This file has been made available by the Bank of Wisdom.
Robert Green Ingersoll
41 page printout Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. **** **** This file, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 The Works of ROBERT G. INGERSOLL **** **** MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. 1877 I. (This lecture was delivered by Col. Ingersoll in San Francisco Cal., June 27, 1877. It was a reply to various clergymen of that city, who had made violent attacks upon him after the delivery of his lectures, "The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child," and " The Ghosts.") Against the aspersions of the pulpit and the religious press, I offer in evidence this magnificent audience. Although I represent but a small part of the holy cause of intellectual liberty, even that part shall not be defiled or smirched by a single personality. Whatever I say, I shall say because I believe it will tend to make this world grander, man nearer just, the father kinder, the mother more loving, the children more affectionate, and because I believe it will make an additional flower bloom in the pathway of every one who hears me. In the first place, what have I said? What has been my offence? What have I done? I am spoken of by the clergy as though I were a wolf that in the absence of the good shepherd had fattened upon his innocent flock. What have I said? I delivered a lecture entitled, "The Liberty of Man. Woman and Child." In that lecture I said that man was entitled to physical and intellectual liberty. I defined physical liberty to be the right to do right; the right to do anything that did not interfere with the real happiness of others. I defined intellectual liberty to be the right to think right, and the right to think wrong -- provided you did your best to think right. This must be so, because thought is only an instrumentality by which we seek to ascertain the truth. Every man has the right to think, whether his thought is in reality right or wrong; and he cannot be accountable to any being for thinking wrong. There is upon man, so far as thought is concerned, the obligation to think the best he can, and to honestly express his best thought. Whenever he finds what is right, or what he honestly believes to be the right, he is less than a man if he fears to express his conviction before an assembled world. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 1 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. The right to do right is my definition of physical liberty. "The right of one human being ceases where the right of another commences." My definition of intellectual liberty is, the right to think, whether you think right or wrong. provided you do your best to think right. I believe in Liberty, Fraternity and Equality -- the Blessed Trinity of Humanity. I believe in Observation, Reason and Experience -- the Blessed Trinity of Science. I believe in Man, Woman and Child -- the Blessed Trinity of Life and Joy. I have said, and still say, that you have no right to endeavor by force to compel another to think your way -- that man has no right to compel his fellowman to adopt his creed, by torture or social ostracism. I have said, and still say, that even an infinite God has and can have no right to compel by force or threats even the meanest of mankind to accept a dogma abhorrent to his mind. As a matter of fact such a power is incapable of being exercised. You may compel a man to say that he has changed his mind. You may force him to say that he agrees with you. In this way, however, you make hypocrites, not converts. Is it possible that a god wishes the worship of a slave? Does a god desire the homage of a coward? Does he really long for the adoration of a hypocrite? Is it possible that he requires the worship of those who dare not think? If I were a god it seems to me that I had rather have the esteem and love of one grand, brave man, with plenty of heart and plenty of brain, than the blind worship, the ignorant adoration, the trembling homage of a universe of men afraid to reason. And yet I am warned by the orthodox guardians of this great city not to think. I am told that I am in danger of hell; that for me to express my honest convictions is to excite the wrath of God. They inform me that unless I believe in a certain way, meaning their way, I am in danger of everlasting fire. There was a time when these threats whitened the faces of men with fear. That time has substantially passed away. For a hundred years hell has been gradually growing cool, the flames have been slowly dying out, the brimstone is nearly exhausted, the fires have been burning lower and lower, and the climate gradually changing. To such an extent has the change already been effected that if I were going there to-night I would take an overcoat and a box of matches. They say that the eternal future of man depends upon his belief I deny it. A conclusion honestly arrived at by the brain cannot possibly be a crime; and the man who says it is, does not think so. The god who punishes it as a crime is simply an infamous tyrant. As for me, I would a thousand times rather go to perdition and suffer its torments with the brave, grand thinkers of the world, than go to heaven and keep the company of a god who would damn his children for an honest belief. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 2 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. The next thing I have said is, that woman is the equal of man; that she has every right that man has, and one more -- the right to he protected, because she is the weaker. I have said that marriage should be an absolutely perfect partnership of body and soul; that a man should treat his wife like a splendid flower, and that she should fill his life with perfume and with joy. I have said that a husband had no right to be morose; that he had no right to assassinate the sunshine and murder the joy of life. I have said that when he went home he should go like a ray of light, and fill his house so full of joy that it would burst out of the doors and windows and illumine even the darkness of night. I said that marriage was the holiest, highest, the most sacred institution among men; that it took millions of years for woman to advance from the condition of absolute servitude, from the absolute slavery where the Bible found her and left her, up to the position she occupies at present. I have pleaded for the rights of woman, for the rights of wives, and what is more, for the rights of little children. I have said that they could be governed by affection, by love, and that my heart went out to all the children of poverty and of crime; to the children that live in the narrow streets and in the sub-cellars; to the children that run and hide when they hear the footsteps of a brutal father, the children that grow pale when they hear their names pronounced even by a mother; to all the little children, the flotsam and jetsam upon the wide, rude sea of life. I have said that my heart goes out to them one and all; I have asked fathers and mothers to cease beating their own flesh and blood. I have said to them, When your child does wrong, put your arms around him; let him feel your heart beat against his. It is easier to control your child with a kiss than with a club. For expressing these sentiments, I have been denounced by the religious press and by misters in their pulpits as a demon, as an enemy of order, as a fiend, as an infamous man. Of this, however, I make no complaint. A few years ago, they would have burned me at the stake and I should have been compelled to look upon their hypocritical faces through flame and smoke. They cannot do it now or they would. One hundred years ago I would have been burned, simply for pleading for the rights of men. Fifty years ago I would have been imprisoned. Fifty years ago my wife and my children would have been torn from my arms in the name of the most merciful God. Twenty-five years ago I could not have made a living in the United States at the practice of law; but I can now. I would not then have been allowed to express my thought; but I can now, and I will. And when I think about the liberty I now enjoy, the whole horizon is illuminated with glory and the air is filled with wings. I then delivered another lecture entitled "Ghosts," in which I sought to show that man had been controlled by phantoms of his own imagination; in which I sought to show these imps of darkness, these devils, had all been produced by superstition; in which I endeavored to prove that man had groveled in the dust before monsters of his own creation; in which I endeavored to demonstrate that the many had delved in the soil that the few might live in idleness, that the many had lived in caves and dens that the few might dwell in palaces of gold; in which I endeavored to show that man had received nothing from these ghosts except hatred, except Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 3 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. ignorance, except unhappiness, and that in the name of phantoms man had covered the face of the world with tears. And for this, I have been assailed, in the name, I presume, of universal forgiveness. So far as any argument I have produced is concerned, it cannot in any way make the slightest difference whether I am a good or a bad man. It cannot in any way make the slightest difference whether my personal character is good or bad. That is not the question, though, so far as I am concerned, I am willing to stake the whole question upon that issue. That is not, however, the thing to be discussed, nor the thing to be decided. The question is, whether what I said is true. I did say that from ghosts we had obtained certain things -- among other things a book known as the Bible. From the ghosts we received that book; and the believers in ghosts pretend that upon that book rests the doctrine of the immortality of the human soul. This I deny. Whether or not the soul is immortal is a fact in nature and cannot be changed by any book whatever. If I am immortal. I am. If I am not, no book can render me so. It is no more wonderful that I should live again than that I do live. The doctrine of immortality is not based upon any book. The foundation of that idea is not a creed. The idea of immortality, which, like a sea, has ebbed and flowed in the human heart, beating with its countless waves of hope and fear against the shores and rocks of fate and time, was not born of any book, was not born of a creed. It is not the child of any religion. It was born of human affection; and it will continue to ebb and flow beneath the mists and clouds of doubt and darkness as long as love kisses the lips of death. It is the eternal bow -- Hope shining upon the tears of Grief. I did say that these ghosts taught that human slavery was right. If there is a crime beneath the shining stars it is the crime of enslaving a human being. Slavery enslaves not only the slave, but the master as well. When you put a chain upon the limbs of another, you put a fetter also upon your own brain. I had rather be a slave than a slave-holder. The slave can at least be just -- the slave-holder cannot. I had rather be robbed than be a robber. I had rather be stolen from than to be a thief. I have said, and I do say, that the Bible upheld, sustained and sanctioned the institution of human slavery; and before I get through I will prove it. I said that to the same book we are indebted, to a great degree, for the doctrine of witchcraft. Relying upon its supposed sacred texts, people were hanged and their bodies burned for getting up storms at sea with the intent of drowning royal vermin. Every possible offence was punished under the name of witchcraft, from souring beer to high treason. I also said, and I still say, that the book we obtained from the ghosts, for the guidance of man, upheld the infamy of infamies, called polygamy; and I will also prove that. And the same book teaches, not political liberty, but political tyranny. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 4 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. I also said that the author of the book given us by the ghosts knew nothing about astronomy, still less about geology, still less, if possible, about medicine, and still less about legislation. This is what I have said concerning the aristocracy of the air. I am well aware that having said it I ought to be able to prove the truth of my words. I have said these things. No one ever said them in better nature than I have. I have not the slightest malice -- a victor never felt malice. As soon as I had said these things, various gentlemen felt called upon to answer me. I want to say that if there is anything I like in the world it is fairness. And one reason I like it so well is that I have had so little of it. I can say, if I wish, extremely mean and hateful things. I have read a great many religious papers and discussions and think that I now know all the infamous words in our language. I know how to account for every noble action by a mean and wretched motive, and that, in my judgment, embraces nearly the entire science of modern theology. The moment I delivered a lecture upon "The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child," I was charged with having said that there is nothing back of nature, and that nature with its infinite arms embraces everything; and thereupon I was informed that I believed in nothing but matter and force, that I believed only in earth, that I did not believe in spirit. If by spirit you mean that which thinks, then I am a believer in spirit. If you mean by spirit the something that says "I," the something that reasons, hopes, loves and aspires, then I am a believer in spirit. Whatever spirit there is in the universe must be a natural thing, and not superimposed upon nature. All that I can say is, that whatever is, is natural. And there is as much goodness, in my judgment, as much spirit in this world as in any other; and you are just as near the heart of the universe here as you can be anywhere. One of your clergymen says in answer, as he supposes, to me, that there is matter and force and spirit. Well, can matter exist without force? What would keep it together? What would keep the finest possible conceivable atom together unless there was force? Can you imagine such a thing as matter without force? Can you conceive of force without matter? Can you conceive of force floating about attached to nothing? Can you possibly conceive of this? No human being can conceive of force without matter. "You cannot conceive of force being harnessed or hitched to matter as you would hitch horses to a carriage." You cannot. Now, what is spirit? They say spirit is the first thing that was. It seems to me, however, as though spirit was the blossom, the fruit of all, not the commencement. They say it was first. Very well. Spirit without force, a spirit without any matter -- what would that spirit do? No force, no matter! -- a spirit living in an infinite vacuum. What would such a spirit turn its particular attention to? This spirit, according to these theologians, created the world, the universe; and if it did, there must have been a time when it commenced to create; and back of that there must have been an eternity spent in absolute idleness. Now, is it possible that a spirit existed during an eternity without any force and without any matter? Is it possible that force could exist without matter or spirit? Is it possible that matter could exist alone, if by matter you mean something without force? The only answer I can give to all these questions is, I do not know. For my part, I do not know what spirit is, if there is any. I do not know what matter is, neither am I acquainted with the elements of force. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 5 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. If you mean by matter that which I can touch, that which occupies space, then I believe in matter. If you mean by force anything that can overcome weight, that can overcome what we call gravity or inertia; if you mean by force that which moves the molecules of matter, or the movement itself, then I believe in force. If you mean by spirit that which thinks and loves, then I believe in spirit. There is, however, no propriety in wasting any time about the science of metaphysics. I will give you my definition of metaphysics: Two fools get together; each admits what neither can prove, and thereupon both of them say, "hence we infer." That is all there is of metaphysics. These gentlemen, however. say to me that all my doctrine about the treatment of wives and children. all my ideas of the rights of man, all these are wrong. If because I am not exactly correct as to my notion of spirit. They say that spirit existed first, at least an eternity before there was any force or any matter. Exactly how spirit could act without force we do not understand. That we must take upon credit. How spirit could create matter without force is a serious question, and we are too reverent to press such an inquiry. We are bound to be satisfied, however, that spirit is entirely independent of force and matter, and any man who denies this must be "a malevolent and infamous wretch." Another reverend gentleman proceeds to denounce all I have said as the doctrine of negation. And we are informed by him -- speaking I presume from experience -- that negation is a poor thing to die by. He tells us that the last hours are the grand testing hours. They are the hours when atheists disown their principles and infidels bewail their folly -- "that Voltaire and Thomas Paine wrote sharply against Christianity, but their death-bed scenes are too harrowing for recital" -- He also states that "another French infidel philosopher tried in vain to fortify Voltaire, but that a stronger man than Voltaire had taken possession of him, and he cried 'Retire! it is you that have brought me to my present state -- Begone! what a rich glory you have brought me.'" This, my friends, is the same old, old falsehood that has been repeated again and again by the lips of hatred and hypocrisy. There is not in one of these stories a solitary word of truth; and every intelligent man knows all these death-bed accounts to be entirely and utterly false. They are taken, however, by the mass of the church as evidence that all opposition to Christianity, so-called, fills the bed of the dying infidel and scoffer with serpents and scorpions. So far as my experience goes, the bad die in many instances as placidly as the good. I have sometimes thought that a hardened wretch, upon whose memory is engraved the record of nearly every possible crime, dies without a shudder, without a tremor, while some grand, good man, remembering during his last moments an unkind word spoken to a stranger, it may be in the heat of anger, dies with remorseful words upon his lips. Nearly every murderer who is hanged, dies with an immensity of nerve, but I never thought it proved that he had lived a good and useful life. Neither have I imagined that it sanctified the crime for which he suffered death. The fact is, that when man approaches natural death, his powers, his intellectual faculties fail and grow dim. He becomes a child. He has less and less sense. And just in proportion as he loses his reasoning powers, he goes back to the superstitions of his Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 6 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. childhood. The scenes of youth cluster about him and he is again in the lap of his mother. Of this very fact, there is not a more beautiful description than that given by Shakespeare when he takes that old mass of wit and filth, Jack Falstaff, in his arms. and Mrs Quickly says: "A' made a finer end, and went away, an it had been my christian child; a' parted ev'n just between twelve and one, ev'n at the turning o' the tide; for after I saw him fumble with the sheets, and play with flowers, and smile upon his fingers' end, I knew there was but one way; for his nose was as sharp as a pen, and a' babbled of green fields." As the genius of Shakespeare makes Falstaff a child again upon sunny slopes, decked with daisies, so death takes the dying back to the scenes of their childhood, and they are clasped once more to the breasts of mothers. They go back, for the reason that nearly every superstition in the world has been sanctified by some sweet and placid mother. Remember, the superstition has never sanctified the mother, but the mother has sanctified the superstition. The young Mohammedan, who now lies dying upon some field of battle, thinks sweet and tender thoughts of home and mother, and will, as the blood oozes from his veins, repeat some holy verse from the blessed Koran. Every superstition in the world that is now held sacred has been made so by mothers, by fathers, by the recollections of home. I know what it has cost the noble, the brave, the tender, to throw away every superstition, although sanctified by the memory of those they loved. Whoever has thrown away these superstitions has been pursued by his fellow-men. From the day of the death of Voltaire the church has pursued him as though he had been the vilest criminal. A little over one hundred years ago, Catholicism, the inventor of instruments of torture, red with the innocent blood of millions, felt in its heartless breast the dagger of Voltaire. From that blow the Catholic Church never can recover. Livid with hatred she launched at her assassin the curse of Rome, and ignorant Protestants have echoed that curse. For myself, I like Voltaire. and whenever I think of that name, it is to me as a plume floating above some grand knight -- a knight who rides to a walled city and demands an unconditional surrender. I like him. He was once imprisoned in the Bastille, and while in that frightful fortress -- and I like to tell it -- he changed his name. His name was Francis Marie Arouet. In his gloomy cell he changed this name to Voltaire, and when some sixty years afterward the Bastille was torn down to the very dust, "Voltaire" was the battle cry of the destroyers who did it. I like him because he did more for religious toleration than any other man who ever lived or died. I admire him because he did more to do away with torture in civil proceedings than any other man. I like him because he was always upon the side of Justice, upon the side of progress. I like him in spite of his faults, because he had many and splendid virtues. I like him because his doctrines have never brought unhappiness to any country. I like him because he hated tyranny; and when he died he died as serenely as ever mortal died; he spoke to his servant recognizing him as a man. He said to him, calling him by name: "My friend, farewell." These were the last words of Voltaire. And this was the only frightful scene enacted at his bed of death. I like Voltaire, because for half a century he was the intellectual emperor of Europe. I like him, because from his throne at the foot of the Alps he pointed the finger of scorn at every hypocrite in Christendom. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 7 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. I will give to any clergyman in the city of San Francisco a thousand dollars in gold to substantiate the story that the death of Voltaire was not as peaceful as the coming of the dawn. The same absurd story is told of Thomas Paine. Thomas Paine was a patriot -- he was the first man in the world to write these words: "THE FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES OF AMERICA." He was the first man to convince the American people that they ought to separate themselves from Great Britain. "His pen did as much, to say the least, for the liberty of America, as the sword of Washington." The men who have enjoyed the benefit of his heroic services repay them with slander and calumny. there is in this world a crime, ingratitude is a crime. And as for myself, I am not willing to receive anything from any man without making at least an acknowledgment of my obligation. Yet these clergymen, whose very right to stand in their pulpits and preach, was secured to them by such men as Thomas Paine, delight in slandering the reputation of that great man. They tell their hearers that he died in fear, -- that he died in agony, hearing devils rattle chains, and that the infinite God condescended to frighten a dying man. I will give one thousand dollars in gold to any clergyman in San Francisco who will substantiate the truth of the absurd stories concerning the death of Thomas Paine. There is not one word of truth in these accounts; not one word. Let me ask one thing, and let me ask it, if you please, in what is called a reverent spirit. Suppose that Voltaire and Thomas Paine and Volney and Hume and Hobbes had cried out when dying "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" what would the clergymen of this city then have said? To resort to these foolish calumnies about the great men who have opposed the superstitions of the world, is in my judgment, unbecoming any intelligent man. The real question is not, who is afraid to die? The question is, who is right? The great question is not, who died right, but who lived right? There is infinitely more responsibility in living than in dying. The moment of death is the most unimportant moment of life. Nothing can be done then. You cannot even do a favor for a friend, except to remember him in your will. It is a moment when life ceases to be of value. While living, while you have health and strength, you can augment the happiness of your fellow-men; and the man who has made others happy need not be afraid to die. Yet these believers, as they call themselves, these believers who hope for immortality -- thousands of them, will rob their neighbors, thousands of them will do numberless acts of injustice, when, according to their belief, the witnesses of their infamy will live forever; and the men whom they have injured and outraged, will meet them in every glittering star through all the ages yet to be. As for me, I would rather do a generous action, and read the record in the grateful faces of my fellow-men. These gentlemen who attack me are orthodox now, but the men who started their churches were heretics. The first Presbyterian was a heretic. The first Baptist was a heretic. The first Congregationalist was a heretic. The first Christian was denounced as a blasphemer. And yet these heretics, Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 8 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. the moment they get numerous enough to be in the majority in some locality, begin to call themselves orthodox. Can there be any impudence beyond this? The first Baptist, as I said before, was a heretic; and he was the best Baptist that I have ever heard anything about. I always liked him. He was a good man -- Roger Williams. He was the first man, so far as I know, in this country, who publicly said that the soul of man should be free. And it was a wonder to me that a man who had sense enough to say that, could think that any particular form of baptism was necessary to salvation. It does strike me that a man of great brain and thought could not possibly think the eternal welfare of a human being, the question whether he should dwell with angels, or be tossed upon eternal waves of fire, should be settled by the manner in which he had been baptized. That seems, to me so utterly destitute of thought and heart, that it is a matter of amazement to me that any man ever looked upon the ordinance of baptism as of any importance whatever. If we were at the judgment seat to-night, and the Supreme Being, in our hearing, should ask a man: "Have you been a good man?" and the man replied: "Tolerably good." "Did you love your wife and children?" "Yes." "Did you try and make them happy?" "Yes." "Did you try and make your neighbors happy?" "Yes, I paid my debts: I gave heaping measure, and I never cared whether I was thanked for it or not." Suppose the Supreme Being then should say: "Were you ever baptized?" and the man should reply: "I am sorry to say I never was." Could a solitary person of sense hear that question asked, by the Supreme Being, without laughing, even if he knew that his own case was to be called next? I happened to be in the company of six or seven Baptist elders -- how I ever got into such bad company, I don't know, -- and one of them asked what I thought about baptism. Well, I never thought much about it; did not know much about it; didn't want to say anything, but they insisted upon it. I said, "Well, I'll give you my opinion -- with soap, baptism is a good thing." The Reverend Mr. Guard has answered me, as I am informed, upon several occasions. I have read the reports of his remarks, and have boiled them down. He said some things about me not entirely Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 9 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. pleasant, which I do not wish to repeat. In his reply he takes the ground: First. That the Bible is not an immoral book, because he swore upon it or by it when he joined the Masons. Second. He excuses Solomon for all his crimes upon the supposition that he had softening of the brain, or a fatty degeneration of the heart. Third. That the Hebrews had the right to slay all the inhabitants of Canaan, according to the doctrine of the "survival of the fittest." He takes the ground that the destruction of these Canaanites, the ripping open of women with child by the sword of war, was an act of sublime mercy. He justifies a war of extermination; he applauds every act of cruelty and murder. He says that the Canaanites ought to have been turned from their homes; that men guilty of no crime except fighting for their country, old men with gray hairs, old mothers and little, dimpled. prattling children, ought to have been sacrificed upon the altar of war; that it was an act of sublime mercy to plunge the sword of religious persecution into the bodies of all, old and young. This is what the reverend gentleman is pleased to call mercy. If this is mercy let us have injustice. If there is in the heavens such a God I am sorry that man exists. All this, however, is justified upon the ground that God has the right to do as he pleases with the being he has created. This I deny. Such a doctrine is infamously false. Suppose I could take a stone and in one moment change it into a sentient, hoping, loving human being, would I have the right to torture it? Would I have the right to give it pain? No one but a fiend would either exercise or justify such a right. Even if there is a God who created us all he has no such right. Above any God that can exist, in the infinite serenity forever sits the figure of justice; and this God, no matter how great and infinite he may be, is bound to do justice. Fourth. That God chose the Jews and governed them personally for thousands of years, and drove out the Canaanites in order that his peculiar people might not be corrupted by the example of idolaters; that he wished to make of the Hebrews a great nation, and that, consequently, he was justified in destroying the original inhabitants of that country. It seems to me that the end hardly justified the means. According to the account, God governed the Jews personally for many ages and succeeded in civilizing them to that degree, that they crucified him the first opportunity they had. Such an administration can hardly be called a success. Fifth. The reverend gentleman seems to think that the practice of polygamy after all is not a bad thing when compared with the crime of exhibiting a picture of Antony and Cleopatra. Upon the corrupting influence of such pictures he descants at great length, and attacks with all the bitterness of the narrow theologian the masterpieces of art. Allow me to say one word about art. That is one of the most beautiful words in our language -- Art. And it never seemed to me necessary for art to go in partnership with a rag. I like the paintings of Angelo, of Raphael. I like the productions of those splendid souls that put their ideas of beauty upon the canvas uncovered. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 10 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. "There are brave souls in every land Who worship nature, grand and nude, And who with swift indignant hand Tear off the fig leaves of the prude." Sixth. That it may be true that the Bible sanctions slavery, but that it is not an immoral book even if it does. I can account for these statements, for these arguments, only as the reverend gentleman has accounted for the sins of Solomon -- "by a softening of the brain, or a fatty degeneration of the heart." It does seem to me that if I were a Christian, and really thought my fellow-man was going down to the bottomless pit; that he was going to misery and agony forever, it does seem to me that I would try and save him. It does seem to me, that instead of having my mouth filled with epithets and invectives; instead of drawing the lips of malice back from the teeth of hatred, it seems to me that my eyes would be filled with tears. It seems to me that I would do what little I could to reclaim him. I would talk to him and of him, in kindness. I would put the arms of affection about him. I would not speak of him as though he were a wild beast. I would not speak to him as though he were a brute. I would think of him as a man, as a man liable to eternal torture among the damned, and my heart would be filled with sympathy, not hatred -- my eyes with tears, not scorn. If there is anything pitiable, it is to see a man so narrowed and withered by the blight and breath of superstition, as cheerfully to defend the most frightful crimes of which we have a record -- a man so hardened and petrified by creed and dogma that he hesitates not to defend even the institution of human slavery -- so lost to all sense of pity that he applauds murder and rapine as though they were acts of the loftiest self-denial. The next gentleman who has endeavored to answer what I have said, is the Rev. Samuel Robinson. This he has done in his sermon entitled "Ghosts against God or Ingersoll against Honesty." I presume he imagines himself to be the defendant in both cases. This gentleman apologized for attending an infidel lecture, upon the ground that he had to contribute to the support of a "materialistic demon." To say the least, this is not charitable. But I am satisfied. I am willing to exchange facts for epithets. I fare so much better than did the infidels in the olden time that I am more than satisfied. It is a little thing that I bear. The brave men of the past endured the instruments of torture. They were stretched upon racks; their feet were crushed in iron boots; they stood upon the shores of exile and gazed with tearful eyes toward home and native land. They were taken from their firesides, from their wives, from their children: they were taken to the public square; they were chained to stakes, and their ashes were scattered by the countless hands of hatred. I am satisfied. The disciples of fear cannot touch me. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 11 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. This gentlemen hated to contribute a cent to the support of a "materialistic demon." When I saw that statement I will tell you what I did. I knew the man's conscience must be writhing in his bosom to think that he had contributed a dollar toward my support, toward the support of a "materialistic demon." I wrote him a letter and I said: "My Dear Sir: In order to relieve your conscience of the crime of having contributed to the support of an unbeliever in ghosts, I hereby enclose the amount you paid to attend my lecture." I then gave him a little good advice. I advised him to be charitable, to be kind, and regretted exceedingly that any man could listen to one of my talks for an hour and a half and not go away satisfied that all men had the same right to think. This man denied having received the money, but it was traced to him through a blot on the envelope. This gentleman avers that everything that I said about persecution is applicable to the Catholic Church only. That is what he says. The Catholics have probably persecuted more than any other church, simply because that church has had more power, simply because it has been more of a church. It has to-day a better organization, and as a rule, the Catholics come nearer believing what they say about their church than other Christians do. Was it a Catholic persecution that drove the Puritan fathers from England? Was it not the storm of Episcopal persecution that filled the sails of the Mayflower? Was it not a Protestant persecution that drove the Ark and Dove to America? Let us be honest. Who went to Scotland and persecuted the Presbyterians? Who was it that chained to the stake that splendid girl by the sands of the sea, for not saying "God save the king"? She was worthy to have been the mother of Caesar. She would not say "God save the king," but she would say "God save the king, if it be God's will." Protestants ordered her to say "God save the king," and no more. She said, "I will not," and they chained her to a stake in the sand and allowed her to be drowned by the rising of the inexorable tide. Who did this? Protestants. Who drove Roger Williams from Massachusetts? Protestants. Who sold white Quaker children into slavery? Protestants. Who cut out the tongues of Quakers? Who burned and destroyed men and women and children" charged with impossible crimes? Protestants. The Protestants have persecuted exactly to the extent of their power. The Catholics have done the same. I want, however, to be just. The first people to pass an act of religious toleration in the New World were the Catholics of Maryland. The next were the Baptists of Rhode Island, led by Roger Williams. The Catholics passed the act of religious toleration, and after the Protestants got into power again in England, and also in the colony of Maryland, they repealed the law of toleration and passed another law declaring the Catholics from under the protection of all law. Afterward, the Catholics again got into power and had the generosity and magnanimity to re-enact the old law. And, so far as I know, it is the only good record upon the subject of religious toleration the Catholics have in this world, and I am always willing to give them credit for it. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 12 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. This gentleman also says that infidelity has done nothing for the world in the development of the arts and sciences. Does he not know that nearly every man who took a forward step was denounced by the church as a heretic and infidel? Does he not know that the church has in all ages persecuted the astronomers, the geologists, the logicians? Does he not know that even to-day the church slanders and maligns the foremost men? Has he ever heard of Tyndall, of Huxley? Is he acquainted with John W. Draper, one of the leading minds of the world? Did he ever hear of Auguste Comte, the great Frenchman? Did he ever hear of Descartes, of Laplace, of Spinoza? In short, has he ever heard of a man who took a step in advance of his time? Orthodoxy never advances. When it advances, it ceases to be orthodoxy and becomes heresy. Orthodoxy is putrefaction. It is intellectual cloaca it cannot advance. What the church calls infidelity is simply free thought. Every man who really owns his own brain is, in the estimation of the church, an infidel. There is a paper published in this city called The Occident. The Editor has seen fit to speak of me, and of the people who have assembled to hear me, in the lowest, vilest and most scurrilous terms possible. I cannot afford to reply in the same spirit. He alleges that the people who assemble to hear me are the low, the debauched and the infamous. The man who reads that paper ought to read it with tongs. It is a Presbyterian sheet; and would gladly treat me as John Calvin treated Castalio. Castalio was the first minister in the history of Christendom who acknowledged the innocence of honest error, and John Calvin followed him like a sleuth-hound of perdition. He called him a "dog of Satan;" said that he had crucified Christ afresh; and pursued him to the very grave. The editor of this paper is still warming his hands at the fire that burned Servetus. He has in his heart the same fierce hatred of everything that is free. But what right have we to expect anything good of a man who believes in the eternal damnation of infants? There may have been sometime in the history of the world a worse religion than Old School Presbyterianism, but if there ever was, from cannibalism to civilization, I have never heard of it. I make a distinction between the members and the creed of that church. I know many who are a thousand times better than the creed -- good, warm and splendid friends of mine. I would do anything in the world for them. And I have said to them a hundred times, "You are a thousand times better than your creed." But when you come down to the doctrine of the damnation of infants, it is the deformity of deformities. The editor of this paper is engaged in giving the world the cheerful doctrines of fore-ordination and damnation -- those twin comforts of the Presbyterian creed, and warning them against the frightful effects of reasoning in any manner for themselves. He regards the intellectually free as the lowest, the vilest and the meanest, as men who wish to sin, as men who are longing to commit crime, men who are anxious to throw off all restraint. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 13 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. My friends, every chain thrown from the body puts an additional obligation upon the soul. Every man who is free, puts a responsibility upon his brain and upon his heart. You, who never want responsibility, give your souls to some church. You, who never want the feeling that you are under obligation to yourselves, give your souls away. But if you are willing to feel and meet responsibility; if you feel that you must give an account not only to yourselves but to every human being whom you injure, then you must be free. Where there is no freedom, there can he no responsibility. It is a mystery to me why the editors of religious papers are so malicious, why they endeavor to answer argument with calumny. Is it because they feel the scepter slowly slipping from their hands? Is it the result of impotent rage? Is it because there is being written upon every orthodox brain a certificate of intellectual inferiority? This same editor assures his readers that what I say is not worth answering, and yet he devotes column after column of his journal to that very purpose. He states that I am no speaker, no orator; and upon the same page admits that he did not hear me, giving as a reason that he does not think it right to pay money for such a purpose. Recollect, that in a religious paper, a man who professes honesty, criticizes a statue or a painting, condemns it, and at the end of the criticism says that he never saw it. He criticizes what he calls the oratory of a man, and at the end says, "I never heard him, and I never saw him." As a matter of fact, I have never heard of any of these gentlemen who thought it necessary to hear what any man said in order to answer him. The next gentleman who answered me is the Rev. Mr. Ijams. And I must say, so far as I can see, in his argument, or in his mode of treatment, he is a kind and considerate gentleman. He makes several mistakes as to what I really said, but the fault I suppose must have been in the report. I am made to say in the report of his sermon, "There is no sacred place in all the universe." What I did say was, "There is no sacred place in all the universe of thought. There is nothing too holy to be investigated, nothing too divine to be understood. The fields of thought are fenceless, and without a wall." I say this to-night. Mr. Ijams also says that I had declared that man had not only the right to do right, but also the right to do wrong. What I really said was, man has the right to do right, and the right to think right. and the right to think wrong. Thought is a means of ascertaining truth, a mode by which we arrive at conclusions. And if no one has a right to think, unless he thinks right, he would only have the right to think upon self-evident propositions. In all respects, with the exception of these misstatements to which I have called your attention, so far as I can see, Mr. Ijams was perfectly fair, and treated me as though I had the ordinary rights of a human being. I take this occasion to thank him. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 14 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. A great many papers, a great many people, a good many ministers and a multitude of men, have had their say, and have expressed themselves with the utmost freedom. I cannot reply to them all. I can only reply to those who have made a parade of answering me. Many have said it is not worth answering, and then proceeded to answer. They have said, he has produced no argument, and then have endeavored to refute it. They have said it is simply the old straw that has been thrashed over and over again for years and years. If all I have said is nothing, if it is all idle and foolish, why do they take up the time of their fellow-men replying to me? Why do they fill their religious papers with criticisms, if all I have said and done reminds them, according to the Rev. Mr. Guard, of "some little dog barking at a railway train"? Why stop the train, why send for the directors, why hold a consultation and finally say, we must settle with that dog or stop running these cars? Probably the best way to answer them all, is to prove beyond cavil the truth of what I have said. DOES THE BIBLE TEACH MAN TO ENSLAVE HIS BROTHERS? II. IF this "sacred" book teaches man to enslave his brother, it is not inspired. A god who would establish slavery is as cruel and heartless as any devil could be. "Moreover, of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land, and they shall be your possession. "And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession. They shall be your bondmen forever. "Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids." -- Leviticus xxv. This is white slavery. This allows one white man to buy another, to buy a woman, to separate families and rob a mother of her child. This makes the whip upon the naked backs of men and women a legal tender for labor performed. This is the kind of slavery established by the most merciful God. The reason given for all this, is, that the persons whom they enslaved were heathen. You may enslave them because they are not orthodox. If you can find anybody who does not believe in me, the God of the Jews, you may steal his wife from his arms, and her babe from the cradle. If you can find a woman that does not believe in the Hebrew Jehovah, you may steal her prattling child from her breast. Can any one conceive of anything more infamous? Can any one find in the literature of this world more frightful words ascribed even to a demon? And all this is found in that most beautiful and poetic chapter known as the 25th of Leviticus -- from the Bible -- from this sacred gift of God -- this "Magna Charta of human freedom." Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 15 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. 2. "If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve; and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. 3. "If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4. "If his master have given him a wife, and she hath borne him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself. 5. "And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and children; I will not go out free: 6. "Then his master shall bring him unto the judges: he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door-post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him forever." -- Exodus, xxi. The slave is allowed to have his liberty if he will give up his wife and children. He must remain in slavery for the sake of wife and child. This is another of the laws of the most merciful God. This God changes even love into a chain. Children are used by him as manacles and fetters, and wives become the keepers of prisons. Any man who believes that such hideous laws were made by an infinitely wise and benevolent God is, in my judgment, insane or totally depraved. These are the doctrines of the Old Testament. What is the doctrine of the New? What message had he who came from heaven's throne for the oppressed of earth? What words of sympathy, what words of cheer, for those who labored and toiled without reward? Let us see: "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters, according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ." -- Ephesians, vi. This is the salutation of the most merciful God to a slave, to a woman who has been robbed of her child -- to a man tracked by hounds through lonely swamps -- to a girl with flesh torn and bleeding -- to a mother weeping above an empty cradle. "Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward." -- I Peter ii., 18. "For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully." -- I Peter ii., 19. It certainly must be an immense pleasure to God to see a man work patiently for nothing. It must please the Most High to see a slave with his wife and child sold upon the auction block. If this slave escapes from slavery and is pursued, how musical the baying of the bloodhound must be to the ears of this most merciful God. All this is simply infamous. On the throne of this universe there sits no such monster. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 16 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. "Servants, obey in all things your masters, according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God." -- Col. iii., 22. The apostle here seems afraid that the slave would not work every moment that his strength permitted. He really seems to have feared that he might not at all times do the very best he could to promote the interests of the thief who claimed to own him. And speaking to all slaves, in the name of the Father of All, this apostle says: "Obey in all things your masters, not with eye-service, but with singleness of heart, fearing God." He says to them in substance, There is no way you can so well please God as to work honestly for a thief. 1. "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed." Think of serving God by honoring a robber! Think of bringing the name and doctrine of God into universal contempt by claiming to own yourself! 2. "And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort." That is to say, do not despise Christians who steal the labor of others. Do not hold in contempt the "faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit," who turn the cross of Christ into a whipping post. 3. "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words even to words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 4. "He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strafes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, civil surmisings, 5. "Perverse disputings of man of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself." This seems to be the opinion the apostles entertained of the early abolitionists. Seeking to give human beings their rights, seeking to give labor its just reward, seeking to clothe all men with that divine garment of the soul, Liberty, -- all this was denounced by the apostle as a simple strife of words, whereof cometh envy, railings, evil surmisings and perverse disputing, destitute of truth. 6. "But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7. "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 17 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. 8. "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content." -- I Tim., vi. This was intended to make a slave satisfied to hear the clanking of his chains. This is the reason he should never try to better his condition. He should be contented simply with the right to work for nothing. If he only had food and raiment, and a thief to work for, he should be contented. He should solace himself with the apostolic reflection, that as he brought nothing into the world, he could carry nothing out, and that when dead he would be as happily situated as his master. In order to show you what the inspired writer meant by the word servant, I will read from the 21 st chapter of Exodus, verses 20 and 21: "And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. "Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money." Yet, notwithstanding these passages the Christian Advocate says, "the Bible is the Magna Charta of our liberty." After reading that, I was not surprised by the following in the same paper: "We regret to record that Ingersoll is on a low plane of infidelity and atheism, not less offensive to good morals than have been the teachings of infidelity during the last century. France has been cursed with such teachings for a hundred years, and because of it, to-day her citizens are incapable of self- government." What was the condition of France a century ago Were they capable of self-government then? For fourteen hundred years the common people of France had suffered. For fourteen hundred year they had been robbed by the altar and by the throne. They had been the prey of priests and nobles. All were exempt from taxation, except the common people. The cup of their suffering was full, and the French people arose in fury and frenzy, and tore the drapery from the altars of God, and filled the air with the dust of thrones. Surely, the slavery of fourteen centuries had not been produced by the teachings of Voltaire. I stood only a little while ago at the place where once stood the Bastille. In my imagination I saw that prison standing as it stood of yore. I could see it attacked by the populace. I could see their stormy faces and hear their cries. And I saw that ancient fortification of tyranny go down forever. And now where once stood the Bastille stands the Column of July. Upon its summit is a magnificent statue of Liberty, holding in one hand a banner, in the other a broken chain. and upon its shining forehead is the star of progress. There it stands where once stood the Bastille. And France is as much superior to what it was when Voltaire was born, as that statue, surmounting the Column of July, is more beautiful than the Bastille that stood there once with its cells of darkness, and its dungeons of horror. Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 18 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. And yet we are now told that the French people have rendered themselves incapable of government. simply because they have listened to the voice of progress. There are magnificent men in France. From that country have come to the human race some of the grandest and holiest messages the ear of man has ever heard. The French people have given to history some of the most touching acts of self-sacrifice ever performed beneath the amazed stars. For my part, I admire the French people. I cannot forget the Rue San Antoine. nor the red cap of liberty. I can never cease to remember that the tricolor was held aloft in Paris, while Europe was in chains, and while liberty, with a bleeding breast. was in the Inquisition of Spain. And yet we are now told by a religious paper, that France is not capable of self-government. I suppose it was capable of self-government under the old regime. at the time of the massacre of St. Bartholomew. I suppose it was capable of self- government when women were seen yoked with cattle pulling plows. I suppose it was capable of self-government when all who labored were in a condition of slavery. In the old times, even among the priests, there were some good, some sincere and most excellent men. I have read somewhere of a sermon preached by one of these in the Cathedral of Notre Dame. This old priest, among other things, said that the soul of a beggar was as dear to God as the soul of the richest of his people, and that Jesus Christ died as much for a beggar as for a prince. One French peasant, rough with labor, cried out: "I propose three cheers for Jesus Christ." I like such things. I like to hear of them. I like to repeat them. Paris has been a kind of volcano, and has made the heavens lurid with its lava of hatred. but it has also contributed more than any other city to the intellectual development of man. France has produced some infamous men, among others John Calvin, but for one Calvin, she has produced a thousand benefactors of the human race. The moment the French people rise above the superstitions of the church, they will be in the highest sense capable of self-government. The moment France succeeds in releasing herself from the coils of Catholicism -- from the shadows of superstition -- from the foolish forms and mummeries of the church -- from the intellectual tyranny of a thousand years -- she will not only be capable of self-government, but will govern herself. Let the priests be usefully employed. We want no overseers of the mind; no slave-drivers for the soul. We cannot afford to pay hypocrites for depriving us of liberty. It is a waste of money to pay priests to frighten our children, and paralyze the intellect of women. WAS THE WORLD CREATED IN SIX DAYS? III. For hundreds of years it was contended by all Christians that the earth was made in six days, literal days of twenty-four hours each, and that on the seventh day the Lord rested from his labor. Geologists have driven the church from this position, and it is now claimed that the days mentioned in the Bible are periods of time. This is a simple evasion, not in any way supported by the Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 19 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. Scriptures. The Bible distinctly and clearly says that the world was created in six days. There is not within its lids a clearer statement. It does not say six periods. It was made according to that book in six days: 31. "And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day." -- Genesis i. 1. "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2. "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3. "And God blessed the seventh day (not seventh period), and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." -- Genesis ii. From the following passages it seems clear what was meant by the word days: 15. "Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death." -- Served him right! 16. "Wherefore, the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath. to observe the Sabbath, throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 17. "It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed. 18. "And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God." -- Exodus xxxi. 12. "Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. 13. "And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven; and hasted not to go down about a whole day. 14. "And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel." -- Josh. x. These passages must certainly convey the idea that this world was made in six days, not six periods. And the reason why they were to keep the Sabbath was because the Creator rested on the seventh day -- not period. If you say six periods, instead of six days, what becomes of your Sabbath? The only reason given in the Bible Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 20 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. for observing the Sabbath is that God observed it -- that he rested from his work that day and was refreshed. Take this reason away and the sacredness of that day has no foundation in the Scriptures. WHAT IS THE ASTRONOMY OF THE BIBLE? IV. When people were ignorant of all the sciences the Bible was understood by those who read it the same as by those who wrote it. From time to time discoveries were made that seemed inconsistent with the Scriptures. At first, theologians denounced the discoverers of all facts inconsistent with the Bible, as atheists and scoffers. The Bible teaches us that the earth is the center of the universe; that the sun and moon and stars revolve around this speck called the earth. The men who discovered that all this was a mistake were denounced by the ignorant clergy of that day, precisely as the ignorant clergy of our time denounce the advocates of free thought. When the doctrine of the earth's place in the solar system was demonstrated; when persecution could no longer conceal the mighty truth, then it was that the church made an effort to harmonize the Scriptures with the discoveries of science. When the utter absurdity of the Mosaic account of creation became apparent to all thoughtful men, the church changed the reading of the Bible. Then it was pretended that the "days" of creation were vast periods of time. When it was shown to be utterly impossible that the sun revolved around the earth, then the account given by Joshua of the sun standing still for the space of a whole day, was changed into a figure of speech. It was said that Joshua merely conformed to the mode of speech common in his day; and that when he said the sun stood still, he merely intended to convey the idea that the earth ceased turning upon its axis. They admitted that stopping the sun could not lengthen the day, and for that reason it must have been the earth that stopped. But you will remember that the moon stood still in the valley of Ajalon -- that the moon stayed until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. One would naturally suppose that the sun would have given sufficient light to enable the Jews to avenge themselves upon their enemies without any assistance from the moon. Of course, if the moon had not stopped, the relations between the earth and moon would have been changed. Is there a sensible man in the world who believes this wretched piece of ignorance? Is it possible that the religion of this nineteenth century has for its basis such childish absurdities? According to this account. what was the sun, or rather the earth, stopped for? It was stopped in order that the Hebrews might avenge themselves upon the Amorites. For the accomplishment of such a purpose the earth was made to pause. Why should an almost infinite force be expended simply for the purpose of destroying a handful of men? Why this waste of force? Let me explain. I strike my hands together. They feel a sudden heat. Where did the heat come from? Motion has been changed into heat. You will remember that there can be no destruction of force. It disappears in one form Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 21 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. only to reappear in another. The earth, rotating at the rate of one thousand miles an hour, was stopped. The motion of this vast globe would have instantly been changed into heat. It has been calculated by one of the greatest scientists of the present day that to stop the earth would generate as much heat as could be produced by burning a world as large as this of solid coal. And yet, all this force was expended for the paltry purpose of defeating a few poor barbarians. The employment of so much force for the accomplishment of so insignificant an object would be as useless as bringing all the intellect of a great man to bear in answering the arguments of the clergymen of San Francisco. The waste of that immense force in stopping the planets in their grand courses, for the purpose claimed, would be like using a Krupp gun to destroy an insect to which a single drop of water is "an unbounded world." How is it possible for men of ordinary intellect, not only to endorse such ignorant falsehoods, but to malign those who do not? Can anything he more debasing to the intellect of man than a belief in the astronomy of the Bible? According to the Scriptures, the world was made out of nothing, and the sun, moon, and stars, of the nothing that happened to be left. To the writers of the Bible the firmament was solid, and in it were grooves along which the stars were pushed by angels. From the Bible Cosmos constructed his geography and astronomy. His book was passed upon by the church. and was declared to be the truth concerning the subjects upon which he treated. This eminent geologist and astronomer, taking the Bible as his guide, found and taught: First, that the earth was flat; second, that it was a vast parallelogram; third. that in the middle there was a vast body of land, then a strip of water all around it, then a strip of land. He thought that on the outer strip of land people lived before the flood -- that at the time of the flood, Noah in his Ark crossed the strip of water and landed on the shore of the country in the middle of the world, where we now are. This great biblical scholar informed the true believers of his day that in the outer strip of land were mountains, around which the sun and moon revolved; that when the sun was on the side of the mountain next the land occupied by man, it was day, and when on the other side, it was night. Mr. Cosmos believed the Bible, and regarded Joshua as the most eminent astronomer of his day. He also taught that the firmament was solid, and that the angels pushed and drew the stars. He tells us that these angels attended strictly to their business, that each one watched the motions of all the others so that proper distances might always be maintained, and all confusion avoided. All this was believed by the gentlemen who made most of our religion. The great argument made by Cosmos to show that the earth must be flat, was the fact that the Bible stated that when Christ should come the second time, in glory, the whole world should see him. "Now," said Cosmos, "if the world is round, how could the people on the other side see the Lord when he comes? "This settled the question. These were the ideas of the fathers of the church. These men have been for centuries regarded as almost divinely inspired. Long after they had become dust they governed the world. The superstitions they planted, their descendants watered with the best and bravest blood. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 22 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. To maintain their ignorant theories, the brain of the world was dwarfed for a thousand years, and the infamous work is still being prosecuted. The Bible was regarded as not only true, but as the best of all truth. Any new theory advanced, was immediately examined in the light, or rather in the darkness, of revelation, and if according to that test it was false, it was denounced, and the person bringing it forward forced to recant. It would have been a far better course to have discovered every theory found to be in harmony with the Scriptures. And yet we are told by the clergy and religious press of this city, that the Bible is the foundation of all science. DOES THE BIBLE TEACH THE EXISTENCE OF THAT IMPOSSIBLE CRIME CALLED WITCHCRAFT? V. It was said by Sir Thomas More that to give up witchcraft was to give up the Bible itself. This idea was entertained by nearly all the eminent theologians of a hundred years ago. In my judgment, they were right. To give up witchcraft is to give up, in a great degree at least, the supernatural. To throw away the little ghosts simply prepares the mind of man to give up the great ones. The founders of nearly all creeds, and of all religions properly so-called, have taught the existence of good and evil spirits. They have peopled the dark with devils and the light with angels. They have crowded hell with demons and heaven with seraphs. The moment these good and evil spirits, these angels and fiends, disappear from the imaginations of men, and phenomena are accounted for by natural rather than by supernatural means, a great step has been taken in the direction of what is now known as materialism. While the church believes in witchcraft, it is in a greatly modified form. The evil spirits are not as plenty as in former times, and more phenomena are accounted for by natural means. Just to the extent that belief has been lost in spirits, just to that extent the church has lost its power and authority. When men ceased to account for the happening of any event by ascribing it to the direct action of good or evil spirits, and began to reason from known premises, the chains of superstition began to grow weak. Into such disrepute has witchcraft at last fallen that many Christians not only deny the existence of these evil spirits, but take the ground that no such thing is taught in the Scriptures. Let us see: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." -- Exodus xxii., 18. 7. "Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a spirit at Endor. 8. "And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night; and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 23 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. 9. "And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards out of the land; wherefore, then, layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? 10. "And Saul swore to her by the Lord, saying, As the Lord liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. 11. "Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. 12. "And when the woman saw Samuel she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. 13. "And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. 14. "And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. 15. "And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me to bring me up?" -- 2 Samuel, xxviii. This reads very much like an account of a modern spiritual seance. Is it not one of the wonderful things of the world that men and women who believe this account of the witch of Endor, who believe all the miracles and all the ghost stories of the Bible, deny with all their force the truth of modern Spiritualism. So far as I am concerned. I would rather believe some one who has heard what he relates, who has seen what he tells, or at least thinks he has seen what he tells. I would rather believe somebody I know, whose reputation for truth is good among those who know him. I would rather believe these people than to take the words of those who have been in their graves for four thousand years, and about whom I know nothing. 31 "Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them; I am the Lord, your God." -- Leviticus xix. 6. "And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people." -- Leviticus xx. 10. "There shall not be found among you any one that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11. "Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12. "For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord." -- Deut. xviii. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 24 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. I have given you a few of the passages found in the Old Testament upon this subject, showing conclusively that the Bible teaches the existence of witches, wizards and those who have familiar spirits. In the New Testament there are passages equally strong, showing that the Savior himself was a believer in the existence of evil spirits. and in the existence of a personal devil. Nothing can be plainer than the teaching of the following: 1. "Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2. "And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. 3. "And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4. "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 5. "Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple. 6. "And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7. "Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord, thy God. 8. "Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9. "And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10. "Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11. "Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him." -- Matt. iv. If this does not teach the existence of a personal devil, there is nothing within the lids of the Scriptures teaching the existence of a personal God. If this does not teach the existence of evil spirits, there is nothing in the Bible going to show that good spirits exist either in this world or the next. 16. "When the even was come they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick." -- Matt. vii. 1. "And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 25 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. 2. "And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3. "Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4. "Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5. "And always, night and day, he was in the mountains. and in the tombs, crying and cutting himself with stones. 6. "But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him. 7. "And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. 8. "For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. 9. "And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion, for we are many. 11. "Now, there was nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 12. "And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 13. "And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine; and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and they were about two thousand; and were choked in the sea." -- Mark v. The doctrine of witchcraft does not stop here. The power of casting out devils was bequeathed by the Savior to his apostles and followers, and to all who might believe in him throughout all the coming time: 17. "And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18. "And they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover." -- Mark xvi. I would like to see the clergy who have been answering me, tested in this way: Let them drink poison, let them take up serpents, let them cure the sick by the laying on of hands, and I will then believe that they believe. I deny the witchcraft stories of the world. Witches are born in the ignorant, frightened minds of men. Reason will exorcise them. "They are tales told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." These devils have covered the world with blood and tears. They have filled the earth with fear. They have filled Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 26 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. the lives of children with darkness and horror. They have peopled the sweet world of imagination with monsters. They have made religion a strange mingling of fear and ferocity. I am doing what I can to reeve the heavens of these monsters. For my part, I laugh at them all. I hold them all in contempt, ancient and modern, great and small. THE BIBLE IDEA OF THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN. VI. All religion has for its basis the tyranny of God and the slavery of man. 18. "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them, 19. "Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place. 20. "And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice, he is a glutton and a drunkard. 21. "And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die; so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear." -- Deut. xxi. Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. He proceeded to obey. And the boy, being then about thirty years of age, was not consulted. At the command of a phantom of the air, a man was willing to offer upon the altar his only son. And such was the slavery of children, that the only son had not the spirit to resist. Have you ever read the story of Jephthah? 30 "And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, "If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, 31. "Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. 32. "So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands. 33. "And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 27 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. 34. "And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances; and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. 35. "And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back. . . . 39. "And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed." -- Judges xi. What can we think of a father who would sacrifice his daughter to a demon God? And what can we think of a God who would accept such a sacrifice? Can such a God be worthy of the worship of man? I plead for the rights of children. I plead for the government of kindness and love. I plead for the republic of home, the democracy of the fireside. I plead for affection. And for this I am pursued by invective. For this I am called a fiend, a devil, a monster, by Christian editors and clergymen, by those who pretend to love their enemies and pray for those that despitefully use them. Allow me to give you another instance of affection related in the Scriptures. There was, it seems, a most excellent man by the name of Job. The Lord was walking up and down, and happening to meet Satan, said to him: "Are you acquainted with my servant Job? Have you noticed what an excellent man he is? "And Satan replied to him and said: "Why should he not be an excellent man -- you have given him everything he wants? Take from him what he has and he will curse you." And thereupon the Lord gave Satan the power to destroy the property and children of Job. In a little while these high contracting parties met again; and the Lord seemed somewhat elated with his success, and called again the attention of Satan to the sinlessness of Job. Satan then told him to touch his body and he would curse him. And thereupon power was given to Satan over the body of Job. and he cured his body with boils. Yet in all this, Job did not sin with his lips. This book seems to have been written to show the excellence of patience, and to prove that at last God will reward all who will bear the afflictions of heaven with fortitude and without complaint. The sons and daughters of Job had been slain, and then the Lord, in order to reward Job, gave him other children, other sons and other daughters -- not the same ones he had lost; but others. And this, according to the writer, made ample amends. Is that the idea we now have of love? If I have a child, no matter how deformed that child may be, and if it dies, nobody can make the loss to me good by bringing a more beautiful child. I want the one I loved and the one I lost. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 28 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. THE GALLANTRY OF GOD. VII. I Have said that the Bible is a barbarous book; that it has no respect for the rights of woman. Now I propose to prove it. It takes something besides epithets and invectives to prove or disprove anything. Let us see what the sacred volume says concerning the mothers and daughters of the human race. A man who does not in his heart of hearts respect woman, who has not there an altar at which he worships the memory of mother, is less than a man. 11. "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12. "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." The reason given for this, and the only reason that occurred to the sacred writer, was: 13. "For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14. "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 15. "Notwithstanding, she shall be saved in child-bearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. -- I Tim. ii. 3. "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." That is to say, the woman sustains the same relation to the man that man does to Christ. and man sustains the same relation to Christ that Christ does to God. This places the woman infinitely below the man. And yet this barbarous idiocy is regarded as divinely inspired. How can any woman look other than with contempt upon such passages? How can any woman believe that this is the will of a most merciful God? 7. "For a man, indeed, ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of man." And this is justified from the remarkable fact set forth in the next verse: 8. "For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man." This same chivalric gentleman also says: 9. "Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man." -- I Cor. xi. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 29 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. 22. "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." Is it possible for abject obedience to go beyond this? 23. "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church, and he is the saviour of the body. 24. "Therefore, as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. -- Eph. v. Even the Savior did not put man and woman upon an equality. A man could divorce his wife, but the wife could not divorce her husband. Every noble woman should hold such apostles and such ideas in contempt. According to the Old Testament, woman had to ask pardon and had to be purified from the crime of having born sons and daughters. To make love and maternity crimes is infamous. 10. "When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, 11. "And seest among the captives a beautiful woman. and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife, 12. "Then thou shalt bring her home to thy house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails." -- Deut. xxi. This is barbarism, no matter whether it came from heaven or from hell, from a God or from a devil, from the golden streets of the New Jerusalem or from the very Sodom of perdition. It is barbarism complete and utter. DOES THE BIBLE SANCTION POLYGAMY AND CONCUBINAGE? VIII. Read the infamous order of Moses in the 31st chapter of Numbers -- an order unfit to be reproduced in print -- an order which I am unwilling to repeat. Read the 31st chapter of Exodus. Read the 21st chapter of Deuteronomy. Read the life of Abraham, of David, of Solomon, of Jacob, and then tell me the sacred Bible does not teach polygamy and concubinage. All the languages of the world are insufficient to express the filth of polygamy. It makes man a beast -- woman a slave. It destroys the fireside. It makes virtue an outcast. It makes home a lair of wild beasts. It is the infamy of infamies. Yet this is the doctrine of the Bible -- a doctrine defended even by Luther and Melancthon. It is by the Bible that Brigham Young justifies the practice of this beastly horror. It takes from language those sweetest words, husband, wife, father, mother, child and lover. It takes us back to the barbarism of animals, and leaves the heart a den in which crawl and hiss the slimy serpents of loathsome lust. Yet the book justifying this infamy is the book upon which rests the civilization of the nineteenth century. And because I denounce this frightful thing, Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 30 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. the clergy denounce me as a demon, and the infamous Christian Advocate says that the moral sentiment of this State ought to denounce this Illinois Catiline for his blasphemous utterances and for his base and debasing scurrility. DOES THE BIBLE UPHOLD AND JUSTIFY POLITICAL TYRANNY? IX. For my part, I insist that man has not only the capacity, but the right to govern himself. All political authority is vested in the people themselves. They have the right to select their officers and agents, and these officers and agents are responsible to the people. Political authority does not come from the clouds. Man should not be governed by the aristocracy of the air. The Bible is not a Republican or Democratic book. Exactly the opposite doctrine is taught. From that volume we learn that the people have no power whatever; that all power and political authority comes from on high, and that all the kings, all the potentates and powers, have been ordained of God; that all the ignorant and cruel kings have been placed upon the world's thrones by the direct act of Deity. The Scriptures teach us that the common people have but one duty -- the duty of obedience. Let me read to you some of the political ideas in the great "Magna Charta" of human liberty. 1. "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. 2. "Whosoever, therefore. resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." According to this, George III. was ordained of God. He was King of Great Britain by divine right, and by divine right was the lawful King of the American Colonies. The leaders in the Revolutionary struggle resisted the power, and according to these passages, resisted the ordinances of God; and for that resistance they are promised the eternal recompense of damnation. 3. "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. . . . 5. "Wherefore, ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6. "For. for this cause pay ye tribute also; for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing." -- Romans, xiii. 13. "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake; whether it be to the king as supreme; 14. "Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers. and far the praise of them that do well. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 31 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. 15. "For so is the will of God." -- 1 Pet. ii. Had these ideas been carried out, political progress in the world would have been impossible. Upon the necks of the people still would have been the feet of kings. I deny this wretched, this infamous doctrine. Whether higher powers are ordained of God or not, if those higher powers endeavor to destroy the rights of man, I for one shall resist. Whenever and wherever the sword of rebellion is drawn in support of a human right, I am a rebel. The despicable doctrine of submission to titled wrong and robed injustice finds no lodgment in the brain of a man. The real rulers are the people, and the rulers so-called are but the servants of the people. They are not ordained of any God. All political power comes from and belongs to man. Upon these texts of Scripture rest the thrones of Europe. For fifteen hundred years these verses have been repeated by brainless kings and heartless priests. For fifteen hundred years each one of these texts has been a bastille in which has been imprisoned the pioneers of progress. Each one of these texts has been an obstruction on the highway of humanity. Each one has been a fortification behind which have crouched the sainted hypocrites and the titled robbers. According to these texts, a robber gets his right to rob from God. And it is the duty of the robbed to submit. The thief gets his right to steal from God. The king gets his right to trample upon human liberty from God. I say. fight the king -- fight the priest. THE RELIGIOUS LIBERTY OF GOD. X. The Bible denounces religious liberty. After covering the world with blood, after having made it almost hollow with graves, Christians are beginning to say that men have a right to differ upon religious questions provided the questions about which they differ are not considered of great importance. The motto of the Evangelical Alliance is: "In non-essentials, liberty; in essentials, unity." The Christian world have condescended to say that upon all non-essential points we shall have the right to think for ourselves; but upon matters of the least importance, they will think and speak for us. In this they are consistent. They but follow the teachings of the God they worship. They but adhere to the precepts and commands of the sacred Scriptures. Within that volume there is no such thing as religious toleration. Within that volume there is not one particle of mercy for an unbeliever. For all who think for themselves, for all who are the owners of their own souls, there are threatenings, curses and anathemas. Any Christian who to-day exercises the least toleration is to that extent false to his religion. Let us see what the "Magna Charta" of liberty says upon this subject: 6. "If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 32 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. 7. "Namely of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or afar off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; 8. "Thou shalt not consent unto him; nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him; neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him 9. "But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people; 10. "And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage." -- Deut. xiii. That is the religious liberty of the Bible. If the wife of your bosom had said, "I like the religion of India better than the religion of Palestine," it was then your duty to kill her, and the merciful Most High -- understand me, I do not believe in any merciful Most High -- said: "Thou shalt not pity her but thou shalt surely kill; thy hand shall be the first upon her to put her to death." This I denounce as infamously infamous. If it is necessary to believe in such a God. if it is necessary to adore such a Deity in order to be saved, I will take my part joyfully in perdition. Let me read you a few more extracts from the "Magna Charta" of human liberty; 2. "If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the Lord thy God giveth thee, man or woman that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the Lord thy God, in transgressing his covenant, 3. "And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded: 4. "And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently. and behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel; 5. "Then shalt thou bring forth that man, or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones till they die." Under this law if the woman you loved had said: "Let us worship the sun; I am tired of this jealous and bloodthirsty Jehovah; let us worship the sun; let us kneel to it as it rises over the hills, filling the world with light and love, when the dawn stands jocund on the mountain's misty top; it is the sun whose beams illumine and cover the earth with verdure and with beauty; it is the sun that covers the trees with leaves. that carpets the earth with grass and adorns the world with flowers; I adore the sun Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 33 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. because in its light I have seen your eyes; it has given to me the face of my babe; it has clothed my life with joy; let us in gratitude fall down and worship the glorious beams of the sun." For this offence she deserved not only death, but death at your hands: "Thine eye shall not pity her; neither shalt thou spare: neither shalt thou conceal her. "But thou shalt surely kill her: thy hand shall be the first upon her to put her to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. "And thou shalt stone her with stones that she die." For my part I had a thousand times rather worship the sun than a God who would make such a law or give such a command. This you may say is the doctrine of the Old Testament -- what is the doctrine of the New? "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned." That is the religious liberty of the New Testament. That is the "tidings of great joy." Every one of these words has been a chain upon the limbs, a whip upon the backs of men. Every one has been a fagot. Every one has been a sword. Every one has been a dungeon, a scaffold, a rack. Every one has been a fountain of tears. These words have filled the hearts of men with hatred. These words invented all the instruments of torture. These words covered the earth with blood. For the sake of argument, suppose that the Bible is an inspired book. If then, as is contended, God gave these frightful laws commanding religious intolerance to his chosen people, and afterward this same God took upon himself flesh, and came among the Jews and taught a different religion, and they crucified him, did he not reap what he had sown? DOES THE BIBLE DESCRIBE A GOD OF MERCY? XI. Is it possible to conceive of a more Jealous, revengeful, changeable, unjust, unreasonable, cruel being than the Jehovah of the Hebrews? Is it possible to read the words said to have been spoken by this Deity, without a shudder? Is it possible to contemplate his character without hatred? "I will make mine arrows drunk with blood and my sword shall devour flesh." -- Deut. xxxii. Is this the language of an infinitely kind and tender parent to his weak, his wandering and suffering children? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 34 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. "Thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same." -- Psalms, lxviii. Is it possible that a God takes delight in seeing dogs lap the blood of his children? 22. "And the Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little; thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. 23. "But the Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. 24. "And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven; there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them." -- Deut. vii. If these words had proceeded from the mouth of a demon, if they had been spoken by some enraged and infinitely malicious fiend, I should not have been surprised. But these things are attributed to a God of infinite mercy. 40. "So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings; he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded." -- Josh. x. 14. "And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves; but every man they smote with the edge of the sword until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe." -- Josh. xi. 19. "There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon; all other they took in battle. 20. "For it was of the Lord to harden their heart. that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favor, but that he might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses." -- Josh. xi. There are no words in our language with which. to express the indignation I feel when reading these cruel and heartless words. "When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. And it shall be if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be that all the people therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. And if it will make no peace with thee. but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it. And when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thy hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the sword. But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself, and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 35 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. "Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations. But of the cities of these people which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth." These terrible instructions were given to an army of invasion. The men who were thus ruthlessly murdered were fighting for their homes, their firesides, for their wives and for their little children. Yet these things, by the clergy of San Francisco, are called acts of sublime mercy. All this is justified by the doctrine of the survival of the fittest. The Old Testament is filled with anathemas. with curses, with words of vengeance, of revenge, of jealousy. of hatred and of almost infinite brutality. Do not, I pray you, pluck from the heart the sweet flower of pity and trample it in the bloody dust of superstition. Do not, I beseech you, justify the murder of women. the assassination of dimpled babes. Do not let the gaze of the gorgon of superstition turn your hearts to stone. Is there an intelligent Christian in the world who would not with joy and gladness receive conclusive testimony to the effect that all the passages in the Bible upholding and sustaining polygamy and concubinage, political tyranny, the subjection of woman, the enslavement of children, establishing domestic and political tyranny, and that all the commands to destroy men, women and children, are but interpolations of kings and priests, made for the purpose of subjugating mankind through the instrumentality of fear? Is there a Christian in the world who would not think vastly more of the Bible if all these infamous things were eliminated from it? Surely the good things in that book are not rendered more sacred from the fact that in the same volume are found the frightful passages I have quoted. In my judgment the Bible should be read and studied precisely as we read and study any book whatever. The good in it should he preserved and cherished, and that which shocks the human heart should be cast aside forever. While the Old Testament threatens men, women and children with disease, famine, war, pestilence and death, there are no threatenings of punishment beyond this life. The doctrine of eternal punishment is a dogma of the New Testament. This doctrine, the most cruel, the most infamous of which the human mind can conceive, is taught, if taught at all, in the Bible -- in the New Testament. One cannot imagine what the human heart has suffered by reason of the frightful doctrine of eternal damnation. It is a doctrine so abhorrent to every drop of my blood. so infinitely cruel, that it is impossible for me to respect either the head or heart of any human being who teaches or fears it. This doctrine necessarily subverts all ideas of justice. To inflict infinite punishment for finite crimes, or rather for crimes committed by finite beings, is a proposition so monstrous that I am astonished it ever found lodgment in the brain of man. Whoever says that we can be happy in heaven while those we loved on earth are suffering infinite torments in eternal fire, defames and calumniates the human heart. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 36 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. THE PLAN OF SALVATION. XII. We are told, however, that a way has been provided for the salvation of all men, and that in this plan the infinite mercy of God is made manifest to the children of men. According to the great scheme of the atonement, the innocent suffers for the guilty in order to satisfy a law. What kind of law must it be that is satisfied with the agony of innocence? Who made this law? If God made it he must have known that the innocent would have to suffer as a consequence. The whole scheme is to me a medley of contradictions, impossibilities and theological conclusions. We are told that if Adam and Eve had not sinned in the Garden of Eden death never would have entered the world. We are further informed that had it not been for the devil, Adam and Eve would not have been led astray; and if they had not, as I said before, death never would have touched with its icy hand the human heart. If our first parents had never sinned, and death never had entered the world, you and I never would have existed. The earth would have been filled thousands of generations before you and I were born. At the feast of life, death made seats vacant for us. According to this doctrine, we are indebted to the devil for our existence. Had he not tempted Eve -- no sin. If there had been no sin -- no death. If there had been no death the world would have been filled ages before you and I were born. Therefore, we owe our existence to the devil. We are further informed that as a consequence of original sin the scheme called the atonement became necessary; and that if the Savior had not taken upon himself flesh and come to this atom called the earth, and if he had not been crucified for us, we should all have been cast forever into hell. Had it not been for the bigotry of the Jews and the treachery of Judas Iscariot, Christ would not have been crucified; and if he had not been crucified, all of us would have had our portion in the lake that burneth with eternal fire. According to this great doctrine, according to this vast and most wonderful scheme, we owe, as I said before, our existence to the devil, our salvation to Judas Iscariot and the bigotry of the Jews. So far as I am concerned, I fail to see any mercy in the plan of salvation. Is it mercy to reward a man forever in consideration of believing a certain thing, of the truth of which there is, to his mind, ample testimony? Is it mercy to punish a man with eternal fire simply because there is not testimony enough to satisfy his mind? Can there be such a thing as mercy in eternal punishment? And yet this same Deity says to me, "resist not evil; pray for those that despitefully use you; love your enemies, but I will eternally damn mine." It seems to me that even gods should practice what they preach. All atonement, after all, is a kind of moral bankruptcy. Under its provisions, man is allowed the luxury of sinning upon a credit. Whenever he is guilty of a wicked action he says, "charge it." This kind of bookkeeping, in my judgment, tends to breed extravagance in sin. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 37 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. The truth is, most Christians are better than their creeds; most creeds are better than the Bible, and most men are better than heir God. OTHER RELIGIONS. XIII. We must remember that ours is not the only religion. Man has in all ages endeavored to answer the great questions Whence? and Whither? He has endeavored to read his destiny in the stars, to pluck the secret of his existence from the night. He has questioned the specters of his own imagination. He has explored the mysterious avenues of dreams. He has peopled the heavens with spirits. He has mistaken his visions for realities. In the twilight of ignorance he has mistaken shadows for gods. In all ages he has been the slave of misery, the dupe of superstition and the fool of hope. He has suffered and aspired. Religion is a thing of growth, of development. As we advance we throw aside the grosser and absurder forms of faith -- practically at first by ceasing to observe them, and lastly, by denying then, altogether. Every church necessarily by its constitution endeavors to prevent this natural growth or development. What has happened to other religions must happen to ours. Ours is not superior to many that have passed, or are passing away. Other religions have been lived for and died for by men as noble as ours can boast. Their dogmas and doctrines have, to say the least, been as reasonable, as full of spiritual grandeur, as ours. Man has had beautiful thoughts. Man has tried to solve these questions in all the countries of the world, and I respect all such men and women; but let me tell you one little thing. I want to show you that in other countries there is something. The Parsee sect of Persia say: A Persian saint ascended the three stairs that lead to heaven's gate, and knocked; a voice said: "Who is there?" Thy servant, O God! "But the gates would not open. For seven years he did every act of kindness; again he came, and the voice said: "Who is there? "And he replied: "Thy slave, O God!" Yet the gates were shut. Yet seven other years of kindness, and the man again knocked; and the voice cried and said: "Who is there?" "Thyself' O God!" And the gates wide open flew. I say there is no more beautiful Christian poem than this. A Persian after having read our religion, with its frightful descriptions of perdition, wrote these words: "Two angels flying out from the blissful city of God -- the angel of love and the angel of pity -- hovered over the eternal pit where suffered the captives of hell. One smile of love illumined the darkness and one tear of pity extinguished all the fires." Has orthodoxy produced anything as generously beautiful as this? Let me read you this: Sectarians, hear this: Believers in eternal damnation, hear this: Clergy of America who expect to have your happiness in heaven increased by seeing me burning in hell, hear this: Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 38 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. This is the prayer of the Brahmins -- a prayer that has trembled from human lips toward heaven for more than four thousand years: "Never will I seek or receive private individual salvation. Never will I enter into final bliss alone. But forever and everywhere will I labor and strive for the final redemption of every creature throughout all worlds, and until all are redeemed. Never will I wrongly leave this world to sin, sorrow and struggle, but will remain and work and suffer where I am." Has the orthodox religion produced a prayer like this? See the infinite charity, not only for every soul in this world. but of all the shining worlds of the universe. Think of that, ye parsons who imagine that a large majority are going to eternal ruin. Compare it with the sermons of Jonathan Edwards, and compare it with the imprecation of Christ: "Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels; "with the ideas of Jeremy Taylor, with the creeds of Christendom, with all the prayers of all the saints, and in no church except the Universalist will you hear a prayer like this. "When thou art in doubt as to whether an action is good or bad, abstain from it." Since the days of Zoroaster has there been any rule for human conduct given superior to this? Are the principles taught by us superior to those of Confucius? He was asked if there was any single word comprising the duties of man. He replied: "Reciprocity." Upon being asked what he thought of the doctrine of returning benefits for injuries, he replied: "That is not my doctrine. If you return benefits for injuries what do you propose for benefits? My doctrine is: For benefits return benefits; for injuries return justice without any admixture of revenge." To return good for evil is to pay a premium upon wickedness. I cannot put a man under obligation to do me a favor by doing him an injury. Now, to-day, right now, what is the church doing? What is it doing, I ask you honestly? Does it satisfy the craving hearts of the nineteenth century? Are we satisfied? I am not saying this except from the honesty of my heart. Are we satisfied? Is it a consolation to us now? Is it even a consolation when those we love die? The dead are so near and the promises are so far away. It is covered with the rubbish of the past. I ask you, is it all that is demanded by the brain and heart of the nineteenth century? We want something better; we want something grander; we want something that has more brain in it, and more heart in it. We want to advance -- that is what we want; and you cannot advance without being a heretic -- you cannot do it. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 39 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. Nearly all these religions have been upheld by Persecution and bloodshed. They have been rendered stable by putting fetters upon the human brain. They have all, however, been perfectly natural productions, and under similar circumstances would all be reproduced. Only by intellectual development are the old superstitions outgrown. As only the few intellectually advance, the majority is left on the side of superstition. and remains there until the advanced ideas of the few thinkers become general; and by that time there are other thinkers still in advance. And so the work of development and growth slowly and painfully proceeds from age to age. The pioneers are denounced as heretics, and the heretics denounce their denouncers as the disciples of superstition and ignorance. Christ was a heretic. Herod was orthodox. Socrates was a blasphemer. Anytus worshiped all the gods. Luther was a skeptic. while the sellers of indulgences were the best of Catholics. Roger Williams was a heretic, while the Puritans who drove him from Massachusetts were all orthodox. Every step in advance in the religious history of the world has been taken by heretics. No superstition has been destroyed except by a heretic. Heretic is the name that the orthodox laggard hurl at the disappearing pioneer. It is shouted by the dwellers in swamps to the people upon the hills. It is the opinion that midnight entertains of the dawn. It is what the rotting says of the growing. Heretic is the name that a stench gives to a perfume. With this word the coffin salutes the cradle. It is taken from the lips of the dead. Orthodoxy is a shroud -- heresy is a banner. Orthodoxy is an epitaph -- heresy is a prophecy. Orthodoxy is a cloud, a fog, a mist -- heresy the star shining forever above the child of truth. I am a believer in the eternity of progress. I do not believe that Want will forever extend its withered hand, its wan and shriveled palms, for charity. I do not believe that the children will forever be governed by cruelty and brute force. I do not believe that poverty will dwell with man forever. I do not believe that prisons will forever cover the earth, or that the shadow of the gallows will forever fall upon the ground. I do not believe that injustice will sit forever upon the bench, or that malice and superstition will forever stand in the pulpit. I believe the time will come when there will be charity in every heart, when there will be love in every family, and when law and liberty and justice, like the atmosphere, will surround this world. We have worshiped the ghosts long enough. We have prostrated ourselves before the ignorance of the past. Let us stand erect and look with hopeful eyes toward the brightening future. Let us stand by our convictions. Let us not throw away our idea of justice for the sake of any book or of any religion whatever. Let us live according to our highest and noblest and purest ideal. By this time we should know that the real Bible has not been written. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 40 MY REVIEWERS REVIEWED. The real Bible is not the work of inspired men, or prophets, or apostles, or evangelists. or of Christs. Every man who finds a fact, adds, as it were, a word to this great book. It is not attested by prophecy, by miracles, or signs. It makes no appeal to faith, to ignorance, to credulity or fear. It has no punishment for unbelief, and no reward for hypocrisy. It appeals to man in the name of demonstration. It has nothing to conceal. It has no fear of being read, of being contradicted, of being investigated and understood. It does not pretend to be holy, or sacred: it simply claims to be true. It challenges the scrutiny of all, and implores every reader to verity every line for himself. It is incapable of being blasphemed. This book appeals to all the surroundings of man. Each thing that exist, testifies to its perfection. The earth, with its heart of fire and crowns of snow; with its forests and plains, its rocks and seas; with its every wave and cloud; with its every leaf and bud and flower, confirms its every word, and the solemn stars, shining in the infinite abysses, are the eternal witnesses of its truth. Ladies and gentlemen you cannot tell how I thank you this evening; you cannot tell how I feel toward the intellectual hospitality of this great city by the Pacific sea. Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you -- I thank you again and again, a thousand times. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. The Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended -- The Free Market-Place of Ideas. The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books please contact us, we need to give them back to America. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 41
The Bank of Wisdom is run by Emmett Fields out of his home in Kentucky. He painstakingly scanned in these works and put them on disks for others to have available. Mr. Fields makes these disks available for only the cost of the media.
Files made available from the Bank of Wisdom may be freely reproduced and given away, but may not be sold.
Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.
The Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended --
The Free Market-Place of Ideas.
The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books please contact us, we need to give them back to America.
Bank of Wisdom,
|Top of Page|