no intrinsic literary importance, they are of interest as showing the sources of much of Beecher's imagery. He was always close to the soil, and he drew from natural phenomena some of his most effective ‘illustrations.’ The Star papers (1855 and 1859) and the Eyes and ears (1862), collections of short essays, are good reading even now. With naivete and self-depreciation, Beecher records his impressions of his first tour in Europe, tells of holiday outings among the Connecticut hills and trout streams, and gives plainly and modestly his very sensible opinions upon such subjects as sudden conversion, mischievous self-examination, and total depravity. The latter doctrine he rejects, accepting the doctrine of men's sinfulness and the necessity of their atonement not because Adam fell but because sin is actual and present. With regard to conversion, he takes the empiricist view that only in rare cases does the inner clock strike twelve when men have found grace; they may have it, yet not have infallible evidence. Hence he deprecates excessive introspection and hesitation, and says ‘Go ahead.’ His reminiscences, too, of old Litchfield at a time when that lucky town held Miss Pierce's Female Seminary and the celebrated Law School of Judge Gould and Judge Tapping Reeve, are discursive essays of permanent interest. His story of how, having as a boy of thirteen visited the Charlestown Navy Yard, he stole a cannon ball and went away with it in his hat, is as enjoyable as Franklin's apologues of The axe to Grind and of Paying too dear for one's Whistle. The Essay on Apple Pie is not toto coelo removed from the Essay on Roast Pig. Home Revisited, the record of a few days in Indianapolis, recalls the first of his sermons which he considered a success because it was aimed at his hearers; and tells by the way of his awe of Jonathan Edwards, ‘I never could read . . . Sinners in the hands of an angry God . . . at one sitting. I think a person of moral sensibilities, alone at midnight, reading that awful discourse, ’

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