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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 42

The Marrow of the Thing

The Marrow of the Thing.

"He wanted everyone to swear that he would not, directly or indirectly, give a dollar to any man to preach these falsehoods of the Bible. They had done harm enough, had covered the world with blood, with asylums for the insane, and to cast a shadow in the heart, of every child and every good, tender man and woman. No matter what might come, let each do what he believed to be right,"

Now you have the marrow and fatness of freethought! "Swear that you will not give a dollar directly or indirectly," to the religion of the Bible. What a burlesque on profanity! How would they swear? By whom would they swear? They have no God, and why should they waste their time and breath with such idle ceremonies?

But think of the liberality of which they boast, and their unutterable contempt for narrow-mindedness. All this, when translated into English reads: Let all the people pay me—R. G. Ingersoll—one dollar apiece to hear my animadversions on Moses; but no one must hear any defence of the religion which I malign, unless wholly at the expense of the friends of the Bible.

This is in keeping with the whole course of the gentleman. Everywhere (almost) he has been challenged to the defence of his position, and asked to verify his statements. But he can't think of it. The work would be too laborious. It is easier to have his say where his statements cannot be questioned, where he can raise the laugh, and the money, and then go on his way rejoicing. The gentleman knows that if the people shall hear both sides of the question, his race will be short and inglorious. Hence his effort to prevent the defenders of the Bible from being heard. This is the liberal foam of Danton, Robespierre, and Marat over again. But the consistency is not such as to entitle it to our respect.

Why do these men remain in our midst! Why do they not emigrate to some happy land where their souls will not be vexed with our devotions; where they could bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of freethought and freelove, and where they will never be told of future rewards by preachers who reason page 17 of righteousness, temperance and judgement to come? Ah! They wish to remain in a land of schools and intelligence, and unfortunately for the claims of infidelity, these exist in the land where the people are under the influence of the old superstition as they do not exist anywhere else. And it is known too, that business energy, and progress in the sciences, are about in proportion with the acknowledgement of the claims of Christianity.

Unwittingly, the gentleman says that we have covered the world with asylums for the insane. So we have. He might have said the same things respecting asylums for the poor, the outcast, the inebriate, for the orphan, the helpless, the fallen; yes, yes, we have carried bread to the hungry, and sunshine into desolate homes. Not only so, but to the account of Christianity is to be charged the reformatory institutions of the age, and nearly all the efforts to save the world from drunkenness and accompanying vices. To all of which we plead guilty. And it may be said, too, that infidelity is guilty of none of these things.

But when he says that we have covered the world with blood, he is contradicted by the principles of the religion of Christ and the history of the world. The religion introduced by the Son of God is the religion of peace, and just as it takes possession of the hearts of any people, will walls of defence be broken down, and peace and good will be established among men.

The sum of all that infidelity demands is popularly stated; that it was his will that every man should do what he believes to be right. This modern Mirabeau would sweep the earth of all religious conviction, and in the place of it turn man over to the control of his ignorance and passion. It is the doctrine of Hobbes in its primitive form : Let a man do that which seems good in his own eyes, for he owes allegiance to no one but himself. And a man is at liberty to do and get whatever he wishes that is consistent with his personal safety. By this philosophy every man becomes a law unto himself. No matter how drunken, lecherous, fraudulent, infamous, and abominable, if only self is satisfied then it must be all right. Talk of blood-letting! Was there ever a more horrible spectacle than the French Revolution, conducted and propelled by infidelity, in which 3,000,000 were deliberately butchered in less than ten years? Talk of infamy! Never has the world known the equal of the abominations of those who have put God out of their minds!

In the place of that religion by which we have our peace, and happiness, and hope, they will give us unbridled license to do as we will; they will paint out the lines between virtue and vice, and lull the conscience into a sound sleep respecting right and wrong. And for their gracious work, there are people who are page 18 willing to pay Mr. Ingersoll one dollar apiece for every new form into which he can put his old tirade against God and the Bible. The Psalmist describes them thus:—

"They are corrupt and speak wickedly concerning oppression; they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. Therefore his people return hither, and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them."—Ps. lxxiii., 8-10.

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