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An Autobiography

again--the expansion of Paul's dictum that faith is not certainty, but a belief without
sufficient proof, a belief which leads to right action and to self-sacrifice. Of the 70 years
of life which one might hope to live and work in, I had no mean idea. I asked in the
newspaper, "Is life so short?" and answered. "No." I expanded and spiritualized the idea
in a sermon. and I again answered emphatically "No." I saw the continuation and the
expansion of true ideas by succeeding generations. To the question put sometimes
peevishly, "Is life worth living?" I replied with equal emphasis, "Yes." My mother told
me of old times. I recalled half a century of progress, and I hoped the forward movement
would continue. I read the manuscript of "An Agnostic's Progress" to Mr. and Mrs. Barr
Smith, and they thought so well of it that they offered to take it to England on one of their
many visits to the old country, where they had no doubt it would find a publisher.
Trubner's reader reported most favourably of the book, and we thought there was an
immediate prospect of its publication; but Mr. Trubner died, and the matter was not taken
up by his successor, and my friends did what I had expressly said they were not to do,
and had it printed and published at their own expense. There were many printer's errors in
it, but it was on the whole well reviewed, though it did not sell well. The Spectator joined
issue with me on the point that it is only through the wicket gate of Doubt that we can
come to any faith that is of value; but I am satisfied that I took the right stand there. My
mother was in no way disquieted or disturbed by my writing the book, and few of my
friends read it or knew about it. I still appeared so engrossed with work on The Register
and The Observer that my time was quite well enough accounted for. I tried for a prize of
100 pounds offered by The Sydney Mail with a novel called "Handfasted," but was not
successful, for the judge feared that it was calculated to loosen the marriage tie--it was
too socialistic and consequently dangerous.