A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God
DEDICATION TO A DREAM-FRIEND
To the friend of my dreams:
Others may peruse this paper; thou, at least, will read it, only a Dreamlander though thou art. Bring to the reading such prepossessions as exist in thy mind: only cast paper doubts,—both play-doubts and Cartesian doubts,—aside. Real doubt is too distressing a state to pass over us unrecognized. In thee I shall then hold the treasure of a candid, open-minded,
and scientific critic, not only in points wherein thou mayst be disposed to disagree with me, but also in those upon which we may, both of us, have too hastily reached the same conclusion. [After ??] all, I rest assured thou wilt not render final judgment upon the theological argument which I shall herein describe, but cannot state, until thou shalt have become intimately acquainted with it. For all that either of us twain desires to do is to bring the truth to light, whatever its color.
Leave ample time for the workings of rumination!
Asleep and awake, I have dreamed of thee often and often, dear Reader. But I felicitate myself on the probability that thou first learnest of there being a person of my name; so that, in case thou now first hear, too, of the great argument I adduce,—first hear of it, I mean, as an argument, since as a fact, and a persuasive one, it cannot be new to
you thee,—I may have the advantage of learning how a mind so sane as thine first estimates its force, as it is per se, free from all [further ??] augmentation or diminution , that the repute of its utterer the arguer might effect.
Yet I fear I may be exposing some of those who turn over these pages to a risk. For owing to my want of lucidity, to my awkwardness in setting forth the argument, and my unkempt style, instead of attracting anybody to this postern entrance to the house of God, as I have ventured to hope might be possible, I am afraid I shall bore essaying readers so that they will only skim the article, and get but a vague, false, and essentially inadequate notion of the argument, thus being deprived forever of the benefit of feeling its full force while yet fresh and new in their minds. Now I know well that if I could
only converse with those very people, face to face, there would be no such danger. For though anything but fluent on ordinary topics, yet on this subject, my speech runs steadily in a full stream for hours at command. As a well-known man
said remarked, it is like turning a top. Meantime, those to whom I talk, far from being bored, are much impressed. To be sure, they know me, and know how utterly beyond my powers would be every art of speech. Now it has occurred to me, as a possibility that the difference between the cases of writing and of talking might be lessened if the perusers of what I