Monday, September 12, 2011

Lew Wallace (1827 - 1905)

Lew Wallace was a Major General in the Union Army during the Civil War. He became the governor of New Mexico between 1878 - 1881. Furthermore, he became the U.S. Minister to Turkey in 1881 - 1845. Major General Lew Wallace became the author of the infamous book Ben Hur.

He wrote in the "Youth Companion" on February 2, 1893.

"At that time (1875), speaking candidly, I was not in th least influenced by religious sentiment. I had no conviction about God and Christ. I neither believed nor believed them..."
"I had been listening to a discussion which involved such elemental points as God, Heaven, life hereafter, Jesus Christ, and His Divinity. Trudging on in the dark, alone, except as one's thoughts may be company, good or bad, a sense of the importance of the theme struck me for the first time with a force both singular and persistent. I was ashamed of myself, and make haste now to declare that mortification of pride I then endured, or, if it be preferred, the punishment of spirit, ended in a resolution to study the whole matter, if only for the gratification there might be in having convictions of onekind or another."
"Forthwith a number of practical suggestions assailed me. How could I conduct the study? Delve into theology? I shuddered...There were the sermons and commentaries. The very thought of them overwhelmed me with an idea of the shortness of life. No, I would read the Bible and the fourt Gospels. A lawyer of fifteen or twenty years of practice attains a confidence peculiar in his mental muscularity, so to speak..."
"The manuscript in my desk ended with the birth of Christ; why not make it the first book of a volume, and go on to His death? I halted - there was light!...I had my opening; it was the birth of Christ. Could anything be more beautiful? As a mere story, the imagination of man has conceived nothing more crowded with poetry, mystery, and incidents, pathetic and sublime, nothing sweeter with human interest, nothing so nearly a revelation of God in person."
"So, too, I saw a fitting conclusion. Viewed purely and professionally as a climax or catastrophe to be written up to, the final scene of the last act of the tragedy, what could be more stupendous than the Crucifixion?...Wanting a connecting thread for the whole story - that given to Christ the Child and that given to Christ the Savior, I kept Beltshasar alive to the end..."
"I determined to withhold the reappearance of the Saviour until the very last hours. Meanwhile, He should always be coming - today I would have Him, as it were, just over the hill yonder - tommorow He will be here, and then tomorrow...Finally when He was come, I would be religiously careful that every word He uttered should be a literal quotation from one of His sainted biographers..."
"The name "Ben-Hur" was chosen because it was biblical, and easily spelled, printed and pronounced."
"As this article is the nature of confessions, here is one which the readers of the Youth's Companion may excuse, and accept at the same time as a fitting conclusion: Long before I was through with my book I became a believer in God and Christ."

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