The Christian Foundation,
Scientific and Religious Journal
Vol. 1. No 5.
The Old Covenant.—The Sabbath—The Law—The Commonwealth Of Israel, And Christ. Infidels Live In Doubting Castle. Infidelity, And The French And American Revolutions In Their Relations To Thomas Paine. Shall We Unchain The Tiger? Or, The Fruits Of Infidelity. The Struggle. The Records Respecting The Death Of Thomas Paine. Three Reasons For Repudiating Infidelity. Col. Ingersoll Is A Philosopher? Life Of Elder E. Goodwin.
THE OLD COVENANT.—THE SABBATH—THE LAW—THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL, AND CHRIST.
The original term, rendered "Testament" and "Covenant," occurs thirty-three times in the New Testament. Greenfield defines it thus: "Any disposition, arrangement, institution, or dispensation; hence a testament, will; a covenant, mutual promises on mutual conditions, or promises with conditions annexed." Secondly, "A body of laws and precepts to which certain promises are annexed, promises to which are annexed certain laws; the books in which the divine laws are contained, the Old Testament, and especially the Pentateuch." Upon a careful examination of these definitions it will be seen at once that the term "Testament" is a good translation. This is confirmed, in Paul's letter to the Hebrews, in the inter-changeable use of the terms "Will," "Covenant" and "Testament." Our Sabbatarian brethren claim, that the Old Covenant, which was done away, was the verbal agreement of the Children of Israel to keep the law of the decalogue. But this definition is not sufficient. It excludes almost all that was current in its use. It renders it improper to call it a "Testament" or "Will," because fathers make testaments or wills without the consent of their children, and these are called dispositions of estates. Their definition of the term also makes the "Covenant" depend upon the will of man, for covenants, in the sense of agreements, have nothing to do with those who do not enter into them. Neither can men be regarded as transgressing a covenant, in the sense of an agreement, unless they have first placed themselves under its obligations. So, if these men are right in their definition of the Old Covenant, they are wrong in trying to fasten its conditions upon all mankind. Their logic also excludes, from all the promises of the covenant, all those who were incapable of making an agreement. Hence, infants were left to the uncovenanted mercies of God. And as for the wicked, who never agreed to keep those commandments, poor souls! they must be dealt with as violators of a contract to which they never became a party.
These absurdities, which are legitimately drawn from their own premises, drive us to the conclusion that their whole theory, upon the covenant question, is wrong. The apostle Paul says we are the children of a covenant, which he denominates "The free woman." "She is the mother of us all." But, according to Sabbatarian logic, they are the children of two covenants, or women. How is this? One good mother is sufficient. When they tell you that the old covenant, which was done away, was the people's agreement to keep the ten commandments, remember that they, by their own showing, set up the same old covenant by agreeing to keep the ten commandments. So it is done away, and it is not done away. That is, if the people say, "We will keep and do them," it is established, but if they say, "We will not," it is abolished. Again, if it was the people's agreement that was done away, and the ten commandments were the conditions of that agreement, then they also are of no force, for the conditions of an agreement are always void when the contract is nullified. Again, if the Lord had nothing to do in causing the Old Covenant to be done away, how did it pass away by the action of one party to it? And how can men enter into it without the concurring assent of the party of the second part? Accept the Sabbatarian definition of the term covenant, and it legitimately follows that none were ever in that covenant save those who held converse with Jehovah, through Moses, saying, "All these things will we observe and do." It is an old, trite saying, "that it takes two to make an agreement." And it also takes two to abrogate an agreement. But these friends of the seventh day say, The people rendered that old covenant void by their wickedness, that they were at fault, that God never abrogated it, that He always stood firm in reference to its conditions and promises, holding the people to its obligations. Then how was it done away? We will let Zechariah answer this question: "And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. And it was broken in that day; and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the Lord. And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord."
Judas Iscariot sold his Savior for thirty pieces of silver, cast the money down at the feet of the priests in the temple; the priests took it and purchased the potters' field to bury strangers in. And "in that day" the covenant of God was broken by the Lord. Now, if the Lord broke that old covenant, it follows that no man enters into it without one more concurring action upon His part. Upon what mountain has He appeared and reenacted this covenant? And if it was simply the people's agreement to keep the ten commandments, how did He make it with all the people of Israel, seeing many of them were incapable of entering into an agreement? The truth is this, the Lord made a covenant in the sense of a "Testament" or institution. This sense alone admits of the irresponsible in its provisions. In the argument from analogy, drawn from the introduction of the New Testament, our position is confirmed. The Savior's death gave force to this testament or will, without any concurring action upon the part of any man or number of men. And it is a covenant in the sense in which Greenfield defines the term, that is, in the sense of a testament, or will. This also admits of covenanted or bequeathed blessings for all the incapable.
The Sabbatarian view of the term covenant, if applied to the "New Covenant," cuts off all who do not enter into this "contract." But there is no reason in calling either testament a "contract." An earthly father may incorporate, among other things, conditions, in his testament, or will, and it is in force, by his death, even though his children find fault with it. So it mattered not whether any man in ancient Israel was satisfied with that ancient "testament." But the Bible nowhere limits the term covenant to the people's agreement to keep the decalogue. On the contrary, it is said, "And He declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and He wrote them upon two tables of stone." Deut. iv, 13. These commandments were AFTER THE TENOR of all that was given by Moses, as we learn in the thirty-fourth chapter of Exodus. After Moses had given many precepts, the Lord said, "Write thou these words; for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments." This covenant, or testament, like all other institutions which the Lord established with the children of men, is accompanied with reasons for its existence, and all the laws and instructions necessary to carry out its principles. The reasons were placed upon the tables of stone along with the commandments. When Sabbatarians hang up their copy of those tables, it is always a mutilated, partial copy. The whole is given to us in the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy. No Seventh-day Adventist dare exhibit the full copy before his audience, unless he does it at the peril of his teaching. Here it is: "I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt have none other Gods before me. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy man-servant and maid-servant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm, therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day. Honor thy father and thy mother as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. Neither shalt thou commit adultery. Neither shalt thou steal. Neither shalt thou bear false-witness against thy neighbor. Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor's wife. Neither shalt thou covet thy neighbor's house, his field, or his man-servant, or maid-servant, his ox, or his ass, or anything that is thy neighbor's. These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly, in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud and of the thick darkness, with a great voice; and he added no more, and he wrote them upon two tables of stone, and delivered them unto you."
Thus we have a fac simile of the law upon the tables of stone. The terms employed in this law limit it to the Jewish people, a people who were servants in Egypt. This was the "testament," "institution," or "covenant" given at Sinai, and it was after the tenor of all the rest that was given. It is worthy of notice, that there is not a penalty in all that was written upon those tables. And yet there were terrible penalties inflicted for a violation of its precepts. How is this? Was it all there was of God's law? If so, where shall we go to find its penalties? This covenant is spoken of in Galatians, the fourth chapter. It is called "the bond woman," that was cast out. In the third chapter of Corinthians it is termed "the ministration of condemnation," and "the ministration of death written and engraven in stones, which was done away." Which Zechariah said was broken by the Lord in the day of the terrible tragedy of the cross of Christ.
The multiplicity of passages in the New Testament bearing upon this great fact, causes our legalists in religion to shift about most wonderfully. At one time, the people's agreement to keep the law was the covenant that was done away. At another, it was the act of executing the penalty of death that was set aside. At another, it was the glory of Moses' face that was done away. And at another, it was none of all these, but it was the ceremonial law of Moses that was done away.
All these positions were taken by one man, in one discussion with the writer of these lines. All such turns are cheap; it requires no great wisdom to accommodate yourself in this manner to the force of circumstances. The fact that the "first covenant" was a "testament," or a body of laws with certain promises annexed, as well as penalties, is evident from Paul's statement in the ninth chapter of his letter to the Hebrews. He says, "Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary, for there was a tabernacle made; the first wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the show-bread; which is called the sanctuary." The distinction which our friends make between "Moses' law" and "God's law," as they are pleased to express it, is not only unscriptural, the two phrases being inter-changeable, but also absurd. Moses gave all, that these men are pleased to term his law, in the name of the Lord. The law of the passover, found in the twelfth chapter of Exodus, is prefaced with these words: "And the Lord God said unto Moses." In the twenty-fifth chapter of the same book we have the laws concerning the ark, the tabernacle, the priestly service, and all are introduced with this saying: "And the Lord spake unto Moses." Moses never gave a law in his own name. Neither did he give one of his own in the name of the Lord, because it would have cost him his life. The Lord had guarded this point in the following: "But the prophet which presumes to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die." Now one of two things is evident: first, all the laws that Moses gave in the name of the Lord were His; or, secondly, Moses violated the law governing the prophet. And if the record is false on this account, how can we trust it in other respects? It is as easy to turn God out of all the pentateuch, and put Moses into it, as to maintain the proposition that Moses had a law of his own. Sabbatarians act the part of the unbeliever in getting the Lord out of the law that was done away, and Moses into it. All that is accredited to the Lord was His, otherwise the record is untrustworthy. If our friend's position is true, it follows that Moses is the sole author of the sacrificial system of blood, without which there was no remission, and thus the ancient remedial scheme falls, being without divine sanction. But the Lord claims all that our friends hand over to Moses. The following phrases are uttered with reference to the priests and other things: "My priest," "My sacrifice," "Mine altar," "Mine offering," 1st Samuel, ii, 27-29; "The Lord's pass-over," Exodus, xii, 11; "The feasts of the Lord," Lev. xxiii; "My sanctuary and my Sabbaths," Ezekiel, xxiii, 38. The manner in which Sabbatarians emphasize the phrase "My Sabbath," and "My holy day," is well calculated to mislead the unsuspecting, but those who are schooled in biblical literature will regard it as mere rant, cheap theology, mere display! All that Moses gave, as law, was from the Lord, was His. "The Lord came down upon Sinai, and spake to them from heaven, and gave them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments, and made known to them His holy Sabbath, and commanded precepts, statutes and laws, by the hand of His servant Moses." Nehemiah, ix, 13, 14.
The seventh-day Sabbath was not given to the Gentile world. It would require just as plain and positive legislation to bind it upon us as it did to establish it in Israel. It was a sign between God and the Hebrews. Ezek. xxxi, 13-18. "Moreover, also, I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am Jehovah that doth sanctify them." If there are any Gentile Christians upon the earth who think it is essential to know that it was the Lord that sanctified the children of Israel, set them apart from the surrounding nations, I would say to such, It is sufficient to your salvation that you know the Lord, as manifested in the flesh in the person of Christ Jesus, and that you love and obey him. I can not see that the seventh-day Sabbath, as a sign upon a Gentile, would tell the truth, for the Lord never sanctified the Gentiles in the sense of setting them apart from the surrounding nations. Again, if our friends could succeed in making it universal, it would cease to be a sign. It was a national badge, or sign, between God and the Hebrews. Its object was to keep in their memory that which was true of them alone. "Remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence with a mighty hand and a stretched out arm, therefore the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day." Deut. v. Can any Gentile obey this instruction? It is impossible! Moses said, "Behold I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep, therefore, and do them, for this is your wisdom and your understanding, in the sight of the nations which shall hear all these statutes and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law which I set before you this day." Deut. iv, 5. The authority and glory of Christ forbid all such Judaizing as that which we speak against. "He was given of God to be head over all things to the church." "And He is head of all principality and power." The Father put all things under Him. The prophet Isaiah said, "He shall not fail, nor be discouraged till He hath set judgment in the earth, and the isles shall wait for His law." Ch. xlii, 4. And Paul said, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Gal. vi, 2.
The object of law is to regulate the exemplification of principles. Some principle is exemplified in every act that man performs. And one principle may be in a great variety of acts. The principle of hatred is exemplified in a great many different actions; and the principle of love to God is manifested, or exemplified, in every act of obedience to God. So the spiritual may be brought out under different dispensations, and by different laws, while it remains always the same. Indeed, principles are unchangeable; they belong to the nature of things. Covenants, priesthoods, dispensations and laws have changed, but principles, never. So the moral objective of every law is the same, viz., to bring out and develop the spiritual in man. To accomplish this great end it is necessary that the evil principles of a carnal, or fleshly nature, should be restrained by the penal sanctions of law, and the principles of man's higher nature brought out by its motives of good. Such being the nature of principles, and the facts of law, Paul says, "We know that the law is spiritual." And again, "The law is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." "Do we then make void law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish law."
I have left the article out of this text because it is not in the original. B. Wilson translates the verse in these words: "Do we then nullify law through the FAITH. By no means; but we establish law." The negative use of law is to restrain the evil; and the affirmative is to bring out the good, the spiritual. So, without any interference with the spiritual of any law that ever was, either divine or human, we have a better covenant, or testament, than the old testament; one that is established upon better promises, which contains "A new and living way into the Holiest," which Paul says, "Is heaven itself." This new way was consecrated through the flesh of Christ. The rule of life in this way is the "Law of Christ." It is a better law, for us, because its precepts are not limited to our neighbor. The following is a part, at least, of the contrast:
THE DECALOGUE GIVEN TO ISRAEL.
"Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbor. Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor's wife. Neither shalt thou covet thy neighbor's house, his field, or his man-servant, or his maid-servant, his ox or his ass, or anything that is thy neighbor's. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not kill."
THE LAW OF CHRIST BOUND UPON THE WORLD.
"Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer. But I say unto you, love your enemies. If thou mayest be made free use it rather. Be ye not the servants of men. Thou shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not covet. Whosoever looketh upon a woman and lusteth after her hath committed adultery already in his heart."
I have presented a sufficient amount of each law to show you a part of the great contrast which exists on account of the ancient law being given to a people set apart from all the surrounding nations by a legal wall interfering with them in their social walks in life. That law was sufficient for all practical purposes among the Jews. But, since that "Middle wall of partition" has been taken down, it is utterly useless to talk about a law limited to your neighbor being any longer worthy of God, or a perfect rule for man's conduct in his associations with all men. Indeed, it never was a law regulating a man's conduct with all men. The middle wall was taken out of the way, and Jews and Gentiles have shook hands in Christian fellowship under the new institution. Let us see how this was brought about. When the law brings about a separation, nothing short of law can undo it, and bring about the union of the parties separated. But, as authority, that controls law, is alone competent to remove legal results, we must look for this, as a matter of necessity, lying at the foundation of the new institution. It is just there that we find it in these words: "All authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." The result of obedience to this law of Christ is expressed in these words: "But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometime were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us, having abolished in his flesh the enmity; even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace." Eph. ii, 13-15. The God of Abraham said unto Rebecca, "Two nations are in thy womb." Gen. xxv, 23. This language had its fulfillment in the decendants of Jacob and Esau. The political history of the children of Jacob begins at Sinai with their beginning as a nation among the surrounding nations. The law given at Sinai was a political law, for it was addressed to a community, pertained to a community, and was accepted by a community.
Such is a political law in the strictest sense of the term. This law was given to the Jews, the decendants of Jacob. Moses said, "The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day." Horeb is a synonymous with Sinai, and means, properly, ground left dry by water draining off. So, Horeb and Sinai occur in the narrative of the same event. The children of Jacob are known as a commonwealth, from the giving of the law onward until their overthrow by the Romans. Paul, speaking of the Gentiles, in past times, says "They were aliens to the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise." The Jews called them "dogs." This great enmity had its origin in the two-fold consideration of the Jew being favored in a temporal and political point of view, and the pride of his heart, which exalted him in his own imagination above even his moral superiors. This corruption of the heart, with the liability of its return, being removed by the abrogation of all that was peculiar to the Jews and their conversion to Christ, Paul says, "That all are one in Christ." Christ was the bond of union, all were joined to him. But the same authority that separated them by legislation must legislate with reference to this grand change that was to take place between these decendants of Jacob and Esau. The law of commandments separating the Jews limited them in moral duties to their neighbors. It was unlawful for them to go in unto one of another nation. It limited them in trade and traffic to their own countrymen; also limited them to their own people in matrimonial relations. So God must be heard again, I say, heard! for He was heard at the giving of the law, which is now to be taken out of the way. When Jesus took Peter, James and John up in a high mountain and was transfigured before them, Moses and Elias, the great representatives of the Patriarchial and Jewish dispensations, appeared unto them and "a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my well-beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, HEAR YE HIM." Math. xvii, 5. Here is the authority that gave the institution peculiar to the Jews legislating with reference to Him whose doings were to end that system of things, and lead all into "a new and living way." Paul says: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son." So Christ took away the first will and established the second. See Heb. x, 9. Paul says: "As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him." This relation of duty to the reception of Christ has direct reference to the character in which we receive him. He was given to rule, to exercise Lordship. He is Lord of all. The term Lord signifies "ruler by right of possession." If He is not Lord of all there is an abundance of false testimony upon this one subject, and Christianity is diseased in the head. And if he is Lord of all, then we should leave that old mountain that shook and burned with fire, and all the political paraphernalia of Sinai, and consider ourselves complete in Christ, who is "Emanuel, God with us." If any man does this he is not troubled with the old "bond woman." Jehovah said of Christ: "I have given Him for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles." Isaiah xlii, 2. New duties appear before us in the New Testament, with new obligations lying at their foundation. Jesus said: "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin, but now they have no cloak for their sins." Again: "If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin; but now have they both seen and hated both Me and my Father." John xv, 22-24.
Justification turns no longer upon the ancient law, and the sacrificial and typical system of blood is no longer the means of pardon. The law contained a shadow of good things to come, but the body was of Christ. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Everything turns in this dispensation upon Christ and his Law. Jesus told his disciples to teach their converts to observe all things which He had commanded them to teach, and they filled their mission. Paul said, He "shunned not to declare the whole counsel of God," "kept back nothing." With reference to law, he said, "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things I write are the commandments of the Lord." For the glory of Christ, as his just meed of praise, it was written, "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." "Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth." In this major proposition the minor, of the seventh-day Sabbath, is involved. The Lord said of Israel, "I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her Sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts." Hosea, ii, 11. No man is threatened, by Christ or any of his apostles, on account of Sabbath-breaking, or any of those things which are peculiar to the Jews. But men are threatened for disobedience to the Gospel of Christ. The New Testament is of Christ. Its religion is not "the Jews' religion," but Christ's. There was much in the Old Testament that is in the New, but it is there by the authority of Christ. Hence, we are "complete in Him who is the head of all principality and power." Much in the laws of the United States was first in the laws of England, but we do nothing with reference to English authority. So it is with us, as respects all who went before Christ, we do nothing in reference to them, but do all in reference to Christ, and for His name. The Old Kingdom of Israel, with its political law, statutes and judgments, has passed away, and Christ reigns "all in all." To Him "be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever." Jude, xxv.
INFIDELS LIVE IN DOUBTING CASTLE.
Having shown that no man in his senses can be an atheist, unless he assume that he comprehends the universe in his mind, with all its abstract essences and principles, which assumption would be to make himself omnipresent and eternal, a god in fact; and having seen that the proposition of the divine existence and perfections is demonstrable from the universe, as far as it is known in all its general laws and in all its parts, we proceed from these prefatory considerations to other matters still more intimately introductory to our design.
It is essentially preliminary to a clear and forcible display of the reasonableness and certainty of our faith in Jesus Christ as the author of immortality to man, that we ascertain the proper ground on which the modern skeptic, of whatever creed, stands when he avows his opposition to the gospel. That we may duly estimate the strength of his opposition, we must not only enumerate his objections or arguments, but we must exactly ascertain the exact position which he occupies. Does he stand within a fortified castle, or in the open field? Presents he himself to our view in a stronghold, well garrisoned with the invincible forces of logic, of science, and of fact? or defies he armies and the artillery of light, relying wholly upon himself, his own experience, without a shield, without an ally, without science, without history, and consequently a single fact to oppose?
That we may, then, truly and certainly ascertain his precise attitude, before we directly address him, we shall accurately survey his whole premises. Does he say that he knows the gospel to be false? No, he can not; for he was not in Judea in the days of the evangelical drama. He, therefore, could not test the miracles, or sensible demonstrations, by any of his senses; nor prove to himself that Jesus rose not from the dead. Speaking in accordance with the evidence of sense, of consciousness, and of experience, he can not say that he knows the gospel to be a cunningly devised fable. He has not, then, in all his premises knowledge, in its true and proper meaning, to oppose to the Christian's faith or hope. What remains?
Can he say, in truth, that he believes the gospel to be false? He can not; because belief without testimony is impossible; and testimony that the gospel facts did not occur is not found extant on earth in any language or nation under heaven. No contemporaneous opposing testimony has ever been heard of, except in one instance, the sleeping and incredible testimony of the Roman guard, which has a lie stamped indelibly on its forehead: "His disciples stole his dead body while we were asleep." He that can believe this is not to be reasoned with. We repeat it with emphasis, that no living man can say, according to the English Dictionary, that he believes the gospel to be false.
Alike destitute of knowledge and of faith to oppose to the testimony of apostles, prophets, and myriads of contemporaneous witnesses, what has the skeptic to present against the numerous and diversified evidences of the gospel? Nothing in the universe but his doubts. He can, in strict conformity to language and fact, only say, he doubts whether it be true. He is, then, legitimately no more than an inmate of Doubting Castle. His fortification is built up of doubts and misgivings, cemented by antipathy. Farther than this the powers of nature and of reason can not go.
How far these doubts are rational, scientific, and modest, may yet appear in the sequel; meanwhile, we only survey the premises which the infidel occupies, and the forces he has to bring into the action. These, may we not say, are already logically ascertained to be an army of doubts only.
Some talk of the immodesty, others of the folly, others of the maliciousness of the unbeliever; but not to deal in harsh or uncourteous epithets, may we not say, that it is most unphilosophic to dogmatize against the gospel on the slender grounds of sheer dubiety. No man, deserving the name of a philosopher, can ever appear among the crusading forces of pamphleteers and declaimers against the faith of Christians, for two of the best reasons in the world; he has nothing better to substitute for the motives, the restraining fears to the wicked, and the animating hopes to the righteous, which the gospel tenders; and he has nothing to oppose to its claims but the weakness and uncertainty of his doubts. Franklin was a philosopher, but Paine was a madman. The former doubted, but never dogmatized—never opposed the gospel, but always discountenanced and discouraged the infidel; the latter gave to his doubts the authority of oracles, and madly attempted to silence the Christian's artillery by the licentious scoffings of the most extravagant and unreasonable skepticism.
Modesty is the legitimate daughter of true philosophy; but dogmatism, unless the offspring of infallible authority, is the ill-bred child of ignorance and arrogance. Every man, then, who seeks to make proselytes to his skepticism by converting his doubts into arguments, is anything but a philosopher or a philanthropist.
One of the most alarming signs of this age is the ignorance and recklessness of the youthful assailants of the Bible. Our cities, villages and public places of resort are thronged with swarms of these Lilliputian volunteers in the cause of skepticism. Apprenticed striplings, and sprigs of law and physic, whose whole reading of standard authors on general science, religion, or morality, in ordinary duodecimo, equals not the years of their unfinished, or just completed minority, imagine that they have got far in advance of the vulgar herd, and are both philosophers and gentlemen if they have learned at second hand, a few scoffs and sneers at the Bible, from Paine, Voltaire, Bolingbroke, or Hume. One would think, could he listen to their impudence, that Bacon, Newton, Locke, and all the great masters of science, were very pigmies, and that they themselves were sturdy giants of extraordinary stature in all that is intellectual, philosophic and learned. These would-be baby demagogues are a public nuisance to society, whose atheistic breath not unfrequently pollutes the whole atmosphere around them, and issues in a moral pestilence among that class who regard a fine hat and a cigar as the infallible criteria of a gentleman and scholar.
These creatures have not sense enough to doubt, nor to think sedately on any subject; and therefore, we only notice them while defining the ground occupied by the unbelievers of this generation. They prudently call themselves skeptics, but imprudently carry their opposition to the Bible, beyond all the bounds embraced in their own definitions of skepticism. A skeptic can only doubt, never oppugn the gospel. He becomes an atheist, or an infidel, bold and dogmatic, as soon as he opens his mouth against the Bible.
Were we philosophically to class society as it now exists in this country in reference to the gospel, we should have believers, unbelievers, and skeptics. We would find some who have voluntarily received the apostolic testimony as true; others who have rejected it as false; and a third class who simply doubt, and neither receive nor reject it as a communication from heaven. But, though, unbelievers, while they call themselves skeptics, often wage actual war against the faith and hope of Christians, still their actual rejection of the gospel has no other foundation than pure aversion to its restraints and some doubts as to its authenticity. The quagmire of their own doubts, be it distinctly remembered, is the sole ground occupied by all the opponents of the gospel, whether they style themselves antitheists, atheists, theists, unbelievers, or skeptics.—Alexander Campbell, in 1835.
INFIDELITY, AND THE FRENCH AND AMERICAN REVOLUTIONS IN THEIR RELATIONS TO THOMAS PAINE.
Infidels can not free themselves from the bands which tie the universe to its God. Every effort has been fruitless. Not one writer among all their hosts has been lucky enough to avoid the use of Christian terms that are in direct antagonism with their speculation and positions. It will be interesting to review, occasionally, their literature.
Speaking of Thomas Paine, Mr. Ingersoll says: "Every American with the DIVINE mantle of charity, should cover all his faults." What use has Col. Ingersoll or any other infidel for the word DIVINE? The term is thus defined: Pertaining to the true God; (from the Latin DIVINUS; from DEUS, a god) proceeding from God; appropriated to God; or celebrating His praise; excellent in the supreme degree; apparently above what is human; godlike; heavenly; holy; sacred; spiritual. As a noun: one versed in divine things or divinity; a theologian; a minister of the gospel; a priest; a clergyman. Zell's Encyclopedia.
Again, Mr. Ingersoll says, "Upon the head of his father, GOD had never poured the DIVINE petroleum of authority." So much the better for the race. What would infidels do if they had the authority? "Hume is called a model man, a man as nearly perfect as the nature of human frailty will permit." He maintained that pleasure or profit is the test of morals; that "the lack of honesty is of a piece with the lack of strength of body;" that "suicide is lawful and commendable;" that "female infidelity, when known, is a small thing; when unknown, nothing;" "that adultery must be practiced if men would obtain all the advantages of this life; and that if generally practiced it would, in time, cease to be scandalous, and if practiced frequently and secretly would come to be thought no crime at all."
Lord Herbert taught that the "indulgence of lust and anger is no more to be blamed than thirst or drowsiness."
Voltaire contended "for the unlimited gratification of the sexual appetites, and was a sensualist of the lowest type; nevertheless he had the amazing good sense to wish that he had never been born."
Rousseau was, by his confession, a habitual liar and thief, and debauchee; a man so utterly vile that he took advantage of the hospitality of friends to plot their domestic ruin; a man so destitute of natural affection that he committed his BASE-BORN children to the charity of the public. To use his own language, "guilty without remorse, he soon become so without measure."
Thomas Paine was, according to the verdict of history, "addicted to intemperance in his last years, given to violence and abusiveness, had disreputable associates, lived with a woman who was not his wife, and left to her whatever remnant of fortune he had."
What would such godless infidels give us if the Almighty God should "pour the petroleum of authority upon their heads?" But, in all candor, what use has Col. Ingersoll for the idea of authority coming from God? Can't he keep in his own ruts. "The DIVINE petroleum of authority was never poured upon the head of Thomas Paine's father." Well, so much the better for the reputation of God. But why does Mr. Ingersoll use the term God, and have so much to say of Him? Let us hear him. He says, whoever is a friend of man is also a friend of God—if there is one. Yes! "IS THERE IS ONE." This reminds me of an old infidel who was struggling with the cramp colic, and just as a minister was approaching his bedside he turned himself over in the bed and said, O Lord, if there is any Lord, save my soul, if I've got any soul. The minister walked out. What is the condition of those minds which modify their declarations with the saying "if there is any Lord," "if there is one," "if I've got any soul." How much more manly is it to own the great universal and instinctive or inate truth, that there is a Master, God, or great first Living Intelligence, and cease acting foolishly.
Once more, the colonel, speaking of Thomas Paine's work, says, "He was with the army. He shared its defeats, its dangers, and its glory. When the situation became desperate, when gloom settled upon all, he gave them the 'Crisis.' It was a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, leading the way to freedom, honor and glory." What use has the colonel for such language? From whence did it come? Is he sitting upon the bones of Moses and making grimaces at the old prophet while he is adopting his sentences? Infidels blaspheme the name of Moses, and abuse his hyperboles and his facts as well, and, at the same time, go to his quiver to get their very best arrows.
"At the close of the Revolution no one stood higher in America than Thomas Paine."—Ingersoll.
"At that time the seeds sown by the great infidels were beginning to bear fruit in France."—Ingersoll.
Well, well. To what "mount" have we come at last? Paine sailed to France in 1787. "He was elected to represent the Department of Calais in the National Convention, and took his seat in that radical assembly in 1792." At this time Col. Ingersoll's church had everything its own way in France. There was no God to respect or devil to fear. "Free thought" ruled—its reign was a reign of night. The goddess of reason was the "twin sister of the Spanish Inquisition." The soldiers were in power, and great hearts were made to bleed. Three hundred and sixty-six men in the National Convention voted for the death of the king. Three hundred and fifty-five voted against his execution. It is true that Tom Paine was one of the three hundred and fifty-five. A year after the king's execution Tom was put into prison, and remained there nearly two years. When he was released he wrote the second part of the Age of Reason, and in 1802 he came back to America. What he did for American liberty was done while he was a Quaker, and before he wrote his detestable works against the Bible. Let some bold infidel produce just one noble public act that Paine did for our country after he avowed himself an infidel. Will it be done?
The leaders of the French revolution were the disciples of Rousseau, Voltaire and Diderot. They were atheists, or infidels. Tom Paine was one of their number, participated in their deliberations, helped to get up the constitution they enacted. What they did is what the infidels of the United States wish to have done. They wiped out Christianity by vote, and forbade the utterance of the name of God to their children. They abolished the Lord's day, and made the week to consist of ten instead of seven days. They took the bells from the churches and cast them into cannons. Chaumette, a leader in the convention, came before the president "leading a courtesan with a troop of her associates." He lifted her veil, and said, "Mortals! recognize no other divinity than Reason, of which I present to you the loveliest and purest personification." The president bowed and rendered devout adoration. The same scene was reenacted in the cathedral of Notre Dame, with increased outrages upon God and common-sense. Wrong was reputed right, and the distinction between vice and virtue was banished.
From this time, and onward, the test of attachment to the government was contempt for religion and decency. Those suspected of disloyalty were gathered; one thousand and five hundred women and children were shut up in one prison, without fire, bed, cover, or provisions, for two days. Men escaped by giving up their fortunes, and women escaped by parting with their virtue.
Seventeen thousand perished in Paris during this reign of infidel terror. This ungodly abrogation of religion in France cost the nation three million of lives—think of it! France's most dark and damning record was the fruit of the tenets of the men that Col. Ingersoll lauds to the heavens. They were the fruits of the labors of the men with whom Tom Paine sat, and believed, and voted. "His faith was their faith."
"It was the Quaker Paine who worked for our independence, and not the infidel Paine. He did nothing in the interests of our national liberty after he avowed his irreligious principles." Neither was he the first to raise the voice in favor of national liberty. Ten years before he wrote his work entitled "Common Sense," at the suggestion of Franklin and Dr. Benjamin Rush, which was in 1776, Patrick Henry's voice was heard amid the assembled colonists in Virginia. He said: "Caesar had his Brutus, Charles I. his Cromwell, and George III.—" Just then some one cried out, "Treason!" After a pause, Henry added,—"may profit by their example." Years before Tom Paine came to America, even in 1748, it went to record that American legislatures were tending to independence. "They were charged with presumption in declaring their own rights and privileges." Our independence was predicted near at hand from 1758 and onwards. In 1774, before Paine came from England, the word freedom was ringing out upon the air. "James Otis was hailing the dawn of a new empire" in 1765. In this year there were utterances of such sentiments as tended to evolve the declaration of 1776, and these were heard all over the land from Boston to Charleston, S. C. In 1773 "Samuel Adams insisted that the colonies should have a congress to frame a bill of rights, or to form an independent state, an American commonwealth." The North Carolinians renounced their allegiance to the king of England in the Mecklenberg declaration, which was made in May, 1775. But Paine's little book, suggested by Dr. Benjamin Rush and Franklin, and called "Common Sense," was published in 1776. Hildreth, writing of the year 1802, says that "Paine, instead of being esteemed as formerly, as a lover of liberty, whose pen has contributed to hasten the Declaration of Independence, was now detested by large numbers as the libeler of Washington." In 1795 the Aurora put out the following language, which seems to be that to which Hildreth alludes: "If ever a nation was debauched by a man, the American nation was debauched by Washington; if ever a nation was deceived by a man, the American nation has been deceived by Washington. Let the history of the federal government instruct mankind, that the mask of patriotism may be worn to conceal the foulest designs against the liberties of the people." This, gentle reader, was from the pen of the man whom Mr. Ingersoll would immortalize if he could.
William Carver addressed a private letter to Thomas Paine, dated Dec. 2, 1806, and published in the New York Observer Nov. 1, 1877, in which we have the following revelations: "A respectable gentleman from New Rochelle called to see me a few days back, and said that every body was tired of you there and that no one would undertake to board and lodge you. I thought this was the case, as I found you at a tavern in a most miserable situation. You appeared as if you had not been shaved for a fortnight, and as to a shirt, it could not be said that you had one on, it was only the remains of one, and this likewise appeared not to have been off your back for a fortnight, and was nearly the color of tanned leather; and you had the most disagreeable smell possible, just like that of our poor beggars in England. Do you remember the pains I took to clean you? That I got a tub of warm water and soap, and washed you from head to foot, and this I had to do three times before I could get you clean? You say also that you found your own liquors during the time you boarded with me, but you should have said, 'I found only a small part of the liquor I drank during my stay with you; this part I purchased of John Fellows, which was a demijohn of brandy containing four gallons, and this did not serve me three weeks.' This can be proved, and I mean not to say anything I can not prove, for I hold this as a precious jewel. It is a well-known fact that you drank one quart of brandy per day, at my expense, during the different times that you have boarded with me, the demijohn alone mentioned excepted, and the last fourteen weeks you were sick. Is not this a supply of liquor for dinner and supper? Now sir, I think I have drawn a complete portrait of your character, yet, to enter upon every minutia, would be to give a history of your life, and to develop the fallacious mask of hypocrisy and deception under which you have acted in your political, as well as moral, capacity of life." So much for the apostate Quaker's character after the close of the American revolution.
Mr. Lecky, an infidel, says, "It was reserved for Christianity to present to the world an ideal character, which through all the changes of eighteen centuries has filled the hearts of men with an impassioned love, and has shown itself capable of acting on all ages, nations, temperaments, and conditions; has not only been the highest pattern of virtue, but the highest incentive of practice: amid all the sins and failing; amid all the priestcraft, the persecution and fanaticism which have defaced the church, it has preserved IN THE CHARACTER OF ITS FOUNDER AN ENDURING PRINCIPLE OF REGENERATION." If such be the fountain let the stream continue to flow.
SHALL WE UNCHAIN THE TIGER? OR, THE FRUITS OF INFIDELITY.
By Eld. A. I. Maynard.
An infidel production was submitted to Benjamin Franklin manuscript; he returned it to the author with a letter, from which the following quotations are extracted: "I would advise you not to attempt unchaining the Tiger, but to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person.... If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be without it?" He informs us that he was "an advocate of infidelity in his early youth, a confirmed Deist." He says his "arguments perverted some other young persons, particularly Collins and Ralph, and when he recollected that they both treated him exceedingly ill without the least remorse, and also remembered the behavior of Keith, another 'Freethinker,' and his own conduct toward Vernon and a Miss Reed, which at times gave him great uneasiness, he was led to suspect that his theory, if true, was not very useful."
Youth and inexperience have been the secret of many young persons being led astray, like Franklin, by infidel speculations; but age and observation have convinced many of them that all infidel speculations are empty and worthless. Look at the history of infidelity in France and Scotland, and then look at liberalism in America, with Col. Ingersoll leading the van. Can't you see that its only tendency is to loosen the restraints of morality and "unchain the Tiger?"
The inconsiderate and inexperienced youth of both sexes, have need of all the motives of religion to lead them from vice, to support their virtue, and retain them in its practice until it becomes habitual.
Unbeliever, if you read this article, and remember that you have prepared one sentence to cut one cord that helps to hold the Tiger, burn it. Do not unchain the animal. Would you substitute infidelity for Christianity, for the religion of the Bible? Would you do that in this country? The enemies of this religion confess that its code of morals is holy, just and good, its doctrine is dignified and glorious; its tendency is to purity and peace; "it is pure, peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits; without partiality, and without hypocrisy." Montesquieu, the publisher of the Persian letters and president of the parliament of Bordeaux, says: "The Christian religion, which ordains that men should love each other, would, without doubt, have every nation blessed with the best political and civil laws, because these, next to religion, are the greatest good that men can have."
The Congress of 1776, speaking of religion, declared it was the "only solid basis of public liberty and happiness." General Washington said it was "one of the great pillars of human happiness, and the firmest prop of the duties of men and citizens." What could we gain by exchanging it for Deism, or Atheism, or Ingersollism? Infidelity proposes to break down the altars of prayer, take away our Bibles and our days of worship, shut up the doors against all our Sunday-schools and turn more than a million of children into the streets, away from sweet song and moralizing influences, and the pure morals of the gospel of Christ. This would bereave the living of his rule of life, and rob the dying of the antidote of death.
Shall we "unchain the Tiger"—unbelief? What would it bring us in return? Its doctrines are vague speculations, founded on neither data nor evidence; some of its supporters believe in some kind of a God, while some deny every God; some few believe in the immortality of the soul, while a majority, with the French infidels, write over the gates of their cemeteries, "Death is eternal sleep."
In looking over the various infidel productions I think of the old saying, "Be sure you are right, and then go ahead." There is no certainty in their speculations. They do not agree even in their so-called moral code, nor, as yet, in their doctrinal speculations.
Lord Herbert and the Earl of Shaftesbury thought that the light of nature would teach all men, without the aid of revelation, to observe the morality of the Bible. Spinosa and Hobbes, one believing in a God, and the other an Atheist, agreed that there was nothing that was either right or wrong in its own nature; and also agreed "that every man had a right to obtain, either by force or fraud, everything which either his reason or his passions prompted him to believe was useful to himself—duties to the State were his only duties."
Blount, another Freethinker, supposed "that the moral law of nature justified self-murder." Lord Bolingbroke claimed that it enjoined polygamy; and neither Blount nor Bolingbroke prohibited fornication, or adultery, or incest, except between parents and children.
But the vagueness and uncertainty of the doctrinal speculations of infidelity, and the looseness and immorality of its rules of life, are not the only objections to it. Its tendency, wherever it has been introduced in the history of our world, has been evil, and only evil. France, at the commencement of her revolution in 1789, was an infidel nation. The profligacy of the Catholic priesthood, and the demoralizing example of the Regent, Duke of Orleans, and the infidel publications of Voltaire and his associates, had produced a contempt for religion through every rank of society. The people of France were taught by their literati that the Bible was at war with their liberties; and that they could never expect to overturn the throne till they had, first, broken down the "altar." HERE THE TIGER WAS UNCHAINED!
The lusts and passions of man were set free from the restraints of Christianity, and the bloody history of that nation, in its devotion to infidelity, should convince every man that infidelity only "unchained the tiger"! It did France no good, but much evil. In this state of things France needed revolution, as America did, and had she engaged in it, with as pious reliance upon God, "and with the hearts of her people deeply imbued with the morality of the Bible, the scion of liberty, carried in the honored Lafayette from this country," would have taken deep root, and spread forth its branches; and ere this time the fairest portion of Europe might have reposed under its shadow. But her principles poisoned her morals, and her immorality disqualified her for freedom. After expending an incredible amount of treasure, and sacrificing more than two million of men, she consented to be ruled by a despot in hope of some protection from her own people, and in hope of some security against the animal which she had unchained.
With such facts before us, let us Americans decide, not merely as Christians, but as "patriots and fathers," whether we will cling to the pure "Gospel of Jesus Christ," given to us in the love of Heaven, and in the blood of Jesus, rather than accept in its stead the empty, Godless, Christless, good-for-nothing negative of God and Christ and Christianity. The chief article in the unbeliever's creed is in these words, "I believe in all unbelief."
Will not our friends take interest enough in the JOURNAL to increase its circulation. There is no reason why it should not be immediately doubled, and thus placed upon a solid basis. It is our intention to make it a thorough defense of the truth, so much so that all will relish it, and remember it with delight.
"Passion riots; reason then contends, And on the conquest every bliss depends."
There are two different periods in the history of the race; in the history of a nation; in the history of the church; in the history of moral institutions, and in the history of families. In one the intellect predominates, governs; in the other the emotional nature, or passion, rules. The fatal day in the history of a nation is the day in which, through party strife or otherwise, a nation of people becomes a seething mass of heated passion. Such a nation is like a vessel tossed upon the waves above the falls of some mighty river, liable to be buried in the whirlpool of destruction. Men who are governed by their emotional nature are most liable to disappointments, to troubles, and difficulties of every kind. Select all the miserable families in your community, tell me where they are, and I will show you every family in which passion reigns.
Troubles are generally legitimate children of passion. Who has not heard some one say, repentingly, "If I had taken a second, sober thought I would not have done it." Intellect belongs to our higher nature, and emotion belongs to our lower. Intelligence is always at a discount where the emotional nature governs—it is subordinated to passion. When the intellect governs, the emotional is subjected to thought; when either one predominates, the other is brought under and enslaved. These are the two conflicting elements in man's nature which are generally at war with each other, leading to different and antagonistic results. During the dark ages, which were ushered in through the repudiation of intelligence and the predominance of passion, the emotional reigned, and men were governed by their passions in religious as well as state affairs. The shadows of those ages still linger with some communities, and with many persons in almost all communities. Our fathers had a long and hard struggle in getting away from an emotional to an intellectual state, both in civil as well as religious affairs. To-day, if we consider this matter in connection with our people as a nation, we may safely say that we are in an intellectual period—mind predominates. This is an age of investigation. The time was, in the history of our fathers, when a man was fined fifty pounds of tobacco if he refused to have his innocent child christened. See the "old Blue Laws." The time was when innocent persons were tried, condemned, and put to death for being, in the estimation of men, clothed with disgraceful ignorance, witches. Who has not heard of the "Salem witchcraft?"
The emotional nature of man, as a ruling sovereign, is losing its "legal-tender value" daily. The time was when it brought a premium in the most of the churches in our country. An aged father, who is now "across the river," once said to me, "I was bewildered, and mentally lost for thirty years of my life." I asked him for the facts. He, answering, said: "During all that period of time I was a church member, and, like some others, I was a quiet, still kind of a soul; I paid my honest debts; told the truth about my neighbors, and lived a moral life to the very best of my abilities. There were others of the same character. The preachers frequently called us Quakers—the Quakers were a very still people in those days. There were others who were reckless; would not always tell the truth, and would not always pay their honest debts, but they were, nevertheless, very noisy in the church, and the preacher always made most of those noisy fellows. Now," said the aged father, "I never could understand that." The old man lived to learn the secret, and changed his religious relations and began a new life in religion.
The scenes of the "Cane Ridge revival," down in Kentucky, have not been repeated in all our country for more than twenty years, and it is probable that they never will be. There are many things in the past history of religion in our country that will never be repeated. Did you ever witness a panic in a large congregation of people? If you have, you may go with me to "Cane Ridge." Before we start I wish to remind you of the fact that some of the most fearful panics known to men took place where, and when, there was no reason for them outside of existing ignorance. Fright or fear, coupled with ignorance, produced them. Now let us go to "Cane Ridge." There we find the people in the emotional period in the history of religion. They are laboring under the conviction that Jehovah has concentrated all the powers of His Spirit at Cane Ridge—it is the common conviction. The people all over the country believe that God is there. The excitement runs high, and yet higher; it becomes contagious—a religious epidemic—the ruling element being the thought of the presence of the Divine Majesty, and the emotional nature of man the field of its operations. All the ignorance of a genuine panic is there. There were no well-informed unbelievers there to tear off the veil, nor better-informed Christians to remove it, not even so much as a Wesley to exonerate God by saying, "I am constrained to believe that it is the devil tearing them as they are coming to Christ." No! There is one conviction at Cane Ridge—it is this: Jehovah is here. It was a wonderful panic—a wonderful time. Persons going on to the ground immediately fell down like dead men; got up with the jerks; barked like dogs. Women went backwards and forwards, making singular gestures; their heads were bobbing with the jerks, and their long hair cracking like whips. The scene was beyond description. The whole country flocked to the place, and all were confounded with amazement and astonishment.
If such operations were religion, our country has been without it for a long time. Then our old-fashioned camp-meetings—where are they? They are things of the past. I recollect leaving a camp-ground at a late hour of the night, just as the congregation divided up into groups, and the groups went out into the woods in different directions to engage in secret prayer. We heard them when we were three miles away—strange secret prayer! Do you know anything of that kind of secret prayer at the present time?
The common pulpit teaching of those times was wonderful(?), but it was the best they had. It was common for preachers to make war upon education. They often boasted of their ignorance. They claimed that education was not necessary to qualify a man for the pulpit. The best school teachers in our country received twelve and fifteen dollars per month for teaching, and boarded themselves. Teachers who now pay five dollars per week for board, can't see how those old teachers got along upon such wages. In those times it was very common for teachers to get their board for seventy-five cents per week. The farmers claimed that it was unnecessary to educate their daughters, and only necessary to educate their sons sufficiently well to enable them to keep their accounts. Beyond this it was often claimed that an education was of no value—that it only made rascals. I recollect a very zealous old man who preached for the German Baptists; he is now "across the waves." Once, in my presence, he disposed of a grammatical argument that was put against him, by saying, "It is the wisdom of the world, and it is sensual and devilish." It was common forty years ago for preachers to say, "I don't know what I shall say, but just as the Lord gives it to me I will hand it to you." As a general thing those men knew no better, and the masses of the people knew no better. The people were living in an Emotional period, with the exception of a few brave thinkers, and they were governed by their emotions.
Prosperity grew with the growth of our country, and the standard of education was elevated. The free-school system took the place of the old-fashioned subscription schools, which were worth twelve dollars per month to the whole community, and the brave thinkers continued stirring up thought in religion, and giving the fathers and mothers trouble about this thing of confounding religion with passion, and our country is now fairly at sea in an Intellectual period. Religion is now a thing to be learned and lived—to be done. Those brave men who advocated an intelligent religion forty years ago, were denounced, from almost every pulpit in our country, as a set of "whitewashed infidels," having no religion, and "without God in the world."
But that day is past, and we are in a period in which mind generally predominates. The language of the emotional is seldom heard. In that period it was common to hear men ask: "How did you get religion?" "where did you get religion?" "where did you get religion?" "describe it;" "O I can't, it is better felt than expressed." Such language was in keeping with a very common idea which was held sacred in those days. It was this, the Lord made general provision for the salvation of men, but He makes a special application to the sinner. Of course, all to whom salvation was not especially applied, were, in the estimation of those people, lost. There are a few communities yet that are away back in the emotional period. There are men and women in every community who are yet governed by their emotional nature in matters of religion. Those persons have no use for an intelligent, argumentative preacher. They want a preacher who will say smoothe things; and there is now and then a preacher who has no strength outside of the emotional.
We have an emotional nature. I am glad that we have. I would not be an intellectual wooden-man if I could. But if you say, the Almighty Father intended that we should be intellectually subordinated to our emotional nature, and therefore governed by our passions, or feelings, I shall deny it. He never intended that we should be governed by our passions. To-day there are strong intellects in unbelief flooding our country with their literature. How shall they be met? Mr. Moody says, "Show them that you are full of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost." Very well. Can you do that without the truth? can you do that without word or wisdom? can you do it without "contending earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints?" In the days of Christ and His apostles the men who were full of the Holy Spirit had a mouth and wisdom which none of their adversaries were able to resist or gainsay. The antichrists of our day can not be met successfully without reason, without argument, without meeting the intellectual demands of the times.
There are intellectual men and women in almost every community throughout our country—men and women with whom intelligence governs—who want the whys and wherefores upon every subject. This class is on the increase at a rapid rate. It does no good to set ourselves against reason, and oppose the current of thought with our emotional nature. In that way we may succeed with those who are governed by their emotional nature, but the work, when it is done, is a work upon the passions, and will soon pass away, unless the intellect was at the same time enlisted. The men who stir the world with thought, and give intellectual cast to the age in which we live, are to be met with thought, met with reason, met with truths tried in the crucible.
Christianity has nothing to fear in the great struggle that is being carried on for the truth's sake. But it has lost much for want of investigation. Our free school and Sunday-school systems are making the rising generation better acquainted with both science and the Bible, and a thorough acquaintance with both is the one thing most needed in order to a better future in religion, as well as in every other human interest. The time is come when men will no longer be content to listen to grave errors and keep silence. Every truth is being put to the test of logic, as well as fact. It is natural to abhor a contradiction, and it is right. All truth is harmonious. I am glad that harmony is demanded in religious teaching; I often think of pulpit teaching away back thirty and forty years ago. It used to be very popular in some parts to tell people that they could do nothing to better their condition in a future state, and, at the same time, exhort them to do better.
I heard of three brothers, George, William and James. George and William were "Hard-shell Baptist" preachers; James made no profession. His wife was a member of George's congregation. She was a great "scold." One day James failed to do just as she wished him, and, as a matter of course, he received quite a lecture; finally the woman told him that it was a great pity that he could not be a good man, like his brother George or brother William, and fell to exhorting him to do better. He finally became impatient and said, "Yes! George and William were too lazy to work, and I called them to preach. They both stood it until the third call, and then put on their hats and went. You belong to George's church, and I go there with you to hear him preach. He tells me that I can do nothing, and you tell me that I can do nothing; and, now, what in the h—l do you want me to do?" Such inconsistent teaching was always repugnant to common sense and natural reason. There are many persons yet teaching the old falsehood that man is passive in his conversion, notwithstanding the fact that men are imperatively commanded to convert—turn, that their sins may be blotted out. Men are yet found in some Protestant pulpits who spend a great deal of their time praying the Lord to convert sinners. It is often the case, in their own estimation, that the Lord gives no heed to their prayers; but this has happened so frequently that it does not seem to trouble them. It has been a very short time since I heard a minister advocating what he was pleased to call "miraculous conversion." I thought, if you are right in that matter, why did the Heavenly Father command his love, commended in the Savior's death, preached to every creature, and still refuse to convert every creature? What difference does it make to me whether the Lord passed me by before He made Adam, or passed me by on yesterday? And if He refuses to send His spirit and convert me until the last, and I die in my sins and am lost, who is to blame? What is the difference between His neglect to convert me and the old Calvinistic idea that Christ did not die for me? What is the difference between the spirit of God being partial to communities—going into one and converting a great many persons and passing others by—and God Himself being partial? And why does the Spirit not convert all the unwilling sinners in the community where it does convert sinners? These are questions that have been asked in a great many hearts before they yielded themselves up to skepticism and infidelity.
In the present stage of critical investigation it is well for all preachers to remember that there is but one question involving this whole matter of conversion and pardon, and that is the question coupled with the Judgment; it is not, How much did the Heavenly Father love me? He loved all men. It is not, How much did Jesus do for me? He tasted death for every man. It is not, How much has the Spirit done for me? It gave the gospel to all nations, as the power of God unto salvation to every man that believeth. The one, and only, question in the Judgment is, What have I done for myself? What are the deeds done in my body? the deeds which I have done.
Christianity is right thinking and doing; all that is to be attained in the religion of Christ is enjoyed in an upright life. Every theory that conflicts with this grand sentiment is smoked with the darkness of the dark ages. The Father of Spirits made us with the power of choice—gave us the liberty to choose—and we all may have, in the future, just such a state as we will. The Father loved all; the Son died for all; and the Spirit says to all, COME!
The great struggle that is now going on between Christianity and unbelief is accomplishing two good things: First, it is making it hard for professors of religion to hold their errors, or cover up hypocrisy; and second, it is making it hard for infidels and skeptics to hold on to their flimsy objections to the Christian religion. Let the struggle go on!
THE RECORDS RESPECTING THE DEATH OF THOMAS PAINE.
That he bitterly regretted the writing and the publishing of the Age of Reason we have incontestable proof. During his last illness he asked a pious young woman, Mary Roscoe, a Quakeress, who frequently visited him, if she had ever read any of his writings, and being told that she had read very little of them he inquired what she thought of them, adding, "From such a one as you I expect a true answer." She told him, when very young she had read his Age of Reason, but the more she read of it the more dark and distressed she felt, and she threw it into the fire. "I wish all had done as you," he replied, "for if the devil ever had an agency in any work, he has had it in writing that book."—Journal of Stephen Grellet, 1809.
Dr. Manley, who was with him during his last hours, in a letter to Cheetham, in 1809, writes: "He could not be left alone night or day. He not only required to have some person with him, but he must see that he or she was there, and if, as it would sometimes happen, he was left alone, he would scream and halloo until some person came to him. There was something remarkable in his conduct about this period, which comprises about two weeks immediately preceding his death. He would call out during his paroxysms of distress, without intermission, 'O Lord, help me! God, help me! Jesus Christ, help me! O Lord, help me!' etc., repeating the same expressions without the least variation, in a tone of voice that would alarm the house. It was this conduct which induced me to think that he abandoned his former opinions, and I was more inclined to that belief when I understood from his nurse, who is a very serious, and I believe pious woman, that he would occasionally inquire, when he saw her engaged with a book, what she was reading, and being answered, and at the same time asked whether she should read aloud, he assented, and would appear to give particular attention. The doctor asked him if he believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? After a pause of some minutes he replied, 'I have no wish to believe on that subject.' 'For my own part,' says the doctor, 'I believe that had not Thomas Paine been such a distinguished infidel he would have left less equivocal evidences of a change of opinion.' "
The Roman Catholic Bishop, Fenwick, says: "A short time before Paine died I was sent for by him." He was prompted to do this by a poor Catholic woman who went to see him in his sickness, and who told him if anybody could do him any good it was the Catholic priest. "I was accompanied by F. Kohlman, an intimate friend. We found him at a house in Greenwich, now Greenwich street, New York, where he lodged. A decent-looking, elderly woman came to the door, and inquired whether we were the Catholic priests; 'for,' said she, 'Mr. Paine has been so much annoyed of late by other denominations calling upon him, that he has left express orders to admit no one but the clergymen of the Catholic church.' Upon informing her who we were, she opened the door and showed us into the parlor. 'Gentlemen,' said the lady, 'I really wish you may succeed with Mr. Paine, for he is laboring under great distress of mind every since he was told by his physicians that he can not possibly live, and must die shortly. He is truly to be pitied. His cries, when left alone, are heart-rending. "O Lord, help me!" he will exclaim during his paroxysms of distress: "God, help me! Jesus Christ, help me!" Repeating these expressions in a tone of voice that would alarm the house. Sometimes he will say, "O God, what have I done to suffer so much?" Then shortly after, "but there is no God," then again, "yet if there should be, what would become of me hereafter?" Thus he will continue for some time, when, on a sudden, he will scream as if in terror and agony, and call for me by name. On one occasion I inquired what he wanted. "Stay with me," he replied, "for God's sake, for I can not bear to be left alone." I told him I could not always be in the room. "Then," said he, "send even a child to stay with me, for it is a hell to be alone." I never saw,' she continued, 'a more unhappy, a more forsaken man. It seems he can not reconcile himself to die.'
"Such was the conversation of the woman, who was a Protestant, and who seemed very desirous that we should afford him some relief in a state bordering on complete despair. Having remained some time in the parlor, we at length heard a noise in the adjoining room. We proposed to enter, which was assented to by the woman, who opened the door for us. A more wretched being in appearance I never beheld. He was lying in a bed sufficiently decent in itself, but at present besmeared with filth; his look was that of a man greatly tortured in mind, his eyes haggard, his countenance forbidding, and his whole appearance that of one whose better days had been one continued scene of debauch. His only nourishment was milk punch, in which he indulged to the full extent of his weak state. He had partaken very recently of it, as the sides and corners of his mouth exhibited very unequivocal traces of it, as well as of blood which had also followed in the track and left its mark on the pillow. Upon their making known the object of their visit, Paine interrupted the speaker by saying, 'That's enough, sir, that's enough. I see what you would be about. I wish to hear no more from you, sir; my mind is made up on that subject. I look upon the whole of the Christian scheme to be a tissue of lies, and Jesus Christ to be nothing more than a cunning knave and imposter. Away with you, and your God, too! Leave the room instantly! All that you have uttered are lies, filthy lies, and if I had a little more time I would prove it, as I did about your imposter, Jesus Christ.' Among the last utterances that fell upon the ears of the attendants of this dying infidel, and which have been recorded in history, were the words, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' "
"Some thousand famous writers come up in this century to be forgotten in the next. But the silver cord of the Bible is not loosened, nor its golden bowl broken, though time chronicles his tens of centuries passed by.... You can trace the path of the Bible across the world, from the day of Pentecost to this day. As a river springs up in the heart of a sandy continent, having its father in the skies; as the stream rolls on, making in that arid waste a belt of verdure wherever it turns its way; creating palm groves and fertile plains, where the smoke of the cottage curls up at eventide, and marble cities send the gleam of their splendor far into die sky—such has been the course of the bible on earth."—Theodore Parker.
"I must die—abandoned of God and of men."—Voltaire.
THREE REASONS FOR REPUDIATING INFIDELITY.
Bishop Whipple says, "I once met a thoughtful scholar who told me that for years he had read every book which assailed the religion of Jesus Christ. He said he would have been an infidel if it had not been for three things:
" 'First, I am a man. I am going somewhere. I am to-night a day nearer the grave than last night. I have read all that they can tell me. There is not one solitary ray of light upon the darkness. They shall not take away the only guide and leave me stone blind.
" 'Secondly, I had a mother. I saw her go down into the dark valley where I am going, and she leaned upon an unseen arm as calmly as a child goes to sleep upon the breast of a mother. I know that was not a dream.
" 'Thirdly, I have three motherless daughters. They have no protector but myself. I would rather kill them than leave them in this sinful world if you could blot out from it all the teachings of the Gospel.' "
COL. INGERSOLL IS A PHILOSOPHER?
Col. Ingersoll tells us that "intellectual liberty, as a matter of necessity, forever destroys the idea that belief is either PRAISE OR BLAMEWORTHY, and is wholly inconsistent with every creed in Christendom." Again, he says, "No man can control his belief." Notwithstanding all this, his whole occupation consists in traveling over the country and blaming men, women and children for their belief. He is consistent? He is a Scientist, you know? He does nothing that is absurd? He is a philosopher, sitting on the bones of Moses and making grimaces at the faith of Moses, when neither Moses nor his friends could control their belief? He works hard for no purpose if men can't control their belief, and does men injustice, IF HE BLAMES THEM FOR THEIR FAITH?
"No man can control his belief." Then why labor to make your brother of humanity believe that he is but—
The pilgrim of a day? Spouse of the worm and brother of the clay, Frail as the leaf in autumn's yellow bower, Dust in the wind, or dew upon the flower?
A child without a sire; Whose mortal life and transitory fire Light to the grave his chance-created form, As ocean wrecks illuminate the storm.
To-night, and silence sinks forevermore!
The pompous teachings ye proclaim, Lights of the world and demi-gods of fame, The laurel wreaths that murderers rear, Blood-nursed and watered by the widow's tears, Seems not so foul, so tainted, and so dread, As the daily night-shade round the skeptic's head.
Think of Ingersoll at his brother's grave!
LIFE OF ELDER E. GOODWIN.
This interesting volume will be ready for delivery in a few days, as it is now in the hands of the binder. It is a neat volume of 314 pages, on good paper, and substantially bound in cloth. Price, $1.50.
Some two months ago we issued a prospectus for this book, proposing to make a work of 300 pages, and putting the price at $1.25, and these papers have been in the hands of agents for some time, and quite a large number of persons have subscribed for the book at that price. Of course all who have subscribed to date shall have the book in good faith at $1.25, as understood, but we are compelled to raise the price to all new subscribers from this date to $1.50, on account of the advance in all book stock and the increased size of the book.
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April 2, 1879. J. M. MATHES.
Elder Mathes, also, keeps on hand a full supply of all the publications of the Christian church. Address all orders for any good book in the market to Elder James M. Mathes, Bedford, Lawrence County, Indiana. Send money by postal money order, bank draft, or registered letter.
J. M. MATHES.