Thoughts on Religious Experience

Archibald Alexander, 1844

Considerations on dreams, visions, etc. Remarkable conversion of a blind infidel from hearing the Bible read

There are many professors of religion in our country who, if they should peruse this work, would imagine a great defect in the account given of a sinner's conversion, because nothing has been said about dreams and visions, or voices and lights, of a supernatural kind. During the various religious excitements which extended over the Southern States, under the preaching of different denominations, there was mingled with the good influence by which sinners were converted and reformed, no small degree of enthusiasm, which led the people to seek and expect extraordinary revelations, which were supposed to be granted in dreams or visions. Indeed, at one time, the leaders in a very general excitement which occurred in Virginia about the commencement of the Revolutionary war were impressed with the idea that they possessed precisely the same gifts and powers which had been bestowed upon the apostles; and this enthusiastic idea would have spread widely if they had not failed, in some private attempts, to work miracles.

But the opinion that certain people had an extraordinary call from God to preach, and that they needed neither learning nor study to enable them to preach the gospel, continued to prevail for a long time; and this species of enthusiasm is not entirely passed away even to this day. Such preachers were much in the habit of declaiming in every sermon against letter-learned and college-bred ministers, and they seldom failed to inform their hearers that they had selected the subject of discourse after entering the pulpit; and some of them even gloried that they had never learned to read, as they believed that all learning interfered with the inspiration of the Spirit, which they were confident that they possessed. While this notion of an extraordinary call and immediate inspiration was common, it is not surprising that the people should have entertained wild opinions respecting the nature of conversion. As it was customary to give the narratives of religious experience in public, not only in the presence of the church—but of a promiscuous assembly, there was a strong temptation to tell an extraordinary story; and the more miraculous it was, the higher evidence it was supposed to afford of being the work of God, concerning the genuineness of which the subject never expressed a doubt. Seldom was a narrative of experience heard which did not contain something supernatural; such as a remarkable prophetic dream; a vision; a sudden and brilliant light shining around, as in the case of Paul; or an audible voice, calling them by name, or uttering some text of Scripture, or some other encouraging words. Sometimes, however, the cause of experimental religion was sadly dishonored by the ludicrous stories of poor ignorant people—especially the unlettered slaves; for this religious concern seized upon them with mighty force, and many of them, I doubt not, were savingly converted.

The philosophy of dreams is very little understood: and it is not our purpose to entertain or perplex the reader with any theories on the subject. Dreams have by some been divided into natural, divine, and diabolical. The wise man says, "A dream comes through the multitude of business." Most dreams are undoubtedly the effect of the previous state of the mind, and of the peculiar circumstances and state of the body at the time. Most people find their thoughts, in sleep, occupied with those things which gave them concern when awake; and every cause which disorders the stomach or nerves gives a character to our dreams. Most people have experienced the distress of feverish dreams. But there are sometimes remarkable dreams, which leave on the mind the strong impression that they have a meaning, and portend coming events. And that there have been dreams of this description, we learn from the authority of the Bible; and these prophetic dreams were not confined to the servants of God, as we learn from the instances of the butler and baker, in the prison of Pharaoh, and from the remarkable dream of Pharaoh himself. All these must have proceeded from some supernatural influence, as, when interpreted by Joseph, they clearly predicted future events, of which the people dreaming had not the least knowledge. So, Nebuchadnezzar's dream contained a symbolical representation of future events of great importance, which, however, neither he nor his wise men understood, but which was interpreted by Daniel by divine inspiration.

Why God so frequently made His communications to His servants by dreams, is not easily explained. Perhaps the mind is better prepared for such revelations when external objects are entirely excluded; or it might have been to obviate that terror and perturbation to which all men were subject when an angel or spirit appeared to them. Whether God ever now communicates anything by dreams is much disputed. Many, no doubt, deceive themselves by fancying that their dreams are supernatural; and some have been sadly deluded by trusting to dreams; and certainly people ought not to be encouraged to look for revelations in dreams. But there is nothing inconsistent with reason or Scripture in supposing that, on some occasions, certain communications, intended for the warning or safety of the individual himself, or of others, may be made in dreams. To doubt of this is to run counter to a vast body of testimony in every age. And if ideas received in dreams produce a beneficial effect, in rendering the careless serious, or the sorrowful comfortable, in the view of divine truth, very well; such dreams may be considered providential, if not divine. But if any are led by dreams to pursue a course repugnant to the dictates of common sense or the precepts of Scripture, such dreams may rightly be considered diabolical.

Some people have supposed that they experienced a change of mind while asleep. They have gone to rest with a heart unsubdued and unconverted, and their first waking thoughts have been of faith and love. Some have sunk to sleep, worn down with distress, and in their sleep have received comfort, as they supposed, from a believing view of Christ. Such changes are suspicious; but if they are proved to be genuine by the future life of the person, we should admit the possibility of God's giving a new heart. Or truth may be as distinctly impressed on people's minds in sleep as when they are awake. Some people appear to have their faculties in more vigorous exercise, in some kinds of sleep, than when their senses are all exercised.

John Fletcher of Madeley, 1729-1785, relates that he had a dream of the judgment day, the effect of which was a deep and abiding impression of eternal things on his mind. As the scene was vividly painted on his imagination, and the representation of truth was as distinct and coherent as if he had been awake, it may be gratifying to the reader to have the account of it set before him.

Fletcher had been variously exercised about religion before this. "I was," says he, "in this situation, when a dream, in which I am obliged to acknowledge the hand of God, roused me from my security. Suddenly the heavens were darkened and clouds rolled along in terrific majesty, and a thundering voice like a trumpet, which penetrated to the center of the earth, exclaimed, "Arise, you dead, and come out of your graves." Instantly the earth and the sea gave up the dead which they contained, and the universe was crowded with living people who appeared to come out of their graves by millions. But what a difference among them! Some, convulsed with despair, endeavored in vain to hide themselves in their tombs, and cried to the hills to fall on them, and the mountains to cover them from the face of the holy Judge; while others rose with seraphic wings above the earth which had been the theater of their conflicts and their victory. Serenity was painted on their countenances, joy sparkled in their eyes, and dignity was impressed on every feature. My astonishment and terror were redoubled when I perceived myself raised up with this innumerable multitude into the vast regions of the air, from whence my affrighted eyes beheld this globe consumed by the flames, the heavens on fire, and the dissolving elements ready to pass away. But what did I feel, when I beheld the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, in all the splendor of His glory, crowned with the charms of His mercy, and surrounded with the terrors of His justice; ten thousand thousands went before him, and millions pressed upon his footsteps. All nature was silent. The wicked were condemned, and the sentence was pronounced—the air gave way under the feet of those who surrounded me, a yawning gulf received them and closed upon them. At the same time He who sat upon the throne exclaimed, 'Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.' (Matt 25:34) Happy children of God! I cried, You are exalted in triumph with your Redeemer, and my dazzled eyes will soon lose sight of you, in the blaze of light which surrounds you. Wretch that I am, what words can express the horrors of my situation! A fixed and severe look from the Judge, as He departed, pierced me to the heart, and my anguish and confusion were extreme, when a brilliant personage despatched from the celestial throng thus addressed me: 'Slothful servant, what are you doing here? Do you presume to follow the Son of God, whom you have served merely with your lips, while your heart was far from Him? Show me the seal of your salvation and the pledge of your redemption. Examine your heart, and see if you can discover there a real love to God, and a living faith in His Son? Ask your conscience what were the motives of your pretended good works? Do you not see that pride and self-love were the source of them? Do you not see that the fear of hell rather than the fear of offending God, restrained you from sin?' After these words he paused; and regarding me with a compassionate air, seemed to await my reply. But conviction and terror closed my mouth, and he thus resumed his discourse, 'Withhold no longer from God the glory which is due to Him. Turn to Him with all your heart, and become a new creature. Watch and pray, (Matt 26:41; Mark 13:33) was the command of the Son of God; but instead of having done this by working out your salvation with fear and trembling, (Phil 2:12) you have slept the sleep of security. At this very moment—do you not sleep in that state of lethargy and spiritual death, from which the Word of God, the exhortations of His servants, and the strivings of His grace have not been sufficient to deliver you? Time is swallowed up in eternity. There is no more place for repentance. You have obstinately refused to glorify God's mercy in Christ Jesus—go then, slothful servant and glorify His justice.' Having uttered these words he disappeared, and, at the same time, the air gave way under my feet—the abyss began to open—dreadful wailings assailed my ears, and a whirlwind of smoke surrounded me. The agitation of my mind and body awoke me, the horror of which nothing can equal, and the mere recollection of which still makes me tremble. O how happy I felt on awaking to find that I was still in the land of mercy, and the day of salvation! O my God, I cried, grant that this dream may continually influence my sentiments and my conduct! May it prove a powerful stimulus to excite me to prepare continually for the coming of my great Master!"

By this dream Fletcher was convinced that he had been indulging vain hopes, and that his mind was still unrenewed. His conviction of this truth, however, did not rest entirely nor chiefly on what had been told him in his dream—but he now set to work in sober earnest to examine his religious principles and motives by the Scriptures; and the more he examined the more fully was he convinced that he was yet in an unconverted state. From this time he began with all earnestness to seek for justification through the blood of Christ; and never rested until he found peace with God by a living faith in the truth and promises of God.

I will conclude this discussion by citing the words of that remarkable young sage of remote antiquity, Elihu, the reprover of both Job and his friends, and the sublime defender of God and His dispensations. "For God speaks once, yes twice, yet man perceives it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, in slumberings upon the bed. Then he opens the ears of men and seals their instruction." (Job 33:14-16)

Sometime in the year 1811, the substance of the following narrative was put into my hands by Dr. William M. Tennent of Abington, Pennsylvania, when this excellent man was on his deathbed and near his end. It will be seen that it was drawn up with a view to publication as soon as the subject of the memoir, who was then alive in Dr. Tennent's congregation, should be called home to his rest. That event occurred some time since; and in communicating this memoir to the public, the writer considers himself as fulfilling an implied promise when he accepted the manuscript.

Having, however, ascertained that Mrs. Ann Snowden of Philadelphia was the lady at whose house this gentleman resided, and that she was the person by whom the Scriptures were read; and knowing, also, that she was both pious and intelligent, I requested her to put down on paper an exact account of this pleasing and remarkable event; which she did with the utmost readiness. From these authentic sources the following narrative is derived; and will be given, with very slight verbal alterations, in the very words of the respected people named.

Mr. Tennent's narrative proceeds as follows: "George Inglis was born in the city of Philadelphia, of honorable parentage, and received a liberal education in the university of that city, which was completed between his 16th and 17th year. Having served a regular apprenticeship to a merchant, he entered into the mercantile business and settled in the island of Jamaica, where he continued about eleven years. Very early in life he began to drink in iniquity like water, manifested strong prejudices against serious people and serious things; associated with the mirthful, libertine, and dissipated. His propensities to sinful indulgences increased with his years, and in the island where he resided, temptations being increased, and the means of restraint from wicked courses diminished, he became more and more confirmed in the habits of sin, until at length he was given up to almost every species of iniquity. Amidst his open and avowed enmity to God and true religion, an awful tornado fell upon that part of the island where he resided, by which he lost the greater part of his property, and was compelled to return to the American continent. This happened during the revolutionary war. All this made no alteration in his morals for the better—but the more he was corrected, the more hardened he grew, casting off the fear of God, and putting to defiance the scourges of Jehovah. Thus he continued, until some years afterwards, being in the town of Manchester, Virginia, without any natural (known) cause to produce the effect, he was smitten by the immediate hand of God while in the possession of good health, with the total loss of sight within a few days. In this situation his mind was all distraction. His cry was to man only for help; but to God his Maker, who gives songs in the night to the afflicted and oppressed, he had not learned to cry. This lesson, however, he was taught not long afterwards."

Thus far the narrative has been given in the words of Dr. Tennent; it will now be proper to hear Mrs. Snowden's account of the conversion of this man, as she was the only human instrument made use of in bringing him to the knowledge of the truth. It is in the form of a letter addressed to the writer.

"Pastor and Dear Sir—I will now endeavor to fulfill the promise made to you some time ago, by giving such information as is within my recollection, respecting the case of George Inglis. That gentleman, a native of Philadelphia, had received a classical education, and with it every indulgence which a father's partiality could bestow. Brought up in the mirthful world, it is to be feared there was but little attention paid to his immortal interests. After spending the time necessary to acquire the knowledge of mercantile affairs, he left the city for the West Indies, where he was, for a while, successful in business, and found himself in circumstances to visit England; and, while in London, throwing aside every restraint, he indulged himself in all the amusements and levities of that mirthful metropolis. Returning to America, he engaged in business in the State of Virginia. After residing some time there, it pleased the Lord to deprive him of his sight, an affliction at that time looked upon by him as insupportable, for he saw not the hand from whence it came; but after he was made sensible that he was a brand snatched from the burning, often have I heard him bless the chastisement as that of a tender Father.

"Inglis had weak eyes from an early age—but his blindness came on him suddenly. Finding no relief from the physicians where he resided, he left Virginia for Philadelphia; and upon the application of his friends, was received, with his servant, into my house as a boarder. I found him a man of strong passions, impatient under sufferings, and not willing to submit to restraints of any kind. When the physicians of the city were consulted, they gave his friends no hope of the recovery of his eyesight: they soothed him with the promise of a further consideration of his case. A few weeks after he came to my house, a gentleman very much celebrated as an eye doctor came to the city. Inglis applied to him for advice. He did not tell him that his was an incurable case—but said that he would see him again. He bore this very impatiently, observing to me that life was now becoming an intolerable burden; but that he had this consolation, that he had it in his power at any time to lay it down. It was but to increase the quantity of opium (he was in the habit of taking opium) and all his sufferings would be at an end; and that, after another visit from the doctor, if he found there was no hope of his recovering his sight, he would certainly take that method of putting an end to his existence.

I remonstrated with him on the impropriety of his behavior, alleging that he had no more right to take away his own life than he had to take away the life of his neighbor; asking him if he had considered the consequences of rushing uncalled into the presence of his Maker. His answer was, that he had considered it well; and he advocated his opinion on this principle, that he was by a merciful Creator placed on this earth to enjoy the good things of this life as far as it was in his power honestly to obtain them—that the duties required of him were, to be as useful to his friends in particular, and society at large, as his circumstances would admit of—that having lost his sight, he would no longer enjoy any happiness here, would become a burden to his friends, and could be of no use in the world. He alleged that the purposes for which life was given to him were now defeated; of course there would be no impropriety in laying it down. I made some remarks on what he had advanced as his sentiments and, to strengthen what I said, quoted some passages of Scripture. These he treated in a very light manner—spoke of the Bible as the work of men—contrived to keep the ignorant in awe—with many other observations too common with men of deistical principles. I then inquired if he had ever read the Bible; he frankly acknowledged that he had not since he left school. Upon asking him if he had not read the works of those that were opposed to the Scriptures, he admitted that he had. If so, I observed, he must have formed his opinions from the avowed enemies of that sacred book. Was this a fair method of proceeding? I said that I thought he would not act thus, on any other occasion. This book you acknowledge you have not read since you were a boy. All that you know about it, you have from the enemies of the Christian religion. Taking these things into consideration, I hope you will no more speak against the Bible, as it is a book that you have never read since you were capable of forming a judgment of its contents. He apologized in a sincere manner for what he had said, acknowledged that he was wrong in speaking as he had done, and expressed a wish to have it read to him. This I declined, and gave my reasons for so doing, which were, that a man so prejudiced as he appeared to be, was not likely to profit by the reading of the Bible, that he would most probably cavil at, and perhaps ridicule it; in so doing, he would wound my feelings without benefitting himself; for I considered it as the Word of God, and my hopes of eternal salvation rested on the truths contained in it. He then assured me on the word of a gentleman, that if I would read it to him, whatever his opinions might be, he would carefully avoid saying anything that might have a tendency to wound my feelings, or give offence, in the smallest degree. There was an earnestness in his manner of addressing me which satisfied my mind that he was sincerely desirous to have the Scriptures read to him, and the next day was fixed upon for that purpose.

"It appeared to me that he waited impatiently for the arrival of the appointed hour, for no sooner did the time come than he sent for me. Before we began, I observed to him that, as in the New Testament he would find the fulfilment of the promises of the Savior, I would point out those promises as they occur in reading the Old Testament, which it would be necessary for him to take notice of as we proceeded. Beginning then with Gen 1, before we had gone through the chapter he stopped me to express his admiration of the language. 'It was sublime beyond anything he had ever read.' While I was reading, he was all attention; and when the time arrived when I was under the necessity of stopping, it was with regret that he observed that I had finished; putting me in mind, at the same time, of my promise to attend to him, on the next day.

"I think it was on the second day of my reading to him, that he cried out, 'What a wretch am I to have spoken against such a book! a book that I knew nothing of, having never given it an attentive perusal.' I went on for a few days, reading to him according to the plan laid down, which was one hour every day; when the distress of his mind greatly increased. There was now no more said about a second visit to the doctor—no complaints—no murmurings on account of the loss of sight. He now saw the hand of God in the dispensation of His providence, and would acknowledge that it was less, far less, than he deserved. My family duties preventing me from being with him as much as I wished, I now called in the aid of some of my pious friends, among whom was Joseph Eastburn, to converse with him and to assist in reading to him. Several religious books were now occasionally read to him, among which were Boston's Fourfold State, Newton's Works, Hervey's Dialogues, etc. The descriptive parts of the last mentioned author were at his request passed over, except where it more fully served to explain the doctrines of free grace—a subject to him of the deepest interest. Though totally deprived of sight, and unaccustomed to go out, he now neglected no opportunity of hearing the Word of God, attending sermons on Sabbaths, and weekly societies as often as was in his power. As might be expected, his natural disposition, sometimes getting the better of the good resolutions he had formed, would betray him into a fretfulness that was troublesome to his friends and occasioned much uneasiness to himself. On such occasions I have heard him lament deeply over his sinful nature, accusing himself of ingratitude to that God who had mercifully stopped him in his career of vice, by depriving him of the light of day and enlightening his darkened mind, and had enabled him to understand the truths contained in His blessed word. I do not recollect how long he stayed with me—but it was something less than a year, when his friends thought it would be best to remove him to the country; and boarding was obtained for him in the neighborhood of the Rev. Dr. Tennent of Abington."

Dr. Tennent, in the memoir already quoted, after mentioning some circumstances which have been given in detail in a former page, goes on to say, "It pleased God by these means to bring him to very serious and deep impressions of His moral character, and to constrain him, after some time, to attempt to pray. This change was effected in the gentleness, kindness, and tenderness of infinite mercy, and without those horrors which often precede the conversion of highhanded and daring sinners. In his case, all was mercy, without extraordinary terror. He was embraced in the arms of redeeming love, and delivered from the fiery pit without beholding its awful flames. In his first attempt to supplicate God, he was principally affected with a sense of the wickedness of his conduct, and his vile ingratitude for the mercies bestowed, and this exercise was accompanied with an involuntary flow of tears and a desire to call God his Father, and afterwards to mention the blessed name of Jesus the Savior. Probably this was the beginning of his new birth, and the hour of his conversion; which was not long afterwards confirmed by a remarkable vision of two books, with a glorious light shining in the midst of them, as he was lying in his bed; which he apprehended to be the Old and New Testaments of the living God, presenting to, and impressing on his mind this sacred declaration—but without a voice, 'This is the Way,' and filling his soul at the same time with inexpressible joy."

What is here related is no doubt strictly true—but there is no propriety in calling it "a vision", since it can easily be accounted for by a vivid impression on the imagination. A vision is something supernatural seen with the bodily eyes; but this man was totally blind; the objects so clearly discerned must then have been from impressions on the imagination. But in saying this, it is not intended to deny that the cause was the Spirit of God. This divine Agent can and does produce vivid impressions on the imagination, which have so much the appearance of external realities, that many are persuaded that they do see and hear what takes place only in their own minds.

"In the year 1790, Inglis was removed to Abington, and became a boarder in the house of Dr. William M. Tennent, and soon afterwards was admitted to the communion of the church in that place, with which he has walked steadfastly in the faith ever since, exemplifying in a striking and high degree the power of God's grace in the 'new creation'. From the beginning of his turning to God, there was abundant proof that 'old things had passed away, and that all things had become new'. (2 Cor 5:17) Before, a blasphemer—but now a worshiper of the true God. Before, a drunkard and a Sabbath-breaker, unclean, a ridiculer of holy things, and indulging habitually in all ungodliness and wickedness—led captive by the prince of the power of the air, who rules in the children of disobedience—but now, freed from his bonds and made by sovereign grace to rejoice in the liberty of the Gospel. Before, a hater of godly men and godly things—but now a lover of both. He was made to hunger and thirst after righteousness—after the bread of life—after the knowledge of His will; and seemed only to be happy when he had a glimpse of His glory. For more than a year after his conversion, he could not bear to hear any other book read to him than the Holy Scriptures and the most practical authors on religion. He shunned all political conversation, the reading of newspapers, and whatever might divert his thoughts from holy meditations and a further knowledge of his Redeemer.

"While residing in his first permanent lodgings in the country, it may not be improper to mention a second remarkable vision which he had. Walking in the garden one day, as he usually did for sacred meditation, he was suddenly arrested and overcome with a most affecting view of his Savior, as suspended on the cross and bearing his very sins. In this vision of redeeming love he was so lost that he knew not where he was—overwhelmed with unutterable joy and the most affecting gratitude for the discharge of the immense debt which he owed to the justice of a holy God. The impressions then made are still kept in strong remembrance. How long he was in this state he knew not—but was finally conducted to the house, after having called for a guide—full of joy and gladness: a second remarkable proof of his interest in gospel redemption."

We will simply repeat our objection to the use of the word "vision" to represent what was nothing more than a strong, believing view of the scene of the crucifixion; accompanied, no doubt, with a vivid imagination of the bleeding, dying Savior suffering for his sins.

"The writer will only add that he has frequently, for some twenty years, heard Inglis say he would not, if it had been within the power of a wish, have had his natural sight restored, having found his eyes such an avenue to sin. His whole conduct since his conversion has corresponded with his profession as a Christian disciple. He has, in the view of his brethren where he resides, made a visible growth in grace, even in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He has, with others traveling to the same blessed country, been on the mount and in the valley—an humble, meek, patient, self-denying Christian, rejoicing in the hopes of a better country—weeping on account of his own unfruitfulness—looking for strength to vanquish his enemies, and hoping for victory by the merits of the great Redeemer. Hitherto steadfast, may he hold fast unto the end! and may many such be added unto the Lord! Blessed be God for the gift of His Son, for the revelation of His incomprehensible love and grace, and for the crown of glory which is laid up for all who are looking and longing for His second appearance!"

The foregoing account was written about thirty years ago, and Inglis, who was then aged, did not depart this life until two or three years since. As Robert Steel had succeeded Dr. Tennent as pastor of the Presbyterian church at Abington, I requested him to give me notice of the old gentleman's death, with an account of his state of mind in his latter days. This he did, and I regret that I have mislaid his letter, so that I cannot at present put my hands on it. But I confess that I was much disappointed in not finding something more memorable in the closing scene of one who had been so manifestly snatched "as a brand from the burning". (Zech 3:2) As well as I recollect, Steel represents that the spirituality and ardor of Inglis's religion considerably declined in his later years; that he became somewhat worldly-minded, and appeared to be much concerned about his little property; and that he had nothing remarkable in the exercises of his mind while on his deathbed: but no one, I believe, ever doubted the reality of the change which he had experienced; neither was he ever left to do anything to bring discredit on the profession which he had made.

One reflection which occurred to me on reading Steel's letter was, that it usually is not desirable for a Christian to live to be very old; especially when all active service in the cause of Christ is precluded. Old age is a peculiarly unfavorable season for growth in grace. Many of the natural helps to piety are then removed; and at the same time, many infirmities cluster around us; so that a declension in religion is not uncommon in the protracted years of the aged.

Another solemn reflection was, that a man is never too old nor decrepit, to be covetous. Covetousness is peculiarly the vice of the aged, and when indulged, strikes its roots deeper, the older we grow. What Christ says to all, may with emphasis be addressed to the aged, "Take heed, and beware of covetousness." (Luke 12:15) The writer remembers to have seen and conversed with the old gentleman in the church at Abington, soon after Dr. Tennent's death. At that time he was always in his place in the house of God, and attracted attention by his venerable and solemn appearance. It was agreed that his taste and judgment in regard to preaching were uncommonly sound and good; but nothing would pass with him in which Christ was not made conspicuous. Purely evangelical preaching was that in which he delighted; and at that period his conversation was in a strain of warm and pious feeling.

My closing remark is that we should despair of the conversion of no one—and we should use all our efforts to prevail on skeptical men to read the Bible. The Bible has converted more infidels than all the books of "evidences" which exist.