The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 31
As Mr. Stobo did not reply to my answer, the Editor did not deem it expedient to continue the correspondence. The following letters had, however, been prepared by me in continuation of the discussion:— — Messrs Stobo and Co.'s Dogma of an Innate Immortaliiy Divested and Analyzed
As Mr. Stobo did not reply to my answer, the Editor did not deem it expedient to continue the correspondence. The following letters had, however, been prepared by me in continuation of the discussion:—
Messrs Stobo and Co.'s Dogma of an Innate Immortaliiy Divested and Analyzed.
Sir,—In my former letter I have already shown how Mr. Stobo's defence page 17 of innate immortality had to be made by sophistry; adducing scripture texts which do not speak of disembodied souls, but of men in the body, am in the case of Dives and Lazarus, the thief on the cross, and in the question of the resurrection, &c. In my letter opening the evolution question, I took special care not to apply "the foulest sophistry, and lies" personal to any one. But as Mr. Stobo has taken it in that sense, I have as a matter of course personally to defend myself: And if in this polemic Mr. Stobo or any one else gets a thumping which causes a headache, it is not my fault. But we will proceed in our analytic dissection of truth and sophistry. My statement of what Peter said," That David had not yet ascended into heaven, but was still in the grave, and his soul in hades," must to every one, without the quotation marks, appear, as not referring to Peter's quotation from the 16th Psalm, but as my own inference from Peter's statement that "David had not ascended into heaven, and his body being in the grave," I drew this inference, according to all Jewish dogmas, " that his soul must needs be in hades." I am not the silly babe Mr. Stobo represents me to be, as to refer the above statement to Peter's quotation from the 16th Psalm. If Mr. Stobo is silly enough to understand it so, this is not my fault. Now according to Mr. Stobo's dogma, "that a man's conscious state of existence is not destroyed by death," David, or at least David's soul, which is the real man David, must be in heaven in a conscious state of bliss. But scripture persists to call the little earth of David in the grave, the very David. So that there must needs be two Davids, i.e., the David of scripture in the grave, and the David ox a juggling theology in heaven. So that a traditional theology, by death has made two persons out of one. I ask the reader, Where does he find the foul sophistry and the lies? in the Bible, or in modern theology? Messrs Stobo and Co. will please to inform me how this trick of jugglery can be performed? Mr. Stobo says, in regard to Paul's identification with the Pharisees, as distinguished from the Sadducees, who "deny that there is neither angel nor spirit," it is difficult to know what is meant by spirit here, as distinguished from angel, "and the resurrection." Paul had no difficulty to distinguish them, for in Heb i. 7, he informs us, "Who makes his angels spirits." Mr. Stobo must have smelt a rat in his quotation, seeing he does not draw any proof from it to support his hobby of disembodied spirits. He says in regard to my quotation from Eccl. iii. 19, 20, " .Now, I wonder why Mr. Richter, who accuses some others of having to lie, &c., did not go on and give us also the 21st verse of the same passage," "Who knows the spirit of man that goes upward, and the spirit of the beast that goes downward to the earth." Let Mr. Stobo look in his Septuagint text, he will there find the Hebrew elliptic "if" supplied, And thus the text will read, " Who knows if the spirit of man," &c. In nine modern versions this "if" is supplied, the Authorised Version is the only one to my knowledge that makes nonsense of this text. But whatever way we take it, it makes not the slightest difference to me, whether the spirit of man goes upward, or the spirit of the boast downward, for there are other texts which with great positiveness inform us that both man and beast have the spirit of God, and that in both cases the spirit returns to God, as for instance, "If he (God) gather unto himself his spirit : all flesh (i.e. all the animal creatures, men and beasts) shall perish together." page 18 Mr. Stobo tries to prove from Eccl. xii. 17, "And the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." If this proves man's immortality of the spirit, the foregoing proves also the immortality of the spirit of the beasts: for each statement is on as good authority as the other. Does Mr. Stobo see now, why I did not quote these two texts? If I had advocated the immortality of the spirits of men and beasts, I should certainly have quoted them. In my case they do no harm; while in Mr. Stobo's case they prove too much. To me all these texts just prove what I contest for, viz., that man and the beast in their physical nature are equal in life and death; Mr. Stobo again asserts upon that great authority, "I say so," "That the doctrine" of man's immortality "is scriptural, and that is enough." He may assert it, but has utterly failed from scripture to prove it: for if his deductions from the aforesaid texts prove the immortality of man, they prove also with the same force the immortality of the beast. Against my denial of the Augustinian hell, in which disembodied ghosts are said to suffer, Mr. Stobo replies with his usual arbitrable authority, " Now, sir, there is a hell, just as plainly as there is a Bible. "But Mr. Richter and a great many more cannot be persuaded by Messrs Stobo and Co. to believe in such a hell contrary I o the teachings of the Bible, and contrary to justice and reason. For as there are no immortal souls, or ghost men, there is neither a heaven nor a hell wanted for such, until the day of the resurrection. Mr. Stobo turns the Gehenna of the New Testament into the traditional hell of the creeds, christened the orthodox hell: and its eternal duration on the immortality of the soul, and "on the fire that shall not be quenched," All mere assertion without proof. I have shown already, that man's much boasted immortality is a pagan myth, and as a doctrine has no existence in the Bible. Mr. Stobo ought to know, that Gehenna is not the hell of the creeds. But i f he does not know it, I can give him a little enlightenment on it, and on the fire that is not quenched. In my second letter on evolution I have fairly shown bow Gehenna by the process of a juggling theological evolution has been changed into the bell of the churches. This locality, near Jerusalem, was originally called the Valley of Hinnom, or Tophot, which denotes the fire oven, because formerly there stood in it the idol Moloch of the Canaanites, a huge brazen figure of a man with an ox head, who stood in the attitude with outstretched arms, in which were deposited in sacrifice living children, a great fire at the time was burning round about him, and the poor babes, as soon as they felt the scorching arms of the idol began to wriggle and dropped into the fire below. During the apostacy under King Achaz the Jews practiced there the same cruel idolatry, for which they were transported to Babylon. And after their return, this valley was accursed, and made a place of execution where evil—doers were stoned to death, and by the depositing t here—on all the unclean and dead beasts and the offal of the city, this place was made an abomination to the Jews, where at the time of the Jews all evildoers after capital punishment were buried or burnt. At the time when Jesus spoke of this Gehenna there were constant fires kept burning in it, to consume the aforesaid abominations there put down, and it had become a proverb among the Jews when speaking of any evil disposed person, "he deserves the fire of Gehenna," the same as is said now, he deserves the gallows. And the Ge- page 19 henna of Jerusalem had the same signification to the Jews, as Smithfield three centuries ago had to Englishmen. There were never living men tormented in it, and such an idea as people now have about the torment of living ghosts was altogether unknown. So that when Jesus spoke of this Gehenna, it was only so spoken of, as a type in reference to the children that had perished there by fire in former times, to signify the perishing of the wicked in the day of judgment. Translators who have made of this Gehenna the Augustinian hell of the churches, and concerning which the people are taught, that disembodied ghosts are therein tormented, have, to say the least, committed downright forgery: and the up-holders of this forgery have to defend it by the foulest sophistry and bare-faced lies. The purgatory of the Roman Church, as well as the modern traditional hell of the Protestant churches, are nothing but cleverly contrived nets set up for the devils, the hounds of the churches, whom the churches have set on to drive the game into the nets, ready for the priests and Parsons to fleece them of their money.
J. A. Richter.Waikiwi,