Lew Wallace told the following story to a friend:
I always believed in agnosticism and I hated the Christian faith. R.C.Ingersoll was one of my best friends. After being the governor of Arizona, I was coming back east with my friend Ingersoll. As we were talking, we approached the city of St Louis and we noticed a lot of church steeples.
Ingersoll said, “Isn’t it terrible that a lot of the so-called intellectual people continue to believe in stupid notions that they learn under the steeples of these churches! When will the time come when people will throw the teachings of their so-called Holy Bible away and consider them stupid?”
Suddenly, he looked at me and said, “Wallace, you’re an educated man and a thinker. Why don’t you collect enough material for a book that proves that Jesus’ teachings aren’t real and that Jesus himself didn’t exist? Such a book will make you famous. It will be a wonderful work and it will end this stupidity about that so-called Jesus the Savior of the world.”
I was deeply affected by this conversation. We discussed the subject of this book together and I told him that I would try to gather the information and publish it as a wonderful piece of my life and a crowning glory of my work.
I went home to Indianapolis and talked to my wife about my goal. Since my wife was a member of the church, she was not happy with the idea but I decided to go ahead with it anyway. I started my research in all the libraries here and in those in the Old World and gathered all the information about the time when Jesus was said to have lived. After getting a pile of possible proofs, I started writing the book. I wrote about four chapters, when I clearly realized that Jesus Christ was a real person like Socrates, Plato, Caesar and other men who lived in ancient times. I became convinced that Jesus Christ lived on earth, based on the truths related to the time he lived in.
I found myself in an awkward position. I started writing to prove that Jesus Christ did not exist and did not live on earth, but now I was faced with the fact that He was a historical figure just like Julius Caesar, Marc Anthony, Vigil, Dante and a multitude of other men who lived in ancient times. I asked myself, “If He is a real person (there was no doubt) then could he not be also the Son of God and our Savior?”
Gradually, I began feeling that since Jesus Christ is a real person, then He might be the one I heard about. My conviction kept getting stronger until one night I was completely sure. I knelt on my knees and prayed for the first time in my life. I asked God to reveal the truth to me; to forgive my sins and help me for I’d become a follower of Jesus Christ.
As morning drew near, I felt a light shining in me so I went into my bedroom and woke my wife up and told her, “I’ve accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and my Savior.”
She answered, “Lew, I’ve been praying for you since you decided to write that book, that you’d find Him while you’re writing.”
The Dead Leaves of the Trees
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