LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: Man advances just in the proportion that he mingles his thoughts with his labors--just in the proportion he takes advantage of the forces of nature; just in proportion as he loses superstition and gains confidence in himself. (Applause.) Man advances as he ceases to fear the gods and learns to love his fellowmen. (Applause.) It is all, in my judgment, a question of intellectual development. Tell me the religion of any man and I will tell you the degree he marks on the intellectual thermometer of the world. It is a simple question of brain. Those among us who are the nearest barbarism have a barbarian religion. Those who are nearest civilization have the least superstition. (Applause.) It is, I say, a simple question of brain, and I want, in the first place, to lay the foundation to prove that assertion.
A little while ago I saw models of nearly everything that man has made. I saw models of all the water craft, from the rude dug-out in which floated a naked savage -- one of our ancestors -- a naked savage, with teeth twice as long as his forehead was high, with a spoonful of brains in the back of his orthodox head -- I saw models of all the water craft of the world, from that dug-out up to a man-of-war, that carries a hundred guns and miles of canvas; from that dug-out to the steamship that turns its brave prow from the port of New York, with a compass like a conscience, crossing three thousand miles of billows without missing a throb or beat of its mighty iron heart from shore to shore. And I saw at the same time the painting of the world, from the rude daub of yellow mud to the landscapes that enrich palaces and adorn houses of what were once called the common people.
I saw also their sculpture, from the rude god with four legs, a half-dozen arms, several noses, and two or three rows of ears, and one little, contemptible, brainless head, up to the figures of to-day-- to the marbles that genius has clad in such a personality that it seems almost impudent to touch them without an introduction.
I saw their books written upon the skins of wild beasts--upon shoulder blades of sheep-books written upon leaves, upon bark, up to the splendid volumes that enrich the libraries of our day. When I speak of libraries, I think of the remark of Plato: “A house that has a library in it has a soul.”
I saw at the same time the offensive weapons that man has made from a club, such as was grasped by that same savage when he crawled from his den in the ground and hunted a snake for his dinner; form that club to the boomerang, to the sword, to the cross-bow, to the blunderbuss, to the flintlock, to the cap-lock, to the needle-gun, up to a cannon cast by Krupp, capable of hurling a ball weighing two thousand pounds through eighteen inches of solid steel.
I saw, too, the armor from the shell of a turtle that one of our brave ancestors lashed upon his breast when he went to fight for his country; the skin of a porcupine, dried with the quills on, which this same savage pulled over his orthodox head, up to the shirts of mail that were worn in the middle ages, that laughed at the edge of the sword and defied the point of the spear; up to a monitor clad in complete steel.
And I say orthodox not only in the matter of religion, but in everything. Whoever has quit growing, he is orthodox (applause) whether in art, politics, religion, philosophy--no matter what. Whoever thinks he has found it all out, he is orthodox.
Orthodox is that which rots, and heresy is that which grows forever. Orthodoxy is the night of the past, full of the darkness of superstition, and heresy is the eternal coming day, the light of which strikes the grand foreheads of the intellectual pioneers of the world. (Applause.) I saw their implements of agriculture, from the plow made of a crooked stick, attached to the horn of an ox by some twisted straw, with which our ancestors scraped the earth, and from that to the agricultural implements of this generation, that make it possible for a man to cultivate soil without being an ignoramus.
In the old time there was but one crop; and when the rain did not come in answer to prayer of hypocrites, a famine came and people fell upon their knees. At that time they were full of superstition. They were frightened all the time for fear that some god would be enraged at his poor, hapless, feeble and starving children. But now, instead of depending upon one crop they have several, and if there is not rain enough for one there may be enough for another. And if the frosts kill all, we have railroads and steamships enough to bring what we need from some other part of the world. Since man has found out something about agriculture, the gods have retired from the business of producing famines.
I saw at the same time their musical instruments, from the tom-tom--that is, a hoop with a couple strings of raw-hide drawn across it--from that tom-tom, up to the instruments we have to-day, that make the common air blossom with melody, and I said to myself there is a regular advancement.
I saw at the same time a row of human skulls, from the lowest skull that has been found--the Neanderthal skull--skulls from central Africa, skulls from the bushmen of Australia--skulls from the farthest isles of the Pacific sea--up to the best skulls of the last generation--and I noticed that there was the same difference between those skulls that there was between the products of those skulls, and I said to myself: "After all it is a simple question of intellectual development." There was the same difference between those skulls, that there was between the dug-out and the man-of-war and the steamship, between the club and the Krupp gun, between the yellow daub and the landscapes, between the tom-tom and an opera by Verdi.
The first and lowest skull in this row was the den in which crawled the base and meaner instincts of mankind, and the last was a temple in which dwelt joy, liberty and love.
And I said to myself it is all a question of intellectual development. Man has advanced just as he has mingled his thought with his labor. As he has grown he has taken advantage of the forces of nature; first of the moving wind, then of falling water, and finally of steam. From one step to another he has obtained better houses, better clothes and better books, and he has done it by holding out every incentive to the ingenious to produce them. The world has said, give us better clubs and guns and cannons with which to kill our fellow Christians. (Laughter.) And whoever will give us better weapons and better music, and better houses to live in, we will robe him in wealth, crown him in honor, and render and render his name deathless. Every incentive was held out to every human being to improve these things, and that is the reason we have advanced in all mechanical arts. But that gentleman in the dug-out not only had his ideas about politics, mechanics and agriculture; he had ideas also about religion. His idea about politics was “right makes might.” It will be thousands of years, maybe, before mankind will believe in the saying that “right makes might.” He had his religion. That low skull was a devil factory. He believed in hell, and the belief was a consolation to him. He could see the waves of God’s wrath dashing against the rocks of dark damnation. He could see tossing in the white-caps the faces of women, and stretching above the crests the dimpled hands of children; and he regarded these things as the justice and mercy of God. And all to-day who believe in this eternal punishment are the barbarians of the nineteenth century. That man believed in a devil, too that had a long tail terminating with a fiery dart; that had wings like a bat--a devil that had a cheerful habit of breathing brimstone, that had a cloven foot, such as some orthodox clergymen seem to think I have. (Laughter.) And there has not been a patentable improvement made upon the devil in all the years since. (Laughter.) The moment you drive the devil out of theology, there is nothing left worth speaking of. (Laughter.) The moment they drop the devil away goes atonement. The moment they kill the devil, their whole scheme of salvation has lost all of its interest for mankind. You must keep the devil and you much keep hell. You must keep the devil, because with no devil no priest is necessary. Now, all I ask, is this same privilege, to improve upon his religion as upon his dug-out, and that is what I am going to do, the best I can. No matter what church you belong to, or what church belongs to us. Let us be honor bright and fair.
I want to ask you: Suppose the king, if there was one, and the priest, if there was one at that time, had told these gentlemen in the dug-out: “That dug-out is the best boat that can ever be built by man; the pattern of that came from on high, from the great God of storm and flood, and any man who says that he can improve it by putting a stick in the middle of it and a rag on the stick, is an infidel, and, shall be burned at the stake;” what in your judgment--honor bright--would have been the effect upon the circumnavigation of the globe?
Suppose the king, if there was one, and the priest, if there was one--and I presume there was a priest, because it was a very ignorant age--suppose this king and priest had said: “That tom-tom is the most beautiful instrument of music of which any man can conceive; that is the kind of music they have in heaven; an angel sitting upon the edge of a glorified cloud, golden in the setting sun, playing upon that tom-tom, became so enraptured, so entranced with her own music, that in a kind of ecstasy she dropped it--that is how we obtained it and any man who says it can be improved by putting a back and front to it, and four strings, and a bridge, and getting a bow of hair with rosin, is a blaspheming wretch, and shall die the death.” --I ask you, what effect that would have had upon music? If that course had been pursued, would the human ears, in your judgment ever have been enriched with the divine symphonies of Beethoven?
Suppose the king, if there was one, and the priest, had said: “That crooked stick is the best plow that can be invented; the pattern of that plow was given to a pious farmer in an exceedingly holy dream, and that twisted straw is the ne plus ultra of all twisted things, and any man who says he can make an improvement upon that plow is an atheist;” what, in your judgment would have been the effect upon the science of agriculture?
Now, all I ask is the same privilege to improve upon his religion as upon his mechanical arts. Why don’t we go back to that period to get the telegraph? Because they were barbarians. And shall we go to barbarians to get our religion? What is religion? Religion simply embraces the duty of man to man. Religion is simply the science of human duty and the duty of man to man--that is what it is. It is the highest science of all. And all other sciences are as nothing, except as they contribute to the happiness of man. The science of religion is the highest of all, embracing all others. And shall we go to the barbarians to learn the science of sciences? The nineteenth century knows more about religion than all the centuries dead. There is more real charity in the world to-day than ever before; there is more thought to-day than ever before. Woman is glorified to-day as she never was before in the history of the world. (Applause.) There are more happy families now than ever before; more children treated as though they were tender blossoms than as though they were brutes than in any other time or nation. Religion is simply a duty a man owes to man; and when you fall upon your knees and pray for something you know not of you neither benefit the one you pray for nor yourself. One ounce of restitution is worth a million of repentance anywhere, and a man will get along faster by helping himself a minute than by praying ten years for somebody to help him. Suppose you were coming along the street, and found a party of men and women on their knees praying to a bank, and you asked them, “Have any of you borrowed money of this bank?” “No, but our fathers, they, too, prayed to this bank.” “Did they ever get any?” “No, not that we ever heard of.” I would tell them to get up. It is easier to earn it, and it is far more manly.
Now, in the old times of which I have spoken, they say, “We can make all men think alike.” All the mechanical ingenuity of this earth cannot make two clocks run alike, and how are you going to make millions of people of different quantities and qualities and amount of brain, clad in this living robe of passionate flesh, how are you going to make millions of them think alike? if the infinite God, if there is one, who made us, wished us to think alike why did he give a spoonful of brains to one man and a bushel to another? Why is it that we have all degrees of humanity, from the idiot to the genius, if it was intended that all should think alike? I say our fathers concluded they would do this by force; and I used to read in books how they persecuted mankind, and, do you know, I never appreciated it. I did not. I read it, but it did not burn itself, as it were, in to my very soul. What infamies had been committed in the name of religion, and I never fully appreciated it until, a little while ago, I saw the iron arguments our fathers used to use. I tell you the reason we are through that is because we have better brains than our fathers had. Since that day we have become intellectually developed, and there is more real brain and real good sense in the world to-day than in any other period of its history. And that is the reason we have more liberty; that is the reason we have more kindness. But I say I saw these from arguments our fathers used to use. I saw there the thumbscrew--two innocent looking pieces of iron, armed on the inner surface with protuberances to prevent their slipping--and when some men denied the efficacy of baptism, or maybe said, “I do not believe that the whale ever swallowed a man to keep him from drowning,” then they put these little pieces of iron upon his thumbs and there was a screw at each end, and then in the name of love and forgiveness, they began screwing these pieces of iron together. A great many men, when they commenced, would say “I recant.” I expect I would have been one of them. (Laughter.) I would have said, “Now you stop that; I will admit anything on earth that you want. (Laughter.) I will admit there is one God or a million, one hell or a billion; suit yourselves, but stop that.” (Laughter.) But I want to say, the thumbscrew having got out of the way, I am going to have my say.
There was now and then some man who wouldn’t turn Judas Iscariot to his own soul; there was now and then a man willing to die for his conviction, and if it were not for such men we would be savages to-night. Had it not been for a few brave and heroic souls in every age we would have been naked savages this moment, with pictures of wild beasts tattooed upon our naked breasts, dancing around a dried snake fetich. And I to-night thank every good and noble man who stood up in the face of opposition and hatred and death for what he believed to be right. And then they screwed this thumbscrew down as far as they could and threw him into some dungeon, where, in throbbing misery and the darkness of night, he dreams of the damned. And that was done in the name of universal love! I saw there at the same time, what they called the “collar of torture.” Imagine a circle of iron, and on the inside of that more than a hundred points as sharp as needles. This being fastened upon the threat, the sufferer could not stir without being punctured by these needles, and in a little while the throat would begin to swell, and finally suffocation would end the agonies of that man, when maybe the only crime he had committed was to say, with tears upon his sublime cheeks, “I do not believe that God, the father of us all, will damn to eternal punishment any of the children of man.” (Applause.) Think of it! And I saw there, at the same time, another instrument, called the “scavenger’s daughter,” of which you have all read.
I saw at the same time the rack. This was a box like the bed of a wagon, with a windlass at each end and ratchets to prevent slipping. Over each windlass went chains and when some man had, for instance, denied the doctrine of the trinity--a doctrine it is necessary to believe before you get to heaven, but, thank the Lord, you don’t have to understand it. (Applause.) This man merely denied that three times one was one, or maybe he denied that there was ever any son in the world exactly as old as his father, or that there ever was a boy eternally older than his mother--then they put that man on the rack. Nobody has ever been persecuted for calling God bad--it has always been for calling him good. When I stand here to say that if there is a hell, God is a fiend, they say that is very bad. They say I am trying to tear down the institutions of public virtue. But let me tell you one thing. There is no reformation in fear. You can scare a man so that he won’t do it sometimes, but I will swear you can’t scare him so bad that he won’t want to do it. (Laughter.) Then they put this man on the rack, and priests began turning these levers, and kept turning until the ankles, the hips, the shoulders, the elbows, the wrists and all the joints of the victim were dislocated, and he was wet with agony, and standing by was a physician to feel his pulse. What for? To save his life? Yes. In mercy? No. But in order that they might have the pleasure of racking him once more. And this was the Christian spirit. This was done in the name of civilization, in the name of religion, and all the wretches who did it died in peace. There is not an orthodox preacher in the city that has not a respect for every one of them. As, for instance for John Calvin, who was a murderer and nothing but a murderer--(applause)--who would have disgraced an ordinary gallows by being hanged upon it. These men when they came to die were not frightened. God did not send any devils into their deathrooms to make mouths at them. He reserved them for Voltaire, who brought religious liberty to France. He reserved them for Thomas Paine (tremendous applause at the name of Paine)--who did more for liberty than all the churches. (Applause.)
But all the inquisitors died with the white hands of peace folded over the breast of piety. And when they died the room was filled with the rustle of the wings of angels waiting to bear the wretches to heaven.
For two hundred years the Christians of the United States deliberately turned the cross of Christ into a whipping-post. Christians bred hounds to catch other Christians. Let me show you what the Bible has done for mankind. “Servants, be obedient to your masters.” The only word coming from the sweet heaven was, “Servants, obey your masters.” Frederick Douglass told me he had lectured upon the subject of freedom twenty years before he was permitted to set his foot in a church. (Applause.) I tell you the world has not been fit to live in for twenty-five years. Then all the people used to cringe and crawl to preachers. Mr. Buckle, in his history of civilization, shows that men were even struck dead for speaking impolitely to a priest. (Laughter.) God would not stand it. See how they used to crawl before cardinals, bishops and popes. It is not so now. Before wealth they bowed to the very earth, and in the presence of titles they became abject. All this is slowly but surely changing. We no longer bow to men simply because they are rich. Our fathers worshiped the golden calf. The worst you can say of an American now is, he worships the gold of the calf. Even the calf is beginning to see this distinction. The time will come when, no matter how much money a man has, he will not be respected unless he is using it for the benefit of his fellow men. It will soon be here. It no longer satisfies the ambition of a great man to be king or emperor. The last Napoleon was not satisfied with being the Emperor of the French. He was not satisfied with having a circlet of gold about his head. He wanted some evidence that he had something of value within his head. So he wrote Julius Caesar, that he might become a member of the French Academy. The emperors, the kings, the popes, no longer tower above their fellows. Compare, for instance, King William and Helmholtz. The king is one of the appointed of the Most High, as they say-- one upon whose head has been poured the divine petroleum of authority. Compare this king with Helmholtz, who towers an intellectual Colossus above the crowned mediocrity. Compare George Eliot with Queen Victoria. The queen is clothed in garments given her by blind fortune and unreasoning chance while George Eliot wears robes of glory woven in the looms of her own genius.
And so it is the world over. The time is coming when a man will be rated at his real worth, and that by his brain and heart. We care nothing now about an officer unless he fills his place. No matter if he is president if he rattles in the place nobody cares anything about him. I might give you instances in point-(laughter)-but I won’t. The world is getting better and grander and nobler every day.
I believe in marriage. If there is any heaven upon earth it is in the family by the fireside, and the family is a unit of government. Without the family relation tender, pure and true civilization is impossible. Ladies, the ornaments you wear upon your persons to-night are but the souvenirs of your mother’s bondage. The chains around your necks, and the bracelets clasped upon your white arms by the thrilled hand of love, have been changed by the wand of civilization to shining, glittering gold.
Nearly every civilization in this world accounts for the devilment in it by the crimes of woman. They say woman brought all the trouble into the world. I don’t care if she did. I would rather live in a world full of trouble with the woman I love, than to live in heaven with nobody but men. I read a book, an account of the creation of the world. That book I have taken pains to say was not written by any God. And why do I say so? Because I can write a far better book myself. Because it is full of barbarisms. Several ministers in this city have undertaken to answer me--notably those who don’t believe the Bible themselves. I want to ask these men one thing. I want them to be fair. Every minister in the city of Chicago that answers me, and those who have answered me, had better answer me again--I want them to say, and without any sort of evasion--without resorting to any pious tricks--I want them to say whether they believe that the Eternal God of this universe ever upheld the crime of polygamy. Say it square and fair. Don’t begin to talk about that being a peculiar time, and that God was easy on the prejudices of those old fellows. I want them to answer that question, and to answer it squarely, which they haven’t done. Did this God, which you pretend to worship, ever sanction the institution of human slavery? Now, answer fair. Don’t slide around it. Don’t begin and answer what a bad man I am, nor what a good man Moses was. (Laughter.) Stick to the text. Do you believe in a God that allowed a man to be sold from his children? Do you worship such an infinite monster? (Applause.) And if you do, tell your congregation whether you are not ashamed to admit it. Let every minister who answers me again tell whether he believes God commanded his general to kill the little dimpled babe in the cradle. Let him answer it. Don’t say those were very bad times. Tell whether he did it or not, and then your people will know whether to hate that God or not. Be honest. Tell them whether that God in war captured young maidens and turned them over to the soldiers; and then ask the wives and sweet girls of your congregation to get down on their knees and worship the infinite fiend that did this thing. (Applause.) Answer! It is your God I am talking about, and if that is what God did please tell your congregation what, under the circumstances, the devil would have done. (Applause.) Don’t tell your people that is a poem. Don’t tell your people that is pictorial. That won’t do. Tell your people whether it is true or false. That is what I want you to do.
In this book I have read about God’s making the world and one man. That is all he intended to make. The making of woman was a second thought, though I am willing to admit that, as a rule, second thought are best. This God made a man and put him in a public park. (Laughter.) In a little while he noticed that the man got lonesome; then He found He had made a mistake, and that He would have to make somebody to keep him company. But having used up all the nothing He originally used in making the world and one man, He had to take part of a man to start a woman with. So He causes sleep to fall on this man--now, understand me, I do not say this story is true. After the sleep had fallen on this man the Supreme Being took a rib, or, as the French would call it, a cutlet, out of him,and from that He made a woman; and I am willing to swear, taking into account the amount and quality of the raw material used, this was the most magnificent job ever accomplished in this world. (Uproarious laughter and applause.) Well, after he got the woman done, she was brought to the man, not to see how she liked him but to see how he liked her. He liked her, and they started housekeeping; and they were told of certain things they might do, and one thing they could not do--and of course they did it. I would have done it in fifteen minutes, and I know it. There wouldn’t have been an apple on that tree half an hour from date, and the limbs could have been full of clubs. And then they were turned out of the park and extra policemen were put on to keep them from getting back. And then trouble commenced, and we have been at it ever since.
Nearly all of the religions of this world account for the existence of evil by such a story as that! Well, I read in another book what appeared to be an account of the same transaction. It was written about four thousand years before the other. All commentators agree that the one that was written last was the original, and that the one that was written first was copied from the one that was written last. (Laughter.) But I would advise you all not to allow your creed to be disturbed by a little matter of four or five thousand years. It is a great deal better to be mistaken in dates than go to the devil.
In this other account the Supreme Brahma made up his mind to make the world and a man and a woman. He made the world, and he made the man and then the woman, and put them on the island of Ceylon. According to the account, it was the most beautiful island of which man can conceive. Such birds, such songs, such flowers and such verdure! And the branches of the trees were so arranged that when the wind swept through from every tree was a thousand Æolian harps. Brahma, when he put them there, said: “Let them have a period of courtship, for it is my desire and will that true love should forever precede marriage.” When I read that, it was so much more beautiful and lofty than the other, that I said to myself: “If either one of these stories ever turns out to be true, I hope it will be this one.” Then they had their courtship, with the nightingale singing and the stars shining and flowers blooming; and they fell in love. Imagine that courtship! No prospective fathers or mother-in-law; no prying and gossiping neighbors; nobody to say, “Young man, how do you expect to support her?”Nothing of that kind--nothing but the nightingale singing its song of joy and pain, as though the thorn already touched its heart. They were married by supreme Brahma, and he said to them: “Remain here; you must never leave this island.” Well, after a little while the man--and his name was Adami, and the woman’s name was Heva--said to Heva: “I believe I’ll look about a little.” He wanted to go west. He went to the western extremity of the island, where there was a narrow neck of land connecting it with the mainland; and the devil, who is always playing pranks with us, produced a mirage, and when Adami looked over to the mainland, such hills and vales, such dells and dales, such mountains crowned with snow, such cataracts clad in bows of glory did he see there, that he went back and told Heva: “The country over there is a thousand times better than this; let us migrate.” She, like every other woman that ever live, said “Let well enough alone; we have all we want; let us stay here.” But he said: “No, let us go.” So she followed him; and when they came to this narrow neck of land he took her on his back like a gentleman and carried her over. But the moment they got over they heard a crash, and looking back they discovered that this narrow neck of land had fallen into the sea. The mirage had disappeared and there was naught but rocks and sand; and then the Supreme Brahma cursed them both to the lowest hell. Then it was that the man spoke--and I have liked him ever since for it: “Curse me, but curse not her; it was not her fault, it was mine.” That’s the kind of a man to start a world with. (Applause.) The Supreme Brahma said: “I will save her, but not thee.” And then spoke out of her fullness of love, out of a heart in which there was love enough to make all her daughters rich in holy affection, and said: “If thou wilt not spare him, spare neither me; I do not wish to live without him, I love him.” Then the Supreme Brahma said--and I have liked him ever since I read it: “I will spare you both, and watch over you and your children forever.” Honor bright, is that not the better and grander story? And in that same book I find this: “Man is strength; woman is love. When one man loves the one woman, and the woman loves the one man, the very angels leave heaven and come and sit in that house and sing with joy.” In the same book this: “Blessed is that man and beloved of all the gods who is afraid of no man and of whom no man is afraid.” Magnificent character! A missionary certainly ought to talk to that man. And I find this: “Never will I accept private individual salvation, but rather will I say and work and strive and suffer until every soul from every star has been brought home to God.” Compare that with the Christian that expects to go to heaven while the world is rolling over Niagara to an eternal and unending hell. So I say that religion lays all the crime and troubles of this world at the beautiful feet of woman. And then the church has the impudence to say that it has exalted woman. I believe that marriage is the perfect partnership; that woman has every right that man has--and one more--the right to be protected. Above all men in the world, I hate a stingy man--a man that will make his wife beg for money.
“What did you do with the dollar I gave you last week? (Laughter.) ”And what are you going to do with this?” It is vile. No gentleman will ever be satisfied with the love of a beggar and a slave--no gentleman will ever be satisfied except with the love of an equal. (Applause.) What kind of children does a man expect to have with a beggar for their mother? A man cannot be so poor but that he cannot be generous; and if you have got to spend it, spend it like a lord--spend it as thought it were a dry lead and you the owner of unbounded forests--spend it as though you had a wilderness of your own. That’s the way to spend it. I had rather be a beggar and spend my last dollar like a king, than be a king and spend my money like a beggar. If it has to go let it go. And this is my advice to the poor. For you can never be so poor that what you do you can’t do in a grand and manly way. I hate a cross man. What right has a man to assassinate the joy of life? When you go home you ought to go like a ray of light--so that it will, even in the night, burst out of the doors and window and illuminate the darkness. Some men think their mighty brains have been in a turmoil; they have been thinking about who will be alderman from the fifth ward; they have been thinking about politics, great and mighty questions have been engaging their minds; they have bought calico at five cents or six, and want to sell it at seven. Think of the intellectual strain that must have been upon that man; and when he gets home everybody in the house must look for his comfort. A woman who has only taken care of five or six children, and one or two of them sick, has been nursing them and singing to them, and trying to make one yard of cloth do the work of two, she, of course, is fresh and fine and ready to wait upon this gentleman--the head of the family--the boss. I was reading the other day of an apparatus invented for the ejectment of gentlemen who subsist upon free lunches. It is so arranged that when the fellow gets both hands into the victuals a large hand descends upon him, jams his hat over his eyes--he is seized, turned towards the door, and just in the nick of time an immense boot comes from the other side, kicks him in italics, sends him out over the sidewalk, and lands him rolling in the gutter. I never hear of such a man--a boss--that I don’t feel as though that machine ought to be brought into requisition for his benefit.
Love is the only thing that will pay 10 per cent of interest on the outlay. Love is the only thing in which the height of extravagance is the last degree of economy. (Applause.) It is the only thing, I tell you. Joy is wealth. Love is the legal tender of the soul--(laughter)--and you need not be rich to be happy. We have all been raised on success in this country. Always been talked with about being successful, and have never thought ourselves very rich unless we were the possessors of some magnificent mansion and unless our names have been between the putrid lips of rumor we could not be happy. Every boy is striving to be this and that. I tell you, the happy man is the successful man. The man that has been the emperor of one good heart, and that heart embraces all his, has been a success. (Applause.) If another has been the emperor of the round world and has never loved and been loved, his life is a failure.
It won’t do. Let us teach our children the other way, that the happy man is the successful man, and he who is a happy man is the one who always tries to make some one else happy. (Applause.)
It is not necessary to be rich in order to be happy. It is only necessary to be in love. (Laughter and applause.) Thousands of men go to college and get a certificate that they have an education, and that certificate is in Latin, and they stop studying, and in two years, to save their lives, they couldn’t read the certificate they got. (Laughter.)
It is mostly so in marrying. They stop courting when they get married. They think we have won her, and that is enough. Ah! the difference before and after! How well they looked! How bright their eyes! How light their steps and how full they were of generosity and laughter! I tell you a man should consider himself in good luck if a woman loves him when he is doing his level best. (Applause.) Good luck! Good luck! And then, do you know, I like to think that love is eternal; that if you really love the woman for her sake you will love her no matter what she may do; that if she really loves you for your sake, the same; that love does not look at alterations; through the wrinkles of time, through the mask of years, if you really loved her, you will always see the face you loved and won. And I like to think of it. If a man loves a woman she does not ever grow old to him, and the woman who loves a man does not see that he grows old. He is not decrepit to her; he is not tremulous; he is not old; he is not bowed. She always sees the same gallant fellow that won her hand and heart. I like to think of it in that way, and, as Shakespeare says: “Let time reach with his sickle as far as ever he can, although he can reach ruddy cheeks and ripe lips and flashing eyes, he cannot quite reach love.” I like to think of it. We will go down the hill of life together and enter the shadow one with the other, and as we go down we may hear the ripple of the laughter of our grandchildren, and the birds, and spring, and will sing once more upon the leafless branches of the tree of age. I love to think of it in that way--absolute equals, happy, happy and free, all our own. (Applause.)
When your child confesses to you that it has committed a fault, take that child in your arms, and let it feel your heart beat against its heart; and raise your children in the sunlight of love, and they will be sunbeams to you along the pathway of life. (Applause.) Abolish the club and the whip from the house, because if the civilized use a whip, the ignorant and brutal will use a club, and they will use it because you use a whip. (Applause.) When I was a boy there was one day in each week too good for a child to be happy in. (Laughter.) In those good old times Sunday commenced when the sun went down on Saturday night and closed when the sun went down on the Sunday night. We commenced Saturday to get a good ready. (Laughter.) And when the sun went down Saturday night there was a gloom deeper than midnight that fell upon the house. You could not crack hickory nuts then. (Laughter.) And if you were caught chewing gum it was only another evidence of the total depravity of the human heart. (Laughter.) Well, after a while we got to bed, sadly and sorrowfully, after having heard heaven thanked that we were not all in hell. (Laughter.) And I sometimes used to wonder how the mercy of God lasted as long as it did--(laughter)--because I recollected that on several occasions I had not been at school when I was supposed to be there. (Laughter.) Why I was not burned to a crisp was a mystery to me. The next morning we got up and we got ready for church---all solemn. (Laughter.) And when we got there the minister was up in the pulpit about twenty feet high--(laughter)--and he commenced at Genesis about the fall of man; and he went on to about twenty-thirdly; then he struck the second application. (Laughter.) And when he struck the application I knew he was about half way through. And then he went on to show the scheme how the Lord was satisfied with punishing the wrong man. (Laughter.) Nobody but a God would have thought of that ingenious way. (Laughter.) Well, when he got through that, then came the catechism--the chief end of man. (Laughter.) Then my turn came and we sat along on a little bench where our feet did not come within fifteen inches of the floor, and the dear old minister used to ask us: “Boys, do you know you all ought to be in hell?” (Laughter.) And we answered up as cheerfully as we could under the circumstances: “Yes, sir.” (Laughter.) “Well, boys do you know that you would go to hell if you died in your sins?” And we said: “Yes, sir.”
And then came the great test. “Boys”--I can’t get the tone, you know. (Laughter.) And do you know that is how the preachers get the bronchitis. You never heard of an auctioneer getting the bronchitis, nor the second mate on a steamboat--never. What gives it to the ministers is talking solemnly when they don’t feel that way; and it has the same influence upon the organs of speech that it would have upon the cords of the calves of your legs to walk on your tiptoes--(laughter)--and so I call bronchitis “parsonitis.” And if the ministers would all tell exactly what they think they would all get well, but keeping back a part of the truth is what gives them bronchitis. Well, the old man--the dear old minister--used to try and show us how long we would be in hell if we should locate there. But to finish the other. The grand test was:
“Boys, if it was God’s will that you should go to hell, would you be willing to go?”
And every little liar said: “Yes, sir.” Then, in order to tell how long we would stay there, he used to say: “Suppose once in a billion ages a bird should come from a far-distant clime and carry off in its bill one little grain of sand, the time would finally come when the last grain of sand would be carried away. Do you understand?” “Yes, sir.” “Boys, by that time it would not sun-up in hell.” (Laughter.) Where did that doctrine of hell come from? I will tell you--from that fellow in the dug-out. Where did he get it? It was a souvenir from the wild beasts, from the glittering eye of the serpent, from the coiling, twisting snakes, with their fang-mouths; and it came from the bark, growl and howl of wild beasts; it was born of a laugh of the hyena and got from the depraved chatter of malicious apes. And I despise it with every drop of my blood and defy it. (Applause.) If there is any God in this universe who will damn his children for an expression of an honest though I wish to go to hell. (Applause.) I would rather go there than to go to heaven and keep the company of a God that would thus damn his children. (Applause.) Oh, is it not an infamous doctrine to teach to little children, to put a shadow in the heart of a child, to fill the insane asylums with that miserable, infamous lie? I see now and then a little girl--a dear little darling, with a face like the light, and eyes of joy, a human blossom, and I think: “Is it possible that that little girl will ever grow up to be a Presbyterian?” (Loud laughter.) Is it possible, my goodness, that that flower will finally believe in the five points of Calvinism or in the eternal damnation of man? Is it possible that that little fairy will finally believe that she could be happy in heaven with her baby in hell? Think of it! Think of it! And that is the Christian religion. (Applause.)
We cry out against the Indian mother that throws the child into the Ganges to be devoured by the alligator or crocodile, but that is joy in comparison with the Christian mother’s hope that she may be in salvation while her brave boy is in hell. (Applause.) I tell you, I want to kick the doctrine about hell--I want to kick it-- every time I go by it. (Laughter.) I want to get Americans in this country placed so they will be ashamed to preach it. I want to get the congregations so that they won’t listen to it. (Applause.) We cannot divide the world off into saints and sinners in that way. There is a little girl, as fair as a flower, and she grows up until she is 12, 13, or 14 years old. Are you going to damn her in the 15th, 16th or 17th, when the arrow of Cupid’s bow touches her heart and she is glorified--are you going to damn her now? She marries and loves, and holds in her arms a beautiful child. Are you going to damn her? Because she has listened to some Methodist minister, and after all that flood of light failed to believe? Are you going to damn her then? I tell you, God cannot afford to damn such a woman. (Applause.) A woman in the State of Indiana, forty or fifty years ago, who carded the wool and made rolls and spun them, and made the cloth and cut out the clothes for the children, and nursed them, and sat up with them nights, and gave them medicine, and held them in her arms and wept over them--cried for joy and wept for fear, and finally raised ten or eleven good men and women, with the ruddy glow of health upon their cheeks, and she would have died for any one of them any moment of her life, and finally she, bowed with age, and bent with care and labor, dies, and at the moment the magical touch of death is upon her face, she looks as if she never had a care, and her children burying her, cover her face with tears. (Applause.) Do you tell me God can afford to damn that kind of woman? (Applause.) If there is any God, sitting above him, in infinite serenity, we have the figure of justice. Even a God must do justice; and any form of superstition that destroys justice is infamous. (Applause.) Just think of teaching that doctrine to little children! A little child would go into the garden, and there would be a little tree laden with blossoms, and the little fellow would lean against it, and there would be a bird on one of the boughs, singing and swinging, and thinking about four little speckled eggs warmed by the breast of its mate--singing and swinging, and the music in happy waves rippling out of the tiny throat, and the flowers blossoming, the air filled with perfume, and the great white clouds floating in the sky, and the little boy would lean up against that tree and think about hell and the worm that never dies. Oh! the idea there can be any day too good for a child to be happy!
Well, after we got over the catechism (laughter), then came the sermon in the afternoon, and it was exactly like the one in the forenoon, except the other end to. (Laughter.) Then we started for home--a solemn march, “no a soldier discharged his farewell shot”--(laughter)--and when we got home, if we had been real good boys, we used to be taken up to the cemetery to cheer us up (laughter), and it always did cheer me (renewed laughter) those sunken graves, those leaning stones, those gloomy epitaphs covered with the moss of years always cheered me (laughter.) When I looked at them I said: “Well this kind of thing can’t last always.” (Laughter.) Then we came back home, and we had books to read which were very eloquent and amusing. We had “Josephus,” and the “History of the Waldenses,” and “Fox’s Book of Martyrs,” Baxter’s “Saints’ Rest,” and “Jenkyn on the Atonement.” I used to read Jenkyn with a good deal of pleasure (laughter), and I often thought that the atonement would have to be very broad in its provisions to cover the case of a man that would write such book for the boys. (Laughter.) Then I would look to see how the sun was getting on, and sometimes I thought it had stuck from pure cussedness. (Applause and laughter.) Then I would go back and try Jenkyn again. (Laughter.) Well, but it had to go down, and when the last rim of light sank below the horizon, off would go our hats, and we would give three cheers for liberty once again.
I tell you don’t make slaves of your children on Sunday. The idea that there is any God that hates to hear a child laugh! Let your children play games on Sunday. Here is a poor man that hasn’t money enough to go to a big church, and he has too much independence to go to a little church that the big church built for charity. He don’t want to slide into heaven that way. (Laughter.) I tell you don’t come to church, but go to the woods and take your family and a lunch with you, and sit down upon the old log and let the children gather flowers and hear the leaves whispering poems like the memories of long ago, and when the sun is about going down kissing the summits of far hills, go home, with your hearts filled with throbs of joy. There is more recreation and joy in that than going to a dry goods box with a steeple on top of it (laughter), and hearing a man tell you that your chances are about ninety-nine to one for being eternally damned. (Laughter and applause.) Let us make this Sunday a day of splendid pleasure, not to excess but to everything that make a man purer and grander and nobler. I would like to see now something like this: Instead of so many churches, a vast cathedral that would hold twenty or thirty thousands of people, and I would like to see an opera produced in it that would make the souls of men have higher, and grander and nobler aims. (Applause.) I would like to see the walls covered with pictures and the niches rich with statuary; I would like to see something put there that you could see in this world now, and I do not believe in sacrificing the present to the future; I do not believe in drinking skimmed milk here with the promise of butter beyond the clouds. (Laughter and applause.) Space or time cannot be holy any more than a vacuum can be pious. (Laughter.) Not a bit, not a bit; and no day can be so holy but what the laught of a child will make it holier still. (Applause.)
Strike with hands of fire, oh, weird musician, thy harp, strung with Apollo’s golden hair! Fill the vast cathedral aisles with symphonies sweet and dim, deft toucher of the organ’s keys; blow, bugler, blow, until thy silver notes do touch and kiss the moonlit waves, and charm the lovers wandering ‘mid the vine-clad hills. But know, your sweetest strains are discords all compared with childhood’s happy laugh--the laugh that fills the eyes with light and every heart with joy! O, ripping river of laughter, thou art the blessed boundary line between the beasts and men, and every wayward wave of thine doth drown some fretful fiend of care. O, Laughter, rose-lipped daughter of Joy, there are dimples enough in thy cheeks to catch and hold and glorify all the tears of grief. (Applause.)
Don’t plant your children in long, straight rows like posts. (Laughter.) Let them have light and air, and let them grow beautiful as palms. When I was a little boy, children went to bed when they were not sleepy and always got up when they were. (Laughter and applause.) I would like to see that changed; but they say we are too poor, some of us, to do it. Well, all right. It is easy to wake a child with a kiss as with a blow; with kindness as with a curse. And, another thing; let the children eat what they want to. Let them commence at whichever end of the dinner they desire. That is my doctrine. They know what they want much better than you do. Nature is a great deal smarter than you ever were. All the advance that has been made in the science of medicine has been made by the recklessness of patients. (Laughter and applause.) I can recollect when they wouldn’t give a man water in a fever--not a drop. Now and then some fellow would get so thirsty he would say: “Well, I’ll die anyway, so I’ll drink it”--(laughter)--and thereupon, he would drink a gallon of water, and thereupon he would burst into a generous perspiration and get well--(laughter)--and the next morning when the doctor would come to see him they would tell him about the man drinking the water and he would say: “How much?” “Well, he swallowed two pitchers full.” “Is he alive?” (Laughter.) “Yes.” So they would go into the room and the doctor would feel his pulse and ask him: “Did you drink two pitchers of water?” “Yes.” “My God! what a constitution you have got.” (Laughter and applause.)
I tell you there is something splendid in a man that will not always mind. Why, if we had done as kings told us five hundred years ago we would all have been slaves. If we had done as the priests told us we would all have been idiots. If we had done as the doctors told us we would have been dead. We have been saved by disobedience. We are saved by that splendid thing called independence, and I want to see more of it day after day, and I want to see children raised so they will have it. That is my doctrine. Give the children a chance. Be perfectly honor bright with them and they will be your friends when you are old. Don’t try to teach them something they can never learn. Don’t insist upon their pursuing some calling they have no sort of faculty for. Don’t make that poor girl play ten years on a piano when she has no ear for music., and when she has practiced until she can play “Bonaparte Crossing the Alps,” and you can’t tell after she has played it whether he ever got across or not. (Loud and prolonged laughter and applause.) Men are oaks; women are vines; children are flowers, and if there is any heaven in this world it is in the family. It is where the wife loves the husband and the husband loves the wife, and where the dimpled arms of children are about the necks of both. That is heaven, if there is any; and I do not want any better heaven in another world I cannot live with the ones I loved here, then I would rather not be there. I would rather resign. (Laughter and applause.)
Well, my friends, I have some excuses to make for the race to which I belong. In the first place, this world is not so very well adapted to raising good men and women. It is three time better adapted to the cultivation of fish than of people. There is one little, narrow belt running zigzag around the world in which men and women of genius can be raised, and that is all. It is with man as it is with vegetation. In the valley you find the oak and the elm tossing their branches defiantly to the storm, and as you advance up the mountain side the hemlock, the pine, the birch, the spruce, the fir, and finally you come to little dwarfed trees, that look like other trees seen through a telescope reversed, every limb twisted as though through pain--getting a scanty subsistence from the miserly crevices of the rocks. You go on and on, until at last the highest crag is freckled with a kind of moss, and vegetation ends. You might as well try to raise oaks and elms where the mosses grow as to raise great men and women where their surroundings are unfavorable. You must have the proper climate and soil.
There never has been a man or woman of genius from the southern hemisphere, because the Lord didn’t allow the right climate to fall upon the land. It falls upon the water. There never was much civilization except where there has been snow, and an ordinary decent winter. You can’t have civilization without it. Where man needs no bedclothes but clouds, revolution is the normal condition of such a people. It is the winter that gives us the home; it is the winter that gives us the fireside, and the family relation, and all the beautiful flowers of love that adorn that relation. Civilization, liberty, justice, charity and intellectual advancement are all flowers that bloom in the drifted snow. You can’t have them anywhere else, and that is the reason we of the north are civilized, and that is the reason that civilization has always been with winter. That is the reason that philosophy has been here, and, in spite of all our superstitions, we have advanced beyond some of the other races, because we have had this assistance of nature, that drove us into the family relation; that made us prudent; that made us lay up at one time for another season of the year. So there is one excuse for my race. I have got another. I think we came up from the lower animals. I am not dead sure of it, but I think so. When I first read about it, I didn’t like it. My heart was filled with sympathy for those people who leave nothing to be proud of except ancestors. I thought how terrible this will be upon the nobility of the old world. Think of their being forced to trace their ancestry back to the Duke Orang Outong or to the Princess Chimpanzee. After thinking it all over I came to the conclusion that I liked that doctrine. I became convinced in spite of myself. I read about rudimentary bones and muscles. I was told that everybody had rudimentary muscles extending from the ear into the cheek. I asked “What are they?” I was told: “They are the remains of muscles--that they become rudimentary from the lack of use.” They went into bankruptcy. They are the muscles with which our ancestors used to flap their ears. (Laughter.) Well, at first, I was greatly astonished, and afterward I was more astonished to find they had become rudimentary. How do you account for John Calvin unless we came up from the lower animals? How can you account for a man that would use the extremes of torture unless you admit that there is in man the elements of a snake, of a vulture, a hyena, and a jackal? How can you account for the religious creeds of today? How can you account for that infamous doctrine of hell except with an animal origin! How can you account for your conception of a God that would sell women and babes into slavery.
Well, I thought that thing over and I began to like it after a while, and I said: “It is not so much difference who my father was as who his son is.” And I finally said I would rather belong to a race that commenced with the skulless vertebrates in the dim Laurentian seas, that wriggled without knowing why they wriggled; swimming without knowing where they were going; that come along up by degrees through millions of ages; through all that crawls, and swims, and floats, and runs and growls, and barks, and howls, until it struck this fellow in the dug-out. And then that fellow in the dug-out getting a little grander, and each one below calling every one above him a heretic; calling every one who had made a little advance an infidel or an atheist, and finally the heads getting a little higher and coming up a little grander and more splendidly, and finally produced Shakespeare, who harvested all the fields of dramatic thought and from whose day until now there have been none but gleaners of chaff and straw. Shakespeare was an intellectual ocean whose waves touched all the shores of human thought, within which were all the tides and currents and pulses upon which lay all the lights and shadows, and over which brooded all the calms and swept all the storms and tempests of which the human soul is capable. I would rather belong to that race that commenced with that skulless vertebrate; that produced Shakespeare--a race that has before it an infinite future, with the angel of progress leaning from the far horizon, beckoning men forward and upward forever. I would rather belong to that race than to have descended from a perfect pair upon which the Lord has lost money every moment from that day to this.
Now, my crime has been this: I have insisted that the Bible is not the word of God. I have insisted that we should not whip our children. I have insisted that we should treat our wives as loving equals. I have denied that God--if there is any God--ever upheld polygamy and slavery. I have denied that God ever told his generals to kill innocent babes and tear and rip open the women with the sword of war. I have denied that, and for that I have been assailed by the clergy of the United States. They tell me I have misquoted; and I owe it to you, and maybe I owe it to myself, to read one or two words to you upon this subject. (Applause.) In order to do that I shall have to put on my glasses; and that brings me back to where I started--that man has advanced just in proportion as his thought has mingled with his labor. If man’s eyes hadn’t failed he would never have made spectacles, he would never have had the telescope, and he would never have been able to read the leaves of heaven.
Now they tell me--and there are several gentlemen who have spoken on this subject--the Rev. Mr. Collyer, a gentleman standing as high as anybody, and I have nothing to say against him, because I denounce a God who upheld murder, and slavery, and polygamy, he says what I said was slang. I would like to have it compared with any sermon that was ever issued from the lips of that gentleman. (Loud applause.) And before he gets through he admits that the Old Testament is a rotten tree that will soon fall into the earth and act as fertilizer for his doctrine. (Applause and laughter.) Is it honest for a man to assail my motive? Let him answer my argument! Is it honest and fair in him to say I am doing a certain thing because it is popular? Has it got to this, that, in this Christian country, where they have preached every day hundreds and thousands of sermons--has it got to this that infidelity is popular in the United States? (Applause.) If it has, I take courage. And I not only see the dawn of a brighter day, but the day is here. Think of it! A minister tells me in this year of grace, 1879, that a man is an infidel simply that he may be popular. I am glad of it. Simply that he may make money. Is it possible that we can make more money tearing up churches than in building them up? Is it possible that we can make more money denouncing the God of slavery than we can praising the God that took liberty from man. If so, I am glad. I call publicly upon Robert Collyer--a man for whom I have great respect--I call publicly upon Robert Collyer to state to the people of this city whether he believes the Old Testament was inspired. I call upon him to state whether he believes that God ever upheld these institutions; whether he believes that God was a polygamist; whether he believes that God commanded Moses or Joshua or anyone else to slay little children in the cradle. Do you believe that Robert Collyer would obey such an order? Do you believe that he would rush to the cradle and drive the knife of theological hatred to the tender heart of a dimpled child? And when I denounce a God that will give such a hellish order, he says that it is slang. I want him to answer; and when he answers he will say he does not believe the Bible is inspired. That is what he will say; and he holds these old worthies in the same contempt that I do. Suppose he should act like Abraham. Suppose he should send some woman out into the wilderness with his child in her arms to starve, would he think that mankind ought to hold his name up forever for reverence?
Robert Collyer says that we should read and scan every word of the Old Testament with reverence; that we should take this book up with reverential hands. I deny it. We should read it as we do every other book, and everything good in it keep it, and everything that shocks the brain and shocks the heart throw it away. Let us be honest. Professor Swing has made a few remarks on this subject, and I say the spirit he has exhibited has been as gentle and as sweet as the perfume of the flower. Professor Swing was too good a man to stay in the Presbyterian Church. He was a rose among thistles; he was a dove among vultures--and they hunted him out, and I am glad he came out. I tell all the churches to drive such men out, and when he comes I want him to state just what he thinks. I want him to tell the people of Chicago whether he believes the Bible is inspired in any sense except that in which Shakespeare was inspired. Honor bright, I tell you that all the sweet and beautiful things in the Bible would not make one play of Shakespeare; all the philosophy in the Bible would not make one scene in “Hamlet”; all the beauties of the Bible would not make one scene in “Midsummer Night’s Dream”; all the beautiful things about women in the Bible would not begin to create such a character as Perdita or Imogene or Miranda. Not one. I want him to tell whether he believes the Bible was inspired in any other way than Shakespeare was inspired. I want him to pick out something as beautiful and tender as Burns’ poem. “To Mary in heaven.” I want him to tell whether he believes the story about the bears eating up children; whether that is inspired. I want him to tell whether he considered that a poem or not. I want to know if the same God made those bears that devoured the children because they laughed at an old man out of hair. I want him to answer it, and answer it fairly. That is all I ask. I want just the fair thing. Now, sometimes Mr. Swing talks as though he believe the Bible, and then he talks to me as though he didn’t believe the Bible. The day he made this sermon I think he did, just a little, believe it. He is like the man that passed a ten-dollar counterfeit bill. He was arrested, and his father went to see him and said: “John, how could you commit such a crime? How could you bring my gray hairs in sorrow to the grave?” “Well,” he says, “father, I’ll tell you. I got this bill, and some days I thought it was bad, and some day I thought it was good--and one day when I thought was good I passed it.”
I want it distinctly understood that I have the greatest respect for Prof. Swing, but I want him to tell whether the 109th psalm is inspired. I want him to tell whether the passages I shall afterward read in this book are inspired. That is what I want. Then there is another gentleman here. His name is Herford. He says it is not fair to apply the test of truth to the Bible. I don’t think it is myself. He says that although Moses upheld slavery, that he improved it. They were not quite as bad as they were before; and he even justified slavery at that time. Do you believe that God ever turned the arms of children into chains of slavery? Do you believe that God ever said to a man: “You can’t have your wife unless you will be a slave! You cannot have your children unless you will lose your liberty, and unless you are willing to throw the from your heart forever you cannot be free.” I want Mr. Herford to just state whether he loves such a God. Be honor bright about it. Don’t begin to talk about civilization, or what the church has done or will do. Just walk right up to the rack and say whether you love and worship a God that established slavery. Honest! And love and worship a God that would allow a little babe to be torn from the breast of its mother and sold into slavery. Now, tell it fair, Mr. Hertford. I want you to tell the ladies in your congregation that you believe in a God that allowed women to be given to the soldiers. Tell them that, and then if you say it was not the God of Moses, then don’t praise Moses any more. Don’t do it. Answer these questions. Then there is another gentleman, Mr. Ryder, the Reverend Mr. Ryder’ and he says that Calvinism is rejected by a majority of Christendom. He is mistaken. There is what they call an Evangelical Alliance. They met in this country in 1876 or 1876, and there were present representatives of all the evangelical churches in the world, and they adopted a creed, and that creed is that man is totally depraved. That creed is that there is an eternal, universal hell, and that every man that does not believe in a certain way is bound to be damned forever, and that there is only one way to be saved, and that is by faith, and by faith alone; and they would not allow any one to be represented there that did not believe that, and they would not allow a Unitarian there, and would not have allowed Dr. Ryder there, because he takes away from the Christian world the consolation naturally arising from the belief in hell. Dr. Ryder is mistaken. All the orthodox religion of the day is Calvinism. It believes in the fall of man. It believes in the atonement. It believes in the eternity of hell, and it believes in the salvation by faith; that is to say. by credulity.
Thank is what they believe, and he is mistaken; and I want to tell Dr. Ryder to-day, if there is a God and he wrote the Old Testament, there is a hell. The God that wrote the Old Testament will have a hell. And I want to tell Dr. Ryder another thing, that the Bible teaches an eternity of punishment. I want to tell him that the Bible upholds the doctrine of hell. I want to tell him that if there is no hell, somebody ought to have said so, and Jesus Christ himself should not have said “I will at the last day say: ‘Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” And if you, Dr. Ryder, are depending for salvation on the God that wrote the Old Testament you will inevitably be eternally damned. Then there is another gentleman, and he a rabbi a Rabbi, Bien or Bean, or whatever his name is-- and he comes to the defense of the great law-giver. I will not answer him, and I will tell you why. He has taken himself outside of all the limits of a gentleman; he has taken it upon himself. Isn’t it strange. They are like in language the beastliest I ever read, and any man who say that the American women are not just as good women as any God can make, and pick his mud to-day--is an unappreciative barbarian. I want to remind him that in this country the Jews were first admitted to the privileges of citizens; that in this country they were first given all their rights, and I am as much in favor of them having their rights as I am in favor of having my own. But when a rabbi so far forgets himself as a traduce the women and men of this country, I pronounce him a vulgar falsifier, and let him alone. (Applause, cries of “Good! Good!”)
Strange, that nearly every man that thought himself called on to defend the Bible was one who did not believe in it himself. Isn’t it strange? They are like some suspected people, always anxious to show their marriage certificate. They want, at least, to convince the world that they are not as bad as I am.
Now, I want to read you just one or two things, and then I am going to let you go. I want to see if I have said such awful things and whether I have got any Scriptures to stand by me. I will only read two or three verses. Does the Bible teach man to enslave his brother? If it does, it is not the word of God, unless God is a slaveholder. (He here read from Scripture.) Upon the limbs of unborn babes this fiendish God put the chains of slavery. I hate him. (Applause.)
Here is the story of Jephthah. He went off and he asked the Lord to let him whip some people, and he told the Lord if he would let him whip them he would sacrifice to the Lord the first thing that met him on his return; and the first thing that met him was his own beautiful daughter, and he sacrificed her. Is there a sadder story in all the history of the world than that? What do you think of a man that would sacrifice his own daughter? What do you think of a God that would received that sacrifice? Now, then, they come to women in this blessed Gospel, and let us see what the Gospel says about women. Then you ought all go to church, girls, next Sunday and hear it. “Let the women all learn in silence with all subjection; suffer not women to think nor usurp authority over man, for Adam was formed first, not Eve.” Don’t you see? “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding all this she shall be saved in childbearing if she continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” That is Mr. Timothy.
I despise this wretched doctrine. Wherever the sword of rebellion is drawn in favor of right I am a rebel. I suppose Alexander, Czar of Russia, was put there by the order of God, was he? I am sorry he was not removed by the Nihilist who shot at him the other day. I tell you in a country like that, where there are hundreds of girls not yet 16 years of age prisoners in Siberia simply for giving their ideas about liberty, and we telegraphed to that country congratulating that wretch that he wasn’t killed! My heart goes into the prison, my heart goes with the poor girl working as a miner in the mines, crawling on her hands and knees getting the precious ore out of the mines, and my sympathies go with her, and my sympathies cluster around the point of the dagger.
I said that the Bible upheld tyranny. Let me read you a little. “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers--the powers that be are ordained by God.” George the Third was king by grace of God, and when our fathers rose in rebellion, according to this doctrine, they rose against the power of God; and if they did they were successful. And so it goes on telling of all the cities that were destroyed, and of all the great-hearted men that they dashed their brains out, and all the little babes and all the sweet women that they killed and plundered--all in the name of a most merciful God. Well, think of it! The Old Testament is filled with anathemas, and with curses, and with words of revenge, and jealousy, and hatred and meanness and brutality. Have I read enough to show that what I said is so? I think I have. I wish I had time to read to you further of what the dear old fathers of the church said about women. (Cries of “Go on; go on.”) Colonel Ingersoll then read several passages illustrative of his subject and proceeded: I tell you women are more prudent than men, are more truthful than men, are more faithful than men -- ten times as faithful as man.
And these men thought women not fit to be held as pure in the sight of God as man. I never saw a man that pretended that he didn’t love a woman; that pretended that he loved God better than he did a woman, that he didn’t look hateful to me, hateful and unclean. I am a believer in absolute equality. I am a believer in absolute liberty between man and wife. I believe in liberty, and I say “Oh, Liberty, float not forever in the far horizon; remain not forever in the dream of the enthusiast, the philanthropist and poet, but come and make thy home among the children of men!”