The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 53
He was Unacquainted with the Dead Languages
He was Unacquainted with the Dead Languages,
and for this reason it was a piece of pure impudence in him to investigate the Scriptures.
Is it necessary to understand Hebrew in order to know that cruelty is not a virtue, that murder is inconsistent with infinite goodness, and that eternal punishment, can be in- page 8 flicted upon man only by an eternal fiend? Is it really essential to conjugate the Greek verbs before you can make up your mind as to the probability of dead people getting out of their graves? Must one be versed in Latin before he is entitled to express an opinion as to the genuineness of a pretended revelation from God? Common sense belongs exclusively to no tongue. Logic is not confined to, nor hat it been buried with, the dead languages. Paine attacked the Bible as it is translated. If the translation is wrong let its defenders correct it."
The Christianity of Paine's day is not the Christianity of our time. There has been a great improvement since then. It is better now, because there is less of it. One hundred and fifty years ago the foremost preachers of our time—that gentleman who preaches in this magnificent hall—would have perished at the stake. Lord, Lord, how John Calvin would have liked to have roasted tins man! and the perfume of his burning flesh would have filled heaven with joy. A Universalist would have been torn in pieces in England, Scotland, and America. Unitarians would have found themselves in the stocks, pelted by the rabble with dead cats; after which their ears would have been cut off, their tongues bored, and their foreheads branded. Less than one hundred and fifty years ago the following law was