Piety and Pilfering.
[Matthew xxi (1). Then sent Jesus two disciples. (2). Saying unto them, Go ye into the village over against you and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them unto me. (8). And if any man say aught unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway ho will send them.]
In all the strictures upon the recent ease of Thorpe, the bank robber, I have been much disappointed at finding a complete lack of apprehension of the real causes of his conduct. 1st. Some wonder how a person of such pious principles could possibly be guilty of theft or embezzlement. 2nd. Some say that the holding—conscientiously or otherwise—of such principles greatly aggravates the turpitude of his offence. 3rd. Others seem to think that a person of so much piety could scarcely do wrong; and therefore that some one else must be to blame. I have thought it right to improve the occasion by examining and asking you to discuss these different views, and to ascertain if there is not another theory more accordant with the facts, and with our fundamental notions of right and wrong.
That there is a radical confusion of thought in all these aspects of the matter must be apparent; and the fundamental fallacy in all of them, I shall have, I think, little difficulty in showing, is the unwarrantable assumption of the identity of moral and religious principles. I shall show their accurate antagonism; that moral principles are essentially irreligious, and religious principles immoral. I shall support my position by a brief analysis of those principles, by citations from the Bible as the standard of the current religions, and by appeals to experience and your natural common sense.
Now it is plain that religion concerns our relations with a supposed God; morality concerns our relations with our neighbours—with Society,—two particularly different things. It may be urged that it does not thence neces- page 2 sarily follow that religious and moral interests do not coincide. I undertake to show their radical antagonism. I am aware that not a few advocate religion simply on account of the support that they assume that it gives to morality. That is the main reason why they advocate religion. But they are deceived by the fact that religious teachers have always professed to teach moral laws. But if they did so, that was simply to serve their own purposes. What they really wanted was to promulgate certain religious theories of their own. They may have had moral ends in view. I do not accuse them all of hypocrisy. But being ignorant that they actually confused and weakened morals by connecting them with any speculative religious notions, they probably thought they were doing good when they were doing immense harm. They felt in any case that no one would listen to them unless they professed to teach morality; for all good men desire to promote morality. Therefore they adopted the current morality and incorporated it with their own theoretical views; sometimes proposing as improvements whatever advancing public opinion demanded; generally some innovation upon the relations of the sexes. This is how these two incongruous things became mixed. Bentham and Grote, however, in their masterly analysis of the Influence of Religion, have clearly demonstrated the impropriety and mischief of the alliance, and the absolute failure of the religious sanction to affect morals;—which are swayed entirely by—and are really only the expression of—public opinion. Of course religion and public opinion sometimes coincide; and Then, without trying them separately, it is obviously impossible to distinguish the real effective cause of action. But when opposite conduct is sanctioned by religion and by public opinion, it is clearly the latter, and not the former, by which action is determined. Fornication, duelling, simony, and swearing arc decisive instances in which religion, which positively forbids them, is entirely disregarded, and prove that public opinion alone rules practice.
Morality is for the good of Society; and those who love Society and the world promote it as much as they can. Religion is for the glory and benefit of God, who is glorified by the sufferings of the damned in hell, and their page 3 crimes on Earth, as much as by the joys of the blest elsewhere. No one has expressed more strongly than Jesus the necessity for hating the world and everything in it, if you would be his disciple. (Luke xiv. 20.) You cannot serve God—and Mammon, which is the good of the world, (Matthew vi, 24; Luke xvi, 13.) If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him. (1 John ii, 15). Religion insists that you should love God first and entirely; and man,—if at all, secondarily and less. I say —if at all, because if Jesus sometimes said that you should love your neighbour and your enemies,—he also said that unless you hate your father, mother, sister, and brother, you cannot be his disciple. (Luke xiv, 26). And his indiscriminate injunction to love your neighbour is as immoral as that to love God best. (Matthew xxii, 7-9; Mark xii, 30-1; Luke x, 27-8.) Morality demands, on the contrary, that you should always discriminate, and love those only who are worthy of love, irrespective of personal relationship. God may be no respecter of persons (Acts x, 34), and treat the just and the unjust exactly alike, as Jesus therefore, enjoins his disciples to do;† but if so, God is certainly not a moral being, and should be neither loved nor respected by moral beings. Morality, however, consists in accurately distinguishing good from evil on every occasion, and in marking our estimation of each as pronouncedly as possible. Jesus, to his eternal disgrace, openly preferred—not 99 sinners to 1 righteous man—which would have been bad enough,—but 1 sinner to 99 righteous men who need no repentance. (Luke xv, 7.) Morality would, on the contrary, prefer 1 righteous man to 99—and even 999—criminals. Nothing could be more immoral than these principles of Christianity. Moral government of course demands that the retributive consequences of good or evil acts should be (as they are) accurately appropriate—present—immediate—inevasible—and intelligible to moral reasoning beings. That they are so is a natural fact that the world is only just beginning to understand, though it has always instinctively acted upon that principle more or less, even while professing the opposite religious doctrine. Jesus evidently concluded that such is not the case, He oven said that God treats page 4 bad and good alike here; that is, he lets them alone to work their good or evil will, without interfering in any way.* He makes his Sun to rise upon the evil and the good alike, and he sends his rain upon the unjust as much as upon the just. (Mat. v, 45). He lets the wheat and the tares grow together until the final harvest, which Jesus certainly never dreamed would be 1800 years in coming. (Mark xii, 30; Luke xxi, 32). The idea of the moral government of this world by (rod never entered into Jesus's conceptions. When it was suggested to him he contradicted it flatly. "No!" he said. "Suppose ye that those Galileans—(whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices)—were sinners above all the Galileans because they suffered such things? I tell you nay; but except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you nay—but except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke xiii, 1-5). Not by the fall of a tower on them by accident here, but in some final compensation in another world, which has not come yet and never will. Now this is not moral government at all of this world,—not at any rate such as would benefit this world and make Society better; nor such as any rational being could understand. But no inventer or proclaimer of any religion ever rose to the apprehension of the actual—natural—moral government of the world, or he would not have ignored and endeavoured to supersede it by a system which abandons all hope of improvement here, and reserves all compensation for a final adjustment; when punishment—having no admonitory or prospective value, would be indistinguishable from malicious revenge; and reward—of whatsoever it might ultimately consist, would be so distant, obscure, and uncertain, as to be powerless to compete here with present urgent temptation. We know well that moral conduct here infallibly secures an ample, exactly appropriate, immediate, certain, and intellectually discernible reward, and that immoral conduct is simply self-destructive. But this truth was indiscernible in the time of Jesus, or at any rate by him. Its apprehension is a modern intellectual achievement, proving page 5 great moral as well as logical advance. Can we avoid suspecting that it was much delayed by the promulgation of such false doctrines as those of "Repentance" and the "Forgiveness of Sins,"? which, by implying that the consequences of bad acts might be thereby evaded, were directly calculated to impede its conception. Jesus could not have known that Nature never forgives; that natural penalties for disregard of its teaching are amply moral; being certain, inevasible, and intellectually discernible. He would not have otherwise taught the accurate opposite, that the moral administration of the world is perfectly indiscriminate, or that repentance would secure forgiveness of sin, and forgiveness save from natural consequences. It is moral to love the world and the good people in it, and to avoid and condemn sinners; though immoral to damn any one finally, which would benefit nobody. It was immoral to say—"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him."' (1 John ii, 15). Jesus inculcated the exalted love of God above all (Mat. xxii, 37-8; Mark xii, 29-30; Luke x, 27-8), and said that no one could be his disciple except he hate his father, mother, wife, children, brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also. (Luke xiv, 26). Now we are compelled to say that a man who would do this—love his enemies and hate his friends,—though it were to follow Jesus, would be vilely immoral. We know that the men who have done most good to humanity, like Harvey, Jenner, Stephenson, Priestly, Newton, Watt, Faraday, &c., were moral just so far as they loved the world and the things connected with it; and that had they been engrossed with their religion and heavenly interests, they could not have benefited the world as they did. On the contrary, those who have busied themselves most with God's business—and religion, like the Spanish Inquisitors and all religious persecutors,—have been the greatest scourges to humanity. "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." (Mat. vii. 24).
Having so far marked the broad distinction between moral and religious principles, let us consider whether page 6 it is reasonable to wonder that a person of such pious principles as the bank robber Thorpe could be guilty of theft or embezzlement. I affirm, on the contrary, that it is just such persons that do such things; and the proposition is an induction from experience. In the last 25 years in Melbourne there has scarcely been one bank defaulter out of a considerable number who has not been a Sunday School teacher, or an elder, or a preacher, or a particularly religious person. Some will argue that Thorpe's conduct proves him a hypocrite, and that had he acted up to his professions, he would not have swindled. Well, I say by their fruits ye shall know them, Thorpe was a long time before he was found out, and it is only a question of time and temptation till all like professors shall be found out, too. There is no ground for charging Thorpe with hypocrisy. The charge is made—not from the facts—which go to disprove it,—but in defence of the principles of those who make it, and have not yet been—like him—found out. It is quite as legitimate a deduction that all who hold the same principles are equally hypocrites. But Christianity itself repudiates and invalidates this defence of it. It professes to be the religion of sinners and to be specially adapted and competent to turn the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just. Christ said he came to call—not the righteous—but sinners, to repentance. If therefore the greatest sinners, with whatsoever motives, subject themselves so fully to its influence, and are afterwards immoral, it proves either that Christianity fails in its professions, and is inefficacious under favorable circumstances, or else that the immoral results are due to its influence.
But I shall now show deductively that the results in Thorpe's case were just what should have been expected from his principles. He was a Bible reader, and almost all the characters held up to special admiration in the Bible were liars and swindlers, and the only men whom it represents as exhibiting good moral feeling are condemned. The whole tenor of the Bible is the same. Adam and Eve were prohibited the knowledge of good and evil—moral knowledge, and for getting it were punished. Abraham is specially praised for his readiness to cut his son's throat in servility to his barbarous super page 7 stition. Jacob was approved and rewarded by God for deliberately swindling his own brother out of his birthright. David, though loss of a coward, was still more immoral, and yet is called the man after God's own heart. Esau and Saul, whose only faults were apparently good nature and liberality, are the best characters mentioned in the whole of the Old Testament, and yet for their very virtues they suffered punishment. The most respectable of all the prophets was Jonah, who objected to be obliged to go and prophesy lies, and was punished accordingly. Jeremiah himself says, "A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely and the priests bear rule by their means." (Jer. v, 30-1). Moses deserves some credit for propounding a system of worldly instead of posthumous rewards and punishments; but, judging by the record, his narrow-minded application of the principle more than balanced any good in his pretended adoption of it. He has the doubtful credit of promulgating the decalogue, but he is stated on the same authority to have violated, and instructed the Jews to violate, nearly every one of the laws composing it which had any moral bearing. The occupation at his bidding by the Jews of the land of the Canaanites was in direct defiance of every moral law—even of those given by himself. The circumstances under which they left Egypt wore infamous; and even Moses seems to have been ashamed of the spoiling of the Egyptians under false pretences, for he takes care to fix the responsibility upon the Lord by alleging repeated particular instructions to "speak in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment. And ye shall put them upon your sons and upon your daughters, and ye shall spoil the Egyptians. And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that, they lent unto them such things as they would." (Ex. iii, 23, xi, 2-3, xii, 35-G). A grosser fraud was never perpetrated. But having the sanction of religion, it in any case offers an effective example to the pious of all ages, which they are only too ready to follow. I should scarcely be surprised if some one here to-night were to be demoralised and pious enough to defend or excuse it.page 8
David, the man after God's own heart, was as great a swindler as Jacob or Moses, if not worse, and, like them, was encouraged and protected by God. When, to avoid Saul, David fled to Achish, .King of Gath, who had given him Ziklag for a residence, "he invaded the Amalekites, (Achish's subjects) and smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive, and took away the sheep and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel, and returned, and came to Achish. And Achish said, whither have ye made a road to-day? And David said, against the south of Judah, and against the Jerahmelites, and against the Kenites. And David saved neither man nor woman alive to bring tidings to Gath, saying, lest they should tell on us, saying, so did David. And Achish believed David." (1 Sam, xxvii, G-12). David's conduct to Uriah was notoriously even more infamous. He contrived his faithful servant's death in battle to get possession of his wife, and accomplished both outrages with unblushing villainy. The Lord professed to disapprove of this, but upon David's admission of the crime, it was freely forgiven on the spot. This is a typical instance of the method of priestcraft. The worst crime is nothing, so long as confession and perfect submission to the priest are made. However monstrous—it is forgiven in a moment, provided subservience to the priest is professed. But when Saul justified, by an appeal to common sense, his personal clemency to Agag and other captives, his independence met with relentless persecution. Another example of this is David's mean admission of having committed a crime, when he had really done a wise act in taking a census. His subservience was then farther secured by allowing him to choose, as the penalty, a pestilence—which was infamously selected by David—among the innocent people—instead of personal punishment of himself. The object was to make him feel as a sinner even when innocent. This shows why there is more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. A sinner is a more servile workable instrument, and to save himself will do far more infamous acts when bid by the priest than any man of conscious rectitude and purity. I am not, however, concerned to recount David's crimes, further than as they explain the operation of the religious page 9 sentiment. From all this it should be clear that, so far from there being reason for wonder at pious persons committing crimes, they are just the ones of whom crimes should be expected.
In the New Testament the text I have chosen precisely corroborates my position. Jesus himself sends two disciples to a village, and deliberately directs them to steal a donkey with a foal, and bring them to him. And he said—"If any man say aught unto you, ye shall say 'The Lord hath need of them,'" the Lord being himself, mark you. Being the Lord, he needed not to take another person's donkey, not even to fulfil the prophecy; for he could have made one for the purpose. If Thorpe could have made money as easily, he might not have robbed the Bank. But observe—the Lord is always—oneself,—and oneself—the Lord. "I am that I am"—is pretty plainly the Lord myself When once a man has worked himself up in fervent piety till he believes—like Jesus—that he is in the father and the father in him, he feels himself justified in doing any mortal thing that may appear desirable to him; and he then does it with enthusiasm and gusto, as if he liked it—as Calvin burnt poor Servetus alive on a fire of green faggots, and as Charles IX perpetrated the massacre of St. Bartholomew for the love of the Lord myself. The fanatic believes he has a right to everything he wants, and when an opportunity offers for taking it, whether it be a donkey and a foal, or £2,000 in Bank of Victoria notes, he cries—" The Lord hath need of them; the Lord hath delivered them into my hand." After all it seems not improbable that if Jesus was really crucified at all it was for donkey stealing. Was he not crucified between two thieves, one of whom he invited to supper the same evening in Paradise?
Theft! Jesus did not call it stealing ! "Convey—the wise it call." And Thorpe said, "I go from this dock a sacrifice for others." How often did Jesus say the same? Was there much to choose between them? Surely not in Thorpe's opinion, nor in mine. And why? Because any amount of piety justifies to oneself any amount of pilfering, if the Lord myself have need of it. We know the sympathy shown with Thorpe by the Rev. M. Rentoul and the Southern Cross. Why? Are they not also pious? page 10 And if the Lord myself had need of it, who shall say that they would not tomorrow go and do likewise? Has any one not afflicted with this immoral disease of piety shown sympathy with Thorpe? Or Jesus?
Some may think that there are scarcely grounds for comparing Jesus thus with Thorpe, But I feel bound to do so. For Jesus is (most improperly) held up to us as a model of immaculate virtue for our imitation as well as veneration; and before we either venerate or imitate him, we should err gravely were we not strictly to inquire into and estimate his moral character. Now it is admitted that he commonly associated with sinners and harlots, a practice that would have ruined Thorpe entirely; and there can be no question as to the nefariousness of the appropriation of the donkey. We do not hesitate to condemn the Israelites and Moses for swindling the Egyptians, Jacob for swindling Esau, and David for swindling Achish and Uriah. And why are we not to say what is as obviously true of Jesus?—particularly when we are desired to imitate him? Thorpe made no pretensions of this sort. If it be said that this ease of the donkey was an isolated one, remember that Thorpe was convicted for his first offence, which was held to constitute him at once a dishonest man. But it is also written that Jesus, besides, encouraged his disciples to help themselves to other people's corn on the Sabbath day (Mat. xii, L; Mark ii, 23). It must not be forgotten also that, as I said before, Jesus needed not to steal a donkey, as ho could have created one if he wanted it. Thorpe had no such power. It is said that Jesus cured a number of sick and impotent folk; but if so, it cost him nothing to do it, and was only what every one should do if he had the power. It would be an almost impossible crime to neglect to use such a power, and I know no man so bad but who would do the same if he could. We have no materials for judging how Jesus would have filled a position of trust or responsibility, for he never held one; but his conduct to his mother was rude and ungracious. Still if his teaching had been wise and moral, that might have been overlooked; but I am about to show that, on the contrary, it was destructive of self-reliance, it falsified all logical notions of responsibility, and made men, otherwise moral, commit unheard-of crimes for religion's sake.page 11
Now I must not be misunderstood to say that Jesus habitually thieved, or taught his disciples to thieve, or that theft and immorality are religious duties. Neither Atheism nor Religion will make a man good who is naturally bad. Atheism, however, will never make a man do bad acts who is not naturally bad; for, as Lord Bacon says, "Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputations, all of which may be guides to an outward moral virtue though religion were not; but superstition dismounts all these, and erecteth an absolute monarchy in the midst of men. Therefore Atheism never did perturb States; for it makes men wary of themselves as looking no further." (Essay on Superstition). But religion has often made people who were otherwise good do most immoral acts on account of religion. This has been demonstrated in the cases of Philip II, who was naturally humane, the Spanish Inquisitors, men of proved incorruptible integrity, and Calvin, an upright conscientious man. All these good moral men were horribly immoral and criminal—for religion's sake.
It is not, however, solely upon the example of Jesus, nor his precept and justification given in this particular case, that I rely to establish my position. I maintain that the general teaching of Jesus tends the same way, and doubtless causes the notoriously frequent pilfering of the pious. This is not a fancy of my own—it is a statistical fact. Last year in Victoria, while Protestants furnished 13, Jews 11, and Pagans 12 criminals in every 10,000 of our population, 30.36 was the proportion of criminal Roman Catholics, who are notoriously those of the population the most subservient to the priest and the most, religious. On the other hand the proportion of criminals of no religion, or very little, was no more than 6 in 10,000; or less than half as much as the Protestants, and only one-fifth as much as the Roman Catholics; and probably if those of no religion had been distinguished from those of very little, the 6 would have been found among the latter. (See Victorian Year-book, p. 278.) This is inductive evidence that the pilfering is in direct proportion to the piety. To revert to the deductive proof :
What are the leading doctrines of Jesus? 1st. Belief in, and reliance upon, God. If we cast all our care upon page 12 phallic legend like all the early Jewish books. The then Jewish God—who, as a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, was plainly the Phallus itself—was evidently pleased with those phallic offerings, and accepted them, though he slaughtered 50,070 Jews because some one looked into the ark. The Jews are clearly proved by their own books to have been Phallists from the beginning up to the time of the captivity, when the books (so-called) of Moses were first produced, and Jehovah, as a great original generator or phallus, the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, was promoted over the local phalli or wooden ashera—mistranslated groves in the Bible to disguise the fact. These ashera or genuine phalli were set up in the temple itself, and the women wove hangings for them in the phallic houses that were by the temple.g The phallism is unmistakable through the books of Samuel h and Kingsi and Ezekielj also. Circumcision was obviously a phallic rite, and the asserted conception and birth of Jesus—may not improperly be called—a phallic wrong.
The idea of a future life appears, according to Diodorus Siculus, to have arisen in Egypt, and to have spread thence almost within historical time. The doctrine of love is of course phallic in origin, but the æsthetic or spiritualised form of it, adopted by Plato first and afterwards by Christian enthusiasts, was evidently only one feature among others derived from Buddhism, which has a superior title to be called the Religion of Love, as it is without the incongruities and many of the extravagances that disfigure and stultify Christian theology. Buddha's affection was really that of a good man for men, and pity for their besotted ignorant miserable condition. I know nothing phallic about Buddhism. To assert the subsistence of anything of the nature of love between an almighty good deity and bad men is to ignore the moral attainments of man and court solecism on every hand. Christianity preserves more of Phallism than Buddhism, and deserves rather to be called the religion of hate, whether as ex- page 13 hibited in the alleged relations of the Deity and his creatures, or in the conduct of its votaries to each other.
Both inductively from history and deductively from doctrine it thus appears, then, that love is entirely out of place in religion, and has been improperly associated with it—either "with dissimulation" or in utter ignorance of its origin and effect. Yet there can be no doubt that there is an intimate connection between the religious sentiment and sexuality, whether it originated in Phallism or not. No religion was ever initiated without some attempt to innovate upon or qualify the relations of the sexes. The Nunawading prophets and the Wroeites here, the Shakers, Spiritualists, and Perfectionists in America, the Muckers in Germany, and the Saints of the Agapemone in England, all illustrate this observation in various ways. The larger sects (Buddhism alone excepted) equally corroborate it and prove a connection between the phenomena. Mahometanism and Mormonism were both revolts—the former against ancient, and the latter against modern, monogamy as the expression of exoteric Phallic prohibition. The Great Protestant Reformation was simply the culmination of the persistent struggle—during more than 1,000 years—between the Christian Church on the one hand and the Clergy and Laity on the other; the Church insisting upon clerical celibacy (which meant general prostitution), and the Clergy and people fighting for clerical marriage. History bears witness that the Christian Church maintained this struggle, not to enforce the ascetical principles upon which celibacy was first ostensibly introduced, but with a purely mercenary object; for it tolerated and encouraged illegitimate sexual connections of the Clergy, so long as they did not marry; while the Clergy, to their credit be it said, and the Laity also (for obvious reasons), contended for clerical marriage to obviate the necessity for illicit connections. The mercenary object of the Church was this: From the early part of the 4th century married priests almost always misappropriated for their families and themselves the revenues of the Church, and so detracted from its wealth and power."k The page 14 interest of celibate clergy centred in the Church, and they could excuse themselves to their lay charges in the words of St. Paul (1 Cor. ix, 11). "If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things." To such an extent did they reap them that the monasteries and convents had become, in the fifteenth century, huge brothels; that in some places the children of the Clergy are known to have outnumbered those of the lay populationl; that some bishops were known to have from 60 to 70 natural children, while others kept as many concubinesm; that the priests, until the 16th century, customarily paid a regular license called "cullagium" to keep concubines, whether they did so or not;n and that there are numerous historical proofs that it was a usual thing throughout Europe for the parishioners of a new pastor to assemble and insist, for the protection of their wives and daughters, upon his taking a concubine forth with.o It was for such irregularities that indulgences were openly sold by the Church, until the people could stand it no longer, and the Reformation ensued—not, as pretended, to vindicate freedom of religious opinion, but to secure protection from the wholesale prostitution of the women of Europe by the Christian priesthood,p The Church, to get temporal wealth and power, had actually converted Europe into a sacred brothel as completely as if every chapel or convent had been a Phallic temple, and these facts constitute the only real title of the Christian Church to be called the Religion of Love! This is the way that the Clergy used to keep up—as the Bishop says—the morals of the people!!! Public opinion compels secresy in such matters now, but it is impossible to doubt that the same rule prevails.
This is not, however, all that the Christian Church has done to saturate European Society with sanctified prostitution. Its perpetuation of the Phallic Institution of marriage as an ecclesiastical ceremony, and, as an page 15 indissoluble contract, has contributed largely to the same result, and the Protestants are therefore, of course, so far implicated, as much as the Roman Church. This evil is culminating in England, and a social revolution to remedy it is but a question of time. For the excess of the number of women is nearly 4 millions now, and is rapidly increasing; while, maugre the augmenting population, the number of marriages is steadily and not slowly diminishing. This is the work of the religion of love!! Marriage is too often miserably unhappy, and must remain so while legally indissoluble. Inducement is thus offered to misbehaviour. Marriage should last—like any rational contract of association—solely during good behaviour, for which a reason would then exist; and the contract should be at once dissoluble without expense—at the desire of either party to it. The evident tendency of modern opinion, and even legislation towards increasing the liberty of individuals, and the steady though slow decline of religion, afford some prospect of progress in the direction of rational morality in this respect. The obstinacy, however, of prejudices derived from sources so ancient as Phallism is necessarily enormous, and is the principal cause of the delay. Our Phallic inheritance appears also in the conventional objection to modern Malthusianism; the sole feasible defence against poverty. Good things come, and bad things go; but very slowly.
To summarise. The doctrine of love in Religion, and in Christianity in particular, is not only a contradictory absurdity, but also a cruel insult to those who are treated as if they were hated. It is a direct though unrecognized relic of obscene phallism, which is really also the basis of all our religions (except Buddhism), and of most of the errors in our notions of Morality; such as sanctity,— meaning—protection from criticism; modesty and decency,—which mean simply—hypocrisy, for they veil no foulness that they do not create; also chastity—which is really public tyranny in strictly private matters, and respecting which public opinion is notoriously one-sided and divided. Its unequal application stamps it as an error, and its evil physical results, together with its social product—Prostitution— page 16 demonstrate it to be a monstrous evil. All these have their bases, not in utility but solely in ancient Phallic exoteric tyranny, and should be fearlessly examined and treated. The Christian Church has—for mercenary objects — perpetuated the foulness of phallism under the cloak of ascetic and æsthetic piety. A strictly rational morality is possible solely by understanding the whole subject of prostitution in its origin and history, as I have endeavoured to trace them under obvious difficulties. I have taken much pains to acquire this information—of which I have given you only the heads—respecting the causes of prostitution; with the view of cleansing our society from the foul stain upon our vaunted morality. There is no other way.
I hold that one who is not prepared to trust and follow his intellectual judgment, wheresoever it may lead, is unworthy of its possession. In asking you to discuss my conclusions, I hope for free criticism to test them in every possible way. I cannot expect you to apprehend my position perfectly from such a short and inadequate account of it, but if I stimulate enquiry into the matter, I scarcely look for more at present. That will be a great step gained; for the problem appears to have been generally given up as hopeless. And remember that "There is nothing unclean of itself; but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean."
[My principal authorities are, Diodorus Siculus, Herodotus, Plutarch, the Bible, Wilkinson's "Ancient Egyptians," Bailly's "Astronomie Ancienne" and "Astronomic Indienne," Higgins' "Celtic Druids" and "Anacalypsis," Sir Wm. Drummond's "(Edipus Judaicus," Dupuis' "Origines de tous les Cultes," Dulaure's "Histoire abregee de differens Cultes," R. Payne Knight's "Worship of Priapus" and "Symbolical Language of Ancient Art and Mythology," Dr. Inman's "Ancient Faiths embodied in Ancient Names" and "Ancient Faiths and Modern," Colonel Kennedy's and Coleman's works on "Hindoo Mythology," "The Dabistan," Sale's "Koran," and—an invaluable book—H. C. Lea's "History of Sacerdotal Celibacy."—H.K.R.]
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i 1 Kings xiv, 24; xv, 12.
l Ib. p. 349.
m pp. 322, 349.
† Matt. V, 45.
* Matt XXX, 30