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that the circumstances called out a certain kind of talent he possessed, and thus helped to make him what he became. Success depends in a great measure in early directing the young in the path to which their natural endowments point. Overlooking the "natural bent," the youth has often selected an occupation (or his father for him) for which he has no special aptitude, and he brings little to pass.

Benjamin was a square youth, and he got into a square hole, which he just fitted. He was not there by his own election; he was there by the lead of Providence, and he cheerfully acquiesced. Becoming the right boy in the right place, he grew into stalwart manhood and a useful life, as naturally as the sapling on congenial soil grows into the thrifty, fruit-bearing tree.

In the second chapter we spoke of Boston, in the infancy of Benjamin, as a place where bears were plenty, and other wild animals roamed. The Courant contained the following paragraph, about the time of its contest with the Court, and we copy it as a fitting close to this chapter :

"It is thought that not less than twenty Bears have been killed in about a week's time within two miles of Boston. Two have been killed below the Castle, as they were swimming from one island to another, and one attempted to board a boat out in the bay, but the men defended themselves so well with the boat-hook and oars, that they put out her eyes, and then killed her. On Tuesday last two were killed at Dorchester, one of which weighed sixty pounds a quarter. We hear from Providence that the bears appear to be very thick in those parts."




HAT book have you there, Ben?" inquired John Collins, some time before the newspaper enterprise was started.

"Lord Shaftesbury's work. I have been looking into it for some time; and Anthony Collins' work, too," answered Benjamin. "I suppose that my father would say they are not quite Orthodox; but they are very interesting, and I think their views are reasonable."

"I have been questioning your Orthodoxy for some time, Ben, but I thought you would come out all right in the end, and so I have said nothing. I don't know about your coming out all right if you become a disciple of Shaftesbury." John made this reply more in jest than in earnest, for he cared little whether Benjamin was a sceptic or not. Perhaps he was sceptical himself at that time; some things indicate as much.

"I think it is rather difficult to tell how I shall come out, John; but I do not purpose to believe anything in religion, science, or anything else, just because my father does," responded Benjamin. "I know that I have accepted some religious dogmas because I was taught them, and for no other reason.

"Then you do not now believe all that you have been taught about religion, if I understand you?”

"No, I am free to say that I do not. There is neither reason nor wisdom in portions of the creed of the Church." "Why, Ben, you surprise me. You are getting to be

quite an infidel for a boy. It won't do for you to read Shaftesbury and Collins any more, if you are so easily upset by them. I don't know anything about them, only from what I hear. I never read a paragraph of either."

"One thing is sure," continued Benjamin. "I mean to be classed among the few people who think for themselves. It is a small company I shall be found in, but it is an independent one. Most people are religious because they are so instructed. They embrace the religion of their fathers and mothers, without asking what is true or false. I will not be of that class. I will not be Orthodox or Heterodox because my ancestors were."

"There is not much danger that you will do that, Ben. Present appearances rather indicate that the religious opinions of your father will be blown sky-high." John did not mean quite as much as his language in this reply denoted.

"You do not understand me. I respect my parents and their religious opinions, though I doubt some of the doctrines they have taught me. I never examined them until I began to read Shaftesbury and Collins, but accepted them as correct because my father and grandfather believed them. I shall do that no more, that is all I meant."

"Well, I cannot say that you are wrong, Ben. If you make half as good a man as your father is, by believing half the truths he believes and advocates, you will stand pretty well in the world. I expect that we ought to avoid religious cant, bigotry, and intolerance."

"I expect so, too; and there is much of all three existing to-day," Benjamin answered. "A bigot may be a wellmeaning man, but so much the worse for him. There is so much bigotry in Boston to-day, that the minister of each denomination thinks his denomination has all the truth and all the religion there is. I think that idea is a falsehood, to begin with."

"I shall agree with you there, Ben. I have no question

that a man may be a Christian without believing half that most denominations profess to believe. And I suppose that the main thing is to be Christians, and not theologians."

"You are drifting to my side as fast as is necessary," remarked Benjamin, laughing. "You will come clear over in due time. I am sure you will, if you read Shaftesbury." "Well, I must drift home in a hurry," responded John. "Whether I shall drift to you, the future will reveal. You are now in too deep water for me. I should drown if I got in where you are."

John left, and Benjamin went on thinking, as he was wont. He put more thinking into every twenty-four hours than any three boys together in Boston. At this time he was quite a doubter,really a young sceptic. In the printing office he drifted in that direction faster and faster. He was a kind of speculator from childhood. He loved to argue. He enjoyed being on the opposite side, to indulge his propensity to argue. After he learned the Socratic method of reasoning, he was more inclined to discuss religion with different parties. Perhaps he did it to practise the method, rather than to show his aversion to religion. But, judging from what followed in the next three or four years, he grew decidedly unbelieving. We can discover his lack of reverence for the Christian religion, and want of confidence in it, in articles he wrote for the Courant. Nothing very marked, it is true, but some of his articles lean in that direction.

Besides, Benjamin was one of those talented, independent boys, who think it is manly to break away from ancestral creeds. When he was eleven years old he was assisting his father to pack a barrel of pork for winter use. When the work was done he said to his father :

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Father, it would save time if you would say grace over the whole barrel now, instead of saying it over a piece at a time."

Whether his father flogged him for such irreverence, we are not told; nevertheless, the fact is suggestive of an element in the boy's make-up to which the ingenious sceptic

may appeal with success. Possibly, it was only the native humour of the boy, which, with his love of fun, cropped out on that occasion. It was irreverence, however, whatever

may have been his motive.

Many were the conversations that Benjamin had with his friend, John Collins, upon religion after becoming thoroughly poisoned by reading Shaftesbury and Collins.

"By the way, John, I should like to read to you what your namesake says on the subject. Perhaps you descended straight from this illustrious infidel."


'Perhaps so; but I shall not spend time in tracing my pedigree," John replied. "I never dared to trace my ancestors far back, for fear I should run into some disreputable family."

"It is probably an accident that you are a Collins; so that we can't lay it up against you, John; but I should really like to read two or three paragraphs from Collins' work, that you may judge of him.”

“Go ahead, and I will give you respectful attention. If it is above my capacity to understand, I will not hold you responsible."

Benjamin proceeded to read from Collins' work as follows:

"Opinions, how erroneous soever, when the Effect of an impartial Examination, will never hurt Men in the sight of God, but will recommend Men to his Favour. For impartial Examination in the Matter of Opinion is the best that a Man can do towards obtaining Truth, and God, who is a wise, good, and just Being, can require no more of Men than to do their best, and will reward them when they do their best; and he would be the most unjust Being imaginable, if he punished Men, who had done their best endeavour to please him. Besides, if men were to be punished by God for mistaken Opinions, all men must be damned; for all Men abound in mistaken Opinions.”

"While Rome was in the Height of its glory for Arms

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