There had been no time for reflection; and now that he had a breathing space, he was unable to see how he might reorganize his work in order to make it more efficient. There were other perplexities, brought about by the glimpses he had had into the lives and beliefs or rather unbeliefs of his new parishioners.
They must have services of some sort, of course, and probably that flabby, fish-eyed man, her fellow-boarder, was to preach; but her heart turned sick at thought of listening to a man who had confessed to the unbeliefs that he had. Of course, he would likely know enough to keep such doubts to himself; but he had told her, and nothing he could say now would help or uplift her in the least.
So did the music of Emerson's words and life steal into the hearts of our stern New England theologians, and soften them to a temper which would have seemed treasonable weakness to their stiff-kneed forefathers. When a man lives a life commended by all the Christian virtues, enlightened persons are not so apt to cavil at his particular beliefs or unbeliefs as in former generations.
Hell she thought was merely an invention got up by the priest to keep people good; and ghosts would not be permitted, she held, to go "trapsin about the earth" at their own free will; "but there are faeries," she added, "and little leprechauns, and water-horses, and fallen angels." I have met also a man with a mohawk Indian tattooed upon his arm, who held exactly similar beliefs and unbeliefs.
They seemed to bid her take no heed of Julian's condition, and she did not look at him again just then. Trying to control her fears, she listened to Valentine's conversation with the doctor. "Doctors are sceptics by profession," she heard him say. "I believe in individualism too firmly to allow that any beliefs or unbeliefs can be professional, Cresswell."
On the other hand a large part of the constituencies would be town districts, and these would send up persons representing the beliefs or unbeliefs of the lowest classes in their towns.
From early childhood parents and friends are hypnotizing the child into beliefs and unbeliefs, and too often they are exiling all nobility out of life, all confidence, all trust, all hope; they are insinuating a mean self-seeking, a self-mistrust, a vulgar spirit which laughs at every high ideal, until at last the hypnotized child is blinded to the presence of any beauty or nobility in life.
"I would give anything to possess your beliefs," she said wistfully, "but I can't, I can't; when God made me He must have left out the part that one believes with." Nevertheless Miss Slessor said that for all her beliefs and unbeliefs she was one of the most truly Christian women she had ever met.
God will yet be victorious over our wretched unbeliefs." I was sitting facing the sea, but with my eyes fixed on the sand, boring holes in it with my stick, for I could talk better when I did not look my familiar faces in the face. I did not feel thus in the pulpit; there I sought the faces of my flock, to assist me in speaking to their needs.
If Christianity were to sweep on, these few unbending but faithful ones must be sacrificed: such was the law... Many, while repudiating his new beliefs or unbeliefs! added, to their regrets of the change in him, protestations of a continued friendship, a conviction of his sincerity. Others like Mrs. Atterbury, were frankly outraged and bitter.