Va. Military Institute
Lexington, Va. Jany. 16th 1852
My Dear Sister,
Your letter has like every other good, brought with it pain. But I hope that your health will again return among the blessings of Providence to brighten the remainder of your days as well as those of mine.
I have been desirous of writing at an earlier day; but our examination and other duties have prevented my doing so, and even now this pleasing task is performed during the height of the examination. It could be delayed no longer without a degree of pain, which your brother is unwilling to experience on this subject. This trying ordeal will close about Thursday next.
I hope that you will look back if you through your past life and see if you can not find some cause for your afflictions.
Now my dear sister. You are aware that I am troubled about your hopes in relation to the endless futurity. The best plan that I can conceive for an unbeliever in God, as presented to us in the Bible, is to first consider things in reference merely to expediency. Now considering the subject with reference to expediency only, let us examine whether it is safer to be a Christian or an Infidel. Suppose two persons, one a Christian and the other an infidel, to be closing their earthly existences and suppose that the infidel is right and the Christian is wrong, they will then after death be upon an equality. But instead of the infidel being right, suppose him to be wrong and the Christian right, then will the state of the latter after death be inestimably superior to that of the other. And if you will examine the history of mankind it will be plain that Christianity contributes much more to happiness in this life, than that of infidelity. Now having briefly glanced at this subject, to what decision are we forced on the mere ground of expediency, certainly it is to the adoption of Christianity.
Having made our selection of Christianity, the next point is to consider whether we can believe the teachings of the Sacred volume; if so, then its adoption should of necessity follow. I have examined the subject maturely, and the evidence is very conclusive, and if we do not receive the Bible as being authentic and creditable, we must reject every other ancient work; as there is no other in favor of which, so much evidence can be adduced. Oh Sister! do pray to God for his mercy, and eternal life through our Redeemer Jesus Christ.
I have not yet been able to procure the peaches of which I spoke in my former letter. Cousin Harriet has returned from her visit to Point Pleasant, which was to her very pleasant. Uncle Minor Neale's daughter has returned home, with her grand-father who came north for her. Talk to Thomas & Grace for me and tell them that their uncle is very much obliged to them and that they must continue to be good children, and do what their mother and father may require of them.
Remember me very kindly to all inquiring friends and Relatives.
I should be much pleased to see a literary institution in Beverly; but I cannot see how to be serviceable to it. If you will state in your next what I would have to do as agent I would be enabled to give a more definite answer.