Charles S. Peirce (1892)

12 W 39th St. 1892 Apr 24

Dear & Reverend Sir:

I took the Holy Communion at St Thomas's this morning-in fact, just now-under peculiar circumstances, which it seems proper to report.

For many years I have not taken Communion and have seldom entered a church, although I have always had a passionate love for the church and a complete faith that the essence of christianity, whatever that might be, was Divine; but still I could not reconcile my notions of common sense and of evidence with propositions of the creed, and I found going to church made me sophistical and gave me an impulse to play fast and loose with matters of intellectual integrity. Therefore, I gave it up; though it has been the cause of many a bitter reflection. Many times I have tried to cipher out some justification for my return to the communion of the church; but I could not. Especially, the last two nights I have lain awake thinking of the matter.

This morning after breakfast I felt I had to go to church anyway. I wandered about not knowing where, to find a regular episcopal church, in which I was confirmed; but finally came to St. Thomas. I had several times been in it on week days to look at the chancel, therefore I saw nothing new to me. But this time-I was not thinking of St. Thomas and his doubts either-no sooner had I got into the church than I seemed to receive the direct permission of the Master to come. Still, I said to myself, I must not go to the communion without further reflection! I must go home & duly prepare myself before I venture. But, when the instant came, I found myself carried up to the altar rail, almost without my own volition. I am perfectly sure that it was right. Anyway, I could not help it.

I may mention the reason why I do not offer to put my gratitude for the bounty granted to me into some form of church work, that which seemed to call me today seemed to promise me that I should bear a cross like death for the Master's sake, and he would give me strength to bear it. I am sure that will happen. My part is to wait.

I have never before been mystical; but now I am. After giving myself time to reflect upon the situation, I will call to see you.

Yours very truly
C. S. Peirce

It does not seem to me that it would be wise to make the circumstances known; but I conceive it my duty to report them to you. I am a man of 52, and married.

Fin de: "L 482: Letter to the reverend John W. Brown".

Fecha del documento: 11 de marzo 2003
Última actualización: 9 de enero 2011

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