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Mr. BRADLAUGH: I have not admitted, and I carefully guarded my answer to prevent the possibility of such an admission, that there was a body of Christians in the first century believing in the story of Jesus as recorded in the gospels; for I pointed out that the people called Christians were people whom I thought that I identified as existing before Christ, who, therefore, could not have held any such belief; and it is not fair, therefore, to say I admitted it. Hence, I say there is not a particle of evidence given to us, because the reading of the gospels is no evidence until it is shown who wrote the gospels, when they were written, where they were written, and that they did circulate, as Mr. Roberts says it is difficult to identify Jewish places. I did not ask him to identify them; he mentioned them, and he should not have mentioned a place he could not identify. Mr. Roberts says something of Sir Isaac Newton; but however good Sir Isaac Newton may be on some subjects, he is no good authority on Egyptian chronology or anything of the kind; because, during the last forty years, Bunsen has opened a field of inquiry of which Sir Isaac Newton and those who preceded him, were necessarily utterly ignorant. Then he says, if I were put to death to-day, and you folks went about saying you had seen me, would not that be conclusive? Well, but there is no evidence of anything of the kind having happened with regard to Jesus. Reading the gospels does not prove it. Reading the other day in the Daily Telegraph the story of the Sea Serpent, does not prove that the serpent stretched out thirty feet to bite a mast, more than twice the distance from the surface of the sea, and no sane person would pretend it does. You have got to verify the story before the story can be of the slightest value as to the facts it relates. Then, how do we stand now? Why, nothing whatever has been done. Mr. Roberts in his last speech says they conversed with Jesus for a sufficiently long period to make it clear. But the very period I have challenged as being contradicted in the gospels he quotes, and how can he pretend to keep repeating his statement until he has reconciled that? To say that every little thing can be cleared away, and not doing it, is simply to waste time with a mere verbiage of talk. He has not given me anything whatever to do in the way of reply, and I simply conclude my speech by thanking you for your attention, and by moving a vote of thanks to our chairman for having presided over us so impartially for these two nights.
Mr. ROBERTS having seconded the vote of thanks, the Chairman responded and the meeting closed.
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