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him completely under the log, to get out. Horace emerged, halfdrowned, and again hung for life at the rough bark. But the future hero of ten thousand paragraphs was not to be crowned in a millpond; so the log floated into shallower water, when, by making a last, spasmodic effort, he succeeded in springing up high enough to get safely upon its broad back. It was a narrow escape for both; but Horace, with all his reams of articles forming in his head, came as near taking a summary departure to that bourn where no TRIBUNE could have been set up, as a boy could, and yet not go. He went dripping home, and recovered from the effects of his adventure in due time.
This was Horace Greeley's first experience of 'log-rolling.' It was not calculated to make him like it.
One of the first subjects which the boy seriously considered, and perhaps the first upon which he arrived at a decided opinion, was Religion. And this was the more remarkable from the fact, that his education at home was not of a nature to direct his attention strongly to the subject. Both of his parents assented to the Orthodox creed of New England; his father inherited a preference for the Baptist denomination; his mother a leaning to the Presbyterian. But neither were members of a church, and neither were particularly devout. The father, however, was somewhat strict in certain observances. He would not allow novels and plays to be read in the house on Sundays, nor an heretical book at any time. The family, when they lived near a church, attended it with considerable regularity-Horace among the rest. Sometimes the father would require the children to read a certain number of chapters in the Bible on Sunday. And if the mother-as mothers are apt to be—was a little less scrupulous upon such points, and occasionally winked at Sunday novel-reading, it certainly did not arise from any set disapproval of her husband's strictness. It was merely that she was the mother, he the father, of the family. The religious education of Horace was, in short, of a nature to leave his mind, not unbiased in favor of orthodoxy--that had been almost impossible in New England thirty years ago-but as nearly in equilibrium on the subject, in a state as favorable to original inquiry, as the place and circumstances of his early life rendered possible.
There was not in Westhaven one individual whe was knowr to
be a dissenter from the established faith; nor was there any dis senting 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 Poliorcètes. The part of the story which bore upon the subject of his thoughts may be out-lined thus:
Demetrius, (B. C. 301,) surnamed Poliorcètes, besieger of cities, was the son of Antigorus, 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, ingen
ious man, but vain, rash and dissolute. He and his father ruled over Asia Minor and Syria. Greece was under the sway of Cassander and Ptolemy, who had re-established in Athens aristocratic institutions, and held the Athenians in servitude. Demetrius, who aspired to the glory of succoring the distressed, and was not averse to reducing the power of his enemies, Cassander and Ptolemy, sailed to Athens with a fleet of two hundred and fifty ships, expelled the garrison and obtained possession of the city. Antigonus had been advised to retain possession of Athens, the key of Greece; but he replied: "The best and securest of all keys is the friendship of the people, and Athens was the watch-tower of the world, from whence the torch of his glory would blaze over the earth." Animated by such sentiments, his son, Demetrius, on reaching the city, had proclaimed that "his father, in a happy hour, he hoped, for Athens, had sent him to re-instate them in their liberties, and to restore their laws and ancient form of government." Th Athenians received him with acclamations. He performed all that he promised, and more. He gave the people a hundred and fifty thousand measures of meal, and timber enough to build a hundred galleys. The gratitude of the Athenians was boundless. They bestowed upon Demetrius the title of king and god-protector. They erected an altar upon the spot where he had first alighted from his chariot. They created a priest in his honor, and decreed that he should be received in all his future visits as a god. They changed the name of the month Munychion to Demetrion, called the last day of every month Demetrius, and the feasts of Bacchus Demetria. "The gods," says the good Plutarch, "soon showed how much offended they were at these things." Demetrius enjoyed these extravagant honors for a time, added an Athenian wife to the number he already possessed, and sailed away to prosecute the war. A second time the Athenians were threatened with the yoke of Cassander: again Demetrius, with a fleet of three hundred and thirty ships, came to their deliverance, and again the citizens taxed their ingenuity to the utmost in devising for their deliverer new honors and more piquant pleasures. At length Demetrius, after a career of victory fell into misfortune. His domains were invaded, his father was slain, the kingdom was dismembered, and Demetrius, with a remnant of his army, was obliged to fly. Reaching Ephesus in want of
money, he spared the temple filled with treasure; and fearing his soldiers would plunder it, left the place and embarked for Greece. His dependence was upon the Athenians, with whom he had left his wife, his ships, and his money. Confidently relying upon their af- ̧ fection and gratitude, he pursued his voyage with all possible expedition as to a secure asylum. But the fickle Athenians failed him in his day of need! At the Cyclades, Athenian ambassadors met him, and mocked him with the entreaty that he would by no means go to Athens, as the people had declared by an edict, that they would receive no king into the city; and as for his wife, he could find her at Megare, whither she had been conducted with the respect due to her rank. Demetrius, who up to that moment had borne his reverses with calmness, was cut to the heart, and overcome by mingled disgust and rage. He was not in a condition to avenge the wrong. He expostulated with the Athenians in moderate terms, and waited only to be joined by his galleys, and turned his back upon the ungrateful country. Time passed. Demetrius again became powerful. Athens was rent by factions. Availing himself of the occasion, the injured king sailed with a considerable fleet to Attica, landed his forces and invested the city, which was soon reduced to such extremity of famine that a father and son, it is related, fought for the possession of a dead mouse that happened to fall from the ceiling of the room in which they were sitting. The Athenians were compelled, at length, to open their gates to Demetrius, who marched in with his troops. He commanded all the citizens to assemble in the theater. They obeyed. Utterly at his mercy, they expected no mercy, felt that they deserved no mercy. The theater was surrounded with armed men, and on each side of the stage was stationed a body of the king's own guards. Demetrius entered by the tragedian's passage, advanced across the stage, and confronted the assembled citizens, who awaited in terror to hear the signal for their slaughter. But no such ignal was heard. He addressed them in a soft and persuasive one, complained of their conduct in gentle terms, forgave their ingratitude, took them again into favor, gave the city a hundred thouand measures of wheat, and promised the re-establishment of their ancient institutions. The people, relieved from their terror, astonished at their good fortune, and filled with enthusiasm at such
generous forbearance, overwhelmed Demetrius with acclaina tions.
Horace was fascinated by the story. He thought the conduct of Demetrius not only magnanimous and humane, but just and politic. Sparing the people, misguided by their leaders, seemed to him the best way to make them ashamed of their ingratitude, and the best way of preventing its recurrence. And he argued, if mercy is best and wisest on a small scale, can it be less so on a large? If a man is capable of such lofty magnanimity, may not God be who made man capable of it? If, in a human being, revenge and jealousy are despicable, petty and vulgar, what impiety is it to attribute such feelings to the beneficent Father of the Universe? The sin of the Athenians against Demetrius had every element of enormity. Twice he had snatched them from the jaws of ruin. Twice he had supplied their dire necessity. Twice he had refused all reward except the empty honors they paid to his name and person. He had condescended to become one of them by taking a daughter of Athens as his wife. He had entrusted his wife, his ships and his treasure to their care. Yet in the day of his calamity, when for the first time it was in their power to render him a service, when he was coming to them with the remnant of his fortune, without a doubt of their fidelity, with every reason to suppose that his misfortunes would render him dearer to them than ever; then it was that they determined to refuse him even an admittance within their gates, and sent an embassy to meet him with mockery and subterfuge.
Of the offenses committed by man against man, there is one which man can seldom lift his soul up to the height of forgiving. It is to be slighted in the day of his humiliation by those who showed him honor in the time of his prosperity. Yet man can forgive even this. Demetrius forgave it; and the nobler and greater a man is, the less keen is his sense of personal wrong, the less difficult it is for him to forgive. The poodle must show his teeth at every passing dog; the mastiff walks majestic and serene through a pack of snarling curs.
Amid such thoughts as these, the orthodox theory of damnation had little chance; the mind of the boy revolted against it more and