Some Mistakes of Moses

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Some Mistakes of Moses
by Robert G. Ingersoll

XVI: THE GARDEN.

In the first account we are told that God made man, male and female, and said to them "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it."

In the second account only the man is made, and he is put in a garden "to dress it and to keep it." He is not told to subdue the earth, but to dress and keep a garden.

In the first account man is given every herb bearing seed upon the face of the earth and the fruit of every tree for food, and in the second, he is given only the fruit of all the trees in the garden with the exception "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" which was a deadly poison.

There was issuing from this garden a river that was parted into four heads. The first of these, Pison, compassed the whole land of Havilah, the second, Gihon, that compassed the whole land of Ethiopia. the third, Heddekel, that flowed toward the east of Assyria, and the fourth, the Euphrates. Where are these four rivers now? The brave prow of discovery has visited every sea; the traveler has pressed with weary feet the soil of every clime; and yet there has been found no place from which four rivers sprang. The Euphrates still journeys to the gulf, but where are Pison, Gihon and the mighty Heddekel? Surely by going to the source of the Euphrates we ought to find either these three rivers or their ancient beds. Will some minister when he answers the "Mistakes of Moses" tell us where these rivers are or were? The maps of the world are incomplete without these mighty streams. We have discovered the sources of the Nile; the North Pole will soon be touched by an American; but these three rivers still rise in unknown hills, still flow through unknown lands, and empty still in unknown seas.

The account of these four rivers is what the Rev. David Swing would call "a geographical poem." The orthodox clergy cover the whole affair with the blanket of allegory, while the "scientific" Christian folks talk about cataclysms, upheavals, earthquakes, and vast displacements of the earth's crust.

The question, then arises, whether within the last six thousand years there have been such upheavals and displacements? Talk as you will about the vast "creative periods" that preceded the appearance of man; it is, according to the Bible, only about six thousand years since man was created. Moses gives us the generations of men from Adam until his day, and this account cannot be explained away by calling centuries, days.

According to the second account of creation, these four rivers were made after the creation of man, and consequently they must have been obliterated by convulsions of Nature within six thousand years.

Can we not account for these contradictions, absurdities, and falsehoods by simply saying that although the writer may have done his level best, he failed because he was limited in knowledge, led away by tradition, and depended too implicitly upon the correctness of his imagination? Is not such a course far more reasonable than to insist that all these things are true and must stand though every science shall fall to mental dust?

Can any reason be given for not allowing man to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge? What kind of tree was that? If it is all an allegory, what truth is sought to be conveyed? Why should God object to that fruit being eaten by man? Why did he put it in the midst of the garden? There was certainly plenty of room outside. If he wished to keep man and this tree apart, why did he put them together? And why, after he had eaten, was he thrust out? The only answer that we have a right to give, is the one given in the Bible. "And the Lord God said, Behold the man has become as one of us to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken."

Will some minister, some graduate of Andover, tell us what this means? Are we bound to believe it without knowing what the meaning is? If it is a revelation, what does it reveal? Did God object to education then, and does that account for the hostile attitude still assumed by theologians toward all scientific truth? Was there in the garden a tree of life, the eating of which would have rendered Adam and Eve immortal? Is it true, that after the Lord God drove them from the garden that he placed upon its Eastern side "Cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life?" Are the Cherubim and the flaming sword guarding that tree still, or was it destroyed, or did its rotting trunk, as the Rev. Robert Collyer suggests, "nourish a bank of violets"?

What objection could God have had to the immorality of man? You see that after all, this sacred record, instead of assuring us of immortality, shows us only how we lost it. In this there is assuredly but little consolation.

According to this story we have lost one Eden, but nowhere in the Mosaic books are we told how we may gain another. I know that the Christians tell us there is another, in which all true believers will finally be gathered, and enjoy the unspeakable happiness of seeing the unbelievers in hell; but they do not tell us where it is.

Some commentators say that the Garden of Eden was in the third heaven--some in the fourth, others have located it in the moon, some in the air beyond the attraction of the earth, some on the earth, some under the earth, some inside the earth, some at the North Pole, others at the South, some in Tartary, some in China. some on the borders of the Ganges, some in the island of Ceylon, some in Armenia, some in Africa, some under the Equator, others in Mesopotamia, in Syria, Persia, Arabia, Babylon, Assyria, Palestine and Europe. Others have contended that it was invisible, that it was an allegory, and must be spiritually understood.

But whether you understand these things or not, you must believe them. You may be laughed at in this world for insisting that God put Adam into a deep sleep and made a woman out of one of his ribs, but you will be crowned and glorified in the next. You will also have the pleasure of hearing the gentlemen howl there, who laughed at you here. While you will not be permitted to take any revenge, you will be allowed to smilingly express your entire acquiescence in the will of God. But where is the new Eden? No one knows. The one was lost, and the other has not been found.

Is it true that man was once perfectly pure and innocent, and that he became degenerate by disobedience? No. The real truth is, and the history of man shows, that he has advanced. Events, like the pendulum of a clock have swung forward and backward, but after all, man, like the hands, has gone steadily on. Man is growing grander. He is not degenerating. Nations and individuals fail and die, and make room for higher forms. The intellectual horizon of the world widens as the centuries pass. Ideals grow grander and purer; the difference between justice and mercy becomes less and less; liberty enlarges, and love intensifies as the years sweep on. The ages of force and fear, of cruelty and wrong, are behind us and the real Eden is beyond. It is said that a desire for knowledge lost us the Eden of the past; but whether that is true or not, it will certainly give us the Eden of the future.

XVII: THE FALL.

We are told that the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field, that he had a conversation with Eve, in which he gave his opinion about the effect of eating certain fruit; that he assured her it was good to eat, that it was pleasant to the eye, that it would make her wise; that she was induced to take some; that she persuaded her husband to try it; that God found it out, that he then cursed the snake; condemning it to crawl and eat the dust; that he multiplied the sorrows of Eve, cursed the ground for Adam's sake, started thistles and thorns, condemned man to eat the herb of the field in the sweat of his face, pronounced the curse of death, "Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return," made coats of skins for Adam and Eve, and drove them out of Eden. Who, and what was this serpent? Dr. Adam Clarke says:--"The serpent must have walked erect, for this is necessarily implied in his punishment. That he was endued with the gift of speech, also with reason. That these things were given to this creature. The woman no doubt having often seen him walking erect, and talking and reasoning, therefore she testifies no sort of surprise when he accosts her in the language related in the text. It therefore appears to me that a creature of the ape or orangoutang kind is here intended, and that Satan made use of this creature as the most proper instrument for the accomplishment of his murderous purposes against the life of the soul of man. Under this creature he lay hid, and by this creature he seduced our first parents. Such a creature answers to every part of the description in the text. It is evident from the structure of its limbs and its muscles that it might have been originally designed to walk erect, and that nothing else than the sovereign controlling power could induce it to put down hands--in every respect formed like those of man--and walk like those creatures whose claw-armed parts prove them to have been designed to walk on all fours. The stealthy cunning, and endless variety of the pranks and tricks of these creatures show them even now to be wiser and more intelligent than any other creature, man alone excepted. Being obliged to walk on all fours and gather their food from the ground, they are literally obliged to eat the dust; and though exceeding cunning, and careful in a variety of instances to separate that part which is wholesome and proper for food from that which is not so, in the article of cleanliness they are lost to all sense of propriety. add to this their utter aversion to walk upright; it requires the utmost discipline to bring them to it, and scarcely anything offends or irritates them more than to be obliged to do it. Long observation of these animals enables me to state these facts. For earnest, attentive watching, and for chattering and babbling they (the ape) have no follows in the animal world. Indeed, the ability and propensity to chatter, is all they have left of their original gift of speech, of which they appear to have been deprived at the fall as a part of their punishment."

Here then is the "connecting link" between man and the lower creation. The serpent was simply an orangutang that spoke Hebrew with the greatest ease, and had the outward appearance of a perfect gentleman, seductive in manner, plausible, polite, and most admirably calculated to deceive. It never did seem reasonable to me that a long cold and disgusting snake with an apple in its mouth, could deceive anybody; and I am glad. even at this late date to know that the something that persuaded Eve to taste the forbidden fruit was, at least, in the shape of a man.

Dr. Henry does not agree with the zoological explanation of Mr. Clark, but insists that "it is certain that the devil that beguiled Eve is the old serpent, a malignant by creation, an angel of light, an immediate attendant upon God's throne, but by sin an apostate from his first state, and a rebel against God's crown and dignity. He who attacked our first parents was surely the prince of devils, the ring leader in rebellion. The devil chose to act his part in a serpent, because it is a specious creature, has a spotted, dappled skin, and then, went erect. Perhaps it was a flying serpent which seemed to come from on high, as a messenger from the upper world, one of the seraphim; because the serpent is a subtitle creature. What Eve thought of this serpent speaking to her, we are not likely to tell, and, I believe, she herself did not know what to think of it. At first, perhaps, she supposed it might be a good angel, and yet afterwards might suspect something amiss. The person tempted was a woman, now alone, and at a distance from her husband, but near the forbidden tree. It was the devil's subtlety to assault the weaker vessel with his temptations, as we may suppose her inferior to Adam in knowledge, strength and presence of mind. Some think that Eve received the command not immediately from God, but at second hand from her husband, and might, therefore, be the more easily persuaded to discredit it. It was the policy of the devil to enter into discussion with her when she was alone. He took advantage by finding her near the forbidden tree. God permitted Satan to prevail over Eve, for wise and holy ends. Satan teaches men first to doubt, and then to deny. He makes skeptics first, and by degrees makes them atheists."

We are compelled to admit that nothing could be more attractive to a woman than a snake walking erect, with a "spotted, dappled skin," unless it were a serpent with wings. Is it not humiliating to know that our ancestors believed these things? Why should we object to the Darwinian doctrine of descent after this? Our fathers thought it their duty to believe, thought it a sin to entertain the slightest doubt, and really supposed that their credulity was exceedingly gratifying to God. To them, the story was entirely real. They could see the garden, hear the babble of waters, smell the perfume of flowers. They believed there was a tree where knowledge grew like plums or pears; and they could plainly see the serpent coiled amid its rustling leaves, coaxing Eve to violate the laws of God.

Where did the serpent come from? On which of the six days was he created? Who made him? Is it possible that God would make a successful rival? He must have known that Adam and Eve would fall. He knew what a snake with a "spotted, dappled skin" could do with an inexperienced woman. Why did he not defend his children? He knew that if the serpent got into the garden, Adam and Eve would sin, that he would have to drive them out, that afterwards the world would be destroyed, and that he himself would die upon the cross.

Again, I ask what and who was this serpent? He was not a man, for only one man had been made. He was not a woman. He was not a beast of the field, because "he was more subtitle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made." He was neither fish nor fowl, nor snake, because he had the power of speech, and did not crawl upon his belly until after he was cursed. Where did this serpent come from? Why was he not kept out of the garden? Why did not the Lord God take him by the tail and snap his head off? Why did he not put Adam and Eve on their guard about this serpent? They, of course, were not acquainted in the neighborhood, and knew nothing about the serpent's reputation for truth and veracity among his neighbors. Probably Adam saw him when he was looking for "an helpmeet" and gave him a name, but Eve had never met him before. She was not surprised to hear a serpent talk, as that was the first one she had ever met. Every thing being new to her, and her husband not being with her just at that moment, it need hardly excite our wonder that she tasted the fruit by way of experiment. Neither should we be surprised that when she saw it was good and pleasant to the eye, and a fruit to be desired to make one wise, she had the generosity to divide with her husband.

Theologians have filled thousands of volumes with abuse of this serpent, but it seems that he told the exact truth. We are told that this serpent was, in fact, Satan, the greatest enemy of mankind, and that he entered the serpent, appearing to our first parents in its body. If this is so, why should the serpent have been cursed? Why should God curse the serpent for what had really been done by the devil? Did Satan remain in the body of the serpent, and in some mysterious manner share his punishment? Is it true that when we kill a snake we also destroy an evil spirit, or is there but one devil, and did he perish at the death of the first serpent? Is it on account of that transaction in the Garden of Eden, that all the descendants of Adam and Eve known as Jews and Christians hate serpents?

Do you account for the snake-worship in Mexico, Africa and India in the same way?

What was the form of the serpent when he entered the garden, and in what way did he move from place to place? Did he walk or fly? Certainly he did not crawl, because that mode of locomotion was pronounced upon him as a curse. Upon what food did he subsist before his conversation with Eve? We know that after that he lived upon dust, but what did he eat before? It may be that this is all poetic; and the truest poetry is, according to Touchstone, "the most feigning."

In this same chapter we are informed that "unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them." Where did the Lord God get those skins? He must have taken them from the animals; he was a butcher. Then he had to prepare them; He was a tanner. Then he made them into coats; he was a tailor. How did it happen that they needed coats of skins, when they had been perfectly comfortable in a nude condition? Did the "fall" produce a change in the climate?

Is it really necessary to believe this account in order to be happy here, or hereafter? Does it tend to the elevation of the human race to speak of "God" as a butcher, tanner and tailor?

And here, let me say once for all, that when I speak of God, I mean the being described by Moses; the Jehovah of the Jews. There may be for aught I know, somewhere in the unknown shoreless vast, some being whose dreams are constellations and within whose thought the infinite exists. About this being, if such an one exists, I have nothing to say. He has written no books, inspired no barbarians, required no worship, and has prepared no hell in which to burn the honest seeker after truth.

When I speak of God, I mean that god who prevented man from putting forth his hand and taking also of the fruit of the tree of life that he might live forever; of that god who multiplied the agonies of woman, increased the weary toil of man, and in his anger drowned a world--of that god whose altars reeked with human blood, who butchered babes, violated maidens, enslaved men and filled the earth with cruelty and crime; of that god who made heaven for the few, hell for the many, and who will gloat forever and ever upon the writhing of the lost and damned.

XVIII: DAMPNESS

"And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them.

"That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

"And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

"There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

"And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

"And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them."

From thieems that he told the exact truth. We are told that this serpent was, in fact, Satan, the greatest enemy of mankind, and that he entered the serpent, appearing to our first parents in its body. If this is so, why should the serpent have been cursed? Why should God curse the serpent for what had really been done by the devil? Did Satan remain in the body of the serpent, and in some mysterious manner share his punishment? Is it true that when we kill a snake we also destroy an evil spirit, or is there but one devil, and did he perish at the death of the first serpent? Is it on account of that transaction in the Garden of Eden, that all the descendants of Adam and Eve known as Jews and Christians hate serpents?

Do you account for the snake-worship in Mexico, Africa and India in the same way?

What was the form of the serpent when he entered the garden, and in what way did he move from place to place? Did he walk or fly? Certainly he did not crawl, because that mode of locomotion was pronounced upon him as a curse. Upon what food did he subsist before his conversation with Eve? We know that after that he lived upon dust, but what did he eat before? It may be that this is all poetic; and the truest poetry is, according to Touchstone, "the most feigning."

In this same chapter we are informed that "unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them." Where did the Lord God get those skins? He must have taken them from the animals; he was a butcher. Then he had to prepare them; He was a tanner. Then he made them into coats; he was a tailor. How did it happen that they needed coats of skins, when they had been perfectly comfortable in a nude condition? Did the "fall" produce a change in the climate?

Is it really necessary to believe this account in order to be happy here, or hereafter? Does it tend to the elevation of the human race to speak of "God" as a butcher, tanner and tailor?

And here, let me say once for all, that when I speak of God, I mean the being described by Moses; the Jehovah of the Jews. There may be for aught I know, somewhere in the unknown shoreless vast, some being whose dreams are constellations and within whose thought the infinite exists. About this being, if such an one exists, I have nothing to say. He has written no books, inspired no barbarians, required no worship, and has prepared no hell in which to burn the honest seeker after truth.

When I speak of God, I mean that god who prevented man from putting forth his hand and taking also of the fruit of the tree of life that he might live forever; of that god who multiplied the agonies of woman, increased the weary toil of man, and in his anger drowned a world--of that god whose altars reeked with human blood, who butchered babes, violated maidens, enslaved men and filled the earth with cruelty and crime; of that god who made heaven for the few, hell for the many, and who will gloat forever and ever upon the writhing of the lost and damned.

XVIII: DAMPNESS

"And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them.

"That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

"And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

"There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

"And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

"And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them."

From this account it seems that driving Adam and Eve out of Eden did not have the effect to improve them or their children. On the contrary, the world grew worse and worse. They were under the immediate control and government of God, and he from time to time made known his will; but in spite of this, man continued to increase in crime.

Nothing in particular seems to have been done. Not a school was established. There was no written language. There was not a Bible in the world. The "scheme of salvation" was kept a profound secret. The five points of Calvinism had not been taught. Sunday schools had not been opened. In short, nothing had been done for the reformation of the world. God did not even keep his own sons at home, but allowed them to leave their abode in the firmament, and make love to the daughters of men. As a result of this, the world was filled with wickedness and giants to such an extent that God regretted "that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart."

Of course God knew when he made man, that he would afterwards regret it. He knew that the people would grow worse and worse until destruction would be the only remedy. He knew that he would have to kill all except Noah and his family, and it is hard to see why he did not make Noah and his family in the first place, and leave Adam and Eve in the original dust. He knew that they would be tempted, that he would have to drive them out of the garden to keep them from eating of the tree of life; that the whole thing would be a failure; that Satan would defeat his plan; that he could not reform the people; that his own sons would corrupt them, and that at last he would have to drown them all except Noah and his family. Why was the Garden of Eden planted? Why was the experiment made? Why were Adam and Eve exposed to the seductive arts of the serpent? Why did God wait until the cool of the day before looking after his children? Why was he not on hand in the morning? Why did he fill the world with his own children, knowing that he would have to destroy them? And why does this same God tell me how to raise my children when he had to drown his?

It is a little curious that when God wished to reform the ante-diluvian world he said nothing about hell; that he had no revivals, no camp-meetings, no tracts, no outpourings of the Holy Ghost, no baptisms, no noon prayer meetings, and never mentioned the great doctrine of salvation by faith. If the orthodox creeds of the world are true, all those people want to hell without ever having heard that such a place existed. If eternal torment is a fact, surely these miserable wretches ought to have been warned. They were threatened only with water when they were in fact doomed to eternal fire!

Is it not strange that God said nothing to Adam and Eve about a future life; that he should have kept these "infinite verities" to himself and allowed millions to live and die without the hope of heaven, or the fear of hell?"

It may be that hell was not made at that time. In the six days of creation nothing is said about the construction of a bottomless pit, and the serpent himself did not make his appearance until after the creation of man and woman. Perhaps he was made on the first Sunday, and from that fact came, it may be, the old couplet; "And Satan still some mischief finds for idle hands to do."

The sacred historian failed also to tell us when the cherubim and the flaming sword were made, and said nothing about two of the persons composing the Trinity. It certainly would have been an easy thing "to enlighten Adam and his immediate descendants. The world was then only about fifteen hundred and thirty-six years old, and only about three or four generations of men had lived. Adam had been dead only about six hundred and six years, and some of his grandchildren must, at that time, have been alive and well.

It is hard to see why God did not civilize these people. He certainly had the power to use, and the wisdom, to devise the proper means. What right has a god to fill a world with fiends? Can there be goodness in this? Why should he make experiments that he knows must fail? Is there wisdom in this? And what right has a man to charge an infinite being with wickedness and folly?

According to Moses, God made up his mind not only to destroy the people, but the beasts and the creeping things, and the fowls of the air. What had creeping things, and the fowls of the air done? What had the beasts, and the birds done to excite the anger of God? Why did he repent having made them? Will some Christian give us an explanation of this matter? No good man will inflict unnecessary pain upon a beast; how then can we worship a god who cares nothing for the agonies of the dumb creatures that he made?

Why did he make animals that he knew he would destroy? Does God delight in causing pain? He had the power to make the beasts, and fowls, and creeping things in his own good time and way, and it is to be presumed that he made them according to his wish. Why should he destroy them? They had committed no sin. They had eaten no forbidden fruit, made no aprons, nor tried to reach the tree of life. Yet this god, in blind unreasoning wrath destroyed "all flesh wherein was the breath of life, and every living thing beneath the sky, and every substance wherein was life that he had made."

Jehovah having made up his mind to drown the world, told Noah to make an Ark of gopher wood three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. A cubit is twenty-two inches; so that the ark was five hundred and fifty feet long, ninety one feet and eight inches wide and fifty-five feet high. This ark was divided into three stories, and had on top, one window twenty-two inches square. Ventilation must have been one of Jehovah's hobbies. Think of a ship larger than the Great Eastern with only one window, and that but twenty two inches square!

The ark also had one door set in the side thereof that shut from the outside. As soon as this ship was finished, and properly victualed, Noah received seven days notice to get the animals in the ark.

It is claimed by some of the scientific theologians that the flood was partial, that the waters covered only a small portion of the world, and that consequently only a few animals were in the ark. It is impossible to conceive of language that can more clearly convey the idea of a universal flood than that found in the inspired account. If the flood was only partial, why did God say he would "destroy all flesh wherein is the breath of life from under heaven, and that every thing that is in the earth shall die"? Why did he say "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the creeping thing and the fowls of the air"? Why did he say "And every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth"? Would a partial, local flood have fulfilled these threats?

Nothing can be clearer than that the writer of this account intended to convey, and did convey the idea that the flood was universal. Why should Christians try to deprive God of the glory of having wrought the most stupendous of miracles? Is it possible that the Infinite could not overwhelm with waves this atom called the earth? Do you doubt his power, his wisdom or his Justice?

Believers in miracles should not endeavor to explain them. There is but one way to explain anything, and that is to account for it by natural agencies. The moment you explain a miracle, it disappears. You should depend not upon explanation, but assertion. You should not be driven from the field because the miracle is shown to be unreasonable. You should reply that all miracles are unreasonable. Neither should you be in the least disheartened if it is shown to be impossible. The possible is not miraculous. You should take the ground that if miracles were reasonable, and possible, there would be no reward paid for believing them. The Christian has the goodness to believe, while the sinner asks for evidence. It is enough for God to work miracles without being called upon to substantiate them for the benefit of unbelievers.

Only a few years ago, the Christians believed implicitly in the literal truth of every miracle recorded in the Bible. Whoever tried to explain them in some natural way, was looked upon as an infidel in disguise, but now he is regarded as a benefactor. The credulity of the church is decreasing, and the most marvelous miracles are now either "explained," or allowed to take refuge behind the mistakes of the translators, or hide in the drapery of allegory.

In the sixth chapter, Noah is ordered to take "of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort into the ark--male and female." In the seventh chapter the order is changed, and Noah is commanded, according to the Protestant Bible, as follows: "Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female, and of beasts that are not clean, by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female."

According to the Catholic Bible, Noah was commanded--"Of all clean beasts take seven and seven, the male and the female. But of the beasts that are unclean two and two, the male and the female. Of the fowls also of the air seven and seven, the male and the female."

For the purpose of belittling this miracle, many commentators have taken the ground that Noah was not ordered to take seven males and seven females of each kind of clean beasts, but seven in all. Many Christians contend that only seven clean beasts of each kind were taken into the ark--three and a half of each sex.

If the account in the seventh chapter means anything, it means first, that of each kind of clean beasts, fourteen were to be taken, seven males, and seven females; second, that of unclean beasts should be taken, two of each kind, one of each sex, and third, that he should take of every kind of fowls, seven of each sex.

It is equally clear that the command in the 19th and 20th verses of the 6th chapter, is to take two of each sort, one male and one female. And this agrees exactly with the account in the 7th, 8th, 9th, 14th 15th, and 16th verses of the 7th chapter.

The next question is, how many beasts, fowls and creeping things did Noah take into the ark?

There are now known and classified at least twelve thousand five hundred species of birds. There are still vast territories in China, South America, and Africa unknown to the ornithologist.

Of the birds, Noah took fourteen of each species, according to the 3d verse of the 7th chapter, "Of fowls also of the air by sevens" the male and the female," making a total of 175,000 birds.

And right here allow me to ask a question. If the flood was simply a partial flood, why were birds taken into the ark? It seems to me that most birds, attending strictly to business, might avoid a partial flood.

There are at least sixteen hundred and fifty-eight kinds of beasts. Let us suppose that twenty-five of these are clean. Of the clean, fourteen of each kind--seven of each sex--were taken. These amount to 350. Of the unclean--two of each kind, amounting to 3,266. There are some six hundred and fifty species of reptiles. Two of each kind amount to 1,300. And lastly, there are of insects including the creeping things, at least one million species, so that Noah and his folks had to get of these into the ark about 2,000,000.

Animalcule have not been taken into consideration. There are probably many hundreds of thousands of species; many of them invisible; and yet Noah had to pick them out by pairs. very few people have any just conception of the trouble Noah had.

We know that there are many animals on this continent not found in the Old world. These must have been carried from here to the ark, and then brought back afterwards. Were the peccary, armadillo, ant-eater, sloth, agouti, vampire-bat, marmoset, howling and prehensile-tailed monkey, the raccoon and muskrat carried by the angels from America to Asia? How did they get there? Did the polar bear leave his field of ice and journey toward the tropics? How did he know where the ark was? Did the kangaroo swim or jump from Australia to Asia? Did the giraffe, hippopotamus, antelope and orangoutang journey from Africa in search of the ark? Can absurdities go farther than this?

What had these animals to eat while on the journey? What did they eat while in the ark? What did they drink? When the rain came, of course the rivers ran to the seas, and these seas rose and finally covered the world. The waters of the seas, mingled with those of the flood, would make all salt. It has been calculated that it required, to drown the world, about eight times as much water as was in all the seas. To find how much salt the waters of the flood must have been, take eight quarts of fresh water, and add one quart from the sea. Such water would create instead of allaying thirst. Noah had to take in his ark fresh water for all his beasts, birds and living things. He had to take the proper food for all. How long was he in the ark? Three hundred and seventy-seven days! Think of the food necessary for the monsters of the ante-diluvian world!

Eight persons did all the work. They attended to the wants of 175,000 birds, 3,616 beasts, 1,300 reptiles, and 2,000,000 insects, saying nothing of countless animalcule.

Well, after they all got in, Noah pulled down the window, God shut the door, and the rain commenced.

How long did it rain?

Forty days.

How deep did the water get?

About five miles and a half"

How much did it rain a day?

Enough to cover the whole world to a depth of about seven hundred and forty-two feet.

Some Christians say that the fountains of the great deep were broken up. Will they be kind enough to tell us what the fountains of the great deep are? Others say that God had vast stores of water in the center of the earth that he used on that occasion. How did these waters happen to run up hill?

Gentlemen, allow me to tell you once more that you must not try to explain these things. Your efforts in that direction do no good, because your explanations are harder to believe than the miracle itself. Take my advice, stick to assertion, and let explanation alone.

Then, as now, Dhawalagiri lifted its crown of snow twenty-nine thousand feet above the level of the sea, and on the cloudless clefts of Chimborazo then, as now, sat the condor; and yet the waters rising seven hundred and twenty-six feet a day, thirty feet an hour, six inches a minute,--rose over the hills, over the volcanoes, filled the vast craters, extinguished all the fires, rose above every mountain peak until the vast world was but one shoreless sea covered with the innumerable dead.

Was this the work of the most merciful God, the father of us all? If there is a God, can there be the slightest danger of incurring his displeasure by doubting even in a reverential way, the truth of such a cruel lie? If we think that God is kinder than he really is, will our poor souls be burned for that?

How many trees can live under miles of water for a year? What became of the soil washed, scattered, dissolved, and covered with the debris of a world? How were the tender plants and herbs preserved? How were the animals preserved after leaving the ark? There was no grass except such as had been submerged for a year. There were no animals to be devoured by the carnivorous beasts. What became of the birds that fed on worms and insects? What became of the birds that devoured other birds?

It must be remembered that the pressure of the water when at the highest point--say twenty-nine thousand feet, would have been about eight hundred tons on each square foot. Such a pressure certainly would have destroyed nearly every vestige of vegetable life, so that when the animals came out of the ark, there was not a mouthful of food in the wide world. How were they supported until the world was again clothed with grass? How were those animals taken care of that subsisted on others? Where did the bees get honey, and the ants seeds? There was not a creeping thing upon the whole earth; not a breathing creature beneath the whole heavens; not a living substance. Where did the tenants of the ark get food?

There is but one answer, if the story is true. The food necessary not only during the year of the flood, but sufficient for many months afterwards, must have been stored in the ark.

There is probably not an animal in the world that will not, in a year, eat and drink ten times its weight. Noah must have provided food and water for a year while in the ark, and food for at least six months after they got ashore. It must have required for a pair of elephants, about one hundred and fifty tons of food and water. A couple of mammoths would have required about twice that amount. Of course there were other monsters that lived on trees; and in a year would have devoured quite a forest.

How could eight persons have distributed this food, even if the ark had been large enough to hold it? How was the ark kept clean? We know how it was ventilated; but what was done with the filth? How were the animals watered? How were some portions of the ark heated for animals from the tropics, and others kept cool for the polar bears? How did the animals get back to their respective countries? Some had to creep back about six thousand miles, and they could only go a few feet a day. Some of the creeping things must have started for the ark just as soon as they were made, and kept up a steady jog for sixteen hundred years. Think of a couple of the slowest snails leaving a point opposite the ark and starting for the plains of Shinar, a distance of twelve thousand miles. Going at the rate of a mile a month, it would take them a thousand years. How did they get there? Polar bears must have gone several thousand miles, and so sudden a change in climate must have been exceedingly trying upon their health. How did they know the way to go? Of course, all the polar bears did not go. Only two were required. Who selected these?

Two sloths had to make the journey from South America. These creatures cannot travel to exceed three rods a day. At this rate, they would make a mile in about a hundred days. They must have gone about six thousand five hundred miles, to reach the ark. Supposing them to have traveled by a reasonably direct route, in order to complete the journey before Noah hauled in the plank, they must have started several years before the world was created. We must also consider that these sloths had to board themselves on the way, and that most of their time had to be taken up getting food and water. It is exceedingly doubtful whether a sloth could travel six thousand miles and board himself in less than three thousand years.

Volumes might be written upon the infinite absurdity of this most incredible, wicked and foolish of all the fables contained in that repository of the impossible, called the Bible. To me it is a matter of amazement, that it ever was for a moment believed by any intelligent human being.

Dr. Adam Clarke says that "the animals were brought to the ark by the power of God, and their enmities were so removed or suspended, that the lion could dwell peaceably with the lamb, and the wolf sleep happily by the side of the kid. There is no positive evidence that animal food was ever used before the flood. Noah had the first grant of this kind."

Dr. Scott remarks, "There seems to have been a very extraordinary miracle, perhaps by the ministration of angels, in bringing two of every species to Noah, and rendering them submissive, and peaceful with each other. Yet it seems not to have made any impression upon the hardened spectators. The suspension of the ferocity of the savage beasts during their continuance in the ark is generally considered as an apt figure of the change that takes place in the disposition of sinners when they enter the true church of Christ."

He believed the deluge to have been universal. In his day science had not demonstrated the absurdity of this belief, and he was not compelled to resort to some theory not found in the Bible. He insisted that "by some vast convulsion, the very bowels of the earth were forced upwards, and rain poured down in cataracts and water-spouts, with no intermission for forty days and nights, and until in every place a universal deluge was effected.

"The presence of God was the only comfort of Noah in his dreary confinement, and in witnessing the dire devastation of the earth and its inhabitants, and especially of the human species--of his companions, his neighbors, his relatives--all those to whom he had preached, for whom he had prayed and over whom he had wept, and even of many who had helped to build the ark.

"It seems that by a peculiar providential interposition, no animal of any sort died, although they had been shut up in the ark above a year; and it does not appear that there had been any increase of them during that time.

"The Ark was flat-bottomed-square at each end--roofed like a house so that it terminated at the top in the breadth of a cubit. It was divided into many little cabins for its intended inhabitants. Pitched within and without to keep it tight and sweet, and lighted from the upper part. But it must at first sight, be evident that so large a vessel, thus constructed, with so few persons on board, was utterly unfitted to weather out the deluge, except it was under the immediate guidance and protection of the Almighty."

Dr. Henry furnished the Christian world with the following:--

"As our bodies have in them the humors which, when God pleases, become the springs and seeds of mortal disease, so the earth had, in its bowels, those waters which, at God's command, sprung up and flooded it.

"God made the world in six days, but he was forty days in destroying it, because he is slow to anger.

"The hostilities between the animals in the ark ceased, and ravenous creatures became mild and manageable, so that the wolf lay down with the lamb, and the lion ate straw like an ox.

"God shut the door of the ark to secure Noah and to keep him safe, and because it was necessary that the door should be shut very close lest the water should break in and sink the ark, and very fast lest others might break it down.

"The waters rose so high that not only the low flat countries were deluged, but to make sure work and that none might escape, the tops of the highest mountains were overflowed fifteen cubits. That is, seven and a half yards, so that salvation was not hoped for from hills or mountains.

"Perhaps some of the people got to the top of the ark, and hoped to shift for themselves there. But either they perished there for want of food, or the dashing rain washed them off the top. Others, it may be, hoped to prevail with Noah for admission into the ark, and plead old acquaintance.

"'Have we not eaten and drank in thy presence? Hast thou not preached in our streets?' 'yea' said Noah, 'many a time, but to little purpose. I called but ye refused; and now it is not in my power to help you. God has shut the door and I cannot open it.'

"We may suppose that some of those who perished in the deluge had themselves assisted Noah, or were employed by him in building the ark.

"Hitherto, man had been confined to feed only upon the products of the earth, fruits, herbs and roots, and all sorts of greens, and milk, which was the first grant; but the flood having perhaps washed away much of the fruits of the earth, and rendered them much less pleasant and nourishing, God enlarged the grant and allowed him to eat flesh, which perhaps man never thought of until now, that God directed him to it. Nor had he any more desire to it than the sheep has to suck blood like the wolf. But now, man is allowed to feed upon flesh as freely and safely as upon the green herb."

Such was the debasing influence of a belief in the literal truth of the Bible upon these men, that their commentaries are filled with passages utterly devoid of common sense.

Dr. Clarke speaking of the mammoth says: "This animal" an astonishing proof of God's power, he seems to have produced merely to show what he could do. And after suffering a few of them to propagate, he extinguished the race by a merciful providence, that they might not destroy both man and beast.

"We are told that it would have been much easier for God to destroy all the people and make new ones, but he would not want to waste anything and no power or skill should be lavished where no necessity exists.

"The animals were brought to the ark by the power of God."

Again gentlemen, let me warn you of the danger of trying to explain a miracle. Let it alone. Say that you do not understand it, and do not expect to until taught in the schools of the New Jerusalem. The more reasons you give, the more unreasonable the miracle will appear. Through what you say in defence, people are led to think, and as soon as they really think, the miracle is thrown away.

Among the most ignorant nations you will find the most wonders, among the most enlightened, the least. It is with individuals, the same as with nations. Ignorance believes, Intelligence examines and explains.

For about seven months the ark, with its cargo of men, animals and insects, tossed and wandered without rudder or sail upon a boundless sea. At last it grounded on the mountains of Ararat; and about three months afterward the tops of the mountains became visible. It must not be forgotten that the mountain where the ark is supposed to have first touched bottom, was about seventeen thousand feet high. How were the animals from the tropics kept warm? When the waters were abated it would be intensely cold at a point seventeen thousand feet above the level of the sea. May be there were stoves, furnaces, fire places and steam coils in the ark, but they are not mentioned in the inspired narrative. How were the animals kept from freezing? It will not do to say that Ararat was not very high after all. If you will read the fourth and fifth verses of the eight chapter you will see that although "the ark rested in the seventh month" on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat, it was not until the first day of the tenth month, that the tops of the mountains could be seen." From this it would seem that the ark must have rested upon about the highest peak in that country. Noah waited forty days more, and then for the first time opened the window and took a breath of fresh air. He then sent out a raven that did not return, then a dove that returned. He then waited seven days and sent forth a dove that returned not, From this he knew that the waters were abated. Is it possible that he could not see whether the waters had gone? Is it possible to conceive of a more perfectly childish way of ascertaining whether the earth was dry?

At last Noah "removed the covering of the ark, and looked and behold the face of the ground was dry," and thereupon God told him to disembark. In his gratitude Noah built an altar and took of every clean beast and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings. And the Lord smelled a sweet savor and said in his heart that he would not any more curse the ground for man's sake. For saying this in his heart the Lord gives as a reason, not that man is, or will be good, but because "the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth." God destroyed man because "the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and because every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only continually." And he promised for the same reason not to destroy him again. Will some gentleman skilled in theology give us an explanation?

After God had smelled the sweet savor of sacrifice, he seems to have changed his idea as to the proper diet for man. When Adam and Eve were created they were allowed to eat herbs bearing seed, and the fruit of trees. When they were turned out of Eden, God said to them "Thou shalt eat the herb of the field." In the first chapter of Genesis the "green herb" was given for food to the beasts, fowls and creeping things. Upon being expelled from the garden, Adam and Eve, as to their food, were put upon an equality with the lower animals. According to this, the ante-diluvians were vegetarians. This may account for their wickedness and longevity.

After Noah sacrificed, and God smelled the sweet savor; he said--"Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you, even as the green herb have I given you all things." afterward this same God changed his mind again, and divided the beasts and birds into clean and unclean, and made it a crime for man to eat the unclean. Probably food was so scarce when Noah was let out of the ark that Jehovah generously allowed him to eat anything and everything he could find.

According to the account, God then made a covenant with Noah to the effect that he would not again destroy the world with a flood and as the attesting witness of this contract, a rainbow was set in the cloud. This bow was placed in the sky so that it might perpetually remind God of his promise and covenant. Without this visible witness and reminder, it would seem that Jehovah was liable to forget the contract, and drown the world again. Did the rainbow originate in this way? Did God put it in the cloud simply to keep his agreement in his memory?

For me it is impossible to believe the story of the deluge. It seems so cruel, so barbaric, so crude in detail, so absurd in all its parts, and so contrary to all we know of law, that even credulity itself is shocked.

Many nations have preserved accounts of a deluge in which all people, except a family or two, were destroyed. Babylon was certainly a city before Jerusalem was founded. Egypt was in the height of her power when there were only seventy Jews in the world, and India had a literature before the name of Jehovah had passed the lips of superstition. An account of a general deluge "was discovered by George Smith, translated from another account that was written about two thousand years before Christ." Of course it is impossible to tell how long the story had lived in the memory of tradition before it was reduced to writing by the Babylonians. According to this account, which is, without doubt, much older than the one given by Moses, Tamzi built a ship at the command of the god Hea, and put in it his family and the beasts of the field. He pitched the ship inside and outside with bitumen, and as soon as it was finished, there came a flood of rain and "destroyed all life from the face of the whole earth. On the seventh day there was a calm, and the ship stranded on the mountain Nizir." Tamzi waited for seven days more, and then let out a dove. Afterwards, he let out a swallow, and that, as well as the dove returned. Then he let out a raven, and as that did not return, he concluded that the water had dried away, and thereupon left the ship. Then he made an offering to god, or the gods, and "Hea interceded with Bel," so that the earth might never again be drowned.

This is the Babylonian story, told without the contradictions of the original. For in that, it seems, there are two accounts, as well as in the Bible. Is it not a strange coincidence that there should be contradictory accounts mingled in both the Babylonian and Jewish stories?

In the Bible there are two accounts. In one account, Noah was to take two of all beasts, birds, and creeping things into the ark, while in the other, he was commanded to take of clean beasts, and all birds by sevens of each kind. According to one account, the flood only lasted one hundred and fifty days--as related in the third verse of the eighth chapter; while the other account fixes the time at three hundred and seventy-seven days. Both of these accounts cannot be true. Yet in order to be saved, it is not sufficient to believe one of them--you must believe both.

Among the Egyptians there was a story to the effect that the great god Ra became utterly maddened with the people, and deliberately made up his mind that he would exterminate mankind. Thereupon he began to destroy, and continued in the terrible work until blood flowed in streams, when suddenly he ceased, and took an oath that he would not again destroy the human race. This myth was probably thousands of years old when Moses was born.

So, in India, there was a fable about the flood. A fish warned Manu that a flood was coming. Manu built a "box" and the fish towed it to a mountain and saved all hands.

The same kind of stories were told in Greece, and among our own Indian tribes. At one time the Christian pointed to the fact that many nations told of a flood, as evidence of the truth of the Mosaic account; but now, it having been shown that other accounts are much older, and equally reasonable, that argument has ceased to be of any great value.

It is probable that all these accounts had a common origin. They were likely born of something in nature visible to all nations. The idea of a universal flood, produced by a god to drown the world on account of the sins of the people, is infinitely absurd. The solution of all these stories has been supposed to be, the existence of partial floods in most countries; and for a long time this solution was satisfactory. But the fact that these stories are greatly alike, that only one man is warned, that only one family is saved, that a boat is built, that birds are sent out to find if the water had abated, tend to show that they had a common origin. Admitting that there were severe floods in all countries; it certainly cannot follow that in each instance only one family would be saved, or that the same story would in each instance be told. It may he urged that the natural tendency of man to exaggerate calamities, might account for this agreement in all the accounts, and it must be admitted that there is some force in the suggestion. I believe, though, that the real origin of all these myths is the same, and that it was originally an effort to account for the sun, moon and stars. The sun and moon were the man and wife, or the god and goddess, and the stars were their children. From a celestial myth, it became a terrestrial one; the air, or ether-ocean became a flood, produced by rain, and the sun moon and stars became man, woman and children.

In the original story, the mountain was the place where in the far east the sky was supposed to touch the earth, and it was there that the ship containing the celestial passengers finally rested from its voyage. But whatever may be the origin of the stories of the flood, whether told first by Hindu, Babylonian or Hebrew, we may rest perfectly assured that they are all equally false.

XIX: BACCHUS AND BABEL.

As soon as Noah had disembarked, he proceeded to plant a vineyard, and began to be a husbandman; and when the grapes were ripe he made wine and drank of it to excess; cursed his grandson, blessed Shem and Japheth, and after that lived for three hundred and fifty years. What he did during these three hundred and fifty years, we are not told. We never hear of him again. For three hundred and fifty years he lived among his sons, and daughters, and their descendants. He must have been a venerable man. He was the man to whom God had made known his intention of drowning the world. By his efforts, the human race had been saved. He must have been acquainted with Methuselah for six hundred years, and Methuselah was about two hundred and forty years old, when Adam died. Noah must himself have known the history of mankind and must have been an object of almost infinite interest; and yet for three hundred and fifty years he is neither directly nor indirectly mentioned. When Noah died, Abraham must have been more than fifty years old; and Shem, the son of Noah, lived for several hundred years after the death of Abraham; and yet he is never mentioned. Noah when he died, was the oldest man in the whole world by about five hundred years; and everybody living at the time of his death knew that they were indebted to him, and yet no account is given of his burial. No monument was raised to mark the spot. This, however, is no more wonderful than the fact that no account is given of the death of Adam or of Eve, nor of the place of their burial. This may all be accounted for by the fact that the language of man was confounded at the building of the tower of Babel, whereby all tradition may have been lost, so that even the sons of Noah could not give an account of their voyage in the ark; and, consequently, some one had to be directly inspired to tell the story, after new languages had been formed.

It has always been a mystery to me how Adam, Eve, and the serpent were taught the same language. Where did they get it? We know now, that it requires a great number of years to form a language; that it is of exceedingly slow growth. We also know that by language, man conveys to his fellows the impressions made upon him by what he sees, hears, smells and touches. We know that the language of the savage consists of a few sounds, capable of expressing only a few ideas or states of the mind, such as love, desire, fear, hatred, aversion and contempt. Many centuries are required to produce a language capable of expressing complex ideas. It does not seem to me that ideas can be manufactured by a deity and put in the brain of man. These ideas must be the result of observation and experience.

Does anybody believe that God directly taught a language to Adam and Eve, or that he so made them that they, by intuition spoke Hebrew, or some language capable of conveying to each other their thoughts? How did the serpent learn the same language? Did God teach it to him, or did he happen to overhear God, when he was teaching Adam and Eve? We are told in the second chapter of Genesis that God caused all the animals to pass before Adam to see what he would call them. We cannot infer from this that God named the animals and informed Adam what to call them. Adam named them himself. Where did he get his words? We cannot imagine a man just made out of dust, without the experience of a moment, having the power to put his thoughts in language. In the first place, we cannot conceive of his having any thoughts until he has combined, through experience and observation, the impressions that nature had made upon him through the medium of his senses. We cannot imagine of his knowing anything, in the first instance, about different degrees of heat, nor about darkness, if he was made in the day- time, nor about light, if created at night, until the next morning. Before a man can have what we call thoughts, he must have had a little experience. Something must have happened to him before he can have a thought, and before he can express himself in language. Language is a growth, not a gift. We account now for the diversity of language by the fact that tribes and nations have had different experiences, different wants, different surroundings, and, one result of all these differences is, among other things, a difference in language. Nothing can be more absurd than to account for the different languages of the world by saying that the original language was confounded at the tower of Babel.

According to the Bible, up to the time of the building of that tower, the whole earth was of one language and of one speech, and would have so remained until the present time had not an effort been made to build a tower whose top should reach into heaven. Can any one imagine what objection God would have to the building of such a tower? And how could the confusion of tongues prevent its construction? How could language be confounded? It could be confounded only by the destruction of memory. Did God destroy the memory of mankind at that time, and if so, how? Did he paralyze that portion of the brain presiding over the organs of articulation, so that they could not speak the words, although they remembered them clearly, or did he so touch the brain that they could not hear? Will some theologian, versed in the machinery of the miraculous, tell us in what way God confounded the language of mankind?

Why would the confounding of the language make them separate? Why would they not stay together until they could understand each other? people will not separate from weakness. When in trouble they come together and desire the assistance of each other. Why, in this instance, did they separate? What particular ones would naturally come together if nobody understood the language of any other person? Would it not have been just as hard to agree when and where to go, without any language to express the agreement, as to go on with the building of the tower?

Is it possible that any one now believes that the whole world would be of one speech had the language not been confounded at Babel? Do we not know that every word was suggested in some way by the experience of man? Do we not know that words are continually dying, and continually being born; that every language has its cradle and its cemetery--its buds, its blossoms, its fruits and its withered leaves? Man has loved, enjoyed, hated, suffered and hoped, and all words have been born of these experiences.

Why did "the Lord come down to see the city and the tower"? Could he not see them from where he lived or from where he was? Where did he come down from? Did he come in the daytime, or in the night? We are taught now that God is everywhere; that he inhabits immensity; that he is in every atom, and in every star. If this is true, why did he "come down to see the city and the tower?" Will some theologian explain this?

After all, is it not much easier and altogether more reasonable to say that Moses was mistaken, that he knew little of the science of language, and that he guessed a great deal more than he investigated?

XX: FAITH IN FILTH.

No light whatever is shed upon what passed in the world after the confounding of language at Babel, until the birth of Abraham. But, before speaking of the history of the Jewish people, it may be proper for me to say that many things are recounted in Genesis, and other books attributed to Moses, of which I do not wish to speak. There are many pages of these books unfit to read, many stories not calculated, in my judgment, to improve the morals of mankind. I do not wish even to call the attention of my readers to these things, except in a general way. It is to be hoped that the time will come when such chapters and passages as cannot be read without leaving the blush of shame upon the cheek of modesty, will be left out, and not published as a part of the Bible. If there is a God, it certainly is blasphemous to attribute to him the authorship of pages too obscene, beastly and vulgar to be read in the presence of men and women.

The believers in the Bible are loud in their denunciation of what they are pleased to call the immoral literature of the world; and yet few books have been published containing more moral filth than this inspired word of God. These stories are not redeemed by a single flash of wit or humor. They never rise above the dull details of stupid vice. For one, I cannot afford to soil my pages with extracts from them; and all such portions of the Scriptures I leave to be examined, written upon, and explained by the clergy. Clergymen may know some way by which they can extract honey from these flowers. Until these passages are expunged from the Old Testament, it is not a fit book to be read by either old or young. It contains pages that no minister in the United States would read to his congregation for any reward whatever. There are chapters that no gentleman would read in the presence of a lady. There are chapters that no father would read to his child. There are narratives utterly unfit to be told; and the time will come when mankind will wonder that such a book was ever called inspired.

I know that in many books besides the Bible, there are immodest lines. Some of the greatest writers have soiled their pages with indecent words. We account for this by saying that the authors were human; that they catered to the taste and spirit of their times. We make excuses, but at the same time regret that in their works they left an impure word. But what shall we say of God? Is it possible that a being of infinite purity--the author of modesty, would smirch the pages of his book with stories lewd, licentious and obscene? If God is the author of the Bible, it is, of course, the standard by which all other books can, and should be measured. If the Bible is not obscene, what book is? Why should men be imprisoned simply for imitating God? The Christian world should never say another word against immoral books until it makes the inspired volume clean. These vile and filthy things were not written for the purpose of conveying and enforcing moral truth, but seem to have been written because the author loved an unclean thing. There is no moral depth below that occupied by the writer or publisher of obscene books, that stain with lust, the loving heart of youth. Such men should be imprisoned and their books destroyed. The literature of the world should be rendered decent, and no book should be published that cannot be read by, and in the hearing of the best and purest people. But as long as the Bible is considered as the work of God, it will be hard to make all men too good and pure to imitate it; and as long as it is imitated there will be vile and filthy books. The literature of our country will not be sweet and clean until the Bible ceases to be regarded as the production of a god.

We are continually told that the Bible is the very foundation of modesty and morality; while many of its pages are so immodest and immoral that a minister, for reading them in the pulpit, would be instantly denounced as an unclean wretch. Every woman would leave the church, and if the men stayed, it would be for the purpose of chastising the minister.

Is there any saving grace in hypocrisy? Will men become clean in speech by believing that God is unclean? Would it not be far better to admit that the Bible was written by barbarians in a barbarous, coarse and vulgar age? Would it not be safer to charge Moses with vulgarity, instead of God? Is it not altogether more probable that some ignorant Hebrew would write the vulgar words? The Christians tell me that God is the author of these vile and stupid things? I have examined the question to the best of my ability, and as to God my verdict is:--Not guilty. Faith should not rest in filth.

Every foolish and immodest thing should be expunged from the Bible. Let us keep the good. Let us preserve every great and splendid thought, every wise and prudent maxim, every just law, every elevated idea, and every word calculated to make man nobler and purer, and let us have the courage to throw the rest away. The souls of children should not be stained and soiled. The charming instincts of youth should not be corrupted and defiled. The girls and boys should not be taught that unclean words were uttered by "inspired" lips. Teach them that these words were born of savagery and lust. Teach them that the unclean is the unholy, and that only the pure is sacred.

XXI: THE HEBREWS.

After language had been confounded and the people scattered, there appeared in the land of Canaan a tribe of Hebrews ruled by a chief or sheik called Abraham. They had a few cattle, lived in tents, practiced polygamy, wandered from place to place, and were the only folks in the whole world to whom God paid the slightest attention. At this time there were hundreds of cities in India filled with temples and palaces; millions of Egyptians worshiped Isis and Osiris, and had covered their land with marvelous monuments of industry, power and skill. But these civilizations were entirely neglected by the Deity, his whole attention being taken up with Abraham and his family.

It seems, from the account, that God and Abraham were intimately acquainted, and conversed frequently upon a great variety of subjects. By the twelfth chapter of Genesis it appears that he made the following promises to Abraham. "I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great: and thou shalt be a blessing, and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee."

After receiving this communication from the Almighty, Abraham went into the land of Canaan and again God appeared to him and told him to take a heifer three years old, a goat of the same age, a sheep of equal antiquity, a turtle dove and a young pigeon. Whereupon Abraham killed the animals "and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another." And it came to pass that when the sun went down and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace and a burning lamp that passed between the raw and bleeding meat. The killing of these animals was a preparation for receiving a visit from God. Should an American missionary in Central Africa find a negro chief surrounded by a butchered heifer, a goat and a sheep, with which to receive a communication from the infinite God, my opinion is, that the missionary would regard the proceeding as the direct result of savagery. And if the chief insisted that he had seen a smoking furnace and a burning lamp going up and down between the pieces of meat, the missionary would certainly conclude that the chief was not altogether right in his mind.

If the Bible is true, this same God told Abraham to take and sacrifice his only son, or rather the only one of his wife, and a murder would have been committed had not God, just at the right moment, directed him to stay his hand and take a sheep instead.

God made a great number of promises to Abraham, but few of them were ever kept. He agreed to make him the father of a great nation, but he did not. He solemnly promised to give him a great country, including all the land between the river of Egypt and the Euphrates, but he did not.

In due time Abraham passed away, and his son Isaac took his place at the head of the tribe. Then came Jacob, who "watered stock" and enriched himself with the spoil of Lahan. Joseph was sold into Egypt by his jealous brethren, where he became one of the chief men of the kingdom, and in a few years his father and brothers left their own country and settled in Egypt. At this time there were seventy Hebrews in the world, counting Joseph and his children. They remained in Egypt two hundred and fifteen years. It is claimed by some that they were in that country for four hundred and thirty years. This is a mistake. Josephus says they were in Egypt two hundred and fifteen years, and this statement is sustained by the best biblical scholars of all denominations. According to the 17th verse of the 3rd chapter of Galatians, it was four hundred and thirty years from the time the promise was made to Abraham to the giving of the law, and as the Hebrews did not go to Egypt for two hundred and fifteen years after the making of the promise to Abraham, they could in no event have been in Egypt more than two hundred and fifty years. In our Bible the 40th verse of the 12th chapter of Exodus, is as follows:--

"Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years."

This passage does not say that the sojourning was all done in Egypt; neither does it say that the children of Israel dwelt in Egypt four hundred and thirty years; but it does say that the sojourning of the children of Israel who dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. The vatican copy of the Septuagint renders the same passage as follows:--"The sojourning of the children of Israel which they sojourned in Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, was four hundred and thirty years."

The Alexandrian version says:--"The sojourning of the children of Israel which they and their fathers sojourned in Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, was four hundred and thirty years."

And in the Samaritan Bible we have:--"The sojourning of the children of Israel and of their fathers which they sojourned in the land of Canaan, and in the land of Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years."

There were seventy souls when they went down into Egypt, and they remained two hundred and fifteen years, and at the end of that time they had increased to about three million. How do we know that there were three million at the end of two hundred and fifteen years? We know it because we are informed by Moses that "there were six hundred thousand men of war." Now, to each man of war, there must have been at least five other people. In every State in this Union there will be to each voter, five other persons at least, and we all know that there are always more voters than men of war. If there were six hundred thousand men of war, there must have been a population of at least three million. Is it possible that seventy people could increase to that extent in two hundred and fifteen years? You may say that it was a miracle; but what need was there of working a miracle. Why should God miraculously increase the number of slaves? If he wished miraculously to increase the population, why did he not wait until the people were free?

In 1776, we had in the American Colonies about three millions of people. In one hundred years we doubled four times: that is to say, six, twelve, twenty-four, forty-eight million,--our present population.

We must not forget that during all these years there has been pouring into our country a vast stream of emigration, and that this, taken in connection with the fact that our country is productive beyond all others, gave us only four doubles in one hundred years. Admitting that the Hebrews increased as rapidly without emigration as we, in this country, have with it, we will give to them four doubles each century, commencing with seventy people, and they would have, at the end of two hundred years, a population of seventeen thousand nine hundred and twenty. Giving them another double for the odd fifteen years and there would be, provided no deaths had occurred, thirty-five thousand eight hundred and forty people. And yet we are told that instead of having this number, they had increased to such an extent that they had six hundred thousand men of war; that is to say, a population of more than three millions?

Every sensible man knows that this account is not, and cannot be true. We know that seventy people could not increase to three million in two hundred and fifteen years.

About this time the Hebrews took a census, and found that there were twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three first- born males. It is reasonable to suppose that there were about as many first-born females. This would make forty-four thousand five hundred and forty-six first-born children. Now, there must have been about as many mothers as there were first-born children. If there were only about forty-five thousand mothers and three millions of people, the mothers must have had on an average about sixty-six children apiece.

At this time, the Hebrews were slaves, and had been for two hundred and fifteen years. A little while before, an order had been made by the Egyptians that all the male children of the Hebrews should be killed. One, contrary to this order, was saved in an ark made of bulrushes daubed with slime. This child was found by the daughter of Pharaoh, and was adopted, it seems, as her own, and, may be, was. He grew to be a man, sided with the Hebrews, killed an Egyptian that was smiting a slave, hid the body in the sand, and fled from Egypt to the land of Midian, became acquainted with a priest who had seven daughters, took the side of the daughters against the ill-mannered shepherds of that country, and married Zipporah, one of the girls, and became a shepherd for her father. Afterward, while tending his flock, the Lord appeared to him in a burning bush, and commanded him to go to the king of Egypt and demand from him the liberation of the Hebrews. In order to convince him that the something burning in the bush was actually God. the rod in his hand was changed into a serpent, which, upon being caught by the tail, became again a rod. Moses was also told to put his hand in his bosom, and when he took it out it was as leprous as snow. Quite a number of strange things were performed, and others promised. Moses then agreed to go back to Egypt provided his brother could go with him. Whereupon the Lord appeared to Aaron, and directed him to meet Moses in the wilderness. They met at the mount of God, went to Egypt, gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel, spake all the words which God had spoken unto Moses, and did all the signs in the sight of the people. The Israelites believed, bowed their heads and worshiped; and Moses and Aaron went in and told their message to Pharaoh the king.

XXII: THE PLAGUES.

Three millions of people were in slavery. They were treated with the utmost rigor, and so fearful were their masters that they might, in time, increase in numbers sufficient to avenge themselves. that they took from the arms of mothers all the male children and destroyed them. If the account given is true, the Egyptians were the most cruel, heartless and infamous people of which history gives any record. God finally made up his mind to free the Hebrews; and for the accomplishment of this purpose he sent, as his agents, Moses and Aaron, to the king of Egypt. In order that the king might know that these men had a divine mission, God gave Moses the power of changing a stick into a serpent, and water into blood. Moses and Aaron went before the king, stating that the Lord God of Israel ordered the king of Egypt to let the Hebrews go that they might hold a feast with God in the Wilderness. Thereupon Pharaoh, the king, enquired who the Lord was, at the same time stating that he had never made his acquaintance, and knew nothing about him. To this they replied that the God of the Hebrews had met with them, and they asked to go a three days journey into the desert and sacrifice unto this God, fearing that if they did not he would fall upon them with pestilence or the sword. This interview seems to have hardened Pharaoh, for he ordered the tasks of the children of Israel to be increased; so that the only effect of the first appeal was to render still worse the condition of the Hebrews. Thereupon, Moses returned unto the Lord and said, "Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? Why is it that thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name he hath done evil to this people: neither hast thou delivered thy people at all."

Apparently stung by this reproach, God answered:--

"Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand shall he let them go; and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land."

God then recounts the fact that he had appeared unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that he had established a covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, that he had heard the groanings of the children of Israel in Egyptian bondage; that their groanings had put him in mind of his covenant, and that he had made up his mind to redeem the children of Israel with a stretched-out arm and with great judgments. Moses then spoke to the children of Israel again, but they would listen to him no more. His first effort in their behalf had simply doubled their trouble and they seemed to have lost confidence in his power. Thereupon Jehovah promised Moses that he would make him a god unto Pharaoh, and that Aaron should be his prophet, but at the same time informed him that his message would be of no avail; that he would harden the heart of Pharaoh so that he would not listen; that he would so harden his heart that he might have an excuse for destroying the Egyptians. Accordingly, Moses and Aaron again went before Pharaoh. Moses said to Aaron;--"Cast down your rod before Pharaoh." which he did, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh not in the least surprised, called for his wise men and his sorcerers, and they threw down their rods and changed them into serpents. The serpent that had been changed from Aaron's rod was, at this time crawling upon the floor, and it proceeded to swallow the serpents that had been produced by the magicians of Egypt. What became of these serpents that were swallowed, whether they turned back into sticks again, is not stated. Can we believe that the stick was changed into a real living serpent, or did it assume simply the appearance of a serpent? If it bore only the appearance of a serpent it was a deception, and could not rise above the dignity of legerdemain. Is it necessary to believe that God is a kind of prestigiator--a sleight-of-hand performer, a magician or sorcerer? Can it be possible that an infinite being would endeavor to secure the liberation of a race by performing a miracle that could be equally performed by the sorcerers and magicians of a barbarian king?

Not one word was said by Moses or Aaron as to the wickedness of depriving a human being of his liberty. Not a word was said in favor of liberty. Not the slightest intimation that a human being was justly entitled to the product of his own labor. Not a word about the cruelty of masters who would destroy even the babes of slave mothers. It seems to me wonderful that this God did not tell the king of Egypt that no nation could enslave another, without also enslaving itself; that it was impossible to put a chain around the limbs of a slave, without putting manacles upon the brain of the master. Why did he not tell him that a nation founded upon slavery could not stand? Instead of declaring these things, instead of appealing to justice, to mercy and to liberty, he resorted to feats of jugglery. Suppose we wished to make a treaty with a barbarous nation, and the President should employ a slight-of-hand performer as envoy extraordinary, and instruct him, that when he came into the presence of the savage monarch, he should cast down an umbrella or a walking stick, which would change into a lizard or a turtle; what would we think? Would we not regard such a performance as beneath the dignity even of a President? And what would be our feelings if the savage king sent for his sorcerers and had them perform the same feat? If such things would appear puerile and foolish in the President of a great republic, what shall be said when they were resorted to by the creator of all worlds? How small, how contemptible such a God appears! Pharaoh, it seems, took about this view of the matter, and he would not be persuaded that such tricks were performed by an infinite being.

Again, Moses and Aaron came before Pharaoh as he was going to the river's bank, and the same rod which had changed to a serpent, and, by this time changed back, was taken by Aaron, who, in the presence of Pharaoh, smote the water of the river, which was immediately turned to blood, as well as all the water in all the streams, ponds, and pools, as well as all water in vessels of wood and vessels of stone in the entire land of Egypt. As soon as all the waters in Egypt had been turned into blood, the magicians of that country did the same with their enchantments. We are not informed where they got the water to turn into blood, since all the water in Egypt had already been so changed. It seems from the account that the fish in the Nile died, and the river emitted a stench, and there was not a drop of water in the land of Egypt that had not been changed into blood. In consequence of this, the Egyptians digged "around about the river" for water to drink. Can we believe this story? Is it necessary to salvation to admit that all the rivers, pools, ponds and lakes of a country were changed into blood, in order that a king might be induced to allow the children of Israel the privilege of going on a three days journey into the wilderness to make sacrifices to their God?

It seems from the account that Pharaoh was told that the God of the Hebrews would, if he refused to let the Israelites go, change all the waters of Egypt into blood, and that, upon his refusal, they were so changed. This had, however, no influence upon him, for the reason that his own magicians did the same. It does not appear that Moses and Aaron expressed the least surprise at the success of the Egyptian sorcerers. At that time it was believed that each nation had its own god. The only claim that Moses and Aaron made for their God was, that he was the greatest and most powerful of all the gods, and that with anything like an equal chance he could vanquish the deity of any other nation.

After the waters were changed to blood Moses and Aaron waited for seven days. At the end of that time God told Moses to again go to Pharaoh and demand the release of his people, and to inform him that, if he refused, God would strike all the borders of Egypt with frogs. That he would make frogs so plentiful that they would go into the houses of Pharaoh, into his bed-chamber, upon his bed, into the houses of his servants, upon his people, into their ovens, and even into their kneading troughs. This threat had no effect whatever upon Pharaoh. And thereupon Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land. The magicians of Egypt did the same, and with their enchantments brought more frogs upon the land of Egypt.

These magicians do not seem to have been original in their ideas, but so far as imitation is concerned, were perfect masters of their art. The frogs seem to have made such an impression upon Pharaoh that he sent for Moses and asked him to entreat the Lord that he would take away the frogs. Moses agreed to remove them from the houses and the land, and allow them to remain only in the rivers. Accordingly the frogs died out of the houses, and out of the villages, and out of the fields, and the people gathered them together in heaps. As soon as the frogs had left the houses and fields, the heart of Pharaoh became again hardened, and he refused to let the people go.

Aaron then, according to the command of God, stretched out his hand, holding the rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man and in beast, and all the dust became lice throughout the land of Egypt. Pharaoh again sent for his magicians, and they sought to do the same with their enchantments, but they could not. Whereupon the sorcerers said unto Pharaoh: "This is the finger of God."

Notwithstanding this, however, Pharaoh refused to let the Hebrews go. God then caused a grievous swarm of flies to come into the house of Pharaoh and into his servants' houses, and into all the land of Egypt, to such an extent that the whole land was corrupted by reason of the flies. But into that part of the country occupied by the children of Israel there came no flies. Thereupon Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron and said to them: "Go, and sacrifice to your God in this land." They were not willing to sacrifice in Egypt, and asked permission to go on a Journey of three days into the wilderness. To this Pharaoh acceded, and in consideration of this Moses agreed to use his influence with the Lord to induce him to send the flies out of the country. He accordingly told the Lord of the bargain he had made with Pharaoh, and the Lord agreed to the compromise, and removed the flies from Pharaoh and from his servants and from his people, and there remained not a single fly in the land of Egypt. As soon as the flies were gone, Pharaoh again changed his mind, and concluded not to permit the children of Israel to depart. The Lord then directed Moses to go to Pharaoh and tell him that if he did not allow the children of Israel to depart, he would destroy his cattle, his horses, his camels and his sheep; that these animals would be afflicted with a grievous disease, but that the animals belonging to the Hebrews should not be so afflicted. Moses did as he was bid. On the next day all the cattle of Egypt died; that is to say, all the horses, all the asses, all the camels, all the oxen and all the sheep; but of the animals owned by the Israelites, not one perished. This disaster had no effect upon Pharaoh, and he still refused to let the children of Israel go. The Lord then told Moses and Aaron to take some ashes out of a furnace, and told Moses to sprinkle them toward the heavens in the sight of Pharaoh; saying that the ashes should become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and should be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man and upon beast throughout all the land.

How these boils braking out with blains, upon cattle that were already dead, should affect Pharaoh, is a little hard to understand. It must not be forgotten that all the cattle and all beasts had died with the murrain before the boils had broken out.

This was a most decisive victory for Moses and Aaron. The boils were upon the magicians to that extent that they could not stand before Moses. But it had no effect upon Pharaoh, who seems to have been a man of great firmness. The Lord then instructed Moses to get up early in the morning and tell Pharaoh that he would stretch out his hand and smite his people with a pestilence, and would, on the morrow, cause it to rain a very grievous hail. such as had never been known in the land of Egypt. He also told Moses to give notice, so that they might get all the cattle that were in the fields under cover. It must be remembered that all these cattle had recently died of the murrain, and their dead bodies had been covered with boils and blains. This, however, had no effect, and Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven, and the Lord sent thunder, and hail and lightning, and fire that ran along the ground, and the hail fell upon all the land of Egypt, and all that were in the fields, both man and beast, were smitten, and the hail smote every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the country except that portion inhabited by the children of Israel; there, there was no hail.

During this hail storm Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron and admitted that he had sinned, that the Lord was righteous, and that the Egyptians were wicked, and requested them to ask the Lord that there be no more thunderings and hail, and that he would let the Hebrews go. Moses agreed that as soon as he got out of the city he would stretch forth his hands unto the Lord, and that the thunderings should cease and the hail should stop. But, when the rain and the hail and the thundering ceased, Pharaoh concluded that he would not let the children of Israel go.

Again, God sent Moses and Aaron, instructing them to tell Pharaoh that if he refused to let the people go, the face of the earth would be covered with locusts, so that man would not be able to see the ground, and that these locusts would eat the residue of that which escaped from the hail; that they would eat every tree out of the field; that they would fill the houses of Pharaoh and the houses of all his servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians. Moses delivered the message, and went out from Pharaoh. Some of Pharaoh's servants entreated their master to let the children of Israel go. Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron and asked them, who wished to go into the wilderness to sacrifice. They replied that they wished to go with the young and old; with their sons and daughters, with flocks and herds. Pharaoh would not consent to this, but agreed that the men might go. There upon Pharaoh drove Moses and Aaron out of his sight. Then God told Moses to stretch forth his hand upon the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they might come up and eat every herb, even all that the hail had left. "And Moses stretched out his rod over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind all that day and all that night; and when it was morning the east wind brought the locusts; and they came up over all the land of Egypt and rested upon all the coasts covering the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every herb and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left, and there remained not any green thing on the trees or in the herbs of the field throughout the land of Egypt." Pharaoh then called for Moses and Aaron in great haste, admitted that he had sinned against the Lord their God and against them, asked their forgiveness and requested them to intercede with God that he might take away the locusts. They went out from his presence and asked the Lord to drive the locusts away, "And the Lord made a strong west wind which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red Sea so that there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt."

As soon as the locusts were gone, Pharaoh changed his mind, and, in the language of the sacred text, "the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he would not let the children of Israel go."

The Lord then told Moses to stretch out his hand toward heaven that there might be darkness over the land of Egypt, "even darkness which might be felt."

And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven, and there was a thick darkness over the land of Egypt for three days during which time they saw not each other, neither arose any of the people from their places for three days; but the children of Israel had light in their dwellings."

It strikes me that when the land of Egypt was covered with thick darkness--so thick that it could be felt, and when light was in the dwellings of the Israelites, there could have been no better time for the Hebrews to have left the country.

Pharaoh again called for Moses, and told him that his people could go and serve the Lord. provided they would leave their flocks and herds. Moses would not agree to this, for the reason that they needed the flocks and herds for sacrifices and burnt offerings, and he did not know how many of the animals God might require, and for that reason he could not leave a single hoof. Upon the question of the cattle, they divided, and Pharaoh again refused to let the people go. God then commanded Moses to tell the Hebrews to borrow, each of his neighbor, jewels of silver and gold. By a miraculous interposition the Hebrews found favor in the sight of the Egyptians so that they loaned the articles asked for. After this, Moses again went to Pharaoh and told him that all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh upon the throne, unto the first-born of the maid-servant who was behind the mill, as well as the first-born of beasts, should die. As all the beasts had been destroyed by disease and hail, it is troublesome to understand the meaning of the threat as to their first-born.

Preparations were accordingly made for carrying this frightful threat into execution. Blood was put on the door-posts of all houses inhabited by Hebrews. So that God, as he passed through that land, might not be mistaken and destroy the first-born of the Jews. "And it came to pass that at midnight the Lord smote all the first- born in the land of Egypt the first-born of Pharaoh who sat on the throne, and the first-born of the captive who was in the dungeon.

And Pharaoh rose up in the night, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead."

What had these children done? Why should the babes in the cradle be destroyed on account of the crime of Pharaoh? Why should the cattle be destroyed because man had enslaved his brother? In those days women and children and cattle were put upon an exact equality, and all considered as the property of the men; and when man in some way excited the wrath of God, he punished them by destroying all their cattle, their wives, and their little ones. Where can words he found bitter enough to describe a god who would kill wives and babes because husbands and fathers had failed to keep his law? Every good man, and every good woman, must hate and despise such a deity.

Upon the death of all the first-born Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron, and not only gave his consent that they might go with the Hebrews into the wilderness, but besought them to go at once.

Is it possible that an infinite God, creator of all worlds and sustainer of all life, said to Pharaoh, "If you do not let my people go, I will turn all the water of your country into blood," and that upon the refusal of Pharaoh to release the people, God did turn all the waters into blood? Do you believe this?

Do you believe that Pharaoh even after all the water was turned to blood, refused to let the Hebrews go, and that thereupon God told him he would cover his land with frogs? Do you believe this?

Do you believe that after the land was covered with frogs Pharaoh still refused to let the people go, and that God then said to him, "I will cover you and all your people with lice?" Do you believe God would make this threat?

Do you also believe that God told Pharaoh, "If you do not let these people go, I will fill all your houses and cover your country with flies?" Do you believe God makes such threats as this? Of course God must have known that turning the waters into blood, covering the country with frogs, infesting all flesh with lice, and filling all houses with flies, would not accomplish his object, and that all these plagues would have no effect whatever upon he Egyptian king.

Do you believe that, failing to accomplish anything by the flies, God told Pharaoh that if he did not let the people go he would kill his cattle with murrain? Does such a threat sound God- like?

Do you believe that, failing to effect anything by killing the cattle, this same God then threatened to afflict all the people with boils, including the magicians who had been rivaling him in the matter of miracles; and failing to do anything by boils, that he resorted to hail? Does this sound reasonable? The hail experiment having accomplished nothing, do you believe that God murdered the first-born of animals and men? Is it possible to conceive of anything more utterly absurd, stupid, revolting, cruel and senseless, than the miracles said to have been wrought by the Almighty for the purpose of inducing Pharaoh to liberate the children of Israel?

Is it not altogether more reasonable to say that the Jewish people, being in slavery, accounted for the misfortunes and calamities, suffered by the Egyptians, by saying that they were the judgments of God?

When the Armada of Spain was wrecked and scattered by the storm, the English people believed that God had interposed in their behalf, and publicly gave thanks. When the battle of Lepanto was won, it was believed by the Catholic world that the victory was given in answer to prayer. So, our fore-fathers in their Revolutionary struggle saw, or thought they saw, the hand of God, and most firmly believed that they achieved their independence by the interposition of the Most High.

Now, it may be that while the Hebrews were enslaved by the Egyptians, there were plagues of locusts and flies. It may be that there were some diseases by which many of the cattle perished. It may be that a pestilence visited that country so that in nearly every house there was some one dead. If so, it was but natural for the enslaved and superstitious Jews to account for these calamities by saying that they were punishments sent by their God. Such ideas will be found in the history of every country.

For a long time the Jews held these opinions, and they were handed from father to son simply by tradition. By the time a written language had been produced, thousands of additions had been made, and numberless details invented; so that we have not only an account of the plagues suffered by the Egyptians, but the whole woven into a connected story, containing the threats made by Moses and Aaron, the miracles wrought by them, the promises of Pharaoh, and finally the release of the Hebrews, as a result of the marvelous things performed in their behalf by Jehovah.

In any event it is infinitely more probable that the author was misinformed, than that the God of this universe was guilty of these childish, heartless and infamous things. The solution of the whole matter is this:--Moses was mistaken.

XXIII: THE FLIGHT.

Three millions of people, with their flocks and herds, with borrowed jewelry and raiment, with unleavened dough in kneading troughs bound in their clothe upon their shoulders, in one night commenced their journey for the land of promise. We are not told how they were informed of the precise time to start. With all the modern appliances, it would require months of time to inform, three millions of people of any fact.

In this vast assemblage there were six hundred thousand men of war, and with them were the old, the young, the diseased and helpless. Where were those people going? They were going to the desert of Sinai, compared with which Sahara is a garden. Imagine an ocean of lava torn by storm and vexed by tempest, suddenly gazed at by a Gorgon and changed instantly to stone! Such was the desert of Sinai.

All of the civilized nations of the world could not feed and support three millions of people on the desert of Sinai for forty years. It would cost more than one hundred thousand millions of dollars, and would bankrupt Christendom. They had with them their flocks and herds, and the sheep were so numerous that the Israelites sacrificed, at one time, more than one hundred and fifty thousand first-born lambs. How were these flocks supported? What did they eat? Where were meadows and pastures for them? There was no grass, no forests--nothing! There is no account of its having rained baled hay, nor is it even claimed that they were miraculously fed. To support these flocks, millions of acres of pasture would have been required. God did not take the Israelites through the land of the Philistines, for fear that when they saw the people of that country they would return to Egypt, but he took them by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea, going before them by day in a pillar of cloud, and by night, in a pillar of fire.

When it was told Pharaoh that the people had fled, he made ready and took six hundred chosen chariots of Egypt, and pursued after the children of Israel, overtaking them by the sea. As all the animals had long before that time been destroyed, we are not informed where Pharaoh obtained the horses for his chariots. The moment the children of Israel saw the hosts of Pharaoh, although they had six hundred thousand men of war, they immediately cried unto the Lord for protection. It is wonderful to me that a land that had been ravaged by the plagues described in the Bible, still had the power to put in the field an army that would carry terror to the hearts of six hundred thousand men of war. Even with the help of God, it seems, they were not strong enough to meet the Egyptians in the open field, but resorted to strategy. Moses again stretched forth his wonderful rod over the waters of the Red Sea, and they were divided, and the Hebrews passed through on dry land, the waters standing up like a wall on either side. The Egyptians pursued them; "and in the morning watch the Lord looked into the hosts of the Egyptians, through the pillar of fire," and proceeded to take the wheels off their chariots. As soon as the wheels were off, God told Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea. Moses did so, and immediately "the waters returned and covered the chariots and horsemen and all the hosts of Pharaoh that came into the sea, and there remained not so much as one of them."

This account may be true, but still it hardly looks reasonable that God would take the wheels off the chariots. How did he do it? Did he pull out the linch-pins, or did he just take them off by main force?

What a picture this presents to the mind! God the creator of the universe, maker of every shining, glittering star, engaged in pulling off the wheels of wagons, that he might convince Pharaoh of his greatness and power!

Where were these people going? They were going to the promised land. How large a country was that? About twelve thousand square miles. About one-fifth the size of the State of Illinois. It was a frightful country, covered with rocks and desolation. How many people were in the promised land already? Moses tells us there were seven nations in that country mightier than the Jews. As there were at least three millions of Jews, there must have been at least twenty-one millions of people already in that country. These had to be driven out in order that room might be made for the chosen people of God.

It seems, however, that God was not willing to take the children of Israel into the promised land immediately. They were not fit to inhabit the land of Canaan; so he made up his mind to allow them to wander upon the desert until all except two, who had left Egypt, should perish. Of all the slaves released from Egyptian bondage, only two were allowed to reach the promised land!

As soon as the Hebrews crossed the Red Sea, they found themselves without food, and with water unfit to drink by reason of its bitterness, and they began to murmur against Moses, who cried unto the Lord, and "the Lord showed him a tree." Moses cast this tree into the waters, and they became sweet. "And it came to pass in the morning the dew lay around about the camp; and when the dew that lay was gone, behold, upon the face of the wilderness lay a small round thing, small as the hoar-frost upon the ground. And Moses said unto them, "this is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat." This manna was a very peculiar thing. It would melt in the sun, and yet they could cook it by seething and baking. One would as soon think of frying snow or of broiling icicles. But this manna had another remarkable quality. No matter how much or little any person gathered, he would have an exact omer; if he gathered more, it would shrink to that amount, and if he gathered less, it would swell exactly to that amount. What a magnificent substance manna would be with which to make a currency--shrinking and swelling according to the great laws of supply and demand!

"Upon this manna the children of Israel lived for forty years, until they came to a habitable land. With this meat were they fed until they reached the borders of the land of Canaan." We are told in the twenty-first chapter of Numbers, that the people at last became tired of the manna, complained of God, and asked Moses why he brought them out of the land of Egypt to die in the wilderness. And they said:--"There is no bread, nor have we any water. Our soul loatheth this light food."

We are told by some commentators that the Jews lived on manna for forty years; by others that they lived upon it for only a short time. As a matter of fact the accounts differ, and this difference is the opportunity for commentators. It also allows us to exercise faith in believing that both accounts are true. If the accounts agreed, and were reasonable, they would be believed by the wicked and unregenerate. But as they are different and unreasonable, they are believed only by the good. Whenever a statement in the Bible is unreasonable, and you believe it, you are considered quite a good Christian. If the statement is grossly absurd and infinitely impossible, and you still believe it, you are a saint.

The children of Israel were in the desert, and they were out of water. They had nothing to eat but manna, and this they had had so long that the soul of every person abhorred it. Under these circumstances they complained to Moses. Now, as God is infinite, he could just as well have furnished them with an abundance of the purest and coolest of water, and could, without the slightest trouble to himself, have given them three excellent meals a day, with a generous variety of meats and vegetables, it is very hard to see why he did not do so. It is still harder to conceive why he fell into a rage when the people mildly suggested that they would like a change of diet. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, nothing but manna. No doubt they did the best they could by cooking it in different ways, but in spite of themselves they began to loathe its sight and taste, and so they asked Moses to use his influence to secure a change in the bill of fare.

Now, I ask, whether it was unreasonable for the Jews to suggest that a little meat would be very gratefully received? It seems, however, that as soon as the request was made, this God of infinite mercy became infinitely enraged, and instead of granting it, went into partnership with serpents, for the purpose of punishing the hungry wretches to whom he had promised a land flowing with milk and honey.

Where did these serpents come from? How did God convey the information to the serpents, that he wished them to go to the desert of Sinai and bite some Jews? It may be urged that these serpents were created for the express purpose of punishing the children of Israel for having had the presumption, like Oliver Twist, to ask for more.

There is another account in the eleventh chapter of Numbers, of the people murmuring because of their food. They remembered the fish, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions and the garlic of Egypt, and they asked for meat. The people went to the tent of Moses and asked him for flesh. Moses cried unto the Lord and asked him why he did not take care of the multitude. God thereupon agreed that they should have meat, not for a day or two, but for a month, until the meat should come out of their nostrils and become loathsome to them. He then caused a wind to bring quails from beyond the sea, and cast them into the camp, on every side of the camp around about for the space of a days journey. And the people gathered them, and while the flesh was yet between their teeth the wrath of God being provoked against them, struck them with an exceeding great plague. Serpents, also, were sent among them, and thousands perished for the crime of having been hungry. The Rev. Alexander Cruden commenting upon this account says:--

"God caused a wind to rise that drove the quails within and about the camp of the Israelites; and it is in this that the miracle consists, that they were brought so seasonably to this place, and in so great numbers as to suffice above a million of persons above a month. Some authors affirm, that in those eastern and southern countries, quails are innumerable, so that in one part of Italy within the compass of five miles, there were taken about an hundred thousand of them every day for a month together; and that sometimes they fly so thick over the sea, that being weary they fall into ships, sometimes in such numbers, that they sink them with their weight.

No wonder Mr. Cruden believed the Mosaic account.

Must we believe that God made an arrangement with hornets for the purpose of securing their services in driving the Canaanites from the land of promise? Is this belief necessary unto salvation? Must we believe that God said to the Jews that he would send hornets before them to drive out the Canaanites, as related in the twenty-third chapter of Exodus, and the second chapter of Deuteronomy? How would the hornets know a Canaanite? In what way would God put it in the mind of a hornet to attack a Canaanite? Did God create hornets for that especial purpose, implanting an instinct to attack a Canaanite, but not a Hebrew? Can we conceive of the Almighty granting letters of marque and reprisal to hornets? Of course it is admitted that nothing in the world would he better calculated to make a man leave his native land than a few hornets. Is it possible for us to believe that an infinite being would resort to such expedients in order to drive the Canaanites from their country? He could just as easily have spoken the Canaanites out of existence as to have spoken the hornets in. In this way a vast amount of trouble, pain and suffering would have been saved. Is it possible that there is, in this country, an intelligent clergyman who will insist that these stories are true; that we must believe them in order to be good people in this world, and glorified souls in the next?

We are also told that God instructed the Hebrews to kill the Canaanites slowly, giving as a reason that the beasts of the field might increase upon his chosen people. When we take into consideration the fact that the Holy Land contained only about eleven or twelve thousand square miles, and was at that time inhabited by at least twenty-one millions of people, it does not seem reasonable that the wild beasts could have been numerous enough to cause any great alarm. The same ratio of population would give to the State of Illinois at least one hundred and twenty millions of inhabitants. Can anybody believe that under such circumstances, the danger from wild beasts could be very great? What would we think of a general, invading such a State, if he should order his soldiers to kill the people slowly, lest the wild beasts might increase upon them? Is it possible that a God capable of doing the miracles recounted in the Old Testament could not, in some way, have disposed of the wild beasts? After the Canaanites were driven out, could he not have employed the hornets to drive out the wild beasts? Think of a God that could drive twenty-one millions of people out of the promised land, could raise up innumerable stinging flies, and could cover the earth with fiery serpents, and yet seems to have been perfectly powerless against the wild beasts of the land of Canaan!

Speaking of these hornets, one of the good old commentators, whose views have long been considered of great value by the believers in the inspiration of the Bible, uses the following language;--"Hornets are a sort of strong flies, which the Lord used as instruments to plague the enemies of his people. They are of themselves very troublesome and mischievous, and those the Lord made use of were, it is thought, of an extraordinary bigness and perniciousness. It is said they live as the wasps, and that they have a king or captain, and pestilent stings as bees, and that, if twenty-seven of them sting man or beast, it is certain death to either. Nor is it strange that such creatures did drive out the Canaanites from their habitations; for many heathen writers give instances of some people driven from their seats by frogs, others by mice, others by bees and wasps. And it is said that a Christian city, being besieged by Sapores, king of Persia, was delivered by hornets; for the elephants and beasts being stung by them, waxed unruly, and so the whole army fled."

Only a few years ago, all such stories were believed by the Christian world; and it is a historical fact, that Voltaire was the third man of any note in Europe, who took the ground that the mythologies of Greece and Rome were without foundation. Until his time, most Christians believed as thoroughly in the miracles ascribed to the Greek and Roman gods as in those of Christ and Jehovah. The Christian world cultivated credulity, not only as one of the virtues, but as the greatest of them all. But, when Luther and his followers left the Church of Rome, they were compelled to deny the power of the Catholic Church, at that time, to suspend the laws of nature, but took the ground that such power ceased with the apostolic age. They insisted that all things now happened in accordance with the laws of nature, with the exception of a few special interferences in favor of the Protestant Church in answer to prayer. They taught their children a double philosophy; by one, they were to show the impossibility of Catholic miracles, because opposed to the laws of nature; by the other, the probability of the miracles of the apostolic age, because they were in conformity with the statements of the Scriptures. They had two foundations: one, the law of nature, and the other, the word of God. The Protestants have endeavored to carry on this double process of reasoning, and the result has been a gradual increase of confidence in the law of nature, and a gradual decrease of confidence in the word of God.

We are told, in this inspired account, that the clothing of the Jewish people did not wax old, and that their shoes refused to wear out. Some commentators have insisted that angels. attended to the wardrobes of the Hebrews, patched their garments, and mended their shoes. Certain it is, however, that the same clothes lasted them for forty years, during the entire journey from Egypt to the Holy Land. Little boys starting out with their first pantaloons, grew as they traveled, and their clothes grew with them.

Can it be necessary to believe a story like this? Will men make better husbands, fathers, neighbors, and citizens, simply by giving credence to these childish and impossible things? Certainly an infinite God could have transported the Jews to the Holy Land in a moment, and could, as easily, have removed the Canaanites to some other country. Surely there was no necessity for doing thousands and thousands of petty miracles, day after day for forty years, looking after the clothes of three millions of people, changing the nature of wool and linen and leather, so that they would not "wax old." Every step, every motion, would wear away some part of the clothing, some part of the shoes. Were these parts, so worn away, perpetually renewed, or was the nature of things so changed that they could not wear away? We know that whenever matter comes in contact with matter, certain atoms, by abrasion, are lost. Were these atoms gathered up every night by angels, and replaced on the soles of the shoes, on the elbows of coats, and on the knees of pantaloons, so that the next morning they would be precisely in the condition they were on the morning before? There must be a mistake somewhere.

Can we believe that the real God, if there is one, ever ordered a man to be killed simply for making hair oil, or ointment? We are told in the thirtieth chapter of Exodus, that the Lord commanded Moses to take myrrh, cinnamon, sweet calamus, cassia, and olive oil, and make a holy ointment for the purpose of anointing the tabernacle, tables, candlesticks and other utensils, as well as Aaron and his sons; saying, at the same time, that whosoever compounded any like it, or whoever put any of it on a stranger, should be put to death. In the same chapter, the Lord furnishes Moses with a recipe for making a perfume, saying, that whoever should make any which smelled like it, should be cut off from his people. This, to me, sounds so unreasonable that I cannot believe it. Why should an infinite God care whether mankind made ointments and perfumes like his or not? Why should the Creator of all things threaten to kill a priest who approached his altar without having washed his hands and feet? These commandments and these penalties would disgrace the vainest tyrant that ever sat, by chance, upon a throne. There must be some mistake. I cannot believe that an infinite Intelligence appeared to Moses upon Mount Sinai having with him a variety of patterns for making a tabernacle, tongs, snuffers and dishes. Neither can I believe that God told Moses how to cut and trim a coat for a priest. Why should a God care about such things? Why should he insist on having buttons sewed in certain rows, and fringes of a certain color? Suppose an intelligent civilized man was to overhear, on Mount Sinai, the following instructions from God to Moses:--

"You must consecrate my priests as follows:--You must kill a bullock for a sin offering, and have Aaron and his sons lay their hands upon the head of the bullock. Then you must take the blood and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with your finger, and pour some blood at the bottom of the altar to make a reconciliation; and of the fat that is upon the inwards, the caul above the liver and two kidneys, and their fat, and burn them upon the altar. You must get a ram for a burnt offering, and Aaron and his sons must lay their hands upon the head of the ram. Then you must kill it and sprinkle the blood upon the altar, and cut the ram into pieces, and burn the head, and the pieces, and the fat, and wash the inwards and the lungs in water and then burn the whole ram upon the altar for a sweet savor unto me. Then you must get another ram, and have Aaron and his sons lay their hands upon the head of that, then kill it and take of its blood, and put it on the top of Aaron's right ear, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the great toe of his right foot. And you must also put a little of the blood upon the top of the right ears of Aaron's sons, and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the great toes of their right feet. And then you must take of the fat that is on the inwards, and the caul above the liver and the two kidneys, and their fat, and the right shoulder, and out of a basket of unleavened bread you must take one unleavened cake and another of oil bread, and one wafer, and put them on the fat of the right shoulder. And you must take of the anointing oil, and of the blood, and sprinkle it on Aaron, and on his garments, and on his sons' garments, and sanctify them and all their clothes."--Do you believe that he would have even suspected that the creator of the universe was talking? Can any one now tell why God commanded the Jews, when they were upon the desert of Sinai, to plant trees, telling them at the same time that they must not eat any of the fruit of such trees until after the fourth year? Trees could not have been planted in that desert, and if they had been, they could not have lived. Why did God tell Moses, while in the desert, to make curtains of fine linen? Where could he have obtained his flax? There was no land upon which it could have been produced. Why did he tell him to make things of gold, and silver, and precious stones, when they could not have been in possession of these things? There is but one answer, and that is, the Pentateuch was written hundreds of years after the Jews had settled in the Holy Land, and hundreds of years after Moses was dust and ashes.

When the Jews had a written language, and that must have been long after their flight from Egypt, they wrote out their history and their laws. Tradition had filled the infancy of the nation with miracles and special interpositions in their behalf by Jehovah. Patriotism would not allow these wonders to grow small, and priestcraft never denied a miracle. There were traditions to the effect that God had spoken face to face with Moses; that he had given him the tables of the law, and had, in a thousand ways, made known his will; and whenever the priests wished to make new laws, or amend old ones, they pretended to have found something more that God said to Moses at Sinai. In this way obedience was more easily secured. Only a very few of the people could read, and, as a consequence, additions, interpolations and erasures had no fear of detection. In this way we account for the fact that Moses is made to speak of things that did not exist in his day, and were unknown for hundreds of years after his death.

In the thirtieth chapter of Exodus, we are told that the people, when numbered, must give each one a half shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary. At that time no such money existed, and consequently the account could not, by any possibility, have been written until after there was a shekel of the sanctuary, and there was no such thing until long after the death of Moses. If we should read that Caesar paid his troops in pounds, shillings and pence, we would certainly know that the account was not written by Caesar, nor in his time, but we would know that it was written after the English had given these names to certain coins.

So, we find, that when the Jews were upon the desert it was commanded that every mother should bring, as a sin offering, a couple of doves to the priests, and the priests were compelled to eat these doves in the most holy place. At the time this law appears to have been given, there were three million people, and only three priests, Aaron, Eleazer and Ithamar. Among three million people there would be, at least, three hundred births a day.

Certainly we are not expected to believe that these three priests devoured six hundred pigeons every twenty four hours.

Why should a woman ask pardon of God for having been a mother? Why should that be considered a crime in Exodus, which is commanded as a duty in Genesis? Why should a mother be declared unclean? Why should giving birth to a daughter be regarded twice as criminal as giving birth to a son? Can we believe that such laws and ceremonies were made and instituted by a merciful and intelligent God? If there is anything in this poor world suggestive of, and standing for, all that is sweet, loving and pure, it is a mother holding in her thrilled and happy arms her prattling babe. Read the twelfth chapter of Leviticus, and you will see that when a woman became the mother of a boy she was so unclean that she was not allowed to touch a hallowed thing, nor to enter the sanctuary for forty days. If the babe was a girl, then the mother was unfit for eighty days, to enter the house of God, or to touch the sacred tongs and snuffers. These laws, born of barbarism, are unworthy of our day, and should be regarded simply as the mistakes of savages.

Just as low in the scale of intelligence are the directions given in the fifth chapter of Numbers, for the trial of a wife of whom the husband was jealous. This foolish chapter has been the foundation of all appeals to God for the ascertainment of facts, such as the corsned, trial by battle, by water, and by fire, the last of which is our judicial oath. It is very easy to believe that in those days a guilty woman would be afraid to drink the water of jealousy and take the oath, and that, through fear, she might be made to confess. Admitting that the deception tended not only to prevent crime, but to discover it when committed, still, we cannot admit that an honest god would, for any purpose, resort to dishonest means. In all countries fear is employed as a means of getting at the truth, and in this there is nothing dishonest, provided falsehood is not resorted to for the purpose of producing the fear. Protestants laugh at Catholics because of their belief in the efficacy of holy water, and yet they teach their children that a little holy water, in which had been thrown some dust from the floor of the sanctuary, would work a miracle in a woman's flesh. For hundreds of years our fathers believed that a perjurer could not swallow a piece of sacramental bread. Such stories belong to the childhood of our race, and are now believed only by mental infants and intellectual babes.

I cannot believe that Moses had in his hands a couple of tables of stone, upon which God had written the Ten Commandments, and that when he saw the golden calf, and the dancing, that he dashed the tables to the earth and broke them in pieces. Neither do I believe that Moses took a golden calf, burnt it, ground it to powder, and made the people drink it with water, as related in the thirty-second chapter of Exodus.

There is another account of the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses, in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of Exodus. In this account not one word is said about the people having made a golden calf, nor about the breaking of the tables of stone. In the thirty-fourth chapter of Exodus, there is an account of the renewal of the broken tables of the law, and the commandments are given, but they are not the same commandments mentioned in the twentieth chapter. There are two accounts of the same transaction. Both of these stories cannot be true, and yet both must be believed. Any one who will take the trouble to read the nineteenth and twentieth chapters, and the last verse of the thirty first chapter, the thirty-second, thirty-third, and thirty-fourth chapters of Exodus, will be compelled to admit that both accounts cannot be true.

From the last account it appears that while Moses was upon Mount Sinai receiving the commandments from God, the people brought their jewelry to Aaron and he cast for then, a golden calf. This happened before any commandment against idolatry had been given. A god ought, certainly, to publish his laws before inflicting penalties for their violation. To inflict punishment for breaking unknown and unpublished laws is, in the last degree, cruel and unjust. It may be replied that the Jews knew better than to worship idols, before the law was given. If this is so, why should the law have been given? In all civilized countries, laws are made and promulgated, not simply for the purpose of informing the people as to what is right and wrong, but to inform them of the penalties to be visited upon those who violate the laws. When the Ten Commandments were given, no penalties were attached. Not one word was written on the tables of stone as to the punishments that would be inflicted for breaking any or all of the inspired laws. The people should not have been punished for violating a commandment before it was given. And yet, in this case, Moses commanded the sons of Levi to take their swords and slay every man his brother, his companion, and his neighbor. The brutal order was obeyed, and three thousand men were butchered. The Levites consecrated themselves unto the Lord by murdering their sons, and their brothers, for having violated a commandment before it had been given.

It has been contended for many years that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of all ideas of justice and of law. Eminent jurists have bowed to popular prejudice, and deformed their works by statements to the effect that the Mosaic laws are the fountains from which sprang all ideas of right and wrong. Nothing can be more stupidly false than such assertions. Thousands of years before Moses was born, the Egyptians had a code of laws. They had laws against blasphemy, murder, adultery, larceny, perjury, laws for the collection of debts, the enforcement of contracts, the ascertainment of damages, the redemption of property pawned, and upon nearly every subject of human interest. The Egyptian code was far better than the Mosaic.

Laws spring from the instinct of self-preservation. Industry objected to supporting idleness, and laws were made against theft. Laws were made against murder, because a very large majority of the people have always objected to being murdered. All fundamental laws were born simply of the instinct of self-defence. Long before the Jewish savages assembled at the foot of Sinai, laws had been made and enforced, not only in Egypt and India, but by every tribe that ever existed.

It is impossible for human beings to exist together, without certain rules of conduct, certain ideas of the proper and improper, of the right and wrong, growing out of the relation. Certain rules must be made, and must be enforced. This implies law, trial and punishment. Whoever produces anything by weary labor, does not need a revelation from heaven to teach him that he has a right to the thing produced. Not one of the learned gentlemen who pretend that the Mosaic laws are filled with justice and intelligence, would live, for a moment, in any country where such laws were in force.

Nothing can be more wonderful than the medical ideas of Jehovah. He had the strangest notions about the cause and cure of disease. With him everything was miracle and wonder. In the fourteenth chapter of Leviticus, we find the law for cleansing a leper:--"Then shall the priest take for him that is to be cleansed, two birds, alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop. And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel, over running water. As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them, and the living bird, in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water. And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy, seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field."

We are told that God himself gave these directions to Moses. Does anybody believe this? Why should the bird be killed in an earthen vessel? Would the charm be broken if the vessel was of wood? Why over running water? What would be thought of a physician now, who would give a prescription like that?

Is it not strange that God, although he gave hundreds of directions for the purpose of discovering the presence of leprosy, and for cleansing the leper after he was healed, forget to tell how that disease could be cured? Is it not wonderful that while God told his people what animals were fit for food, he failed to give a list of plants that man might eat? Why did he leave his children to find out the hurtful and the poisonous by experiment, knowing that experiment, in millions of cases, must mean death?

When reading the history of the Jewish people, of their flight from, slavery to death, of their exchange of tyrants, I must confess that my sympathies are all aroused in their behalf. They were cheated, deceived and abused. Their god was quick-tempered, unreasonable, cruel, revengeful and dishonest. He was always promising but never performed. He wasted time in ceremony and childish detail, and in the exaggeration of what he had done. It is impossible for me to conceive of a character more utterly detestable than that of the Hebrew god. He had solemnly promised the Jews that he would take them from Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey. He had led them to believe that in a little while their troubles would be over, and that they would soon be in the land of Canaan, surrounded by their wives and little ones, forget the stripes and tears of Egypt. After promising the poor wanderers again and again that he would lead them in safety to the promised land of Joy and plenty, this God, forgetting every promise, said to the wretches in his power:--"Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness and your children shall wander until your carcasses be wasted." This curse was the conclusion of the whole matter. Into this dust of death and night faded all the promises of God. Into this rottenness of wandering despair fell all the dreams of liberty and home. Millions of corpses were left to rot in the desert, and each one certified to the dishonesty of Jehovah. I cannot believe these things. They are so cruel and heartless, that my blood is chilled and my sense of justice shocked. A book that is equally abhorrent to my head and heart, cannot be accepted as a revelation from God.

When we think of the poor Jews, destroyed, murdered, bitten by serpents, visited by plagues, decimated by famine, butchered by each other, swallowed by the earth, frightened, cursed, starved, deceived, robbed and outraged, how thankful we should be that we are not the chosen people of God. No wonder that they longed for the slavery of Egypt, and remembered with sorrow the unhappy day when they exchanged masters. Compared with Jehovah, Pharaoh was a benefactor, and the tyranny of Egypt was freedom to those who suffered the liberty of God.

While reading the Pentateuch, I am filled with indignation, pity and horror. Nothing can be sadder than the history of the starved and frightened wretches who wandered over the desolate crags and sands of wilderness and desert, the prey of famine, sword, and plague. Ignorant and superstitious to the last degree, governed by falsehood, plundered by hypocrisy, they were the sport of priests, and the food of fear. God was their greatest enemy, and death their only friend.

It is impossible to conceive of a more thoroughly despicable, hateful, and arrogant being, than the Jewish god. He is without a redeeming feature. In the mythology of the world he has no parallel. He, only, is never touched by agony and tears. He delights only in blood and pain. Human affections are naught to him. He cares neither for love nor music, beauty nor Joy. A false friend, an unjust judge, a braggart, hypocrite, and tyrant, sincere in hatred, jealous, vain, and revengeful, false in promise, honest in curse, suspicious, ignorant, and changeable, infamous and hideous:--such is the God of the Pentateuch.

XXIV: CONFESS AND AVOID.

The scientific Christians now admit that the Bible is not inspired in its astronomy, geology, botany, zoology, nor in any science. In other words, they admit that on these subjects, the Bible cannot be depended upon. If all the statements in the scriptures were true, there would be no necessity for admitting that some of them are not inspired. A Christian will not admit that a passage in the Bible is uninspired, until he is satisfied that it is untrue. Orthodoxy itself has at last been compelled to say, that while a passage may be true and uninspired, it cannot be inspired if false.

If the people of Europe had known as much of astronomy and geology when the Bible was introduced among them, as they do now, there never could have been one believer in the doctrine of inspiration. If the writers of the various parts of the Bible had known as much about the sciences as is now known by every intelligent man, the book never could have been written. It was produced by ignorance, and has been believed and defended by its author. It has lost power in the proportion that man has gained knowledge. A few years ago, this book was appealed to in the settlement of all scientific questions; but now, even the clergy confess that in such matters, it has ceased to speak with the voice of authority. For the establishment of facts, the word of man is now considered far better than the word of God. In the world of science, Jehovah was superseded by Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler. All that God told Moses, admitting the entire account to be true, is dust and ashes compared to the discoveries of Descartes, Laplace, and Humboldt. In matters of fact, the Bible has ceased to be regarded as a standard. Science has succeeded in breaking the chains of theology. A few years ago, Science endeavored to show that it was not inconsistent with the Bible. The tables have been turned, and now, Religion is endeavoring to prove that the Bible is not inconsistent with Science. The standard has been changed.

For many ages, the Christians contended that the Bible, viewed simply as a literary performance, was beyond all other books, and that man without the assistance, of God could not produce its equal. This claim was made when but few books existed, and the Bible, being the only book generally known, had no rival. But this claim, like the other, has been abandoned by many, and soon will be by all. Compared with Shakespeare's "book and volume of the brain," the "sacred" Bible shrinks and seems as feebly impotent and vain, as would a pipe of Pan, when some great organ, voiced with every tone, from the hoarse thunder of the sea to the winged warble of a mated bird, floods and fills cathedral aisles with all the wealth of sound.

It is now maintained--and this appears to be the last fortification behind which the doctrine of inspiration skulks and crouches--that the Bible, although false and mistaken in its astronomy, geology, geography, history and philosophy, is inspired in its morality. It is now claimed that had it not been for this book, the world would have been inhabited only by savages, and that had it not been for the Holy scriptures, man never would have even dreamed of the unity of God. A belief in one God is claimed to be a dogma of almost infinite importance, that without this belief civilization is impossible, and that this fact is the sun around which all the virtues revolve. For my part, I think it infinitely more important to believe in man. Theology is a superstition--Humanity a religion.

XXV: "INSPIRED" SLAVERY.

Perhaps the bible was inspired upon the subject of human slavery. Is there, in the civilized world, to-day, a clergyman who believes in the divinity of slavery? Docs the bible teach man to enslave his brother? If it does, is it not blasphemous to say that it is inspired of God? If you find the institution of slavery upheld in a book said to have been written by God, what would you expect to find in a book inspired by the devil? Would you expect to find that book in favor of liberty? Modern christians, ashamed of the God of the Old Testament, endeavor now to show that slavery was neither commanded nor opposed by Jehovah. Nothing can be plainer than the following passages from the twenty-fifth chapter of Leviticus. "Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession, they shall be your bond-men forever. Both thy bond-men, and thy bond-maids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bond-men, and bond-maids."

Can we believe in this, the Nineteenth Century, that these infamous passages were inspired by God? that God approved not only of human slavery, but instructed his chosen people to buy the women, children and babies of the heathen round about them? If it was right for the Hebrews to buy, it was also right for the heathen to sell. This God, by commanding the Hebrews to buy, approved of the selling of sons and daughters. The Canaanite who, tempted by gold, lured by avarice, sold from the arms of his wife the dimpled baby, simply made it possible for the Hebrews to obey the orders of their God. If God is the author of the bible, the reading of these passages ought to cover his cheeks with shame. Ask the christian world to-day, was it right for heathen to sell their children? Was it right for Gad not only to uphold, but to command the most revengeful fiend, the most malicious vagrant in the gloom of hell, sink to a lower moral depth than this?

According to this God, his chosen people were not only commanded to buy of the heathen round about them, but were also permitted to buy each other for a term of years. The law governing the purchase of Jews is laid down in the twenty-first chapter of Exodus. "If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years shall he serve and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: If he were married then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her masters, and he shall go out by himself. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife. and my children; I will not go out free. Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door-post: and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl: and he shall serve him forever."

Do you believe that God was the author of this infamous law? Do you believe that the loving father of us all, turned the dimpled arms of babes into manacles of iron? Do you believe that he baited the dungeon of servitude with wife and child? Is it possible to love a God who would make such laws? Is it possible not to hate and despise him?

The heathen are not spoken of as human beings. Their rights are never mentioned. They were the rightful food of the sword, and their bodies were made for stripes and chains.

In the same chapter of the same inspired book, we are told that, "if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he dies under his hand, he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his money."

Must we believe that God called some of his children the money of others? Can we believe that God made lashes upon the naked back, a legal tender for labor performed? Must we regard the auction block as an altar? Were blood hounds apostles? Was the slave-pen a temple? Were the stealers and whippers of babies and women the justified children of God?

It is now contended that while the Old Testament is touched with the barbarism of its time, that the New Testament is morally perfect, and that on its pages can be found no blot or stain. As a matter of fact, the New Testament is more decidedly in favor of human slavery than the old.

For my part, I never will, I never can, worship a God who upholds the institution of slavery. Such a God I hate and defy. I neither want his heaven, nor fear his hell.

XXVI: "INSPIRED" MARRIAGE.

Is there an orthodox clergyman in the world, who will now declare that he believes the institution of polygamy to be right? Is there one who will publicly declare that, in his judgment, that institution ever was right? Was there ever a time in the history of the world when it was right to treat woman simply as property? Do not attempt to answer these questions by saying, that the bible is an exceedingly good book, that we are indebted for our civilization to the sacred volume, and that without it, man would lapse into savagery, and mental night. This is no answer. Was there a time when the institution of polygamy was the highest expression of human virtue? Is there a christian woman, civilized, intelligent, and free, who believes in the institution of polygamy? Are we better, purer, and more intelligent than God was four thousand years ago? Why should we imprison Mormons, and worship God? Polygamy is just as pure in Utah, as it could have been in the promised land. Love and Virtue are the same the whole world round, and Justice is the same in every star. All the languages of the world are not sufficient to express the filth of polygamy. It makes of man a beast, of woman, a trembling slave. It destroys the fireside, makes virtue an outcast, takes from human speech its sweetest words, and leaves the heart a den, where crawl and hiss the slimy serpents of most loathsome lust. Civilization rests upon the family. The good family is the unit of good government. The virtues grow about the holy hearth of home--they cluster, bloom, and shed their perfume round the fireside where the one man loves the one woman. Lover--husband--wife--mother--father--child--home!--without these sacred words, the world is but a lair, and men and women merely beasts.

Why should the innocent maiden and the loving mother worship the heartless Jewish God? Why should they, with pure and stainless lips, read the vile record of inspired lust?

The marriage of the one man to the one woman is the citadel and fortress of civilization. Without this, woman becomes the prey and slave of lust and power, and man goes back to savagery and crime. From the bottom of my heart I hate, abhor and execrate all theories of life, of which the pure and sacred home is not the corner-stone. Take from the world the family, the fireside, the children born of wedded love, and there is nothing left. The home where virtue dwells with love is like a lily with a heart of fire--the fairest flower in all the world.

XXVII "INSPIRED" WAR.

If the Bible be true, God commanded his chosen people to destroy men simply for the crime of defending their native land. They were not allowed to spare trembling and white-haired age, nor dimpled babes clasped in the mothers' arms. they were ordered to kill women, and to pierce, with the sword of war, the unborn child. "Our heavenly Father" commanded the Hebrews to kill the men and women, the fathers, sons and brothers, but to preserve the girls alive. Why were not the maidens also killed? Why were they spared? Read the thirty-first chapter of Numbers, and you will find that the maidens where given to the soldiers and the priests. Is there, in all the history of war, a more infamous thing than this? Is it possible that God permitted the violets of modesty, that grow and shed their perfume in the maiden's heart, to be trampled beneath the brutal feet of lust? If this was the order of God, what, under the same circumstances, would have been the command of a devil? When, in this age of the world, a woman, a wife, a mother, reads this record, she should, with scorn and loathing, throw the book away. A general, who now should make such an order, giving over to massacre and rapine a conquered people, would be held in execration by the whole civilized world. Yet, if the bible be true, the supreme and infinite God was once a savage.

A little while ago, out upon the western plains, in a little path leading to a cabin, were found the bodies of two children and their mother. Her breast was filled with wounds received in the defence of her darlings. They had been murdered by the savages. Suppose when looking at their lifeless forms, some one had said, "This was done by the command of God!" In Canaan there were countless scenes like this. There was no pity in inspired war. God raised the black flag, and commanded his soldiers to kill even the smiling infant in its mother's arms. Who is the blasphemer; the man who denies the existence of God, or he who covers the robes of the Infinite with innocent blood?

We are told in the Pentateuch, that God, the father of us all, gave thousands of maidens, after having killed their fathers, their mothers, and their brothers, to satisfy the brutal lusts of savage men. If there be a God, I pray him to write in his book, opposite my name, that I denied this lie for him.

XXVIII "INSPIRED" RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.

According to the Bible, God selected the Jewish people through whom to make known the great fact, that he was the only true and living God. For this purpose, he appeared on several occasions to Moses--came down to Sinai's top clothed in cloud and fire, and wrought a thousand miracles for the preservation and education of the Jewish people. In their presence he opened the waters of the sea. For them he caused bread to rain from heaven. To quench their thirst, water leaped from the dry and barren rock. Their enemies were miraculously destroyed; and for forty years, at least, this God took upon himself the government of the Jews. But, after all this, many of the people had less confidence in him than in gods of wood and stone. In moments of trouble, in periods of disaster, in the darkness of doubt, in the hunger and thirst of famine, instead of asking this God for aid, they turned and sought the help of senseless things. This God, with all his power and wisdom, could not even convince a few wandering and wretched savages that he was more potent than the idols of Egypt. This God was not willing that the Jews should think and investigate for themselves. For heresy, the penalty was death. Where this God reigned, intellectual liberty was unknown. He appealed only to brute force; he collected taxes by threatening plagues; he demanded worship on pain of sword and fire; acting as spy, inquisitor, judge and executioner.

In the thirteenth chapter of Deuteronomy, we have the ideas of God as to mental freedom. "If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou nor thy fathers; namely of the gods of the people which are around about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth, Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him, neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare him, neither shalt thou conceal him. But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones that he die."

This is the religious liberty of God; the toleration of Jehovah. If I had lived in Palestine at that time, and my wife, the mother of my children, had said to me, "I am tired of Jehovah, he is always asking for blood; he is never weary of killing; he is always telling of his might and strength; always telling what he has done for the Jews, always asking for sacrifices; for doves and lambs-blood, nothing but blood.--Let us worship the sun. Jehovah is too revengeful, too malignant, too exacting. Let us worship the sun. The sun has clothed the world in beauty; it has covered the earth with flowers; by its divine light I first saw your face, and my beautiful babe."--If I had obeyed the command of God, I would have killed her. My hand would have been first upon her, and after that the hands of all the people, and she would have been stoned with stones until she died. For my part, I would never kill my wife, even if commanded so to do by the real God of this universe. Think of taking up some ragged rock and hurling it against the white bosom filled with love for you; and when you saw oozing from the bruised lips of the death wound, the red current of her sweet life--think of looking up to heaven and receiving the congratulations of the infinite fiend whose commandment you had obeyed!

Can we believe that any such command was ever given by a merciful and intelligent God? Suppose, however, that God did give this law to the Jews, and did tell them that whenever a man preached a heresy, or proposed to worship any other God that they should kill him; and suppose that afterward this same God took upon himself flesh, and came to this very chosen people and taught a different religion, and that thereupon the Jews crucified him; I ask you, did he not reap exactly what he had sown? What right would this God have to complain of a crucifixion suffered in accordance with his own command?

Nothing can be more infamous than intellectual tyranny. To put chains upon the body is as nothing compared with putting shackles on the brain. No god is entitled to the worship or the respect of man who does not give, even to the meanest of his children, every right that he claims for himself.

If the Pentateuch be true, religious persecution is a duty. The dungeons of the Inquisition were temples, and the clank of every chain upon the limbs of heresy was music in the ear of God. If the Pentateuch was inspired, every heretic should be destroyed; and every man who advocates a fact inconsistent with the sacred book, should be consumed by sword and flame.

In the Old Testament no one is told to reason with a heretic, and not one word is said about relying upon argument, upon education, nor upon intellectual development--nothing except simple brute force. Is there to-day a Christian who will say that four thousand years ago, it was the duty of a husband to kill his wife if she differed with him upon the subject of religion? Is there one who will now say that, under such circumstances, the wife ought to have been killed? Why should God be so jealous of the wooden idols of the heathen? Could he not compete with Baal? Was he envious of the success of the Egyptian magicians? Was it not possible for him to make such a convincing display of his power as to silence forever the voice of unbelief? Did this God have to resort to force to make converts? Was he so ignorant of the structure of the human mind as to believe all honest doubt a crime? If he wished to do away with the idolatry of the Canaanites, why did he not appear to them? Why did he not give them the tables of the law? Why did he only make known his will to a few wandering savages in the desert of Sinai? Will some theologian have the kindness to answer these questions? Will some minister, who now believes in religious liberty, and eloquently denounces the intolerance of Catholicism, explain these things; will he tell us why he worships an intolerant God? Is a god who will burn a soul forever in another world, better than a Christian who burns the body for a few hours in this? Is there no intellectual liberty in heaven? Do the angels all discuss questions on the same side? Are all the investigators in perdition? Will the penitent thief, winged and crowned, laugh at the honest folks in hell? Will the agony of the damned increase or decrease the happiness of God? Will there be, in the universe, an eternal auto da fe?

CONCLUSION.

If the Pentateuch is not inspired in its astronomy, geology, geography, history or philosophy, if it is not inspired concerning slavery, polygamy, war, law, religious or political liberty, or the rights of men, women and children, what is it inspired in, or about? The unity of God?--that was believed long before Moses was born. Special providence?--that has been the doctrine of ignorance in all ages. The rights of property?--theft was always a crime. The sacrifice of animals?--that was a custom thousands of years before a Jew existed. The sacredness of life?--there have always been laws against murder. The wickedness of perjury?--truthfulness has always been a virtue. The beauty of chastity?--the Pentateuch does not teach it. Thou shalt worship no other God?--that has been the burden of all religions.

Is it possible that the Pentateuch could not have been written by uninspired men? that the assistance of God was necessary to produce these books? Is it possible that Galileo ascertained the mechanical principles of "Virtual Velocity," the laws of falling bodies and of all motion; that Copernicus ascertained the true position of the earth and accounted for all celestial phenomena; that Kepler discovered his three laws--discoveries of such importance that the 8th of May, 1618, may be called the birthday of modern science; that Newton gave to the world the Method of Fluxions, the Theory of Universal Gravitation, and the Decomposition of Light; that Euclid, Cavalieri, Descartes, and Leibnitz, almost completed the science of mathematics; that all the discoveries in optics, hydrostatics, pneumatics and chemistry, the experiments, discoveries, and inventions of Galvani, Volta, Franklin and Morse, of Trevethick, Watt and Fulton and of all the pioneers of progress--that all this was accomplished by uninspired men, while the writer of the Pentateuch was directed and inspired by an infinite God? Is it possible that the codes of China, India, Egypt, Greece and Rome were made by man, and that the laws recorded in the Pentateuch were alone given by God? Is it possible that AEschylus and Shakespeare, Burns, and Beranger, Goethe and Schiller, and all the poets of the world, and all their wondrous tragedies and songs, are but the work of men, while no intelligence except the infinite God could be the author of the Pentateuch? Is it possible that of all the books that crowd the libraries of the world, the books of science, fiction, history and song, that all save only one, have been produced by man? Is it possible that of all these, the Bible only is the work of God?

If the Pentateuch is inspired, the civilization of our day is a mistake and crime. There should be no political liberty. Heresy should be trodden out beneath the bigot's brutal feet. Husbands should divorce their wives at will, and make the mothers of their children houseless and weeping wanderers. Polygamy ought to be practiced; women should become slaves; we should buy the sons and daughters of the heathen and make them bondmen and bondwomen forever. We should sell our own flesh and blood, and have the right to kill our slaves. Men and women should be stoned to death for laboring on the seventh day. "Mediums," such as have familiar spirits, should be burned with fire. Every vestige of mental liberty should be destroyed, and reason's holy torch extinguished in the martyr's blood.

Is it not far better and wiser to say that the Pentateuch while containing some good laws, some truths, some wise and useful things is, after all, deformed and blackened by the savagery of its time? Is it not far better and wiser to take the good and throw the bad away?

Let us admit what we know to be true; that Moses was mistaken about a thousand things; that the story of creation is not true; that the Garden of Eden is a myth; that the serpent and the tree of knowledge, and the fall of man are but fragments of old mythologies lost and dead; that woman was not made out of a rib; that serpents never had the power of speech; that the sons of God did not marry the daughters of men; that the story of the flood and ark is not exactly true; that the tower of Babel is a mistake; that the confusion of tongues is a childish thing; that the origin of the rainbow is a foolish fancy; that Methuselah did not live nine hundred and sixty-nine years; that Enoch did not leave this world, taking with him his flesh and bones; that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is somewhat improbable; that burning brimstone never fell like rain; that Lot's wife was not changed into chloride of sodium; that Jacob did not, in fact, put his hip out of joint wrestling with God; that the history of Tamar might just as well have been left out; that a belief in Pharaoh's dreams is not essential to salvation; that it makes but little difference whether the rod of Aaron was changed to a serpent or not; that of all the wonders said to have been performed in Egypt, the greatest is, that anybody ever believed the absurd account; that God did not torment the innocent cattle on account of the sins of their owners; that he did not kill the first born of the poor maid behind the mill because of Pharaoh's crimes; that flies and frogs were not ministers of God's wrath; that lice and locusts were not the executors of his will; that seventy people did not, in two hundred and fifteen years, increase to three million; that three priests could not eat six hundred pigeons in a day; that gazing at a brass serpent could not extract poison from the blood; that God did not go in partnership with hornets; that he did not murder people simply because they asked for something to eat; that he did not declare the making of hair oil and ointment an offence to be punished with death; that he did not miraculously preserve cloth and leather; that he was not afraid of wild beasts; that he did not punish heresy with sword and fire; that he was not jealous, revengeful, and unjust; that he knew all about the sun, moon, and stars; that he did not threaten to kill people for eating the fat of an ox; that he never told Aaron to draw cuts to see which of two goats should be killed; that he never objected to clothes made of woolen mixed with linen; that if he objected to dwarfs, people with flat noses and too many fingers, he ought not to have created such folks; that he did not demand human sacrifices as set forth in the last chapter of Leviticus; that he did not object to the raising of horses; that he never commanded widows to spit in the faces of their brothers-in-law; that several contradictory accounts of the same transaction cannot all be true; that God did not talk to Abraham as one man talks to another; that angels were not in the habit of walking about the earth eating veal dressed with milk and butter, and making bargains about the destruction of cities; that God never turned

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.