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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 31

Messrs Stobo and Co's Innate Immortal Soul Analyzed and Dissected

Messrs Stobo and Co's Innate Immortal Soul Analyzed and Dissected.

Sir,—The fire that is not quenched, and the unquenchable fire upon which our Augustinian hell-fire dogmatics have built their everlasting torments of hell, has in reality no existence. It is a Hebrew idiom, signifying a fire that will burn and not go out until it has consumed the substance on which it feeds, after which it goes out of itself. In proof of this I could cite a great many instances, but here for the present a few will suffice. Jesus when speaking of the fire of Gehenna, that it shall not be quenched, says nothing new, for he quotes Esaias lxvi. 24, "They shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me; for their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched." We see by this, that it was the dead bodies of men that were burning, and at which the worm was gnawing; and not living ghost men. Esaias says again, when he announces God's judgment upon the land of Idumea, "The land thereof shall become burning pitch: it shall not be quenched, the smoke thereof shall go up for ever." Jude speaks of Sodom and Gomorrah "as suffering the vengeance of eternal fire," though no fire was burning there at the time. Neither in Idumea nor in the valley of Hinnom has there been any fire burning these two thousand years. Again, he (God), will kindle a fire in the gates of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched" Titus burnt the gates of Jerusalem eighteen hundred years ago, since then the fire has been quenched. Homer informs us, "how the Trojans hurled unquenchable fire upon the Grecian ships." Will Messrs Stobo and Co. be bold enough to assert that in all these cited cases the fire that shall not be quenched is burning yet? Mr. Stobo says, "I do not exactly gather from Mr. Richter what he would provide in his wisdom for this Gehenna, the hell of scripture." Mr. Richter has already shown that there is no hell of the scriptures, but only the hell of the traditional creeds. And he does not presume to prescribe to the God of the Bible his judgment as the traditional theologians have ascribed to their god their own fabled hell, as page 20 Tertullian calls it where an (aeterna occisio) eternal slaughtering was being enacted." No, Mr. Richter accepts God's judgment, of mercy and justice, as sufficient and conclusive, just, and according to justice, because every evil-doer shall receive just the exact number of stripes he deserve; and not one more, nor less, and having suffered they all with the last stripe succumb to death and perish for ever. Neither has Mr. Richter any desire to go to the orthodox heaven of Messrs Stobo and Co., where the glorified saints are said to behold this eternal slaughtering of the wicked in hell and see them wriggling in the agonies of an eternal fire, and hear their awful curses and blasphemies day and night to all eternity. No, Mr. Richter prays that God in his mercy may save him from a heaven like that. And Messrs Stobo and Co. may have it all to themselves.

Why does not Mr. Stobo cite along with his pagan Paradises in support of his hobby the immortal soul, the Paradise of the Mussel men, who as disembodied ghosts keep harem in their Paradise, where some ghost Musselman has a thousand ghost wives attended to by ghost eunuchs, and riding in ghost carriages drawn by ghost horses, and the happy ghost Mussel—man sleeping with a thousand ghost wives all at once.? This, and the ghost dogs, with the ghost deer of the Red American Indians, are no doubt a little too disgusting scenes to Messrs Stobo and Co. But he will find superlatively disgusting scenes in his traditional Paradise, viz., the screechings, and whinings of babe ghosts, making their eternal cat—music, and the vain endeavours of their ghost mothers by their lullabies, lulling and cradling them to sleep. And what with the yelling and shoutings, ravings, &c. of the ghosts of raving madmen, will not Mr. Stobo find it more disgusting than the ghost dogs of the Indians, or the Musselmen's Paradise of' a thousand wives? I do not envy him his joy among such a crowd, but I should think, that he will have to sing his hallelujahs pretty high—voiced if he want s it to be beard. But may be that in his wisdom he will give orders to his god to provide a separate department in hades for this noisy crowd. Or shut them up in a lunatic ghost asylum. Or may be, that he expects that death will change the souls of furious madmen into rational ghosts; just like death makes two men out of one. Well, Mr. Stobo may believe "in a hell" of eternal butchery, and in the devils who perform this butchery; well, he may "believe in a god" of the creed, "whose judgments are real" eternal butcheries. He may believe in jails and hangmen, and the lash. And be may "believe in the infinite love of his god," because his butchering is everlasting. He may believe in Minerva also if he likes. But Mr. Richter believes that no such faith is at all necessary for the salvation of his soul from death. To believe, in the only true God, and in his only true Son Jesus Christ, who as man came to save men from death, is all the scriptures require men to believe, for the saving of their souls from death. And further, Mr. Richter has not the least faith in the god the son of the traditional creeds, who by his little earth dying saves man from Augustine's hell fire, but does not save him from death. Thanks to Mr. Stobo for his gratuitous advice, "That I arid others might be better employed, than to persuade people that there is no hell," &c. Well, let me give him and Co. a little gratuitous advice also, viz., that for his pay his time might be better employed, to teach men how page 21 they can be saved from death, than preaching a doctrine, the traditions of men, which is contrary to the Bible, and contrary to reason and justice, and that with no other result than to make 80 per cent, of hypocrites and sceptics, who thereby are lost body and soul. Though Mr. Richter does not believe in a great many things in which Mr. Stobo believes, yet does he believe that the traditional hells of the Protestant Churches are, like the purgatory of Rome, nothing more than cunningly devised fables; they are the net set by the churches, and the devils the hounds which have to drive the game into them, which priest and parson then can fleece of their money, at their pleasure. And again, Mr. Richter does not believe in the lash as necessary for salvation, yet does he believe, that in some cases it is a very proper instrument to correct naughty boys with, who, like Mr. Stobo, call people by bad names.

Mr. Stobo will please to answer me these few questions on the authority of the Bible. How, and when are his disembodied ghosts judged, before they are allowed to pop into his heaven, or be cast into hell? How can Christ's twenty hours' suffering and death, by the scriptures called vicarious, be vicarious in regard to an everlasting hell-fire butchery? If man by reason of his inherent immortality has endless life in himself, for what purpose did Jesus come and die, in order to give eternal life to those who believe in him? And if man has that eternal life in himself, how can the wages of sin become the cause of death to him? And how dare he call men's souls immortal, seeing that God says, Every soul that sins it shall die? How can he account for, that the Bible persists in calling his fancied living ghost men, the dead? Having answered all Mr. Stobo's questions, I expect him in like courtesy to answer mine.

—Yours, &c.,

J. A. Richter.