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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 48

You don't Persecute Me

You don't Persecute Me

for my thought is that you believe it would be infamous in yourselves, and yet you worship a God who will, as you declare, punish me forever. (Applause and laughter.)

The next question, then, is, Can I commit a sin against God by thinking? If God did not intend that I should think, why did He give me a thinker? (Laughter and applause.)

Now, then, we have got what they call the Christian system of religion, and thousands of people wonder how I can be wicked enough to attack that system. There are many good things about it; and I shall never attack anything that I believe to be good. (Applause.) I shall never fear to attack anything I honestly believe to be wrong. (Applause.) We have, I say, what they call the Christian religion; and, I find just in proportion that nations have been religious, just in that proportion they have gone back to barbarism. I find that Italy, Spain, and Portugal are the three worst nations in Europe. I find that the nation nearest infidel is the most prosperous—France. And so I say there can be no danger in the exercise of absolute intellectual freedom. I find among ourselves the men who think at least as good as those who don't. (Laughter.) We have, I say, the Christian system, and that system is founded upon what they are pleased to call the New Testament. Who wrote the New Testament? I do not know. Who does know? Nobody. (Laughter.) We have found some fifty-two manuscripts, containing portions of the New Testament. Some of these manuscripts leave out five or six books,—many of them; others more, others less. No two of these manuscripts agree. Nobody knows who wrote these manuscripts. They are all written in Greek. The Disciples of Christ knew only Hebrew. (Applause.) Nobody ever saw, so far as we know, one of the original Hebrew manuscripts; nobody ever saw anybody who had seen anybody who had heard of anybody that had seen anybody that had ever seen one. (Loud and continued laughter and applause.) No doubt the clergy of your city have told you these facts thousands of times (laughter and applause), and they will be obliged to me for having repeated them once more. (Laughter.) These manuscripts are written in what are called capital Greek letters; they are what are called "uncial copies;" and the New Testament was not divided into chapters and verses even until the year of grace 1551. Recollect it! In the original manuscripts, the Gospels are signed by nobody; the Epistles are addressed to nobody, and they are signed by the same person. (Laughter.) All the addresses, all the pretended earmarks, showing to whom they were written, and by whom they were written, are simply interpolations, and everybody that has studied the subject knows it. It is further admitted that even these manuscripts have not been properly translated; and they have a syndicate now