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44 page printout. Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. **** **** This file, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 The Works of ROBERT G. INGERSOLL **** **** FIFTH INTERVIEW. 1882 PARSON. You had better join the church; it is the safer way. SINNER. I can't live up to your doctrines, and you know it. PARSON. Well, you can come as near it in the church as out; and forgiveness will be easer if you join us. SINNER. What do you mean by that? PARSON. I will tell you. If you join the church, and happen to backslide now and then, Christ will say to his Father: "That man is a friend of mine, and you may charge his account to me." QUESTION. What have you to say about the fifth sermon of the Rev. Mr. Talmage in reply to you? ANSWER. The text from which he preached is: "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" I am compelled to answer these questions in the negative. That is one reason why I am an infidel. I do not believe that anybody can gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles. That is exactly my doctrine. But the doctrine of the church is, that you can. The church says, that just at the last, no matter if you have spent your whole life in raising thorns and thistles, in planting and watering and hoeing and plowing thorns and thistles -- that just at the last, if you will repent, between hoeing the last thistle and taking the last breath, you can reach out the white and palsied hand of death and gather from every thorn a cluster of grapes and from every thistle an abundance of figs. The church insists that in this way you can gather enough grapes and figs to last you through all eternity. My doctrine is, that he who raises thorns must harvest thorns. If you sow thorns, you must reap thorns; and there is no way by which an innocent being can have the thorns you raise thrust into his brow, while you gather his grapes. But Christianity goes even further than this. It insists that a man can plant grapes and gather thorns Mr.Talmage insists that, no matter how good you are, no matter how kind, no matter how much you love your wife and children, no matter how many self-denying acts you do, you will not be allowed to eat of the grapes you raise; that God will step between you and the natural consequences of your goodness, and not allow you to reap what you sow. Mr. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 1 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE Talmage insists, that if you have no faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, although you have been good here, you will reap eternal pain as your harvest; that the effect of honesty and kindness will not be peace and Joy, but agony and pain. So that the church does insist not only that you can gather grapes from thorns, but thorns from grapes. I believe exactly the other way. If a man is a good man here, dying will not change him, and he will land on the shore of another world -- if there is one -- the same good man that he was when he left this; and I do not believe there is any God in this universe who can afford to damn a good man. This God will say to this man: You loved your wife, your children, and your friends, and I love you. You treated others with kindness; I will treat you in the same way. But Mr. Talmage steps up to his God, nudges his elbow, and says: Although he was a very good man, he belonged to no church; he was a blasphemer; he denied the whale story, and after I explained that Jonah was only in the whale's mouth, he still denied it; and thereupon Mr. Talmage expects that his infinite God will fly in a passion, and in a perfect rage will say: What! did he deny that story? Let him be eternally damned! Not only this, but Mr. Talmage insists that a man may have treated his wife like a wild beast; may have trampled his child beneath the feet of his rage; may have lived a life of dishonesty, of infamy, and yet, having repented on his dying bed, having made his peace with God through the intercession of his Son, he will be welcomed in heaven with shouts of joy, I deny it. I do not believe that angels can be so quickly made from rascals. I have but little confidence in repentance without restitution, and a husband who has driven a wife to insanity and death by his cruelty -- afterward repenting and finding himself in heaven, and missing his wife, -- were he worthy to be an angel, would wander through all the gulfs of hell until he clasped her once again. Now, the next question is, What must be done with those who are sometimes good and sometimes bad? That is my condition. If there is another world, I expect to have the same opportunity of behaving myself that I have here. If, when I get there, I fail to act as I should, I expect to reap what I sow. If when I arrive at the New Jerusalem, I go into the thorn business, I expect to harvest what I plant. If I am wise enough to start a vineyard, I expect to have grapes in the early fall. But if I do there as I have done here -- plant some grapes and some thorns, and harvest them together -- I expect to fare very much as I have fared here. But I expect year by year to grow wiser, to plant fewer thorns every spring, and more grapes. QUESTION. Mr. Talmage charges that you have taken the ground that the Bible is a cruel book, and has produced cruel people? ANSWER. yes, I have taken that ground, and I maintain it. The Bible was produced by cruel people, and in its turn it has produced people like its authors. The extermination of the Canaanites was cruel. Most of the laws of Moses were bloodthirsty and cruel. Hundreds of offenses were punishable by death, while now, in civilized countries, there are only two crimes for which the Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 2 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE punishment is capital. I charge that Moses and Joshua and David and Samuel and Solomon were cruel. I believe that to read and believe the Old Testament naturally makes a man careless of human life. That book has produced hundreds of religious wars, and it has furnished the battle-cries of bigotry for fifteen hundred years. The Old Testament is filled with cruelty, but its cruelty stops with this world, its malice ends with death; whenever its victim has reached the grave, revenge is satisfied. Not so with the New Testament. It pursues its victim forever. After death, comes hell; after the grave, the worm that never dies. So that, as a matter of fact, the New Testament is infinitely more cruel than the Old. Nothing has so tended to harden the human heart as the doctrine of eternal punishment, and that passage: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned," has shed more blood than all the other so-called "sacred books" of all this world. I insist that the Bible is cruel. The Bible invented instruments of torture. The Bible laid the foundations of the Inquisition. The Bible furnished the fagots and the martyrs. The Bible forged chains not only for the hands, but for the brains of men. The Bible was at the bottom of the massacre of St. Bartholomew. Every man who has been persecuted for religion's sake has been persecuted by the Bible. That sacred book has been a beast of prey. The truth is, Christians have been good in spite of the Bible. The Bible has lived upon the reputations of good men and good women, -- men and women who were good notwithstanding the brutality they found upon the inspired page. Men have said: "My mother believed in the Bible; my mother was good; therefore, the Bible is good," when probably the mother never read a chapter in it. The Bible produced the Church of Rome, and Torquemada was a product of the Bible. Philip of Spain and the Duke of Alva were produced by the Bible. For thirty years Europe was one vast battlefield, and the war was produced by the Bible. The revocation of the Edict of Nantes was produced by the sacred Scriptures. The instruments of torture -- the pincers, the thumb-screws, the racks, were produced by the word of God. The Quakers of New England were whipped and burned by the Bible -- their children were stolen by the Bible. The slave-ship had for its sails the leaves of the Bible. Slavery was upheld in the United States by the Bible. The Bible was the auction-block. More than this, worse than this, infinitely beyond the computation of imagination, the despotisms of the old world all rested and still rest upon the Bible. "The powers that be" were supposed to have been "ordained of God;" and he who rose against his king periled his soul. In this connection, and in order to show the state of society when the church had entire control of civil and ecclesiastical affairs, it may be well enough to read the following, taken from the New York Sun of March 21, 1882. From this little extract, it will be easy in the imagination to re-organize the government that then existed, and to see clearly the state of society at that time. This can be done upon the same Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 3 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE principle that one scale tells of the entire fish, or one bone of the complete animal: "From records in the State archives of Hesse-Darmstadt, dating back to the thirteenth century it appears that the public executioner's fee for boiling a criminal in oil was twenty-four florins; for decapitating with the sword, fifteen florins and-a-half; for quartering, the same; for breaking on the wheel, five florins, thirty kreuzers; for tearing a man to pieces, eighteen florins. Ten florins per head was his charge for hanging, and he burned delinquents alive at the rate of fourteen florins apiece. For applying the 'Spanish boot' his fee was only two florins. Five florins were paid to him every time he subjected a refractory witness to the torture of the rack. The same amount was his due for 'branding the sign of the gallows with a red-hot iron upon the back, forehead, or cheek of a thief,' as well as for 'cutting off the nose and ears of a slanderer or 'blasphemer.' Flogging with rods was a cheap punishment, its remuneration being fixed at three florins, thirty kreuzers." The Bible has made men cruel. It is a cruel book. And yet, amidst its thorns, amidst its thistles, amidst its nettles and its swords and pikes, there are some flowers, and these I wish, in common with all good men, to save. I do not believe that men have ever been made merciful in war by reading the Old Testament. I do not believe that men have ever been prompted to break the chain of a slave by reading the Pentateuch. The question is not whether Florence Nightingale and Miss Dix were cruel. I have said nothing about John Howard, nothing about Abbott Lawrence. I say nothing about people in this connection. The question is: Is the Bible a cruel book? not: Was Miss Nightingale a cruel woman? There have been thousands and thousands of loving, tender and charitable Mohammedans. Mohammedan mothers love their children as well as Christian mothers can. Mohammedans have died in defence of the Koran -- died for the honor of an impostor. There were millions of charitable people in India -- millions in Egypt -- and I am not sure that the world has ever produced people who loved one another better than the Egyptians. I think there are many things in the Old Testament calculated to make man cruel. Mr. Talmage asks: "What has been the effect upon your children? As they have become more and more fond of the Scriptures have they become more and more fond of tearing off the wings of flies and pinning grasshoppers and robbing birds' nests?" I do not believe that reading the bible would make them tender toward flies or grasshoppers. According to that book, God used to punish animals for the crimes of their owners. He drowned the animals in a flood. He visited cattle with disease. He bruised them to death with hailstones -- killed them by the thousand. Will the reading of these things make children kind to animals? So, the whole system of sacrifices in the Old Testament is calculated to harden the heart. The butchery of oxen and lambs, the killing of doves, the perpetual destruction of life, the continual shedding of blood -- these things, if they have any tendency, tend only to harden the heart of childhood. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 4 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE The Bible does not stop simply with the killing of animals. The Jews were commanded to kill their neighbors -- not only the men, but the women; not only the women, but the babes. In accordance with the command of God, the Jews killed not only their neighbors, but their own brothers; and according to this book, which is the foundation, as Mr. Talmage believes, of all mercy, men were commanded to kill their wives because they differed with them on the subject of religion. Nowhere in the world can be found laws more unjust and cruel than in the Old Testament. QUESTION. Mr. Talmage wants you to tell where the cruelty of the Bible crops out in the lives of Christians? ANSWER. In the first place, millions of Christians have been persecutors. Did they get the idea of persecution from the Bible? Will not every honest man admit that the early Christians, by reading the Old Testament, became convinced that it was not only their privilege, but their duty, to destroy heathen nations? Did they not, by reading the same book, come to the conclusion that it was their solemn duty to extirpate heresy and heretics? According to the New Testament, nobody could be saved unless he believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. The early Christians believed this dogma. They also believed that they had a right to defend themselves and their children from "heretics." We all admit that a man has a right to defend his children against the assaults of a would-be murderer, and he has the right to carry this defence to the extent of killing the assailant. If we have the right to kill people who are simply trying to kill the bodies of our children, of course we have the right to kill them when they are endeavoring to assassinate, not simply their bodies, but their souls. It was in this way Christians reasoned. If the Testament is right, their reasoning was correct. Whoever believes the New Testament literally -- whoever is satisfied that it is absolutely the word of God, will become a persecutor. All religious persecution has been, and is, in exact harmony with the teachings of the Old and New Testaments. Of course I mean with some of the teachings. I admit that there are passages in both the Old and New Testaments against persecution. These are passages quoted only in time of peace. Others are repeated to feed the flames of war. I find, too, that reading the Bible and believing the Bible do not prevent even ministers from telling falsehoods about their opponents. I find that the Rev. Mr. Talmage is willing even to slander the dead, -- that he is willing to stain the memory of a Christian, and that he does not hesitate to give circulation to what he knows to be untrue. Mr. Talmage has himself, I believe, been the subject of a church trial. How many of the Christian witnesses against him, in his judgment, told the truth? Yet they were all Bible readers and Bible believers. What effect, in his judgment, did the reading of the Bible have upon his enemies? Is he willing to admit that the testimony of a Bible reader and believer is true? Is he willing to accept the testimony even of ministers? -- of his brother ministers? Did reading the Bible make them bad Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 5 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE people? Was it a belief in the Bible that colored their testimony? Or, was it a belief in the Bible that made Mr. Talmage deny the truth of their statements? QUESTION. Mr. Talmage charges you with having said that the Scriptures are a collection of polluted writings? ANSWER. I have never said such a thing. I have said, and I still say, that there are passages in the Bible unfit to be read -- passages that never should have been written -- passages, whether inspired or uninspired, that can by no possibility do any human being any good. I have always admitted that there are good passages in the Bible -- many good, wise and just laws -- many things calculated to make men better -- many things calculated to make men worse. I admit that the Bible is a mixture of good and bad, of truth and falsehood, of history and fiction, of sense and nonsense, of virtue and vice, of aspiration and revenge, of liberty and tyranny. I have never said anything against Solomon's Song. I like it better than I do any book that precedes it, because it touches upon the human. In the desert of murder, wars of extermination, polygamy, concubinage and slavery, it is an oasis where the trees grow, where the birds sing, and where human love blossoms and fills the air with perfume. I do not regard that book as obscene. There are many things in it that are beautiful and tender, and it is calculated to do good rather than harm. Neither have I any objection to the book of Ecclesiastes -- except a few interpolations in it. That book was written by a Freethinker, by a philosopher. There is not the slightest mention of God in it, nor of another state of existence. All portions in which God is mentioned are interpolations. With some of this book I agree heartily. I believe in the doctrine of enjoying yourself, if you can, to-day. I think it foolish to spend all your years in heaping up treasures, not knowing but he who will spend them is to be an idiot. I believe it is far better to be happy with your wife and child now, than to be miserable here, with angelic expectations in some other world. Mr. Talmage is mistaken when he supposes that all Bible believers have good homes, that all Bible readers are kind in their families. As a matter of fact, nearly all the wife-whippers of the United States are orthodox. nine-tenths of the people in the penitentiaries are believers. Scotland is one of the most orthodox countries in the world, and one of the most intemperate. Hundreds and hundreds of women are arrested every year in Glasgow for drunkenness. Visit the Christian homes in the manufacturing districts of England. Talk with the beaters of children and whippers of wives, and you will find them believers. Go into what is known as the "Black Country," and you will have an idea of the Christian civilization of England. Let me tell you something about the "Black Country." There women work in iron; there women do the work of men. Let me give you an instance: A commission was appointed by Parliament to examine into the condition of the women in the "Black Country," and a report was made. In that report I read the following: Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 6 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE "A superintendent of a brickyard where women were engaged in carrying bricks from the yard to the kiln, said to one of the women: 'Eliza, you don't appear to be very uppish this morning.' 'Neither would you be very uppish, sir,' she replied, 'if you had had a child last night.'" This gives you an idea of the Christian civilization of England. England and Ireland produce most of the prize fighters. The scientific burglar is a product of Great Britain. There is not the great difference that Mr. Talmage supposes, between the morality of Peking and of New York. I doubt if there is a city in the world with more crime according to the population than New York, unless it be London, or it may be Dublin, or Brooklyn, or possibly Glasgow, where a man too pious to read a newspaper published on Sunday, stole millions from the poor. I do not believe there is a country in the world where there is more robbery than in Christian lands -- no country where more cashiers are defaulters, where more presidents of banks take the money of depositors, where there is more adulteration of food, where fewer ounces make a pound, where fewer inches make a yard, where there is more breach of trust, more respectable larceny under the name of embezzlement, or more slander circulated as gospel. QUESTION. Mr. Talmage insists that there are no contradictions in the Bible -- that it is a perfect harmony from Genesis to Revelation -- a harmony as perfect as any piece of music ever written by Beethoven or Handel? ANSWER. Of course, if God wrote it, the Bible ought to be perfect. I do not see why a minister should be so perfectly astonished to find that an inspired book is consistent with itself throughout. Yet the truth is, the Bible is infinitely inconsistent. Compare the two systems -- the system of Jehovah and that of Jesus. In the Old Testament the doctrine of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" was taught. In the New Testament, "forgive your enemies," and "pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you." In the Old Testament it is kill, burn, massacre, destroy; in the New forgive. The two systems are inconsistent, and one is just about as far wrong as the other. To live for and thirst for revenge, to gloat over the agony of an enemy, is one extreme; to "resist not evil" is the other extreme; and both these extremes are equally distant from the golden mean of justice. The four gospels do not even agree as to the terms of salvation. And yet, Mr. Talmage tells us that there are four cardinal doctrines taught in the Bible -- the goodness of God, the fall of man, the sympathetic and forgiving nature of the Savior, and two destinies -- one for believers and the other for unbelievers. That is to say: 1. That God is good, holy and forgiving. 2. That man is a lost sinner. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 7 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE 3. That Christ is "all sympathetic," and ready to take the whole world to his heart. 4. Heaven for believers and hell for unbelievers. First. I admit that the Bible says that God is good and holy. But this Bible also tells what God did, and if God did what the Bible says he did, then I insist that God is not good, and that he is not holy, or forgiving. According to the Bible, this good God believed in religious persecution; this good God believed in extermination, in polygamy, in concubinage, in human slavery; this good God commanded murder and massacre, and this good God could only be mollified by the shedding of blood. This good God wanted a butcher for a priest. This good God wanted husbands to kill their wives -- wanted fathers and mothers to kill their children. This good God persecuted animals on account of the crimes of their owners. This good God killed the common people because the king had displeased him. This good God killed the babe even of the maid behind the mill, in order that he might get even with a king. This good God committed every possible crime. Second. The statement that man is a lost sinner is not true. There are thousands and thousands of magnificent Pagans -- men ready to die for wife, or child, or even for friend, and the history of Pagan countries is filled with self-denying and heroic acts. If man is a failure, the infinite God, if there be one, is to blame. Is it possible that the God of Mr. Talmage could not have made man a success? According to the Bible, his God made man knowing that in about fifteen hundred years he would have to drown all his descendants. Why would a good God create a man that he knew would be a sinner all his life, make hundreds of thousands of his fellow-men unhappy, and who at last would be doomed to an eternity of suffering? Can such a God be good? How could a devil have done worse? Third. If God is infinitely good, is he not fully as sympathetic as Christ? Do you have to employ Christ to mollify a being of infinite mercy? Is Christ any more willing to take to his heart the whole world than his Father is? Personally, I have not the slightest objection in the world to anybody believing in an infinitely good and kind God -- not the slightest objection to any human being worshiping an infinitely tender and merciful Christ -- not the slightest objection to people preaching about heaven, or about the glories of the future state -- not the slightest. Fourth. I object to the doctrine of two destinies for the human race. I object to the infamous falsehood of eternal fire. And yet, Mr. Talmage is endeavoring to poison the imagination of men, women and children with the doctrine of an eternal hell. Here is what he preaches, taken from the "Constitution of the Presbyterian Church of the United States:" "By the decrees of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated to everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death." Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 8 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE That is the doctrine of Mr. Talmage. He worships a God who damns people "for the manifestation of his glory," -- God who made men, knowing that they would be dammed -- God who damns babes simply to increase his reputation with the angels. This is the God of Mr. Talmage. Such a God I abhor, despise and execrate. QUESTION. What does Mr. Talmage think of mankind? What is his opinion of the "unconverted"? How does he regard the great and glorious of the earth, who have not been the victims of his particular superstition? What does he think of some of the best the earth has produced? ANSWER. I will tell you how he looks upon all such. Read this from his "Confession of Faith:" "Our first parents, being seduced by the subtlety of the tempter, sinned in eating the forbidden fruit. By this sin, they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body; and they being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity. From this original corruption -- whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions." This is Mr. Talmage's view of humanity. Why did his God make a devil? Why did he allow the devil to tempt Adam and Eve? Why did he leave innocence and ignorance at the mercy of subtlety and wickedness? Why did he put "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" in the garden? For what reason did he place temptation in the way of his children? Was it kind, was it just, was it noble, was it worthy of a good God? No wonder Christ put into his prayer: "Lead us not into temptation." At the time God told Adam and Eve not to eat why did he not tell them of the existence of Satan? Why were they not put upon their guard against the serpent? Why did not God make his appearance just before the sin, instead of just after. Why did he not play the role of a Savior instead of that of a detective? After he found that Adam and Eve had sinned -- knowing as he did that they were then totally corrupt -- Knowing that all their children would be corrupt, knowing that in fifteen hundred years he would have to drown millions of them, why did he not allow Adam and Eve to perish in accordance with natural law, then kill the devil, and make a new pair? When the flood came, why did he not drown all? Why did he save for seed that which was "perfectly and thoroughly corrupt in all its parts and faculties"? If God had drowned Noah and his sons and their families, he could have then made a new pair, and peopled the world with men not "wholly defiled in all their faculties and parts of soul and body." Jehovah learned nothing by experience. He persisted in his original mistake. What would we think of a man who finding that a held of wheat was worthless, and that such wheat never could be Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 9 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE raised with profit, should burn all of the field with the exception of a few sheaves, which he saved for seed? Why save such seed? Why should God have preserved Noah, knowing that he was totally corrupt, and that he would again fill the world with infamous people -- people incapable of a good action? He must have known at that time, that by preserving Noah, the Canaanites would be produced, that these same Canaanites would have to be murdered, that the babes in the cradles would have to be strangled. Why did he produce them? He knew at that time, that Egypt would result from the salvation of Noah, that the Egyptians would have to be nearly destroyed, that he would have to kill their first-born, that he would have to visit even their cattle with disease and hailstones. He knew also that the Egyptians would oppress his chosen people for two hundred and fifteen years, that they would upon the back of toil inflict the lash. Why did he preserve Noah? He should have drowned all, and started with a new pair. He should have warned them against the devil, and he might have succeeded, in that way, in covering the world with gentlemen and ladies, with real men and real women. We know that most of the people now in the world are not Christians. Most who have heard the gospel of Christ have rejected it, and the Presbyterian Church tells us what is to become of all these people. This is the "glad tidings of great joy." Let us see: "All mankind, by their fall, lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all the miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever." According to this good Presbyterian doctrine, all that we suffer in this world, is the result of Adam's fall. The babes of to-day suffer for the crime of the first parents. Not only so; but God is angry at us for what Adam did. We are under the wrath of an infinite God, whose brows are corrugated with eternal hatred. Why should God hate us for being what we are and necessarily must have been? A being that God made -- the devil -- for whose work God is responsible, according to the Bible wrought this woe. God of his own free will must have made the devil. What did he make him for? Was it necessary to have a devil in heaven? God, having infinite power, can of course destroy this devil to-day. Why does he permit him to live? Why did he allow him to thwart his plans? Why did he permit him to pollute the innocence of Eden? Why does he allow him now to wrest souls by the million from the redeeming hand of Christ? According to the Scriptures, the devil has always been successful. He enjoys himself. He is called "the prince of the power of the air." He has no conscientious scruples. He has miraculous power. All miraculous power must come of God, otherwise it is simply in accordance with nature. If the devil can work a miracle, it is only with the consent and by the assistance of the Almighty. Is the God of Mr. Talmage in partnership with the devil? Do they divide profits? We are also told by the Presbyterian Church -- I quote from their confession of Faith -- that "there is no sin so small but it deserves damnation." yet Mr. Talmage tells us that God is good, Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 10 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE that he is filled with mercy and loving-kindness. A child nine or ten years of age commits a sin, and thereupon it deserves eternal damnation. That is what Mr. Talmage calls, not simply justice, but mercy; and the sympathetic heart of Christ is not touched. The same being who said: "Suffer little children to come unto me," tells us that a child, for the smallest sin, deserves to be eternally damned. The Presbyterian Church tells us that infants, as well as adults, in order to be saved, need redemption by the blood of Christ, and regeneration by the Holy Ghost. I am charged with trying to take the consolation of this doctrine from the world. I am a criminal because I am endeavoring to convince the mother that her child does not deserve eternal punishment. I stand by the graves of those who "died in their sins," by the tombs of the "unregenerate," over the ashes of men who have spent their lives working for their wives and children, and over the sacred dust of soldiers who died in defence of flag and country, and I say to their friends -- I say to the living who loved them, I say to the men and women for whom they worked, I say to the children whom they educated, I say to the country for which they died: These fathers, these mothers, these wives, these husbands, these soldiers are not in hell. QUESTION. Mr. Talmage insists that the Bible is scientific, and that the real scientific man sees no contradiction between revelation and science; that, on the contrary, they are in harmony. What is your understanding of this matter? ANSWER. I do not believe the Bible to be a scientific book. In fact, most of the ministers now admit that it was not written to teach any science. They admit that the first chapter of Genesis is not geologically true. They admit that Joshua knew nothing of science. They admit that four-footed birds did not exist in the days of Moses. In fact, the only way they can avoid the unscientific statements of the Bible, is to assert that the writers simply used the common language of their day, and used it, not with the intention of teaching any scientific truth, but for the purpose of teaching some moral truth. As a matter of fact, we find that moral truths have been taught in all parts of this world. They were taught in India long before Moses lived; in Egypt long before Abraham was born; in China thousands of years before the flood. They were taught by hundreds and thousands and millions before the Garden of Eden was planted. It would be impossible to prove the truth of a revelation simply because it contained moral truths. If it taught immorality, it would be absolutely certain that it was not a revelation from an infinitely good being. If it taught morality, it would be no reason for even suspecting that it had a divine origin. But if the Bible had given us scientific truths; if the ignorant Jews had given us the true theory of our solar system; if from, Moses we had learned the nature of light and heat; if from Joshua we had learned something of electricity; if the minor prophets had given us the distances to other planets; if the orbits of the stars had been marked by the barbarians of that day, we might have admitted that they must have been inspired. If they had said anything in advance of their day: if they had plucked from the night of ignorance one Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 11 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE star of truth, we might have admitted the claim of inspiration; but the Scriptures did not rise above their source, did not rise above their ignorant authors -- above the people who believed in wars of extermination, in polygamy, in concubinage, in slavery, and who taught these things in their "sacred Scriptures." The greatest men in the scientific world have not been, and are not, believers in the inspiration of the Scriptures. There has been no greater astronomer than Laplace. There is no greater name than Humboldt. There is no living scientist who stands higher than Charles Darwin. All the professors in all the religious colleges in this country rolled into one, would not equal Charles Darwin. All the cowardly apologists for the cosmogony of Moses do not amount to as much in the world of thought as Ernest Hackle. There is no orthodox scientist the equal of Tyndall or Huxley. There is not one in this country the equal of John Fiske. I insist, that the foremost men to-day in the scientific world reject the dogma of inspiration. They reject the science of the Bible, and hold in utter contempt the astronomy of Joshua, and the geology of Moses. Mr. Talmage tells us "that Science is a boy and Revelation is a man." Of course, like the most he says, it is substantially the other way. Revelation, so-called, was the boy. Religion was the lullaby of the cradle, the ghost-story told by the old woman, Superstition. Science is the man. Science asks for demonstration. Science impels us to investigation, and to verify everything for ourselves. Most professors of American colleges, if they were not afraid of losing their places, if they did not know that Christians were bad enough now to take the bread from their mouths, would tell their students that the Bible is not a scientific book. I admit that I have said: 1. That the Bible is cruel. 2. That in many passages it is impure. 3. That it is contradictory. 4. That it is unscientific. Let me now prove these propositions one by one. First. The Bible is cruel. I have opened it at random, and the very first chapter that has struck my eye is the sixth of First Samuel. In the nineteenth verse of that chapter, I find the following: "And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord; even he smote of the people fifty thousand and three-score and ten men." All this slaughter was because some people had looked into a box that was carried upon a cart. Was that cruel? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 12 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE I find, also, in the twenty-fourth chapter of Second Samuel, that David was moved by God to number Israel and Judah. God put it into his heart to take a census of his people, and thereupon David said to Joab, the captain of his host: "Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people." At the end of nine months and twenty days, Joab gave the number of the people to the king, and there were at that time, according to that census, "eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword," in Israel, and in Judah, "five hundred thousand men," making a total of thirteen hundred thousand men of war. The moment this census was taken, the wrath of the Lord waxed hot against David, and thereupon he sent a seer, by the name of Gad, to David, and asked him to choose whether he would have seven years of famine, or fly three months before his enemies, or have three days of pestilence. David concluded that as God was so merciful as to give him a choice, he would be more merciful than man, and he chose the pestilence. Now, it must be remembered that the sin of taking the census had not been committed by the people, but by David himself, inspired by God, yet the people were to be punished for David's sin. So, when David chose the pestilence, God immediately killed "seventy thousand men, from Dan even to Beersheba." "And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough; stay now thine hand." Was this cruel? Why did a God of infinite mercy destroy seventy thousand men? Why did he fill his land with widows and orphans, because King David had taken the census? If he wanted to kill anybody, why did he not kill David? I will tell you why. Because at that time, the people were considered as the property of the king. He killed the people precisely as he killed the cattle. And yet, I am told that the Bible is not a cruel book. In the twenty-first chapter of Second Samuel, I find that there were three years of famine in the days of David, and that David inquired of the Lord the reason of the famine; and the Lord told him that it was because Saul had slain the Gibeonites. Why did not God punish Saul instead of the people? And David asked the Gibeonites how he should make atonement, and the Gibeonites replied that they wanted no silver nor gold, but they asked that seven of the sons of Saul might be delivered unto them, so that they could hang them before the Lord, in Gibeah. And David agreed to the proposition, and thereupon he delivered to the Gibeonites the two sons of Rizpah, Saul's concubine, and the five sons of Michal, the daughter of Saul, and the Gibeonites hanged all seven of them together. And Rizpah, more tender than them all, with a woman's heart of love kept lonely vigil by the dead, "from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest upon them by day, nor the beast of the field by night." Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 13 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE I want to know if the following, from the fifteenth chapter of First Samuel, is inspired: "Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not, but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." We must remember that those he was commanded to slay had done nothing to Israel. It was something done by their forefathers, hundreds of years before; and yet they are commanded to slay the women and children and even the animals, and to spare none. It seems that Saul only partially carried into execution this merciful command of Jehovah. He spared the life of the king -- He "utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword," but he kept alive the best of the sheep and oxen and of the fatlings and lambs. Then God spake unto Samuel and told him that he was very sorry he had made Saul king, because he had not killed all the animals, and because he had spared Agag; and Samuel asked Saul: "What meaneth this bleating of sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? Are stories like this calculated to make soldiers merciful? So I read in the sixth chapter of Joshua, the fate of the city of Jericho: "And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein." But we are told that one family was saved by Joshua, out of the general destruction: "And Joshua saved Rahab, the harlot, alive, and her father's household, and all that she had." Was this fearful destruction an act of mercy? It seems that they saved the money of their victims: "the silver and gold and the vessels of brass and of iron they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord." After all this pillage and carnage, it appears that there was a suspicion in Joshua's mind that somebody was keeping back a part of the treasure. Search was made, and a man by the name of Achan admitted that he had sinned against the Lord, that he had seen a Babylonish garment among the spoils, and two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels' weight, and that he took them and hid them in his tent. For this atrocious crime it seems that the Lord denied any victories to the Jews until they found out the wicked criminal. When they discovered poor Achan, "they took him and his sons and his daughters, and his oxen and his asses and his sheep, and all that he had, and brought them unto the valley of Achor; and all Israel stoned him with stones and burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones." After Achan and his sons and his daughters and his herds had been stoned and burned to death, we are told that "the Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger." And yet it is insisted that this God "is merciful and that his loving-kindness is over all his works." Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 14 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE In the eighth chapter of this same book, the infinite God, "creator of heaven and earth and all that is therein," told his general, Joshua, to lay an ambush for a city -- to "lie in wait against the city, even behind the city; go not very far from the city, but be ye all ready." He told him to make an attack and then to run, as though he had been beaten, in order that the inhabitants of the city might follow, and thereupon his reserves that he had ambushed might rush into the city and set it on fire. God Almighty planned the battle. God himself laid the snare. The whole programme was carried out. Joshua made believe that he was beaten, and fled, and then the soldiers in ambush rose out of their places, entered the city, and set it on fire. Then came the slaughter. They "utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai," men and maidens, women and babes, sparing only their king till evening, when they hanged him on a tree, then "took his carcass down from the tree and cast it at the entering of the gate, and raised thereon a great heap of stones which remaineth unto this day." After having done all this, "Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel, and offered burnt offerings unto the Lord." I ask again, was this cruel? Again I ask, was the treatment of the Gibeonites cruel when they sought to make peace but were denied, and cursed instead; and although permitted to live, were yet made slaves? Read the mandate consigning them to bondage: "Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God." Is it possible, as recorded in the tenth chapter of Joshua, that the Lord took part in these battles, and cast down great hail- stones from the battlements of heaven upon the enemies of the Israelites, so that "they were more who died with hail-stones, than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword"? Is it possible that a being of infinite power would exercise it in that way instead of in the interest of kindness and peace? I find, also, in this same chapter, that Joshua took Makkedah and smote it with the edge of the sword, that he utterly destroyed all the souls that were therein, that he allowed none to remain. I find that he fought against Libnah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls that were therein, and allowed none to remain, and did unto the king as he did unto the king of Jericho. I find that he also encamped against Lachish, and that God gave him that city, and that he "smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein," sparing neither old nor young, helpless women nor prattling babes. He also vanquished Horam, King of Gezer, "and smote him and his people until he left him none remaining." He encamped against the city of Eglon, and killed every soul that was in it, at the edge of the sword, just as he had done to Lachish and all the others. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 15 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE He fought against Hebron, "and took it and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof," -- and it appears that several cities, their number not named, were included in this slaughter, for Hebron "and all the cities thereof and all the souls that were therein," were utterly destroyed. He then waged war against Debir and took it, and more unnumbered cities with it, and all the souls that were therein shared the same horrible fate -- he did not leave a soul alive. And this chapter of horrors concludes with this song of victory: "So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded. And Joshua smote them from Kadeshbarnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon. And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel." Was God, at that time, merciful? I find, also, in the twenty-first chapter that many kings met, with their armies, for the purpose of overwhelming Israel, and the Lord said unto Joshua "Be not afraid because of them, for to-morrow about this time I will deliver them all slain before Israel. I will hough their horses and burn their chariots with fire." Were animals so treated by the command of a merciful God? Joshua captured Hazor, and smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, there was not one left to breathe; and he took all the cities of all the kings that took up arms against him, and utterly destroyed all the inhabitants thereof. He took the cattle and spoils as prey unto himself, and smote every man with the edge of the sword; and not only so, but left not a human being to breathe. I find the following directions given to the Israelites who were waging a war of conquest. They are in the twentieth chapter of Deuteronomy, from the tenth to the eighteenth verses: "When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. And it shall be, if it make thee an answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. And if it will make no peace with thee, but will war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it. And when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword; but the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee. Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations." Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 16 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE It will be seen from this that people could take their choice between death and slavery, provided these people lived a good ways from the Israelites. Now, let us see how they were to treat the inhabitants of the cities near to them: "But of the cities of these people which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth. But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee." It never occurred to this merciful God to send missionaries to these people. He built them no schoolhouses, taught them no alphabet, gave them no book; they were not supplied even with a copy of the Ten Commandments. He did not say "Reform," but "Kill;" not "Educate," but "Destroy." He gave them no Bible, built them no church, sent them no preachers. He knew when he made them that he would have to have them murdered. When he created them he knew that they were not fit to live and yet, this is the infinite God who is infinitely merciful and loves his children better than an earthly mother loves her babe. In order to find just how merciful God is, read the twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy, and see what he promises to do with people who do not keep all of his commandments and all of his statutes. He curse them in their basket and store, in the fruit of their body, in the fruit of their land, in the increase of their cattle and sheep. He curses them in the city and in the field, in their coming in and their going out. He curses them with pestilence, with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with extreme burning, with sword. with blasting, with mildew. He tells them that the heavens shall be as brass over their heads and the earth as iron under their feet; that the rain shall be powder and dust and shall come down on them and destroy them; that they shall flee seven ways before their enemies; that their carcasses shall be meat for the fowls of the air, and the beasts of the earth; that he will smite them with the botch of Egypt, and with the scab, and with the itch, and with madness and blindness and astonishment; that he will make them grope at noonday; that they shall be oppressed and spoiled evermore; that one shall betroth a wife and another shall have her; that they shall build a house and not dwell in it; plant a vineyard and others shall eat the grapes; that their sons and daughters shall be given to their enemies; that he will make them mad for the sight of their eyes; that he will smite them in the knees and in the legs with a sore botch that cannot be healed, and from the sole of the foot to the top of the head; that they shall be a by-word among all nations; that they shall sow much seed and gather but little; that the locusts shall consume their crops; that they shall plant vineyards and drink no wine. -- that they shall gather grapes, but worms shall eat them; that they shall raise olives but have no oil: beget sons and daughters, but they shall go into captivity; that all the trees and fruit of the land shall be devoured by locusts, and that all these curses shall pursue them and overtake them, until they be destroyed; that they shall be slaves to their enemies, and be constantly in hunger and thirst and nakedness, and in want of all things. And as though this Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 17 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE were not enough, the Lord tells them that he will bring a nation against them swift as eagles, a nation fierce and savage, that will show no mercy and no favor to old or young, and leave them neither corn, nor wine, nor oil, nor flocks, nor herds; and this nation shall besiege them in their cities until they are reduced to the necessity of eating the flesh of their own sons and daughters; so that the men would eat their wives and their children, and women eat their husbands and their own sons and daughters, and their own babes. All these curses God pronounced upon them if they did not observe to do all the words of the law that were written in his book. This same merciful God threatened that he would bring upon them all the diseases of Egypt -- every sickness and every plague; that he would scatter them from one end of the earth to the other; that they should find no rest; that their lives should hang in perpetual doubt; that in the morning they would say: Would God it were evening! and in the evening, Would God it were morning! and that he would finally take them back to Egypt where they should be again sold for bondmen and bondwomen. This curse, the foundation of the Anathema maranatha; this curse, used by the pope of Rome to prevent the spread of thought; this curse used even by the Protestant Church; this curse born of barbarism and of infinite cruelty, is now said to have issued from the lips of an infinitely merciful God. One would suppose that Jehovah had gone insane; that he had divided his kingdom like Lear, and from the darkness of insanity had launched his curses upon a world. In order that there may be no doubt as to the mercy of Jehovah, read the thirteenth chapter of Deuteronomy: "If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou nor thy fathers; " * * * thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eyes pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him; but thou shalt surely kill him: thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people; and thou shalt stone him with stones that he die, because he hath sought to entice thee away from the Lord thy God." This, according to Mr. Talmage, is a commandment of the infinite God. According to him, God ordered a man to murder his own son, his own wife, his own brother, his own daughter, if they dared even to suggest the worship of some other God than Jehovah. For my part, it is impossible not to despise such a God -- a God not willing that one should worship what he must. No one can control his admiration, and if a savage at sunrise falls upon his knees and offers homage to the great light of the East, he cannot help it. If he worships the moon, he cannot help it. If he worships fire, it is because he cannot control his own spirit. A picture is beautiful to me in spite of myself. A statue compels the applause of my brain. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 18 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE The worship of the sun was an exceedingly natural religion, and why should a man or woman be destroyed for kneeling at the fireside of the world? No wonder that this same God, in the very next chapter of Deuteronomy to that quoted, says to his chosen people: "Ye shall not eat of anything that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is within thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God." What a mingling of heartlessness and thrift -- the religion of sword and trade! In the seventh chapter of Deuteronomy, Jehovah gives his own character. He tells the Israelites that there are seven nations greater and mightier than themselves, but that he will deliver them to his chosen people, and that they shall smite them and utterly destroy them; and having some fear that a drop of pity might remain in the Jewish heart, he says: Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them. * * * Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations, and repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face." This is the description which the merciful, long-suffering Jehovah gives of himself. So, he promises great prosperity to the Jews if they will only obey his commandments, and says: "And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt upon thee, but will lay them upon all them that hate thee. And thou shalt consume all the people which the Lord thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them." Under the immediate government of Jehovah, mercy was a crime. According to the law of God, pity was weakness, tenderness was treason, kindness was blasphemy, while hatred and massacre were virtues. In the second chapter of Deuteronomy we find another account tending to prove that Jehovah is a merciful God. We find that Sihon, king of Heshbon, would not let the Hebrews pass by him, and the reason given is, that "the Lord God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into the hand" of the Hebrews. Sihon, his heart having been hardened by God, came out against the chosen people, and God delivered him to them, and "they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, and took all his cities, and utterly destroyed the men and the women, and the little ones of every city: they left none to remain." And in this same chapter this same God promises that the dread and fear of his chosen people should be "upon all the nations that are under the whole heaven," and that they should "tremble and be in anguish because of" the Hebrews. Read the thirty-first chapter of Numbers, and see how the Midianites were slain. You will find that "the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones," that Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 19 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE they took "all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods," that they slew all the males, and burnt all their cities and castles with fire, that they brought the captives and the prey and the spoil unto Moses and Eleazar the priest; that Moses was wroth with the officers of his host because they had saved all the women alive, and thereupon this order was given: "Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman, * * * but all the women children keep alive for yourselves." After this, God himself spake unto Moses, and said: "Take the sum of the prey that was taken, both of man and of beast, thou and Eleazar the priest * * * and divide the prey into two parts, between those who went to war, and between all the congregation, and levy a tribute unto the Lord, one soul of five hundred of the persons, and the cattle; take it of their half and give it to the priest for an offering * * * and of the children of Israel's half, take one portion of fifty of the persons and the animals and give them unto the Levites. * * * And Moses and the priest; did as the Lord had commanded." It seems that they had taken six hundred and seventy-five thousand sheep, seventy-two thousand beeves, sixty-one thousand asses, and thirty-two thousand women children and maidens. And it seems, by the fortieth verse, that the Lord's tribute of the maidens was thirty two, -- the rest were given to the soldiers and to the congregation of the Lord. Was anything more infamous ever recorded in the annals of barbarism? And yet we are told that the Bible is an inspired book, that it is not a cruel book, and that Jehovah is a being of infinite mercy. In the twenty-fifth chapter of Numbers we find that the Israelites had joined themselves unto Baal-peor, and thereupon the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, as usual. No being ever lost his temper more frequently than this Jehovah. Upon this particular occasion, "the Lord said unto Moses. "Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may he turned away from Israel." And thereupon "Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were Joined unto Baal-peor." Just as soon as these people were killed, and their heads hung up before the Lord against the sun, and a horrible double murder of a too merciful Israelite and a Midianitish woman, had been committed by Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, "the plague was stayed from the children of Israel." Twenty-four thousand had died. Thereupon, "the Lord spake unto Moses and said" -- and it is a very merciful commandment -- "Vex the Midianites and smite them." In the twenty-first chapter of Numbers is more evidence that God is merciful and compassionate. The children of Israel had become discouraged. They had wandered so long in the desert that they finally cried out: "Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread, there is no water, and our soul loatheth this light bread." Of course they were hungry and thirsty. Who would not complain under similar circumstances? And yet, on Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 20 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE account of this complaint, the God of infinite tenderness and compassion sent serpents among them, and these serpents bit them -- bit the cheeks of children, the breasts of maidens, and the withered faces of age. Why would a God do such an infamous thing? Why did he not, as the leader of this people, his chosen children, feed them better? Certainly an infinite God had the power to satisfy their hunger and to quench their thirst. He who overwhelmed a world with water, certainly could have made a few brooks, cool and babbling, to follow his chosen people through all their journeying. He could have supplied them with miraculous food. How fortunate for the Jews that Jehovah was not revengeful, that he was so slow to anger, so patient, so easily pleased. What would they have done had he been exacting, easily incensed, revengeful, cruel, or blood-thirsty? In the sixteenth chapter of Numbers, an account is given of a rebellion. It seems that Korah, Dathan and Abiram got tired of Moses and Aaron. They thought the priests were taking a little too much upon themselves. So Moses told them to have two hundred and fifty of their men bring their censers and put incense in them before the Lord, and stand in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation with Moses and Aaron. That being done, the Lord appeared, and told Moses and Aaron to separate themselves from the people, that he might consume them all in a moment. Moses and Aaron, having a little compassion, begged God not to kill everybody. The people were then divided, and Dathan and Abiram came out and stood in the door of their tents with their wives and their sons and their little children. and Moses said: "Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of my mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the common visitation of all men, then the Lord hath not sent me. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit, then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord." The moment he ceased speaking, "the ground clove asunder that was under them; and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them, and they perished from among the congregation." This, according to Mr. Talmage, was the act of an exceedingly merciful God, prompted by infinite kindness, and moved by eternal pity. What would he have done had he acted from motives of revenge? What would he have done had he been remorselessly cruel and wicked? In addition to those swallowed by the earth, the two hundred and fifty men that offered the incense were consumed by "a fire that came out from the "Lord." And not only this, but the same merciful Jehovah wished to consume all the people, and he would have consumed them all, only that Moses prevailed upon Aaron to take a censer and put fire therein from off the altar of incense and go quickly to the congregation and make an atonement for them. He was not quick enough. The plague had already begun; and before Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 21 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE he could possibly get the censers and incense among the people, fourteen thousand and seven hundred had died of the plague. How many more might have died, if Jehovah had not been so slow to anger and so merciful and tender to his children, we have no means of knowing. In the thirteenth chapter of the same book of Numbers, we find that some spies were sent over into the promised land, and that they brought back grapes and figs and pomegranates, and reported that the whole land was flowing with milk and honey, but that the people were strong, that the cities were walled, and that the nations in the promised land were mightier than the Hebrews. They reported that all the people they met were men of a great stature, that they had seen "the giants, the sons of Anak which come of giants," compared with whom the Israelites were "in their own sight as grasshoppers, and so were we in their sight." Entirely discouraged by these reports, "all the congregation lifted up their voice and cried, and the people wept that night * * * and murmured against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them: Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!" Some of them thought that it would be better to go back, -- that they might as well be slaves in Egypt as to be food for giants in the promised land. They did not want their bones crunched between the teeth of the sons of Anak. Jehovah got angry again, and said to Moses: "How long will these people provoke me? * * * I will smite them with pestilence, and disinherit them." But Moses said: Lord, if you do this, the Egyptians will hear of it, and they will say that you were not able to bring your people into the promised land. Then he proceeded to flatter him by telling him how merciful and long-suffering he had been. Finally, Jehovah concluded to pardon the people this time, but his pardon depended upon the violation of his promise, for he said: "They shall not see the land which I swore unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it; but my servant Caleb, * * * him will I bring into the land." And Jehovah said to the people: "Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness, and all that were numbered of you according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, ye shall not come into the land concerning which I swore to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years * * * until your carcasses be wasted in the wilderness." And all this because the people were afraid of giants, compared with whom they were but as grasshoppers. So we find that at one time the people became exceedingly hungry. They had no flesh to eat. There were six hundred thousand men of war, and they had nothing to feed on but manna. They naturally murmured and complained, and thereupon a wind from the Lord went forth and brought quails from the sea, (quails are generally found in the sea,) and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day's journey on this side, and as it were a day's journey Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 22 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth. And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails. * * * And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague." Yet he is slow to anger, long-suffering, merciful and just. In the thirty-second chapter of Exodus, is the account of the golden calf. It must be borne in mind that the worship of this calf by the people was before the Ten Commandments had been given to them. Christians now insist that these commandments must have been inspired, because no human being could have constructed them, -- could have conceived of them. It seems, according to this account, that Moses had been up in the mount with God, getting the Ten Commandments, and that while he was there the people had made the golden calf. When he came down and saw them, and found what they had done, having in his hands the two tables, the work of God, he cast the tables out of his hands, and broke them beneath the mount. He then took the calf which they had made, ground it to powder, strewed it in the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. And in the twenty-seventh verse we are told what the Lord did: "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel: Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses; and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men." The reason for this slaughter is thus given: "For Moses had said: Consecrate yourselves to-day to the Lord, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother, that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day." Now, it must be remembered that there had not been as yet a promulgation of the commandment "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." This was a punishment for the infraction of a law before the law was known -- before the commandment had been given. Was it cruel, or unjust? Does the following sound as though spoken by a God of mercy: "I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh"? And yet this is but a small part of the vengeance and destruction which God threatens to his enemies, as recorded in the thirty-second chapter of the book of Deuteronomy. In the sixty-eighth Psalm is found this merciful passage: "That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same." So we find in the eleventh chapter of Joshua the reason why the Canaanites and other nations made war upon the Jews. It is as follows: "For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favor, but that he might destroy them." Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 23 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE Read the thirtieth chapter of Exodus and you will find that God gave to Moses a recipe for making the oil of holy anointment, and in the thirty-second verse we find that no one was to make any oil like it; and in the next verse it is declared that whoever compounded any like it, or whoever put any of it on a stranger, should be cut off from the Lord's people. In the same chapter, a recipe is given for perfumery, and it is declared that whoever shall make. any like it, or that smells like it, shall suffer death. In the next chapter, it is decreed that if any one fails to keep the Sabbath "he shall be surely put to death." There are in the Pentateuch hundreds and hundreds of passages showing the cruelty of Jehovah. What could have been more cruel than the flood? What more heartless than to overwhelm a world? What more merciless than to cover a shoreless sea with the corpses of men, women and children? The Pentateuch is filled with anathemas, with curses, with words of vengeance, of Jealousy, of hatred, and brutality. By reason of these passages. millions of people have plucked from their hearts the flowers of pity and Justified the murder of women and the assassination of babes. In the second chapter of Second Kings we find that the prophet Elisha was on his way to a place called Bethel, and as he was going, there came forth little children out of the city and mocked him and said: "Go up thou bald head; Go up thou bald head! And he turned back and looked on them and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood and tare forty and two children of them." Of course he obtained his miraculous power from Jehovah; and there must have been some communication between Jehovah and the bears. Why did the bears come? How did they happen to be there? Here is a prophet of God cursing children in the name of the Lord, and thereupon these children are torn in fragments by wild beasts. This is the mercy of Jehovah; and yet I am told that the Bible has nothing cruel in it; that it preaches only mercy, justice, charity, peace; that all hearts are softened by reading it; that the savage nature of man is melted into tenderness and pity by it, and that only the totally depraved can find evil in it. And so I might go on, page after page, book after book, in the Old Testament, and describe the cruelties committed in accordance with the commands of Jehovah. But all the cruelties in the Old Testament are absolute mercies compared with the hell of the New Testament. In the Old Testament God stops with the grave. He seems to have been satisfied when he saw his enemies dead, when he saw their flesh rotting in the open air, or in the beaks of birds, or in the teeth of wild beasts. But in the New Testament, vengeance does not stop with the grave. It begins there, and stops never. The enemies of Jehovah are Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 24 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE to be pursued through all the ages of eternity. There is to be no forgiveness -- no cessation, no mercy, nothing but everlasting pain. And yet we are told that the author of hell is a being of infinite mercy. SECOND. All intelligent Christians will admit that there are many passages in the Bible that, if found in the Koran, they would regard as impure and immoral. It is not necessary for me to specify the passages, nor to call the attention of the public to such things. I am willing to trust the judgment of every honest reader, and the memory of every biblical student. The Old Testament upholds polygamy. That is infinitely impure. It sanctions concubinage. That is impure; nothing could or can be worse. Hundreds of things are publicly told that should have remained unsaid. No one is made better by reading the history of Tamar, or the biography of Lot, or the memoirs of Noah, of Dinah, oh Sarah and Abraham, or of Jacob and Leah and Rachel and others that I do not care to mention. No one is improved in his morals by reading these things. All I mean to say is, that the Bible is like other books produced by other nations in the same stage of civilization. What one age considers pure, the next considers impure. What one age may consider just, me next may look upon as infamous. Civilization is a growth. It is continually dying, and continually being born. Old branches rot and fall, new buds appear. It is a perpetual twilight, and a perpetual dawn -- the death of the old, and the birth of the new. I do not say, throw away the Bible because there are some foolish passages in it, but I say, throw away the foolish passages. Don't throw away wisdom because it is found in company with folly; but do not say that folly is wisdom, because it is found in its company. All that is true in the Bible is true whether it is inspired or not. All that is true did not need be inspired. Only that which is not true needs the assistance of miracles and wonders. I read the Bible as I read other books. What I believe to be good, I admit is good; what I think is bad, I say is bad what I believe to be true, I say is true, and what I believe to be false, I denounce as false. THIRD. Let us see whether there are any contradictions in the Bible. A little book has been published, called "Self Contradictions of the Bible," by J.P. Mendum, of The Boston Investigator. I Find many of the apparent contradictions of the Bible noted in this book. We all know that the Pentateuch is filled with the commandments of God upon the subject of sacrificing animals. We know that God declared, again and again, that the smell of burning Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 25 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE flesh was a sweet savor to him. Chapter after chapter is filled with directions how to kill the beasts that were set apart for sacrifices; what to do with their blood, their flesh and their fat. And yet, in the seventh chapter of Jeremiah, all this is expressly denied, in the following language: "For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices." And in the sixth chapter of Jeremiah, the same Jehovah says: "Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me." In the Psalms, Jehovah derides the idea of sacrifices, and says: "Will I eat of the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving, and pay thy vows unto the Most High." So I find in Isaiah the following: "Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth; they are a trouble to me; I am weary to bear them." "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord. I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand?" So I find in James: "Let no man say when he is tempted: I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man;" and yet in the twenty-second chapter of Genesis I find this: "And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham." In Second Samuel we see that he tempted David. He also tempted Job, and Jeremiah says: "O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived." To such an extent was Jeremiah deceived, that in the fourteenth chapter and eighteenth verse we find him crying out to the Lord: "Wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar?" So in Second Thessalonians: "For these things God shall send them strong delusions, that they should believe a lie." So in First Kings, twenty-second chapter: "Behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee." So in Ezekiel: "And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I, the Lord, have deceived that prophet." So I find: "Thou shalt not bear false witness;" and in the book of Revelation: "All liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and "brimstone;" yet in First Kings, twenty-second chapter, I find the following: "And the Lord said: Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-Gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit and stood before the Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 26 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE Lord, and said: I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto him: Wherewith? And he said: I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said: Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also. Go forth, and do so." In the Old Testament we find contradictory laws about the same thing, and contradictory accounts of the same occurrences. In the twentieth chapter of Exodus we find the first account of the giving of the Ten Commandments. In the thirty-fourth chapter another account of the same transaction is given. These two accounts could not have been written by the same person. Read them, and you will be forced to admit that both of them cannot by any possibility be true. They differ in so many particulars, and the commandments themselves are so different, that it is impossible that both can be true. So there are two histories of the creation. If you will read the first and second chapters of Genesis, you will find two accounts inconsistent with each other, both of which cannot be true. The first account ends with the third verse of the second chapter of Genesis. By the first account, man and woman were made at the same time, and made last of all. In the second account, not to be too critical, all the beasts of the field were made before Eve was, and Adam was made before the beasts of the field; whereas in the first account, God made all the animals before he made Adam. In the first account there is nothing about the rib or the bone or the side, -- that is only found in the second account. In the first account,: there is nothing about the Garden of Eden, nothing about the four rivers, nothing about the mist that went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground; nothing said about making man from dust; nothing about God breathing into his nostrils the breath of life; yet according to the second account, the Garden of Eden was planted, and all the animals were made before Eve was formed. It is impossible to harmonize the two accounts. So, in the first account, only the word God is used -- "God said so and so, -- God did so and so." In the second account he is called Lord God, -- "the Lord God formed man," -- "the Lord God caused it to rain," -- "the Lord God planted a garden." It is now admitted that the book of Genesis is made up of two stories, and it is very easy to take them apart and show exactly how they were put together. So there are two stories of the flood, differing almost entirely from each other -- that is to say, so contradictory that both cannot be true. There: are two accounts of the manner in which Saul was made king, and the accounts are inconsistent with each other. Scholars now everywhere admit that the copyists made many changes, pieced out fragments, and made additions, interpolations, and meaningless repetitions. It is now generally conceded that the speeches of Elihu, in Job, were interpolated, and most of the prophecies were made by persons whose names even are not known. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 27 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE The manuscripts of the Old Testament were not alike. The Greek version differed from the Hebrew, and there was no generally received text of the Old Testament until after the beginning of the Christian era. Marks and points to denote vowels were invented probably in the seventh century after Christ; and whether these marks and points were put in the proper places, is still an open question. The Alexandrian version, or what is known as the Septuagint, translated by seventy-two learned Jews assisted by miraculous power, about two hundred years before Christ, could not, it is now said, have been translated from the Hebrew text that we now have. This can only be accounted for by supposing that we have a different Hebrew text. The early Christians adopted the Septuagint and were satisfied for a time; but so many errors were found, and so many were scanning every word in search of something to assist their peculiar views, that new versions were produced. and the new versions all differed somewhat from the Septuagint as well as from each other. These versions were mostly in Greek. The first Latin Bible was produced in Africa, and no one has ever found out which Latin manuscript was original. Many were produced, and all differed from each other. These Latin versions were compared with each other and with the Hebrew, and a new Latin version was made in the fifth century, and the old ones held their own for about four hundred years, and no one knows which version was right. Besides, there were Ethiopia, Egyptian, Armenian and several other versions, all differing from each other as well as from all others. It was not until the fourteenth century that the Bible was translated into German, and not until the fifteenth that Bibles were printed in the principal languages of Europe; and most of these Bibles differed from each other, and gave rise to endless disputes and to almost numberless crimes. No man in the world is learned enough, nor has he time enough, even if he could live a thousand years, to find what books belonged to and constituted the Old Testament. He could not ascertain the authors of the books, nor when they were written, nor what they mean. Until a man has sufficient time to do all this, no one can tell whether he believes the Bible or not. It is sufficient, however, to say that the Old Testament is filled with contradictions as to the number of men slain in battle, as to the number of years certain kings reigned, as to the number of a woman's children, as to dates of events, and as to locations of towns and cities. Besides all this, many of its laws are contradictory, often commanding and prohibiting the same thing. The New Testament also is filled with contradictions. The gospels do not even agree upon the terms of salvation. They do not even agree as to the gospel of Christ, as to the mission of Christ. They do not tell the same story regarding the betrayal, the crucifixion, the resurrection or the ascension of Christ. John is the only one that ever heard of being "born again." The evangelists do not give the same account of the same miracles, and the miracles are not given in the same order. They do not agree even in the genealogy of Christ. FOURTH. Is the Bible scientific? In my judgment it is not. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 28 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE It is unscientific to say that this world was "created; "that the universe was produced by an infinite being, who had existed an eternity prior to such "creation." My mind is such that I cannot possibly conceive of a "creation." Neither can I conceive of an infinite being who dwelt in infinite space an infinite length of time. I do not think it is scientific to say that the universe was made in six days, or that this world is only about six thousand years old, or that man has only been upon the earth for about six thousand year. If the Bible is true, Adam was the first man. The age of Adam is given, the age of his children, and the time, according to the Bible, was kept and known from Adam, so that if the Bible is true, man has only been in this world about six thousand years. In my judgment, and in the judgment of every scientific man whose judgment is worth having or quoting, man inhabited this earth for thousands of ages prior to the creation of Adam. On one point the Bible is at least certain, and that is, as to the life of Adam. The genealogy is given, the pedigree is there, and it is impossible to escape the conclusion that, according to the Bible, man has only been upon this earth about six thousand years. There is no chance there to say "long periods of time," or "geological ages." There we have the years. And as to the time of the creation of man, the Bible does not tell the truth. What is generally called "The Fall of Man" is unscientific. God could not have made a moral character for Adam. Even admitting the rest of the story to be true, Adam certainly had to make character for himself. The idea that there never would have been any disease or death in this world had it not been for the eating of the forbidden fruit is preposterously unscientific. Admitting that Adam was made only six thousand years ago, death was in the world millions of years before that time. The old rocks are filled with remains of what were once living and breathing animals. Continents were built up with the petrified corpses of animals. We know, therefore, that death did not enter the world because of Adam's sin. We know that life and death are but successive links in an eternal chain. So it is unscientific to say that thorns and brambles were produced by Adam's sin. It is also unscientific to say that labor was pronounced as a curse upon man. Labor is not a curse. Labor is a blessing. Idleness is a curse. It is unscientific to say that the sons of God. living, we suppose, in heaven, fell in love with the daughters of men, and that on account of this a flood was sent upon the earth that covered the highest mountains. The whole story of the flood is unscientific, and no scientific man worthy of the name, believes it. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 29 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE Neither is the story of the tower of Babel a scientific thing. Does any scientific man believe that God confounded the language of men for fear they would succeed in building a tower high enough to reach to heaven? It is not scientific to say that angels were in the habit of walking about the earth, eating veal dressed with butter and milk, and making bargains about the destruction of cities. The story of Lot's wife having been turned into a pillar of salt is extremely unscientific. It is unscientific to say that people at one time lived to be nearly a thousand years of age. The history of the world shows that human life is lengthening instead of shortening. It is unscientific to say that the infinite God wrestled with Jacob and got the better of him, putting his thigh out of joint. It is unscientific to say that God, in the likeness of a flame of fire, inhabited a bush. It is unscientific to say that a stick could be changed into a living snake. Living snakes can not be made out of sticks. There are not the necessary elements in a stick to make a snake. It is not scientific to say that God changed water into blood. All the elements of blood are not in water. It is unscientific to declare that dust was changed into lice. It is not scientific to say that God caused a thick darkness over the land of Egypt, and yet allowed it to be light in the houses of the Jews. It is not scientific to say that about seventy people could, in two hundred and fifteen years increase to three millions. It is not scientific to say that an infinitely good God would destroy innocent people to get revenge upon a king. It is not scientific to say that slavery was once right, that polygamy was once a virtue, and that extermination was mercy. It is not scientific to assert that a being of infinite power and goodness went into partnership with insects, -- granted letters of marque and reprisal to hornets. It is unscientific to insist that bread was really rained from heaven. It is not scientific to suppose that an infinite being spent forty days and nights furnishing Moses with plans and specifications for a tabernacle, an ark, a mercy seat, cherubs of gold, a table, four rings, some dishes, some spoons, one candlestick, several bowls, a few knobs, seven lamps, some snuffers, a pair of tongs, some curtains, a roof for a tent of Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 30 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE rams' skins dyed red, a few boards, an altar with horns, ash pans, basins and flesh hooks, shovels and pots and sockets of silver and ounces of gold and pins of brass -- for all of which this God brought with him patterns from heaven. It is not scientific to say that when a man commits a sin, he can settle with God by killing a sheep. It is not scientific to say that a priest, by laying his hands on the head of a goat, can transfer the sins of a people to the animal. Was it scientific to endeavor to ascertain whether a woman was virtuous or not, by compelling her to drink water mixed with dirt from the floor of the sanctuary? Is it scientific to say that a dry stick budded, blossomed, and bore almonds; or that the ashes of a red heifer mixed with water can cleanse us of sin; or that a good being gave cities into the hands of the Jews in consideration of their murdering all the inhabitants? Is it scientific to say that an animal saw an angel, and conversed with a man? Is it scientific to imagine that thrusting a spear through the body of a woman ever stayed a plague? Is it scientific to say that a river cut itself in two and allowed the lower end to run off? Is it scientific to assert that seven priests blew seven rams' horns loud enough to blow down the walls of a city? Is it scientific to say that the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down for about a whole day, and that the moon also stayed? Is it scientifically probable that an angel of the Lord devoured unleavened cakes and broth with fire that came out of the end of a stick, as he sat under an oak tree; or that God made known his will by letting dew fall on wool without wetting the ground around it; or that an angel of God appeared to Manoah in the absence of her husband, and that this angel afterwards went up in a flame of fire, and as the result of this visit a child was born whose strength was in his hair? Is it scientific to say that the muscle of a man depended upon the length of his locks? Is it unscientific to deny that water gushed from a hollow place in a dry bone? Is it evidence of a thoroughly scientific mind to believe that one man turned over a house so large that three thousand people were on its roof? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 31 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE Is it purely scientific to say that a man was once fed by the birds of the air, who brought him bread and meat every morning and evening, and that afterward an angel turned cook and prepared two suppers in one night, for the same prophet, who ate enough to last him forty days and forty nights? Is it scientific to say that a river divided because the water had been struck with a cloak; or that a man actually went to heaven in a chariot of fire drawn by horses of fire; or that a being of infinite mercy would destroy children for laughing at a bald-headed prophet; or curse children and children's children with leprosy for a father's fault; or that he made iron float in water; or that when one corpse touched another it came to life; or that the sun went backward in heaven so that the shadow on a sundial went back ten degrees, as a sign that a miserable barbarian king would get well? Is it scientific to say that the earth not only stopped in its rotary motion, but absolutely turned the other way, -- that its motion was reversed simply as a sign to a petty king? Is it scientific to say that Solomon made gold and silver at Jerusalem as plentiful as stones, when we know that there were kings in his day who could have thrown away the value of the whole of Palestine without missing the amount? Is it scientific to say that Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in glory, when his country was barren, without roads, when his people were few, without commerce, without the arts, without the sciences, without education, without luxuries? According to the Bible, as long as Jehovah attended to the affairs of the Jews, they had nothing but war, pestilence and famine; after Jehovah abandoned them, and the Christians ceased, in a measure, to persecute them, the Jews became the most prosperous of people. Since Jehovah in his anger cast them away, they have produced painters, sculptors, scientists, statesmen. composers, soldiers and philosophers. It is not scientific to believe that God ever prevented rain, that he ever caused famine, that he ever sent locusts to devour the wheat and corn, that he ever relied on pestilence for the government of mankind; or that he ever killed children to get even with their parents. It is not scientific to believe that the king of Egypt invaded Palestine with seventy thousand horsemen and twelve hundred chariots of war. There was not, at that time, a road in Palestine over which a chariot could be driven. It is not scientific to believe that in a battle between Jeroboam and Abijah, the army of Abijah slew in one day five hundred thousand chosen men. It is not scientific to believe that Zerah, the Ethiopian, invaded Palestine with a million of men who were overthrown and destroyed; or that Jehoshaphat had a standing army of nine hundred and sixty thousand men. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 32 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE lt is unscientific to believe that Jehovah advertised for a liar, as is related in Second Chronicles. It is not scientific to believe that fire refused to burn, or that water refused to wet. It is not scientific to believe in dreams, in visions, and in miracles. It is not scientific to believe that children have been born without fathers, that the dead have ever been raised to life, or that people have bodily ascended to heaven taking their clothes with them. It is not scientific to believe in the supernatural. Science dwells in the realm of fact, in the realm of demonstration. science depends upon human experience, upon observation, upon reason. It is unscientific to say that an innocent man can be Punished in place of a criminal, and for a criminal, and that the criminal, on account of such punishment, can be justified. It is unscientific to say that a finite sin deserves infinite punishment. It is unscientific to believe that devils can inhabit human beings, or that they can take possession of swine, or that the devil could bodily take a man, or the Son of God, and carry him to the pinnacle of a temple. In short, the foolish, the unreasonable, the false, the miraculous and the supernatural are unscientific. QUESTION. Mr. Talmage gives his reason for accepting the New Testament, and says: "You can trace it right out. Jerome and Eusebius in the first century, and Origen in the second century, gave lists of the writers of the New Testament. These lists correspond with our list of the writers of the New Testament, showing that precisely as we have it, they had it in the third and fourth centuries. Where did they get it? From Irenaeua. Where did he get it? From Polycarp. Where did Polycarp get it? From Saint John, who was a personal associate of Jesus. The line is just as clear as anything ever was clear." How do you understand this matter, and has Mr. Talmage stated the facts? ANSWER. Let us examine first the witnesses produced by Mr. Talmage. We will also call attention to the great principle laid down by Mr. Talmage for the examination of evidence, -- that where a witness is found false in one particular, his entire testimony. must be thrown away. Eusebius was born somewhere about two hundred and seventy years after Christ. After many vicissitudes he became, it is said, the friend of Constantine. He made an oration in which he extolled the virtues of this murderer, and had the honor of sitting at the right hand of the man who had shed the blood of his wife and son. In the great controversy with regard to the position that Christ should occupy in the Trinity, he sided with Arius, "and lent himself to the persecution of the orthodox with Athanasius." He Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 33 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE insisted that Jesus Christ was not the same as God, and that he was not of equal power and glory. Will Mr. Talmage admit that his witness told the truth in this? "He would not even call the Son co-eternal with God." Eusebius must have been an exceedingly truthful man. He declared that the tracks of Pharaoh's chariots were in his day visible upon the shores of the Red Sea; that these tracks had been through all the years miraculously preserved from the action of wind and wave, as a supernatural testimony to the fact that God miraculously overwhelmed Pharaoh and his hosts. Eusebius also relates that when Joseph and Mary arrived in Egypt they took up their abode in Hermopolis, a city of Thebaeus, in which was the superb temple of Serapis. When Joseph and Mary entered the temple, not only the great idol, but all the lesser idols fell down before him. "It is believed by the learned Dr. Lardner, that Eusebius was the one guilty of the forgery in the passage found in Josephus concerning Christ. Unblushing falsehoods and literary forgeries of the vilest character darkened the pages of his historical writings." (White's History.) From the same authority I learn that Eusebius invented an eclipse, and some earthquakes, to agree with the account of the crucifixion. It is also believed that Eusebius quoted from works that never existed, and that he pretended a work had been written by Porphyry, entitled: "The Philosophy of Oracles," and then quoted from it for the purpose of proving the truth of the Christian religion. The fact is, Eusebius was utterly destitute of truth. He believed, as many still believe, that he could please God by the fabrication of lies. Irenaeus lived somewhere about the end of the second century. "Very little is known of his early history, and the accounts given in various biographies are for the most part conjectural." The writings of Irenaeus are known to us principally through Eusebius, and we know the value of his testimony. Now, if we are to take the testimony of Irenaeus, why not take it? He says that the ministry of Christ lasted for twenty years, and that Christ was fifty years old at the time of his crucifixion. He also insisted that the "Gospel of Paul" was written by Luke, "a statement made to give sanction to the gospel of Luke." Irenaeus insisted that there were four gospels, that there must be, and "he speaks frequently of these gospels, and argues that they should be four in number, neither more nor less, because there are four universal winds, and four quarters of the world;" and he might have added: because donkeys have four legs. These facts can be found in "The History of the Christian Religion to A.D. 200," by Charles B. Waite, -- a book that Mr. Talmage ought to read. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 34 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE According to Mr. Waite, Irenaeus, in the thirty-third chapter of his fifth book, Adversus Haereses, cites from Papias the following sayings of Christ: "The days will come in which vines shall grow which shall have ten thousand branches, and on each branch ten thousand twigs, and in each twig ten thousand shoots, and in each shoot ten thousand clusters, and in every one of the clusters ten thousand grapes, and every grape when pressed will give five and twenty metrets of wine." Also that "one thousand million pounds of clear, pure, fine flour will be produced from one grain of wheat." Irenaeus adds that "these things were borne witness to by Papias the hearer of John and the companion of Polycarp." Is it possible that the eternal welfare of a human being depends upon believing the testimony of Polycarp and Irenaeus? Are people to be saved or lost on the reputation of Eusebius? Suppose a man is firmly convinced that Polycarp knew nothing about Saint John, and that Saint John knew nothing about Christ, -- what then? Suppose he is convinced that Eusebius is utterly unworthy of credit, -- what then? Must a man believe statements that he has every reason to think are false? The question arises as to the witnesses named by Mr. Talmage, whether they were competent to decide as to the truth or falsehood of the gospels. We have the right to inquire into their mental traits for the purpose of giving only due weight to what they have said. Mr. Bronson C. Keeler is the author of a book called: "A Short History of the Bible." I avail myself of a few of the facts he has there collected. I find in this book, that Irenaeus, Clement and Origen believed in the fable of the Phoenix, and insisted that God produced the bird on purpose to prove the probability of the resurrection of the body. Some of the early fathers believed that the hyena changed its sex every year. Others of them gave as a reason why good people should eat only animals with a cloven foot, the fact that righteous people lived not only in this world, but had expectations in the next. They also believed that insane people were possessed by devils; that angels ate manna; that some angels loved the daughters of men and fell; that the pains of women in childbirth, and the fact that serpents crawl on their bellies, were proofs that the account of the fall, as given in Genesis, is true; that the stag renewed its youth by eating poisonous snakes; that eclipses and comets were signs of God's anger; that volcanoes were openings into hell; that demons blighted apples; that a corpse in a cemetery moved to make room for another corpse to be placed beside it. Clement of Alexandria believed that hail storms, tempests and plagues were caused by demons. He also believed, with Mr. Talmage, that the events in the life of Abraham were typical and prophetical of arithmetic and astronomy. Origen, another of the witnesses of Mr. Talmage, said that the sun, moon and stars were living creatures, endowed with reason and free will, and occasionally inclined to sin. That they had free will, he proved by quoting from Job; that they were rational creatures, he inferred from the fact that they moved. The sun, moon and stars, according to him, were "subject to vanity," and he believed that they prayed to God through his only begotten son. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 35 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE These intelligent witnesses believed that the blighting of vines and fruit trees, and the disease and destruction that came upon animals and men, were all the work of demons; but that when they had entered into men, the sign of the cross would drive them out. They derided the idea that the earth is round, and one of them said: "About the antipodes also, one can neither hear nor speak without laughter. It is asserted as something serious that we should believe that there are men who have their feet opposite to ours. The ravings of Anaxagoras are more tolerable, who said that snow was black." Concerning these early fathers, Professor Davidson, as quoted by Mr. Keeler, uses the following language: "Of the three fathers who contributed most to the growth of the canon, Irenaeus was credulous and blundering; Tertullian passionate and one-sided; and Clement of Alexandria, imbued with the treasures of Greek wisdom, was mainly occupied with ecclesiastical ethics. Their assertions show both ignorance and exaggeration." These early fathers relied upon by Mr. Talmage, quoted from books now regarded as apocryphal -- books that have been thrown away by the church and are no longer considered as of the slightest authority. Upon this subject I again quote Mr. Keeler; "Clement quoted the 'Gospel according to the Hebrews,' which is now thrown away by the church; he also quoted from the Sibylline books and the Pentateuch in the same sentence. Origen frequently cited the Gospel of the Hebrews. Jerome did the same, and Clement believed in the 'Gospel according to the Egyptians.' The Shepherd of Hermas, a book in high repute in the early church, and one which distinctly claims to have been inspired, was quoted by Irenaeus as Scripture. Clement of Alexandria said it was a divine revelation. Origen said it was divinely inspired, and quoted it as Holy Scripture at the same time that he cited the Psalms and Epistles of Paul. Jerome quoted the 'Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach,' as divine Scripture. Origen quotes the 'Wisdom of Solomon' as the 'Word of God' and 'the words of Christ himself.' Eusebius of Caesarea cites it as a 'Divine Oracle,' and St. Chrysostom used it as Scripture. So Eusebius quotes the thirteenth chapter of Daniel as Scripture, but as a matter of fact, Daniel has not a thirteenth chapter, -- the church has taken it away. Clement spoke of the writer of the fourth book of Esdras as a prophet; he thought Baruch as much the word of God as any other book, and he quotes it as divine Scripture. Clement cites Barnabas as an apostle. Origen quotes from the Epistle of Barnabas, calls it 'Holy Scripture,' and places it on a level with the Psalms and the Epistles of Paul; and Clement of Alexandria believed in the 'Epistle of Barnabas,' and the Revelation of Peter,' and wrote comments upon these holy books." Nothing can exceed the credulity of the early fathers, unless it may be their ignorance. They believed everything that was miraculous. They believed everything except the truth. Anything that really happened was considered of no importance by them. They looked for wonders, miracles, and monstrous things, and -- generally found them. They revelled in the misshapen and the repulsive. They did not think it wrong to swear falsely in a good cause. They interpolated, forged, and changed the records to suit themselves, for the sake of Christ. They quoted from persons who Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 36 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE never wrote. They misrepresented those who had written, and their evidence is absolutely worthless. They were ignorant, credulous, mendacious, fanatical, pious, unreasonable, bigoted, hypocritical, and for the most part, insane. Read the book of Revelation, and you will agree with me that nothing that ever emanated from a madhouse can more than equal it for incoherence. Most of the writings of the early fathers are of the same kind. As to Saint John, the real truth is, that we know nothing certainly of him. We do not know that he ever lived. We know nothing certainly of Jesus Christ. We know nothing of his infancy, nothing of his youth, and we are not sure that such a person ever existed. We know nothing of Polycarp. We do not know where he was born, or when, or how he died. We know nothing for certain about Irenaeus. All the names quoted by Mr. Talmage as his witnesses are surrounded by clouds and doubts, by mist and darkness. We only know that many of their statements are false, and do not know that any of them are true. QUESTION. What do you think of the following statement by Mr. Talmage: "Oh, I have to tell you that no man ever died for a lie cheerfully and triumphantly"? ANSWER. There was a time when men "cheerfully and triumphantly died" in defence of the doctrine of the "real presence" of God in the wafer and wine. Does Mr. Talmage believe in the doctrine of "transubstantiation"? Yet hundreds have died "cheerfully and triumphantly" for it. Men have died for the idea that baptism by immersion is the only scriptural baptism. Did they die for a lie? If not, is Mr. Talmage a Baptist? Giordano Bruno was an atheist, yet he perished at the stake rather than retract his opinions. He did not expect to be welcomed by angels and by God. He did not look for a crown of glory. He expected simply death and eternal extinction. Does the fact that he died for that belief prove its truth? Thousands upon thousands have died in defence of the religion of Mohammed. Was Mohammed an impostor? Thousands have welcomed death in defence of the doctrines of Buddha. Is Buddhism true? So I might make a tour of the world, and of all ages of human history, and find that millions and millions have died "cheerfully and triumphantly "in defence of their opinions. There is not the slightest truth in Mr. Talmage's statement. A little while ago, a man shot at the Czar of Russia. On the day of his execution he was asked if he wished religious consolation. He replied that he believed in no religion. What did that prove? It proved only the man's honesty of opinion. All the martyrs in the world cannot change, never did change, a falsehood into a truth, nor a truth into a falsehood. Martyrdom proves nothing but the sincerity of the martyr and the cruelty and meanness of his murderers. Thousands and thousands of people have Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 37 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE imagined that they knew things, that they were certain, and have died rather than retract their honest beliefs. Mr. Talmage now says that he knows all about the Old Testament, that the prophecies were fulfilled, and yet he does not know when the prophecies were made -- whether they were made before or after the fact. He does not know whether the destruction of Babylon was told before it happened, or after. He knows nothing upon the subject. He does not know who made the pretended prophecies. He does not know that Isaiah, or Jeremiah, or Habakkuk, or Hosea ever lived in this world. He does not know who wrote a single book of the Old Testament. He knows nothing on the subject. He believes in the inspiration of the Old Testament because ancient cities finally fell into decay -- were overrun and destroyed by enemies, and he accounts for the fact that the Jew does not lose his nationality by saying that the Old Testament is true. The Jews have been persecuted by the Christians, and they are still persecuted by them; and Mr. Talmage seems to think that this persecution was a part of God's plan, that the Jews might, by persecution, be prevented from mingling with other nationalities, and so might stand, through the instrumentality of perpetual hate and cruelty, the suffering witnesses of the divine truth of the Bible. The Jews do not testify to the truth of the Bible, but to the barbarism and inhumanity of Christians -- to the meanness and hatred of what we are pleased to call the "civilized world." They testify to the fact that nothing so hardens the human heart as religion. There is no prophecy in the Old Testament foretelling the coming of Jesus Christ. There is not one word in the Old Testament referring to him in any way -- not one word. The only way to prove this is to take your Bible, and wherever you find these words: "That it might be fulfilled," and "which was spoken," turn to the Old Testament and find what was written, and you will see that it had not the slightest possible reference to the thing recounted in the New Testament -- not the slightest. Let us take some of the prophecies of the Bible, and see how plain they are, and how beautiful they are. Let us see whether any human being can tell whether they have ever been fulfilled or not. Here is a vision of Ezekiel: "I looked, and behold a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the color of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 38 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another. and two covered their bodies. And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went. As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire: went forth lightning. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning. Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the color of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the color of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other; every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two which covered on that side, their bodies." Is such a vision a prophecy? Is it calculated to convey the slightest information? If so, what? So, the following vision of the prophet Daniel is exceedingly important and instructive: "Daniel spake and said: I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 39 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl the beast had also four heads, and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it; and it was diverse from, all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things." I have no doubt that this prophecy has been literally fulfilled, but I am not at present in condition to give the time, place, or circumstances. A few moments ago, my attention was called to the following extract from The New York Harold of the thirteenth of March, instant: "At the Fifth Avenue Baptist Church, Dr. Armitage took as his text, 'A wheel in the middle of a wheel' -- Ezekiel, i., 16. Here, said the preacher, are three distinct visions in one -- the living creatures, the moving wheels and the fiery throne. We have time only to stop the wheels of this mystic chariot of Jehovah, that we may hold holy converse with Him who rides upon the wings of the wind. In this vision of the prophet we have a minute and amplified account of these magnificent symbols or hieroglyphics, this wondrous machinery which denotes immense attributes and agencies and volitions, passing their awful and mysterious course of power and intelligence in revolution after revolution of the emblematical mechanism, in steady and harmonious advancement to the object after which they are reaching. We are compelled to look upon the whole as symbolical of that tender and endearing providence of which Jesus spoke when He said, 'The very hairs of your head are numbered.'" Certainly, an ordinary person. not having been illuminated by the spirit of prophecy, would never have even dreamed that there was the slightest reference in Ezekiel's vision to anything like counting hairs. As a commentator, the Rev. Dr. Armitage has no equal; and, in my judgment, no rival. He has placed himself beyond the reach of ridicule. It is impossible to say anything about his sermon as laughable as his sermon. QUESTION. Have you no confidence in any prophecies? Do you take the ground that there never has been a human being who could predict the future? ANSWER. I admit that a man of average intelligence knows that a certain course, when pursued long enough, will bring national disaster, and it is perfectly safe to predict the downfall of any and every country in the world. In my judgment, nations, like individuals, have an average life. Every nation is mortal. An immortal nation cannot be constructed of mortal individuals. A nation has a reason for existing, and that reason sustains the same Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 40 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE relation to the nation that the acorn does to the oak. The nation will attain its growth -- other things being equal. It will reach its manhood and its prime, but it will sink into old age, and at last must die. Probably, in a few thousand years, men will be able to calculate the average life of nations, as they now calculate the average life of persons. There has been no period since the morning of history until now, that men did not know of dead and dying nations. There has always been a national cemetery. Poland is dead, Turkey is dying. In every nation are the seeds of dissolution. Not only do nations die, but races of men. A nation is born, becomes powerful, luxurious, at last grows weak, is overcome, dies, and another takes its place. In this way civilization and barbarism, like day and night. alternate through all of history's years. In every nation there are at least two classes of men: First, the enthusiastic, the patriotic, who believe that the nation will live forever, -- that its flag will float while the earth has air; Second, the owls and ravens and croakers, who are always predicting disaster, defeat, and death. To the last class belong the Jeremiahs, Ezekiels, and Isaiahs of the Jews. They were always predicting the downfall of Jerusalem. They revelled in defeat and captivity. They loved to paint the horrors of famine and war. For the most part, they were envious, hateful, misanthropic and unjust. There seems to have been a war between church and state. The prophets were endeavoring to preserve the ecclesiastical power. Every king who would listen to them, was chosen of God. He instantly became the model of virtue, and the prophets assured him that he was in the keeping of Jehovah. But if the king had a mind of his own, the prophets immediately called down upon him all the curses of heaven, and predicted the speedy destruction of his kingdom. If our own country should be divided, if an empire should rise upon the ruins of the Republic, it would be very easy to find that hundreds and thousands of people had foretold that very thing. If you will read the political speeches of the last twenty-two years, you will find prophecies to fit any possible future state of affairs in our country. No matter what happens, you will find that somebody predicted it. If the city of London should lose her trade, if the Parliament house should become the abode of moles and bats, if "the New Zealander should sit upon the ruins of London Bridge," all these things would be simply the fulfillment of prophecy. The fall of every nation under the sun has been predicted by hundreds and thousands of people. The prophecies of the Old Testament can be made to fit anything that may happen, or that may not happen. They will apply to the death of a king, or to the destruction of a people, -- to the loss of commerce, or the discovery of a continent. Each prophecy is a jugglery of words, of figures, of symbols, so put together, so used, so interpreted, that they can mean anything, everything, or nothing. QUESTION. Do you see anything "prophetic" in the fate of the Jewish people themselves? Do you think that God made the Jewish people wanderers, so that they might he perpetual witnesses to the truth of the Scriptures? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 41 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE ANSWER. I cannot believe that an infinitely good God would make anybody a wanderer. Neither can I believe that he would keep millions of people without country and without home, and allow them to be persecuted for thousands of years, simply that they might be used as witnesses. Nothing could be more absurdly cruel than this. The Christians justify their treatment of the Jews on the ground that they are simply fulfilling prophecy. The Jews have suffered because of the horrid story of their ancestors crucified the Son of God. Christianity, coming into power, looked with horror upon the Jews, who denied the truth of the gospel. Each Jew was regarded as a dangerous witness against Christianity. The early Christians saw how necessary it was that the people who lived in Jerusalem at the time of Christ should be convinced that he was God, and should testify to the miracles he wrought. Whenever a Jew denied it, the Christian was filled with malignity and hatred, and immediately excited the prejudice of other Christians against the man simply because he was a Jew. They forgot, in their general hatred, that Mary, the mother of Christ, was a Jewess; that Christ himself was of Jewish blood; and with an inconsistency of which, of all religions, Christianity alone could have been guilty, the Jew became an object of especial hatred and aversion. When we remember that Christianity pretends to be a religion of love and kindness, of charity and forgiveness, must not every intelligent man be shocked by the persecution of the Jews? Even now, in learned and cultivated Germany, the Jew is treated as though he were a wild beast. The reputation of this great people has been stained by a persecution springing only from ignorance and barbarian prejudice. So in Russia, the Christians are anxious to shed every drop of Jewish blood, and thousands are to-day fleeing from their homes to seek a refuge from Christian hate. And Mr. Talmage believes that all these persecutions are kept up by the perpetual intervention of God, in order that the homeless wanderers of the seed of Abraham may testify to the truth of the Old and New Testaments. He thinks that every burning Jewish home sheds light upon the gospel, -- that every gash in Jewish flesh cries out in favor of the Bible, -- that every violated Jewish maiden shows the interest that God still takes in the preservation of his Holy Word. I am endeavoring to do away with religious prejudice. I wish to substitute humanity for superstition, the love of our fellow- men, for the fear of God. In the place of ignorant worship, let us put good deeds. We should be great enough and grand enough to know that the rights of the Jew are precisely the same as our own. We cannot trample upon their rights, without endangering our own; and no man who will take liberty from another, is great enough to enjoy liberty himself. Day by day Christians are laying the foundation of future persecution. In every Sunday school little children are taught that Jews killed the God of this universe. Their little hearts are filled with hatred against the Jewish people. They are taught as a part of the creed to despise the descendants of the only people with whom God is ever said to have had any conversation whatever. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 42 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE When we take into consideration what the Jewish people have suffered, it is amazing that every one of them does not hate with all his heart and soul and strength the entire Christian world. But in spite of the persecutions they have endured, they are to-day, where they are permitted to enjoy reasonable liberty, the most prosperous people on the globe. The idea that their condition shows, or tends to show, that upon them abides the wrath of Jehovah, cannot be substantiated by the facts. The Jews to-day control the commerce of the world. They control the money of the world. It is for them to say whether nations shall or shall not go to war. They are the people of whom nations borrow money. To their offices kings come with their hats in their hands. Emperors beg them to discount their notes. Is all this a consequence of the wrath of God? We find upon our streets no Jewish beggars. It is a rare sight to find one of these people standing as a criminal before a court. They do not fill our almshouses, nor our penitentiaries, nor our jails. Intellectually and morally they are the equal of any people. They have become illustrious in every department of art and science. The old cry against them is at last perceived to be ignorant. Only a few years ago, Christians would rob a Jew, strip him of his possessions, steal his money, declare him an outcast, and drive him forth. Then they would point to him as a fulfillment of prophecy. If you wish to see the difference between some Jews and some Christians, compare the addresses of Felix Adler with the sermons of Mr. Talmage. I cannot convince myself that an infinitely good and wise God holds a Jewish babe in the cradle of to-day responsible for the crimes of Caiaphas the high priest. I hardly think that an infinitely good being would pursue this little babe through all its life simply to get revenge on those who died two thousand years ago. An infinite being ought certainly to know that the child is not to blame; and an infinite being who does not know this, is not entitled to the love or adoration of any honest man. There is a strange inconsistency in what Mr. Talmage says. For instance, he finds great fault with me because I do not agree with the religious ideas of my father; and he finds fault equally with the Jews who do. The Jews who were true to the religion of their fathers, according to Mr. Talmage, have been made a by-word and a hissing and a reproach among all nations, and only those Jews were fortunate and blest who abandoned the religion of their fathers. The real reason for this inconsistency is this: Mr. Talmage really thinks that a man can believe as he wishes. He imagines that evidence depends simply upon volition; consequently, he holds every one responsible for his belief. Being satisfied that he has the exact truth in this matter, he measures all other people by his standard, and if they fail by that measurement, he holds them personally responsible, and believes that his God does the same. If Mr. Talmage had been born in Turkey, he would in all probability have been a Mohammedan, and would now be denouncing some man who had denied the inspiration of the Koran, as the "champion Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 43 FIFTH INTERVIEW ON TALMAGE blasphemer" of Constantinople. Certainly he would have been, had his parents been Mohammedans; because, according to his doctrine, he would have been utterly lacking in respect and love for his father and mother had he failed to perpetuate their errors. So, had he been born in Utah, of Mormon parents, he would now have been a defender of polygamy. He would not "run the ploughshare of contempt through the graves of his parents," by taking the ground that polygamy is wrong. I presume that all of Mr. Talmage's forefathers were not Presbyterians. There must have been a time when one of his progenitors left the faith of his father, and joined the Presbyterian Church. According to the reasoning of Mr.Talmage, that particular progenitor was an exceedingly bad man; but had it not been for the crime of that bad man, Mr. Talmage might not now have been on the road to heaven. I hardly think that all the inventors, the thinkers, the philosophers, the discoverers, dishonored their parents. Fathers and mothers have been made immortal by such sons. And yet these sons demonstrated the errors of their parents. A good father wishes to be excelled by his children. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. The Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended -- The Free Market-Place of Ideas. The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books please contact us, we need to give them back to America. **** **** Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 44


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