The Christian Foundation,
Scientific and Religious Journal
Vol. 1. No 6.
The Work of the Holy Spirit. What Is It? What Are Its Relations And Uses? Credibility Of The Evidence Of The Resurrection Of Christ. "Broad-Gauge Religion."—Shall The Conflict Cease? Papal Authority In The Bygone.—The Infidel's Amusing Attitude. "Even Now Are There Many Anti-Christs." What Is To Be The Religion Of The Future. Bill Of Indictments Against Protestants. A Summary Of Truth. Ethan Allen, The Infidel, And His Daughter. Truth Is Immortal.
THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. WHAT IS IT? WHAT ARE ITS RELATIONS AND USES?
I know of no religious people who intentionally deny his agency in creation, providence or redemption. But men differ widely in their opinions concerning it and its relations and uses. Many honest-hearted persons have been educated in the theory of an immediate and direct operation of the Spirit upon the hearts of sinners in order to their conversion, which they often call the baptism of the Holy Spirit. On this account thousands of prayers are offered up continually to induce the Lord to pour the Spirit upon sinners and convert and save them. And happy meetings are attributed to wonderful outpourings of the Spirit. What is his work? It is said that he moved upon the face of the great deep, and that God said, Let there be light, and there was light. This operation upon physical nature gave to our planet cosmic light, and the darkness, which had shut out the light of the heavenly bodies through the long lapse of time extending back from Moses' first day to the beginning in which creation took place, was removed. Activity having begun in matter, periods of light and darkness alternate until the conditions of our planet are so changed that the light of the heavenly bodies becomes the light of this world; and the great work of the Spirit having accomplished its purposes, is classified with the extraordinary efforts of God in bringing into existence this beautiful planetary system of ours. It is, consequently, a work of the past. But the work of the Spirit is not over.
There must be a moral and spiritual system, as well as a physical. As the material system would be unworthy of its creator, were it not for the fact that it is governed by law, which is equivalent to saying, it is a system, so the moral and spiritual must be under law, in order to the accomplishment of the ends of its creation, which is equal to saying, it is God's moral government. But how is this system to be brought into existence? And how is it to be perpetuated? In answering these questions let us remember the law of analogy, based upon the simple axiom that God is a God of order. In the use of the analogy about to be instituted we simply pass through the outer court of the temple of God in order to behold the beauties of the inner. Then, as the world of matter existed as an inactive, confused mass, surrounded by an envelope of darkness which shut out the light of the heavens, so the human family, without the knowledge of God, without the light of knowledge, left to its own mental and moral wanderings, without law or system or order, would present all the horrors of pagan darkness and woe. Then the Spirit of God must move again in obedience to the mandate of the Most High. And as the object to be accomplished is now connected with mind, the Spirit now moves upon the face of the great deep of the human heart or mind. But shall he move upon all hearts throughout all time in order to dispel moral darkness, and so the extraordinary become the ordinary? Or shall he move in an extraordinary manner and cause the light of revelation to flash across the world and dispel the darkness consequent upon the mental and moral condition of the children of men, and give us a glorious lamp of light, along with law, order and system? And has the extraordinary given place to the ordinary? And what is the use of the ordinary if we have the extraordinary, or the use of the extraordinary if we have the ordinary?
As the operation of the Spirit upon the face of the great deep was to dispel the surrounding darkness and reveal the sun in the heavens, with all the lesser light bearers, which are dependent upon the sun for the light they give to our planet, so the extraordinary movement of the Spirit upon the world of mind was to give us light in the place of darkness and reveal the Son of God, who is the "Sun of Righteousness," who rose "with healing in his beams." This work of the Spirit upon the world of mind is doubted by no Christian, for "holy men of old spake as they were moved upon by the Holy Spirit." The knowledge thus communicated was given to the prophets of old, without action upon their part—that is to say, they did not attain unto it by taking thought what they should speak or say, for in the proper hour, when it was needful, it was given to them. This grand procedure was kept up until the "Mystery of Christ" was revealed, or until the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ, burst upon the vision of the world. Now, he being the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of his person, and it having pleased the Father that in him all fullness should dwell, he is the "Light of the World"—God's great light bearer. Along with the revelation of Christ comes a revelation of all the lesser lights that shine out in the mental and moral heavens, who have been, and are, dependent upon him for their knowledge, or light. In order to give the world this revelation of Christ, Jehovah selected his own men, and confirmed their mission, and the Spirit moved upon their hearts to give light until the Christ, himself, with all his satellites, should shine forth in the light of life. These men were the ancient prophets of the "High and Holy One." They were teachers sent from God. Their mission was confirmed by the wondrous works which they were enabled to perform. Nicodemus understood this matter when he said, "Rabbi, we know thou art a teacher sent from God, for no man can do these works which thou dost except God be with him."
The little Jewish maiden who waited on Naaman's wife understood it, for she said to her, "Would to God my Lord were with the prophet in Samaria! for he would cure him of his leprosy." It is said of the disciples of Christ that they "went everywhere preaching the word, the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following." And also, that the great salvation, "which at the first began to be spoken unto us by the Lord, was confirmed unto us by those who heard him, God also bearing them witness both with signs and wonders, and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit." And that the apostles preached the gospel with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven.
It was communicated to the prophets and apostles by the Savior, and to the world at large through them. As proof of this proposition Peter says, "The prophets searched diligently with reference to the time which the Spirit of Christ, that was in them, did signify when it testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ and of the glory which should follow." It was an important work for Christ to teach his apostles, and when they had heard him through all his toils they were not suffered to go forth, or shine as stars in the church's crown, until they were moved upon by the Spirit of God to bring to their remembrance those things which Jesus had taught them. But one other course could have been pursued, and there were insurmountable difficulties in the way of its adoption, and that was to make the extraordinary ordinary by causing the Holy Spirit to move upon all hearts throughout all time, and give to each member of the race, regardless of his character and the manner in which he might abuse it, the entire revelation. The first difficulty is in the fact that wicked men who wilfully deceive would have confronted the best men upon the earth, and confusion without remedy would have been the result of leaving our world without a common and infallible test.
Another difficulty appears, in the fact that it would have compromised the purity of God through the presence of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of all the vile and abominable sinners of earth. There was one way to avoid these results, and that was to irresistibly destroy all disposition in human hearts to have their own way, and so remain unworthy of the presence of the Divine Spirit; but this would have been a complete destruction of moral freedom along with all the principles of accountability, and consequently a destruction of God's moral government. Moral freedom was so sacred with God that "the spirit of the prophets was subject to the prophet." Hence, the importance of the searcher of hearts choosing his own prophets out from among men. "God, who in ancient times and diverse manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath, in these last days, spoken unto us by his son." The Lord of Hosts guarded this great work with reference to the deliverance of man by the most severe penalty. The law governing the prophets was in these words: "And that prophet which shall speak a word in my name which I commanded him not, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die." He guarded his own infinite and spotless purity. While he was "in the generation of the righteous, he was far from the wicked." So there was always, from the time of Adam's offense till the present such a thing as being "without God."
When the Jewish people became apostate in the times of Malachi, who was the last Old Testament prophet, the Holy Spirit left the world. The proof is in the Savior's words to his disciples: "If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you." And one of the witnesses said, "The Holy Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified." During the long night of apostacy between Malachi and Zechariah, there was a time when "all were gone out of the way;" "when there were none that did good, no, not one;" "when darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people;" when they had not so much as "the dayspring from on high, to give knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins." "The temple of God was a den of thieves." The commandments of God were made void through the traditions of men, and there was not a people upon the earth prepared for the Lord, worthy of his introduction among them AS THE SON OF GOD. The dignity of his person, consequent upon his being the Son of God, along with his purity, rendered it improper for him to be manifested, in his introduction as the Son of God, to a den of thieves. So a people must be prepared for the occasion. Hence John the Baptist was sent from God to prepare or make ready a people for the Lord. He was the "dayspring from on high," sent to give knowledge of salvation unto the people by the remission of their sins, but the ultimate of his work is expressed in these words: "But that he, Christ, might be made manifest unto Israel, therefore came I baptizing with water." Which was as much as to say, He will not be made manifest to Israel unless a people in Israel is made ready for him. Therefore John was his forerunner, to prepare the way before him.
In doing this work he proclaimed the kingdom of God is at hand, and "preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." And many people were prepared for the Lord, and finally he is acknowledged, from the eternal world, as the Son of God, while he is yet in the presence of all those who were present at his baptism and heard John say, "Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world." The Savior now calls about him twelve disciples, and they make and baptize many more disciples. John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, as prophets, were under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and were engaged in the grandest work ever known among men. But, so far as a wicked world was concerned, it must be redeemed from moral pollution first, and then await the day of Pentecost for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Thus keeping before our minds his relations to men, we ask what was his work and relations from Pentecost and onward? On that day he came upon the disciples, who were already converted and pardoned; so it was not for those purposes that they were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Jesus had said to them, long before this, "Now ye are clean through the words which I have spoken unto you." And the wicked Jews had "closed their eyes and stopped their ears, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and be converted and healed." And Satan himself took the word out of the hearts of some "lest they should believe and be saved."
And all this took place before the Holy Spirit was given to any, whether good or bad. So we must look outside of sinners for the presence and wonderful work of the Spirit of God, and also outside of their conversion for its immediate and direct agency. Jesus said to his disciples, "If I go away I will send you ANOTHER comforter, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world can not receive." And again, he said, "Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he shall guide you into all truth." "He will show you things to come." "He shall take of the things of mine and shall show them unto you." "He shall testify of me." Does this look like extraordinary work? Was it to be continued? Did it not belong to a creative period, that was to be followed by the existence of a system, or government, in which law and order would take the place of the extraordinary operations of the Spirit of God?
I wish to present the promise of God which relates to the baptism of the disciples in the Holy Spirit upon Pentecost, that we may discover, upon an analysis of its terms, its nature and place in the reign of favor. It is in these words: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my spirit; and they shall prophesy." Jesus gave his disciples the great commission to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, but said, "Tarry ye in Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high." After the Savior ascended it is said that he received the promise of the Father and shed forth that which was seen and heard on the day of Pentecost. What was the result? They spake with tongues. They prophesied. They healed the sick. They raised the dead. They bestowed spiritual gifts. They were guided into all truth. They "preached the gospel with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven;" and in this fact we have the beautiful figure of rivers of living water flowing out of their hearts, for Jesus said, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly (From the Heart, inward part) shall flow rivers of living water." This, the historian says, "He spake of the spirit which they that believed on him were to receive, because the Holy Spirit was not yet given, for Jesus was not yet glorified." Hence, we are authorized to look for its fulfillment at Pentecost, and also in the preaching of the gospel of Christ. Paul says, "My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." Here is the basis of our faith.
All those who believe on Christ through the words of the apostles have a faith that stands in the power of God. The apostle further adds, "Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual." Before the Savior left the world he breathed upon his apostles and said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit," adding, "Whosesoever sins ye remit they are remitted unto them, and whosesoever sins ye retain they are retained." So it pleased the Father to "save men through the foolishness of preaching." And Paul said, "We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus's sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
The mystery of Christ was revealed to all nations for the obedience of faith. Paul says, the mystery of God's will was made known according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself, and that he was "made a minister according to the dispensation of God which was given to him for us, to fulfill the word of God, even the mystery which had been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints. To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." "Whereunto," he says, "I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." From all that we have before us it appears that all things in the gospel of Jesus Christ constitute, simply, "the ministration of the Spirit written upon the hearts of New Testament apostles and prophets, or teachers, by the Spirit of the living God, and that we have in their preaching and teaching the rivers of living water, flowing out from the throne of God to slake the thirst of a famishing world, and that all this is attributable to the descent of the Holy Spirit upon them." Such being the case, "the gospel is the power of God unto salvation unto every one that believes." And in it Jesus Christ, the Sun and Lord, in the moral and spiritual universe, shines forth with all his satellites as the light of the world. The creative period is now past. The extraordinary efforts of the divine Spirit are past. "The darkness is past and the true light now shineth." The ordinary has taken the place of the extraordinary. What good would it do to have a repetition of the extraordinary? Would it give us another gospel, and confirm it by signs and wonders and divers miracles? Would it give us another Christ? Would it give us other rivers of living water? or another word of reconciliation? What good would be accomplished by a repetition of the energies of the Divine Spirit, as they are known in the history of the new creation? Do we need these to dispel the darkness? "The darkness is past." Do we need them to give us light? "The true light now shineth." Do we need them to give us more truth? Jesus said of the Spirit: "He shall guide you into all truth." The Roman Catholic priest, in his discussion with Mr. Chillingworth, planted himself upon this promise, made by the Savior to his apostles, as the proof of the claim of Romanists to the attribute of infallibility. Said he: "If the attribute of infallibility is not in the possession of the church, the promise of the Savior has failed." To this Mr. Chillingworth replied: "It would be well for us to determine who is meant by the pronoun 'you,' found in the language, before we put up the high claim to infallibility." The promise was fulfilled to a jot, and we have the "all truth" in the teachings of the apostles. Let those who extend that promise to themselves meet the Catholics' argument upon it and save themselves if they can. We now enjoy the Spirit of God through faith along with all the beneficial, practical and comforting and redeeming results of the baptism of the apostles and first Christians in the Holy Spirit. What more do we need? Faith lays hold upon Christ; upon the Holy Spirit; and upon God. The just live by faith, and drink of the rivers that flow from the great fountain of the Holy Spirit, which was created in the hearts of the apostles and New Testament teachers. The effects of their baptism in the Spirit are ours through faith. And all the world may have them through faith. They are free to all. The government of God is now set up. Order and law reigns throughout. Jesus said, "So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground, and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how, for the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." The kingdom of God now bringeth forth fruit of herself, the good seed, the word of God, having been cast into it. Its glorious blessings are open to all men. The prophet says: "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come, ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live.... Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." "The Spirit and the bride say come, and let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will let him take of the waters of life freely." Yes, freely. There is no obstruction. All are without excuse.
CREDIBILITY OF THE EVIDENCE OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST.
Our senses are the means by which we were made competent witnesses. They are the bed-rock of evidence. We know facts and truths, both comprehensible and incomprehensible, by the same means. We are as competent to testify of that which we do not comprehend as we are to testify of the most ordinary fact. As competent to bear testimony to the fact of a sweeping tornado as to the fact of a gentle breeze. As competent to bear testimony to the fact that water freezes and becomes hard as to testify to the truth of its being a fluid. As competent to testify to a fact that we never before experienced as to one that we have. Without this competency no man could be justly held responsible for slander or perjury.
We gain knowledge by means of our senses, and all lying and perjury is outside of our senses, having no connection with them. We can, in truth, testify to that which we have seen, heard, tasted, smelt or felt, and to such only. That which somebody else thus witnessed may be testified by him, but not by me, unless I, too, was connected with it by means of my senses. Wise men may be deceived in some things, but fools can not be deceived in others. Things addressing themselves to our senses are things about which we can not be so deceived as to truthfully deny that they ever occurred. I know a live man when I see him by the same means I know a dead man.
Being competent to bear witness to a new fact, to one heretofore unexperienced, I would have been competent to bear witness to the death, burial and resurrection of the Christ, in case I had lived in his day, and had been as familiar with him as his witnesses. By which I mean to say, they were competent witnesses; every way qualified to know assuredly whether the Savior rose from the dead. They could not be deceived about the matter. They were not. If they were honest men they told the truth, for they say, We saw, and heard, and our hands have handled. Then the entire Christian religion, with its immortal blessings, stands or falls upon the honesty of the Savior's witnesses. Martyrdom has been universally conceded to be an evidence of sincerity; there may be a few exceptions to this general rule, but even they are not parallel cases. There is a story of a man who endured with great fortitude all the tortures of the rack, denying the fact with which he was charged. When he was asked afterwards how he could hold out against all the tortures, he said: I painted a gallows on the toe of my shoe, and when the rack stretched me, I looked on the gallows, and bore the pain to save my life. This man denied a plain fact under torture, but he did it to save his life.
When criminals persist in denying their crimes they do it with the hope of saving their lives. Such cases are not parallel. Who ever heard of persons dying willingly in attestation of a false fact? Can we be made to believe that any set of rational men could be found who would willingly die in attestation of the false fact that the President of the United States is now on the throne of England? The witnesses of Christ died in attestation of those facts which they say they saw, and heard, and knew, among which was the great fact of the resurrection of Christ. It was their privilege to quit their evidence, at any instant, and save their lives, but they did not do it. Who can account for this strange course of conduct upon the ground of dishonesty?
If a man reports an uncommon fact that is a plain object of sense, and we do not believe him, it is because we suspect his honesty and not his senses. If we are satisfied that the reporter is sincere, of course we believe. So our case is now in this shape: First, the great facts of the gospel of Christ addressed themselves, as simple facts, to the senses of men; second, no witness could affirm those facts honestly unless they took place; third, the witnesses to those facts gave all the evidences of sincerity and honesty that are possible. Reputation for truthfulness and honesty has never rested upon any evidence that is not found in great abundance in the lives of the witnesses of Christ. It is said that men die for false opinions: very true, but their sufferings and death, nevertheless, prove that they were sincere. True philosophy does not charge men who die for their opinions with dishonesty. Men may be mistaken in some things, but mistaken men are not cheats; are not insincere or dishonest. But the witnesses of Christ could not, in the nature of the case, belong to this class; they could not be mistaken about any such facts as those of the gospel. The only fort to be held in order to hold the gospel of Christ is the sincerity of his witnesses. When a man gets rid of the evidence upon which the reputation of those witnesses for honesty rests, he has removed the only evidence upon which it is possible for him to build a reputation for truth and honesty. So, if a man succeeds in sinking the gospel of Christ, he succeeds, at the same time and by the same means, in sinking himself. This is the philosophic and logical conclusion, from which there is no escape.
Let us look around one of the Savior's witnesses and see what we can discover. First, we find Saul, a bold and fearless Jew, a Roman citizen by birth, and a pharisee in the Jews religion; a legalist by profession; laboring under all the prejudices of the straitest sect of the pharisees; persecuting the Savior's disciples to the death. He was a man of no mean attainments. His worldly prospects were greater than those of any other man known to be converted from among the Jews. The testimony which he submits for our consideration is like the evidence of all the others. It consists in simple facts about which there was no possibility of being mistaken, for the facts were seen and heard. Allowing that Saul did neither see nor hear the Savior, he was insincere. And if he was, then we shall always be at a loss to know what constitutes the basis of an honest reputation. Did he give his evidence, knowing that it was false, with the intention of deceiving? If so, what were his motives? He could have had no reasonable inducements. Christianity could not furnish him with temporal power, credit, or interest during all his lifetime. So far as credit was concerned, in the affair of his conversion, he knew that the world had none to give. He knew that preaching Christ crucified was "to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness." He knew that the Christ himself had been crucified. Credit or reputation was lying upon the anti-christian side of the gospel. He was already in high esteem among the Jews; a "ring-leader," pursuing the course of action calculated in the very nature of things to advance him higher in their estimation. His entire life demonstrated the fact that he expected nothing of the Jews, for it was spent, with trifling exceptions, among the Gentiles. His enterprise was with them, for he was sent to them.
The difficulties lying in the way of any worldly emoluments were many and great. He had to contend with the authority and policy of the rulers; with the interest, credit and clique of the priests; with the prejudices and passions of the people; with the shrewdness and pride of the philosophers. Every man acquainted with ancient history knows that the established religion with which he would necessarily come in conflict, was interwoven with their civil institution, and supported by the rulers as an essential part of their government. The Romans allowed a great many religious systems to exist, but they allowed no such thing as a religion destructive of the genius of paganism. The existing religions were many, and embraced the system of many gods ruling under one "Master God," as "his members," or representatives. The antagonism between Paganism and Christianity may be seen at once, in the fact that the Gospel of Christ was death to all the lower gods. On this account the first Christians became at once the object of national hatred and scorn. This accounts for the fact that bloody Rome baptized herself in Christian blood in spite of all her tolerance of religion.
The apostle met with sufferings on all sides; and having perfect liberty of recantation at any moment, how did it come to pass, if he was insincere, that he did not recant? Was he rational? Let his writing answer! They are admired by the best minds of earth. If he was irrational, let us have many more insane writers! Was he honest? If not, who is honest? Could he be deceived about the facts which he saw and heard? No! If he was, who can't be? He could not be mistaken, for he saw, and heard, and felt—even to blindness, and, also, to the receiving of his sight. He was sincere. He suffered long as a bold defender of the Christian religion, and died a martyr's death at last. Let us work on, suffer on, hope on, "hope in death," and live forever! So mote it be.
"BROAD-GAUGE RELIGION."—SHALL THE CONFLICT CEASE?
First. "A portion of the Church of England, comprising those who claim to hold a position, in respect to doctrine and fellowship, intermediate between the old High Church party and the modern Low Church, or evangelical party, a term of recent origin," having originated in the last half century, "which has been loosely applied to other bodies of men holding liberal or comprehensive views of Christian doctrine and fellowship."—Webster.
Side by side with these various shades of High and Low Church, another party of a different character has always existed in the Church of England. It is called by different names: Moderate, Catholic, or Broad Church, by its friends: Latitudinarian or Indifferent, by its enemies. Its distinctive character is the desire of comprehension. Its watchwords are charity and toleration.—Conybeare.
Broadgauge. This word is connected, in its origin, with railroads. Its radical idea is that of distance. It is credited by Webster to Simmonds in these words, "A wide distance (usually six or seven feet) between the rails on a railway, in contradistinction from the narrow gauge of four feet eight inches and a half." The watch-word, "charity," is a term that has been much abused. "Charity is a grace of heavenly mien." It is the "end of the commandment." "The law was not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless, and the disobedient, etc." It is love, in the New Testament sense of the term, as modified by all the essential elements of the Christian religion, so it is "the fulfilling of the law." It is not passion, but affection. To my sensuous life all my passions belong. The brute has also a sensuous life. But man has, in addition to this, an intellectual life. Passion always passes away with its object, but affection remains to soften the heart years after its object is gone.
My intellectual nature is the field of all legitimate gospel operations with reference to the production of a Christian life and character. As a divine affection, charity or love springs out of union with God, or being made a "partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lusts." Such being the height of its bed-rock, it is said, "Every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God." And it is also said, "He that saith I know him and keepeth not his commandments is a liar." This strong language correlates with the fact that charity expresses the idea of love as an attribute of divine life, known as the life of God. It is an attribute belonging to those who have made the high attainment of a spiritual or mental condition which places them beyond the need of penal laws to restrain them from crime. Its measure is the love of God. Its full import may be expressed in these words, loving as God loves.
After enumerating many of the Christian graces an apostle said, Above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. So charity, or rather its possessor, is no willful truth "butcherer," for charity believeth all things (or all truth); hopeth all things (promised); rejoiceth, not in iniquity, but in the truth. It has no "stock" in known error, for it "abounds in all knowledge and judgment," and "approves things that are excellent." It is noble and right to let "love," or "charity have her perfect work," to be, or rather try to be, as charitable as God himself; but it is absurd and preposterous to go beyond or try to be more charitable. "It is enough that the disciple be as his master."
Men are guilty of this presumption when they, in feigned charity, go beyond the word of the Lord, or beyond the truth in their expressions of kindness.
There is a great deal of love in this world that lacks the elements of perfectness. It is not the "love of God," or loving as God loves. It is not the attribute of a divine life. There is no charity in influencing a person, willfully, to stop short or go beyond the truth in Christian faith or obedience. There is no charity in giving a man money knowingly to purchase whisky to get drunk upon. Charity never conflicts with truth or right. On the contrary, it endeavors to bring all men to the standard of truth and rectitude.
The phrase "Broad-gauge" seems to have been gotten up to express the idea of an intelligent relaxation from "human creeds" as bonds of union and fellowship. In this sense we all ought to be the advocates of "Broad-gauge religion." We should cultivate the spirit of gospel liberality until we utterly disregard and put away all human creeds.
It is a trite saying, that one extreme begets another; against this error we should guard with great caution. To succeed in religion, we must remember, always, that we have in the word of God a standard of truth and right that will always govern us according to heaven's will. Many persons, forgetting this truth, have been led to conclude that departures from the word of truth, as a matter of "liberality," or "broad-gauge religion," are justifiable. And, as "liberalists," or "broad-gauge Christians," they are disposed to recognize all the existing divisions in faith and practice that are known in Christendom. They even go further and allow that somehow all are right, and will stand upon an equality in the righteous judgement of God. This is not perfect love. Charity, over and above a kindly feeling towards those who are in error, is unfaithfulness to the truth, to God, and to the very best interests of our humanity. It is, in all such cases, love run mad! A man should never get so broad in his religion as to be unfaithful to truth.
The phraseology has also been appropriated by skeptics and semi-infidels to popularize their own semi-infidel philosophy, which they love to denominate "free thought." Deists, Pantheists and Atheists have seized upon the phrase and appropriated it to their ungodly speculations. It is true that others, in getting away from their old creeds, have run past the standard of truth and right. All this wildness in the standardless field of thought, where Hobbes and other infidels reveled, without any guide save the civil law, has been denominated "Broad-gauge religion," and "Liberalism."
We should always remember that going beyond the truth and the eternal laws of right is libertinism or lawlessness.
"Charity," extending, or reaching out thus, is no longer "charity," or "perfect love." Such expressions of love are misdirected, and, if knowingly done, are blameworthy. Charity is governed by the perfect law of truth; when it is not destitute of its own divine nature it conducts us in the "straight and narrow way."
"Long as of life the joyous hours remain, Let on this head unfading flowers reside, There bloom the vernal rose's earliest pride; And when, our flames commissioned to destroy, Age step 'twixt Love and me, and intercept the joy; When my changed these locks no more shall know, And all its petty honors turn to snow; Then let me rightly spell of Nature's ways; To Providence, to him my thoughts I'd raise, And love as he throughout remaining days."
We should cherish a kind feeling for all our fellows, and in doing this we should not forget our duty to point them to truth in word and example, to be ever faithful to truth.
There are two great fields of thought for the exercise of the Christian intellect of the present times. One is the corruptions of Roman Catholic religion, and the other is the corruptions of Protestant religions.
That both are great feeder-dams to infidelity and skepticism is demonstrated by the infidel productions of the day. The dogma of ecclesiastic authority set up in opposition to reason and scientific discovery is the infidel's devil, and a very poor devil at that. For, when the Pope has interfered to settle a question it has often happened that his decisions were wrong.
On March 5, 1616, the congregation of the Index published a decree condemning as "false, unscriptural and destructive of Catholic truth," the opinion that the earth moves round the sun. It is denied by Roman theologians that Paul IV., who set the Index at work and agreed with its decisions, was responsible for this decree, but the preponderance of evidence is against them. It is known that this Pope presided in a congregation of the Inquisition on February 25, 1616, in which, after this same opinion, that the sun is the center of our universe, had been described as "absurd, philosophically false and formally heretical, because expressly contrary to holy scripture;" and the opinion that the earth is not the center of the universe, but moves, and that daily, "absurd, philosophically false, and, theologically considered, at least erroneous in faith;" Cardinal Bellamine was appointed to visit Galileo, the astronomer, and order him to give up these false opinions under pain of imprisonment for refusal. It was thus that the congregation of the Index took action and published its decree a week later.
In 1633 Galileo, having continued to propagate his views, was called on by the Inquisition to retract and abjure, and the formal notice to him to do so states expressly that the declaration of 1616 was made by the Pope himself, and that resistance to it was, therefore, heresy, contrary to the doctrine of the Catholic and Apostolic Church. On being brought to trial, Galileo made a formal abjuration, and on June 30th Pope Urban VIII. ordered the publication of the sentence, thereby, according to Roman ecclesiastical law, making Galileo's compulsory denial of the earth's motion binding on all Christians as a theological doctrine. Infidels have a vast deal to say about such an abominable manifestation of ecclesiastic tyranny and unscientific and unscriptural nonsense. All intelligent Roman Catholics of to-day reject the judgment of Popes Paul IV. and Urban VIII. as absurd, and scientifically and scripturally false. There is not so much as a hint at papal authority found in the three old creeds known as the Apostles', the Nicene and the Athanasian, nor in any ancient gloss upon them. Neither can we find in them any of the distinguishing special doctrines of the Church of Rome.
Christianity came from the hands of Christ and his apostles in all its perfections, and as long as infidels stop short of the New Testament itself, and short of Christ and his apostles, in their warfare, we may well believe that all their efforts to blot out Christianity will be vain. Protestants themselves have demurred as much as infidels against the errors of the Roman Catholic Church, and fully as much against the errors of each other as denominations. "Truth stands true to her God, man alone deviates."
The greatest difficulty that Christianity ever encountered is the ignorance and imperfections of its own friends. Protestant errors are many and serious. But why should the genuine be discarded on account of the existence of the counterfeit? And why should we shut our eyes to the importance of the great work of establishing truth, to the destruction of all Catholic and Protestant errors of faith and practice by becoming the advocates of false charity through the adoption of "broad-gauge religion," in a "broad-gauge church?" Infidels who, like Col. Ingersoll, assert that "no man can control his belief," had better look in a glass and see themselves as others see them, before they _strive to_ conquer a victory for the _black _ demon_ of despair, by fastening the absurd philosophy of _fatalism_ upon all the world. If men can not help their belief, who is to blame? Surely, neither Roman Catholics, nor Protestants, nor those who managed "thumbscrews" and "hot irons," and other condemned instruments of the dark ages, nor yet those who now live to be the "butt" of Colonel Ingersoll's satire and ridicule. A kind feeling for all, and unfaithfulness to the truth—never!
PAPAL AUTHORITY IN THE BYGONE.—THE INFIDEL'S AMUSING ATTITUDE.
The doctrine of papal infallibility amounts to this: that the decisions of the Pope on faith and morals, being divinely inspired and infallible, are, when placed upon record, so much more holy Scripture. This infallibility dogma has been a great source of mischief and of unbelief. It has accomplished no good, but a great deal of harm. Some Roman theologians claim that the Popes have only once, up to the present time, spoken with the formalities necessary to make their utterances "ex cathedra" and infallibly binding, and that was when Pius the Ninth, on December 8, 1854, decreed the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary; which, if true, belongs to the realm of unpractical speculation. It was denied as heresy by orthodox Catholics, including fourteen Popes, for a thousand years, and is contrary to the well-nigh "unanimous consent of the fathers." See Dr. Pusey, Letter 1, to Newman, pp. 72-286. To use such an engine but once in all the centuries, and then to accomplish so little, aside from furnishing infidels with something to say, is much like constructing a vessel of twenty thousand tons capacity to carry one man across the Atlantic. There is such a thing as Parthenogenesis known in nature. The Vatican decrees declare that the Christian religion came perfect from God's hands; that it is not like a human science, such as medicine or mechanics, which can be improved or altered by the skill of man. In view of this conceded fact we have no kind of use for the decree of Pius the Ninth upon the "miraculous conception"—"Pope Pius decreed it." Well, well, if Christianity really stood in need of such a decree it would not have been left off until December 8, 1854. It has been a bone for infidels to contend over from that time to the present. The New Testament is not responsible for it.
Men of sense, who are not already traditionized nor Christianized, find facts enough in the line of papal bulls and decrees to disgust them so thoroughly as to drive them at once to reject religion entirely. Sixtus the V., in 1590, declared, by a perpetual decree, an edition of the Vulgate, just then out, the sole authentic and standard text, to be received as such under pain of excommunication. He also decreed that future editions not conformed to it should have no credit nor authority. But its errors were so numerous that it was immediately called in, and a new Vulgate was published by Clement VIII., in 1592, differing, in several thousand places, from the one of 1590. This last publication was also issued under penalty of excommunication for any departure from it. So Roman Catholic faith rests very largely upon the assumed authority of the Pope, and this authority has often been exercised in the wrong, they themselves being witnesses. This authority, opposed to human progress, has been and is one of the greatest feeders to Atheism and infidelity. Mr. Draper, in his work entitled "Conflict between Religion and Science," wishes his readers to understand that he uses the term Christianity in the sense of Roman Catholicism. The entire work is one grand scientific effort against popecraft and priestcraft. His work is well worth a reading; but it is to be remembered by all who would do Mr. Draper justice that his great antagonist is the Roman Catholic Church. Will she defend herself against the charge of being in conflict with science? Is she in the way of human progress? How does she compare with Protestants in morality and virtue?
Let us give you a few figures, by the way of negative evidence, upon the question of comparative morality, remembering that it is a sad necessity of our nature to have to determine which of us has the least of moral miseries in order that we may know which has the most of virtue. Let this be as it may, these moral miseries show themselves under two principal phases, acts of profligacy and acts of violence; corrupt manners and assassinations. Here is what we read in Jonnes:
Assassinations And Attempts To Assassinate In Europe.
Protestant—Scotland, 1835, 1 for 270,000 Protestant—England, 1 for 178,000 Protestant—Low Countries, 1824, 1 for 163,000 Protestant—Prussia, 1824, 1 for 100,000 Catholic States—Austria, 1809, 1 for 57,000 Catholic—Spain, 1826, 1 for 4,113 Catholic—Naples, 1 for 2,750 Catholic—Roman States, 1 for 750
Jonnes, vol. 2, p. 257.
Now, if we take the average, we have one assassination, or one attempt to assassinate, for 180,222 inhabitants in the aggregate of the four Protestant nations; and one assassination, or one attempt to assassinate, for 16,153 inhabitants in the four Catholic nations; in other words, eleven times more of these crimes among the Roman Catholic nations. The contrast between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries in Spain is so very striking, and is painted by a writer in such lively colors that one is tempted to believe that the picture was intended to serve as a demonstration.
"Spain is a dispossessed queen. For two hundred years and more diamonds have been falling from her glittering crown. The source of her wealth, well or ill-gotten, is exhausted forever. Her treasures are lost, her colonies are gone; she is deprived of the prestige of that external opulence which veiled, or, at least dissembled her real and utter poverty. The nation is exhausted to such a degree, and has been so long unhappy, that each individual feels but his own misery. His country has ceased to exist for him. Even those time are gone when the guerillas called the citizens to arms for the sole and generous purpose of vindicating the national honor. The despondency and apathy of the nation are visible even in the battles fought by the Spaniards among themselves in their civil dissensions. They fight from habit, and discharge their muskets at their countrymen because they can do nothing else, and because every shot from their guns may bring them a piece of bread. A nation reduced to such a state is low indeed; the chilliness of death is very near seizing upon its extremities. What a length of time it will require to heal the wounds of these populations, so brave and so devoted! How much gold, how much blood have been lavished during the last seven years without an object, without any conceived plan!
"What would Charles the Fifth say, if, rising from his grave he saw his great and glorious Spain struggling thus miserably in dread uncertainty of her future destinies? 'Where are my colonies? Where are my Batavian provinces? Where is my gigantic power, and the glory of Spain, which resounded from one hemisphere to the other? What have you done with my inheritance, ye cowardly and unskillful men? Where are my treasures; where the victorious fleets that crossed the ocean to bring back in profusion to my empire the gold and gems of the New World?' The question naturally arises, what can be the cause of so many evils? of such utter misery, such extreme ignorance, such disgusting sloth?
"Tyranny, says the politician.
"Catholicism, says the Protestant.
"The Inquisition, adds the historian.
"But these three replies form but one; they are the three sides of a prism, which, united, give the entire ray of truth. In truth, Catholicism is the father, the Inquisition and tyranny the daughters. We are not the first to pen these words; we only repeat what we have read in the lines we are now going to submit to the perusal of our readers. It is sufficient for us to have pointed out the connection of the different causes which will be assigned by our authorities.
"That Catholicism produced the Inquisition, a tribunal of priests, judging heretics, it is unnecessary to demonstrate, for the very nature of the institution renders it evident. The ruling idea of Catholicism, the principle of authority, was the germ of the Inquisition. It was impossible that the Romish Church should not extend its principle to its penal code; it does not doubt in matters of faith, neither does it doubt in criminal matters. This is the reason why, in the church, the accused and the guilty have but one and the same appellation. Whoever is arraigned at her tribunal has heaven and earth against him; the interrogatory is already a species of torture. When the church accuses, she seems already convinced; all her efforts tend to extort the confession of the crime, which, in virtue of her infallibility, she discovers in darkness; from this anticipated conviction of the guilt of the accused are produced all those ambushes and snares laid for the purpose of obtaining, by surprise, the confession of the accused. The names of the witnesses are concealed or falsified. Everywhere, in the most trifling details, it is strikingly evident that, truth is on one side, and the demon on the other." [See Tardiff, pp. 139, 140.]
In the second place, that Catholicism has produced the Spanish absolutism of the Catholic kings is sufficiently shown by the very name given to these kings.
"Another no less deplorable consequence of the position of the clergy in Spain and Portugal is, that they have no sooner confounded the cause of religion with that of despotism, than this error, producing its consequences, leads to a monstrous abuse of the word of God. Political fury has invaded the pulpit and stained it with abject and sacrilegious adulation.... The lips, whose mission is to speak peace, charity and mutual love, have spoken the language of hatred and vengeance; horrible vows, abominable threats in the presence of the tabernacles in which abides the Son of Man, who sacrificed his life for the salvation of his brethren." [Affairs de Rome, pp. 250 to 254.]
"Spain, since Phillip II., has remained closed and uninfluenced by the ordinary progress of the human mind elsewhere. The monkish and despotic spirit has long preserved itself in the midst of ignorance, without, indeed, acquiring strength from abroad, but at the same time without permitting the intelligence of the nation to borrow foreign arms against it." [Idem, p. 53.]
We shall now see this Spanish Catholicism at work; for three centuries, assisted by its worthy offspring, absolutism and the Inquisition, and at every ruin, at every crime you meet with, if you ask who has done this, the reply will assuredly be: the church of the Pope, the tyranny of the Catholic kings, the Inquisition of the priests. To convince yourselves of the fact, you need only put your questions and listen to the records of history, written not by us, but by men of talent and skill, who have long enjoyed unquestionable authority.
The expulsion of the Jews and the Moors was the first fruit of the Catholic Inquisition. "Spain," says M. Roseew Saint Hilaire, "exterminated them forever as poisonous plants from its soil, mortal to heresy. The Jews and the Moors left it in turn, carrying with them, the former trade, the latter agriculture, from this disinherited land, to which the New World, to repair so many losses, vainly bequeathed her sterile treasures. And let it not be said that Spain, in thus depriving herself of her most active citizens, was not aware of the extent of her loss. All her historians concur in the statement that in acting thus she sacrificed her temporal interests to her religious convictions, and all are at a loss for words to extol such a glorious sacrifice.
"In banishing the Jews from her territory, Spain, then acted consistently; her conduct was logically just, but according to that pitiless logic which ruins States in order to save a principle. From that period, therefore, a new era begins for Castile. Until then she had been divided from the rest of Europe only by her position; foreign, without being hostile, to the ideas of the continent, she had not begun to wage war with those ideas; but the establishment of the Inquisition is the first step in the career in which she can never stop." [Saint Hilaire, vol. 6, p. 52.]
"It required," says M. Sismondi, "about one generation to accustom the Spaniards to the sanguinary proceedings of the Inquisition, and to fanaticise the people. This work, dictated by an infernal policy, was scarcely accomplished, when Charles the Fifth began his reign. It was probably the fatal spectacle of the auto-dae-fe that imparted to the Spanish soldiers their ferocity, so remarkable during the whole of that period, which before that time was so foreign to the national character." [Sismondi, vol. 3, p. 265.] Who, employing these instruments, depopulated Spain? THE INQUISITION. "To calculate," says Liorente, secretary to the Holy office, "the number of victims of the Inquisition were to give palpable proof of the most powerful and active causes of the depopulation of Spain; for, if to several millions of inhabitants of which the Inquisitorial system has deprived this kingdom by the total expulsion of the Jews, the conquered Moors and the baptized Moorish, we add about 500,000 families entirely destroyed by the executions of the Holy (?) office, it will be proved beyond a doubt that had it not been for this tribunal, and the influence of its maxims, Spain would possess 12,000,000 souls above her present population, supposed to amount to 11,000,000." [Liorente, vol. 4, p. 242.]
"The Inquisition ruined and branded with infamy more than 340,000 persons, whose disgrace was reflected on their families, and who bequeathed only opprobrium and misery to their children. Add to these more than 100,000 families who emigrated in order to escape from the blood-thirsty tribunal, and it will be seen that the Inquisition has been the most active instrument of the ruin of Spain. But the most disastrous of all the acts which it occasioned was the expulsion of the Moors. If we add to those who were banished from Spain the countless numbers who perished in the insurrection of the sixteenth century, and the 800,000 Jews who left the kingdom, it will be seen that the country lost in the course of a hundred and twenty years about three millions of its most industrious inhabitants." [Weiss, vol. 2, pp. 60, 61.]
"The advisors of Phillip III. said to him with affright: The houses are falling in ruins, and none rebuild them; the inhabitants flee from the country; villages are abandoned, fields left uncultivated, and churches deserted. The Cortes in their turn said to him: if the evil is not remedied, there will soon be no peasants left to till the ground, no pilots to steer the ships; none will marry. The kingdom can not subsist another century if a wholesome remedy be not found."
What was the cause of the ignorance so general and so profound in Spain? The Catholic Inquisition. "The commissaries of the Holy office received orders to oppose the introduction of books written by the partisans of modern philosophy, as reprobated by Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and ordered information to be given against persons known to be attached to the principles of the insurrection." [Liorente, vol. 4, p. 99.] "Theological censures attacked even works on politics, and on natural, civil and international law. The consequence is, that those appointed to examine publications condemn and proscribe all works necessary for the diffusion of knowledge among the Spaniards. The books that have been published on mathematics, astronomy, natural philosophy and several other branches of science connected with those, are not treated with more favor." [Liorente, vol. 4, p. 420.] "The Inquisition is, perhaps, the most active cause of that intellectual death that visited Spain at the close of the seventeenth century.... It encouraged ignorance, and instituted a censorship even for works on jurisprudence, philosophy, and politics, and for novels that reflected on the avarice and rapacity of the priests, their dissolute conduct, and their hypocricy." [Weiss, vol. 2, pp. 319 to 321.] "Lastly, if it be asked what has corrupted the morals both of the clergy and the laity of the former times and of the present day, the answer is still, Catholic superstition!" [Napoleon Roussell.]
Infidels, who are noted leaders in "Free Thought," as it is termed, are invariably men whose religious education was in the religious literature of the old creeds of centuries gone by, or otherwise in the religious literature of Roman Catholicism. They live in thought upon religious matters centuries behind the times, but, in scientific thought, are too well informed to adhere to their religious training. Such is the philosophy of infidel making. Let a man be trained in the obsolete religions of an hundred years or more ago, and otherwise well educated, and he is, at once, an infidel. No man is to blame for setting his face like a flint against old-fashioned Roman Catholicism, and high-toned Calvinism, nor for repudiating Papal and clerical authority known in the Spanish Inquisition with all its horrible, unscriptural and ungodly barbarities. But why it is that the infidel's religious foot should set away back yonder in the smoke of the dark ages, and his scientific foot away down here with the railroad and telegraph, is rather difficult of solution. It is rather amusing, since all well-educated American Catholics condemn the Inquisition along with all the abominable cruelties of the dark ages. And, as for Calvinism, there is not enough left for seed if it was properly distributed—it is old and thin.
"EVEN NOW ARE THERE MANY ANTI-CHRISTS."
Col. Ingersoll says: "He (Paine) knew that every abuse had been embalmed in scripture, that every outrage was in partnership with some holy text." If such was really true every rascal, scoundrel and villain should carry a copy of the Bible. Do they? Are they in affinity with the Bible? Are they even friendly to it? Things that are in affinity with each other are drawn together. "A fellow feeling makes us very kind." "By their fruits ye shall know them." "Birds of a feather flock together."
Before the Bible went to the Sandwich Islands Col. Ingersoll would have been hailed as a very proper object for a sumptuous feast. He would have acted wisely in making his last will before starting, but now, since that book has gone there which embalms every crime (?) he would find an asylum of safety in which to repose his weary limbs. How is this? Is every outrage in partnership with some holy text? If so, the Bible would be just one more reason for the continuance of cannibalism. The secret of Mr. Ingersoll's tirade upon the Bible may be accounted for when we measure the magnitude of his infidelity. It is no shallow sort of unbelief, but, on the contrary, it is deep seated, and one with the infidelity of his excelling predecessors. Ingersoll intends to have no superior in unbelief—you know he is ambitious. Let us give you a little speech that was made, by one of his particular friends and co-laborers in this unholy crusade, at Geneva, in 1868. Here it is:
"Brethren, I am come to announce unto you a new gospel, which must penetrate to the very ends of the world. This gospel admits of no half measures and hesitations. The old world must be destroyed and replaced by a new one. The Lie must be stamped out and give way to truth.
"It is our mission to destroy the Lie; and to effect this, we must begin at the very commencement. Now the beginning of all those lies which have ground down this poor world in slavery is God. For many hundred years monarchs and priests have inoculated the hearts and minds of mankind with this notion of a God ruling over the world. They have also invented for the people the notion of another world, in which their God is to punish with eternal torture (not a Bible term) those who have refused to obey their degrading laws here on earth. This God is nothing but the personification of absolute tyranny, and has been invented with a view of either frightening or alluring nine-tenths of the human race into submission to the remaining tenth. If there were really a God, surely he would use that lightning which he holds in his hand to destroy those thrones, to the steps of which mankind is chained. He would assuredly use it to overthrow those altars where the truth is hidden by clouds of lying incense. Tear out of your hearts the belief in the existence of God; for as long as an atom of that silly superstition remains in your minds you will never know what freedom is."
This has the genuine Ingersoll ring upon the subject of "Liberty of Man, Woman and Child." "When you have got rid of this belief in this priest-begotten God, and when, moreover, you are convinced that your existence, and that of the surrounding world, is due to the conglomeration of atoms, in accordance with the law of gravity and attraction, then, and then only, you will have accomplished the first steps toward liberty, and will experience less difficulty in ridding your minds of that second lie which tyranny has invented.
"The first lie is God. The second lie is Right. Might invented the fiction of Right in order to insure and strengthen her reign; that Right which she herself does not heed, and which only serves as a barrier against any attacks which may be made by the trembling and stupid masses of mankind.
"Might, my friends, forms the sole ground-work of society. Might makes and unmakes laws, and that might should be in the hands of the majority. It should be in the possession of those nine-tenths of the human race whose immense power has been rendered subservient to the remaining tenth by means of that lying fiction of Right, before which you are accustomed to bow your heads and to drop your arms. Once penetrated with a clear conviction of your own might, you will be able to destroy this mere notion of right.
"And when you have freed your minds from the fear of a God, and from that childish respect for the fiction of Right, then all the remaining chains which bind you, and which are called science, civilization, property, marriage, morality and justice, will snap asunder like threads.
"Let your own happiness be your only law. But in order to get this law recognized, and to bring about the proper relations which should exist between the majority and minority of mankind, you must destroy everything which exists in the shape of state or social organization. So educate yourselves and your children that, when the great moment for constituting the new world arrives, your eyes may not be blinded and deceived by the falsehoods of the tyrants of throne and altar.
"Our first work must be destruction and annihilation of everything as it now exists. You must accustom yourselves to destroy everything, the good with the bad; for if but an atom of this world remains the new will never be created.
"According to the priests' fables, in days of old, a deluge destroyed all mankind, but their God especially saved Noah in order that the seeds of tyranny and falsehoods might be perpetuated in the new world. When you once begin your work of destruction, and when the floods of enslaved masses of the people rise and engulph temples and palaces, then take heed that no ark be allowed to rescue any atom of this old world which we consecrate to destruction."
A representative of the kingdom of darkness.
"Destruction and misery are in their ways, and the way of peace they know not."
WHAT IS TO BE THE RELIGION OF THE FUTURE.
"Brahmanism has avoided the fatal mistake of Catholic and Protestant philosophy by assuming an impersonal deity in three modes of manifestation, while Christian thinkers have played around the logical contradiction of one personality in three equal persons for fifteen hundred years. We must utterly break with the idea of a personal God, and accept that of one impersonal essence behind all phenomena." [Hartmann's future religion.]
Must we do this? Is there any necessity for it? What have we to do with "the fatal mistake of Catholic and Protestant philosophy?" It was a mistake, that's all! "Christian thinkers have played around the logical contradiction of one personality in three equal persons for fifteen hundred years." Have they? 'Tis well! Christianity requires no man to step into logical contradiction and stand there. They have done this "for fifteen hundred years." Well, it has been about that long since men, in the prelude of the dark ages, began to speculate foolishly about the subject of the Divine existence. There was a purer atmosphere in the first centuries of the Christian era, in which primitive Christians enjoyed better conceptions of the Divine Being, to which it is the privilege of Christians to return. Is it the only alternative "to break with the idea of a personal God, and accept that of one impersonal essence behind all phenomena?" No! We Christians affirm nothing that can necessarily be construed with the Catholic and Protestant "mistake" concerning the Trinity, nor anything that can be construed with ultra Unitarianism, which treats of our Lord and Savior simply as an extraordinarily inspired man. Neither are we under any logical necessity to "break with the idea of a personal God," and form an alliance with Atheistic philosophy through the adoption of the idea of a Pantheistic "essence behind all phenomena." Such speculative nonsense may be the best that a mind can do while it is in its own ignorance upon the subject of what it takes to constitute personality, and while it is also surrounded with nothing but the darkness of the dark ages, which has been the legitimate accompaniment of "the Catholic and Protestant fatal mistake," but it is not the best that an intelligent mind, clothed with the sunlight of the gospel of Christ, and intelligently educated upon the subject of personality can do. No! The intelligently informed mind can stand upon the everlasting bed-rock of truth, which has been raised to the highest mountain top of Christian thought by the pure, unadulterated teachings of the Savior of men, which lie behind the fifteen hundred years of jargon upon the questions of Trinitarian and Unitarian "isms."
"God is a spirit." That settles the question of "person" with every well instructed Christian mind. "What man knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of man which is in him; even so the things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God." The Spirit of God is the Supreme intelligence. And, being such, he is the Supreme person, for where there is intelligence there is person. The attributes of personality belong to intelligence, and they belong to nothing else. If you have an intelligent essence, it is, of a logical and scientific necessity, a person. Let some Pantheistic "wiseacre" grapple with this thought.
The fatal mistakes are not all confined to Catholics and Protestants; Pantheists and Scientists have made full as many mistakes. The great mistake upon the subject of the Divine existence, which Scientists and Pantheists have made, is the conclusion that person is simply and necessarily material, or animal existence. So they say, if God is a person he must be a great big almighty man, having great arms and legs, etc. I have the first Atheist or Pantheist to meet in conversation that understands the truth of science in reference to this question of person.
It is claimed that a Monotheistic Pantheism, that is, the idea of one essence, not person, but essence, is to unite, or make one, the whole human family upon the scientific (sciolistic) base that man himself is one grand part of the grand all-pervading, impersonal essence.
Religions have their practical results, and, consequently, bearings upon human society. The Monotheistic idea, which, it is claimed, is to equalize all beings and things throughout this vast universe, in the conception that all are parts of the same grand all-pervading essence, can have only the following results: First, to wipe out all ideas of a future retribution, for want of judge, for want of governor; second, to destroy all distinctions consequent upon the ideas of a divine moral kingdom, or Kingdom of God among men; third, to loosen up the religious and moral restraints by removing the religious sanctions, or promises and threats, which relate to the future retribution.
The advocates of this universal religion of the future, which is simply universal non-religion, say "Protestantism is the grave digger of Christianity." "But Christianity stoutly refuses to be buried alive," and the multitude of facts that are continually transpiring demonstrate a living, active existence; "its blood circulates; its pulse is certainly beating;" its force is not spent in the least; it is always giving but is never growing lean; "it has a long lease of life." All the trees of the forest stand together in one grand old struggle for life. It may be that Christianity will be under the necessity of struggling, for many years to come, with the Godless forms of Pantheism and Atheism, which are simply two different phases of the same Godless philosophy; but the seeds of the great Christian tree, in these United States, are being shaken down into the tender and warm soil of millions of hearts in all our Sunday-schools, and it will be many a year before Christianity dies.
BILL OF INDICTMENTS AGAINST PROTESTANTS.
First. The idea of total hereditary depravity which never can be correlated with accountability.
Second. The idea of those who were never converted being rewarded according to their own deeds, when they were never upon trial; for a man must have ability to try before he can be tried, and that ability must extend to the accomplishment of that to which the trial relates. Wesley's Discipline says, The condition of man since the fall of Adam is such that he can not, by his own natural strength, turn and prepare himself to faith and calling upon God, without the grace of God by Christ going before to give him good will, and working with him when he has that good will.
If it is improper to say that a man can by his own natural strength turn and prepare himself to faith and calling upon God, it is, also, improper to say he is naturally accountable, for where ability ceases, accountability also terminates. But a prop is found in "the grace of God by Christ going before to give a good will, and to work with that good will." So the grace of God by Christ must go before to displace a bad will by giving "a good one." But this fails to relieve the doctrine from embarrassment; for if the sinner is unwilling, has a bad will, it is claimed that the Spirit goes away and leaves him to die in his helplessness. Does the Omnipotent Spirit go to a man to give him a good will, and then refuse to give it because the poor man has it not already? Do you say he resisted? Well, well; suppose he did? What, is that in the way of an Omnipotent Spirit? Who can explain such nonsense?
If I had a son laboring under the conviction that the Bible is the source of such teachings, and he was to become disgusted and fall out with it on that account, I should be proud of his common-sense. Is the poor man mocked in that manner? If he dies in his sins, on account of his not being in possession of a good will, can his future reward be according to the deeds done by himself? No! He was never on trial—he had no ability to try. There is just as much sense in the idea that an ape is on trial. Adam, the first, ruined him; and Adam, the second, did not help him. Can a man be justly condemned because he was not what he never had the power to be?
Third. The idea that the Lord would command men to convert themselves, knowing, at the same time, that they could not do it. He commands men to convert. He "commands all men everywhere to repent." He knows, also, that they can do it; so Protestantism, to the contrary, is an everlasting disgrace to our religion. The original term translated by the word convert is in the imperative active in many places. Our translators put it in the passive in the third chapter of Acts, where it is imperative active in the original. Why they did this no scholar can tell, unless it was to favor their Calvinistic ideas upon conversion. The term occurs forty-seven times in the New Testament, and it is translated thirty-eight times by the words turn and return.
Paul says he "showed to the people that THEY SHOULD TURN TO GOD, and do works meet for repentance."
This great thought harmonizes with all that is taught upon the subject of future rewards. A man can turn, and he is therefore accountable. To make man responsible, it must be shown that he is capable, or able. This is the one great fact that lies at the foundation of future rewards and punishment. Take this fact away and the justice of God is imperiled by the teachings of the Bible upon the subject of the future retribution. I know that men who are under the influence of the traditions of their fathers and mothers turn from the truth upon this question and say hard things against it; but I know, also, that those same men speak the same sentiment when they talk about the future judgment.
Fourth. The idea that the Divine Spirit must convert the man, and that it passes the unwilling soul without giving him ability that he may be tried, for a man must be able to attain the desired object, otherwise trial is mere mockery. So, according to this kind of teaching, justice is mocked, and the sinner is sent to perdition without anything more than a mock trial; i.e., without being tried. If this be not true, the theory of helplessness growing out of Adam's sin is utterly false, and man's salvation, under all dispensations, is presented to us as a matter that was, and is, disposed of by himself, he being able, in his own natural strength, to turn and prepare himself to faith and calling upon God. Again, all men pray. It is instinctive to pray. It is an instinct that defies reason and philosophy. If men have not "natural strength to turn and prepare themselves to faith and calling upon God," then they are not naturally responsible nor accountable.
Fifth. The idea that the Spirit goes to the unwilling sinner to give him a good will, and then, because the man is not willing already, departs from him, leaving him in his sins to continue in his helpless, wicked condition until, having passed a mock judgment, he is banished to outer darkness, for if the man was never able to do otherwise on account of his helplessness, why should he be condemned? Tell him it is for his own deeds and you mock his good sense.
Sixth. The idea that Christ died for an elect few, and damns all the balance because they don't believe he died for them, when he did not.
Seventh. The idea that Christ died for a few, and commissioned his disciples to preach the fact to all nations—to every creature, as "glad tidings of great joy," which was "to be unto all people," when it is, according to the doctrine that he did not die for all, positively no good news to any soul that was passed by.
Eighth. The idea that all who are finally lost, will be in that sad condition because of unbelief, when, if they had believed that Christ died for them they would have believed a falsehood, because Calvinists say no soul for whom Jesus died will be lost.
A SUMMARY OF TRUTH.
First. By the transgression man's eyes were opened, and he became as God, to know good and evil.
Second. He has always had intellectual and moral ability to turn and serve God, and so enjoy his divine favor.
Third. He has been required in every dispensation to do this.
Fourth. Christ died for all men.
Fifth. All men may turn and be saved.
Sixth. God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness shall be accepted with him.
Protestants, do you believe the Bible? Then throw away your errors. LET THE LOWER LIGHTS BE BURNING!
THE UNREASONABLE CONDUCT OF A POPE.—"Pope Sixtus V. expended in three years (from 1586 to 1589) 5,339 scudi, (about $83,500) in destroying a portion of the Baths of Diocletian; and 2,560,000 cubic feet of masonry were broken up. These facts are recorded in a book of accounts found in the Vatican library, at Rome."—The Toujee Tourist, of April, 1880.
ETHAN ALLEN, THE INFIDEL, AND HIS DAUGHTER.
"The damps of death are coming fast, My father, o'er my brow; The past, with all its scenes, are fled, And I must turn me now To that dim future which, in vain, My feeble eyes descry. Tell me, my father, in this hour, In whose stern faith to die.
"In thine? I've watched the scornful smile And heard thy withering tone Whene'er the Christian's humble hope Was placed above thine own. I've heard thee speak of coming death Without a shade of gloom, And laugh at all the childish fears That cluster round the tomb.
"Or, is it my mother's faith? How fondly do I trace, Through many a weary year long past, That calm and saintly face! How often do I call to mind, Now she is 'neath the sod, The place, the hour, in which she drew My early thoughts to God.
"'Twas then she took this sacred book, And from its burning page Read how its truths support the soul In youth and failing age; And bade me in its precepts live, And by its precepts die, That I might share a home of love In worlds beyond the sky.
"My father, shall I look above, Amid the gathering gloom, To him whose promises of love Extend beyond the tomb Or curse the being who hath blessed This chequered path of mine, And promises eternal rest, And die, my sire, in thine?
"The frown upon that warrior brow Passed, like a cloud, away, And tears coursed down the rugged cheek That flowed not till that day. "Not—not in mine," with choking voice, The skeptic made reply; "But in thy mother's holy faith, My daughter, mayst thou die."
TRUTH IS IMMORTAL.
Philosophy has sometimes forgotten God, as great people never did. The skepticism of the last century could not uproot Christianity because it lived in the hearts of the millions. Do you think that infidelity is spreading? Christianity never lived in the hearts of so many millions as at this moment. Many forms under which it is professed may decay, for they, like all that is the work of man's hands, are subject to the changes and chances of mortal beings, but the spirit of truth is incorruptible; it may be developed, illustrated and applied; it can never die; it never can decline. No truth can perish. No truth can pass away. The flame is undying, though generations disappear. Wherever immortal truth has started into being, humanity claims and guards the bequest. Each generation gathers together the imperishable children of the past and increases them by the new sons of the light, alike radiant with immortality.—Bancroft.