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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 48

Desert Fathers and Mothers

Desert Fathers and Mothers

and wives and children. St. Augustine says to the devotee, "Fly to the desert. Though your wife put her arms about your neck, tear her hands away. She is a temptation of the devil. Though your father and mother throw their bodies athwart your threshold, step over them; though your children pursue with weeping eyes beseeching you to return, listen not, it is a temptation of the Evil One; fly to the desert and save your soul." Think of such a soul being worth saving! (Applause.) While I live I propose to stand by the folks. (Laughter and applause.)

Here, then, is another condition of salvation. I find in the twenty-fifth chapter, "Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me? I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me." Good! And I tell you to-night that God will not punish with eternal thirst the man who has put a cup of cold water to the lips of his neighbor (applause); God will not allow to live in the eternal nakedness of pain the man who has clothed others. For instance: Here is a shipwreck, and here is some brave sailor who stands aside to let a woman whom he never saw before take his place in the boat. He stands there, great and serene as the wide sea, and he goes down. Do you tell me there is any God who will push the boat from the shore of eternal life when that man wishes to step in. (Applause.) Do you tell me that God can be unpitying to the pitiful: that He can be unforgiving to the forgiving? I deny it. And from the aspersions of the pulpit I seek to rescue the reputation of the Deity. (Applause.)

Now, I have read you everything in Matthew on the subject of salvation. (Laughter.) That is all there is. Not one word about believing anything. It is the gospel of deed, the gospel of charity, the gospel of self-denial, and if only that gospel had been preached persecution would never have shed one drop of blood. (Applause.) Not one.

Now, according to the testimony, Matthew was well acquainted with Christ. According to the testimony, he had been with Him and His companion for years. If it was necessary to believe anything in order to get to Heaven Matthew should have told us. But he forgot it, or he didn't believe it, or he never heard it. You can take your choice. (Laughter.)

The next is Mark. Now, let us see what he says. For the purpose of this lecture it is sufficient for me to say that Mark agrees substantially with Matthew.—that God will be merciful to the merciful, that He will be kind to the kind, that He will pity the pitying. It is precisely or substantially the same as Matthew until I come to the sixteenth verse of the sixteenth chapter, and then I strike an interpolation put in by hypocrisy, put in by priests who longed to grasp with bloody hands the sceptre of universal authority. (Applause.) Let me read it to you. It is the most infamous passage in the Bible. Christ never said it. No sensible man ever said it. "And He said unto them" (that is unto His disciples), "go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Now, I propose to prove to you that this is an interpolation. How will I do it? In the first place, not one word is said about belief in Matthew. In the next place, not one word about belief in Mark, until I come to that verse; and where is that said to have been spoken? According to Mark it is a part of the last conversation with Jesus Christ, just before, according to the account,