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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 87

An Infidel or an Atheist

An Infidel or an Atheist.

and finally the heads getting a little higher and donning up a little grander and more splendidly, and finally produced Shakspcare, who harvested all the field of dramatic thought, and from whose day until now there have been none but gleaners of chaff and straw. Shakespeare was an intellectual ocean whose waves touched all the shores of human thought, within which was all the tides and currents and pulses upon which lay all the lights and shadows, and over which brooded all the calms, and swept all the storms and tempests of which the human soul is capable. I would rather belong to that race that commenced with that skulless vertebrate; that produced Shakespeare; a race that has before it an infinite future, with the angel of progress leaning from the far horizon, beckoning men forward and upward for ever. I would rather belong to that race, than to have descended from a perfect pair upon which the Lord has lost money every moment trom that day to this.

Now, my crime has been this: I have insisted that the bible is not the word of God. I have insisted that we should not whip our children. I have insisted that we should treat our wives as loving equals. I have denied that God—if there is any God—ever upheld polygamy and slavery. I have denied that that God ever told his generals to kill innocent babes, and tear and rip open women with the sword of war. I have denied that, and for that I have been assailed by the clergy of the United States. They tell me I have misquoted; and I owe it to you, and maybe I owe it to myself, to read one or two words to you upon this subject. In order to do that I shall have to put on my glasses; and that brings me back to where I started—that man has advanced just in proportion as his thought has page 19 mingled with his labour. If man's eyes hadn't failed he would never have made any spectacles, he would never have had the telescope, and he never would have been able to read the leaves of heaven.

Now, they tell me—and there are several geutlemen who have spoken on this subject—