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Title: Ingersoll in Canada - A Reply to Wendling, Archbishop Lynch, Bystander, and Others
Author: Pringle, Allen
Language: English
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By Allen Pringle

"If all mankind, minus one, were of one opinion, mankind would no more
justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power,
would be justified in silencing mankind."--_J. S. Mill, On Liberty_.

     "Here's freedom to him that would read,
     Here's freedom to him that would write;
     Thert's nane ever feared that the truth should be heard,
     But they whom the truth would indite."--Burns.

"He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot is a a fool; and he
who dares not is a slave."--_Philosopher_.

PER CONTRA: "Do not try to reason or you are lost."--_Moody, the

"Hew to the line, let the chips fall where they may."

"Fear first made Gods in the world."--_Lucretius_

"Theology I define to be the art of teaching what nobody knows."--_Lord

"It matters not to me whether my neighbors believe in one God or

"The natural world is infinite and eternal. The universe was not called
into being from non-entity."--_Plato_

"To assert that Christianity communicated to man moral truths previously
unknown, argues, on the part of the assertor, either gross ignorance or
else wilful fraud."--_Buckle_

"Nature is seen to do all things of herself without the meddling of the

"Is there no 'inspiration,' then, but an ancient Jewish, Greekish, Roman
one, with big revenues, loud liturgies, and red stockings?"--_Thos.

"Inanity well tailored and upholstered, mild-spoken Ambiguity, decorous
Hypocrisy, which is astonished you should, think it hypocritical, taking
their room and drawing their wages: from zenith to nadir you have Cant,
Cant--a universe of incredibilities which are not even credited,
which each man at best only tries to persuade himself that he
credits."--_Thomas Carlyle_

"The highest possible welfare of all present mankind is my religion;
the perfectibility of the future of our race here upon this planet is
my faith; and I would the time had come, as it yet will come, that this
faith were the religion of all mankind."--_Lord Queensbury_ (who
was recently excluded from the English House of Lords because of his
unorthodox opinions.)



Gentlemen,--Through the generous and voluntary liberality of a highly
esteemed and estimable Freethought friend, and at his suggestion, I have
been enabled to get out this Second Edition of my pamphlet, of upwards
of 4,000 copies, chiefly for gratuitous distribution among yourselves.
The gentleman referred to conceived the project of supplying every
Minister in the Province with a copy, and it was further decided to also
supply the College Students.

The compliment to pamphlet and author, which this action on the part of
an intelligent and discriminating Liberal implies, I, of course, duly
appreciate. When the work was written a few months ago, at the request
of fellow-liberals, I had no expectation that it would ultimately
go before so critical and learned a body of readers as the Clergy,
Graduates, and College Students of Ontario. I supposed one modest
edition of 2,000 copies would be all that would ever see the light.
But it has been otherwise desired by my readers. I have, therefore,
no further apology to make for presenting you with the work (my object
being the advancement of truth), and I earnestly submit for your best
consideration its subject matter rather than its literary merits or
demerits. The time has come when these great questions must be examined,
for they _will_ come to the front in spite of the most tenacious
conservatism. Everywhere, thoughtful men are earnestly looking into
them. That the old landmarks in religious belief are being effaced and
the Creeds and Confessions rapidly breaking up is becoming every day
more and more apparent. Goldwin Smith, a man of great historical acumen,
has recently said "A collapse of religious belief, of the most complete
and tremendous kind, is, apparently, now at hand."* The Rev. Hugh
Pedley, B.A., Cobourg, in a very able paper in the July (1880) number of
the _Canadian Monthly_, on "Theological Students and the Times," says:
"There can be no doubt that all forms of thought, all systems of belief,
however venerable with age, are being: handled with the utmost freedom.
Skepticism is becoming more general, and is protean in its adaptibility
to circumstances. There is the philosophical skepticism for the
cultured, and popular skepticism for the masses: the Reviews for the
select, Col. Ingersoll for the people. No _Index Expurgatorius_, whether
Catholic or Protestant, whether ecclesiastical or domestic, is barrier
strong enough to stem the incoming tide." He also says: "I would
advocate a manly, courageous dealing with the doubts of the age in all
our theological schools." * * * "Let there be no timid reserve. Let our
young ministers face the whole strength of the rationalistic position."
* * * "It is not enough that ministers should be well read in church
history, not enough that they should be able to expound in logical
fashion the church doctrines of the Trinity, the Atonement, &c, not
enough that they should understand the architecture of a model sermon.
These matters are quite right in their place, but the minister should go
further. He must go down to the root question, and enquire whether the
history, the systematic theology, and the homilectics are based on a
really Divine Revelation, or only on a series of beautiful legends which
foolish, but reverent, hands have wreathed about the person of Jesus of
Nazareth, a wonderful, religious genius that long ago illumined the
land of Palestine." Further, Mr. Pedley says: "We find men talking as if
thoroughness of investigation would inevitably lead to a loosened hold
on Christianity. So much the worse then for Christianity. If young men
of average intellect, and more than average morality, find that the more
keenly they study Christianity, the less able they are to accept it, and
preach it, then must Christianity be relegated to the dusty lumber-room
of worn-out and superseded religious systems."

     * "The Prospect of a Moral  Interregnum."
     --Atlantic Monthly, Nov., 1879.

Mr. Pedley then goes on to point out the effects of ignorance, on the
part of the minister, of the arguments and writings of Freethinkers. He
says: "If he be pastor in a reading community, he will know less than
his congregation about matters which it is his special business to
understand. He will stand towards the Bible, as an ignorant Priest
stands towards the Pope, accepting an infallibility that he has never
proved. He will appear before the intelligent world as a spiritual
coward, a craven-hearted man, who dare not face the enemy who is slowly
mastering his domains. He will become a by-word and a reproach to the
generation which he is confessedly unable to lead, and which sweeps by
with disdainful tread, leaving him far in the rear."

These are brave words and frank admissions, which should be well
pondered by every clergyman, minister and priest, and every theological
student, for should they fail to acquaint themselves with the doctrines
and arguments of their opponents, they will speedily find themselves, as
Mr. Pedley warns them, preaching to people who know more than they about
matters which it is their special business to know.

Yours earnestly for Truth,

A. P. Selby, Nov. 22nd, 1880.


Col. Robt. G. Ingersoll, the American Freethinker and eloquent
iconoclast, visited Canada in April last and lectured on theological
subjects in various places, including Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa,
Belleville and Napanee, thereby agitating the theological caldron as it
has never been agitated before in this country.

And "when Mars was gone the dogs of war were let loose!" Since
Ingersoll's departure there has been a profuse shower of "Replies"
and "Refutations" from the press, and a tempest of denunciation and
misrepresentation from the pulpit. Indeed, before the departure of the
redoubtable idol-smasher, the vituperation and slander commenced, under
the aegis of "A warning against the Fallacies of Ingersoll." The pious
Evangelists of the Y. M. C. A., of Toronto, (abetted doubtless by the
clergy) issued this propagandist gospel-manifesto containing slanderous
statements against Mr. Ingersoll. This, with much more zeal than
courtesy, they thrust upon all entering the Royal Opera House on the
first evening of the lectures. The lecturer, in opening, branded the
base slander of this Christian document that he (Ingersoll) had signed a
petition to allow obscene matter to pass through the mails, as a wilful
and malicious falsehood. As this calumny is yet reiterated from press
and pulpit, implicating all Freethinkers as being in favor of obscenity,
the Resolution on this subject which Col. Ingersoll submitted to the
Cincinnati Convention of Freethinkers in September, 1879, will not be
out of place here. It was as follows, and passed unanimously:--

Resolved,--That we are utterly opposed to the dissemination through
the mails, or by any other means, of all obscene literature, whether
inspired or uninspired, holding in measureless contempt its authors,
publishers, and disseminators; that we call upon the Christian world
to expunge from the so-called sacred Bible every passage that cannot be
read without covering the cheek of modesty with the blush of shame.

The cowardly conduct of the Toronto press, with one or two exceptions,
in reference to Ingersoll's lectures, was as astonishing to
liberal-minded men as it was deplorable to all, especially in the "Queen
City of the West," which is, or ought to be, the centre of intellectual
activity and progress in Canada. This exhibition of narrow-minded
bigotry on the part of the Toronto press excited (rather unexpectedly
to them, no doubt) great surprise and severe animadversion from many
quarters. The daily _Globe_ and _Mail_ have, of course, a very wide
circulation, and being the leading newspapers in the country, their
numerous patrons look to them for _all_ the news on _all_ public
questions and events. Imagine, therefore, their surprise and indignation
on opening their papers and looking for reports of Col. Ingersoll's
lectures in Toronto, to find not a word there! Not a syllable by these
puritanical publishers is vouchsafed to their expectant patrons, who
pay their money for--not merely what suits the religious whims and
prejudices of publishers and editors--but for _all_ the news. But
they would scarcely repeat this mistake--or rather imposition on their
readers. They have since unmistakably learned that in this act of
pusillanimous servility to the priesthood, they took a false measure
of their constituencies; and lamentably failed to gauge correctly the
intellectual and moral status of a majority of their patrons.

The honorable exceptions to this servility of the Toronto press, were
the _Evening Telegram, Weekly Graphic_, and _National_.

In Belleville, also, there was, I believe, one commendable exception to
the narrowness of the press in reference to Ingersoll's lectures.
This was the _Free Press_, which has on former occasions proved itself
broader than most of its contemporaries.

The Montreal _Canadian Spectator_ is another notable exception to this
vassalage of the Canadian press; for, though edited by a clergyman,
it has proved itself in favor of freedom of speech and liberty of
conscience, and boldly denounces the narrow prejudice and bigotry which
would gag Ingersoll to-day if it could, and would have burned him two or
three centuries ago at the stake.

Chief among the "Replies," and "Refutations" which have issued from the
press in Canada since Ingersoll's departure, is that by Hon. Geo. R.
Wendling. This honorable gentleman has, for some months past, been
shadowing Mr. Ingersoll from place to place with his "reply from a
secular stand point;" albeit in Toronto he _preceded_ his opponent, and
replied (?) before the people of that city to a lecture of Ingersoll's
which they had never heard. But, as with the Dutch judge, so with our
Christian friends, _one side_ of the case was enough to hear in order to
be able to give a verdict, and Mr. Wendling was duly applauded for his
"satisfactory answer" to the absent heretic!

Subsequently, however, Mr. Ingersoll put in an appearance in the
Queen City, and gave his lecture on "The Gods," to which his honorable
opponent had replied in advance. This eloquent and argumentative lecture
was greeted with such obvious favor and vociferous applause that the
"Willard Tract Depository and Bible House" of that city deemed it
imperative to do something to counteract the "poisonous" influence that
had gone forth. They accordingly hastened forthwith to issue Wendling's
"Reply to Robert Ingersoll." This Christian politico-religious
_brochure_ was heralded by some half dozen Toronto Professors and
Doctors of Divinity, and one Vice-Chancellor, to wit: Messrs. McLaren,
Rainsford, Potts, Castle, Powis, Antliff and Blake. These gentlemen, in
a neat little preface, certify their approval of and admiration for Mr.
Wendling's "Reply to the infidelity advocated by Col. Ingersoll," and
add the hope that "it may be circulated by thousands."

To this no Freethinker has, of course, any objection, so long as he
enjoys an equal right to circulate his documents too. Of this right I
propose to avail myself, and briefly review the salient points (if there
are any) of some of Ingersoll's Canadian critics. Not that I feel called
upon to defend Col. Ingersoll. Should defence be necessary, he is amply
able to defend himself. But as our Christian friends, like drowning men
catching at straws, have, in their alarm for the safety of their creed,
desperately clutched a _layman_, and issued with their unqualified
endorsation, this "lay" reply of Mr. Wendling, who comes before the
public, he tells us, "as a citizen, as a business man, as a lawyer, and
as a politician," and withal as a "man of the world," I have thought
that for another layman--a materialistic layman--(though no lawyer
or politician) to examine some of Mr. Wendling's lay logic and legal
sophistry and politico-religious hash would be a move in the right
direction in the interests of truth.

Our Christian friends, in issuing their pamphlet, have very judiciously
"improved the occasion" by a liberal sprinkling of admonitory Scripture
texts, which adorn the insides of the covers, etc. By these texts we are
reminded that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God," and that
"if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the
plagues that are written in this book; and if any man shall take away
from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his
part out of the Book of Life," etc., etc. But these, our Christian
opponents, are not quite consistent. Verily, the Christian Church is not
willing to take its own medicine--the medicine it mixes for "infidels."
_We_ are warned that if we criticise that book, or take away from the
words of it, or ridicule its absurdities, we will surely incur the
wrath and "plagues" of an angry God; yet these Christians themselves are
complacently doing this very thing. They have already eliminated from
its sacred pages infant damnation, and eternal torture; while a "Bible
Revision Committee," composed of learned and distinguished dignitaries
of different branches of the Christian Church, are now actually engaged
in "taking away from the words of this book!"* Consistency! thou art
a jewel!! Greg, Strauss, Colenso, Renan, Ingersoll, Underwood, and a
thousand others, are consigned to Hades for their destructive criticism
of the Christians' Bible; while those learned Christian Doctors of
Divinity of the "Revision Committee" can tamper with the "Word of God"
and alter it to suit the enlightenment of the age with impunity! They
can excise whole passages without incurring the "plagues" we are told
shall be visited upon any man who adds to or takes from it.

Now, I have thought if I should adopt the advice contained in the Latin
proverb, _fas est ab hoste doceri_, and take a lesson from the ingenious
propagandic tactics of our Christian friends in placing conspicuously
before their readers choice texts from their Evangelists and Apostles,
it may not be amiss. Hence, we, too, will do a little skirmishing with
some choice sayings of some of the most eminent and learned apostles of
our school. And to those trenchant utterances of Huxley, Tyndall, Mill,
Carlyle, etc., herein given, I beg to direct the careful attention of
the reader.

To disarm possible criticism, I may say that this little pamphlet has
been written by request, amidst a pressure of farm work, in snatches
of time intervening between other more imperative duties: and to the
advanced Materialist who has gone over the same ground on the different
subjects as myself, I may say it is not written for him, as he does
not require it. But it is for another class of _quasi_ liberals, and
Christians who have read Wendling and the others replied to, and are in
an inquiring mood after truth. And if the arguments are not wholly _new_
I would simply urge in extenuation that there is scarcely anything new
under the sun, and also my entire agreement with Montaigne, when he
declares he "has as clear a right to think Plato's thoughts as Plato


Selby, Ont., June 25, 1880.

     * The following appears in the press:--"The New Testament
     Revision Committee have struck out as spurious the last
     seven verses of the last chapter of St. Mark." Now why have
     they done this thing? To an "outside barbarian" the true
     reason would appear to be that according to those seven
     verses there are no Christians on the earth to-day, as not
     one from the Pope of Rome or the Archbishop of Canterbury
     down to the humblest follower of Jesus can prove himself a
     Christian by the plain test therein given.


On reading Mr. Wendling's "Reply to Robert Ingersoll," it is difficult
to determine precisely its theological status, or what are Mr.
Wendling's positions, doctrinally, in reference to Christianity. By the
flexibility of doctrine, and dubious orthodoxy, displayed therein, it is
no easy matter to _place_ Mr. Wendling; and his uncertain positions and
theological gyrations remind one of the famous mathematical definition
of Infinity--"a sphere whose circumference is everywhere and whose
centre is anywhere."

Mr. Wendling says he "champions no creed, no sect," and he assures us he
"places humanity above all creeds." Now, Christianity is undoubtedly a
creed; albeit, some modern theologians, seeing that the dogmas on which
it rests are fast crumbling away, have discovered that Christianity is
simply a "life." As to "placing humanity above all creeds," this move
is decidedly rationalistic and utilitarian. It is clearly a positive
doctrine of the Atheistic philosophy; and it looks more than suspicious
that this shrewd lawyer has been "stealing our thunder," for he will
find no such doctrine in the Bible, and it certainly has no place
in Christian ethics or philosophy. The Bible represents man as below
everything else rather than above--"a mere worm of the dust" It
represents him as utterly depraved, "deceitful above all things and
desperately wicked," and without any good in him. Christianity,
instead of holding humanity above all creeds, has, without compunction,
immolated man by scores of thousands on the bloody altar of creed and
dogma. To maintain its creeds intact, Christianity has reddened the
surface of the earth with human blood. Therefore, whatever Mr. Wendling
may think about the elevation of man above creeds, Christianity does not
hold humanity above its creeds.

With respect to the authenticity and inspiration of the Bible, Mr.
Wendling's position is extremely dubious. He tells us that "so much of
that book" (the Bible) "as properly records His" (Christ's) "works and
truthfully reports His sayings, must be true." But who is to decide
which the particular portions are which "properly record" and
"_truthfully_ report" Christ's works, especially as these "records" and
"reports" are self-contradictory, and more especially as nothing was
recorded in Christ's time of His sayings or doings, nor until half a
century or more after His death, as historical criticism and research
abundantly prove? If Mr. Wendling believes the Bible to be an inspired
book, wholly authentic and true, the foregoing statement about "so much
of it" as "_truthfully_ reports," &c, is surely a most extraordinary
one. Again, Mr. W. says, "I say so much of that book as bears upon the
Ideal Man" (Christ) "and so much of that book as the Ideal Man has set
the seal of His approval on, we may accept as the long sought for moral
teacher," &c. As before, I would ask, who is to decide what particular
part or parts of this book "the Ideal Man has set the seal of His
approval on?" or whether the "Ideal Man" ever set His seal upon any of
it? or, indeed, whether this "Ideal Man" ever had other than a
purely _ideal_ or subjective existence in the minds of men? Some able
scholars--notably Rev. Robt. Taylor--have, after careful historical
research, come to the conclusion that the Christ of the Gospels never
existed. But, be this as it may, scholars now generally agree that
whether such a person as Jesus of Nazareth lived or not, we have no
authentic account of Him; and not a syllable of His alleged sayings was
recorded during His alleged lifetime, nor for more than half a century
after His death. The reader who wishes to pursue this subject of the
wholly unauthentic character of the Gospels, &c, &c, is referred to
Greg's "Creed of Christendom," Lord Amberley's "Analysis of Religious
Belief," and the great work lately published in England, and now
reprinted here by the Messrs. Belford of Toronto, viz., "Supernatural

It will thus be seen that Mr. Wendling's doctrinal attitude towards the
Bible and Christianity is extremely problematical, and a Materialist
scarcely knows where to place him, or how to deal with his mongrel
positions. Being, as he tells us, "a business man," "a lawyer," "a
politician," and "a man of the world," this versatile gentleman has
evidently imbibed largely of the utilitarian and humanitarian spirit of
the age, while at the same time retaining his Christian predilections;
and hence the hybrid homily with which we have to deal, and which he
calls a "Reply to Robert Ingersoll from a Secular Standpoint." That a
layman, however, should give so uncertain a sound as to his orthodox
whereabouts, and, in attempting to defend his positions (whatever
they are) and answer Freethinkers, should bring forth such a doctrinal
nondescript, is not indeed to be much wondered at, seeing that the
clergy themselves, being mercilessly driven from pillar to post
by modern science and research, occupy the most inconsistent and
incongruous, not to say ridiculous, positions, in doctrine and dogma, in
ecclesiastical formulary and Biblical exegesis.

However, though of dubious doctrine and doubtful orthodoxy, some of Mr.
Wendling's positions, or rather assumptions and assertions, are clear
enough, and not to be misunderstood; and in a few of the more important
of these I propose to follow him.

At the outset he dogmatically postulates the assumption that "what most
we need is the conviction that there _is_ a personal God." From social,
commercial, and political considerations this belief in a personal God
is what we most need--so says Mr. Wendling. He talks as though, were
it not for this theistic belief, everything would go to the dogs; and
universal, moral, social and political chaos would come. This, however,
is simply assumed without a shadow of proof. He then goes on with his
demonstration (?) of the existence of a personal God; but it is the
old, old story over again. First he assumes, in the face of the highest
authorities to the contrary, that "among every people in every quarter
of the habitable globe, there exists, and there has existed from the
very furthest reach of history, the idea of one eternal and all-powerful
God." He then gives us a rehash of Paley's design argument to prove the
existence of a God, which he considers conclusive. And, finally, as if
conscious of the weakness of the intellectual argument, he takes refuge
in the moral argument,--in conscience in man as showing the existence
of a personal God with moral attributes. This is the last refuge of the
Theist--the _dernier ressort_ of the theologian. Driven utterly from
the realm of reason they fly to _conscience_ and to _consciousness_ to
establish subjectively what cannot be proved intellectually. Now, this
sort of evidence may do for the Theist and theologian who are determined
to believe in Theos; but to those who live in the light of reason, and
in the realm of intellect not wholly submerged by the emotions,
such inner-consciousness evidence will not be satisfactory; for they
experience no such subjective proof in their own minds, and do not care
to take the mere _feelings_ of others as evidence of anything further
than the existence of nervous ganglion and brain.

I will now take up Mr. Wendling's arguments to prove the existence of
a personal God, _seriatim_, and briefly consider them. As already
remarked, before setting out to prove a God, Mr. W. postulates the
necessity of one. For the preservation of moral order, social purity,
and commercial integrity, what most we need, it is assumed, "is the
conviction that there is a personal God." This assertion certainly has
a queer look when we reflect that Theism is at present the prevailing
belief among the masses, and has been in the past; and that our prisons
are full of persons who believe in a personal God; and that believers in
God ascend the gallows almost daily, and are swung off to "mansions in
the skies!" Here are some half dozen examples of this kind at hand, the
whole of which I quote from one newspaper, a late issue of the Kingston
_British Whig_:--

Breaux, who was hanged in New Orleans, "ascended the gallows smiling
and said he had made his peace with God and all men." Bolen, who was
executed at Macon, Mississippi, said on the gallows: "My mouth will soon
be closed in this world. I rested in the arms of Jesus last night. I am
satisfied. I feel guilty of nothing. God is well pleased with my soul."
Macon, who was executed at the same place, said, "I feel ready to die,
because God has pardoned my sins. I risked my soul on the murder, but
God has forgiven me. There is not a cloud in the way." Brown, who was
also executed at Macon, with the other two, the same day, said, "I have
made peace with God, and will surely go to heaven, I will cross the
river with a rope around my neck that will lead my wicked soul on
to glory. Blessed be God! I am going home!" Stone, who was hanged at
Washington, and Tatio at Windsor, Vermont, the same day as the four
above, both had made their peace with God, and were on their way "to
meet the Lord Jesus Christ."

A belief in God did not it seems avail to keep these men, nor thousands
of others, from crime; nor does it, in my opinion, to any great extent,
operate as a deterrent of crime. People with favorable organizations and
good surroundings will not be apt to commit murder whether they believe
or disbelieve in a God; while persons born with, bad organizations--bad
heads and impure blood--will very likely, under favorable circumstances,
continue to follow their predominant impulses, whether they believe in
one God or twenty, and, if Christians in belief, they will ultimately
rely on that "fountain of blood open for sin and all uncleanness."
Unscrupulous men who have strong natural tendencies to crime, and
believe in the Christian plan of salvation, will, in bad surroundings,
scarcely fail to indulge their propensities and finally avail themselves
of the "bankrupt scheme"--take a bath in that impure fountain and be
"washed" clean (?) like the gentry instanced above.

In January and February of this year (1880) Rev. E. P. Hammond, the
noted Methodist revivalist, made a professional tour through Canada
in pursuit of his favorite and profitable calling of "saving souls"
(favorite, probably, _because_ profitable). Among other places he
visited St. Catharines, and before leaving that city, preached a sermon
for the especial benefit, it would seem, of the Universalists. Now,
Universalism has always been specially odious to the other more
evangelical sects, especially the Methodists, who seem positively
shocked at the horrid idea that hell may perhaps be ultimately emptied
of its human contents and all mankind get into heaven. The Universalists
appear to have a good degree of that noble human quality, benevolence,
and hence they believe that the God they worship is too good to damn
forever any creature he has made. For this good opinion of their
Creator they are duly stigmatized, contemned and reprobated by the ultra
orthodox party, who can brook no nonsense about the possibility of the
fires of hell ever being extinguished. These people are evidently well
pleased at the idea that there is a place of torture into which the
non-elect of their fellow creatures may be turned for ever and ever.
How like the God of the Old Testament, these disciples of His are! Mr.
Hammond, it would seem, is of this class; and accordingly, in the sermon
alluded to, proceeded to unbudget himself against Universalism and
Universalists in vigorous style. The sermon was reported in the St.
Catharines _Journal_, and called forth an able and spirited reply
through the same-medium from the Rev. J. B. Lavelle of Fulton, Township
of Grimsby. I propose to make some extracts, quite relevant to the
subject under consideration, from the reply of Rev. Lavelle,--who is a
gentleman, I am informed, of exemplary character and broad intelligence,
and highly respected. Mr. Lavelle says:

"Permit me to say, Mr. Editor, in justice to Universalists, both on
this continent and in Europe, among whom are some of the ablest Biblical
scholars, and some of the best men, that there is not a particle of
truth in Mr. Hammond's representation. * * * Mr. Hammond, with other
ministers of the endless misery school, believes in the doctrine of
'imputation,' 'substitution,' or 'vicarious' suffering of Christ, which
they erroneously, as we think, call the Atonement; and that the greatest
villain, who has lived a life of crime, rapine, and murder, can take the
benefit of this Spiritual Bankrupt Act (for it is nothing else) at any
time before he dies, and 'go to heaven'--yea, even while standing on
the gallows, swing 'into glory' and thus escape the consequences of his
wicked life.

"For instance, A and B are two consummate villains, and have been so
for years, but in a quarrel A murders B--of course B goes to an eternal
hell--but, through the labors of Mr. Hammond and others of the
so-called orthodox churches who visit him in his cell before his
execution--he repents. (?) They lay this Spiritual Bankrupt Act before
him. He sees it is the only alternative to keep out of hell; so he takes
the benefit of it, is hanged, and goes to heaven. Thus, the murderer
gets to heaven by the lucky chance of being the murderer instead of the
murdered. If his victim had been fortunate enough to-strike the fatal
blow, he could have changed places with him; and so the endless destiny
of each would have been reversed by the chance blow of a street fight!
Is it, I ask, on such grounds God distributes rewards and punishments?
What must be the moral influence of such a doctrine?

"Again: A lives a life of crime for sixty years, and on the very next
month or day, repents by taking the benefit of this Spiritual Bankrupt
Act, dies and goes to heaven. B lives a life of virtue and goodness
for sixty years, and the very next day or month makes a false step, or
commits a crime, and is consigned to an endless hell to suffer intense
misery without relief and without end. And yet we are told by the
advocates of this unscriptural doctrine that this is a just distribution
of rewards and punishments under the government of God who 'is Love,'
but above all, THE FATHER.

"Look at the case of one Ward, who, in one of our counties a while
ago, murdered his wife--was sentenced to death, and attended by his
'Orthodox' spiritual advisers before execution. He also repented (?) and
took the benefit of this Spiritual Bankrupt Act. When he stood upon the
gallows, he said, he 'had but two steps to take--one into eternity and
the other into glory.' And his poor wife--what became of her? Gone,
'with all her imperfections' to suffer unmitigated misery as long as
God himself shall endure, and this, too, according to the unscriptural
doctrine of the same churches which teach 'no change after death.' Again
we ask, what can be the moral influence of such teaching?

"The truth is the burden of the most of the teaching of the day is,
to 'die right;' 'make your peace with God in time,' and 'get religion
before you die;' thus making religion to mainly consist in one general
scramble to get into heaven and keep out of hell."

As Freethinkers, we boldly impeach the Christian plan of salvation as
being essentially immoral in its tendency,--as offering a premium on
vice and crime; and for doing this on previous occasions and designating
it a "bankrupt scheme," the writer of this has been the subject of
severe and indignant animadversion from his intimate Christian friends.
Yet here is a Christian minister who takes substantially the same
position as ourselves in reference to the plan of salvation as preached
by Methodists and others, and denounces it as a "Spiritual Bankrupt
Act." And I have made the above extracts from his pen to strengthen my
position against Mr. Wendling, viz., that a belief in God and the Bible
is _not_ essential to social and commercial morality, and the safety of
the State.

On this subject, Lord Bacon, himself a Christian, says:--

"Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to
laws, to reputation: all which may be guides to an outward moral virtue,
though religion were not. But superstition dismounts all these, and
createth an absolute monarchy in the minds of men; therefore Atheism did
never perturb States, for it makes men wary of themselves, as looking
no further, and we see the limes inclined to Atheism (as the time
of Augustus Caesar) were civil times; but superstition, that bone
of contention of many States, bringeth in a new _primum mobile_ that
ravishes all the spheres of government."

There are thousands of Atheists in almost every civilized country, and
how is it, if Atheism tends to crime, that you will seldom or never
find one in prison for any crime? Buddhism, one of the most ancient
religions, long ante-dating Christianity, is essentially Atheistic. It
has had, and has now, hundreds of millions of followers, and for pure
morality no system of religion has ever equalled it. Webster, the
Christian lexicographer, admits that Buddhism was "characterized by
admirable humanity and morality." The religion of Confucius--of him
who taught the "golden rule" five centuries before Christianity
appeared--was also Atheistic. Therefore, what we "most need" is, not a
"conviction that there _is_ a personal God" (we have that already; all
the murderers, thieves and defaulters believe that doctrine), but we
need more of the "admirable morality" of Buddhism, and more of the
practice of the "golden rule" of Confucius to "do not unto others what
you would not they should do to you." As Emerson has said, "We want some
good Paganism."

Mr. Wendling's next argument for the existence of a personal God is the
assumed universality of the belief in God, "among every people in every
quarter of the habitable globe," now and "from the very furthest reach
of history." As the value of this argument turns simply on a question
of fact, and as every educated or well-read man knows that the facts
in this case are against Mr. Wendling, and that his assertion is
historically incorrect, it is hardly worth while to spend much time over
it. However, as some readers may not have looked into the authorities on
the subject, I may, perhaps not unprofitably quote briefly from some of
them, and simply refer the reader to others.

To say nothing of the _Atheistic_ character of the Buddhistic religion,
already referred to, with its millions of followers, there have been,
and are to-day, tribes and peoples who have no belief whatever in, or
conception of, a God or Gods. This fact is conclusively proved by
such authorities as Livingston, the great African explorer (himself a
Christian), Sir John Lubbock, J. S. Mill, Darwin, and even John Wesley,
the founder of Methodism, who, surely, ought to be good authority
with Christians; and him we will first put in the witness box against
Mr.-Wendling. Wesley says, in his Sermons, vol. 2, Sermon C:

"After all that has been so plausibly written concerning the 'innate
idea of God;' after all that has been said of its being common to all
men, in all ages and nations, it does not appear that man has any more
idea of God than any of the beasts of the field; he has no knowledge
of God at all. Whatever change may afterward be wrought by his own
reflection or education, he is by nature a mere Atheist."

Charles Darwin, the greatest naturalist in the world, and who is
proverbially careful in his statements, has the following on this
subject in his "Descent of Man," vol. 1, p. 62-3:--

"There is ample evidence, derived not from hasty travellers, but from
men who have long resided with savages, that numerous races have existed
and still exist, who have no idea of one or more Gods, and who have no
words in their languages to express such an idea."

Again, in vol. 2, p. 377, Darwin says:--

"The belief in God has often been advanced as not only the greatest,
but the most complete, of all the distinctions between man and the lower
animals. It is, however, impossible, as we have seen, to maintain that
this belief is innate or instinctive in man. On the other hand, a
belief in all-pervading spiritual agencies seems to be universal; and
apparently follows from a considerable advance in the reasoning
powers of man, and from a still greater advance in his faculties
of imagination, curiosity and wonder. I am aware that the assumed
instinctive belief in God has been used by many persons as an argument
for His existence. But this is a rash argument, as we should thus
be compelled to believe in the existence of many cruel and malignant
spirits, possessing only a little more power than man; for the belief
in them is far more general than of a beneficent Deity. The idea of a
universal and beneficent Creator of the universe does not seem to
arise in the mind of man, until he has been elevated by long-continued

I would refer the reader who wishes to pursue the subject further, to
Livingston's writings, to Sir J. Lubbock's "Prehistoric Times," and his
"Origin of Civilization," and also to the _Anthropological Review_ for
August, 1864.

Mr. Wendling's next argument to prove the existence of a personal God
is the once celebrated but now obsolete "design" argument of Catwell and
Paley; but he seems either not to know or he ignores the fact that this
"design argument" has been so thoroughly refuted by the sternest logic
and most indisputable natural facts that the more advanced theologians
of the present day have wholly abandoned it. To reproduce these, or to
give any elaborate refutation, it is unnecessary here. The whole
matter may be disposed of briefly by one or two simple syllogisms which
everybody can comprehend. The famous "design argument," then, may be
formulated into simple syllogistic propositions thus:--

     Whatever manifests design must have had a designer:

     The world manifests design;

     Therefore, the world must have had a designer.

This is the whole Christian reasoning on the subject in a nutshell, and
it has been considered by them perfectly conclusive and unanswerable.
The logic is certainly unexceptionable, that is, the conclusion is quite
legitimate from the premises; but it so happens that the premises are
unsound, and in such a case the most unexceptionable logic goes for
naught. If premises be erroneous, though the reasoning be ever so good,
the conclusion must be erroneous. The major premiss of the foregoing
syllogism, that "whatever manifests design must have had a designer,"
is a pure assumption, if by design is meant adaptation in Nature. So,
likewise, is the minor premiss an assumption if by design is meant
anything more than the adaptation pervading the universe, or at least
that part cognizable to us. That the _fitness and adaptation_ observable
in Nature do not establish intelligent design, is amply shown by the
highest authorities--by the most eminent naturalists (Hæckel, Darwin,
&c.) of the present day, to whom the reader is referred, and I need
not here amplify in that direction. Nor is it at all necessary for my
present purpose and work. It is only necessary to apply the _teductio ad
absurdum_ to the above argument from design to show its utter fallacy.
We will admit the premises and carry the reasoning of our Christian
friends out a little further. By granting the truth of their major
proposition and reasoning, logically from it we can prove more than is
wholesome for the theologian, as thus:--

   Whatever manifests design must have had a designer:

   God, in his alleged personality and attributes, manifests design;

   Therefore, God must have had a designer.

It will thus be seen that Mr. Wendling's design argument from Catwell
and Paley proves entirely too much for his own good, and hence it is
that the astute theologians of the day have abandoned Paley and his
design argument to their fate, where they have been duly relegated by
the incisive logic of the modern materialist.

Finally, Mr. Wendling comes to the moral argument, and in _conscience_
finds proof of the existence of a personal God. He complacently avers
that "God made man with this omnipresent 'I ought' implanted in his
nature." Now, in the first place, it is a great mistake that this
"I ought" or conscience is _universally_ implanted in man--is
"omnipresent," as Mr. Wendling puts it. That there are tribes without
the moral sense of conscience, is sustained by the same unimpeachable
authorities referred to in proof of the absence in them of any theistic
conception or belief; and even in civilized (?) society we unfortunately
find an occasional specimen of the _genus homo_ with no noticeable trace
of that "variable quality" we call conscience.

That conscience is _innate_ in man, and a God-given faculty, instead of
acquired by development, is another convenient assumption without any
substantial foundation. If conscience is a Divine gift to humanity, how
is it that consciences differ so widely, not only in _degree_, but in
_kind_? If conscience is a Divine "monitor" and "guide" from heaven, why
is it that it so often becomes a very blind guide, and leads people into
many by-paths? How is it that under the sanction of conscience the most
horrid crimes and cruelties against humanity have been committed in
the name of God, its alleged author? How is it, if conscience is an
"unerring guide" to conduct, implanted by God, that it has guided
man, in the name of its author, to let out the life blood of his
fellow-creatures in rivers, on account of differences of opinion
_conscientiously_ entertained? Does God give one man one sort of
conscience and another man another and wholly different sort, leading
them in opposite directions, and then prompt the conscience of one to
put the other (his fellow) to death for conscience sake and for God's
sake? If so, it is very questionable work, surely, for a good (?) God
to be engaged in! If God implants the conscience in man, why not be
fair and just and give _all_ men consciences? and give them all the same
article? and not give one man a tolerably good article of conscience
(the Freethinker, for example) and then go and give others (some of
our Christian friends, for example) so poor an article, so to speak--so
flexible and elastic--that it allows them to murder, cheat, lie,
slander, rob widows and orphans, and run away with other people's money
and other men's wives without compunction--without any troublesome pangs
from this universal "I ought" over which Mr. Wendling grows so eloquent!

The Christian world has been quite long enough teaching an irrational
and absurd doctrine about conscience. They not only blunder as to its
origin, but as to its nature and functions. Nearly every Christian
writer defines conscience as an "inward monitor" to tell us right from
wrong; a divine faculty enabling us to "_judge_ between the good and the
bad;" a "_guide_ to conduct," &c, &c. In the light of our present mental
science this definition of conscience is utterly false. Conscience is
not an _intelligent_ faculty at all--it is simply a feeling. By modern
metaphysics conscience has been relegated from the domain of the
intellect to its proper place among the emotions. Hence it _decides_
nothing, _judges_ nothing as between right and wrong, or anything else,
for that is a function of intellect. Conscience, instead of being a
"guide" or "judge," is but a blind impulse needing itself to be guided.
It is simply a feeling for the right--a thirsting for the good--but the
_intellect_ must decide what _is_ right; and the nature and character
of its decisions will depend upon various circumstances, such as
organization, education, &c.; and the decisions of different individuals
as to right and wrong will differ as those circumstances differ. We hear
a great deal about "enlightening the conscience;" but it cannot be done.
You might as well talk of enlightening a sunflower, which instinctively
turns its head to the light; or a vine, which instinctively creeps up
the portico. The intellect, however, may be enlightened. Reason,
which is the only and ultimate arbiter and guide to conduct, may be
enlightened; and we may thus modify, guide and direct the blind impulses
of conscience. The truth is, conscience in man, such as it is, is a
development--is acquired rather than innate; has been developed by
Nature instead of "implanted" by God. The moral sense, without doubt,
gradually developed in man as he rose in the scale of intelligence.
Where there is little or no intelligence, the moral sense would be
inapplicable and incongruous, and is not needed, hence does not exist.
When it is required, Nature, in perfect keeping with all her other
adaptations, develops it. Darwin, in the "Descent of Man," vol. i, pp.
68-9, says:--

"The following proposition seems to me in a high degree
probable--namely, that any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked
social instincts, would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience,
as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well developed, or
nearly as well developed, as in man."

On this point John Stuart Mill also has the following in his
"Utilitarianism," p. 45:--

"If, as is my own belief, the moral feelings are not innate, but
acquired, they are not for that reason less natural."

The reader is also referred to "Psychological Inquiries," by Sir B.
Brodie, for further evidence on this subject.

The moral sense, therefore, which exists in a portion of
mankind--distinct traces of which are also found in some of the lower
animals--has been gradually acquired during the evolution of man from
a lower to a higher condition. It has come down to us from primitive
barbarism through long ages of hereditary transmission. The "spiritual
yearnings" of man's nature, thought by Christians to prove a God as
their author, have, in like manner, been gradually acquired. These
subjective emotions and desires--whether you call them _carnal_ or
_spiritual_--are, unquestionably, in the light of modern science, all
matters of gradual development, hereditary inheritance, and education.
The great doctrine of EVOLUTION in nature explains them all.

Having thus dealt with the arguments of Mr. Wendling in evidence of a
personal God--a primary assumption upon which he predicates many other
assumptions--there is little else in his "Reply to Robert Ingersoll"
demanding attention. One or two, however, of his extraordinary
assertions, it may not be amiss to look into a little; especially as Mr.
Wendling, having waxed valiant over the supposed conclusiveness of his
arguments, triumphantly throws down the glove to "infidelity" in this

"To my mind the great central thought of Christianity is that every
living soul, of every race, of every clime, of every creed, of every
condition, of every color--every living soul is worthy the Kingdom * *
* And here I challenge infidelity. I lay the challenge broadly down. I
challenge infidelity to name an era or a school in which this doctrine
was taught prior to the advent of the Ideal Man."

Here, again, Mr. Wendling's orthodoxy is badly out of joint, and his
facts at loose ends. This "central thought" that "every living soul
is worthy the Kingdom" has no place in Christianity. It is by no means
biblical doctrine, however well so humane an idea may fit into Mr.
W.'s own mind. Hence, to designate the _brotherhood of man_ the "great
central thought of Christianity"--a system which is to consign a
majority of mankind to an endless hell of fire and brimstone--is purely
gratuitous. To claim benevolent fatherhood or brotherhood for a religion
which declares that the road to hell is "broad," and many shall go
in thereat, while the way to Heaven is "narrow," and few shall go in
thereat, is to play fast and loose with the Bible. To say that "every
soul is worthy the Kingdom," and call this the "great central thought of
Christianity," in the face of what the "Word of God" cheerfully tells
us on this subject, is, indeed, a "marvellous flexibility of language,"
which I do not at all propose to tolerate in discussion with "a lawyer,"
"a politician," "a man of the world," or any other man. Hear ye! O!
non-elect, what comforting things the Scripture saith to you on your
"future prospects!"

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate." "For the children
being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the
purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of
him that calleth." "Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy,
and whom he will he hardeneth." (Romans, 8th and 9th Chapters.) "The
wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be
born, speaking lies." (Psalm 58.) "Ye believe not because ye are not of
my sheep." (John 10.) "Ye be reprobates." (II. Corinth. 13.) "Jacob have
I loved, but Esau have I hated." (Romans 9.) He hardened their hearts,
"That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear,
and not understand." (Mark 4.) "Hath not the potter power over the
clay." &c. (Romans 9.) "He that believeth not shall be damned."

This is benevolent (?) fatherhood, and the spirit of the _brotherhood of
humanity_, with a vengance! We are distinctly told that God, "from
the beginning," has deliberately fixed upon the ultimate misery and
destruction of a portion of His hapless creatures; that He moulds them
as clay in the hands of the potter; hardens their hearts and blinds
their eyes, and then tells them He will damn them for not doing what
He has prevented them from doing, and what He knows, beforehand, they
cannot and will not do! This is what Mr. Wendling calls the "great
central thought of Christianity--that 'every soul is worthy the
Kingdom,'"--and he calls loudly upon "infidelity" to name an era or a
school in which this doctrine was taught before the "Ideal Man" taught
it. He is right! We cannot do it! We may search the philosophies and
sacred writings of the Pagans in vain for so fiendish a doctrine.
For pure, unadulterated malevolence, the Vedas, the Shaster, the
Zend-Avesta, afford no parallel for this truly Christian doctrine.

If, however, Mr. Wendling challenges us to name an era or school in
which the _brotherhood of man_ (as we understand it) was taught before
the time of the "Ideal Man," we unhesitatingly accept his challenge.
It was taught by Buddha, Confucius, and numerous Pagan writers and
philosophers long before the time of Jesus, for proof of which I refer
the reader to Prof. Max Muller, Sir Wm. Jones, Lord, Amberly, &c, or to
the writings themselves. Mr. Wendling desires us to "Tell me (him) why
it is that all the creeds of Christendom and all the civilized nations
unite in accepting the Ideal Man of Christianity despite the laws of
climate and of race?"

I will answer this question in the Irishman's fashion, by asking one or
two others. Tell me why it is, if Christianity is a divine system,
and its author omnipotent, that, after eighteen centuries of active
propagandism and aggression, compassing sea and land to make proselytes,
it has to-day, according to recent statistics, but the meagre following
of 399,200,000; while Buddhism has 405,600,000, and Brahmanism,
Mohammedanism, etc., 500,000,000? Not nearly one-third of the world's
population Christians, and the number rapidly diminishing! Tell me why
it is, if Christianity is true that its foundations are melting down
like wax in the light of Modern Science?' Tell me why it is, if the
Bible is an inspired book, a divine revelation, that scarcely a single
really eminent scientist or scholar of the present day accepts it as
such? Tell me why it is that Atheism, Agnosticism, and Rationalism are
making such rapid headway among the educated and intelligent, in every
civilized country, both in the church and out of it? That the dogmas
upon which Christianity rests are doomed; and as Froude, the historian,
says, "Doctrines once fixed as a rock are now fluid as water?"* If the
Bible can bear the light of science and historical research, how is it
that these have already irrevocably sapped its very foundations; and
that, as a consequence, the world is completely "honey-combed with
infidelity," as a Toronto paper recently asserted of that city? The
only answer Mr. Wendling can give to these questions is this: Because
Christianity is unable to show its titles; because the Bible, being
human in its origin, and, as a consequence, abounding in errors, both in
science and morals, cannot bear the penetrating light of modern science
and criticism.

     * "Science and Theology, Ancient and Modern."--The
     International Religio-Science Series.--Rose-Belford
     Publishing Company, Toronto.



(_Brutem Fulmen_,)


"Yours in Christ, (Signed), John Joseph Lynch."

Since Ingersoll's visit to Canada, Archbishop Lynch, of Toronto,-has
also felt called upon to issue a bull against the Freethinkers; and, I
propose to take this "bull" by the horns and _lynch_ him (I may say _sub
rosa_ that the Bulls of Rome were long ago emasculated, yet, strangely
enough, they still keep _multiplying_!) Under the circumstances, I
think such a work (lynching the bull) will not be one wholly of
_supererogation_,--though it may be more than a _venial_ offence--indeed
possibly a _mortal_ sin for which I can get no _absolution_--to presume
to criticise an Archbishop, and break a lance with his holy bull! I
have, however, desperately resolved to take my chances of purgatory or
limbo and go in for the bull.

Some of the Archbishop's flock, it would seem, had ventured to exercise
the natural rights of man to the very modest extent of going to hear
Mr. Ingersoll lecture, and also attending some of the meetings of the
Toronto _Liberal Association_. Hence the fulmination of the aforesaid
"bull," wherein his Grace, with that meekness, charity and toleration
born of piety and infallibility, orders his people to "avoid all
contact with these Freethinkers, their lectures and their writings,"
and threatens all Catholics who "go to the meetings and lectures of the
Freethinkers or Atheists" with refusal of "absolution," which priestly
function, he patronizingly tells them, he "reserves" to himself.

Now, may we not indulge the hope, in this age of reason, and land of at
least professed liberty, and esoteric freedom of conscience, that
every man, be he Catholic or Protestant, will look upon this attempted
exercise of medieval bigotry and intolerance with practical disregard,
and deserved contempt. As for the Freethinkers, they can afford to smile
at the impotent Archbishop, who seems to imagine himself in the ninth
instead of the nineteenth century, and in Rome or Spain instead of the
Dominion of Canada. They can but look at him and his foolish "bull" as
most ridiculous anachronisms. On reading this precious document it is
plain that all this deputy "Vicegerent of God" requires to make him a
first-class modern Torquemada is the power--the outward authority to
carry out his subjective hatred of "brutalized" Freethinkers. But this,
thanks to science, and consequent civilization, he has not got.
The Rationalist can, therefore, at this day, afford to deride the
malevolent, though fortunately impotent, ravings of this zealous bishop
of an emasculated Church. He and his Church (the whole Christian Church)
are, fortunately for humanity, shorn of their wonted strength, which,
in the past, they have used with such fiendish ferocity and brutality
on human kind. The day has gone by when the Church may light an
_auto-da-fé_ around the body of a Bruno. The time has passed when she
may thrust a Galileo into prison and force him to recant the sublime
truths of Astronomy. She can no longer cast a Roger Bacon into a noisome
dungeon because of his scientific investigations. True, she can still,
if she choose, excommunicate a Copernicus for what she denounced as his
"false Pythagorean doctrine," but that is all. Darwin, Huxley, Tyndall,
Proctor and the rest are safe. This relentless enemy of Science and
liberty, and consequently of mankind, can no longer clutch every young
science by the throat and strangle struggling truth, which, crushed to
earth has risen again in its might; and history will scarcely repeat
itself in the case of Bruno the Atheist, or Galileo the Astronomer,
or Roger Bacon the Philosopher, or a thousand other victims of this
ruthless "Bourbon of the world of thought"--the Church. She may still
continue to fulminate her absurd and innocuous _anathemas_, but this is
about all. The Holy Inquisition, with its two hundred and fifty thousand
human victims; the Crusades with its five millions; the massacre of St.
Bartholomew with its fifty thousand; to say nothing of the religious
horrors of the Netherlands, of England, Scotland, and Ireland since the
reformation--all these holy horrors, let us hope, are "hideous blots on
the history of the past never to be repeated." Or will it be said of the
future history of Christianity, as has been frankly admitted of its past
by one of its ardent disciples, Baxter, that "Blood, blood, blood stains
every page?"

The tables are now turning. The Church, to-day, instead of burning
unbelievers, and strangling science by immuring in dungeons its
votaries, is herself being strangled by science (with no loss of human
blood, however). Her cruel theology and irrational dogmas are prostrate,
writhing in their death throes, at the feet of the Hercules of modern
science and criticism.

A little digression will not be out of order here. Our comic
caricaturist at Toronto (of which, on the whole, Canada may feel proud),
recently had a cartoon representing the theological Gamaliel of St.
Michael's Palace, Toronto, strangling the _serpent_ "Freethought."
Now, though usually on the side of truth and impartiality, _Grip_ has
undoubtedly, in this case, taken an oblique squint at truth and justice,
and has for once, at least, got the cart before the horse. Facts and
truth demand that the positions of the gladiators in his cartoon must be
reversed, and the zoological nomenclature corrected. And if _Grip_ had
read Huxley and Tyndall, and correctly observed the signs of the times,
he would scarcely have fallen into this unpardonable error. Let us quote
Prof. Huxley on this subject of strangling serpents:--

"It is true that, if philosophers have suffered, their cause has been
amply revenged. _Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every
science as the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules_; and history
records that, whenever science and orthodoxy have been fairly opposed,
the latter has been forced to retire from the lists, bleeding and
crushed, if not annihilated; scotched, if not slain. But orthodoxy
is the Bourbon of the world of thought. It learns not, neither can it
forget; and, though at present bewildered and afraid to move, it is as
willing as ever to insist that the first chapter of Genesis contains the
beginning and the end of sound science; and to visit, with such petty
thunderbolts as its half-paralyzed hands can hurl those who refuse to
degrade Nature to the level of primitive Judaism."--_Lay Sermons_, p.

From this, _Grip_ will see that instead of the fair form of reason
and Freethought (which he represents as a snake) being strangled by
a prelate of the church, it is the serpent, orthodoxy, which is being
strangled by the Hercules of science. It is to be regretted that _Grip_,
notwithstanding his professions of independence and impartiality, is
himself obnoxious to the very moral cowardice he has so often fearlessly
and justly exposed in others. Else why does he represent Freethought as
a snake? Is it because Freethought is yet comparatively weak in numbers,
and unpopular, and because this sort of thing will please the Church,
which _is_ popular and powerful? What characteristic of the snake
attaches to Freethought or Freethinkers? None; and we fearlessly
challenge _Grip_ and the Church on this point. Freethought has none of
the reptilian qualities of hypocrisy, cunning or deceit, but is frank
and fearless. Amid all the obloquy, denunciation, persecution, social
ostracism, calumny, and "holy bulls" hurled at them, Freethinkers have
the courage of their opinions; and bear all these, as well as business
detriment, for the sake of what they sacredly regard as _truth_.

What does Prof. Tyndall say of Freethinkers and Atheists? To Archbishop
Lynch, who, in his pronunciamiento, says, "A person who, disbelieves in
the Ten Commandments, in hell or in Heaven, can hardly be trusted in
the concerns of life;" and to _Grip_ who cowardly crystalizes this base
assertion into a baser cartoon, I quote with pride the language of
this noble man, and eminent scholar and scientist. In the _Fortnightly
Review_ for November, 1877, Prof. Tyndall says:

"It may comfort some to know that there are amongst us many whom the
gladiators of the pulpit would call Atheists and Materialists, whose
lives, nevertheless, as tested by any accessible standard of morality,
would contrast more than favorably with the lives of those who seek to
stamp them with this offensive brand. When I say 'offensive' I refer
simply to the intention of those who use such terms, and not because
Atheism or Materialism, when compared with many of the notions
ventilated in the columns of religious newspapers, has any particular
offensiveness to me. If I wished to find men who are scrupulous in their
adherence to engagements, whose words are their bond, and to whom moral
shiftiness of any kind is subjectively unknown; if I wanted a loving
father, a faithful husband, an honorable neighbor, and a just citizen, I
would seek him among the band of Atheists to which I refer. I have
known some of the most pronounced amongst them, not only in life, but in
death--seen them approaching with open eyes the inexorable goal, with no
dread of a 'hangman's whip,' with no hope of a heavenly crown, and still
as mindful of their duties, and as faithful in the discharge of them, as
if their eternal future depended on their latest deeds."

Let the Archbishop, and _Grip_, and every reader ponder these
brave words of so high an authority in defence of the reprobated
class-stigmatised as "infidels," to which they refer; and then, for
corroboration, compare the testimony given with the living facts around

The Archbishop says, these "foolish men" (the Freethinkers) are
"striving to replunge the world into the depths of Barbarism and
Paganism," etc., etc. To those who know that the present attitude of
all the great scientists and eminent _savans_ towards the dogmas of the
Christian Church, is one of undoubted unbelief and hostility; and
who are conversant with the history of the Archbishop's own church in
particular, during the past fifteen centuries,--to them the Archbishop's
vituperation is as foolish as it is ridiculous. From the days of
Constantine to this year, 1880, the Church, of which this learned (?)
prelate is a representative, has strenuously opposed learning, and
retarded civilization; has tolerated no freedom of conscience or liberty
of thought, thus narrowing instead of extending the liberty enjoyed
in Pagan and Imperial Rome, over whose ruins she reared her tyrannical
head. Talk of "Paganism!" His Church needs, as Emerson puts it, "some
good Paganism." She left behind her the liberty even of Pagan Rome, her
maligned precursor. Renan tells us, "We may search in vain, the Roman
law before Constantine, for a single passage against freedom of thought,
and the history of the imperial government furnishes no instance of a
prosecution for entertaining an abstract doctrine." And, Mosheim,
the ecclesiastical historian, tells us that the Romans exercised this
toleration in the amplest manner.

"The prosecutions of the Christians by the Pagans, it is now universally
conceded by Christian historians, have been greatly exaggerated;
Christians have killed, in one day, for their faith nearly half as many
heretics as all the Christians put to death by the Pagans during the
whole period of the Pagan Empire." (The Influence of Christianity on
Civilization, pp. 24-5, Underwood.)

The Archbishop's Church is, therefore, no improvement in respect of
liberty or toleration, on the Paganism he reviles.

What progress the world has made in liberty and civilization, has been
made, not with the assistance of the Christian Church, but in spite of
its determined opposition and deadly hostility. Dr. Draper, author of
the "History of the Conflict between Religion and Science," and other
works, tells us that:

"Latin Christianity is responsible for the condition and progress of
Europe from the fourth to the sixteenth century," and subsequently
avers, "Whoever will, in in a spirit of impartiality, examine what had
been done by Catholicism for the intellectual and material advancement
of Europe, during her long reign, and what has been done by science
in its brief period of action, can, I am persuaded, come to no other
conclusion than this, that, in instituting a comparison, he has
established a contrast." ("Conflict," p. 321.) Lecky, in his "History
of Morals," vol. 2, p. 18, tells us:--"For more than three centuries the
decadence of theological influence has been one of the most invariable
signs and measures of our progress. In medicine, physical science,
commercial interests, politics, and even ethics, the reformer has been
confronted with theological affirmations that have barred his way, which
were all defended as of vital importance, and were all compelled to
yield before the secularizing influence of civilization." (Protestant as
well as Catholic Christianity is, however, obnoxious to this stricture
of Lecky.)

The Freethinkers "striving to replunge the world into the depths of
barbarism!" What can the Archbishop's idea of barbarism be? Doubtless in
his priestly mind everything is "barbarism" which does not square
with the Encyclical, or with the dogmas of his infallible Church.
If, however, barbarism is in reality just the opposite of our most
enlightened and highest civilization in Art, Science, Literature and
Ethics, it will, I have the presumption to think, be found that those
"foolish men"--those "brutalized" Freethinkers--are leading the van
of progress forward to a higher civilization, instead of dragging it
backward to barbarism. The truth of this is patent everywhere, in every
civilized country, and many of our Christian opponents admit it, though
Archbishop Lynch may not. A clergyman of Toronto--Rev. W. S. Rainsford,
of St. James' Cathedral--(from whom the Archbishop of St. Mary's
Cathedral might probably, to his advantage, take a lesson in
toleration), in a sermon preached in that city, Nov. 17th, 1878,
in speaking of Freethinkers, made use of the following language, as
reported in the _Globe_ of the 18th:

"This sort of infidelity, that of Materialism, has its students in
the laboratory and in the library. It includes men of moral lives, of
earnest purposes, * * * men who uphold morality, chastity, self-denial,
perseverance with as clear a voice as Christians do, but on different

Years ago the N. Y. _Independent_, a religious paper, made the following
ingenuous admission:

"To the shame of the Church it must be confessed that the foremost in
all our philanthropic movements, in the interpretation of the spirit of
the age, in the practical application of genuine Christianity, in the
reformation of abuses in high and low places, in the vindication of
the rights of man, and in practically redressing his wrongs, in the
intellectual and moral regeneration of the race, are the so-called
infidels in our land. The Church has pusillanimously left, not only the
working oar, but the very reins of salutary reform in the hands of
men she denounces as inimical to Christianity, and who are practically
doing, with all their might, for humanity's sake, what the Church ought
to be doing for Christ's sake; and if they succeed, as succeed they
will, in abolishing slavery, banishing rum, restraining licentiousness,
reforming abuses and elevating the masses, then must the recoil on
Christianity be disastrous. Woe, woe, woe, to Christianity when Infidels
by the force of nature, or the tendency of the age, get ahead of the
Church in morals, and in the practical work of Christianity. In some
instances they are already far in advance. In the vindication of Truth,
Righteousness, and Liberty, _they are the pioneers_, beckoning to a
sluggish Church to follow in the rear."

The _Evangelist_ also, made the following admission of the same facts:
"Among all the earnest minded young men, who are at this moment leading
in thought and action in America, we venture to say that four-fifths are
skeptical of the great historical facts of Christianity. What is held as
Christian doctrine by the churches claims none of their consideration,
and there is among them a general distrust of the clergy, as a class,
and an utter disgust with the very aspect of modern Christianity and of
church worship. This scepticism is not flippant; little is said about
it. It is not a peculiarity alone of radicals and fanatics; most of
them are men of calm and even balance of mind, and belong to no class of
ultraists. It is not worldly and selfish. Nay, the doubters lead in the
bravest and most self-denying enterprises of the day."

From a Church which has always opposed the education of the people, when
she had the power, and exterminated or expatriated the best intellects
under her jurisdiction, this talk of Freethinkers "re-plunging the world
into the depths of barbarism" comes with a very bad grace from his
Grace of Toronto. By this Church the Moriscoes were driven out of
Spain--100,000 of them--and this because they were the friends of
progress, of art and science. Buckle, the historian, tells us:--"When
they were thrust out of Spain there was no one to fill their places;
arts and manufactures either degenerated or were entirely lost, ard
immense regions of arable land were left uncultivated; whole districts
were suddenly deserted, and down to the present day have never been
repeopled." The Jews also were expelled, as they, too, were in favor
of knowledge and improvement, and this was sufficient cause for their

This relentless enemy--the Church--of all science, all progress in
knowledge among the people, ruthlessly exterminated the best minds
within its grasp for centuries. Darwin, in his "Descent of Man," vol. 1,
p. 171-2, says:--

"During the same period the Holy Inquisition selected with extreme care
the freest and boldest men in order to burn and imprison them. In
Spain alone some of the best men, those who doubted and questioned--and
without doubting and questioning there can be no progress--were
eliminated during three centuries at the rate of a thousand a year."

Talk to us of barbarism and paganism! A church which, from the time,
nearly fifteen centuries ago, when she burnt the Alexandrian
Libraries and Museum--the intellectual legacies of centuries--to the
present time, has never yet called off her sleuth-hounds with which she
has always hunted down the sacred principles of liberty of thought
and freedom of conscience! A Church which from "the beginning of that
unhappy contest," as Mosheim tells us, "between faith and reason,
religion and philosophy, piety and genius, which increased in succeeding
ages, and is prolonged even to our times with a violence which renders
it extremely difficult to be brought to a conclusion," to this day,
would hold the world in barbarous ignorance if its paralyzed hand could
but avail against the resistless march of knowledge and truth! Draper,
in speaking of the condition of the people under Catholicity in the 14th
century, thus pictures the civilizing (?) and elevating influences of
that Holy Religion:--

"There was no far reaching, no persistent plan to ameliorate the
physical condition of the nations. Nothing was done to favor their
intellectual development, indeed, on the contrary, it was the settled
policy to keep them not merely illiterate, but ignorant. Century after
century passed away, and left the peasantry but little better than the
cattle in the fields. * * * Pestilences were permitted to stalk forth
unchecked, or at best opposed only by mummeries. Bad food, wretched
clothing, inadequate shelter, were suffered to produce their result,
and at the end of a thousand years the population of Europe had not

For centuries, and centuries, in the Western Empire, subsequent to the
invasion of the barbarians, when the Church this Toronto prelate owes
allegiance to, had absolute control, such was the dense ignorance that
scarcely a layman could be found who could sign his own name. There was
very little learning, and what little there was the clergy carefully and
jealously confined to themselves; and as Hallam, the historian, tells

"A cloud of ignorance overspread the whole face of the church, hardly
broken by a few glimmering lights, who owe almost the whole of their
distinction to the surrounding darkness." The same historian (Middle
Ages, p. 460,) tells us:--"France reached her lowest point at the
beginning of the eighth century, but England was, at that time, more
respectable, and did not fall into complete degradation until the middle
of the ninth. There could be nothing more deplorable than the state
of Italy during the succeeding century. In almost every council the
ignorance of the clergy forms a subject for reproach. It is asserted by
one held in 992 that scarcely a single person was to be found in Rome
itself, who knew the first elements of letters. Not one priest of a
thousand in Spain, about the age of Charlemagne, could address a common
letter of salutation to one another."

Lecky, in his "History of Morals," vol. 2, p. 222, tells us that:

"Mediæval Catholicity discouraged and suppressed, in every way, secular
studies," and further, that, "Not till the education of Europe passed
from the monasteries to the universities; not until Mahomedan science
and classical freethought and industrial independence broke the sceptre
of the Church, did the intellectual revival of Europe commence."

And, I would ask Archbishop Lynch, what was the condition of
the Byzantine Empire during the thousand years or upwards of its
existence?--An empire under the sway of his Church, from its foundation
by the first Christian emperor, Constantine--that exemplary Christian
murderer who, because the Pagan priests refused him absolution for his
enormities, hastened to the bosom of the Christian Church, whose priests
he found more pliable, having little compunction or hesitancy about
granting absolution to the new proselyte. What is the record of history
touching this Empire under the aegis of Catholic Christianity? The
historian Lecky thus graphically sets forth its condition:--

"The universal verdict of history is that it constitutes, without a
single exception, the most thoroughly base and despicable form that
civilization has yet assumed. Though very cruel and very sensual, there
have been times when cruelty assumed more ruthless, and sensuality more
extravagant aspects, but there has been no other enduring civilization
so absolutely destitute of all the forms, the elements, of greatness,
and none to which the epithet _mean_ may be so emphatically applied. The
Byzantine Empire was pre-eminently the age of treachery. Its vices were
the vices of men who ceased to be brave without learning to be virtuous.
* * * The history of the empire is a monotonous story of the intrigues
of priests, eunuchs and women, of poisonings, of conspiracies, of
uniform ingratitude, of perpetual fratricides." In speaking of the
condition of the Western Empire the same author proceeds:--"A boundless
intolerance of all divergence of opinion was united with an equally
boundless toleration of all falsehood and deliberate fraud, that could
favor received opinions. Credulity being taught as a virtue, and all
conclusions dictated by authority, a deadly torpor sank upon the human
mind, which for many centuries almost suspended its action, and was only
broken by the scrutinizing, innovating and free-thinking habits that
accompanied the rise of the industrial republics in Italy. Few men who
are not either priests or monks would not have preferred to live in
the best days of the Athenian or of the Roman republics, in the age of
Augustus, or in the age of the Antonines rather than in any period
that elapsed between the _triumph of Christianity and the fourteenth

The same historian, whose accuracy Archbishop Lynch will scarcely
attempt to impeach, thus judicially and impartially sums up the
influences of Catholic Christianity both in the Eastern and Western
Empires during many centuries when it had the fullest sway:--

"When we remember that in the Byzantine Empire the renovating power of
theology was tried in a new capital, free from Pagan traditions, and for
more than one thousand years unsubdued by barbarians, and that in the
west, the Church, for at least seven hundred years after the shocks of
the invasion had subsided, exercised a control more absolute than any
other moral or intellectual agency has ever attained, it will appear,
I think, that the experiment was very sufficiently tried. It is easy to
make a catalogue of the glaring vices of antiquity, and to contrast them
with the pure morality of Christian writings; but, if we desire to
form a just estimate of the realized improvement, we must compare the
classical and ecclesiastical civilizations as wholes, and must observe
in each case not only the vices that were repressed but also the degree
and variety of positive excellence attained."

Before the art of printing was discovered, the Church had less
difficulty in keeping the people in ignorance, but after the invention
of that boon to mankind she found herself ominously confronted with the
tree of life from which the people would soon learn to pluck the fruit
of knowledge. Hence the establishment, by Pope Paul IV., about the
middle of the sixteenth century, of the _Index Expurgatorius_, whose
functions, we are told, was "to examine books and manuscripts intended
for publication, and to decide whether the people may be permitted to
read them." This is what his Grace of St. Michael's Palace, in Toronto,
proposes to do for the good Catholics of that city--decide what they
shall read and what they shall not read, as though they were ninnies
and not able to decide that matter for themselves! The fact is, however,
that, in this priestly arrogance and assumption, the Archbishop is
consistent enough; for, although such mediæval tyranny is altogether
inconsistent with the spirit of this age, and ludicrously out of place
in 1880, in the City of Toronto, it, nevertheless, perfectly accords
with the tenets and spirit as well as the antecedents of his Church;
which, while it accuses Freethinkers of "barbarism," allows not an inch
of latitude of private judgment in matters of religion, and tolerates
no freedom of conscience: And what is this but barbarism? All freedom of
conscience was fiercely denounced by Gregory XVI. as insane folly,
and the Archbishop of Toronto reiterates this unsavory stigma on
civilization. And why shouldn't he? Theology never learns. The Church
changes not. How can she when she is infallible? Yet an infallible
Pope of an infallible Church, not long since, found himself, while
encompassed with many difficulties, spiritual and temporal, to be about
like other weak mortals in flesh and blood; and, though infallible,
remember, and with the power of miracles and all that, he succumbs and
whiningly complains to a vulgar world that he is "a prisoner in his own
palace in Rome!" And the heretical and sceptical world--the "outside
barbarians"--with a contemptuous leer, gape at the queer spectacle of
the "Vicegerent on Earth" of an all-powerful God being obliged so easily
to succumb to heresy--to a little temporal power. Such, however, is
life--or rather the "mysterious ways of providence," which "ways" always
seem though, as Cromwell observed, to be on the side of the heaviest
artillery,--not the artillery of heaven, but the base artillery of
earth. Indeed, this worldly artillery--the artillery of science and
civilization--has, in this nineteenth century, been making such havoc
with creeds, confessions, and dogmas, that the crowning dogma
of all--this fundamental pillar of the Vatican, the dogma of
infallibility--was, it would seem, fast becoming a _dead dog_; when the
Holy Catholic Church finds it imperatively incumbent upon her to attempt
a resuscitation. This happened in Rome in "_anno domini_" 1870, at that
great Ecumenical Council--that unique anachronism of the nineteenth
century. I know not whether that mediæval assembly of Holy "Fathers in
God" was honored by the presence of his Grace of St. Michael's Palace,
in Toronto, or not; but, be that as it may, his reverence's entire
loyalty to the notorious Encyclical and Syllabus of that Council is not
to be questioned or doubted. The miniature Toronto _bull_ of May 9th,
1880, has the true Vatican ring of the big _bull_ of the Council in
Rome in 1870. It, too, denounced, with its usual, though harmless,
_anathema_, Atheism, Pantheism, Naturalism, Rationalism and every other
ism that failed to square with Papal dogma. By the fulmination of that
Syllabus the world learned among many other things, that "No one may
interpret the Sacred Scriptures contrary to the sense in which they are
interpreted by Holy Mother Church, to whom such interpretation belongs."
It was further decreed that "All the Christian faithful are not only
forbidden to defend, as legitimate conclusions of science, those
opinions which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith,
especially when condemned by the Church, but are rather absolutely bound
to hold them for errors wearing the deceitful appearance of truth."

As examples of the holy canons which were actually fulminated and
promulgated by that Ecumenical Council in the latter part of this 19th
century, here are a few:--

"Who shall refuse to receive, for sacred and canonical, the books of
Holy Scripture in their integrity, with all their parts, according as
they were enumerated by the Holy Council of Trent, or shall deny that
they are inspired by God, _Let him be anathema_."

"Who shall say that human sciences ought to be pursued in such a spirit
of freedom that one may be allowed to hold as true their assertions,
even when opposed to revealed doctrine, _Let him be anathema_."

"Who shall say that it may at any time come to pass, in the progress
of science, that the doctrines set forth by the Church must be taken in
another sense than that in which the Church has ever received and yet
receives them, _Let him be anathema_."

These are the modest assumptions of the Church of Rome in this age; and
a prelate of that Church breathes the same noxious vapors forth into the
intellectual atmosphere of the City of Toronto! It remains to be seen
whether in Toronto there are such slaves or fools as will submit to this
worse than Egyptian bondage. Will intelligent Catholics put their necks
in a yoke so galling? None but slaves or barbarians would do it. The
Archbishop would thus fain make barbarians of his own people, and then
he would have the pagans at home without hunting among Freethinkers for
them. In his lecture in Napanee, in April last, Col. Ingersoll gave it
as his opinion that any man--no matter what Church he belonged to, or
what country he lived in--who claimed rights for himself which he denied
to others, is a barbarian! Now, according to this definition, who are
the barbarians? The Freethinkers, or the Archbishop himself and those he
ignominiously holds in mental bondage?

In conclusion, we thank Archbishop Lynch for his timely "bull." As a
propagandist document for the spread of Freethought, and really in the
interests of those "foolish" and "brutalized" Freethinkers against
whom it was directed, it must prove a great success. It is another
illustration of the essentially bigoted and intolerant spirit of
Christianity in general.*

     * I am well aware that the Protestant sects of Christianity
     repudiate this charge of the intolerant and persecuting
     spirit of Christianity in general, and vainly attempt to
     shift the whole onus and odium upon the Church of Rome. They
     tell us that Christianity itself is not persecuting--that it
     is not responsible for having reddened the earth with blood
     --but that this was all done contrary to the spirit and
     teachings of Christianity by men who were not really
     Christians. We deny it. We take the position that
     Christianity itself is essentially intolerant and
     persecuting in spirit; and, we take the New Testament itself
     to prove it. We take Christ's alleged words as reported
     there, and Paul's alleged words as reported there, and can
     thereby abundantly sustain our charge. "He that believeth
     not shall be damned." "A man that is a heretic after the
     first and second admonition, reject." What is that but the
     quintessence of bigotry and intolerance? "I would they were
     even cut off which trouble you." How kind! "Think not that I
     come to send peace on earth, etc., etc" Scores of passages
     could be quoted from the New Testament of similar import,
     and the Old Testament is worse yet, for it recommends
     putting even your wives or brothers to death should they try
     to persuade you to worship their God.--See Deut. 13, 6, 7
     and 8.


I approach this part of my prescribed duty with some hesitation, and not
a little reluctance. _Bystander_ is brilliant, learned, independent,
and honest; and for these qualities, though differing from him on
some important subjects, I entertain a respect and esteem amounting to
affection. I hope, therefore, that I may not write a word here having
even the semblance of discourtesy; for of that sort of treatment the
gentleman in question has had a full share since he honored Canadians by
casting his lot amongst us.

For the benefit of some readers who, possibly, may not have seen it, I
may say that _The Bystander_ is a "Monthly Review of Current Events,"
published in Toronto by Messrs. Hunter, Rose & Co., and written by a
certain distinguished literary gentleman, as referred to above, whose
name I would like to give here only that I feel in courtesy bound to
respect the "impersonality of journalism," the protection of which the
gentleman in question has the right, and with good reason, to claim.

The last three issues of _The Bystander_ (for April, May and June) have
each a paper on Col. Ingersoll, his lectures, and cognate subjects; the
general tone of which is very liberal, but, at the same time, containing
strictures upon Mr. Ingersoll and his teachings which I consider unfair
and unjust (unintentionally no doubt), and to which I here propose
briefly to reply.

Having heard Mr. Ingersoll lecture but once I am not in a position from
personal knowledge to speak fully as to the alleged "blasphemy," and
his general "tone" on the platform; but this much I can say, that
_Bystander's_ assertion that "he" (Ingersoll) "repels all decent men,
whatever their convictions; for no decent man likes blasphemy any more
than he likes obscenity," is certainly not true of the one lecture I
heard, or of the score of others of his I have read. I humbly claim
to be myself a "decent man," and I did not find myself "repelled" on
listening to Ingersoll's lecture, but rather attracted. I also saw many
decent people at the lecture (some from a distance), and they did not
seem repelled; but, like myself, well-pleased. In Toronto, according
to the reports in the _Evening Telegram_, there were large audiences of
decent, intelligent people: and instead of being repelled, they greeted
the lecturer with the most enthusiastic approbation and applause,
repeated over and over again. The same reception was accorded him in
Montreal, Belleville and Napanee.

Bystander contrasts Ingersoll's "offensive tone" on the platform with
the "gentleness and sympathy of the Christian preacher on Mars' Hill,"
who, he tells us, "delivered the truths he bore at once with the dignity
of simple earnestness, and with perfect tenderness towards the beliefs
which he came to supersede." Let us, for a moment, examine this claim
of "simple earnestness," and "perfect tenderness" in behalf of Paul the
great preacher of the New Testament. Paul says, (Roman iii. 7) "For if
the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory, why
yet am I also judged as a sinner?" He also tells us (2nd Cor. 12: 16)
that "being _crafty_, I caught you with guile," and likewise assures us
that he was "all things to all men;" to the Jews he "became as a Jew,"
etc. What "simple earnestness" this is truly! And the Church of Christ
has nearly always acted in accordance with this Scriptural doctrine that
in _lying_ for God's sake the "end justifies the means." Mosheim,
the ecclesiastical historian, tells us that in the early ages of the
Christian Church, "It was an act of virtue to deceive and lie, when by
that means the interest of the church might be promoted."

As to Paul's "perfect tenderness toward the beliefs which he came to
supersede," let us look a little into that. In writing to the Galatians
he says [tenderly] "As we said before, so say I now again, if any man
preach any other gospel unto you than that you have received, let him
be _accursed_." (Gal. 1:9.) That is tender toleration for you! Again,
"A man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition, reject"
(Titus 4:9.) "I would they were even cut off which trouble you" (Gal.
5: 12.) We, Freethinkers, would stand a poor chance to-day if Paul's
precepts were carried out! Again, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus
Christ, let him be _Anathema Maranatha_" (1 Cor. 16: 22.)-What "perfect
tenderness" this is! With a vengeance are these curses and maledictions
tender! _Bystander_ may search in vain in Ingersoll's lectures, or any
Freethinkers' writings, for such consummate bigotry, intolerance, and
even cruelty as this "Christian preacher" pours out upon all who venture
to differ from him in belief. And what "perfect tenderness" in Paul
to denounce and stigmatize even those of his own church--his
co-religionists--as "_false apostles, deceitful workers, dogs, and
liars!_" Did _Bystander_ or anybody else ever hear such language from
Ingersoll or any other Freethinker? Is it not "offensive to any sensible
and right-minded man?" Does it not "repel all decent men?"

_Bystander_ admits that when Ingersoll "attacks dogmatic orthodoxy he
is in the right." What more does he attack? This is exactly what he does
attack, and _Bystander_ admits that in so doing he is doing right, thus
showing that he himself does not believe in dogmatic orthodoxy. Now, if
the Christian's God, as described in the Bible, is included in "dogmatic
orthodoxy" (and He surely must be) is Ingersoll blasphemous in attacking
Him? Surely not, according to _Bystander_ himself. _Bystander_ may say,
however, that he does not mean to include the Christian's God in
the "irrational and obsolete orthodoxy," against which he admits
"Ingersoll's arguments are really telling." But does _Bystander_ himself
believe in the God of the Bible? From the tenor of his language he
surely cannot. Does he believe in the God of whom the Bible itself gives
the following description? (For want of time to refer to, and space to
insert chapter and verse, they are not given, but every Bible reader
will recognize the passages given as substantially correct):--

"He burns with anger; his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue
as a devouring fire." "His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks
are thrown down by him." "The Lord awaketh as one out of sleep, and like
a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine." "Smoke came out of his
nostrils, and fire out of his mouth, so that coals were kindled by it."
"He had horns coming out of his hand." "Out of his mouth went a sharp
two-edged sword." "The Lord shall roar from on high. He roareth from
his habitation. He shall shout as they that tread the grapes." "He is
a jealous God." "He stirred up jealousy." "He was jealous to fury."
"He rides upon horses." "The Lord is a man of war." "His anger will
be accomplished, and his fury rest upon them, and then he will be
_comforted!_" "His arrows shall be drunken with blood." "He is angry
with the wicked every day." "A fire is kindled in mine anger and shall
burn unto the lowest hell. I will heap mischief upon them; I will spend
my arrows upon them I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, and
the poison of the serpents... both the young man and the virgin, the
suckling also, and the man of gray hairs." [What did the "suckling" do
to merit this?] "He reserveth wrath for his enemies." "He became angry
and swore." "He cried and roared."

Does _Bystander_ believe in a God like that? whom it is "blasphemy," it
seems, for Ingersol to attack! It is true there are good qualities and
attributes ascribed to God by the Bible as well as bad; but that
does not affect the fact that these are ascribed to him; while the
co-existence of two diametrically opposite sets of attributes in the
same Being is simply absurd. Why is it blasphemy to attack such a
conception of God, any more than to attack any of the other Pagan gods
of antiquity? As he is represented in the Bible, He is certainly no
better than they; and _Bystander_ himself would have little hesitancy
in making an onslaught on the Pagan gods. When primitive Judaism and
Christianity set up a God for _our_ worship and adoration, and at
the same time tells us, "by the book," that He commanded the cruel,
fiendish, and indiscriminate murder of men, women, and innocent children,
we beg to decline to worship, or adore, or believe in any such Being;
and we do not think it "blasphemy" to attack the false belief and the
false God. When we read in the "word of God" that the Lord commanded
one of his prophets to diet on excrement; that the Lord met Moses at a
tavern and tried to kill him (see Exodus, 4, 24); that the sun and moon
stood still; that it rained forty days and nights, and that nearly the
whole world was drowned; that the first man--Adam--was made of clay, and
Eve of a rib, about 6000 years ago; that the world was made in six days,
and that vegetation flourished before there was any sun,--when we read
of all these wonderful things, we beg to be excused from believing them,
and claim the right to ridicule them to our heart's content. If this is
"disrespect," or "insult," or an "ignoble spirit of irreverence," then
we plead guilty to the charge, and are willing to abide by it.

We do not deny that there may be a God; we only deny the existence
of such a one as the Bible sets forth. We attack only the gods whom
barbarous peoples have fashioned in their own imaginations and set up
for our worship, and not any high or noble conception of a Deity. We
fully admit the existence of a great and mysterious power or force in
the universe which we cannot understand or comprehend. We believe with
Spencer in the great _Unknown_ and _Unknowable_, and have no "attack"
to make upon this power, no word of ridicule, no blasphemy; but, like
Tyndall, stand in its presence with reverence and awe, acknowledging our

While, however, acknowledging this unseen Power, we decline to
anthropomorphise it--to call it a _person_ or _being_, and invest it
with mental and moral functions similar to our own, differing only in
degree not in kind. It is only the anthropomorphism we attack--only
the superstitions, assumptions and dogmas. We only attack that which
is incredible and absurd--that which "shocks reason." We believe in
religion--the Religion of Humanity--to do right--a religion of _works_
instead of faith and creeds, and _Bystander_ himself admits that
"religion is carrying a weight which it cannot bear," and that, "unless
the credible can be separated from the incredible, the reasonable from
that which shocks reason, there will be a total eclipse of faith."

"The Cosmogony of Moses," says _Bystander_, "will, of course not bear
the scrutiny of modern science; few probably are now so bigoted as
to maintain that it will." If it will not bear such scrutiny, is it
blasphemy to attack it, or its author? for the God of the Bible is the
alleged author of that Cosmogony, inspiring Moses or whoever wrote it.
But _Bystander_ further remarks that the Mosaic Cosmogony "need not fear
comparison with the Cosmogony of any other race." We thank him for that
favor. It is exactly what we claim, to wit, that the Cosmogony of Moses,
like all the others, is simply a human production, for it would be
absurd to talk of "comparing" an _inspired_ Cosmogony of _divine origin_
with _human_ Cosmogonies. Hence, according to _Bystander_ himself, the
Mosaic Cosmogony is simply, like the rest, human: only he thinks it a
little better than the others. It will not, however, "bear the scrutiny
of modern science." Very likely not! What then, becomes of the "fall
of man," the "redemption" the "Ideal Man," and the whole Christian
Superstructure which rests upon the Mosaic Cosmogony? If the pillars are
taken away the building _must_ come down.

It is also admitted by _Bystander_ that "The moral code of Moses is
tribal and primeval; it is alien to us who live under the ethical
conditions of high civilization and the Religion of Humanity." Precisely
so! And for this magnificent favor also, we again thank _Bystander_. No
materialist or utilitarian could have possibly put it better; albeit a
Christian would experience some moral obfuscation in trying to make out
why, if the "moral code of Moses" is from heaven, it should be "alien
to us" and to these times? He would be hardly able to understand why he
should be comparing his _Divine_ code with _Pagan_ codes to see whether
it is "worse or better than other codes framed in the same stage of
human progress?" Let the Freethinkers take courage. _Bystander_, to
all appearances, will soon be squarely on our side; and then we can
truthfully say, that though the Christians have the greatest scientist,
probably, in Canada (Prof. Dawson, of Montreal,) on their side, we will
have the greatest scholar, historian and _literateur_ in Canada on _our_
side. Three cheers in the Liberal camp for _Bystander!_ Indeed, we have
some hopes, too, even of Prof. Dawson, whose Mosaic orthodoxy seems to
be relaxing a little of late; and he evidently feels his isolation, his
scientific brethren all being on our side.

While writing this, the Montreal _Daily Witness_ of June 15th, 1880,
comes to hand from a Freethought octogenarian friend in Port Hope (Wm.
Sisson, Esq.) with the familiar pencil mark, drawing my attention to a
report of the proceedings of "The Congregational Union," at present in
session in Montreal. From it I learn that Rev. Hugh Pedley, B. A., made
an address before the _Union_ on "The Freethought of the Age," from
which I cull the following, as reported in the _Witness_:--

"One of the principal difficulties," he said (of the clergy), "was the
prevalence of freethought among the people. There was a time when the
New Testament was received by almost everybody * * * But things had
changed * * * Some time ago the weapons of skilled historians were
turned first against the Old and then against the New Testament * * *
Dr. Norman McLeod, writing from Germany, said, 'I am informed on
credible testimony that ninety-nine out of every hundred persons here
are sceptics.' * * * Germany was to-day more Pagan than Christian * * *
The press passed up and down the land, scattering into every home things
which set men thinking." [Ah! there is the secret; when men begin to
think and reason on theological subjects as they do on secular, good-bye
creeds! goodbye confessions!] "Goldwin Smith, a man who had so studied
the past as to be able to interpret the present, had told us that a
religious collapse of the most complete and tremendous character was
apparent on every hand." It was only very recently that a sceptical work
on 'Supernatural Religion' passed through a number of editions in a few
months. Col. Ingersoll had recently visited the country. He came, he
saw, and in some sense he conquered. (Cries of No! No!) The second night
he had a much larger attendance than on the first. No matter who, ran
Ingersoll down, he was a man of great power of oratory and strong in
those qualities which control audiences.

The Rev. gentleman then referred deprecatingly to the inadequate-college
training of theological students in "apologetics," as they were not
allowed to read the works of sceptics for themselves, but had to take
their tutors' version of the sceptics' arguments. This "putting up a
little argument and then knocking it down," he said was neither "the
fair nor the true way." He recommended putting "the very sceptical works
into the hands of the students, and he would even say to go and hear
Ingersoll if he came."

That "man's idea of God rises with his progress in civilization,"
_Bystander_ admits; but he attempts to explain the fact away on theistic
grounds, and dilute its strength as an argument that God is simply a
projection of the human mind. He asks:--

"If this conception" (a conception of God) "flows from no reality, from
what does it flow? It is a phenomenon of which, as of other phenomena,
there must be some explanation; and we have not yet chanced to see
in the writings of any Agnostic an explanation which seemed at all

I would respectfully suggest to _Bystander_ that there _is_ a
satisfactory explanation, though to him it may not be so. In answering
his question I will ask another. If the conception of, or belief in, a
devil or devils, flows from no reality, from what does it flow? The same
of witches, fairies, sprites, hob-goblins, _et hoc genus omne_. Belief
in these is quite as general as belief in God, though _Bystander's_
question seems to assume that belief in the latter is universal.
This, however, is not the case, as has been conclusively shown in the
foregoing reply to Wend-ling. Therefore, this "conception" argument,
like the famous "design" argument, proves too much, and consequently
proves nothing. As to the _origin_ of the belief in spiritual agencies,
and conceptions of God, Darwin tells us it is not difficult to
comprehend how they arose. He says, "Descent of Man," vol. i, p. 63-5:--

"As soon as the important faculties of imagination, wonder, and
curiosity, together with some power of reasoning, had become partially
developed, man would naturally have craved to understand what was
passing around him, and have vaguely speculated on his own existence * *
* The belief in spiritual agencies would easily pass into the belief of
one or more Gods."

_Bystander_, while freely admitting that the Theistic theory is
compassed with difficulties; and requires "re-statement," reminds us
that the-"materialistic hypothesis is not free from difficulty." The
difficulty he discovers in materialism relates to the order of priority
of matter and force. He asks:--

"Which of the two is the First Principle? Force cannot have been
produced by matter, for without force, matter cannot move, change, or
generate at all. Matter cannot have been produced by force, because
force is nothing but the impulsion of matter. Apparently there must have
been something before both, which produced them and determined their
relations; and it must be something beyond the range of sense."

_Bystander_. I think, has not correctly apprehended the materialistic
position here, and hence the argument for a "something before both
matter and force which produced them," being built upon a postulated
premiss which we cannot accept, has no weight in establishing the
existence of a God behind matter and force. His error lies in the
assumption of the possibility of matter and force existing separately
and independently. He asks, "Which of the two is the First Principle?"
Our answer is, there can be no _first_ as between matter and force,
for there can be no matter without force, and _vice versa_. The two are
inseparable, even in conception, and the existence of one is absolutely
essential to the existence of the other. Hence the argument proceeding
from the assumption of their divisibility and possible independence
fails. The Theist has no right whatever, logically speaking, to assume
that there "must have been something before matter and force which
produced them." So long as matter and force are amply adequate (as far
as we can discern) to the production of all cognizable phenomena, we
are not warranted in assuming the existence of any being or thing behind
them. As soon as the Theist does this, we have the logical right to
carry his reasoning further, and at once assume something else behind
it again, and thus not only one but a thousand gods could be postulated
without the shadow of real proof of one of them.

There is an ultimate ground, however, upon which the Theist and
Materialist may meet in common, and, so far as I can see, the only
ultimate position they can occupy in perfect corelation. The universe
exists; man as a part of the universe--a mode of existence--is here;
in this we agree. Man, then, being himself the highest intelligence
he knows of, continually seeks an explanation of the universe and of
himself as a part of it. This is the common ground upon which we
all stand--Rationalist, Theist, Agnostic, Atheist--barbarous and
civilized--the weakest and the mightiest intellect.

All seek to explain the great mystery of the universe--some one way,
some another--from the rude thaumaturgic fancies of the primitive
barbarian up to the abstruse speculations and subtle reasonings of the
cultured Pantheist, intellectual Agnostic, and logical Materialist.
It is true one may be more reasonable and logical than the rest (as I
undoubtedly think is the case), yet they all occupy the common ground of
uncertainty. Not one can _demonstrate_ his position, and in this we are
all alike. (One, however, among all the rest thinks he _knows_ he is
_right_ and can prove it, viz., the dogmatic Christian Theist.) We may
all, therefore, stand together in the presence of Nature and acknowledge
our ignorance. Though each school has its theory, its hypothesis, its
solution, yet the mystery of the mighty universe is still an unsolved


We have another reply to Ingersoll in a pamphlet of twenty pages, issued
in Toronto, with the following modest title:--"A Refutation of Col. R.
G. Ingersoll's Lectures, by 'A Rationalist.'" This proemial announcement
is certainly calculated to excite high expectations; but it is only
necessary to look into the rational (?) "refutation" (?) to see that the
names the writer has given himself and pamphlet are both misnomers. How
such an irrational jumble of orthodoxy, heterodoxy, obsolete philosophy,
and moribund metaphysics could by any possibility pass for rationalism,
even in the eyes of its author, is one of those profound mysteries which
"no fellah can understand." Is it not a little singular that all these
"replies" and "refutations" from the orthodox side come from theological
nondescripts--from men who are but half orthodox (the other half not
being recognizable), and not one reply from a thoroughly orthodox
champion? A correlative fact, not without much significance, is that,
though no argument comes from the orthodox side, the denunciations all
come from that source. On the other hand in proportion as the opposing
champion is unorthodox, in that ratio is he tolerant, courteous, and
in favor of free speech and equal rights. "A Rationalist's" essay is
pervaded by the kindliest spirit personally towards his opponent, and
this, in a measure, redeems its literary and logical defects.

Though "Rationalist" zealously defends the Bible, and argues for a God,
it is impossible to tell how much of the Bible he accepts, or what
God he believes in. He says, "every jot and tittle of the Bible is
inspired," yet in another place tells us, "The Apostle Paul is not
one of the inspired writers," as "His words will not bear a spiritual
interpretation." It would, therefore, seem that no part of the Bible
is inspired except that which will stand this method of "spiritual
interpretation." To get rid of the numerous errors, absurdities, and
immoralities contained in the Bible, "Rationalist" spiritualizes them.
He has a first-class recondite and spiritual meaning for every one of
them, which seems to be entirely satisfactory--to himself. With the
utmost facility everything is explained away; and armed with his occult
style of Bible exegesis he can laugh at the infidel scientist. He says
we must "rub off the literal meaning" in order to get at the spiritual,
and by this convenient method every difficulty between the two sacred
lids vanishes into thin air. This "rubbing off" business he also
applies to the God of the Bible, whose characteristic _anthropomorphism_
"Rationalist," of course, rubs all off, even his _intelligence_. So that
there would seem to be little more left of the Jewish Jehovah, under
modern scriptural exegesis, than what Beecher describes as a "dim and
shadowy influence." "Rationalist" divests Deity of intelligence to
escape the effects of the following argument:--

     Intelligence presupposes a greater intelligence,

     God has intelligence,

     Therefore, there must be an intelligence greater than God.

Seeing the logical force of this, he quibbles thus: "We do not say that
God _has_ intelligence, but that God _is_ wisdom in form and love in
essence, and therefore the infinite source of all intelligence." This
will not do, Mr. "Rationalist!" It is entirely too vague. You must
either contend for a personal or an impersonal God. Give us either Deism
or Pantheism, and not an incongruous mixture, and then we will know on
what ground to meet you. If you mean that God is simply the aggregate,
or even the essence, of all intelligence, all love, all good, why this
is a mere abstraction, and even an Atheist might accept it; but if you
are contending for anything like the Christian's God, as set forth in
the Bible, you will have to alter your definitions very materially.

As a specimen illustration of "Rationalist's" spiritual method of
resolving Scriptural difficulties I give below his version of the story
of Elisha, the children, and the bears, under the "rubbing off" process.
We, Freethinkers, he says, will not "object to the bears" when we
understand what the story means, and here is his elucidation, _verbatim
et literatim_:--

"Elisha represents the external or literal words of Holy Writ on
which the mantle of spiritual truth still rests. Children represent
affections--don't fond mothers even yet call them 'little loves?'--They
also correspond to the opposite, and so evil loves which destroy
obedience to the external life of goodness, taught in, at least, some
of the literal words of Scripture, naturally mock at the baldness of
Elisha. Baldness, since it refers to the head, and the head corresponds
to that union of will and intellect in man which rules, and is, the
life, and ultimates in the very extreme of its very minute external,
corresponds to the most external of the will and thought of Elisha, who
represents the literal meaning of Scripture. So this incident means that
evil loves could see no ultimate good to _themselves_ in the doing
of any good in a practical every-day way even where that was clearly
enjoined, and rendered as beautiful externally as hair is, and therefore
mocked at it, or rather at what seemed to them the lack of it. Then the
bears, which correspond to the animal passions of the animal man, came
out of the woods--woods correspond to the natural perceptions of natural
truth in man--and utterly destroyed these evil loves out of the life.
Again you see we find the same truth; that the Lord implants remains of
goodness and truth in every degree of man's life, even in the natural
man, fitted to cope with and conquer his evils, if man himself will but
permit it."

There's a sample of "spiritual interpretation" for you! And what
_clearness_ is there, dear reader! Just return to the fourth sentence of
the above extract, commencing with "Baldness," and re-read it, and see
if you can make anything out of it. What the sentence does really
mean is to me as profound a mystery as the incantations of a Gypsy
thaumaturgist. It would be interesting to get "Rationalist" to try his
hand at spiritualizing some of the following passages of Holy Writ:--

"In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired,"
&c. "And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him"
(Moses) "and sought to kill him." "I have seen God face to face." _Per
Contra_: "No man hath seen God at any time." "I am the Lord, I change
not, I will not go back, neither will I repent." _Per Contra_: "And God
repented of the evil that he said he would do unto them, and he did it
not." "There is no respect of persons with God." _Per Contra_: "Jacob
have I loved, and Esau have I hated." "I am a jealous God, visiting the
iniquities of the fathers upon the children." _Per Contra_: "The son
shall not bear the iniquity of the father." "It is impossible for God
to lie." _Per Contra_: "If the Prophet be deceived when he hath spoken
a thing, I the Lord have deceived that Prophet." "Be not afraid of them
that kill the body." _Per Contra_: "And after these things Jesus would
not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him." "And the anger
of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them
to say, 'Go number Israel.'" _Per Contra_: "And Satan provoked David to
number Israel." "I bear witness of myself, yet my record is true." _Per
Contra_: "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true." "A man
is not justified by the works of the law." _Per Contra_: "Ye see, then,
how that by works a man is justified." "There shall no evil happen to
the just." _Per Contra_: "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall
suffer persecution." "Wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness and all
her paths are peace." _Per Contra_: "In much wisdom is much grief and he
that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." "It shall not be well with
the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days." _Per Contra_: "Wherefore
do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power." "Thou shalt
not: commit adultery." _Per Contra_: "Then said the Lord unto me, 'Go
get, love a woman, an adulteress.'"

Here, certainly, is ample scope for exegetical ingenuity. The passages
quoted, besides scores of others, many of them too indecent for these
pages, would seem to require the touch of "Rationalist's" spiritual
interpretation wand. When the literal meaning is "rubbed off," the
occult, spiritual meaning will appear.

As a sample of "Rationalist's" metaphysical philosophy I give the

"Will and love are identical... Will or love is life. A man cannot
think unless he wills to think; and he can only think that which he
wills--only that and nothing more. He can only do what he wills and
thinks. There is no action which is not the effect of will and its
thought. A man wills in order to think," etc. He also tells us that God
gave man a will "as _free_ as His own." Matter is spoken of as "mere
dead inert matter."

Is more evidence than this needed that "Rationalist" is living in the
past, and has utterly failed to grasp modern thought? His philosophy is
bad, but his metaphysics is worse. Any man who at this day attempts to
"refute" Materialists should at least be somewhat acquainted with the
results of modern thought and scientific research; but "Rationalist" has
apparently advanced no further than the occult Swedenborgian mysticism
of the last century. Further, to talk to-day of "dead inert matter," is
to talk the language of an obsolete philosophy of the past; for modern
science and philosophy alike agree that matter is not "that mere empty
_capacity_ which philosophers have pictured her to be, but the universal
mother who brings forth all things as the fruit of her own womb." As
Pope says:--

"See thro' this air, this ocean, and this earth, All matter quick and
bursting into birth."

Equally absurd is this talk about "Free Will" and "Free Moral Agency."
These metaphysico-theological dogmas have melted in the light of
mental science, and are now as "dead as a door nail," of which fact
"Rationalist" will be convinced if he will take the trouble to look into
Hamilton, Combe, Mill, Buckle, Lewes, Spencer, Huxley and Tyndall, and
he will then, probably, write no more such nonsense as quoted above. It
is not necessary, however, for any observant and thoughtful man to go to
any authorities outside his own mind to be convinced of the fallacy of
the "Free Will" dogma, for his own observation and reflection will do
it. And "Rationalist" can have the same conviction without the aid of
science or philosophy,--without even observation or reflection. Let him
turn to his Bible, which he champions, and read it, and he will find
abundant proof (such as it is) that man's will is not free. Let him read
the 8th, 9th and 11th Chapters of Romans. Let him then read Phil. 2, 13,
"For it is God which worketh in you _both to will and to do_ of His good
_pleasure_." Then read Isaiah, 46, 910, "I am God and there is none like
me, _declaring the end from the beginnings_ and from ancient times _the
things_ that are not _yet_ done, saying, my council shall stand, and I
will do all my _pleasure_."

Now, I submit that if an omnipotent and omniscient God has "declared the
end from the beginning," and ordered all "the things that are not yet
done" (and you have his word for it here) how is it possible for
mortal and finite man to do any thing contrary to the thing ordered,
or accomplish any "end" but the one "declared from the beginning?" Here
you, who believe in God and the Bible, have his word for it that he has
declared all things "from the beginning." Man then _must_ do and think
as God has declared, and can do nothing else, hence he is _not free_.

The idea that "a man cannot think unless he wills to think" is too
preposterous (laying the Bible aside) for any reasonable man to accept
who is not a slave to creeds and dogmas. Let "Rationalist," after
reading this sentence, stop reading, and assume a quiescent state (for
of course _his free will_ will enable him to do this)--a state of mental
passivity, as it were,--let him _will nothing_ for the time being,--and
then see if thoughts of some kind do not spontaneously arise in his
mind. And then let him _will_ to have _no thoughts_ for the space
of five minutes, and see if the thoughts do not steal into his brain
(providing of course he has one) unbidden, and in spite of him--in spite
of all his boasted freewill power. Let any reader put this impossible
and absurd dictum of "Rationalist" to the test, and he will have a
living demonstration in his own brain, which will render any further
argument on this point entirely superfluous.

"Rationalist" worries himself into inextricable confusion over causes
and effects, first causes, first causes and last effects, etc., etc.
Because Ingersoll has said "a first cause is just as impossible as a
last effect," Rationalist well nigh swamps himself in a most ludicrous
"muss-of-a muddle-of-a-jerry-cum-tumble" of bad diction and worse logic
to prove that by such reasoning as Ingersoll's we come to "chaos" and
to "nothing," (hasn't the gentleman himself come to chaos if not to
nothing?) We reason everything out of existence, he says, and just now
we will have left "no nature, no God, no man, no matter" (it would be
_no matter_ if some _bipids_ were gone) "no force," no "nothing"--
"literally nothing." Shades of Bacon! let us take breath; for this would
certainly be a very bad state of things, from which "good Lord deliver
us!" It would be nearly as bad as before the "creation," when nothing
existed throughout the infinite realms of space save Jehovah himself.

I will endeavor to make what materialists mean by the impossibility of
a first cause or last effect clear to "Rationalist." We believe in one
existence, and only one--the universe--which, though never itself having
been created or brought into existence (being eternal), is the primal
(or "first" if you like) cause of all phenomena Rationalist will thus
see that in one sense there is no _first came_ as the universe is
eternal, yet in another sense there _is_ a first cause, viz.: the
universe, as it is the primal cause of all phenomena. As to a "last
effect," it should be obvious to every _rational_ mind that as matter
and force are indestructible, and hence eternal in duration, there can
be no last effect; for as long as matter and force exist effects must of
necessity ensue.


It is a great relief to a Freethinker to find a man among the clergy
like Mr. Bray, in point of religious liberality. It is like coming upon
an oasis in the waste desert of orthodox bigotry and intolerance.

Mr. Bray is the able editor of the _Canadian Spectator_, of Montreal;
and also preaches, I believe, every Sunday in Zion Church in that city.
Unlike his clerical brethren generally, when Mr. Ingersoll lectured in
Montreal, in April last, Mr. Bray went to hear him, and answered him
from his pulpit the two following Sundays. These "Discourses" were
published in the succeeding numbers of his paper, the _Spectator_. Hear
him on free speech:--

"In a free country all kinds of freedom must be allowed, and Mr.
Ingersoll had just as much right to come here and say his say in his own
manner, and according to his own discretion, as Mr. Hammond has to come
and preach and teach in his way. If men are free to agree with us, they
are also free to differ with us; to differ a little, to differ much,
to differ altogether. If the Mayor had found a law by which he could
prohibit Ingersoll from lecturing against our religious beliefs, I would
have started an agitation at once for the repeal of that absurd and
antiquated law. If hearing arguments against our faith is likely to
unsettle us, then we had better be unsettled. We are badly off with all
our religious literature and preaching, if we cannot endure any kind of
criticism, and witticism, and argument."

These are brave words, and every fair-minded man in this Dominion will
agree with Mr. Bray in his liberal and courageous utterances. They are
timely words to go forth in that city where the war of sects has waxed
so hot and virulent of late. Montreal needs more men like Bray in her
churches, to mollify the bigotry, and stamp out the bitter feuds, and
fierce antagonism of Christian against Christian.

As this pamphlet has already reached a much greater length than
originally intended, I have but little space to devote to Mr. Bray's
Reply to Ingersoll. One or two points, however, must be noticed.

Mr. Bray falls into the same error as "Bystander" in accusing

Ingersoll of attacking a theology which, he tells us, is "opposed to
all reason," and now "well nigh obsolete." I would simply say if it is
"obsolete," it is the stock in trade of the Christian Church today. Take
away from it this obsolete theology (which is "opposed to all reason,")
and there is nothing left of Christianity worth speaking of; for the
morality Christianity contains does not of right belong to it It is
Pagan. It has been _appropriated_ by Christianity, and is not original
with it. There is not a single moral precept in the Bible, but was
taught before that book was written. (For proof of this, see Sir
Wm. Jones, Max Muller, Lord Amberly, and "Supernatural Religion.")
Therefore, when you take away the dogmas of Christianity--its "obsolete
theology"--you take away Christianity itself to all intents and
purposes. And hence the utter inconsistency and absurdity of our
opponents in taxing us with merely attacking a dead theology, when that
dead theology is all there is of a religion which they defend and
wish to perpetuate. Seeing, then, that the theology of Christianity is
admittedly dead, why not give it up and come over to us? for all you
have left--the brotherhood of man--belongs to us: it is our RELIGION OF

As the only salient point, to my mind, in Mr. Bray's reply to Ingersoll
is dealt with in the following letter, which I addressed to the
_Spectator_, and which appeared in its columns, I have only space here
to reproduce that letter:--

To the Editor of the Canadian Spectator:

Sir,--In your issue of the 10th instant, in a discourse in reply to Col.
Ingersoll, I find the following:--

"The lecturer, who seemed to imagine that he understood everything else,
was compelled to acknowledge that he did not understand why there should
be so much hunger and pain and misery. Why, the world over, life should
live upon life. When he has cast Jehovah out of the Universe, he is
pained and puzzled to account for the presence of wrong and sorrow. With
God he cannot account for it; without God he cannot account for it. If
Col. Ingersoll, or any other of that school, can give me an intelligent
theory of life, and satisfactory solution of the problem of the presence
of evil and pain without God, I am prepared to consider it."

Now, Sir, having the honor (or dishonor, as the case may be,) to belong
to that school, I venture to take up the gauntlet thus thrown down. From
our stand-point we are able, we think, to give an intelligent theory of
these things; and although it may not be wholly devoid of mystery, we
claim it is less mysterious than the Christian theory. We claim that
the Materialistic explanation of the Universe and its phenomena is more
reasonable and less mysterious than the Theistic; and this is why
we find ourselves compelled to adopt it and become Atheists. On the
Materialistic hypothesis of development and evolution we are certainly
_not_ "puzzled to account for the presence of wrong and sorrow," however
much we may be pained at their fearful prevalence. It is only on the
hypothesis of being under the governance of an omnipotent and infinitely
_benevolent_ Being that we are utterly unable to account for such-a
state of things. Although the ultimate tendency of the forces of
the-Universe seems to be towards a higher, and higher, and more perfect
condition, not only for man, but all animals, and even plants, yet
these-forces are, as Science abundantly proves, utterly without
mercy--without pity for man or any other animal. Therefore, on the
evolution philosophy of things, we can reasonably predicate pain,
sorrow, and wrong; and are not puzzled at their existence. It is only on
the theory of a _good_ God controlling the Universe that we stand dumb
with confusion and wonderment in the presence of all this woe, pain,
misery, and wrong-with which the world is filled--this terrible
"struggle for life," where the-strong prey upon the weak, where animal
eats animal, and man eats-man!

The theologians have had upwards of two thousand years to reduce the
Materialistic paradoxes of Epicurus on the existence of evil, but have
they done so? If there be a God, and He is all-powerful, He _could_
remove the _surplus_ evil and pain from the world, and if He is all-good
He _would_ remove it, is an argument which has never yet been answered
by a Paley, a Butler, a Dawson, or any other Christian Theist or Bible
apologist. I use the phrase "_surplus_ evil and pain" for this reason:
As a sort of apology for the rank malevolence abroad in the world, and
as an argument for the existence of a beneficent God, Christian Theists
tell us that pain is necessary as an antecedent to the proper enjoyment
of pleasure; that it is necessary to the growth and development of
character; that the storm of the ocean is an essential pre-requisite to
the adequate enjoyment of the subsequent calm; that all smooth sailing
would be monotonous and insipid. Now, we will admit this for the sake
of the argument; but there yet remains the mass of _surplus_ evil to
be accounted for, which is wholly unnecessary for such corrective and
distributive purposes. It may, perhaps, be necessary that the tempest
toss the ship about on the bosom of the ocean in order that the living
freight may have a keener appreciation of the succeeding calm, and also
to develop awe and sublimity in their breasts; but to accomplish this it
is scarcely to the purpose to send all to the bottom of the ocean! That
we may have a proper relish for our food and a due appreciation of the
blessings of a good appetite, it may be necessary that we feel the pangs
of hunger and starvation occasionally; but to give us this wholesome
discipline it would seem hardly necessary that millions of human beings
should actually be starved to death!

Now, on the theory of _inexorable law_* instead of a _beneficent
Providence_, we are not surprised that a ship which is not strong enough
to ride the storm should go to the bottom, even though five hundred
bishops and clergymen be aboard supplicating an unknown God for succor.
On the theory of inexorable and merciless law in which we are fast
bound, we are not "puzzled" that millions of human beings should
starve to death when these laws or conditions of Nature are violated in
over-population and a false political and social economy. Or when a Tay
bridge goes down with its living freight under the pressure of train
and tempest, the Atheist is neither surprised nor puzzled: but the
Christian, who worships a benevolent (?) God and believes that not a
hair falls from his head without His notice, can only look at such a
malevolent horror in dumb silence and amazement--he has no explanation.
Our theory of the presence of evil in the world is, therefore, at
least rational; but, is the Christian theory rational? Is it rational
to-suppose that all the pain, sorrow, and evil in the world have been
caused by the puerile circumstance of a woman eating an apple? This
would be as monstrously unjust as it is irrational and absurd.

As to the origin and maintenance of life "without God," it is quite as
comprehensible and rational without God as with one with the Christian
conditions and qualifications. An universe of matter containing
the "promise and potency of all forms and qualities of life" is
as intelligible and comprehensible as a God _outside_ the Universe
embodying the potency of all life. From the time that Lucretius declared
that "Nature is seen to do all things spontaneously of herself without
the meddling of the Gods," and Bruno that matter is the "universal
mother who brings forth all things as the fruit of her own womb," down
to Prof. Tyndall, who discerns in matter "the promise and potency of
every form and quality of life," scientists have never been able to
discover the least intrusion of any creative power into the operations

     * Materialists, in using the phrase "law of Nature," use a
     popular expression, but not in the popular sense as
     presupposing a law-giver. By "law of Nature" we simply mean
     natural sequence--the uniformity of Nature's operations.

Nature and the affairs of this world, or the least trace of interference
by any God or gods. In the primeval ages of ignorance and barbarism the
gods were supposed to do everything, from the production of wind, rain,
tempest, thunder and lightning, earthquakes, &c, down to dyspepsia
and potato-bugs. Science now explains all these things and a thousand
others. Indeed, in modern philosophy there is no room for the gods in
the Universe, and nothing left for them to do. And there cannot be any
room _beyond_ it for them, for "above Nature we cannot rise."

The Materialistic theory (and to it we subscribe) is that there is
but _one existence_, the _Universe_, and that it is eternal--without
beginning or end--that the matter of the Universe never could have been
created, for _ex nihilo nihil fit_, (from nothing nothing can come,) and
that it contains within itself the potency adequate to the production of
all phenomena. This we think to be more conceivable and intelligent
than the Christian theory that there are two existences--God and the
Universe--and that there was a time when there was but one existence,
God, and that after an indefinite period of quiescence and "masterly
inactivity" He finally created a Universe either out of Himself or out
of nothing--either one of which propositions is philosophically absurd.
And in either case, to say that God would be infinite would be equally



Napanee, Ont., April 23, 1880.



As this Pamphlet will be widely circulated throughout Canada (especially
Ontario), it will come into the hands of most Canadian Freethinkers, and
I have therefore thought this an opportune time to bring this question,
in which we are all so deeply interested, before the Freethinkers of
Canada, and urge upon them the necessity of agitation for reform. The
time has come, I think, for action in petitioning Parliament to remove
the serious and most unjust disabilities under which we, as a class, are
now placed, and thus have equal rights extended to all citizens. As the
law now stands we are deprived of our rights in the courts, and the ends
of justice are often defeated, not only to our detriment but that of
Christians themselves. If the presiding judge choose to adhere to the
strict letter of the law the testimony of Atheists is refused. It is
very easy to see how the gravest injustice could be inflicted upon
Freethinkers and Christians alike under this unjust law. A Freethinker
may be the only witness to a case involving the interests of a
Christian, or he may be the only witness for himself as against a
Christian; and by his not being eligible as a witness the ends of
justice are defeated. Or an unscrupulous believer may claim that he is
a Freethinker to get rid of giving evidence altogether. It is true there
seems to rest with the Judges a large amount of discretionary power as
to whom they will or will not accept to give evidence; and the majority,
perhaps, of our Canadian Judges exhibit a commendable spirit of
liberality in the matter of accepting the testimony of Freethinkers. But
occasionally one is to be met with, too full of religion and bigotry to
recognize our rights or extend any discretion in our favor. In the
city of Toronto, a few months ago, the testimony of two respectable
and intelligent witnesses was refused because they did not believe
the dogmas of the popular religion.* As an offset to this, however, an
Ottawa-Judge recently showed his fairness and liberality by allowing
a Juryman Freethinker, who declined to take the oath, to make an
affirmation. The Grand Juror referred to, Mr. John Law, of Ottawa, is
described as-a gentleman of "unimpeachable honor and probity," and
hence his simple affirmation being, as he stated, fully binding on his
conscience, would, or certainly ought to, have more weight than the
oaths of many witnesses (believers) who are taken into the witness box.
The presiding Judge, doubtless, so regarded the matter, and therefore,
in his discretion, magnanimously allowed Mr. Law to affirm.

In England, under "The Evidence Amendment Act" of 1869,32* and 33 Vic,
c. 68, s. 4, Atheists can make the following affirmation instead of
taking the Christian oath, and the Court must allow all Freethinkers to
do so who demand it:

"I solemnly promise and declare that the evidence given by me to the
Court, shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."

We want a similar Act in Canada, and then Counsel will not be able as
now to badger witnesses about "infidel belief," and turn the court into
an inquisition; nor will a bigoted judge have it in his discretion to
order Atheists down from the witness-box as not fit to give evidence.
At almost every sitting of our courts it is demonstrated beyond a doubt.
that believers in the Bible, who take the oath on that Book, do not
all tell the truth under oath. Every judge and lawyer in the land knows
this, and all know it who have much to do in courts of law. The simple
word or affirmation of an honest man, whether Christian or Infidel, is
better than a thousand oaths of many believers in the Bible, who are
without hesitation taken into the witness-box. Moreover, the Atheist in
making the above affirmation under the Act referred to, is subject to
the same penalties for perjury as the Christian is in taking, the usual
oath. There is, therefore, no good reason why we should! not have
a similar Act here, and it behooves us to begin to move towards its
consummation. Freethinkers are getting numerous in Canada, and they are,
to say the least, as exemplary citizens, socially and morally, as their
Christian neighbors? Why then should they be longer denied equal rights
with their Christian neighbors?

     * Since writing this I have been informed by one of the
     witnesses alluded to, that no blame can be fairly imputed to
     the presiding Judge in this case, as he felt compelled,
     against his sympathies, to carry out the unjust law.

In England they still have a State Religion, yet the rights of
Rationalists in this respect are conceded to them. Here we have no
state religion, and yet we suffer under religious disabilities which are
utterly out of keeping with the spirit of the age, and which are fast
being swept away in every civilized country. The Bradlaugh imbroglio
recently in the English House of Commons has had the effect of opening
some people's eyes, especially those conservative Christians who
are still afflicted with lingerings of that bigoted, intolerant, and
persecuting spirit which formerly lighted the fires of Smithfleld,
hung quakers, imprisoned so-called "blasphemers," and violated civil
contracts in the name of God. In the last election in England, a few
months ago, Charles Bradlaugh, the eminent Atheist and Republican, was
elected to the English House of Commons for the borough of Northampton,
and in entering the House he claimed his right, instead of taking the
Parliamentary oath, to affirm under the Act referred to above. The
House at first refused, vacillated, appointed Committees, and vigorously
debated the matter; while the bigoted members at once proceeded to
unbudget themselves in true Christian style against the "vermin"
Atheist. Meanwhile the levelheaded Atheist knew what he was about, and,
as the sequel showed, proved himself more than a match for the English
House of Commons. Meanwhile also, the people of England--the working
classes--were-watching the whole business, and finally when Bradlaugh
was refused both oath and affirmation, and the intention to keep the
Atheist out of Parliament became manifest, they (the people) promptly
came to the front. Just then it began to dawn on "the powers that be"
that _vox populi, vox Dei_ had more truth than poetry in it. The people
of England--the producers--(called "lower classes" by the "upper"
_non_-producers) assembled in scores of thousands in indignation
mass-meetings all over England, demanding the admission of Charles
Bradlaugh (their best friend) to his rightful seat in the English House
of Commons. The aforesaid "powers that be" took the alarm. Seeing that
the "voice of the people" was even more potent than the "voice of God,"
they prudently bowed to its mandate. They perceived that no Clock Tower,
or other tower in England would hold the workingman's friend even for
the space of seven days. Bradlaugh must be released or the House of
Brunswick might peradventure soon be in mourning--not, probably, for
spilled blood, but for a crown, aye, a crown! No wonder the English
Government feared to see Charles Bradlaugh enter the House of
Commons. He had impeached the House of Brunswick. And it was no "soft
impeachment." No, but a terribly hard indictment! Was it ever answered?
No, it was too true to answer. The only answer was from Lord Randolph
Churchill in the House of Commons, and it was characteristic. This rabid
monarchist, with much more Christian zeal than knowledge or discretion,
took Bradlaugh's "Impeachment of the House of Brunswick" and cast it
viciously under his feet on the floor of the House of Commons. That was
the way the "Impeachment" was answered! Well, as Shakspeare says, "let
the galled jades wince!" But the Atheist had his revenge! They had put
him in the Tower, but they very soon let him out. He had been somewhat
accustomed to fighting the English Government, having beaten them twice,
and he feared not. He was imprisoned one day, but released the next.
An Act was speedily passed giving more even than Bradlaugh at first
demanded--giving every member who wishes in future, the right to affirm
instead of taking the Christian Oath. Bradlaugh has accordingly made
his affirmation as he at first demanded, and has taken his seat in the
English House of Commons as M. P. for Northampton,* And now let every
Freethinker throughout the civilized world rejoice, for this is a great
victory for our cause! The eloquent champion of our dearest rights
has achieved a glorious victory on the very threshold of the English
Parliament before he enters it! Let us take courage! The indomitable and
invincible Iconoclast has now attained a position where his voice will
be heard in behalf of liberty and the rights of man the world over! He
is called "coarse" by some over-cultured people, but his coarseness is
of the kind the world needs, and therefore _we_ do not object to it. The
superstitions, and errors, and wrongs, and oppressions still weighing
down our fellow-men need bare-handed ("coarse") handling, without
gloves, and Bradlaugh wears none of these, but fearlessly throws down
the gauntlet to falsehood and oppression whenever and wherever found.
But I fear I am getting a little off the Oath Question here in my
enthusiasm for Charles Bradlaugh, Member of Parliament for Northampton.

     * The press of Canada, with very few exceptions, have done
     Mr. Bradlaugh a great injustice in connection with the oath
     question, as they have (perhaps unintentionally) utterly
     misrepresented him. They have charged that he "flaunted his
     Atheism before the House of Commons,"  that he at first
     _refused_ to take the oath on conscientious grounds and
     subsequently "swallowed his scruples" and offered to take
     the oath; and that, therefore, the Atheist is without
     conscience and without principle, sacrificing all for place.
     Now, this is all utterly untrue. He did not flaunt his
     Atheism before the House. He did not _refuse_ to take the
     oath, but simply claimed to be allowed to affirm. The
     Speaker having intimated to Mr. Bradlaugh that if he desired
     to address the House in explanation of his claim he would be
     permitted to do so, Mr. Bradlaugh said, "I have repeatedly,
     for nine years past, made an affirmation in the highest
     courts of jurisdiction in this realm: I am ready to make
     such a declaration or affirmation." And subsequently when
     Mr. Bradlaugh offered to take the oath, it was after he had
     made an explanation that although a portion of it to him was
     a meaningless form, yet that the oath as a whole, if he took
     it would be binding on his conscience substantially the same
     as an affirmation. These are the facts, all taken from
     authentic official sources, and not from what bigoted and
     prejudiced correspondents have sent us across the ocean. My
     authority is the record of the proceedings of the
     Parliamentary Committees on the Bradlaugh case, where the
     facts I have stated were distinctly brought out in evidence,
     to which source I beg to refer the newspapers of this
     country and call upon them to make the _amende honorable_ by
     setting this matter right before their readers.

In conclusion, I beg to again urge upon my fellow Freethinkers
throughout Canada the necessity of taking such action as will secure
for us our legal rights in the Courts of this country. I trust that the
petitions to Parliament for an Evidence Amendment Act, which we design
ere long to put in circulation, may be numerously signed and diligently
circulated by the liberal friends in the various places to which they
will be sent.

Selby, Lennox Co., Ont., July, 1880

"It can do truth no service to blink the fact, known to all who have the
most ordinary Acquaintance with literary history, that a large portion,
of the noblest and most valuable moral teaching has been the work, not
only of men who did not know, but of men who knew and rejected, the
Christian faith."--J. S. Mill.

"The history of Christ is contained in records which exhibit
contradictions that cannot be reconciled, imperfections that would
greatly detract from even admitted human compositions, and erroneous
principles of morality that would hardly have found a place in the most
incomplete system of the philosophers of Greece and Rome."--Rev. Dr.

"That any human creature, be he peer or peasant, man or woman, pauper or
millionaire, should be visited with pains and penalties because of
his or her speculative opinion on a subject whereon but few even of
professing Christians are agreed, is a bitter satire on our vaunted
liberty. My Lords, it is the spirit which lighted the martyr-fires of
Smithfield, and led to the stake gallant and noble souls such as Bruno.
It is a noble; company you are placing me in, my Lords, and I shall
thank you for it."--_Ibid_.

"Who shall number the patient and earnest seekers after truth, from the
days of Galileo until now, whose lives have been embittered, and their
good name blasted, by the mistaken zeal of Bibliolators? Who shall count
the host of weaker men whose sense of truth has been destroyed in the
effort to harmonize impossibilities--whose life has been wasted in the
attempt to force the generous new wine of Science into the old bottles
of Judaism, compelled by the outcry of the same strong party." _Prof.

"Thou shalt not kill, even the smallest creature.

"Thou shalt not appropriate to thyself what belongs to another.

"Thou shah not infringe the laws of chastity.

"Thou shalt not lie.

"Thou Shalt not calumniate.

"Thou shalt not speak of injuries.

"Thou shalt not excite quarrels, by repeating the words of others.

"Thou shalt not hate."

--_Moral Precepts from Buddhistic Sacred Books._

"I discern in matter * * the promise and potency of all forms and
qualities of life."--_Tyndall_

"A poor man, in our day, has many gods foisted on him; and big voices
bid him 'Worship or be --------' in a menacing and confusing manner.
What shall he do? By far the greater part of said gods, current in the
public, whether canonized by Pope or Populas, are mere dumb asses and
beautiful prize-oxen--nay, some of them, who have articulate faculty,
are devils instead of Gods. A poor man that would save his soul alive is
reduced to the sad necessity of _sharply trying his gods_ whether they
are divine or not, which is a terrible pass for mankind, and lays an
awful problem upon each man."--_Tomas Carlyle_

"These Gospels, so important to the Church, have not come to us in one
undisputed form. We have no authorised copy of them in their original
language, so that we may know in what precise words they were originally
written. The authorities from which we derive their sacred text are
various ancient copies, written by hand on parchment. Of the Gospels
there are more than five hundred of these manuscripts of various ages,
from the fourth century after Christ to the fifteenth, when printing
superseded manual writing for publication of books. Of these five
hundred and more, _no two_ are in all points alike: probably in no two
of the more ancient can _even a few consecutive verses_ be found
in which all the words agree."--_Dean Alford, "How to Study the New
Testament_." "I find Armenian Christians who say that it is a sin to eat
a hare; Greeks who affirm that the Holy Ghost does not proceed from
the Son; Nestorians who deny that Mary is the mother of God: Latins
who boast that in the extreme West the Christians of Europe think quite
contrary to those of Asia and Africa. I know that ten or twelve sects
in Europe anathematise each other; the Musselmen disdain the Christians,
whom they nevertheless tolerate; the Jews hold in equal execration the
Christians and Muselmen; the Fire-worshippers despise them all; the
remnant of the Sabeans will not eat with either of the Other sects;
and the Brahmin cannot suffer either Salbeans, or Fire-Worshippers, or
Christians, or Musselmen, or Jews. I have a hundred times wished that
Jesus Christ, in coming to be incarnated in Judea, had united all the
sects under his laws. I have asked myself why, being God, he did not use
the rights of his divinity; why, in coming to deliver us from sin, he
has left us in sin; why, in coming to enlighten all men, he has left
almost all men in darkness. I know I am nothing; I know that from the
depth of my nothingness I have no right to interrogate the Being of
Beings; but I may, like Job, raise a voice of respectful sorrow from the
bosom of my misery."--_Voltaire_.

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