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Full text of "Christianity and infidelity; or The Humphrey-Bennett discussion between Rev. G. H. Humphrey and D. M. Bennett, conducted in the columns of the Truth seeker, commencing April 7, 1877, closing Sept. 29, 1877"

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CHRISTIANITY I INFIDELITY; 



OR THE 



HIMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION 



BETWEEN 

REV. G. H. HUMPHREY, 

Of a N, Y. Presbyterian Cliarcli, 

AND 

D. M. BENNETT, 

Bditor of Tbe Tratb. Seeker. 



CONDUCTED IN THE COLUMNS OF THE TRUTH SEEKER, COM- 
MENCING APRIL 7, 1877, CLOSING SEPT. 29, 1877. 



'Eear hotJi sides, and then decide** , , , 



D. M. BENNETT, ^ 

LIBERAL AND SCIENTIFIC PUBLISHING!' HOUSii, 
141 Eighth Street, New York, 

1877, 



TKEKEWYOPKj 

POBLIC LIBRARY] 

162747 

■ ASTOR, LENOX AND 
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS. 

1899. 



CONTENTS. 



Part I. 
The Relative Services of Infidelity and Christian- 
ity TO American Liberty. 

Humphrey's First Letter, 1 

Bennett's First Reply 5 

Humphrey's Second Letter, 13 

Bennett's Second Reply, 17 

Humphrey's Third. Letter, 28 

Bennett's Third Reply, 37 

Humphrey's Fourth Letter, 50 

Bennett's Fourth Reply, 59 

Humphrey's Fifth Letter, 74 

Bennett's Fifth Reply, ...... 83 

Part 11. 

The Relative Services of Infidelity and Chkistian- 

iTY to Learning and Science. 

Humphrey's Sixth Letter, . . . .^ . 99 

Bennett's Sixth Reply, 106 

Humphrey's Seventh Letter 120 

Bennett's Seventh Reply, 131 

Humphrey's Eighth Letter, 155 

Bennett's Eighth Reply, . . . , . 196 

Part III. 
Is THERE A Stronger Probability that the Bible is 

Divine than that Infidelity is True. 

Humphrey's Ninth Letter, . . • . . 194 

Bennett's Ninth Reply, 209 

Humphrey's Tenth Letter, 264 

Bennett's Tenth Reply, 285 

Humphrey's Eleventh Letter, .... 835 

Bennett's Eleventh Reply, .... 354 

Humphrey's Twelfth Letter, . . • . 391 

Bennett's Twelfth Reply, ... . 417 

Humphrey's Thirteenth Letter, . . . 467 

Bennett's Thirtjjenth Reply, .... 487 

iil 



INTRODUCTION. 

About the first of March, 1877, the Rev. G. H. Humphrey- 
visited the office of The Truth Seeker and requested that 
a challenge to Ocl. E. G. IngersoU and B. F. Underwood 
be inserted in its columns. The Editor cheerfully con- 
sented to publish the same, at the same time remarking that, 
as it was probable that both IngersoU and Underwood were 
too much engaged to admit of their coming here to debate 
with him, rather than have him disappointed, he himself 
would hold a discuesion with the gentleman in the columns 
of The Truth Seeker. Mr. Humphrey remarked if 
neither of those gentlemen accepted his challenge he would 
perhaps gladly entertain the proposition. In the issue of 
The Truth Seeker for March 3d, 1877, the following chal- 
lenge appeared : 

A PROPOSITION TO DEBATE — QUESTIONS. 

1. Did Unbelievers in the Bible do as much for American 
Independence as the believers in it ? 

2. Has Infidelity done as much as Christianity to pro- 
mote Learning and Science ? 

3. Is there a stronger probability that Infidelity is- true 
than that the Bible is divine ? 

The undersigned has challenged Col. R G. IngersoU to 
a public discussion of the foregoing propositions. It is to 
be hoped he will accept, but should he decline, Mr. B. F. 
Underwood or any other exponent of Paineology will be 
taken as a substitute. Very respectfully, 

G. H. Humphrey. 

81 East Tenth street, New York. 

V 



Vi INTBODUCTION. 

In the same issue the Editor again offered his services to 
the reverend gentleman in case the two persons named 
did not respond to the challenge. After waiting two or 
three weeks, and hearing nothing from either Ingersoll or 
Underwood, Mr. Humphrey accepted the Editor's proposi- 
tion, and arrangements were readily made for the discus- 
sion to appear in The Tkuth Seekeu, Humphrey taking 
the initiative, and an article from each to appear alternately 
until the discussion should be completed. Accordingly 
Humphrey's first letter appeared in the issue for April 7th. 
On Sept. 29th appeared Bennett's reply to Humphrey's thir- 
teenth letter, the discussion having continued just six 
months. 

It is but fair to Mr. Humphrey to state that he has no 
pecuniary interest in the publication of the Discussion, 
though it is issued in this form with his entire consent. 

Presuming that some who may read the following pages 
may be interested in knowing something of the contestants, 
brief sketches of each will be given. 



Sketch of G. H. Humpheet. 

My opponent, Mr. Bennett, has asked me to furnish a 
sketch of my life to be inserted in the Introduction to our 
Discussion. I dislike to do it. It exposes me to the sus- 
picion of vanity and conceit. But I am desirous of pleas- 
ing a friend in that which is indifferent, if not good ; so I 
will reluctantly yield to his request. There is not a char- 
acter in the alphabet that 1 hate so much as the letter I. In 
order to avoid it, let me, like Csesar or Moses, speak of my- 
self in the third person. 

The su^^ject of this sketch was born in Carnarvon Shire, 
North Wales, in the year 1844. When he was less than a 
year old, his parents emigrated to Ixonia, Jefferson Co., 
Wisconsin, where he remained on a farm until his major- 



INTRODUCTION. Vii 

ity. His situation there had no special advantages, except 
the proximity of many Germans, which enabled him to learn 
their language. When twenty-one he entered Washington 
& Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., where he 
graduated four years afterwards. From College he went 
to the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Allegheny 
City, Pa. He studied there for t'lree years. His first 
charge was in Frostburg, Md., which he assumed, in part, 
before leaving the Seminary. He was next called to the 
Birmingham Presbyterian church, Pittsburgh, Pa., where 
he remained about five years. In Dec. of 1876, he removed 
to New York City, to take charge of the Welsh Presby- 
terian church, Nos. 225, 227, 229, East 13th street. He is 
now living at 343 East 15th s'reet, where he will be glad to 
see not only his Christian but his Infidel friends. 

His mental history is not very peculiar. When between 
seventeen and twenty-three he read many skeptical works 
of various kinds. His object in doing so was not of the 
noblest kind. It was done more in the spirit of dare-devil- 
ishness than anything else. A boy has a similar motive in 
entering the mysteries of tobacco-chewing. Doubts were 
engendered in his mind. But he kept them mostly to him- 
self. He only whispered them occasionally, with awful 
significance to his friends. He was rather glad to be 
suspected of holding peculiar views. He considered 
his skepticism a positive proof that he was a mighty smart 
young man. As he had read German, and "critical" 
English books, he thought surely he must have something 
to show for it more than the ordinary belief. He fancied 
that everybody who saw him said within* himself, "What 
a great reader 1 There goes a thinker! " 

But a change, like the rising of the sun, came gradually 
over his mind. He saw that some of his companions in 
skepticism were sinking into vice and immorality. The 
more they sinned the more they doubted. The more un- 
like true Christians they became, the more did they want 



Vlll INTKODUCTIOl^. 

Christianity to be untrue. Although they got to reading 
and thinking less and less, their Infidelity grew more and 
more. He thought this very suspicious. In addition to 
this, he discovered that he himself was becoming lop-sided. 
He read little but anti-Christian works. He had a kind of 
aversion to everything in favor of Religion. When he did 
read something on that side, it was done with such preju- 
dice and foregone conclusions that it was all in vain. 
When he reflected, and caught himself in this condition, he 
became uneasy. He knew that he had ntjt given the Bible 
and the Christian religion a tharough and honest study. 
There he was, priding himself in his "reading," "think- 
ing," and "liberalism ;" and yet doubting a system whose 
evidences he had never examined. He knew well that he 
could never be admitted to the bar without giving the law 
a far more extensive study than he had given to this most 
momentous of questions. He resolved to reform. He pro- 
ceeded to do so. He procured the standard works on Chris- 
tian evidence. He found it extremely diflScult at first to 
exercise sufficient patience to read them through and digest 
them. He was possessed by a strong temptation to dismiss 
the whole subject atter glancing superficially over a few vol- 
umes. He thought he might then say he had read them* 
But, thanks be to God I he was not permitted to stop there. 
He read on. He began to feel that the Scriptures might 
be true. What he deemed possible at first soon became a 
prohabiliiy. After some years of toil and meditation, the 
probability became a certainty, as to the cardinal, essential 
teachings of Christianity. He had formerly thought of 
practicing law. But the convicLion of the everlasting truth 
of the Christian Religion impelled him to preach the Gos- 
pel, and to use every lawful means to defend and dissemi- 
nate it. * He is happy in the work. He can now say: 

" hapDy day that fixed my choice 
On thee, my Savior and my God," 



tNTRODTJOTIOK. IX 

He has given this inner history of himself, not because it 
is in itself important, but because he believes it is a fair 
picture of eight-tenths of those who profess to be unbe- 
lievers. Should these lines and this discussion furnish a 
clue that will guide even one out of the zigzag labyrinth of 
Infidelity, the writer will be more than rewarded. 

G. H. H. 

Sketch of D. M. Bennett. 

He was born on the eastern shore of the beautiful sheet 
of water known as Otsego Lake, in the township of Spring- 
field, Otsego Co , N. Y., Dec. 23, 1818. His parents were 
poor people — his father an uneducated farmer, his mother a 
member of the Methodist Church. At an early age he moved 
with his parents into the village of Coopersto^n, N. Y. Here 
he had fair opportunities for attending district school, Sun- 
day-school, etc. At the latter he was a constant attendant, 
and frequently, by voluntary effort, learned twenty or 
thirty verses in the New Testament during the week, and 
recited them to his teacher on Sunday. He attended 
church regularly, and very naturally grew up in the 
belief taught by theologians. 

When between fourteen and fifteen years of age, return- 
ing from a visit to some relatives in Berkshire county, 
Mass. , he stopped to visit the Shaker Society in "New Leb- 
anon, N. Y. They lived peacefully and happily in their 
beautiful home on the hill side, and he soon became so much 
pleased with them that he decided to join them and become 
one of their number. He thought they lived better and 
happier lives than any people he had ever met. They 
are a peculiar people and have a somewhat peculiar relig- 
ious belief. In the first place, they are strict celibates, and 
regard the sexual intercourse as the forbidden fruit which 
caused the fall of Adam and Eve, and through them of the 
entire human race. They regard Jesus as the pattern celibate 



X INTBODUOTION. 

who practiced and taught the strictest self-denial. They 
do not regard Jesus as God, or as having a miraculous be- 
getting. They conceive that Divinity consists of two 
divisions or elements, male and female, father and mother — 
Power and Wisdom — and that Jesus Christ, nearly nineteen 
hundred years ago, represented the Father element and Ann 
Lee, an English woman, the wife of a dissipated black- 
smith, over one hundred years ago, represented the Mother 
clement of diviuity. She was called Mother Ann Lee, and 
in Jesus and herself they held that Christ made his firtt and 
second appearing. They dress in a plain garb, lead indus- 
trious lives; they hold their property in common, on the 
community plan, and dance and march for worship. 

Thai society then consisted of seven hundred members, 
and was divided into some eight families, or lesser com- 
munities. There were sixteen societies in the entire 
country, with a total membership of six thousand. In 
later years, however, their numbers have greatly decreased, 
and they now have less than half their former members. 
They are a very religious people, and they carry I heir 
religion into their daily duties and avocations, making it 
an eminently practical system of faith. They hold to the 
possibility of living lives without fault or sin, and they 
make it their object to attain to this point of perfection. 
They are Spiritualists, and had among them what are called 
"spirit-manifestations "long before the "Rochester kuock- 
ings " were heard of. They believe in spirit protection and 
guidance, and to the higher spirits they direct their prayers 
and supplications. They unite in silent prayer, including 
those before and after each meal, at least eight limes a day. 

Bennett's occupation among them was three years at 
growing garden seeds and putting them up in packages to 
send over the country, four years at shoemaking, three 
years at growing and gathering medical herbs and roots, 
preparing extracts, making syrups, ointments and other 
preparations, powdering roots and herbs, etc., and three 



INTRODUCTION. XI 

years at practicing medicine. He did not attend any course 
of medical lectures uor graduate at any college, but had the 
benefit of a fair medical library and the advice of an old 
physician who had retired from practice. The system of 
treatment adopted by the society was the Eclectic, and it 
proved very successful. 

Bennett never attended college, or any institution of 
learning above a common district school, which he left at 
the age of fifteen. Since that time he has been constantly 
engaged at some active business — generally hard work — 
affording him little time for study or close reading. 

In 1846, having arrived at the age of twenty-seven years, 
after residing thirteen years in the Shaker society, and los- 
ing faith somewhat in their peculiar creed, and tiring to 
some extent of their rather arbitrary system of government, 
he left the society, in company with his sister and Mary 
Wicks, who afterwards became his wife — and who since 
the age of four years had lived with the Shakers— together 
with one or two other members. In the fall of 1846 
he was induced to "go West" as far as Brandenburg, 
Kentucky, on the Ohio river, forty miles below Louis- 
ville ; but, being disappointed in the nature of the 
business in which he had expected to engage at that place, 
in the ensuing December he removed to Louisville, and 
there served nearly a year as clerk in a drug-store. In Jan- 
uary, 1848, he opened a drug-store of his own in Louis- 
ville, and conducted it over eight years, engaging 'also in 
other kinds of business with varying success. In the 
spring of 1855 he sold out his business and removed to 
Rochester, N. Y., where he resided four years, engaging 
in the sale of fruit-trees, shrubbery, etc., and, afterwards, 
garden seeds. In 1859 lie removed to Cincinnati and bought 
a drug store, which he conducted till the autumn of 1865, 
engaging also, somewhat extensively, in preparing proprie- 
tary medicines. During these six years he was quite suc- 
cessful, and upon selling out had made enough to answer 



Xll INTRODUOTIOK. 

during life for himself and wife, had he not invested it in 
a series of ventures that proved unsuccessful. As it was, 
however, repeated bad investments and ventures used up 
the earnings of six years, und in 1866-7 he had managed to 
lose the snug sum of $30,000. 

His religious views gradually became more and more 
radical from the time he left the Shakers. While in Louis- 
ville he borrowed an Infidel book which strongly shook his 
faith in theology. A few years later, in visiting New York, 
he called upon Gilbert Vale, who kept radical books for 
sale, and bought Paiue's Age of Reason, Volney's Ruins 
and a number of small books and pamphlets of a similar 
character. The perusal of these aided materially in driv- 
ing from his mind the relics of superstition and ecclesias- 
ticism that still lingered there. He ventured to exercise 
free thought, to take nothing upon the assertion of the 
priesthood, to accept naught uusustained by proof, and, 
in short, to do his own thinking and to arrive at his own 
conclusions. 

His belief gradually became very radical, and he divested 
himself of nearly all the superstitions to which he had 
once given his assent. He lost confidence in the Bible as 
being a superhuman production, and while he saw in it 
good morals and precepts, fine specimens of ancient poetry 
and literature, he found in it also a great deal that is crude, 
a great deal that is coarse and obscene, a great deal that is 
untrue, and but little that is adapted to the present needs 
and conditions of mankind. He regarded it wholly as a 
human production. 

He threw oflf all allegiance to fables, myths and supersti- 
tions. He held himself free to embrace truth wherever he 
found it, and to discard errors and fallacies from whatever 
source. He gradually came to believe in the eternality and 
the infinity of the Universe ; that it contains all substancea 
and all forces ; that there is nothing above it, below it, or 
outside of it ; that every result that has ever taken place 



INTRODUCTION. XI 11 

has been produced by natural and sufficient causes, and that 
there can be nothing superna,tMia\. He regarded the multi- 
tude of gods which men had imagined, devised and manu- 
factured—or in a word, the god-idea— as the great central 
superstition around which all other superstitions have clus- 
tered for thousands of years. He accepted IngersoU's 
axiom, that "there can be no liberty on earth while men 
worship a tyrant in heaven." He saw that all that has been 
effected on this planet to improve it and make it a happy 
dwelling-place for man has been done by the hands of 
man, and that the gods have done nothing for the race, and 
that the belief in them has been one of the greatest evils 
that has befallen mankind. He came to understand that 
man's whole duty is towards his fellow-man, towards him- 
self, and nothing for the gods ; that he can do as little for 
the gods as they do for him, but that to promote the hap- 
piness of himself and his fellow-beings and to aid in ren- 
dering this earth a paradise he can do very much indeed. 

In 1869 Bennett returned to Rochester, remained there 
over a year, and then removed to Paris, 111., where he 
resided three years. For a year or more he was in the 
drug business, and after that he engaged in growing garden 
seeds, papering them and sending them over the Western 
country. In 1873 he cultivated fifty acres in seeds, and in 
1873 seventy-five acres. His means being limited, he was 
under the necessity of taking partners, but, like many others, 
he found partnership a bad ship to sail in, and in the Fall, 
of 1873 he was glad to retire from the business with a loss 
of two years' hard work and $2,500 in money. His Chris- 
tian partners were too much for him, and rendered his con- 
tinuance in the firm no longer desirable. 

In the Summer of 1873 he engaged in a newspaper dis- 
cussion with two Paris clergymen on the subject of prayer. 
One of the local papers published what the clergymen had 
to say but refused to publish his articles because of 
their radical character. This dissatisfied Bennett, and 



xiV INTBODUCTION. 

made him resolve to start a paper of his own in which he 

could say just what he believed to be true. It was this 
that caused him to start The Truth Seeker, and probably 
if that bit of Christian intolerance had not been shown 
him, he would never have started a Radical -paper and 
never become the publisher of Infidel works. 

The Truth Seeker started as an eight-page monthly, in 
September, 1873. Its early success was not remarkable, 
but sufficient to induce him to continue it. Having 
closed out his business in Paris, and perceiving it was not 
just the place whence to issue a Liberal paper, he looked 
around for a better locality. New York city, the commer- 
cial centre of the country, presented advantages superior to 
any other locality, and he resolved to move his little paper 
there. It was, perhaps, a bold step. To start the paper 
was bold. For a man without capital, without editorial ex- 
perience, without acquaintance with the Liberal element 
of the country, and, worse than all, without the necessary 
ability, to conduct a Radical journal, to engage in 
such an enterprise perhaps, evinced more boldness 
than good judgment. In the face of the financial 
panic which was well inaugurated in the closing months of 
1873, and has continued nearly four years, it was, at best, 
an unfavorable time to move a little unfledged monthly to 
the metropolis of the country. No. 5 of Vol. I. was issued 
here in January, 1874, with sixteen pages instead of the 
previous eight. In 1875 it became a semi-monthly, and in 
1876 it was changed to a weekly. It has had a struggle for 
existence while papers with far more ability and more than 
ten times the capital were failing all around it. It is to be 
hoped, however, that it has now become so well established 
that no serious fears are to be entertained for its continued 
existence. In addition to The Truth Seeker, one hun- 
dred and fifty books, pamphlets, and tracts have been 
published in the same office. If it cannot be styled an 
instance of ** divine aid," it is, perhaps, an instance where 



rNTRODUCTION. XV 

divinity has preserved a neutral policy and kept "hands 
off." It is hoped that a larger number of works will be 
issued from the same establishment, and that the enquiring 
and independent minds of the country will be patrons of the 
same. The publisher knows not how he can better dig- 
charge his duty towards his fellow-men than by placing 
before them the sentiments of truth and appeals in behalf 
of mental liberty. He has resolved to devote the remainder 
of his life to the good work. 

D. M. B. 

Truth Sekeer Office, Oct. 1, 1877. 



THB 



HUMPHREY -BENNETT DISCUSSION. 



MR. HUMPHREY. 

New York, March 29, 1877. 
Mr. D. M. Bennett, Dear Sir: As we have agreed to 
discuss some matters rekitive to Infidelity and Christianity, 
and as we are both alike in being quite indifferent to cer- 
emony and red tape, I will at once proceed to prove the af- 
firmative of the following proposition : 

That believers in the Bible have done more for 
Civil Liberty in the United States than unbelievers. 

By "believers in the Bible "is meant those who recog- 
nized the infallibility and divine authority of that book ; 
and by the " unbelievers" is meant those who denied that 
infallibility and repudiated that authority. You will 
scarcely object to this definition of the word " Infidel." 
Webster deiines Infidelity as " disbelief of the inspiration 
of the Scriptures, or the divine origin of Christianity." No 
standard lexicographer differs from this definition. 

Having thus explained terms, we will proceed at once to 
show that the services of Infidels to American liberty have 
been infinitesimally small compared with that of Christians. 
I am well aware that this is exactly the reverse of the per- 
sistent representations of Infidel speakers and writers; but 
it can be demonstrated nevertheless, 



2 THE nUMPHUEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

1. This is shown by the fact that the struggle for iude- 
pendence originated among the Puritans of New England- 
yes, among the bated Puritans. It is true they did not start 
out with the conscious and avowed iatentioa of securing 
iheir independence. But it is noteworthy that they were 
the first to resist British oppression. Samuel Adams, the 
I leading spirit in this resistance, was amember of the Con- 
j^gregational Church. His was a house of prayer. He was a 
strict observer of the Sabbath (Bancroft's History of the 
United States, vol. iii., pp. 418-420, Centenary Edition). 
As far back as the year 1768 John Hancock had named one 
of his sloops "Liberty," indicative of the spirit of the 
man, and, perhaps, of the unexpressed wish of his soul. 

The Boston Town Meeting, held in Faneuil Ilall, Sept., 
1768, was an assemblage of religious people. In that meet- 
ing it was resolved that " the inhabitants of the town of 
Boston will, at the utmost peril of their lives and fortunes, 
maintain and defend their rights, privileges, and immuni- 
ties;" and they rtcommended that a day he set apart for fasting 
and prayer. This shows that the first citizen's meeting to 
remonstrate against tyranny was a meeting, not of Infidels 
but of Puritans. 

We read often of the clergy of that period inspiring 
their congregations with patriotism, courage, and hope. 
Bancroft says " the Ciilvinist ministers nursed the flame of 
piety and of civil freedom" (Bancroft, vol. iii., pp. 499, 
587). "Where is the account of a '* Liberal Club " doing a 
similar service ? 

The Old Continental Congress, held in 1774, was com- 
posed almost entirely of Christian men. Rev. Jacob Duche, 
an Episcopalian, was iavited to act as chaplain. Franklin 
testified afterwards t^jat those early Conventions and Con- 
gresses were opened every day with prayer (Parton's Life 
of Franklin, vol. ii. , pp. 573-4). 

The battles jof Lexington and Concord were fought by 
brave Puritans." The warning of the approaching foe was 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 3 

given from a chitrch tower. Paul Revere revered Paul. He 
was a believer of the Gospel. The march from Cam- 
bridge to Charle.itown Neck under Col. Prescott was pre- 
ceded by prayer by Mr. Langdon, then President of Harvard 
. College (Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution, vol. i., p. 
539). . 

The strictly first declaration of independence — the Meck- 
lenburg Peclaraiion — was made in May, 1775, in the high- 
lands of North Carolina by a convention of " sturdy Pres- 
byterians" (Bancroft, vol. iv., p. 575). 

All this, and much more of the same import, had trans- 
pired before Thomas Paine published his "Common Sense" 
in Jan. of 1776. It is cheerfully admitted that that pam- 
phlet had a wonderful effect on the Colonists. But it did 
not create the thought of independence, as is sometimes 
claimed. Along with a great many other essays and pam- 
phlets of the same kind, prepared by "the ablest persons 
in America " ^Lossing's Lives of the Signers; p. 246), it 
helped to precipitate an idea that was already in solution in 
the public mind. It touched off the magazine. As John 
Adams remarked, it "singularly fell in with the temper of 
the moment "(Life and Works of John Adams: Boston, 
185^; vol. i., p. 304). ''The idea of independence was fa- 
miliar among the common people much earlier than some 
people pretend" (Ibid; vol. ix., p. 598). Patrick Henry— 
who, though not a church member, was so far a Christian 
that he relished Butler's "Aualogy " and Doddridge's "Rise 
and Progress," and published at his own expense Jenyns' 
"Internal Evidences of Christianity " (Sparks' Am. Biog- 
ra^jby, vol. xi., p. o84) — as early as 1763 and 1765 had 
given utterance to sentiments that caused the royalists to 
cry out "Treason! Treason 1" Samuel Adams, Richard 
Henry Lee, Benjamin Franklin, Rev. Timothy Dwight 
(Lives of the Signers, p. 244), Gen. Greene, Gen. Washing- 
ton (Bancroft, vol. v. , p. 63), and many others, had talked 
if absolute separation from the mother country before 



4 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION 

Paine's pamphlet ever saw the light. In the words of Ban- 
croft, " The Declaration of Independence was silently but 
steadily prepared in the convictions of all the people, just 
as every spire of grass is impearled by the dew, and reflects 
the morning sun" (Bancroft, vol. v., p. 1G5). 

2. The affirmative of this proposition is confirmed by the 
fact that the foreigners who came to our assistance were 
nearly all believers in the Holy Scriptures. De Kalb was 
a Protestant (Bancroft, vol. iv., p. 40). It is well known that 
Lafayette, Pulaski, and Kosciusko were Catholics. Steuben 
was a Lutheran (Sparks' American Biography, vol. ix., p. 
84). Bat where was the Infidel that crossed the sea to lead 
the provincial patriots against the British troops ? 

The Englishmen who advocated the cause of the Amer 
icans in the presence of the Crown were all believers in the 
Christian religion. I refer especially to Col. Barre, Chat- 
ham, Camden, and Burke. No Freethinker in the House 
of Lords or in the House of Commons raised his voice in 
our behalf. 

3. In further proof of my position I will remind you of 
the fact that the masses of the Colonists were beFievers in 
Christianity. An avowed Infidel in the American army 
was regarded as an exception and a monstrosity. The bat- 
tles of the Revolution were waged by soldiers who read 
their Bibles in the camp, and exercised faith in God. 

The best generals of the Revolution accepted the Bible as 
the word of the Lord. This is notably true of Prcscott, 
"Warren, Putnam, Greene, Knox, Morgan, Wayne, Lincoln, 
and their commander-in-chief, George Washington. We 
have already named Lafayette, Steuben, Pulaski, Koscius 
ko, and De Kalb. Who was the Infidel general that ren- 
dered any service to the Colonies ? Benedict Arnold, who 
was irreligious, was a traitor. Charles Lee, the Freethinker, 
proved unfaithful. 

Robert Morris, the great financier of that period, had an 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT D|!^CUSSION. 5 

unswerving faith in tlie principles inculcated in Holy Writ. 
■So had his eminent friend, Gouverneur Morris. 

The signers of the Declaration of Independence were re- 
ligious men. Benson J. Lossing, Esq., the well-known au- 
thor, who has been for many years a careful student of 
American history and biography, said recently in a private 
letter: " I believe, from internal evidence, that every sigm r 
of the Declaration of Independence was a practical Chris- 
tian, such as Christ accepts as his worthy children. They, 
of course, differed in tbeir ilieohgical notions, but not in 
their religious convictions. Some of them were church 
members, and some were not." That this is true, without 
excepting Franklin and Jefferson, I will show in my next. 

Soon after the close of the war, Congress appointed Dec. 
13, 1781, as a day of "Thanksgiving to Almighty God for 
the signal success of the American arms." Previous to that 
"when the letters of Washington announcing the capitula- 
tion reached Congress, that body, with the people streaming 
in their train, went in procession to the Dutch Lutheran 
church to return thanks to Almighty God" (Bancroft, vol. 
vi.,p. 429,). Most assuredly, then, the American people 
were in the main religious. 

These remarks are suggestive rather than exhaustive. The 
service of Christians to the cause of independence, as com- 
pared with that of Infidels, was as a thousand to one. 

I have given many references, as I intend to continue do- 
ing, in order that you and our readers may verify eve^y 
statement. I shall endeavor to give, as I shall demand, au- 
thority and proof. Yours, very respectfully, 

G. H. Humphrey. 



MR. BENNETT 



Rev. G. H. Humphrey, Dear Sir: I have never thought 
for a moment, nor do I think any intelligent Liberal has 



6 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCL'SSION. 

ever claimed, that a majority of the officers, or of the rank 
and file eni^aged in the Revolutionary struggle were Infidels 
or unbelievers in the divine origin of the Bible. If a census 
had then been taken on that question, or a vote given, the 
Bible worshipers on the one side and the unbelievers on the 
other, I admit that the believers would have had a very 
largo majority — perhaps ninety or ninety-five per cent of the 
whole number. Unfortunately, since the earliest history of 
mankind, the believers in fetishes, myths, superstitious 
mysticisms, fables, and errors of all kinds, have far out- 
numbered the opposite class. Truth has ever' been in a 
minority. It was so one hundred years ago. It is so to- 
day. But, thanks to the light of science and the inherent 
love of the Right which exists in man's nature, the truth is 
gaining ground. The myths and superstitions of former 
centuries, with their tyrannous rule, are retiring to the rear, 
and truth, reason, and mental liberty are coming to the 
front and assuming control. They are unmistakably gaining 
ground, and in another hundred years it is confidently 
hoped that theological delusions and errors will have far 
less sway, not only in this country but in the civilized 
world, than they had one hundred years ago. The powers 
of light and truth are potent, and we have much to hope 
for from them. 

I freely accord patriotism, love of liberty, and hatred of 
tyranny to thousands of zealous Christians who were en- 
gaged in that struggle. They fought bravely for American 
independence, and I would not take one laurel from their 
brows. I honor them for what they did in the cause of hu- 
man liberty. They were impelled by the noblest impulses 
that move the human heart. If the same credit was gen- 
erously awarded to the unbelivers that were engaged in the 
same struggle, this discussion would hardly be necessary. 
We would hear much fewer aspersions and slanderous as- 
sertions about " Tom Paine " and the ** Infidel crew," and 
they would be cheerfully credited on all hands with the 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 7 

great deeds they performed, aiid a nation's gratitude and 
honor, to which they arc so j astly entitled, would be extended 
to them, instead of being grudgingly and meanly withheld as 
now. 

While I yield that Bible-believers greatly predominated 
in point of numbers in the American struggle, I claim that 
the leading spirits, the men who did the most to arouse the 
people of the Colonies, to stimulate their courage and res- 
olution after the conflict was inaugurated, and when dark 
despair settled over the land; who directed the armies; 
who made personal sacrifices to keep up the struggle, and 
who gave form and direction to the Constitution and policy 
of the new government when the war was over, were Infi- 
dels, or men who did not believe that the Bible was written 
by the finger of God, or by his immediate dictation. I al- 
lude to such men as Benjamin Franklin, George Washing- 
ton, Ethan Allen, Anthony Wayne, Thomas Paine, John 
Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Gouverneur Morris, Benjamin 
Rush, Arron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, 
etc., etc. These men did not accept the Christian dogma 
tl'at Jesus Christ is God and the Supreme Power of the Uni- 
verse; hence they were Infidels. 

While I admit that Christians acquitted themselves nobly 
in that glorious struggle, I claim that Infidels did the same, 
and did more in proportion to their numbers than did the 
believers, and this is all that ought to be demanded of them. 
I claim, too, that the war for American independence was 
not a Christian struggle, and that the impulses and senti- 
ments which actuated the infant nation — hatred of tyranny 
and oppression, the spirit of freedom and independence — 
are not peculiar to Christians. They are the natural, spon- 
taneous impulses of humanity. Man, in all ages of the 
world, in all countries, and under all systems of religion 
has fought and bled and died for liberty and the right of 
self government. 

While men of all castes and colors have aspired to free- 



» THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

dom, while they have fought for liberty; while men of all 
creeds have detested tyranny in their very souls, the dis- 
tinctive iuculcation of Chrislianity has been ^'submit " and 
"obey." Its principal teachers have enjoined rules like 
these: ''Servants obey your masters," "Obey the magis- 
trates," "Obey them that have rule over you," "Let your 
soul be subject to the higher powers," " Render unto Caesar 
the things that are Cassar's," "The powers that be are or- 
dained of God. "Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the powers 
resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that resist re- 
ceive unto themselves damnation. Wherefore, ye must 
be subject, not only for wrath but also for conscience' sake. 
For this cause, pay ye tribute also, for they are God's min- 
isters, attending continually upon this very thing" (Rom., 
xiii., 1-6). "Submit yourself to every ordinance of man 
for the Lord's sake, whether it be to the king, as supreme, 
or unto governors" (1 Peter, ii., 13), 

According to these imperative injunctions, the American 
colonists were not only in a state of rebellion against the 
parent government, but also against heaven. They had 
practically ceased to be Christians. They had become In- 
fidels, for to question or doubt what the priesthood declares 
to be the will of heaven is infidelity of the rankest kind. 
When they dared to raise their hands and strike for their 
liberties, they were opposing the will of God. Every king, 
every tyrtant that ever reigned over an oppressed people, 
either under the Hebrew or the Christian regime^ claimed to 
rule by the express command of God. They were the 
anointed of heaven, and to rebel against them was to rebel 
against God. The American colonies, when they resisted 
the power of Great Britain, opposed such a power. They 
opposed the first Christian power in the world — a nation 
whose kings and queens reigned by the "grace of God." 
1 repeat, it was an un-Christian war to oppose the first 
Christian nation on earth, whose monarchs ruled by a di- 
vine commission from on high, and whose coronations were 



THE nUMPHRET-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 9 

presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the highest 
Christian dignitary in the realm. I tell you it was the re- 
hellion of Infidelity tliat made the American people raise their 
arms against such a divinely-commissioned power. True, 
Catholics and Protestants came over to help us, but they 
came to fight the battle of Infidelity against Christian tyran. 
ny, and this truth cannot be successfully denied. Most truly 
did Ingersoll exclaim, ''Infidelity is Ijberty; all religion is 
slavery. In every creed, man is the slave of God; woman 
is the slave of man, and the sweet children are the slaves of 
all!" 

While the Christian government of Great Britain was 
sending over its thousands of creed-bound serfs to crush 
into the chains of bondage a youthful and struggling peo- 
ple who dared aspire to be free, the first Infidels of England 
and France sympathized with the colonists and did all they 
could for their cause by pen, money, and valor. While this 
was true, how was it with the great light of Christian Prot- 
estantism, in England, John Wesley ? He opposed the 
American struggle wiih ail his power. He wrote against it, 
he preached against it, and he labored against it publicly 
and privately. England had no deadlier foe to American 
freedom than was John Wesley, the pious apostle of the 
Church, and the founder of Methodism. 

You mention instances of marches and other opera- 
tions during the war being i^receded by prayer. Doubtless 
it was so, but that does not prOve very much. A devout 
Mohammedan prays regularly six times a day, and always 
with his fiKje turned towards his holy city, Mecca. 
Many of the acts of his life-time are preceded by prayer. 
Does that make him a Christian ? The pious Hindoo 
mother who throws her infant to her crocodile-god in the 
Qanges always precedes the act by prayer. Does that 
mftke her a Christian ? When two opposing Christian 
armies are about to engage in a bloody confiict, and both 
precede the sanguinary work by prayer asking for victory, 



10 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

and both beg for God to help them, is it not calculated to em- 
barrass their God to decide how to answer the prayers 
of both, and to determine which side to help the most? 

Bonaparte used to insist that God was on the side of 
the strongest battalions, and oiher observing persons have 
come to the same conclusion. If Col. Prescott had pre- 
ceded his march from Cambridge to Charlestown Neck by 
a lively game of "old sledge," or had he induced his 
men to join lustily in s'nging '* Yankee Doodle," is it not 
barely possible that it would have answered just as good 
a purpose as Mr. Langdon's prayer ? Would not the sol- 
diers have made the march just as cheerfully and as ex- 
peditiously ? 

Among the generals, patriots, and statesmen who were 
in the Revolutionary struggle, it is not claimed that all 
had arrived at the same degree of unbelief or Infidelity. 
It is conceded that Jefferson and Paine were more pro- 
nounced and outspoken in their radicalism and unbelief 
than were Franklin and Washington, but all disbelieved 
and denied the dogmas upon which the Christian Church 
is founded — that Jesus Christ is God, the Supreme Power 
of the Universe — and that he penned or dictated the Jew- 
ish and Christian Scriptures. They denied that one person 
could be three, and that three persons could be one, and 
that three and one are the same. Rejecting these cardinal 
tenets in the Christian Church, they, of course, could not 
be Christians, and must, of necessity, be ranked among 
the Infidels. 

You may attempt to prove that these wer5 all Christians 
because in some respects they acted with the Christians, 
not even excepting Jefferson. We hope, at all events, that 
you will leave us Ethan Allen and Thomas Paine. I asK 
you not to make Christians of them. It seems, too, that 
after Thomas Jefferson has been a thousand times denounced 
as an Infidel, from almost every pulpit in this" land- 
both before and after his election as President— you 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 11 

will find it a little laborious to make it clear to the com- 
mon perception that he was a Christian in full commun- 
ion. If you can make a clear case of it, I shall watch 
your efforts with interest. He was quite as decided an In- 
fidel as Paine, and was never afraid of having his views 
upon theology known. There will be no trouble in show- 
ing this from his own writings. I have not room in this 
article to go into these quotations, but will in my next, 
when I think I can also show that Washington entertained 
the same theological views that Jefferson did, and that the 
Rev. Dr. Abercrombie, rector of the church in Philadel- 
phia which Washington frequently attended daring the 
time that that city was the seat of government, and who 
was acquainted with Washington's views, admitted that the 
General was a Deist. Deists, of course, are Infidels. 
Thomas Paine was only a Deist. I think I can show that 
Franklin was also a Deist. 

I am well aware that Christian biographers and pious ad- 
ulators have made great efforts to show that Washington 
was a Christian; that he was a sanctimonious man, and that 
he preceded his engagements on the battle-field by prayer; 
that it was discovered that upon a certain occasion he retired 
into a thicket to pray; but the stories lack confirmation, and 
is too much like the Sunday-school story about the cherry 
tree and his little hatchet, in which it was impossible for 
him to tell a lie — a story, by the way, first told by a 
clergyman. 

The truth is, Washington has been so far deified by an 
admiring American people, and we have grown up from our 
infancy with the impressions implanted upon our minds 
that he was a model man, a great and good personage, far 
superior to any other who lived at the same time, that he 
is exalted into a demi-god who could not tell a lie, who could 
not use a profane word, and who was almost perfection it- 
self. This is all an error. It is^true rather that he had his faults 
and failings like other men. He could not only use duplic. 



13 The HUMPTTREf-BP.NNETT OTSCUSStOt^ 

ity and strategy -when necessary, but he could swear 
"like a trooper." Those who were well acquainted with 
him pronounced him a profane man who often gave way to 
passion, who was aristocratic and almost unapproachable to 
his inferiors, and wlio often showed a species of tyran- 
ny and cruelty. Still, the eminent services wMch he ren- 
dered his country should be duly acknowledged and re 
membered, but not on the false ground that he was a 
Christian. D. M. Bennett. 



MR. HUMPHREY. 

Mr. D. M. Bennett, Dear Sir : I am pleased with the 
courteousness of your reply, and with your candor in ad 
mitting the substance of my last letter. Your concession 
amounts to this: that, in the proportion that "ninety oi 
ninety-five per cent. " is greater than ten or five per cent., 
the Christians who resisted British tyranny were more 
numerous than the Infidels who did the same. 

You assert that resistance to constituted government, 
even when it is oppressive and inhuman, is contrary to the 
principles of Scripture. This is an error. Such passages 
as "Be subject to principalities and powers," "Subject 
yourselves unto kings or governors," " Render unto Caisar 
the things that are Caesar's," mean simply that the Christian 
should not be anarchical; he should be a law-abiding citi- 
zen. There is no intimation in the Old Testament that the 
Israelites violated the Divine law when they threw off the 
Egyptian yoke. Nor is there a hint in the New that Jesus 
did wrong in ignoring the Jewish Sanhedrim. 

I was rather surprised to see you making such Jiit-or-miss 
assertions respecting the religious opinions of certain per- 
sons prominent in the Revolution. Of course, Thomas 
Paine is yielded to you. So is Etlian Alien. But I insist 
that not one of the others whom you name was an Infidel in 



tllE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 13 

the true sense of that word. Benjamin Rush was univer- 
sally known as an eminently pious Christian. Ilis "Essays" 
put this beyond the reach of a doubt. The New American 
Cyclopedia says of him that in 1791 "he wrote an able de- 
fense of the Bible as a school-book. He was Vice Presi- 
dent, until his death, of the Philadelphia Bible Society, of 
which he was one of the earliest originators, and the con- 
stitution of which he drafted." Parton says of Aaron Burr 
that "he was no scoffer. He was desirous, while condemn- 
ing the severe theology of his fathers, not to be thought an 
unbeliever" (Life of Aaron Burr. vol. ii, pp. 274-329). 
Alexander Hamilton was a believer in Christianity. In a 
paper prepared in view of his duel with Burr he said: "My 
religious and moral principles are strongly opposed to the 
practice of duelling " (Morse's Life of Hamilton, Boston, 
187G, vol. ii, p. 364). He sent for a clergyman to adminis- 
ter the sacrament to him before his death (A Collection of 
Facts and Documents relative to the Death of Alexander 
Hamilton, 1804, pp. 47-55). Morse says: "He was a sin- 
cere and earnest Christian. He had lately said of Chris- 
tianity in his firm, positive way: 'I have studied it, and 1 
can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever 
submitted to !he mind of man' " (Life of Hamilton, vol. ii, p. 
370). If you want to find proof that Gouverneur Morris was 
not an Infidel, I will refer you to his "Life," by Jared Sparks, 
vol. i, pp. 508-9, vol. iii, p. 44. A careful examination of 
such works as Rives' Life and Times of James Madison 
will compel any one to see that our fourth President was 
very far from being a rejecter of Christianity. 

The four persons who played the most active part in the 
Revolutionary struggle, and in the formation of the govern- 
ment afterwards, are often claimed by Infidels, and too fre- 
quently conceded to them by Christians. I refer to Wash- 
ington, Jefferson, Franklin, and John Adams. Let us now 
throw aside as so much rubbish the " Sabbath-school 
stories" and religious magazine i^aragraphs, and also the 



14 THE ITUMrnTlEY-BENNErT DIRCUSSTOX. 

"Liberal Club" traditions, with all the Infidel newspaper 
tales respecting these persons, and let us try to determine 
from their own writings a ad from standard biographers what 
their religious opinions really were. Let us consider them 
in the order of their birth. 

As Benjamin Franklin vvas the oldest, we will examine 
his religious belief first. There are several trustworthy 
Lives of Frankim before the public. The most recent is 
that of Bigelow. But as Parton's is in all essential matters 
in agreement wiin the rest, and as Mr Parton is a "liberal" 
man, we will refer chiefly to him. All biographers get 
their materials mainly from Franklin's Works, oifr which 
there is an admirable collection edited by Sparks, Boston, 
1840. 

Franklin was raised under religious influences. When a 
mere boy he left home to make his own living. Before 
leaving' his teens he had read Shaftesbury, Collins, and other 
Deistical writers. They shook his mind. When about 
nineteen he wrote and published a "Dissertation on Lib- 
erty and Necessity." Its conclusions were that there is no 
inherent distinction between virtue and vice, and that man 
is really under the reign of Fate. But, as Lossing says, 
"Franklin always looked back to those early efforts of his 
pen, in opposition to Christian ethics, with great regret " 
(Lives of Celebrated Americans, p. 40). He afterwards did 
all he could to gather every copy of his " Dissertation," and 
annihilate it forever (Parton'p Life of Franklin, vol. i, p. 
132). But it is on the strength of this treatise that Frartklin 
is claimed as an Infidel! We might as justly sum up Col. 
Ingersoll's life, and say he was a drunkard and a Democrat, 
because there has been a period when he was both. 

When twenty -two he reconsidered his position and 
retraced his steps. He passed through what Parton calls a 
"regeneration"! He drew up a creed and a liturgy for 
himself (Parton's Life of Franklin, vol. i, pp. 107-178). 
When twenty-three he called "Atheism" "nonsense," and 



THE nUMniUEY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. l5 

pronounced "the Christian religion the best of all relig- 
ions" (Ibid, vol. i, pp. 192-3). When fifty-eight he advised 
and urged his daugliter to "go constantly to Church," to 
be devout, and "never miss the prayer days" (Ibid, vol, i, 
455). When sixty-seven he styled himself a " Protestant of 
the Church of England, holding in the highest venera- 
tion the doctrines of Jesus Christ" (Ibid, vol. i, p. 557). 
When eighty he asked: " If men are so wicked icitli religion, 
what would they be wiilwut it ?" He advised a Freethinker 
not to publish an Infidel work (Ibid, vol. ii, p. 554). In the 
Conv^tion of 1787, when he was eighty-one, he made this 
motion', *',That henceforth prayers, imploring the assistance 
of Heaven and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in 
this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business; 
and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested 
to officiate in that service. " 

In the course of his remarks in support of this motion lie 
said: *' In this situation of this Assembly, groping, as it. 
were, in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to 
distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, 
Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly ap- 
plying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understand- 
ings? In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when 
we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this 
room for the Divine protection. Our prayers. Sir, were 
heard; and they were graciously answered. All of us who 
were engaged in the struggle, must have observed frequent 
instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To 
that kind Providence we owe this opportunity of consulting 
in peace, and the means of establishing our future national 
felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? 
or do wo imagine we no longer need its assistance? I have 
lived. Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more con- 
vincing proofs I see of this truth: Thai God cjovernsin the 
affairs of men''' (Ibid, vol. ii, p. 573), 

When eighty-four he gave a summary of liis creed in these 



16 THE HUMPnKEY-BEXNETT DISCUSSION. 

words: "1 believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. 
That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be 
worshiped. Tiiat the most acceptable service to him is do- 
ing good to his other children. That the soul of man is 
immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life 
respecting its conduct in this." He was undecided in 
regard to the divinity of Christ, but thought there was no 
harm in believing that doctrine (vol. ii, p. G15-Gt6). When 
eighty-five, and near his death, "he had a picture of Christ 
on the Cross placed so that he could conveniently look at 
it as he lay in bed. ' That,' he would say, ' is the picture 
of one who came into the world to teach men to love one 
another' " (Ibid, p. 618). And "his last look, it is recorded, 
was cast upon the picture of Christ " (Ibid, p. G19). 

Can you, my dear Sir, have the hardihood to assert that a 
man who lived such a life, and died such a death, was aii 
Infidel ? Can you impugn the authorities to which I have 
referred you ? Yv^'ould it not be better to reject the floating 
gossip that Franklin w^as a Deist, and accredit the facts of 
history — that he was a skeptic only in his minority; 
that when he became a man, he renounced his skepticism; 
and that he drifted farther and farther from it until the end 
of his life? 

In regard to Washington I will say but a word. You say 
he was a Deist. The only evidence you furnish is the testi- 
mony of Dr. Abercrombie; and that testimony does not 
come direct, but in a roundabout way which makes it very 
unreliable. Robert Dale Owen said that "Dr. Wilson" said 
that Dr. Abercrombie said that Washington was a Deist! 
Thomas Pame "did not choose to rest his belief on such evi- 
dence" as "hearsay upon hearsay." How is it that you, 
the disciple, are more credulous than your master ? The 
explanation is easy: This story about Abercrombie — more 
vague than the legend of the little hatchet — is the only scrap 
of proof that you can produce from all the libraries of the 
world that Washington was a Deist 1 



TtiE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 17 

The truth is, Washington was a strictly moral and highly 
religious man. He prohibited card-playing, gaming, drink- 
ing, and profanity among his troops. If divine services 
were missed necessarily on Sunday, he would introduce 
them at the earliest opportunity on a week day. He recom- 
mended a special meeting for prayer and thanksgiving after 
the capitulation at Yorktown. He was in the habit of fast- 
ing. He made it a rule to attend church on the Sabbatb. 
In a letter dated Aug. 20, 1778, he said: "The hand of 
ProvidencQ has been so conspicuous in all, that he must be 
worse than an Infidel, that lacks faith, and more than wicked, 
that has not gratitude to acknowledge his obligations." He 
regarded " Religion and Morality as the essential pillars of 
civil society." These statements are not old wives' fables. 
You will find undeniable authority for all of them if you 
will look over Washington's Writings, edited by Sparks, 
Boston, 1835. See, in particular, vol. ii, pp. 141, 167, 40G; vol. 
iv, p. 28; vol. v, p. 88; vol. viii, p. 189; vol. xii, pp. 245, 
400, 402. Irving testifies that, in early life, he led prayer- 
meetings, and that under special difficulties (Life of Wash- 
ington, Leipzig, 1859, vol. i, p. 109). Weems, who was in- 
timately acquainted with Washington, bears witness that he 
was a devout and godly man (Life of Washington, 1837, pp. 
174-189). You must rebut these authorities with stronger 
authorities, or else admit that the Father of his Country 
was far from being an Infidel. 

Space compels me to defer my discussion of Adams and 
Jefferson until my next. Very respectfully, 

G. H. Humphrey. 



MR. BENNETT 



Rev. G. H. Humphrey, Dear Sir : I fear you are inclined 
to give me more credit than I am entitled to, as you say I 
admitted the substance of your first letter. You mistake; I 
did not admit so much. I simply stated that I did not claim 



IS THE IIUMPnREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

that unbelievers, in the American struggle, equaled, numeri 
cally, the believers. On all the other points I took issue 
with you. 

You are mistaken again in saying I asserted that resist- 
ance to constituted government " is contrary to the princi- 
ples of Scripture." I said nothing of the kind. If you 
will refer to my reply you will see that I said it was con- 
trary to the spirit of Christianity — a very wide difference. 
I readily grant that in the Old Testament there are numer- 
ous instances where war and bloodshed were brought 
into use to overthrow existing governments. The God of 
the Old Testament seems to have been more fond of war 
and slaughter than anything else. He styled himself " the 
Lord of Hosts" and "the God of Battles," and gloried in 
subduing enemies. But that was not Christianity, and I 
defy you to cite one instance where the reputed founder of 
Christianity, or its early promulgators, ever incited a war 
for freedom, or even admitted the advisability of such a 
struggle. The burden of Christ's teachings touching this 
point, as I said, was, "submit" and "obey," "never 
rebel," " assert not your own independence." 

I am very sure you cannot cite an instance where Christ, 
or any of his disciples, ever encouraged a people to rise 
against their oppressors, or to lift their hands to strike off 
the chains that bound them. That would not have been the 
spirit of Christianity. Its office, in its incipiency, was to 
make people contented with their lot, and to enjoin them to 
submit to the powers that were. Christ said explicitly " My 
kingdom is not of this world ; if my kingdom -^ere of this 
word, then would my servants fight." He found his own 
nation groaning under the heel of foreign oppression, but 
he said not a word to incite resistance to that oppression. 
Wlicn the hand of tyranny was laid upon himself, and his 
liberty and life were in peril, he moved not a fingor towards 
freedom. The tenor of all his teachings was to yield sub- 
mission to the powers of this world, for the glories that 



THE nUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 19 

await in the next. No, Christ did not teach people to rise 
and fight for liberty, nor even to aspire to political free- 
dom. To fight for political rights was contrary to the 
injuncJions of him who said, "My servants do not fight." 
To do that was opposition to his entire teachings. It loas 
Infidelity. Hence the American people were doing the work 
of Infidelity when they took up arms to resist a Christian 
power. 

You seem disposed to claim persons as Christians who evi- 
dently were not such. And before we go further, it will be 
well to understand what is required in order to be a Chris- 
tian. It does not make a man a Christian to be born of Chris- 
tian parents, to have a Christian wife, or to sometimes, or fre- 
quently, attend a Christian church, nor to pay for a pew in a 
Christian church. He is not a Christian though he admits 
that Jesus had a real existence, that he was a good man and 
taught good morals. It does not make a man a Christian to 
believe that the Christian religion, in most respects, is an im- 
provement on the systems that previously existed in the 
world. It does not make a man a Christian to be a lover of 
virtue and moraliiy. This class of men have been found in 
all S3'^stems of religion. But to be a Christia«, a man must 
accept and believe the dogmas constituting the Christian re- 
ligion, the principal among which are that Jesnis was divinely 
begotten ; that he is God ; that he died to reconcile God to 
man; to atone for a lost world; and that, without a belief in 
him and in the efficacy of his blood, there can be no salva- 
tion. This I have heard proclaimed from Christian pulpits 
again and again, and I hardly think you will deny it. I will 
call youi' attention to an ecclesiatical trial that is now pending 
against the Rev. John Miller, Princeton, N. J., of your own 
denomination (Presbyterian), for holding that the Bible does 
not teach that Jesus is God; that he was simply a chosen man, 
and for denying the Trinity. For this the Rev. Miller is 
charged with being a heretic, or an Infidel, and there is but 
«littlc doubt that he will be expelled from the position in the 



20 THE HUMPQREY-BENNETT DI^iCUi^SION 

Christian pulpit wliich lie has occupied. So be careful, my 
Friend, that you do not claim as Christians those whom 
your own church docs not accept. Let not Brother Miller's 
perils escape your observation. 

Before giving quotations from recognized authorities, I 
wish to call your attention to the fact, that most of the biog- 
raphies and histories published arc written, directly or 
indirectly, in the interest of Christianity. A large pro- 
portion of them are written by Christian clergymen or 
Christian professors, or, at all events, they are written for 
a Christian market, and everything is shaped and colored 
accordingly. A shrewd caterer, of course, always prepares 
his viands to suit the taste of his patrons, and to please those 
who pay their money. When a great or distinguished man 
has passed away, the fondness for making it appear that he 
was a Christian, or that he accepted the Christian system, is 
most conspicuous, and it is often amusing to notice the 
ingenuity employed in that direction. It is not to be 
thought strange, then, if the Infidel views of our great men 
are kept in the background, and that every circumstance 
which even squints toward their feeling friendly to the 
Christian religion is most favorably presented. Everything 
and everybody is expected to bow in submission to the great 
Diana of the age— the Christian religion. 

I cannot agree with you, that you have proved Franklin 
to have been a Christian, His being raised under religious 
influences does not establish it. Paine was so reared, and so 
were the larger share of Infidels. You admit that, during a 
portion of his life, he was an Atheist. I did not claim so 
much, but that he was a moderate Deist, or Moralist. You 
speak of his having drawn up a creed and liturgy of his 
own. He did so, but that hardly proves him a Christian, 
but rather the reverse. Had he been a Christian, he would 
have needed no creed of his ow^n. The creed of the Chris- 
tian Church would have been all he needed. Besides, his 
creed was pure Deism. He spoke of God with great rever- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 21 

eace, but said nothing about liis divine Son, nor of the effi- 
cacy of his blood, nor of his death. 

Parton says (vol. i, p. 175): "As Franklin grew older he 
abandoned the fantastical part of his creed and settled down 
into the belief of these six articles: ' There is one God, the 
Creator of all things. God governs the world by his provi- 
dence. God ought to be worshiped. Doing good to man is 
the service most acceptable to God. Man is immortal. In 
the future world the disembodied souls of men will be dealt 
with justly.' " This is Deism — nothing more, and nothing 
less — and agrees as nearly with the religion of Thomas 
Paine as the creeds of two men can agree. It contains 
nothing of the dogmas of Christianity, nothing of the author 
of it. On page 71, vol. i, in speaking of the change which 
had occurred in Franklin's views, Parton sa^'s: "He escaped 
the theology of terror and became forever incapable of wor- 
shiping a jealous, revengeful, and vindictive God." If 
Parton was correct, Franklin was forever incapacitated for 
becoming a Christian. 

On page 319, vol. i, Parton settles the question of Frank- 
lin's belief most conclusively. He says: " In conversation 
with familiar friends he (Franklin) called himself a Deist or 
Theist, and he resented a sentence in Mr. Whitefield's Jour, 
nal which seemed to imply that between a Deist and an 
Atheist there was little or no difference. Whitefield wrote: 
' M. B. is a Deist; I had almost said an Atheist. ' * That is,' 
said Franklin, ' clialk^ I had almost said charcoal.'" It 
will be seen by this that, while Franklin did not like to be 
called an Atheist, he notably called himself a Deist, and 
did not object to others doing so ; and there is not the first 
particle of proof that he ever changed from this position. 

On page 546, vol. i, Parton, in speaking of the intimacy 
oetween Priestley and Franklin, quotes from Priestley's 
Autobiography these words: "It is much to be lamented 
Ihat a man of Franklin's general good character and great in- 
^uence should have been an unbeliever in Christianity, and 



22 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

also have done so much as he did to make others unbeliev- 
ers." Priestley furnished some works upon the evidences of 
Christianity for Franklin to read, but the American war 
breaking out sood after, he presumed Franklin never read 
them. I regard these as positive proofs of Franklin's 
Deism. Priestley knew him well and had frequent conver- 
sations with him upon the subject, and though he was him- 
self considered very radical, and was often denounced as an 
Infidel, he still regretted that Franklin was still more unbe- 
lieving. If Priestlej'", who knew him so intimately, knew 
him to be a Deist, is it not a work of supererogation in us, 
who knew him much less intimately, to undertake to call 
him a Christian? In his comments Par ton says: "Perhaps 
If the two men were now alive, we might express the theo- 
logical difference between them by saying Priestley was a 
Unitarian of the Channing school, and Franklin of that of 
Theodore Parker" — a total unbeliever in the dogmas of 
Christianity. Everybody knows that Parker was a thou- 
sand times denounced as an Infidel. 

To show how great a reverence Franklin entertained for 
the sacredness of the Bible, I will allude to a fact which 
Parton mentions (vol. i, p. 320). It was a custom with 
Franklin to amuse himself and his friends by taking up the 
Bible and pretending to read from it, instead of which he 
extemporized as he went along. Had he believed the 
Bible to be the word of God, he would hardly have subject- 
ed it to caricature and ridicule in that manner. 

In vol. ii, p. 413, is mentioned the list of Franklin's 
friends in Paris, with whom he was on familiar terms, as 
follows. Turgot, Rayual, Morcellet, Rochefo«ucault, Buf- 
foD, D'Alembert, Condorcet, Cabanis, LeRoy, Mabley, Mi- 
rabeau, D'Holbach, Marmontel, Necker, Malcsherbes, Wat- 
elet, Madame de Genlis, Madame Denis, Madame Helve- 
tius, Madame Brillon, Madame de Stiiel, La Viellard, etc. 
These were mostly Infidels and were, to say the least, 
rather questionable company for a Christian. Jonathan Ed- 



THE nUMrnUEY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. ^o 

wards would hardly have selected them for companions- 
Voltaire and Franklin entertained a high regard for each 
other. They met at a theatre on a certain occasion in Paris, 
when they embraced each other like brothers. Voltaire 
w^ould liardly have been so affectionate towards a Christian, 
nor a Christians toward Voltaire. 

You speak of Franklin advising a Freethinker not to pub 
lish a certain skeptical work which he had written. This 
has often been said to refer to Paine and his "Age of Rea- 
son." To show how far this is from being the truth, it is 
only necessary to state that Franklin died not less than three 
years before a word of the "Age of Reason " was written. 
Parton says: " Paine was a resident of Philadelphia, a fre- 
quenter of Franklin's house, and was as well aware as we 
are of Dr. Fruklin's religious opinions. Nor is there much 
in the "Age of Reason" to which Franklin would have 
refused his assent " (vol. ii, p. 553). He classes Franklin 
with such Chrisiiang (?) as Goethe, Schiller, Voltaire, Hume, 
and Jefferson, and says they all would have belonged to the 
same church (vol. ii, p. 646). Does that look much as 
though Parton considered Franklin a Christian? If Frank- 
lin could have accepted the ''Age of Reason," it is a marvel 
how you can claim him as a Christian! 

Allow me to make a few quotations from Franklin's pri- 
vate letters. To B. Vaughan (1778) he said: "Remember 
me affectionately to good Dr. Price and to the honest here- 
tic, Dr. Priestley. I do not call him lionest by way of dis- 
tinction, for I think all the heretics I have known have been 
virtuous men. They have the virtue of fortitude, or they 
would never venture to own their heresy." That does not 
sound much like a Christian. How he felt toward the 
Bible may be inferred from an extract from a letter which 
he wrote to a friend, in 1784. He observes: "There are 
several things in the Old Testament impossible to be given 
by divine inspiration; such as the approbation ascribed to 
Ihe angel of the Lord, of that abominably wicked and d<j' 



24 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

testable action of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite" 
(Opinions of Celebrated Men, p. 9). This is sufficient to 
show that certain parts of the Bible, at least, he did not 
believe were given by divine inspiration, and there is noth- 
ing to prove that he had any special veneration for the book 
as a whole. There is also nothing to show that he believed 
Jesus to be a god or to have been divinely begotten by God. 
When he had reached the great age of eighty-five years, 
and President Ezra Stiles, of Yale, addressed him a letter, 
asking positively as to his views regarding Jesus Christ, he 
showed in his reply that they had undergone no mate- 
rial change. He wrote: "As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opin- 
ion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of 
morals and his religion, as he left them to us, the best the 
world ever saw, or is like to see ; but I apprehend it has 
received various corrupting changes, and I have, with the 
present dissenters in England, some doubts as to his divin- 
ity, though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having 
never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with 
it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the 
truth with less trouble." This was probably his last utter, 
ance upon the subject; and while he did not wish to express 
himself harshly to his respected Christian friend, he con- 
fesses that though he regarded the teachings of Jesus as supe- 
rior to the human teachers who had preceded him, and his 
system of religion an improvement upon the old pagan sys- 
tems, he did not accept his diviuiiy; that he had not taken 
interest enough in it to study the question, and that in view 
of an early visitation of death, he did not deem it necessary 
to do so. He did not fear to die io his belief that Jesus was 
simply a good man— a position that nearly all Deists occupy. 
I repeat, then, Franklin was emphatically a Deist, and he 
died without experiencing any change of views upon the 
subject. The painting you spoke of proves little. It might 
have been a fine work of art, or the gift of a dear friend, bui 
because it was in his room, or because his eyes rested upon 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 25 

it, does not show that he at anytime accepted Jesus as God, 
or that his life-long deistical views had changed. He did not 
deem it necessary to wash in Jesus' blood, nor to have any 
special part in him, before or after he closed his eyes in 
death. 

As to Washington, you anticipated somewhat the evidence 
I intended to present, and you seem not satisfied with its 
directness. It certainly is not very " roundabout," nor very 
apocryphal in character. Robert Dale Owen, a gentleman 
of unblemished character and great intelligence, is still liv- 
ing. He had seen an article in the Albany DoAly Advertiser 
of October 39, 1831, from the pen of the Rev. Dr. Wilson of 
the Episcopal church in that city, in which he had given as 
authority Dr. Abercrombie, rector of the Episcopal church 
in Philadelphia which Washington attended while Presi- 
dent, that on occasions of the administration of the sacra- 
ment of the Lord's Supper, Washington invariably absented 
himself ; and when in a discourse the Doctor reprovingly 
alluded to it Washington took some offense at it and was 
ne^er known to stay through the ceremony and participate 
in the rite. Mr. Owen called upon Dr. Wilson. He read to 
him the Advertiser article, and said he had called to converse 
with him upon the subject of what his friend. Dr. Aber- 
crombie, had said in reference to Washington. Dr. Wil- 
son's response was as follows, "I endorse every word of 
that," and further added, "As I conceive that truth is 
truth, whether it make for us or against us, I will, not con- 
ceal from you any information I have on this subject, even 
such as I have not given to the public." He then narrated 
the conversations he had with Dr. Abercrombie upon the 
subject of Washington's religious views, and gave that emi- 
nent clergyman's word's, thus, "Sir, Washington was a 
Deist!" "Now," continued Dr. Wilson, "I have perused 
every line that Washington ever gave to the public, and I 
do not find one expression in which he pledges himself as a 
professor of Christianity. I think anjr raan wUq will CM~ 



26 . THE HUMPHREY -BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

didly do as I have done will come to the conclusion I hat he 
was a Deist and nothing more" (Bachelor and Owen Debate, 
p. 369). 

I repeat, this does not strike me as heiag "round- 
about or unreliable." Between Dr. Abercrombie and Mr. 
Owen was onl}^ Dr. Wilson, and all three of the gentlemen 
f were men of character and reliability, and Dr. Abercrombie 
had excellent opportunities for knowing Washington's views. 
Your allusion to what Paine said about " hearsay upon 
hearsay " in his remarks B.houi*revelation appear to be hardly 
to the point. And permit me to add, if the system of relig- 
ion which you so greatly revere were based upon testimony 
half as direct and reliable as this of Dr. Abercrombie, Dr. 
Wilson and Robert Dale Owen, its credibility would be 
greatly improved. In this case there is nothing of the nature 
of a dream related by a second party, from fifty to one hun- 
dred and fifty years after it was said to have been dreamed. 
Touching Washington's religious views, Thomas Jefi^erson 
wrote as follows in his journal of 1800 (Jefferson's Works, 
vol. iv, p. 572): "Dr. Rush told me, he had it from Asa 
Green, that when the clergy addressed Gen. Washington on 
his departure from the government, it was observed in tiieir 
consultation that he had never, on any occasion, said a 
word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian 
religion, and they thought they should so pen their addresses 
as to force him at length to disclose publicly whether he was 
a Christian or not. However, he observed, the old fox was 
too cunning for them. He answered every article of their 
address, particularly, except that, which he passed over 
without notice. Rush observes, he (Washington) never did 
say a word on the subject in any of his public papers, ex- 
cept in his valedictory letters to the governors of the States, 
when he resigned his commission in the army, wherein he 
speaks of the benign influence of the Christian religion. I 
know that Gouverneur Morris, who claimed to be in his 
secrets, and believed himself to be so, has often told me that 



THE HUMPHREY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 37 

General Washington believed no more in that system (Chris- 
tianity) than he did." So much from Jefierson, which does 
not speak very strong for Washington's belief in Chris- 
tianity, or Morris' either. 

Washington's reticence on doctrinal points was marked. 
He was discreet and non-commital; he did not obtrude his 
Deistic views upon others, but that he firmly maintained 
them cannot be doubted. I agree with you that he was a 
moral man, but you hardly have the guarantee forsaking 
that he was '''highly religious." He was no more so than is 
compatible with a belief in Deism. I think you cannot quote 
a paragraph, that he wrote or a word that he uttered, which 
shows that he accepted the dogmas of Christianity, that he 
believed that Jesus is God and that his blood is essential to the 
salvation of the world. While he was President he signed 
a treaty made between our government and Tripoli, where- 
in it was solemnly declared that "the government of the 
United Slates is not in any sense founded on the Christian 
religion." 

As to Benjamin Rush, perhaps I was hardly authorized to 
class him among the Deists, though he was a liberal and 
progressive man. Possibly the friendship he showed to 
Paine, and the manner in which Jefferson uses his name and 
remarks justified my doing so. There may be no accessible 
proof that Hamilton was a Deist, though probably as much 
as there is that he was a Christian, or that he believed in 
the Christian dogmas. I, however, waive special claim to 
Hamilton. As to Aaron Burr, I did not sa}' nor intimate that 
he was a "scoffer," nor did I suppose he was so more than 
Franklin, Washington or Jefferson. If, however, you had 
been a little fuller in your quotation from Parton, you would 
have ihown that Burr was all I claimed him to be — one who 
did not accept the divinity of Jesus Christ. At tlie time of 
Burr's death, Dr. Van Pelt, Reformed Dutch clergyman, was 
called in, and he questioned Burr closely upon his belief in 
the merits of Jesus, who suffered and died on the cross for 



28 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSBLON. 

the salvation of Ihe world. Burr's laconic and conclusive 
reply was, " On that subject I am coy " (Life and Times of 
Burr, p. 681). If he entertained any belief in Jesus being 
the son of God, and that he must be saved by faith in him, 
that was the time for him to confess it. He should then 
have ceased to be coy or silent. But he did not ; and 
you have no just grounds upon which to claim him as a 
Christian. The same with Gouverneur Morris. Of him 
and Madison I will probably have more to say as we pro- 
gress. D. M. B. 



MR. HUMPHREY. 

Kew York, April 28, 1877. 
Mr. D. M. Bennett— i)ear 8ir: Examine my last letter 
closer and you will find I did not say that Franklin was 
ever an Atheist. You say his creed contains no recognition 
of the divinity of Christ. Th^t is true; hut ilie doctrine of 
the divinity of Christ is not the dividing line between Infidelity 
and Christianity, hut the doctrine of ihe divine origin of the 
Bible. See Webster's and Worcester's definitions of the 
words "Infidelity" and "Christianity." When Parlon says 
Franklin "escaped the theology of tei'ror, and became 
forever incapable of worshiping a jealous, revengeful 
and vindictive God," he meant no more than that 
he was emancipated from the hyper-Calvinism of "the 
Lord Brethren of Boston " (Liie of Franklin, vol i, p. 71). 
He had still the wide domain of Arminianism to traverse 
before reaching the borders of Deism. If his friendship 
with French Atheists proves that he was an Infidel, then, 
on the same principle, his friendship with such men as Cot- 
ton Mather, Samuel Adams, Ezra Stiles, Benj. Rush, Ed- 
mund Burke, Adam Smith, John Jay, Bishop Shipley, 
George Whitfield, etc., etc., proves that he was a first-rate 
Christian. It is true Franklin and Voltaire were friends; 



THE nUMPnKEY-BENNETT DISCUSStON. 39 

but that embracing in the theatre proves nothing, as it was 
not spoutaneous, but an act forced by the popular clamor 
for a salutation "French fashion" (Parton's Life of Franklin, 
vol. ii, p. 316). As you say, Parton classifies Franklin^ 
Jefferson, and Adams with Paine. But how does he do it? 
Is it by asserting that the former three were Freethinkers ? 
No; unaccountable as that may be, he does it by eaying 
that the '*Age of Reason contains nothing against religion" 
(Life of Franklin, vol, ii, p. 552) ! It is said again that 
Franklin "called himself a Deist or Theist." A man that 
can use words in that helter-skelter kind of a way could 
prove anything from any document. "Deist or Theist"! 
Mr. Parton ought to know that these words, as they are 
currently used and popularly understood, are as different 
as "chalk" and "charcoal." The former means an Infidel, 
and the latter signifies a believer in a personal God and in a 
divine revelation. That Franklin was a Theist is all I con- 
tend for. I will let you and Parton reconcile the foregoing 
with what the latter says of Franklin in his remarks on the 
motion for prayers in the Convention of 1787: " It was the 
more remarkable to see the aged Franklin, who was a Deist 
at fifteen " — mark it, "was a Deist at fifteen " — "and had 
just returned from France/' — from the midst of those Athe- 
istic friends — " coming back to the sentiments of his ances- 
tors" (Parton's Life of Franklin, vol. ii, p. 575). You 
refer to Priestley's lamentation that Fraaklin was " an un- 
believer in Christianity." I will say, in the words of Par- 
ton, *'Ido not understand what Priestley meant," What 
did he disbelieve? He was only undecided 2^^ to the divinity 
of Christ. He believed in the most incredible doctrines of 
Christianity, such as the resurrection of the body and 
future rewards and punishments, and in its leading duties* 
such as thanksgiving and prayer. In the preface to his 
abridged book of Common Prayer, he styled himself a 
"Protestant of the Church of England," and a "sincere 
lover of social worship." In spite of Parton's leaning to 



Bo THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

"Liberalism," lie had to describe his death by saying 
"To use the ancient language, he had fallen asleep in Jesus, 
and rested in hope of a blessed immortality " (vol. ii, p. 619) 

You repeat the " hearsay upon hearsay " in rebuttal of my 
proofs that Washington was not a Deist. I cannot receive 
R. D. Owen's testimon\% but with suspicion. A man that 
could be imposed upon by a silly girl like Katie King, is 
rather incompetent to sift and furnish evidence. The 
treaty with Tripoli, ratified in 1796, was "in no sense" of 
a personal character. The statement that "the Government 
of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian 
religion," was only an assurance that the American Repub- 
lic was not so allied to Christianity that the peace with 
Tripoli, or with any other power, would be interrupted on 
account of religion. It gives no hint that Washington person- 
ally ignored Christianity. His writings contain abundant 
proof that he did not. The only thing "observed" was his 
silence on sectarian doctrines. He was bold and frequent 
in his commendation and recommendation of the general 
principles of Christianity. 

Even Vale admits that the "publication of Paine's De- 
istical opinions might have been one of the causes of Gen. 
Washington's indifference to Fame during his imprisonment 
in France " (Life of Paine, p. 129). Most assuredly, then, 
Washington was no sympathizer with Deism. 

But it is claimed that John Adams, too, was an Infidel. 
Let us see about that. He was reared in an orthodox fam- 
ily. He was educated at Harvard, an institution that was 
then pervaded by a religious spirit. At twenty he thought 
of entering the ministry. But his taste led him to study 
law. He read many skeptical works, which modified the 
rigidity of his theological views. He disliked Calvinism. 
So did Adam Clarke and John Wesley. He despised 
wrangling sectarianism. So did St. Paul. As evidence 
that this representation is correct, see Bancroft, vol. iii, p. 
143; vol. v, p. 207. 



THE HUMPHREY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 3 1 

A patient and iaipartial examination of John Adams' Life 
and Works, Boston, 1856, cannot but show you that he was 
not a Deist. In his diary, Jan. 23, 1756, he wrote: "Sup- 
pose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible 
for their only law-book, and every member should regulate 
his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. Every mem- 
ber would be obliged, in conscience, to temperance and 
frugality and industry; to justice and kindness and charity 
towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence 
towards Almighty God. -In this commonwealth no man 
would impair his health by gluttony, drunkenness, or lust; 
no man would sacrifice his most precious time at cards, or 
any other trifling and mean amusement; no man would 
steal or lie, or in any way defraud his neighbor, but would 
live in peace and good will with all men; no man would 
blaspheme his Maker or profane his worship (Works, vol. 
ii, pp. 6, 7). He says of Bolingbroke, whom he admired 
as 2>. political writer: "His religion is a pompous folly, and 
his abuse of the Christian religion is as superficial as it is 
impious;" "a haughty, arrogant, supercilious dogmatist" 
(vol. i, p. 44; vol. X, p. 82). At the age of sixty he said: 
*' The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever 
prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion 
of wisdom, virtue, equity, and humanity " (vol. iii, p. 421). 
In a letter to Benj. Rush, in 1810, he said: " The Christian 
religion, as I understand it, is the brightness of the glory 
and the express portrait of the character of the eternal, 
self-existent, independent, benevolent, all-powerful, and 
all-merciful creator, preserver, and father of the Universe, 
the first good, first perfect, and first fair. It will last as 
long as the world. Neither savage nor civilized man, with- 
out a revelation^ could ever have discovered or invented it " 
(vol. ix, p. 627). In a letter to Jefferson, dated Dec. 25, 
1813, he wrote: " I have examined all, as well as my narrow 
sphere, my straitened means, and my busy life would allow 
me; and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the 



;]2 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION'. 

world. It contains more of my little pliilosophy tlian all 
the libraries I have seen ; and such parts of it as I cannot 
reconcile to my little philosophy, I postpone for future in- 
vestigation" (vol. X, p. 85), Bancroft says he "invoked 
the blessing of heaven to make the new-born republic more 
glorious than any which had gone before " (vol. v, p. 312). 
The most that can be said of him is that he was a Unitarian 
of the most conservative kind (Works, vol. i., p. G2I; vol. 
iii, p. 423; vol. x, pp. 66, 84). But he did not "deny 
Christianity and the truth of the Scriptures," therefore he 
was not an Infidel. 

The thoroughly religious character of his son, John 
Quincy Adams, shows that he did not impart Deistical in- 
struction. His writings abound with severe criticisms on 
Paine's views. This we shall show more fully hereafter. 

But you have put in a special claim to Thomas Jefferson. 
The inquiry will naturally arise, How did Jefferson come to 
have the name of being an Infidel ? The answer substan- 
tially is. That this story was circulated by political oppo- 
nents in the campaign of 1800, and it has been kept alive 
ever since, mostly by those who desired it to be true. This 
story is about as creditable and about as credible as its co- 
temporaneous calumny that he had a bistard by one of Irs 
slaves (Parton's Life of Jefferson, p. 569). 

I will argue that Jefferson was not a Deist, in the full 
sense of that term, in four ways; 1. From his early training. 
His parents were, theoretically and practically, believers in 
the Christian religion. Their illustrious son was thoroughly 
indoctrinated in that religion. Of course, this does not 
'prove that he continued to cherish those principles ; but 
in the absence of positive evidence to the contrary, the 
presumption would be that he did. 

3. An argument of some weight may be based on the 
man whom he admired most, and in whose learning and 
judgment he had the greatest confidence. I refer to Dr. 
Priestley. I have examined Priestley's w^orks carefully, 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCDSSION. 33 

and especially those to which Jefferson refers with his 
endorsement. In those works there is not a word of denial 
that the Scriptures are the inspired word of God. The 
author argues invsLTia.h]y from the Bible, but never against 
it. He contended for what he conceived to be purely 
Scriptural doctrines. On reading the life of Priestley I 
find, moreover, that he wrote a book in defence of the Bible 
against the attacks of Volney and Paine. If this was the 
character of Priestley, the master, may we not fairly infer 
that that of Jefferson, the disciple, was similar to it ? 

3. We may certainly reason from Jefferson's own writ- 
ings. He admits that he was sometimes more angry with 
sectaries than is authorized by the blessed charities which 
Jesus preached (Works, vol. vii, p. 128). This occasional 
"anger" may account for his occasionally rash expressions. 
The general tenor of his correspondence is on the side of the 
Christian religion. In several of his letters he complained 
that *Mibels" had been published against him (vol. iv, 
p. 477 — Randall's Life of Jefferson, vol. iii., p. 45). 
He wrote to Dr. Rush in the year 1803 that his real 
sentiments were very different from that anti-Christian 
system attributed to him by those who knew nothing of 
his opinions (Works, vol. iv, p. 479). In his bill for estab- 
lishing religious freedom, he referred to "the holy Author 
of our Religion." In referring to a collection of New Tes- 
tament passages which he called " Philosophy of Jesus," 
he said: " A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I 
have never seen; it is a document in proof that / am a real 
Christian " (Works, vol. vi, p. 518). He believed in future 
rewards and punishments (Works, vol. vii, p. 352). He 
spoke of the Bible as a revelation (Works, vol iv., p. 423; 
vol. vii., p. 281). In a letter to Rush in 1803 he said: "To 
the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but 
not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. lam a Chris- 
tian in the only sense in which he wished any one to be ; 
sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all 



34 THE nUMPTITlEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

Others; ascribiug to him every humaii -exceWencc, and 
believing he never claimed any other " (Works, yol. iv, p. 
479). Shortly before his dissolution he said: " I resign my- 
self to my God, and my child to my conntry " (Encyclope- 
dia Britannica). 

In reply to all this you will probably remind us that 
Jefferson disliked the Presbyterians; that he had to over- 
ride some of the clergy to establish religious toleration; that 
he said some pretty hard things of those who seemed to 
have more zeal than knowledge; that he advised Peter Carr 
to "fix Eeason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal 
every fact, every opinion"; that he made no Thanksgiving 
proclamations; and that he entertained Paine, and spoke 
well of his writings— all of which is no proof that Thomas 
Jefferson was an Infidel. The Presbyterians were disliked 
in that age by almost every other denomination. Religious 
toleration was advocated and established by the Revolution- 
ary statesmen, not because they were opposed to religion, 
but because they wanted to give to every form of religion 
equal protection and equal privileges. The advice to Peter 
Carr was only an application of the Protestant doctrine of 
the "right of private judgment." No one denounced Phar- 
isees as did the Founder of Christianity. Jefferson's refusal 
to proclaim Thanksgiving days was based, not on any an- 
tagonism to religion, but on his peculiar construction of the 
Constitution. The}'- were not all Deists that entertained 
Thomas Paine occasionally. James Monroe kept him in 
his house in Paris for eighteen months; but it is well 
known that President Monroe lived and died a Christian 
And almost everybody, regardless of religious belief, spoke 
well of Paine's political writings. Jefferson never endorsed 
any other. 

4. There is another consideration worth mentioning. It 
does not appear that Jefferson and Thomas Paine ever ex- 
changed ideas on religion. Randall says this topic did not 
enter into the conversation when the latter visited Monti- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 35 

cello ill 1802 (Life of JeffeTson, vol. ii, p. 644). Some nine 
or ten of Jefferson's letters to Paine are still extant. Relig- 
ion is scarcely mentioned in any of them. It cannot be said 
that Jefferson's silence arose from any distaste for the sub- 
ject, for his letters to other friends are full of thoughts on 
ihat very theme. Is not this an incidental proof that there 
was no congeniality between Paine's and Jefferson's relig- 
ious views? 

5. But my conclusion from Jefferson's writings is by no 
means singular. It is substantially that of nearly all his 
standard biographers. Even Parton calls Adams and Jeffer- 
son "Christians" (Life of Jefferson, p. 570). The Cyclopedia 
Americana and the Encyclopedia Britannica do not intimate 
that he wa? an unbeliever. The New American Cyclope- 
dia in 1864 said: "Discarding faith as unphilosophical, he 
became an Infidel." But the edition of 1874 says simply 
" He carried the rule of subjecting everything to the test of 
abstract reason into matters of religion, venerating the moral 
character of Christ, but refusing belief in liis divine mis- 
sion," i. e. , disbelieving in his divinity. Quite a modification, 
or rather recantation, in tenyears. Tucker says : "His relig^ 
ious creed, as disclosed in his correspondence, cannot per- 
haps be classed with that of any particular sect; but he was 
nearer the Socinian than any other. In the last years of his 
life, when questioned by any of his friends on this subject, 
he used to say he was an Unitarian " (Life of Jefferson, 
London, 1837, vol. ii, p. 563), Bancroft says: "He was 
not.only a hater of priestcraft and superstition and bigotry 
and intolerance, he was thought to be indifferent to relig- 
ion; yet his instincts all inclined him to trace every fact to 
a general law, and to put faith in ideal truth; the world 
of the senses did not bound his aspirations, and he believed 
more than he was himself aware of " (vol, v, p, 323). Linn 
says: "However opposed Mr. Jefferson may have been to 
what he considered the corruptions or abuses of Christianity, 
yet to the spirit and precepts of the Gospel he was strongly 



36 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DlSCtTSSION. 

attached ; and of our Savior lie was a warm and professed 
admirer (Life of Jefferson, Itiiaca, 1839. p. 264.) 

Perhaps the best Life of Jefferson is that by Henry S. 
Randall, LL.D. In the preparation of it the author had the 
approbation and assistance of Mr. Jefferson's family. He 
devotes the fourteenth chapter of the third volume to a dis- 
cussion of Jefferson's religious belief. He denies emphat- 
ically tliat he was an Infidel. He shows that he wished to 
put a representation of the Israelites in the wilderness, led 
by the pillar of fire, as a device on the Uuited States seal; 
that he once advocated the observance of a national fast; 
that he contributed largely to religious enterprises; that he 
attended the Episcopal church regularly, and took part in 
the services; that his wife was a member of that church; 
that his children were baptized in it; and that he himself 
was buried according to its rites. He was neither anti- 
Christian in sentiment nor unchristian in deportment. He 
himself denied that he was an Infidel, and claimed to he a 
Ghnsiian. Before it can be proven that he was an Infidel it 
must be shown that he was an unmitigated hypocrite. 

I submit that I have proved the following points: 

1. That Washington was not only a moral but a religious 
man. 

2. That Franklin was a theoretical and practical believer 
in Christianity, growing in faith as he advanced in years. 
He was undecided respecting the divinity of Christ, but 
leaned to the orthodox side. 

3. That Adams was an Unitarian of the Priestley and 
Channing type. He believed in the Bible as a divine reve- 
lation. Hence, he was not a Deist. 

4. That Jefferson too was an Unitarian, but of somewhat 
looser views than Adams. If it is diflScult to reconcile 
some things he said with a belief in the inspiration of the 
Scriptures, it is equally difficult, if not much more so, to 
make the preponderance of his utterances to tally with 
Infidelity. Take the average of what he said about relig- 



tHE HUMPHRETT-BKlCNETT DISCUSSION. 37 

ion, aud you cannot but feel that it is in stnkijig contrast 
with what Paiue published on the same subject. If Chris- 
tianity is not entitled to him without some qualifications, 
Infidelity cannot claim him without discrediting what he 
said of himself. 

To Christianity, then, and not to Infidelity, belongs the 
credit for what Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Jeffer- 
son did for American liberty. 

In my next I will endeavor to give the truth, the whole 
truth, and nothing but tiie truth, about Thomas Paine. 

Very respectfully yours. G.H. Hdmpurey. 



51 R. BENNETT. 

Rev. G. H. Humphrey, Bear Sir: Should you, at any 
time, decide to bring out a work entitled, " How to Make 
Christians with Facility, in Six Easy Lessons," I think I 
can cheerfully give you a recommendation for special 
ability in that line. By your system almost any distin- 
guished man who has passed away may be shown to have 
been a good Christian. Let us try it on a few acknowl- 
edged Infidels. To begin with Thomas Paine: 1. He was 
born of religious parents who were "theoretically and prac- 
tically believers in the Christian religion"; 2. Among his 
friends were persons who were regarded as excellent Chris- 
tians; 3. In his writings he never denied tbe existence of 
God, nor a life beyond the grave; 4. He said nothing disre- 
spectful of the author of Christianity; 5. He advocated the 
best of morals, and was actuated by a deep love for the hu- 
man race. Among the many good things he said were these 
utterances: " I believe in one God and no more, and I hope 
for happiness beyond this life"; " I believe the equality of 
man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing ius- 
tice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow 



88 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

creatures happy"; "It is impossible to be a hypocrite and to 
be brave at the same time"; " I believe that any system of 
religion that shocks the mind of a child cannot be a true 
system"; " Oh! ye that love mankind; ye that dare oppose 
not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth! Every 
spot of the Old World is overrun with oppression; Freedom 
has been hunted round the globe. Asia and Africa have 
long expelled her. Europe regards her like a stranger, and 
England hath given her warning to depart. O, receive the 
fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind"; 
"The world is my country; to do good my religion," A 
man who could pronounce such sentiments as these must 
necessarily be a good and religious man, hence a Christian. 
Had Paine been President, it is not at all unlikely that an 
effort would be made to prove him to have been an excel- 
lent Christian. 

By a similar process R G. IngersoU can be shown to be 
a Christian. He was born of religious parents; his father 
was a clergyman; he regularly received religious instruc- 
tion in his 3''0uth; his incentives are moral and humane; he 
has many friends who are Christians. He dined with our 
Christian President, and on Sunday, too; he is a friend to the 
human race, and has done naught to injure it. He has 
spoken many excellent truths; many matchless utterances 
have escaped his lips. Such a one is a good man, and hence 
must be a Christian. 

B. F. Underwood, by a similar course of reasoning, can be 
shown to be a Christian. Moral; religious parents; received 
early pious instruction; is a friend to mankind; has been 
guilty of no immoral conduct; faithfully served his country 
in the late war — he cannot be other than a Christian. 

Even your humble servant, by your process, could be made 
to count as a Christian were it desirable. Was born in a Chris- 
tian land, of parents who accepted the Christian religion. His 
mother was a member of the Church; he had the benefit of 
early religious instruction ; attended church and Sunday- 



THE nUMPnRET-BENNETT DISCUSSION. oU 

school regularly in childhood; learned parts of the Bible by 
heart; tried to get religion at the age of twelve, but was not 
fully successful ; was more so three years later; joined a 
church ; believed in Jesus, and several times a day for a ba- 
ker's dozen of years called regularly upon his name and that 
of his illustrious father; afterwards parted with some of his 
religious ardor, though not from any bad conduct; gradu- 
ally lost confidence in prayer, and faith in what he had pre- 
viously believed. Since then he has perhaps said some 
things that might be construed to be not exactly Christian- 
like, but having killed nobody; not having taken anything 
he could not carry away — if he had been President, had lain 
quietly in his grave while a generation or more had passed 
over his tomb, and it became desirable that he should be 
reckoned among the friends of Christianity, the unfavorable 
remarks he has made could, by your system, be charitably 
overlooked and forgotten. He, even, might be a Christirn. 

Even that distinguished but much-abused individual, the 
Devil, by your easy process can be made a very fair Chris- 
tian. He was of excellent origin or parentage; his early 
opportunities for moral instruction were of the highest char- 
acter; but he had, according to Milton, a little unpleasant- 
ness in early life with his parent and was driven from 
home. He is said, on a certain occasion, to have obtruded 
his advice upon an inexperienced youug man and woman rel- 
ative to eating some fruit, and which is believed to have 
caused considerable trouble, but it cannot be shown that he 
was immoral in the transaction. It has repeatedly been in- 
timated that he did not tell the truth, but if the record is 
closely examined, no instance can be found where he ever 
told a falsehood, ever killed anybody, ever wronged 
anybody, or even did anything that was contrary to the 
laws of morality or the rules of good society. I am 
sorry to say that the same cannot be truthfully said of 
his opponent. The Devil may be claimed as a Christian 
from his intimacy and friendship with the author of the sys- 



40 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

tern. The}'- passed some time in eacli other's society, and 
made a remarkable exploring expedition together. His Sa- 
tanic Majesty took his companion, first to the pinnacle of 
the temple, then to the top of a mountain so high that he 
showed his protege not only the kingdoms on that side of 
the globe but on the opposite side as well. He evinced a 
disposition to enter into an extensive real estate operation 
with his friend, and proposed to transfer a very large 
amount of good land, town lots, mill sites, water privileges, 
etc., for a very moderate consideration; but it seems the 
trade was not perfected, owing, perhaps, to a supposed de- 
fect in the title. His willingness to negotiate, however, is 
not denied. It must be admitted, too, that he has exhibited 
very excellent qualities ; that he has not shown himself im- 
moral; has been patient under obloquy and aspersion; when 
he has been reviled he has reviled not again. When slander, 
abuse and all sorts of defamation have been continually 
used against him, he has presented an equable frame of mind 
and retorted not; is not vindictive, is not retaliative, but en- 
dures his aggravated wrongs with remarkable meekness 
and patience, never returning evil for evil but rather good 
for evil. He has shown himself a friend to the human race 
by befriending inventors, innovators, and reformers, and 
especially as a patron of science and learning. His great 
importance to the Christian system cannot for a moment be 
lost sight of, for he is the most important factor in the busi- 
ness. The principal character borrowed from Jewish the- 
ology could be spared from the system quite as well as the 
personage under consideration. Without a Devil there 
would be little use of creeds, churches, or preachers. So 
then, his immense importance to the system, joined witli his 
meeknesss, amiability, and his many other excellent qual- 
ities of character, prove him, according to your easy proc- 
ess, to be worthy to be considered a Christian, should it be 
deemed desirable. 
Pardon me if I have occupied too much space in illustrat- 



•the HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 41 

ing your system. It works so easily and pleasantly that it 
is a perfect pleasure to put it in operation. As, however, a 
man's writings may be justly used to show what his opinions 
were, I will refer to some of Thomas Jefferson's in this reply, 
he being the individual at present most under consideration. 
You allude to Jefferson's letter to his nephew and ward, 
Peter Carr — allow me to make a few extracts from that 
letter by way of showing the quality of Jefferson's Chris- 
tianity: "Fix Reason firmly in her scat and call to her 
tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness 
even the existence of a God; because if there be one, he 
must more approve the homage of reason than that of blind- 
folded fear. . . Read the Bible as you would read Livy 
or Tacitus. The facts which are within the ordinary course 
of nature you will believe on the authority of the writer as 
you do those of the same kind in Livy or Tacitus. . . . 
Those facts in the Bible which contradict the laws of nature 
must be examined with more care and under a variety of 
faces. . . For example, in the Book of Joshua we are 
told the sun stood still several hours. Were we to read that 
fact in Livy or Tacitus we should class it with their showers 
of blood, of speaking statues, beasts, etc. But it is said that 
the writer of that book was inspired. Examine, therefore, 
candidly what evidence there is of his having been inspired. 
The pretension is entitled to your enquiry, because millions 
believe it. On the other hand, you are astronomer enough 
to know how contrary it is to the law of nature that a body 
moving on its axis, as the earth does, should have stopped, 
should not by that sudden stoppage have prostrated animals, 
trees, buildings, and should, after a certain time, have re- 
sumed its revolutions, and that without a second general 
prostration. Is this arrest of the earth's motion or the ev- 
idence which afla.rms it most within the laws of probabil- 
ities ? You will next read the New Testament. It is the 
history of a personage called Jesus. Keep in your eye the 
opposite pretensions, 1, of those who say he was begotten by 



42 THE HUMPHREY -BEXI^ETT DISCUSSION. 

God, bom of a virgin, suspended and reversed the laws of 
nature at will, and ascended bodily into heaven; and 2, of 
those who say he was a man of illegitimate birth, of a be- 
nevolent heart, enthusiastic mind, who set out without pre- 
tensions to divinity, ended in believing them, and was pun- 
ished capitally for sedition by being gibbeted, according to 
the Roman law, which punished the first commission of that 
offense by whipping, and the second by exile or death in 
ftirea. See this law in the Digest, Lib. 48, tit. 19, § 28, 3, and 
Lipsius, Lib. 2, de cruce, cap. 2. These questions are ex- 
amined in the books I have mentioned, under the head of 
"religion," and several others. They will assist you in your 
enquiries, but keep your reason firmly on the watch in read- 
ing them all. Do not be frightened from this enquiry by 
auy fear of its consequences. If it ead in a belief that there 
is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort 
and pleasantness you feel in its exercise and the love of 
others which it will procure you. . . 

"In fine, I repeat, you must lay^ aside all prejudice on both 
sides, and neither believe nor reject anything because any 
other person or description of persons have rejected or be- 
lieved it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by 
heaven, and you are answerable not for the rightness, but 
uprightness of the decision. 

" I forgot to observe, when speaking of the New Testa- 
ment, that you should read ;ill the histories of Christ, as 
well of those whom a council of ecclesiastics have decided 
for us to be pseudo-evangelists, as well as those they named 
evangelists. Because these pseudo-evangelists pretended 
to inspiration as much as the others, and you are to judge 
their pretensions by your own reason and not by the reason 
of those ecclesiastics. Most of these are lost. There are 
some, however, still extant, collected by Fabricus, which I 
will endeavor to get and send you." 

I would be pleased to extend these extracts did space al- 
low, but from these does it strike you that he talked just like 



•the HUMPHREY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 48 

a Christian ? Is it not different from the advice that most 
Christian uncles would give their nephews and wards ? 
Does it not, rather, sound like Infideliiy? Did he not give 
too much importance to Reason and not enough to Faith ? 
Would Talmage or Dr. Crosby give such advice ? 

In 1829 the Memoir and Correspondence of Jefferson, 
edited by his grandson, was published in four volumes, and 
in the same year appeared in the Neio York Observer (Presby- 
terian—Sidney E. Morse, editor and founder), the following 
notice of the work, which does not strike me as being as 
appreciative as one Christian ought to be of the writings of 
another : — 

" The Memoir and Correspondence of Mr. Jefferson, pre- 
pared by his grandson in four vols., 8vo, has just been pub- 
lished in Charlottesville, Va., and we observe that a brief 
notice of this work, expressed in terms of unreserved com- 
mendation, is going the rounds of the papers, and has been 
copied in some instances by the editors of the religious jour- 
nals. Before religious men, and especially Presbyterians, 
lend their aid to the circulation of this work, they would do 
well to examine its contents. Mr. Jefferson, it is well 
kiiown, was never suspected of being very friendly to ortho- 
dox religion, but these volumes prove not only that he was 

A DISBELIEVER IN A DIVINE REVELATION, BUT A SCOFFER 
OP THE VERY LOWEST CLASS !" 

What! by Presbyterian authority, a scoffer of the very 
lowest class, and still a Christian? Can that be Cliristianity? 
This Presbyterian brother, in quotinof from the volumes, 
among other quotations gave the following: 

*• In a letter to James Smith, written a few weeks after- 
wards, he says of the 'doctrine of the Trinity': 

*' ' The hocus-pocus ph^antasm of a God, like another Cer- 
berus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and 
growth in the blood of thousands and thou'^auds of mar- 
tyrs.' 

"In a letter to John Adams, written in 1823, he says: 



44 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCDSSION. 

" ' The day will come -when the mystical generation of 
Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb 
of a virgin, will be classed with the generation of Minerva 
in Ihe brain of Jupiter.'" Is that pretty good Christianity? 
" In a letter to William Short, written in 1822, he thus 
speaks of Gkristian Ministers and the Christian Sabbath : 

" ' We have most unwisely committed to the hierophants 
of our particular superstition, the direction of public opin- 
ion, that lord of the Universe. We have given them stated 
and privileged days to collect and catechise us, opportuni- 
ties of delivering their oracles to the people in mass, and of 
moulding their minds as wax in the hollow of their 
hands.' " 

Friend Humphrey, do these utterances — those quoted from 
Jefferson particularly — please you as Christian iujunctions ? 
Did Thomas Paine say anything more pointed and explicit ? 
Are these the kind of Christian sentiments that you delight 
to recommend to your hearers? 

The Presbyterian editor of the Presbyterian Observer, in 
the following, gave this opinion of Jefferson — not very com- 
plimentary, truly, for one Christian to speak of another : — 

" That he was a Humanitarian of the lowest class and a Ma- 
terialist, appears from the following passage to President 
Adams, written in 1822: 

" ' But while this Syllabus (he says) is meant to place the 
character of Jesus in its true and high light, as no impostor 
himself, but a great reformer of the Hebrew code of relig- 
ion, it is not to be understood that I am with him in all his 
doctrines. I am a Materialist; he takes the side of Spir- 
itualism; he preaches the efficacy of repentance towards the 
forgiveness of sin; I require a counterpoise of good works 
to redeem it,' etc. 

"In the same letter, after speaking of the * stupidity of 
some of the evangelists ' and early disciples of Christ, and 
the * roguery ' of others, Jefferson says of Paul : — 

•' 'Of this band of dupes and impostors, Paul was the 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 45 

great Coryphaeus, aud first corrupter of the doctriues of 
Jesus.' " Rather hard on Paul! 

If Jeffereou thus pronounced himself a "Materialist," 
will you not find it rather hard work to make him a Chris- 
tian in spite of himself? And is there not danger that you 
may be considered heterodox for claiming as a brother 
Christian one whom the pious editor of the Hew York Ob- 
server denounced as a "Materialist," and "a scoffer of the 
lowest class" ? 

In 1776, when Jefferson was in Paris, in a letter to' his 
friend, Mr. Whyte, he used this language, which gives a 
clear view of his opinion of the clergy : 

" If anybody thinks that kings, nobles and priests are good 
conservators of the public happinesss, send them here. It is 
the best school in the Universe to cure him of that folly. He 
will see here with his own eyes that these descriptions of 
men are an abandoned confederacy against the happiness of 
the mass of the people. The omnipotence of their effect 
cannot be better proved than in this country, where, not- 
withstanding the finest soil upon the earth, the finest climate 
under heaven, and a people of the most benevolent, the 
most gay and amiable character of which the human form is 
susceptible ; where such a people, I say, surrounded by so 
many blessings from Nature, are loaded with misery by 
kings, nobles, and priests, and by them alone." And more in 
the same vein. 

As a proof that Jefferson did not regard Atheistical works, 
even, with disfavor, it may be slated that he had them in 
his librarj^ and that he read them carefully and with appro- 
bation is proved by the notes he made. In D'Holbach's 
" System of Nature," the chief est among the Atheistical 
works of that day, Jefferson made copious notes, most of 
which showed that he did not disapprove of a majority of 
the positions of the author. Want of space will not allow 
them to be quoted now. 

He took no pains to conceal his aversion to the Christiaa 



4) THE HUMPHREY-BENKETT DISCUSSION. 

dogma of the Trinity. lu a letter to Col. Pickering lie 
scouted "the incomprehensible jargon of the Trinitarian 
arithmetic, that three are one and one is three." Even 
after he had arrived at the age of eighty years he declared 
that in his opioion " it would be more pardonable to be- 
lieve in no God at all than to blaspheme him by the atro- 
cious attributes of Calvin." 

What he thought of religious revivals, etc., may be gath- 
ered from what he said upon the subject in^a letter to Dr. 
Cooper. "In our Richmond there is much fanaticism, but 
chiefly among the women. They have their night-meetings 
and praying-parties, where, attended by their priests, and 
sometimes by a henpecked husband, they pour forth the ef- 
fusion of their love to Jesus, in terms as amatory and carnal 
as their modesty would permit to a mere earthly lover." 
He said, too, "The final and complete remedy for the fever 
of fanaticism is the diflusion of knowledge." 

Does this language strike you as being peculiarly like a 
Christian's ? 

I could quote much more from Jefferson in a similar vein, 
but I have already occupied too much room and will de- 
fer further quotations for the present. If, however, your 
confidence is still unshaken in the genuineness of his Chris- 
tianity I will have to recur to his writings again. A man ought 
to know better what he believes himself than those who live 
fifty j^eara later, whether it be Mr. Randall or any other 
biographer. 

You admit that the New American Cyclopedia of 1864 
classed him as an "Infidel." That is high authority, and I 
do not wish to question it. The effort ten years later to 
modify the opinion, or to explain it awaj'^, is unsuccessful. 
It must stand that Jefferson was regarded as an Infidel. 

It strikes me that you attempt to make too much differ- 
ence between a Deist and a Theist. Deism is a belief in one 
God, and Theism is nothing more. A Theist may or may 
not believe in revelation and in the divine origin of the 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 47 

Scriptures, while a Deist is generally supposed to not so be- 
lieve. That is the only difference. Both equally discard 
the divinity of Jesus and the dogma of the Trinity. 

I am surprised that, with the fate of the Rev. Mr. Miller 
before your eyes, you still insist that ''the doctrine of the 
divinity of Christ is not the dividing line between Infidelity 
and Christianity, but the divine origin of the Bible." You 
seem a little contradictory, too, when, afterwards, you al- 
lude to Christ as the "Founder of Christianity." If a belief in 
the Scriptures is all that is necessary to make a Christian, 
the Scriptures must be the "Founder of Christianity,' 
and the Jews ought to be excellent Christians, for they ac- 
cept the divinity of more than three-fourths of the Bible. 
It is a noticeable fact that the reputed ' * Founder of Christian- 
ity" did not specially enjoin a belief in the divinity of the 
Scriptures, but positively enjoined a belief in himself. He 
said expressly he was the way, the truth, and the life; and that 
those who did not believe in him could not be saved nor be 
his disciples. He said in the most positive manner, "He 
that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that be- 
lieveth not shall be damned." Did Franklin, Washington, 
Adams, and Jefferson believe, and were they baptized ? No. 
Then they could not be Christians. They were neither 
believers nor can you sustain a claim that they allied them- 
selves to any Christian Church. Peter, the leading disciple, 
and the one who did the heavy business of the concern, in 
speaking of the author of Christianity, said: "There is no 
other name under heaven given among men whereby we 
must be saved." And when Paul — who, you will hardly deny, 
had something to do towards establishing Christianity — 
was with Silas, and was asked, "What must I do to be 
saved ?" he laconically replied, " Believe on the LOrd Jesus 
Christ, and thou shalt be saved;" and this injunction he 
virtually repeated in his epistles over and over again. Did 
he not pointedly say, " The letter killeth, but the spirit 
giveth life"? He said very little about the importance of 



48 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

acknowledgiug the divinity of the Scriptures, which assured- 
ly he should have done if it is, as you assert, of more conse- 
quence than a belief in Christ. None of the disciples or 
apostles laid much stress upon the importance of a belief in 
the Scriptures, but faith in the Lord Jesus they repre- 
sented as being the sine qua non of Christianity. I 
think you will hardly contend that you know better what 
constitutes a Christian than did Christ, Peter, Paul, and 
the rest of the apostles. 

By making a belief in Christ of little or no consequence, 
you practically occupy the same ground which the Rev, Mr. 
Miller does who denies the Trinity, and for which he has 
just had a trial and been expelled from the ministry for her- 
esy. With equal appropriateness could the Rev. Mr. Mott 
point his finger at you, as he did at the Rev. Mr. Miller, 
your brother clergyman, and say, "Brother Humphrey, I 
charge you with taking away my Lord and Savior, and I 
don't know where you have put him. You have robbed 
the character of Christ of its most precious attributes." I 
tremble for you, my friend, and almost fear your turn will 
come next. 

I cannot at this time pay much attention to the views of 
Adams; and it is hardly necessary, for you have only shown 
him to be a Deist or a Theist. He surely did not accept 
Jesus as the Divine Being; and the letters which passed be- 
tween Jefferson and himself establish the fact that they 
were of the same opinion as to Jesus being God. It is unnec- 
essary to add more. 

I will make one more quotation in reference to Franklin 
before we leave him too far in the rear. In his Autobiogra- 
phy, p. 166, he says: " Some books against Deism fell into 
my hands; they were said to be the substance of the ser- 
mons which had been preached at Baylis' Lectures. It hap- 
pened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to 
what was intended by them. For the arguments of the De- 
ists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me to be 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 49 

much stronger than the refiilatiou. In, short, I soon became 
a thorough Lcist.'''' However distasteful the term Deist is to 
you, you here have Franklin's positive avowal that he be- 
came a thorough Deist, and if he gives no intimation that 
he cliangcd from that belief, we must conclude that it re- 
mained unchanged. It matters little what pious biogra- 
phers, whether D.D's or LL.D's, may say about his being a 
Christian. His own clear statement is of more worth than a 
thousand unfounded claims. 

I am sorry that you deemed it necessary to make that un- 
kind fling at Robert Dale Owen in connection with the 
Katie King business. For more than half a century 
he has been a piominent man in this country, and as a 
statesman, as a writer, and as a citizen, he has had but 
few superiors. His honor and truthfulness have never 
been called in question. If, in advanced life, he was de- 
ceived by a shrewd trickster, it is hardly necessary or kind 
to call attention to it. It certainly does not argue that 
he did not truthfull}'^ relate a statement made to him by the 
Rev. Dr. Wilson over forty years ago. He believed only 
what he saw, while there are millions of people like yourself 
who claim to be intelligent, who believe not only what they 
themselves never saw, but that which nobody else ever saw. 

I wholly difcsent from your summing-up. You claim 
to have shown that Franklin, Washington, Adams, and 
Jc-fferson were Christians. 1 utterly fail to see that you 
liave done anything of the kind. True, they were moral, 
upright men, but they did not accept the leading dogmas of 
the Christian faith; they did not believe that Jesus was 
God, nor that he was miraculously begotten by a god. I 
claim to have shown that, being unbelievers in the Trinity 
and the divinity of Cnrist, they were not Christians, but 
Deists or, in other words. Infidels. 

Pardon the lengih of my remarks. I will try in future 
to be briefer. I wished to answer your several positions, 
that I may be ready to defend the great moral and patrioiu; 



6*^ THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

hero, Thomas Paine, to whom you propose, in your next, to 
give a general over-hauling, I doubt not you will aim to 
speak truly of him, but allow me to say, if you do him full 
justice you will be about the first Christian who has ever 
done so. Very truly yours, D. M. B. 



MR. HUMPHREY. 

Mr. D. M. Bennett, Dear Sir: I will review your last 
letter in my next, and then try to close the discussion of 
this proposition. Let us now endeavor to ascertain what 
were the most prominent /acte in connection wath the life 
and labors of Thomas Paine. 

Apart from articles in Cyclopedias and sketches in His- 
tories, there are five Lives of Paine still extant, though, un- 
fortunately, they are not all in print. They are " Oldys', " 
Cheetham's, Rickman's, Sherwin's, and Vale's. These are 
all alike marred by considerable passion either for or 
against their subject. The first two were given to coloring 
too darkly, and the last three were no less desperate as 
whitewashers. 

Paine's life divides itself naturally into three parts. The 
first is the Period of his Obscurity^ extending from his birth 
to his departure for America. This part of his life may be 
outlined in a few words: Born in Thetford, England, Jan. 
29th 1737 — goes to grammar-school until thirteen — hates the 
dead languages — staymaker — goes to London and Dover — 
seaman — settles at Sandwich — marries — his wife dies — 
moves to Margate — back to Thetford — London again — 
school teacher — goes to Lewes — remarries — tobacconist and 
grocer — he and his wife separate — writes the "Case of the 
Excise oflacer" — returns to London — a business failure — 
meets Franklin, who encourages him to embark for 
America. 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUS-ION. T. t 

It has been asserted that Paine was the writer of the cel- 
ebrated Junius Letters, which appeared between 1767 and 
1773. This is not even probable. Those Letters exhibit a 
certain peculiarity of style, a knowledge of the classics, and 
a familiarity with Court life and State secrets, which Paine 
did not possess. The best critics ascribe lliose letters to 
Philip Francis (See Macaulay's Essay on Warren Hastings, 
and Junius by Woodfall, L')ndon, 1850, Vol. ii. pp. 11-90). 

This is .only equaled in absurdity by the claim that Paine 
was afterwards the author of the Declaration of Independ- 
ence. Historians unifoj'mly give that credit, undivided, to 
Jefferson. Besides, if Paine icas the writer of that docu- 
ment, a lie has been engraved on Jefferson's monument, and 
that at Jefferson's own request ! 

The Period of Paine' s Fame began with his landing in 
America in 1774, and ended with his return to Europe in 
1787. On his arrival m Philadelphia, his introduction by 
Franklin secured him at once a favorable consideration. 
He soon obtained a position as editor of the Pennsylvania 
Magazine. Some of his editorials were well written The 
breach with England kept widening. Paine took a lively 
interest in public affairs. In Jan. of 1776 he published his 
"Common Sense." It had an enormous circulation. As 
was shown in my first letter, that pamphlet did not create 
the idea of independence; but it probably did more than 
any other publication to accelerate, solidify, and energize 
that idea. The Declaration was made in the following 
July. As the struggle continued, and the Colonists becamr; 
occasionally disheartened, Paine reinspired them with suc- 
cessive numbers of the " Crisis," until Independence was 
established and recognized in 1 783. 

Now, I do most heartily acquiesce in all that such histori- 
ans as Botta, Allen, Cassell, Randall, Morse, Ramsay, 
Grimshaw, Gordon, Bancroft, and such statesmen as Mad- 
ison, Rush, Monroe, Adams, Jefferson, and Washington 
have said in praise of these productions. It was no more 



52 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

than just for Pennsylvania and New York to reward the 
writer in a tangible way. Mr. Paine deserved it all. 

But was Paine an Infidel at this time ? I am inclined to 
think he was; for he implies as much in his "Age of Rea- 
son." Furthermore, John Adams, speaking of an interview 
with him soon after the appearance of "Common Sense," 
says: "I told him that his reasoning from the Old Testa- 
ment was ridiculous, and I could hardly think him sincere. 
At this he laughed, and said he had taken his ideas on Ibat 
point from Milton; and then he expressed a contempt for 
the Old Testament, and indeed for the Bible at large, which 
surprised me. He saw that I did not relish this, and soon 
checked himself with these words: 'However, I have some 
thoughts of publishing my thoughts on religion; but I be- 
lieve it will be best to postpone it to the latter part of life' " 
(John Adams' Life and Works, vol. ii, p. 508). 

Bat if Paine entertained Dcistical views at that time, he 
did not avow them publicly. He "checked himself "in 
that respect. There is not a word in anything he wrote be- 
fore 1787 that would create a suspicion that he did not be- 
lieve the Bible. On the contrary, his allusions to it and 
quotations from it invariably convey the impression that he 
regarded it as the Word of God. Witness a fetv specimens : 
" ' Not to be led into temptation ' is the prayer of dimniiy it- 
self' (Case of the Excise Officer, 1772). "As the exalting 
one man above the rest cannot be justified on the ecxual 
lights of nature, so neither can it he defended on the authmty 
of Scripture; for the will of the Almighty, as declared by Gidton 
and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves of govern- 
ment by kings " (Common Sense, 1776). " We claim broth- 
erhood with every European Christian, and triumph in the 
generosity of the sentiment " (Ibid). "Let a day be sol- 
emnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be 
brought forth, p^«c6(i on the divine lao, the word of Qod* 
(Ibid). " The writer of this is one of those few who never 
dishonors religion, either by ridiculing or caviling at any 



'tHE HUSTPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 6B 

denomination whatsoever" (Epistle to the Quakers 1776). 

*'I wish, loiih all the devotion of a Christian, the names of 
whig and tory may never be mentioned" (Crisis No. 1, 1776). 

" As individuals we profess ourselves Christians" {Crisis, No. 
7, 1778). it is clear from such language as this that Paine 
did not speak like a Deist during the "times that tried 
men's souls." 

There are, moreover, several circumstances which unite 
to prove that Paine had not aroused as much as a suspicion 
that he was a Deist. 1. Even the most illiberal of Chris- 
tians praised him without reserve — a thing they would 
not have done had they surmised that he was an Infidel. 
2. When he did publish his Deistical notions, the Chris- 
tian world was surprised, shocked, and repelled from him. 
Samuel Adams said in a letter to Paine in 1802: "When I 
lieard that you Jiad turned your mind to a defense of infidel- 
ity, I felt myself much astonished and more grieved." 
Dr. John W. Francis said: "The 'Age of Reason' on 
its first appearance in New York was printed as an ortho- 
dox hook, by orthodox publishers, doubtless deceived by the 
vast renown which the author of ' Common Sense ' had ob- 
tained." Dr. Rush, who was intimate with him during the 
Revolution, did not renew his acquaintance after his return 
to America. 3. When Rev. John Witherspoon opposed his 
appointment as Secretary to the Committee for Foreign Af- 
fairs, he did not mention Infidelity among his objections to 
him (Life and Works of John Adams, vol. ii, p. 509). 
4. '* Oldys," who wrote in 1791, and said every evil thing 
of him that had even a shadow of foundation, did not stig- 
matize him as an Infidel. This shows that up to that time 
his anti-Christian sentiuients were not publicly known. 
Had he died before 1787, or even previous to 1791, history 
would not have recorded him a Freethinker. 

From this it follows that Thomas Paine rendered his ser- 
vices to the caui^e of Independence hy pretending to be a Chris- 
tian, and by using Scriptural arguments! "■The swoj'd of the 



54 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DiaCUSSION. 

Spifit, which is the Word of Ood'" teas one of the weapons icMch 
even he had to employ to secure the grand result ! 

Paine was not much of a statesman. In the words of 
Madame Roland, he was " better fitted to sow the seeds 
of popular commotion, than to lay the foundation or 
prepare the form of government. He enkindled a rev- 
olution, better than he concurred in the framing of a 
constitution. He took up and established those grand 
principles, the exposition of which struck every eye, gained 
the applause of a club, or excited the enthusiasm of a tav- 
ern*' (Memoires Relatifs a la Revolution Fran^aise, Paris, 
1850, Tome Sec. p. 12). This, with his breach of trust 
when Secretary to the Committee for Foreign Affairs, 
may account for the singular fact that, although he 
remained in the country over four years after the close of 
the war, he was never elected by the people to any posi- 
tion of honor ! He left America in the very year that the 
Constitution of the United States was framed ! 

The Period of his Infamy opened with his departure for 
France in 1787, and closed with his life in 1809. He was 
received with eclat by the French, on account of his Ameri- 
can fame. He soon returned to Eugland, where he wrote 
his "Rights of Man." This, thougli not the most influen- 
tial, was by far the most able and elaborate of his works. 
Like his former writings, it implies an indorsement of 
Christianity. Jefferson, and other republican statesmen, 
entertained a very high opinion of it. In 1792 Paine was 
elected to the French National Convention, where he at 
first exerted considerable influence. 

In 1794 he wrote his "Age of Reason." He had no Bible 
when he composed the first part of it. It does not contain 
one original thought. All its cavils had been familiar to 
the world ever since the days of Celsus and Porphyry. It 
owes its notoriety not to its matter Imt to its manner. 
Many Infidels of the higher type are ashamed of it. Such 
men as Strauss, Renan, Colenso, Comte, Huxley, Mill, Tyn- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. O) 

dall, etc., take no account of it. Many Christians that are 
styled " liberal " have not hid their disrespect for it. De 
Quinc}^ alludes to its author contemptuously as " Tom 
Paine" (Essl y on "Protestantism"). Referring to it Parton 
says: "I think his judgment must have been impaired be- 
fore he could have consented to publish so inadequate a 
performance " (Life of Jefferson, p. 592). Theodore Parker 
said: " Paine's theological works are not always in good 
taste, nor does he always understand the Scriptures of the 
Old and New Testaments he comments upon " (Life and 
Correspondence, vol. ii, p. 425). John Adams' Works 
abound with such expressions as the following: "The 
worthless and unprincipled writings of the profligate and 
impious Thomas Paine" (vol. ii, p. 153). "Let the black- 
guard Paine say what he will " (vol. iii, p. 431). " That in- 
solent blaspliemer of all things sacred, and transcendent 
libeller of all that is good, Tom Paine " (vol. iii, p. 93). 
" His billingsgate, stolen from Blount's Oracles of Reason, 
from Bolingbroke, Voltaire, Berenger, &c., will never dis- 
credit Christianity " (vol. ix, p. 627). 

In 179G he published his Letter to Washington, wherein 
he abuses the leading statesmen of America, and most of all 
Gen. Washington himself. It concludes with the following 
sentence: "And as to you, Sir, treacherous in private friend- 
ship (for so you have been to me, and that in the day of 
danger), and a hypocrite in public life, the world will be 
puzzled to decide, whether you are an APOSTATE or an 
IMPOSTOR? Whether you have abandoned good princi- 
ples, or whether you ever had any?" No w^onder Oliver Wol- 
cott wrote to Alex. Hamilton: "Tom Paine has published a 
book against the President, containing the most infamous 
calumnies" (^Vorks of Hamilton, vol. vi, p. 185). 

Paine became very unpopular in France. In a letter to 
Robert Morris, dated Sainport, June 25th, 1793, Gouvcrneur 
Morris wrote: "He (Paine) is so completely down that he 
would be punished if he were not despised " (Life of Gouv. 



t)('i THE HUMPHREY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

Morris, vol. iii, p. 46). There were but few regrets when 
he came away. 

In 1802 he returned to the United States. In recognition 
of his Kevolutionary services, Jefferson provided him with 
a safe passage in a man-of-war, and entertained him on his 
arrival. He was either accompanied or soon followed by 
a Mrs. Bonneville with her three children, but without her 
husband. I\Ir. Bonneville neither came after her, nor, as far 
as is known, corresponded with her afterwards (Sherwin's 
Life of Paine, p. 209). Paine supported her until his death, 
and bequeathed a large share of bis property to her and 
her family. Vale says he was "godfather" to her youngest 
child, " who had been named after him " (Life of Paine, p. 
145). Cheetham intimates that Paine was that boy's man- 
father (Tjife of Paine, p. 237). For my part, I suspend 
judgment in regard to this whole affair. I will only say 
that, were a clergyman to do precisely the same thing, every 
Infidel paper in Christendom would pronounce him a vile 
hypocrite. 

Paine was a drunkard in his latter years. Only Vale, 
who wrote his biography about twenty-eight years after his 
death, twenty-eight years later fhan Cheetham,, and eigh. 
teen years later than Sherwin and Rickman, has had the des- 
perate hardihood to deny this allegation. Sherwin admits 
the charge, and Rickman does not dispute it. Joel Barlow 
said explicitly that " he gave himself verpmucJi to drink" (Vale's 
Life of Paine, p. 13G.) TVe have already seen that John 
Adams pronounced him ^ ^ profligate." Gouverneur Morris 
testified that he vj us "besotted from morning till night" \n 
France (Sparks' Life of Gouverneur Morris, vol. ii, p. 409; 
vol. iii, p. 40). Cheetham makes this so clear that no one 
can reasonably question it. The Encyclopedia Britannica, 
tlie English Cyclopedia, and the Cyclopedia Americana all 
assert the same thing. Paiton says *'poor Paine " could 
not "represent a clean, sober, orderly people in a foreign 
land" (Life of Jefferson, p. 006). Lossing says: "Paine 



THE HUMPHREY -BENNETT DISCUSSION. *>• 

became very iniempei^ate, and fell low in the social scale, not 
oaly on account of liis beastly habits, but because of Ms blas- 
phemous tirade against Christianity " (Lives of Celebrated 
Americans, p. 229). 

He did not always tell the truth. In Crisis No. 2 he de- 
clared that he "never published a syllable in England in 
his life." Rush and John Adams testify that he told them 
the same thing. But it is now known and acknowledged 
that he did write at least the " Case of the Excise OflScer" 
in 1772. And the claim that he wrote Junius Letters is an 
admission by even his admirers that his word is not always 
to be believed. Cheetham says " he was not always vera- 
cious" (p. 29). John Adams remarks in his Autobiography: 
" At this day it would be ridiculous to ask any questions 
about Tom Paine's veracity, integrity, or any other virtue " 
(Works, vol. ii, p. 510). 

He was self-righteous arid self-conceited. He said in his 
Will, written by himself: "I, Thomas Paine, of the State 
of New York, author of the work entitled Cominon Sense^ 
written in Philadelphia, in 1775, and published in that city 
the beginning of January, 1776, which awaked America to 
a Declaration of ladependence, on the fourth of July follow- 
ing, which was as fast as the work could spread through 
such an extensive country"! "I have lived an honest and use- 
ful life lo mankind; my time has been spent in doing good." 
No wonder Paine disliked a Book which says: *' Let another 
man praise thee, and not thine own mouth" (Prov. xxvii, 2). 
With such selt-puflang before us, we cannot but believe Du- 
mont: "His egregious conceit and presumptuous self suf- 
ficiency quite disgusted me. He was drunk with vanity. 
If you believed him, it was he who had done everything in 
America. He was an absolute caricature of the vainest 
of Frenchmen" etc., etc. (Recollections of Miraheau, Lon- 
don, 1832, p. 271). 

I do not relish this recounting of a dead man's faults. I 
do it in order that the wliole truth may be known about 



ts 



THE HTrMPHBET-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 



Thomas Paine. So many attempts have been made of late 
to canonize and apotheosize this man that an exposure is 
absolutely necessary. The " testimonials " to his "merits " 
that are so often paraded are frequently garbled and mis- 
leading. And they are seldom taken from the original 
sources. There is so much second-hand material — so much 
of quoting quoters of quoted quotations in this matter, that 
it is become quite a trial to one's patience. 

By way of recapitulating and summing up, I will refer 
you to the following poinis: 

1. The "Testimonials to the Merits of Thomas Paine," 
which are so triumphantly cited, are mostly from Christian 
men, and refer exclusively to hia political services and writings. 

2. Paine was a man of talent. His style is very readable. 
He might have excelled as a poet or engineer, no less than 
as a political pamphleteer. 

3. His assistance to the cause of Independence was very 
great. He did not, liowever^ render it as an Infidel, hut as a 
Christian, using Scriptural arguments, and appealing to the 
prevalent religious belief. Hence, Infidelity deserves no credit 
whatever far his Redolutionary services. 

4. He had his good traits He was honest. Nor was he 
uncharitable. He abstained from profanity, and rebuked 
it in others. He opposed slavery. Many will endorse his 
condemnation of Masonry. He was not the worst kind of 
Infidel. He believed in a personal God. He considered 
"Atheism a scandal to human nature." In the language of 
Col, Ingersoll, an Atheist, "he was orthodox compared with 
the Infidels of to-day." He held his opinions sincerely. 
He died as he had lived, a Deist. 

5. His latter years were neither Iwppy nor irreproachable. 
His former friends had mostly deserted him. He was 
peevish, penurious, quarrelsome, egotistic, and intemper- 
ate. And he maintained to the last a very queer relation to 
another man's wife. Yours very truly 

G. H. Humphrey. 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 59 

MR. BENNETT. 

Rev. G. H. Humphrey, Dear Sir: I can see but little 
connection between the character and habits of Thomas 
Paine and the subject we have under discussion, but I nev- 
ertheless have no objection to considering either in this 
reply. 

In the main, I think you fair and candid in your treat- 
ment of Paine and in the credit you accord him for the ser- 
vices he performed, but you repeat some of the slanders 
that have been so industriously circulated against him by 
his enemies. In the early days of the Republic his labors 
were duly appreciated, and he was accredited with patriot- 
ism, devotion, and great moral courage, and had he never 
written anything to offend bigoted sectarians, his praises 
would have been loudly sung to this day, and the entire 
country would be proud to honor his memory; but because 
he had the candor to express his honest convictions upon 
theological subjects, and to differ materially from the pop- 
ular current of thought, he has been most vilely traduced 
therefor; and, besides, a persistent effort has been made to 
belittle his services in the Revolutionary struggle, and to 
blacken his name and reputation in every possible manner. 
You show more fairness in this respect than many others, 
and you are entitled to much credit for it. 

Ingersoll states the case, with much clearness and truth, 
thus: "At the close of the American Revolution no one 
stood higher in America than Thomas Paine. The best, 
the wisest, thfe most patriotic were his friends and admir- 
ers, and had he been thinking only of his own good he 
might have rested from his trials and spent the remainder 
of his life in comfort and in ease. He could have been 
what the world is pleased to coXU-espectdble. He could have 
died surrounded by clergymen, warriors, and statesmen. 
At his death there would have been an imposing funeral, 
miles of carriages, civic societies, salvos of artillery, a na- 



00 THE HUMPHRBY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

tion in mourning, and, above all, a splendid monument cov- 
ered with lies. He chose rather to benefit mankind. At 
that time the seeds sown by the great Infidels were begin- 
ning to bear fruit in France. The people were beginning 
to think. The Eighteenth Century was crowning its gray 
hairs with the wreath of Progress; on every hand Science 
was bearing testimony against the Church. Voltaire had 
filled Europe with light. D'Holbach was giving the elite of 
Paris the principles contained in his " System of Nature." 
The Encyclopedists had attacked superstition with in- 
formation for the masses. The foundation of things 
Itegan to be examined. A few had the courage to keep 
their shoes on and let the bush burn. Miracles began 
to get scarce. Everywhere the people began to enquire, 
America had set an example to the world. The word of 
Liberty was in the mouths of men, and they began to wipe 
the dust from their knees. The dawn of a new day ap- 
peared. Thomas Paine went to France. Into the new 
movement he threw all his energies. His fame had gone 
before him, and he was welcomed as a friend to the human 
race, and as a champion of free government." 

It is pleasant, in recalling the early services of Paine in 
this country, to read what distinguished persons said of 
his efforts before the religious element of the country be- 
came embittered against him. I will not take the space 
here to quote but few of the commendations of Paine for 
his heroic labors in the cause of American Independence. 
None excelled him in earnestness and courage, and he was 
in advance of the masses of th; Colonists in daring to dc 
clare independence of Great Britain. It was Paine who 
first openly suggested that the Colonies disconnect them- 
selves from the parent government. He was the first to pro- 
pose an independent nationality, and to give a name to the 
incipient nation. It was his pen that first wrote the grand 
words — " The Free and Independent States of America.'^ 

The great results produced by his pamphlet, "Common 



*HE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 61 

Sense," can hardly be over-estimated. It did just what 
was necessary to be done to arouse the young country to 
the point of resistance. The effect it produced was unpar- 
alleled. It awakened the most active enthusiasm in the 
breasts of the Colonists. It performed an important part 
in the great drama, which if it had been omitted, success 
would never have been gained. I claim that, if with that 
pamphlet enthusiasm was aroused and victory ultimately 
achieved, it was a most important factor in the great 
cause, and equal at least to any other portion of the means 
employed. Without it independence would not have been 
declared nor gained, and with it both were accomplished. 
Hence, to the author of ' Common Sense" America owes 
her liberty to-day. 

Edition after edition of the brave little work was issued. 
It circulated in every direction. It was read at every fire- 
side, whether in the farmhouse or in the tented camp, and 
many times from the pulpit where the people gathered for 
worship, its arguments were unanswerable; its reasoning 
was irresistible; and its logic most convincing. Well did 
Major-General Charles Lee express the truth in a letter to 
Gen. Washington two or three weeks after the pamphlet 
had appeared, when he said: "Have you seen the Pam- 
phlet ''Common Sense"? I never saw such a masterly, 
irresistible performance. I own myself convinced by its 
arguments of the necessity of separation." Subsequently, 
in referring to this work of Paine, he said : " He burst forth 
on the world like Jove in thunder." 

Samuel Bryan, in speaking of "Common Sense," said: 
"This may be called the book of Genesis, for it was the be- 
ginning. From this book spread the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, and not only laid the foundation of liberty in 
our own country, but the good of mankind throughout the 
world." 

Lossing, in his "Field Book of the Revolution," said: 
" ' Common Sense' was the earliest and most powerful ap- 



62 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

peal in behalf of independence, and probably did more to 
fix that idea firmly in the public mind than any other in- 
strumentality." 

Morse, in his "Annals of the Revolution," said: "The 
change in the public mind in consequence of ' Common 
Sense ' is without a parallel." 

Wra. Howitt, in "Cassell's Illustrated History of Eng- 
land," says: " There was no man in the Colonies, neverthe- 
less, who contributed so much to bring the open Declaration 
of Independence to a crisis as Thomas Paine. This pam- 
phlet (* Common Sense ') was the spark which was all that 
was needed to fire the train of Independence. It at once 
seized on the imagination of the public; cast all other 
writers in the shade, and flew in thousands and tens of 
thousands all over the Colonies. . . . During the winter 
and spring this lucid and admirably reasoned pamphlet was 
read and discussed everywhere and by all classes, bringing 
the conviction that immediate independence was necessary. 
The common fire blazed up in Congress, and the thing was 
done." 

Henry G. Watson, in his " History of the United States," 
says: " ' Common Sense,' written by Thomas Paine, giving 
in plain language the advantages and necessity of inde- 
pendence, effected a complete revolution in the feelings and 
sentiments of the great mass of the people." 

Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, and 
many other distinguished personages, bore honorable testi- 
mony to the great services performed by Paine but want of 
room must prevent further quotations now. 

Possibly the great good which was accomplished by 
"Common Sense" was only equaled by the grand results 
produced by "The Crisis." These were issued at irregular 
periods during the great struggle and when the exigencies 
of the times mos't demanded their aid. The contest was a 
long and unequal one on the part of the feeble Colonists. 
The people were poor, and the army was bally supplied 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 63 

with arms, provisions, and clothing, and they were 
contending with the most powerful nation in the world. 
It is not strange that desertions were very numerous; 
that the half-starved army became decimated, and that 
the greatest gloom spread over the entire land. The 
first number of ''The Crisis" was issued at the time 
when General Washington was compelled, before superior 
forces, to retreat from this city across New Jersey, when, 
by numerous desertions, the army had become largely re- 
duced, and when the greatest despondency had settled over 
the entire country. Then it was that Paine's burning words 
rang over the land: "These are the times that try men's 
souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in 
this crisis shrink from the service of his country, but he 
that stands it now deserves the thanks of man and woman. 
Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered, yet we have 
this consolation with us: the harder the conflict, the more 
glorious the victory ; what we obtain too cheaply, we es- 
teem too lightly." " Every generous person should say, 'If 
there must be war, let it be in my day, that my child may 
have peace.' " *' He that rebels against reason is a real rebel ; 
but he that in defense of reason rebels against tyranny has 
a better right to the title of ' The Defender of the Faith ' 
than George the Third." 

The first number of "The Crisis" was read in every camp, 
by every corporal's guard, and by every fireside over the 
land, and the stirring appeals of Paine had a wonderful ef- 
fect; desertions were greatly lessened, enthusiasm was re- 
kindled, enlistments were revived, and new courage was 
imparted to the whole country 

The success of the struggle was most unpromising. The 
fate of the country was like a balance, with the side of the 
Colonists about to "kick the beam." It was the critical mo- 
ment of the young nation's existence. Something had to be 
done promptly or the cause was lost. Paine afforded that 
aid; he saved the nation he had called into being and had 



64 THE HUMPHREY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

christened. May the people of this country never forget tlie 
great debt they owe this man. Without his services na 
tional iudependeuce would not have been secured. 

I was nearly prepared b}"- your third letter for your at- 
tempt to count Paine a Christian; at all events when ho 
wrote " Common Sense " and ** The Crisis," as he quoted a 
passage of Scripture or two and did not take the occasion 
to present his theological views; but the quotations 
you give from Adams, and Paine's own words at the com- 
mencement of the "Age of Reason," effectually refute the 
allegation that his religious opinions were of recent date. 
It was obviously improper to introduce theology into 
"Common Sense, " "The Crisis," or "The Rights of Man;" 
and he showed his good sense by not obtruding religious 
beliefs into political essays or discussions. Had he done so, 
you, doubtless, would have blamed him for it far more than 
you now do for the omission. 

You quote a woman to show that Paine was not a states- 
man. Unless you can find a man or two among the thou- 
sands who knew him who expressed a similar opinion, it 
will be hardly just to condemn him on that authority alone 
as not being a statesman. Without doing yourself or Paine 
any injustice you might have quoted the lady a little more 
fully, where she says, "The boldness of his conception, 
the originality of his style, the striking truths which he 
boldly throws out in th© midst of those whom they offend, 
must necessarily have produced great effects." 

The portion of Paine's life after 1787, when he went 
to France, you are pleased to term The Period of Ms 
Infamy. There you assuredly wrong Paine and yourself. 
It was far from being a " period of infamy." There was no 
such period in Paine's life. His career in Europe may well 
be called glorious. After visiting France, besides attending 
to the introduction and manufacture of an iron bridge he 
had invented in this country, he visited his aged mother, 
where he passed some timi, and ministered to her necessi- 



*rHE HUMPHREY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. C') 

ties. It was during what you characterize as the period of 
Paine's infamy that he wrote the " Rights of Man," one of 
the grandest pleas for Humanity ever made; a production 
that has won encomiums from men of the ver}' highest 
ability and distinction. Richard Henry Lee, in acknowl- 
edging to Gen. Washington the receipt of a copy, said: "It 
is a performance of which any man might be proud; and I 
most sincerely regret that our country could not have of- 
fered sufficient inducement to have retained as a permanent 
citizen a man so thoroughly republican in sentiment and 
practice in the expression of his opinions." In reference to 
that production, Lord Erskine remarked : " Mr. Paine spoke 
to the people, reasoned with them, told them they were bound 
by no subjugation to any sovereignty further than their own 
benefit connected them." Andrew Jackson said; "Thomas 
Paine needs no monument made by hands: he has erected 
himself a monument in the hearts of all lovers of lil)erty. 
The 'lligliU of Man' wiil be more enduring than all the piles 
of marble and granite man can erect." 

Napoleon Bonaparte, even, by Way of high compliment 
to Mr. Paine, said : " A statue of gold ought to be erected 
to him in every city in the Universe." He added, that he 
slept with " The Rights of Man " under his prllow, and he 
pressed Mr Paine to honor him with his correspondence 
and his advice. 

It certainly was not infamous to be promptly declared a 
citizen of France, and to be elected to the National Assem- 
bly from four different Departments. His career in that 
body was eminently honorable. He was early appointed 
one of the Committee to draft a Constitution for that coun- 
try. He first made himself unpopular by his humane de- 
fense of the unfortunate king, Louis XYI, whom he wished 
to save from death and recommended that he be sent to 
America. For this noble act, Ingersoll pays this merited 
tribute: " Search the records of the world and you will find 
few sublimer acts than that of Thomas Paine voting 



66 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

against the king's death. He the hater of despotism, the 
abhorser of inonarchj^ the champion of the rights of man, 
the republican, accepting death to save tlie life of a deposed 
tyrant — of a throneless king. This was the last grand act 
of his political life — the sublime conclusion of his political 
career." But, for this humane action, an insane people 
threw him into prison, and by tlie merest chance he escaped 
the guillotine. In my humble opinion it is well for the 
world that he escaped death at that time. Otherwise his 
"Age of Reason " would never have appeared. 

This, his last great work, was written under the immedi- 
ate apprehension of death, in a spirit of honesty, boldness, 
and fairness rarely equaled. He certainly did not write 
for popularity, for he took the unpopular side, but he 
penned what he believed to be the truth. For this act 
of self sacrifice you and the Christian world are ready to 
consign him to the lowest degree of degradation and in- 
famy. Why is this so ? Because he was an honest man, 
and uttered just what he believed, though he shocked the 
prejudices of Christendom. He found contradictions, 
absurdities, and obscenity in the Bible, and had the candor 
and honesty to say so. Can you say he did not find them 
there? If you do, I think I can easily point out your error. 
Was it so wrong for Paine to give his real convictions that 
he should be doomed to the realms of infamy forever? 
No ! No ! No ! Rather let paeons be sung to his memory, so 
long as truth is superior to superstition and error. 

Of the " Age of Reason " you say: '* It does not contain 
one original thought. All its cavils had been familiar to 
the world ever since the days of Celsus and Porphyry. It 
owes its notoriety not to its matter, but to its manner. 
Many Infidels of the higher type arc ashamed of it." Allow 
me to say that 1 think in this language you do violence to 
truth. A more original work of the kind than Paine's 
"Age of Reason " has not been produced for two hundred 
years. Why did you not give some proofs of your asscr- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 



67 



tiou that leading Infidels are ashamed of it? Where are 
the proofs to be found? If he merely played the parrot 
and repeated the ideas of others, why have the anathemas 
of the Church been heaped upon his head a thousand times 
more than upon those who you say were the originators of his 
sentiments? If it is true that his writings cannot do any dis 
credit to Christianity, please tell me wLy defamation, slan- 
der, and abuse have been so persistently thrown upon him 
by the Christian sects for three quarters of a century. 

Is it not singular, too, that the writings of a mere plagiar- 
ist should have been so popular while the originals sank 
into comparative obscurity ? Probably there have been 
more copies sold of Palne's "Age of Reason" than of all the 
books of the other iDfidel writers you named. One hundred 
editions of the "Age of Reason" have doubtless been print- 
ed and sold in England and America; and hundreds more 
will yet be printed and cold. His Theological Works are 
selling to-day far more rapidly than tlie works of any other 
Infidel writer; and I believe this will be the case for the 
next hundred years. Few works on the Christian side have 
been equally as popular, and probably there has not been 
one copy sold of Watson's Reply to the "Age of Reason" to 
ten or twenty sold of the latter. 

Allow me to say in this connection that I have now in 
press a fine edition of Paine's Complete Works, which will 
very soon be issued in one large volume, including his 
Life, also his Theological Works and his Political 
Writings by themselves, as well as each part separately. 
I am proud to be the publisher of the writings of Thomas 
Paine, and deem it one of the most commendable acts of 
my life. I shall be only too glad to furnish a copy of liis 
works, or any part of them, to any person who wants them. 

Paine spoke directly to the people and addressed himself 
to their plain common sense. This is the secret of his sue. 
cess as a writer. Jefferson expressed himself thus, regard- 
ing Paine as an author: " No writer has exce'lecl Paiuo in 



08 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

ease and familiarity of style, in perspicuity of expression, 
happiness of elucidation, and in simple, unassuming Ian- 
guage. In this respect he may be compared with Dr. 
Franklin." 

Stephen Simpson said of Paine: "Lucid in his style, for- 
cible in his diction, and happy in his illuslrations, he 
threw the charms of poetry over the statue of reason, and 
made converts to liberty as if a power of fascination pre- 
sided over his pen." 

You have quoted a few words from Theodore Parker; let 
me add a few more. In a letter to a near friend he said: "I 
see some one has written a paper on Thomas Paine, in the 
Atlantic Monthly^ which excites the wrath of men who are 
not worthy to stoop down and untie the latchet of his shoes, 
nor even to bring them home from the shoe-black. . . It 
must not be denied that he had less than the average amount 
of personal selfishness or vanity ; his instincts* were humaue 
and elevated, and his life devoted mainly to the great pur. 
poses of humanity. His political writings fell into my 
hands in early boyhood, and I still think they were of im- 
mense service to the country. . . I think he did more to 
promote piety and morality among men than a hundred 
ministers of that age in America. He did it by showing 
that religion is not responsible for the absurd doctrines 
taught in its name." 

Quotations in this connection from a few other clergy- 
men may not be out of place. Rev. Solomon Southwick, 
among other complimentary remarks, said: "Had Thomas 
Paine been a Grecian or a Roman patriot in olden tLjies, 
and performed the same public services as he did for this 
country, he would have had the honor of an apotheosis. 
The Pantheon would have been opened to him, and we 
should at this day regard his memory with the same vene. 
ration that we do that of Socrates and Cicero. But posterity 
will do him justice. Time, that destroys envy and estab- 
lishes truth, will clothe his character in the habiliments 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. ^^ 

ihat justly belong to it." Rev. M. D. Conway, in a dis- 
;;ourse in Cincinnati on Paiue's birthday, Jan. 29, 1860 
'which I had the good fortune to hear), said: "All efforts to 
stain the good name of Thomas Paine have recoiled on 
those who made them, like poisoned arrows shot against a 
strong wind. In his life, in his justice, in his truth, in bis 
adbereiice to hi^h principles, in his disinterestidness, I look 
m vain for a parallel in these times." The Rev. David 
Swing of Chicago, and, 1 believe, of your own denomina- 
tion, said: "I have read Paine's theological works with 
p'eat pleasure and profit. Indeed, judging by his writings, 
he was one of the grandest and best men that ever trod the 
planet." 

In marked contradistinction to the tributes thus honor- 
ably bestowed stands such dishonorable tirades as you 
quoted from the envious and maligning pen of Adams. It 
seemed to wound his vanity to have praise accorded to 
Paine. Ho could hardly bear to have it go down in history 
that anybody but himself struggled to fire the American 
heart to deeds of daring and valor in the cause of national 
independence. I must confess that the strongest proof you 
have adduced in favor of Adams being a Christian are the 
quotations against Paine which you make from him. 
They sound exceedingly like Christian sentiments, and were 
it not true that he never accrpled the fundamental dogma of 
Christianity, 1 would freely relinquish him to you and your 
cause. That his remarks about Paine were malicious, un- 
generous and uncalled for, cannot for a moment be doubted. 

You say, "Paine did not always tell the truth," and as 
proof adduce his assertion that he never published a syllable 
in Eugland. It is quite possible that he did not. Writing 
and publishing are very different operations. Many persons 
wfite for my paper, but I am the publisliery and equally so if 
I write not a word myself. Do you suppose for a moment 
that Mr. Paiue meant that he m;ver wrote a syllable in Eng- 
and? It strikes me that I can substantiate a much stronger 



70 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

charge of falseliood against your God, your Savior, the 
patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles, and the popes, bish- 
ops and priests, from the earliest times down to the present. 
Should you desire it, it will be a cheerful task to me to ac- 
commodate you. 

Pdine did not claim to be the author of the Declaration of 
Independence, but only that his pamphlet, "Common 
Sense," led to it. This opinion is doubtless correct, and is 
corroborated by the judgment of thousands. Your charge 
of " self-righteousness and self-conceit" is indifferently sus- 
tained. It was no more reprehensible for him to name him- 
self as author of "Common Sense" than for Jefferson to 
name himself as the author of the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence. Both were quite excusable. His statement that he 
had lived an h©nest and useful life was strictly true, and 
hardly justifies your fling at his want of faith in the Jewish 
Bible in conned ion therewith. Such as Paine was, he at- 
tained by his own efforts. He claimed neitber grace nor 
virtue on the merits of another. 

Few of his friends have claimed for him the authorship 
of the "Junius Letters," though William H. Burr, in 
his volume, "Junius Unmasked," gives in parallel col- 
umns a large number of extracts from Junius' and Paine'a 
writings, and it must be confessed the similarity is striking. 

You say "Paine became unpopular in France." This was 
due more to the peculiar fitful, mercurial character of the 
French people than to any other cause; though his praise- 
worthy (lefense of Louis XVI, as has been shown, made him 
temporarily unpopular. You say, also, that ' 'be was penuri- 
ous." Your estimate of him differs from that of others. 
Joel Barlow, a man of the hio^hest veracity, and who knew 
Paine intimately, said: "He was one of the most benevolent 
and disinterested of mankind, endowed with the clearest 
perception, an uncommon show of original genius, and the 
greatest depth of thought. . . He ought to be ranked 
among the brightest and undeviating luminaries of the age 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. "1 

in which he lived. . . He was always charitable to the 
poor, beyond his means, a sure protector and friend to all 
Americans in distress that he found in foreign countries; 
and he had frequent occasions to exert his influence in pro- 
tecting them during the Revolution in France." His sub- 
scription of $500, all the money he had in the world, for the 
benefit of the soldiers, in the darkest days of the Revolution- 
ary War, did not look much like penurious ness. He headed 
the list by which £30,000, or $150,000, was raised, which 
was another means by which the cause was saved. His 
gift of the copyright of his works, never charging a cent for 
the same, did not savor of penuriousness. Had he seen fit, 
as many have done, to avail himself of the copyright, a 
large income could have been secured to himself. Had he 
been penurious, he would doubtless have done so. He was 
frugal but not penurious. 

Another charge you make is that "Paine was a drunkard 
in his latter years." This is unkind, to say the least, and is 
sustained only by slander and misrepresentation. He lived 
at a time when almost everybody drank more or less; he did 
make use of spirits, but he did not drink to excess, as many 
of his intimate acquaintances testified. The allowance that 
he restricted himself to was one quart per week, and 
this included what he placed before his friends when 
they called upon him. That quantity would not suffice for a 
hard drinker. The amount used is proved by the statement 
of Mr. Burger, the grocer who supplied Mr. Paine, and I ob- 
tained additional confirmation from surviving members of 
the family with whom he boarded when at New Rochelle. 
Their statement was that he never exceeded one quart per 
week, and that they never knew him to be intoxicated. I 
have conversed also with Major A. Coutant and Mr. Bar- 
ker of New Rochelle, now very far advanced in life, but who 
distinctly remember Mr. Paine. They remember him as a 
pleasant, genial man, who lived on good terras with his 
neighbors and was not known to ever have been intoxicated, 



73 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

If he even did get intoxicated occasionally, it would hardly 
disprove his arguments, either upon political or theological 
subjects, and would not render him materially different 
from many of the brilliant minds who have graced our na- 
tion's history, among whom maybe named Daniel Webster, 
Henry Clay, Thomas F. Marshall, Silas Wright, Stephen A. 
Douglas, Richard Yates, and mauy others, not to name 
Chandler and Grant of our own times. These men all made 
pretty free use of ardent spirits, but the Church has not 
tried to damn their memories on account of it. The facts 
are, Paine made an habitual use of the article, but he was 
not a drunkard. Had Paiue become so intoxicated as to lie 
in a drunken sleep, exposing his person, as did the patriarch 
Noah, or like the patriarch Lot, to commit incest with his 
own daughters, or even like the Rev. Mr. Pearson of Pitts- 
burgh, or that other respected chrgyman in Baltimore who 
recently was so intoxicated in the pulpit as to be unable to 
continue his sermon, you could have made out a much 
stronger case of intemperance against him than with all 
the facts we have in his case. 

Your charge about his being " unhappy and quarrelsome" 
is hardly worthy of attention. In advanced life, when he felt 
that he had been denied the credit which a grateful people 
should have bestowed upon him, he might at times have been 
peevish and uncommunicative, as many aged people are; 
but amiability, geniality, and sociability were his genera] 
characteristics. 

I am most sorry of ail, dear frienii, to see you willing to 
repeat or use the vile insinuations retailed by that ungentle- 
manly slanderer, Cheetham, in regard to an intimacy be- 
tween Paine and Madame Bonneville, throwing out the 
imputation that he was the father of one of her children, 
when there was not a particle of proof that there was the 
slightest truth in the insinuation, and when you must have 
known that ]\[rs. Bonneville prosecuted Cheetham for libel, 
and sustained the action without the slightest difficnliy, and 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 73 

that Cheetham's gentlemanly lawyer, acknowledged in 
court that the charge was groundless — an unmitigated libel. 
I can hardly think your cause can be benefited by repeat- 
ing those calumnies and low insinuations. In view of the 
notorious adulterous operations of Bishop Onderdonk, Rev. 
Mr. Wesley, of Illinois, Rev. J. S. Bartlett, Rev. Miriam D. 
Wood, Rev. J. M. Mitchell, Rev. L. D. Huston, Rev. A. T. 
Thompson, Ruv. E. F. Berkley, Rev. Dr. Griswold, Rev. E. 
G. Ribbie, Rev. B. Phinney, Rev. I. S. Kalloch, Rev. Dr. 
Pomeroy, Rev. Tunis Titus Kendrick, Rev. R. H. William- 
son, Rev. John Newland Mafflt, Rev. Mr. Wilcox, Rev. E. 
W. Sehon, Rev. John A. Huckins, Rev. Mr. Deardorf, with 
hundreds of other libidinous reverends, from Henry W. 
Beecher, down to the Rev. Thomas B. Bott and the Rev. 
J. H. Foster, against all of whom most damaging proofs of 
adulterous criminalities were brought to light, it seems 
hardly worth your while to revive the false and exploded 
insinuation about Paine, whose record in that direction is 
singularly clear and untarnished. Occupants of glass houses 
or people whose friends are, should not amuse themselves 
by throwing stones. 

Mr. Paine never set himself up for a saint, nor have his 
greatest admirers ever claimed that he was a man without 
fault. He was human, and of course had his failings as well 
as other men; but take him ''all in all," through the 
entire course of his life, and he will compare favorably 
with distinguished statesmen, theologians, and authors of 
the last two centuries. When, however, sectarians have 
been unable to refute his arguments (and it is safe to say 
that his theological arguments have never been refuted), 
their only recourse has been to slander, abuse, and call him 
hard names. They have seemed to think if they charged 
Paine with intemperance, uncleanliness, sadness, and with 
having recanted on his death-bed, that they had set his 
arguments aside. It is not strange, then, finding this course 
§0 much ej^sier than refuting his arguments, that they, 



74 THE HUMPHREY-BENlSrETT DISCUSSION. 

should readily resort to it. As you are candid enough to 
admit that "he died as he lived, a Deist," it is unneces- 
sary for me to disprove the oft-repeated and silly assertions 
that he recanted on his death-bed and gave the lie to the 
honest convictions of his life. 

In conclusion, allow me to make one more brief quotation 
from the matchless Ingersoll: "I challenge the world to 
show that Thomas Paine ever wrote one line, one word, in 
favor of tyranny — in favor of immorality; one line, one 
word, against what he believed to be for the highest and 
best interest of mankind; one line, one word, against jus- 
tice, charity, or liberty, and yet he has been pursued as 
though he had been a fiend from hell. His memory has been 
execrated as though he had murdered some Uriah for his 
wife, driven some Hagar into the desert to starve with his 
child upon her bosom; defiled his own daughters; ripped 
open with the sword the sweet bodies of loving and inno- 
cent women; advised one brother to assassinate another; 
kept a harem with seven hundred wives and three hundred 
concubines, or had persecuted Christians even unto strange 
cities." 

The fact that it requires more space to refute false 
charges than to make them must be my apology for the 
length of my reply. 

I am truly yours, D. M. Bennett. 



MR. HUMPHREY. 

Mr. D. M. Bennett, Dear Sir: You said in your first 
letter that " England had no deadlier foe to American free- 
dom than was John Wesley." That, 1 think, is an incor- 
rect statement. Like a great many other Englishmen, of 
every species of belief and unbelief, Wesley thought the 
British the best form of government in the world; and he 
regretted to see a disruptipn between the Colonies and the 



THE HUMPHREY-BBNNETT DISCUSSION. 75 

Mother country. But he was not a "deadly foe to American 
freedom." He pronounced the slave trade " that execrable 
sum of all villainies" (Works: London, 1810; vol. v, p. 47). 
He wrote and spoke in defense of religious toleration and 
freedom of conscience (vol. vi, p. 237, 401). He and his 
friend Gen. Oglethorpe endeavored to make Georgia a free 
State (Greeley's American Conflict, vol. i, p. 32). In a let- 
ter to Lord North, dated June 15, 1775, after receiving ful- 
ler information than he at first [)Ossessed about the true state 
of affairs, he said respecting the Colonists: " In spite of all 
my long-rooted prejudices, I cannot help thinking, if I think 
at all, these, an oppressed people, asked for nothing more 
than their legal rights, and that in the most modest 
and inoffensive manner that the nature of the thing 
would allow. But waiving this, waiving all considerations 
of right and wrong, I ask, is it common sense to use force 
toward the Americans ? . . They are as strong men as 
you; they are as valiant as you, if not abundantly more val. 
iant, for they are one, and all enthusiasts — enthusiasts for 
liberty" (Parton's Life or Franklin, vol. i, p. 548). Does 
this look like deadly enmity to American freedom? 

You promised to show that James Madison was an Infidel! 
I wonder more at the promise than at the non-fulfillment. 
Madison was a thorough believer in the Christian religion. • 
When he died, "he had fulfilled nobly fulfilled, the desti- 
nies of a man and a Christian " (J. Q. Adams' Eulogy, 
p. 4) 

So of Gouverneur Morris. You will hardly attempt to 
prove that he was a Deist after seeing his uncomplimentary 
estimate of Paine. 

In your third letter you quote from Franklin's Autobiogra- 
phy to prove that he was a Deist. Franklin was referring 
to himself when fifteen, where he said, "I became a thor- 
ough Deist." We have already shown that he passed 
through a "regeneration," and "returned to the sentiments 
of his ancestors " after that. Your quotation is like citing 



76 THE HUMrHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

what a man has said when tipsy, in order to show how 
much sense he has when sober. 

You make a special effort to convince the reader that Jef- 
ferson was an Infidel. Many of your quotations only show 
Jefferson's views concerning the " corruptions and abuses 
of Christianity." You can find similar things in sermons, 
and, for that matter, in the Kew Testament. He advised 
Peter Carr to take nothing for granted — to doubt everj'thing. 
Perhaps you are not aware that a course in a modern theo- 
logical seminary is based on a similar principle. The stu- 
dent is not taught to assume but to prove the existence of a 
God. Descartes began with universal doubt. He " ques- 
tioned with boldness even the existence of a God." But 
was Descartes therefore an Infidel? No; he *' lived and 
died a good Catholic" (Huxley's Lay Sermons, p. 342). 
In the inculcation of this principle, then, Jefferson did not 
differ from Christian philosophers and theologians. 

But Jefferson called himself a "Materialist." Yes ; and he 
called himself a "Christian" also. Now, these two state- 
ments cannot be reconciled in your favor; but they can in 
mine. Jefferson could not be a "Christian" in amj sense 
and be a "Materialist " in the A'heistic sense. But he 
could be a Christian consistently with Webster's second defi- 
' nition of the word Materialism : "The tendency to give un- 
due importance to material interests; devotion to the ma- 
terifjl nature and its wants." His writings prove abun- 
dantly that he was not a *' Materialist" in the sense of "one 
who denies tlic existence of spiritual substances." It follows 
that Jeffer; on flatly contradicted himself, or else he used the 
word "Materialist" in a sense consistent with a belief in 
the Scriptures. 

And he called Paul a " Coryphaeus." That vcas rather a 
hard name to give the great Apostle. But you must know 
that avowed Christians sometimes give vent to unguarded 
expressions of this kind. Some women that want to preach, 
when reminded of certain injunctions to "silence in the 



THE HUMPHKEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 77 

churches," speak of Paul rather lightly as an "old bachelor." 
Martin Luther called James' Epistle " an Epistle of straw;" 
and he did it with considerable earnestness, too. But you 
will hardly claim that Lather was an Infidel. Then why be 
so sure that Jefferson was, since he did not speak more dis- 
respectfully of Paul than Luther did of James ? 

If Jefferson was an Infidel why did he call the imputation 
of Infidelity a *'libel," a "malignant distortion and perverted 
construction"? If he was an Infidel of the Paine type, how 
was it that he did not allude, disciple-like, to Paine in one 
of the twenty-five private letters tbat he wrote between the 
time of Paine's death in June and the close of the year? If 
he was an Infidel, how could Samuel Adams v/rite to 
Thomas Paine, in 1802, such words as these: *' Our friend, 
the President of the United States, has been calumniated 
for his liberal sentiments, by men who have attributed that 
liberality to a Intent design to promote the cause of Infidel- 
ity. This and all other slanders have been made icithoiU a shad- 
ow of proof;''' and why did Paine not claim him in his reply? 
If he was an Infidel, why did he always deny it, and claim 
that he was a Christian ? When will poor Jefferson cease 
to be the subject of "libels," "slanders," "calumnies," 
"malignant distortion and perverted construction "? 

You devote a considerable part of your letter in defense 
of Paine to showing what I had already acknowledged. I 
must give you credit for candor in not denying that 
Paine labored for Am.erican Independence by assuming to 
be a believer in the Bible, and by appealing to Christian sen- 
timent.swith Christian arguments. What I meant by the 
** period of Paine's infamy," was the period in which he be- 
came infamous. You refer rather contemptuously to Mad- 
ame Roland as " a woman." I gave her opinion simply be- 
cause she was a skeptic, esteemed very highly among In- 
fidels. The whole American people expressed the same 
opinion that she did by not electing Paine to any position 
where statesmanship would be required. You try in vain 



78 THE HtrMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

to defend him against the charge of falsifying. Your dis- 
tinction between writing and publishing seems to me very 
much like a quibble. John Adams said in regard to this 
matter: "He was extremely earnest to convince me that 
'Common Sense ' was his first-born; declared again and 
again that he had never written a line nor a word that had 
been printed before ' Common Sense' " (Works, vol. ii, 
p. 510). In regard to Paine and that Frenchwoman, Mrs. 
Bonneville, I only gnYe facts which no one denies. Let every 
one draw his own inference. You say truly that when 
Cheetham was prosecuted for libel he failed to prove his in- 
sinuations. Very well; but do Infidels drop their insinua- 
tions against professing Christians when similar charges 
are made against them, and fail of proof in a criminal court? 
The first instance is yet to be produced. 

Permit me to say a word about the incorporation of relig- 
ious freedom in the Constitution. That was not the work 
of Infidels, but the achievement of believers in the Holy 
Scriptures. On this subject Judge Slory says: ''"Wo are 
not to attribute this prohibition of a national religious estab- 
lishment to any indifference to religion in general, and 
especially to Christianity {which none could hold in more rev- 
erence than theframers of the Constitniion), but to a di ead by 
the people of the influence of ecclesiastical power in mat- 
ters of government." "Probably, at the time of the adop- 
tion of the Constitution, and of the amendment to it, now 
under consideration, the general, if not the universal, senti- 
ment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive 
encouragement from the State, so far as such encouragement 
was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, 
and the freedom of religious worship. Any attempt to 
level all religions, and 16 make it a matter of State policy 
to hold all in utter indifference, would have created univer- 
sal disapprobation, if not universal indignation'' (Exposition 
of the Constitution, New York, 1868, pp. 259-2G1). 

It would be relevant to our subject to show that believers 



THE HUMPHREY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 79 

in the Bible have done much more than unbelievers to bring 
about the abolition of American Slavery. But time and 
space compel me to confine what I have to say on that mat- 
ter to a mere outline: — 

1. Slavery is older than the Bible; therefore the Scrip- 
tures did not create nor establish that institution. 

2. Slavery among the ancient Hebrews was much milder 
than among the surrounding nations. The Mosaic law pro- 
vided a periodical emancipation of all bondmen. The 
whole regime was virtually a scheme tor the gradual aboli- 
tion of slavery, similar to that which the French Infidel 
Condorcet recommended. 

3. The cardinal principles of the Scriptures involve a 
condemnation of Slavery. Christ so expounded them: "All 
things whatsover ye would that men should do to you, do 
ye even so to them : for this is the law and the prophets " (Mat. 
vii, 12). As far back as the age of Isaiah, we find among 
the Jews such sentiments as the following: "Is not this the 
fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, 
to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, 
and that ye break every yoke?" (Isa. Iviii, 6). 

4. It is true, however, that many professing Christians 
have sanctioned slavery; and the Bible has been pressed 
into the service of the slave-holder. But the remedy for 
these evils in the Church has always arisen from within 
herself. The voice that has taught and corrected her mem- 
bers has emanated from her own altars. The Christian has 
always been the best friend of the oppressed. I need not 
remind you of Wilberforce, the leading Abolitionist of Eng- 
land. In our own country, the movement which culminated 
in the Emancipation Proclamation was in the main a move- 
ment of religious people. Henry Wilson says on this sub- 
ject: "It has been fashionable to couple the charge of Infi- 
delity with the mention of the Abolition effort. Nothing 
could be more unjust or untrue. Anti-slavery was the child 
of Christian faith. Its early and persistent defenders and 



so THE HUM:PHREY - BENNETT DTSCUSStON. 

supporters were men who feared God and called upon his 
name " (Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, vol. 
lii, p. 718). In this magnificent work he shows that John 
Eliot, Judge Sewall, Burling, Saniford, Lay, Woolman, Ben- 
ezet, Wesley, Whitfield, Rush, &c., «fcc., opposed slavery 
(vol. i, eh. 1.); that the earliest Abolition Societies were 
"loj^al to the precepts of Christianity"; that Rev. Dan'l 
Worth suffered imprisonment for circulating anti-slavery 
literature (vol. ii, p. 668); that " the great body of the Prot- 
estant clergy condemned the Fugitive Slave Law" (vol. ii, p. 
310); that the "Underground Railroad" was the co5pera- 
tion, "generally, though not exclusively, of members of 
Christian churches" (vol. ii, p. 65). But, perhaps you do 
not like Henry Wilson, because he was such a thorough- 
going Christian. Take a more "liberal" man, then — a man 
that could too frequently " swear like a trooper." I mean 
Horace Greeley. In the first volume of his "American 
Conflict "—dedicated to the "Christian Statesman," John 
Bright— he shows that Jonathan Edwards, Jr., preached 
against Slavery in 1791 (p. 50); that John Wesley, Ogle- 
thorpe, Washington and Jefferson opposed slavery (pp. 32, 
34, 51); that the devout John Jay was the first President of 
the New York Manumission Society (p. 107); that Franklin 
was President and Rush Secretary of a similar Society in 
Pennsylvania (p. 107); that the "pioneers of modern Abo- 
litionism were almost uniformly devout, pious, church-nur- 
tured men " (p. 121); and that the first martyrs of Abolition- 
ism—Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy and John Brown— were fer- 
vent Christians (pp. 141, 296-7). 

It is clear from all this that the earliest, most earnest, per- 
sistent, and numerous friends of the slave were found in the 
Church, and not among Infidels. In the campaign of 1860 
when Slavery and Liberty were fighting their last desperate 
battle at the polls, where was "the matchless Ingersoll" 
that has been prating so much of late about the " liberty 
of man, woman, and child"? Of course, he was among the 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 81 

friends of universal freedom! Not a bit of it. He was witli 
the pro-slavery party, doing all he could to defeat Lincoln, 
and rivet his shackles on the slave! What if he did turn 
his political coat afterwards! That was policy. Country 
people would not think very much of a fellow that had kept 
aloof from the bee-tree until it was felled and the bees' 
wings were all burned off, and then came forward with a 
big brass pan to claim the honey. 

It has been claimed that Lincoln was an Infidel. Having 
seen the assertion that Colfax t?aid so in his lecture, I wrote 
recently to Mr. Colfax to ask whether that was true or not. 
He replied: "I did not say in my Lincoln Lecture that Mr. 
Lincoln wf s not a believer in the Christian religion, but 
that he was not a member of a church." In a speech de- 
livered in 18G0 "Slv. Lincoln said: "I know I am right, be- 
cause I know that Liberty is right, for Christ teaches it, and 
Christ is GocV (Arnold's Life of Lincoln, p. 688). When leav- 
ing Springfield to assume the Presidency he said : "He (Wash- 
ington) never would have succeeded except for the aid of 
Divine Provideace, upon which he at all times relied. I 
feel that I cannot succeed without the same Divine bless- 
ing which sustained him; and on the same Almighty Being 
I place my reliance for support. And I hope you, my 
friends, will all pray that I may receive that divine assist- 
ance without which I cannot succeed, but with which suc- 
cess is certain" (ibid, p. 168). In his first Inaugural he 
said: ''Intelligence, patriotism, Chi istianiiy , and a firm re- 
liance on Him who has never yet forsaken his favored land, 
are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present 
difficulty." Mr. Arnold says of him: "All through his 
troubles, he earnestly solicited the prayers of the people, 
and they were his " (Life of Lincoln, p. 169). " He seemed 
ever to live and act in the consciousness of his responsibility 
to God, and wiih the trusting faith of a child, he leaned 
confidingly upon his Almighty Arm." "The support 
which Mr. Lincoln received during his administration from 



82 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DtSCUSStON. 

the religious orgaDizations, and the sympathy and codA- 
dence between the great body of Christians and the Presi- 
dent, was a source of immense strength and power to him" 
(Ibid, p. 688), "This great family, with a continent for a 
homestead, universal liberty, restrained and guided by in- 
telligence and ChHstianity , was his sublime ideal of the 
future. For this he lived, and for this he died" (Ibid, p. 
690). Raymond endorses a similar testimony concerning 
his "religious experience" (Life and Public Services of 
Abraham Lincoln, N. Y., 1865, pp. 730-5). 

In opposition to such authorities as these what is the value 
of a "they say so," or an "it is said"? Simply nothing. 
Lincoln was indisputably a profound believer in the Chris- 
tian Religion. 

I now close my discussion of the first proposition. I 
have endeavored to show that "believers in the Bible 
have done more for civil liberty in the United States than 
unbelievers in it " — more for Independence ; more for 
Religious Freedom in the Constitution; and more for the 
Abolition of Slavery from American soil. 

Yours with respect, G. H. Humphrey. 



MR. BE NNET T . 

Rev. G. H. Humphrey, Dear Sir: Upon the principle 
that " scattering shot kill the most game," your last letter 
should have brought down a bag-full, for your gun scattered 
widely. 

You think me incorrect in the assertion that England had 
no deadlier foe to American freedom than John Wesley. 
If you will consult the Life and Times of John Wesley, A. 
M., by Rev. L. Tyerman, vol. iii, pp. 185-195, London edi- 
tion, you will find that I had suflBicient grounds for making 
the assertion. You will see that while the Colonists were 
submissive to the rule of Great Britain, and were willing to 



TnE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 83 

abide by laws the enaction of which they had no hand in, 
and were willing to be taxed to sustain them, Wesley was a 
friend to the Colonists. But when they presumed' to resist 
the principle of taxation without representation, none were 
more zealous in opposing their movement than the great 
apostle of Methodism. He early took ground against their 
efiforts in opposition to being taxed without their consent. 
He preached, in 1775, powerful sermons against the resist- 
ance the Colonists we:e making. The Rev. Tyerman thus 
writes: ** Both England and America were terribly excited; 
but space prevents our entering into details. Suffice it to 
say that the alleged grievance of the American Colonists 
was their being taxed without their consent by the Eng- 
lish Parliament. Dr. Johnson was known to be a great 
hater as well as a great genius. 'Sir,' said he, concerning 
the miscellaneous and mongrel Colonists across the Atlantic, 
' Sir, they are a race of convicts and ought to be thankful 
for anything ve allow them short of hanging!' No wonder 
that the English government, already at their wits' end, ap- 
plied to Johnson to assist them with his powerful pen. He 
did so by the publication, in 1775, of his famous pamphlet, 
'Taxation no Tyranny, an answer to the Resolutions of 
the American Congress.' Ko sooner was it issued than, with 
or without leave, Wesley abridged it, and, without the least 
reference to its origin, published it as his own, in a quarto 
sheet of four pages, with the title, 'A calm Address to Our 
American Colonists, by the Rev. John Wesley, A. M. 
Price one penny.' " 

Thus we have the best of evidence that Wesley endorsed 
and fathered the bitter arguments and invectives against 
the Colonists of the man who said: "They are a race of 
convicts, and ought to be thankful for anything we allow 
them short of hanging!" His little abridgment of Johnson, 
at one penny, of course had a wide circulation. Wesley had 
then arrived at the age of seventy-two, and, through his con- 
tinuous preaching and writing, wielded a great influence. 



84 



THE HUMPHREY-BE XXETT DTSCUSS''0]Sr. 



There were few men in England who were more conspicu- 
ous or h%d more influence, so that what lie published against 
the American cause was quite as effective as the labors of 
any man in England. 

There was a warm friendship between Johnson and Wes- 
ley, and the former was evidently pleased that the latter had 
so emphatically endorsed what he had written against the 
Colonists. In a letter to Wesley, Feb. 6, 1776, Johnson 
wrote: " I have thanks to return for the addition of your 
important suffrage to my argument on the American ques- 
tion. To. have gained such a mind as yours may justly 
confirm me in my opinion. " Wesley's course was regretted by 
the warm friends of the Colonists, and many opposed the 
position he occupied, and several pamphlets were published 
mercilessly combatting him. For further confirmation 
on this point I will refer you to the British and American 
Cyclopedias. I will not take room for further quotations, 
having, I think, produced suflacient proof to show you that 
at the very time that Thomas Paine, the Infidel, was using 
his entire efforts to rouse the Colonists to the importance of 
resisting the oppressions of the British Government, John 
Wesley, the Christian par excellence, was using his great 
ability and influence to aid their oppressors. 

You seem not altogether pleased with my showing of 
Jefferson's Christianity or his Infidelity, whichever it may 
be regarded. I am sorry for this, as I wish to have his 
case clearly understood. I showed that he advised his 
nephew and ward to " fix reason firmly on her throne," to 
"question boldly the existence of God," to read the Bible as he 
would Livy or Tacitus, to believe nothing in it without au- 
thority more than other books. He cast discredit upon such 
statements in the Bible as disagree with the laws of nature, 
like Joshua's causing the sun and moon to stand still, Jesus 
being born of a virgin, etc. I showed that the leading Pres- 
byterian paper of the country, Sidney E. Morse, editor, de- 
clared Jefferson unfriendly to orthodox religion, a disbe- 



TfitE HtJMiPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 85 

liever in Divine Revelation, and a "scoffer of tlie very lowest 
class, " a ' 'Material ist and a Humanitarian of the lowest kind. " 
I quoted Jefferson's ov^n letters in which he characterized 
the Trinity as a hocus-pocus phantasm of a God, like anoth- 
er Cerberus, with one body and three heads; that he wrote 
to Adams, "The day will come when the mystical genera- 
tion of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, will be 
classed with the generation of Minerva in the brain of Ju- 
piter." I showed that he spoke freely of the stupidity of 
some of the Evangelists and early disciples, and of the 
roguery of others; that he said, "Of this band of dupes and 
impostors Paul was the great Coryphaeus and first corrupt- 
er of the doctrines of Jesus;" that he pronounced himself a 
*' Materialist.'' I showed that he denounced the clergy of 
Europe and America, imd pronounced them an injury to the 
people; that he spoke very disparagingly of revivals, prayer- 
meetiogs, etc. ; that he approved of much of D'Holbach's 
Atheistical writings; that he wrote to Col. Pickering about 
"the incomprehensible jargon of the Trinitarian arithmetic, 
that three are one and one is three." 

I gave you much more that he said and wrote, and still 
you are not satisfied — still you insist that he was a 
Christian, and that on one occasion he called himself one. 
If he did so I think it must have been in a very Pickwickian 
sense, for few men have more strongly expressed themselves 
as unbelievers in the divinity of the Bible and the Christian 
religion. 

You allude to my mention of the fact of Franklin stating 
in his autobiography that he "became a thorough Deist," 
and wish to counteract the effect of it because the time he 
alluded to was when he was young, but you failed to show 
where he stated that he had ceased to be a Deist. He was 
somewhat offended when Whitefield spoke as though there 
was little difference between an Atheist and a Deist; Frank- 
lin had a distinct idea of a difference. He denied being an 
Atheist but never denied being a Deist. You will remem- 



DO THE HUMPaRKY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

ber that Dr. Priestley, who knew Franklin intimately, re- 
gretted that he was a Deist, "When Franklin had arrived at 
the great age of eighty-five he acknowledged that he still en- 
tertained doubts of the divinity of Jesus. I wish you would 
show where he ever gave any acknowledgment that he be- 
lieved that Jesus was the son of God or was God himself. 

As to Washington, I showed by Jefferson and Gouver- 
neur Morris that he was an unbeliever in the Christian re- 
ligion, that he never wrote or spoke a word in a public or 
private capacity that committed himself to it, and I showed 
by the Rev. Mr. Abercrombie that the General was a Deist. 
I showed Aaron Burr to be of the same belief, that even at 
the hour of death he could not be induced to admit that he 
believed in the divinity of Jesus. 

The same may be said of John Adams. Although he was 
envious of Paine, and said unkind and untrue things of 
him, he did not accept the leading Christian dogma, and 
in this respect sympathized closely with Jefferson 

You do not quote me correctly when you say I promised 
to show "James Madison was an Infidel." I only said I 
would probably have more to say of him. He is not a cen- 
tral figure, and I have given but little attention to him. I 
think information is rather meagre touching his religious 
views. His biographers have been rather non-committal 
upon the subject. In the "American Cyclopedia" the 
statement is made that in early life " his attention was par- 
ticularly directed to the evidences of the Christian religion, 
but no account is given of his having embraced it at any 
lime of his life. Jefferson thus wrote respecting Madison : 
"From three and thirty years' trial I can say conscien- 
tiously that I do not know in the world a man of purer in- 
tegrity, more dispassionate, disinterested and devoted to 
pure republicanism, nor could I in the whole scope of 
America and Europe point out an abler head." But in this 
not a word about his " standing up for Jesus." Jefferson 
and Madison were particular friends, and entertained many 



THE HUMPHBEY-BBNNETT DISCUSSION. 8? 

views and opinions in common. If Madison was a Cliris- 
tian, he was in all probability a Christian of the Jefferson 
i&chool. The phrase you quote from the eulogy of J. Q. 
Adams about his being a man and a Christian, amounts to 
very little. In one sense every man in the United States 
may be called a " Christian," as this is a boasted Christian 
land. 

Of Gouverneur Morris, the data respecting his religious 
views are meagre. We know this much, that he and Jeffer- 
son were intimate and cordial friends. Jefferson thus 
wrote of Morris in connection with Washington: ** I 
know that Gouverneur Morris who claimed to be in his 
(Washington's) secrets, and believed himself to be so, has 
often told me that Washington believed no more in that 
system (Christianity) than he himself did." This one 
quotation is sufficient to settle the question so far as 
Morris' views are concerned. Had he been a Christian, he 
would hardly have repeatedly told Jefferson that Wash- 
ington did not believe in the Christian religion. If, also, he 
thought Washington an unbeliever, and he wished to show 
the fact, he would hardly have compared Washington with 
himself unless he was perfectly willing to have it under- 
stood that he was also an unbeliever. If he was a Chris- 
tian at all, he was of the same type with Jefferson. After 
he is dead and buried it is very easy to set up the claim that 
he was a Christian, but in this case the claim greatly needs 
confirmation. 

You still adhere to the idea of Paine's ^'Infainy" and say 
you meant that the ''period of his infamy began when he be- 
came infamous. " As he never became infamous, the time when 
is very indefinite. When he wrote the "Age of Reason " 
he was far from infamous. That effort was glorious; it is 
so regarded now, and will be for centuries to come. It is a 
little singular after admitting that " Paine was a man of 
talent," that "his assistance in the cause of independence 
was very great; that he had good traits, that he was honest, 



88 THE HUMPHIiEY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

not uncharitab]e, that he abstained from profanity, that he 
opposed slavery, etc., that you should still insist that he was 
infamous. Is that a Christian spirit? Is it infamous to 
doubt? 

You are mistaken about my speaking contemptuously of 
Madame Roland. Nothing could be farther from me. It 
is not contemptuous to regard her or to speak of her as a 
woman. To show Paine to not have been a statesman, you 
quoted this lady. Thinking, as a general thing, women are 
not so well informed as to what pertains to statesmansTiip as 
men, I thought your case would have have been stronger 
had you quoted some masculine authority on that head. 

You allude to the formation of the Constitution of our 
country, and make the singular assertion that *' it was not 
the work of Infidels, but was the adHHevement of believers 
in the Holy Scriptures." Here you are wrong, at least par- 
tially so. It was a mixed convention of believers and un- 
believers that framed our Constitution. If a large share of 
them were Christians, they were Jeffersonian Christians, 
who believed verj'- little, and had but little reverence for 
antique superstitions. In proof of this, it is only necessary 
to adduce the fact that neither God, Jesus Christ, nor the 
Bible are recognized nor mentioned in that remarkable in- 
strument. If they were strong believers in the trio, and 
deemed their recognition of any special importance, thej'" 
were certainly very jremiss in their duty in not inserting 
them and founding the government upon them. 1 think 
were a convention of leading Christians held to-day to frame 
another Constitution for our country, and it were composed 
of the highest Reverends in the land, including Bro. 
Talmage, Bro. Fulton, Bro. Tyng, Bro. Deems, Bro. 
Crosby, Bro. Moody and yourself, that "God," his "Son 
Jesus Christ," and the " Holy Scriptures" would most un- 
mistakably appear in the instrument, and every man who pre- 
sumed to doubt them would have but few rights and pre- 
rogatives. What a world of uneasiness would have been 



^^HE IIUMPHEEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION, 89 

saved to millions of tlie pious Christians of to-day bad the 
framers of the Constitution recognized Jehovah, Jesus and 
the Bible. It would have spared them the great labor of get- 
ting up mammoth petitions, bearing hundreds of thousands 
of names, asking that the instrument be amended, and that 
the great trio be recognized. 

It is hard to estimate with any accuracy how m.my times 
the framers of our glorious Constitution have been devoutly 
but secretly cursed f ( r this unpardonable omission. They 
were not near equal to the framers of the Constitution of 
the Confederate States, for they recognized God, Jesus, and 
the Bible, in the true Christian spirit. But, nevertheless, 
it did not avail them. With all their veneration, all their 
reliance, all their prayers for success, their Constitution and 
their cause had to go by the board, while our Constitution, 
without a God, or a son of a God, or a Bible of any kind in 
it, the Constitution upon which is based the government 
which Washington solemnly declared "not in any sense 
founded on the Christian religion," was triumphant and is 
so still. 

I think it is quite fair to conclude that the Christian ele- 
ment was not strong in the convention that framed our Con- 
stitution or there would have been some Christianity in it. 
Its God, its Savior, or its revealed law, would assured- 
ly have been mentioned. I think that, under the circum- 
stances, much boasting of their ultra Christianity is decided- 
ly superfluous. Our Constitution, essenUally Infidel as it is, 
ignoring alike God, Christ, and the Bible, is a fair illustra- 
tion of how much Christianity and faith had to do with this 
country's achieving its independence or in framing its laws. 
Infidelity was certainly as conspicuous all the way through 
as was Christianity. 

You say: "It would be relevant to our subject to show 
that believers in the Bible have done much more than un- 
believers to bring about the abolition of American slav- 
ery." Yes, it would be quite relevant, if it can be done 



90 TSE HlJMPHREY-BENISfE'rT DISCUSSION. 

truthfully. In view of the fact that neither Jehovah nor 
Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Isaiah, 
Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Jesus, Peter, Paul, the popes, 
bishops, and leading saints of the Christian Church, down to 
fifty years ago, ever took it upon themselves to say a word 
against the principle of slavery, it is quite cool and refresh- 
ing, this hot weather, to hear you declare that the credit 
of the anti-slavery movement belongs exclusively to belie v 
ers in the Bible, 

You say, "Slavery is older than the Bible, therefore the 
Scriptures did not create nor establish that institution." 
But is slavery older than God ? If he was opposed to its 
origin and continuance and yet it existed for thousands of 
years, does it not prove either want of will or want of power 
on his part ? If slavery was regarded as wrong by the 
founders and sustainers of Christianity, why were they not 
brave enough to denounce it boldly and clearly ? "All things 
whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you," etc., 
scarcely meets the case. It is general and vague; besides it 
was a sentiment abundantly taught by the Pagan sages, 
hundreds of years before he of Nazareth uttered it. 

If the authors of the Bible were earnest and honest oppo- 
nents of slavery, why did they let such injunctions as these 
form so conspicuous a part of the book: "A servant of ser- 
vants shall he be unto his brethren," " Servants, obey your 
masters," "Obey them that have rule over you," "The 
powers that be aire ordained of God," and much more in the 
same line ? If they believed slavery was wrong, why did 
they not say so with force and directness ? Ah, my friend, 
they were not anti-slavery men, and it is useless to under- 
take to show that they were. Who were the leaders 
and workers in the anti-slavery movement in this coun- 
try — earnest workers while the cause was still unpopular — 
who fearlessly rif-ked their lives in defense of the down- 
trodden ? They were Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Stephen S. 
Foster, Abby Kelly, Theodore Parker, Henry C. Wright, 



THE HUMPHREY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 91 

Parker Pillsbury, Gerrit Smith, Wendell Phillips— Infidels, 
every one ! They were persistent opposers of slavery when, 
their lives were endangered by that course, and it was not 
until the cause had become partially popular and safe that 
the Christian Church embraced it. It was with this as with 
most other reforms, the Church followed, but did not lead. 
On the contrary, the Church for many decades was a zeal- 
ous defender of slavery. Many a person was denied ad- 
admittance into a church to make an anti-slavery speech. 
Leading Abolitionists were mobbed and grossly insulted by 
church-members. The white-cravated clergy would not be 
seen upon anti-slavery platforms nor in Abolitionist con- 
ventions. Half the Christians of the North were in fa- 
vor of the institution, and nearly all in the South, so that 
about three fourths of the Christians of the United States 
were defending slavery while a great majority of the Infi- 
dels were opposing it. 

The Churches North and South, or a portion of tkem, 
divided upon this subject. Your Church — the Presbyterian 
— if I remember rightly, did not divide, but tacitly support- 
ed slavery until the war of the rebellion broke out, and 
since by force of circumstances and the advance of Liberal 
ideas it has ceased to exist, they not only shout over its de- 
feat but claim great credit for having killed it. How un- 
just it is after the Churches of the United States upheld 
slavery for two or three generations, while Infidels and un- 
believers were earnestly fighting it, to now turn around and 
claim all the honor of its suppression and give the opposite 
side none. Thus it has been with the cause of temperance. 
For decades the Church opposed the cause of temperance 
and threw cold water and wet blankets on the struggling 
child as long as they could, and now they fain would make 
the world believe they are the parents of the grown child 
and have done in its favor all that has been done. This is 
not true. While many Christians have been and are now 
earnest friends of temperance, thousands and thousands for 



9» The HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

a long time retarded its progress so far as lay in their 
power. 

The distinguished clergyman and author, Albert Barnes, 
uttered the simple truth when he solemnly declared that the 
greatest obstruction which the cause of temperance had to 
contend with was the apathy and unfriendliness of the 
American clergy. 

The brilliant Rev. Joseph Cook, in a recent discourse in 
Boston, made very truthful statements touching the subject 
of anti-slavery in this country. He said: " If the Northern 
Church had done its duty the South would have had no 
hope of a divided North, and the war would not have been. 
Let not the Church grow proud over the fall of slavery; it 
was not her work. The Church could have refused to up- 
hold secession in the South; it could have made slave-hold- 
ing a bar to church-membership, as the Quakers did; it 
could have given direction to the reform movement by put- 
ting itself stalwartly on the right side. United action 
would have prevented apathy in the North and united action 
in the South, and would have made war impossible." 

He complimented Theodore Parker highly for the faithful 
services he performed in the anti-slavery cause. He said: 
" Theodore Parker stood upon a high pulpit in Music Hall. 
But it was anti-slavery, and not anti-Christianity that made 
that pulpit as high as Strasburg steeple. It was high be- 
cause other pulpits were low. Parker was with God in the 
anti-slavery struggle, but the Church was not where it ought 
to have been," 

The reverend gentleman is quite correct. Parker was right 
and the Church was wrong — "not where it ought to have 
been." Had the Church in this country acted right and in 
concert, slavery would have been ended fifty years ago and 
the terrible war of slavery-rebellion, with its cost of one 
million lives of the promising young men of the North and 
the South, and five hundred millions of treasure might have 
been saved. The Church acted the dastardly part in the 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 9'J 

foul business of slavery. It worked for generations to sus- 
tain and uphold it, and sadly failed to come up to the high 
instincts of human nature. It was not the Church that 
overthrew slavery; it was the spirit of humanity which per- 
vaded the minds and hearts of the people. 

You gratuitously make uncomplimentary allusions to 
Robert G. IngersoU, and refer to the time when he cooper- 
ated with the pro-slavery party. I cannot give the precise 
date when he left that party, but perhaps it was about the 
time he turned his back upon Christianity and the Church. 
You are pleased to speak of his '•■'■'prating about the lib- 
erty of man, woman and child." Yes, hepra^^s, and to some 
purpose, too. There is hardly another man in the United 
States doing so much to-day toward forming public opinion, 
and in the interests of humanity and truth, as is Col. Inger- 
soll. O, that there were hundreds more that could prate like 
him! If the sixty thousand clergymen of this country could 
prate as he does, it would amount to vastly more than the 
idle and childish prating about gods and devils and hells 
which they now give us. 

I was not aware that the religious views of Abraham Lin- 
coln were to form a part of this discussion, but I will en. 
deavor to follow where you lead. Let us see whether he 
was a Christian or an Infidel. The position he occupied, 
and the necessity which forced him to strike the fetters 
from the limbs of the slaves have made him a very distin- 
guished character in our country's history, and the Church 
must needs claim him as her own, so she can monopolize 
the entire credit of overthrowing slavery. Lincoln had 
clear and settled views upon theological subjects, which he 
maintained through life, but it must be admitted that, after 
he became exclusively a politician and realized now much 
his success depended upon the support of the masses, a 
large share of whom were at least professed Christians, he 
did not at all times make his secret views known; that in 
his public speeches he used some of the cant phrases which 



94 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 



he well knew would fall pleasantly upon the ears of the su- 
perstitious masses. It must be conceded also, that he did 
occasionally drop a remark that might be construed to mean 
that he had some faith in the Christian religion, and that 
from a spirit of playfulness, or of enquiry, he appeared at 
times to be investigating the subject of Christianity, but 
that Lincoln was all his life an out-and-out Infidel is one of 
the clearest propositions that can be made; and had I the 
space I could give you many pages, of the size of this, of 
certificates, letters, and statements of the men who knew 
him intimately, and all confirming the fact of his un- 
belief. 

Lincoln was eminently a kind-hearted, humane person, 
but he became an Infidel to Christian theology when a 
mere youth. He never believed in the divinity of the 
Bible, nor that Jesus Christ was God or the begotten Son of 
God. By referring to pages 486 and 487 of Lamon's Life of 
Lincoln you will read as follows: ** Mr. Lincoln was never a 
member of any church, nor did he believe in the divinity of 
Christ, or the inspiration of the Scriptures in the sense un- 
derstood by evangelical Christians. His theological opin- 
ions were substantially those expounded by Theodore 
Parker. Overwhelming testimony out of many mouths, 
and none stronger than that out of his own, places these 
facts beyond controversy. When a boy he showed no sign 
of that piety which his many biographers ascribe to his 
manhood. . . . When he went to church at all, he went 
to mock, and came away to mimic. Indeed, it is more 
than probable that the sort of * religion ' which prevailed 
among the associates of .his boyhood impressed him with a 
very poor opinion of the value of the article. On the whole, 
he thought, perhaps, a person had better be without it. 
When he removed to New Salem he consorted with Free- 
thinkers; joined with them in deriding the gospel history of 
Jesus; read Volney and Paine, and then wrote a deliberate 
and labored essay wherein he reached conclusions similar to 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 05 

theirs. The essay was burut (by his friend, Mr. Hill) but 
he neve 'anied or regretted its composition. On the con- 
trary, he made it the subject of free and frequent conversa- 
tion with his friends at Springfield, and stated with much 
particularity and precision the origin, arguments, and 
object of the work." 

James H. Matheny, of Springfield, 111., who intimately 
knew Mr. Lincoln for over twenty-five years, in a letter to 
Wm. H. Herndon, uses this language: "I knew Mr. Lin- 
coln as early as 1834-7; know he was an Infidel. lie and W. 
D. Herndon used to talk infidelity in the Clerk's Office in 
this city, about the years 1837-40. Lincoln attacked the 
Bible and the New Testament on two grounds; first, from 
the inherent or apparent contradictions under its lids; sec- 
ond, from the grounds of reason. Sometimes he ridiculed 
the Bible and the New Testament; sometimes he seemed to 
scoff at it, though I shall not use that word in its full and 
literal sense. I never heard that Mr. Lincoln changed his 
views, though his personal and political friend from 1834 
to 1860. Sometimes Lincoln bordered on Atheism. He 
went far that way and often shocked me. . . . Lincoln 
would come into the Clerk's Office, and would bring the 
Bible with him; would read a chapter; argue against it. . 
Lincoln often, if not wholly, was an Atheist; at least, bor- 
dered on it. He was enthusiastic in his infidelity. As he 
grew older he grew more discreet; didn't talk so much be- 
fore strangers about his religion ; but to friends, close 
and bosom ones, he was always open and avowed, fair 
and honest; but to strangers he held them off from pol- 
icy. . . Mr. Lincoln did tell me that he did write a little 
book on infidelity. This statement I have avoided hereto- 
fore; but as you strongly insist upon it, I give it to you as 
I got it from Lincoln's mouth " (Lamon's Life of Lincoln, 
pp. 487 and 488). 

Mr. Lamon gives numerous other letters of the same 
tenor from the old friends and acquaintances of Lincoln, 



96 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION, 

bearing testimony of his infidelity. I would be glad to lay 
tliem before you and my readers, but space will not permit 
their introduction here. I will give in addition a few pas- 
sages from a letter of the Hon. John T. Stuart, of Spring- 
field, 111. : "I knew Mr. Lincoln when he first came here, 
and for years afterwards. He was an avowed and open 
Infidel ; sometimes bordered on Atheism. Lincoln went 
further against Christian beliefs, doctrines and principles 
than any man I ever heard. ... He always denied that 
Jesus was the Christ of God; denied that Jesus was the Son 
of God, as understood and maintained by the Christian 
Church. The Rev. Dr. Smith, who wrote a letter, tried to 
convert Lincoln from infidelity so late as 1858, and couldn't 
doit!" Also the following from Wm. H. Herndon Esq., 
who probably knew Mr. Lincoln as intimately as did any 
man in America: "As to Mr. Lincoln's religious views, he 
was, in short, an Infidel. . . A Theist. He did not 
believe that Jesus Christ was God; was a fatalist, denied 
the freedom of the will. Mr. Lincoln told me a thousand 
times that he did not believe the Bible was the revelation of 
God, as the Christian world contends. The points that Mr. 
Lincoln tried to demonstrate (in his book) were: "First, 
that the Bible was not God's revelation; secoud, that Jesus 
was not the Son of God. I assert this on my own knowledge, 
and on my veracity .'^ Mr. Lainou gives more than twenty 
pages of similiir matter, but I must quote no more. Now, 
in the face of all this, it is rather up-hill work to make a 
pious Christikin of Lincoln. 

If you can make a good Christian of a man wiio totally 
denies the divinity of Christ, the inspiration of the Bible, 
and who borders upon Atheism, why Ingersoll, Underwood 
and myself might as well be counted in at once. We have 
not been more pronounced in our iufidelit}'', either by speak- 
ing or writing, than was Abraham Lincolu. There is no use 
in trying to evade the testimony of honorable men who 
knew him for a life-time, and quote against their evidence 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DlSCUHiSlON. 97 

what sor. priest or interested sectarian biograjDlier miglit 
imagine or wisli as to Lincoln's views. 

As to Mr. Colfax, he did say in his lecture delivered in 
Brooklyn, March 25th, 1876, that Lincoln was not a believer 
iu Christianity. I got it from a party who heard the lec- 
ture. It was so reported also in some of the daily papers, 
and to make the thing doubly sure, a friend of mine writing 
to a party in South Bend, Ind., the home of Colfax, asked 
him to call upon Colfax and enquire of him in regard 
to Lincoln's belief. He did so, and Colfax contirmed what 
he had said in his lecture. But as Colfax knows no more 
about Lincoln's religious opinions than hundreds of others, 
and inasmuch as the veracity of this " Christian statesman " 
on some other important matters has been seriously ques- 
tioned, pertaining to questionable operations iu which he 
was implicated, I will not insist upon his testimony being 
taken in this case. 

Now, as we are about taking leave of this branch of our 
discussion let us take a brief review of the ground gone 
over and the results achieved. I claim, in the first place, to 
have shown that the original pure article of Christianity as 
taught by its founders does not recognize nor admit the 
right of its devotees to fight for national or personal liberty, 
and that those who do so violate the injunctions imperative- 
ly given against fighting under any circumstances, and to 
that extent, are Infidels; hence the Americans, in addition 
to being rebels, were Infidels also. 

I claim to have shown that the persons who did most to- 
wards arousing the Colonists to the fighting-point, in con- 
ducting and fighting the battles of the lievolution, and in 
organizing the form of government we have since lived 
under, were Infidels. Those men were Franklin, Washing- 
ton, Paine, Jefferson, Allen, etc., etc. 

I claim to have shown tbat our Constitution is an Infidel 
instrument, entirely ignoririg God, Christ, and the Bible. 

I claim also to have shown that tbe warfare agaiast 



98 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION, 

American slavery was origiualed and contiuued for decades 
by leading Infidels, while the Church lent its power and in- 
fluence in favor of the slaveholders; and finally, 

I have shown that the man who, at one blow, struck off 
the fetters of four millions of slaves, was a staunch, per- 
sistent Infidel, Honest Abraham Lincoln. 

I am. Dear Sir, very truly yours, 

D. M. Bennett. 



PART II. 

The Serviceb of Infidelity and Christianity to 
Learning and Science. 

MR. HUMPHREY. 

Mr. D. M. Bennett, Dear Sir: Just a word of review, 
and then we will proceed to the second proposition. 

You say my "gun scattered widely." There are two rea- 
sons for that: — the comprehensiveness of the subject, and 
the "scattered" condition of the "game." Perhaps you 
ought to be thanked for the tacit admission that my " scat- 
tering shot kills.'" There are indications, however, that you 
will die "game." 

Ghosts will not down. You repeat what you have already 
said about Franklin, "Washington, Jefferson, and others. I 
will refer you to my former letters, and especially to the 
references contained therein, for a disproof of those reiter- 
ations, lam more aDsious to {urnish. the firmest facts a.nd 
the strongest arguments than to get the last word. 

If you will re-peruse ray last letter you will find proof that 
John Wesley did not "endorse and father bitter arguments 
and invectives against the Colonists." There is not a "bit- 
ter" word in his " Calm Address;" and in his letter to Lord 
North he spoke in the most respectful and flattering terms 
of the Americans. 

As to the religious views of the framers of our Constitu- 



100 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DIBCUlScilON. 

tiou, 1 will let the reader choose between your assertion and 
Judge Story's opinion, quoted in my last letter. 

The Slavery question is a complicated subject. One thing, 
however, is certain, viz: that "the inoneers oi modern Ab- 
olitionism were almost uniformly devout, pious, church- 
nurtured men " (Greeley's American Conflict, vol. i, p. 
121). William Lloyd Garrison was a church-member when 
he started out as an Abolitionist, Wendell Philiips' 
religious position is somewhat uncertain. But he is 
not an Infidel of the Paine stamp. A writer in the Boston 
Imesiigator, May 30, 1877, condemns and ridicules him be- 
cause he gave an exhortation in one of his speeches to "take 
heed to the promises of God," and to " trust the future lo 
God." Benj. Lundy, the first Abolitionist, properly so- 
called, was an orthodox Quaker (Greeley's Am, Conflict, 
vol. i, pp. Ill, 113). So is John G. Whittier. W, C. Bry- 
ant is a Universalist. Gerrit Smith, though not a church- 
member, had family worship in his house. The Paineites 
who identified themselves with the Abolition movement 
were very scarce indeed. On the other hand, Christiaus es- 
poused the cause when it was "unpopular." It cost sever, 
al of them their lives. Who can estimate the influence of 
Mrs. Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin"? Who can measure 
the efl"ects of Albert Barnes' anti slavery utterances as ex- 
pressed in his " Notes " and other writings ? If many min- 
isters were gagged by fear or policy, or received the hush- 
money of the wealthy slave-holder, it must not be forgotten 
that there were clergymen— and they were not a few— tiiat 
dared cry aloud against the iDJuslice and inhumanity of 
slavery. Religious bodies declared against it. Ever since 
the Revolution the Quakers have refused membership to 
such as traffic in slaves. The Cougregationalists, Baptists, 
Presbyterians, and Mctholists, have not always been con- 
sistent on this question; but they have repeatedly, in their 
highest tribunals, expressed their disapproval of slavery. 
This is more than was done by any " Radical Club " or 



*rHfe ITUMPHTIEY-BENNETT DIHCUSSION. 101 

'•Liberal Association." People who do little or nothing 
themselves are often the readiest to criticise the doings of 
others. 

You try to make out that Lincoln was an Infidel. When 
you thought you had Colfax on your side, you called him 
a "respectable Christian authority " (Sages, p. 774); but af- 
ter discovering that he is against you, you say sneeringly 
that the "veracity of this Christian statesman on some 
other important matters has been seriously questioned'." 
This is only the fox crying " Sour grapes." We have four 
elaborate biographies of Lincoln — Arnold's, Raymond's, 
Dr. J. G. Holland's and Lamon's. The first three say Mr. 
Lincoln was a believer in the Christian religion. Holland 
especially is clear and strong on this point. Lamon alone 
tries to make out that he was a skeptic. 

The following points should be carefully considered re- 
specting Mr. Lamon's "Life of Lincoln:" 

1. It extends only to Lincoln's inauguration as President. 

2. It studiously avoids quotations from Lincoln's own 
utterances. 

3. It bears internal evidence that the writer is anxious to 
establish this allegation. Infidelity, too, has its "interested" 
biographers. 

4. The witnesses that Mr. Lamon brings forward are in- 
consistent and contradictory. One says Lincoln " some- 
times bordered on Atheism," while another declares "he 
fully believed in a superintending and overruling Provi- 
dence." One tells us he was " utterly incapable of insincer- 
ity," while another insinuates that "he 'played a sharp 
game' on the Christians of Springfield." One informs us 
that he was a "fatalist;" and then the biographer assures 
us ''Mr. Lincoln was by no means free from a kind of be- 
lief in the supernatural," Hon. David Davis says: "I do 
not know anything about Lincoln's religion, and I do not 
think anybody knew:" but Hon. John T. Stuart says: "He 
was an avowed and open Infidel." 



103 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCOSSION. 



The jewel of consistency is not to be found in this mass 
of testimony. The truth is, the whole thing is the result of 
Mr. Herndon's culling, collocation, jury-packing and sp;:cial 
pleading. This Mr. Herndon is himself a ''Freethinker ;" 
and he was deeply " interested" in showing that his famous 
partner held views similar to his own. 

If Lincoln was an lufidel, how was it that his political 
opponents did not bring this charge against him in the cam- 
paign of 1860? If he was an Infidel, and "incapable of 
insincerity," why did he say that " Christ is God,^' and that 
" inlelligence, patriotism, and C/im^ia;i% .... are 
still competent to adjust in the best way our present diflfi- 
culty "? If he was an Infidel, how was it that he asked the 
people of Springfield to pray for him, when he was leaving 
them to assume his Presidential duties ? Mr. Herndon said 
he " was mortified, if not angry, to see him (Lincoln) made 
a hypocrite " (Lamon's Life of Lincoln, p. 496). But Mr. 
Lincoln must Jiave been either a hypocrite, or a believer in 
the Christian Religion, as the citations given above, and 
many more that might be added, clearly prove. Christians 
have never charged Lincoln with hypocrisy, but Infidels 
have^ and Mr. Herndon is as guilty of this as anybody. (See 
Lamon's Life of Lincoln, pp. 497-504.) 

Let us now take up the second proposition, That be- 

LIEVEES IN THE BiBLE HAVE DONE MORE THAN UNBE- 
LIEVERS TO PROMOTE SCIBXCE AND LEARNING. 

I will occupy my remaining space with proof that Ihe 
Bible itself contains nothing inimical to science and learn- 
ing, but that, contrariwise, it praises and encourages 
them. When the Jewish people were, according to the nar- 
rative, objects of the Lord's special care and instruction, 
Ihey were inferior to no race in their cultivation of the arts 
and sciences. They were eminently a civilized nation. 
The Scriptures never mention skill, invention, and refine- 
ment with disrespect. On the contrary, they represent the 
Most High as commanding the first man to discover and 



THE nUMPHKEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 103 

Utilize — in one word, " subdue " — ttio 'orces and resources 
of Nature. In the fourth chapter of Genesis we find hon- 
orable mention of Jubal, as the first musician; of Tubal- 
Cain as the first foundry-man; and of Lamech as the first 
poet. And the first poem of this poet is preserved. Noth- 
ing is condemned in the antediluvians but their wickedness. 
Noah, it is said, was an object of the Divine favor. But 
he must have been a first-class architect, and practical 
builder, or he could never have constructed the ark. And 
he must have been no mean naturalist, wheu he could class- 
ify the animals according to his instructions. Even if you 
regard this whole account as mythical, it will still remain 
that Genesis speaks with approval of art and architecture. 

The Tower of Babel indicates an advanced stage of civ- 
ilization. The people had a language. And their applied 
ambition showed that they were not inferior to the build- 
ers of the Pyramids. 

Abraham possessed considerable knowledge of surgery, 
as is evinced by his administering the rite of circumcision. 

The ancient Egyptians were among the most civilized 
people of the world. In the course of events, the descend- 
ants of Abraham made their abode with that people for a 
period exceeding four hundred years. There they learned 
all that the Egyptians knew. The common people obtained 
a knowledge of the practical arts, by a hard experience, and 
the more fortunate Moses acquired the learning and science 
of the royal court. When they left Egypt they took all 
that knowledge with them. And they added to it by their 
subsequent contact with other nations, and as the result of 
their varied observation. If you examine Josephus and the 
Old Testament, you will discover that the Jews were infe- 
rior to none in their study and practice of the arts and 
sciences that characterized ancient civilization. 

The women were exquisite cooks. They could make 
bread, leavened and unleavened, and cakes of all kinds. 
They could roast, fry, and broil meat. They knew how to 



104 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

make butter and cheese. In short, they could get up a meal 
in first-class style. 

They were excellent milliners and dress-makers. They 
could use cosmetics to as great advantage as any of our 
modern ladies. If jewelry, and rich apparel, made most 
tastefully, are indicative of civilization, then, most assur- 
edly, the Jewish women were highly civilized. The latter 
part of the third chapter of Isaiah sounds very much like a 
scrap from some olden Demorest. 

And the men were equal to the women. Their division 
of Canaan show? that they possessed considerable knowl- 
edge of surveying. They were well versed in geography, 
as their frequent allusioDS to it indicate. They were inter- 
ested in astronomy, as their naming of several constellations 
signifies (Job. ix. 9; Is. xiii. 10; Amos v. 8). They were 
familiar with the uses of medicine, and the diagnosis of 
disease, as is proved by their law respecting leprosy, and by 
the frequent mention of physicians and healing herbs. 
They were well acquainted with books, as their many ref- 
erences to them show. They had a taste for poetry, and an 
appreciation of first-class poets, as is evidenced by their fond- 
ness of Job, the Psalms, and Isaiah. They were superior 
musicians. They were fine players on the organ, flute, 
harp, trumpet, cymbal, dulcimer, drum, psaltery, timbrel, 
gittith, higgaion, sackbut, and the harp of a thousand 
strings. They were accurate historians, as their genealofj- 
ical tables, and the Bible itself attest. They were the very 
best of architects, as the tabernacle, their cities, and espe- 
cially their Temple, demonstrate. Every Jew was required 
to learn some substantial trade. 

They had fixed weights and measures, an established cur- 
rency, and a calendar equal to Caesar's or Gregory's. They 
were active in domestic and foreign commerce. Their ships 
traversed the seas. They encouraged philosophy. They 
honored statesmanship. They had their seven wise men, as 
well as Greece. Solomon was the pride of the Old Econo- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 105 

my, because he was a great natural pliilosoplier. " He 
spake three thousand proverbs; and his songs were a thou- 
sand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree 
that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out 
of the wall : he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of 
creeping things and of fishes" (1 Kings iv. 32, 33). He was a 
Tupper, a Linnaeus, an Audubon, a Cuvier, and an Agassiz, 
all in one. 

Nor is the New Testament less friendly than the Old to 
learning and science. Jesus wept as he contemplated the 
downfall of the beautiful Jerusalem. It was with profound 
sorrow that he foretold the destruction ol the Temple— that 
crown of ancient architecture. His many parables show 
that he was a close observer and tender admirer of Nature. 
Very significantly, his first worshipers wci-e the sa-es and 
savans of the East. When only twelve years old, he sought 
the company of the best scholars of the land. His " learn- 
ing "was the wonder of his cotemporaries (John vii:15). 
If he chose illiterate disciples, it was in order that he might 
educate them. The last Apostle whom he called had passed 
through the two best schools in the world in that age— the 
classical school at Tarsus, and the divinity school at Jerusa- 
lem. This Apostle Paul visited the greatest cities of the 
world. He beheld the highest monuments of genius. 
Did he show them any disrespect? Never. He was at 
Ephesus, and saw the temple of Diana— one of the Seven 
Wonders ; but he did not utter a word against its artistic 
and sculptural grandeur. He was at Corinth, and looked 
upon the crowning achievements of culture and refinement. 
He found no fault with the impregnable fortress of the 
Acrocorinthus. He expressed no contempt for Corinth's 
extensive commerce, or for its invention of the triremes. 
He was at Athens. He quoted their own poets to the 
Athenians, He walked through the Acropolis and wit- 
nessed the Erechtheum and that masterpiece of Phidias— the 
snow-white Parthenon. The works of the Greek masters 



106 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

were all around liim. But he never said a word derogatory 
to Greek literature or to Greek art. He saw, too, the mag- 
nificence of Rome. In its walls, arches, aqueducts, for- 
tresses, palaces and Capitol, he found only objects for admir- 
ation. Paul coudemued only "science falsely so-called'^ 
(1 Tim. vi:20). He despised only the quack-philosophy 
that has been the plague of every age. 

I have made the foregoing remarks to show that the Bible 
itstlf contains no disrespect to the highest forms of civiliza- 
tion. It rather sanctions and encourages it. And it is demon- 
stiable that the most advanced type of civilization has hov- 
ered around the Holy Scriptures ever since they were written. 
In my next I will try to show some of what professing 
Christians have done to foster and expedite education and 
progress. Yours sincerely, G. H. Humphrey. 



MR. BENNETT. 

Rev. G. H. Humphrey, Dear Sir: As I cannot see that 
in your last you refuted any of the positions I had taken, it 
will be necessary- to give but little space to that portion of 
your letter. You bring no new argument to relieve John 
Wesley of the charge that England had no greater foe to 
the cause of the American colonists than himself, and that 
he espoused the arguments of Dr. Johnson, who denounced 
the colonists as a race of " convicts," and insinuated that 
they ought to be hung. Johnson thanked Wesley for join- 
ing him and espousing his cause ; the friejjds of the 
American colonists in England were much incensed against 
Wesley for the course he pursued, and he was most bitteily 
denounced in numerous pamphlets and publications. Wes- 
ley wielded a great influence at that time, and England had 
no greater and no more ardent foe to American indepen- 
dence. I think you cannot disprove this. 



TfiE nUMrnREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 107 

In regard to Lincoln's Infidelity, I am quite content to 
rest it upon the testimony of a score of life-long friends 
and acquaintances who knew liiui intimately, and had many 
times heard him express himself pointedly upon theological 
questions, and in opposition to the belief of Christians. I 
place their evidence far above that of interested parties wri- 
ting in the interest of the Church, or with a purpose to show 
him- to be what he was not. The discrepancies you enumer- 
ate are more apparent than real. There is no material disa- 
greement. They merely illustrate how different men may 
express themselves upon a given subject. Nothing is better 
proved than that Lincoln was an Infidel for more than a quar- 
ter of a century, and there is no reliable testimony that 
he changed his belief after going to Washington. His pri- 
vate secretary and intimate friend, John G. Nicolay, testified 
that he did not change. That he occasionally made use of 
ambiguous remarks which might give the impression that he 
had confidence in prayer, etc., is quite possible, but there is 
no probability that he believed that "Christ is God," and I 
do not believe that he ever said so. 

If Mr. William H. Herndon is an unbeliever or a "Free- 
thinker," it by no means invalidates his testimony or his 
labors. That class of men have proved themselves as capa- 
ble of telling the truth as any men in the world. 

As to Colfax, you misrepresent me. I have not found 
** his testimony against me." He did say in his speech that 
Lincoln was an unbeliever in Christianity, and he admitted 
the same when a friend called upon him at his home. When 
you reported that you had written to him and he appeared 
to " hedge," and that he meant " Lincoln did not belong to 
a church," I remembered that on other more important 
subjects he had been accused and convicted of falsehood, 
and I said I would not insist upon his evidence. 

As to the Constitution of the United States, the simple 
fact that God, Christ and the Bible are entirely ignored in 
it, or never mentioned, goes much farther with me in decid- 



108 THE HUMPnREY-BENNETT DISCUSSIOI^. 

ing its character than all that Christian pettifoggers can say 
upon the subject. If the framers loere Christians, and they 
did not think enough of their God, their Savior and their 
" Book from heaven" to even allude to them, their Chris- 
tianity did not amount to much. They were no better 
than Infidels. 

Now for the second proposition. I must confess myself 
amused at your efforts to make the Bible appear to be a 
book of science or especially friendly to it. A person 
who can perceive much science in that volume has either a 
very acute or a very accommodating perception. Is the Bible 
account of the creation a scientific one? Does science teach 
that light and darkness were originally blended together 
and had to be separated? Does science teach that the 
countless burning suns or stars that stud the vault of heaven 
were not brought into existence until after the earth was 
formed, and were then "set" in a firmament which held 
a vast body of water above the earth from falling to it? 
Docs science teach that the earth existed, had days and 
]iights, brought forth plants, herbs, shrubs, and trees, per- 
fecting seeds and fruits before the sun existed or before a 
drop of rain had fallen upon the earth? Is it a scientific 
idea of the way in which rain was produced — by opening 
the windows of heaven (probably placed in the floor, or fir- 
mament,) letting the body of water stored up there de- 
scend to the earth, without any provision being made for its 
getting back again? 

Would science teach that it required Omnipotence to work 
five days to make this little globe, while the sun, a mill- 
ion times larger, Jupiter and Saturn, thousands of times 
larger, the countless millions of celestial orbs and suns, 
larger than the entire solar system, could all be made in one 
day? 

Are the two accounts in Genesis of the formation of 
woman equally scientific — the one that she was formed of 
clay at the time Adam was, the other that she was not 



TrtE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 109 

formed until after the animals were made and named, when 
a surgical operation was performed upon Adam and a rib 
abstracted, from whicli she was made? Would science 
teach that a female weighing one hundred and twenty-five 
pounds, principally composed of hydrogen, oxygen, nitro 
gen, and carbon, could be produced from a rib of phos- 
phate of lime, weighing less than a pound ? 

The Bible states that the earth was created in five days, 
in which time all forms of vegetable and animal life were 
produced. Science leaches that the earth for vast ages was 
a ball of highly-heated or fused matter, and that immense 
periods necessarily had to pass before there could be 
soils, vegetation, and animal life. The Bible teaches that 
the earth, the sun, and all the vast number of shining orbs, 
were made less than six thousand years ago. Science has 
brought to light stars that are so remote that thousands and 
millions of years are required for their light to reach our 
earth, though it travels at the rate of 200,000 miles per 
second ! The Bible teaches that the earth was made and 
finished in the five days that Jehovah devoted to it. Sci- 
ence teaches that for incomputable ages the earth has been 
growing by the aggregation of falling bodies of matter 
accumulated in contiguous space, and called meteors, aero- 
lites, etc. Stratum after stratum has in this way been 
added to the earth's surface, but it has taken ages upon ages 
to effect it. The growth has been slow and gradual. 

The Bible teaches that the first formations of organized 
life were grasses, herbs, and fruit-trees. Science teaches 
that the lower orders of animals which exist in water, as the 
hydrozoa, jelly-fish, star-fish, etc., classed as radiata, and 
clams, oysters, etc., termed moUusca, and ih.Q 'polyparia, ex- 
isted ages before grass and trees could possibly have had an 
existence. The Bible teaches that vegetation of all kinds 
was produced on the same day. Science teaches that sea- 
weed and water-plants of various kinds existed long, long 
before grass and fruit-trees came into being. What is called 



no THE HUMPHREY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

the coal-plant, of which the strata of coal over various 
parts of the earth were composed, grew luxuriantly thou- 
sands of years before grass, shrubbery, flowering plants and 
fruit-trees had an existence. 

The Bible teaches that birds and quadrupeds were 
brought into existence on the same day with reptiles or 
creeping things. Science teaches that birds, quadrupeds, 
and mammals could not have existed until long, long after 
reptiles and cold-blooded animals had been upon the earth. 
The Bible teaches that man has exicted less than six thou- 
sand years. Science shows by incontrovertible proofs 
that man has existed on this earth not less than one hundred 
thousand years. The Bible teaches that man was created 
intelligent, highly developed, and perfect, and that he fell 
iato ignorance, degradation, and barbarity. Science teaches 
that man in prehistoric times lived in caves, roved about 
like wild animals, was little above the brutes, and has grad- 
ually risen in the scale of intelligence and civilization. 

All these truths which science teaches can be demonstrated 
by the history that for ages has been recorded in the rocks 
that make up the crust of the earth, but want of space 
will not allow me to refer to it now. "What, then, be- 
comes of your harmony and friendship of the Bible for sci- 
ence? They utterly fail. There is no:hing clearer than 
that the writers of the Bible knew nothing of geology, little 
or nothing of astronomy, very little of cosmogony, nothing 
of chemistry, nothing of anthropology and ethnology, very 
little of biology, very little of botany, very little of zoology, 
very little of meteorology, very little of mathematics, very 
little of hydrostatics, and very little of psychology. Their 
knowledge of geography was extremely crude and limited 
or they would not have talked so much about the ends, the 
corners, the jylUai's, and i\iG. foundations of the earth. What 
did they know about the earth's being a round ball; about 
its revolving daily on its axis and coursing around the sun 
every three hundred and sixty-five days ? Simply nothing 



•THS HUMPSREY - BENNETT DlSCtTSStON. Ill 

at all. What did they know about the real causes of day 
and night, spring and autumn, summer and winter ? Noth- 
ing whatever. An ordinary school-hoy ten years of age 
knows more upon this subject than did all the Bible writers 
combined, adding your God and Jesus Christ to the number. 
Revelation has never brought these simple truths to light. 
Jehovah seemed to know nothing about them. It has been 
left to science to br'ng them to the knowledge of mankind. 

Had you undertaken to show that the stories of Robinson 
Crusoe and Old Mother Hubbard and her Wonderful Dog 
harmonize with science and are friendly to it, I think you 
would have been more successful. The first was written 
by a man of far more intelligence than the Bible writers. 
It contains nothing like the number of improbabilities and 
impossibilities that the Bible does. It has amused and in- 
structed millions of young people without filling their 
minds with false representations of angry gods, malicious 
devils, and vindictive torture. Even in Old Mother Hub- 
bard, though the tale of a dog's dressing in man's clothes 
and talking is perfectly absurd, it is no more so than an ass 
talking and holding an argument with his master. Old 
Mother Hubbard and her dog, equally with the Bible, 
recognized many of the arts and trades, and said nothing 
derogatory to them. 

You speak of Noah's skill in building the ark, and of his 
science in classifying the animals. The ark appears to have 
been a mere box, or " flat-boat," and did not require a vast 
amount of skill; besides, it is not just to give much credit 
of it to Noah, for God told him how to make it in every 
particular. Nor can I see why Noah should be credited 
with having classified the animals, when there is no account 
of his doing anything of the kind. According to the picto" 
rial representations I have seen, the animals marched 
into the ark two by two, like trained soldiers, and of their 
own accord, while Noah seemed to pay very little at- 
tention to them. But really, my friend, do you attach 



li^ THE HUMPHKEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

much importance to that silly '' Flood Story"? Do you re- 
gard it as a scientific statement? Does it seem scientific to 
you to pretend that the atmosphere could bupport moisture 
enough to rain over the entire earth to the depth of 
five miles, to the tops of the highest mountains? If it did 
not come from the atmosphere, where did it come from? 
Does it seem scientific to say that two or three millions of 
animals, biids and insects voluntarily and simultaneously 
congregated from every zone and continent of the earth 
unto Noah, to be placed in the ark? If. they did not 
come voluntarily, what brought them together? Noah was 
busy building the ark for them, and he could not attend to 
it. Is it scientific to believe that animals from the tropics, 
and animals from the frigid zone, and from all parts of the 
earth, all of different natures, could be shut up in a tight 
box — the only door and wind»w closed — and remain alive 
for any length of time? Is it scientific to believe that the 
food of such animals as require fresh meat, fresh fish, fresh 
grass, fresh leaves, quantities of worms and insects of all 
kinds, and even honey, could be provided and kept in the 
ark with all that aggregate of animal life — some 120 animals 
and insects to every square yard the ark contained — sufli- 
cient to last them more than a year? Is it a scientific suppo- 
sition that when the animals from the warm countries dis- 
embarked on the top of Mt. Ararat, said to be 17,000 feet 
above the level of the sea, and 5,000 feet above the line of 
perpetual snow and frost, they could live till they descended 
15,000 feet or more, where the weather was mild? Is it sci- 
entific to thiuk they could find anything to eat after all the 
animals had been killed and every plant and tree inevitably 
destroyed by being a year under water? Is it scientific to 
hold that a rainbow never appeared until Noah left the ark 
some four thousand years ago? Does not science teach 
that rainbows have been produced for as many hundred 
thousand years as there has been a sun to shine upon 
descending drops of rain? Can you scientifically account 



tnn HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. IVS 

for the disappearance of the water, which reached to thi3 
tops of tlio highest mountains? Where could it possibly 
have gone to ? 

You mention the tower of Babel as being a great work 
of science and architectural skill and compare it with the 
pyramids of Egypt. There are pretty good proofs that the 
pyramids were built, for they still exist nearly as good as 
ever, but is there a stick or a stone or a brick to show 
where the tower of Babel stood? Is there a person living 
who has any definite idea where it stood ? Did anybody 
ever live who knew anything about it? 

Do you think it a scientific statement wiiere Moses is de- 
scribed as having turned rods into snakes, all the water of 
Egypt — including the river Nile — into blood, changing 
dust into lice, producing spontaneously immense quantities 
of frogs, locusts, etc. Is it a scientific thought that the 
waters of the Red Sea sepaiated and stood up perpen- 
dicularly like walls while two millions of people, and at 
least as many cattle passed over dry shod, and several hun- 
dred thousand Egyptians followed in and were dt'owned ? 
Did a scientist ever see water behave in that way? Is it sci- 
entific to think that Joshua, Elijah and Elisha were able to 
divide the rapid Jordan in a similar manner? Is it scientific 
to think that a man could stop the sun and moon or any other 
of 'he heavenly bodies ? Is it scientific to pretend that Eli- 
ja/i could manufacture meal and oil from nothing, that he 
could prevent the fall of rain and dew upon the earth for three 
years, and that men and animals and vegetation could live 
after such a protracted dry spell ? Is it scientific to claim that 
he could call down fire from heaven and burn up stones and 
twelve barrels of water and over one hundred men? Is it 
scientific to think he could travel up into the upper atmos- 
phere in a chariot of fire, and that he could live for a minute 
where there is no air or oxygen ? Would a real scientist 
believe that Elisha could make an axe float on the surface 
of the river ; that Samson could with his naked hands tear 



114i THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

the jaws of a lion, kill one thousand men at one time with 
the jaw-bone of an ass, and finally that he could, by laying 
hold of the pillars of a temple, throw it to the ground and 
kill many thousand people? Could a scientist believe that 
muscular strength could be produced by long hair instead 
of well-developed muscles ? Could he believe that a fish 
could swallow a man whole, retain him in his stomach 
three days, and under water, without the man's suffering 
for want of air, and at the end of the time throw him up 
on dry ground as good as ever? 

Does a real scientist believe that a ghost could hold inter- 
course with a young virgin and beget a child ? Does he 
believe that there is any mountain in Syria from the top of 
which a person could see all the kingdoms of the earth ? 
Does he believe that a dead man was ever brought back to 
life ? Does he believe that water can be changed into 
wine ? Does he believe that the light of the sun could be 
extinguished for three hours ? that the graves could be 
opened and the dead walk forth and hold intercourse with 
their former companions ? Does he believe that a person 
could make a trip of four thousand miles, through the inter- 
nal fires of the earlh to the centre and return in thirty-six 
hours? (Would it not have been pretty warm traveling?) 
Cou'd a man who is a real scientist, and who believes in the 
immutability of nature's laws, intelligently believe that any 
of these things could take place? To believe them, does not 
all scicLtific knowledge and observation, all human experi- 
ences have to be set aside, and a blind superstitious faith 
and credulity substituted in their place ? Is not, in fact, 
a belief in impossibilities utterly at variance with science? 
and can the}^ in any tiue sense, be said to harmonize and 
to maintain friendly relations towards each other ? 

You speak of Abraham's showing his wonderful surgical 
skill in performing circumcision upon his son Isaac. 
Was- that a feat to brag about ? Could not. any Hottentot 
have done as much ? Does it not require far more skill to 



THE nCMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 115 

put a ring iu the nose of a liog or to emasculate him ? If 
Abraham had performed the surgical operation of cutting 
his boy's head off. as he intended to do, would it not liave 
shown more skill than cutting off a little loose skin? You 
claim that the Hebrew women were excellent cooks and 
bread-makers. Do you allude to the peculiar cake or bread 
which God commanded them to make, mixed with human 
excrement and cow-dung, as described in Ezekiel iv ? Was 
that scientific bread-making ? Is there the slightest proof 
that the Hebrews cooked any better or baked any better 
than the neighboring nations ? Yqu speak about the He- 
brew women being excellent milliners and dressmakers, and 
that they knew how to use cosmetics. Have you any cer- 
tificate of this fact ? I call for proofs. You speak of their 
jewelry and rich apparel ; do you mean that which they 
stole from the Egyptians? I think there is no special ac- 
count of their making any jewelry, but they were adepts at 
stealing, robbing, and murdering, invariably taking the 
jewelry and other valuables from tlieir victims. About the 
greatest feat in the jewelry line mentioned in the Bible is 
where the priest Aaron, while Moses was up on the moun- 
tain helping God to get up the Ten Commandments, took 
the jewelry that had been stolen from other people and 
melted it together and made a golden calf for the Israelites 
to worship as a god. Did that require much science ? 

You quote Job to show how much the Israelites knew 
about astronomy; but are you not aw^are that the best He- 
brew seholurs have long since decided that that book was not 
written by a Hebrew but was probably borrowed from the 
Chaldeans or the Edomites ? The fact that not a person or 
place is mentioned in it that is spoken of in any other part 
of the Bible goes far to confirm this opinion. It is not 
Hebrew in stylo or character, and neither mentions any 
other part of the Bible nor does any other part mention it. 
As that is the only instance where the least astronomical 
knowledge is indicated in the book it hardly proves the 



116 f KE ItUMPflREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

Jews to have been astronomers. All they knew of the 
stars was from observation; they had no knowledge of 
calculation in that direction — they knew nothing about cal- 
culating eclipses, transits, etc. 

You claim the Israelites as "superior musicians." I can- 
not admit it. They doubtless had several crude instru' 
ments, and v/ere able to play them promiscuously, and 
"make a joy fill noise," as David called it, but they knew 
nothiug of harmony, without which there can be no real 
music. Oriental nations have never known anything 
about harmony, nor do they to this day. It is only within 
the last two or three 'centuries that the world has known 
anything about harmony, the knowledge of which was per- 
fected in Europe. The Orientals had nothing to do with it. 

Are you sure the Israelites played on *' a harp of a thou- 
sand strings"? Will you please point out the part of the 
Bible that mentions such an instrument ? Have you not 
got your Bible a trifle confounded with tlie Hard-Shell Baptist 
who preached in the Southwest, taking for a text, "And 
they shall gnaw a file, and flee. unto the mountains of Hep- 
sidam, where the liou roareth and the whang-doodle 
mourneth for her first-born ; and he played on a harp of a 
thousand strings— sperits of just men made perfect"? Is 
that not the only instance on record where anything is said 
about the thousand-stringed harp ? 

You boasl of the architectural skill of the Israelites. 
You have little grounds for it. They lived in tents, and 
knew very little about houses. Their tabernacle was only a 
tent. It is thought by many that Solomon's wonderful 
Temple was a myth, that it never had an existence; but if 
the Bible story is credited, it is evident that the Hebrews had 
not skill enough to erect it, for they were obliged to send 
for thousands of skilled workmen from Tyre and Sidon. 
Palestine presents no relics of ancient architectural grand- 
eur. I have it from a friend who has made four difl!erent 
journeys to Palestine, and who has been over every square 



THE humphhey-bennett discussion, 117 

mile of that country, that there is uot in the entire length 
and breadth of the "Holy Land" a stone, a monument, a 
Hebrew inscription, or anything of the kind, to prove that 
a numerous and civilized people lived there three thousand 
years ago ; while in other parts of Syria, in Chaldea, Asia 
Minor, Phoenicia, Egypt, Greece, Cypress, and Rome, the 
remaiDS of ancient grandeur are often met with. In the 
Metropolitan Museum on Fourteenth street, in this city, 
there are some twenty thousand specimens of ancient work- 
manship in earthen- ware, pottery, etc. , principally brought 
from Cypress, but among them all, not one specimen of He- 
brew manufacture. Probably there is nothiog in existence 
to-day, in the whole world, to show there was such a nation, 
save less than half a dozen coins, and the genuineness of 
these is disputed. 

You say every Jew was required to learn some substan- 
tial trade. But what kind of trades were they? Tent- 
making, pasturing cattle, sandal-making, etc. Nothing 
showing a high order of civilization. In chronology they 
were deficient. Their calendar was inferior to Caesar's and 
Gregory's. Their months depended upon the moon and 
were ever changing. It cannot be traced with precision 
like the calendars of Csesar and Gregory. They never had 
a commerce that amounted to anything, and the ships of 
Palestine never made much show upon the oceans of the 
world. They were a pastoral people, whose country con- 
tained scarcely twelve thousand square miles — about the 
size of New Hampshire — and half of it consisted of moun- 
tains, ravines, lakes, etc., which could hardly be cultivated, 
and they never were a powerful nation, nor were they ever 
far advanced in arts, science and cizilization. It is a notice- 
able fact that though the Greek historian, Herodotus — prob- 
ably the most correct of ancient historians — who twice made 
a journey through Syria, Phoinicia, etc., never mentioned 
the Hebrew nation, and this nearly five hundred years be- 
fore the Christian era. They were a nation or a race of 



118, THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

shepherds, too obscure to attract Uis attention or to be 
worthy of mention in his writings. 

There is little doubt that Jewish history is very much ex- 
aggerated, that there never was as large a popuhition in that 
country as represented. It would be wholly unable to sup- 
port such a population. The impossibility of this can be 
very readily seen by a little calculation. To turn out an 
army of one million fighting men — and this number it 
must have had at least, to lose 500,000 in a single daj^ — it 
must have had a population of five or six millions — many 
times denser than Belgium, the most populous country of 
Europe, and chiefly a level and fertile country, with but 
little waste land. It would be utterly impossible for such a 
diminutive, broken country as Palestine to sustain any such 
number of people. 

There is but little ground for making a great man of 
Solomon. He was probably a myth ; but, according to 
the Bible, he was more remarkable for sensuality than for 
any scientific qualities. He knew very little about the sci- 
ences. The Proverbs accredited to him were the collections 
of ages and from various nations. There is no proof that 
he wrote one of them, and if the " Song " in the Bible that is 
called by his name is a fair specimen of his " thousand and 
five " songs you allude to, it is very well that they have not 
come down to our time. They would do him no credit, 
and nobody any good. He assuredly was an inferior Tup- 
per, a very poor Linnajus, a weak Audubon, a puerile 
Cuvier, and a mean apology'' for an Agassiz. 

Does the fact that "Jesus wept " prove him to have been 
a scientist ? Weeping was in his line. Even if he had a 
presentiment that Jerusalem would be dcstr »3^ed, diJ that 
make him a scientist? Is there proof that he attended any 
institution of learning; that he studied the sciences, or knew 
anything of them? The mention of his talking with the 
doctors in the temple when twelve years of age is but a trif- 
ling incident in a career of thirty years, of which nothing 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSTON. 110 

whatever is known. Did it show him to be a mui of sci- 
ence to look for fruit upon a fig-tree in the part of the year 
when those trees do not bear fruit, and to get angry and 
curse the tree because he was disappointed ? Your effort 
to make a scientist of Jesus I regard an utter failure. 

What if Paul did visit Athens and look upon the temple 
of Diana and found it far more splendid than anyttiing he 
ever saw in Palestine ; did that make him a scientist? Could 
not an Esquimaux equally as well look upon the Capitol at 
Washington, the Croton aque iuct at High Bridge or upon 
our East Kiver Suspension Bridge without being a scientist? 
It is very doubtful whether he ever visited Rome. In the last 
chapter of Acts it says he did, but afterwards, in the first 
chapter of Romans, he talks as though he was very anxious 
to visit Rome, but says nothing about his having done so, 
Qor does it afterwards state that he ever visited the ' ' City of 
Seven Hills;" but be that as it may, he was a very small part 
of a scientist, and taught very few scientific truths. The 
only time he used the word science, he called it false. He 
was great in extolling the virtues of faith and blind credu- 
Jity, and had literally nothing to say upon scientific sub- 
jects. Like his master, he was dogmatic, dealt in parables, 
enigmas and absurdities, and knew little or nothing of 
science. His positive assertion that he " was determined 
not to know anything save Jesus Christ and him crucified," 
decides forever just how much of a scientist he was. A 
man favorable to scientific investigation would never thus 
declare himself. Peter and the rest of the apostles were 
equally scientific ! Faith with all of them was the sine qua 
non; science was tabooed. Perhaps the nearest that Peter 
ever came to being scientific and dexterous was when he 
so neatly took off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the 
high priest, with his sword. It seems, however, you did 
not deem it of sufficient consequence to mention it, though 
it was certainly equal to Abraham's surgery. Perhaps 
Jesus performed the scientific part of the operation when h<? 



120 THE HUMPHRBY-BBNNETT DISCUSSION. 

touched the place where the ear hud been and healed it, but 
whether by bringing out a new ear is not stated. What 
business Peter, the "Rock" on which the Church is built, 
a disciple of Jesus and key-holder of the gate of heaven, 
had with a sword is not scientifically explained. 

I am sorry, my friend, that I canuot find as much science 
in the Bible and among its authors as you do, but perhaps I 
am unfortunate to that extent. It is probable that we look 
through different lenses. 

Yours very truly, D. M. Bennett. 



MR. HUMPHREY. 

Mr. D. M. Bennett, Bear Sir: As far as I am concerned, 
you are welcome to call such men as Judge Story "petti- 
foggers," and, in the face of three standard biographers, to 
deny that Lincoln said "Christ is God." My cause can 
afford better than yours to let you ignore authorities in that 
summary way. 

You assume that a belief in the supernatural is unscien- 
tific. That is begging the question. For the present, sufllce 
it to say that the men who have done the most for science 
have been believers in the possibility, reasonableness, and 
historical reality of miracles. This we shall show iarther on. 

I wrote my last letter with precipitate haste, just before 
going to the country. That will account for my inadvert- 
ence when I said the Jewish musicians played on " harps of 
a thousand strings." Of course, I am liable to make mis- 
takes. But that I should even commit to writiug this mistake 
is rather strange. A few evenings before, 1 had been ridi- 
culing that very " harp." Well, I shall have to come down 
nine hundred and ninety strings. I should have said, 
" Instruments of ten strings" (Pss. 33:2; 03:3; 144:9). I 
stand corrected. Thaok you. 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION, 131 

It is my turn now. Your letter is rich in materials for 
retaliation. You fall into quite a number of rather serious 
errors : 

Error first: "Nor does any other part mention it" (the 
book of Job). Job is mentioned four times in the Bible 
(Ez. xiv: 14 16, 30; James v, li), and once in the Apocrypha 
(Tob. ii:13) Neither is it true that "the best Hebrew 
scholars have long since decided that that book was not 
written by a Hebrew." Such critics as Kennicott, Eich- 
horn, Michaelis, Dathe, Luther, Grotius, Doederliu, Um- 
breit, Rosenmilller. Reimar, Spanheim, Warburton, Hitzig, 
Hirzel, Delitzsch, Evans, Lange, etc., etc., etc., are of the 
opinion that its author was a Jew. The name Job is Jew- 
ish (Gen. xivi:13). But granting that it is the work of a 
Gentile, the reception of the book into the Scriptures proves 
that the Israelites could appreciate its contents. 

Error second: '* The only time he used the word science, 
he called it/«?sd," On the contrary, Paul used the word 
gnosis, translated "science," in 1 Tim. vi:30, about twenty 
times in his Epistles (Englishman's Greek Concordance). 
It was not Paul's fault (hat this word was not uniformly 
rendered "science " in the English version, as it was gener- 
ally in the Vulgate and in Leusdcn's Latin Testament. 
Neither did Paul call science /afee. There is a vast difference 
between declaring that science is false and saying that there 
is a false " science." It was only the latter that the Apostle 
denounced. 

Error tJiird: " They lived intents, and knew very little 
about houses." How opposite to the facts! " Houses" and 
"palaces," "winter houses and summer houses," built of 
"hewn stone," and "cedar," and "ivory," containing 
"parlours," "painted with vermilion," were no rare thiugs 
among the ancient Hebrews (See Jud. iii:30; Jer. xxii:14; 
Amos iii : 15). 

Error fourth : " They stole irom the Egyptians." "Stole " 
is not the word employed by Moses, but "borrovved" (E.%, 



122 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

iii: 22, xii: 31-36). Amoug iheii first definitions of sliaal, the 
original word for "borrowed," Fiiist and Gesenius give " to 
ask pressingly; to ask for; to demand urgently; to beg very 
urgently; to ask for one's self." Stealing is an idea entirely 
foreign to the word. 

Error fifth : ** He was great in extolling the virtues oi faith 
and blind credulity." As regards faith, that is true; but as 
regards ' ' blind credulity," it is utterly false. Scriptural faith 
and "blind credulity" are as difi"erent as light and dark- 
ness. Paul disclaimed and disdained the latter. He rebuked 
even the scientific Athenians for being "too superstitious" 
(Acts xvii:22). He prayed for deliverance " from unreason- 
able men " (2 Thes. iii: 2) He regarded Religion as a " rea- 
sondble,'''' or, strictly speaking, a " logical service " {Qr. logiken 
laireian, Rom. xii: 1). He reasoned of righteousncKSs, temper- 
ance, and judgment to come, until the Infidel Felix trembled 
before him (Acts xxiv : 25). 

You say Solomon was " remarkable for his sensuality." It 
is tree that he fell into that grievous sin ; and the Bible 
condemns him for it (1 Kings chap. xi). But the modern 
Freethinkers, who regard themselves as preeminently "pro- 
gressive" and" advanced," are the very ones y/\iO justify 
and rf^/<9?i(i "remarkable sensuality." I refer to the doc- 
trine of "Free-Love," which is by interpretation, Free-Lust. 
I am glad, Mr. Bennett, to see you uniting with the Bible 
to denounce an abomination which " advanced " Infidelity 
is doing its utmost to propagate. 

You assert that the ancient Jews were " crude " musicians. 
Of course, they were inferior to the modern masters; but 
they were unexcelled in their time. They could "sing 
praises with the understanding " (Ps. 47: 7; 1 Cor. xiv: 15); and 
they knew how to " make sweet melody''^ (Is. xxiii: 16; Amos 
v:23; Eph. v:19). " Crude ''music does not have the sooth- 
ing effect that David's harp did on the agitated Saul (1 Sam. 
xvi:33). 

You say there was nothing among the ancient Jews 



THE HUMPHREY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 128 

'* showing a high order of civilization." Even Rationalists, 
like DeWette, in his Lehrhuch der Archaologie, and Jahn, 
in his Biblical Archaeology, express a very different opinion, 

But I cannot stop to expose all your misrepresentations. 
What I have given is enough to show how fair, accurate^ 
aii^l reliable you are as an expounder of the Scriptures! Let 
me, however, furnish you with the proofs you call for, that 
the Hebrew women were excellent dressmakers and milli- 
ners, and that they knew how to use cosmetics. Read Is. 
iii:16-24; Jer. iv:30; Ez. xxiii:40, and you will doubtless be 
couvinced 

The Bible does not pretend to be a text-book of science. 
And this is no discredit to it. You do not condemn a work 
on moral philosophy, because it is not a treatise on mathe- 
matics. It is the mission of the Bible to teach moral and 
spiritual truth. Its references to physical science are there- 
fore only incidental. I showed in my last letter that those 
references are always respectful and approving. 

Let us now proceed to prove that believers in the Bible 
have done more than unbelievers to promote learning and 
science. 

This is shown, in the first place, by the fact that the best 
Educational Institutions of the world have been almost 
uniformly founded, endowed, and cherished by Christian 
people. There are over thirt}'' Universities in Germany. 
Every one of them is under either Catholic, Lutheran, Evan- 
gelical, or their united control. "The motives which prompt- 
ed these great establishments were without exception, pure 
and elevated, and generally pious and Christian " (Schaff's 
Germany and its Universities, pp. 29-32). The same is true 
of another country famous for its higher education. There 
is not one University in all France that its Infidels have 
brought into existence. Should you feel like contradicting 
this statement, please name the University, with your 
authority. The University of Paris was founded by the 
approbation of Pope Innocent IIL (Barnard's Systems, 



134 THE HUMPHREY -BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

iDstitutions, aud Statistics of Public Instruction in Differ- 
ent Countries. N. Y., 1872, p. 198). This institution was 
suppressed by the Infidels m the riot of 1793 (Am. Cyclope- 
dia, 1876, Art. "University"). Tlie higher ' schools of 
France were at first religious (Ibid).- So of England. The 
American Cyclopedia will tell you that Cambridge Univers- 
ity was originally a religious center; that the Colleges consti- 
tuting it were founded by Christian gentlemen whose names 
they bear; that it was befriended by Henry III., Henry IV., 
Henry V., Henry VII., by Edward I., Edward II., Edward 
III., Edward IV., and by Queen Elizabeth. And the.>-e sov 
ereigns were all, according to Hume, believers in the Chris- 
tian Religion. I cannot find the name of an Infidel in con- 
nection with its foundation, endowment, or with the furnish- 
ing of its Cabinets and Libraries. Did space permit, I could 
show you similar accounts of every University in England, 
Ireland, Scotland and Wales. You may find the records in 
Cyclopedias, Histories, and Reports that are always accessi- 
ble. 

Cross over to the United States, and the same is true here. 
Josiah Quincy, in his admirable History of Harvard Uni- 
versity, shows that the originators of that institution were 
all church people, and mostly ministers; that its first and 
best friend, John Harvard, was a preacher; that its Presi- 
dents were an unbroken succession of clergymen for nearly 
two hundred years; and that its professors and benefactors 
wefe Christians in about the same proportion. Our other 
universities and colleges, such as Yale, Brown, New York, 
Cornell, Bowdoin, Amberst, Dartmouth, Columbia, Rut- 
gers, Union, Lafayette, Oberlin, Princeton, Washington 
and Jefferson, etc., etc., owe tbeir very being to religious 
men. Only think of it I Where would the world be to-day 
without the universities, colleges, academies, seminaries, 
and schools, that Christianity has created and supported ? 
It would be in worse than Egyptian darkness. 

The Public Schools of Europe and America are the pro- 



THE HUMPHEEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 125 

duct of Christianity. In Europe religion is everywhere 
blended with secular instruction (See Barnard's Systems, 
Institutions, Statistics, etc.). The prime movers of the 
*' Kational Society for promoting the Education of the Poor 
in England" were Christian benefactors, chiefly clergymen 
(O'Malley's Sketch of the Slate of Popular Education, 1840). 
The American Public School sprung up first in New Eng- 
land. Its religious character is shown by the fact that the 
Testament was a reader in it for many years. Webster's 
Speller and Grammar were among the first of American school 
books. But Noah Webster was a devout church member 
(See his Memoir in his Unabridged Dictionary). The ma- 
jority of school books ever since have been prepared by 
religious scholars and educators. We may safely say that 
more than eighty per cent, of the teachers in our common 
schools are church members. I read not long ago, in an 
educational journal, that there are seventeen thousand 
schools in Pennsylvania, and that the Bible is read in four- 
teen thousand of them. Thus, the feeling still predominates 
that the State should not utterly ignore moral instruction. 
In earlier days this feeling was more pronounced than it is 
now. Gov. George Clinton of New York wrote to the Leg- 
islature in the beginning of the present century: "The ad- 
vantage to morals, religion, liberty, and good government, 
arising from the general diffusion of knowledge, being uni- 
versally admitted, permit me to recommend this subject 
(common schools) to your deliberate attention." Gov. 
Lewis and Gov. Tompkins gave utterance still later to sim- 
ilar sentiments (Cheever's Bible in our Common Schools, N. 
Y. 1859, pp. 201-4). Oar facilities, then, for popular 
education are to be accredited to men who were not ashamed 
of the Gospel of Christ. Why, Sir, if we had to depend on 
Infidelity for it, we would be without a respectable diction- 
ary of the English language. Johnson, Webster, and Wor- 
cester (see Memoir in his Dictionary), were firm believers in 
the Word of God. And what would we be without a die- 



126 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

tionary ? In other words, wliat would we know if we had 
nothing but Infidelity to teach us ? 

A like account may be given of the world's greatest 
Museums and Libraries, The first circulating library 
was established in Cesarea, about 309 ad., by Saint 
Pamphilus (Curwen's History of Book-sellers, p. 422). 
Sir Hans Sloane may be called the founder of the 
British Museum. But Sir Hans Sloane was no Infidel 
(Encyclopedia Britannica). Those who bequeathed their 
private libraries to the libraries of Oxford, Cambridge, 
Yale, Harvard, etc., etc., will invariably be found to have 
been Christians, and very often clergymen. Let us look at 
the matter nearer home. The founders of the " New York 
Historical Society" were godly men. We find the names 
of Bishop Moore, Rev. Samuel Miller, D.D., Dr. John W. 
Francis, etc., among its first and highest oflScers. There 
was not one skeptic among the organizers of the Boston 
Athenaeum (see Josiah Quincy's History of). John Jacob 
Astor, the founder of the magnificent library that bears his 
name, was a life-long church member (Parton's Famous 
Americans, p. 435). Peter Cooper is a Unitarian, accepting 
the Bible as the inspired word of God. I have not been able 
to find anything very positive about the religious opinions of 
James Smithson, the originator of the Smithsonian Institu- 
tion in Washington. But the current sketches of his life 
contain many circumstanlial evidences of his subscription 
to the Christian system. Where are the public museunis of 
art and science, the libraries and institutes, that Infidels 
have established ? Ah, my friend, tliey arc almost as few 
and far between as you would say that angel visits are. 

Did you ever observe, in reading the lives of our 
Revolutionary heroes and statesmen, how that nearly all of 
them received their education from Christian clergymen ? 
Where would they have been without an education ? But 
what of their education, if they had been obliged to seek it 
from Infidel teachers and professors ? 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 127 

The greatest discoverers, iuventors, and literati have been 
believers in the Bible as a Divine revelation. I can name but 
a very few of them. Among them I will mention Coper- 
nicus, the reviver of the heliocentric theory; Galileo, the 
inventor of the telescope ; Isaac Newton, the greatest of 
philosophical discoverers; Bacon, who introduced the in- 
ductive melhod; Descartes, the prince of metaphysicians; 
Leibnitz, the rival of Newton; Columbns, the discoverer of 
America; Kepler, the formulator of " Kepler's laws;" Pas- 
cal, that prodigy of profoundness; Jeuner, the discoverer of 
vaccination ; Harvey, the discoverer of the circulation of 
the blood; Sir William Jones, the Sanscrit scholar; Adam 
Smith, the unrivaled political economist; Dr. Priestley, the 
discoverer of oxygen gas; George Stephenson, the perfecter 
of the steam engine ;'Smeaton, the builder of the EJdystone 
Lighthouse ; the Duke of Bridge water, the first English 
canal constructor; Christopher Wren, the architect of St. 
Paul's; William Edwards, the "rainbow" bridge-builder ; 
Sir Humphrey Davy, the chemist, and inventor of the 
Safety Lamp (Works, London, 1839, vol. i. pp. 114, 431; 
vol. ix. pp. 214-388) ; Robert Fulton, the first steamboat 
builder (Colden's Life of Fulton pp. 354, 381, 369, 371); 
Prof. S. F. B. Morse, the inventor of the electric telegraph 
(Prime'SrLife of Morse, N. Y., 1875, pp. 730-7); Cuvier, the 
comparative anatomist (Lee's Memoirs, London, 1830, pp. 
10, 35, 318, 327) ; Audubon, the ornithologist ; Faraday, 
Tyudall'3 teacher (Gladstone's Life of Faraday pp. 118-122); 
Sir David Brewster, the versatile scientist; the Merschels, a 
family of astronomers; Chatham, Brougham, Burke, Henry, 
Webster, Clay, the orators ; Blackstone, Kent, Hale, Coke, 
Story, the jurists; the poets Chaucer, Spencer, Dante, Dry- 
den, Gray, Wordsworth, Young, Thomson, Pollock, Milton 
and Shakspeare (see Halliwell's Life of Shakspeare, pp. 33, 
270-289, and Wilkes' Shakspeare from an American Point 
of View, N. Y. 1877, chap, vi.); Mozart, Haydn, Han- 
del, Mendelssohn, Bach, Beethoven, Liszt, the musicians; 



128 THE TTUMPHKEY-BENXETT DISCUSSION. 

Da Vinci, Correggio, Carracci, Raphael, Angelo, West, the 
artists; RawlinsoD, Lepsius, Layard, the antiquarians; Wil- 
berforce and Howard, the philanthropists. But I might 
as well stop, us it will be impossible to finish the list. The 
names of Cullen, Hup;-h Miller, Count Rumford, Sir Roderick 
Murchison, Ferguson, Liebig, Leyden, Prof. Dana, Prof. 
Silliman, Prot. Henry, Dr. McCosh, Principal Dawson, Dr. 
Livingstone, Agassiz, Gren. Newton, Winchell, Mitchell, 
Guyot, Guizot, Noah Porter, Duke of Argyll, Gladstone, 
etc., etc., are already in the reader's mind. 

Now, I ask, where would art and science be without the 
discoveries and inventions of those whom I have men- 
tioned ? Had we nothing to-day but such original contribu- 
tions to scientific knowledge as Infidels have made, we 
would have scarcely anything but barbarism. We would 
be without our best music, our best poetry, and our best 
art. We would have no astronomy, no steam power, no 
telegraph, no America. Even now, with every advantage 
and incentive, Infidels are in the rear as scientists. I have 
lool^ed quite carefully over the "Annual Record of Science 
and Industry," for the last six years, and I fail to find that 
the men who talk the most about science, have made any 
contributions to it. There is the Banner of Lights editor and 
contributors ; Tlie Beligio- Philosophical Journal, editor and 
contributors; The Boston Investigator , editor and contributors; 
The Crucible, editor and contributors ; Woodhull & Clafflin's 
Weekly, editress (?) and contributors ; The Index, editor and 
contributors ; and, let me add. The Truth Seeker, ed- 
itor and contributors — one might imagine from their loud 
talk that they were scientists par excellence, and that they 
contributed immensely to its progress! But, alas! when we 
come to examine the records of what has been actually 
done, and who has done it, \X does not appear that they 
have done anything whatever ! 

The leading Publishers of the world have been generally 
believers in the Christian Religion. The earliest and fore- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 129 

most booksellers and publishers of Eugland have been 
friends and members of the Church (see Curwen's History 
of Booksellers, London, 1873). Quite significantly, Pater- 
noster — i. e. the Lord's Prayer — Row, in London, was the 
first to become famous for its book trade. The pioneers of 
the publishing business in America — Usher, Ranger, Avery, 
Phillips, Ratcliffe, Sewall, etc. — were men of faith (Thomas' 
History of Printing, vol. ii. pp. 409-412). 1 presume that 
what is true of New York is true of any large city in this 
respect. The religious character of the New York book- 
sellers and publishers is reflected in their resolutions on 
the death of Mr. Fletcher Harper, where you will find 
the followiug sentence: '*For all that he was as a man 
and a Christian^ for all that he was permitted to accomplish 
in the interest of literature and education, we looald render 
thanks to Almighty/ God" {New York Herald, May 31, 1877). 

O, yes; I must mention the art of printing. That, too, 
was the offspring of Cliristi$in genius. Guttenburg, the in- 
ventor of printing, was a Roman Catholic (Thomas' History 
of Printing, Vol. I. p. 112). The first important book ever 
printed was the Latin Bible. William Caxton, the first En- 
glish printer, lived and died in the Church (Ibid. p. 135). 
America is indebted for its first press to the Rev. Jesse 
Glover, a Nonconformist minister (Thomas' History of Print- 
ing, Vol. L p. 205). What would the world be without the 
printing-press? When you give a correct answer to that 
question, I will tell you what it would be for aught that Infi- 
delity has done for it in that direction. 

I anticipate in reply an elaborate treatise on Paine and 
his iron bridge ; Girard College in Philadelphia ; James 
Lick, and the California observatory; Tyndall and his ex- 
periments; Huxley and his speculations; Darwin and his 
theories, and ever so much more in that line. I give scep- 
tics credit for all they have done. But they were not the 
pioneers of science. They do not, and they cannot sit un- 
der their own vine and fig-tree. They have themselves. 



IBO TtlE nUMPHREY-BENXETT DISCtJSSION. 

almost to a man, been trained and educated by religious 
teachers. lu the hour of diflSculty and darkness, the Chris- 
tian was in the front, bearing the brunt of the battle, 
while the Infidel lagged behind, whining and finding fault, 
but doing nothing. Bat now, after the day of doubt and 
danger is past, and the victory is won, behold him scram- 
ing forward for the booty and the glory! He beheld, pass- 
^ing along, the chariot of Progress, drawn by the steeds of 
Faith and Works. He saw that it was his only chance for 
a ride. Though a " dead-head," he was not refused a place. 
He clambered eagerly up, cocked himself on a back seat, 
and then began to scatter hand-bills among the spectators, 
inscribed, See ! see what Infidelity is doing for the advance- 
ment of Science !! 

But my article is already too long. The sum of what has 
been said is 'this: Believers in the Bible have given to man- 
kind over a hundred universities; innumerable colleges, 
academies and schools; the first and largest libraries and 
athenaeums of the world; the cardinal discoveries and in- 
ventions, such as the Western Hemisohere, the heliocentric 
theory, the law of gravitation, the steam engine, the tele- 
graph, and the printing-press, which, beginning with the 
Bible, has filled the earth with books. Scriptural religion 
has ever held aloft the primeval Fi;it. Let there he light. 
This light has varied in intensity at different periods. The 
whirlwinds of persecution have rushed upon it. The mist 
of superstition has enveloped it. The choke-damp of indif- 
erence has dimmed it. Many a jack-with-a-lantern has set 
itself up against it. But it has never been extinguished. 
Its flame has always been the brightest, highest, and steadi- 
est. The Spirit of History is waiting for a greater than 
Bartholdi to prepare a worthy statue of Christianity En 

LIGHTENING THE WORLD. 

Yours with respect, G. H. Humphrey. 



1?HE HUMPHREY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 131 

MR. BENNETT . 

Rev. G. H. Humphrey, Dear Sir: I do not call Judge 
Story especially a "pettifogger," but mean all who try 
to make out that our National Constitution is a Christian 
institution, when it contains not a word about God, Jesus 
Christ, or the Bible. So far as the coat fits Judge Story 
he is entitled to wear it. 

You mentioned Lincoln again. While his name is stilj 
on the tapis allow me to refer to the fact that Robert Dale 
Owen, the Infidel, who has just died, full of years and 
honor, had not a little influence in causing Mr. Lincoln to 
issue his ever-memorable Emancipation Proclamation. 
His letter to Lincoln upon the subject, urging with power- 
ful arguments the emancipation of the slaves of the south- 
ern rebels, was written upon the day of the battle of Antie- 
tam, Sept. 17, 1863. Mr. Lincoln wrote the Proclamation 
on the 20th and 21st, read it to the Cabinet and signed 
it on the 22d, and it was issued on the 23d. This letter by 
Mr. Owen has just been published for the first time 
in our city papers. That it had great influence upon Mr. 
Lincoln's mind in deciding upon the course to pursue 
may be learned from this extract of a letter from Salmon 
P. Chase — who was Secretary of the Treasury under Lincoln, 
and who handed Mr. Owen's letter to the President — to Mr. 
Owen: "It will be a satisfaction to you to know that your 
letter to the President had more influence on him than any 
other document which reached him upon the subject — / 
tliink Inflight say more than all others put together. I speak of 
that which I know, from personal conference with him. " I 
mention this matter because it has recently for the first time 
been brought to the notice of the public, and to show that one 
of the oldest Infidels in the country had far more infiuence 
in the issuing of the Proclamation of Emancipation than all 
that Christians said upon the subject, including the Chris- 
tian McClellan, who, in his Harrison Landing letter to Lin- 



132- THE HITMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION, 

coin, Strongly urged him to take no steps towards disturb- 
ing the institution of Slavery. So, here is another proof 
that the credit of the emancipation of four millions of 
slaves, which you claimed for Christianity, really belongs 
to Infidelity. 

I was in hopes that inasmuch as you hold the Bible to be 
a book of science, and your faitli in it is so strong, 
you would give a scientific explanation of how the earth 
could exist, morning and evening take place, vegetation of 
all kinds grow and flourish, perfecting fruit and seeds, be- 
fore the sun had been brought into existence and before 
there had been a drop of rain upon the earth. I hoped, 
too, you would explain scientifically how the water was 
produced which covered the earth 30,000 feet in depth, and 
where it went to afterwards; for many thousands liave 
wondered in their simple hearts how God could make so 
much water and how a little wind which he sent over the face 
of it could dry it all up, and where it went to when in a 
state of vapor. I was in hopes you would bring your 
science to the task of explaining how a man could stop or 
control any of the heavenly bodies; how the waters of seas 
and rivers can be divided and made to stand up in perpen- 
dicular walls and wait for millions of people and cattle to 
pass over. I was in hopes, also, you would give a scientific 
explanation of the hundreds of utter impossibilities with 
the accounts of which your scientific book is so plenti- 
fully filled; but it seems you found it more convenient to 
skip over them and thousands of years of superstition and 
error — for which your Bible is directly responsible — and 
come down to modern times, when science has been able to 
raise its head and wield some influence in the world. 

You speak of my "misrepresentations," and enumerate 
several of them, I did not intend to use misrepresentation 
nor falsehood, and, with your permission, will look at my 
mistakes and see how " gross " they are. What you claim as 
"error first" is where 1 said the book of Job is not men 



tHE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 133 

tioned in any other part of the Bible. You show that the 
name of Job is used in three places. Pardon me; I can- 
not see how that shows that I misreprcpented. I said 
the hook was not mentioned, not the name ! The name Job 
is mentioned once in Genesis (and there are not the slight- 
est grounds for supposing it was the man who had the 
boils) ; it is mentioned once in Ezel^iel, and once in the 
New Testament. I did not succeed in finding it in the 
Apocrypha where you directed me. Ezekiel mentions 
Noah, Job, and Daniel. It cannot be the Daniel who is 
said to have been thrown into the lions' den, for that Dan- 
iel did not live and write until a generation later than 
Ezekiel, and many learned scholars believe that the book 
of Daniel was not w^ritten till four hundred j^ears later than 
the time it purports to have been, so we are at a loss to 
know what Daniel it was Ezekiel talked about, and it is the 
same of Job. It is probable that the three names he used 
were only myths of whom he knew nothing. The matter 
of James' using the name of Job, and referring to the story, 
has no more force than your or my using it. He knew no 
more about Job or his book than we do. Mark, I did not 
say the name Job was not used, but meant that the locality, 
characters, and incidents of his story were not alluded to in 
any cotemporaneous part of the Bible. 

You next attempt to show that I was wrong when I 
merely asked the question if the best Hebrew scholars had 
not decided that the book of Job was not written by a He- 
brew. I made no assertion, but asked a question. But I 
was not mistaken. Ebeuezar and Spinoza were learned 
Jews who so held in relation to that book. The names you 
give in refutation are of the past two or three centuries, 
and of men whose opinions were given before philology 
had been extensively brought to bear as an auxiliary in 
deciding the origin of ancient writings. If you will consult 
the modern learned Hebrew scholars, Ewald, Kuenen, Gold- 
ziher, and Adler, you will find that they regard the book 



134 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

of Job as a Gentile production, and also as having been 
written at a much later period than was formerly supposed 
— as late, at least, as the date of the Jewish captivity. Tlie 
learned historian and essayist, Fronde, maintains the same 
opinion, as you will find by reading his Essays. Chandler 
Halstead also entertains the same views. They all found 
that the personae of the drama, or poem, were not Hebrew, 
most of them being Arabic; the narnes of the constellations 
mentioned are Greek, while the theological ideas employed 
were distinctively Egyptian, and were not written till some 
centuries after the translators supposed it to have been. 
The conception of the character, Satan, is not Hebrew, and 
his name is mentioned in only three other places in the 
Old Testament, which is the part of the Bible I referred to 
in connection with Job. The writers of the New Testa- 
ment certainly knew nothing of him. I did not misrepre- 
sent as to Job. 

You arraign me next for saying that Paul used the word 
science but once, and say he used the word which should 
have been translated science about twenty times. I referred 
solely to the English version, deeming that sufficient for our 
purpose. If it was not translated right, so much the worse 
for the translation ; it is no fault of mine. But the Greek 
word gnosis does not mean science^ it simply means to know 
and corresponds with our 'word know or knowledge. It 
does not reach the dignity of science, of which Paul knew 
and cared very little. Thus you will see I was not in error 
here. 

You next take me to task for saying the ancient Jews 
lived in tents and knew very little about houses. To dis- 
prove the fact you quote the singing of visionary, dreamy 
prophets about Summer-houses, Winter-houses, houses of 
ivory, etc. Summer-houses were doubtless very slight edi- 
fices, and probably composed of vines and branches. TLe 
Winter-houses may have been of rough stones and earth. 
"Houses of ivory" proba\'ly had a far more ideal than 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION, 135 

real existence. I must repeat tliat the remains of liouses of 
liewn stone are not to be found in Palestine. Not a liewn 
stone, not a monument, not a Hebrew inscription is to be 
found in the whole country. The Jews were a branch of the 
Semitic race, and more or less of a mixed character — 
brothers of the Arabs — and semi-barbarians. These races 
all lived in tents and knew very little of houses, and there 
is no proof to the contrary. Until there is something more 
reliable to depend upon than the inventions of dreamers 
and singers, I can hardly change my position upon the 
subject of Israelitish dwellings. 

Let me here give a quotation, as not inappropriate, from 
Albert Barnes, the distinguished theologian: "The Bible 
came from a land undistinguished for literature — a land not 
rich in classical associations, a land not distini!;uished for 
pushing its discoveries into the regions of science. Chal- 
dea had its observatories, and the dwellers then looked out 
on the stars and gave them names ; Egypt had its temples, 
where the truths of science as well as the precepts of re- 
ligion were committed to the sacred priesthood ; Greece 
had academic groves, but Judea had neither. To such 
things the attention of the nation was never turned. We 
have all their literature, all their science, all their knowledge 
of art, and all this is in the Bible. Among the ancients they 
were regarded as a narrow-minded, a bigoted, a supersti- 
tious people " (Lectures on Ev. of Christianity, p. 257). 

You next arraign me for saying the Hebrews stole from 
the Egyptians. Are you not catching at small straws ? 
What is the difference morally, or in fact, between stealing^ 
and horrowing without the slightest intention of ever 
returning ? Besides, in Exodus xii. 36, in alluding to this 
very business, it says the Israelites spoiled the Egyptians. 
In Webster's Christian Dictionary, spoil is defined to mean 
toroh, to plunder. So I v/as not far out of the way. If I 
had used the harsher word rob, it would have been quite 
correct. 



136 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION, 

YoQ next indict me for saying Paul was great for extoll- 
ing the virtues of faith and blind credulity. You acknowl- 
edge the correctness of faith, but say as to blind credulity 
it is "utterly false." Now I cannot see much difference 
between faith and crecluliiy, whether blind or not blind. You 
seem to make a distinction where there is no difference. 
What is faith unless it is credulity ? Webster, in his Chris- 
tian dictionary, defines it as hdief; assent of the mind to 
the truth of what is declared by another, resting solely and 
implicitly on his authority and veracity — in other word?, 
" going it bliad." Paul had a great deal to say about faith. 
He used the word over one hundred and fifty times. 
In the Old Testament it is used but once. Paul said, 
" Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence 
of things not seen" (Heb. xi. 1). Now if the things be- 
lieved in were not seen, was it not a kind of blind cre- 
dulity 1 Have not you and all other Christians failh in 
many things which you never saw, and of which you never 
had any proof ? Do you not believe that Jesus was God? 
that he w^as begotten by God or by himself ? that he had no 
natural father ? that faith in him is suflBcient to save mill- 
ions of poor souls from the torments of hell ? that one is 
three and three are one ? that a son can be as old as his 
father and equal in all respects ? You have no proof of 
these things ; you never saw them. You believe without 
proof — nothing more or less than blind credulity. I have 
heard Christians again and again declare the importance of 
haviug faith without proof. That is blind faith ; nothing 
less. There are many things in the Christian faith that are 
firmly believed which have not the slightest proof. 1 call 
such faith blind credulity ^ and I can make nothing else of 
it. It is the same confidence which a young robin (bliud) 
has in its parent when it opens its mouth and takes what- 
ever is given it. I have often heard that kind of confidence 
and credulity extolled by Christians. It certainly is a mry 
blind credulity. 



'tfiE fltJMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 137 

You next attempt to show that I misrepresented when 
I said Solomon was remarkable for his sensuality. You 
admit the fact but seek to evade its force by saying 
the Bible condemned him for it. You hardly state the 
truth. It does not condemn him for sensuality, but for 
going after other gods. "And the Lord God was angry 
with Solomon because his heart was turned from the Lord 
God of Israel" (1 Kings, xi. 9), but not a word of anger 
was expressed because he had seven hundred wives and 
three hundred concubines. It was not asked of him to be 
any better than was David, his father, and you cannot have 
forgotten how his sensual love was aroused towards another 
man's wife, Bathsheba ; how he committed adultery with 
her and then caused her husband to be put to death to 
cover his guilt. This conduct was all right enough, so he 
did not turn away from his God. Solomon, in like manner, 
could have committed adultery and gross sensuality as 
much as he pleased, if he had not worshiped other gods. 
Herein consisted his sin. His sensuality, like David's, 
could have been easily winked at. 

Here let me say that you seem to have stepped out of your 
way to malign Freethinkers and make the untruthful 
assertion that "the most progressive and advanced Free- 
thinkers justify and defend remarkable sensuality." The 
mqgt advanced or the most prominent Freethinkers do noth- 
ing of the kind. So far as my acquaintance goes among 
Freethinkers (and I ought to be as thoroughly acquainted 
with them as yourself), they live as faithfully and happily 
in their domestic relations as any class of men. Tyndall, 
Proctor, Holyoake, Bradlaugh and Watts in England, 
Owen, Mendum, Seaver, Draper, Abbot, Ingersoll, Un- 
derwood, Denton, Tuttle and scores of others, will com 
pare favorably in this respect with The very best of citi- 
zens. Even the " Free-lovers," so called, are not guilty of 
"remarkable sensuality," as were David and Solomon. 
They indulge ho more in " free-lust " than other persons. 



138 THE HTJMPHREY-BENKETT DISCUSSION. 

They simply hold that love should be free. Let me ask if you 
are in favor of forced love ? Ought not love always to be 
free ? As you are a member of the American clergy, let me 
say to you in the most friendly spirit, that you ought to be 
careful how you make the charge of sensuality against Free- 
thinkers, for however virtuous you may be yourself, your 
brethren are certainly very vulnerable. If I were to look 
for acts of sensuality and adultery I know of no more 
prolific source than among the clergy of our country. I 
think I can name some hundreds of cases where adultery 
has been proved upon them, and I defy you to do anything 
of the kind among Freethinkers. I do not say that not one 
among the latter has ever made a mistake in this direction, 
but I do insist that they are as law-abiding and as moral as 
other men. For every adulterous Freethinker you point 
out, I agree to name twenty adulterous clergymen. You do 
not strengthen your case by such uncalled-for insinuations. 

You take exceptions to my saj'ing there was nothing among 
the ancient Jews showing a high order of civilization. It 
does not seem that I am far out of the way when nothing 
can be cited to the contrary. Not an ancient painting, not 
a piece of sculpture, not a work of fine art, no ruins of 
temples or splendid architecture, nothing of the kind, while 
in other countries there is much that speaks of ancient grand- 
eur and art. So far as DeWette is concerned, he can hardly 
be ranked as a Rationalist. Some of his writings tended 
slightly in that direction, but he gravitated towards the 
Church, and he was accepted as orthodox. 

You close your arraignment by saying you " cannot stop 
to expose all my misrepresentations." Indeed ! What 
haste you must be in. If I made misrepresentations I wish 
them exposed; but witk all due respect allow me to say that 
I think you made out a slim case in exposing my errors. 
I claim that in every instance where you charge me with 
misrepresentation I was entirely correct. 

You did not satisfy me as to proofs about the intimate 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 139 

knowledge the Hebrew women had of dressmaking, cos- 
metics, etc. You quote from Isaiah, etc., where they are 
complained of for being haughty, stretching out their 
necks, having wanton eyes, mincing steps, and mak- 
ing a tinkling with their feet; about their rings in Iheir 
ears and their noses; all of which sounds more as though 
they were semi-savages than highly cultured and intellect- 
ual ladies. I must confess myself unconvinced as to their 
perfect and refined civilization. 

You next say " The Bible does not pretend to be a text- 
book of science." That is just what I think, and I looked 
upon it as a mistake in you to set up the claim that it had 
any aflQnity or connection with science. There is hardly a 
book in existence that is more unscientific than the Bible, 
none more at variance with the experience of mankind and 
with the laws of the Universe. 

It appears to me that you are wide of the truth when you 
claim a close intimacy between Christianity and science, or 
that the former has been friendly to the latter. A marked an- 
tagonism existed between them for more than sixteen hun- 
dred years. Christianity found Southern Europe in the enjoy- 
ment of an advanced state of philosophy and science. The 
labors and scholarship of Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, 
Euclid, Hipparchus, Aristotle, Eratosthenes, Ptolemy, 
Archimedes, Apollonius, and others, had given to the world 
a higher degree of philosophy and learning than it had 
before enjoyed. Astronomy, geology, chemistry, mathe- 
matics, mechanics, etc., had been developed and brought to 
the knowledge of thousands. During the five centuries 
before the dawn of Christianity science achieved more 
distinction and position than it had ever before attained. 
But when that system of religion became a ruling power in 
the world this was immensely changed. 

Christianity was made up of the theology of the Hebrews, 
combined with the story and teachings of the reputed Jesus, 
incorporated with the dogmas of Paganism. Neither the 



140 THE nUMPHREY- BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

accredited founder of the system nor any of the disciples 
or apostles whom, he chose as companions were men of 
learning. There is no authentic record that Jesus attended 
school or that he was a scholar. There is no statement that 
he ever wrote a word or imparted a particle of practical 
scientific knowledge. All the narratives we have of him 
represent him as a stroUiug mendicant who taught his fol- 
lowers no useful pursuits of life, and who stifled all 
enterprise, thrift, and foresight by enjoining his fol- 
lowers and listeners to take no thought for the mor- 
row—to make no provision for the future. Though he 
is believed to be the son of Jehovah or to be the great 
Deity himself — the source of all knowledge and all science — 
he never during his ministry gave his students one lesson 
in practical science. He gave no evidence of knowing any- 
thing about astronomy, geology, chemistry, mathematics, 
hydrostatics, mechanics, biology, philology, psychology, 
or any of the kindred sciences. Had he possessed sci- 
entific knowledge, and had he felt disposed to be a practical 
benefit to the human race, what a splendid opportunity 
was afforded him for imparting a great fund of information 
to those who listened to him! But he had not the informa- 
tion to impart. 

The Apostles were no better. They were unlettered, 
ignorant men, and ■svere capable of treating of but little save 
the excellence of faith in the merits of the blood of a cruci- 
fied God. They did not present to the people to whom 
they ministered any new scientific truths, nor did they in 
the slightest degree advance the knowledge of the world in 
the practical, useful, vital affairs of life. 

The early Fathers of the Church were of the same char- 
acter. A majority of them were uneducated men. Some 
became proficient in the lore of the time, but science 
and learning were 1 he least among their cares. Their ob. 
ject was to establish their system of religion, and to hold up 
the uncertain state of happiness in a future life as of more 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION, 141 

consequence than education and prosperity in this. As tlie 
Church increased in numbers, and under thQ murderous 
Contantine became a political power in the world, the phi- 
losophy and learning of the previous centuries receded from 
view and were superseded by sectarian contention, bigotry, 
superstition, and ignorance, until the priesthood of the 
Christian Church became themselves the most ignorant of 
men ; not one in twenty could read, or write his own name. 
So far from aiding the cause of science and learning, it 
rather did all it could to retard them. The Serapion of 
Alexandria, which contained four hundred thout5and vol- 
umes, by far the largest library in the world, was ruthlessly 
destroyed near the close of the fourth century by the Chris- 
tian Archbishop Theophilus; and Hypatia, the daughter of 
Theon the mathematician, a devoted student and teacher 
of science and learning, and who distinguished herself by 
her expositions of the doctrines of Plato and Aristotle, as 
well as by her comments on the writings of Apollonius, 
was assaulted while on her way to the academy by a mob of 
Christian monks under fet. Cyril, who had succeeded to the 
episcopacy occupied by his uncle Theohpilus, and she was 
stripped naked in the street, then dragged into the church, 
and there killed by the club of Peter the Reader. Her 
corpse was cut in pieces, the flesh scraped from her bones 
with shells by those Christian fiends, who doubtless felt 
that they had done great service to their Church and their 
cause. 

Professor Draper thus tersely speaks upon the subject: 
" So ended Greek philosophy in Alexandria; so came to an 
untimely close the learning that the Ptolemies had done so 
much to promote. The 'Daughter Library,' that of the 
Serapion, had been dispersed. The fate of Hypatia was a 
warning to all who would cultivate profane knowledge. 
Henceforth there was to be no freedom for human thought. 
Every one must think as the ecclesiastical authority ordered 
him — A. p. 414. In Athens itself philosophy awaited it^ 



142 THE HUATPHREY-BEXNETT DISCUSSION. 

doom. Justinian at length prohibited its teaching and 
caused all its schools in that city to be closed." 

The history of the triumph of faith over reason, learning, 
and science is one sickening to read. It is full and explicit, 
but the limits of this letter will allow me to make only here 
and there a quotation. " The fourth Council of Carthage 
forbade the reading of secular books by the bishops. Je- 
rome condemned the use of them except for pious purposes. 
The physical sciences were unqualifiedly condemned, as 
their cultivation was considered incompatible with the prac- 
tice of religious duties. ... No importance was at- 
tached to anything of an intellectual character except the 
childish and unintelligible controversies which were carried 
on for centuries " (Underwood). " These disputes diverted 
studious minds from profane literature, and narrowed down 
more and more the circle of that knowledge which they 
were desirous to obtain " (Hallam's Middle Ages, p. 453). 
Thus says tiie Christian historian, Guizot: " We saw them 
(profane literature and pagan philosophy) soon disappear ; 
sacred literature and Christian theology jtlone remained. 
We no longer meet with anything but sermons, legends, 
etc. This decay has generally been attributed to the tyr- 
anny of the Church, to the triumph of the principles of 
authority and faith over the principles of liberty and rea- 
son " (Hist. Civilization, vol. iii, p. 30). 

"The lives of the saints was the literature of the time. 
There were men who occupied themselves in collecting 
them, writing them and recounting them for the edifica- 
tion, no doubt, but more especially the intellectual pleasure 
of the Christians" (ibid, vol. ii, p. 339). "These lives of 
the saints filled fifty-three volumes. There were 1442 for 
the month of April alone. There were more than 25,000 
saints contained in the fifty-three volumes " (ibid, vol. ii, 
p. 350). "The legends were to the Christians of this age 
(let me be allowed this purely literary comparison), what 
those long accountr?, those brilliant and varied histories, of 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 143 

which the 'Thousand and One Nights ' gives us a specimen, 
were to the Orientals" (ibid, p. 350). "Literature, prop- 
erly so called, held but little place in the Christian world " 
(ibid, p. 95). **From the fourth to the eighth century 
there was no longer any profane literature ; sacred litera- 
ture stands alone ; priests only study or write; and they 
only study, they only write upon religious subjects " (ibid, 
p. 317). " Toward the end of the sixth century there are 
no longer civil schools ; ecclesiastical schools alone sub- 
sist " (ibid, p. 318). "The metamori^hosis of civil schools 
into ecclesiastical schools was complete " (ibid, p. 318). 
"Kot only did literature become entirely religious, but it 
ceased to be literary; there was no longer any literature, 
properly so called" (ibid, p. 320). "Doubtless nothing re- 
mains belonging to this age either of philosophy, poetry, 
or literature, properly speaking . . but there was a world 
of writings; they are sermons, instructions, exhortations, 
homilies and conferences upon religious matters'' 
(ibid, p. 321). 

You must accept Guizot's authority, for he was em- 
inently Christian; but Ingersoll portrayed much the same 
state of facts when he said, " In the Dark Ages the Church 
had the world by the throat. Every thought was strangled, 
every idea lost. Science was actually thrust into the brain 
of Europe at the point of Moorish bayonets." 

Hal lam you will accept aa a reliable Christian historian. 
Although in many instance.^ he seems actuated by a desire 
to present the side of the Church in as favorable a light as 
possible, the facts he states are sufficient to forever damn it. 
I will make a few quotations from his Middle Ages: "A 
cloud of ignorance overspread the whole face of the Church, 
hardly bcoken by a few glimmering lights, who owe al- 
most the whole of their distinction to the surrounding 
darkness " (p. 460). " In the shadows of this universal igno- 
rance a thousand superstitions, like foul animals of night, 
were propagated and nourished. France reached her low- 



144 TUE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

est point at the beginning of the eighth century, but 
England was, at that time, more respectable, and did not 
fall into complete degradation until the middle of the ninth. 
There could be nothing more deplorable than the state of 
Italy during the succeeding century. In almost every 
council the ignorance of the clergy forms a subject of 
reproach. It is asserted of one held in 993 that scarcely a 
single person was to be found, in Rome itself, who knew 
the fiist elements of letters. Not one priest of a thousand 
in Spain about the age of Charlemagne, could address a 
common letter of salutation to one another" (p. 460). Inger- 
soll stated the case in reference to the influence the Church 
had exercised when he said it had "reduced Spain to a 
guitar, Italy to a hand-organ, and Ireland to exile." 

I will make a quotation or two from Lecky : " Mediaeval 
Catholicism discouraged and suppressed in every way secu- 
lar studies, while it conferred a monopoly of wealth and 
honor and fame upon distinguished theologians' (History of 
Morals, vol. ii. p. 222). " Not till the education of Europe 
passed from the monasteries to the universities; not till 
Mohammedan science and classical freeth ought and indus- 
trial independence broke the scepter of the Church did the 
intellectual revival of Europe commence " (ibid, p. 219). 
"Few men who are not either priests or monks would not 
have preferred to live in the best days of the Athenian or of 
the Roman Republics, in the age of Augustus or in the age 
of the Antonines, rather than in any period that elapsed be- 
tween the triumph of Christianity a-nd the fourteenth cen- 
tury " (ibid, p. 13). 

"The influence of theology having for centuries benumbed 
and paralyzed the whole intellect of Christi;in Europe, the 
revival which forms the starting point of our modern 
civilization was mainly due to the fact that two spheres of 
intellect still remained uncontrolled by the scepter of Cathol 
icism. The Pagan literature of antiquity and the Moham- 
medan schools of science were the chief agencies in resus- 



THE HUMPHKBY BENNETT DBbCUSSION. 145 

citating the dormant energies of Christianity " (ibid, p. 18^. 

Here is given the true sources of the science which the 
civilized world enjoys: first, the learning of the ancient 
Pagan nations, and secondly, the Mohammedans who con- 
served the sciences and kept them alive while Christendom 
was sinking and groping in the theological darkness of the 
Middle Ages— the Church driving the last remains of learn- 
ing from the people. It is not Christianity that gave sci- 
ence, education and art to the world, and it was only when 
they saw that the people were determined to ^advance in 
intelligence and mental culture that the priests gave any 
encouragement in this direcliou. Science and civilization 
exist in Christendom not by the good offices of Christian- 
ity, but in spite of it. 

I would like to quote more largely from the same and 
other authorities, but my letter is already too long and I 
must hasten on. 

You name Copernicus and claim that his scientific discov- 
eries were due to Christianity. To show how unjust your 
claim i?, it is only necessary to state that his discoveries 
were rejected by the Church. They were declared to be in 
opposition to the Bible and to revelation ; and for a century 
afterwards his views, though of so much importance and 
so true, were not accepted by the Christian Church, either 
Catholic or Protestant. Luther denounced him as an old 
fool, and said he was trying to upf^et the whole art of astronomy 
and in refutation of his views appealed to the teachings of 
the Bible. This discovery of Copernicus was one of the 
grandest ever made by man. It ended a fallacious system 
founded on pretended inspiration from heaven to the effect 
that the earth is the centre and principal part of the Uni- 
verse, and created a new and truthful theory that the sun is 
the centre of the solar system, and that the earth, like the 
other planets, revolves around it. Christianity, however, 
cannot be credited with the discovery. She opposed it 
:&rmly and persistenily. and half a century after the discoy'^ 



146 THE IIUJIP&KEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

cry the disciple of Copernicus, Giordano Bruno, was impris- 
oned in the infernal Inquisition for two years and tortured 
in the most cruel manner, and was finally burnt at the stake 
for his devotion to science and truth. This was the way in 
which Christianity fostered science and the doctrines of 
Copernicus. 

Still later, Galileo had much the same experience to pass 
through. He embraced the doctrines of Copernicus, and 
made some additional discoveries in astronomy, but for 
this the Christian Church pursued him and punished him 
with the most vindictive cruelty. For holding and teach- 
ing that the earth moves round the sun he was, after he 
had become advanced in life and in feeble health, thrown 
into the dungeons of the Inquisition and kept for years a 
prisoner of the Church. The old man was compelled to 
forswear, on his knees, his honest convictions and to give 
the lie to the great truth that the earth is a sphere and re- 
volves around the sun. Had he not done this his life proba- 
bly would have been taken. This is another instance of the 
way in which Christanity fostered science, and now you 
have the assurance to claim for it tlie honor of the persecu- 
ted man's discoveries and teachings, when at the peril of his 
life it compelled him to recant the truth of his doctrine. 

Vanini was another scientist — another disciple of Coper- 
nicus whom the Church persecuted unto death because he 
dared to entertain views which it did not approve. Oh, 
what a patron of science was the Christian Church for over 
sixteen hundred years! It frowned furiously upon every 
effort in that direction. 

I will make one more quotation, and from Professor 
Huxley: " Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of 
every science as the strangled snakes beside that of Her- 
cules; and history records that whenever science and 
orthodoxy have been fairly opposed, the latter has been 
forced to retire from the lists, bleeding and crushed if not 
annihilated: scotched if not slain. But orthodoxy is the 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 147 

Bourbon of the world of thought. It learns not, neither 
can it forget; and though at present bewildered and afraid 
to move, it is as willing as ever to insist that the first chap- 
ter of Genesis contains the beginning and end of sound 
science; and to visit with such petty thunderbolts as its 
half-paralyzed hands can hurl, those who refuse to degrade 
nature to the level of priaiitive -Judaism " (Lay Sermons, 
p. 278). 

For some sixteen hundred years the Christian Church 
held the world, or so much of it as was under its control, 
bound in the chains of darkness and ignorance. While 
science and learning were being fostered and cherished 
by the Arabians and other Oriental nations, Christianity 
held a black pall of superstition and degradation over its 
entire domain. Draper thus states the fact : "When Europe 
was hardly more enlightened than Caffraria is now, the 
Saracens were cultivating and creating science. Their 
triumphs in philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, 
medicine, proved to be more durable and therefore more 
important than their military actions had been " (Intellect- 
ual development, p. 306). Christian nations were at length 
glad to receive from the Mohammedan the science and 
learning which fur centuries it had been conserving; and 
had not this source been accessible it is probable the night 
of Christian ignorance would still be hanging over Europe 
to-day. Where the reign of Christianity has been most 
absolute, the ignorance and degradation of the masses has 
been the most complete. Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, 
Ireland, and Mexico are cases in point. The Reformation 
raised an opposition to this rule. A spirit of rebellion or 
infidelity to the old regime actuated it. To this extent it was 
beneficial to the world. The more infidelity it exercised, 
the more beneficial its results. Protestantism is little more 
than the original system of Christianity with a modicum of 
Infidelity blended with it. This is what the Church prac- 
tically declared, and it has denounced as heretics and 



148 THE ntMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

Infideis all who embraced its schismatic teachings and doc- 
trines. This rupture in the rule of the Church doubtless 
opened the way for an increase of learning among the 
masses, Ihougli it is unfortunate that the new Church held 
to the same miserable and debasing dogmas which charac- 
terized the old. It made little or no improvement in the 
articles of belief, but that it tended to break to some extent 
the iron rule of the Romish Church cannot be denied. 

For the last two centuries Christianity bas shown more 
favor to science and learning than previously. It has been 
compelled by the spirit of the age to take this course. The 
priesthood have often evinced the disposition and ability to 
yield to the public demand when compelled to do so. 
They did so in the matter of education, though they used 
every exertion to make (heir old theological dogmas the 
dominant element. They have ever sought to make science 
subservient to superstition. The wily and designing Jes- 
uits have established schools of learning, and numbers of 
them have reached degrees of advanced scholarship, but 
their object has been to promote their own interests and 
not to elevate and enlighten the masses. To keep the peo- 
ple in subjection has ever been the spirit and purpose of 
Christianity. 

You make a formidable array of names of Christians who 
were men of education and comparative science, and men- 
tion many colleges which have been established under 
Christian auspices. With a large portion of these men 
Christianity was a mere incident, not a motive. They are 
reckoned Christians because they were born and reared in 
Christian countries. Being so born and reared did not in- 
crease their intellectuality or love of learning. The rule 
will be found to hold good that those who have been most 
w^edded to science, and who were the most proficient in 
its pursuit, cared the least for the dogmas of the Church. 
From motives oi policy, and to secure personal safety, they 
yielded a tacit allegiance to its rule— nothing more. 



THE HUMPHKEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 149 

With an air of triumpli you ask: "Where are the public 
museums of art, science, the libraries, and institutes that 
Infidels have established?" If you had taken a fair view of 
the field, I think you would hardly propound such a conun- 
drum. Until within the last two centuries Infidels and 
scientists have been compelled to look out closely for their 
own personal liberty and their lives, for the minions of the 
Church were after them like bloodhounds upon the track 
of an escaping slave ! What chance had Copernicus, 
Galileo, Bruno, Vanini and Servetus to found colleges and 
museums? Three of them were burned at the stake by the 
strong arm of the Church, and the others barely escaped. 
Universities and institutes are founded successfully only 
under government auspices, or by wealthy corporations. 
Governments have been in the hands of Christians, and 
what chance had a few ignored, despised Infidels to 
found such institutions? A spirit of irony must have 
actuated you to put such a question. It is almost adding 
insult to injury. But within the last half century a change 
has taken place. With the advance of science, and the prog- 
ress of political and mental liberty, Infidels have grown a 
little bolder and now dare to speak aloud and say their 
souls are their own. For the time and means at hand, they 
have done nobly in the cause of science. With what James 
Smithson did in Washington, Stephen Girard in Philadel- 
phia, Peter Cooper in this city, James Lick in San Fran- 
Cisco, the London University established fifty years ago 
independent of Christianity, and where its dogmas are not 
promulgated, Infidels can now hold up their heads with 
a degree of pride that Christians cannot honestly feel. You 
have doubts about the religious status of James Smithson. 
You need not have when you are aware that the matter 
of introducing and championing the bill for the estab- 
lishment of the Smithsonian Institute was placed in the 
hands of the Infidel Owen, just deceased, who ably engi- 
neered it through Congress. Be assured, had there been 



150 THE HtJMPHREY-BENKETT DISCUSSION. 

the sliglite£>t grounds for claiming Smitlison as a Christian, 
our cycloi-edias and biographical dictionaries would have 
so stated it very prominently. Neither can I yield the 
venerable Peter Cooper, who has done more for the peo- 
ple of this city, in an educational point of view, than a 
thousand ministers ha\e ever done. He is a good man, but 
he does not believe in tlie miraculous qualities of the blood 
of Jesus; he is not one of your kind. He is guilty of 
the same grave doctrinal crime for which your great leader, 
John Calvin, caused Michael Servetus to be burned to death 
by a slow fire. Had Peter Cooper lived at Geneva under 
Calvin's rule, there never would have been a Cooper 
Institute established. No ! no ! you cannot claim Peter 
Cooper ! He has not faith enough for you 1 

Who are the leading men in the world of thought to-day? 
Are they the men who believe that the Jewish, personal, 
anthropomorphic Jehovah made the entire Universe of suns 
and worlds from nothing, less than six thousand years ago? 
Or are they the men who have risen above all the childish 
and puerile creeds of superstition and revelation, which 
have bound the world for thousands of years? The men 
who are leading and moulding the thought of the world this 
hour are skeptics, scientists, Infidels. They are liolding up 
the light of science in view of the mosses, and the mists and 
fogs of superstition are fast disappearing. Preceded by 
such men as Copernicus, Galileo, Bruno, Spinoza, Goethe, 
Humboldt, Lyell, and others, Darwin, Tyndall, Huxley, 
Spencer, Wallace, Helmholtz, Haeckel, Schmidt, Draper, 
Proctor, and hosts of others, arc pressing vigorously on 
towards the temple of truth, rejecting the errors and follies 
which the theologies of the past have so persistently fast- 
ened upon the people of the world. 

Some of the institutions of learning which you claim as 
Christian can hardly be justly so claimed. Cornell, for in- 
stance, has a very diluted article of Christianity. I am 
credibly informed that every one of the professors are un- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 151 

believers in the dogmas of Christianity, and are readers of 
Radical journals. Cornell has been denounced as an Infi- 
del institution. Harvard is little better. It does not retain 
enough of the original faith to do very much harm. The 
great law of evolution is working in the Christian Church 
as well as elsewhere, and ultimately science and truth must 
triumph over superstition and error. 

Probably the most ridiculous assumption you made in 
your last letter, is that a belief in Christianity is conducive 
to the inventive faculty. If you succeed in establishing 
that Christians are more inventive than other portions of 
the human race, will it not go far towards proving the 
system of Christianity itself a mere invention ? Is it pos- 
sible that you honestly maintain the opinion that a man who 
believes that a person was once begotten by a ghost, that the 
being so begotten is as old as his father ; that the kind 
author of the Universe could create a burning hell to throw 
millions upon millions of his creatures into to suffer eternal 
agony; that to save a limited number from this fate, he 
caused his only beloved Son to be put to an ignominious 
death, do you think that believing this enables one to get 
up a better steam-boat, mowing-machine, improved bee-hive 
or patent churn than other men ? The Chinese and the 
Japanese are very mechanical, inventive people ; is it be- 
cause they have so much faith in Jesus and accept the Chris- 
tian dogmas ? The Abysinians are a Christian nation, is 
that what makes them such finished mechanics? The Span- 
iards, Italians, Portuguese and Mexicans are very ardent 
Christians ; if your rule holds good, they should there- 
fore be full of mechanical inventions. Are they ? 

So far as my observation has extended, inventors and dis- 
tinguished mechanics arc not especially pious and full of 
faith. They are generally a practical sort of people, and 
think more of cog-wheels, mechanical forces, etc., than they 
do of Gods and Christs, sanctification and imputed right- 
eousness. The Christian Church probably distinguished it- 



l52 THE HUilPHKEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

self in the field of invention more in getting up racks, 
thumb-screws, pullies, wheels, boots, pincers, burning-irons, 
and other engines of torture without name, with which to 
mangle and kill thousands of the poor heretic wretches 
"whom they took under their kind protection and inventive 
care. Could the Church have obtained a patent for its 
every invention of this kind, and could have sold the patents 
at a good price, the revenue from this source would doubt- 
less have equaled that from the sale of indulgencies, and 
from the pardons in advance, for the most heinous crimes. 
Pollock describes the pleasure the Church took in its inven- 
tions for torture thus : 

" InQuisition, model most complete 
Of perfect wickedness, where deeds were done- 
Deeds I let them ne'er be named— and sat and planned 
Deliberately, and with most musing pains. 
How to extron^est thrill of ngouy. 
The flesh and blood and souls of men. 
Her victims, might be wrought; and when she saw 
New tortures of her laboring fancy born. 
She leaped for joy, and made great haste to try 
Their force, well pleased to hear a deeper groan." 

You have evoluted a long distance from where your 
brethren of the Church stood two or throe centuries ago. 
You claim now^ that all these useful inventions belong to the 
Church while your predecessors consigned them to the 
devil. Hundreds of the inventions which you. now claim 
for the Church used to be traced directly to his Satanic 
Majesty. Even the art of printing, which you fain 
would monopolize, has many and many a time by j^our 
former brethren been denounced as the work of the devil and 
a device of hell. Gutenberg and Faust, when they in- 
vented printing, were said to be in league with the "Evil 
One." Leading bishops and priests of the Christian Church 
did all they could to suppress the art and denounced it as 
a great enemy to the Church. They perceived that it pos- 



THE HUMPHKET-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 153 

sessed facilities for conveying intelligence to the masses, 
and tliey feared its influence. William Tyndale, a man of 
note, was, in 1536, by the authorities of the Church, burned 
at the stake for translating and printing the Bible. I think 
it was Gov. Berkeley of Virginia, an eminently pious Chris- 
tian who, since the settlement of this country, thanked 
God that there was not a printing press in the whole State, 
and he prayed that there might not be. 

In like manner hundreds of other inventions were piously 
denounced as being the works of the devil. In this cate- 
gory may be placed the steam-engine, lightning-rods, the 
telegraph, railroads, reaping-machines, sewing-machines, 
friction-matches, etc., etc. Even your pious Church breth 
ren, the Presbyterians of Scotland, for many years persist- 
ently fought the use of the fanning-mill for cleaning their 
rye, oats and beans, and called the wind it engendered 
"the devil's wind." Is it not amusing to see you now turn 
around and claim all these inventions as the special prop- 
erty of the Church ? Verily, who is it sitting on the back 
seat of the ( ar of progress throwing out hand-bills ©n 
which is inscribed, *' See what we are doing for the ad- 
vancement of science"? I fancy, Bro. Humphrey, I see 
you among the number. 

You recite a great number of names of inventors, artists, 
etc., who lived and died in Christian countries. You could 
have increased this list greatly by copying the names of 
artisans and mechanics from the Kew York Directory. 
Nine-tenths of these would doubtless be found tacit believ- 
ers in Christianity, and they would serve to swell the list 
greatly. You might with equal propriety claim Christian- 
ity as the foster parent of brothels, gambling hells, rum- 
holes, lotteries, policy-shops, stock-gambling offices, horse- 
races, concert-cellars, etc. , etc. , for you would find a large 
proportion of those who conduct these establishments, as 
well as their patrons, believers in the Christian religion, 
and they are just as honestly entitled to be counted and 



154 THB HUMPHEEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

claimed by you as the inventors, painters, sculptors, poets, 
printers, book-sellers, etc., etc. I am disposed to yield to 
you all that is justly yours. 

You name several Freethought and Spiritualistic journals 
and intimate that they have done little or nothing in the 
cause of science. They certainly have done something in 
that direction, and have at least labored to do their duty in 
an unpopular cause, each according to its ability. They 
will, I think, compare very favorably in the direction of 
being teachers of science wiih The Observer, The Evangelist^ 
The Christian at Work, The Chrisiian Union, Working 
Church, and the four hundred other pious Christian papers 
published in this country. Are they par excellence teach- 
ers of science? If teaching Christianity and teaching 
science are the same, what a vast amount of science the 
sixty-five thousand clergymen of the United States alone 
ought to be able to present to the people! With so many 
teachers of science, every individual in the country over fif- 
teen years of age ought to be well versed in its great 
truths. But it is not the case, for all the science they 
all teach can be put into a very small space. $200,000,000 
are paid annually for the promulgation of antique myths 
and obsolete dogmas, and the truths of science form but a 
small share of their instructions. 

I could hardly repress a smile when I saw that you 
claimed the dictionary as a Christian bequest. Why, there 
were dictionaries in the world before a Christian was 
thought of. Besides, the author of our dictionary and the 
old spelling-book was, during a part of his life a skeptic, 
especially when he wrote the spelling book (see Memoir in 
Dictionary). Why do you not claim the rule of addition 
and the multiplication table as Christian institutions? You 
could do so with equal justice with much that you have 
claimed. 

At the close of your last letter you draw a very pretty 
picture of the Car of Progress passing by, and of a dead-head 



THE HUMPHREY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 155 

wishing a ride, and of his clambering up, taking a back 
seat and at once throwing out his handbills, claiming great 
honor for what he has done for science and the elevation of 
mankind. This is all very pretty, only you have made 
a mistake in the individual. His name instead of 
Infidelity is Chn'siianify— another instance of where yba 
have claimed too much. In view of the manner in which 
the Church persistently stifled the aspirations of mankind 
for mental liberty and the truths of science for fifteen 
hundred years, and only when compelled was induced to 
recognize them, it is very refreshing to now see it mount 
the back seat and swing its banner, claiming thousands 
of years devotion to science. Yes; it is very amusing. 

In closing let me make one more quotation from Ingersoll : 
*' Christianity has always opposed every forward movement 
of the human race. Across the highway of progress it has 
always been building breastworks of bibles, tracts, com- 
mentaries, prayer-books, creeds, dogmas and platforms, 
and at every advance the Christians have gathered together 
behind these heaps of rubbish and shot the poisoned arrows 
of malice at the soldiers of freedom." 

Pardon me for my great length. To answer your general- 
izations in detail necessarily requires considerable space. 
I have not aimed at aught else but to answer the points 
you raised. There is much more I would like to say bear- 
ing upon the same subject, but must defer it for the present. 
I am very truly yours, D. M Bennett. 

i 



MR. HUMPHREY. 

Mr. D. M. Bennett, Bear Sir : I wish, first of all, to 
state that I did not, in my last letter, assert that any insti- 
tution or individual was of a Christian character, until I had 
examined the very bept accessible authorities on the sub- 
ject. I did not follow traditions or neur^paper items. 



156 THE HU-VlPiIREY-BENN^ETT DISCUSS! 3}?. 

Neither did I reckon any one a " Cliristian because lie was 
born and reared in a Christian country." Throughout this 
discussion I have stuck rigidly to the terms of our propo- 
sitions, and to the standard definitions of words. 

You remind me of a class of men who rejected John be- 
cause he did iiot eat and drink like other people, and then 
rejected Christ because he did eat and drink like other peo- 
ple (Matt. xi. 16-19). You have contended that the f ramers of 
the Constitution must have been Infidels, because they ex- 
pressed no Constitutional partiality to any form of religion, 
and you have insisted that Franklin was an Infidel, though 
his writings abound in religious sentiments, though he de- 
clared himself a "Protestant of the Church of England," 
and a "sincere lover of social worship," and though he 
made a motion for daily prayers in the very Convention 
that brought the Constitution into existence. The Consti- 
tution is unsectarian ; but it is not irreligious. Immedi- 
ately after its adoption, Washington and Adams, with no 
precedent to press them to it, made annual Thanksgiving 
Proclamations. I repeat, then, the language of Judge Story, 
that none could hold Christianity in more reverence than 
the framers of the Constitution. 

In your last letter you show several individuals in a false 
light. What authority had you for saying James Smithson 
was a "Freethinker"? None whatever. As I have said 
already, the circumstantial evidence is all the other way. 
For instance, he graduated in the University of Oxford, at 
a time (1786) when that institution conferred no degree on 
anybody who was not a member of the Established Church 
(See Am. Cyclopedia, Art "University"). Where is your 
proof that he was a lying hypocrite at that time, or that 
he changed his views afterwards ? 

I cannot find that Robert Dale Owen had much to do 
with the establishment of the Smithsonian Institution. 
Neither Johnson's nor the American Cyclopedia mentions 
his name in that connection. It was the Hon. Richard 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 157 

Rush who prosecuted the claim to Smitlison's bequest be- 
fore the British government. Prof. Joseph Henry — a most 
estimable scientist and Christian — has been at the head of 
the Institution ever since 1846. 

Peter Cooper "is not one of your liind." He would 
scorn the idea of being a disciple of "Tom Paine." Un- 
solicited, he offered the Great Hall of the Union to the ser- 
vices of the Evangelical Alliance in 1870 — all free of 
charge. He addressed a letter to the Delegates, wherein he 
said that "Chrislianity is in realUy a t7've science of life""; 
"that he (the godly man) is guided by that great principle 
that controlled the life of Christ," and much more in the same 
vein. Did Mr. Cooper ever offer his Hall to an Infidel 
Convention ? Did he ever say that Infidelity is in reality 
a true science of life ? No. He accepts the Bible as the 
inspired word of God. He belongs, therefore, to my side 
of the proposition under discussion. 

Ezra Cornell, the founder of the University that bears 
his name, was a Quaker. The other leading benefactors of 
that institution— Hiram Sibley, John McGraw, Dean Sage, 
Henry W. Sage, President White — are all thorough believ- 
ers in the Christian religion. I got this information from 
Messrs. Henry W. Sage, 67 Wall street, A. B. Cornell, 16 
East 42d street, and H. W. Sibley, 21 Courtlandt street. 
Nor is Cornell University conducted on the godless princi- 
ple. There are prayers in the chapel every morning. Mr. 
Dean Sage's donation was made expressly to furnish the 
students with "Evangelical preaching," as Mr. Sage him- 
self put it, or with " lectures on general theology by divines 
of different denominations," as the American Cyclopedia 
expresses it. Prof. Felix Adler is not " wanted " there any 
more. So you see that Cornell is in no sense "an Infidel 
institution." 

The same may be said of the London University. I was 
surprised to see you laying any claim to it. I would like to 
see your assertion backed with some proof. 



158 THE nUMPHKET-BEKNETT DISCUSSION. 

You are hardlj 'oetter as a Bible critic than as a deliueator 
of character. You regret that I did not take more trouble to 
harmonize the conclusions of modern science with the teach- 
ings of Scripture. That reconciliation is by no means im- 
possible. There is no conflict between the Bible, rightly 
understood, and Science, properly so called. But it is as un- 
desirable as it is impossible to reconcile the Bible with every 
whim, vagary, and balderdash, that every scribbler persists 
in calling science. If you are disposed to read in that line, 
you have access to such works as Kurtz' " Bibel und As- 
tronomic"; O. M. Mitchell's "Astronomy of the Bible"; 
Chalmers' "Astronomical Discourses"; Hugh Miller's 
"Testimony of the Rocks"; Dana's "Manual of Geol- 
ogy," 1875, pp. 765-770; Dawson's " Nature and the Bible "; 
Hitchcock's "Geology," 1853, pp. 284-315 ; Duke of Ar- 
gyll's " Reign of Law "; McCosh' " Christianity and Positiv- 
ism"; Morris '" Science and the Bible"; Mozley's "Bamp- 
ton Lectures on Miracles," 1865 ; Winchell's "Doctrine of 
Evolution," and "Reconciliation of Science and Religion," 
and many other works of the kind, with which everybody 
ought to be familiar. 

You show an inclination to dispose of some Bible char- 
acters by calling them "myths." Are you not aware that 
the "mythical theory" is going out of fashion among the 
'•thinkers" of Germany? That little critical farce is 
about played out. Whately has shown in a book called 
"Historic Doubts Relative to Napoleon," that the myth- 
ical theory would apply to Buonaparte with just as much 
force as to Solomon, Daniel or Job. Why, Sir, there is 
as strong a probability that Thomas Paine was a "myth " 
as there is that Moses was. The accounts of his life are 
very "contradictory." His career was full of "inherent 
improbabilities." Nobody hnows to-day where his reputed 
remains are ! Prove that Paine was not a " myth," and I 
will show by the same process of reasoning that the promi- 
nent characters of the Bible were no fictions. 



THE flUMPIlREY-BENNETT DISCUSSIOK. 159 

The critics who believe that the book of Job was written 
by a Hebrew, are not all as old as you say. Many of them 
have lived until quite recently ; and several of them are 
Btill living. Your distinction between the hook and the 
name of Job looks more like a loop-hole than anything 
else. What is Job apart from the book ? Who thinks of 
Hamlet without the play ? As the book of Job was well 
known among tlie Hebrews many centuries before Christ, 
the book and the man must have always gone together in 
the Jewish mind. 

I am afraid you have not read the work of that eminent 
scientist, Sir Isaac Newton, entitled " Observations upon 
the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John." 
It is the product of the same mind as the "Principia." A 
diligent study of it might modify your views of Daniel's 
date and real existence. 

You say Solomon's sin did not consist in his many marri- 
ages ? Have you forgotten that it was unlawful for the Is- 
raelites to marry " strange," that is, heathen wives ? Have 
you not observed that Solomon is said to have " sinned by 
these things" (Neh. xiii, 26, 27)? You are certainly not 
ignorant of the fact that David himself looked upon his 
adultery as an "evil," a "sin," an "iniquity" and a "trans- 
gression " (Pss. xxxii. and li). 

You stick to what Dr. Smith, Classical Examiner in the 
Uuiversity of London, calls "the vulgar objection" in 
regard to the Hebrews " borrowing " from their Egyptian 
masters. Dr. Smith adds: " The word 'borrow' should be 
*ask.' There was no promise or intention of repayment. 
The jewels were given for favo7' (Ex. xii: 36), as well as fear; 
and they were a slight recompense for all of which the 
Egyptians had robbed the Israelites during a century of 
bondage " (Old Testament History, 1869, p. 153). Perhaps 
the word "stripped," employed in the Douay Version, cor- 
responds with the original better than "spoiled," in the 
present sense of that word. 



160 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 



You are still unable to distinguish faith from ''blind cre- 
dulity." Faith is trust in that which is trustworthy — 
credence of that which is credible. It is confidence in 
reliable testimony. It is "evidence of things not seen," in 
the same way that Le Verrier's computations were an 
evidence of the existence of Neptune before it had been 
discovered. 

You say incorrectly that the word "faith," occurs but 
once in the Old Testament. It is to be found at least tioice 
in King James' Translation (Deut. xxxii:20; Hab. ii:4); and 
the word so rendered in these passages appears more than 
twenty times in the Hebrew Scriptures (Taylor's Hebrew Con- 
cordance). There is nothing like being accurate, Mr. Bennett. 

You have said more than once that Palestine contains no 
relics of an ancient civilization. Your informant is some 
"Great Unknown." In rebuttal of Mr. "Great Unknown's " 
testimony I will cite the authority of that celebrated scholar, 
traveler, antiquarian, and educator, Dr. E Iward Robinson. 
As late as 1853 ho found in Jerusalem " beveled stones," 
"viaducts," "aqueducts," " fortresses," "ancient arches," 
"massive ancient chambers," and many other " remains of 
antiquity" (Biblical Researches in Palestine and in the Adja- 
cent Regions, Boston, 1857, vol. iii. pp. 161-363). Thus, 
in spite of the depredations of the Infidel Mohammedans, 
something still survives to attest the former existence of an 
advanced civilization. 

Just as I expected ! You give the " bloody shirt '' another 
shake. You reiterate the usual accounts of ecclesiastical 
pprseculious and oppositions to science. Let us look at the 
facts of the case: 

1. The Greek Church has never arrayed herself against 
learning and science. Dr. Draper exonerates her in these 
words: " It has always met it (science) with welcome. It 
has observed a reverential attitude to truth, from whatever 
quarter it might come " (Conflict between Religion and Sci- 
ence, 1875, Preface). 



The nUMPHREY-BE:NNKTT DISCUSSION. lOi 

2. Protestantism has never disfavored the progress of 
science. This, too, Dr. Draper admits (ibid). A few indi- 
viduals may have shown it some dislike; but no Protestant 
denominatioii has ever taken measures to obstruct its ad- 
vancement. On the contrary, Protestants have fiiveu, and 
given munificently, of their time, means, and influence, to 
establish institutions of learning, and to diffuse knowledge 
among the masses. It was the knell of the Reformation 
that awakened science from her lethargy. Dr. Draper says 
that "modern science is the legitimate sister — indeed, it is 
the twin-sister of the Reformation" (Conf. bet. Rel. and 
Sci., p. 353). He should have added that, Jacob-like, Sci- 
was enabled to come forth into the light of day by clinging 
to the heel of the Reformation. The twins have been most 
thrifty and intimate ever since. 

3. The only organized opponent to science has been 
the Roman Catholic Church. Now, I am not a member 
of that Church. I cannot accept all her dogmas. I dis 
approve of her policy in many respects. But there were 
circumstances that, to some extent, extenuated her faults 
and crimes: 

(1) Catholic opposition to science was more an error of 
the head than of the heart. Prof. Huxley admits this in 
one of his Lay Sermons. 

(2) There has always been, as there is to-day, so much 
poor stuff passing under the misnomer, "Science," that 
suspicion, and shy acceptance of it, and that only after 
close scrutiny and careful sifting, is quite excusable. There 
may be wheat in the pile on the threshing-floor. But that 
is no reason why everybody should be required to gulp it 
down with "blind credulity" — bran, shorts, chaff, cockle, 
thistle, smut, and all. 

(3) Even through the Dark Ages, the Catholic Church kept 
in existence "Schools," where the human mind was made 
strong by a thorough discipline. The intellect of Coperni- 
cus and Galileo was no sport of Nature, It was the natural 



163 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

product of a mental training tliat had been continued when 
Science was at its lowest ebb. 

(4). Before, and especially since, the Reformation, the 
Catholic Church has done a great deal for Science. Hux- 
ley does not hesitate to say that the Jesuits were the 
"best school-masters" of Descartes' day (Lay Sermons, 
p. 321). The American Cyclopedia says of the Benedic- 
tines: "During the middle ages they were the great 
preservers of ancient learning, and assiduous cultivators 
of science and art, copying and preserving the classics, 
the Scriptures, and writings of the early Fathers. For cen- 
turies they were the principal teachers of youth in 
their Colleges and Schools " (See Articles, " Benedictines " 
and " Library "). We must not forget that Copernicus, 
Galileo, Pascal, Columbus, Descartes, and a host of other 
eminent philosophers, lived and died in the Church of Rome. 
Read Sir David Brewster's " Martyrs of Science," and you 
will find that Galileo, Tycho Brahe, and Kepler received 
encouragements from several ecclesiastics. The great life- 
work of Copernicus was printed " at the entreaty of Cardi- 
nal Schomberg (Draper's Conf. bet. Rel. and Sci., p. 168)- 
Galileo received permission from the Pope to publish his 
discoveries. And when bis book appeared, it was attacked 
more fiercely by the philosophers than by the theologians. 
The mathematicians said Amen to the verdict of the Inqui- 
sition (Chamber-i' Biography, London, 1855, p. 9). 
, As a matter of course, you told us about '.he destruction 
of the Alexandrian Library. I am glad you did; for you 
thereby gave me an opportunity to tell the whole truth about 
that unfortunate affair. Julius Caesar was the first to set it 
on fire. He burned more than a half of it (Draper's Conflict 
between Religion and Science, pp. 21, 103). It was next dis- 
persed by Theophilus, Bishop of Alexandria. He de- 
stroyed less than the remainder of it. He was "enjoined " 
to do it by the Eaiperor Theodosius (ibid, pp. 51,103). Its 
destruction was completed by Amrou, Lieutenant of the 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 163 

Khalif Omar. John Philoponus— a Christian scholar- 
interceded for it, but ia vain (ibid p. 103). Gibbon gives 
the details. But these salient facts are sufficient. They 
show that the Christians burned the Alexandrian Library 
once, and that the Infidels "burned it twice. The Infidels, 
therefore, burned far more of it than the Christians. 

It was to to be expected that you would also go over 
the story of Hypatia and Cyril. I will not reply in your 
style, and say Hypatia was a "myth." I will admit that 
her treatment was most disgraceful. But the motive was 
not the extinguishment of science, but the removal of a 
woman who was supposed to be too intimate with Orestes, 
prefect of Alexandria, and who, as it was imagined, alien- 
ated his affections from the Archbishop (Smith's Classical 
Dictionary). It is notorious that the most accomplished 
women of the period between Socrates and Cyril were 
courtezans (Lecky's History of European Morals, vol. ii, 
pp. 308-314). Be the truth as it may about Hypatia, it is 
plain that the object aimed at in her massacre was not the 
extermination of science. 

I trust the foregoing remarks will do something to correct 
the Infidel catechism. I protest against the customary 
lumping of all Christians, and saying they are opposed to 
science. This is true of only one of the three grand divis- 
ions of Christendom. Would it be just to say that all 
Infidels are ** terrible," and hostile to learning, simply be- 
cause the French "Freethinkers" instigated the " Reign of 
Terror," and suppressed the University of Paris ? Would 
it be right to say that all skeptics are licentious, because the 
freethiuking "Free-lovers" wish to abolish marriage? 
Certainly not. On the same principle it is wrong, out- 
rageously wrong, to say that the Christian religion is hostile 
to science, when there is only one species of it so. 

But have scientific men never persecuted one another ? 
Have they, too, not resisted scientific innovations ? They 
certainly have. It was as scientists more than as mere theolo- 



164 THE HUMPHREY-BENNErT DtSCUSSlOlt. 

gians that Copernicus' and Galileo's cotemporaries con- 
demned the heliocentricf theory. They stood up in defense 
of what science had hitherto taught. They made their great 
mistake in supposing that science is ever absolutely correct, 
infallible, and unchangeable. When Harvey announced the 
true theory of the circulation of the blood, the doctors were 
the last to welcome the discovery. When Jenner gave vac- 
cination to the world, the doctors were the tardiest to appre- 
ciate and commend it. When Cotton Mather was trying 
to introduce inoculation in New England, who opposed 
him with all their might ? The doctors again (Sparks' Am. 
Biography, vol. vi, p. 314)! Who are to-day more hateful 
to each other than the different " Schools" of Medicine? 
But the doctors have always been regarded as scientific men. 
When Franklin announced his discoveries in electricity. 
Abbe Nollet did all he could to bring discredit on them. 
(Parton's Life of Franklin, vol. i, p. 293). Did Newton 
give his great ideas to the world without opposition ? No. 
Even such eminent scientists as Hooke and Huygens perse- 
cuted him. Newton himself used that very word, *' perse- 
cuted " (Brewster's Life of Newton, revised by Lynn, 1875, 
p. 51). How the engineers fought the improvements of 
George Stephenson ! Huxley is out of humor with Prof. 
Owen because he denies that the Ape is possessed of a "poste- 
rior lobe," and a "hippocampus minor." Prof. Owen's of- 
eDse is indeed a grave one — ignoring the infallibility of Prof. 
Huxley! But a "liberal scientist" should not lose his 
temper under any circmnstances (See Huxley's Evidences 
as to Man's Place in Nature, N. Y., 1863, pp. 133-8). 
Clergymen are not allowed to cross the threshold of Girard 
College. So it seems that Infidels are not always so mighty 
"liberal" after all. They, too, can set up proscriptions 
and interdicts whenever they get the chance. 

The greatest enemies of Science and Art are Science 
and Art. The footman opposed the horseman; the horse- 
man opposed the stage-coach; the stage-coach opposed the 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION, 165 

steam-eDgine. Slow transit has always been an enemy to 
" rapid transit." The Telegraph 9hs always been a subject 
of contention and litigation. Every great improvement has 
sent a multitude into bankruptcy. The car of Progress, 
as it moves along, ruins many a trade, impoverishes many an 
industrious workman, and crushes to the earth many a 
handsome fortune. How many a poor Jennie did the 
spinning-jenny throw out of employment ! Thus the mo- 
tives for showing indifference to Art and Science are not all 
religious by any means. 

The progress of Civilization is inevitably slots^. Science, 
like the Church, must arrive at the Heaven of her purity 
and triumph " through great tribulations." She must get 
rid of her dross. As the iceberg breaks from the Northern 
shores, and floats southward, cold, creaking, imposing in 
appearance as it goes, resisted now by surface, now by 
under currents, in the meantime, however, melting grad- 
ually away, until at last it disappears, leaving a small 
deposit on the Newfoundland banks, so the Human Mind 
detaches from the shores of the boundless Unknown, now 
an ''hypothesis," and then a "theory," which is borne, often 
slowly, and through many resistances, toward those lati- 
tudes where bulky error vanishes, and where only the 
residuum of Truth remains. These modern speculations, 
erroneously termed "science," are only icebergs. They are 
vast in the dimensions of their pretensions. They seem 
bright — with borrowed light. They may wreck the bark of 
maay a weak one's faith. But the Christian insists that it 
would be unwise to build a house on any of these icebergs. 
He believes, moreover, that their destiny, for the most part, 
is — disappearance. But he will be among the first to accept 
the modicum of truth which, it is hoped, some of them 
will leave behind. 

I will now submit the case to the reader. I have endeav- 
ored to show that the spirit of the Scriptures is friendly to 
genuine Science; that believers in the Bible have given to 



166 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

the world almost all its institutions of learning, libraries, 
museums, discoveries, ami inventions; that only one out of 
the three grand divisions of Christendom has offered sys- 
tematic resistance to science and learning; and that even 
the Catholic Church has done infinitely more for both than 
any Infidel organization that was ever formed. I know 
that my work is incomplete. Many things have been left 
unsaid. But it is to be hoped the reader will take these 
scanty outlines as prompters to a more thorough investiga- 
tion of the subject. 

Yours very sincerely, G. H. Humphrey. 



MR. BENNETT. 

Rev. Gr. H. Humphrey, Dear Sir: I see it is hard for 
you to give up the convention which framed our National 
Constitution, and which was so very pious and Christian 
that that instrument utterly ignores God, Jesus Christ and 
the Bible — a Convention which, in the words of Ingersoll, 
" knew that to put God in the Constitution was to put man 
out. They knew that the recognition of a Deity would 
be seized upon by fanatics and zealots as a pretext for de- 
stroying the liberty of thought. They knew the terrible 
history of the Church too well to place in her keeping, or 
in the keeping of her God, the sacred rights of man. They 
intended that all should have the right to worship or not to 
worship ; that our laws should make no distinction on ac- 
count of creed. They intended to found and frame a gov- 
ernment for man, and for man alone. They wished to pre- 
serve the individuality and liberty of all ; to prevent the 
few from governing th(} many, and the many from perse- 
cuting and destroying the few." So while the Convention 
and the Constitution please you highly as genuine Ghris- 
tianity, they suit me very well as practical Infidelity. I 
would simply ask the question, if, as Judge Story insists, 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION, 167 

the Constitution is a Cliristian instrument, -why is it 
that our most zealous Christians are so anxious to insert 
their God, their Christ and their Bible into it? If it is a 
first-class Christian document as it is, why not let it remain 
so ? Why seek to change it? 

I regret that you deem it necessary to say: '* You show 
several individuals in a false light. What authority have 
you for saying James* Smithson was a Freethinker ?" I 
said nothing of the kind, and you should not so charge me 
until I have done it. My words were, "You need have no 
doubt about the religious status of James Smithson when 
you are aware that the matter of introducing and cham- 
pioning the bill for the establishment of the Smithsonian 
Institute was placed in the hands of the Infidel Owen, who 
ably engineered it through Congress." I added, in sub- 
stance, that had there been good grounds for claiming 
Smithson as a Christian the claim would have been made 
in all the Encyclopsedias of the country. I think the infer- 
ence fair and correct. When a great man is not claimed by 
such Christians as yourself, it is highly probable he is an 
unbeliever. But I did not say Smithson was a Freethinker, 
and you should not have charged me with saying it. 
"There is nothing like being accurate," Mr. Humphrey. 
Why do you ask for my proof that Smithson was " a lying 
hypocrite " when I intimated nothing of the kind, thought 
nothing of the kind? Accuracy ! Accuracy! Mr. Humplirey. 

You express doubts about Mr. Owen having much to do 
with the establishment of the Smithsonian Institute. By 
referring to the Congressional Globe of the time your doubts 
may be removed. He not only introduced the bill and 
urged it through Congress, but he was one of the first 
regents of the institution. 

If I " showed several people in a false light," you ought 
to have named them. I certainly want only to show the 
truth and will thank you to point out my errors. 

Peter Cooper is one of my kind, so far as being uusecta^ 



168 THE HUMPHREY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

lian, an unbeliever in the marvelous efficacy of the blood 
of a man who was put to death over eighteen hundred 
years ago, and that the man who was so executed was the 
God of heaven and earth. He is not a believer in miracles, 
myths, and fables, and does not take much stock in the Bible 
as being a revelation from heaven. It looks very iiiCon- 
sistent for you to hug to your bosom and claim as a brother 
in the faith a man who believes precisely as did he whom 
your leader and patron saint, John Calvin, coudemned to a 
cruel death by tire, on account of his unbelief. Peter 
Cooper belongs to a class of unbelievers whom orthodox 
Christians have a thousand times denounced as Infidels 
and deserving of hell. I remember distinctly a case where 
a Presbyterian clergyman said the Unitarian Church did 
more harm than all the rum-holes> theatres, and houses 
of prostitution in the city. Verily, my friend, you are 
evolving very far from where your brethren of the Church 
stood but a very few years ago. 

You have no authority for saying " Peter Cooper would 
scorn the idea of being a disciple of Tom Paine." I did 
not say he was such a disciple; but he is an honest man 
and he doubts not that Paine was an honest man, who had 
the independence and candor to say what he thought, 
whether it made him popular or not. Mr. Cooper neither 
scorns Paine nor his disciples. I presume in speak- 
ing of Paine he would be gentlemanly enough to call 
him Mr. Paine or Thomas Fainc. I do not think he 
would follow the suit of pious Christians and call him by 
the nickname, "Tom Paine." In many points Mr. Cooper 
believes as Thomas Paine did. If Mr. Cooper gave the use 
of his hall to the Evangelical Alliance, he at the same time 
took occasion to give expression to his views, which were 
far from being orthodox. You ask if Mr. Cooper ever gave 
the use of his hall for an Infidel convention. For a very good 
reason he did not. No large Ijafidt 1 convention has been held 
here to whom he could offer it. As regards his offering th^ 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 169 

use of his hall to the Evangelical Alliance, Mr. Cooper said 
to a friend that his object in doing so was to be able to pre- 
seut some of his own heterodox views before them, and he 
playfully alluded to the fact that he was invited upon the 
platform and seated beside the President, as being a good 
joke that a heretic like himself should be thus honored in 
the Evangelical Alliance. He has often styled himself a 
"heretic." 

I said nothing about the founder of Cornell University. 
You say he was a Quaker. Good enough. The Quakers are 
largely good Infidels so far as a majority of their doctrinal 
points are concerned. Elias Hicks was of this class, and 
also many intelligent Quakers of my own personal acquaint- 
ance. The ceremony of prayer is very likely kept up in the 
college, but the assertion I made about the skepticism and 
freethiukiug of the professors was from a gentleaian who 
had gone through a course of instruction there, and knew 
precit^ely what he was talking about. I have it also from 
a personal friend of President While that the latter is en- 
tirely an unbeliever in Christian dogmas. The letters he 
has recently written from Europe, where he has been trav- 
eling give clear indications as to where he stands. lu a 
letter from bicily he said in substance, when looking over 
the countries where the heavy hand of the Church had in 
past centuries crushed out human liberty, and almost human 
incentives: " 1 see in all these couutrics where the ecclesi- 
astical powers have triumphed that the right of opinion and 
the right of liberty have been suppressed;" and more in the 
same line. Prof. W. C. Russell, acting President of Cor- 
nell UDiversity, is a stock-holder in The Licex, an Infidel 
paper of Boston, owniug two shares of $100 each. He pays 
The Index an installment of $20 per year betides his sub- 
scription, and is one of the firmest supporters of that paper. 
President White has also taken The Index from its com- 
mencement, and is strongly in sympathy with it. Prof. 
Adler was not turned out of the Institution, He left therg 



170 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

not because lie was not wanted, but because he was wanted 
elsewhere more. 

As to the London University, I simply claim that it is 
unsectariim, and that ecclesiastici^m and theological dog- 
mas are not admitted there, and have not been for fifty 
years. I think this is true. That is as good Infidelity as 1 
ask for. Alexander Bain filled one of its important chairs, 
and he is one of the strongest Materiali^its in England, and 
Professor Clifford, a pronounced Atheist, fills another. 
Thus the facts bear me out in all I claimed. 

You seem greatly dissatisfied with Stephen Girard be- 
cause he stipulated that the clergy should not have 
admittance into his college. He did that, not in a spirit of 
illiberality, but because he well knew and wished to avoid 
the designing, grasping, Jesuitical priesthood. For the 
express reason that he wanted the colltge to be free 
and liberal did he forbid the admission of priests. But 
with all the old man's precautions and all the safeguards 
he aimed to throw around the college, his wishes have 
been nearly subverted, and the clergy have gained more 
influence there than he intended they ever should. 

Ah! you have at length caught me in an error ! I said 
that that word of marvelous power— /aiY/i— upon which 
the Christian world depends for happiness and salvation 
from hell through an endless eternity, appeared but once 
in the Old Testament or Bible proper. It is found there 
twice. I acknowledge the mistake. I overlooked it in 
Habbakuk; but I have standing on the other side of the 
ledger nine hundred and ninety harp-strings which you 
gracefully acknowledge as an error. I will offset this last 
" faith" against one of them, and that leaves me nine hun- 
dred and eighty-nine still ahead. 

You still wish to make a difference between " faith " and 
"credulity" when there really is none. Credulity, like cre- 
dence, credit, etc., is from credens. Webster defines credence 
as that w^hich gives a claim to credit, belief, confidence; and 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION, 171 

illustrates it with this quotation from Trench : "To give cre- 
dence to the Scripture miracles." Credulity is "easiness of 
belief; a disposition to believe on slight evidence." Faith is 
"belief; the assent of the mind to what is declared by 
another; resting solely and implicitly on his authority and 
veracity; reliance on testimony," etc. There is no real differ- 
ence. The Christian is called upon to have faith in a great 
deal which is told him, and of which he has no proof. He 
must have credulity to have the necessary faith, and they 
are both blind enough for all practical purposes. The more 
credulity a trusting Christian has to believe what the Bible 
and the priests say, the more faith he has and the better 
Christian he is considered. It takes credulity to believe 
impossibilities and monstrosities, and one cannot believe 
them unless he has credulity, and that belief is faith — they 
are the same, and both as blind as an owl in sunlight. 

It appears to me you have not told the wJiole truth about 
the Alexandrian Library. If a portion of it was burnt 
when Julius Caesar be&eiged the city, a century before 
Christianity had an existence, it was by accident or as an 
incident of war. It proves, at least, that the learning and 
science which the library contained was not in any way de- 
pendent upon Christianity. It is unfair to represent that 
Julius Caesar burned it with the same motive that influenced 
Theodosius and Bishop Thcophilus four hundred years 
later. Caesar was a lover of books and learning. He 
was the author of several w^orks, and did not burn the 
library from any hatred of literature. He established 
libraries in several instances, and purposely destroyed none 
as did the Christian Spaniards when they conquered 
Mexico, or the Christian Crusaders who are charged with 
having burnt a very extensive library in Tripoli. 

You do wrong to call Caesar and Omar Injidels, in the 
accepted meaning of the word. Of course neither were 
Christians, but both were believers in religion. Caesar had 
his gods and his creed, and Omar was as much of a zealot 



173 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

and as devout as a ChristiaD, but accepted MoLammtd a£ 
the prophet of Allah. When he ordered the destruction of 
"what remained of the library, in 643, it is .-raid to have been 
done upon the grounds that if the books agreed with the 
Koran — the word of God — they were useless, and need not 
be preserved, and if they did'not agree with it, they were 
pernicious, and should be destroyed. This motive was so 
like the Christian sentiment it is hard to discern much 
difference between them. The great trouble between Chris- 
tians and Mohammedans was not because they had not faith, 
but because they had too much faith, and had different 
systems and accepted different leaders. Their contests 
led to the death of many miliious of people. 

You evidently dislike to own up that Palestine affords no 
proofs of an ancient Hebrew civilization, and characterize 
the friend from whom I obtained facts upon the subject as 
the " Great Unknown." You are as wide of the truth here 
as in other instances. The gentleman is modest, but is not 
unknown. He is not a "myth." Prof. A. L. Rawson 
has been honored by the colleges of Europe and 
America with the honorary degrees of Master of Arts, 
Doctor of Divinity, and Doctor of Laws, has made 
four journeys to Palestine, has edited a History of all 
Religions, History of the Roman Catholic Church in 
America, Statistics of Protestantism, Antiquities of the 
Orient, Introductions to the Holy Bible, etc., etc.,; 
as an artist, illustrated Beecher's Life of Jesus, Howard 
Crosby's Jesus, his Life and Work, Dr. Deems' Jesus, 
Commentaries by several authors, Youthful Explorers in 
Bible Lands, Free Masonry in the Holy Lands, Bible 
Lands Illustrated, Pronouncing and Comprehensive Bible 
Dictionaries; and is now engaged on a la-ge work on the 
chronography, geology, climate, antiquities, and natural 
history of animals and plants of Palestine, with maps and 
engravings, soon to appear by one of the leading publishing 
houses in this city. You will find him at almost any 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 173 

houT of the day in his studio, 34 Bond st. You will find 
him aifable and disposed to give you any information he 
possesses in reference to Palestine. He will take pleas- 
ure in showing you drawings and photographs of ruins, 
etc., taken in various parts of Palestine, Syria, and the 
adjacent countries, and he will assure you that every piece 
of ruins that is found in Palestine is traceable to the 
Grecians, the Romans, the Egyptians, the Phoenicians, the 
Arabs or the Saracens. He will repeat to you the assur- 
ances I have already given that he found not a stone 
nor a vestige of anything traceable to the ancient Hebrews, 
and that Dr. Robinson admitted as much, with the exception 
perhaps of the lower part of the foundation of the Temple, 
which, of course, cannot be accurately determined. Let 
me add here that Captain Wilson and Captain Warren who 
were sent out to Palestine by the London Palestine Explo- 
ration Society, and who also spent four years in that 
country, in Recovery of Jerusalem, p. 813, make this state- 
ment: "Looking through tlie series of photographs taken 
for the Palestine Exploration Fund, we recognized two 
distinct styles of work; the one rich but debased Roman 
work, the other Greek or Byzantine." But they found 
none of ancient Hebrew, Let me also make a quotation 
from Dr. Paley in his Evidences of Christianity: **Our 
Savior assumes the divine origin of the Mosaic Institution. 
I conceive it very difBcult to assign any other cause for the 
commencement or existence of the institution, especially 
from the singular circumstance of the Jews adhering to the 
Unity when every other people slid into polytheism, for 
their being men in religion and cliildren in everything else; 
behind other nations in the arts of peace and of war; but 
superior to the most improved in their sentiments and 
doctrines relating to the Deity." While I think I can show 
that to the Jewish God were assigned attributes and quali- 
ties more abhorrent than to any other gods. Dr. Paley's 
admission that the Jews were behind other nations in the 



174 THE HXJMi^HREY-BENNKTT DISCtJSSIOK. 

arts is an important one. There are few things more 
certain than that the ancient Jews were a semi-barbarous 
people, and that there are not now any proofs to show that 
they ever, as a nation, attained to any high degree of 
civilization. 

I think you are mistaken in supposing that the belief that 
the past ages were replete with myths is being lessened. 
There was never a time when the general opinion was 
stronger than now that a great share of the ancient history 
of the world is mythical, and this is especially true of Jew- 
ish history. The belief that there ever were such persons 
as Adam, Methusaleh, Noah, David, Solomon, etc., is 
wonderfully weakened by the investigations that are being 
made. There is no earthly proof of them except the crazy, 
improbable Jewish stories in the Bible, and they could easily 
have been fabricated at the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, 
or as late, even, as the time of the Maccabees. It is a very 
suspicious circumstance that the name of Moses was not 
used by any of the older prophets. If he really was the 
captain, lawgiver, and savior which the Bible makes him ; 
if he and God were in each other's company daily for forty 
years; if Moses advised God, restrained him, and controlled 
him, as the Bible represents, it would seem as though he at 
least should have been mentioned by all succeeding proph- 
ets. The entire Jewish history res's under a dark cloud of 
doubt. There are no corroboraticg proofs in existence. 
Of course, the hills and rivers of Palestine still remain, but 
the entire country never was capable of sustaining a popu- 
lation able to raise two millions of fighting men, nor able so 
soon after emerging from the pastoral, semi-barbarous con- 
dition it was in at the time David was made king, to acquire 
the enormous amount of gold and wealth said to have 
been used by his son Solomon. The story is nearly as 
extravagant as some of the tales of The Arabian Nights, 
though not nearly as well written. There is about as much 
proof of the existence of Sinbad the Sailor, Aladdin, Gulli- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 175 

ver, Robinson Crusoe, and Baron Munchausen, as of the 
Bible myths. It is quite probable that, a few centuries 
before the Christian era, feeling that a national history was 
necessary, some cunning and capable writers got up what 
is called the Bible history; and as but a limited number 
of copies were written, and a limited number of people had 
access to it, or could read it if they had, and they the priests 
only, it attracted but slight attention for a long time. 
As time wore away, a veneration grew up for it, which is 
so easy for superstitious people to bestow upon that which 
has great age, oris supposed to have. This may be a mat- 
ter of mere speculation, but one thing is certain, such a 
thing could have been very possible. There is nothing in 
those old stories that a man or men of fair talent could not 
write, and it is more probable that they were so written 
than that many of the statements made were true. If the 
Jews were such a powerful nation as the Bible makes them; 
if David and Solomon were such mighty monarchs, and 
reigned midst such regal magnificence, it is singular that 
other nations and cotemporaneous historians knew nothing 
of it. As I said in my last, Herodotus the celebrated 
Greek historian, made two journeys through Syria five ceutu- 
ries after Solomon was said to have reigned, and when his 
magnificent Temple ought to have been standing, but he 
makes not the slightest mention of Solomon, of the Temple, 
nor even of the Jewish nation. If they existed at all then 
it was as a race of rude nomadic people, semi-barbarians not 
worthy of his attention. Their numbers, their wealth, and 
their splendor were doubtless matters of subsequent inven- 
tion. 

You will have it that Thomas Paine is as much a myth 
as Moses. I have seen several men who have seen and con- 
versed with Paine. I have seen the grave where his body 
was buried. I have seen men who saw the wagon convey- 
ing his remains from the grave under the direction of Wm. 
Cobbett. I have seen men who saw the bones of Paine 



176 THE nUMPHREY-BENisETT DCSCUSSIOIT. 

exposed in Cobbett's bookstore in Fleet street, London. I 
had it from a trustworthy party that those bones were 
taken to one of the large potteries of England, ground to 
a powder, mixed with fine clay and made into ornaments 
and trinkets for keepsakes. I have read Paine's writings. 
They are characteristic of the man, clear, simple, forcible, 
logical and unambiguous, such only as Paine was capable of 
writing. But what does the world know about Moses? What 
did it ever know about him ? The place of his burial was 
never known, and it is a matter of grave doubl whether as 
a living man he was ever known. It is probable he was 
like Menes of Egypt, and Minos of Greece, a copy or pla- 
giarism of the Menu of India. It is claimed that he wrote 
the first five books of the Bible, but there is not the slightest 
authority for the claim. An assertion that he was the writer 
is not made in any one of the books credited to him. In 
all probability he had no more to do with the writing of 
those books than you or I. They relate incidents and al- 
lude to events which occurred hundreds of years after he 
was said to have lived. As smart as he was claimed 
to be ; able as he was to advise and control Jehovah, 
he was hardly capable of narrating minutely what took 
place a thousand years before he was born or two hundred 
years after he was buried. The claim, two thousand years 
after he was dead, that he was the author of those writings 
is much easier made than proved. 

One thing may be set down as the truth : what is called 
the Mosaic writings are not the oldest records in the world, 
nor could they have been written till after a certain period. 
The world has had three systems of writing. The oldest 
known is the "arrowheads," or cuneiform inscriptions of 
the Chaldeans and Babylonians. These were not written 
with an alphabet of letters representing sounds, but charac- 
ters representing syllables and words. George Smith and 
Gen. Rawlinson discovered great numbers of these cunei- 
form inscriptions in Nineveh, and found there practically 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 177 

llie same legends of the Creation and the Flood as those 
which were afterwards adopted as their revealed cosmgony. 
After this system, came into vogue the Egyptian hiero- 
glyphics, or picture-writing These were used many cen- 
turies, and numerous inscriptions on the temples and 
pyramids of Egypt in hieroglyphics remain to this day. It 
is not known how long the systems of cuneiform inscrip- 
tions and hieroglyphics were used, but probably thousands 
of years. Not till long after these was an alphabet formed. 
Letters representing separate sounds are comparatively a 
modern invention, and as Hebrew was only vvritlen with 
an alphabet, whatever was written in that language was " 
long subsequent to the use of the other two systems. From 
this it is clear that the Hebrew is far from being the oldest 
language in the world, and alphabetic writing far from the 
mOit ancient. 

You make out a very weak apology for David and 
Solomon for their licentiousness. There is not the slightest 
proof that David wrote the Psalms you pointed out, nor the 
slightest proof that in those Psalms his adultery with Bath- 
sheba, or his having Uriah put to death, were meant at all. 
His confessions of sins committed are general and indefinite. 
The condemnation in Nehemiah in regard to Solomon are 
far from emphatic, for notwithstanding his gross sensuality 
with his 700 wives and 3U0 concubines in one of the verses 
you named it says: "There was no king like him beloved of 
God." Thus, notwithstanding David's lechery ami aiurder, 
he was a special favorite with God, and though Solomon was 
the greatest libertine that ever lived, God loved him above 
all other kings. My assertion, then, stands good, that Solo- 
mon was condemned for his idolatry and not for his licen- 
tiousness. 

For a friend of science you speak disrespectfully of it, I 
must say. Such epithets as "poor stuff," "bran," "shorts," 
"chaff," "cockle," "thistle," "smut and all," sound singu- 
lar coming from a professed I'riend. An enemy would hardly 



i78 THB HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

undertake to heap more obloquy upon it. In fact, I would 
prefer an out-and-out enemy to such an ambiguous friend. 
How is it with your scientific book, the Bible? Does it have 
any "bran," "shorts," "chaff," "cockle," "thistle," and par- 
ticularly, smut? I fancy I find much of all of these diffused 
through its science. For the latter quality, "smut" (if you will 
not tell Comstock), I will refer you to the beautiful Song of 
the favorite king, Solomon, to the story of Lot and his 
daughters, of Dinah and Schechem, of Reuben and Bilhah, 
of Judah and Tamar, of Onan by himself, of Joseph and Mrs. 
Potiphar, of Zimri and Cozbi, of the Levite and his concu- 
bine, of Ruth and Boaz, of David and Bathsheba, of Amnon 
and Tamar, of Absalom and his father's concubine, and 
many other choice bits too numerous to mention. Are 
there any books published, save a few that are justly 
tabooed by law, that contain so much "smut"? To read 
these lascivious recitals is enough to make one wonder why 
the sainted Comstock has not long since arrested the Amer- 
ican Bible Society for sending out obscene literature. 
Such indecent matter could not circulate in any other book. 
I prefer the friendship that Professor Huxley evinces for 
science to yours. Hear him: "Modern civilization rests 
upon physical science; take away her gifts to our country, 
and our position among the leading nations of the world 
is gone to-morrow; for it is physical science that makes 
intelligence and moral energy stronger than brute force. 
The whole of moral thought is steeped in science. It has 
made its way into the works of our best poets, and even 
the mere man of letters, who affects to ignore and despise 
science, is unconsciously impregnated with her spirit, and 
indebted for his best products to her methods. She is 
teaching the world that the ultimate court of appeal is 
observation and experience, and not authority. She is 
creating a firm and living faith in the existence of immut- 
able moral and physical laws, perfect obedience to which 
is the highest possible aim of an intelligent being. " 



•THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 17^ 

You magnanimously admit that the putting of Hypatia 
to death was " a disgraceful affair." I should think it was I 
— just about as disgraceful as millions of other acts of the 
same character committed by the Christian Church. Do 
you imagine, however, that it makes the crime less offen- 
sive to every instinct of ennobled human nature to throw 
an insinuation over the memory of the murdered woman 
that possibly she had been intimate with Orestes ? If it 
was true — which by no means is made clear — would 
that justify the knocking down of a defenseless woman 
upon the streets, dragging her into a church, stripping her 
naked, beating her with clubs till dead and then finishing 
the very Christian proceeding by scraping the flesh from 
her bones ? Was that slight impropriety "more an error 
of the head than the heart"? 

In your brief allusion to " the reign of terror " in France, 
you commit the same mistake which your Christian breth- 
ren have done in hundreds of instances, that is to charge 
upon Freethinkers the blame for the excesses that were 
committed at that time. I will not say that you are dis- 
honest in insinuating this, but you ought to be better in- 
formed. The excesses so committed were wholly of a 
political character, and neither religious or anti-religious. 
The extravagant conduct of those who become investeel 
with power was a natural reaction or rebound of a mercu- 
rial people from the rule of a corrupt monarchy, a corrupt 
aristocracy, and a corrupt priesthood which for a long time 
had ruled the country. It is a law in human nature that 
where a nation or a community emerges from a state of op- 
pression before an equilibrium can be gained, a rebound 
to the opposite extreme is inevitable. 

The causes which led to the excesses under consideration 
were some of them remote. Under the reign of Louis 
XIV. corruption, extravagance and licentiousness reached 
a great extreme, no less on the part of the monarch and 
the nobility than the ecclesiastical authorities. The king 



180 THE HtTMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

wasted the revenues of the governmeRt in the gross- 
est extravagance in building useless palaces, reclaiming 
waste places, etc., etc. The treasury was also sadly de- 
pleted by the licentious clergy and aristocracy. Rioting, 
revelry, court carnivals, mistresses, royal favorites, and 
debauchery were the order of the day until the wealth of 
the nation was exhausted. This state of things was fol 
lowed in 1788 by a devastating hail-storm, which cut off the 
crops over a large portion of the kingdom and brought the 
people to starvation. The cry was "Bread or blood." 
The enemies of Marie Antoinette excited the prejudices of 
the hungry mobs against " the Austrian." The issue came 
between the starving masses on the one hand and the op- 
pressive aristocracy on the other — between monarchy and 
mobocracy. The heavy exactions of a lordly priesthood 
had much to do in leading to the bloody result. The 
noted Infidels of Paris so far as they meddled with the ter- 
rible transactions of the times, sought to stay the threaten- 
ing storm. Count Mirabeau, an Atheist, and the most pow- 
erful man in France, both with the people and the nobility, 
sought to reconcile the frantic factions, and probably would 
have succeeded to a great extent had he lived ; but at this 
critical moment he suddenly died, while negotiating between 
the mob and the monarch ; and the saturnalia of blood suc- 
ceeded. The throne of the Bourbons was dashed to pieces. 
So the "reign of terror," I repeat, was simply a reaction 
against the twin-oppressors, kingcraft and priestcraft, by a 
long suffering, starving people. Paine, the Infidel and the 
Republican, hazarded his own life in attempting to save 
tlie dethroned king and to avert the frenzied storm he 
saw in the near future. He was thrown into prison and 
his life was saved by the merest fortuitous circumstance. 
The Infidels were really the conservatives all through that 
bloody period when madness was the ruling power, and 
many of them lost their lives as a sacrifice to the prin- 
ciples of liberty and peace. Yes, the people did set up the 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 181 

Goddess of Reason, and it was high time that they did, 
when they saw that the altar and throne leaned together, 
and so foully sustained each other. To show what 
was the status of Robespierre, who became for a time 
the ruling spirit in that mad hour, it should be stated 
that he caused God to be recognized in the new con- 
stitution that was framed. His memorable remark before 
the convention was: "If it is true that there is no God, it 
behooves us to invent one." His suggestion was carried 
out. This is the truth about "the reign of terror," and 
shows how untrue is the charge so often made by Christians 
that it was the work of Infidels or Atheists. It was strictly 
of a political character, and with the impulsive French 
people was a natural reaction from the priestly oppressions 
they had so long endured. 

But let us get right down to the question of science and 
the patronage which it derives from the Bible and Chris- 
tianity. We have already seen how Bible science and real 
science compare. The explorations which scientists have 
made, such as the antiquities of the stone age, the finding 
under immense deposits of alluvial soil and drift numerous 
implements of roughly carved stone and the bones of 
man side by side with the bones of animals which long 
since became extinct; human bones found under the stalag- 
mite formations which by careful computations were 
found to be the accretions of scores of thousands of years; 
fossils pertaining to the human race found in the tertiary 
rocks, convince the wisest and most observiug that the 
human race has existed on the earth fully 100,000 years. 
The Bible makes it less than 6,000, Scientists kuow most 
positively that the Bible cosmogony is wholly untrue. But. 
without stopping to enumerate the many instances where 
the Bible is in direct opposition to science, I will make the 
assertion as true, that in scarcely the slightest particular is 
there an agreement between the Bible and science; and it 
seems the wildest vagary a man can be guilty of to 



l82 THE HUMiPmiET-BENNETT DISCUSStOT?. 

seriously undertake to show that the teachings of science 
harmonize with the unnatural and impossible Bible stories. 
I notice, too, that you pass over those monstrosities just as 
easily as possible. I cannot wonder that you do not wish 
to give Bible cosmogony and archeology an examination. 
They will not bear it in the light of science. Christian /<a^i7/i 
and credulity are all that can make them seem truthful. 

Christianity is very little more in unison with science 
than is the Bible. How can it be, when it is founded upon 
those old unscieatific Bible stories? The genius of Christian- 
ity — if it may be said to have a genius — is diametrically 
opposed to the spirit of science. The latter depends upon 
investigation, study, testing, digging, smelting, assaying, 
melting, burning, distilling, analyzing, accepting and con- 
demning, as the case requires, while Christianity says it has 
a revelation from an unknown God in the sky, which we 
must accept without proof, and without question. The 
voice of science says ''Study, examine, and learnt The voice 
of Christianity is *' Believe on' he damned.'''' Science tells us 
we must not believe without proof; that we must look into 
the causes of existences as we find them, and learn more 
and more as we extend our observations and investigations. 
Christianity tells us that its revelation contains all that man 
needs to know, that coming from God it is perfect and can- 
not improve. It provides for no change or progress, so far 
as its revelation is concerned. Science says: "Press for- 
ward, men; be not satisfied with old discoveries and old 
opinions; increase your investigations; dig deeper; climb 
higher; know more ; believe less ; learn all that is possible 
for you to know." Christiauity says: "I have given you 
the ultimate of truth, the sum of all knowledge; it cannot 
be improved upon; it cannot be revoked; it cannot be ex- 
celled; you must look no farther, you must search no 
higher." Science commands in sonorous tones: "Doubt 
everything until you have proof upon which to found an 
opinion; believe nothing except upon evidence; insist upon 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION, 183 

the facts in every instance; take nothing on tick." In 
thundering and authoritative voice Christianity vocifer- 
ates: "Accept what I give you; believe witliout a question; 
hsiYe faith, faith, FAITH ! that is all you need." Science 
says: "Distrust even what I say, until you know it is cor- 
rect; always be convinced before you accept; learn ever, 
more and more, and thus be happy." Christianity replies: 
"Doubt nothing I declare unto you; accept, and live in 
glory in the city with golden streets, with crowns of dia- 
monds upon your heads ; but if you presume to doubt you 
shall be thrust down into the regions of darkness and sub- 
jected to fires of inconceivable intensity and for intermin- 
able ages." Science has its teachers, but they make no 
onerous demands upon its votaries ; it ipaposes no burdens 
upon its followers, and kindly invites all to follow its 
peaceful lead. Christianity has its priests, and they place 
heavy loads upon the necks of their dupes; it imposes such 
burdens upon the people that they become wearied with 
life, and are dragged down almost to penury and exhaus- 
tion. Science sits lightly and wears a smiling and cheerful 
face for all. Christianity is sombre and forbiddiug, and 
while it points to the beautiful city of gold for the few that 
have/aM, it ever exposes the horrid, yawning gulf of hell 
to the many who do not believe. The rule of science in the 
world has been peaceful, elevating, and happifying. It 
has not drawn the sword; it has not deluged the earth with 
blood. It has made the world better, wiser, and happier. 
Christianity has ruled with an iron hand. It has savagely 
used the sword, the scaffold, the stake, the rack, and the 
dungeon. It has caused millions to groan in terror, sorrow 
and anguish. It has blighted the happiness of mankind. 
Science has not puiposely caused the death of a single indi- 
vidual in the world. Christianity has been most cruel and 
relentless; it has pursued its victims with hate; it has tor- 
tured them without mercy; it has laughed at the wretched- 
ness it has caused. It has drenched the earth with the 



184 THE HUMPHREY-BE^'NETT DISCU3SI0N. 

blood of millions of the hapless victims it has slain. 
Science has been the leading element in the progress that 
man has made. It has given Lim knowledge, usefulness 
and power. It has been the great factor in the civilization 
of the world. It has been the real Savior of man. Take 
from the earth what science has done, and in the language 
of Ingersoll, "we would go back to chaos and old night. 
Philosophy would be branded as infamous, Science would 
again press its pale and thoughtful face against the prison 
bars, and round the limbs of Liberty would climb the 
bigot's flame." Take from the world what Christianity has 
done, and I insist the world would be the better for it. 
Fully seventy-five millions of hapless mortals would be re- 
turned to life : desolate lands would be restored to plenty 
and happiness; the heavy rule of popes, prelates and priests 
would be set aside and humanity vould become its own 
ruler. Centuries of ignorance would be wiped out, and the 
reign of darkening creeds would seek the shades of ob- 
livion. 

Friend Humphrey, in your argument you exhibit much 
ingenuity and flippancy, but you cannot successfully deny 
the great facts pertaining to the subject under discussion. 
Science is classified knowledge. Christianity is a bundle of 
theological dogmas derived from Judaism and Paganism. 
The world had a re-pectable share of learning, science and 
philosophy before the birth of Chrislianity. Christianity 
originated with the unlearned. In its infancy it was em- 
braced by the uneducated. At that time it did not foster 
and encourage the learning which had previously existed 
in the world. It destroyed books and discouraged litera- 
ture. It insisted that the wisdom of this world was a dam- 
age to mankind, and that the knowledge how to escape the 
regions of sulphurous flames was all that man needed to 
know. When Christianity became a political power and 
gained supreme control over several countries, it did not 
seek to elevate learning and science, but within its do- 



^HE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 185 

main the people gradually saDk into ignorance and deg- 
radation. At the very time when in Moslem countries edu- 
cation was fostered, science was encouraged and schools of 
philosophy flourished, in Christendom these were all neg- 
lected, and numerous councils were convened to decide 
whether a sou could be as old as his father ; whether a 
ghost could beget a child ; whether the God-nature or man- 
nature predominated in Jesus; whether they became one, or 
remained separate ; whether God had a mother ; whether 
she had an immaculate conception ; whether women have 
souls; whether bread and wine were absolutely transubstan- 
tiated into the real body and blood of Christ ; whether this 
miraculous diet should be partaken of by the priests when 
unmixed, and whether the wafer combined of the two 
should only be dispensed to the laity, and whether certain 
manuscripts written by unknown authors, should or should 
not be regarded as sent from heaven. Over these and 
other similar questions bishops and priests quarreled 
and fought ; and science and mental liberty gradually less- 
ened as theological dogmas became the ruling principle 
in Europe. The more the dogmas of Christianity triumphed 
the faster did science and human freedom go to the wall. 
After a few centuries of Christian supremacy the whole 
mass of the people were so ignorant that not one in a 
thousand could read or write, and even a large portion of 
the priests were unable to write their own names. 

During this benign and heavenly reign of theological 
ignorance the Christian Institution ^w/' excellence^ the "Holy" 
Inquisition, was established, and for nearly five hundred 
years this engine of cruelty was a terrible scourge to 
Southern Europe. Hundreds of thousands of hapless 
men and women, of all ages and of all conditions in society, 
were dragged before it, at all hours of the day and night, 
for the simple crime of daring to think for themselves and 
for not bending the knee with acceptable suppliauce to the 
rule of ecclesiastical power. Here the poor wretches w^re 



186 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

arraigned and put upon the torture rack without knowing 
who were their accusers or what were the offenses with 
which they were charged. Ecclesiastical demons presided 
over these diabolical institutions and submitted the 
wretched victims to the cruelest tortures their ingenuity 
was capable of inventing until the victim confessed to the 
satisfaction of the " Holy Inquisitor." The wretches were 
put upon the rack or the "wheel"; the crank turned a 
little more, and a little more, until the joints were torn 
asunder and the bones of the body broken one after an- 
other, and at intervals the hapless victim was again called 
upon to confess. A millionth part of the suffering thus 
damnably inflicted can never be known to the world. 
According to Victor Hugo five millions of human beings 
were thug murdered by the Christian Church in cold blood. 
Of the stake I need not speak. The horrors of the auto da 
fe are too well known to need description here. 

Let me introduce an appropriate quotation from Mark 
Twain's Innocents Abroad: *'We look out upon many 
objects of interest from the dome of St. Peters; and last of 
all, almost at our feet, our eyes rest upon the building which 
was once the Inquisition. How times changed between 
the older ages and the new ! Rome seventeen or eighteen 
centuries ago the ignorant men of Rome were wont to put 
Christians in the arena of the Coliseum yonder, and tu-n 
the wild beasts in upon them for a show. It was for a 
lesson as well. It was to teach the people to abhor and feai 
the new doctrine the followers of Christ were teaching. 
The beasts tore the victims limb from limb, and made poor 
mangled corpses of them in the twinkling of an eye But 
when the Christians came into power, when the Holy 
Mother Church became mistress of the barbarians, she 
taught them the error of their ways by no such means. 
No ; she put them in this pleasant Inquisition and pointed 
to the Blessed Redeemer, who was so gentle and merciful 
to all men, and urged the barbarians to love him; and she 



THE HUMPHREY-BEITKETT DISCUSSION. 187 

did all she could to persuade them to love and honor liim— 
first by twisting their thumbs out of joint with a screw ; then 
by nipping their flesh with pincers— red-hot ones, because 
they are the most comfortable in cold weather; then by 
skinning them alive a little; and finally by roasting them in 
public. She always convinced those barbarians. The true 
religrtm properly administered, as the good Mother Church 
used to administer it, is very, very soothing. It is wonder- 
fully persuasive, also. There is a great difference between 
throwing parties to wild beasts and stirring up their finer 
feelings in an Inquisition. One is the system of degraded 
barbarians; the other of enlightened, civilized people. It 
is a great pity the Inquisition is no more." 

These terrors and inhumanities are the special science of 
Christianity. Hero it showed its invention and its art. 
During the long night of religious darkness a man of learn- 
ing was a rare exception. Duns Scotus, in the 13th century, 
was one, but where, for five hundred years before or two 
hundred years after, will you point out another like him ? 
True, schools were kept up to a certain extent all through 
the dark ages, but what kind of schools were they ? Not 
schools of science, but Christian schools, where dogmas, 
ccclesiasticism, and theological mysteries only were taught. 
The common branches of education were denounced by the 
magnates of the Church as being " profane " and ungodly. 
Gregoiy the Great sharply blamed St. Dizier for teaching 
grammar, and said: " It is not fit that a mouth sacred to 
the praises of God should be opened to the praises of 
Jupiter." The highest authorities, including Mosheim, 
Ilallam, Guizot, Lecky, Draper, and others can be abun- 
dantly quoted to show the truth of the statements I have 
made, but my letter is already too long, and I must forego 
the pleasure at this time of bringing these writers to my 
support. 

I am aware it is unpleasant to you to acknowledge and 
approve all the acts and persecutions of the Catholic 



188 THE humpiirey-be:;7Nett discussion. 

Church, but I cannot see how you can get by it. It looks 
bad for a man to deny his own mother and accuse her of 
base conduct. When a person "goes back '' on his mater- 
nal parent he is regarded as being in a depraved condition. 
That the Romish Church is the parent of the Protestant 
Church is too patent to be questioned for a moment. As 
much as you are disposed to condemn her for her murders 
aad persecutions, she is still 3"(jur mother. Every dogma, 
every i)oint of faith is retained by you ; you have added 
nothing to the old system. 

You would have it appear that the Greek Church has not 
been inimical to science. If she has not taken as much 
pains to fight it as the Romish division has done, her 
friendship for science has rot been of such an ardent char- 
acter as to induce her to make any special advance in its 
pursuit. I believe the Greek Church to this day has not 
distinguished herself in scientific education. 

I free-y admit that many Christians in the last two cen- 
turies have been friendl}'' to loarciug and science, and that 
many have done much to increase the facilities of popular 
education ; but this did not come from their ardent Chris- 
tianity or their love for ecclesiasticism. It arose from their 
Liberalism and the spirit of progress and the genuine love 
of humanity inherent in their natures. Despite the selfii^h- 
ness and intolerance of the dogmas of Christianity, which 
causes its votaries to believe they are going to heaven with 
a select few to sing the joyful song of Moses and the 
Lamb through a blessed eternity while countless millions, 
liy nature as good as themselves will be doomed to roast for 
countless ages, numerous Christians who from lack of 
knowing better, have accepted the creed i^i which they 
were born and educated, have evinced the grand character 
istics of love of their kind wliich have actuated good men 
in idl ages of the world and in all systems of religion. It 
is no more Christian itj'^ than other forms of creed Ihat 
cause men to feel these implulses or to act upon them, but 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 189 

it is the grand spirit of Liberalism wliicli has shown itself 
in spite of religions and creeds — Christianity as well as 
others. 

I think no charge can be brought against you for not 
claiming enough for your pet system. Like your brethren, 
you claim for it not only all the advancement science has 
made, but civilization, free government, etc., as well. Our 
government is often called a Christian government, and our 
popular institutions are called Christian institutions. These 
claims are untenable. Civilization is not dependent upon 
any creed nor upon any form of religion. Buckle and 
Draper have consistently shown that climate, meteor- 
ology, soil, and formation of country have had much to 
do with modifying civilization. Race and customs are also 
important factors in the process. The more the different 
races of men are brought into contact, the more the mind is 
stimulated and rendered active by other minds, the more gen- 
eral intelligence and civilization arc promoted. Some races 
are more disposed to savagism and barbarism than others, 
and pel' contra it is the same with civilization; certain nations 
and races take more kindly to it than others. Some races 
are better mechanics than others, and some will gain a 
higher altitude in learning and science than others. The 
more intercourse is promoted, the more nearly all nations 
become one nation or one family, the better for all. 

Are our laws Christian laws ? By no means. The better 
part of them are from the Romans, while our most 
cherished institutions, as trial by jury, voting by ballot, 
etc., etc, are of ancient Teutonic, Saxon, and Pagan 
orighi, probably handed down from the Druids of Northern 
Euroi^e. In the extreme Christian countries in Southern 
Europe, trial by jury is hardly known even at the present 
day. It is as unjust for Christianity to claim the paternity 
of our civilization as of modern science, Moslemism is 
quite as much entitled to the honor as is Christianity, but 
neither that nor any system of religion is the source of 



190 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

civilization and science. They come not from creeds, re- 
ligions, nor mythologies. They come not from a belief in 
mysticisms, superstitions, or supernaturalism. They are 
the legitimate heritage of man, despite of ecclesiasticism, 
priestcraft, and faith. It is a weighty question whether 
religions have not greatly retarded the progress of civiliza- 
tion, science, and mental liberty. So far as they have 
cramped and bound the mind of man, so far as they have 
curtailed the right of opinion and freedom of thought they 
have doubtless done it. You and many others think that 
religion is the great panacea, the great savior of the world 
I do not. The world has had far too much of religion. It 
has been the blighting curse of thirty centuries. I turn 
lovingly and confidently to science, mental freedom, and 
civilization. These liberate the human intellect, loosen the 
mental fetters, and render mankind blessed and free. 

Does it please you that scientific men have their liitle 
differences, and that they are sometimes impatient with 
each other ? Unlike theologians, their contests are blood- 
less. They do not take life. How different the contests 
of scientists and ecclesiastics! The former are usually bound 
together by the ties of fraternal regard, while the wars 
of the latter have literally deluged the earth with blood. 
From seventy-five to one hundred millions of men, women, 
and children have been deprived of life by Christian wars. 
Science has never demanded a single human life. Chris- 
tianity made slaughter, murder, and torture her principal 
business for more than a thousand years. You do injustice 
to Prof. Huxley. I think he has not been badly out of 
humor with any brother scientist. He is a gentleman of an 
equable mind, and not liable to fly into a passion. 

You speak of the icebergs of science as they come slowly 
floating down from the great Northern Ocean, cold, creak- 
ing, and massive, but gently melting in the warm southern 
sun. You deem them unfit places upon which to erect 
habitations. You say they are bright with borrowed light; 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCISSION, 191 

but you are again sadly mistaken. Astronomy, geology, 
natural philosophy, chemistry, and mathematics do not 
shine with borrowed or false light. Kor are they icebergs. 
They are rather luminaries which shine with the steady 
brilliance of the sun. Neither are they lessening in size, 
nor melting away. On the contrary, thej'^ are growing and 
spreading, attracting more and more attention, and doing 
more and more good. 

I fancy the iceberg that crossed your vision was the huge 
body of ecclesiasticism, mysticism, and theological fiction. 
This miserable iceberg has, for thousands of years, been 
floating around in the great sea of humanity, and for many 
centuries the old giant mass grew and spread in every direc- 
tion, but thanks to the glorious orbs of science, intelligence, 
and truth, that great body of ice is steadily melting away. 
Its days are numbered. In comparatively a few decades it 
will be so reduced in size that it will neither obstruct our 
view of the horizon and the heavenly bodies, nor be a hin- 
drance to the free navigation of the teeming waters of life. 

I am glad to see you quoting so freely from Prof. Draper. 
Let me urge you as a friend to quote him often, and read him 
closely. You can hardly find a safer authority. I would 
gladly have quoted him more fully in this letter, but I have 
been so diffuse that I have allowed myself very little space 
for the purpose. 1 cannot, however, forego the temptation 
to make a single quotation from the last paragraph of his 
Conflict between Religion and Science: "As to the issue of 
the coming conflict, can any one doubt? Whatever is resting 
on fiction and fraud will be overthrown. Institutions that 
organize impostures and spread delusions must show what 
right they have to exist. Faith must render an account of 
herself to Reason. Mysteries must give place to facts. Re- 
ligion must relinquish that imperious, that domineering 
position which she has so long maintained against science. 
There must be absolute freedom for thought. The ecclesi- 
astic must learn to keep himself within the dom9,in he has 



192 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

chosen, and cease to tyrannize over the philosopher, who, 
conscious of his own strength and the purity of his motives, 
will bear such interference no longer." 

Pardon me once more for writing so long a letter. 1 
have endeavored to confine myself to the points you raised; 
and to correct your numerous errors has necessarily taken 
& good deal of space. Like yourself, I am willing to leave 
it with our readers as to which has the truth on his side. 
I have endeavored to show that the Scripture theory of cos- 
mogony on which Judaism and Christianity are founded and 
the many impossible stories which form parts of the same 
book are utterly opposed to the plainest teachings of sci 
ence and common sense. You have studiousl}^ avoided 
trying to reconcile the discrepancy, and, as I believe, 
because you fully realize the impossibility of doing so. 
If the Bible can be made to harmonize with the clear incul- 
cations of science, I cali upon you to perform the task. If 
you fail to attempt this work our readers may fairly in[er 
that you shrink from the undertaking. 

I have attempted to show that Christianity has not been 
the friend and foster-parent of science; that Christianity 
absolutely dragged the civilized world from a state where 
learning, science, and philosophy bad long held sway down 
to ignorance, faith and degradation; that when Christianity 
had the supreme control in a large portion of the world it 
did nothing for science and education, but bound the heavy 
ecclesiastical collar of mental servitude and faith upon the 
necks of the people; that while Christianity had effectually 
suppressed learning and science in its own domain, its 
enemies, the Mohammedans, were establishing schools, fos- 
tering learning, and proving themselves the fast friends of 
education and culture; that it was this class of people that 
preserved science, and then generously bestowed it upon 
the Christian world. While many Christians of late have 
become to some extent disciples of science and are now 
friendly to it, they can only be looked upon as adopted 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 193 

sons, and in embracing science they have to that extent 
proved recreant to the original precepts and practices of 
Christianity. 

I am sincerely yours, 

D. M. Bennett. 



PART III. 

Is THERE A Stronger Probability that the Bible is 
Divine than that Infidelity is True ? 

MR. HUMPHREY. 

Mr. D. M. Bennett, Dear Sir : As the vigilant farmer 
walks around his fields after a wind-storm has passed over 
them, to replace here a falleu board, and to readjust there a 
leaning post, so I will have to glance over my last letter, 
after the gust of your •' Reply " has swept over it, to put 
things back where they properly belong. 

Since you have asked the question, I will explain why 
some religious people wish to insert a recognition of God 
in the Constitution of the United States : It is to protect it 
from misunderstanding and perversion, in the face of 
recent Atheistic claims in regard to it. The Christians of 
eighty years ago did not think of such an insertion, although 
they were more particular about such matters than the 
Christians of to-day. This shows that in their time the 
Constitution was not viewed by anybody as an Infidel docu- 
ment. Perversion of a law often necessitates an amend- 
ment, not to change its character, but to bring it back to 
its original scope and meaning. 

You failed to strengthen your claim to Peter Cooper. I 
will only add that there is not a copy of Paine's works in 
the Cooper Institute, while there are plenty of Bibles on the 

194 



THE HUMPHBEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 195 

tables of the reading-room. Does this look as if he were 
'* one of your kind ?" 

All you have said of Cornoil University can be disproved 
from the pen of President White himself. Referring to it, 
he says: •* I might picture to you the strategy which has 
been used to keep earnest young men from an institution 
which, it is declared, cannot ba Christian because it is not 
sectarian. ... I might show how it has been denounced 
by the friends and agents of denominational colleges and 
ia many sectarian journ ils ; how the most preposterous 
charges have been made and believed by good men ; how 
the epithets of 'godless,' ' infidel,' 'irreligious,' 'unrelig- 
ious,' 'atheistic' have been hurled against a body of Chris- 
tian trustees, professors, and students " (Warfare of Science, 
p. 144). 

The silence of Herodotus about Jerusalem does not prove 
that that metropolis was insignificant. It might be shown 
in the same way precisely that Rome was an obscure, 
'* semi-barbarous " town. Herodotus did not visit it, neither 
did he say a word about it. Your argument is a specimen 
of proving nothing by proving too much. 

It is pleasing to see you beginning to give the names of 
some of your informants. I say leginning ; for you still 
attempt to establish some of your points by an appeal to 
the" testimony of *'a friend," "a gentleman," "a trust- 
worthy party," and "a personal friend." I entertain no 
disrespect for your friends ; but in a controversy like this 
everything should be above-board. Anonymous testimony 
is as worthless here as it would be in a civil court. 

You still ignore the distincliou between Protestantism and 
Catholicism. This is neither pliilosophical nor ingenuous. 
There is neither sympathy, connection, nor cooperation be- 
tween the two. Would it be right to hold the Government 
of the United States responsible for all the past acts of 
Great Britain, even if the latter is in some sense our 
♦' mother country "? So it is a flagrant injustice to charge 



196 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

the two innocent sections of Christendom with the errors 
and iniquities of Romanism. 

I did not, as 3'ou insinuate, say a disrespectful word of 
true science. I spoke lightly of only the adulterated and 
counterfeited article. 

You still insist that the ancient Jews were "semi-barba- 
rians." I have already produced such an array of facts as 
utterly disproved this. How couid they be "semi-barba- 
rians" after sojourning for centuries in Egypt, at that time 
the most civilized country in the world ? How could they 
be *' semi-barbarians " when they were among the first to 
possess and foster the art of writing ? How could they be 
"semi-barbarians," and be familiar with " many books ?" 
(Ecc. xii. 13.) How could they be ** semi-barbarians " and 
possess such a collection of wit and wisdom as the book of 
Proverbs? How could they be "semi barbarians" when 
they had among them, ever since the days of Jacob, an idea 
that has made Darwin famous ? I refer to the "variation 
of species under domestication" (Gen. xxx. 37-43). How 
could they be " semi-barbarians " when a queen of Sh-ba 
" came from tjie uttermost parts of the earth to hear the 
wisdom of Solomon"? How could they be "semi-barba- 
rians " and have one of the grandest Temples on the face 
of the earth ? The difficulty to believe in the real exist- 
ence of such a Temple is entirely removed by the fact fhat 
we have the architectural i?Za?i of that Temple to-day in the 
Jewish Scriptures. As we would understand that the age 
of Pericles was famous for its Art, even if we had nothing 
to show it except the conceptions of Phidias expressed in 
plans, sketches, and drawings, so we know from the con- 
ception and plan of a magnificent Temple, still before us in 
the Sacred Scriptures, that Solomon's was a Golden Age. 
As to the remains of that edifice, antiquarians disagree 
somewhat. It is not claimed that many remains have been 
found. What deeper and wider excavations may discover, 
is yet to be seen. Hitherto, whatever was imagined to be 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 197 

a relic of the ancient civilization, has either been destroyed 
by prejudice or carried away by superstition. Still, Prof. 
Rawson stands almost alone among travelers in saying that 
there are no indications of an ancient civilization in Pal- 
estine. 

Now as to the "mythical theory": it certainly is on the 
wane. Baur, Bauer and Strauss are falling into disrepute. 
The halls of Tiibitfgen are emptier than of yore. Dr. 
Schliemann's "Troy and its Remains" is showing that 
much of what the world had consigned to Mythology may, 
after all, belong properly to History. 

Were I disposed to taunt you, I would still insist that 
Paine was a "myth." Doubtless you saw what somebody 
said had been Paine's grave. How did your informant know 
that the person who carried the remains (?) away was Wm. 
Cobbett ? How do you know that those men who said they 
had " conversed with Paine " were not deceived ? Have 
you not seen men who thought as firmly that they had 
"conversed" with ghosts ? The story of Paine's skeleton 
hanging in a book-store, and then taken into a pottery to be 
ground, and mixed with clay, to be "made into ornamen's, 
trinkets and keepsakes," is at once horrible and incredible. 
Paine — if such a man ever existed — was treated about as 
disrespectfully and barbarously as Hypatia. I guess, Bro. 
Bennett, you will have to settle down in the conclusion that 
Thomas Paine was a " myth," since it is as difficult to find 
his " remains " as those of Solomon's Temple. 

Your dialogue between "Christianity" and "Science" 
is an innocent little thing. I have only to say that " Chris- 
tianity," in this case, as in many others, has either been 
incorrectly reported, or else it has been personated by an 
enemy. I repudiate your ventriloquous dialogue altogether. 

Your attempt to wash the "damned spots " of blood from 
the hands of the French "Freethinkers" is, of course, an 
utter failure. Seas of sophistry and explanations can 
neither scrub them out nor cover them up. The " Reign of 



108 THE HUMPKREY-BBNNETT DISCUSSION. 

Terror" was nothing more than " Freethought " embodied 
in free deeds. Many of the leaders of that "Reign " were 
Atheists. Several of them, however, and notably Robes- 
pierre and Paine, believed in the existence of a God. But 
they were all Infidels of some description. 

You affect great nausea over some of the plain narratives 
of the Bible. It is true the sacred writers were more anx- 
ious to give the whole truth than to accommodate deranged 
stomachs. But will you please explain why Infidels are so 
much given to placing their hands on their noses when they 
approach the Bible, while they regard greater stenches 11 
their own authors as sweet bouquets. Rousseau's writings 
are full of the grossest indecencies. Some of Michelet's 
works seethe with sensuality. A great deal of Byron's 
poetry is saturated with impurity. Voltaire's PucelU stinks 
with obscenity. Diderot's Bijoux Indiscrets is simply a lit 
erary dunghill. Some of Dumas' novels are unfit for the 
walls of a water-closet. As Theodore Parker said, "there 
was a ti?ige of loicness " about your Pope, Thomas Paine. 
Victoria WoodhuU — another "Liberal" champion — has 
been delivering her tongue — I will not say inind — of such 
stuff as might well bring the blush to the cheeks of rake- 
hells and strumpets. Yes, and " reform " journals like the 
Boston. Invesiigaiar and The Tkuth Seeker contain weekly 
advertisements of "Marriage Guides," "Plain Talks," 
"Sexual Physiology," and " Spermatorrhea " doctors (?)! 
Even my esteemed Friend Bennett has defended and lion- 
ized men like John A. Lant, George Francis Train, E. B. 
Foote and Charle* Bradlaugh, who have been convicted of 
circulating obscene literature. All this shows that "Free- 
thinkers " feign vomiting over Ihe "indelicacy" of the Bible, 
not because they are of such exquisite refinement and 
dainty modesty, but because they want some excuse for op- 
posing a book which they dislike for other reasons. 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 199 

Our third proposition is as follows : That there is a 
Stronger Probability that the Bible is Divine than 

THERE is that InFIDELITY IS TrUE. 

1. I will base my first argument on Phrenology. I do 

this mainly because the teachers of that system persist in 
calling it a '* science," and because many Infidels profess to 
accept it. We are taught that the "Moral and Religious 
Faculties" occupy the central and highest place in the 
brain. They constitute what is termed the '* crown of the 
head." A symmetrical and " large " development of these 
faeulties is indispensable to a perfect manhood (Fowler's 
Phrenology, pp. 123-159). How deformed a human being 
would be with the top of his head scooped out half way to 
his ears! But that is what a consistent Infidel would call a 
faultless cranium ! This is not the only sense in which Infi- 
delity would fain deprive man of his crown. 

2. Infidelity is always flattering human nature. We hear 
a great deal about the nobleness of the natural hearty and 
about the " Oracle of reason." If we may take the Infidel's 
word for it, the average sentiment of mankind is perhaps 
the highest standard of Truth. 

I am willing to decide our case in this court of appeals. 
There is an innate and indestructible conviction in the 
average mind that Godliness is better than Godlessness; that 
Piousness is better than Impiousness; that Religion is better 
than Irreligion ; that Puritanism is better than Impuritan- 
ism; that Fidelity is better than Infidelity. 

3. Infidelity cannot be true because it is not self-consis- 
tent. What can be more contradictory than Atheism and 
Pantheism? Materialism and Spiritualism? Positivism and 
Nihilism? These cardinal isms do not difi'er merely on the 
surface, and in non-essentials. They are antagonistic and 
irreconcilable in their heart of hearts. They cannot, there- 
fore, all be right. But which is true? That is a question 
which can never be settled on the Infidel principle. A de- 
cision, declared by any one, would be " dogmatism " ; and 



200 THE HUMPHREY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

" dogmatism," we are told, has no place in the world of 
" Liberalism." 

4. Infidelity is inferior to the Scriptures because that, from 
its very nature, it is disintegrating and disorganizing. You can- 
not constitute government of any kind without forming and 
adopting a code of laws. But the moment you do that you 
encroach on the "sovereignty of the individual." The 
citizen is not then permitted to follow his own inclination 
in all the affairs of life. In other words, a civil creed has 
been made for him ; and that is unutterably repugnant to 
"liberal" notions. In the language of a modern Atheist, 
noted for his diarrlicm xerbovum, "Every creed is a rock in 
running water; humanity sweeps by it. Every creed cries 
to the Universe * Halt !' A creed is the ignorant past bully- 
ing the enlightened present." As mankind is everywhere 
adopting not only religious but social and civil creeds — laws 
and constitutions — it is plain that Infidelity is an enemy to 
compacts and organizations of all kinds. If "Freethinkers" 
are law-abiding citizens, it is because they are inconsistent. 
They withhold from civil enactments the objections which 
they bring against every religious declaration of principles. 
Were the Infidel doctrine to be applied simultaneously to 
everything, the whole world would be in a state of hope- 
less anarchy in twenty-four hours! 

But in spite of its inconsistencies and restraints, the dis- 
solving and disorganizing character of Unbelief is very 
manifest. Pure Infidelity has produced no " Orders," 
"Brotherhoods," or "Societies." It has created no insti- 
tutions of charity or learning. Of course, it is doing its 
utmost to annihilate the Church. Its self-styled " advanced 
thinkers " are endeavoring to sever the golden bonds of the 
family. The most godless nation within the limits of civ- 
ilization — the French— are the most seditious and ungovern- 
able. The history and the teachings of Infidelity prove 
that its tendency is to universal disintegration and decom- 
position—that is, universal death, since death is only disso- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 201 

liition. But this is an evidence of its dangerous and 
destructive character. What can men accomplish merely 
as individuals? Where may man find joy and blessedness 
as he can within the sacred covenants of Friendship and 
Wedlock? What hour was more auspicious to the world 
than that in which " We the People" took a solemn oath 
to honor, obey, and defend our National Confession of 
Faith — the Constitution of the United States? 

The Bible encourages by precept and example the organiz- 
ing Frinci'ple. It gives no uncertain sound as to the sane- 
tit}^ and inviolability of the Family. It teaches obedience 
to lawfully- constituted and righteously-administered govern- 
ment. It has created the Church to promote man's moral 
and spiritual well-being. It teaches that " in union there is 
strength." 

In the proportion that an organizing and integrating, i. e. 
a mtal Principle is superior to a disorganizing and disinte- 
grating, i. e., a fatal Principle, the Holy Bible is superior to 
Infidelity. 

5. The Bible inculcates and Christians exercise more Sin- 
cerity tha.n Infidels practice. The words "sincere," "sin- 
cerely," and " sincerity " are found about sixteen times in 
King James' Version. The same idea is set forth by many 
equivalents in words and phrases. Insincerity is one of the 
tliings which the Sacred Writings condemn most unspar- 
ingly. 

How the Apostles showed the depth of their convictions 
by their incessant labors! How subsequent believers have 
evinced their earnestness by their adherence to principle, 
even under persecution and in death ! The myriad churches 
of Christendom attest the sincerity of those who erected 
them. Doubtless the wolf of hypocrisy has stolen often- 
times among the sheep. But notwithstanding all, the Chris- 
tian Charch exhibits far more Sincerity than her opponents. 

A great many Infidels have betrayed their life-long hypoc- 
risy by their death-bed m.isgivings and confessions. Others 



203 THB HTJMPHREY-BKNNETT DISCUSSION. 

have shown either fear, duplicity, or both, by not announc- 
ing their views until the close of their lives. Dr. Johnson 
used to say that ' ' Bojingbroke was a scoundrel and a coward ; 
he loaded a blunderbuss against Christianity which he had 
not the courage to fire during his life-time, but left half a 
crown to a hungry Scotsman to draw the trigger after he 
was dead." And Thomas Paine, about whose "honest con- 
victions" and " boldness " we hear so much, saii he believed 
it would be best to postpone the publication of his Deistical 
thoughts "to tbe latter part of life." If these men really 
believed that the principles they had to disseminate would 
be a blessing to the world, was it not a crime to withhold 
them so long? and did their delay not prove either that they 
did not care about benefiting mankind, or that they did 
not themselves believe what they had to say? 

The insincerity of Infidels is shown farther by the scanti- 
ness of their efforts to propagate their ideas. Avowedly 
Infidel journals are not well supported. *' Freethought 
Lecturers " have to do a prodigious amount of advertisiogj 
drumming up, and indirect self-puffing, in order to squeeze 
out a sufficient number of engagements to keep them in mo- 
tion. All the Infidels in America have not zeal enough to 
remove the debt-incubus ($70,000) from the only structure 
between the two oceans erected and dedicated to the mem- 
ory of Paine ! In the great city of New York, the Infidels 
have never founded a building for their own use. The most 
they have done was to "hire a hall." And even in that 
they have not exhibited much generosity. * ' Science Hall !" 
That sounds \^ ell a thousand miles away. But when the place 
is actually visited, it will be found to be a dingy little back 
room with neither scientist nor scientific apparatus near 
it. If it is so important that the world should know 
the doctrines of Deism, Atheism, Spiritualism, Materialism, 
Free-Love, etc., why is it that the Infidels of Europe and 
America do not keep a legion of home and foreign mission- 
aries continually at work? It is true Mr. IngersoU — having 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 203 

nothing else to do — has gone to the California heathen to 
tell them about his "Ghosts" and " Bob"-goblins. But 
alas ! his glad tidings are not for the poor. There is an 
■■^'Admission Fifty Cents" between the masses and the 
" i^r<?(3-thoughts " of the " i'ree-thinker." And then, Mr. 
Ingersoll is — I hope I give no offense — only one man. The 
laborers are indeed few on the Infidel field. All this goes 
to show how shallow and inactive is the conviction and sin- 
cerity of skeptics generally. 

Other things being equal, the greater the sincerity, the 
greater the merit. But '* other things " a/re equal, and more 
than equal on the side of the Bible and its believers. Hence, 
the superior Sincerity of Christians, as compared with Unbe- 
lievers, goes to establish the afiirmative of our proposition. 

6. There is another fact worthy of serious consideration: 
Immorality is consistent with Infidelity. I do not by this mean 
that all unbelievers are bad men; but that, if they were so, 
no one would feel that they were at variance with " Free- 
thought." It is quite true that many professors of religion 
have been guilty of unlawful practices. But everybody felt 
that they were acting contrary to their profession and prin- 
ciples. Everybody exclaimed^ Row inconsistent/ Everybody 
thought they should be censured or excommunicated. And 
the Church is continually doing this. Little does the out- 
side and fault-finding world know of her concern for her 
erring ones. But it ought to see that she does not permit 
sin to pass unnoticed. You and other Infidels seem to take 
ecstatic delight in recounting the vices and crimes of men 
who were once ministers. But we may show by these very 
men the infinite superiority of Christianity over Infidelity. 
Even suspicion will degrade the standing of a clergymen. 
Those who have been convicted of immorality have been de- 
posed. They have ceased to be preachers; and it is improper 
to speak of them as such. This fact, backed by the public 
sentiment, proves that Immorality and Christianity are in- 
consistent. 



204 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

But with Infidelity it is not so. An Infidel cannot 
injure his standing, as an Infidel, by anything he may 
do. No injustice or vileness on his part could bring man- 
kind to feel that he Lad violated his principles. This cafi 
be shown from history. Bolingbroke could be a "notorious 
libertine"; Byron could be a scandalous debauchee; Shelley 
could leave his wife, even when she was with child, and 
break her heart by living with a "companion"; Girard 
could quarrel with his wife until she beeame insane; Ches- 
terfield could advise his bastard son to be a whore-master; 
Rousseau could live in adultery, and send his illegitimate 
children to the Foundling Hospital; Voltaire could perjure 
himself, tamper with legal documents, spend years "pla- 
tonically "(?) with a female that was never his wife; 
Collins, Ralph, and Keith could "greatly wrong" Franklin; 
John Stuart Mill could associate with a "lady friend" 
in a way that would have blasted the nam* of a clergy- 
man; Auguste Comte could mislead a living woman, 
and worship a dead one; Paine could live with Mrs. 
Bonneville, and be "godfather" to her youngest son "who 
had been named after him"; Goethe could be himself the 
Mephistopheles who defiled and ruined many a poor Mar- 
guerete; Gen. Charles Lee could be unfaithful to his trust; 
Tweed could steal millions from the city of New York; S. 
S. Jones could seduce another man's wife; Dr. Dillingh^im 
could be indicted for practicing abortion; George Francis 
Train can act the fool to his heart's content; Victoria 
Woodhull can be the quintessence of nastiness — all these 
could be all this, and nobody thinks any the less of Infidelity ! 
Nobody ever remarked that they were at all inconsistent 
with " Liberalism." They did the cause no harm. 

You may array all the counter-charges you please. But 
the fact will still remain that Christianity condemns immor- 
ality, while Infidelity is consistent with it, and encouraging 
to it. This was the deliberate judgment of Franklin, when 
he said in his Autobiography that " immorality and in- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 205 

justice might have been expected from a want of religion ^''^ and 
when he asked in one of his letters: " If men are so wicked 
with religion, what would they be loithout it"? 

The Bible, that prohibits "all appearance of evil," is 
certainly superior to Infidelity, which is both inviting to, 
and consistent with, every species of iniquity. 

7. Infidels are full of all the short-comings with which 
they charge Christians. They are bigoted. It is said that 
the word *' bigot " originated with Hollo, who, when he was 
required to kiss the foot of King Charles in return for the 
province of Neustria, replied, '^Nese, bi Gof'' — Not so, by 
G — d In this sense of using profane language, "Freethink- 
ers " are generally the greatest bigots in the world. Col. 
Ingersoll is "matchless" at cursing and swearing. And 
they are bigoted in the sense of being "unreasonably devoted 
to a system or party, and illiberal toward the opinions of 
others." How many of them boast that they never go in- 
side of a church ! How few of them give the Christian 
side a candid and thorough study ! Such books as I men- 
tioned in my last letter are not examined by the mass of 
Infidels. Many of them heartily hate everything and every- 
body that is religious. All this is bigotry. 

Infidels are illiberal. We have already shown that they 
are so with their money. They have endowed scarcely any 
institutions of learning. They support no charities. The 
best hospitals of Germany, France, England, and America 
are under religious auspices. I have before me a "Hand- 
book of the Benevolent Institutions and Charities of New 
York for 1877." The Jews, the Catholics, and all the 
Protestant denominations have a noble record. But it does 
not appear that the Infidels are supporting one hospital or 
benevolent institution. 

Neither are they "liberal" even toward each other. 
There was a furious rumpus at one of the " Liberal Club " 
elections not many weeks ago. Do you not rather think 
the Investigator is trying to "freeze" out The Truth 



206 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

Seekek? Less than a century ago Infidels beheaded Infidels 
in Paris. Hume and Rousseau had a most violent quar- 
rel. The "Liberal" Pike shot the "Liberal" Jones 
because the latter had been tery "liberal" with Mrs. Pike. 

They are extremely illil eral to professing Christians. 
When rumors are afloat about a minister or a church mem- 
ber, they always believe the worst, and that before there is 
pTVofot guilt. If they can help it, they will tolerate nothing 
that has the least savor of religion in it. Stephen Girard 
represented the character of their " Liberalism " when he 
made an imperative stipulation in his will that no minister 
should ever enter Girard College. Several of the originally 
orthodox Universities of Germany have permitted Rational- 
ism to be taught in them; but there never was an institution 
under Rationalistic or Infidel control that would tolerate 
evangelical instruction within its walls. 

Infidels are hypocritical. According to Infidel writers, they 
are very hypocritical. How often do we see and hear the 
assertion that there are ever so many that are Infidels at 
heart, who yet allow themselves to pass for orthodox in soci- 
ety, in the Church, yea, and in the pulpit. As far as this is 
false, it proves that those who say so are liars. As far as 
it is true, it proves that Infidels are craven and sneaking 
hypocrites. Toland professed to be a " Freethinker " and a 
"good churchman" alternately, as self-interest dictated. 
When Voltaire was over fifty years of age, he dedicated one 
of his plays to Pope Benedict XIV, w rote to him as his "Most 
Blessed Father, " and ' 'Head of the true religion, " requesting 
bis benediction, and closing with these words: " Witii the 
profoundest reverence, I kiss your sacred feet " (Voltaire's 
W( rks, trans, by Smollett and Franckiin, London, 1763, 
Vol. XXV, p. 16). It is plain from this that Voltaire was 
cither a Catholic in heart, and an Infidel disi;embler, or else 
he was an Infidel in heart, and a Catholic dissembler. But 
have it as you will, he was a hypocrite. We have seen 
already that Thomas Paine pretended to be a believer in the 



•THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 207 

Christian Eeligion during the period of the Revolution. It 
is on record that David Hume advised a friend to take false 
vows, and preach doctrines he did not believe, in order that 
he might get the emoluments. For myself, I have always 
been suspicious of the pretended respect of Materialistic 
editors for Spiritualism. 

Infidels are superstitious. If anything is a greater exhi- 
bition of superstition than Spiritualism, I would like to know 
what it is. The majority of the "clairvoyants," and 
"astrologers," that disgrace our cities are "advanced" 
Spiritualists, or some nondescripts in that neighborhood. 
1 am really surprised to find The Truth Seeker, that 
pretends to be so opposed to impostures of all kinds, adver- 
tising "astrologers." Quite recently a gentleman in Wash- 
ington was offering for sale Thomas Paine's old spectacles 
and shoe-buckles (Truth Seeker, March 3, 1877). Verily! 
some Infidels have come right down to venerating relics 1 
'T have heard that extremes meet; and lo! an instance — the 
Catholic and the Infidel meeting devoutly at the sacred 
shrine of the Belie, the one kneeling in the presence of 
Peter's sandal, and the other bowing before Paine's spec- 
tacles! O, what a spectacle ! 

Infidels exercise Uind credulity. You will perhaps regard 
this as the keenest cut of all. But nothing can be more 
true. How many there are who believe everything they see 
in Infidel papers! They do not verify what they read. 
They simply sit down to swallow. Skeptics talk a great deal 
about the conclusions of science. But can they personally 
follow the astronomer through his computations ? Can 
they personally accompany the geologist step by step until 
he arrives at his inferences ? Can they personally compre- 
hend and see all the intermediate "evidences " of Evolution? 
No; not one in ten thousand is able to do this. They merely 
accept by faith the conclusions of others. As far as they 
themselves are concerned, it is " going it blind." 
Infidels are very much given to copying one another. 



208 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

How many have got into trouble because they quoted Vol- 
taire, imagining that he was a reliable historian! Perhaps 
you will allow me to say that your own "World's Sages, 
Infidels, and Thinkers" is far from being trustworthy. 
Many of its claims, assertions, and implications are demon- 
sirably incorrect. Now I do not impute this to dishonesty 
in my friend Mr. Bennett. I do not believe that he would 
intentionally play the Ananias with the gold of Truth. I 
ascribe it entirely to his unfortunate combination of credu- 
lity and incredulity. He believes too much evil and too 
little good about Christians, and he believes too much good 
and too little evil about Infidels. The action of incredulity 
always begets an equally great reaction of credulity. 

Infidels are unprogressive. The Paine sect of unbelievers 
is producing very little that is new. Nearly a century has 
passed, and yet nothing better to offer a "thinker" than 
the "Age of Reason"! Too bad! Voltaire's "Philo- 
sophical Dictionary " is still kept in circulation, fraught 
with the ignorance and blunders of more than a hundred 
years ago ! The Infidels of to-day are living on old hash, 
cold hash, and rehash 

All this goes to show that "Liberals" have every fault 
which they impute to Christians. They call themselves 
" Reformers," but they are not reformed. They imagine 
they are " advanced " and "progressive," when in reality 
they are only going ahead like the crab— backwards. ^And 
they are more hopeless than anybody because they fancy 
they are superior to everybody. 

My article is already long, and I must break off right 
here. I trust that the reader has received some assistance 
to see that Infidelity cannot be true, 1. Because even 
Phrenology condemns it. 2. Because the average senti- 
ment of mankind is against it. 3. Because it is hopelessly 
self-contradictory, 4. Because it is a disorganizing, fatal 
principle. 5. Because it is comparatively insincere. G. 
Because it is consistent with immorality. And 7. Because 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 209 

Infidels, though they style themselves "Reformers," have 
all the imperfections of those whom they condemn and per- 
secute. 

I beg pardon, if occasionally I have been a little ironical 
or sarcastic. I want to close with a good feeling all around. 
I cherish the best wishes for my doubting friends. I would 
that, as searchers for Truth, they would take for their ex- 
ample some model man, like Sir Isaac Newton. In him 
met all the elements of complete manhood. He was as pure 
as the snow-flake, and as strong as the granite. He was as 
simple as a child, and as profound as Nature. He combined 
in his soul the critical and the devout, the manly and the 
godly. To be one such a man is better than to be a thousand 
kings. Yours with respect, G. H. Humphkey. 



MR. BENNETT. 



Eev. G. H! Humphrey, Dmr Sir: I fancy I see you 
walking over your domain endeavoring to repair the dam- 
ages of the storm of argument which so recently swept 
over it. I see you anxious to replace and readjust the posts, 
etc., which you had so carefully planted, and that the task 
is too hard for you. But I perceive, too, that you have the 
faculty, where you cannot remedy the effects of the storm, 
of quietly letting it pass and of saying nothing about it. 
Where you were damaged the most and your posts are 
completely gone, you say not a word. 

In your subsequent efforts to recover from the damage 
you become excited and wild. You remind me of a dis- 
comfited champion of the prize ring who has received such 
stunning blows that his head rings and swims, his face 
bleeding, his eyes swollen and closed, his strength ex- 
hausted, and he strikes wildly and frantically in all di- 
rections without object or aim. What have the adver- 



210 THE HUMPHBBY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

tisements in the columns of The Truth Seeker and other 
journals, the treatment of spermatorrhcea, the sale of medical 
works, astrology, Paine Hall, Science Hall, The World's 
Sages, George Francis Train, Mrs. Woodhull, John A Lant, 
and many other things you strike at and clutch at, to do 
with the subject under discussion ? Where your posts were 
entirely swept away, I see you fain would set up new ones, 
but they will hardly serve you. I fancy you appear to 
better advantage on '* the back seat of the car of Progress," 
throwing out your hand-bills, claiming great scientific 
achievements for Christianity than in the role of a post- 
setter and defender, or as a bully in the P. R. 

I can hardly notice all the points you touch upon, but you 
make so many glaring misstatements and misrepresentations 
that I cannot let all pass unnoticed. While I have you 
under my charge I feel a certain responsibility for your 
conduct, and cannot let you make misstatements without 
applying a gentle corrective. I fear your cause is not a good 
one if misrepresentation is necessary to help you out. It 
may be set down as an axiom that Truth never needs faUe- 
Tiood to sustain it. You doubtless think with Paul, your 
guide and authority, that falsehood and guile may serve a 
good purpose in certain emergencies (Rom .iii, 7, "For if 
the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto 
his glory, why yet am I also judged as a sinner," and 2 
Cor. xii, 16, "But be it so, I did not burden you; never- 
theless, being crafty, I caught you with guile"), but the 
clearest judges do not accept falsehood and guile as proper 
factors in making up the most excellent moral character or 
as the best agencies with which to efiect good works. Let 
me point out some of your departures trom truth. 

1. You say I failed to strengthen my claim to Peter 
Cooper. I think not. I proved that he admitted that he was 
a heretic. He is not orthodox, and will so admit to you if 
you call upon him. What if Paine's works are not in his 
library and the Bible is? He did not select the books for 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 211 

< 

the library. He does not believe all contained in the boolis 
in the library, nor discard all in books not in it. The 
Life of Paine and Voltaire's Writings are there, and if 
your argument proves anything, Peter Cooper must believe 
them. On a certain occasion, in a short speech at a public 
meeting in his hall, Mr. Cooper admitted that he did not 
regard the Bible stories of the creation, the fall of man, and 
the flood, as being literally true, but as mere legends. Be- 
sides, let me inform you that Paine's Work's are in his 
library — now, if not -when you looked for them. 

2. You say all I have said about Cornell University is dis- 
proved by the quotation you make from President White. 
Not so. It does not disprove a word of it. The assertions 
I made are true and must stand. Of course, he wishes to 
have religious young men attend his school, and he 
caters somewhat to them, but neither he nor acting-Presi- 
dent Kussell are believers in the central dogmas of Chris- 
tianity. 

3. The silence of Herodotus about Jerusalem and the 
Temple is a proof that they were not in existence, or were 
not worthy of remark. He visited Syria twice; and as Pal- 
estine is included in Syria, had there been such a city, such 
a nation, or such a temple, he assuredly would have known 
it and described them. He may also have visited Rome, 
and his allusions to that city may have been in the portions 
of his works that were lost. What he wrote about Syria is 
not lost, and he says not a word about that part of it where 
the nomadic Jews resided. 

4. You misrepresent Prof. Rawson. You say he stands 
alone among travelers in holding that there are no indica- 
tions of ancient civilization in Palestine. He has not 
claimed that there are no proofs there of an ancient civiliza 
tion. He readily admits it, but claims they are not proofs 
of Hebrew civilization. There are luins there of Egyptian, 
Grecian, Roman, and Arabic origin, but nothing distinct- 
ively Jewish. Neither does he stand alone in this position. 



'212 THE HtJMPHRElY-BENNETT DISCUSSION, 

Dr. Robinson practically admits the same, and is confirmed, 
as I showed in my last, by Captains Wilson and Warren. 

I see you dislike to acknowledge the fact that the Jews 
were semi-barbarians, but you may as well do so with the 
best grace you can. Their being degraded slaves in Egypt 
would not disprove it. Slaves are not apt to be far ad- 
vanced in education and civilization. Your attempts to 
prove that they were not barbarians by referring to the 
silly story of Jacob and his ringed and streaked sticks, and 
about Queen Sheba coming "from the uttermost p'arts of 
the earth," seem to me weak and sophistical. Where are the 
"uttermost parts of the earth" located? That the Jews were 
barbarians it is only necessary to state that they offered as 
sacrifices both animals and human beings. For an instance 
of the latter, I will refer you to the case of Jephtha and his 
daughter, and to Leviticus xxvii, 28 and 29. "Notwith- 
standing no devoted thing that a man shall devote unto the 
Lord of all that he hath, both of man and beast," etc. 
"None devoted of man shall be redeemed; but shall surely 
be put to death." That they also ate human flesh I will 
refer you to the following passages; Deut. xxviii, 53-57; 
Lam. iv, 10; Ezelnel xxxix, 18, and Bar. ii, 3. 

5. It is hardly fair in you, after I had given you Prof. 
Rawson's name and address, and after you had called upon 
liim several times, to still insinuate that I withhold authori- 
ties. I will in all cases give them where it is necessary. 
The statement that Peter Cooper calls himself a "heretic" 
is from Mr. Egbert Hasard, a cultivated and well-known 
gentleman. 

6. Your repetition that the excesses connected with the 
French Revolution and the Reign of Terror were a part 
of the i^rogramme of Freethought is most untrue. If you 
assert it a thousand times, it is still untrue. They were 
^vho]ly political in character and origin. The Reign of 
Terror began with the reign of Robespierre, and continued 
while he was in power. He was the leading spirit of the 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 213 

times; and for proof that he was a Christian, a religious 
fanatic, I will refer you to Chamber's Encyclopedia, and 
to Thiers' French Revolution, vol. ii, p. 376, and vol. iii. 
pp. 11, 12. 

7. You say: "Infidelity is always flattering human 
nature." Untrue. It simply aims to tell the truth about it 
and to show how much it is capable of doing. Christianity 
is always demeaning human nature, insisting that it is 
totally depraved and incapable of itself of doing anything 
good or praiseworthy. The doctrine of total depravity leaves 
no room for good in the human heart. Infidelity in this 
respect teaches truth, and Christianity falsehood, 

8. You say: " Infidelity is not self-consistent." It is per- 
fectly so. However diflScult it may be to decide the nature 
of a Supreme Power, or whether we have an individual ex- 
istence after this life, the rejection by all classes of Liberals 
of the absurd dogmas upon which the Christian religion is 
founded is perfectly consistent and perfectly correct. 

9. You insist that Infidelity is inferior to the Scriptures 
because it is disintegrating and disorganizing. Incorrect. 
While Infidelity does not form creeds and dogmas, it accepts 
the moral law of doing the greatest good to our fellow-be- 
ings, compatible with individual rights. Infidelity is supe- 
rior to the Scriptures because it rejects the supernatural, it 
is less contradictory, less obscene, less bloody, less murder- 
ous, less cruel. Do you pretend to say there is more diversity 
of opinion among Infidels than there is among Christians 
with their hundreds of modifications and difi"erences over 
which they have contended and fought for nearly twenty 
centuries? 

10. You say "the history and teachings of Infidelity 
prove that its tendency is to universal disintegration and 
decomposition — ihat- is, universal death." This assertion is 
entirely devoid of truth. Pagan and anti-Cbristian nations 
have been as much devoted to the organization of families 
and societies. as Christendom has ever been. Pagan sages 



214 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

and philosophers have never been excelled in their inculca- 
tions respecting the sanctity of home, duties to parents, 
children, and all members of society. I refer you to the 
Institutes of Menu, the teachings of Zoroaster, Buddha, Con- 
fucius, Mencius, Bias, Socrates, Epicurus, Plato, and num- 
erous others of later date. 

11. You declare that "Advanced thinkers are endeavor- 
ing to sever the golden bonds of the family." Untrue. 
The leading thinkers and reformers are seeking to make 
family love and family happiness more perfect and more 
productive of good. As a complete refutation of your 
assertion, let me refer "you to the lecture of Col. Robert G. 
Ingersoll, our leading exponent of Liberalism, upon the 
"Liberty of Man, Woman and Child," which appeared in 
the last issue of The Truth Seeker, and which contains 
eloquent appeals for the sanctity of the home and mar- 
riage relation. The marriage ceremony itself is an In- 
fidel institution. It originated with the pagans, and was 
adopted from them by the Christians. It was jonr oi'gan- 
izing Jesus who taught: "If any man come to me, and 
hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and 
brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot 
be my disciple" (Luke xiv. 26). When making such sweep- 
ing charges as you do, you should adduce some proofs. 
Who are they who are " endeavoring to Fever the golden 
bonds "? Either name them or cease to make the charge. 

12. You next say, "If Freethinkers are law-abidiflg cit- 
izens, it is because they are inconsistent." It is a marvel to 
me how a man who makes any pretension to sanity and 
truthfulness can make such a reckless assertion. Free- 
thinkers are law-abiding citizens for the same reason that 
all good people are who recognize the necessity of law and 
order in the regulation of society. 

13. Again, you say: "Were the In fidef/ doctrine to be 
applied simultaneously to everything, the whole world 
would be in a state of* hopeless anarchy in twenty four 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 215 

hours. " I do not know how a man could insert more untruth- 
fulness and absurdity in a single sentence. There is not a 
word of truth in it. Infidelity is simply a denial of the super- 
natural origin of the Bible and Christianity. Nine tenths 
of the inhabitants of the world are disbelievers in this di- 
vinity, and they still do not exist in a state of anarchy, but 
are absolutely more orderly and moral than Christians. 
Verily, my friend, you have taken the text for your last 
letter from Rom. iii. 7 previously quoted; and, of course, to a 
man who can accept such immoral teachings as the word of 
God, truth must always be subservient to the interests of 
his creed or of himself. The evil effects of a thorough be- 
lief in the Bible are making themselves manifest. 

14. You have the hardihood to assert that "Pure Infidel- 
ity has produced no orders, brotherhoods or societies; it has 
created no institutions of charity or learning." Wholly 
untrue. Nations not accepting Christianity have produced 
far more orders, societies, brotherhoods, associations, and 
the like than Christianity has done. There are at the present 
time in the world hundreds, yea, thousands of societies and 
associations under Infidel auspices. They have established 
numerous colleges and institutions of learning and charity. 
Do not be so blind or narrow-minded as to think that 
Christianity has done all that has been effected in this line. 

15. You say; "The Bible inculcates and Christians ex- 
ercise more sincerity than Infidels practice." A most 
ridiculous absurdity, and not susceptible of proof. No 
class of people in the world exercise mere sincerity than 
Infidels; and as proof I assert the fact that to maintain 
their honest convictions they bear the opprobrium, abuse, 
and condemnation of the votaries of theological mysticism 
who belong to the popular respectable (?) class. It takes a 
sincere, honest, and truly brave man to be a good Infidel. 

16. You reiterate the threadbare untruth that " a great 
many Infidels have betrayed their life-long hypocrisy by 
their death-bed misgivings and confessions." It is perhaps 



2V^ THE nUMPmiEY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

harsh to tell a man he utters a falsehood, but in this case it 
is mild I language to do so. The charge is as false as the 
doctrine of hell ! No distinguished Infidel has confessed 
his error on his death-bed, nor recanted his views, and I 
defy you to prove where one has. But there are thousands 
of cases where Christians have died in great doubt, and in 
utter fear and terror. " Martin Luther despaired of the sal- 
vation of his soul. Shortly before his death his concubine 
pointed to the brilliancy of the stars of the firmament: 
'See, Martin, how beautiful that heaven is.' *It does 
not shine in our behalf,' replied the master, moodily. ' Is 
it because we have broken our vows?' resumed Kate, in 
dismay. 'May be,' said Luther. 'If so, let us go back.' 
*Too late, the hearse is stuck in the mire;' and he would 
hear no more. At Eishenben, on the day previous to that 
on which he was stricken with apoplexy, he remarked to 
his friends: 'I have almost lost sight of the Christ, tossed 
as I am by these waves of despair which overwhelm me, 
and after a while he continued, ' I who have imparted sal- 
vation to so many cannot save myself. ' . . ' He died 
forlorn of God, blaspheming to the very end.' Schussel- 
berg, a Protestant, writes thus of the death of Calvin: 
'Calvin died of scarlet fever, devoured by vermin, and 
eaten up by an ulcerous abcess, the stench whereof drove 
away every person ' ( Tkeol. Calvin^ t. ii. p, 72). * In great 
misery he gave up the ghost, despairing of salvation, evok- 
ing devils from the abyss, and uttering oaths most horrible, 
and blasphemies most frightful.' John Hazen, a disciple 
of Calvin, and an eye-witness of his death, writes thus: 
' Calvin died in despair. He died a death hideous and 
revolting, such as God threatened the impious and repro- 
bate with.' And he adds: 'I can vouch for the truth of 
every word, because I have been an eye-witness ' {Be vita 
Calvin), . Spalatin, Justus, Jonas, Isinder, and a host of 
other friends of Luther, died either in despair or crazy. 
Henry VIlI. died bewailing that he had lost heaven, and 



THE HUMPHBEY-BKNNETT DISCUSSION. 217 

his woitliy daughter Elizabeth breathed her last in deep 
desolation, stretched on the floor — not daring to lie in bed, 
because at the first attack of her illness she imagined she 
saw her body all torn to pieces and palpitating in a caul- 
dron of fire " (Plain Talk about Protestantism of To-day, 
by M. Segur), 

How did your own dear Savior leave this world ? In 
utter fear and terror, crying out in mental agony, ^^ Eloi, 
Eloi, lama sahacthani! — My God, my God, why hast thou 
forsaken me !" How different the death of these great 
lights of your Church from the courage and calmness dis- 
played by Socrates, Bruno, Spinoza, Mirabeau, Hume, Vol- 
taire, Volne}'-, Hobbs, Bolingbroke, Rousseau, Gibbon, Jef- 
erson, Ethan Allen, Paine, Kneeland, Theodore Parker, John 
Stuart Mill, Michael C. Kerr, and hosts of other unbelievers 
who died peacefully and placidly, without the slightest 
fear. ''In all my experience," says the Rav. Theodore 
Clapp, for a long time a prominent clergyman of New 
Orleans, and who doubtless preached nearly ten times as 
long as you have, "1 never saw an unbeliever die in 
fear. I have seen them expire, of course, without any 
hopes or expectations, but never in agitation from dread or 
misgivings as to whgit might befall them hereafter. It is 
probable that I have seen a greater number of those called 
irreligious persons breathe their last than any other clergy- 
man in the United States. . . When I first entered the 
clerical profession I was struck with the utter inefficiency 
of most forms of Christianity to afford consolation in the 
dying hour." Add to this the testimony of a great light 
of your own Church, the Rev. Albert Barnes, who for half 
a century preached the gospel of Jesus to anxious souls. As 
he neared the close of a long, busy life he said: "I see 
not one ray to disclose to me the reason why sin came 
into the world, why the earth is strewn with the dying 
and the dead, and why man must suffer to all eternity. 
I have never seen a particle of light thrown on these sqlh 



218 THE HITMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

jects that has given a moment's ease to my tortured mind; 
nor have I an explanation to offer or a thought to suggest 
that would be a relief to you. I trust other men, as they 
profess to do, understand this better than I do, and that 
they have not the anguish of spirit I have; but I confess, 
when I look on a world of sinners and sufferers, upon 
death-beds and graveyards, upon the world of woe, filled 
with hearts to suffer forever; when I see my friends, my 
parents, my family, my people, my fellow citizens; when 
I look upon a whole race, all involved in this sin and dan- 
ger; when I see the great mass of them wholly unconcerned; 
and when I feel that God only can save them, and yet he 
does not do it, I am struck dumb. It is all dark, dark, dark to 
my soul, and 1 cannot disguise ii" (Practical Sermons, p. 124). 

Thus we see, from Christian authorities, that instead of 
Infidels dying in fear and terror, it is leading Christians 
who have ddne this; it is they who so frequently recoil at 
the approach of the King of Terrors. 

It is an unfair insinuation in you to attempt to make it 
appear as cowardice in Paine that he deferred the publica- 
tion of the Age of Reason till the latter part of his life. 
There is not the slightest warrant for your doing this. To 
charge Thomas Paine with moral cowardice is like charging 
the sun with being the source of darkness. 

You quote Dr. Johnson as calling Bolingbroke a coward, 
but Johnson was himself far more a coward. He was 
noted for his timidity and superstition, and he entertained 
a perfect horror of death. 

17. You say, "The insincerity of Infidels is shown by 
the scantiness of their efforts to propagate their ideas.'' 
Not so. AVhile they do not bcdieve the promulgation of 
their views is necessary to save souls from the seething lake 
of fire and brimstone, they have evinced commendable zeal 
in bringing their views to the knowledge of their fellow 
beings. Many have spent their lives in disseminating the 
truths of Liberalism, and with slight expectation of pecu- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 219 

niary remuceration. I claim to be one of this class. I 
have devoted my time and strength to this labor of love. 
I do not believe there is a Christian in the country who 
gives as many hours' service in a year to spreading his 
views as I do mine, and who does it with less expectation 
of making money by it, 

18. Again, you say, " Freethou^ht lecturers have to do 
a prodigious amount of advertising, drumming up, and 
self-pufflng." This is a contradiction of your previous 
assertion. It is a specimen of your fairness and consistency 
to taunt Infidels with making no efforts to promulgate their 
views and in^ie same breath to asperse them for making 
" prodigious " efforts in that direction. Our lecturers do 
not do a "prodigious amount of advertising," but a limited 
amount. Our two most popular lecturers, logersoll and 
Underwood, are under very little necessity of advertising. 
Ing^rsoll, without a single effort of the kind, could have 
fifty audiences for every night in the year, could he serve 
them Underwood has more calls for his services than 
he is able to supply. He is compelled to refuse many ap- 
plications. It is not necessary for him to advertise. New 
lecturers have, of course, to make themselves known. Your 
fling at the cost of Infidelity is iu keeping with your other 
criticisms. Christianity has cost the world a thousand 
times more than Infidelity ever has or ever will. 

19. You say, "Infidel journals are not well supported." 
Th'y are supported well enough to continue to exist. The 
Investigator has put iu an appearance every week for 
nearly half a century. Newer papers, considering the time 
and capital employed, have done well. Have Church 
paper.s all done well ? Far greater numbers of them have 
been forced to the wall for want of adequate support 
than Liberal papers. How is it with the Christian daily, 
The Witness, which has been running a long time at a heavy 
loss ? The compositors and other employees recently struck 
for the $3,000 that is owing them for their labor, and the 



220 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

paper was compelled to be issued with a single page of new 
matter. My compositors have never been under the neces- 
sity of striking. They have received their pay every Satur- 
day night. 

As to efforts being made to "freeze The Truth Seeker 
out," I know nothing of it. Just now the temperature is 
such that freezing seems to be the most unlikely misfortune. 
It began with the financial panic in the autumn of 1873. It 
had neither capital nor experience to back it; but iu spite 
of the unprecedented hard times it has grown from a 
monthly to a semi-monthly, then to a weekly, and its num- 
ber of patrons and readers has steadily increased. 

20. You say Science Hall "is a dingy little back room." 
Not true; it is of fair size; 80 by 35 feet, and has seats for 
about five hundred persons. It is not gorgeously fitted up 
with richly cushioned seats and a $10,000 organ, but it is 
not dingy. It is no farther back from the street than nine 
tenths of the churches in this city, and is more quiet for 
being removed from the front. Do you think your churches 
would be more pleasurable if the pulpits were close to the 
noisy streets ? Scientific apparatus, diagrams, and costly 
illustrations are used there when needed. I have seen them 
all used there repeatedly, but not once in any of your 
churches. Whatever aspersions you may please to make 
about want of grandeur and style in Science Hall, I can 
assure you it was not stolen, and it is not in debt. It is not 
likely soon to be sold out at Sheriff's sale, as was the altar, 
the pulpit, the organ, and all the holy paraphernalia at the 
" Church of the Holy Savior " recently, to pay a debt the 
church could not meet. I will call your attention to a 
recent article in the Tribune, taken from the county records, 
showing on fifty-four churches of this city, of various 
denominations, mortgages amounting to $2,367,880, and 
will ask you whether it is not better for Science Hall 
to rest under your imputation of being little and *' dingy " 
Ihan to be grand and fashionable by followingthe Christian 



tHE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 221 

example of going in debt to accomplish it ? If Science 
Hall people had borrowed $40,000, which is less than the 
average owing on the fifty -four churches alluded to, they 
doubtless could have fixed the place up splendidly, but they 
preferred to not be embarrassed with such a debt for mere 
grandeur. 

In enumerating the places in the city where Liberal meet- 
ings are held, it would not have been unfair to have named 
the magnificent Masonic Temple where Mr. Frothlng- 
ham discourses to lar^re audiences, Standard Hall, where 
Professor Adler holds forth to the Ethical Society, 
Republican Hall and Harvard Rooms, where the Spiritual- 
ists meet regularly, and the hall in which the Cosmopolitan 
Conference meets every Sunday, at 1214 Broadway. 

21. You set it down as an axiom, that "Immorality is con- 
sistent with Infidelity.'' It is most untrue. Infidels are 
admirers of virtue, morality, and good deeds. They 
esteem them for the results they produce, and not be- 
cause they think the practice of them will save anybody 
from a literal hell. Knowing they cannot be counted 
righteous by the good deeds of another, they realize the 
necessity of performing the good deeds themselves. They 
are lovers of virtue for virtue's sake, and not for Jesus' sake. 

22. Again you say, "An Infidel cannot injure his standing, 
as an Infidel, by anything he may do. No injustice or vile- 
ness on his part could bring mankind to feel that he had 
violated his principles. " I cannot conceive how a man could 
go to work to state a more palpable untruth. Infidels are 
just as susceptible to the effects of bad conduct as any class 
of men in the world. Injustice and vileness sink them in 
the estimation of their fellow-beings as much as any class 
of men. It is the Christian who can consistently commit 
unmanly deeds and be guilty of immoral conduct, for he 
does not expect to be saved by his own merits, nor to be 
damned for his misdeeds; it is faith in the blood of Jesus 
that takes him to heaven. It is the dying pangs of his 



222 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

Savior that waft his soul to Paradise. No matter how 
much vile conduct he may be guilty of, if he only has 
"faith," he is all safe. Let him contract ever so many 
debts, " Jesus pays it all." 

23. You step out of your way to throw filth and abu.-e 
upon the memory of some of the best men the woild has 
ever produced. While there may be some truth in your 
charges, they are distorted, and you traduce where praise 
is more deserved. I can hardly take the room to follow 
you in all cases, and show how unjust your charges are. 
Girard did not make his wife insane by quarreling with 
her. You have no grounds for insinuating that Paine lived 
improperly with Mrs. Bonneville. You have thrown out 
this slander before, but offered no adequate proof to sustain 
it. I should be equally justified in claiming that Jesus 
committed adultery with the Mary whom he loved so well. 
Goethe was not an immoral man. Rousseau was an 
upright, well-disposed man. Voltaire was not a perjurer. 
Chesterfield did not seek to make his son a whoremaster. 
John Stuart Mill sustained a character too pure for you to 
besmirch, Shelley was not guilty of wroDg in leaving his 
wife; nor was he dissolute. What are the facts in his case? 
When a mere boy he was expelled from college and driven 
from home because he presumed to disbelieve what the 
orthodox taught about God and devils. Two years before 
he became of age he was thrown in the company of Harriet 
Westbrook, and they, as boys and girls so often do, fell in 
love with each other. She proposed to elope with him, but 
he declined to do this, and they were legally married. But 
unfortunately, as is too often the case, as time sped away, 
they found they were uncongenial to each other. This 
state of things was intensified by the conduct of a maiden 
sister of the wife, who, because of Shelley's unbelief, used 
every effort to turn her sister's mind against him. They 
finally mutually agreed to separate, and the same was done 
with the approbation of the wife's father. Shelley did not 



THE HUMPHKEr-BEKNETT DISCUSSION. 22u 

forsake her, but contributed to her support and felt friendly 
towards her. The world has produced few more brilliant, 
amiable and pure men than was Percy Bysshc Shelley; and 
though he died before he reached his thirtieth year, he has 
left such a monument of the beautiful creations of his gen- 
ius ar.d sterling truths as will carry his name in honor and 
glory down to the latest generation. Byron, it is true, 
was wild and amorous; but he, too, died young. Had he 
lived to late manhood, it may well be supposed he would 
have "sowed his wild oats," and become a staid and 
exemplary member of society. 

Your flings at Geo. Francis Train, John A. Lant, Dr. Foote, 
Charles Bradlaugh, and the fanatic and insane Pike are per- 
haps worthy of you. Let me assure you that neither of 
these were really guilty of obscenity. Dr. Foote and Brad- 
laugh published scientific information needed by tbe peo- 
ple. Train published without comment portions of the 
" Holy Scriptures. " Lant did even less. These were all 
victims of Christian bigotry and oppression. Let me also 
assure you that Mrs. Woodhull has never been claimed 
by the Infidels of this country. She is one of your kind, 
and is a strong believer in the Bible. She takes it with 
her upon the lecture platform, and selects texts from it the 
same as you and her other brethren do. She prevented a 
witness from being allowed to testify in court because he did 
not believe in the "Gawd" of the Bible. It is asserted that 
she has joined the Church, so I beg of you not to traduce a 
sister in the Lord as being the " quintessence of nastiness." 
You have, of course, studiously hunted up all the dark 
spots you could find on the escutcheon of prominent Infi- 
dels, and you have presented them to their worst advantage. 
But really what does it all prove? It proves that unbeliev- 
ers are human beings, and have sometimes made mistakes. 
What class of men is there in the world, that running over 
their records for hundreds of years, as many charges could 
not be brought against them ? 



224 THE HUMPHREY-BENI^ETT DISCUSSION. \ 

You have succeeded in giving at most but a short cata- 
logue of the errors of Infidels, men who claimed no power 
from on high to aid them in withstanding the impulses of 
human nature. To counterbalance the arraignment let me 
before I close give you a single chapter of the crimes of the 
old patriarchs and worthies of the Jewish Church and some 
of the spiritual leaders and bright lights of the Christian 
Church— men who are thought to have the spirit of God 
with them to guide them aright, and the sanctification and 
holiness of Jesus and the Holy Ghost, not only to aid 
them to lead pure lives but to be leaders and pilots to those 
having less assistance from the heavenly throne. I will 
resume this part of my snbject further on. 

24. You say " Ingersoll — having nothing else to do— has 
gone to the California heathen to tell them about his 
Ghosts," etc. How do you know so well that he has noth- 
ing else to do ? Let me inform you that he is one of the 
ablest and most popular lawyers in Illinois, and for years 
has had a large and constantly increasing practice. As a 
reply to your aspersions that Infidels have no missionary 
societies, let me say, that had they such organizations, it 
would not cost thirty-nine out of every forty dollars re- 
ceived by them to pay the officers, etc., as was the case 
with the pious St. John's Guild in this citj'', nor ninety-nine 
out of every hundred dollars received, as is tiie case with 
the Christian foreign missions. The poor heathen who 
stand in so much danger of being plunged into hell do not 
really get the benefit of one dollar in a hundred of the 
money that is persistently begged from Sunday-school chil- 
dren, servant girls, and silly children of older growth. The 
thousands thus obtained are used to pay the numerous offi- 
cers of the organizations, and to line the pockets of the 
attaches, unsalaried priests, etc. 

25. You assert that " Christianity condemns immorality, 
while Infidelity is consistent with it and encourages it." 
Why, my pious friend, do you make such reckless asser- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 22.) 

Lions ? Christianity excels no religion in tke world in con- 
demning immorality. It has sanctioned, and its believers 
have prdcticed, for many centuries the grossest of crimes. 
There is more crime in Christian countries than in any 
others on the globe. If Christian doctrines are true, moral- 
ity is wholly unnecessary. Morality cannot save the world 
but the blood of Christ can, and it can save an immoral 
world — an immoral people — just as well as a moral one. 
Faith is the only ingredient necessary. Infidelity does uoL 
encourage immorality. It exalts morality and teaches that 
it is the source of happiness. It does not call it " filthy 
rags," etc., as Christians have done thousands upon thou- 
sands of times. 

26. You again repeat that "Infidelity invites and is con- 
sistent with every species of iniquity." In the mildest 
language I can command I must characterize this charge as 
uncalled for, uncharitable, unfair, and positively false! I 
demand of you to prove your charge or withdraw it. It 
avails you little to quote Franklin in a remark about '^re- 
ligion." He does not sustain your slanderous position at 
all. Of course he had a sincere veneration for religion, but 
none for Christianity. He did not laud the Christian dog- 
mas, nor harp about the blood of Jesus. Until you can 
show when he praised the Christian faith, and acknowl- 
edged it as his, it will be quite as well for you not to claim 
him as a supporter of your system. 

37. You say " logersoU is 'matchless' at cursing and 
swearing." Mistakes again. You wrong the gentleman. ; 
He may occasionally use some expletives, but there are 
thousands of clergymen in the country who surpass him a 
long way in cursing and swearing. I have been in his com- 
pany for hours, and at different times, but do not remem- 
ber to have heard him swear or curse. You should be a 
little more careful in making charges. 

28. Again you say, "Infidels are illiberal They have 
endowed scarcely any institutions of learning," etc. You 



236 THE HUMPHRET-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

thus wrong them again. With the bequests of Stephen 
Girard, Smithson, Peter Cooper, Gerrit Smith, and James 
Lick in memory, how can you make such a statement ? 
When Liberals give in charity it is not as a sect, an order, 
or as a class, but as citizens of the world. I know not why 
they should not be just as generous to give according to 
their means as believers in myths and superstitions. It was 
the practice of Christianity for so many centuries to kill off 
the Infidels that the latter had few opportunities to accum- 
ulate wealth to give away. It kept them pretty busy to 
save their lives. 

29. You say " There was a furious rumpus at one of the 
'Liberal Club' elections." How easy it was for you to 
exaggerate and misrepresent. There was some difference 
of opinion as to which members were suitable or unsuitable 
for certain ofllces, but there was nothing "furious" or vio- 
lent about it. Have not Liberals the same right to disagree 
in matters of opinion of this kind that Christians exercise 
so largely ? There is nothing in the country more common 
than church quarrels and fights. Hundreds of cases could 
be cited were it necessary, The proportion of church quar- 
rels to Liberal quarrels is probably a million to one. 

30. Again, you say " Infidels are hypocritical." Indeed ! 
It took you to make that discovery! It is possible some of 
the weaker ones, in order to keep on good terms with Mrs. 
Grundy and Mrs. McFlimsy, may not be outspoken in ac- 
knowledging how little they believe, but it is only the weak 
ones who act in this way. The bulk of Infidels show a 
great amount of honesty and independence in acknowledg- 
ing their views. You must have been put to your trumps 
to rake up charges against them. 

31. "Infidels are superstitious." This is too weak to 
demand attention. If there are any people in the world 
free from superstition they are Infidels. They have no 
faith in myths and supernaturalism. They believe in the 
Universe — in matter and the powers and forces that pertain 



:nE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 227 

to it, aucl ill nothing else. Superstition forms no part of 
their composition. As to astrologers, it is, perhaps, hardly 
worth your while to slur them. There have been, and still 
are, men with more iDtelligence than you and I both possess 
who believe that the planets exercise a decided influence on 
the people and affairs of this world. Thales, Pythagoras, 
Hippocrates, Aristotle, Claudius Ptolemy, Roger Bacon, 
Lord Francis Bacon, Kepler, Tycho Brahe, and Sir Isaac 
Newton, were firm believers in astrology. Your rap at the 
advertisements that appear in the columns of The Truth 
Seeker was hardly necessary. The publishers of papers 
are never expected to endorse every advertisement that is 
brought to them. Christian papers advertise patent medi- 
cines, gift concerns, insurance companies, patent rights, 
etc., and nobody thinks they are responsible either for the 
worth or worthlessness of the articles advertised. 

32. "Infidels exercise blind credulity." Then you add, 
"You will perhaps regard this as the keenest cut of all." 
O, no! I don't think it keen at all. If instead of "keen" 
you had said " silly," I would not have disputed you. Of 
all the people in the world Freethinkers are the least given 
to blind credulity. It takes solid proofs and facts to con- 
vince them. 

83. "Infidels are very much given to copying." Not 
any more than other people. That they sometimes use argu- 
ments that others of their numbers have used is not impos- 
sible. I believe there is no law against it. A good argu- 
ment will bear repealing. But do not Christians pattern 
after one another ? Have they not been preaching the same 
fables, and telling the same talcs about God's anger, the 
fountain of Jesus' blood, the lake of burning sulphur, and 
all the rest of that similar nonsense, for many centuries ? 

34. You have the kindness or unkindness to allude in 
some ralher uncomplimentary remarks to my work, "The 
World's Sages," etc. You pronounce it "untrustworthy" 
and "demonstrably incorrect." You may be right. It may 



228 THE HBMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

be wholly untrustworthy, but allow me to say in the most 
gentle manner that if I thought there were half as many 
errors of statement in it as there are errors of doctrine in 
your little volume of 130 pages on your favorite theme of 
"Hell and Damnation" — in which you labor so earnestly 
to prove an angry God, a personal Devil, a literal Hell of 
fire and brimstone in which hundreds of millions of help- 
less beings are to fry forever — I would get them all together 
nnd burn them to ashes. The facts contained in my vol- 
ume were taken from biographies and cyclopedias of the 
highest reliability, and I am very sure no fact was distorted 
or misrepresented. The information regarding moderns 
treated in the work was sometimes obtained from the par- 
ties themselves, and sometimes from near friends. I assure 
3^ou truth and accuracy were the ends kept in view. 

35. ' ' Infidels are unprogressive. . . Nearly a century 
has passed, and yet nothing better to offer a thinker than 
Paine's Age of Reason. . . The Infidels of to-day are 
living on old hash, cold hash, and re-hash." You certainly 
have the faculty of compressing untruth into a small space 
to a greater extent than any other person I can think of. 
There may be truth in your remark that there is nothing 
better than the Age of Reason. In its way it is hard to 
beat, and has never been refuted nor answered by your 
ablest clergymen. It will live long after you and I are for- 
gotten. But you are greatly mistaken in thinking that 
" thinkers " have had nothing given them since the Age of 
Reason. With your knowledge of the works of Humboldt, 
Darwin, Spencer, Mill, Tyndall, Huxley, Wallace, Amber- 
ley, Holyoake, Bradlaugh, Draper, and many others, it is 
most singular you should make such a statement. If we 
can always have such old hash or cold hash as the writings 
referred to, we think we shall thrive nicely. We greatly 
prefer it to the brimstone broth which you ladle out. 

36. Tour attempt to prove by phrenology that Infidelity 
is false appears to me futile, and as evidence of it I would 



THE H0MPHBEY-BENNBTT DISCUSSION. 229 

say that phrenology is strictly a natural science, and has no 
connection with the supernatural. Nearly all Freethinkers 
and scientists accept phrenology as being mainly a true sci- 
ence, which teaches that the brain is the organ of the mind, 
and that character corresponds to structure. 

37. The average sentiment of mankind is not against 
Freethought any farther than it is cramped and dwarfed by 
ecclesiasticism and superstition. Had it been, the Protes- 
tant religion would never have been known, and instead of 
you and I living to publish our opinions in an Infidel paper 
we would long since have been burned on a pile of pine 
wood carefully prepared by your Catholic mother whom 
you have so unceremoniously shaken. Martin Luther was 
a Freethinker for his time, and Infidels now are only finish- 
ing the work which he commenced — the demolition of the 
Christian religion. As fast as the human mind becomes 
emancipated from mythological and theological dogmas 
and errors, it is free to embrace the great truths of the Uni- 
verse, which practically constitute them Freethinkers or 
Infidels. The average sentiment of mankind is certainly 
opposed to Christianit3^ If the majority is to decide what 
is truth, your system could not get more than one vote in 
ten, taking the whole world into account. 

38. In your closing paragraph you make a very compli- 
mentary allusion to iSir Isaac Newton, and hold him up as a 
specimen of perfected manhood. Newton was a great man, 
and when he kept within the range of positive science he 
was mainly correct. But when he entered upon the realm 
of superstition he was perfectly at sea, and steered wildly. 
Biot, in his Life of Sir Isaac Newton, after giving a full 
account qf his work (Observations upon the Prophecies oE 
Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John), remarks: "'It will 
doubtless be asked, how a mind of the character and force 
of Newton's, so habituated to the severity of mathematical 
considerations, so accustomed to the observation of real 
phenomena, so methodical and so cautious even at his bold 



230 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION, 

est moments in physical speculation, and consequently so 
well aware of the conditions by which alone truth is to be 
discoTered, could put together such a number of conjec- 
tures without noticing the extreme improbability that is 
involved in all of them." "The only answer that can be 
given to this question is, that this work was written at a 
time w^hen Newton had almost ceased to think of science — 
that is, after the fatal aberration of his intellect in 1693." 
This is the answer, in brief, which Biot gives, and which is 
accepted not only by scientists, but by the majority of well 
informed theologians. 

Thus I have followed you through more than a third of 
a hundred errors and misrepresentations which you made. 
Several others I must leave unnoticed this time. In taking 
my leave of them, allow me to say I hope in the future you 
will be more careful and guarded in your statements. It is 
unpleasant to have to take so much time and space to cor- 
rect your mistakes. My replies would not need to occupy 
half the space they do were it not for correcting the egreg- 
ious errors you appear so capable of makmg. A public 
teacher like yourself ought to despise misrepresentation 
and untruth. 

You have a way of playing fast and loose with the Catholic 
Church. When it suits your convenience to claim what it 
has done as an honor to the Christian cause you readily 
count it in as of the true elect, but when its damnable enor- 
mities and abominations are in view, you find it equally as 
convenient to disown it. I think in my former reply I said 
sumething about the ingratitude of a child's turning against 
its mother and denouncing her as an old prostitute. Such 
conduct cannot be justified. You must remembe;- that all 
that Protestantism has she obtained from the Mother 
Church, and all that makes her any better than her crimi- 
nal mother is the modicum of Infidelity and independence 
she dared to espouse when she set up business for herself. 

Let me now fulfill my promise and give you an install- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 231 

iiicuL of the immoralities and crimes of distinguished patri 
j.rchs and saints of olden and modern limes, to serve as an 
offset to the short chapter of similar short-comings which 
you arrayed against prominent Infidels. As you seem to be 
fond of this kind of literature, it gives me pleasure to grat- 
ify your tastes in that direction. 

To begin with old Father Noah, we have Bible authority 
that he was a drunkard, and that he indecently exposed him- 
self while lying in a drunken debauch. That he cursed his 
grandson and his descendants to perpetual slavery because 
Ham laughed at old man Noah while thus lying drunk. 
This is held to be the cause of African slavery, which your 
own Church, the Presbyterian, has declared to be a divine 
institution, and regarded itself as an agent to sustain it. 

Lot was also guilty of drunkenness ancl of the horrible 
crime of incest. 

Abraham was not only a liar and an adulterer, but he 
turned the woman he had used as a wife, together with his 
own child, out in the wilderness to perish with hunger. 

Isaac was a liar and foolish dissembler. 

Jacob was a deceitful trickster, a liar, a swindler, an 
adulterer, a polygamist and a fraud. 

Keuben, son of Jacob, was guilty of cohabiting with his 
father's concubine. 

Judah, another son, was guilty of whoring on the public 
highway. 

Moses was a murderer, a bigamist, a thief, or the planner 
of wholesale theft, he was a tyrant, a slaughterer in cold 
blood of fifty to one hundred thousand women and chil- 
dren. He turned thirty-two thousand innocent girls over 
to his soldiers for the gratification of their brutal lusts. 

Aaron was an idolater and a manufacturer of gods, 

Joshua was a blood-thirsty slayer of the human race, a 
brigand, a robber and an appropriator of other people's 
property. 

Gideon, besides being a reveller in human blood, a rob- 



232 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

ber and despoiler, was a libertine — a regular Brigham 
Young. He kept many wives and concubines for his own 
use, and had seventy sons of his own begetting, not to 
count the daughters. 

Samson, another judge in Israel, was a murderer, a thief 
and a dallier with a Philistine prostitute. 

David, the sweet sieger in Israel, and the man after 
God's own heart, was a robber, brigand and murderer. He 
delighted in deeds of slaughter and bloodshed. He was 
very sensual, keeping many wives and concubines. He 
slyly watched the fair Bathsheba while she was caking a 
bath, had her conveyed to his own bed, committed adultery 
with her and then meanly and murderously caused her hus- 
band to be put to death, and from that adulterous source the 
Savior of man is claimed to have descended, but there is a 
serious break in the lineage. As a proof that David had the 
venereal disease very bad, I will refer you to Psalms xxxviii. 

Amnon, a son of David, raped and ravished his own 
sister. 

Absalom, another son, held adulterous connection with 
his father's concubines, and in view of all the people. 

Solomon, the son of David and Bathsheba, was the most 
lecherous man that ever lived. His seraglio consisted of 
seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. He 
was also a worshiper of idols. 

Skipping several hundred years of lecherous and murder- 
ous kings and rulers among the Jews, let us get down into 
the heart of the Christian Church and see if they are any 
better than unbelievers and pagans. 

Peter was guilty of lying and treachery. He flew into a 
passion and cut off a man's ear with a sword. 

Paul advocated lying and guilt, if by them his purpose 
could be achieved. 

Eusebius was a falsifier, forger, and Interpol ater. 

Constantine, the Great Christian Propagandist, murdered 
his own son, his nephew, his wife— in all, he put to death 



IJttB HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 233 

iitiven members of his own family — besides the numerous 
other murders of which he was guilty. 

St. Augustine was one of the most lecherous and dissi- 
pated men in Carthage. A thousand times worse than Ben- 
edict Arnold, he invited the Vandals under Genseric into 
Africa io ravage and destroy his own country. 

Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, v^as a pious pillager and 
a religious ruffian and has justly been styled "a bold, 
bad man." By his order the Alexandrian Library was de- 
stroyed. 

St. Cyril was an atrocious assassin. The horrible murder 
of ihe beautiful and talented Hypatia was ordered by him. 
Dioscorus, bishop of Alexandria, beat to death the bishop 
oi" Constantinople, while attending a Christian council. 

St. Alexander, another bishop of Constantinople, poi- 
soned Arius, a brother bishop. 

Macedonius passed over the bodies of three thousand 
men and women to obtain the bishopric of Constantinople. 
St. Cyprian was guilty of so many black and damnable 
crimes that it would take a volume to contain a recital 
of tliem all. The history of his foul deeds may be found in 
MosUeim and the Bihiioiheqe Universelle. 

Charlemagne, styled "The Pious Augustus, crowned of 
God," was a wholesale butcher, who, in one day, cut the 
throats of 4,500 Saxons because they would not consent to 
be oaptized. 

Clovis, " The Eldest Son of the Church," assassinated his 
relatives and all the princes eligible to the throne, and 
removed by treachery and murder all the heads of the 
Frankish tribes, and soaked the soil of Gaul with the blood 
of the Ariau proprietors. 

Theodosius, called the Great, massacred seven thousand 
defenseless persons in the circus of Thesalonica. 

Clotilda, wife of Clovis, and to whom he owed his con- 
version, caused, in her old age, two of her grandsons to be 
stabbed. 



234 THB HUMFHKBY-BENl^ETT DISCUBSION. 

Pope Joan, a prostitute, the head of the Church, aud 
vicar of Jesus Christ, it is claimed gave birth to a child 
in the streets while at the head of a religious procession. 

Pope Gregory the Great sanctified the most atrocious 
assassinations ever committed. 

The pious Phocus assassinated his Emperor Maurice. 

Pope John XII. was a drunkard, a profligate, and a mur- 
derer. He converted the papal palace into a brothel. He 
repeatedly raped widows, wives, and virgins while kneeling 
at his shrine, invoking his holy aid in the practice of re- 
ligious purity and piety. 

Pope Gregory VII. lived in open adultery with Countess 
Matilda. 

Pope Innocent III. was one of the crudest persecutors 
ever known. He caused hundreds of thousands of the 
virtuous Albigenses to be put to horrible deaths. He often 
used this expression: "Sword, whet thyself for vengeance.' 
This miglit have been the sword which the lovely Jesus 
spoke of having brought into the world in place of peace. 

Pope Alexander VI. was guilty of the most brutal and 
sensual conduct. He seduced his own daughter, and con- 
spired with his son to poison four cardinals. Poisoniog 
and gross licentiousness were his great delight. He was 
unquestionably one of the most licentious villains that ever 
lived. 

Pope John XXII, a pirate in early life, was guilty of 
simony, rape, sodomy, illicit intercourse with his brother's 
wife, and of debauching three hundred nuns. 

Pope Julius III. was a licentious brute. He committed 
sodomy with boys, men, and even cardinals. 

In fact, many of the popes and cardinals kept boys for 
the express purpose of sodomy, and the cardinals often 
committed this vile offense among themselves. Monks, 
priests, and friars were notoriously guilty of this damnable 
crime. 

St. Dominic was the founder of the ** Holy Inquisition," 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 235 

the cruelest and most damnable organization ever iaslituled, 
and whicli Victor Hugo claims caused the death of 5,000,000 
persons. 

Peter D. Arbuss was Inquisitor-General of Arragou, and 
caused the most cruel deaths to great uumbers of heretics. 

Pope Gregory IX. sent out bloody, murdering persecutors 
against the Albigenses, caused the death of a great number 
of men, women and children. 

Simon de Montfort was a monster in human form. He 
hung, gibbeted, butchered, slaughtered, and put to death in 
every cruel manner that pleased his fancy, thousands of 
hapless human beings whom he was pleased to regard as 
heretics; and this was kept up for years. 

Pope Alexander Hi issued an edict against those who did 
not entertain the riglit faith, and caused the death of great 
numbers. 

Pope Innocent VIII. directed his Nuncio to take up arms 
against the Waldenses and other heretics, and caused great 
slaughter among them. Blood was made to flow in 
rivers. 

The Christian Catherine de Medici, the notorious poi- 
soner, with her mad son, Charles IX., caused the butchery 
of 66.000 people. 

Duke Alva caused the death of 30,000 in the Netherlmds 
because their faith was not of the grade he demand&d. 

Torquemada, the cruel monster, was at the head of the 
Inquisition, and caused the death of eight thousand people 
in Spain because they did not agree with him in their opin- 
ions. 

Henry VIII. of England, " Defender of the Faith," burnt 
many men and women at the stake. He beheaded two of 
his six wives. 

The pious "Bloody Mary" burnt three hundred persons 
for diverging a trifle from her standard of the true faith. 

John Calvin, the great founder of Presbyterianism, was a 
tyrant and a murderer. He caused the death of two excel- 



26b THE HUSIPHEEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

lent men, Michael Servetus and James Gruet, for not enter- 
taining the required belief about the Trinity. 

Munzer, disciple of Luther, was a reckless agitator. At 
the head of 40,000 men he ravaged the country, bringing 
destruction on many. 

Claverhouse (Sir John Graham) was a marauding perse 
cutor who at the head of a force of fanatics and murderers 
spread desolation over much of England and Scotland. 

Oliver Cromwell ordered or permitted the massacre at 
Wexford, Ireland, of five thousand people, including three 
hundred who had gathered around a cross pleading for 
mercy. He also deluged the streets of Drogheda with 
blood, and gave God the credit for doing it. 

Cortez and Pizarro proved themselves cruel monsters in 
Mexico and South America. They put many to death for 
being heathens. 

Guy Lusignan, first king of Jerusalem, was a murderer. 

Louis XL was a cruel tyrant, who confined his dorbting 
subjects in iron cages, and put many to death. 

Bilhuaser Gerald, in a fit of religious zeal, committed 
murder. 

Revaillac assassinated Henry III. of France. 

Guy Fawkes, in the interest of the Romish Church, at- 
tempted to kill the king and both houses of Parliament. 

Jeffreys, the Christian judge, was the most infamous that 
ever sat on an English bench. 

Pandulph, the Pope's legate to the Court of England, 
though under a vow of celibacy, was found in bed with a 
prostitute. 

Archbishop Cranmer imported in a box a mistress from 
Germany, and she came near being suffocated by the box 
being left upside down. 

Cardinal Woolsey was a lecherous man and died of 
syphilis. 

Revs. Parr is and Cotton Mather, in Salem, Mass., perse- 
cute! many poor wretches to death upon the ground that 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 237 

ihey were influenced by witches. Parris stood calmly by 
while weights were piled upon an old man of eighty years 
until liis tongue protruded from his mouth, when Parris 
tried to poke it in again with his cane. The old man died 
in agony. 

Father Achillie was denounced in England by Cardinal 
Manning for the lowest licentiousnefis and filth. The 
father denied it most positively, whereupon Manning sent 
to Italy and procured witnesses who proved such an amount 
of lewdness, licentiousness, and vulgarity, as were before 
seldom proved against a man. The pious man ultimately- 
confessed all, but justified himself by claiming that he com- 
mitted the vile offenses when he belonged to the Roman 
Church, where such crimes were the common practice with 
the clergy. 

Bishop Armagh, Protestant, of West Ireland, was guilty 
of long continued sodomy with his coachman. Upon discov- 
ery both were compelled to flee the country. 

Bishop Onderdonk, of the Episcopal Church in this city, 
was deposed for being culpably guilty of lecherous conduct 
with many females, some of whom were wives of clergy- 
men, in his library J, and notoriously with his servant girls 
in all parts of his premises. 

Bishop Onderdonk, of Pennsylvania, brother to the 
above, was convicted of similar conduct, and retired in dis- 
grace. 

Rev. L. M. P. Thompson, of the Second Presbyterian 
Church in Cincinnati, regarded as the most able clergyman 
in the city, was guilty of whoring and promiscuous inter- 
course with many females. He was expelled from the min- 
istry, and after confession he united with the Synod at Buf- 
falo, and was allotted to a charge in Jamestown, but soon 
fell into the same carnal practices, and was again expelled 
from the Church. He is now traveling in Europe and act- 
ing as correspondent for a religious weekly. 

Rev. T. Turner, D.D., President of the English Wesleyan 



238 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

Conference, about 1850, was convicted of the seduction of 
several servant girls. He left England in disgrace, and next 
appeared in Australia. 

Rev. Epliraim K. Avery, of the Methodist Church, 
seduced a young girl and then murdered her. During the 
long, searching trial the church swore him through and did 
all they possibly could to screen him and keep him from 
the hands of justice. 

Rev. T. Marson, of the Methodist Book Concern, 1840, 
was guilty of seduction and disgraced. 

John Newland Maffit, Methodist, a great revivalist, was 
widely known in the Western States thirty and forty years 
ago. He talked and sung sweetly for Jesus, and pictured 
hell in its most lurid colors, and gave the devil his very 
blackest garb. His greatest love was for the dear sisters. 
In revival times it was a common thing for him to put his 
hand in their bosoms to see if they had the Holy Ghost, 
and to go home with some kind sister and stay all night. 
He committed adultery with the dears many scores of 
times and in various parts of the country. The lovely 
creatures deemed it a privilege to do for Bro. Mafflt 
anything he wanted. I have received many authentic 
statements of his antics with the sisters. A near and 
excellent fiiend of mine, Oscar Roberts, saw MaflSt on 
one occasion, in the private bed-room of one of the leading 
sisiers of the church at two o'clock in the morning. A 
bright fire m the vicinity brought them to the window, and 
they exposed themselves before they thought. This was 
during a big revival, and the next night he plead for Jesus 
as earnestly as ever, and there was a great inflowing of the 
spirit. 

Rev. E. W. Sehon, a great light of the Methodist Church 
iu the West, long a presiding elder, and afterwards at the 
head of an educational establishment, had adulterous inter- 
course with a prostitute late one evening in his own church 
in Louisville, Ky. He was a very amorous man, and went 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 239 

it "on the sly" with many of the good sisters. Many 
charges of this kind were brought against him. 

Rev. McCraig, El Paso, 111., was guilty of crim con with a 
lady of the place and had to leave. 

A clergyman of Detroit forsook his wife and went away 
with another woman. He resumed preaching in the far 
West and wrote back that he "hoped to meet his friends in 
heaven." 

Rev. Mr. Wesley, Geneseo, 111., ran away with another 
man's wife. 

Rev. E. P. W. Packard caused his wife to be confined in 
un insane asylum because she would not believe that a por- 
tion of the human race were destined to burn in hell for- 
ever. 

A Catholic priest of Evansville, Ind., was proved guilty 
of gross improprieties and immoralities with the young girls 
under his charge. 

A clergyman of England not long ago was convicted of 
forgery and other criminal conduct. 

Rev. Mr. Torrey, of the Conference of Western New 
York, was tried and convicted of holding assignations in 
li's church. After prayer-meetings a select few of the sis- 
ters would remain, the lights would be extinguished and 
several hours, and sometimes the whole night, would be 
spent iu sexual pleasure. A discovery was, however, made 
and the interesting game closed. He was removed to an- 
other field of labor. 

Rev, Henry Brown, Methodist, seduced a girl in Texas 
under promise of marriage. 

Rev. A. Q , D.D., now preaching in a prominent 

town in Massachusetts, officiated for a few weeks in 
Plymouth pulpit in 1875, for Henry Ward Beecher. Dur- 
ing his stay he was known to have adulterous intimacy with 
two fancy women on Fourth avenue in this city. He some- 
times had them both in bed at the same time. Proofs of 
this can be produced if called for. 



240 THB HUMPHBBY-BBNNETT DISCUSSION. 

A well known D.D. and LL.D., for many years President 
and Dean of one of the leading theological colleges of New 
England, was in the habit of committing sodomy with cer- 
tain students under his charge. He seduced for this pur- 
pose a pleasing young man, and the abominable practice 
was continued with him for sixteen years, and after the 
young man also became a D.D. professor in the same col- 
lege. This unnatural intercourse practically nnsexed the 
younger man and depraved his tastes. He married, but 
from consequent deficient virility growing out of the vile 
habit alluded to, his wife was dissatisfied and committed 
adultery with several of the professors of the college. This 
horrible case can be fully attested by a learned physician of 
this city, who gave the younger man surgical and medical 
treatment for the physical injuries he had sustained in that 
monstrous, criminal course of life. 

Rev. S C , D.D., of this city, was a well 

known whorist for more than twenty years. 

There is now preaching in Brooklyn a distinguished D.D. 
whom a friend of mine cured of gonnorhoea. The same 
medical friend has treated numerous elders, deacons, clasg- 
leaders, church stewards and church members ia almost 
countless numbers for private diseases. Among this class 
he has known many mere moral wretches whose history 
was too low and filthy to relate in the public press. Names 
can be given if insisted upon. 

Rev. Mr. Allen, of Cincinnati, in 1865 and 1866 was con- 
victed of intemperance and whoring. 

Rev. J. S. Bartlett, Milford, Ohio, was guilty of criminal 
intimacy with a pretty married woman of that town, who 
had no children. 

Rev. Mr. Linn, of Pittsburgh, was guilty of several im- 
proprieties with the ladies of his congregation. 

Rev. Maxwell P. Gaddis, an eloquent Methodist preacher 
of Cincinnati, a loud temperance lecturer and United States 
revenue collector under A. Johnson, was guilty of looseness^ 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 241 

whoring and drunkenness. His wife was also a loose char- 
acter, and had sexual connection with numbers of men. A 
pretty pair of pious cases, indeed I 

Kev. Miriam D. Wood, of Decatur, seduced Miss Emma 
J. Chivers. Result, a bouncing boy without a legal father. 
Rev. J. M. Mitchell, of Savanah, Ga., and formerly from 
Maine, was guilty of improprieties with females of his fold. 
When charged with the offences, he stoutly denied it, and 
asserted his innocence ; but when proofs accumulated and 
stared him in the face, he was compelled to confess to 
Bishop Beckwilh, that he was not only guilty of the offen- 
ces as charged, but that he had used the grossest falsehood 
in endeavoring to conceal his crimes. 

The embroglio between Rev. Dr. Langdon and Rev. Mr. 
Goodenough, and several other Reverends of the Methodist 
Book Concern of this city, is well remembered, when 
charges of dishonesty, embezzlement, falsehood, etc., etc., 
were freely made against each other. 

Rev. Mr. Lindsley, of Medina, N. Y., whipped a little 
child of his, three years old, for two hours and until it died. 
The excuse alleged by the reverend *'man of God" was, 
that the child would not obey its step- mother and say its 
prayers. He was imprisoned at Albion, and came near 
being lynched by an infuriated populace. 

A Methodist minister in Cheltenham, Pa., was boarding 
with the wife of one of the deacons of his church. The 
deacon had a blooming daughter of fifteen summers, with 
whom the parson became so much enamored that his pas- 
sions were greatly aroused. The mother of the young girl 
was justly shocked on a certain occasion to find the clerical 
gentleman in bed with her daughter. The pastor endeav- 
ored to explain the unfortunate occurrence to the satisfac- 
tion of the parent, by claiming that he must have got into 
the child's bed when asleep, but the story was not credited 
by the parents, and he was given twenty-foi;r hours to leave 
the neighborhood. 



343 THE HUMPH REY-BENXETT DISCUSSION. 

Rev. Dick Bottles, of Meridan, Mass., was arrested Tor 
stealing ham; but as lie is a son of Ham, possibly he thought 
he had a right to it. 

Rev. Charles A. Graber, pastor of the Lutheran church 
in Meriden, Conn., was accused of Beecher-like immorality, 
and of improper connection with the sisters. Like Beecher 
he denied it, but would not stand an examination, saying 
he preferred to resign his charge. 

Rev. Mr. Wilcox held a revival of several days' duration, 
several years ago in Northern Illinois. He was loud and 
earnest in his appeals for " dying sinners to come to Jesus;" 
but in due process of time it was found that during that 
religious revival the Rev. Mr. Wilcox had become the father 
of four illegitimate children. 

Rev, Mr. Dowling, Indianapolis, Ind., prominent among 
the Campbellites, committed adultery with his servant girl, 
and was seen in the act by persons from a higher window 
in a neighboring house. 

Abbe Joseph Chabert, a prominent Catholic ecclesiastic 
of Montreal, and Principal of the Government School of 
Art and Design, was on Sept. 25th, 1875, arrested on a 
charge of rape, committed on Josephine Beauchamp, a girl 
of fifteen years, and in his own room. Probably his saint- 
ship had indulged too much in celibacy, until the flesh re- 
belled against the spirit. 

Rev. John A. Hudkins, of Mount Airy, Ohio, was a big- 
amist, or rather a trigamist, having three wives at a time. 
He eluded justice by escaping to Canada. 

A Baptist clergyman of North Carolina was imprisoned 
for bastardy. The fine assessed against him was paid by 
members of his church, and when he was released from 
confinement the sisters of his congregation met him at the 
prison door and received him with open arms. 

Rev. W. H. Johnson, of Rahway, N. J., was convicted 
for stealing chickens, ftnd w?^s sentenced to prisoo for the 
offense. 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 246 

Rev. Luke Mills, of the Methodist church, Norwich, Ct., 
decamped with a considerable sum of money which had 
been collected for building a new church. He was also 
said to be guilty of irregularities with a female member of 
his congregation. 

A well known Episcopal clergyman of Covington, Ky., 
has several times partaken too freel}'' of intoxicating liquors, 
80 as to plainly show the effect it had upon him. On Christ- 
mas day of 1874 he preached a sermon in St. John's fash- 
ionable church in Cincinnati, and he was so fuddled with 
eggnogg and communion wine, his preaching was so strange 
and his language so incoherent that his condition was made 
known to all present. His mumbling became so senseless 
that the wardens made signals to the congregation, and in 
shame and disgrace they left the church and the drunken 
pastor to talk to empty benches. 

Rev. Mr. Warren, of Busset Hills, N. Y., resigned his 
charge at the special request of his congregation, because 
he was the husband of three living and undivorced wives. 
He asked to preach a farewell sermon, but they would not 
consent to it. It was only leniency on their part that pre- 
vented them from prosecuting him for bigamy and sending 
him to State prison. 

Rev. Mr. Deardofl, of Yates City, 111. , held a protracted 
meeting at that place, some time ago, and was one night in- ' 
vited by one of the sisters to go home with her and stay 
over night. Upon arriving there he began improper famil- 
iarities, and she not feeling in the humor for the like, and 
tearing herself away from his embrace, rushed to one of the 
aeighbors for safety. It is needless to say the protracted 
meeting came to a sudden termination, and the reverend 
gent proceeded to another field where the sisters were more 
accommodating. 

Rev. Mr. Curtiss not long since conducted a revival meet- 
ing at Piano, 111., and lived on '* chicken fixings" and the 
best the pious sisters knew how to get up for him. Clerical 



244 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

business called him to the village of Blackberrj^ where be 
put up at a hotel and staid over night. When he retired be 
was either so absorbed in the spirit, or in the flesh, that he 
accidentally got into bed with a woman not his wife. When 
discovered in the interesting situation by some over-curious 
individuals, he claimed that the little affair was entirely an 
accident. It is singular how many of these little accidents 
do take place. 

Rev. Dr. Fiske, upun a trial for adultery in Michigan, 
unlike many of his brothers of the cloth, honestly owned 
up as follows : "I frankly confess to the fearful sin which 
I am charged with, and I will not be a coward to lie or seek 
palliation-of my weakness and guilt. I have returned my 
letter of fellowship to the denomination I have so grievously 
stricken, and have abandoned the profession I have so de- 
plorably shamed. I am not a coward or sneak to make 
Adam's plea, that a woman did it. It was my own weak 
and unguarded soul that in a moment of frenzy and passion 
wrought my downfall!" This man was much more honor- 
able and honest than a majority of his brothers who are 
tried for similar offenses, and insist "through thick and 
thin," in the face of positive proof, that they are perfectly 
innocent. 

Rev. L. D. Huston, the clerical villain of Baltimore, was 
guilty of seducing and ruining several young, innocent 
girls, daughters of widows and other members of his 
congregation, who were sent to him for moral instruction. 
The fiendish ingenuity he employed in accomplishing his 
vile purposes was enough to strike one with horror. 

Rev. A. T. Thompson, Methodist, Cincinnati, O., was 
guilty of numerous criminal intimacies with married and 
unmarried females of his congregation, and also of gross 
intemperance. His conduct was of the most scandalous 
character. 

Rev. Dr. Griswold, of Maine, of South Carolina, and of 
•ther localities, was a noted '* ladies' man." His love adyeq- 



THE HUMPHREY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 246 

tures were numerous and spicy. He was also very fond of 
jovial and convivial company. He committed bigamy, hav- 
ing two wives at one time. 

Rev. E. F. Berkley, of St. Louis, was guilty of criminal 
intimacy with the " gen'Je ewe-lambs of the fold." Among 
them was Ella C. Perry of the immature age of 11 years. 

Rev. Washington W. Welch, near Holly, Mich., commit- 
ted a rape on Mrs. Louisa Green, the wife of a brother min- 
ister. 

Rev. Geo. Washburn, of the Lewiston and Bradford cir- 
cuit, Alleghany Co., N. Y., was engaged in courting several 
young ladies at the same time, and was under promise of 
marriage to two or more of them. 

Rev. Wm. Holt, near Paris, 111., whipped a widow woman 
with plow-lines. 

Rev. Thurlow Tresselman, in Annetia, N. Y., seduced 
several young ladies of his flock, and when unmistakable 
indications became so apparent that he was charged with 
the matter and about to be tried, he left the place very early 
one morning with the gay Mrs. Hurst, the wife of a gentle- 
man who was absent from borne. 

Rev. E. G. Ribble, of DeKalb Co., 111., seduced four 
young girls of the neighborhood, and ran away, leaving 
his wife and two children unprovided for. 

Rev. B. Phinney, of Westboro, Mass., was guilty of licen- 
tiousness with various females connected with his chL.rcb. 

Rev. Mr. Reed, of Maiden, was in the same category. 

Rev. I. S. Kalloch, of Kansas, while a resident of Massa- 
chusetts, visited a neighboring village with a woman not 
his wife, and hiring a room in a hotel for a short time, com- 
mitted adultery with her then and there, as testified to by 
an eye-witness. Mr. Kalloch, after this little affair, removed 
to Kansas, and for several years wallowed in the mire of 
politics; but not succeding just to his mind in obtaining 
offices, he for the second time turned his attention to min- 
isterial duties and pleasures. But sad to say, the lovely 



246 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

sisters once more proved too charming for him, and he 
wandered in by and forbidden paths. He was hauled up 
before the church authorities for his peccadilloes, and 
finally stepped down and out for a season; but he is said to 
be now once more imparting to his admiring hearers the 
will and requirements of God. 

Rev. Dr. Pomeroy, Secretary of the American Board of 
Foreign Missions, Boston, was proved to be a liberal patron 
of houses of ill-fame, where he freely used the money his 
confiding flock had donated for the conversion of foreign 
heathen. By his own confession, he had paid more than 
six thousand dollars to women of notorious character in 
that city. • 

Rev. Tunis Titus Kendrick, of Brooklyn, was proven 
guilty of drunkenness and other immoral conduct. He 
struggled for a long time to regain admission into the 
church from which he was expelled, but did not succeed. 

Rev. R H. Williamson, Wilkesbarre, Pa., (pastor of the 
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church) was guilty of visiting 
houses of Hi-fame, and of other immoral conduct. 

Rev. Mr. Smith, of Illinois, a few years ago drowned his 
wife in a shallow stream by holding her head under water. 

Rev. Father John Daly, Catholic, Montgomery, Mo., 
seduced a young girl nineteen years of age, named Lizzie 
McDonnell, whose mother had been housekeeper fur the 
priest for a long time. After getting her in a condition to 
soon become a mother he procured an abortion for her. The 
congregation were much excited in consequence, while a 
portion of the church authorities did all they could to 
smother the reports. 

Rev. Archibald Hiues, Knoxville, Tenn., was charged 
with stealing fifty cents from a bowl in the cupboard of one 
of his parishioners, and it made a great excitement among 
the saints. 

Rev. T. M. Dawson, Brooklyn, Cal.,left that locality and 
went to Nevada, leaving a number of his brethren, in the 



THE HDMPHREY-liEJSiJETT DISCUSSION. 247 

aggregate several thousands of dollars, in arrears, lie having 
invested for them in mining slocks. He was also, not long 
ago, divorced from his wife on the ground of desertion. 

Rev. George O. Eddy was deposed for bigamy at Glov- 
ersville, N. Y. 

Rev. Mr. Edgerton, same place, was afterwards charged 
with theft. He boarded at the Mansion House, and a ser- 
vant found a quantity of stolen towels, napkins, etc., in a 
satchel in his room. He was arrested and he left his watch 
in payment for his board biil. 

Rev. L. T. Hardy, a Baptist elder in Shelby ville, Ky., 
had a fall from decency. He eloped with one of the sisters 
of his congregation, and her brother pursued the pair in 
hot haste. 

Rev. J. A. Davidson, recent State lecturer for the Grand 
Lodge of Good Templars of Pennsylvania, was arrested at 
Erie for drunkenness and disorderly conduct and had a fine 
to pay. He is said to have organized more lodges than any 
other person in the State. 

Rev. J. M. Porter, Bethlehem, N. J., was deposed from 
the ministry and Christian fellowship by an ecclesiastical 
council for gross immorality in connection with the sisters 
of the church. 

Elder Sands, of the Baptist church in Hoosick, N. Y., 
formerly an insurance agent in this city, was charged with 
*' naughty " conduct with a ewe-lamb of his flock. He paid 
frequent visits to her, and one day her brother surprised 
them in very suspicious relations together. An investigat- 
ing committee was appointed to enquire into the case. The 
girl was entirely mum and had no communication to make 
on the subject. The elder confessed to having his hands 
under the youag lady's clothes but further than that deposed 
not. The affair, however, was smoothed over and hushed 
up, and the gay Lothario still breaks the bread of life to the 
faithful. 

Rev. G. W. Porter, Methodist, recently had a trial at 



248 THE flOMPHBEY-BENNETr DISCUSSIOK, 

Danbyborougli, Vt., for adultery with Miss Hattie Allen. 
The young lady was on the witness stand nine hours and 
made a clean breast of the affair, making the preacher's 
guilt most apparent to all present. 

Rev. John W. Hanna, Presiding Elder, and the most 
prominent Methodist preacher in the State of Tennessee, 
and one of the ablest lights in the Episcopal Church South, 
had recently in Muiphysboro, Tenn., a trial before a 
church investigating committee, consisting of Bishop 
McTyeirie and five prominent clergymen, for gross immor- 
ality in writing a lascivious letter to Miss Parilla Nailor for 
trying to seduce lier from the path of virtue and to yield 
herself to his lustful embrace. In his amorous suit he di- 
rected the attention of the young lady to the seventh chap- 
ter of Solomon's Songs, hoping the sensuous character of 
that portion of " God's Word " would aid him in his unholy 
enterprise. Fortunately the young lady's brother inter- 
cepted the base letter and detected the hoary, clerical 
lecher. Upon exposure he became verj penitent and ac- 
knowledged in great sorrow his criminal folly. The love 
of Jesus in his case was altogether insufficient to keep him 
pure and upright. 

Rev. John S. Glendenning, of Jersey City, N. J., it will 
be remembered had a long trial for the seduction of Mary 
E. Pomeroy, who deposed with her dying breath that he 
was the father of her child, and that he had seduced her. 
Although the clergyman boldly and persistently asserted 
his innocence, the public were satisfied that he was a basely 
guilty man. He subsequently removed to Henry county, 
Illinois, and preached to the faithful there. 

Rev. W. H. Batler, pastor of St. Luke's church, (Lu- 
theran) of New York, was arraigned before the church 
authorities for deceiving a young lady under promise of 
marriage. He was requested to resign his charge and he 
had the good sense to do so. 

Rev. Austin Hutchinson, of Vermont, was charged by 



THE flUMPHBEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 249 

his own daughter, Ida, with being the father of her babe 
five months old, she asserting the fact with great persist- 
ency. 

Rev. Benjamin F. Bowen, Cold Spring, N. Y., was tried 
for malicious trespass. 

Rev. L. L. Copeland, of Vermont, and a revivalist of 
some note, was denounced as a rascal. The credentials 
upon which he entered the ministry, even, were proDOunced 
forgeries, and he was accused of being a swindler and a 
bigamist. 

Rev. J. H. Todd, of Sioux City, Iowa, played an unmanly 
trick upon his wife. While she was mending his pants he 
slipped out of the house and eloped with a milliner. 

Rev. A. B. Burdick, of River Point, R. I., was guilty of 
improprieties of a social character with female lambs of his 
flock. Eight witnesses testified pointedly against him, his 
guilt was unmistakably established, and he was compelled 
to " step down and out." 

Rev. K. N. Wright and Rev. Mr. Kristeller, both con- 
tested for the same pulpit at Newbridge, K Y. The first 
had preached there a year, and was opposed to leaving. 
The second was appointed by the Conference to succeed 
him. The first refused to vacate; hence the quarrel. The 
Church divided as to the two claimants, some joining one 
side, and some the other. The quarrel waxed very warm 
until the saints shook their fists at each other in a very un- 
godly manner. 

Rev. A. W. Torrey, Kalamazoo, Mich., was tried by the 
Church for falsehood, and found guilty. 

Rev. Mr. Coleman, of the M. E. Church, in E. Janesville 
Circuit, Iowa, was held in $5,000 bonds for committing a 
rape on a girl thirteen years old. 

Rev. Mr. Parshall, Oakland, Cal., was not long ago tried 
by a church council for lascivious conduct with sisters of 
the congregation. He was convicted and left town. 

Rev. John Hutchinson, Episcopal, Boston^ was sent to the 



250 THE HTJMPHBBY-BEKNETT DISCUSSION. 

House of Correction for eight months, for swindling George 
Allen out of a thousand dollars. 

Rev. A. W. Eastman, West Cornwall, 0., was expelled 
from the Baptist Church for immorality. 

Another Baptist clergyman at Sabin, Mich., was detected 
in too much familiarity with some of the sisters, and ran 
away to avoid the shame of exposure. 

Rev. Wm. Rice, Methodist, Mason, Mich., was convicted 
of adultery. 

A pious reverend in Warren, McComb Co., Mich., was 
charged with violating a dozen tchool girls and swearing 
them to secrecy on the crucifix of the church. He ran 
away to escape exposure. 

Rev. D. M. White, Presbyterian, Pittsburg, Pa., was 
sent to State prison for two years for stealing money. 

Rev. D. S. K. Rinp, same place, was charged by a young 
woman with sexual irregularities. 

Rev. Dr. Wm. G. Murray, rector of the Central Church, 
Baltimore, got druck and was extremely profane. 

Rev. A. Steclson plead guilty to the charge of too much 
intimacy with the sisters. 

Rev. James Reedsdolph, Methodist, Adrian, Mich., was 
sent to the Detroit House of Correction for sixty days, for 
false pretenses and getting drunk. 

Rev. Mr. Reynolds, Muhlenburg Co., Ky., brutally and 
repeatedly whipped his daughter, eighteen years of age, to 
force her to marry a man Fhe did not love. 

Rev. Hiram Meeker, Granville, N. Y., was convicted of 
fornication and adultery. 

Rev. H. Foster, Circleville, O., was compelled to marry 
his servant girl whom he had seduced. 

Rev. John Seeley Watson, Kansas, murdered his wife. 

Rev. Mr. Johnson, Williamson Co., Tenn., seduced a girl 
fourteen years of age. 

Rev. E. S. Whipple, Baptist, of Hilsdale College, Mich., 
seduced a deacon's wife, and when charged with the 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 251 

crime was compelled to confess it. He afterwards prayed 
with the deacon and his wife. The deacon must haye 
enjoyed that. 

Rev. Richard Dunlap, Baptist, Midland, Mich., was con- 
victed of adultery with a Mrs. Burnett. 

Rev. Mr. Davis, same denomination, was arraigned for 
adultery with sister Brunk. 

Rev. Mr. Kirby, Chambersbnrg, 0., was fined $200 for 
seduction. 

Rev. Malcolm Clark, superintendent of the Sunday - 
school, Howard, Mich., ran away with $400 belonging to 
his mother-in-law, and also forged her name to obtain 
other money. 

Rev. Mr. White, Washington, Pa., was found guilty of 
seduction. 

Rev. J. H. Rose, Baptist. Hartford, Mich., was guilty of 
forgery. 

Rev. Jay H. Fairchild; leading Congregational clergy- 
man of Boston, after honorable service in the pulpit many 
years, was guilty of intercourse with the sisters. Left 
Boston, went to Exeter, was tried for seduction. Confessed 
that he had bound the young girl by a solemn oath not to 
divulge that she ever knew him. He attempted to preach 
again in Boston but was not successful ; was charged by the 
public press with the crime; brought suit for libel, and 
upon full exaoiination of the case was defeated. 

Rev. Dr. Fay, a very eminent divine of Boston for over 
twenty-five years, had been esteemed and beloved by his 
Church; committed fornication and adultery; was charged 
with it; denied it and swore that he was innocent. A Church 
Committee examined the case, were disposed to clear him ; 
were about to report him innocent when one of them. Dr. 
Hooper, said he could not sign the report, and proposed to 
adjourn for a fuller examination. When Dr. Fay heard this 
he begged them not to adjourn; said he had a communi- 
cation to present, when he confessed his crime in full. 



253 THE HUMPHRET-BEKNETT DISCtJSSION. 

Rev. Mr. Strasburg, First Presbyterian Chiirch at Albany, 
large congregation of influential citizens, and those con- 
nected with State government, an able, eloquent, and pop- 
ular preacher. Accused of debauchery, herding with 
negroes, and of the lowest and dirtiest conduct. Was put 
on trial, found guilty and deposed. Thus was prematurely 
hushed a voice eloquent for Jesus. 

Rev. Mr. Southard, son of Senator Southard from New 
Jersey. Was founder of the Calvary Episcopal Church in 
this city. Accused of gross immoralities. The church 
tried to shield him, but his character was deemed so base 
that he could not continue preaching here; went to Newark 
and founded the "Home of Prayer; was kicked out, and 
went South, dividing his time while there between the pul- 
pit and low dens of prostitution in southern cities. He died 
drunk in a low brothel in New Orleans. 

Rev. Augustus Duolittle (or St. Clair, as he sometimes 
called himself), preached at Hoosic Falls, and was accused 
of unlawful intimacy with a wife of one of the deacons of 
his church. Was first charged with the guilt by a single 
person, who was beset and persecuted. Additional proofs 
came to light, and after several months the seductive saint 
confessed in full that the crime had been committed by him 
on numerous occasions for several. 

Prof. Webster, a pious Christian, connected with the 
leading universities of Boston, murdered Dr. Parkman, etc. 
Denied his crime most persistently, but the jury had suflS- 
cient proofs to find him guilty, and he w^as duly executed. 

The Rev. Dr. Reed, Congregational, Maiden, Mass., waa 
guilty of most heinous crimes with youths of both sexes, 
and children even. Was proved guilty of most disgusting 
and revolting crimes. 

Rev. Mr. Pomeroy, Congregational, preached in a fashion- 
able church in Bangor, Me. Was Secretary of American 
Board, a position of high honor and trust. Was followed 
to houses of ill-fame in Boston, in tjiis city and in cities of 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 253 

the West. Denied that he was guilty of any impropriety, 
but claimed that he visited those places to* reform the sinful 
inmates. He was charged, tried, condemned and deposed. 

Rev. Charles Rich, from Boston, was settled over a most 
respectable church in Washington, the one in which Dr. 
Sunderland preached for several years afterwards. He was 
convicted of immoralities and indecencies unfit to be named, 
and died in disgrace. 

Rev. Mr. Thompson, Presbyterian, preached in Buffalo, 
and afterwards in Arch street, Philadelphia, was over and 
over again charged with adultery. Was tried several times, 
but managed through the sharp practice of friends to 
escape. 

Rev. Mr. Johnson, of the Evangelist, a very pious man, a 
loud advocate of temperance, was several times seen in the 
third tier of the theater drinking with low prostitutes and 
acting disgracefully. He was tried and deposed in disgrace. 

Rev. Dr. Magoon, at this time President of Jones Col- 
lege, a Congregational institution, was guilty of very 
licentious conduct with females of his congregation. Was 
tried, convicted and deposed. But after confessing and 
humbling himself was taken back into fellowship and set 
to preaching again. 

Rev. Horace C. Taylor, one of the chiefs of the church 
at Oberlin, O., was guilty of seduction, was tried, con- 
victed and imprisoned. Was afterwards restored to the 
ministry, but he fell again and was more sinful than before. 

Rev. Richard Fink, of Grand Rapids, Mich., was in 1874 
found guilty of adultery with a young sister of his church. 
He was eloquent, popular and highly esteemed. The case 
was so plain against him that he readily resigned. 

Rev. Joseph Stillim, Winchester, Pa., was charged with 
ruining a young lady, Miss Sarah Hall, who stood high in 
the society of that locality. The great disgrace rendered 
her insane, but in her lucid moments she averred that the 
reverend gentleman quoted scripture to her to prove that 



254 THE HUMPH KEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

his conduct was in keeping with the word of God. She 
unfortunately trusted too much in a false shepherd. 

Father Forham, of the Catholic church, Chicago, was 
charged with and tried for embezzling several thousand 
dollars that belonged to the church. He claimed that a 
part of the money was won by gambling in a church fair, 
that there was no legal owner of it, and that he had as 
much right to it as any one. He was held in $5,000 bail. 

Rev. Alfred K Gilbert, of Baltimore, had charges pre- 
ferred against him by members of his own church for sinful 
intimacies with a grass widow also belonging to his congre- 
gation. The widow was induced to leave, and the matter 
was piously hushed up, and the pastor's preaching and 
praying were resumed. 

Rev. A. J. Russell, Melllodis^, preached in Berrien Springs, 
Mich., in the year 1876, holding one or two revival meetings 
during the time, and securing quite a number of converts. 
He also developed a great amount of "true inwardness." 
On one occasion he met a young ladj^ member of his church 
and went home with her. The family bcir.g absent, he fol- 
lowed her into her private room and attempted to bestow a 
" h.o\y kiss," a la Beecher. The young lady, a school teacher 
of most excellent character, demurred to the proceedings, 
and exposed the reverend rascal; but for this the elders 
advanced him to higher honors in the church. 

Rev. Mr. Humpslone, Malta, N. Y., in consequence of 
a churcli difficulty, tendered his resignation in April, 1875. 
On the following Sunday it was arranged that the Rev. Mr. 
Ci)ok should officiate in his place; but as he did not appear, 
it was suggested by a member that brother Humpstone read 
the services. Dr. Bellinger opposed the proposit'on and 
rebuked the brother for makiug it. When brother Hump- 
si one arose to speak, Dr. Bellinger ordered him to sit down. 
The ex-pastor would not be thus suppressed. The con- 
tending parties then clinched, and a disgraceful fight ensued. 

Rev. J. K. Stillwell, of Logansport, Ind., was brought 



THE HUMPUREY-BBNNETT DISCUSalON. 355 

before the Church for making improper advances to the 
sisters of his flock. A clear case was made against him, 
and without adding falsehood and perjury to his other 
crimes, he had the discretion to confess his offenses, resign 
his charge, and leave the place. The local papers regretted 
the circumstance, more especially as it came in the midst of 
a successful revival, which was sensibly checked by the 
publicity of the clerical scandal. 

Rev. Thomas Barnard, of London, recently got disgrace- 
fully drunk, and in that condition went to the Globe Thea- 
tre, where Lydia Thompson was cDgaged. That evening a 
new piece was put upon the stage, in which Mrs. Thompson 
did not appear. This so enraged the drunken parson that 
he stamped, shouted and hissed to such an extent that a 
policeman arrested him and took him to prison. 

Rev. J. J. Reeder, a young clergyman, went in 1874 to 
New Milford, Pa., and studied for a time under the Rev. 
E. F. Bledsoe, pastor of the Methodist church in that vil- 
lage. Subsequenily he was sent to Newark, N. J., Confer- 
ence to fill a vacancy at that place. The young divine 
proved to be popular, especially with the younger sisters of 
the society, with whom he spent the most of his time. He 
afterwards manifested a great fondness for horse-flesh. He 
traded in fast horses, and soon obtained the reputation of 
being a good judge of equine stock. He finally purchased 
a valuable horse, for which he gave his note; but just be- 
fore it became due he suddenly decamped for parts un- 
known, leaving many unpaid bills behind. In his hasty 
flight he left, his trunks and books, which were sold to pay 
his debts; but unfortunately they went but a short way 
towards paying them. It is not known in what part of the 
moral vineyard he is now laboring. 

Rev. Charles S. Macready, of Middleboro, Mass., on May 
20, 1875, commited suicide by cutting his throat with a razor. 

Rev. J.. J. Howell, Presbyterian, Minneapolis, Minn., 
hung himself in May, 1875. 



356 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

Rev. Samuel B. Wilson, of the First Presbyterian Church, 
Louisville, Ky., was in May, 1875, deposed by the Presby- 
tery for immoral conduct. 

Rev. John W. Porter, in the Winter and Spring of 1875, 
had a charge at Van Sycles Corners, Huntington Co., N. J. 
In addition to preaching, he also taught school. It turned 
out that the villain basely seduced one of his young female 
pupils named Silenda Stires, daughter of Peter W. Stires, a 
well-to-do farmer in the neighborhood. While she was yet 
a mere child, she was about to become a mother. Upon 
being questioned, she informed her parents of the nature of 
the lessons the clergyman had taught her. When con- 
fronted by the injured father, the villain confessed the 
crime, and turned over his horse and buggy to partly make 
amends for his shameful conduct, and with his heart-broken 
wife, took the first train for another field of labor. 

The case of Henry Ward Beecher is fresh in the minds 
of all; of his various liasons with the females of his flock, 
particularly with Mrs Elizabeth R. Tilton. His protracted 
trial of six months for the crime of adultery: the amount of 
damaging testimony that was arrayed against him, his 
confession, etc., axe not forgotten. Probably twenty-five 
millions of the people of America believe him guilty not 
only of the offense charged against him, but also of the 
most barefaced perjury, when for thirteen consecutive days 
he swore positively that he had not done it. He still fills the 
pulpit as a spotless shepherd, to lead the little lambs to the 
arms of Jesus. 

Lucius M. Pond, of Worcester, Mass., a zealous leader in 
the Methodist Church, and very active in all religious 
movements, committed forgeries to the amount of $100,000, 
and borrowed and purloined all he could obtain, after 
which he suddenly left and had it given out that he 
had been murdered for his money. He intended to 
have gone to Australia, but was arrested in San Francisco 
and was brought back, convicted and puuished. 



THE HUMPHREY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 2^1 

Rev. Aug. C. Stange, Presbyterian, of Patterson, N. J., 
was guilty of gross improprieties with Sister Pfennibuker 
in the church. He was tried and acknowledged his 
guilt. The sister, however, accused the clergynian of 
forcing her contrary to her wishes. 

Rev. John James Thompson, of Orange Co., N. Y., was 
arraigned for making a criminal attack upon a young female 
member of bis church. The plea made in his defense was 
insanity. There has been too much of that kind of insanity 
about. 

Rev. Ambleman Wright, of Whitestown, N. Y,, by pres- 
ents of money, coaxing, etc., induced a little girl of twelve 
3''ears to yield her body to his lusts. He was a man with a 
wife and married daughters. 

Rev. Fred. A. Bell, of Brooklyn, was charged with mak- 
ing improper advances to Mrs. Mary Morris, a member of 
his church. 

L. K. Strauss, superintendent of the Sunday-school in 
Huntington Co., Pa., and deemed a very exemplary Chris- 
tian, seduced one of the teachers. Miss West. The crimi- 
nal practices were continued a long time until the young 
lady became stricken with remorse and confessed. He was 
tried and fined $4,500. 

Rev. E. D. Winslow, of Boston, swindled confiding banks 
and financiers out of $500,000 and left suddenly and has not 
yet returned 

Rev. J. J. Kane was sued by his wife for a divorce on 
account of inhuman treatment. 

Elder Doolittle was tried in the Juneau county. Wis., 
Circuit Court on a charge of incest and adultery. The 
testimony was conclusive, he wa^; found guilty and was 
sentenced to six years' imprisonment in the State prison at 
Waupun. He was over sixty-three years old, and one of his 
victims was a simple-minded girl, his own niece. 

Rev. F. W. May, presiding elder of the Methodist church, 
Chesaning, Mich., was guilty of grossly immoral practices 



258 THE HtJMPHRBY-BBNNETT DIBCUSSlON. 

with several of the sisters. A number of them testified 
against him. 

Rev. Henry A. Heath, Methodist, formerly of Maine and 
later of Morrison, Dl., was a lecherous old hypocrite. He 
left his wife in Maine and committed adultery with numer- 
ous females, both pious and not pious. His crimes were 
many and black. 

Rev. Joseph M. Berry was tried by his church in Ash- 
ville, N. C, for drunkenness and adultery, and was found 
guilty. 

Rev. Jonathan Turner, Methodist, Fourth street, Phila- 
delphia, was arraigned for embezzling from Mr. Myers 
and was held in $1,000 bail. 

Rev. F. F. Rea, of Durham, Conn., was expelled from 
the Congregational church for drunkenness. 

Rev. Seth B. Coats, of Dallas City, 111., was tried for im- 
proper conduct with the females of his congregation, both 
single and married. The testimony was explicit and unfit 
for publication. 

Rev. Mr. Parker, Presbyterian, Ashland, Ky., eloped with 
a young girl, daughter of a deacon of the church, and leit 
a wife and several children. 

Rev. Francis E. Buffum, Congregationalist, was tried at 
Hartford, Conn., for holding criminal intercourse with 
Miss Cora Lord, who lived in his family. He procured an 
abortion upon the young woman. His wife left him and 
sued for a divorce. 

Rev. Mr. Kendrick seduced a little girl, the organist of 
his church, and but thirteen years of age. He did it with 
cheap jewelry and a twenty-five cent penknife. 

Thomas W. Piper, sexton of a Boston church, ravished 
a child five years old, named Mabel Young, and murdered 
her in the belfry of the church. 

Rev. E. S. Fitz, Southampton, Mass., was tried for very 
improper conduct with the sisters. The evidence was of 
the most spicy character and rather unfit for publication. 



THE HUMPHKEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 259 

The brethren and sisters did all they could to screen him, 
but his guilt was too apparent. 

Rev. G. M. Davis was caught by his wife in a very im- 
proper coHDection with another lady, and this in the church. 
Much excitement in consequence. 

Rev. D. Ellington Burr, of EUardsville, Mo., was tried 
and suspended for three years for using intoxicating liq- 
uors, and being criminally intima.te with women. 

Rev. J. B. Patterson, Presbyterian, Elizabeth, N. J., 
upon an examination being instituted, confessed to being 
guilty of drunkennsss and immoral conduct with the sisters. 
He was very contrite. • i 

Rev. James Regan, Methodist, Madison, Ind., was de- 
posed for improper intercourse with Mrs. McHenry, a beau- 
tiful widow. The crime was committed on board a steam- 
boat on ihe Ohio River. 

Rev. C. D. Lathrop was expelled by the First Congrega- 
tional Church of Amherst, Mass., for cruelty to his family, 
and other unchristian conduct. 

Rev. Arthur Watson, Protestant, Killowen near Kinman, 
over fifty years of age, killed his wife by shooting her. 

Rev. E. P. Stemson, of Castleton, JST. Y., was found 
intoxicated in the streets of this city and was arrested by 
officer R3 ckman. The Judge in kindness let him off. 

Rev. Thomas B. Bott, of one of the Baptist churcbes in 
Philadelphia, has had many charges preferred against him 
for lascivious conduct with various females. The last one 
was Miss Louisa Younger, daughter of one of the deacons 
in his church. It was proved that he visited her at unsea- 
sonable hours, that they passed several days together at a 
place of Summer resort; they went in bathing together, and 
he was seen in a nearly naked state in her private room. 
She was seen sitting in his lap, and they were kissing each 
other, etc. He has a wife and family, and the latest news 
in reference to him is that his wife has brought suit against 
him for neglect and desertion. 



260 THE HUMPa^EY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

Thus, Brother Humphrey, I have given you quite an in- 
stallment of the crimes and shortcomings of that class of 
our fellow-citizens who would have it.understood that they 
are nearer to God than the masses of the people, that they 
are favored with an extra amount of aid from on hia;h, and 
have more influence at the Throne of Grace than the aver- 
age of mankind. I assure you though I have gone into the 
subject at some length, that it is by no means exhausted. 
I can furnish you with a good deal more of the same kind 
should you wish it. 

I have simply mentioned the names of several of the 
characters and their crimes, without giving a moiety, even, 
of the damnable practices of -which they were guilty. I 
have now in course of preparation a work, which will be 
out in a few months, entitled '• The Champions op the 
Church; or. Biographical Sketches of Eminent Christians." 
It will be an octavo of one thousand pages, and will contain 
a history of much that has been done by the characters 
above named, and by many others, in the name of Chris- 
tianity. Such as wish to inform themselves of many of the 
facts in the rise and progress of Christianity, its crimes and 
excesses, its persecutions and executions, its wars and mas- 
sacres, its licentiousness and immoralities, will find in the 
" Champions of the Church" the information they seek. 

I may mention in connection with the clergy of America, 
that more of them have been hung in the last twenty-five 
years than of Infidels. More of them are in our States 
prison for capital offenses. As compared with actors, who 
are often denounced as a wicked class, according to ,statis- 
tics carefully compiled, clergymen have committed more 
murders than actors in the proportion of twenty to one, 
and they exceed actors in about the same proportion in 
seductions and adulteries. 

If the charges you made against Infidels (if true) prove 
them to be bad men and in error, does not the array of 
facts that I have presented against the American clergy 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 261 

incontestibly prove them not only weak and bad mes, 
but utterly unworthy to be looked upon as guides and 
leaders of the young and inexperienced, and entirely mis- 
taken in the superiority of the system they advocate ? Can 
a good tree bear so much had fruit ? 

It must be borne in mind that the instances of clerical 
criminality here noted are but a small part of the cases that 
actually occur. But fuw of those that have been made 
public are named here, and not one case in fifty is suffered 
to come to light. "For the good of the cause" every in- 
stance of this kind is smothered and covered up that can be, 
and it is only here and there a case comes to the ear of the 
public. But those that are known, are enough to appall 
the stoutest hearts and strike conviction deep into the 
thinking men and women of the country, that they are sup- 
porting a fallible and useless class of privileged characters 
that would be doing far better were they engaged in some 
honest and useful calling, producing something or manu- 
facturing something of value to the human race. 

The fact is, the priesthood, as a class, have for thou- 
sands of years, and under various systems of religion, 
been living upon the credulous masses and drawing their 
support from the patient, submissive toilers who are willing 
to labor for them. The priesthood have never been a pro- 
ducing class. They have not grown what they have needed 
to eat, nor spun and woven what they needed to wear, but 
they have fed upon the best of food and have been clad in 
the finest broadcloths, linens, and furs, because it has 
been superstitiously supposed that they were mediators 
between the gods and the people, and were able to tell the 
gods what the people wanttd of them, and in return give 
the will of the gods to the people. I mean nothing personal 
in this, friend Humphrey. I entertain much respect for you 
and believe you honest and sincere, but I think 1 have 
correctly stated the character of the priests of the 
world. 



263 THE HTJMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

Let me state, too, that they are all upholding systems of 
superstilion and error. Whether priests of Brahma, Ormuzd, 
Fohi, Osirus, Zeus, Jupiter, Odin, Thor, Allah or Jehovah, 
it is all the same. Their rule is to hoodwink the people 
and to draw their support from them, without rendering 
a just equivalent in return. 

All the religions of the world have been handed down 
from the ages of prehistoric barbarism, myths and super- 
stition. The Christian religion is no exception to this rule. 
It is made up of Judaism and Paganism. I make the asser- 
tion and call upon you to disprove it, that Christianity con- 
tains not an original dogma, rite, sacrament or point of be- 
lief. Everything upon its programme was borrowed from 
the Jewish and Pagan theologies, and largely the latter. 

The fundamental legend or idea of a son of God being 
born of a virgin w^as old long before the birth of Christi- 
anity. The conception of Virgin and child dates away 
back thousands of years. The Egyptians had their Isis 
(virgin) and infant three and four thousand years ago. The 
Hindoos, the Persians, the Egyptians, the Siamese, the 
Thibetians, the Grecians, the Scandinavians and many other 
nationalities had similar legends. There have been— accord- 
ing to the old legends— at least forty different saviors and 
redeemers born into the world, and a large proportion of 
I hem of virgins and of deific paternity. Nearly half of 
them, after a life of holy teaching, performing miracles, 
leading obscure lives, it has been believed were crucified 
for the salvation and happiness of mankind. 

Ihe symbol of the Cross has been used in the religions of 
the world fully three thousand years. That and the steepU 
were handed down from the Phallic worship. 

Baptism by water was practiced as a pagan rite centuries 
before Christianity had an existence. 

Fasting, Prayer and Praise were employed thousands of 
years before Christianity began. The Trinity and the Holy 
Ghost were early pagan conceptions. 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 26o 

The existence of a devil and demons was believed in by 
pagan nations long before there were any Christians to be- 
lieve in them. 

Confession of sios, monasteries, monks, nuns, the eucha- 
rist, anointing with holy oil, belief in a day of judgment, in 
the resurrection of the body, in angels and spirits, the sec- 
ond birth, belief in sacred writings or bibles, holiness, 
repentance, and humility, prevailed among pagans many 
centuries before there was a Christian in the world. This 
can be fully substantiated, and if it is not true, I call upon 
you in the most earnest manner to disprove it. 

If what I have stated is the truth, it follows that the great 
system of Christianity, which you and millions of others 
venerate, is simply modified Paganism, and that the story 
of Jesus, his miraculous birth, his moral teachings, his 
band of , followers, his ignominious death upon the cross, 
and all the rest of it, is a mere clumsy rehash, or plagia- 
rism of the old pagan fables. I am honestly of the opinion 
that this is the case, and that a man of your intelligence and 
research ought to be able to see it and understand it. 

I charge you, then, with supporting and defending a bor- 
rowed system of myths and superstitions handed down 
from the ages of darkness and ignorance, and that the 
supernaturalism upon which it is founded is untrue and 
impossible. 

I should rejoice could you become a convert to the truth 
ns it is in the Universe and is revealed by science, and if 
you could freely discard all belief in gods, devils, hobgob- 
lins, lakes of sulphur, etc., until you have some proof of their 
existence, and reject every oreed and dogma that depends 
upon supernaturalism or the setting aside of the immutable 
laws of Nature. 

I am sincerely yours, 

P. M. Bennett, 



264 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCtTBSIOHo 

MR. HUMPHRBT. 

Mr. D. M. Bennett, Dear Sir : It seems to me that you 
have resorted to some rather imbecile arguments ; at any 
rate, I think that, were I to make use of similar ones, you 
would be among the first to belittle them. For instance, 
you meet my observation on the equal silence of Herodotus 
about Rome and Jerusalem by saying that "he may have 
also visited Rome, and his allusions to that city may have 
been in the portions of his works that are lost," Right here 
let me ask two questions : 1st. May it tot be as fairly pre- 
sumed that his promised but missing history of Assyria, or 
Syria, as the Greeks called it, contained "allusions" to 
Palestine and Jerusalem ? 2nd. What would you say of a 
Christian critic, if he should base an explanation of a diffi- 
cult passage of Scripture on the supposed contents of some 
of the lost documents frequently mentioned in the Old Tes- 
tament? Again, you plead for Byron that "had he lived 
to late manhood, it may be well supposed he would have 
'sowed his wild oats,' and become a staid and exemplary 
member of society." Tell the candid truth now, Mr. Ben- 
nett: would you show any respect for a prospective apology 
of that kind for a wayward professor of religion? I am 
afraid we should have to hunt up your "lost works " to 
find an instance of such a thing. Speaking of my exposure 
of some leading Infidels, you say: "But really, what does 
it all prove? It proves that unbelievers are human beings, 
and have sometimes made mistakes. What class of men is 
there in the world, that, running over their records for hun- 
dreds of years, as many charges could not be brought 
against them ?" That is very nice. Of course, you will not 
object to throwing the same cloak of charity over the " mis- 
takes" of the professing Christians whom you have enumer- 
ated. A good rule always works both ways. 

A few weeks ago, I saw a couple of quotations from Paul 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 205 

in the Boston Investigator. It was clear that their drift and 
meaning had never been investigated by that joarn 1. As 
the Apostle himself said, he was "slanderously reported" 
(Rom. iii, 8). Imagine my surprise at finding the same 
citations, put in the same way, in your last Reply ! I could 
not help tij inking of Byron's lines, slightly modified: 

A man must serve his time to every trade. 
Save ceusure— critics all are ready made; 
Take hackney'd jokes from Mendum, got by rote. 
With just enough of learning to miscmotQ ; 
A mind well skilled to flud or forge a fault, 
A turn for punning, call it Attic salt. 

EiiQlish Bards and Scotch Reviewers. 

You furnished an item about church debts. The Tribune 
is a very acceptable authority ; but you did not give the 
date, so that the statement you refer to could be verified 
and examined. But grant that theife are fifty-four churches 
in New York city under "mortgages amounting to $2,367,- 
886," If these churches were each under a debt equal to 
that on Paine Hall ($70,000), the sum would be $3,780,000— 
almost a million and a half more. And it should not be 
forgotten in this connection that this is a comparison of 
fifty-four churches and the Christians of a single city, with 
one building and the Infidels of the whole Western Continent. 
Then it should be remembered that there are hundreds of 
magnificent churches, and thousands of tidy chapels all over 
the country, entirely free of debt. You will see by the 
Directory that there are over two hundred and fifty in 
New York City alone. Most emphatically, then, there 
is nothing in this direction but very odious compari- 
sons for Infidelity. Its liberality is as nothing in the 
p(V3ence of the munificent and varied generosity of Chris- 
tianity. 

Your last letter is the fullest and clearest illustration I 
ever saw of the meaning of the Latin phrase, ipse dixit. The 
solidified and petrified Past seems to be mere dough in jowx 



266 THE HUMPITREY-BEXNETT DISCUSSION. 

hands. You can put the features and lineaments of Intidel- 
ity on it with the greatest of ease. In order to show this, 
let me place some of your assertions and the fixed facts of 
history side by side: 

"Voltaire was not a perjurer." (D. M. Bennett). 

"When very hard pushed, lie would not swerve from a 
false oath " (Morley's Voltaire, N. Y., 1873, p. 200). 

"Eusebius was a falsifier, forger, and interpolatei " (D. 
M. B.). 

'* Eusebius wrote under the pressure of the great commo- 
tions of his age, but with much freedom from prejudices, 
wikh a more critical spirit than many both of his predeces- 
sors and successors, and with an eccclesiastical erudition 
unsurpassed in his age " (American Cyclopedia). 

"St. Augustine was one of the most lecherous and dis- 
sipated men in Carthage" (D. M. B.). 

That is true of him only when he was an unbeliever in 
(Jhristianity. After his conversion " it is believed that he 
was at once the purest, the wisest, and the holiest of men, 
equally mild and firm, equally prudent and fearless, equally 
a friend of man and a lover of God " (Am. Cyclopedia). 

" Girard did not make his wife insane by quarreling with 
her"(D. M. B.). 

"He about this time married the daughter of a shipbuildei 
of that city, but the union was unhappy. Mr. Girard 
applied for a divorce, and his w«fe ultimately died insane 
in a public hospital " (American Cyclopedia). 

"He was very eccentric in his habits, a free thinker 
ungracious in manner, ill-tempered, and lived and died 
without a friend " (Johnson's Universal Cyclopedia). 

"You have no grounds for insinuating that Paine lived 
improperly with Mrs. Bonnneville" (D. M. B.), 

"Mr. Paine was godfather to one of the others, whc 
had been named after him" (Vale's Life of Paine, p. 145). 

" Tliomas has tlie features, countenance, and temper ot 
Paine " (Cheetham's Life of Paine p. 22r 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 267 

"Goethe was not an immoral man" (D. M. B.). 

*'His first years there (in Weimar) were spent in wild and 
tumultuous enjoyments, in which 'affairs of the heart,' it is 
to be feared, did not always end with the heart. ' There is 
not a woman here,' wrote the simple-hearted Schiller more 
lately, 'who has not had her liaison.^ ... A relation 
with Frau von Stein, which Goethe had long maintained, 
was now broken off, but the poet soon formed another with 
Christine Vulpius. She was uneducated, and lived in some 
domestic capacity in his house; but in spite of the enormous 
scandal which the new tie occasioned even in Weimar, 
Goethe afterwards married her to legitimate his son " 
(American Cyclopedia). 

" Shelley was not guilty of wrong in leaving his wife ; 
nor w«s he dissolute " (D. M. B.). 

" Toward the close of 1813 the estrangement which had 
been slowly growing between him and his wife resulted in 
their separation, and she returned to her father's house, 
where she gave birth to a second child. ... He was 
soon after traveling abroad withMary, afterwards the second 
Mrs. Shelley, daughter of William Godwin and Mary WoU- 
stonecraft, all of whom deemed marriage a useless institution, 

. . On his return he found that his wife had drowned 
herself, and his sorrows are said to have made him for a 
time actually mad, and as such he describes himself in 
'Julian and Maddalo.' He now married his second wife, 
who had been his companion for two years " (American Cyclo- 
pedia). 

" Chesterfield did not seek to make his son a whoremas- 
ter"(D. M. B.). 

" Uti arrangement^ which is, in plain English, a gallantry, 
is, in Paris, as necessary a part of a woman of fashion's 
establishment, as her house, stable, coach, etc. A young 
fellow must therefore be a very awkward one, to be reduced 
to, or of a very singular taste, to prefer drabs and danger to 
a commerce (in the course of the world not disgracelul) 



268 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

with a woman of health, education, and rank" (Chester- 
field's Letters to his Son. Letter 237). 

"John Stuart Mill sustained a character too pure for you 
to besmirch " (D. M. B.). 

I only said, and I again repeat, that a minister's name 
would be tarnished or "besmirched " were he to do as Mill 
did with another man's wife. Let me quote Mr. Mill: "At 
this period she lived mostly with one young daughter, in a 
quiet part of the country, and only occasionally in town, 
with her first husl and, Mr. Taylor. I visited Tier equally in 
^ oih places ; and was greatly indeb'ed to the strength of charac- 
ter which enabled her to disregard the false interpretations liable 
to be put on the frequency of my visits to Iter while living gener- 
ally apart from Mr. Taylor, andj on our occasionally traveling 
together, though in all otlier respects our conduct during 
those years gave not the slightest ground for any other sup- 
position than the true one, that our relation to each other at that 
time was one of strong affection and confidential intimacy only. 
Fo7^ though we did not consider the ordinances ofsotiety binding 
on a subject so entirely persoiiul, we did feci bound th.it our 
conduct should be such as in no degree to bring discredit 
on her husband, nor therefore on herself (Autobiography, 
N. Y., 1875, pp. 186, 329.) Thtre is Mr. Mill's word for it. 
I am willing to accept it. But I am sure that if a bishop 
were to follow his example-, the Infidels especially would 
wink, and insinuate, and pat their mouths in position to 
say "lecherous." 

" Rousseau was an upright, well-disposed man" (D. M. B.). 

Whew ! That assertion needs no quotation to disprove 
it. No wonder you could flatter the Devil in one of your 
preceding letters. If Rousseau was moral, immorality 
is an impossibility; and you should not be so inconsistent 
as to condemn " clerical beasts " any more. 

I have entered into these details in order to vindicate my 
former statements, and to show the reader how scrupulous 
you are about historical truth 1 I have quoted largely from 



THE HUMPHREY-BBNNKTT DISCUSSION. 2G§ 

the New American Cyclopedia, partly because it is unsec- 
tarian, and far from partial to Protestantism and Orthodoxy, 
but chiefly because you have expressed your acceptance of 
it as high and unquestioned authority C^eply No. iii). 

I have been tracing some of your references. You point 
to several Sc^ripturai passages in evidence that the Jews 
"ate human flesh." Do you by this mean that they were 
cannibals ? Your language is framed so cunningly that it 
at the same time conveys this impression, and leaves you a 
loop-hole in case of exposure. Well, I will have to force 
you into the loop-hole. Deut. xxviii, 47-58; Lam. iv, 10; 
and Bar. ii, 3 do not at all refer to the ordinary customs of 
the Hebrews, but to the last desperate resort of a people 
dying with famine. Ez. xxxix, 18, does not speak of 
human beings as "eating the flesh of the mighty and 
drinking the blood of the princes of the earth." In the 
preceding verse we are explicitly told that this was done by 
^^ every feathered fowl " and by ' ' every berst of the fields Let 
the reader examine these passages carefully and he cannot 
fail to see that you have tried to play a trick on him. All 
your other Scriptural comments are about as critical and 
accurate as this one. 

I have also examined Thiers, and Chambers' Cyclopedia, 
but I found no evidence whatever that Robespierre was a 
Christian. As your generosity has recently placed Paine's 
works in Cooper Institute, in order that you may be able to 
say they are there, so, I am afraid, your jaundiced imagin- 
ation sometimes reads things into authorities which they do 
not really contain. I have taken considerable pains to ex- 
amine Thiers' History of the French Revolution; Qarat's 
Memoirs of tbe Revolution; Lamartine's History of the 
Girondists; and especially Lewes' Life of Robespierre, and 
I find that Robespierre was simply a Deist; that his mode 
of thought was moulded by Rousseau's philosophy; and 
that his coadjutors were avowed Infidels. It is true some 
of the Atheists sneered at him as a kind of religionist, be- 



270 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSIOK. 

cause lie believed in the Being of God. But that does not 
prove your allegation. For the same reason Paine became 
unpopular with the very same class of people. And it had 
been said long before that even Voltaire was "retrograde," 
"superstitious," and a "bigot," because he was a Deist 
(Morley's Voltaire, p. 94). 

You, too, can play "fast and loose" with Catholic 
authorities. While you would scornfully reject their testi- 
mony about skeptics, you can accept, ^ith smacking gusto, 
their most spiteful mirepresentations of the life and death 
of Luther and Calvin. 

It is quite likely that some Infidels have " died as the 
fool dieth," with stolid unconcern. But it is on record that 
many of them approached death with fear and trembling. 
There is good evidence that Voltaire died whining for a 
Catholic priest, and that Hobbes contemplated " the inevi- 
table " with terrible trepidation (Condorcet's Life of Vol- 
taire; Thomas' Dictionary of Biography; Blackburne's 
Life of Hobbes; Hume's History of England, new ed., 
London, 1864, vol. v, p. 97). A conscientious historian 
says that Robespierre and his fellows, when besieged in the 
Hotel de Ville, writhed like a knot of snakes encircled by 
fire. Henriot was drunk. Las Basas despatched himself 
with a pistol. Couthon cut ghastly gashes in his bosom, 
but lacked courage to drive the knife to his heart. Robes- 
pierre made an attempt to shoot himself, but succeeded only 
in breaking his jaw. St. Just begged his comrades to kill 
hfm (Scott's Life of Napoleon Buonaparte, vol. i, chap, 
xvii). 

It is nobler, like Hamlet, to meditate on death in a seri- 
ous vein, than to breathe the last, like Hume, with a deck 
of cards in Ids hands. But who, except a true Christian,, 
can die with the serene assurance of St. Paul, and s-dy: "I 
am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure 
is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my 
course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid ni) 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 271 

for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the 
righteous judge, shall give me at that day" (2 Tim, iv, 6-8)? 
I might as well improve this opportunity, once for all, 
to say a word about Calvin and Servetus. Everybody is 
familiar with these two names. Callow striplings tha'; 
never saw a Life of Calvin, far less read one, are able to 
articulate the three words: " Calvin burned Servetus."- Ig- 
norami that can hardly tell the difference between Calvin- 
ism and Galvanism, somehow manage to say, with a knowing 
air: '* Calvin burned Servetus." The sectarian hater of 
Calvinism; the Catholic hater of Protestantism; and the 
Infidel hater of Christianity, can stand side by side and 
chant together: *' Calvin burned Servetus." A gainsayer, 
cornered, squelched, and extinguished in controversy, can 
say that much^ anyhow: "Well, Calvin burned Servetu?." 
Now, 1 am prepared to say, and I hereby say deliberately, 
that Calvin did not burn Servetus; neither did dk 
CONSENT to his BURNING BY OTHERS. "The facts about that 
sad affair were these: 

1. Calvin believed in punishing incorrigible heretics 
with death. 

2. Servetus himself, and his follower, Socinus, cherished 
the same belief. 

3. Calvin instigated the arrest of Servetus, and furnished 
the evidence against him in the trial. 

4. The authority that pronounced the sentence on Serve- 
tus was vested in the Senate of Geneva. 

5. Calvin exerted all his influence to secure a modification 
of the sentence from burning to death by the sword. 

It is true, this bears a most painful resemblance to the 
humaneness of the French Infidels, when they discontinued 
the use of the awkward axe, and proceeded to chop each 
other's heads off with the more graceful guillotine. Never- 
theless, let the truth be said, even of John Calvin. 

6. That age gave a general endorsement to the execution 
of Servetus. The cantons of Berne, Zurich, Bale, and 



272 THE HCMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

Schaffhausen concurred in the action of Geneva. Melanc- 
thon Beza, Farel, Bucer, Oecolampadius, Zuingli, Viret, 
Peter Martyr, BulUnger, Tarretin, and the cotemporaneous 
theologians and statesmen generally approved of it. 

This was confessedly a dark spot on the character of 
Calvin. But he should be judged in the light of his own 
age and surroundings. He was trained a Romanist; and it 
was hard for him to shake off entirely the dregs of intoler- 
ance. Even Draper says: "He was animated, not by the 
principles of the Reformation, but by those of Catholicism, 
from which he had not been able to emancipate himself 
completely" (Conflict between Religion and Science, p. 
864). Besides, he found himself in Geneva under an an- 
cient law that declared heresy a capital crime. The public 
opinion sanctioned that law. And we know how hard it is for 
mortals to be several centuries ahoad of their times. Cal- 
vin's crime was the crime of his age; but I admit that it was 
a cHme nevertheless. 

I cannot see why Presbyterians should suffer reproach on 
account of the Calvin and Servetus affair any more than 
other denominations. Calvin was no part of the Piesbyte- 
rian Church. If the Westminster divines adopted, to a 
great extent, his system of doctrines, they did no more than 
the Baptists, and the earlier Episcopalians and Congrega- 
tionalists. 

The world should not forget its many obligations to John 
Calvin. Bancroft, in his History of the United States, 
traces the germination and development of republican prin- 
ciples to his system. Froude has shown that " Calvinism " 
has been no secondary force in the progress of civilization; 
and he has testified as to Calvin's private character, that 
he "-made truth, to the Imt fibre of it, the rule of practical life." 

There are extant ever so many discussions of "Calvin 
and Servetus." But no one has been just to the memory of 
Calvin until he has seen what may be said in his favor 
by reading Beza's, Waterman's, McCrie's, Mackenzie's, and 



THE ^U^rPHTlEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 273 

especially Henry's Life of Calvin; Rilliet's Calvin and Ser- 
vetus; Cbauffpie's article on Servetusin bis continuation of 
Bayle's Dictionary; the Encyclopedia Britannica; Coleridge's 
Table-Talk; the Biblical Repertory, vol. viii, pp. 74:-96, and 
the Biblii.theca Sacra, vol. iii. pp. 51-94, There are two 
sides to this question; and no conclusion can be fair where 
both sides have not been thoroughly investigated. 

I deny that Biot is accepted by the best scientists and 
theologians as good authority on Sir Isaac Newton. David 
Brewster contradicts him flitly, and proves conclusively 
that Newton's greatest religious works were thought out and 
written before the temporary cloud passed over his mind. 
(Life of Newton, ch. xvi, Lynn's ed.) 

To me it is one of the clearest things in the world that 
Infidelity is of a disintegrating character. I mean, of 
course, unmixed Infidelity. Many Infidels are unconscious- 
ly restrained by the internal and external influences of 
religion. As many professed Christians are worse than 
their principles, so many professed Infidels are better than 
their principles, or, rather, non principles. Imagine a world 
of universal skepticism. God is denied or ignored. Where 
then is Moral Obligation ? Will you say that society 
shall declare its own requirements, by enacting laws to 
direct and govern itself ? But what right has society, any 
more than a body of bishops, to think for the individual ? 
Plainly enough, the spirit of Infidelity is inimical to every 
thing organic among men. This is illustrated by palpable 
facts. All Infidels are making an onslaught on the Church. 
The Free-Love Infidels are waging war on the Family. 
And the Communistic Infidels are breathing out threaten- 
ings and slaughter against Civil Government. 

So you think Infidelity is consistent with Morality 1 You 
are then far in "advance" of some of your predecessors. 
D'Holbach grunted under the burden of showing that Athe- 
ism furnished the strongest motives for virtue and justice. 
Voltaire requested D'Alembert and Condorcet not to talk 



274 THE HXJMPHBBT-BEHNETT DISCUSSION. 

Atheism in the hearing of his servants, giving as his reason 
that he "did not want to have his throat cut that night." 
Hume says that *'Hobbes* politics are fitted only to pro- 
mote tyranny, and his ethics to encourage licentiousness " (His- 
tory of England, vol. v, p. 97). He says farther in one of 
his E=says: "Disbelief in futurity loosens in a great meas- 
ure the ties of morality, and may be supposed for that 
reason, to be pernicious to the peace of civil society." 
Bolingbroke says: "The doctrine of rewards and punish- 
ments in a future state, ha3 so great a tendency to enforce 
the civil laws and to restrain the vices of men, that, though 
reason would decide against it on the principles of theology, 
she will not decide against it on the principles of good 
policy. ... No religion ever appeared in the world, 
whose natural tendency was so much directed to promote 
the peace and happiness of mankind as the Christian. The 
Gospel of Christ is one continual lesson of the strictest 
morality, justice, benevolence, and universal charity." 

But this question needs no backing by quotations. It 
stands to reason, as they say, that a man who thoroughly 
believes in a God who will certainly punish iniquity, and 
as certainly reward goodness, will be more raoral than 
another one who has no God to fear or love; no Hell to shun, 
no Heaven to seek. A man who believes that he is only a 
beast is quite likely to live like a beast. 

Let us now consider some of the popular objections to 
Religion: 

1. There is a lurking fallacy, and a sly begging of the 
question, in some of r.he words which Infidels are very fond 
of using. For instance, they persist in speaking of the 
entire clergy of Christendom as priests, priesthood, and 
'prleUcraft. They ought to be more just and accurate. 
They ought to know that the great body of Protestants do 
not regard a minister as a priest in any sense different from 
the lay believer. In other words, there is no distinct 
order called the Priesthood, under the Gospel Dispensation. 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 275 

(Hodge's Systematic Theology, vol. iii, p. 689.) The Infi- 
del use of these words is only an unfair attempt to liover 
Protestantism with the odium that is associated with Ro- 
manism. 

It is frequently assumed that ** common sense" is all on 
the side of unbelief. This is both gratuitous and egotistic. 
As Huxley says, common ignorance passes very often by the 
more deceiving name of Common Sense (Lay Sermons, p. 
330). There is not a book in the world that contains as 
much "common sense " as the Bible. 

What self-eomplacency there is in the skeptic's use of the 
word "Liberalism"! It takes for granted what does not 
exist in fact, viz., that Infidels are more truly liberal than 
Christians. What is popularly called "Liberalism" is 
really an unwritten creed, which runs about as follows: 

Art. I. Every individual is the smartest fellow in the 
world. 

Art. IL It is to be presumed that anything and everything 
may possibly be true, provided always orthodoxy is ex- 
cluded from this supposition. 

Art. III. It makes no difference what you believe or do— 
you'll fetch up all right. 

How much superior to all this is the Liberalism of the 
New Testament: *'Be kindly affectioned one to another 
with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another" (Rom. 
xii, 10). " Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only 
use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love 
serve one another" (Gal. v, 13). 

Similar things may be said of the words " Freethought, " 
and "Freethinker." The Infidel is not more /ree as a 
thinker than his religious neighbor. For one, I can testify 
that my mind enjoys unbounded freedom. I think exactly 
as I please. Freethought! That is certainly a high-sounding 
name. But we should remember that great names are fre- 
quently given to very insignificant concerns. You will 
often see a low corner grogshop dubbed "London House," 



276 THE HT7MPHRET-BENNETT DISCtJSSTON. 

or " Paris Hotel." But it is a low corner grogshop after all. 
It is so with Infidelity. It may style itself " Freethought,'' 
"Liberalism," " Progress," and all that; but its true char- 
acter will still remain the same. In the language of Prof. 
Huxley, "many a spirited free-thinker makes use of his free- 
dom mainly to vent nonsense " (Lay Ser., p. 62). From the 
way many Infidels stagger through History, bungle Philoso- 
phy, and blunder over Scripture, I should say that Freetinker 
would be a more appropriate term than "Freethinker." 

How often it is assumed that if a man is a t1iinlcei\ he is 
sure to be an unbeliever. When we remember that such 
men as Columbus, Descartes, Locke, Blackstone, Milton, 
Bacon, Cuvier, Newton, Kepler, Brahe, Pascal, Da Vinci, 
Brewster, Burke, Faraday, Herschel, Morse, Mitchell, Gui- 
zot, Handel, Haydn, Rawlinson, Chalmers, Agassiz, etc., 
etc., etc., were firm believers in the Christian Religion, this 
assumption is at once ridiculous and contemptible. There 
are ever so many "Sages " and "Thinkers" who are not 
"Infidels;" and there are hosts of Infidels who are neither 
" Sages " nor " Thinkers." It might be well for some peo- 
ple to keep in mind that long hair, weird looks, spectacles, 
funny clothes, and other eccentricities, all put on, do not, 
ipso facto ^ constitute a thinker. 

2. It is sometimes objected to Religion that it makes peo- 
ple insane. But is this a sound argument ? Is it applied 
to anything else ? News, good and bad, have caused some 
to lose their minds. Should newspapers, telegraph com- 
panies, and all post-offlces, be suppressed on that account ? 
Disappointment in love has made many a bonnie lass and 
sighing swain crazy. Does it follow that courtship should 
be dicountenanced the world over ? Financial embarras- 
ments have overwhelmed the mind of many an enterprising 
merchant. Does that prove that business, commerce, and 
money should be banished from the earth ? Childbirth is 
often followed by derangement. May we thence argue that 
marriage is dishonorable in all? It is probable that Newton's 



•fflB HXJMPHRET-BENNErT DISCUSSION. 277 

temporary aberration of mind was caused by the intensity 
of his scientific studies. May "we therefore conclude 
that scientific investigation should be discouraged ? Every- 
body will answer, No. ThenVon the same ground precisely, 
I will answer No, in behalf of Religion. 

But why is this argument not passed around ? Why not 
insist that Spiritualism is a very bad thing, since it sent 
even the strong-minded Robert Dale Owen into the insane 
Asylum ? George Francis Train is either a lunatic because 
he is an Infidel, or else he is an Infidel because he is a luu- 
atic. Why not blazon this as a knock-down argument 
again-t Infidelity ? Intemperance has made a thousand 
crazy, where religious excesses have made one. Why is it 
that Infidel journals do not use this fact as the ground of a 
thunderiDg appeal against the Liquor Traflic ? It is all be- 
cause they will not turn their style of caviling against 
Christianity against anything else. It is because they are 
given to straining out religious gnats, while they can swal- 
low irreligious camels. 

3. Some people, and some very intelligent people, say 
they cannot determine anything ^bout the Christian Re- 
ligion, because of the multiplicity of sects. Now, it is too 
true that there are far more denominations than are neces- 
sary. Divisions have subdivided until the sections are very 
numerous. But the " Freethinker " should be the last man 
to find fault with this. It is the result of the liberty which 
Protestantism vouchsafes to every man, and body of men, 
to think and act as they see fit. Thus a place is furnished 
for almost every variety of taste and opinion. As to the 
vital difference between these denominations, it is not so 
very great, after all. The Evangelical Alliance could meet 
on a common basis. And it is the united voice of Prot- 
estant Christendom that that basis contains all the essentials, 
the saving truths, of Christianity. The distinguishing 
marks are non-essential — matters of taste, education, local 
and historical attachments. 



278 THE FUMIPHIIEY - BEls^ETT DISCUSSION, 

But let US admit that the variety of sects and denomina 
tions is perplexing and bewildering. I will still claim that 
the denial or ignoring of religion on that account is un?-ea- 
sonable, and contrary to human practice in other respects. 
The world has a great many different forms of government- 
Empires, Kingdoms, and Republics. Will any intelligent 
man use this as an excuse for refusing citizenship anywhere? 
Let us be thankful that our country actually swarms with 
most amiable and excellent young ladies and gentlemen. 
Do any of them put matrimony out of the question, on 
account of the wide room for choice ? Would an emigrant 
refuse to settle in any part of America, simply because there 
are so many States and Territories ? Would a traveler 
refuse to go to any hotel, and sleep out doors, because he 
was met by so many contending runners at the depot ? Do 
our talented young men decline going to any college or 
university, because there are so many colleges and universi- 
ties ? What are our political parties but political sects ? 
How many American citizens are there who make the 
variety of parties a reason for identifying themselves with 
no party ? Should the fabled ass that starved between two 
bundles of hay, because he could not determine which was 
the best, so that he might eat it first, be the model of rea- 
sonable men ? 

Such questions as these answer themselves. They show 
that the objection to Religion, now under consideration, is 
more of an excuse than anything else. But where is a man 
to flee to get rid of this excuse ? Certainly not to Infidel- 
ity ; for sectarianism prevails even there. He will there be 
stunned by the conflicting clamors of Deism, Atheism, 
Pantheism, Materialism, Spiritualism, Free-Loveism, Com- 
munism, and a hundred Nondescriptisms. Nothing can 
be better and easier for him than to study the cardinal truths 
of the Divine Book, absorb them into the very marrow and 
fibres of his being, enter the Master's great vineyard, and 
work at the row of vines he may choose. 



THE HUMPIlItEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 279 

4. But the commonest objection of all to the Christian 
Religion is the inconsistencies of many who profess it. This 
objection is as old as Siu and Sophistry. And it is still 
full of life and vigor. It lives on in defiance of logic, good 
sense, and consistency. You have gone to the trouble of 
furnishing quite a list of fallen ministers. Doubtless some 
of your sympathizers will mistake this list for reasoning. 
They will probably keep it as an Infidel reference bible. 
Very likely they will learn some of it by heart. It fur- 
nishes them with a great supply of cartridges — blank, 
every one of them. What a sweet scrap book you must 
have had 1 You have certainly been a diligent gleaner on 
the fields of the "Police Gazettes" ; and now you come to the 
thresbing-floor with your blasted sheaves. But you forgot 
the case of the "confidence game" man, who,, the other 
day, donned a clerical suit, and was thereby enabled to 
" borrow " quite a sum of money from a rustic. He was a 
capital illustration of the principle you try to bring out. 
The apostates whom you mention were only social and 
moral " confidence game " men. The Bible and Chris- 
tianity are no more responsible for them than the Consti- 
tution and the good citizens of the United States are culpable 
for the existence among them of the criminal classes. 

I have no inclination to doubt that your sketches of the 
disguised wolves are in the main correct. I offer no apology 
for those who were guilty. I will say of the Protestants that 
have transgressed, and died in their sins, as Moehler, the 
great Catholic controversialist, said of the "priests, bish- 
ops, and popes, whose scandalous conduct and lives extin- 
gnisbed the still glimmering torch, which they ought to 
have kindled: Hell hath swallowed them up" (Symbolism, 
Robertston's trans., 3d ed., p. 270). But in your ventilation 
of this matter you reveal a spiteful spirit, and a readiness to 
make unwarrantable assertions. You are not careful to 
mention all the cases that have been deposed. You give 
some names twice, in order to swell your list. You expatiate 



2$0 THE HUMPHREY-BENKETT DISCUSSION. 

on the doings of individuals wliose names you can not or 
dare not produce. You accuse others merely because gos- 
sipers, quack-doctors, and possibly, blackmailers, have 
wagged their " froward tongues" against them. Yea, you 
have been so unjust, and illegal, to say nothing of illiberal, 
as to assume that many are guilty against whom a whisper 
has never gone forth. 

But it is only the genuine Christian that can consistently 
condemn such e'rreligious and wnchri^tian characters as you 
have mentioned. It was against the Bible most of all that 
they sinned. Their conduct was quite in harmony with the 
teachings of prominent Infidels Those who committed 
suicide were only doing what Hume and D'Holbach pro- 
nounced not only justifiable, but brave and noble. Those 
who appropriated to themselves, without leave, the prop- 
erty—or, as the Infidel Proudhon would call it, the "rob- 
Ijery "— of others, were only making a private application of 
that growing child of " Freethought," namely, Communism. 
The adulterers and whoremongers were nothing more than 
Free-Lovers in disguise. It was the practice of Infidel doc- 
trines that made them what they were. 

But will you say, as Mrs. Woodhull said of Beecher, that 
tbeir sin consisted chiefly in their hypocrisy? According to 
the Scriptures, hypocrisy is a damnable sin. Bat I have 
shown in my last that the skeptical Hume recommended, 
and that Toland, Paine and Voltaire practiced dissimulation 
and duplicity. To them may be r.dded Simon Magus— whom 
you have hung up in your gallery of Infidels— lying, and 
uniting with the Apostolic Church with the expectation of 
receiving thereby extraordinary powers (Acts viii, 9-24); Col- 
lins and Shaftesbury partaking of the Sacrament in order to 
qualify themselves for civil oflice; and Hobbes clinging to 
the Anglican Church, though he hated its doctrines. By your 
showing— which, as we have seen, is incorrect — President 
White is a hypocrite, sanctioning and participating in daily 
prayers— only to " cater " to religious young men 1 O Mr, 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 2f^l 

Bennett, Mr. Bennett, where is consistency ? If suicide, 
dishonesty, licentiousness, and hypocrisy are wrong in 
clergymen — and they are eternally so — they are also wrong 
in all men. But where did you learn that these things are 
unlawful ? Was it from Hume's Essa)^ on Suicide ? Was it 
from the utterances of Free-Love Conventions ? Was it 
from the ring-leaders of Communism ? No, dear friend : it 
was from the blessed old Bible which you despise, and 
which your batch of disgraced clergymen have disobeyed. 

It seems that you have given us some of the advance 
sheets of your forth-coming " Champions of the Church," 
which you took occasion to advertise, I have seen your 
prospectus, and found that those whom you have selected 
for ** Champions " are, with very few exceptions, divisible 
into two classes: 1st. Those who were no champions at all; 
and 2nd. Those who were champions only in evil doing. I 
hope you will proceed to give us, on the same principle, a vol- 
ume entitled "Champions of the American Republic," con- 
taining exclusively sketches of Benedict Arnold, Aaron 
Burr, Preston S. Brooks, John B. Floyd, Jefferson Davis, 
Mrs. Surratt, J. Wilkes Booth, Raphael Semmes, Oakes 
Ames, James Fisk Jr., Wm. M. Tweed, John Morrissey, 
Brigham Young-, Tom Thumb, Justus Schwab, Joseph 
Coburn, and the like. If your method is fair in religious 
it is fair in political history. 

Ministers, as a class, are good men. Of course, there are 
exceptions among them; but exceptions never disprove a 
rule. When we remember that there are between seventy 
and a hundred thousand ministers in the United States, it 
is a marvel that far more of them do not prove to be wolves 
in sheep's clothing. 

There are two reasons why the sins of a minister at- 
tract unusual attention : First, the height of bis station 
gives special conspicuoiisness to his downfall. Impropriety 
in one clergyman will elicit more remarks than greater im- 
moralities in a hundred men of the world. ** Irregularities " 



283 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION 

in the latter are taken almost as matters of course; and very 
little is said about them. I would not have it otherwise as 
regards the clergy. They should be holy men. If they sin 
against God, and forget their awful responsibilities, they 
deserve to feel the keenest edge of disgrace and remorse. 

Another reason for this is to be found in the fact that 
men do not generally speak of the sins of ministers and those 
of other people in the same terms. Dishonesty makes a 
preacher a thief outright — as it ought to; but it only 
makes an irreligious man a little "crooked," but "mighty 
smart." A violation of the Seventh Commandment in a 
church-member is adultery, fornication, lechery, and whore- 
dom ; but in an unbeliever it is only a ^^liamn,'" " un 
arrangement,''' "a gallantry," "peccadillo," "mistake," 
and "something not menial." This manner of selecting 
words misleads many into the belief that sin is really sinful 
only in a religious teacher. 

There are two reasons why your catalogue of hypocrites 
makes nothing against the Christian Religion. The first is 
the fact that the Bible does not sanction, far less command, 
vice and sin. It was because they disobet/ed the Scriptures 
that those whom you have named, fell. There is no book 
in the world that speaks so severely of the unfaithful minis- 
ter as the Word of God. For examples of this, read Zeph. 
iii ; Mic. iii, 8-12; Mai. ii, and many other places. To see 
what a minister is required to be, read 1 Tim. ch. iii. 

The second reason consists in the fact that the Church has 
neither tolerated nor connived at the sins of its Judas Iscar- 
iots and Ananiases. By your own showing, conviction of 
iniquity has invariably been followed by expulsion. What 
more, what better, could the Church do ? The glaring fact 
that the Bible condemns uncompromisingly, and prohibits 
emphatically and repeatedly, not only evil, bul " all appear- 
ance of evil," and the other fact that the Church, as rapidly 
as consistency with justice and fair trials will permit, de- 
poses, excommunicates, and disowns, such of her mem- 



THE HU:\rPHRET-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 2S3 

bers aud teachers as reveal wicked hearts by tangible acts, 
effectually shield Christianity against your imputations. 

Infidelity has nothing to compare with this. It possesses 
and recognizes no authoritative Statute-Book which says : 
"Thou Shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. 
Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness 
against thy neighbor." It admits of no supreme standard 
of right and wrong. Neither does it know aught of such 
a thiug as discipline. It owns and acknowledges as teachers 
such men as Bolingbroke, Rousseau, Voltaire, whose pri- 
vate characters were an abomination— owns them, though 
they professed no repentance, but rather justified their 
loathsome practices. 

Your reasoning — if such it may be called — amounts to 
this : That inconsistency idth^ and violation of, any given prin- 
ciples^ are a proof lliat those principles are in themselves *had. 
No man would think of reasoning in that way about any- 
thing on earth but religion. When you find a dishonest 
man, do you scold the multiplication-table ? Will you 
point to the pickpocket and the burglar as evidences that 
all statutes against stealing should be abolished ? Will you 
endeavor to prove by the fallen women that the law of 
chastity and marital fidelity should be annulled ? Do you 
despise genuine money because it is counterfeited ? Do 
you want to annihilate doctors and drug-stores because 
disease and death are still in the world ? Do you want 
to dissolve all civil governments for the reason that so 
many office-holders are corrupt ? Would you point to 
Benedict Arnold as a type of American patriotism ? 
Would you, if required to show specimens of American 
horses to a company of foreign equestrians, take them to a 
back stable, and there direct their eyes to some scrawny, 
wheezing creatures, infected and disfigured by ringbone, 
founder, spavin, glanders, and epizootic ? Suppose — we 
may suppose anything now-a-days — suppose that Science 
were to establish interplanetary travel, and a committee of 



284 THE HUMPHKEY-BEKITETT DISCUSSION. 

Jupiterians were to make you a visit to request some models 
of terrestrial beings to take back with tbem — would you 
go to the Penitentiary or the Lunatic Asylum to select the 
models ? Do you despise Liberty, because — as Madame 
Roland said a-dying — crimes are committed in its name ? 
You will say a thousand times No to these questions. 
Then, in the name of Secse and Consistency, I demand that 
you shall give Just the same answer in regard to the Bible 
and the Christian Church. I insist that we are to judge of 
the principles of the Scriptures only by those who obey 
them. 

You disparage ministers generally. You say they are 
useless and unproductive. But you said that with your 
eyes closed. You forgot that many clergymen, such as 
Leyden and Priestley, have been scientific discoverers. 
You forgot that nine-tenths of the Chancellors and Presi- 
dents of the world's Universities and Colleges from time 
immemorial until now, have been ministers of the Gospel. 
You forgot that the needy and distressed in every village 
and city in Christendom go most hopefully to the Christian 
pastor for sympathy and assistance. You forgot that a vast 
number of our best Biographies, Histories, and Cyclope- 
dias of Art and Science, are the works of clergymen. 

The Infidels are more truly the unproductive class. 
Where is the Hospital, or Benevolent Institution that they 
have founded and supported ? Where, in oar broad land, is 
the Orphan Asylum, or Home for the Aged, that they have 
endowed ? What are they doing to teach the rising genera- 
tion to love Virtue, Patriotism, Righteousness, and Holi- 
ness ? What great ideas have they ever given to the world? 
In the language of Carlyle, whom you have. called a '* Giant 
Infidel," (?) "What Plough or Printiug-Press, what Chivalry 
or Christianity; nay, what Steam-Engine, or Quakerism, or 
Trial by Jury, cMd these Eucyclopedists invent for mankind? 
They invented simply nothing : not one of man's virtues, 
not one (f man's powers, is due to them ; in all these re- 



THE HUMPHRET-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 285 

spects the age of Louis XV. is among the most barren of 
recorded ages " (Essay on Voltaire). 

Pardon the length of my letter. I could not review your 
Reply, and expose the popular sophistries of Infidelity, in 
less space. Your obedient Servant, 

G. H. Humphrey. 



MR. BKNNETT. 

Rev. G. H. HmiPHRET, Dear Sir: Your letter No. 10 
contains a great many words, displays a good deal of inge- 
nuity, a respectable amount of skill and ability in quib- 
bling, evading, and dodging, but, candidly, I cannot sco 
that it has much bearing upon the subject under dis- 
cussion. I cannot see that yoti have refuted any of the 
arguments I have advanced, or disproved any of the facts I 
adduced. With all respect for your ability, I must say, you 
seem to me more like a shrewd lawyer who, conscious of the 
weakness of his case, artfully defends it with sophistry and 
clap-trap, than like a solid reasoner, who is firmly con- 
vinced that his cause is founded on eternal truth, which 
needs not cunning nor sophistry to defend it. Permit me to 
remark, that I think you have the faculty of proving the 
most from the least amount of evidence of any person I 
remember to have met. 

It seems hardly worth while to follow you through your 
wild meanderings and flounderings, and I will stop only to 
show you some of your deficient arguments, and how en- 
tirely you failed to rebut my assertions — for instance, I said 
Girard did not make his wife crazy. To refute it you quote 
that he married the daughter of a shipbuilder, that the union 
was unhappy, that be was eccentric, ungracious and ill-tem- 
pered. Did those qualities cause his wife's insanity? or 
did her insanity produce those qualities in him ? One is a;i 



38ft THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

reasonable as the other I Insanity is a disease. Girard was 
no more responsible for any disease that his wife was 
afflicted with than you or I would be for any disease, men- 
tal or physical, that our wives might be suffering under. 

I said you had do grounds to insinuate that Paine lived in 
adultery with Madame Bonneville. To refute it you quote 
Vale to the effect that one of her children was named after 
him, and that he was godfather to another, which amounts 
to just no refutation at all. If the fact that one of Madame 
Bonneville's children was named after Mr. Paine was a 
proof that he was father to it, what a great number of ille- 
gitimate children Franklin and Washington must have been 
fathers to I Was it a criminal affair in Paine that the child 
of a friend should bear his name ? Let me ask you, why is 
it that you are so much more inclined to condemn Paine 
for offenses of which he was not guilty, than you are to try 
and refute his arguments? What is the reason for your 
wishing to make him appear worse than he really was ? 
Do you not find it easier to make false charges than to 
refute solid arguments ? What you said about Chester- 
field, Goethe, and John Stuart Mill virtually exonerates 
them from all your slanderous charges. 

You seem, however, so fond of stirring up these charges 
of adultery, etc., against Infidels, that I feel constrained to 
fulfill the promise made in my last to give you more cases of 
clerical derelictions, if that kind of literature proved inter- 
esting to you. I will, then, continue the recital, where I 
left off, with the assurance that if you still want more I will 
endeavor to accommodate you. 

You err in supposing I am actuated by a spiteful spirit in 
the reference I make to the heinous crimes of the clergy. 
I assure you it is more in sorrow than in anger that I re- 
count the great shortcomings of this pretentious class of 
men. I would far rather have it in my power to speak in 
praise of every clergyman in the land. Some of them are 
very fine men, and were they really engaged in a meritorious 



THE HUMPHREY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 287 

cause I could wish them all tlie success iu the world. But it 
is a sad fact that their profession of godliness does not keep 
them from the worst of crimes; and inasmuch as they claim 
to be so much better than unprofessing people who prate 
less of God and Jesus, I feel it to be only right to show them 
up in their true colors that their real character may be bet- 
ter understood by the unsuspecting and confiding. Your 
talk about fallen clergymen acting contrary to the example 
and teaching of the Bible worthies seems to me mere 
twaddle, for their weaknesses were precisely in keeping 
with the prominent Bible characters and those acknowl- 
edged to be the favorites of God himself. They certainly 
acted quite consistently in their adulterous practices with 
Bible examples. Your attempt to make it appear that 
the filthy and lecherous conduct of the Christian clergy is iu 
accordance with the teachings of prominent Infidels is slan- 
derously false, and I am surprised that you should have 
the hardihood to say that it was the practice of Infidel doc- 
trines that made them what they were. I pronounce your 
aspersions wholly uncalled for. Their conduct was emi- 
nently Christian. You speak about the names of the sinful 
clergymen not being given in some instances. In some of 
the most horrible cases the names were omitted for obvious 
reasons; but if you feel anxious to have the names you can 
be accommodated by calling upon me. You are wrong, as 
usual, in asserting that some cases are put in twice to en- 
large the list. The truth is, on the contrary, that thousands 
of cases were omitted that might be named. You must 
know there is more than one Smith, more than one Jones, 
more than one Thompson, who pretends to stand up for 
Jesus, and yet lamentably fails to do so. 

You must understand that, from a Christian standpoint, 
it is a much greater crime for an embassador of Jesus — the 
shepherd who assumes to fold and feed the little lambs; he 
who has bathed in the fountain filled with blood drawn 
from Emanuel's veins; who has the grace of God, the power 



2§8 THE EUMPHSEY - BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

of the Holy Ghost, and the sweet influence of the Son to aid 
him; who has sanclification, regeneration, and consecration on 
his side — for this class of men, I repeat, it seems a much 
worse offense to commit adultery, sodomy, etc., than for a 
mere Infidel to deviate from the strictest propriety, when he 
has nothing to depend upon and help him save his own sin- 
ful nature and his own "total depravity"! For a wretched 
sinner to err is not, perhaps, strange, but for a saint who 
has experienced the joy of the New Jerusalem, and who 
has partaken of the manna of the heavenly world, to de- 
scend to the slums of filth, of vice and corruption, his crime 
is far less excusable. You may possibly look on the rela- 
tive criminality of sins committed by Christians and Infi- 
dels in the same light in which another clergymen viewed 
it whom I heard of when a boy. He was asked what the 
difference was between a Christian's sinning and a sinner's 
sinning. "Oh," said he, in pious tones, "a sinner sins 
willingly and without protesting, but the Christian sins with 
a most gra-aa-cious reluctance ! " 

I admit that it is a foul, offensive narrative, but the guilt 
consists altogether in the commission of the crimes, and not 
in the exposure of them. Besides, believing the clergy to 
be dead weights and dead beats upon the body politic, I 
conceive it to be a part of my duty to expose to public gaze 
their hypocrisy, their villainy, and their unworthiness of 
reverence and esteem, and I give you the positive assurance 
that for every prominent Infidel who has been guilty of 
adultery and sexual improprieties, I can furnish the names 
of fifty — not common members of the churches, but the 
bright lights, the leaders, the men who spout most about 
"holiness." Let me resume the offensive recital. 

Grafton Brown, one of the saints of the Carroll, M. E. 
church, seduced a daughter of Mr. Thomas Sellmon. He 
had a wife and eight children, but insisted that his wife had 
become too cold for him. His case required one warm 
and ardent. 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 289 

Rev. James Bradley, a brilliant preacher of the Ironside 
Baptist denomination at Huntsville, Mo., seduced one of 
the church sisters and lived in adultery with her for five 
years, when the arrival of a little infant brought his guilt 
to light, and he suddenly had business that called him 
elsewhere. The girl and her relatives were left to mourn 
her sad fate. 

Rev. Mr. Wolfe, Presbyterian, Brooklyn, K Y., was 
placed under bonds to keep the peace, for knocking his 
wife down with an umbrella. 

Rev. R. T. Green, of the English church at Ailsa Craig, 
Out., was impiisoned for forging endorsements on a note. 

Rev. John J. Thompson, Presbyterian, Washington City, 
was caught in his night-shirt crawling in the v.'indow of a 
sleeping-room where two young ladies slept. They made 
an outcry, when he threatened to shoot them if they were 
not still. He tried to get into bed with them. Members of 
his church tried to get him clear on the plea of insaoity. 

Rev. Levi S. Bettinger, in Baltimore county, Md., had 
placed in his charge a young lady to educate. He seduced 
her and then deserted her, but was allowed to retain his 
position. 

Rev. A. J. Culver, of the Evangelical Association in 
Eastern Iowa, a good-looking man and a strong-voiced 
preacher, whose field of labor was in the moral vineyard 
of Lisbon, Iowa, was so zealous in the cause of his 
Master that he was called a Lieutenant of Jesus. Being 
a single man, he engaged board with a widow who had 
a pretty and engaging daughter. It is not strange that 
Culver loved her, and he ought to have married her, for he 
was the father of a bouncing big boy of which she was the 
mother. Previous to the birth of the child she married a 

fine man in the neighborhood, a Mr. H- . When, soon 

after marriage the child was born, her husband asked her 
TTho was the father. She answered it was the Rev. Culver. 
He was arraigned before a council of clergymen ; he w?i^ 



290 THE HUMPHKET-BENXETT DTSCUSSIOIT. 

found guilty and expelled from his church. The confer- 
ence, however, reinstated him in the holy calling of shep- 
here to the gentle lambs, and he is now delivering the bread 
of life to the sinners of Illinois. The girl swore to tlie 
paternity of the child before Peter Heller, Justice of 
the Peace. The husband, not wishing to raise any Culver 
stock, separated from his unfortunate wife and obtained a 
divorce fron her. Thus her life was saddened and made 
wretched by the lusts of this pious man of God. 

Eev. Mr. Speare, Mason, 111., an intimate friend of a 
banker of that city, while the latter was busy with a custom- 
er, pocketed a roll of bank bills amounting to $1,000, took the 
train to Bloomington, deposited the money, and returned 
as if nothing had happened. He is now under $3,500 bonds 
to appear before the criminal court. 

A colored preacher in Early county, Ga., was fond of 
watermelons. One night he strayed into the melon-patch of 
a neighbor, who, having been preyed upon, was on the 
watch. He fired upon the intruder and killed him on the 
spiDt. The colored reverend died with the fruit still in his 
mouth. Oh ! water-melon-cholly affair. 

Rev. T. M. Dawson, Presbyterian, San Francisco, Cal., 
was guilty of the prevailing intirmity — too much "true in- 
wardness." His love for the sisters was too ardent. 

Rev. Lorenzo Dow, presiding elder in Eastern Kentuckj'^, 
son of a clergyman, grandson of a clergyman and name- 
sake of a great clergyman, sent his wife to her father's 
without money, borrowed all the money he could from the 
brethren and eloped with a girl, a daughter of another 
clergyman, at Louisa, Ky. He used a great amount of du- 
plicity and falsehood to carry out his foul designs. It cast a 
o^reat gloom over the entire community. A particular fea- 
ture of the case was that the father of the girl could not 
say much, for years before, when a clergyman, he played 
the same trick with another man's daughter. Thus they go. 

Dr. Harlan, Methodist, in a Nebraska town, was driven 



THE HUMPHREr-BENNETT DISCUSSION". 291 

from the pulpit for lying, vulgarity and defaming his 
brethren. 

Rev. Alexander McKilvey, of Westfield, N. J., was de- 
posed from the palpit for criminal conduct. 

Rev. R. Petteplace, ot Lowell, Mass., was accused by his 
wife of committiog adultery with the nurse-girl in their 
employ. An inquiry was instituted, when he confessed 
his guilt, and stepped down and out. 

Rev. Wm. H. Lee, Jersey City, was guilty of grossly 
beating his wife, and was tried for the offense. 

Rev. F. D. James, of Somerville, Mass., was guilty of 
forgery by placing other people's names to deeds and other 
documents. 

Rev. William Henry Jones, pastor of Grace Episcopal 
Church, Toronto, was subjected to a trial upon fourteen dif- 
ferent charges, among which were getting drunk, telling 
falsehoods, embezzling money, vulgar conversation and 
other unsaintly offenses. 

A clergyman of Oxford, England, was sentenced to 
twenty month's imprisonment for foully assaulting a girl of 
fourteen years of age whom he had but recently con- 
firmed. 

Rev. P. P. Wimberly, of Atchinson, Pa., started out on 
a grand begging campaign to raise money to pay the debts 
of his church; but he was overcome by the weakness of the ^ 
flesh, and spent the money in sinful pleasures. 

Rev. K L. Phillips, Monticello, Iowa, of the United 
Brethren Church, was guilty of immoral conduct with sis- 
ter Barnes, wife of Herbert Barnes. After playing a base 
game with the unsuspecting husband in obtaining money 
from him, the guilty ones eloped together. The villainous 
clergyman left a legal wife and children behind, whom he 
piously recommended to continue family worship and 
prayer. 

Rev. Prof. Wm. F. Black, the leading clergyman in the 
Christian or Campbellite denomination in the West, and 



292 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

formerly president of tlie Northwestern Christ" an Univer- 
sity at Indianapolis, fell from grace and was guilty of crim- 
inal conduct with Miss Corinne E. Voss, a gay and beauti- 
ful woman, daughter of a very wealthy lawyer and specu- 
lator. She started ostensibly to make a journey and visit 
some friends in Kansas, and by agreement he met her at 
Terre Haute and accompanied her to St. Louis, where they 
stopped over night at the Planter's Hotel, and passed them- 
selves off as man and wife. 

Rev. E. Hopkins, St. Johnsbury, Yt., was arrested on a 
charge of forgery, and was proved guilty. 

Rev. Rudolph Weizerbeck, pastor of Bloomingdale Ger- 
man Lutheran Church, was arrested for defrauding the 
pension agency. When searched, two forged pension cer- 
tificates were found upon his person. 

Rev. Albert Rublete, Hoboken, N. J., was committed to 
prison for twenty days for fraudulent begging and intem- 
perance. 

Rev. Jerome D. Hopkins swindled the people of Brook- 
lyn by falsely representing himself as poor, and as having a 
sister lying sick at Washington. In this way he raised con- 
siderable funds. 

Rev. J. H. Foster, whose last field of usclessness was in 
the First Congregational Church at Hannibal, Mo., though 
talented, and prepossessing in appearance, and very popu- 
lar with the sisters, turned out to be a bold, bad man— in 
fact, a regular wolf in sheep's clothing. It was proved that 
he had wives living to the number of five, and that he was 
a gambler and a dissolute person. He wore a most saintly 
countenance, but the Devil was too near his heart. He dis- 
creetly resigned his charge, and betook himself to other and 
more congenial fields of labor. 

Rev. John H. Morris, who a portion of the time preached 
at the Passyunk Baptist Church in Philadelphia, proved 
himself to be a criminal of the most revolting character. 
In 1875 he lost his wife, and subsequently naarried her si^- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 293 

ter. Soon after that he adopted a little girl eight years of 
age, named Mary Rue, daughter of a widow, and it turned 
out that for a year the brute — worse than any brute — 
had been holding criminal relations with that small. child. 
His wife caught him in bed with the child at two o'clock in 
the night, and in the criminal act. The girl subsequently 
confessed all about it to her mother, and stated that the 
pious man by intimidation and threats had subjected her to 
his vile uses. He was imprisoned for trial which has not 
yet taken place. 

Rev. John C. Simpson, of Oregon, Mo., was convicted of 
illicit distilling, the jury finding him guilty on all five 
counts. He is fifty years of age, and has been preaching 
twenty years. 

Elder Samuel H. McGhee, of the Christian or Campbellite 
denomination, v/hose last flock attended upon his minis- 
trations at Ashton, Lee Co., 111., had the weakness to fall 
in love with a pretty, intelligent young lady of his church, 
named Lorilla Paddock, and that he might take her to his 
bosom, he procured poison and administered it to his wife, 
who died in great suflferinir. His trial was held in Dixon, 
and the verdict of guilty was rendered against him. He is 
now working out his sentence of fourteen years at hard 
labor in the State prison of Illinois. 

Rev. J. P. Roberts, Mothodist, of Ulien, Wis., was sub- 
jected to a trial for lying and slander. 

Rev. J. F. Leak, Methodist, at Troy, Kansas, an aged 
clergyman, who for many years has been looked upon as 
a saint of the first water, brought himself into great tribula- 
tion by making love to an interesting young lady of his 
flock, who weekly attended upon his ministrations and 
drank in the words of piety that fell from his lips. He 
wrote her a number of letters, and plead with her most 
earnestly to fly with him to England where, by the side of 
a beautiful lake, like Como, they could make a paradise of 
their own, and where the rude eyes of curiosity could never 



294 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

find them out. For some reason, they did not start for 
that lovely paradise; and an ugly feature of the interesting 
case is that the young lady has given birth to a child, and 
the dear pastor is in about as much trouble as he wishes to 
feel. The mishap is seriously regretted by all the faithful 
of the church, but such things seem to happen very fre- 
quently. 

Rev. Mr. Keely, of Madison, was led into trouble by the 
bewitching airs of a pretty woman, named Clemmens. 

Rev. John Moody, Cincinnati, was imprisoned for appro- 
priating to his own use money that he had collected for 
building a church. 

Rev. Dewitt Knowlton, Boltonville, was brought to great 
disgrace by the persistency with which a sister of the 
church demanded that he should acknowledge the pater- 
nity of her child. The affair cast a cloud over his other- 
wise fair name. 

Rev. A. J. Warren, of the M. E. church. North Vernon, 
Ind., eloped with sister Stanton, carrying with them all the 
church and Sabbath-school funds of which he was pos- 
sessed. He left a wife and four little children. 

Rev. Mason Noble, of Sheffield, Mass., a popular Con- 
gregational clergyman, was formally charged with seduction 
by Miss Bella J. Clark, a former pupil of Westfield Normal 
School, and where she had been employed as a seamstress in 
the clergyman's family. 

Rev, W. S. Crow, Hinsdale, 111., by his unlawful inter- 
course with a deacon's family, succeeded in breaking it up 
and getting himself deposed from the pulpit. 

Rev. Dominck McCaffray, of the Church of our Savior, 
Third avenue, this ciiy, was accused by the pretty Mrs. 
Leavitt of laying his hands upon her and kissing her 
when she called upon him in his study. He denied it, of 
course. 

Rev. Martin Hoernlein, of Buffalo, was convicted of 
arson in the second degree for setting fire to his own house 



THE HUMPHKEY-J8ENNETT DliSCUSSlON. ii95 

to obtain a large insurance he had placed upon the prop 
erty. 

Rev. R. W. Pearson, Baptist clergyman in Pittsburgh, had 
a sad time of it. Before a court of his own church he was 
proved guilty of lying, drunkenness and numerous adul- 
teries. He had resided in various parts of the country and 
had sinned in all of them. He was emphatically what is 
familiarly called a * ' bad egg. " 

The case of John D. Lee, Mormon bisliop, who was en- 
gaged in the Mountain Meadow massacre twenty years ago, 
and who was shot by United States authorities for his 
heinous crime, is fresh in the public memory. Although 
his hands had long been red (metaphorically speaking) with 
the blood of his helpless fellow-beings, he died full of con- 
fidence and love of Jesus and felt sure of going straight to 
him as soon as his breath left his body. He boasted at the 
hour of his death that he was not an Infidel, but died a good 
Christian. 

Abbe Beaugard, vicar of an important post in Paris, was 
in 1877, sentenced to fifteen years transportation for crinji- 
nally assaulting two little girls and communicating to them 
a loathsome disease. 

Rev. G. R. Williams, while preaching in Griggstown, N. 
Y., was engaged to marry a nice young lady of his congre- 
gation, when a former wife very inopportunely put in an 
appearance and broke up the little arrangement. The cler- 
gyman soon found he had business that called him else- 
where. 

Rev. Paul T. Valentine, Ph.D., and D.D., and LL.D. was 
tried and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment by Re- 
corder Hackett in General Sessions in this city, April, 1877, 
for the most revolting and despicable crimes in the entire 
criminal calendar — the corruption anJ vile use of little 
boys and girls under his charge in what he called a " Col- 
lege for Homeless Children," where he pretended to teach 
them useful employment and to fit them for the actual 



296 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

duties of life, wlien in reality he practiced the grossest 
crimes known to man. Nine witnesses testified in the most 
pointed manner against him. Rtcorder Hackett said the 
case was the most atrocious that had ever come to his 
knowledge during his long service in the criminal courts of 
this wicked city, and he was only sorry that the extreme pen- 
alty for the crimes was not death. He gave the culprit the 
full extent prescribed by the law — ten years' imprison- 
ment at hard labor. 

Rev. Joseph Jones, a Baltimore Methodist clergyman, 
greatly gifted in revivals, got hold of a bequest of $50,- 
000 which bad been made to his church, and diverted 
it to his own benefit. He got involved, and when the 
crime was exposed he committed suicide. 

Rev. E. J. Baird, a Richmond (Va.) Presbyterian clergy- 
man, Secretary of the Presbyterian Publishing Committee, 
was tried for embezzling $22,000 of funds belonging to the 
Committee, and which he was unable to replace, and of 
course was summarily deposed. 

Rev. Leaven Fausette, of Port Huron, La., was hung for 
murder. 

U. S. Senator Brownlow, of Tennesee, who was for many 
years a clergyman, as well as an editor and afterwards 
Governor of the State, in his book published some years 
ago, uses this language in reference to clergymen in the 
South: '*I have no hesitancy in saying, as I now do, that 
the w.orst men who make tracks upon Southern soil are 
Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Episcopal clergymen, 
and at the head of them for mischief are the Methodists " 
(p. 187). *' A majority of the clergymen have acted upon 
the principle that the kingdom of their divine master is of 
this world, and as a consequence many of them have em- 
barked in fighting, lying, and drinking mean whiskey " (p. 
190) " Here, as in all parts of the South, the worst class 
of men are preachers. They have done more to bring about 
the deplorable state of things existing in the country [refer- 



THK HUMPHBEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 297 

ring to the war of the Rebellion] than any other class of 
men. And foremost in this work of mischief are the Meth- 
odist preachers. Brave in anticipation of war, and prone 
to denunciation on all occasions, even in the pulpit, they 
have been among the first to take to their heels" (p. 392). 

To give some idea of the Catholic clergy, let me make 
some quotations from one who had excellent opportunities 
for knowing their habits and customs. Father John W. 
Gerdermann, ex-Catholic priest of St. Bonifacius Church in 
Philadelphia. After renouncing the hypocritical priest- life 
which he had led for, ten years, in a lecture delivered to an 
immense audience in that city, in the summer of 1875, drew 
this faithful picture of the false-hearted fraternity he har' 
forsaken : 

" I come now to the last great blot on the character of 
the Roman clergy, which you will allow me to treat in a 
cursory manner out of respect to the audience I have the 
honor to address. Priests are not allowed to marry; would 
to God they were. They are called Fathers by the people, 
and unfortunately, with many it is not only a name but a 
sad reality; not the honored, hallowed name of father, but 
a name whispering of shame and a broken heart, if not a 
ruined family. Undoubtedly the young men who are or- 
dained priests are generally pure, sincere, and good; but 
alas I the system of celibacy, at all times the bane of the 
Catholic ministry, too often ruins them. I spoke to a 
priest last year about this time, about getting married and 
leaving the Church. He called me a fool, and advised me 
not to leave the easy life of the priesthood, but to do like 
him and keep a mistress. I thanked him for his advice and 
told him I was no dog. Bishop Wood told me of more than 
one priest in his diocese whom he characterized as immoral, 
and thoroughly bad men, who to this day hold their offices. 
Marry, forsooth, in an honorable way, the priest is not al- 
lowed, but ruin a poor girl he may. It is better, the Pope 
teaches, for a priest to have two concubines, than marry 



398 THE HUMPHBET-BENNETT DISCUSSIOKT. 

one woman lawfully. Shame upon such morality! Shame 
upon the Church with such teaching 1 

" I repeatedly have heard good and sincere priests say it 
was a blessing the American people did not know the true 
character of the Roman priesthood, for if they did, Ihey 
would sweep them out of the country, and 1 assure you if 
you should know them as I do, you would not consider the 
remark any too harsh. Firstly, they have an inordinate 
desire for money. The poor people are asked for money at 
all times and occasions. The more a man gives the be .ter 
he is liked. He mu?t pay every time he comes to church, 
and every time the priest comes to him. No matter how 
poor the family may be, how hard the man may work, how 
much the mother may slave, how poorly the children are 
clad, no matter whether the grocer is paid, the priest must 
have his dues. Baptisms, marriages, and funerals, must be 
paid for, and woe to the poor Catholic who offers a priest 
less than five dollars. Too much he can never give. Go 
to any Catholic church in this city on Sunday, and you 
hear something about money always. The more a priest 
returns to the bishop, for the seminary or other purposes, 
the higher he rises in the bishop's esteem. Provided a 
priest is sound on the money question his other qualities 
are of minor importance. I know over five hundred priests 
and sixty bishops in this country; I have frequently been 
in priests' and bishops' company, and whenever the question 
came on the congregations they never asked, ' How are 
your people? are they temperate? faithful in attendance 
t;t church? do they raise their children well?' but always, 
* How much pew-rentii do you get ?' ' What do your col- 
lections amount to ?' ' What do you get at Christmas ?' 
' What are your fees for baptism and marriage ?' and if the 
sums did not seem large enough, you woald hear a 'Damn it, 
that's little.' I know priests who have been scarce ten 
years in the priesthood and who own from $20,000 to 
$40,000. And the poor people who give are never told 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 299 

where the money goes to. No priest knows what the bishop 
owns. No congregation hears what a priest receives nor 
how it is spent. And how is it spent ? A good deal of it 
in gambling, cigars, grand dinners, and good drinks. 
Priests are, without doubt, the best livers in the country. 
Whenever you meet a company of priests, be it on Sunday 
or week day, night or day time, you nearly always find 
them at a game of euchre, and not for mere pastime, but 
for money. I often saw, especially Irish priests, play for 
quarters, halves, and a dollar a game. The German priests 
were generally content with a game for ten cents. Then 
come the grand dinners, served in the most approved style, 
for which the good people foot the bill. Those dinners are 
not gotten up on a small scale, either, but cost from $500 to 
$3,500. The bishop gives generally three or four grand 
dinners a year, when the priests are invited, and God knows 
how many on a smaller scale. Priests give their dinners 
on stated occasions — at the funeral of a priest, and the day 
of a corner-stone laying, or at the dedication of a new 
church, and annually on the last day of the forty hours. 
The poor people fcre in at their prayers, while the good 
fathers are enjoying their terrapin, canvas-back, and cham- 
pagne. 

'*But the great curse of the priesthood in this country is 
the vice of drunkenness. Of the extent of this vice I can 
give you no adequate idea. When priests meet, the first 
and the las'-; thing is a drink; early in the morning and late 
at night, the whiskey-bottle is their consolation. If you 
would not offer whiskey and wine— and plenty of it, to your 
visitors, you would soon be spotted and cried down as a 
fool. Bishop Wood, who was a frequent visitor at my 
house, said he did not want any ' Teutonic acid,* meaning 
good German wine, but insisted on having champagne. 
And let me show you that his capacity is rather a large one. 
I was traveling with him in Schuylkill county, three or 
four weeks before I left the Church, and I will now give 



300 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

you his day's work. Early that morning he confirmed in 
the German church at St. Clair. After having administered 
confirmation, a good breakfast was spread before him. 
He did not touch it but asked for a bottle of wine. 
Good Father Froude was rather surprised, and said: 
• Hallo ! wine for breakfast 1' After the wine was finished 
we went to the Eni^lish church. There the bishop com- 
plained of the poor wine of Father Froude, and asked for 
and received a bottle of champagne. After he had given 
confirmation there, a few glasses of lager beer were enjoyed. 
Then came dinner, and a good one it was, and he partook 
freely of beer, wine, champagne, and brandy to wash it 
down. Before we left St. Clair for Mahony Plain, on the 
Superintendent's special car, a few more bottles of cham- 
pagne were opened and dispatched by him and the priests 
present. Scarcely had we reached Father O'Connor's house 
when he asked for goat-milk punch, of which he took two 
or three glasses, afterward he followed it with a few glasses 
of champagne. Still he got through with confirming about 
two hundred people, only complaining of not being quite 
well; the dinner of terrapin, pheasants, and other choice 
things served afterward, he did not enjoy, and he went to 
bed, where I brought to him the last glass of champagne 
after eleven o'clock. When you hear that a bishop can do 
so much in that line, and still be able to give confirmation, 
you will not be surprised to hear that bills for liquors and 
wines are large with a priest who often enjoys his visits. 
To be serious, the greater part of the priests who have died 
in this diocese since I was ordained died of too much drink, 
and many priests are serving there now who more than 
once suffered from delirium tremens. 

" To see priests drunk in their houses is bad enough, but 
how much worse, how much more disgraceful is it for them 
to be drunk in the pulpit and at the altar 1 Even in Sep- 
tember last, I heard a sermon preached at the close of the 
forty hours' devotion, one of ihe most solemn occasions in 



THE HTJMPHBBY-BE2TNETT DISCUSSION. 301 

the Catholic Church, by a priest when under the influence 
of liquor. That man arrived about two o'clock in the 
afternoon, completely drunk. He slept off, it is true, partly 
the effects of his debauch, siill, when he preached at seven 
o'clock, he was anything but sober. After the ceremonies 
were over, he re- commenced his potations, mixing whiske}'', 
beer, wine, and champagne, till he fell on the floor beastly 
drunk. That man is in the mission to-day, pastor of a 
large congregation, although it is well known that not a 
week passes in which he is not druuk once or twice. On 
another occasion, a priest — who now rests in a drunkard's 
grave — was so completely drunk when carrying the wafer 
in procegsion through his church, that I and another priest 
who acted as deacons, had to support him to keep him from 
falling. I might adduce many more instances of the fear- 
ful intemperance as prevailing among the Roman clergy; 
but I suppose enough has been said to convince you that 
temperance is a virtue almost unknown among them." 

I will now give you a few paragraphs upon the American 
clergy from the ex-reverend E. E. Guild, who was for many- 
years a Protestant clergyman, but who from honest investi' 
gation and conviction was induced to abandon the profes- 
sion he no longer believed it was right for him to follow. 
He is now an old man, highly respected by those who know 
him, and his testimony may be received with all confidence. 
I quote from his " Pro and Con of Supernatural Religion": 

" Undoubtedly the priesthood, like ail other learned pro- 
fessions, is composed of both good and bad men. But on 
the score of merit, it cannot justly claim any superiority 
over the others. Doubtless the clergy are no better, nor any 
worse, than the average of men, only so far as the false 
position which they occupy makes them so. With them 
the business of theological and religious teaching is a pro- 
fession and a means of obtaining a livelihood: Before they 
enter upon their work, they must, before God and man, 
make solemn professions of faith in a certain creed to which 



m 



THE HCJ.MPnUEY-J3ENNETT DISCUSSION. 



they are expected to adhere and defend during life. On 
their doing this, their living depends. They have a pecun- 
iary interest at stake. The creed must be maintained, mis- 
sionary work must be done, contributions must be raised, 
revival excitements must be gotten up, converts must be 
made, for all this brings grist to their miU. They are con- 
servative in their tendencies, opposed to all innovation, 
tenacious and bigoted in their opinions and blind to all 
newly discovered truth. They can seldom see the word 
truth, because, with them, it is covered by a dollar. Their 
occupation leads them into the practice of conscious or un- 
conscious hypocrisy. They assume a character before the 
people that they by no means maintain in their families, or 
when in company with each other. However grave, sancti- 
monious, and circumspect tney may appear in public, when 
assembled in company by themselves, they are the most 
jolly of men. They can crack their jokes, tell funny sto- 
ries, relate smutty anecdotes, and indulge in low gossip to 
an extent unequaled by any except protessional libertines. 
Tliey denounce human selfishness, and are of all men the 
most selfish; declaim against avarice, and are mercenary 
and avaricious; preach against pride, fashion and love of 
the world, and yet are as proud, as servile imitators of fash- 
ion, and manifest as much of the love of the world, as other 
men. They insist on the necessity of seif-denial, but think 
themselves entitled to the most comfortable places, the best 
bits, the choicest dainties, the lion's share of a.i the good 
things of life. They profess to be awfully concerned and 
anxious for the welfare of poor sinners, but their sleek, 
smooth, well-to-do appearance gives no indication of tlieir 
excessive anxiety. They claim that men in their natural 
state are totally depraved, and yet, in this country at least, 
they profess to believe in a free government, founded on the 
piinciple that the people have a right to govern themselves, 
an inconsistency so glaring that it makes us suspicious of 
their sincerity 



THE HUMrHllEY-BEN:4ETT i>l:SCUiSSI02<. (J03 

*'The art of proselyting they understand to perfection. 
This is an important part of their business. However 
ignorant they may be on all other subjects, this they per- 
fectly well understand. They are in possession of all the 
accumulated experience of a long line of predecessors ex- 
tending through all of the past ages. They know human 
nature well, and how to take advantage of ils weaknesses. 
They make their appeals to the superstitious, selfish hopes 
and fears of ignorant men, and having what Archimedes only 
wanted, another world on which to plant their machinery, 
it is no wonder that in almost all past time they have moved 
this at their pleasure. They tax all their ingenuity and elo- 
quence in describing the beauties of a heaven about which 
they know nothing, and of a hell of which they are equally 
ignorant— the one they promise as a reward to all who em- 
brace their doctrines, the other they threaten as a liuaish- 
ment to be inflicted on all who do nut. In this way they 
may succeed, perhaps, in luring some and entrancing others, 
but no man was ever made really any better by being actu- 
ated by such selfish considerations. They condemn human 
selfishness and yet cultivate and strengthen it by making 
constant appeals to it. They are the greatest beggars in the 
world. Their horseleech cry of give, give, can he heard on 
the mountains and in the valleys, in the public streets and 
in the churches. At every public meeting ostensibly for 
the worship of God, the contribution-box is passed around 
and the people are entreated in God's name to give. The 
people are assured that if they will give, God will restore 
to them four-fold, but not one of them will stand sponsor 
for the fulfillment of the promise or guarantee the refund- 
ing of the gift in case it is not. In a thousand varieties of 
ways vast sums of money are raised by these men which 
goes to help the warring sects to vie with each other in 
building costly churches and to support a class of useless 
drones in the human hive. 

*' The same envyings and jealousies that exist among the 



304 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

members of other learned profe-sions exist among them. 
They will unscrupulously resort to measures to supplant a 
brother in an advantageous situation, or in the esteem and 
affections of the people, which lawyers and physicians 
scorn to adopt, and have too great a sense of honor and 
manhood to think of adopting. If one of their number 
happens to become convinced of the erroneousness of his 
creed, and has independenc<3 and moral courage enough to 
avow his honest opinions, the rest will pounce on him lilie 
a hawk upon a chicken. They will pursue him with mis- 
representations and slander, hurl at him the epithets of 
' Infidel,' ' emissary of Satan,' ' enemy of religion,' call him 
a Judas, a renegade, an apostate, ostracise him from 
society if they can, and all to counteract his influence in 
opposition to their sectarian views. On the other hand, if 
one of their profession is accused of any crime, the rest of 
the fraternity will gather around him, form a solid phalanx, 
and shield him from exposure if they can. The peculiar 
position occupied by these men brings them into close rela- 
tion to the female sex. They, knowing that women are 
more susceptible of religious as well as superstitious influ- 
ence than men, regard them as their right-hand weapon of 
offensive and defensive war. They rely mainly on them 
to further their designs. Women, educated to believe that 
they must depend on men for support and protection, will 
inevitably be inclined to look up to the clergy for religious 
guidance and instruction. This brings them into frequent 
and familiar intimacy with that class of men. What has 
been the result ? Not only are our sectarian churches 
made up principally of women and children, but the history 
of the priesthood in all ages and countries proves that by 
no other class of professional men have so many crimes 
against female virtue been committed as by them. 

" The clergy profess to look upon what they call Infidel- 
ity and Materialism with the utmost horror and detestation. 
They represent that the Materialistic doctrines are destruct- 



l-ttE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 305 

ive of all joy and peace on earth, and dpprive us of all our 
bright hopes and aoticipations in regard to the future. 
Apparently they are entirely unconscious of the fact that 
they themselves are constantly promulgating a doctrine as 
much more horrible than anything in Materialism as it is 
in the power of the human imagination to conceive. At 
the very worst, even, ultra-Materialism would do nothing 
worse than consign us to the quiet sleep of non-existence 
or annihilation, whereas the doctrine of the clergy would 
involve a majority of our race in miseries untold, never- 
ending and indescribable. Ail, therefore, who hope for a 
future blissful existence, must desire it with the full knowl- 
edge that it they have it, they enjoy it at the expense of the 
endless and inconceivable sufferings of millions of their 
fellow-men. Can a more monstrous exhibition of supreme 
selfishness be conceived ? 

"These men claim, too, that by some mysterious super- 
natural process they have experienced such a change of 
nature, such a regeneration of character, such a sanctifica- 
tion of mind and heart as fits them to be the mouth-pieces 
of God, and the leaders and instructors of mankind. But 
of what use is it for them to pretend to any superior 
sanctity, when all intelligent men know, and all the world 
ought to know, that they *'are men of like passions as 
others," that they have the same appetites, passions, 
desires, faults, and foibles that all men have. The criminal 
records of the country prove that in proportion to their 
numbers no class of educated men furnish a greater number 
of the inmates of our jails and prisons than the clergy. 

"There are in the United States over seventy thousand 
clergymen. We would utilize this element of society. 
That portion of them who, by their education, talents and 
moral worth, are qualified for the work, we would have 
converted into teachers in our schools and seminaries of 
learLing, public lecturers, and leaders of the people in the 
great work of reform. "We would have them teach their 



806 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

fellow-men on those subjects about which they have some 
positive knowledge, and in relation to which it is of the 
utmost importance that they he informed. We would have 
them teach the people to know themselves, to do their own 
thinking, to form their own opinions, to understand the 
laws of their own nature, and the conditions on which the 
prosperity and happiness of human beings depend. We 
would place them on a level with the rest of mankind, 
give them the same chances, the same opportunities, and 
let them depend on themselves, instead of being merely 
dependants upon others. As for the rest, we would have 
them expend the force and energy, which they now spend 
for naught, in some branch of trade or agriculture, and 
thereby make themselves a blessing to the world. 

"To this, or something like this, it must come at last. 
The people will not always suffer themselves to be led 
hoodwinked to their own destruction. A revolt is sure to 
come, and when it dees come, it is to be hoped that the 
crimes of the priesthood against humanity will not be too 
vividly remembered against them, and that the sins of their 
predecessors who lived in the dead past will not be visited 
upon those who exist in the living present." 

The lesson to be learned from all this clerical sinfulness 
and crime is, that the claim that the religion of Jesus is a 
protection or safeguard against licentiousness and corrup- 
tion, is wholly untrue, for the proof is clear that there is no 
class of men more "liable to yield to the allurements of car- 
nal pleasures than the clergy. So far from their religion 
being a safeguard agiinst the weaknesses of human nature, 
it is the means of exposing them to the blandishments and 
temptations which the good sisters so frequently lay in their 
way. If they were working in the fields — plowing and 
hoeing — or in the shops at planing and filing, they would 
be far less liable to be overcome by temptations than by 
visiting the sisters in the absence of their husbands, and 
conversing with them on the subject of " true inwardness." 



The HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 807 

You are incorrect when you state that sinning clergymen 
are always sought out by the Church and deposed as soon 
as found to be engaged in wrong doing. Tlie truth often is 
the opposite of this. Their crimes are many times hushed 
up and smothered, and concealed from the public gaze as 
long as possible, and very often after the " guide " has been 
exposed, he has removed to another locality and resumed 
preaching with increased fervency and mock-sanctity. 

What if, as you would gladly show, Goethe was a little 
wild in his younger days, and in mature life lived with a 
woman— as he honestly believed he had a right to do — 
whom no priest had declared to be bone of his bone? 
What if the love between Rousseau and Madame de War- 
rens was not sanctioned by the Church ? What if Chester- 
field was a man of the world ? What if somebody, in three 
lines, has accused Voltaire of untruthfulness ? What if 
Paine did act the part of friend toward Madame Bonneville? 
What If John Stuart Mill was a sincere friend to a lady he 
had reason to esteem ? What if Shelley, in the days of his 
boyhood, did contract a union which he afterwards found 
uncongenial and impracticable ? These are events that are 
occurring in the world every day of our lives, and though 
you place the worst possible construction upon them that 
your enmity can prompt, they are but "a drop in the 
bucket " when compared with the peccadilloes, adulteries, 
and crimes of priests and preachers who profess to be sons 
of God, and to have light and guidance superior to men 
of the world. As lu^dels, we have no saints ; we make no 
boast of holiness or heavenly-miudedness. Our highest 
object is to discharge our duties to our fellow-men, doing 
naught to infringe upon the rights and prerogatives of 
others. We have left to the priestly class the entire busi- 
ness of saintship; yielded to them the monopoly of divine 
favor and aid, and a pretty mess indeed they have made of 
it. They have made the terms " men of God " and " shep- 
herds of the flock " a reproach among mankind. 



308 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

You would fain have it that these sensual priests in their 
lewd practices have violated the instructions of the Bible. 
Not so. They have simply followed the example of the 
favorites of the Bible God. They have done nothing more 
than follow the common practices with the old patriarchs 
and favored kings of God's chosen people. 

In passing, let me quote a passage from a tribute to John 
Stuart Mill by Moncure D. Conway: "There was blended 
in his intellectual work other that required a yet higher 
nature, work that needed preponderating sensibilities, a 
deep human sympathy, a rich emotional nature. I have 
said Mr. Mill always felt what he thought — and whenever 
he spoke, the blood in his cheeks spoke too. But there 
were two themes only upon which, as he spoke, his mind 
caught flame and rose into passionate emotion. One of 
them was when, before emancipation had taken place in 
America, he saw humanity enslaved and a Republic fettered 
by the same chain it had bound around the negro. The 
other was when he saw women struggling to break the 
galling political and social chains, inherited from ancients, 
from a barbarous past. Into their cause he entered with 
an enthusiasm which brought again the age of chivalr^'^, 
and the brave efforts he made to secure woman from heredi- 
tary wrong made him in our prosaic time the figure of St. 
George rescuing the maiden from the dragon. The world 
has felt a silent sympathy, as in the French town he sat, 
studied, wrote, at a window overlooking the grave that 
held that treasure of his soul, beside whom he now reposes; 
but it has admired as it saw this personal devotion to one 
noble woman consecrating him to the cause of all her sis- 
ters. Ah, ye women, who amid many buffets and sneers 
are striving to attain a truer position and larger life, to help 
man raise the suffering world to a higher plane — ye 
women, what a friend have you lost I Daughters of 
England, weep not for him, but weep for yourselves 
and for your children " (Memorial Discourse, pp. 20, 21). 



THE HTJMPHHEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 309 

Well would it be for our race if the world could produce 
more men equal in virtue and intelligence to John Stuart 
Mill. If twenty-five per cent, of your seventy thousand 
clergymen in the United States were equal to him, what a 
blessing it would be to our country ! It is better to be one 
such man than a thousind flash-in-the-Pan-Presbyterian 
Councils of ministers, with their forty-nine modifications 
and varieties. 

In regard to Shelley, in justice to his memory, I will add 
to what I have said, that he did not forsake his first wife. 
He made a settlement upon her, corresponded with her 
during his travels, called upon her on his return, and did 
all in his power to render her condition comfortable. 
Their separation was not the cause of her suicide. She 
indulged in peculiar notions of love which her spinster sis- 
ter and her father strongly condemned, and he turned her 
from his door. In a fit of grief at her treatment, she threw 
herself into the river. Shelley was greatly grieved in con- 
sequence. His second marriage was considerably hastened 
by the advice of Mr. Godwin, father of his second wife (see 
Keegan Paul's Letters and Peacock on Shelley, as given in 
the World of July 15, 1877). 

You claim to be unable to find anything in Thiers or 
Chambers indicating that Robespierre was a Christian. I 
am not particularly anxious to show him to have been a 
Christian, but that while he was the head and front of 
the Reign of Terror he assuredly was not an anti-relig- 
ionist, but a wild political leader, who came to the sur- 
face under a peculiar combination of circumstances, and 
was not a man really so bad at heart as many of his harsh 
and tyrannical acts would indicate. The French Revolu- 
tion was brought about by the tyranny and corruptions of 
the royal family, the nobles, and the clergy. Michelet states 
the case clearly, thus : "The clergy had so well kept and 
augmented the property of the poor, that at length it com- 
prised one-fifth of the lands of the Kingdom " (Lewes' Life 



310 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

of Robespierre). The remainder was in the hands of the 
nobks. It is not strange that, under this state of things, 
all the land and wealth of the nation engrossed by the 
nobles and the priesthood, the oppressed masses should 
revolt. It was but human nature. Even a worm, when trod 
upon, will turn and show resentment. We have recently 
had in our own country sad proofs of this tendency. We 
have seen the working classes uniting in mobs and reck- 
lessly destroying millions of dollars' worth of property. It 
was because they were without employment and were suffer- 
ing for want of necessary food. It was not because they 
are Infidels, or unbelievers in the prevailing system of re- 
ligion. It was the rebellion of human nature against 
oppression. It was the same in the French Revolution, 
and it is not strange in the consequent reaction that en&ued 
that excesses were committed. It was not because the 
actors in the fearful tragedy were unbelievers or Free- 
thinkers, and it is very unfair in you and your Christian 
friends to be continually making that false charge. True, 
the Goddess of Reason was set up by a clique to be wor- 
shiped, but, in the ruling frenzy of the hour. Reason was 
worshiped and followed very indifferently. 

As to Robespierre's political and theological character, 
we can probably get as clear a view of it from his own 
words as from any other source. "It is true," said he, 
*'tbat our most dangerous enemies are the impure rem- 
nants of the race of our tyrants. I vote in my heart that 
the race of tyrants disappear from the earth; but can I shut 
my eyes to the state of my country so completely as to 
believe that this event would sufQce to extinguish the flames 
of those conspiracies that are consuming us. . . . Is it 
true another cause of our calamities is fanaticism ? Fanat- 
icism; it is dying; nay, I may say it is dead. In directing, 
for some days past, all our energies against it, are we not 
diverting our attention from real dangers ?" Grappling at 
once with the question of Religion, Robespierre thus pro- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 811 

ceeded: " Let citizens, animated by a firm zeal, deposit on 
the altar of the country the useless and pompous monu- 
ments of superstition, that they be rendered subservient to 
the triuDjphs of liberty; the country and reason smile at 
these offerings; but what right have aristocracy and hy- 
pocrisy to mingle their influence with civism ? What right 
have men hitherto unknown in the career of the Revolution 
to seek amidst all these events the means of usurping a 
false popularity, of hurrying the very patriots into false 
measures, and of throwing disturbance and discord among 
us ? What right have they to violate the liberty of religion 
in the name of liberty, and to attack fanaticism ? What 
right have they to make the solemn homage paid to pure 
truth degenerate into wearisome and ridiculous farces ? . 
. . It has been supposed that in accepting the civic offer- 
ings, the Convention has proscribed the Catholic worship. 
No, the Convention has taken no such step, and never will 
take it. Its intention is to uphold the liberty of worship 
which it has proclaimed, and to suppress at the same time 
all those who shall abuse it to disturb public order. It will 
not allow the peaceful ministers of the different religions to 
be persecuted, and it will punish them severely whenever 
iLey shall dare to avail themselves of their functions to 
mislead the citizens, or to arm prejudice or royalism against 
the republic. . . . There are men who would fain go 
further, who upon the pretext of destroying superstition, 
would fain make a sort of religion of Atheism itself. Every 
philosopher, every individual, is at liberty to adopt on that 
subject what opinion he pleases; whoever would make a 
crime of this is a madman; but the public man, the legisla- 
tor, would be a hundred times more insane who should 
adopt such a system. The National Convention abhors 
it. The Convention is not a maker of books aad of sys- 
tems. It is a political and popular body. Atheism is aris- 
tocratic. The idea of a great Be.iag, who watches over op- 
pressed innocence, and who punishes triumphant guiit is 



313- THE HUMPHKEY-EENNETT DISCUSSIOlT. 

quite popular. The people, the unfortunate, applaud me. 
If there are any v*ho censure me, they must belong to the 
rich and to the guilty. I have been from my college years 
a very indifferent Catholic; but shall never be a cold friend, 
or an unfaithful defender of humanity. I am on that 
account only the more attached to the moral and political 
ideas which I have here expounded to you. If (^od did not 
exist, it would 'behoove man to invent him " (Thiers' French 
Revolution, vol. ii, pp. 375, 376). I have thus quoted this 
religious politician at some length to give a fair presenta- 
tion of his views and motives, deeming this fairer than 
merely to quote a line or two here and there as is your 
style. 

On page 380, vol. ii, Thiers thus speaks: " The policy of 
Robespierre and the Government was well known. The 
energy with which this policy had been manifested intimi- 
dated the restless promoters of the new worship, and they 
began to think of retracting and of retracing their steps. 
. . . The Convention declared on its part that it had 
never intended by its decrees to shackle religious liberty, 
and it forbade the plate still remaining in the churches to be 
touched, since the exchequer had no further need of that 
kind of aid. From that day the indecent farces performed 
by the people ceased in Paris, and the ceremonies of the 
worship of Reason, which hud afforded them so much 
amusement, were abolished. " 

Touching Robespierre's religious sentiments, I will quote 
a few passages from Lewes' Life of that individual: *' I at- 
tribute it to his sincere religious convictions, rather than 
to any political foresight, such as Michelet discerns, that he 
should have relied upon the lower clergy (a powerful body 
of 80,000 priests) as well as the Jacobins lor his support "(p. 
148). " On the 16th of June he asked the Assembly to pro- 
vide for the subsistence of aged ecclesiastics who had no 
benefices or pensions" (p. 148). He thus quotes Robes- 
pierre's words: "How could I be equal to struggles which 



THE HUMPHKEY-BENNErT DISCUSSION". 313 

are above human strength, if I had not elevated my soul to 
God " (p. 237). French journalists of that period thus speak 
of Kobespierre: "He is a kind of priest who has his devo- 
tees, his Marys and his Magdalens. " "He has all the char- 
acteristics of a founder of religion ; he has a reputation for 
sanctity." " Robespierre is a priest, and never will be any 
thing else." " He is a priest who wishes to become a God." 
On the 7th of May, 1794, when in the height of his power, 
Robespierre proposed the following decree: "Article I. — The 
French people recognize the existence of the Supreme Be- 
ing and the immortality of the soul. Article II. — They 
acknowledge that the worship of the Supreme Being is 
one of the duties of man " (Thiers', vol. iii, p. 13). By these 
extracts it is clear (hat Robespierre was no Freethinker or 
Infidel. He was an ardent religionist, and almost a Chris- 
tian. He acknowledged himself a Catholic, though an 
' ' indifferent " one. 

Had it been desirable on your part to claim Robespierre 
as a Christian, you have far more reason for doing so than 
for several whom you have claimed. He was far more 
religious — far more a believer in the dogmas of Christianity 
— than were Franklin, Washington, or Jefferson. 

Of course, there were Freethinkers in those days, and 
many of them were active in the measures that character- 
ized the time, but they suffered quite as severely from the 
work of the guillotine as any class, and Thomas Paine 
escaped by the merest chance. In the National Con- 
vention, which ordered and sanctioned so many executions, 
a majority were believers in Christianity. By this it is easy 
to see how unjust and untruthful is your effort to throw 
the odium of the wild conduct of those in power upon the 
unbelievers. To show the truth of the whole business I 
have hardly occupied too much space. This dishonest 
charge against the opposers of the theological dogmas of 
that era has so often been made by your sort of people that 
it is time the lie was nailed to the inast, 



314 THE HUMPHREY-BEKN'ETT DISCUSSION. 

I made no special effort to convict the Jews of cannibal- 
ism, but merely called attention to such texts in the Bible 
as went to show that they not only pi act iced human sacri- 
fice but cannibalism also. I will also add that it has been 
urged by writers more distinguished than either of us that 
the Bible does show that the Jews were cannibals. Moses 
told them that unless they observed his ceremonies they 
should not only have the itch, but that mothers should eat 
their children. Ezekiel makes a similar threat in chapter 
xxxix. He tells tbem that God will not only cause them 
to eat the horses of their enemies, but the horsemen and 
the rest of the warriors. Yoliaire asked the question: 
*' Why should not the Jews have been cannibals ? It was 
fhe only thing wanting to make the people of God the 
most abominable people upon earth." That the Jews did 
eat human bodies at the tia^.e of the siege of Jerusalem we 
have the authority of Josephus. I give, however, the facts 
for what they are worth, and it must bo admitted that the 
texts of Scripture quoted, and several others, squint very 
strongl}^ of Hebrew cannibalism. That they were a race of 
semi-barbarians I have sufQciently shown, and that Herodo- 
tus did not mention them when writing his history of Syria, 
of which Palestine formed a part, is most clear. If he 
mentioned it at all it would have been when he was writing 
his account of what he saw when in that country. It is well 
known that some of his histories have been lost, but his 
history of Syria was not one of them. His writings relative 
to Rome might have been among the lost books. 

Your attempt to show that Infidels have died recanting 
and in terror is a complete failure. It requires but little 
talent to repeat that stale slander about Voltaire's recanta- 
tion. Why do you not prove it and thus get the thousand 
dollars in gold which Col. IngersoU has offered to any man 
who will prove it. The N. Y. Observer, the old war-h(>r;e 
of Prcsbyterianism, it is said, has accepted ti^e challenge and 
will attempt to prove that Voltaire did recant. Perhaps you 



THE HUMPHBBY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 315 

can enter into partnership with the Observer and get at least 
half the money. A similar amount was offered by the 
same party if it is proved that Thomas Paine recanted on 
his death-bed. Here is an excellent opportunity for you to 
make another thousand dollars in gold. Col. Ingersoll is 
good for the promises he makes, and two thousand dollars 
would be a very comfortable sum to make these hard times, 
especially if it can be done easily and in the interest of a 
God who would be greatly relieved and glorified thereby. 
Remember, though, the matter must he proved. The stale 
slanders and falsehoods of Christian clergymen, which for- 
nesrrly fourscore years have been peddled out from the 
pulpit for the delectation of the credulous faithful ones of 
the flock will not answer the purpose. It must be truth 
and not lies. 

You do injustice to the memory of Hume by attempting 
to show that he died ignobly and improperly. What a*deck 
of cards in his hand could amount to, more than any other 
pasteboard, is not very clear. They might have served his 
purpose equally as well as a prayer-book, a catechism, 
a confession of faith, or even a Testament. The insinua- 
tion which you throw out is what I object to. Perhaps he 
should have had a copy of your *' HeU and Damnation " in 
his hand. No doubt the mind of the dying man would have 
been wonderfully cheered by its soothing tone. Hume died 
like a man and a philosopher. In the sequel to his Auto- 
biography is a letter written by Dr. Adam Smith, author of 
"The Wealth of Nations," addressed to William Strathan, 
Esq., giving an account of the last moments of Hume. In 
this letter Dr. Smith gives a copy of one wliich he received 
from Dr. Black, Hume's physician and friend, the day after 
Hume's death, as follows: "Edinburgh, Aug. 26, 1776. 
Dear Sir : Yesterday, about four o'clock, Mr. Hume ex- 
pired. The near approach of his death became evident in 
the night between Thursday and Friday, when his disease 
became excessive and soon weakened him so much that he 



316 THE HtJMPHRET-BElTNETT DISCUSSION. 

could not rise out of bed. He continued to the last per- 
fectly sensible, and free from much pain or feelings of dis- 
tress. He never dropped the smallest expression of impa- 
tience, but when he had occasion to speak to the people 
about him, he always did it with affection and tenderness, 
. . When he became very weak, it cost him a great effort 
to speak, and he died in such a happy composure of mind 
that nothing could exceed it," Dr. Adam Smith closed his 
letter in these words: " Upon the whole, I have always con- 
sidered him, both in his life-time, and since his death, as ap- 
proaching as near to the ideal of the perfectly wise and virtu- 
ous man as perhaps the nature of human frailty will admit. " 
In the face of such testimony as this, I will submit it to 
yourself and to our numerous readers, whether insinuation 
about the " deck of cards " is not simply contemptible. 

You do nearly equal injustice to the memory of Thomas 
Hobbes, by attempting to show that he died an unhappy 
dealh, by saying "he contemplated the inevitable with 
trepidation." Lord Clarendon describes the personal char- 
acter of Hobbes as "one for whom he always had a great 
esteem as a maU; who besides his eminent parts of learning 
and knowledge, hath always been looked upon as a man of 
propriety, and a life free from scandal," and thus he died. 
Collins, in his Biography of Hobbes, thus explains his nat- 
ural timidity of character: " He was naturally of a timid 
disposiiion; this was the result of an accident which caused 
his premature birth, and being besides of a reserved char- 
ter, he was ill-fitted to meet the physical rebuffs of the 
world. It is said he was so afraid of his personal safety 
that he objected to being left alone in an empty house; this 
charge is to some extent true, but we must look to the miti- 
gating circumstances of the case. He was a feeble man, 
turned the age of three score and ten, with all the clergy of 
England hounding on their dupes to murder the old philos- 
opher because he had exposed their dogmas. It was but a 
few years before that Protestants and Papists complimented 



THE auMPrtREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 317 

each other's religion by burning those which were the 
weakest, and long after Hobbes' death, Protestants mur- 
dered, ruined, disgraced and placed in the pillory Dissen- 
ters and Catholics alike, and Thomas Hobbes had positive 
proof that it was the intention of the Church of England 
to hum Mm alive at the stake, a martyr for his opinions. 
This, then, was a suflScient justification for Hobbes feeling 
afraid, and instead of its being th own out as a taunt at this 
illustrious Freethinker, it is a standing stigma on those who 
would reenact the tragedy of persecution, if public senti- 
ment would allow it " (page 6). 

It has little connection with the subject under discussion, 
how Robespierre acted when he was arrested at the Hotel 
de Ville, and whether he attempted suicide; whether Hen- 
riot got druok; whether Los Basas shot himself with a pis- 
tol; whether Cauthou cut his bosom with a knife, and 
whether St. Just begged his comrades to shoot him. These 
were not known or distinguished as Freethinkers, and 
neither of them acted in the way named because they re- 
canted Infidelity. If you have not better proofs of Infidels 
recanting their views upon their death-beds, your case is 
weak indeed, and I would advise you as a friend to never 
make the charge again. 

Why did you not represent Edward Gibbon, who has 
been classed as an Infidel, as having died carousing-, 
gambling, cursing, or trembling with terror ? I should, 
however, be inclined to take the statement of Lord Shaftes- 
bury, the confidential friend of Gibbon, as given in the 
sequel to the autobiography of the latter. He wrote as fol- 
lows: " To the last he [Gibbon] preserved his senses, and 
when he could no longer speak, his servant having asked 
him a question, he made a sign to him that he understood him. 
He was quiet, tranquil, and did not stir; his eyes half shut. 
About a quarter of an hour before one he ceased to breathe. 
The valet de chambre observed that he did not, at any time, 
evince the least sign of alarm or apprehension of death." 



318 THE HUMPiIREY-BE>XETT DISCUSSION. 

The untruthfulness of Ohrisiiau representations relative 
to the death of Infidels may be instanced in the attempt to 
cast insinuations upon the death of Mlrabeau, the Atheist, 
by the Rev. J. P. Newman who put it in this waj : "The 
dying words of Mirabeau must be the dying words of every 
man who relies upon science rather than religion—' Cover 
me with flowers, banquet me with music, delight me with 
perfume, for to die is to lake a leap in the dark.' " In the 
American Cyclopedia it is narrated in this way: "After a 
night of terrible suffering, at the dawn of day he addressd 
Cabaais, his physician, 'My friend, I shall die to-day. 
When one has come to such a juncture there remains only 
one thing to do, that is to be perfumed, crowned with flow- 
ers, and surrounded with music, in order to enter sweetly 
into that slumber from which there is no awakening.' 
He ordered his bed to be brought near the window, and 
looked with rapture on the brightness of the sun and the 
freshness of the garden. His death was mourned by a 
whole nation. Every one felt that the ruling Spirit of the 
Revolution had passed away." The reverend gentleman's 
version had just enough truth in it to enable one to deter- 
mine positively the falsity of the very point he wished to 
emphasize, namely, the "leap in tlie dark." It-is the dis- 
honest effort of Christian clergymen to make it appear that 
unbelievers die terrible deaths; and you are no exception to 
the rule. But if you fail to make out a case, could these 
unbelievers at the hour of death be induced to believe for 
a moment your delightful doctrine of Hell and Damnation, 
it might enable you to talk with more truth about the terror 
in which you would gladly make it appear that they have 
died. 

Your quotation of the words of Paul as being his dying 
words are hardly honestly quoted. You know very well 
that he was not dying when he made those utterances, but 
was simply writing a letter to his friend Timothy, and 
might have been years from the hour of death. When he 



THE HUMPHREY BENNETT DISCUSSION. 319 

really did breathe his last he may have been as fvfll of 
terror as was the founder of Christianity himself when he 
was forced to face the King of Terrors. Many zealous Chris- 
tians at the time of death might truthfully have said: "I 
have fought the bloody fight; I have finished my murder- 
ous course; I have caused many poor heretics to bite the 
dust. I have kept the faith that our Church proclaims, 
and put to death scores of those who presumed to deny it. 
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of unrighteous- 
ness, or a garment of terrible damnation, which I have 
justly earned." 

Brother Humphrey, you will have to try again before 
you can make it appear that the deaths of Infidels will not 
compare favorably with those of Christians. 

You are courteous enough to speak of D'Holbach as having 
''grujited under the burden of showing that Atheism fur- 
nished the strongest motives for virtue and justice." 
Would you represent him as a hog, that he should "grunt"? 
Let me quote from his works a few specimens of his 
grunts, that it may be seen whether he grunted well or not: 
" Be just, because equity is the support of human society. 
Be good, because goodness connects all hearts in adamant- 
ine bonds. Be indulgent, because, feeble thyself, thou 
livest with beings who partake of thy weakness. Be gentle, 
because mildness attracts attention. Be thankful, because 
gratitude feeds benevolence, nourishes generosity. Be 
modest, because haughtiness is disgusting to beings at all 
times well with themselves. Forgive injuries, "because 
revenge perpetuates hatred. Do good to him who injureth 
thee, in order to show thyself more noble than he is; to 
make a friend of him who was once thine enemy. Be re- 
served in thy demeanor, temperate in thy enjoyment, chaste 
in thy pleasures, because voluptuousness begets weariness, 
intemperance engenders disease, froward manners are 
revolting; excess at all times relaxes the springs of thy 
machine, will ultimately destroy thy being, and render 



320 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

thee hateful to thyself and contemptible to others. . . . 
In short, be a man; be a sensible, rational being; be a 
faithful husband, a tender father, an equitable master, a 
zealous citizen. Labor to serve thy country by thy prow- 
ess, by thy talents, by thy industry; above all, by thy 
virtues. Participate with thine associates those gifts which 
nature has bestowed upon thee. Diffuse happiness among 
thy fellow-mortals; inspire thy fellow-citizens with content. 
Spread joy over all those who approach thee, that the 
sphere of their actions, enlivened by thy kindness, illum- 
ined by benevolence, may react upon thyself. Be assured 
that the man who makes ethers happy cannot himself be 
miserable. ... A life so spent will each moment be 
marked by the serenity of thine own mind, by the affections 
of the beings who environ thee, will enable thee to rise, a 
contented, satisfied guest, from the general feast, conduct 
thee gently down the declivity of life, lead thee peuceably 
to the period of thy days, for die thou must; but already 
thou wilt survive thyself in thought; thou wilt always live 
in the memory of thy friends; in the grateful recollections 
of those beings whose comforts have been augmented by 
thy friendly attentions; the virtues will beforehand have 
erected to thy form an imperishable monument. If Heaven 
occupied itself with thee, it would feel satisfied with thy 
conduct when it shall thus have contented the earth " (Sys- 
tem of Natuie, p. 334). I could continue "grunts" as 
good as those to fill h. ndreds of ordinary pages. It strikes 
me that Jesus, Peter, or Paul never "grunted " out much 
better or more sensible moral instructions than these. 
Seriously, my friend, do you not think you belittle your- 
self and injure your cause by calling such beautiful senti- 
ments "grunts"? 

I perceive that you are anxious to extricate your patron 
saint, Calvin, from the very unenviable reputation which 
he enjoys. You ring the changes on " Calvin burned Ser- 
vetus" with consummate skill, but I am sorry for you that 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 821 

you are unable to relieve him from the disgraceful dilemma 
in which history places him. I see that honesty forces you 
to admit nearly all I claimed against him: 1, That Calvin 
believed in burniug heretics — that is, those who did not 
square Iheir theological lines according to his standard; 3. 
That his followers and co-reformers entertained the same 
views; 3. That Calvin instigated the arrest of Servetus. 
You are quite right in confessing that the transaction was a 
dark blot on the cLaracter of Calvin. The facts are, Calvin 
not only caused the arrest of Servetus, but he urged on the 
trial. The accusation was in his own handwriting. He 
was at the head of the Theocracy, or Council, of two hun- 
deed, and it is idle to claim that he could not have prevent- 
ed the execution. Calvin and Servetus were enemies, and 
when Calvin had the latter in his power he was the last 
man to loosen his grasp. 

IngersoU describes the character of Calvin so graphically 
and forcibly, in connection with this affair and others, 
that I cannot refrain from quoting him: " This man [Cal- 
vin] forged five fetters for the brain. These fetlers he 
called points. That is to say, predestination, particular 
redemption, total depravity, irresistible grace, and the per- 
severance of the saints. About the neck of each follower 
he put a collar bristling with these five points. The pres- 
ence of all these points on the collar is still the test of 
orthodoxy in the Church he founded. This man when in 
the flush of youth was elected to the office of preacher in 
Geneva. He at once, in unison with Farel, drew up a con- 
densed statement of the Presbyterian doctrine, and all citi- 
zens of Geneva, on pain of banishment, were compelled to 
take an oath that they belived this statement. Of this pro- 
ceeding Calvin very innocently remarked that it produced 
great satisfaction. A man named Carol! had the audacity 
to dispute with Calvin. For this outrage he was banished. 

'*To show you what great subjects occupied the attention 
of Calvin, it is only necessary to state that he furiously dis- 



823 THE HDAIPHKET-BEK2fBTT DISCUSSION. 

cussed the question as to whether the sacramental bread 
should be leavened or unleavened. He drew up laws regu- 
lating the cut of the ciiizens' clothes and prescribing their 
diet, and all those whose garments were not in the Calvin 
fashion were refused the sacrament. At last the people be- 
coming tired of this petty theological tyranny, banished 
Calvin. In a few years, however, he was recalled, and re- 
ceived vsith great enthusiasm. After this he was supreme, 
and the will of Calvin became the law of Geneva. Under 
this benign administration James Gruet was beheaded be- 
cause he had wriiten some profane verses. The slightest 
word against Calvin or his absurd doctrines were punished 
as a crime. 

"In 1553 a man was tried at Vienne by the Catholic 
Church for heresy. He was convicted and sentenced to 
death by burning. It was apparently his good fortune to 
escape. Pursued by the sleuth-hounds of intolerance, he 
fled to Geneva for protection. A dove flying from hawks 
sought safety in the nest of a vulture. This fugitive from 
the cruelty of Rome asked shelter from Calvin, who had 
written a book in favor of religious toleration. Servetus 
had forgotten that this book was wriiten by Calvin when in 
the minority ; that it was written in weakness to be forgot- 
ten in power ; that it was produced by fear instead of prin- 
ciple. He did not know that Calvin had caused his arrest 
at Vienne, in France, and had sent a copy of his work, 
which was claimed to be blasphemous, to the archbishop. 
He did not then know that the Protestant Calviu was acting 
as one of the detectives of the Catholic Church, and had 
been instrumental in proving his conviction for heresy. 
Ignorant of this unspeakable infamy, he put himself in the 
power of this very Calvin. The maker of the Presbyterian 
creed caused the fugitive Servetus to be arrested for blas- 
phemy. He was tried, Calvin was his accuser. He was 
convicted and condemned to death by fire. On the morn- 
ing of the fatal day, Calvin saw him, and Servetus, the vie- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 333 

tim asked forgiveness of Calvin, the murderer. Servetus 
was bound to the stake and the fagots were lighted. The 
wind carried the flames somewhat away from his body, so 
that he slowly roasted for hours. Vainly he implored a 
speedy death. At last the flames climbed around his form; 
through smoke and fire his murderers saw a white, heroic 
face. And then they watched until a man became a charred 
and shriveled mass. 

"Liberty was banished from Geneva, and nothing but 
Presbyterianism was left. Honor, justice, mercy, reason 
and charity were all exiled; but the five points of predesti- 
nation, particular redemption, irresistible grace, total de- 
pravity and the certain perseverance of the saints remained 
instead. Calvin founded a little theocracy, modeled after 
the Old Testament, and succeeded in erecting the most de- 
testable government that ever existed, except the one from 
which it was copied. 

"Against all this intolerance one man, a minister, raised 
his voice. The name of this man should never be forgot- 
ten. It was Castellio. This brave man had the goodness 
and the courage to declare the iauocence of honest error. 
He was the first of the so-called reformers to take this noble 
ground. I wish I had the genius to pay a tribute to his 
memory. Perhaps it would be impossible to pay him a 
grander compliment than to say, Castellio was in ail things 
the opposite of Calvin. To plead for the right of individ- 
ual judgment was considered as a crime, and Castellio was 
driven from Geneva by John Calvia. By him he was de- 
nounced as a child of the Devil, as a dog of Satan, as a 
beast from hell, and as one who, by this horrid blasphemy 
of the innocence of honest error, crucified Christ afresh, 
and by him he was pursued until rescued by the hand of 
death. 

" Upon the name of Castellio, Calvin heaped every epi- 
thet, until his malice was satisfied and his imagination ex- 
hausted. It is Impossible to conceive how human nature 



324 TK£ HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

can become so frightfully perverted as to pursue a fellow- 
man with the malignity of a fiend, simply because he is 
good, just and generous. 

•• Calvin was of a pallid, bloodless complexion, thin, 
sickly, iiritable, gloomy, impatient, egotistic, tyrannical, 
heartless and infamous. He was a strange compound of 
revengeful morality, malicious forgiveness, ferocious char- 
ity, egotistic humility, and a liind of hellish justice. In 
other words, he was as near like the God of the Old Testa- 
ment as his health permitted. 

"The best thing, however, about the Presbyterians of 
Geneva was, that they denied the power of the Pope, and 
the best thing about the Pope was, that he was not a Pres- 
byterian. 

" The doctrines of Calvin spread rapidly and were eagerly 
accepted by multitudes on the Continent; but Scotland in a 
few years became the real fortress of Presbyteriauism. The 
Scotch succeeded in establishing the kind of theocracy that 
flourished in Geneva. The clergy took possession and con- 
trol of everybody and everything. It is impossible to exag- 
gerate the mental degradation, the abject superstition of 
the people of Scotland during the reign of Presbyteriauism. 
Heretics were hunted and devoured as though they had 
been wild beasts. The gloomy insanity of Presbyteriauism 
took possession of a great majori y of the people. They 
regarded their ministers as the Jews did Moses and Aaron. 
They believed they were the special agents of God, and 
that whatever they bound in Scotland would be bound in 
Heaven. There was not one particle of intellectual free- 
dom. No man was allowed to differ with the Church or to 
even contradict a priest. Had Presbyteriauism maintained 
its ascendency, Scotland would have been peopled by sav- 
ages to-day." 

It relieves Calvin of none of the odium resting upon his 
name to say that the cantons of Berne, Zurich, Bale, and 
SchafEenhausen concurred in the action of Geneva, and that 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 82o 

Melancthon, Beza, Farel, Bucer, Oecolampadius, Zuingli, 
Viret, Peter Martj^r, Bullinger, Turretin, and Co., ap- 
proved of his damnable and murderous treatment of poor 
Servetus. It is a terrible commentary on their improved 
religion that they should be in favor of burning people to 
death for opinion's sake. It will hardly do to attribute it 
to their having recently left the Mother Church. The child 
is no better than the parent, and it was not until the higher 
and ennobling influences of civilization had time to produce 
their better results that the desire to burn those who did 
not graduate their belief according to the Calviuistic stand- 
ard left the hearts of Protestants, 

As your very scathing remarks about " callow striplings 
that never saw a life of Calvin " evidently were not aimed 
at myself, I will let them pass unnoticed. I presume you 
will allow that I am not "callow." Your characteristic 
observations also about "long hair, weird looks, spectacles, 
funny clothes, and other eccentricities, all put on," etc., 
may pass unnoticed. I presume you did not mean them as 
personal icsinuations. What you were driving at, however, 
I am at a loss to decide. 

You advertise the fact that I have presented a copy of 
Paine's Works to the library of the Cooper Institute. Yes, 
when you previously remarked that a copy of his works 
was not in that noble institutioD, and when I saw that you 
were endeavoring to argue from that fact that Mr. Cooper 
did not believe in Paine's writings, I resolved to test the 
correctness of your conclusions, and to remove the stigma 
that the Cooper Institute Library did not contain a copy of 
Paine's Great Works. I accordingly presented it with a 
copy of Paine's Works and a copy of Lord Amberley's 
"Analysis of Religious Belief," a work equally as radical as 
Paine's writings. I am pleased to say that the volumes 
were kindly accepted, and I have in my possession a letter 
which I prize very highly, acknowledging the receipt of the 
two books, and bearing the signature of the venerable and 



326 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

excellent Peter Cooper himself. I doubt not that a cop^ of 
the revised and enlarged "Sages, Thinkers, and Reform- 
ers," which will soon be issued, and a copy of the " Cham- 
pions of the Church " will be as graciously accepted. I 
here venture the prediction that Peter Cooper will value 
both works more highly than you will. Let me ask you, 
now, whether you are willing to accept the force of your 
arguments. You sfrougly took the position that there was 
not a copy of Paiue's Works in that library because Mr. 
Cooper did not believe in Paiue's writings. Now that Mr. 
Cooper has graciously accepted these works, with others 
equally destructive to the dogmas upon which your Church 
is founded, is it not proof positive that he believes them? (!) 
If your arguments are worth a cent, this is the only conclu- 
sion that can be reached. If you refuse to acknowledge the 
corn, it will be an additional proof of your sophistry and 
want of candor. 

You again refer to the disintegrating character of Infidel- 
ity, and aim to make a point in your own favor in that di- 
rection. Now, I will humor you to this extent: so far as 
Christianity is aggregating or unifying, binding a heteroge- 
neous conglomeration of absurdities into a compact system 
— so far as it is an idol or image which all its devotees, on 
pain of excommunication, are required to bow down to, 
acknowledge and worship — so far as this subserviency to a 
creed or bundle of dogmas destroys the right of individual 
judgment, sinks the individuality of its worshipers, and 
makes them mere machines instead of free men and 
women, free to think according to the dictates of reason 
and common sense — so far, I say, I freely admit that Infi- 
delity is dmntegrating , and I rejoice that it is. It is far 
nobler and grander than the slavish system which binds mill- 
ions of human minds to accept a prescribed form of belief 
nolens wlens, instead of being left free to embrace truth 
wherever presented. Oh, yes; disintegration and individu- 
ality are far preferable to stereotyped bondage. The beauty 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 327 

of Infidelity in contrast with ortliodoxy is, that it gives the 
mind liberty and room to act ; every man and woman is 
allowed to decide matters of belief for themselves. None 
are obliged to accept what tbey cannot believe and under- 
stand. Yes, indeed, for this reason Infidelity, with its dis- 
integration, is vastly to be preferred to the iron mask which 
orthodoxy wears and insists that all its devotees shall sub- 
mit to. I rejoice to see this work of disintegration going 
on, even in the Churches. People are daring to think for 
themselves. It is taking place in your own Church as well 
as in the sister Churches. The Rev. Mr. Blauvelt has had 
his trial and been deposed; the Rev. Mr. Miller has had his, 
the Rev. Mr. Sagemen has had his, and now the Rev. 
Mr. Ashenfelter is to have his^ and will doubtless be made 
to "walk the plank," and more and more will follow. 
Active minds are emerging from darkness into light; the 
bonds of Church and creed of centuries are being snapped, 
and the right of opinion is being maintained. Infidelity, 
individuality, and disintegration, all hail ! Spread over the 
land ! Take off the mental shackles and fetters which bind 
human beings ! Remove forever the obligatory edict that 
everybody must think just according to the prescribed 
model or go to hell. Let freetlom and mental liberty be 
the rule, though all cannot think alike and contract their 
minds into one narrow groove. Universal mental freedom 
is the genius of the age. 

I perceive you chafe at having Protestant clergymen 
classed among priests, and your position strikes me as being 
a ludicrous one. The cleigymen of the Protestant churches 
are as really priests as those of the Catholic Church, or 
the Mohammedan or Jewish religions, and all the pagan 
religions of which the world has seen so much. All that 
class of men who claim the right to perform the priestly 
Dttice, to make known the will of the gods to the people, to 
pray to the gods to be merciful to their own children, and 
to send blessings to their own creatures, and who take money 



338 THE HUMPHKEY-BENKETT DISCUSSION. 

and other perquisites from the people for the performance 
of these services, are priests; and Protestant priests come 
within tlie category as reall}' as any that have lived within 
the last ten thousand years. All that other priests do, they 
do. They claim that they have a freer intercourse with 
God than the masses have ; that God hearkens more 
benignantly to their supplications, and that by their cries 
and intercessions he softens his rule over his numerous 
children. These preachers claim that they have the abil- 
ity to explain the mysteries of godliness, and that they can 
tell where God is, what he is, and what his tastes and wishes 
are. They have grand institutions of learning which cost 
many thousands of dollars per year to condiMJt, and here 
striplings and young men are sent, and by being put through 
a course of Latin, Greek, the classics; etc., are taught to be 
priests. It is a curious process, and the support of these 
70,000 priests which you say this country contains, costs the 
people of the nation, it is estimated, $200,000,000 per year! 
Thus, you ste, learning God's will and pleasure is an expen- 
sive business. To support this learned and trained priest- 
hood the people are compelled to labor and toil in the 
dirt, in the burning sun, the biting frosts, and the pelting 
storms — all to feed and clothe the fat, sleek priests who are 
shrewd enough to get the best there is produced, and to de- 
mand reverence and obedience from the people who will- 
ingly toil for them. The rule of this priestly class is being 
greatly broken. Many thousands of people are learning 
that they can get along just as well wilhout priests as with 
them, and that they can do their own praying and thinking 
just as well and just as acceptably as the priest can do it for 
them, and thereby make a great saving of money, food and 
clothing. It has taken ages to learn this simple bit of infor- 
mation, but at last the light is dawning upon the human 
intellect. The slavery of thousands of years of priestly 
rule is being overthrown, and men and women are learning 
tobe/?-etf; to be their own priests and their own saviors. 



IfHk HUMPHREY BENNETT DISCUSSION. 3a9 

Gods and devils and hells are losiHg their terrors, and the 
office of the priest is fast being superseded. Glorious day of 
light and liberty! I pray these may prevail, until not a sala- 
ried priest to say prayers, to hear confessions, and to bestow 
God's blessing upon his own offspring, will be employed 
in the whole world. 

Tour "three articles" of the creed of Liberalists, which 
appear to be an invention of your own fertile brain, and 
by which possibly you might make a fortune could you 
get them patented in time, deserve a passing notice. Art. 
I. " Every individual is the smartest fellow in the world." 
Now, friend Humphrey, there is a depth of thought, a per- 
fect originality in that which speaks for itself. Indeed! in- 
deed! Is an Infidel more conceited, more egotistical, more 
positive that he has the truth, than a Christian clergy- 
man ? It strikes me in this respect they stand about on a 
level. Art. II. does not amount to much, and is not worth 
repeating. Art. III. " It makes no difference what you be- 
lieve or do — you'll fetch up all right." Really, friend Hum- 
phrey, can it be possible that a man like you, who professes 
to speak the truth, seriously asserts of Infidels that it 
makes no difference what we do ? Why, there are no peo- 
ple in the world who hold that actions are a factor iu secur- 
ing happiness so strongly as Infidels. "We assert on all oc- 
casions that it is our own conduct that decides our hap- 
piness or unhappiness, and that it is not decided by the 
merits or demerits of another. It is your own creed that 
holds that it makes no difference what you do, "you'll fetch 
up all right, if you only have faith in Jesus." Here is an- 
other instance, my Christian brother, where you are entirely 
wide of the truth. With lis conduct is everything in mak- 
ing up happiness, present or prospective. With you, faith 
is the only necessary ingredient ; conduct, good or bad, 
has very little to do with it. 

You insinuate thai in quoting two verses from St. Paul, 
I took them from the Investigator, and that the quota- 



OdU THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

tions are wrong. You are at fault. You have no grounds 
for such an insinuation. I do not remember ever having 
seen those quotations in that paper, and there is certainly 
no difficulty in quoting them directly from the Testament 
itself. I made the quotations accurately, and I have at least 
an equal right wilh yourself to decide whether Paul was 
advocating lying or not. 

You carp again about Infidels not having founded insti- 
tutions of learning, orphan asylums, etc. It would seem 
that you had said enough upon that subject to let it rest 
awhile. I have shown fairly and beyond contradiction 
that heretics and unbelievers have been munificent in their 
generosity towards institutions of learning, and that liberal 
bequests have been made by them. Unbelievers have not 
been organized into societies as Christians are, and have 
not anywhere been nearly as numerous. Organizations are, 
however, now being extensively effected among Infidels in 
Europe and America, and in a few years we shall become 
sufficiently organized for all practical purposes. As I said in 
my last repl}^ for many hundreds of years Christians were so 
busy at murdering unbelievers and heretics that they got 
them pretVy well killed off. It will, of course, take some 
little time for Infidels to "pick up " enough to become as 
numerous and as rich as Christians, and as able to give 
to colleges, asylums, etc. There is no good reason why a 
Liberal should not be as generous as a Christian, except that 
the later gives his ill-gotten dollars with the insane idea 
that he is buying a front seat in Paradise, and escaping that . 
terrible lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, the idea 
of which (for the benefit of others, and not yourself) you hug 
so fondly to your bosom. The notion that parting with 
his filthy lacre may be counted to him as righteousness, 
knowing^that he cannot take it with him across the river 
Styx, and the selfish hope that it will make his heavenly 
crown brighter and heavier, has made many a sordid Chris- 
tian give up the cash he has acquired by oppressing the labor- 



THE HUMPHHEY-BENNEIT DISCUSSION. 331 

ing man, and grinding the face of the poor. Infidels, I will- 
ingly admit, do not give from any motive of this kind. 
When they give, it is for the earthly benefit of their fellow- 
beings — the noblest of human incentives. 

There are numerous other sophistries and false positions 
in your letter that ought to 'ue exposed and corrected, but 
for want of room I will be compelled to pass over for 
the present. I indulge the hope that you will ultimately 
come to take a more correct view of things, and will be 
able to arrive at more correct conclusions. I hope at all 
events, you will cultivate a spirit of candor and fairness 
which, pardon me, I fear you are now slightly deficient in. 
It behoves you to be accurate and to fairly meet the issue 
we have under discussion, and to make correct representa- 
tions only. 

The various topics touched upon by yourself and myself 
possess more or less importance, but they are not the sub- 
ject immediately before us. Let me remind you that the 
proposition that we should be discussing is, *' Is there a 
stronger probability that the Bible is divine than that Infi- 
delity is true ?" So far the subject has not been touched. 
It seems to me you purposely avoid it. I also made in 
my last the assertion that the Christian religion is made up 
of Judaism and Paganism, and called upon you to disprove 
it if it is not so. I charged that every Christian rite, ob- 
servance, symbol, sacrament and dogma were directly bor- 
rowed from the older systems of religion that had existed 
in the world, and that not one of them was really oriUnal 
with the Christian Church. If this is not so, I called upon 
you to disprove it. I stated as a fact that Jesus was not the 
first demi-god said to have bsen begotten by a god upon the 
person of a virgin ; that some forty persofis of this class 
wore believed iu before the time of Jesus, and I hoped you 
would endeavor to refute it if you Cuuld. You took no no- 
tice of it. Am I to understand that you acknowledge the 
truth of the statement ? If it is true ; if the Pagans for 



33^ THE htjmPhrby-bbnnett Discussion. 

many Hundreds of years before the dawn of Christianity 
believed that their gods cohabited with young virgins ; 
that the progeny were beings half god and half man ; that 
they lived for a time, had little bands of disciples who fol- 
lowed them around and listened to their teachings, and those 
sons of gods were finally crucified or otherwise put to 
death for the salvation and happiness of man, it robs Chris- 
tianity of all its originality and of all its truth. You do not 
try to refute this. I judge it is because you cannot do so 
successfully. These are facts too well attested to be con- 
troverted. And here, let me say, if the Christian religion 
is of divine origin ; if the begetting, the birth, the life and 
death of Jesus are facts, and were necessary for the salva- 
tion of the world, it is very singular indeed that in getting 
up such a stupendous system as the only possible means by 
which Grod's lost children could be saved, he was com- 
pelled to follow in every minutia and adopt in full the 
myths and fables of pagan systems of religion. If he has 
no more originality than that, and is under the necessity of 
adopting old and worn-out legends and vagaries, it is ques 
tionable if he is fit to be considered God Almighty, and 
whether he ought not to resign the position in favor of some 
god that has originality. Do you believe your God did, in 
getting up his grand system of salvation, borrow it from 
the pagans ? If not how did he come to pattern after 
paganism so closely ? Will you please answer ? 

I charged you with defending and supporting a borrowed 
system of myths and superstitions, handed down from the 
past ages of darkness, ignorance, and supernaturalism, 
which system you are pleased to call the Christian religion. 
It is a serious charge, but you take no notice of it, you do 
not deny it. I leiterate it now, and again call upon you to 
disprove it if you are able to do so. If you do not, I and 
our readers will be justified in deciding that you acknow- 
ledge the truth of the charge. 

You, in common with your brethren of the "cloth," 



THB HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 333 

claim to act unsler a commission from the King of Heaven 
to perform glorious deeds in his seivice. It is perhaps 
most honorable to be engaged by so exalted a personage; 
and may I here ask you to fcho w your credentials ? If you act 
by such high authority, you certainly can furnish the papers 
under v. hich you act. It will not be sufficient to hold up 
the Bible to me. I have the copy of that antique volume 
which my mother gave me nearly half a century ago. I 
can concede no prerogative to you from that book which I 
do not possess myself. If you can show no authority from 
the king under whom you claim to serve, is it unjust that 
you should be regarded as un impostor ? I again ask for 
your credentials. 

Again let us revert to the question under discussion: Is 
the Bible divine? To answer this question in the affirma- 
tive you have to assume the existence of supernaturalism. 
That there is a power in existence greater that the entire 
Universe, and that the Bible is a divine revelation from this 
superior power. I hold that you cannot prove this to be 
true. I hold that the Universe embraces all substances, all 
forces, all powers, and all existences. That there is nothing 
above if, nothing superior to it, nothing contrary to it, 
and that there can be no supernaturalism. I call upon 
you to prove the existence of the supernalffi'al power. I 
want other proof than Bible - pre of. Before that book 
can be taken as evidence it must itself be proved — equally 
as hopeless a task as to prove the existence of super- 
naturalism. 

If this supernatural power is proved, it will be next in 
order to show that the compilation by different autliors, 
called the Bible, was written or dictated by that Supreme 
Power. If that power is all-good, all- wise, and all perfect, 
his productions must also be all-good, all-perfect, with- 
out blemish, contradiction or fault. I call upon you, 
then, to show why the Bible his hundreds of contradictions, 
why it is full of absurdities and obscenity, and why it re- 



334 T^E HUMPHBEY-BENTy-ETT DISCUSSION. 

lates the adventures of an obscure race of semi-barbarians 
instead of giving tlie principles of science and knowledge, 
most needed by men of all nations and all time. 

I ask you to explain if the Bible was dictated by the 
various writers, why Moses, Joshua, Solomon, and the 
rest of them, did not do as much as to say so, and that the 
divine power controlled them ? 

If revelation from God is assumed to be a fact*to the 
person to whom it is made known, I ask you to show how 
it is a revelation to all the world, to whom it is n( t re- 
vealed, but to whom it comes second hand, and who have 
no authority upon which to base a belief in it save the naked 
assertion or say-so of the first party, who claims to have 
had a revelation. If God, in a secret manner, reveals a 
certain piece of information to me, and I relate it to you, is 
that a revelation from God to you, oris it simply a narrative 
of mine, reliable or unreliable as my credibitity may war- 
rant ? Are you compelled to believe me under penalty ( f 
burning in hell forever ? Ought God to compel you to be- 
lieve my assertion without any corroboration when be does 
not give you the slightest proof that I state the truth ? If 
God wants to reveal anything to you, should h^ not do 
it direct, and not by the roundabout way of telling me and 
then having me tell you ? 

In order to enable me to believe that the Bible was writ- 
ten or dictated by a being superior to man, I must be con- 
vinced that it contains wisdom, knowledge, beauty and per- 
fection superior to the ability of man. As I do not believe 
that the Bible contains anything that man has not been ca- 
pable of writing, that the knowledge and literary ability in 
it is not superior to the Bibles of the Hindoos, the Persians, 
the Egyptians, and of other nations, and which were writ- 
ten at an earlier date than the Jewish Bible, as well ag the 
productions of Menu, Ossian, Homer and others, I specially 
ask you to point out wherein that superiority consists, and 
Wbat there is in the Bible that man could not ha^e written. 



THE HUMPHBEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 835 

I hold that for every event that has ever occurred there 
has been a natural cause sufficient to produce it, and that 
there never has been a result without a natural cause. 
If you are able to prove to the contrary of this, I 
ask you to do so. I also ask you to show why I am any 
more under obligations to accept as divinely inspired the 
writings attributed to Moses or Paul, than those of 
Mohammed or Joseph Smith. I ask you to show why I 
am any more under obligation to believe that Jonah swal- 
lowed the whale or that Joshua stopped the sun and moon 
in their course, than the equally beautiful and intellectual 
stories about Jack and his bean-stalk and Aladdin and 
his wonderful lamp. 

As the Infidelity we have under consideration is an un- 
belief in the divinity of the Jewish Scriptures, I call upon 
yon to show how and wherein that Infidelity is more untrue 
than that the Bible is divine. Before Infidelity can be 
shown to be false, you must show that the Bible is divine. 

Begging paTdon for the lengthiness of my. reply, which 
seemed necessary to refute your errors, I remain sincerely 
yours, D. M. Bennett. 



MR. HUMPHREY. 

Mr. D. M. Bennett, Dear bir : Owing either to my lack 
of acumen, or to your paucity of arguments, the perusal of 
your Reply brought to my mind those words of Shakspeare: 

" Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than 
any man in all Venice. His reasons are his two grains of 
wheat hid in two bushels of chaff: you shall seek all day 
ere you find them; and when you have them, they are not 
worth the search."— TAe Merchant of Venice. 

You have scraped up another installment of men that 
did not practically believe in the precepts and example 
of Christ, who have crept into the pulpit iinder the 



336 THE HUMPHBET-BENNETT DTSCnSSIOK". 

mask of hypocrisy. Go ahead ; you are only showing 
how that the predictions of Scripture are being fulfilled : 
"Fori know this, that after my departure shall grievous 
wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock" (Acts 
XX, 29). As I have no objection to helping you along in 
this matter, let me suggest that you drag your muck-rake 
through Dante's Inferno. You will there find quite a num- 
ber of names which your cotemporaneous standards — The 
PoUce News, The Beformer & Jewish Times, etc.,— know but 
little about. "What a lean, lank, gaunt, ghastly old spindle- 
shanks Infidelity must be anyhow, that she is obliged to be 
continually coloring her sunken cheeks with the blood of 
papistic persecutions, and to be giving curvature to her 
fleshless calves, and plumpness to her hollow bosom, with 
pads made of the fleece that hypocritical wolves have worn ! 

You have confirmed me in the conviction that Infidels 
do not hold up the lapses of clergymen because they love 
Morality, but because they hate the Church. It appears 
from their journals that they regard Immorality as quite 
excusable in anybody, provided he is not a Christian. In a 
"Freethinker" a " peccadillo" is almost admired. As 
it is the envious and spiteful farmer that is continually 
pointing out an occasional thistle or tare in his neighbor's 
fields, never saying a word about his acres of waving grain, 
so the malignant spirit of Infidelity is revealed by its gabble 
about the imperfections of the Church, while it is as silent 
as the grave about her many excellent qualities and innu- 
merable services to mankind. 

You will have it that the Jews were cannibals, because 
they may have eaten human flesh in the desperation 
of famine. Will you reason after the same fashion, and 
say that the American people are mule-eaters, because some 
of our soldiers had to eat mule-flesh in some of the priva- 
tions of the late civil war? I am somewhat curious to 
know who those "distinguished '' writers are who say that 
the ancient Jews were man-eaters. Names, please. 



THB HUMPHRBY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 337 

Keither did the Jews offer human sacrifices. Abraham 
did not slay his son Isaac (Gen. xxii, 11-14). Even if Jeph- 
thah did immolate his daughter, he was violating the Mosaic 
Law (Deut. xii, 31). But there are mauy critics who be- 
lieve that he fulfilled his vow by devoting her to perpetual 
virginity (See Lange on Judges xi, 29-40). 

You do not seem to know that Herodotus wrote a missing 
" History of Assyria," or Syria, as the Greeks often called 
that country. You will see that such was the fact by look- 
ing into Rawlinson's Herodotus, London, 1858, vol. i, pp. 
29, 249, 321, and vol iv, p. 63. 

Your attempt to show that Robespierre was a Catholic is 
fut:le and inconsistent. By your style of reasoning in 
regard to him it could be shown that others, in whose Infi- 
delity you boast, were Christians. If his belief in a God 
made him a Chrisiian, it also did as much for Thomas 
Paine. If his talk about being an '* indifferent Catholic " 
really made him a Catholic, then Voltaire, who talked 
about reverently kissing the Pope's feet, was a better Cath- 
olic still. When you appeal to Robespierre's tolerance and 
protection of the clergy as an evidence that he was a relig- 
ious man, are you not reversing the everlasting boast of 
Infidelity, ihat Infidels are far more "liberal " than Chris- 
tians ? 

You quote rather profusely from Mr. Ingersoll. Poor 
Ingersoll ! His presentation of Paine to an occasional 
audience will be a greater failure than his presentation of 
Blaine at the Cincinnati Convention. His "Orations" are 
mostly slashing tirades — frantic tongue-lashings — tissues of 
delirious dogmatism— pills, coated with pretty rhetoric, but 
filled with historical blunders and biographical caricatures. 
The sickly suckling that swallows them will become sick- 
lier still. Give me Bancroft's, or Froude's, or even Bayle's 
delineation of Calvin and Calvinsm, rather than the rav- 
ings of a man who is apparently unable to distinguish 
reasoning from betting and blustering. 



838 THE HUMPH IJET-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

I repeat that Voltaire tried to make up with the priests 
before his death. Speaking of a hemorrhage that had 
seized him a short time before the end of bis life, the Ency- 
clopedia Britaunica says: "Voltaire, thinking himself iu 
danger, said he did not wish his body ' to be cast to the vul- 

itures,' and bargained with the Abbe Gauthier, to whom he 
committed it for the rites of sepulture, if nothing else. The 
^preliminaries for duly receiving such a deposit were soon 
settled ; Voltaire had no objection at all to the ceremonies 
proper to the occasion. He made a declaration that he wished 
to die in the Catholic religion, in which he had been born, asked 
pardon of God and the church for the offenses he had committed 
against them^ and received absolution.''* As Longchamps and 
Wagniere, Mazure, and Condorcet — an Atheist, who died 
by his own hand — all corroborate this statement, there is no 
reason for disputing it. It is true that Voltaire recovered 
somewhat from that attaek of sickness. But it is not on 
record that he expressed any disapproval of the arrange- 
ment with Abbe Gauthier. His last hours are enveloped 
in a cloud of uncertainty, owing to contradictory testimo- 
nies. The majority of authorities state that he approached 
death with agony and remorse. The Infidel Strauss says 
that Tronchin, his attendant physician, wrote a letter to 
Bonnett in which he compared his death to a raging storm, 
and to the mad ravings of Orestes. The same authority 
tells us further that he was buried in consecrated ground, 
and that the usual burial service was said over his grave. 
It is true that some bishops and other ecclesiastics were dis- 
pleased with this ; but the fact remains that Voltaire was 
buried as a Roman Catholic (Strauss' Voltaire, pp. 340- 
3). Thus it is clear that Voltaire did not die an avowed 
Infidel. 

But I waive all claim to Mr. Ingersoll'a reward. Mine is 
a labor of love — a chat with friend Bennett on points of 
difference between us. As Col. lugersoU is presumably out 
of debt, I would suggest that he send his superfluous change 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 339 

to save Paine Hall from sheriff sale. If anything is left 
after that, he might send a purse to each of the Infidel jour- 
nals that have of late been lavishing their soft soap ou him 
— possibly with their eyes squinting toward his wallet. 

I have already admitted that Thomas Paine died as he 
had lived, a Deist (Letter iv). But that he did so is surely 
nothing to boast of (Phil, iii, 18, 19). It would have been 
far more creditable to him if he had recanted more and de- 
canted less. 

I will now take up some of the difficulties that will often 
occur to thoughtful men as they study the Bible histori- 
cally and hermeneutically. Infidels are not alone i^ know- 
ing of these difficulties. Every minister, of average educa- 
tion, is familiar with them. And they are not unfrequei^tly 
considered in the higher classes of the Sabbath-school. I 
wish to treat them with every due respect. I only regret 
that my time and abilities are not such as to enable me to 
discuss them more thoroughly. 

Let me, however, premise that it is not at all remarkable 
that the Bible is made the subject of hypercriticisms and 
objections. As long as men are as they are, such a code of 
morals as would be exempt from their fault-finding is in- 
conceivable and impossible. They would peck at absolute 
Perfection itself. There is therefore no presumption in 
the mere cavilings of men that the Bible is anything less 
than it claims to be. But let us examine the objections : 

1, The question of the Canon is perplexing to some minds. 
The Bible was written by different men at different times. 
Many centuries intervened between Moses and St. John. 
It mentions several documents of high authority which it 
does not contain, and which are irreparably lost (Num. 
xxi, 14; Josh, x, 18; 1 Kings xi, 41; 2 Chron. ix, 39; xxxii, 
33, etc.). And then there are several books known as the 
Apocrypha. The Church of Rome has declared those of 
the Old Testament canonical. And considerable weight 
has been attached now and then to some of the books com- 



340 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

posing the Apocryphal New TLStament. The Canons of 
the Old and of the New Tcotament were compiled and com- 
pleted some time after their constituent parts had been 
written. Such are the grounds of the difficulty under 
consideration. 

On this it may be observed (1) That the lost books men- 
tioned in the Old Testament were not of vital importance. 
They are referred to only on points of history, biography, 
or natural science. We have no intimation that they con- 
tained any new light on moral and spiritual truth. While 
they might gratif}^ curiosity and elucidate some points of 
sacred history, they could add nothing to the central idea 
of the Scriptures. 

(2) As to the Apocrypha, they are before us; and their 
contents show that they would modify the doctrines of the 
Scriptures in no perceptible degree, even if they should be 
received as authoritative. Those writings serve to show 
by contrast the supreme excellence of the Scriptures proper. 

(3) It was well that the parts of the Old and New Testa- 
ments were not compiled until some time after they were 
written. If undue haste had been exercised in this matter, 
the objector would say that other prophecies and epistles 
may have been thereby shut out. The compilation was 
deferred only until the prophetic and apostolic writings 
had indisputably ceased. 

(4) The separate books of the Bible were Law and Gospel 
before they were put together in one volume. They are not 
authoritative because they are in the Canon, but they are in 
the Canon because they are authoritative. 

(5) We have the endorsement of Christ on the Canon of 
the Old Testament (Mat. xxii, 29; Luke xxiv, 27; 
John V, 39; x, 35). And the writers of the New were 
men personally prepared and approved by Himself. The 
Apostles spoke of each other's writings as Scriptures (2 Pet. 
iii, 16) We have thus the Imprimatur of Christ and the 
Apostles on the Canon of both the Old and New Testameuly. 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 341 

(6) The Bible, taken as a whole, presents such an appear- 
ance of completeness that there is no room for doubt about 
its Canon. Though made up of many parts, it is manilostly 
a unit. Its contents are abundant without being redun- 
dant. Tliere is in it such a correspondence of predictions 
and fulfillments; types and Anti-type; parts and counter- 
parts, that we may reverently say of it in the dying words 
of its Heart and Life, "It is finished." 

(7) The Theist, who believes in the overruling Providence 
of God, rises entirely above all misgivings on this matter. 
A God that has a personal Being, and that loves his 
creatures, would certainly make his "Will known to those 
creatures; and he would as certainly take care of that Will 
after it was given. 

The thorough student will examine the works of Gaussen, 
Alexander, Cosin, Jones, Stuart, Furst, Davidson, Weber, 
Credner, and others on this subject. 

2. It is sometimes objected that the Bible is no Revela- 
tion to us, even if it should be admitted that it was a Reve- 
lation to its original writers. This objection is as sophistical 
as it is old. Suppose a truth, unknown before, is made 
known to some individual, and he records it in writing, 
properly attested : is that truth not made known to everybody 
who reads that record? A number of witnesses in court 
give testimony in regard to certain facts of which they 
have personal knowledge: does the jury reject their testi- 
mony because those facts are not personally and immedi- 
ately known to them? Do you reject all history, because 
you were not an eye-witness of its innumerable events? Do 
you deny the conclusions of the astronomer, because you 
yourself can make no use of his observatory, nor compre- 
hend his sublime calculations? In art, history, and physical 
science, the discovery of the individual is the discovery of 
the world, and that for all lime to come. As mankind came to 
know of an America through Columbus, and learned of the 
existence of Neptune through Le Verrier, so it came to 



342 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

understand the mind of God through the inspired Prophets 
and Apostles. 

3. It is frequently urged against the Bible that it contains 
nothing new. Now, it is true that the Scriptures contain 
those truths that are common to all mankind — the truths of 
nature, instinct, and reason. In this the Word of God 
coincides with many things contained in other sacred books, 
so-called. And this is an argument for the Bible rather 
than against it. We hereby see that it is a Book correspond- 
ing to all the nobler instincts and sentiments of man, and 
that it is adapted to all his conditions. As it is no dishonor 
to American civilization that it has many things in common 
with uncivilized races, so you cast no cloud on the grand 
precepts of the Bible by showing that many of them are con- 
tained in the Vedas and the Zend-Avesta. This only shows 
that the Bible, like the Sabbath, was made for man ; and 
that its principles are such as must commend themselves to 
man's nobler nature everywhere. The Divinity of this 
Book is shown by the perfection of its Ideal Humanity. 

But it is not true that the Bible contains no new doctrines. 
The Monotheism of Moses was new to polytheistic Egypt 
at the time of its first announcement. That a Jew should 
be un- Jewish, and world-wide in the scope of his philan- 
thropy, was a new idea to the Pharisees, and unexpected by 
the Gentiles, in the time of Christ and his Apostles. And 
the sight of a dozen Jews that had thus overcome every 
selfishness and prejudice, was indeed a novel spectacle to 
the world. The rite of Baptism received a new significance 
from the lips of Christ. The heathen conception of saucti- 
fication by ablutions and expiations, is very difi"erent from 
the New Testament doctrine of Holiness, which contem- 
plates not only the spotless purity of the body, but also of 
the desires, volitions, thoughts, and conscience (Heb. ix, 
9, 14; X, 22). 

There must be something peculiar and unique about the 
Bible, since, wherever it goes, it remodels society, gives 



THE HUAiPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. olo 

a new impetus and direction to the human mind, and 
deflects the very currents of history. It would be wide of 
the mark to reply that the Romish Church has persecuted, 
and done her part to bring on Europe the darkness of the 
tenth centur3^ While that is granted, it must not be for- 
gotten that she proceeded to do so only after she had taken 
the Bible from the hands of the people, having abandoned it 
herself, to follow traditions and commandments of men. 
Wherever the Bible is freely circulated, diligently read, 
heartily believed, and faithfully obeyed, the condition of 
man is at once improved. Most assuredly such a volume 
must contain not only new doctrines peculiar to itself, but 
also a new life, inspiration, and motive power in such doc- 
trines as it inculcates in common with other venerated 
books. 

4. Some would fain find fault with the Bible because it is 
so variously understood and interpreted. They would 
thence infer that it cannot be the Word of God. Now, it 
must be admitted that the meaning of the Scriptures is, on 
some points, differently apprehended by different readers. 
But this should not awaken a suspicion in regard to its 
divinity. It could not be otherwise with anything couched 
in human language. In our day, no sooner is a law passed 
by the legislature than it is differently construed by lawyers 
and judges. The Constitution had scarcely been ratified 
before even the framers of it expressed opposite views as to 
its meaning. How much contending there is oftentimes 
over the wording of wills, contracts, etc. All this goes to 
show that words are inevitably liable to be half understood, 
and misunderstood. 

And this is not altogether the fault of the book or the 
document. It is because the readers are so different that 
they read so differently. A man's taste, training, and nat- 
ural endowments cannot but influence his conception of 
what he sees and hears. Articulate the word " sound " in a 
mixed company, and tke doctor will think of a surgical in- 



344 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

strument ; the sailor's mind will run to a narrow passage of 
water ; the ichthyologist will remember a species of fish ; 
while the musician will be reminded of musical strains. 
The cause of this difference is not so much in the word 
** sound " itself as in the individuals who hear it. It is 
on the same principle that men take different meanings 
from the Scriptures. Like ventriloquists, they throw their 
own voices into it, and then censure it if they do not 
like Hs tone. In the study of Scripture it is necessary to 
examine every word, sentence, and statement in the light 
of its age, context, occasion, and aim. 

But this objection may be urged against Nature as well as 
against the Bible. From age to age man has been reform- 
ing and changing his theories of the Universe. Is the 
Universe, therefore, of human origin ? Is it to be rejected 
as a fraud ? No. But why not treat the Scriptures — the 
Christian's Bible — as fairly as Nature — the Deist's Bible ? 

But, after all^ the different interpretations of Scripture 
bear mainly on unessential matters. They do not refer so 
much to the facts of Redemption as to the manner and 
methods of those facts. All Christians are agreed in re- 
gard to the Being of God ; Rerlemption through Christ ; 
and the necessity of Repentance, Faith, Love, Righteous- 
ness, and Holiness. As men may differ in their notions 
about the earth, and yet manage to get their sustenance 
from its ample resources, so the students of the Bible may 
vary in their theological views, and at the same time be all 
inheritors of Eternal Life from the riches of Divine Grace. 

5. Considerable noise is sometimes made about the "dis- 
crepancies of the Scriptures." Some fool has collected and 
collocated a lot of passages and called them " Self-contra- 
dictions of the Bible." By following his method it could be 
shown that Shakspeare was the greatest ass that ever lived ; 
that Gibbon's History contains not "144," but 144,000 
" self-contradictions "; and that even Euclid's theorems and 
demonstrations are not self-consistent. 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 345 

There are confessedly diflacult and obscure passages in 
the Bible. This obscurity is caused by a combination of 
circumstances : 

(1) Different writers have sometimes used the same words 
■with different meanings. Poets took liberties with language 
that historians and prophets did not indulge in. Some 
Hebrew words had acquired meanings in the time of Mala- 
chi which they did not have in the age of Moses. The 
translator had to study each writer's peculiar idioms, men- 
tal characteristics, and age, before he could understand 
him, and clothe his thoughts in another language. In this, 
doubtless, the prof oundest scholar has occasionally failed, 
or but partly succeeded. 

(2) Our present version of the Bible is sometimes mis- 
understood because the English language has passed through 
vast changes since the age of King James. Some words 
have changed their meanings, while others have become ob- 
solete. There is a sprinkling of such words throughout the 
English Bible. For instance, it has " advertise " for inform 
(Numb, xxiv, 14); "artillery" for armor (1 Sam., xx, 40) ; 
" bestead '' for situated (Is. viii, 21) ; "bonnets" for caps or 
liats (Ex. xxviii, 40); "by and by" for immediately (Mark 
vi, 25) ; "charity" for love (1 Cor. xiii, 13) ; "convenient" 
for becoming (Eph. v, 4); "corn" for grain (Luke vi, 1) ; 
"daysman" for Umpire (Job ix, 33) ; "hardly" for with 
difficulty (Mat. xix, 23); "leasing" for lying (Ps. iv, 2); 
"lewd" fov low (Acts xvii, 5); " neesings " for sneezing 
(Job xli, 18); "prevent" for anticipate (Ps. cxix, 147); 
"provoke" for incite (Heb. x, 24) ; "usury" for interest 
(Luke xix, 23). For more of such examples see Swinton's 
"Bible Word-Book." Thus the Bible is liable to be misun- 
derstood, or not understood at all, on some minor points, in 
consequence of a circumstance — the changeableness of lan- 
guage^which is no fault of its own. The forthcoming 
version will be free from this misfortune. 

(3) The language of the Bible is interwoven with cus- 



346 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

toms and modes of thought that are well-nigh unknown to 
moderns, and especially to Europeans and Americans. 
This is another source of occasional embarrassment. We 
must know all about those early times — the fashions of 
dress ; manner of salutation ; styles of furniture ; social 
customs; political peculiarities; and religious ceremonies — 
before we can understand the Bible to a nicety. 

But it is certainly irrational to conclude that it-is " self- 
contradictory " simply because it is not everywhere well 
understood. Let us treat the Bible like any other book. 
No one affects contempt for Shakspeare because his English 
is antiquated. We feel that we have in Rawlinson's Herod- 
otus, and Jowett's Plato the important ideas of those au- 
thors, though some minute points may be blurred. We al- 
ways decide that the language of an ancient writer is to be 
explained from the peculiarities of his own age, and not 
from those of our own. Apply these principles to the 
Scriptures, and the phantoms of " self-contradictions" will 
vanish. A good, scholarly commentator is a great assist- 
ance in this matter. Anything that throws light on antiq- 
uity is at once an explanation and a vindication of Holy 
Writ, which is understood only in the proportion that it is 
understood self-consistently. 

6. The remark is sometimes made that the Bible is 
"coarse," " vulgar," *' indelicate," and "obscene." We 
have already seen (Letter ix.) that Infidels cannot consist- 
ently say anything about this. But let us consider the 
objection for the sake of others that may not be in their 
predicament. 

The assertion that the Bible is more " objectionable" in 
this respect than other venerated books, proves nothing but 
the egregious ignorance of those who make it. It is well 
known that the ancient worship of Venus was nothing but 
a bestial debauch. Neumann found the Thirteenth Article 
of the "Catechism of the Shamans" too disgusting to 
translate (London, 1831, p. 128). The "Asiatic Researches " 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. o47 

will show you ad nauseam that the literature and rites of 
the ancient and modern Hindus and Persians have always 
been tainted by impurities. The Koran contains many " in- 
delicate" passages (Chapters ii, vii, xi, xii, xv, xxxvii, etc., 
etc. Sale's trans.). Of all venerated writings the Bible is 
the freest from what its enemies call '• objectionable " plain- 
ness. It has given but the minimum of such truth as might 
pain genuine modesty. 

Wantonr)ess is always a feature of vulgarity. There may 
be plainness and undisguisedness, and yet no indelicacy. 
The family physician is not coarse because he asks ques- 
tions and gives directions in his professional capacity, that 
would be improper at an evening party. A witness may 
narrate all he knows bearing on a case oa trial in a crimi- 
nal court, without being considered obscene. 

The Bible is simply a narrative of facts. Such matters 
as fell within its province it told clearly, and without eva- 
sion. This was necessary in order to show all the aspects 
of human nature. The Bible is a truthful witness giving 
testimony as to the character of man. It is also a good 
physician, propounding plain inquiries and prescribing its 
remedies without mincing its words. 

" Unto the pure all things are pure ; but unto them that 
are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure" (Tit. i, 15). 
The nasty-minded will find food for lascivious thoughts in 
a treatise on physiology. Even a glimpse of a lady's ankle 
will turn the hearts of some human brutes into Sodoms. 
There are those whose vile passions will be inflamed by 
reading Shakspeare. Such as these will, of course, wrest the 
Scriptures unto their own destruction. But the manly and 
pure-minded will find in them only a full and faithful nar- 
ration of Truth. The Bible inculcates modesty on men and 
women, as you will see by consulting such passages as Ex. 
XX, 26 ; xxviii, 42 ; 1 Tim. ii, 9, 10. 

We should instruct children about the Bible as we teach 
them about the human body. Whilst we talk less to them 



348 THB HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

about some parts than others, and permit them to regard 
some parts as "less honorable" than others, we should 
teach them to regard every portion as necessary to the 
whole, and all as the workmanship of God (1 Cor. xii, 
22-25). 

7. The charge is frequently made against the Bible, but 
more particularly against the Old Testament, that it sanc- 
tions cruelty and inhumanity. Honest minds have been 
puzzled over this apparent fact. It behooves us, then, to 
pause and ponder over it. Perhaps we can best reach 
the true solution of it by means of a few distinct con- 
siderations: 

(1) In regard to any given case of alleged atrocity, we 
should, first of all, see whether it had the Divine sanction 
or not, The Jews were sometimes guilty of taking ven- 
geance into their own hands. In such an event they were 
inexcusable criminals. 

(3) It is never fair to pass judgment on any seeming se- 
verity until its circumstances and antecedents have all been 
ascertained. You look over a field and see afar off a woman 
whipping a child. You only see the flogging. You hear 
the shrill whiz of the lithe switch as it falls thick and fast, 
every stroke bringing out a more vigorous shriek from the 
writhing victim. Your sympathies are at once with the little 
boy. You are ready to pronounce the woman inhuman. But 
suppose you draw near and inquire into the affair. Suppose 
you discover that the woman is the b?y's mother; that she 
is an intelligent lady; that her little son has been disobe- 
dient, though frequently forewarned; that he has been 
truant, untruthful, quarrelsome, incorrigible. You change 
your mind about the matter. You regard the castigation 
not only as just but benevolent. It is exactly so as we look 
back at the slaughter of the Midianites and Canaanites. If 
we look only at their final destruction, we are apt to say 
their doom was unmerited. But when we search sacred and 
profane history, and find that they were the most corrupt, 



THE HUMPKRBY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 849 

unrighteous, villainous, crime-abandoned, and blood-thirsty 
tribes in the whole world, we cannot but conclude that 
their treatment was not so very inexcusable after all. If 
ever desperate and murderous savages deserved summary 
punishment, they were the Midianites and Canaanites. The 
Bashi-bazouks, Modocs, and followers of Sitting Bull are 
almost gentlemen in comparison with them. 

But granting that they deserved the penalty, does it fol- 
low that the Israelites had a right to inflict it ? I answer 
that tJiey had, if the Almighty is the Ruler of the Universe ; 
if he has a right to authorize his rational creatures to apply 
the penalties of his outraged laws; and if hedid so authorize 
Moses and his successors. If the Commonwealth may em- 
power a sheriff to execute a murderer, and that without 
bringing the least reproach upon his character, why might 
not the Lord have made Moses and Joshua the executioners 
of the Midianites and Canaanites? And if they were so 
made, why charge them with inhumanity, any more than 
a sheriff and his assistants at an execution? 

Will you reply that such severity is unworthy of God ? 
that a Book which records a sanction of such proceedings 
cannot be superhuman? I will answer by asking, Is Nature 
then, a human invention? Is she, too, unworthy of a Divine 
Creator? She is exposed to this objection as much as the 
Bible. Look at the ravages of her Floods, Droughts, Pes- 
tilences, Thunderbolts, Earthquakes, and Volcanoes, and 
see if her annals are not fuller of judgments and severities 
than even the Old Testament. It will pay you to read on 
this subject the third Letter of Watson's Reply to Paine— 
that book so unfamiliar to Infidels, though they ialk a vast 
deal about hearing both sides before deciding. 

Instead of nursing a mawkish sentimentality over the 
fate of the Midianites, let us rather learn to realize that "sin 
is exceeding sinful," and that "the wages of sin is death.'' 
And let us not lack candor to admit that the Divine Gov- 
ernment, like human governments to-day, may have vested 



350 THE HUMPHBBY-BBNNETT DISCUSSION. 

men with authority to administer the penalties of its capi- 
tal crimes. 

8. But the commonest objection of all in these days is, 
that the Bible is at variance with Science. On this objec- 
tion it is proper to observe: 

(1) That it is urged, for the most part, by second-class 
scientists, and more vehemently still, by men who are no 
scientists at all. Allusions to this " variance " are compar- 
atively rare in Spencer's, Tyndall's, and Darwin's writings. 
Such scientists as Bacon, Newton, Boyle, Herschel, Mur- 
chison, Davy, Brewster, Faraday, Morse, Wbewell, Agassiz, 
were not, in their time, alarmed by this alleged "conflict." 
And at the present day, it seems to arouse no apprehension 
in the minds of men like Argyll, Gladstone, Sir William 
Thomson, Guyot, Mivart, Dawson, Prof. Owens, Dana, 
Henry, Peters, Winchell. So fearless of the result are such 
Christian gentlemen as William E. Dodge, William Thaw, 
Henry W. Sage, John C. Green, George H. Stuart, that 
they have made munificent bequests to promote Science 
and education. There need be no scare or panic on ac- 
count of a war of extermination between Science and the 
Bible. 

It should be remembered in this connection that some 
scientists are at fault, as well as some theologians. They 
are disqualified by their very position to be the best judges 
of moral truth. What Tyndall said of Newton will apply 
to physical scientists generally: "When the human mind 
has achieved greatness and given evidence of extraordinarj^ 
power in any domain, there is a tendency to credit it with 
similar power in all other domains. Thus theologians have 
found comfort and assurance in the thought that Newton 
dealt with the question of revelation, forgetful of the fact 
that the very devotion of his powers, through all the best 
years of his life, to a totally different class of ideas, not to 
speak, of any natural disqualification, tended to render him 
less instead of more competent to deal with theological 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 351 

and historic questions " (Adv. of Seience). In addition to 
this disqualifying influence of an exclusively scientific 
study, some scientific men show a tendency to magnify the 
discrepancy and widen the breach between Science and 
Religion. It is noteworthy that treatises on the "recon- 
ciliation " of the two come almost entirely from the relig- 
ious side. 

(2) It is unreasonable to speak of an antagonism between 
the Bible and Science, where Science is not fixed and estab- 
lished. Science, generally speaking, is in a transitional 
state, subject to daily modifications and readjustments; and 
this is especially true of those branches of Science that are 
said to contradict the Scriptures. Even astronomy is, in 
many respects, vacillating and fluctuating. It is an "exact" 
science only in a limited sense. Mathematicians have de- 
termined the distance of the sun from the earth variously, 
between five millions and ninety -five millions of miles (Dra- 
per's Conflict bet. Rel. and Sci., pp. 173-4); and this ques- 
tion is still unsettled. The great prevalence of round 
numbers in astronomical calculations is rather suspicious, 
showing that they are at best but approximations to truth. 
Geology is more unsteady still. Take up the last edition of 
any work on the subject, and you will find it to be '* re- 
vised," " corrected," and " changed." One of Mr. Huxley's 
Lay Sermons is on "Geological Reform.^' The Evolution 
Theory doubtless contains some truth; but it is yet in its 
infancy. Prof. Tyndall "deems it indeed certain that 
these views (of Darwin and Spencer) will undergo modifica- 
tion " (Advancement of Science). Until Darwinism finds 
its "missing links," and stands demonstrated, we are not 
prepared to alter the Lord's Prayer, and say: " Our father, 
which art in Africa." It is folly to talk of a disagreement 
between the Bible and such departments of Science as are 
continually changing. 

(3) Such things as Science has finally settled corroborate 
the Scriptures. You have incredulously asked questions 



8j2 the HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

about the Deluge. I will answer that Geology is a 
witness for Genesis. The shell on the mountaia-top 
contains still the lingering roar of a former cataclysm. 
You would do well to read Hugh Miller's " Testimon}' of 
the Rocks " on this subject. Layard's excavations in Nine- 
veh have confirmed many points of Biblical archaeology. 
Modern chemistry has proved that "all nations" are, sci 
entifically speaking, " of one blood" (Acts xvii, 26; comp. 
1 Cor. XV, 39). Physiology has confirmed that much- 
fought clause of the Decalogue: "Visiting the iniquity of 
the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth gen- 
eration," And the law of natural generation, transmitting 
physical defects and mental tortuosities, does not add the 
important words, too often overlooked, " Of them that hate 
me"— of those who themselves repeat the sins of tbeir 
parents. Genuine Science has brought its gold, and franK- 
incense, and myrrh, to the feet of the Bible. Herodotus 
was formerly disbelieved, almost with hootings, on account 
of the "incredibility" of his narratives. But recent inves- 
tigations have changed that sneering incredulity into enlhu- 
siastic admiration. It has been so with the Bible. Igno- 
rance has scoffed at its testimonies ; but modern delvings 
into the remains of antiquity and the meanings of Nature, 
are vindicating it most triumphantly. 

{^ Whatever the state of the question maybe, it is clearly 
inaccurate to say that Nature and the Bible are at variance 
The exact truth is, that only the human interpretaiions of 
each occasionally clash. Grant the commentator the lib- 
erty which the scientist claims, and we need hear no more 
about a collision between Scripture and Science. Let tho 
Biblical critic modify his interpretations, where demon- 
strated truth requires it, just as the natural philosopher 
'nodifies his interpretations, in his department, when new 
light demands it — let this be done, and all will be peace, 
good-will, and cooperation. 

Put these facts and considerations together — that the best 



TttE HUMPHREY-ftJNNETT DISCUSSION. 353 

scientists have not recognized a conflict between the Bible, 
rightly understood, and Nature, rightly understood; that 
the established truths of Science have corroborated the 
Scriptures ; that theologians and scientists may modify 
their respective interpretations as new knowledge is ac- 
quired — put, I say, these facts and considerations together, 
and it will become manifest that there is no cause for dis- 
pute between the student of God's Word and the student of 
God's Works. 

In my eighth letter I referred you to some excellent 
works bearing on this subject. Let me again commend 
them to your attentive perusal. 

And now I take my leave of you once again. I entreat 
of you, dear friend, give this subject a dispassionate, can- 
did, and thorough examination. Many of the purest hearts 
and clearest heads of the world have pondered and reflected 
over that singular Book — The Bible. They became con- 
vinced that it was indeed the Word of God. It is no more 
than fair for you to weigh the reasons they have given for 
thinking so. It is true that there are perplexities connect- 
ed with believing and accepting the Bible ; but to every 
thoughtful man there are far greater perplexities in con- 
nection with disbelieving and rejecting it. The Bible was 
opened toward the morning twilight. From the very first 
the capital letters composing the name of The Saviour 
WHICH IS Christ the Lord could be easily read. That 
was the vital matter. Like Simeon, mankind could then 
say, "Mine eyes have seen thy salvation" (Luke ii, 30). 
But other sublime truths have been becoming legible. Life 
and Immortality are already brought to light. Dim sen- 
tences are appearing more and more distinctly. But there 
are still some things which we see only as through a 
glass darkly. No lexicon has ever given all the meanings 
of that portentous word, ETERNITY I O to know the 
Christ of the Scriptures as our Redeemer and Example ! 
Clinging to him, we shall penetrate the mysteries of Futu- 



354 THE HUMPHBET-BEIIlftTT DISCUSSION. 

rityonlyto discover new blessedness. "Now I know in 
part ; but then sliall I know even as also I am known " (1 
Cor. xii, 12). Yours sincerely, Q. H. Humphrey. 



MR. BBNNSSTT. 

Rev. G. H. Humphrey, Dear Sir: I have thought the 
arguments in some of your former letters were rather weak 
and sophistical, but your last letter, in this respect, sur- 
passes all the others. If you have no better arguments to 
bring in support of your belief, I cannot see how, as a 
sensible man, you can continue to give your allegiance to it. 

You seem at length to be satisfied with the cases of 
clerical licentiousness and filthiness that I have presented 
you, and would fain turn and asperse me for enumerating 
them, when you must well know I did so in self-defense. 
With a chuckle you paraded the licentiousness of a few 
Infidels, and argued that because they had done those things 
their doctrines must necessarily be false. To offset those 
charges, many of which were untrue, I called your atten- 
tion to some of the sins of your holy brethren, and I am 
glad if I have succeeded in satisfying you. If, however, 
you are not fully satisfied, or if you delight in magnifying 
the mistakes of some unbelievers, I will try and get you up 
another chapter of the sins of divine scoundrels who seduce 
the young and inexperienced and blast their reputations for 
life, because, under the guise of being shepherds of the 
flock and servants of Jesus Christ, they have the power to 
corrupt and despoil the ewe lambs placed under their pro- 
tection. I assure you there are thousands of glaring cases 
of this kind that I have not even hinted at. Friends are 
nearly every day sending in accounts of ministerial lechery 
and adultery that I have not mentioned. It is in vain that 
you try to evade the odium of their conduct by calling 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 355 

them wolves in sheep's clothing. There are a large number 
of cases where clergymen far advanced in life, who have 
broken the bread of life from twenty-five to forty years, 
have been so weak as to fall an easy prey to their fleshly 
lusts, and again, large numbers who have been guilty of the 
gravest indiscretions are still allowed to serve in the temples 
as servants of the Most High. It is hardly worth your 
while to condemn them for the commission of adultery, 
when your Master failed to condemn it in the case of a 
person who was "caught in the very act." It is not at all 
improbable that those sinniug clergymen argued that if 
Jesus did not see fit to condemn adultery when he was on 
earth he would not now condemn them for commiting 
the same offense. 

You affect to regard it as an indication that Infidels hate 
the Church if they presume to allude to the numerous 
crimes committed by its priests, when the object is to show 
that they are hypocrites, pretending to be better and holier 
than they are, and that they are as sensual and licentious as 
the worst sinners. If you did not want those heinous cases 
alluded to, you should not have begun the game by harping 
about the sins of unbelievers. I repeat that I am glad if 
at last your taste for that kind of literature is satisfied. 

You seem rather to question my statement that distin- 
guished writers have believed the Jews were cannibals, and 
call upon me to give names. I will mention the name of 
Voltaire. He is somewhat distinguished, and you will find 
his remarks upon the subject on page 159, vol. i, of his 
Philosophical Dictionary. 

I do not wish to contend further with you about Robes- 
pierre. I showed clearly from his own words and from 
the opinions of his contemporaries that he was a religious 
zealot who still retained a portion of his Christian faith and 
education. He was not at heart so bad a man as his acts 
would seem to show him. He ran wild in some of his ideas 
of political reform; and when his entire nation was in a 



I 



356 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

State of frenzy, lie failed to preserve that calmness aud that 
high sense of human rights which, as a leader, he ought to 
have maintained- If it gratifies your hatred of Infidels to 
continue to call Robespierre an Infidel, I shall not attempt 
to prevent y .u; but he was not an Infidel in the sense that 
Mirabeau, Voltaire, and Paine were. He was not regarded 
as an Infidel, and did not fraternize with them. In a word, 
he was a wild, religious, political adventurer, who cooper- 
ated with Christians quite as much as with Infidels, and 
whose severity was shown quite as much against Infidels 
as against Christians. You well know he signed Thomas 
Paine's death warrant, whose life was spared by a mere 
fortuitous circumstance, and that he sent many Infidels to 
the guillotine during his mad career. 

You show your venom at IngersoU, and possibly may 
think it argumentative and dignified to call him "Poor 
IngersoU," He evidently disturbs you as much as he did 
your clerical brethren in San Francisco. Instead of answer- 
ing his rhetoric and his logic, they called him hard names. 
You do the same. Perhaps epithets and slander are the 
natural weapons of a Christian when reason and argument 
are not at hand. Despite your hatred of IngersoU, you 
cannot successfully deny that his popularity was never so 
great as at this moment, and that his heavy blows upon 
this greatest sham which the world has ever known are 
sending it, tottering and reeling, to the earth. Abuse him 
as much as you will. Call him hard names if you wish to. 
His utterances are wielding a powerful influence over the 
entire land, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and you and 
all the satellites of a false theology cannot prevent it. If 
you can prove his assertions false, why do you not do so ? 
If he falsifies history, why do you not show it ? Probably 
it is easier to call names and wield epithets and abuse. 
Perhaps he ought to be grateful to you for telling him how 
to use his money, but it is doubtful if he is. It is hardly 
worth while for you to let the indebtedness of Paine Hall 



THE HTJMPHTIET-BENNBTT DISCUSSION. 357 

trouble you too much. The hundred millions of dollars 
owing by Christian Churches demand ;;fOur more immediate 
attention. If there has been some lack in the management 
of Paine Hall affairs, the probability is that its seventy-five 
thousand dollars of indebtedness will be paid long before 
the hundred millions of dollars of church debts will bo 
satisfied. 

You fain would establish it as a fact that at least one 
Infidel did recant on his death-bed, and you quote a letter 
from two authorities to show that Voltaire was that indi- 
vidual. There may be a species of cruelty in removing this 
last peg upon which you would be glad to hang your for- 
lorn hope, but it is better that the truth be told, though you 
do fail to establish a single point in this discussion. Let 
me give the whole truth about Voltaire which you but par- 
tially disclosed. Voltaire did not recant because he had 
changed his views or because he was afraid to die with his 
heresy still clinging to him. He was reared in the Catholic 
Church, and had never severed his connection with it, and 
in all he wrote against superstition he had to so write that 
if tried for heresy he could, like Queen Elizabeth of Eng- 
land, or Cervantes of Spain, make it impossible for men to 
show that there really was heresy in his writings. In those 
days to oppose Christianity was to incur the risk of the 
rack, the gallows or the fagot in this world, and an endless 
hell in the next. Voltaire was trained among the Jesuits, 
and he became a consummate master of their ait, for he 
well knew that he wrote with the halter around his neck, 
and he had to launch his thunderbolts of sarcasm against 
the Church and the fathers with at least an appearance of 
outward respect for them and their dogmas. 

It was because of this mental tyranny that Voltaire was 
compelled to die like a Jesuit. He wished to be buried as 
the other great men of France had been buried, and not as 
an outcast, which would have been the case had he persist- 
ently and outwardly maintained his heretical views. The 



358 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

Abbe Gauthier confessed Voltaire and received from him 
a profession of faitli, by which he declared he would die in 
the Catholic religion in which he was born. When this 
circumstance became known, it offended enlightened men 
more than it edified the devotees. The curate of St. Sup- 
lice ran to his parishioner (Voltaire) who received him with 
politeness and gave him, as was his custom, a handsome 
offering for the poor. But mortified that the Abbe had 
anticipated him, the curate pretended that he ought to have 
required a particular profession of faith, and an exp.ess 
disavowal of all the heretical doctrines which Voltaire had 
maintained. The Abbe declared that by requiring an abjur- 
ation of everything wrong all would be lost. During this 
dispute Voltaire recovered. Irene was played and the pro- 
fession of faith was forgotten. But at the moment of his 
relapse the curate returned to Voltaire absolutely resolved 
not to inter him if he could not obtain the desired recanta- 
tion. The curate was one of those men who are a mixture 
of hypocrisy and imbecility. He spoke with the obstinate 
persuasiveness of a maniac and the flexibility of a Jesuit. 
He wished to bring Voltaire to acknowledge at least tlie 
divine nature of Jesus Christ — a dogma he was more 
attached to than any other — and for this purpose he one 
day aroused him from his lethargy by shouting in his ear: 
"Do you believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ?" where- 
upon answered Voltaire: " In the name of God ^peak to me 
no more of that good man, but let me die in peace." Vol- 
taire died on the 30th of May, 1778. 

The curate was dissatisfied with his recantation — if 
recantation it can with any propriety be called — and de- 
lared that he was obliged to refuse him barial, but he was 
not authorized in this refusal, for according to law it ought 
to have been preceded by excommunication. He was 
buried at Secliers and th-e priests agreed not to interfere 
with the funeral. However, two pious ladies of distin. 
guished rank, and very great devotees, wrote to the bishop 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 359 

of Troyes to engage him in opposing the burial ; but fortu- 
uilely for the honor of the bishop, the letters did not reach 
him till after the funeral, and he consequently made no 
interference. It is no wonder that the Church hated Yol- 
taire after his death as much as they had feared him while 
living, for according to their own statement he is now a 
saint in glory, and yet they admit that he died as he lived — 
a friend of Reason and the enemy of Superstition; for his 
last words were that he regarded Jesus — the man-god of the 
Church — only as a man. 

Condorcet concludes his admirable Life of Voltaire with 
these words: "It ought not to be forgotten that Voltaire, 
when in the height of his glory, exercised throughout 
Europe a power over the minds of men hitherto unparal- 
leled. The expressive words, ' The little good I have done 
is my best of works,' was the unaffected sentiment that held 
possession of his soul." 

Thus let it stand forever recorded that Voltaire did not 
recant his anti-theological views, but that he made only a 
formal general confession to Abbe Gauthier simply to have 
an honorable burial. The great anxiety of Christian ma- 
ligners to make it appear that the Sage of Ferney died a 
horrible death, imploring the pardon of God and Jesus, is 
thus effectually thwarted. It would be a matter of general 
congratulation could every Christian devotee from this time 
henceforth desist from placing himself in the ridiculous 
light of trying to show that Voltaire did what he certainly 
did not do. Lamartine pays the following eloquent tribute 
to Voltaire: " If we judge of men by what they have done^ 
then Voltaire is incontestably the greatest writer of Mod- 
ern Europe. No one has caused through the power of 
influence alone, and the perseverance of his will, so great a 
commotion in the minds of men. His pen aroused a world, 
and shook a far mightier empire than that of Charlemagne, 
the European empire of a theocracy. His genius was not 
foi'ce but light. Heaven destined him not to destry but to 



360 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DI8CU8SI0H. 

illuminate, and wherever he trod light followed him, for 
Reason (which is light) had destined him to be first her 
poet, then her apostle, and lastly her idol." 

I am glad you have the frankness to acknowledge that 
Paine did not recant on his death-bed, but died a firm Infi- 
del as he had lived. In this respect you are far more hon- 
orable than your brethren of the clergy, who every year, 
for more than seventy-five years, have declared that he died 
denouncing his unbelief, and calling upon Jesus to save 
him. More lying has been done by the clergy of America 
in this one direction than they will ever be able to atone 
for. The story, however, about Paine's recanting is no 
more false than that about Voltaire's recanting. Your 
closing fling about Paine's decanting is rather characteristic 
of you, but you had better have omitted it. It may show a 
little wit, but it is devoid of truth. The calumnies that 
Paine was a drunkard are equally as false as that he recant- 
ed upon his death-bed. Both are the reiterated lies of 
Christian clergymen. 

We come now to the consideration of the divinity of the 
Bible. Before it can justly be assumed to be divine, it 
must be shown to be superhuman. If there is nothing in it 
that man could not have written it is the height of absurd- 
ity to say that it is so grand that God must have written it. 
I asked you to give me son;e proofs of its being the work 
of God. You have failed to do so. It is impossible for 
you to give them. Like all other books in the world it is 
of human origin, and of human origin alone, and of rather 
low human origin at that. There is not a passage in it that 
a man of fair literary ability could not have written. There 
is nothing in it that proves a supernatural power. There is 
nothing in it worthy of the Supreme Power of the Uni- 
verse. 

I asked you to prove to me that there is a power above, 
outside of, or independent of the Universe. You did not 
tittempt it, and it is doubtless well you did not, for it is 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 361 

impossible for you to do it. I defy you to present the first 
item of real proof that such a power exists. As I said be- 
fore, the Universe contains all substances, all matter, all 
forces, all existences, and outside of it or above it there can 
be nothing. If there is, I implore you to give me some 
proof of it. If you believe there is such a power, why can 
you not give your reasons for such belief ? The Bible will 
not answer as proof for me. The men who wrote it knew 
no more about a supernatural power than we do at this day. 
In fact, they knew much less, for the Universe, in its infin- 
itude, in its eternality, in its omnipotence, and in its omni- 
presence, was far less understood then than now. 

I asked you to show me why, if the unknown writers of 
the Bible were controlled by God, they did not say so. 
There is scarcely a writer in the whole eighty books, in- 
cluding the apocrypha, who even claims that he had divine 
assistance, or that God either moved his hands or told 
him what to write. The writers did not claim that they 
were doing anything more than simply narrating the stories 
they were writing, employing their own language and 
stating it in their own way. If they were conscious that 
they were writing for God, or that he was controlling them, 
they ought at least to have told us so. I insist that the 
claim set up one thousand years after the books were writ- 
ten that God controlled the authors, is wholly unauthor- 
ized and utterly devoid of proof or of probability. 

I asked you to show how, if even an individual received 
a revelation from God, and he repeated it to somebody 
rise, it could be a revelation to a third person. You at- 
tempt to evade it by saying "the objection is as sophistical 
as it is old." Whether old or not, it does not affect its 
truth or reason. All truth is old. Your efforts to get over 
the difficulty by talking about a person writing historical 
facts that come to his knov\ledge, do not meet the case and 
are only mere subterfuge. If God spoke to Moses in an 
audible voice, or if he showed his face to him, or even bb 



863 THE nUMPHREY-BETT^TETT DISCUSSION, 

bajk parts, it may have been very satisfactory to Moses, 
but the story that it was so is not worth a cent to you and 
me. If God revealed his back parts to Moses and Moses 
told of it, does that constitute a revelation to those he told 
It to or to you and me ? Moses msey have known how those 
back parts looked, but can you or I have the slightest idea 
what Moses really saw? Quibble as you will, Bro. Hum- 
phrey, a revelation to Moses was a revelation to nobody 
else in the world, and everybody has the right to believe 
Moses or to disbelieve him, according to the nature of the 
story he tells and the character for veracity which he main 
tained. As there is not a scintilla of proof that Moses wrote 
a word of all that is attributed to him, every individual has 
the right to form his own conclusion whether Moses was 
the writer or not. This is unfortunately another great de- 
fect in the Bible, the names of the writers even, are not 
given except in a very few instances, and the reader only 
has the guess-work of persons who knew nothing about 
wh3 the writers were to guide him. A miserable founda- 
tion, truly, upon which to establish the divinity of the 
compilation. 

While you take very little notice of the points to which I 
called your attention and carefully avoid them, you array 
numerically many imaginary objections, and it is amusing 
to peruse ycur efforts to set them aside. Your renewed 
attempt to show that the Bible is a scientific compilation, 
or that the Bible and science are in harmony, is simply 
laughable. Why, those old writers knew but little more 
about science than the Esquimaux or the Hottentots do. It 
might as truthfully be said that the gibberish of these about 
their gods and their devils is in harmony with science as 
that the tales about the exploits of the Jewish God are. In 
my sixth reply I examined at some length the science of the 
Bible, and it seems hardly necessary to repeat the arguments 
therein used. To me the assertion that the moon is made 
of ^reen cheese is about as scientific as the yarn about the 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 363 

earth, sun moon and stars being gotten up in six days, 
about the earth producing plants, herbs, grasses, shrubbery 
and forests, with fruits and seeds of each in perfection, be- 
fore the sun was brought into existence; about man being 
fashioned out of the earth; about woman being made of a 
rib-bone; about water enough falling out of the atmosphere 
to raise the ocean all over the face of the earth fire miles in 
height; that all the animals and insects of the varied climes 
of the earth, living on a great variety of food, could exist 
together in a close box for over a year; that that vast body 
of water, equaling nearly half the bulk of the earth, could 
find a place to go to; that seas and rivers divided and the 
waters piled up on either side like a wall; that a man was 
able to arrest the sun and moon in their courses for nearly 
the space of a day; of another man causing no rain or dew 
to fall upon the earth for over three years, or that life could 
exist so long on earth without it, and that at the expiration 
of that time he produced copious rains; that men were able 
to reanimate dead bodies; that men were able to soar bodily 
into the upper air, and survive there— all these and many 
other equally silly stories have about as much of the ele- 
ments of science in them as of truth and good sense. It is 
only a marvel to me how a man of intelligence, like your- 
self, can believe such idle, senseless talk, and can gain your 
own consent to attempt to prove them true and that God ' 
busied himself in writing them. The only way I can ac- 
count for it is that they belong to the system that your 
career and success in life depend upon, and that reason, 
truth, and common sense must be sacrificed to hold up 
those old fables and cause the masses to still accept them as 
truth. But your task is a laborious one. As intelligence 
gains ground, and as the principles of science are more and 
more understood, it will be more and more difficult for you 
to make sensible people accept and swallow such childish 
nursery tales. 
In your every argument you seem to me to virtually 



364 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

acknowledge that the Bible is a human production. You 
tacitly admit that it contains contradictioEs, and you ap jIo- 
gize for it by saying that Gibbon also contains apparent 
contradictions. You do not deny that it contains coarse- 
ness, indelicacy, vulgarity, and obscenity, but you try to 
apologize for it by saying that the pagan bibles, and even 
Shakspere, contain some obscenity. Indeed, are those the 
best arguments you are able to advance in favor of t.ie siily 
old Jew book? Can you do no better for it than to show 
that it is not very much worse than some otlier books that 
men have written? By such kind of arguments do you not 
practically acknowledge all that I have claimed — that it is 
a human production, and no more worthy the respect and 
veneration of mankind than any other book of equal antiq- 
uity? These arguments that the Bible compares with toler- 
able credit with other works proves to me that you really do 
not believe in its divinity, or that it deserves more consid- 
eration than other books produced in various parts of the 
world. Why should it ? It does not treat upon any more 
elevated subjects ; it teaches no better morals ; it gives no 
better nor truer history; it contains no more beautiful poe- 
try; it shows no more sympathy with the world of man- 
kind; it imparts no more information; it tells no more 
about this world; it attempts to impart no more informa- 
tion about the future world, than hundreds of books that 
were written by people of very ordinary capacity. 

Your effort to set aside the objection against the Bible 
that it is susceptible of a great variety of constructions and 
interpretations strikes me as being, like the rest of your 
arguments upon the same subjects, quite insufficient. A 
reasonable person must certainly admit that if the God of 
heaven and earth, the source of all knowledge, wisdom, 
power and love, should make up his mind to write a book 
and dedicate it to the inhabitants of the earth, he would 
couch it in such plain, uamittakable, unambiguous lau- 
s^uage that they could not by any p^-'Ssibility mi^uudevbtauU 



THft HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. , 365 

it; that it would not be written iu riddles and parables, and 
that it would not require five hundred thousand priests 
throughout Christendom to spend their lives in attempting 
to explain its hidden mysteries, its obscure meaning:, its 
contradictions, and its ambiguity. He would not write ic 
so that his children should be under the necessity of wrang- 
ling and quarreling and fighting century after century over 
its diverse interpretations and commentaries. He would 
not be likely to write in a language subject to mutation and 
change, the meaning of the words of which, as you show 
very clearly, have so changed since the book was written 
that the original signification is entirely lost. If God wrot« 
that book for our use and benefit he did us great injustice 
to couch it in language that we do not understand, or that 
when it comes down to us is so changed and perverted that 
we are at a loss to know what the original meaning was. 
This is especially true if he has decided 'to torment us 
throughout eternity, or employ his devil to do it for him, 
because we do not comprehend and believe his obscure 
language, according to the whim he indulged at the time of 
writing. 

You claim to regard it as no argument against the divin- 
ity of the Bible because it contains nothing new, and you 
even assume that it is an argument in favor of its divinity. 
You have peculiar modes of drawing inferences and build- 
ing up your theories. I should arrive at different conclu- 
sions from yourself. If the Bible has nothing but what is 
found in other books, if it contains nothing new, it would 
argue that it was not a vital necessity to the race, that it 
was not superior to other productions, and certainly that it 
would not require an omnipotent God to produce it. There 
would seem to be just as much reason for claiming that the 
Divine Being is the author of other reproduced works as 
this. In fact, there is not a single argument in favor of 
God's being the author of the Jewish Bible that would not 
apply with about equal force to almost any other book. 



366 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DlSCtJSSIOif. 

You say " there must be something peculiar and unique 
about the Bible, since, wherever it goes, it gives a new impe- 
tus and direction to the human mind, and deflects the very 
currents of history." You have no warrant for making 
this assertion. The Bible has produced no such results. It 
has never exerted any marvelous iafluence. There is no 
proof that the Jewish Scriptures had an existence till a few 
centuries before the Christian era, and it was not long after 
they were adopted as a sacred canon before the Jewish 
nation was broken in pieces and scattered to the four winds. 
It was nearly three centuries after the origin of Christianity 
before the books of the New Testament were even know n, 
and it was two or three centuries more before the canon 
was settled, and even down to Luther's time it was not fully 
settled. He did not accept the Epistle to the Hebrews, the 
Book of Jude, and the Book of Revelations. The influence 
that has been shed abroad in the nations that have acknowl- 
edged the Bible, has resulted from the advance of civiliza- 
tion and science far, far more than from any teachings the 
Bible contains. If the Bible contains little that is new how 
could it have an effect much more wonderful than the other 
books that contain the same or similar matter? 

The Institute? of Menu, the teachings of Zoroaster, the 
Zend Avesta, the Vedas and Puranas, the Buddhistic Sacred 
Writings, the morals and teachings of Contucius, the Egyp- 
tian Sacred Writings, tbe doctrines of Pythagoras, the 
Philosophy of Socrates and Plato, the inculcations of Epi- 
curus, Zeno, and Aristotle, as well as much other of the 
wise and sage instructions of ancient times, have wielded 
ten times the influence in the world that the Jewish scrip- 
tures hav: done, and you cannot truthiully deuy it. After 
thousands of years the Bible is accepted by hardly one- 
tenth of the inhabitants of the earth, and that tenth part 
has been doing more fighting, killing and persecutmg than 
all the rest ol the world. Had you said that the Bible had 
resisted civilization, that it had been a source of contention 



THB HUMPHREY-BBNNBTT DISCUSSION. 367 

and bloodshed, and that it had, in fact, been a curse to the 
world, you would have come much nearer the truth. 

You are wrong in claiming that the Jewish Bible pos- 
sesses superiority over the sacred books of oUier nations. 
Had I the space to spare, I could make copious selections 
from the Institutes of Menu, the Vcdas, the Puranas of the 
Maharbharata, the Ramayana, the Bhagavad-Gita. the Zend- 
Avesta, the Shaster, the Buddhistic Sacred Scriptures, the* 
Pymander of Egypt, the Moral Instructions of Confucius, 
the teachings of numerous Grecian sages and philosophers, 
the Koran of Mohammed, and much else that was written 
thousands of years ago, which in point of morality, spirit- 
uality, elevated thought, beautiful diction, and everything 
that goes to make up a high order of literature, are fully 
equal, if not superior, to the Jewish Scriptures, which are 
in many places so crude and objectionable. Some of the 
Hebrew poetry in the Bible is very fine, but by no means 
superior to the poetic productions of other nationalities 
which were wholly the work of human beings. 

You are wrong, too, in supposing that there is no more 
obscenity in the Jewish Bible than in the bibles of other 
nations. A much larger percentage of low, vulgar allu- 
sions to sexual affairs, so far as my observation extends, is 
found in the Jewish Scriptures than in the sacred writings 
of any other nation. In the translations of no other 
bible that I have looked over have I found such filthy stuff 
as the incest committed by the drunken Lot and his daugh- 
ters, the low, unnatural crimes of the Sodomites, the details 
of Jacob's connections with his wives and concubines, the 
story of Schechera and Dinah, the amours of Reuben and 
his father's concubine, the whoring of Judah and Tamar, 
the licentiousness of Mrs. Potiphar, the instructions about 
determining the virginity of young girls, the adultery of 
Zimri and Cozbi, the rules about who shall be admitted into 
the congregation of the Lord, the story of the sodomy of 
the Benjamites, the account of the Benjamites ravishing 



6m THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

over four hundred young females, the lustful story of David 
and Bathsheba, the rape of Amnon upon his sister Tamar, 
the story of Absalom holding connection with his father's 
concubine on the housetop in the sight of all the people, 
the story of Solomon and his thousand wives and concu- 
bines, the amorous Song of Solomon, the threat about 
spreading dung over the face-aud causing urine to be used 
as drink, and the mixing of cowdung and human excre- 
ment with bread, various stories of fornications, whore- 
doms, and filthiness, and more and more ad nauseam. In 
fact, there is not a book printed in the English language, 
except, perhaps, a few, the sale of which is a crime punish- 
able with imprisoment, that contains so much coarseness, 
indecency, and obscenity, as this old Jewish Bible. It is 
really a blot upon the civilization of our limes that such an 
objectionable publication should be offered for sale, and 
more especially, that the children of the country should be 
compelled to use it as a reading-book in schools. It helps 
the case very little to say that there are other books con- 
taining something of a similar character. If God must be 
as bad as, or worse than other obscene writers, I wish to 
cast my vote against his writings being recognized as 
authoritive, or even as worthy to be placed before the ris- 
ing generation of our land. 

You have the courtesy and mildress to say '* Some fool 
has collected and collocated a lot of passages and called 
them * Self-Contradictions of the Bible.' " This is harsh 
language to apply to a gentleman who has correctly quoted 
certain passages of Scripture and arranged them side by 
side, without a word of comment, giving the reader the 
choice to draw his own inferences as to whether they are 
contradictory or not. If a man who faithfully quotes pas- 
sages from that book classifies and arranges them without 
putting in any of his own comments, is a fooly what a con- 
summate fool that man must be who swallows every word 
the book contains and swears it is the word of God, and 



*^HE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 369 

was written out by his divine hand, and that all the absurd, 
impossible stories it contains are as true as the eternal hills 
are firm I This last fool is much the most foolish, and by- 
far the most hopeless in his folly. According to your argu- 
ment, any man who quotes Bible language as showing its 
character and meaning is &.focl, and come to think of it, I 
don't know but there is a shade of truth in your assertion. 
Perhaps few things more foolish are done than to quote 
passages and texts from the old Jewish book with the least 
idea that it is the language or sentiment of the Great and 
Eternal Ruler of the Universe. 

But in the matter of " Contradictions," are there none in 
the Bible? Let us take up a few that that "fool" has 
"collected and collocated," that our readers may judge 
whether he is wholly a fool, and whether these contradic- 
tions are real. 

In Gen. i, 31, it says: "And God saw everything he had 
made, and behold it was very good." In Gen. vi, 6, it says : 
"And it repented the Lord that he had made man in the 
earth, and it grieved him at his heart." Is there any con- 
tradiction there ? Was God in precisely the same mood on 
both occasions ? 

In 2 Chron. vii, 12, 16, it says the Lord came unto Solo- 
mon by night, after the latter had built the temple, and 
said: *' For now have I chosen and sanctioned this house, 
that my name m ly be there forever ; and mine eyes and 
my heart shall be there perpetually." In Acts vii, 48, it 
says: "Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples 
made with hands." Is there any contradiction in these pas- 
sages ? 

In Ex. xxxiii, 23, it tells how God showed his back parts 
to Moses. In the eleventh verse of the same chapter it 
describes how God and Moses talked together " face to face 
as a man speaking unto his friend." In Gen. xxxii, 30, 
Jacob says : "I have seen God face to face, and my life is 
preserved." In Exodus xxiv, 9, 10, 11, it describes how 



370 THB HPMPHRKY-BKNNETT DISCUSSION. 

Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and seventy of the elders 
of Israel went up to the Mount and saw the God of Israel. 
, . . On the other hand, in John i, 18, it says : " No 
man hath seen God at any time." In John v, 37, it says: 
" Ye hath neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his 
shape." In Exodus xxxiii, 20, it says ; "Thou canst not 
see my face, for there shall no man see me and live," and in 
1 Tim. vi, 16, it says expressly, in speaking of God, 
"Whom no man hath seen nor can see." Is there the 
slightest shade of contradiction in these passages ? and is 
it only fools who can see it ? 

In Deut. XXX ii, 4, it says that God is a God of truth and 
without "iniquity, just and right is he." In James i, 13, it 
says, " God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth 
he any man." But in Isaiah xlv, 7, it says, "I make peace 
and create evil. I, the Lord do all these things." In Amos 
iii, 6, it says, " Shall there be evil in a city and the Lord 
hath not done it ?" and in Ezek. xx, 25 it says, " Therefore, 
I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judg- 
ments whereby they should not live." Is there any want 
of harmony between these passages ? Do they read pre- 
cisely alike ? 

In Mat. vii, 8, it says, ' ' Every one that asketh, receiveth, 
and he that seeketh findeth." In Prov. viii, 17, it says, 
" Those that seek me early shall find me." In Prov. i, 28, 
it says, "Then shall they call upon me, but I will not 
answer; they shall seek me early but shall not find me." 
In Isaiah i, 15, it says, " When ye spread forth your hands 
I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when ye shall make 
many prayers, I will not hear." In Psalms xviii, 41, it says, 
'' They cried, but there was none to save them; even unto 
the Lord, but he answered them not." Is there not a won- 
derful unison of seutiment and promise in these passages ? 
Could anybody but a fool see any disagreement in them ? 

In Rom. XV, 33, and 1 Cor. xiv, 33, it says God is a God of 
peace, and that he ia not the author of confusion but peace. 



THE HtJli^HRET-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 371 

But in Ex. XV, 3, Is. li, 15; Psalms cxliv, 1, it says, *'The 
Lord is a man of war. He is called the Lord of Hosts," 
and that he "teacheth my hands to war and my fingers to 
fight." In many other parts of the Bible he is made to 
take great pleasure in war and bloodshed, and in leading 
armies to a bloody conflict. Is it not curious to see how 
completely these passages of the Word of God run together 
in perfect accord ? 

In James v, 11, Lam. iii, 83 ; 1 Chron. xvi, 34, Ezek. 
xviii, 32 Psalms cxlv, 9; 1 John iv, 16, and numerous other 
passages, it is said that God is love, that his mercy endureth 
forever, that he doth not willingly afflict and grieve the 
children of men, that he hath no pleasure in the death of 
him that dieth, that he is good to all, and that his tender 
mercies are over all his works, and much more in the same 
line; while in Jer. xiii, 14, Deut. vii, 16; 1 Sam. xv, 2, 3; 
1 Sam. vi, 19, Deut. iv, 24, Josh, x, 11, and many similar 
passages, it is said that God will not pity nor spare, nor 
have mercy, but will destroy his people; that he should 
deliver people to be consumed without pity, that he com- 
manded that Amalek be smitten and utterly destroyed, and 
spared not, but to slay man, woman, child, and suckling; 
that God is a consuming fire, and that he cast down stones 
out of heaven and killed lots of his own offspring. Cannot 
a man who is not a fool see a beautiful agreement in these 
diverse passages ? 

In Psalms ciii, 8, and xxx, 5, does it not say that God is 
" merciful, gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy, 
and that his anger "endureth not a moment;" while in 
Num. xxxii, 13, Num. xxv, 4, Jer. xvii, 4, Psalms vii, 11, 
Ex. iv, 24, it stales how God's anger was fearfully kindled; 
that he commanded that the heads of the people who had 
been beheaded be taken and hung up in the sun that the 
fierce anger of the Lord might be turned away, that the fire 
of his fierce anger should burn forever, that he was angry 
every day, that he sought on many occasions to kill people, 



373 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

and much more of the same character. Is here not a most 
lovely and heavenly agreement ? 

In Ex. xxix, 36 ; Lev. xxiii, 27 ; Ex. xxix, 18 ; Lev. i, 9, 
God commands burnt oJSerings and delights in them, says 
they are a sweet savor unto him, and all that, while in 
Jer. vii, 23 ; Jer. vi, 20 ; Ps. i, 13, 14 ; Is. i, 13, 11, 12, he 
says he did not command burnt offerings, that they were 
not acceptable nor sweet to him, and that he was full of 
burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts ; that he 
delighted not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of 
he-goats, and he even coolly asked the people who had 
required sacrifices at their hands. Is not such harmony 
perfectly delightful to the sainted clergy who despise the 
l)OOTfools? 

In Deut. xii, 30, 31, Q-od discountenanced and forbade 
human sacrifices, while in Lev. xxvii, 28, 29 ; 2 Sam. xxi, 
8, 9, 14 ; Gen. xxii, 2, and Judges xi, 30-39, is not the prac- 
tice approved and commanded ? More harmony and con- 
sistency! 

In James i, 13, it says God " tempts no man," while in 
Gen. xxii, 1 ; 1 Sam. xxiv, 1 ; Job ii, 3 ; Jer. xx, 7, and 
many other passages, it says God tempted Abraham, that 
he tempted David, that he deceived Jeremiah and was him- 
self tempted of Satan. Of course this is perfect harmony 
to all but fools. 

In Num. xxiii, 19, it says God cannot lie, while in Jer. 
iv, 10; xiv, 18; 2 Thes. ii, 11; 1 Kings xxii, 23; Judges ix, 23; 
Ezek. xiv, 9, and elsewhere, it declares that God deceived 
the people, that he sent strong delusions that his people 
should believe a lie, that he put a lying spirit into the 
mouths of his prophets, that be sent an evil spirit, that he 
deceived the prophets, etc., etc. How blessed it is to find 
perfect harmony in the " Holy Scriptures" 1 

It is easy to show, by quoting conflicting passages, that 
God not only commanded robbery but forbade it; that he 
sanctioned, approved and commanded lying, and also pro' 



THE HUMPBTRET-BENNETT DISCUSSION. S^ 

hibited it ; that he commanded men to kill and not to kill ; 
that he said blood-shedders should die and that blood-shed- 
ders should not die ; that the making of images was com- 
manded and forbidden; that he commanded and prohibited 
slavery; that improvidence was enjoined and condemned; 
that anger was approved and that anger was disapproved; 
that good works should be seen of men and that good 
works should not be seen of men; that judging others was 
forbidden in one place and commanded in another; that 
non-resistance was both enjoined and disapproved ; that 
public prayer was both sanctioned and condemned; that im- 
portunity in prayer is commanded in one part and forbid- 
ded in another; that the wearing of long hair by men is 
sanctioned in one place and condemned in another; that cir- 
cumcision is commanded in one place and condemned in 
another ; that the Sabbath is instituted in one place and 
repudiated in another; that baptism is commanded in one 
instance and not commanded in others; that every kind of 
animals is allowed for food in one place and many kinds 
forbidden in others; that the taking of oaths is sanctioned 
in one place and forbidden in others; that marriages are 
approved in some instances and condemned in others; that 
adultery is both sanctioned and condemned; that hatred of 
kindred is both enjoined and condemned ; that woman's 
rights are both denied and affirmed ; that obedience to 
masters is both commanded and countermanded; tbat there 
is an unpardonable and that there is no unpardonable sin, 
and much more in keeping. Now you will doubtless still 
insist that there is not the least contradiction in all. these 
instances, except in the minds of fools, and I insist that he 
must be a fool who cannot readly perceive them. 

Among the historical statements of the Bible there is fre- 
quently as much agreement as in the doctrinal which we 
have been glancing it. We will take a peep at a few of the 
large number: In Gen. i, 25, 37 it says that man was cre- 
ated after the other animals; while in the next chapter, 



8t4 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

verses 18, 19, it says he was created before the animals. 
Could both ways be stated without a contradiction ? 

According to Gen. vlii, 23, seed-time and harvest were to 
never cease, but according to Gen. xli, 54-56 and Gen. xlv, 
6, seed-time and harvest did cease for seven years. This 
would seem to be a contradiction, but only to fools. 

In Ex. iv, 21, and Ex. ix, 12, it says God hardened Pha- 
raoh's heart; but Ex. viii, 15, says Pharaoh hardened it 
himself. Of course both are correct; no contradiction here. 

In 2 Sam. xxiv, 1, it says the anger of the Lord was 
kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to 
say, Go number Israel and Judah. In 1 Chron. xxi, 1, in 
narrating the same event, it says, ^'And Satan stood up 
against Israal and provoked David to number Israel." Can 
you see any signs of a contradiction here ? Are both state- 
ments true? Are, then, Satan and God the same individual? 

In Mat. xi, 14, it says that John the Baptist was the Elias 
which was to come; but in John i, 21, it says directly to the 
contrary. A divine agreement. 

According to Mat. i, 16, the father of Joseph, Mary's hus- 
band, was Jacob; while in Luke iii, 33, it says it was Heli. 
It only needs a little faith and godliness to see the perfect 
agreement in these two statements. 

Ill Matt, ii, 14-23, it says the infant Jesus was taken into 
Egypt, while in Luke ii, 22, 39, it states that he was not 
taken into Egypt. More agreement. 

According to Mark i, 12, 13, Jesus was tempted in the 
wilderness forty days and nights, but according to John ii, 
1, 2, nothing of the kind took place. How harmonious! 
It must be divine 1 

According to Matt, v, 1, 2, Jesus preached his first ser- 
mon on a mount, but according to Luke v, 17, 20, it vv^as on 
a plain. It must have been both ways. 

By Mark i, 14, John was in prison when Jesus went to 
Galilee, while by John i, 43, and John iii, 22-24, John wab 
not in prison at that time. Beautiful consistency 1 



THiE HUMPHHEY-BBSNKErT DISCtJSSlOIt. StS 

According to Matt, xx, 80, two blind men besought Jesus 
to have mercy on them, and called him the son of David, 
while by Luke xviii, 35, 38, it was but one man. Of course 
both statements are true. 

In Matt, viii, 28, it says two m6n coming out of the tomb 
met Jesus, while Mark v, 2, says it was but one man. Do 
one and two in Christian theology mean the same as one 
and three do ? 

According to Mark xv, 25, Jesus was crucified at the third 
hour, but John xix, 14, 15, says it was the sixth hour. 
Probably three hours is not much of a mistake for Deity to 
make. 

According to Matt, the two thieves reviled Jesus, while 
according to Luke it was but one. The exactness of the 
divine author is reassuring indeed. 

Matthew (xxvii, 34) says vinegar with gall was given 
Jesus to drink on the cross ; but Mark (xv, 23) says it was 
wine mingled with myrrh. Both true of course. God un- 
doubtedly knew what he was talking about. 

John (xiii, 27) says Satan entered into Judas while at 
supper, but Luke (xxii, 3-7) says it was before supper. 
Which of them saw the entrance made ? 

Matthew says (xxvii, 3) that Judas returned the thirty 
pieces of silver, but in Acts i, 18, says he did not return the 
money but invested it in real estate. Of course both were 
correct. 

Matthew says Judas hanged himself, while in Acts it 
says he fell headlong and burst asunder and all his bowels 
gushed out. In an ordinary newspaper account of a similar 
catastrophe a reporter would not be allowed to make such 
a blunder; but God, in getting up statements, is not 
governed by any ordinary rules of accuracy. The statement 
in Acts is not credible. Judas might have fallen headlong, 
but he would hardly burst asunder and aU.his bowels gush 
out. When men fall from house tops and other heights, 
and suddenly kill themselves, they do not burst asunder, 



376 TFE TTTT\rpailET-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

nor do their bowels all gush out. Still, God ought to know 
how to report the case, and both ways must be true. Per- 
haps Judas hung himself first, and the rope breaking sud- 
denly, he fell very heavily and burst asunder and all his 
bowels guished out. It is probable he did not survive the 
injury. 

John (xx, 1) says but one woman came to the sepulchre; 
but Matthew (xxviii, 1) says there were two; but Matthew 
was liable to stretch things a little, and perhaps his state- 
ment should be discounted about one Mary. But no, that 
will not do. It is the Word of God, and it must be 
correct. The heavenly harmonies fllust not be disturbed. 
Mark (xvi, 1) says there were three of the women, while 
Luke has it that there were five or six. This beats the 
celebrated "crow" story; but the correctness of the four 
different statements can be doubted only by fools; a few 
women more or less make but little difference. 

Matthew says the women came at sunrise, but John says 
it was before sunrise and while it was yet dark. As 
neither of them were there, perhaps they should not expect 
to agree to within hour or two. 

Luke says two angels were seen at the sepulchre, but 
Matthew shrinks the number and says it was but one an- 
gel. John and Mark say the one angel, and the two angels 
were seen within the sepulchre, but Matthew insists that it 
was without the sepulchre, for he rolled back the stone and 
sat upon it. These little discrepancies of course are not 
essential. They must all be accepted as the exact truth. 

Matthew and Luke say the women went and told the dis- 
ciples about the resurrection of Jesus, but Mark says they 
said not a word about it to anybody. Of course you can 
see nothing but perfect agreement here. 

Mark and John say Jesus appeared first to Mary Magda- 
lene only. Matthew says he appeared to the two Marys, 
while Luke says he appeared to neither of the Marys. A 
godly man can see that all of these statements must be true. 



tflE HUMPHBEY BENNETT DISCUSSION. t^H 

According to Mat. xii, 40, Jesus was to be three days and 
three nights in the heart of the earth, but, according to 
the testimony of the other evangelists, he was in the sep- 
ulchre but two nights and one day. The agreement here is 
again perfect. Possibly Jesus found the heart of the earth 
so intensely hot that one hour counted for two, and thirty- 
six were the same as seventy-two. It must all be correct, 
by some process of reasoning. 

In Acts i, 8, 5, and ii, 1, 4, it says the Holy Ghost was be- 
stowed at Pentecost, while John says it was bestowed 
before Pentecost (xx, 23). As the Holy Ghost is rather an 
uncertain quantity, perhaps we ought not to expect that all 
accounts of him will perfectly agree. 

According to Matthew, the disciples were commanded, 
immediately after the resurrection, to go into Galilee, while 
according to Luke, they were at the same time commanded 
to tarry at Jerusalem. But it is only fools that will mind 
these apparent contradictions. 

According to Luke and John, Jesus first appeared to the 
eleven in a room in Jerusalem, while, according to Mat- 
thew, it was on a mountain in Galilee. This discrepancy 
is only apparent; the real harmony is deific. When a slight 
allowance is made for Matthew, who sometimes told the 
truth by accident, the agreement is truly wonderful. 

According to Acts i, 0, 13, Jesus ascended from Mount 
Olivet. According to Luke (xxiv, 00, 51) he ascended from 
Bethany. According to Mark (xvi, 14, 19) he went up in 
the presence of his disciples as they sat at meat in a room ; 
while Matthew does not say any thing about his going up 
at all. It is almost a wonder he did not have the ascension 
made feet foremost. Who can doubt that God wrote these 
different accounts ? Probably if there had been a few 
more " Evangelists " to write up the wonderful affair, not 
only Jesus but all his disciples would have "gone up," and 
never been heard of more. Many evangelists are "going 
up," even at the present day. 



878 THE HUMFm&SY-BEKNEIZ DISCUSSION. 

In Acts ix, 7, we learn that Paul's attendants stood 
speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. In Acts 
xxii, 9, it says they heard not the voice, and in chap, xxvi, 
14, instead of saying they stood, it says ih^jfell to the earth. 
Possibly the Great Being who instructed the writers forgot 
just how it was. 

It is generally understood that Abraham had two sons — 
one by his wife Sarai, named Isaac, and one by his hand- 
maid, or concubine, Hagar, named Ishmael — but in Heb. 
xi, 17, it speaks of Isaac as Abraham's '''■only begotten son." 
Perhaps Ishmael was not begotten. He might have been a 
divine bastard, like Christ. 

According to Gen. xxi, 2, and Rom. iv, 19, Abraham be- 
got his son Isaac when a hundred years old, by the assist- 
ance of God, but after "getting the hang of the business," 
he was afterwards able to get six more children without 
any particular help from the Divine Power, notwithstand- 
ing his great age. " Never to old to learn." 

By Gen. xiii,, 14, 15, and xvii, 8, and many other passages 
we learn that God promised the land of Canaan to Abra- 
ham and his seed forever, but according to Acts vii, 5, and 
Heb, xi, 9, 13, Abraham never so much as set a foot on it, 
and the promise was never fulfilled. **A bad promise is 
better broken than kept." 

According to 2 Chron. xxii, 1, Ahaziah was the youngest 
son of Jehoram, while by 2 Chron. xxi, 16, 17, we learn it 
was not so. Those who pay their money (to the preachers) 
can take their choice. 

By 2 Kings, viii, 17, 24, 26, we learn that Ahaziah was 
twenty-two years old when he began to reign, being eigh- 
teen years younger than his father; but by 2 Chron. xxii, 
1, 2, we learn still further that Ahaziah was forty-two years 
old when he began to reign, two years older than his 
father. Probably according to theological science a man 
may be a few years older than his father. At all events, 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 379 

the little difficulties should not be questioned. "All things 
are possible with God." 

When David numbered the people, according to 2 Sam. 
xxiv. 9, there were 800,000 of Israel and 500,000 of Judah; 
while according to 1 Chron. xxiv, 10, there were 1,100,000 
of Israel and 470.000 of Judah— a difEereace of only 300,000. 
But God did not have the advantage of a common-school 
education, hence these discrepancies — apparent only to the 
poor fools who have not studied divine mathematics in a 
theological Feminary. There is nothing like divine exact- 
ness. "We always know what to depend upon when we 
read a book that God wrote with his own finger. In point 
of reliability and mystery it is on a par with boarding-house 
hash. 

According to 2 Sam. x, 18, David, on a certain occasion, 
slew 700 Syrian charioteers; but according to 1 Chron. xix, 
18, it was 7,000 Syrian charioteers. Probably the latter 
are David's own figures, but both must be true. There can 
not be an error in that Great Book. 

By 1 Sam, xxiv, 24, we learn that David paid fifty shekels 
of silver for a certain threshing-floor; but 1 Chron. xxi, 25, 
it says he paid six hundred shekels of gold. This was too 
much — don't believe David paid it. Divinity must have 
been mistaken. He ought, to be reasonable, at any rate. 

Accordiug to 1 Sam. xvii, 4, 50, we find that it was David 
who slew Goliah; but by 2 Sam. xxi, 19, we further learn 
that it was Elhanan who slew the giant. The words, "the 
brother of," are not in 'the original, but were supplied by 
the translators to avoid a contradiction. They should have 
played that card much oftener, if they meant to reconcile 
all the discrepancies. 

In the speculative doctrines there is little better agree- 
ment between the various parts of the book. For instance, 
Jesus said his mission was peace and he also said it was not 
peace; that he was all-powerful and that he was not all- 
powerful; that he was equal with God and that he was not 



S80 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

equal with God ; that he did receive testimony from men 
and that he did not receive testimony from men; that his 
witness was true and that it was not true; that it was law- 
ful for the Jews to put him to death and that it was not 
lawful ; that children are punished for the sins of their 
prsents and that they are not so punished;, that man is jus- 
tified by faith alone and that he is not justified by faith 
alone; that it is possible to fall from grace aad that it is not 
possible to fall from grace; that no man is without sin, and 
that Christians are not sinners; that there is to be a resur- 
rection of the dead, and that there is to be no ressurrection 
of the dead; that rewards and punishments are bestowed in 
this world, and that they are not bestowed in this world; that 
annihilation is the portion of all mankind, and that endless 
misery is the fate of a large part of the race; that the earth 
is to be destroyed, and that the earth is never to be de- 
stroyed; that no evil shall happen to the godly, and that 
evil shall happen to the godly; that worldly good and pros- 
perity is the lot of the godly, and that worldly misery and 
destitution is the lot of the godly; that worldly prosperity 
and blessing is a reward for righteousness, and that worldly 
prosperity is a curse and a bar to future rewards; that the 
Christian's yoke is easy and that it is not easy; that the 
fruit of God's spirit is love and gentleness, and that the 
fruit of God's spirit is vengeance and fury; that prosperity 
and longevity are enjoyed by the wicked, and that they are 
denied to the wicked; that poverty is a blessing, and that 
riches are a blessing— also, that neither poverty nor riches 
is a blessing ; that wisdom is a source of enjoyment, and 
that it is a source of vexation, grief and sorrow; that a good 
name is a blessing, and also that a good name is a curse; 
that laughter is commanded and that it is condemned; that 
the rod of correction is a remedy for foolishness, and that 
there is no remedy for foolishness; that temptation is to be 
desired, and that it is not to be desired ; that prophecy is 
sure and that it is not sure ; that man's life was to be one 



THB HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 381 

hundred and twenty years and that it was to be but seventy 
years; that miracles are a proof of divine mission, and that 
they are riot a proof of divine mission ; that Moses was a 
very meek man, and that he was a very cruel man ; that 
Elijah went up bodily through the air into heaven, and that 
Christ was the only one who'had thus ascended into heaven; 
that all the Scriptures are inspired, and that some Scripture 
is not inspired (to which opinion I decidely incline); that 
servants are taught to obey their masters, and also that they 
are to be the servants oX no man ; again, that they should 
be subject to their masters with all fear — not the good and 
gentle alone, but a^so to the froward — and that they should 
worship the Lord God, and him only should they serve ; that 
those who blaspheme against the Holy Ghost have never 
forgiveness, and that all that believe are justified from all 
things; that Jesus and his father were equal, or one, and 
that the Father was greater than he. It is said that Jesus 
was the Prince of Peace, and again, that he did not come 
to bring peace but a sword; that God is a jealous God, vis- 
iting the iniquities of the fathers upon the third and fourth 
generations, and that the son shall not bear the iniquity of 
the father; that there is not a just man upon the earth that 
doeth good and sinneth not, and that he that committeth 
sin is of the Devil. 

And thus that perfect divine book, direct from the man- 
sions of bliss, goes on almost interminably on both sides of 
almost every subject that may be named. I could cite 
many more positive contradictions, but perhaps I have 
named enough to satisfy our readers that the book is full 
of palpable incongruities, if I cannot satisfy you of the 
fact. They may see, too, that the man who arranged them 
without a word of comment was not necessarily a fool, and 
that the foolishness consists in believing that such a mass of 
contradictious and absurdities are an emanation from the 
great source of truth, harmony, and intelligence. The 
marvel is how so intelligent a man as yourself can believe 



383 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

that the old book had any higher origin than the minds and 

hands of men, and that you can so easily see the hand and 
intellect of a God in it. I would repeat, that the absurdity 
of ascribing to a superhuman power a book, or a collection 
of books, that most assuredly are not superior to human 
production almost transcends comprehension. If the Jew- 
ish Scriptures, with all their foibles, contradictions, absurd- 
ities, and senselessness, is the best their God can do in 
getting up a book, he certainly is not a success in that line, 
and had better give his attention to killing people, conduct- 
ing wars, etc., and leave book-making to those who possess 
a greater degree of skill in that direction than himself. 
Can you possibly believe that a being who could speak into 
existence the earth, the sun, the solar system, and the entire 
Universe, with its constellations of suns and stars and its 
vast congeries of constellations, causing all to move 
together in wonderful beauty and harmonj'^; who was also 
able to organize and perfect the equally wonderful micro- 
scopic world — the vast kingdom of minute, invisible anima- 
tion — the infinitesimal leviathans that disport in a drop of 
water, and the herds of inconceivably small animals that feed 
upon a single leaf, all the systems and grades of life being 
conducted with consummate skill — could not produce a 
more perfect book than the Jewish Bible ? If that is the 
best that such a Deity can do in book-making, had I his 
private ear I would &ay, "Confine yourself to world-mak- 
ing, to devising the various systems of vegetable and animal 
life, but don't try again to write a book. It does you great 
discredit. " 

As serious as the subject is, I can hardly help being 
amused at your efforts in trying to extricate your Bible God 
from the odium connected with the villainous slaughter of 
the Midianiies, and I cannot understand bow so amiable 
and peaceable a man as yourself can apologize for and jus- 
tify such a murderous, cruel and damnable transaction. 
(J&u it be possible that you can think that the adultery of 



THE HITMPHREY-BBNNETT DISCUSSION. 883 

the Hebrew Zimri with the Midianitish woman Oozbi, or 
even that a thousand such instances would justify the plun- 
dering, despoiling, robbing, massacring and exterminating 
an entire peaceful nation, or five nations rather, for they 
had five kings? It would seem that the Midianites were 
eminently a peaceful, agricultural people. They seemed 
not to understand the arts of war, for they appeared to fall 
an easy prey to the twelve thousand red-handed murderers 
that Moses sent over to slaughter them, and they seemed so 
incapable of self-defence that they killed few or none of 
the brigands that despoiled them. That the Midianites 
were an agricultural people is evident from their great herds 
of sheep, cattle and asses. They were just such prey as 
the Jews and their blood-thirsty God were partial to. 

Of all the murderous details of which history informs 
us, there is nothing so utterly monstrous and cruel as the 
treatment of the Midianites by God's chosen people. The 
males were all put to the sword, in the first place, and all 
their wealth, their jewels, their wearing apparel, their 
675,000 sheep, 72,000 beef cattle imd 61,000 asses were 
stolen They then burnt their cities, their goodly castles, 
despoiling their homes and spreading devastation over the 
entire country. The robbers, it seems, possessed a moiety 
of humanity, and saved the women and children alive, but 
when that man of God, Moses, learned this, he flew into a 
rage, shrieking out in demoniac rage, "Have ye saved all 
the women alive ? Kill every male among the little ones, 
and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with 
him, but all the women-children that have not known man 
by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. " Was ever 
any order from any tyrant or murderer so merciless, so 
cruel, so monstrous ? And that devilish order was carried 
out. From fifty thousand to one hundred thousand — as 
near as can be estimated — of women and male babies were 
murdered in cold blood in the sight of the young girls who 
had never laid with man, and thirty-two thousand of the 



884 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSIOIT. 

latter were turned over for the indulgence of the base, lust- 
ful passions of the men who had murdered their fathers, 
their mothers and their little brothers. O, was anything 
ever so shocking, so villainous ? Did devils ever do any- 
thing so bad as this ? Were Turks or savages ever so lost 
to every fine feeling of the human heart ? And yet the 
Rev. G. H. Humphrey — a professed follower and teacher 
of the meek and lowly Jesus — stands up in this day of cul- 
ture, civilization and refinement and attempts to justify this 
most abominable and damnable business! I am truly sorry 
that he has espoused a religion that makes it necessary for 
him to do a deed so abhorrent to every noble feeling and sym- 
pathy of his nature. Good grounds had Theodore Parker 
for saying to an orthodox clergyman, "My friend, your 
God is my Devil." If there was nothing else vile and ab- 
horrent in that Old book, the thirty-first chapter of Num. 
bers is alone sufficient to eternally damn the compilation in 
the eyes of every kind-hearted, just and sympathizing man 
in the world, and to cause him to contemplate with perfect 
abhorrence a being capable of ordering and approving such 
a bloody, diabolical piece of business. I never will love 
nor worship such a monster, and it is only a wonder to me 
how any good man or woman possibly can. 

Among the great objections that the Hebrew Scriptures 
should be accepted as the infallible word of God is the 
monstrous, unlovable character it gives to that being. By 
the chapter just referred to (Num. xxxi,) we get a vivid 
and, in fact, a lurid picture of him, and, as I remarked, it 
constitutes him a fiend incarnate. There are other parts of 
the Bible not much behind in painting him as a most gro- 
tesque and horrible monster. Let me quote a few passages. 
" Smoke came out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth, 
so that coals were kindled by it" (3 Sam. xxii, 9). "He 
had horns comijg out of his hands, and these were the 
hiding of his power " (Hab. ii, 4). " Out of his mouth went 
a sharp two-edged sword " (Rev. i, 16). "Out of his mouth 



THB HITMPHBBY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 885 

goeth a sharp sv/ord" (xix, 15). "The Lord shall roar from 
on high. He roareth from his habitation. He shall shout 
as they that tread the grapes " (Jer. xxv, 30). " He awak- 
ened as one out of sleep, and shouLelh like a man drunken 
with wine " (Ps. Ixxviii, 65). "In his anger he persecuted 
and slew without pity " (Lam. iii, 45). " His fury is poured 
out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him " (Nah. 
i, 6) "He became angry and swore " (Ps. xcv, 11). " He 
burns with anger; his lips are full of indignation, and his 
tongue as a devouring fire " (Is, xxx, 27). " He is a jealous 
God" (Ex. xxxiv, 14). "He stirred up jealousy" (Is. xiii, 
13). " He was jealous to fury " (Zach. viii, 2). " He rides 
upon horses " (Hab. iii, 8). "He cried and roared "(Is. 
xlii, 13). " He laughs in scorn " (Ps. ii, 4). " The Lord is 
a man of war" (Ex. xv, 3). "His anger will be accom- 
plished, and his fury rest upon them, and then he will be 
comforted" (Ezek. v, 13). "His arrows shall be drunken 
with blood" (Deut. xxxii, 42). "He is angry with the 
wicked every day " (Ps. vii, 11). "They have moved me 
to jealousy; I will provoke them to anger. . . A fire is 
kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell. 
I will heap mischief upon them; I will spend my arrows upon 
them. . , They shall be burnt with hunger and devoured 
with burning heat, and with bitter destruction. I will also 
send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of the 
serpents of the dust. The sword without and terror within, 
shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suck- 
ling also, and the man of gray hairs" (Deut. xxxii, 21-25). 
"If I whet my glittering sword, and my hand take hold on 
judgment. I will render vengeance to mine enemies " 
(Deut. xxxii, 41). "The Lord said I will be a lying spirit 
in the mouths of all his prophets " (1 Kings, xxii, 23). " The 
Lord hath put a lying spirit ia the mouths of all his proph- 
ets" (1 Kings, xxii, 23). " I frame evil against you, and 
devise a device against you " (Jer. xviii, 11). " I wiL liugh 
at your calamity, and mock when your fear cometh " (Frov, 



386 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

i, 26). * * I myself will fight against you with an outstretched 
arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath " (Jer. 
xxi, 5). " He reserveih wrath for his enemies " (Nah. i, 2). 

Hundreds of sinicilar passages from the Bible might be 
cited, were it necessary, to show the malicious, vindictive, 
and merciless character of Jehovah, whom we are com- 
manded to love as a being of transcendent excelleuce, 
goodness, and love. Such an idea of God could only be 
devised by cruel, barbarian minds, and it cannot be natural 
and easy for refined and intelligent people to love and wor- 
ship such a monster. Truthfully did IngersoU exclaim: 
" There can he little liberty on earth while men worship a tyrant 
in heaven. " 

It is a consoling view in considering the Bibie character 
of God that the picture drawn of him there must not be 
regarded as the true one. The crude and undeveloped race 
of men have been making gods for many thousand years, 
and they have all made their gods after their own models. 
Warlike, fighting nations have devised warlike and fighting 
gods. Peaceful and quiet nations have had peaceful and 
quiet gods. As the Jews have been regarded as one of the 
meanest nations of men, in some respects, that ever had an 
existence, it is perhaps not strange that their God should be 
one of the meanest and most blood-thirsty that has been 
heard of on the earth. This is strictly true. Take all the 
gods of pagandom — horrible as many of them were — and 
roll them all into one, and they would not, in point of 
maliciousness, blood-thirstiness, vengeance, petulence, an- 
ger, unreasonableness, vindictiveness, selfishness, injustice, 
and all the attributes that are horrible and detestable equal 
old Jehovah, the God of the Jews. Probably the most 
unfortunate thing that ever befel the people of Christen- 
dom was the adoption of Jehovah and the abhorrent sys- 
tem of theology connected with him. 

It is becoming more and more evident that God— what- 
ever the word may mean — is wholly a creation of the 



THE HTTMPHREY-BBNNBTT DISCUSSION. 887 

human brain. Every man gets him up according to his 
own fancy. There are no two persons who have the same 
conceptions of God; and it is amusing to listen to the varied 
and ever-varying, wild, crude, and incongruous conceits 
about God that different persons will present you. Nobody 
that lives knows anything about God. Nobody that ever 
has lived knew anything about him. A-1 that anybody 
knows he imagines from what somebody else told him, and 
the one who told him got it from somebody else who knew 
less, if possible, upon the subject than he knew himself. 
This shadowy conception that such a God has ever written 
a book, and embarked in the publishing business, is one of 
the wildest vagaries that has ever seized the human mind. 

I regard the belief in gods as wholly unfounded and 
unwarranted. This belief dates back into man's crude and 
unprogressed condition, when demons, satyrs, gnomes, 
genii, hobgoblins, furies, fairies, naiads, byaderes, and all 
the monstrosities of that class were supposed to walk the 
earth, but not one of whom was ever seen or known, save 
in the distempered minds of ignorant and superstitious men 
and women. The belief in gods has, in fact, been the grand 
central superstition of all the superstitions in the world. It 
has dragged poor humanity down into the chilly damps and 
mouldy fogs of mysticism and ignorant credulity more than 
all the other beliefs man has hugged to his heart, and the 
Jewish Bible has wielded a great and injurious influence in. 
this direction. The gods have done nothing for man save 
make him a slave to a designing priesthood, who pretend 
to interpret and declare his will. Had man depended less 
upon gods, and more upon himself, it would have been 
greatly to his advantage. 

The following remarks from a sermon by Henry Ward 
Beecher are to the point and worthy of attention: "No- 
body can see God. He is to everybody but an idea. It is 
an idea, too, which we fashion in our own mind and pro 
ject into some external form, for every man in this life 



388 THE HmiPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

must put into form anything which he distinctly conceives 
of. The mode ©f forming that idea makes the difference 
between barbarians, semi-civilized and civilized men all the 
way up. All form the God they icorsJiip ; some by one 
method and some by another. Some with higher materials, 
representing the elements of thowght and beauty — that is 
the Greek ; some with moral qualities and dispositional 
affections representing the true Christian conception of 
God, not magisterial, but paternal, as if paternity itself was 
the highest conception of which the human mind is capa- 
ble, as if, under the element of divine paternity, justice, 
power and law rank themselves as subordinate, love being 
the highest, and parental love the noblest conception, and 
all moral quality, inhering in the supreme, superlative idea 
of love-— an idea yet struggling for birth into human light, 
not yet born or grown. If we could throw upon a screen, 
as objects in science are thrown and magnified, the real 
conception which a Christian man forms of God, it is not 
probable they would come nearer together than the generic. 
Specifically they would differ ?rom one another, as one man 
differs from another. This Being is represented to us as 
compassing the Universe — as having scope that is simply 
immeasurable. The element of time, as well as scope of 
being, must needs belong, and does belong to our inherent 
conception of God." 

I must confess to you that the picture you draw of an 
affectionate mother whipping her offspring with such un- 
natural severity as to make it shriek and writhe with agony, 
as an excuse for the still greater torment, which you fain 
believe your God inflicts upon his offspring, almost shocks 
my finer sensibilites. Can you for a moment see anything 
in such cruelty and severity commendable in a parent ? Is 
such a government your highest ideal of love and affec- 
tion ? Can you indeed respect a parent or a Heavenly 
Father who finds an excuse for beating unmercifully or 
torturing endlessly his own flesh and bloody the children 



THE HUMPTTREY-BBNNETT DISCUSSION. 389 

of his own begetting ? By far do I prefer ttie sentiments 
of Ingersoll, whom you seem to so greatly dislike. In a 
late lecture he said: ** What right have you to tyranize over 
a child ? I have very little respect for a man that cannot 
govern his child without brute force. Think of whipping 
children ! Why, they say that children tell lies. Suppose 
a man who is as much larger than you are larger than a 
five-year old child, should come to you with a pole in his 
hand, 'Who broke that plate ?' you would tremble, your 
knees would knock together, and you would swear you 
never saw it, or it was cracked when you got it. Think of 
a member of the Exchange whipping one of his children 
for prevaricating ! Think of a lawyer beating his own 
flesh and blood because he had evaded the truth ! Think 
of a Wall street gambler in stocks striking one of his 
children for lying ! What an inconsistency ! Think of it ; 
and some of these men, some of these women, that whip 
their children, that beat their own flesh and blood, I wish 
they could have a photograph taken of themselves when 
they are doing it, their brows corrugated with anger, 
their cheeks red with wrath, and the little child shrinking, 
trembling, crouching, begging ! If this child should hap- 
pen to die, wouldn't it be sweet in the autumn, when the 
maple trees are turning to gold and when the scarlet vine 
runs like a sad regret out of the earth — wouldn't it be de- 
lightful to go and sit on the little grassy mound that cov- 
ered the flesh they had beaten, and look at that photograph 
of themselves in the act of whipping that child ? 

"Now, think of it, think of it; and if all I say to-night will 
save one blow from the tender flesh of infancy, I am more 
than paid. I have known men to drive their own children 
from their doors and then get down on their knees and ask 
God to watch over them. I will never ask God to do a 
favor to a child of mine while I can do it, never. There 
are even some Christians who act as if they really believe 
that when the Savior said, ' Suffer little children to come 



390 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCtlSSION. 

unto me,' that he had a whip under his mantle, and simply 
said that to get them within striking distance. I will tell 
you what I say to mine. I say to my children this: *Go 
where you may; do what you will; there is no crime you 
can commit, there is no depth of infamy to which you can 
sink, that will shut to j^ou my door, my arms, or my heart.' 
Another thing. There is nothing in the world like being 
honest with these little children. Do not pretend you are 
perfection; you are not; and if one of them happens to tell 
a story, do not let on as if the whole world was going to 
burst. Tell them honestly you have told thousands of 
them. Do like the man did in Maine when he said to his 
boy, *John, Honesty is the best policy; I have tried 
both.* Do not pretend j^ou are perfectif»n. You are not. 
But tell them the best way is the right way. Make them 
courageous, and, first of all, teach them not to fear you. 
So raise your children that the meanest thing they do they 
will tell you. And if you are honest with them they need 
not be ashamed of it, because you will simply compare 
experiences." 

We see here the difference between the true conceptions 
of parental love in an Infidel, who believes in no God that 
sits above the clouds frowning and raving at his children 
below, but does believe in improving the human race and 
raising them up to the highest plane of human perfection, 
and a pious Christian, who believes that the kind father of 
all delights in torturing his little frail, helpless children 
continually and hopelessly through all the endless years of 
eternity. 

I am happy to think that we agree upon one point. You 
say: " Let us treat the Bible like any other book." Here I 
join hands with you, and say Amen ! Let us treat it pre- 
cisely as we would any other book. Let us criticise It ; 
let us examine it ; let us apply to it the test of reason 
and science; let us condemn its defects, its errors, and 
its absurdities, precisely as we would any other book that 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 391 

has "ever been written. Let us despise to cloak or cover 
its fallacies and its ignorance. Let us give it due credit for 
all it contains that is beautiful, commendable, and of value; 
but let us not swear that it is a book sent from the throne of 
God in heaven, when there is not a passage nor a sentence 
in it that might not easily have been written by an ordinary 
human beiug. Let us not try to make jnore of it than it 
really is; let us not revere it. Let us not make a fetish of it; 
let us not claim that it is froni a supernatural source, when 
there are not the slightest grounds for setting up such a 
claim. 

I have already taken up too much space, and I must omit 
several remarks which I would like to make, until my next 
reply. I am sincerely yours, D. M. Bennett. 



MR. HUMPHRST. 

Mr. D. M. Bennett, Dear Sir : I am neither satisfied nor 
dissatisfied with your flaunting of soiled "cloth." Know- 
ing that Infidels have a chronic weakness for this kind of 
thing, I rather expected it. I thought it probable that you 
would compass sea and land to gather names, and come 
out a graduate, with first honors, from the "School for 
Scandal." But I confess you have gone ahead of my antic- 
ipations. I did not suppose you would believe everything 
you heard even about ministers. T thought you would 
make some allowances for malicious charges. I did not 
dream that you would include instances of notorious black- 
mail, such as the case of Mr. McCaffrey of this city. I ex- 
pected you would remember that there are still some 
Potiphar's wives in the world. But in all this I was signally 
mistaken. You can put very sweet and sentimental con- 
structions on the more than questionable conduct of men 
like Voltaire, Shelley, Paine, and Pike. But ministers must 



393 THE HITMPHTIET-BBNNETT DtfiCUSStON. 

have no charity, no benefit of a doubt. Everything that 
every old hag, blackmailer, quack, or professional liar may 
choose to say about any of them, must be accepted with 
"blind credulity," and licked down like sorghum molasses. 
This is the conduct of a gentleman who has so much to say 
about being liberal, and hearing both sides before deciding ! 

But inflate your list as you will, you cannot shov/ that 
more than a very small percentage of the Miaistry is spu- 
rious. I believe that there is a larger proportion of it 
genuine to-day than in the days of Christ. In his time, 
one out of twelve fell in three years. Putting the number of 
tbeAmeiican clergy at seventy thousand, a triennial fall 
of one twelfth of them would amount to almost two thou- 
sand a year. But everybody knows that no such a number 
is found unfaithful. That Jackal, TJieJtwish Times, after the 
most diligent scratching, failed to dig up more than forty 
for the year 1876. Your list covers thousands of years, and 
yet it does not aggregate three hundred. It is clear, there- 
fore, that the percentage of faithful ministers is very high. 

In your handling of this matter you are far less candid 
than even IngersoU and Paine. The former says: " I most 
cheerfully admit that most Christians are honest, and most 
ministers sincere" (Oration on Paine). The latter declares: 
" It is not because right principles have been violated, that 
they are to be abandoned" (Age of Reason, p. 67). 

We are not comparing Infidelity and hypocrites, but Infi- 
delity and the Bible. In order to see what the Bible 
teaches we have only to search it. But as Infidelity has 
adopted no set of principles, or standard of right and wron^, 
we have no resort but to determine its chaiacter from the 
writings and lives of individual Infidels. We have found 
that many of the " Champions" of Infidelity were men of 
corrupt lives. It would not be logical to mention these 
shortcomings as arguments, were it not for the fact that 
they have been defended, justified, and even eulogized, by 
eminent " Freethinkers." This brings us right back to the 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNRTT DISCUSSION. 893 

postulate that Infidelity and Immorality are consistent. In 
final confirmation of this let me give you the following 
sentence from a report of a meeting held recently in " Sci- 
ence Hall": ** The lecture at the Manhattan Liberal Club 
last night was an attack on the foundations of all morality, 
an apology for murder and an invitation to adultery." — N. 
Y. Herald, Aug. 25, 1877. In the report of a lecture before 
another New York "Liberal Club " we read that "Mr. 
Warner continued his defense of the Commune, and described 
some of the bloody scenes of which he was an eye-witnesp, 
and the retaking of Paris by the government troops. 
•Though we may not, future generations will dare to call 
these men (the Communists) brave.*" — N. T. Herald, Sept. 
1, 1877. Thus you see that your brethren are going about 
to preach the holiness of vice and the righteousness of 
crime. You had better heed the Scriptural invitation: 
" Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye sep- 
arate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; 
and I will receive you " (2 Cor. vi, 17), 

You doubt that the Bible has produced a marked efi"ect 
where it has been freely circulated and diligently searched. 
In evidence of my assertion let me refer you to the Princi- 
pality of Wales. Perhaps the Scriptures are not so pro- 
foundly understood by the masses in any other country as 
in that Principality. What is the result ? That there are 
fewer instances of murder, robbery, defalcation, sedition, 
and riot, in Wales than in any other part of the world. 
Though it has its shortcomings, that little nook of rocks 
and rills is a model of Frugality, Industry, Honesty, Peace- 
fulness, and sterling Manliness. The Scotch, too, are re- 
markable for their knowledge of the Word. And are they 
not eminent for their sound common sense and unflinching 
adherence to principle ? John Adams' picture of a nation 
that made the Bible its rule of action, was not overdrawn. 
(See Letter in.) 

You intimate that the Bible is of no value because it is 



894 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION, 

old. Now, will you try to realize what the world would be 
without its ancient books ? What would history be with- 
out Herodotus, Thucydides, Siculus, Xenophon, Suetonius, 
Livy, and Tacitus ? Where would poetry be in the absence 
of Homer, Euripides, Sophocles, Virgil, and Horace ? 
Who can estimate the surviving influences of Socrates, 
Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero, on philosophy ? Archimedes, 
Ptolemy, Galen, Euclid, must all be classed with the an- 
cient scientist?. May modern Science therefore despise 
them, and claim that it is under no obligations to them ? 
You will answer in the negative. Why, then, make mere 
oldness an objection to the Bible ? We possess every facility 
to get at its meaning that we have to obtain an understand- 
ing of the Greek and Roman classics, which we profess to 
appreciate and admire. The long caravan of the successive 
centuries only serve to show how that the inculcated prin- 
ciples of the Scriptures ever commend themselves to human 
Reason and Conscience, and how that they have come out 
of a thousand conflicts only more polished and irrefragable. 

You endeavor to show that the God of the Bible is a 
"monstrous, unlovable Being.'' Your quotations are 
mostly figurative expressions, designed to set forth the 
Lord's great abhorrence of Sin, and the terrible conse- 
quences of it. Could God be a perfect Being, and look 
upon iniquity with anything less than infinite displeasure ? 
And is it not an omnipresent fact that vice and crime do 
continually plunge men into unutterable woes ? 

The jumble you quote to " satisfy our readers" that the 
Bible is *'self-contradictory" is unworthy of a serious refuta- 
tion. I was astonished to see you spreading out such, such, 
such— well, I had rather not nnme it. It musi be attributed 
to the desperation of your cause. You would not think of 
treating any other book in so uncritical a manner. The 
helter-skelter, hit-or miss "justice" of a police-court is 
much more equitable and considerate than the trial you 
give the Bible. After I had shown you that the Jews did 



tllB HTTMPHREY-BBNNBTT DISCUSSION. 395 

not offer human sacrifices, you still repeat that they 
did. You will have it that the two expressions "God 
tempteth no man," and " God did tempt Abrahjim," are in- 
consistent. Do you, then, not know that the word ** tempt" 
sometimes means "to entice to what is wrong," and at 
other times "to test; to prove " (Webster)? Is it contrary 
to "liberal" principles lo exercise a liitle reason and 
knowledge of philology in the interpretation of language ? 
You say "Jesus did not see fit to condemn adultery." Fy, 
Mr. Bennett! How could you so shut your eyes against 
the plain language of the Apostle ? The expression, 
" Neither do I condemn thee," clearly means that he did 
not condemn the woman to be stoned to death, according 
to the Mosaic law. He did regard her adultery as a Sin, 
for he said, " Go, and sin no more " (John viii, 3-11). You 
ask, " If the unknown writers of the Bible were controlled 
by God, why they did not say so ?" I answer that they did 
say so. The prophets generally introduced their messages 
with some such phrase as, "Thus saith the Lord." Paul 
declared that the Holy Ghost spake by Esaias the prophet " 
(Acts xxviii, 25); and ihat " all Scripture is given by inspira- 
tion of God" (2 Tim. iii, 16). Peter wrote that " holy men 
of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost " (2 
Pet. i, 21). You repeatedly employ the word " but " in a 
tricky kind of a way. Let me point out some specimens of 
your interpolations: 

" By Luke xviii, 35, it was hut one man " (D. M. B.). 

"A certain blind man sat by the Wayside begging** 
(Luke). 

"Mark v, 2, says it was but one man" (D. M. B. 

" There met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean 
spirit " (Mark). 

" According to Luke it was hut one" (D. M. B.), 
"And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed 
on him " (Luke xxiii, 39). 



396 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

' ' Matthew shrinks the number and says it was but one 
angel " (D. M. B.). 

"The angel of the Lord descended from heaven and 
came and rolled back the stone " (Mat. xxviii, 2). 

"John says but one woman came to the sepulchre "(D. 
M. B.). 

"The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene" 
(John XX, 1). 

The reader will notice that you tack on the Scripture a 
limitation and exclusion which its language does not ex- 
press. Saying that one person did a certain thing is not in 
itself saying that nobody else did it. How you butt against 
the truth! 

Did space permit, I would love to go over your "self- 
contradictions" one by one, and show that they are no 
contradictions at all. You follow hostile "critics :" sup- 
pose you show at least some candor, and read such works 
as B irnes' Notes, and Clarke's or Lange's Commentaries on 
the passao^es you have quoted. They were fully as honest, 
and infinitely better Biblical scholars than Voltaire, Vol- 
nej% Paine, and the entire cortege of the Boston Investi- 
gator. 

But this kind of a weapon has another edge with which 
we may clip off the head of your god, more effectually 
than it has even bruised the Bible. Let me give you some 
samples of "self-contradictions" taken from the writings of 
Thomas Paine. I will give them with Infidel fairness^ 
* ' without comment. " Here they are : 

" I will endeavor that my future conduct shall as much 
engage your honors' approbation, as my former has merited 
pour displeasure " (Petition to the Board of Excise, 1766). 

" I have lived an honest and useful life to mankind; my 
time has been spent in doing good ^' (Will, 1809). 

" The memorial before you, met with so much approba- 
tion while in manuscript, that I was advised to print 4,000 



THE HUMPHREY BENNETT DISCUSSION. 897 

copies. . . It is my first and only attempt " (Letter to 
Dr. Goldsmith, 1773). 

"I never published a syllable in England in my life" 
(Crisis, No. 2. 1777). 

" ' Not to be led into temptation,' is the prayer of divin- 
ty itself " (Case of Ihe Excise Officer). 

" He was a virtuous and an amiable mail" (Age of Reason). 

" The idea of his concealment, not only agrees very ill 
with his reputed divinity, but associates with it something 
of pusillanimiiy " (Ibid). 

'* I have furnished myself with a Bible " (Ibid). 
"I keep no Bible " (Ibid). 

" It has been the error of the schools to teach astron- 
omy " (Discourse to the Theophilanthropists). 

"Every house of devotion ought to be a school of sci- 
ence " (Age of Reason). 

"All believe in a God " (Ibid). 

"The evil that has resulted from the error of the schools 
, . . has been that of generating in the pupils a species 
of atheism^' (Discourse to the Theophilanthropists). 

"As individuals we profess ourselves Christians " (Crisis, 
No. 7). 

" All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, 
Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human 
inventions" (Age of Reason). 

"Any system of religion that has anything in it that 
shocks the mind of a child cannot be a true system " (Ibid). 

"Some people can be reasoned into sense, and others 
must be shocked into it " (Letter to Elihu Palmer). 

" I hope for happiness beyond this life" (Age of Reason). 

" I hold it to be presumption in man to make an article 
of faith as to what the Creator will do with us hereafter" 
(Thoughts on a Future State). 



898 THE HUMPHBET-BENNBTT DISCUBSIOK. 

*' Come, we shall be friends again, for all this " (Common 
Sense). 
" *Tis time to part " (Ibid). 

"Nothing is criminal " (Ibid). 

**What wickedness there is in this pretended word of 
God " (Age of Reason). 

"There shall be no laws but such as I like" (Common 
Sense). 

" I have always strenuously supported the right of every 
man to his opinion " (Age of Reason). 

"King William never appeared to full advantage but in 
difficulties and in action ; the same remark may be made on 
General Washington, for the character fits him " (Crisis, 
No. 1). 

"The commencement of his (Washington's) command 
was the commencement of inactivity. . . . No wonder 
we see so much pusillanimity in the President, when we 
see so little enterprise in the OeneraZ" (Letter to Wash- 
ington). 

" Let it be brought forth, placed on the divine law, the 
word of God " (Common Sense). 

"As to the book called the Bible, it is blasphemy to call 
it the word of God " (Letter to Mr. Dean). 

" I have an established fame in the literary world " (Let- 
ter I. to the Citizens of the U. S.). 

"jHi's unTcnown humble servant and admirer, Thomas 
Paine " (Letter to Dr. Goldsmith). 

" It is my fate to be always plagued with fools" (Letter 
II. to the Citizens of the U. S.). 

"I attended the philosophical lectures of Martin and 
Ferguson, and became afterwards acquainted with Dr. 
Bevis, of the society, called the Royal Society*' (Age of 
Reason). 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 399 

" The root of the word is the Latin verb ligo** (Of the 
Word Religion). 
"I did not learn Latin " (Age of Reason). 

It would be very easy thus to arrange ** 144 self-contradic- 
tions of Thomas Paine." But I am afraid that Infidel 
"critics" do not always go by the Golden Rule, " Do unto 
others as ye would that they should do unto you." 

Having exposed the common objections to the Bible, I 
will now offer some positive evidences of its superhumanity, 
or Divinity. Lest we may seem to assume anything unwar- 
rantably, let us begin at the beginning. 

I. You will hardly deny that the material Universe exists. 
I will suppose that you have confidence in the testimony of 
consciousness and of the SQnses. You believe in the real- 
ity of the Human Mind. You admit that that Mind is gov- 
erned by certain inherent laws of thought. In short, it is 
taken for granted that Man has an actual, personal, con- 
scious, and rational existence. 

II. it is further self-evident that something must have 
existed from eternity — either Matter, or Mind, or both. It 
is true that the unbegotten being of either is an unwieldy 
idea. But from the very nature of the case, it must be 
admitted and entertained. It is an axiom that nothing can 
come of nothing. 

To assume the beginningless self-existence of Matter, and 
of Matter alone, is to accept the most difficult of two sup- 
positions. 

1. By adopting this view we do not escape the Mysteri- 
ous, the Unknowable, and the Incomprehensible. Even the 
building-lots of the Universe — Space and Duration — are too 
vast for the mind's survey. Force is in itself inscrutable. The 
immensity of the Creation eludes the grasp of the human 
intellect. Our own little sphere is a Sphinx, whose ultimate 
secrets no one can coax out. Yea, ^e are lost in the laby- 
rinths of our own personal being. Nature has written over 



400 TFE nUNrPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

many of her gates: "Positively no Admittance." We must 
•' Inquire at the Office "—we must consult the Divine Scrip- 
tures, if we would be admitted into the inner courts of her 
significance. And even there we are often refused an 
entrance. Mystery! Mystery! Mystery! is inscribed all 
over the Universe ; and this Mystery is multiplied a thou- 
sandfold by the hypothesis that Matter is self-existent and 
self- evolving. 

2. This supposition is discountenanced by the familiar 
law, That nothing can rise higher than its source. If man 
were entirely of the earth, he would be entirely earthy. 
But we know that such is not his character. He has ideas 
and desires that soar above and beyorwl all material things. 
His thoughts wander through Eternity. He has longings 
after Immortality, and aspirations after the Infinite. 
Now, if the artesian well of the human mind cannot eject 
thoughts higher than its own source; and if that mind sends 
up longings and conceptions that terminate on the Super- 
mundane and Extramundane, it follows that it is itself the 
emanation of a supernatural Power. 

3. If nothing exists but Matter and its properties, we have 
then the incredible and unthinkable phenomenon of 
thought without a thinker; law without a law-giver; fore- 
sight without a foreseer ; and design without a designer. 
The Creation exhibits innumerable indications of plan, 
ingenuity, arrangement, beneficence, and wisdom. The 
hypothesis that all this has taken place independently of 
Mind violates at once our experience and necessary con- 
viction. 

4 If atheistic Materialism is true, nothing can have a 
moral character. Right and Wrong are mere figments. 
There can be no virtue or crime where everything is ground 
out from between the \yhirling millstones of Fate and 
Chance. The assassin's and the thunderbolt's stroke are 
equally irresponsible. Man ia not a free agent. Volition 
and gravitation are alike unmoral. Thought, desire, love. 



tHE HUMPHRET-BteNNETT DISCUSSION. 40t 

malice, charity, envy, are as really mafter as the rock, 
tide, volcano, or Dismal Swamp. This excludes Respon- 
sibility and Morality from existence. 

But man is conscious of mental liberty. He is born with 
a judgment that certain acts are commendable, while others 
are culpable. He feels that he is to Uame for being foolish 
or mean. There are Responsibility, Right, Wrong, and 
Free Agency in the Universe : therefore Materialism is 
untrue. 

ni. A God exists. This supposition is not only the most 
reasonable, but it also involves the fewest diflSculties. We 
have here indeed the overwhelming thought of eternal self- 
existence ; but it is the self-existence of Life and Mind. 
This is a more genial and probable necessity than the oppo- 
site one. 

But if the eternity of God is inscrutable, the fact of his 
existence is not hard to prove: 

1. Suppose we apply the Darwinian Theory to this ques- 
tion. We find that the stages of man's ascent are from Athe- 
ism, through Polytheism, up to Monotheism. The Ape is an 
Atheist. So are the races of men next to him (Lubbock's 
Origin of Civilization, N. Y., 1873, pp. 244, 253-6; Dar- 
win's Descent of Man, N. Y., 1873, vol. i, pp. 62-66). As 
man advances in knowledge, culture, and morality, he 
leaves Atheism behind, and pa?ses through a region where 
the gods are many, but all finite, until at last he reaches the 
ultimate conception of One God, who is a spirit, infinite, 
eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, 
holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. Theism is the point 
of man's highest dovelopment. 

2. The most learned and intelligent Infidels have been 
believers in the existence of God. We may include in 
this list Celsus, Porphyry, Hierocles, Tindal, Toland, 
Collins, Shaftesbury, Herbert, Hobbes, Bolingbioke, 
Hume, Gibbon, Woolston, Blount, Voltaire, Cabanis, Bar- 
low, Volney, Allen, Strauss, and Robert Dale Owen. Dar- 



403 THE HUMPHRET-BENNETT DISCTTSSION. 

win, Tyndall, Huxley, Draper, and Spencer deny that they 
are Atheists. It is the stinted conclusion of the specula- 
tions of J. Stuart Mill that an Intelligent Mind has fash- 
ioned the present order of things (Three Essays on 
Religion, pp. 243-3). Goethe called D'Holbach's "System 
of Nature" a "cadaverous spectre." All these men denied 
the authority of the Scriptures, and professed to follow only 
the light of Reason. But in that light they learned to shun 
Atheism. Some of them attacked it with vehemence. 
Paine pronounced it a " scandal to human nature." They 
held that the being of God is '' undeniable," "self-evident," 
*' reasonable," " demonstrable." This admission from men 
who denied so much is weighty in favor of Theism. 

3. It is not dogmatism to say that there is something in 
human nature which must assume and recognize the being 
of God. It is true that the intensity of this something may 
vary in different indi\^duals. The brutality of some 
natures is so rank that its effluvia absorbs and corrupts the 
aroma of the heart's noblest promptings. It is possible too 
for a man to read and speculate in such a way as to greatly 
modify, if not reverse, the spontaneous workings of his 
mind. But we are now talking of natural human nature. 
I say that there is an innate recognition of a Supreme Being 
in such a nature. If we analyze consciousness carefully, 
we will find in ourselves, as Schleiermacher said, a constant 
feeling of dependence. We may not be always conscious 
of it. But let a tornado sweep the ocean, or a thunder- 
storm shake the firmament, and this dormant feeling will 
become a vivid reality. 

This native disposition is sometimes brought out by some 
special circumstance. Even a godless man, when over- 
whelmed by some great agony, will ejaculate an appeal to 
an unseen Power. He does not mean Nature, Force, or 
Fate. He addresses Personality. But how did he come to 
shriek that appeal? Was it automatic? No; he had never 
trained his lips to pray. Was it the result of deliberation ? 



THE HUMPaRET-BElNNBTT DISCUSSION. 403 

Not at all, for it sprung from his soul unawares to himself. 
Was it the result of a religious education ? Not necessa- 
rily. He may have lacked such an advantage. Possibly he 
lived only to despise it. That ejaculatory prayer— for a 
prayer it may be called — was nothing less than the soul's 
constitutional belief in a God, bursting its encrustments 
under the pressure of distress. 

How, on any other theory, are we to account for the uni- 
versality of this belief ? We find that man, in every age and 
under all circumstances, when he has taken but a second 
slfep from the brute, ceases to be an Atheist. There must 
be a cause as universal as this effect. Tradition, imitation, 
and education are all inadequate to account for it. Why 
not explain it as we would some of the other universal 
traits of human nature. We find that mothers love their 
offspring, the world over. There is a conviction as exten- 
sive as the race that marital fidelity is a virtue and that 
adultery is a crime. No interpretation of these facts is cor- 
rect and sufficient that ignores the inborn instincts of the 
human heart. Though mothers manifest their love very 
differently, in manner and degree, and though the laws of 
marriage vary almost infinitely, the great underlying instinct 
remains the same. It is so with the intuitive conviction 
that there is a God. It is the product of man's constitu- 
tion. His ideas of the Most High are diversified. But 
the one great fundamental feeling that there is such a being 
is as general as the instincts of the heart and the intuitions 
of the mind. 

All this is admirably supported by Phrenology — a system 
of philosophy adopted by many Infidels. According to 
that "science,'' there is a group of Faculties that have the 
Supreme Being as their object. They are called the Moral 
and Religious Faculties (Fowler's Phrenology pp. 48, 123). 
They terminate on God. Their function is righteousness, 
love, adoration, and worship. They are the organs of the 
religious sentiments. 



404 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DlSCUSStON. 

But if man is constituted "with faculties whose object is 
God, does it not follow that a God exists ? We find the 
world full of such correspondences. A full udder answers 
to the lamb's instinctive craving and seeking for nourish- 
ment. The tendrils of the vine do not stretch out their fin- 
gers into vacuity. Throughout Nature, an instinct or a 
faculty indicates the reality of its object. According to 
Phrenology, the being of God is as certain as the existence 
of the crowns of our heads. 

4. The argument from Design is absolutely conclusive. 
I am aware that this argument has been attacked of late. 
T\^ or three famous writers have made some belittling 
criticisms on it, and the thousand and one parrot-Infidels 
have learned to repeat their words. The gist of their denial 
is, that Nature contains evidences of design, as such. 

To be convinced of the contrary, we have only to open 
our eyes. The Universe is full of arrangements. The stars 
in the firmament are not pitched together pell-mell. The 
solar system is systematic. In our own world we find in- 
numerable instances and varieties of contrivance. Guyct 
has shown that the very positions of the earth's mountain- 
ranges are indicative of a far-seeing and beneficent plan 
(Earth and Man), The vegetable kingdom exhibits iryri- 
ads of most delicate, ingenious, and admirable adaptations 
of means to ends. It is no less so in the animal kingdom. 
The study of physiology, anatomy, gestation, incubation, 
and instinct ushers us into an immense museum of marvel, 
ous wisdom, foresight, and purpose. 

There are doubtless many things whose utility we cannot 
always perceive. Nature seems to contain some Instances 
of failure. But we ought to remember that we are not om- 
niscient. An apparent fizzle may be in fact a splendid suc- 
cess. The flower in the desert does not re.ally waste its fra- 
grance. It throws its mite of perfume into the circumam- 
bient treasury of the air. The city swell, visiting a country 
cousin, may say that the dunghill behind the stable answers 



THE HTJMPHRBY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 405 

no purpose. The country couEin knows better. Let maie- 
rialistic swells keep in mind that there may be — as there 
certain]y is — adaptation, contrivance, and success even 
where they are utterly unable to detect them. 

I know of nothing so well worth reading on this subject 
as Paley's "Natural Theology." Let no Infidel turn up his 
nose at it, and say that it is old. It is not near so old as Vol- 
taire's Works; nor is it quite so antique as Paine's "Age of 
Reason." It is unfair to sneer at it before it is read, lam 
confident that if you will give it a thorough study you will 
admire it and receive immense benefit from it. 

There are other arguments for the being of God ; put 
they are mostly of a metaphysical character. The curious 
reader will find an excellent £unimary of them in Hodge's 
Systematic Theology, N. Y., 1872, vol. i, pp. 204-215. They 
need not be given here. The foregoing considerations — the 
insurmountable difllculty of conceiving of the eternal self- 
existence and self -arrangement of Matter; the fact that only 
the very lowest races, fne quasi-apes, are atheistic; the 
admission of the most distinguished Infidels ; the universal 
conviction of mankind; the testimony of Phrenology; and 
the plans, designs, previsions, and contrivances so strikingly 
manifest in the world— all attest and, together, demonstrate 
the existence of God. 

IV. We are now prepared to assert the supernatural. 
God is Himself the Great Supernatural. His existence 
being established, Miracles are possibilities and probabili- 
ties. Since there is a Revealer, a Revelation is to be ex- 
pected. If a Creator exists, is it not credible that he would 
pay attention to his creatures, and especially to his rational 
creatures? Is it not likely that he would make his Charac- 
ter and Will known to them ? In looking over the world 
we find that the condition of man is such that he needs such 
assistacce. By contemplaiiug the beneficence of his works, 
we must infer that his Maker is disposed to give it. Will you 
reply that his works are a sufficient revelation of his Being, 



406 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

Attributes, and Requirements? I deny it. The twilight of 
Nature has never satisfied the human soul. This is shown 
by the sad, unsatisfactory guess-works of the Greek and 
Roman philosophers, and by the alleged communications 
from above cluDg to by nearly^ every nation and tribe. 
Even Spiritualism is an undesigned testimony to this fact. 
There is an ic destructible belief in the unsophisticated mind 
that the material creation is but the first volume of the 
Divine Revelation. Every eye turns to look for a Volume 
Second, wherein is contained the sum and conclusion of 
the whole matter. Man is dissatisfied and uncertain with- 
out it. Under such circumstances it is presumable that a 
benevolent God would bestow on his creatures and children 
that which they so much need and desire. 

V. The claim of the Bible to be such a Revelation, is 
stronger than that of any other book or set of books. This 
I shall endeavor to show by reference to a few palpable 
facts: 

1. The size of the Bible is an argument in favor of its pre- 
tensions. It is neither so small as to be contemptible, nor 
so large as to be impracticable. The "sacred books " of 
the Chinese and Hindus are ponderous and almost count- 
less. A life time would be insufficient to read them over. 
It is highly improbable that the Most High would reveal 
his Will, and then practically conceal it in immense and 
innumerable folios. It is reasonable to expect that a 
book given for his guidance would be tractable. Now the 
Bible bears this characteristic more plainly than any other 
venerated writings. The Koran is of a similar size ; but 
in this, as in many other respects, it is only an imitation of 
the Bible. 

2. The simplicity of the Scriptures is extraordinary. It is 
very natural to auihors occasionally to put on airs, and 
make some flourishes of style. But there is nothing of this 
kind in the Bible. As we read it we never feel that its 
^vrilers are making an effort. It is free from pedantry. It 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 407 

has steered clear of the dry formalities of legal documents. 
There is no affectation about it. It narrates its histories 
and states its doctrines with the grand plainness of a hale 
old sage that has outgrown the pomposity, sophomoritj, 
vanity, and aflfectedness of his younger years. This would 
be remarkable in a volume composed by a single author. 
How much more remarkable must it be in a book written 
by about forty different menl 

3. Another striking feature of the Bible is its candor. It 
is common for a nation to magnify the virtues and to pal- 
liate or conceal the imperfections of its heroes. But the 
sacred writers did not seem to be even inclined in that 
direction. They told of the faults, sins, and crimes of the 
Hebrew patriarchs, prophets, and kings, as undisguisedly 
as if they had been recounting the deeds of their enemies. 
Where did the Infldel find out so much about the iniquities 
of the ancient Jews ? Strange to say, it was from the Jew- 
ish annalists. Never did a nation's official historian draw 
such a dark picture of it, as the Bible has given of the 
Israelites. It is a marvel that Jews should write such a 
history, and a greater marvel still that the Jewish people 
should adopt it. Was not all this -wnhuman, to say the 
least ? 

4. Still another unique characteristic of the Bible is its 
incuriosity. Man is prone to follow up incidental thoughts 
and events. He is apt to forget his main theme and become 
absorbed in side-issues. He is fond of episodes. Hints 
and peeps have a strong tendency to lead him away from 
his central pursuit. But a little observation will show that 
the Bible is unlike human nature in this respect. It starts 
out to give an account of the origin, development, trials, 
and fulfillment of a certain scheme call^ti Redemption. 
Nothing has distracted its attention from thjs one object. 
The lightnings, thunders, and earthquakes of cotempora- 
neous events, did not even turn its eye from the mark set 
before it. It does not say anything merely to gratify curi." 



408 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSIOK. 

osity. It throws no light on the destiny of the ten tribes. 
It does not tell us how the ship got along after Jonah had 
been hurled from it. It gives no account of Mary's closing 
years. It contains no pen-pictures of the Apostles. It 
never indulges in guessing, theorizing, or speculation. It 
ignores man's curiosity, and regards only his needs. It is 
like a father carrying his sick child to the doctor. He does 
not linger by the way to tell the little one all about every- 
thing it may chance to point its finger at. He hastens to 
his destination. In its unbroken seK-possession and unin- 
terrupted mindfulness of its one aim, the Bible is consist- 
ent with all that is claimed for it. 

5. The Bible makes God the all-important idea. He is 
King of kings and Lord of lords. Men are only his crea- 
tures, children, and servants. Viewed in one aspect, they 
are very insignificant beings. They are but of yesterday, 
and know nothing. They are carried away as with a flood. 
Their lives are but a sleep— a mere nap. Only the Almighty 
is great. It is the eternal duty of man to love him with all 
his heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke x, 27). Now all 
this is reasonable — nothing else would be reasonable— on the 
supposition that there is an everlasting and infinite God, who 
is our Creator, Preserver, and most bountiful Benefactor. 

6. To me there is an evidence of the superhuman in the 
Bible in its immense thoujhtfulness and infinite suggesiiveness. 
It is not a large volume. But there never was a man that 
could place his hand on it and^ay, "I know and understand 
all it contains." The most diligent student closes his inves- 
tigations of it, feeling, liKe Newton in ihe presence of the 
Universe, that he was but a gatherer of shells on the shores 
of the unfathomable sea. Men can master other books. It 
does not require much application to comprehend all that 
Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, or any other philosopher, ever 
wrote. Whatever proceeds from man can be grasped and 
mastered by man. But the Bible cannot be so grasped and 
•mastered. Hence it must be more than human. 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 409 

7. The Bible is exposed to the same objections, and de- 
fensible by the same arguments, as Nature. Is the Bible 
old ? The world is older. Have men quarreled over the 
Bible ? They have waged fierce wars for the possession of 
disputed tracts of the earth's surface. Is it said that the 
Bible is self-contradictory ? Polytheistic nations have 
brought and still bring the same charge against the physical 
forces. Does the Old Testament seem to approve of heart- 
less severity, under some circumstances ? It is not equal in 
this respect to the remorseless elements. Even the genial 
sun strikes men dead. Has the Bible been differently under- 
stood on some minor points ? The Creation has shared the 
same misfortune for thousands of years. Is the Bible ex- 
posed to human blundering and tampering ? So is Nature. 
The original channels of rivers have been changed. The 
white man's cities arebuiit on the Indian's hunting grounds. 
The woodman clears the forest, and thereby lessens the 
average quantity of rain and diminishes the mean depth of 
streams. Hills are made low and valleys are filled up by the 
picks and shovels of civilization. Does the Bible seem to 
contain dry and worthless portions? They are neither more 
dry than the Sahara desert, nor more worthless than Nova 
Zembla. Are there some things in the Bible " that would 
shock the mind of a child "? The mind of a child would be 
shocked by a big dog, a thunderclap, or a corpse. Does 
somebody say the Bible is generally a very defective book? 
J. Stuart Mill pronounced Nature generally a very imper- 
fect concern. Thus we might go through the whole list 
of cavils and objections, and show that every one of them 
presses as hard against the constitution and course of Na- 
ture as against the Old and New Testaments. Now, does 
this exposedncbs to the very same criticisms not show that 
Nature and the Bible emanated from the same Mind, and 
that they were constructed on the same plan ? But no 
one contends that Nature is of human origin. Why, then, 
not admit that the Bool^ that is made on the sarnie geii- 



410 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

eral principle, that is open to the same objections, and 
defensible by the same arguments as Nature, is of super- 
human origin ? 

8. An argument may be based on the exhaustivenesa of the 
Bible. It embraces every moral duty. While some of its 
regulations were expressly local, national, and temporary, 
the great bulk of its precepts are adapted to all times, 
places, and conditions of man. It may not have an explicit 
rule for every possible emergency; but it has a principle 
out of which a rule can be made impromptu. It will be 
extremely embarrassing to account for this feature of it, 
and claim that it is all of man, and especially such men as 
the Hebrews were. How could an ancient people compile 
a system of morals adapted to the varying conditions of all 
coming ages ? Above all things, how could a secluded and 
narrow-minded people like the Jews give being to a set of 
principles suitable to the whole world no less than to them- 
selves? We find that all human ordinances, laws, and 
constitutions become impracticable with time. But Chris- 
tendom has never felt that the Bible needs a codicil or 
amendment. The occasional revisions of versions are 
made expressly to keep it from changing with the constant 
mutations of language. Who but an All-wise God could 
thus prepare a Book of universal and permanent adapta- 
tion ? 

9. This brings us to another kindred argument, viz: That 
the cardinal principles of the Bible were far in advance of 
the ages when they were first announced. Its pronounced 
Monotheism came forth from a country notorious for its 
Polytheism. The credit for this can be hardly given to the 
Jews, for Monotheism continued among them more in spite 
of them than with their favor. Nor can this be accounted 
for by attributing it all to Moses, for he was raised and edu- 
cated for forty years under polytheistic influences. The 
idea of an absolutely holy God was new to the world at the 
time of its first promulgation (Ex. xv, 11 ; Lev. xix, 2). The 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 411 

conception of a spiritual Being origitated in an age of uni- 
versal idolatry. The Messiah, the Son of Man, or Human- 
ity, came forth from among the Jews when they were the 
most clannish and bigoted. That great doctrine, peculiar to 
Christianity— Justification by Faith — was expounded 
most thoroughly, and advocated most heartily by a man 
who had been a life-long Pharisee I 

How could all this be, on the principle that like begets 
like ? How could such lofty ideas spring up from the low 
level of Polytheism, Idolatry, Carnality, Bigotry and Self- 
righteousness ? The phenomenon has no parallel in his- 
tory. Mahomet borrowed his best " revelations " from the 
Bible. Buddha was only the apex of the mountain of co- 
temporaneous sentiment. But the leading doctrines of 
Scripture were, at the time of their first announcement, 
above, ahead of, different from, and uncongenial to, the 
people through whom they were given. The most rational 
explanation of this anomaly is found in the words of the 
Apostle : " God, who at sundry times and in divers man- 
ners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets " 
(Heb. i, 1). 

10. I have concluded long ago that the teachings of the 
Bible are reasonable and practicable, if for no other reason 
than that they must he caricatured before they can be attacked. 
The doctrines of Christianity are not the monstrosities they 
are declared to be by Infidels. Let me make a few specifi- 
cations. 

It is not meant by the doctrine of Total Depravity that 
unregenerate men have no conscience ; or that they do not 
admire virtue ; or that they are incapable of noble aclions; 
or that they are as corrupt as they can possibly be. By it 
is only meant that man is by nature alienated from God ; 
that that alienation tends to increa?e ; and that there is no 
recuperative power in the soul independently of Divine aid 
(Hodge's Outlines of Theology, p. 251). Now, is it not 
true that human nature is more disposed to evil than to 



412 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

good ? Is it not true that the majority of mankind love 
and indulge in sin ? Is it not true that the average boy will 
remember a dirty couplet much more readily than a noble 
sentiment ? Does the deep depravity of the natural heart 
not reveal itself in a special lust for defiling Purity and de- 
flouring Virtue ? The facts of daily life establish the doc- 
trine of Total Depravity, in its authorized sense. 

Bepentance is a most reasonable requirement. If a man 
has sinned, should he not be sorry for it ? Should he not 
determine to sin no more ? Should he not confess his sin — 
or, in the language of Society, apologize — to him whom he 
has wronged ? Should he not do his utmost to repair the 
injuries of his misdeeds ? You will answer, Yes. Well, 
that is .Scriptural Repentance (3 Cor. vii, 10 ; Prov. xxviii, 
13 ; James v, 16 ; 1 John i, 9 , Luke xix, 8). 

You have repeatedly sneered at Faith. By doing so you 
attack the foundation of everything. The child, like the 
just, lives by Faith. The value of civil tribunals is only 
proportional to Faith in testimony. Withhold Faith from 
human veracity, and all history is worthless. People 
would not travel if they did not have Faith in engineers, 
conductors, and sea-captains. The whole superstructure of 
mathematics is founded on Faith in unproved axioms and 
postulates. Science is based on Faith in the uniformity of 
natural laws. How can Faith be preposterous in Religion, 
when it is indispensable, practical, and scientific every- 
where else ? 

The Faith expounded and inculcated by the New Testa- 
met, is not the silly thing that Infidelity would make it. 
It rests on knowledge, reason, an(j argument (2 Tim. i, 12 ; 
1 Peter iii, 15). It is confidence in the Being, Veracity, and 
Goodness of God (Heb xi, 6 ; Rom. iv, 3). It is a firm 
reliance on his Wisdom and Love (Rom. viii, 28). It in- 
cludes in its character and manifestations all the duties and 
privileges of life: " Faith without works is dead" (James 
ii, 20). "Add to your faith virtue j and to virtue, knowl- 



TSE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCtJSSION. 4lS 

edge ; and to knowledge, temperauce ; and to temperance, 
patience ; and to patience, godliness ; and to godliness, 
brotherly kindness ; and to brotherly kindness, charity " (2 
Peter i, 4-10). " If ye love me, keep my commandments " 
(John xiv, 15). Thus, we find on examining the New Tes- 
tament that Faith is indeed a " reasonable service" (Rom. 
xii. 1). 

Belief in a personal Demi is not absurd. Absurd uses 
have doubtless been made of it. But the existence of evil 
spirits is made highly probable by experience and observa- 
tion. Wicked thoughts often spring up in o^ir minds inde- 
pendently of our volitions and excogitations. And they 
come at times when we least invite or desire them. They 
cannot come from God ; for nothing but good can proceed 
from him. Nor are they the fruit of our own thinking ; 
for they often come so unexpectedly that they surprise and 
shock us. They lire forced upon us. It is not irrational to 
suppose that those evil thoughts are the suggestions of a 
personal tempter, coming, in some undiscovered way, in 
contact with our minds. We know that the nearness of 
some persons occasionally affects our minds in a peculiar 
way, before we are aware of their presence. Why mtiy the 
proximity of Satan not act on our thoughts in a similar 
manner, operating both as a suggesting and catalytic force ? 
How is it that you frown so indignantly over the notion 
of a personal Devil, while you can bestow such pretty 
smiles on Spiritualism ? 

The everlastivg misery of the wicked is a doctrine you affect 
to abhor. In order that you may abhor it the more, you 
deform it. Such words as "seething," " roasting," " fry- 
ing " beloDg exclusively to the Infidel's vocabulary. They 
are not round in the Bible, in connection with this subject. 
It would be no more than just for you to confine yourself 
to the language and ideas of the Scriptures when you speak 
of it. 
This matter is too vast to be discussed here. Suffice it to 



414 THE humphrey-:bennett discussioK. . 

say that Nature and the Bible agree iu regard to it. Society 
never forgives where there is sin and no penitence. End- 
less punishment is often the penaltj' of violating physical 
law. We see continually that it is the tendency of a bg^d 
character to solidify and become permanent. This fact 
aloue places the doctrine of eternal puni&hment on the ba- 
sis of jn'ohahility. Where there is continued sin there must 
be continued wretchedness. Observation leaches us fur- 
ther that there is no efficacy in mere svfftring to regenerate 
the sufferer. There will be nothing in the inner character 
of the wicked, and there will be still less in iheir surrourd- 
ings, to inspire a hope that they will ever become good, 
and consequently, happy. For a fuller discussion of this 
subject let me refer you to the sixth chapter of my little 
work on " Hell and Damnation." 

You will scarcely deny that such Scriptural requirements 
as Humility, Patience, Contentment, Industry, Frugality, 
Benevolence, Charity, Forgiveness, Forbearance, Peace- 
ableness. Gentleness, in short, the precepts of the twelfth 
chapter of Komaus, are all well and good. 

I have enumerated some considerations which, to my 
mind, show that the Bible is of superhuman origin. If you 
take these considerations separately, you may be able to 
dispose of them on some other theory ; but when you unite 
them, they become a ten-stranded cable that canuot be 
broken. When I lake up the Bible and find that it is tract- 
able ; that it is as simple as Wisdom ; that it is a marvel of 
candor ; that'll is strangely incurious ; that it is absolutely 
and permanently exhaustive as a code of morals ; that it is 
of immense thoughtfulness and suggestivcness ; that if 
subordinates everything to the one idea of God ; that it is 
open to the same objections and defensible by the same ar- 
guments as Nature ; that its characteristic doctrines were 
in advance of, and uncongenial to the times when they were 
first proclaimed ; and that its teachings, when correctly 
apprehended, correspond to the realities of life and the die- 



TAB HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 415 

tales of reason— when I ponder over this nexus of facts, I 
cannot but conclude that the Bible is superhuman, and con- 
sequently Divine. 

I do not think that I am given to visionariness, mysti- 
cism, or Irauscendentalism. I can hardly bear such things 
as Dr. Cummings' writings. But I am nevertheless satis- 
fied that the Old Testament contaiDS such a thing as 
Prophecy, that is, definite predictions of future events, given 
prior to any foreshadowings of their character. I refer 
only to such predictions as stand fulfilled in our presence 
to-day, namely, the destinies of certain cities, governments, 
and nations. When this argument is examined critically, 
minutely and cumulatively, it will be found overwhelming 
and invincible. I cannot too highly recommend to you 
Keith's great work on this subject. It is even a demonstra- 
tion. But the reality of Prophecy involves the actuality of 
Revelation. 

The character of the Apostles will bear the closest scru- 
tiny. They were sensible, unsophisticated men, coming 
neither from the murky miasma of degraded ignorance on 
the one hand, nor from the mystic haze of scholasticism on 
the other. They were in the prime of manhood when 
called to be disciples. They could read and write. They 
were familiar with the Scriptures. Whilst they were docile, 
they were not credulous. Thomas would not believe in the 
Resurrection of Christ until he had had the evidence of 
sight and touch. They went forth to preach only that 
which they had seen and heard. They warned the churches 
against credulity, admonishing them to try the spirits 
whether they were of God. They were certainly sincere 
and conscientious, for they yielded up their lives rather 
than their convictions. They consecrated their time and 
energies to proclaim a risen Lord. Their ministry was an 
amazing success. And their success was not owing to the 
emoluments they offered, as ih the case of Julian; or to the 
sword tliey wielded, as in the case of Mahomet ; or to the 



4i6 THE HUMPHKEY-BENKETT DISCUSSION. 

prestige of a noble ancestry, as in the cases of Buddha and 
Confucius ; but to the simple story of a Crucified Christ. 
They would not have undertaken such a work if they had 
not themselves believed, clear down in the deeper depths of 
their souls, the message they had to deliver ; and they could 
not have succeeded, under the existing circumstances, if God 
had not been with them. The words of Robert Dale Owen 
will apply to their case : " The longer I live, the more 1 set- 
tle down to the conviction that the one Gkeat Miracle of 
history is, that a system of ethics so far in advance as was 
the Christian system, not only of the semi-barbarism of 
Jewish life eighteen hundred years ago, but what we term 
the civilization of our own day, should have taken root, and 
lived, and spread, where every opinion seemed adverse, and 
every influence hostile" (Greeley's Recollections of a Busy 
Life, p. 582). 

Perhaps you will allow a word of personal experience. 
It will at least show that the Bible does not strike every- 
body who studies it in the same way that it does you. The 
more I acquaint myself with it, the more am I astonished 
at its contents. It is a perennial fountain to my soul. I 
rise from it ready to say, like Jacob at Bethel, "How 
dreadful is this place 1 this is none other but the house of 
God, and this is the gate of heaven." I find in it a feast 
both for the intellect and for the heart. It is as full of 
wisdom as a father's counsel, and as full of affection as a 
mother's bosom. 

"How precious is the Book divine. 
By inspiration given I 
Bright as a lamp its doctrines shine. 
To guide our souls to heaven." 

There are many masterly treatises on this subject. No 
Infidel is consistent, not to say just, until he has given them 
a thorough examination. In addition to the works men- 
tioned already, here and there, I will specify Butler's "Au- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 417 

alogy''; Paley's, Chalmers', Ad lison's, Alexander's, and 
Barnes' "Evidences of Christianity"; Lardner's Works; 
Pascal's ''Thoughts"; Walker's " Philosophy of the Plan 
of Salvation"; and Henry Kogers' "Superhuman Origin of 
the Bible." These were remarkably clear-headed men, 
Christianity invites the world to study their writings. 

The Bible has always had its defense. Perhaps the tac- 
tics of the defenders have sometimes been injudicious; but 
the fortress has never been taken. The cry has repeatedly 
gone up, "Raze it! Raze it!"" The criers have become first 
hoarse, and then silent ; but the old citadel has always 
stood. The new armor and new attacks of the enemy have 
been promptly met by new equipments and renewed valor. 
Weapons that have served their time are honorably laid 
aside. The ancient castles of England are useless to-day, 
except as objects of curiosity to an occasional traveler or 
antiquarian ; but formerly they were the salvation of the 
realm. So some of the former arguments for Christianity 
have fallen into disuse, the implements of the foe having 
changed. But castles are changed only for Gibralters. 
The Gospel was never so unconquerable as it is today. It 
is only suicide to attack it. " God is in the midst of her ; 
she shall not be moved : God shall help her, and that right 
early. The heathen raged : the kingdoms were moved : he 
uttered his voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is 
with us ; the God of Jacob is our refuge " (Ps. xlvi, 5-7). 
Your well-wisher, G. H. Humphrey. 



MR. BENNETT. 

Rev. G. H. Humphrey, Dear Sir: Miss Ophelia, in Har- 
riet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin," when brought 
in contact with the improvidence and thriftlessness in the 
South, used often to exclaim, "How shiftless, O, how 
shiftless." Upon reading over your la-t letter, and perus- 



418 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

iug your arguments in favor of the divinity of the Bible, I 
am impelled in a similar manner to exclaim, How weak, 0, 
7iow flimsy! Is this the best that can be done to hold up 
the heavenly origin of that Jewish book ? With all the 
works before you of learned professors, bishops, and 
clergymen of all grades and denominations, who have 
spent their lives in the cause of theology and ecclesiasti- 
cism, and with whose arguments you are familiar, are your 
lucubrations all that can be said in favor of the superhuman 
character of that antique volume ? I must confess myself 
not a little disappointed. I certainly expected you would 
present some arguments that possessed weight and po- 
tency, but you have not done so. They show ingenuity 
and shrewdness, but 1 think there is not a solid, convincing 
argument in all you have said. In giving your reasons why 
we should regard the Bible as superhuman, that it is supe- 
rior to human effort and abiliry in a single particular, the 
question arises, upon reading your defense of the book, 
can it be possible that Mr. Humphrey has succeeded in 
convincing himself ? Have you assuredly found proofs that 
that melange of legends, big stories, narratives, tales, 
accounts of wars, rapine, and murder, poems, wild songs, 
incantations, collected maxims and proverbs, amorous- 
ness, crudity, obscenity, and vulgarity, is something 
higher, purer, and grander than man has been able to 
produce ? I cannot believe that you have, and I am half 
inclined to think that even you need fuller proofs of the 
workmanship of the (rod of the Universe in that promiscu- 
ous volume. I cannot think you find in it such evidences 
of divinity as to entirely satisfy your own mind. There is a 
question, too, whether you are fully sincere in your alle- 
giance to it. It seems to me you have too much intelligence 
to fir-mly believe that man has not been able to produce 
such a book, and that God must needs descend from heaven 
and write it, superintend its countless transcriptions, its 
changes, its additions, its translations, its printing, its bind- 



THE HTJMPHBEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 419 

ing, and all the rest of it. No, I believe you comprehend 
that everything that has ever been done towards that com- 
pilation has been the work of human hands and human 
minds — and minds, too, of not an extraordinary and ex- 
alted character. 

Before examining your cable of ten strands or divisions, I 
will briefly notice some of your other points. You are 
yet hardly able to get over the exhibit of your brethren of 
the cloth. Well, perhaps it was a little rough and a little 
unkind to show them up in that wholesale manner, but 
while you were striving so hard to establish that Infi- 
delity is consistent with immorality, and worked so laboriously 
to show that certain unbelievers were sensual, I deemed it 
quite in order to enquire whether Christianity is not also 
consistent with immorality, and whether many of its 
brightest teachers have not shown special fondness for that 
which is regarded as low and sensual. It seemed proper to 
enquire whether the Christian religion keeps all its advo- 
cates strictly in the paths of purity and self-denial. It may 
perhaps be unpleasant to find that the followers of Jesus, 
who have a divine religion to aid them, have been much 
more inclined to stray into by and forbidden paths of sin 
than unbelievers are who lay no claim to guidance from on 
high. I mentioned only such cases as were at hand, and 
hardly thought you would complain because I did not make 
out a fuller report, but let me assure you the subject is not 
exhausted. I gave not one case in twenty of clerical sin- 
fulness that has come to the light, and probably not one 
case in twenty is ever suffered to come to the eyes of the 
public. I promised you that for every case of a prominent 
Freethinker whom you could show had led an immoral or 
sensual life, I would point out twenty or fifty shepherds of 
the flock who had despoiled the lambs of their folds, and 
have been more governed by the influence of fleshly lusts 
than the spirit of heavenly purity. I still adhere to that 
promise. 



430 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSStOK. 

I hardly expected you would endeavor to justify the con- 
duct of lecherous clergymen by the apostles. If the 
clergy are better now than when Jesus was upon earth, he 
must have gathered a gay and festive set around him. I 
think I never before beard Judas cited as an excuse for the 
frailties of modern divines. I had been more inclined to 
suppose that he was one of the actors in the great scheme 
of salvation that had been devised from the beginning of 
eternity. That in the foreknowledge of God, the necessary 
work of Judas was laid out and apportioned to him, and 
that he helped in acting his part to make the salvation of 
one in a hundred of the human race a matter of possi- 
bility. "Was not the betrayal of Christ a necessary link in 
the chain of the divine plan of salvation ? Did he not 
have to be betrayed to the authorities before he could >^e 
arrested, tried and put to death, and thus be made an atone- 
ment for the sins of the world, or rather one hundredth 
part of it ? Credit Judas, then, with having faithfully 
acted his part in the grand divine drama and not constitute 
him a scapegoat for the filthy sins of the modern clergy. 

You must be "hard up " for arguments to bring in the 
lectures that have been delivered before the Liberal Clubs. 
They have nothing whatever to do with the questions we 
have under discussion. I will use no more space than to 
say that nothing immoral has been rendered before either 
Club, and that the Herald did not comprehend the lecture 
it undertook to criticise, was clearly shown in the Oraphic 
on the following day. It is a part of the constitutions of 
the Liberal Clubs of this city that they do not endorse and 
do not hold themselves responsible for any sentiments that 
may be uttered on their platforms. They simply allow free 
speech. Any lecturer may avow what he believes to be 
right, subject to the free discussion of the members which 
follows. Is this system so shocking to you that you feel 
impelled to specially denounce it ? 

You introduce Wales and Scotland with their high degree 



tHB tiUMPHRBY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 421 

of morality and intelligence, where the Bible is most read 
and best understood, as an evidence of its divine character. 
They may read the Bible very much in those countries, 
but the facts brought out in the recent Bradlaugh-Besant 
trial in London, and which too are well known truths, 
are that in one of your Bible countries at least, Scotland, 
there are more illegitimate children than in any other 
portion of Great Britain, and is exceeded by no other coun- 
try of Europe. In the use of ardent spirits, in propor- 
tion to population, it has long been known that Stot- 
land leads all the nations of the earth. Do you mean, 
then, that those come from Bible influences ? Let me 
call your attention to a general truth connected with this 
question. The Bible is distinctively a book of the Protest- 
ants. Catholics attach but little importance to it, and 
read it very little, while their opponents, the Protestants, 
look upon it as an emanation from heaven, read it with the 
greatest reverence, and absolutely make a fetish of it as 
really as any old fetish-worshipers ever did of their crude 
idols. Well, in Protestant countries there are nearly double 
the number of children born out of wedlock that are born 
in Catholic countries. It is possible the examples of Abra- 
ham, Jacob, David, Solomon & Co., may have their effects. 
So much for Bible influences 1 

You represent me unfairly; you say I intimate that the 
Bible is of no value because it is old. I used no such argu- 
ment. I have never disapproved of the Bible on account 
of its age. I will rather concede that its antiquity entitles 
it to some consideration. 1 have a natural veneration for 
everything that has great age. The Universe is old, truth 
is old, matter and force have existed for a very long time — 
I have great respect for them, but because a book is old, it 
does not necessarily follow that God wrote it. Men were 
able to write thousands of years ago, and God was under no 
necessity to write their books for them. Unfortunately, 
the Bible is not so old as many suppose. There is not a 



422 THE HUMl'HREY-BENNETT DTSCTJSSION. 

particle of proof that any part of it (save, perhapg, the 
Gentile Book of Job) had an existence seven centuries 
before the Christian era. In the reign of Josiah (630 
B. c.) HirKiah the priest claimed to have found the Book of 
the Law in the temple, and it was read before the king. It 
produced great consternation, and it was very evident that 
they had never heard it before During ;he Jewish cap- 
tivity it is said that their sa T' d writings were lost, and 
that Esdras and his scribes reproduced th^^m. This was 
about five centuries b. c. Others strenuously claim that 
much of the Old Testament was not written until the time 
of the Maccabees (250 b. c.) There are in several of the 
books idioms and expression"! whi'^'h show that they 
were written at a comparatively modra date. One thing 
is painfully certain — the by whom written^ and when toriiten^ 
of those books are very little known 

You don't seem to like the Bible picture I gave you of 
Jehovah. You say they are mostly figura'ive expressions 
designed to set forth the Lord's great ahhorrt-nce of sin. I 
call that a priestly dodge, and it fails entirely to meet the 
case. These positive assertions that Q-od has horns in his 
hands, that smoke comes out of his nostrils, and a sword 
out of his mouth ; that he roars and shouts like a drunken 
man; that his fury is poured out like fire; th-t he throws 
rocks from heaven upon his children; that he gets angry 
every day ; that he swears; that he is full of iodignation ; 
that he is stirred with jealousy; that he delights in war and 
bloodshed ; that his arrows are drunken with blood ; 
that he whets his glittering sword, and does a great deal 
more in the same line, seem hardly the happiest method of 
representing the character of a being who is all love, kind- 
ness, sympathy and mercy 1 The picture is brutal and 
repulsive. I could not love a being answering that descrip- 
tion. 

You appear desirous to dismiss the subject of the Bible 
contradictions which 1 mentioned, by saying they are "a 



THE HUMPHHEY-BKNNETT DISCUSSION. ^8 

jumble " and unworthy of refutation. If a defense of that 
kind explains the hundreds of self-contradictions which 
the Bible contains, the most damning proof on any subject 
can be rebutted. If a man is arraigned for murder, and 
hundreds of witnesses swear that they saw him do the 
deed, he wouM only need to say, with a sanctimonious 
drawl, " Such evidence is a mere jumble, and is unworthy 
of a serious refutation " — and he would be acquitted. It 
has been noticed that in several instances you have adopted 
the tactics of the small boy who, when reading, could not 
pronounce the hard words, and so skipped them whenever 
he met them. And, like him, you have found it conven- 
ient to *' skip " several difficult words. Among other things 
I stated emphatically that Christianity is a system of relig- 
ion made up of the rites, ceremonies and dogmas of pagan 
systems that existed before it. I charged that there is noth- 
ing new nor original in the Christian religion, and called 
upon you to disprove it if it is not so. I charged you with 
upholding a borrowed system of myths and superstitions 
purloined from the old pagan religions that had existed at 
an earlier date. I averred that the world had believed in 
some forty saviors, mostly born of virgins, and a large por- 
tion of whom had been crucified for the salvation of the 
world. These you very prudently skipped over without 
a word. Your style of defense may explain, to your own 
satisfaction, why God in some places is said to have been 
seen and talked with face to face, that Moses, Aaron, 
Nadab, Abihu, and seventy elders saw the God of Israel, 
and in other plnces that no man had seen him at any 
time, or could see him and live; why in one place it 
is said that God moved David to number the people of 
Israel, and in another place that it was Satan who caused 
him to number them; why the important matter of Christ's 
bodily ascension into heaven is stated in three or four dif- 
ferent ways — to wit : in Acts, that he ascended from Mount 
Olivet ; in Luke, that it was from Bethany; and, in Mark, 



434 THE HUMPHKEY-BEXNETT DISCUSSION. 

that it was from a room in which the eleven sat at meat, 
while Matthew and John did not deem the affair of 
sufficient moment to mention it at all— and hundreds of 
other contradittic ns positive and palpable — but to me it 
is no explanation at all. Nor can you, or any other the- 
ologian, explain these things to the satisfaction of honest, 
sensible people. You may call a selection of quotations 
like these a *• jumble" — and that term is correct enough 
when applied to the booii us a whole — but it does not sat- 
isfactorily reconcile the contradictions. 

I see that, as a kind of excuse for the blunders of your 
God and his scribes, you undertake to show that contradic- 
tions may be found in the writings of Thomas Paine! You 
present one or two that appear to be such, but the others 
bear no resemblance thereto. But what of it all? Thomas 
Paine was only a man. He claimed nothing more. He 
wrote his own thoughts, and made no pretensions to guid- 
ance from on high. No one claims that his works are 
divine, unless truth adds divinity to a man's writings. If 
his productions were full of contradictions, it would be no 
excuse for the conflicting statements and blunders made by 
your God. A single self-contradiction or imperfection in a 
work which is claimed to be divine completely overthrows 
its claims to divinity. God must be too perfect to make 
mistakes or to contradict himself. 

As a specimen of your fairness in showing up Paine's 
self-contradictions, you quote these two passages from his 
"Age of Reason": " I have furnished myself with a Bible," 
and, "I keep no Bible." Now, you must know that the 
latter passage is found in the first part of the "Age of Rea- 
son," which was written when he had no Bible at hand, 
and the other passage is in the second part, written after he 
had provided himself with a copy. Is there the slightest 
contradiction in a person's saying, "I keep no Bible," when 
he had none, and, " I have furnished myself with a Bible," 
after he had procured one? You have thus reversed the 



THE HUMJ»HREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 425 

order of the quotations, putting the one first written when he 
had a Bible, and setting the one from the first part, when he 
hacj not yet obtained one to contradict it ! Is that a strictly 
honest presentation of Pa'ne's words? Is it indeed the best 
excuse you have to offer for the positive and oft recurring 
contradictions of your BVble God, or his writers? Is God 
not better than Paine ? Cjinnot you aff'ord to be just to- 
ward Thomas Paine? 

In your eleventh letter you attempt to prove the truth of 
the absurd flood story, that the ocean was raised to the 
tops of the highest mountains, by showing that some sea- 
shells and marine deposits have been found on elevated 
portions of the earth This does not prove that the 
surface of the ocean was once raised up to where the 
tops of the mountains now are. Had this been the case the 
sea shells and other marine deposits would not have been 
taken up there, because shells donot float on the surface 
of the water; but it is another proof that the mountains of 
the earth, sometime in the long ages of the past, have been 
raised up from the bed of the ocean, and of course taken 
marine debris along with them. Sir Charles Lyell thus 
speaks of the remains of ancient corals which he found at 
the falls of the Ohio, near Louisville: '^Although the water 
was not at its lowest, I saw a grand display of what may be 
termed an ancient coral reef formed by zoophytes which 
flourished in a sea of earlier date than the carboniferous 
period. The Alps and their related mountains, and even 
the Himalayas, were not yet born, for they have on their 
high summits deep sea beds of the cretaceous and even of 
later dates" (Story of Earth and Man, p. 89). Your scieJi- 
Usls who wrote the Bible knew nothing of this fact, nor 
that this continent presents indisputable proofs that it is 
older than the Himalayas of Asia, and that the hignest 
mountains of the earth have been forced up from the sea 
level. But I would give more for the testimony of one 
such man as Lyell than for the word of the combined forty 



426 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

or fifty writers who got up your wonderful Bible, with all 
the divine aid they had to help them, included. 

You attempt to prove, too, that excavations at Nineveh 
confirm Biblical archaeology. They do nothing of the kind; 
but they do prove that the Jews, during their captivity, 
borrowed from the Babylonians and Ninevites their views 
of cosmogony and incorporated them into their Bible 
stories which were written after their return to their own 
country. 

Let me next examine your ten-stranded cable in favor of 
the superhuman origin of the Bible, and which you say can- 
not be broken. The proper way to become acquainted with 
any cable or rope and with the material of which it is com- 
posed, is to examine it closely, strand by strand. If the 
individual strands, as you almost confess with regard to 
your cable, are weak or rotten, or are composed of bad 
materials, it is impossible to have a good cable, that cannot 
be broken. It will be little better than a rope of sand, that 
must part at the first heavy strain that is brought to bear 
upon it. To prove the Bible is superhuman you ought to 
understand that it is incumbent on you to show that at least 
portions of it are above the power of man to produce. If 
there is nothing in it but what man can write, it is perfectly 
proper to relegate it to human minds and not to an unseen, 
unknown power outside of the Universe. Before it can be 
admitted to be divine, I repeat, it must be shown that it is 
not in the power of man to produce it. This you have 
failed to do. 

The first strand of your cable is that the Bible is just 
about the right size. Who has the authority to say what is 
the exact size of divinity ? Who shall say it is not larger 
or that it is not smaller than the Bible ? If a certain size 
must be attained before a piece of manuscript can be divine, 
how is it with the parts that were written first, the Penta- 
teuch, which is popularly supposed to be the oldest book 
in the collection— though it is not ? If size is an essential 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 437 

to divinity, the first books could not have been divine 
because of this defect. If the New Testament is essential 
in making up the right size, the Old Testament could not 
have been divine without it. If the book is just the right 
size to be divine, it is perhaps fortunate that several books 
were lost, among which may be named "The Wars of 
Jehovah," "Joshua's Division of the Holy Land," " Solo- 
mon's Natural History," " The Annals of Solomon," " The 
Annals of Nathan," " The Annals of Gad," " The Life of 
Solomon by Ahijah," "The Life of Solomon by Iddo," 
"The Acts of Rehoboam," " The Chronicles of Judah or 
Israel," "The Book of Jashar," " The Life of Hezekiah," 
"Tiie Life of Manasseh," "The Prophecy of Ahijah," 
"The Book of Shemaiah," "The Sayings of Hosea," etc., 
etc. ; if these had all been preserved they would doubtless 
have increased the size to such an extent as to destroy its 
divinity. What if the councils which decided which books 
should constitute the sacred canon had voted in or voted 
out a few more, would not the efiect upon the divinity of 
the whole been most disastrous ? How came you to know 
just how much it takes to equal divinity ? How can you 
decide that, inasmuch as Deity is infinite, that his book 
also must not be infinite, and therefore the Hindoo 
Scriptures, which are so voluminous as to be almost infinite, 
are not more divine than the Jewish Scriptures ? Your first 
strand will certainly not bear much of a strain. 

Your second strand is simplicity. Now, I am disposed to 
concede the simplicity of any one who would present such 
an argument in f hvor of the divinity of the Bible, but is it 
any simpler than the story of Blue Beard, Cinderella, the 
Cow jumping over the Moon, and the whole catalogue of 
Mother Goose's Nursery Rhymes ? If simplicity proves 
the divinity of the Bible, may it not be used as a criterion 
by which to determine the divinity of these other and 
similar works. s all that is simple necessarily divine? 
Bad yon the Book of Daniel or the Book of Revelations in 



4^ THE nUMrHEEY-BENlJETT DISCUSSION. 

view when you were so struck with the simplicity of 
the volume ? I have known men to spend almost a life- 
time poring over those two books, and they knew as little 
about their meaning at last as they did at first. If the 
Bible possesses such extraordinary simplicity, why is it 
that legions of priests, at an expense of many millions of 
dollars per year, are necessary to explain its meaning to 
the people ? and why is it, if its simplicity is so marked, 
that the several branches of the Christian Church spend 
generations in bitter contention over its language? Finallj'-, 
how does your admiration for its perfect simplicity agree 
witlfyour sixth strand, where you say "Tiiere never was a 
man who could place his hand on it and say, 'I know and 
understand all it contains.' The most diligent student 
closes his investigations of it, feeling, like Newton in the 
presence of the Universe, that he was but a gatherer of 
shells on the shores of the unfathomable sea. Men can 
master other books. It does not require much application 
to comprehend all that Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, or any 
other philosopher ever wrote. Whatever proceeds from 
man can be grasped and mastered by man. But the Bible 
cannot be so grasped and mastered by man. Hence, it 
must be more than human." Here is a striking case of 
blowing hot and cold at the same breath. Your second 
strand is that the Bible is so simple that it can be easily 
understood — no " pomposity," or " sophomority " about it, 
everybody can understand it — hence it must be divine; but 
in your sixth strand you say it is so complex and hidden 
that no man can understand it — hence, it must be divine. 
These strands certainly w^ill not unite in making a strong 
cable. I must confess that I do not think much of either 
of them. 

Your third strand, candor, does not have much strength. 
The Bible has no more candor than thousands of other 
books that men have written. This strand adds nothing to 
your cable. 



THE HTJMPHRBY-BBNNBTT DISCUSSION. 429 

Your fourth strand, incuriosity, I can make very little of, 
How you make incuriosity^ proof of divinity is a puzzler to 
me. Was not God a little curious when he came down in the 
cool of the day and walked in the garden to see what Adam 
and Eve had been doing? Was he not a trifle curious when he 
descended from heaven to see what the Sodomites had 
done, and whether their conduct was in keeping with the 
cry that had gone up (o him ? Was ht not a little curious 
when he put Abraham to the severe test of proving if he 
would put his own child to death and offer him as a burnt 
ojffering ? Did he not show commendable curiosity on 
many other occasions ? No, no ; incuriosity is not a proof 
of divinity. Try again, Brother Humphrey. 

Your fifth strand I cannot comprehend sufficiently to get 
its full meaning. I believe you mean that the Bible is 
divine because God is King of kings and Lord of lords. 
I fail to see the connection. This is a very weak strand. 

Your sixth I have quoted and found it completely neu- 
tralized by your second. They utterly contradict and de- 
stroy each other. 

Your seventh strand, the close resemblance between tTie 
Bible and nature, is decidedly far-fetched. The Bible bears 
no more resemblance to nature than any other bOi>k does. 
In fact it bears less. It tells many impossible stories that 
are in utter variance with every principle of nature. There 
is very little harmony between nature and that qneer old 
book. No. 7 is very weak. 

Your eighth, exJiaustiveness, has no more strength than 
the preceding. With all its exhanstiveness^ what great truth, 
what science, what field of knowledge or philosophy has it 
exhausted ? Did it exhaust cosmogony, astronomy, geol- 
ogy, chemistry, archoeclogy, mathematics, geography, biol- 
ogy, physiology, zoology, the nature of force and matter, 
the character of mind or intellect, philology, meterology, 
pneumatics, hydrostatics, and all the numerous arts that 
ei^ist in the world ? No, it exhausts none of these, and 



430 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

scarcely touches them. It exhausts nothing except it be 
the stories of wars, bloodshed and the sexual relations of a 
crude, semi-barbarous people. No. 8 might as well have 
been omitted. 

Your ninth, that the Bible was far in advance of the ages 
in which it was announced or written, has little more 
streEgth than its fellow strands. It is impossible to see 
that the Bible had this peculiarity. "Wehav^ just seen that 
in none of the sciences which afterward came to be well 
understood in the world did the Bible advance beyond its 
age and time. You aim to make a good deal of Monothenm. 
The Jews, like their brothers, the Arabs, seemed more 
inclined to Monotheism than many of the ancient nations, 
but whether this quality possesses much f^pecial excellence 
is a debatable question. If Monotheism has proved mom 
advantageous to the world than Polytheism or iVbtheism it 
is hardly yet ascertained. There is as much proof of the 
existence of a hundred gods as there is of one, and it is 
hard to be discovered how the belief in a single god is 
more conducive to virtue than the belief in numerous 
gods. Besides the Jews were not confined to one God. In 
the first chapter of Genesis the word translated Qod — Elo- 
him is plural and means God%. Further along in the orig- 
inal Hebrew we have Til, El-Shadai, Adonai, Yahveh, Jah, 
Jehovah and others. The greater part of these were sepa- 
rate characters, but the tran?lators rendered them all Lord 
ao'd God— another exemplification of the dishonesty which 
the Scriptures cover. No. 9 contains no strength. 

Your tenth and last strand I judge was thrown in for 
"good count," or as a makeweight. You wish to establish 
the fact that the Bible is the most reasonable wild practicable 
of books. You could hardly Fet up a more absurd claim. 
A great portion of it is opposed to reason, and its practica- 
bility is of a very thin quality. In this respect it certainly 
does not surpass great numbers of other books. Who goes 
to the Bible when he wishes to learn the dictates of reason 



THE HUMPHHEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 431 

and gain practicable information? It is only pious souls 
v*ho imagine that the book is a voice from the throne of 
God and go to its pages for anything of a practicable char- 
acter. 

I have thus examined your "ten-stranded cable," and I 
cannot find that the strands amount to anything separate or 
that they possess any more strength when united. It seems 
very strange that you and the Christian world should 
depend upon such an imperfect cable to hold the ship of 
truth to her moorings. I must again express my surprise 
that you are able to present no stronger arguments in proof 
of the divinity of the book you so ardently revere. I can- 
not see how you were yourself won by such weak and inad- 
equate reasoning. It is strange, too, that the world of 
Christendom is led along year after year and generation 
after generation by such deficient arguments. Millions, 
like yourself, give their assent to the divine origin of the 
Bible, when, as now, if the actual proofs of its divinity 
are called for, they turn out like the strands of your cable, 
possessing neither tenacity when alone, nor the ability to 
give strength to one another when combined. 

I think I can give better reasons why the Bible is not 
divine than your ten are in favor of its divinity. In doing 
so I may repeat some that have already been used, but will 
arrange them in numerical order, similar to yours; and you 
may, if you please, call them strands in the great anti-bibli- 
cal cable which is impossible to be broken. • 

1. There is no assertion from the writers themselves that 
they were directed or influenced by God. 

3. It is wholly unknown, in nearly every instance, who 
the writers of the various books were, or whether they 
were men of credibility. 

3. The time is not known when many of the books were 
written. A discrepancy of one thousand years, or more, 
exists between the time when it is claimed that they were 
written and the time when they really were written. 



432 THE H.UMPHRET-BENNSTT DISCTTSSIOK. 

4. The matter contained in the book is largely crude and 
coarse, and is principally a mere narrative of events that 
■were supposed to have occurred within the limits of an 
obscure nation occupying an area, in a hilly country, 
smaller than many of the small States in this Republic. 

5. As everything the Bible contains could have been 
written without aid from any god, it is utter folly to 
assume that such a party had anything to do with it. There 
is not a chapter nor a verse in the whole compilation supe- 
rior to human ability, and it is the height of absurdity to 
accord to divinity that which is wholly within the scope of 
humanity. 

6. It is largely historical in character, and contains mat- 
ter in the narration of which no divine aid would be neces- 
sary. It presents no more proofs of divinity than thou- 
sands of histories and detailed descriptions of 'chat with 
which the world has been filled. 

7. The coarseness and indecency of large portions of the 
book repudiate the idea of its being the woi'k of the supe- 
rior spirit of the Universe. 

8. It is full of errors and contradictions, stating many 
points and incidents in language bearing two or more con- 
structions. 

9. It has many errors in chronology and in fact, making 
mistakes in some instances of handieds of years. 

10. The writers of the book were ignorant of the simplest 
'4ruthsof Nature which the merest schoolboy now clearly 

comprehends, such as the rotundity of the earth, the sun 
being the centre of the solar system, the phenomena of 
rain, rainbows, eclipses, the recurrence of day and night, 
the seasons, etc. 

11. It contains many absurd and impossible statements 
which are opposed to the system of Nature and the laws 
which govern the Universe, as the story of creation, the . 
snake story, the story of the flood, of the parting of seas 
and rivers, of Joshua stopping the heavenly bodies, of 



THB HUMPHBBT- BENNETT DISCUSSION. 433 

Jonah three days in the belly of a fish, of three men being 
thrown unharmed into a superheated furnace, etc. Its talk 
about the "ends," ''pillars" and " foundations" of the earth, 
and of the stars falling to the earth, is simply ridiculous. 

13. Its writers were unscientific and mostly unlearned 
men who were entirely ignorant of hundreds of things in sci- 
ence and general knowledge that are familiar in the world 
to-day. The Bible writers had no knowledge imparted to 
them beyond what had been attained by the nations then 
existing upon the earth. 

13. It contains no greater literary ability, no finer lan- 
guage, no more elevated thought, no purer morals, than 
are contained in other writings and books written as early 
or earlier and which are not supposed to have been written 
by gods. 

14. It imparts very crude ideas of Deity, the Supreme 
Power of the Universe, giving it the form of man, with all 
the passiont, impulses, whims, and foibles that pertain to 
an unprogressed, passionate, ungovernable human being. 
The description which it gives of his form and appearance 
is revolting even to a child. 

15. It imparts very little practical, useful information 
touching the affairs of life, and gives imperfect instructions 
upon such subjects as man most needs to know. 

16. It is largely made up of accounts of savage wars, car- 
nage, and bloodshed, with plentiful details of marrying, 
concubinage, of the begetting and bearing of children, of 
experiments in cattle-raising, rapes, adulteries, etc., etc., 
disgusting to the refined^mind. 

17. If it was of any value to the people of the earth at 
the times in which it was written, and if it was the highest 

•form of literature and science which the world then pos- 
sessed, it has ceased to be of any vital importalice to man- 
kind save as a work of antiquity, and in this view it is 
worthy of preservation and respect but not as a boplv 
written by God, 



434 TFE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

18. The Bible teaches that God made the earth, aud all 
the stars and worlds that compose the Universe less than 
six thousand years ago, while science teaches us with uner- 
ring truth that some of the far away isuns and stars whose 
light meets our eyes on a clear night are so far distant that 
at the velocity at which light travels it would require liun- 

' dreds of thousands and even millions of years for their 
' light to reach our globe. Geology and its students have 
made it positive that this earth has existed as a globe for 
millions of years, and innumerable proofs can be brought 
to confirm it. How idle then to talk about this world and 
those distant crbs being less than six thousand years old. 

19. The Bible teaches that vegetation of all kinds, includ- 
ing herbs, grasses, shrubbery, trees, etc., flourished aud 
perfected their flowers, seeds and fruits before the sun came 
into existence, and before rain had ever fallen upon the 
earth. Every sensible person knows that this cannot be 
true. 

20. The Bible teaches that the first created organic exist- 
ences were grass, herbs and fruit trees, but geologists have 
found imbedded in the primitive rocks of the earth fossils 
of low forms of animal life found only in water which 
existed on the planet. It is established beyond a doubt that 
thefuci, the mollusca and the polyparia and other low forms 
of animal life existed ages before there was a spear of grass, 
a plant, a shrub or a tree upon the face of the whole 
earth. 

21. The Bible teaches that the race of man has existed 
less than 6,000 years, while numerous discoveries have 
been made of the bones of men which have been excavated 
from deposits in caves and caverns, and other localities 
where they are found side by side with the bones of cave- 
lions, cave-bears, cave-hyenas, mastodons and various other 
animals which passed from the earth many thousand years 
ago. Crude implements, belonging to a primitive period 
chilled "the Stone Age," when man only knew how to 



THE HTJMPHRfiY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 435 

form his knives, his axes, his spears, his arrow-heads, etc., 
of stoue and flakes of flint, have been fonnd in such quanti- . 
ties and in so many localities, as to entirely set Bible chro- 
nology aside :.nd prove positively that man has existed on 
the earth at the very least one hundred thousand years, and 
probably much longer. 

22. The errors of omission on the part of the Bible 
writers were as great as those of commission. They never 
alluded to the original fiery condition of the earth when its 
heat was so great for incomputable ages that organized 
life of any kind was utterly impossible on the earth. 

23 "Nothing is said in the Bible about the Glacial Period^ 
which scientists have positive proofs existed for a long 
time on the earth, when" vast bodies of ice were moved by 
the water a little as icebergs are now, when immeuse rocks 
were frozen in the ice and thus transported great dis- 
tances. If it was the intention of the Bible writers to 
give information of what had taken place on the earth, 
the glacial period should not have been omitted. 

24. The Bible teaches nothing of the topographical 
changes that have from time to time taken place upon the 
earth. It says nothing of islands and continents and 
mountains emerging from the ocean, while the plainest 
teachings of science give the positive information that the 
Alps, the Appeniues, the Himalayas, the Ural Mountains, 
the Rocky Mountains of our own continent, the Andes, 
the Alleghanies, the Catskills, and all the other mountains 
on the face of the globe have either emerged from the bed 
of the ocean, or by internal fires and forces, have been up- 
heaved from comparatively low ground. This was not all 
done at one time, nor .within the same period. On the tops 
of some mountains are found remains of the devonian age; 
on others, of the carboniferous period; on others again, of 
the cretaceous period, showing that the several mountains 
of the globe were elevated at different periods, and at long 
eons of time apart. 



436 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

25. The Bible neither contains a hint about the rotund- 
ity of the earth, nor does it contain a lisp of the existence 
of the vast Continent of America extending from theNorih 
Pole, or near it, to the 60th degree of south latitude, a dis- 
tance of nearly ten thousand miles, and embracing every 
variety of climate, soil and topography, though it ante- 
dates, in existence as a continent, Europe, Asia and Africa. 
It was not because the Bible writers did not regard 
this older part of the world as worthy of mention, but be- 
cause they were so ignorant of the facts of geography that 
they knew nothing about its existence, that made them 
neglect to speak of it ; and the source of their information 
and inspiration was as ignorant as themselves. 

26. While the most important truths of the Universe 
were entirely omitted and ignored, rambling tales, stories 
of blood and carnage, sketches of the lives of worthless 
priests and prophets, heartless tyrants, shameless women, 
stories filthy enough to cause the boldest man or woman to 
blush at their recital, genealogical descents, unpronounc- 
able names, enigmatical and meaniugless passages, and 
repetitions of semi-historical events make up the great bulk 
of what you reverently call the " Holy Bible," the " Book 
Divine," the "greatest gift of God to man," etc., all of 
which is hallucination— a fallacy of the strongest kind. 

27. Many parts of the Bible are so far fetched, obscure 
and unintelligible that they are totally worthless to every- 
body. How much good has the Book of Daniel, the Book 
of Revelations, and many other parts of the Bible, ever 
doae to the world? None at all; but have been a cause for 
interminable puzzling, disputing, speculating and conjec- 
turing. 

28. Scarcely any book ever published has contained 
so many errors and inaccuracies. King James' trans- 
lation was published in 1611 ; in 1711 it was corrected 
by bisliops Tenison and Lloyds, thousands of errors having 
crept into it. In 1669 Dr. Blayney corrected a multitude of 



TtTE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 4B7 

new errors, reformed the text in many places and rectified 
some material errors in chronology. More recently "the 
British and Foreign Bible Society, after having circulated 
millions of copies of it, have declared that a faithful exam- 
ination of it gives rise to senous doubts uhether it can he truth- 
fully called the word of God.'" The American Bible Society 
in 1847 appointed a committee of its members to prepare a 
standard edition of King James' version, free from typo- 
graphical errors. They accordingly prepared such an 
edition, correcting, as they stated, twenty-four thousand 
errors, but so alarmed were they at the attacks made upon 
it, that it was withdrawn, and the American Bible Society 
continues to this day to circulate a book, for the word of God, 
containing — according to their own confession — twcnty-f ouv 
thousand errors. The Bible Revision Committee at present 
remodeling and improving the Word of God, in Etigland, 
are said to have reported one hundred and fifty thousand 
errors of one kind and another in the present version. 
"When they bring out their new version it will be so changed 
from the one in use that it is questionable whether the mos^ 
ardent Bible-worshipers will be disposed to accept it as tneir 
revered loord of God. 

29. The several books of the Bible are all of them mere 
transcripts of transcripts, not one of the original manuscripts 
being now in existence and has not been for the last thousand 
years. It is easy to understand that copies from cop^'es 
must become, very full of errors. Of the New Testament 
books alone there are said to be thirty-two thousand 
different versions. God would hardly be likely to trust an 
important word of his to such possibilities of mutation and 
corruption. 

30. The Bible misleads men by inducing them to believe 
that God can be placated and gratified by spending one day 
in seven in idleness; by slaying and burning bulls, rams, 
he-goats and other animals; and by praise, adulation, and 
prayer. It is not reasonable to suppose that the God of the 



488 THE HTTMPTTRElr-'BENNETT ftTSCUSSIOlT. 

"Universe is in any way affected by any Piich frivolous per- 
formances. 

31. The Bible leads people to believe that sin can be 
forgiven by certain ceremonies or penances being per- 
formed, while Nature teaches that there can be no 
forgiveness for a law once violated or a wrong act once 
committed. 

32. The Bible has made millions of human beings 
miserable by the inculcation of a belief in hell and in a 
devil to torment them through the endless ages of eternity. 
There is nothing in Nature that gives the least foundation 
for such a horrible belief. 

33. The Bible has done more towar^ls degrading woman 
and towards keeping her in subjection to the masculine 
gender than any other influence in the world. From the 
passage, "Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall 
rule over thee," unto "Wives, submit yourselves unto 
your own husbands as unto the Lord," woman has been 
made a mere slave to tyrant man, and it is only when the 
spirit of the Bible, in this respect, has been disregarded that 
woman has assumed her true position in life, an equal of 
man in all respects. 

34. The Bible sanctions slavery. From its earliest chro- 
nology, when the oldest books were written, down to the 
close of the Book of Revelations, the Bible has justified 
and enjoined human slavery. It established it in many 
instances, and haraly ever has condemned it. The influ- 
ence which the Bible shed in favor of slavery cost thi.<j 
country a protracted, bloody, and expensive war, costing 
hundreds of millions in treasure and at 1' ast a million of 
the best lives in ttie jan i. Mrs. Annie Besant, the cour- 
ageous Freethinker and eloquent orator of England, uses this 
language: " 'Cursed is Canaan; a servant of servants shall he 
be unto his brethren,' said the Bible from ten thousand pul- 
pits, but man arose and swore that, Bible or no Bible, the 
slave should go free. The Bible has bolstered up every injus- 



THE MUMPH KEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 430 

tice — it has bulwarked every tyranny— it has defended every 
wrong. With toil and pain and bloodshed have the sol- 
diers of Liberty wrung from the reluctant hands of priests 
and Bible-worshipers every charter of our freedom and 
every triumph of our cause." 

35. The Bible has retarded the progress of science. The 
Jewish Scriptures have been brought forward to knock 
down and strangle every new thought and every effort to 
reach something higher. The priests have stood like high- 
waymen on the road to progress, and to every passerby 
have shouted : *' Your reason or your life!" Prof. Denton 
says, "Science has flourished not because it has had the 
Bible to help it, but in spite of its direst opposition. As- 
tronomy discovered that the earth is round and revolves, 
but the Bible taught something else, and hence the astron- 
omer was an Infidel and astronomy a dangerous science. 
Geology proved the world to be millions of years old, and 
the wail over its infidelity has not yet subsided. It is well 
known that man was on earth ages before the time of the 
the creation of Adam, according to the Bible, but how cau- 
tious men are in saying so! and how theologians denounce 
those who dare to do so; for it is not in agreement with the 
unknown writer of Genesis. It will be generally acknowl- 
edged that universal man is not descended from one pair, 
and that man had a natural origin; but our scientific men, 
especially Americans, have a padlock on their lips, and 
orthodoxy keeps the key." 

36. The Bible approves Polygamy — one of the twin-relics 
of barbarism. In the cases of Abraham, Jacob, David and 
Solomon we have abundant proof that the Bible did not 
condemn the multiplicity of wives and concubines which 
these patriarchs and saints indulged in. 

37. The Bible sanctions murder and the reckless taking 
of human life. This was carried to such excess that some 
days as many as five hundred thousand are reported killed in 
a single day, and ©f God's own people. There is nothing in 



446 THE HUMPHBEY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

the Bible that represents God as being opposed to the effu- 
sion of human blood. On the other hand, there are many 
places showing that he delighted in it. He is often styled 
the God of battles, the Lord of Hosts, etc. In fact he 
seems to have a special fondness for blood, both of men and 
animals. 

38. The Bible recognizes the right and justice of putting 
people to death for very trivial offenses ; for instance for 
picking up sticks on the Sabbath, the refractoriness of 
children, committing adultery and other offenses no greater 
than these. 

39. The Bible discriminates in favor of the Jews and 
against other nations, making the God of the Bible to be 
partial and deficient in justice. Meat unfit for the use of 
the Jews was allowed to be sold to aliens and strangers, and 
these were submitted to many exactions and indignities not 
visited upon the Jews. 

40. According to some passages in the Bible, it approves 
of human sacrifices, as in the case of Jephtha, the hanging 
of two sons and five grandsons of Saul to stop a famine, 
and the law given in Leviticus xxvii, 29, which requires 
that everything, whether man or beast, devoted to the Im^d, 
shall surely be put to death. 

41. The severity of the Bible against witches has been 
the apology for a great amount of cruelty and taking of 
human life, The Bible injunction, " Thou shalt not suffer 
a witch to live," has indirectly caused the torture and death 
of probably hundreds of thousands of persons entirely 
innocent of witchcraft. The inhuman zealots who in 
Europe and in this country so cruelly persecuted, tortured 
and put to death the thousands of unfortunate wretches who 
were stupidly supposed to be witches or to be bewitched, 
got their warrant, their authority, their impetus from the 
Bible. They were persistent admirers and worshipers of 
that book. 

43. The Bible teaches that belief is a merit wortlu^ of 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DIHCUSSION. 441 

eternal life and disbelief a crime deserving of eternal pun- 
ishment. This doctrine which seems to me totally absurd, 
has been the cause of incalculable mischief in the world. 
As belief and disbelief are arbitrary qualities or conditions 
not subject to choice or whim, but to evidence and reasons 
presented — a person being unable to believe anything and 
everything that maybe required of him, the injustice of this 
doctrine is most apparent. 

43. The entire sentiment of the Bible that God selected 
the Jews from among all the nations of the earth to be his 
chosen, peculiar people — the only nation to be loved while 
all others were hated — does great injustice to the Universal 
Father, and has imparted very wrong estimates of his char- 
acter and attributes, and has worked much evil in the 
world. 

44. The Bible inculcates the absurd idea that labor is a 
punishment, and was inflicted upon man in consequence 
of his disobedience in eating a certain fruit. It tenches 
that but for this disobedience man could have lived in 
perpetual ease and idleness, everything he needed growing 
spontaneously for him. This pernicious belief has worked 
vast evil in the world. It has placed a disgrace upon 
honest labor, and kept man back in the night and indolence 
of barbarism. We well know that labor has been man's 
salvation. It has raised him from the low estate of the 
savage; it has aided him to subdue this planet to his use; 
it has enabled him to plow the ocean with his countless 
sails and steamers; to build cities, construct highways, 
canals, railways, and to make a delightful garden of a large 
share of the earth's surface. It has been the direct 
cause of the civilization and progress that exist in the 
world to-day, and without it man would have remained a 
brutal savage, and this in spite of the fundamental teach- 
ings of the Bible. Labor, instead of being a curse, a stigma, 
has been the greatest blessing that has befallen mankind. 

45. The doctrine the Bible teaches, that the end of the 



442 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

world is near at hand, has been a source of immense dam- 
age. It has caused thousands upon thousands to neglect 
their business and the i ecessary cares of life, to abandon 
and give away their property; to become hopelessly insane, 
to wander over the country like vagabonds until, miserable 
mendicants, they become the most pitiable objects in the 
world. 

46. The doctrine that it is the height of excellence and 
virtue to live abject lives here, to take no thought for the 
morrow, to court ignominy, to practice painful self-denial, 
to live in want and penury, to neglect the common duties 
of life for the sake of riches in the future world, for the 
sake of crowns of gold to wear upon the head, for the sake 
of living in a city with gates of pearl and with streets paved 
with gold, has worked incalculable mischief with the 
simple dupes who have believed this syren song. Poverty 
and degradation here, for the sake of riches and splendor 
hereafter, has been a source of great evil, retarding enter- 
prise, encouraging indolence and mendicancy. Its influ- 
ence has been most pernicious. 

47. The Bible is inferior to many works which men 
have perfected. It has been produced since the pyramids 
of Egypt were builded, since the Sphinx was executed, 
since the Obelisk was erected — which is cut from a single 
stone, weighs three hundred tons, and is still standing — 
since the colossus of Ramses II., which weighs nine hun- 
dred tons, was constructed: long since the construction of 
the monolithic temple weighing five thousand tons de- 
scribed by Herodotus, the one immense stone of which it is 
made having been transported, no one knows how, the 
whde length of the valley of the Nile to its delta; since 
the sculpture, bas-reliefs, obelisks, monuments, and tem- 
ples with the most elaborate inscriptions, which were ex- 
ecuted more than thirt5^-five centuries ago. These works 
were performed by men, and they certainly were far more 
difficult of accomplishment, and would seem to need the 



THE HUMPHBET-BENNETT DISCUSSION". 443 

aid of the gods far more than the writing of tlie tedious 
details, the fllttiy stories, and the questionable history of 
the Bible. Why not as well insist that the gods or a god 
helped them to perform those stupendous works as to force 
us to acknowledge that a god must have assisted the writers 
of the Jewish Scriptures ? 

48. The greater portions of the Bible were undoubtedly 
written since the Institutes of Menu were penned, since the 
voluminous Yedas and Puranas were written, since the 
grand teachings of Zoroaster and the Avesta were committed 
to parchment; long since the cuneiform inscriptions of 
Nineveh and Assyria were executed; since many of the 
sacred writings and inscriptions of Egypt were produced; 
about the time, perhaps, of the Indian saint, Buddha, 
and the wonderful sayings he uttered, and the grand old 
Chinese philosopher, Confucius, with his eminently practi- 
cal and useful precepts and morals. All these were written 
by men, and you will hardly claim that Jehovah had 
anything to do with them; and as they are, in point of 
ability, purity, and grandeur, equal, and more than equal, 
to the Jehovistic sacred writings, it is preposterous to insist 
that these could not have also have been written by men. 

49. The Bible is an advocate and supporter of kings and 
tyrants. It recognizes the divine right of kings to rule over 
the masses of the people, who are required to render im- 
plicit obedience and to be nothing more nor less than slaves. 
It does not introduce nor advocate the republican and 
higher forms of government, which, as civilization and 
intelligence advance in the world, are found to be vastly 
better for the masses of men than monarchy and tyranny. 
The God of the Bible was little more than a big king or 
despot who, with an arbitrary power, led his hosts, and 
proudly tyrannized over a nation of slaves. 

50. The Bible establishes and sustains a privileged class, 
a divine aristocracy which has ever been a most oppressive 
burden to mankind. I mean the priesthood. One twelfth 



444 THE HTTMPHRET-BENNETT DISCUSSIOl^. 

of the men of Israel were set apart to be priests to the 
other eleven parts. They performed no manual labor, bu^. 
served in the sanctuary or temple, and performed divine 
ceremonies, such as slaying the bullocks, rams, and he- 
goats used for sacrifice (very likely thev helped to eat them, 
too), together with making peace offerings, offerings of 
prayer and praise, and attending to the various celestial 
affairs of like character. For these very important services 
they were granted an immunity from toil, and were sup- 
ported in an easy, idle life. One tenth of the products of 
the labor of the entire people had to be paid in to support 
this privileged class, and the masses were required to look 
up to theiu and revere them almost as though they were 
little gods. Priestcraft has ever been an onerous burden 
upon the backs of the people. Priests have ever been an 
unproducing, idle class of ecclesiastical aristocrats for 
whom the laboring people have been compelled to toil. 
The priests, in all systems of religion, have claimed that 
they knew more about the gods, the devils, and their wills 
and purposes, than all the world beside, and have claimed 
to be able to act as mediators between the gods and the 
people, that they had great influence at the cowrts of the 
gods, that they could influence them with their prayers and 
placate them by their adoration, their praise and their offer- 
ings. The people have for thousands of years been fools 
enough to believe these representations, and to think they 
must have priests to perform their business with the gods 
for them to tell the gods what the people wanted, and to tell 
the people the will of the gods toward them and what they 
required of them. For performing this heavenly broker- 
age business, for thus acting as go betweens to and from the 
gods and their vassajs, the priests have made an extremely 
good thing of it. They have lived upon the fat of the land, 
they have dressed in the finest of linen, broadcloth and 
costly furs, they have received a great amount of reverence, 
and thousands of exquisite favors have been granted them 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 415 

by the female portion of their flocks which 3^ou prefer I 
should not allude to, and all this without blistering t':eir 
hands, without soiling their fine garments, or without caus- 
ing the perspiration to start from their brows. They have 
been par excellence, the celestial arif-tocracy here below, and 
to prove that they were entitled to all the honors bestowed 
upon them they claim they have a commission from the 
throne above the clouds. Though they have been liberally 
rewarded for their very valuable services, they have not 
proved to be always useful or always harmless. They 
have been extremely busy and extremely officious. They 
have instigated many theological dissensions among men ; 
they have raised many ecclesiastical points and formulated 
many new creeds which they have required the people to 
accept. Nor have they been willing to keep out of the 
political field. They have instigated countless quarrels, 
embroglios, contests, wars and caused incalculable blood- 
shed. O yes, they have been a very costly luxury to poor 
credulous mankind, and I cannot think a kind, heavenly 
Father, full of kindness, love and compassion, whom you 
tell us sits upon his throne a little way above the clouds, 
keeping his loving and benignant eye always upon us, 
would ever have devised or countenanced such an institu- 
tion as the priesthood. It is wholly of human origin. 

I have thus given you my fifty-stranded cable of reasons 
why the Bible should not be regarded as the production of 
the Supreme Power of the Universe in place of your ten- 
stranded cable. I modestly think my strands are at least 
five times as strong, individually, as yours, and as there are 
five times as many of them, my cable, mathematically 
speaking, must be two hundred and fifty times as strong 
as yours! The relative difference between the two is un- 
doubtedly as great as that — as thousands are daily coming 
to see. The book which so many have made a fetish of 
and worshiped almost precisely as fetish worshipers used 
to worship their idols, is being daily more and more under- 



i46 TttE nu?.rPH"REY-"BENNETT DTSCTTS5T0K. 

stood in its true character. It is becoming widelj'- compre- 
hended that it is a book entirely of human production, and 
manufactured, as all other books are, and that it exhibits no 
metre marks of divinity than any other book. Let me here 
give one more somewhat extended quotation from Col. R. 
G. Ingersoll, whom, I am sorry to notice, you regard with 
little favor: 

"According to theologians, God, the father of us all, 
wrote a letter to his children. The children have always 
differed somewhat as to the meaning of this letter. In con- 
sequence of these honest differences, the=e brothers began 
to cut out each other's hearts. In every land where this 
letter from God has been read the children to whom and 
for whom it was written have been filled with hatred and 
malice. They have imprisoned and murdered each other, 
and the wives and children of each other. In the name of 
God every possible crime has been committed, every con- 
ceivable outrage has been perpetrated. Brave men, tender 
and loving women, beautiful girls, and prattling babes 
have been exterminated in the name of Jesus Christ. For 
more than fifty generations the Church has carried the black 
flag. Her vengeance has been measured only by her power. 
During all these years of infamy no heretic has ever been 
forgiven. With the heart of a fiend she has hated ; with 
the clutch of avarice she has grasped ; with the jaws of a 
dragon she has devoured; pitiless as famine, merciless as 
fire, with the conscience of a serpent. Such is the history 
of the Church of God. 

" I do not say, and I do not believe, that Christians are as 
bad as their creeds. In spite of church and dogma, there 
have been millions and millions of men and women true 
to the loftiest and most generous promptings of the human 
heart. They have bfeen true to their convictions, and with 
a self-denial and fortitude excelled by none, have labored 
•and suffered for the salvation of men. Imbued with the 
spirit of self-sacrifice, believing that by personal effort they 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 447 

could rescue at least a few souls from the infinite shadow 
of hell, they have cheerfully endured every hardship and 
scorned every dacger. And yet, notwithstanding all 
this, they believed that honest error was a crime. They 
knew that the Bible so declared, and they believed that all 
unbelievers would be eternally lost. They believed that re- 
ligion was of God and all heresy of the Devil. They killed 
heretics in defense of their own souls and the souls of their 
children. They killed them because, according to their 
idea, they were the enemies of God, and because the Bible 
teaches that the blood of the unbeliever is a most accept- 
able sacrifice to heaven. 

"Nature never prompted a loving mother to throw her 
child into the Ganges. Nature never prompted men to ex- 
terminate each other for a difference of opinion concerning 
the baptism of infant?. These crimes have been produced 
by religions filled with all that is illogical, cruel and hide- 
ous. These religions were produced for the most part by 
ignorance, tyranny and hypocrisy. Under the impression 
that the infinite ruler and creator of the Universe had com- 
manded the destruction of heretics and Infidels, the Church 
perpetrated all these crimes. 

"Men and women have been burned for thinking there 
is but one God ; that there was none ; that the Holy Ghost 
is younger than God ; that God was somewhat older than 
his Son ; for insisting that good works will save a man, 
without faith ; that faith will do without good works ; for 
declaring that a sweet babe will not be burned eternally 
because its parents failed to have its head wet by a priest, ; 
for speaking of God as though he had a nose ; for denying 
, that Christ was his own father ; for coiatending that three 
persons, rightly added together, make more than one ; for 
believing in purgatory; for denying the reality of hell ; for 
pretending that priests can forgive sins ; for preaching that 
God is an essence ; for denying that witches rode through 
the air on sticks ; for doubting the total depravity of the 



448 THE HUMrHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

human heart ; for laughing- at irresistible grace, predestina- 
tion and particular redemption ; for denying that good 
bread could be made of the body of a dead man ; for pre- 
tending^- that the Pope was not managing this -world for 
God, and in place of God ; for disputing the efficacy of a 
vicarious atonement ; for thinking that the Virgin Mary 
•was born like other people ; for thinking that a man's rib 
was hardly sufficient to make a good sized woman ; for 
denying that God used his finger for a pen ; for asserting 
that prayers are not answered, that diseases are not sent to 
punisli unbelief ; for denying the authority of the Bible ; 
for having a Bible in their possession ; for attending mass, 
and for refusing to attend ; for wearing a surplice ; for car- 
rying a cross, and for refusing ; for being a Catholic, and 
for being a Protestant, for being an Episcopalian, a Presby- 
terian, a Baptist, and for being a Quaker. In short, every 
virtue has been a crime, and every crime a virtue. The 
Church has burned honesty and rewarded hypocrisy, and 
all this, because it was commanded by a book — a book 
that men had been taught implicitly to believe, long be- 
fore they knew one word that was in it. They had been 
taught that to doubt the truth of this book, to examine it, 
even, was a crime of such enormity that it could not be 
forgiven, either in this world or in the next. 

" The Bible was the real persecutor. The Bible burned 
heretics, built dungeons, founded the Inquisition, and tram- 
pled upon all the liberties of men. 

*' How long, O how long will mankind worship a book? 
How long will they grovel in the dust before the ignorant 
legends of the barbaric past ? How long, O how long 
will they pursue phantoms in a darkness deeper than 
death ?" 

With your usual accuracy you say: "Such words as 
seething^ roasting, smd frying belong exclusively to the Infidel 
vocabulary." Allow me once more to correct you. They 
legitimately belong to the theory of countless millions of 



1?HE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 440 

people being submerged in the lake of eternal fire and brim- 
stone in which you so fondly believe. If the unfortunate 
wretches cast in the burning lake will not seetlie, roast and 
fry^ pray what is the reason, and where is the wrong in 
usiug the terms? But, to show you that these words do 
not belong exclusively to the " Infidel vocabulary," permit 
me to make a few quotations from strictly orthodox sources 
upon your favorite theme, " Hell and Damnation": 

In Baxter's " Saint's Rest" he thus rapturously addresses 
himself to sinners: ** Your torment shall be universal. . 
. . The soul and the body shall each have its torments. 
The guilt of their sins shall be to damned souls like 
the tinder to gunpowder, to make the flames of hell take 
hold of them with fury. . . . The eyes shall be tor- 
tured with sights of horror, and hosts of devils and 
damned souls. The ears shall be tortured with the bowl- 
ings and curses of their companions in torments. Their 
smell shall be tortured with the fumes of brimstone, and 
the liquid mass of eternal fire shall prey upon every part. . 
. No drop of water shall be allowed to cool their tongues; 
no moment of respite peimitted to relieve their agonies." 

The saintly Bunyan gives this delectable picture: "All 
the devils in hell will be with thee howling and roaring, 
screeching and yelling in such a hideous manner that thou 
wilt be at thy wits' end, and be ready to run stark mad 
again from anguish and torment. . . . Here thou must 
lie and fry, and scorch, and broil, and burn for evermore." 

An evangelical poet, catching the fiery refrain, thus 
sweetly sings: 

" Clattering of iron, and the clank of chains ; 
The clang of lashing whips, shrill shrieks and groans. 
Loud, ceaseless bowlings, cries, and piercing moans. 
Meanwhile, as if but light were all their pain. 
Legions of devils, bound themselves in chains. 
Tormented and tormentors, o'er them shake, 
Thongs and forked iron in the burning lake. 



450 THE BrtTMPHREY-BKNNETT DISCUSSION. 

Belching eternal flames, and wr^^athed with spires 
Of curllni? serpents, rouse the brimstone fires. 
With whips of fiery scorpions scourge their slaves. 
And in their faces dash the livid waves." 

The Rev. Mr. Benson, a prominent Methodist commen- 
tator of England, uses this language : 

'* Infinite justice arrests their guilty souls and confines 
them in the dark prisons of hell, till they have satisfied all 
the demands by their personal sufferings, v^^hich, alas ! they 
never can do. . . . God is present in hell in his infinite 
justice and almighty wrath as an unquenchable sea of 
liquid fire, where the wicked must drink in everlasting tor- 
ture. His fiery indignation kindles and his incensed fury 
feeds the flame of their torment, while his powerful pres- 
ence and operation maintain their being and render all 
their powtrs most acutely sensible, thus setting the keenest 
edge upon their pain, and making it cut most intolerably deep. 
He will exert all his divine attributes to make them as 
wretched as the capacity of their natures will admit. . . 
Number the stars in the firmament, the drops of rain, the 
sands on the sea shore, and when thou hast finished the 
calculation, sit down and number all the ages of woe. Let 
every star, every drop, every grain of sand, represent one 
million of tormenting ages ; and know that as many more 
millions still remain behind them, and so on without end." 

The Rev. Mr. Ambrose, in a sermon on Dooms-day, drew 
this picture : 

"When the damned have drunken down whole draughts 
of brimstone one day, they must do the same another day. 
The eye shall be tormented with the sight of devils ; the 
ears with the hideous yellings and outcries of the damned 
inflames ; the nostrils shall be smothered, as it were, with 
brimstone ; the tongue, the hand, the foot and every part 
shall fry inflames.'* 

This delicate delineation of the loveliness of hell is from 
the pen of the Rev. J. Furniss, C. S. R. R., and was pub- 



TfiE nUMPHRET-BBNNKTT DISCtJSSION. 451 

lished by authority in England, and was pfert of the 
instruction designed for the young: 

"We know how far it is to the middle of the earth; it is 
just four thousand miles; so if hell is in the middle of the 
earth, it is four thousand miles to the horrible prison of 
hell. Down in this place is a terrific noise. Listen to the 
tremendous, the horrible uproar of millions and millions 
and millions of tormented creatures, mad with the fury 
of hell! Oh, the screams of fear, the groanings of horror, 
the yells of rage, the cries of pain, the shouts of agony, 
the shrieks of despair, from millions on millions ! There 
you hear them roaring like lions, hissing like serpents, 
howling like dogs, and wailing like dragons. There you 
hear the gnashing of teeth and the fearful blasphemies 
of the devils. Above all, you hear the roaring of the 
thunders of God's anger, which shakes hell to its founda- 
tions. But there is another sound. There is in hell a 
sound like that of many waters. It is as if all the rivers 
and oceans of the world were pouring themselves with a 
great splash down on the floor of hell. Is it, then, really 
the sound of waters ? It is. Are the rivers and oceans of 
the earth pouring themselves into hell ? No. What is 
it, then ? It is the sound of oceans of tears running down 
from countless millions of eyes. They cry forever and 
ever. They cry because the sulphurous smoke torments 
their eyes. They cry because they are in darkness. 
They cry because they have lost the beautiful heaven. 
They cry because the sharp fire burns them. . . . The 
roof is red hot; the walls are red hot; the floor as like a 
thick sheet of red hot iron. See, on the middle of that red 
h©t iron floor stands a girl. She looks about sixteen 
years of age. She has neither shoes nor stockings on 
her feet, 'i'he door of this room has never been opened 
since she first set her feet on this red hot floor. Now she 
sees the door opening. She rushes forward. She has 
gone down upon her knees upon the red hot floor. Listen, 



453 THE ntnVfPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

she speaks. She says: 'I have been standing with my 
bare feet on this red floor for years. Day and night my 
only standing place has been this red hot floor. Sleep 
never came to me for a moment, that I might forget this 
horrible burning floor. Look at my burnt and bleeding 
feet. Let me go off this burning floor for one moment- 
only for a short moment. Oh, that in this endlesss eternity 
of years, I might forget the pain only for one single mo- 
ment.' The Devil answers her question. 'Do you ask 
for a moment — for one moment to forget your pain ? No, 
not for one single moment during the never-ending eter- 
nity of years shall you ever leave this red hot floor." 

I am aware, Bro. Humphrey, of your fondness for this 
kind of literature, and I would gladly favor you with many 
other choice extracts of the same kind which I have in 
my possession, but a feeling of mercy for our readers 
prompts me to desist. I will furnish you much more of the 
same kind of interesting reading matter at any time you 
wish it. It is a beautiful picture, is it not ? How can any- 
body help loving a religion which has such a hell and loving 
a God capable of getting it all up? I trust I have convinced 
you that the words seething, roasting ?ind frying do not be- 
long exclusively to the " Infidel vocabulary." 

In alluding to your personal experience, you say that the 
more you make yourself acquainted with the contents of 
the Bible, the more astonished you become at the same; 
t'nat it is a perennial fountain to your soul; that you rise 
from it ready to say, like Jacob at Bethel, " How dreadful 
is this place. This is none other than the house of God, 
and this is the gate of heaven "; that you " find it a feast 
both for the intellect and for the heart. It is as full of wis- 
dom as a father's counsel, and as full of affection as a 
mother's bosom." I cannot but be struck with the differ- 
ent effects that it produces upon you and myself. It does 
not make me feel that way at all. It awakens no special 
fervor in my breast, and does not enthuse me " worth a 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 453 

cent." Looking upon it as I would upon any other book, 
wholly man-made, it fails to arouse my religious feelings. 
I presume you feel very much the same, when you 
read that old book, as does the Brahmin when he reads 
his Vedas, the Buddhist when he pores over the sacred 
inculcations of Sayka-Muni, the Parsee when he peruses 
the maxims and precepts of Zoroaster, the Chinese when 
he reads the excellent sayings of Confucius, the Moham- 
medan when he rises from the Koran, and the Mormon 
when he has filled his soul from the fountain of the 
Mormon Bible, the plates of which the prophet, Joe Smith, 
asserted that he obtained in a miraculous manner, but 
which were really an unpublished romance written in Bible 
style by an ex-Methodist preacher named Spaulding. I 
look upon you as occupying the same mental plane as they, 
and I regard you all as being equally in error concerning 
the divine afflatus which you severally imagine you draw 
from your sacred bibles. I only hope that you may all 
learn to look to the truths of Nature for guidance, and dis- 
card all superstitions and antiquated myths. 

I am a trifle amused at your efforts to prove the existence 
of God from the "bumps" on a man's head. If the cen- 
tral portion of the head being high proves a God, does not 
being full over and back of the ears also prove a Devil ? 
Is it not rather a weak conception that the shape of men's 
skulls make the slightest difference with the existence or 
nonexistence of a divine being ? If there are more men 
with low heads than high ones, would not the majority be 
against your God, and would he not be ruled out ? If God 
has no place to exist except in men's skulls, is it not about 
time that he stepped down and out? Possibly God exists 
only to those with large organs of veneration, while to 
those who are small in that region he does not exist at all, 
or rather that the only existence that imaginary being has 
is in the whims and fancies of men and women. 

The question of the existence of a God does not legiti- 



454 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSIOH. ' 

mately belong in this discussion, but as it has been intro- 
duced, and you devote considerable space to the subject, 1 
will consider it for a few moments. You say, " let us begin 
at the beginning." That is very well ; but v< here is the 
beginniDg ? When was it ? Before we begin at the begin- 
ning, is it not well to be sure there was a beginning ? You 
say, too, "It is self-evident that something muitt have ex- 
isted from eternity." How about the beginning of that 
something that has ever existed ? Did it have a beginning ? 
Did eternity have a beginning ? Did space have a be jin- 
nicg ? Of course not, and it will be impossible to find their 
beginning to begin at. 

I accept it as a self-evident proposition that someViing can- 
not come from nothing. All the gods that men ever dreamed 
of could not make something of nothing. As Ingersoll 
says, " Nothing, considered in the light of a raw material, is 
a most decided failure." By no process that has ever been 
discovered, can nothing be converted into something. By 
all the skill which the world has possessed not one grain of 
matter has ever been destroyed, not one grain has ever 
been created. From these premises it is very easy to arrive 
at the conclusion that whatever exists to-day ever did exist 
in some form, for it is, we see, totally impossible to speak 
or create or evolve something from nothing. Matter may 
pass through interminable changes and tr;iusformations, 
but it can neither be increased nor lessened. 

You speak of Force and make an effort to connect it 
somehow, mysteriously, with your Deity. Force is a con- 
comitant, an integral part, an eternal attendant upon Mat- 
ter. There can be no Force wiihout Matter^ and equally no 
Matter without lorce. These are in certain degrees con- 
vertible one into the other. We well know that matter 
contains latent force, and that the forces in the Universe 
unite in organizing matter in comparatively solid form. 
All matter by the agency of force is susceptible of taking 
tlie etherial forms, and all etherial forms, by the aid 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 45o 

of force and chemical affinity, are capable of taking solid 
forms. All matter is charged with force or life. There 
is no inert matter, there is no dead matter. Life and 
force exist everywhere where matter is, and matter in some 
form exists everywhere where space is. Matter or sub- 
stance is as infinite as space or eternity, and had a beginning 
just as much and no more. Force is as beginningless as 
matter. Neither could have begun ; neither can end. 

These being accepted as truths, and truths I verily 
believe them to be, there is little chance of your supernat- 
ural, personal, anthropomorphic, Jewish God with parts 
and organs — necessarily occupying but a single point in tbe 
Universe at a given time — ever coming in-to existence ; and 
there is absolutely no office for him to fill, no place for him 
to occupy, nothing for him to do. All the forces that 
now exist in the Universe ever did exist, and they acted as 
perfectly decillions of ages ago as they do to-day. In view 
of these grand conceptions, how crude, how weak and 
puerile is the idea that the Jewish Jehovah is superior to 
them all, and, six thousand years ago, spoke the boundless 
Universe into existence from nothingl Tliis is undoubtedly 
one of the most baseless vagaries ever indulged in by the 
human mind. To my conception it is vastly grander and 
vastly truer to accept the great fact that the glorious Uni- 
verse, with all its intricacies, all its potencies, all its possi- 
bilities, all its ever-changing forms and forces, ever existed 
in perfection as it exists to-day, than the childish belief that 
a few thousand years ago it was somehow brought into exist- 
ence by a deity in the form of a big man who had passed 
countless eons somewhere or nowhere, surrounded hynoihlng^ 
and reposing in perfect idleness. For me, I repeat, it is much 
easier to accept the fact that the Universe ever existed, with 
all its substance and all its^ force, than to admit the eternal ex- 
istence of a god capable of devising and speaking it all into 
existence, or bringing it from non-cxistencc If we admit 
that substance always existed, we may as well go a little far^ 



456 TFK HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

ther and admit that force and its immutable laws also 
always existed. 

You speak of Miud, of its inherent laws, etc., and seem 
to think it has a domain and an existence apart from the 
Universe. Nothing, to my view, can be more erroneous. 
Mind belongs to the Universe, and is simply a function of 
organized matter, the same as any other faculty or function 
of the body. It has no domain by itself, no separate ex- 
istence. There is not a particle of proof that mind or 
intellect has ever existed except as produced by an organ- 
ization adapted to its production. Mind or thought is only 
generated through the medium of the brain and nervous 
system, the same as the sight is produced by the eye and 
optic nerves, hearing by the mechanism of the ear and the 
auricular nerves, and muscular strength by the muscles, 
tendons, etc. These are all equally sustained by the food 
taken into tLe stomach, and when digested and assimilated 
pass into chyme and chyle, and by means of the circula- 
tory apparatus are carried over the entire system. When a 
man recuperates his stomach with a healthy meal, digestion 
at once begins, and the latent force in the food is assimilated 
and imparted to physical functions, and whecher he walks 
twenty miles, chops a cord of wood, carries three tons of 
coal up as many flights of stairs, or works ten hours at writ- 
ing or other mental labor, the process that goes on in his 
organization is much the same; the food that has been 
eaten and digested goes to suppl}^ the waste that is 
produced by the effort made, be it physical or mental, and 
if this effort is continued and the wr.ste is kept up, addi- 
tional food from time to time must be taken. If the 
food is shut off the man cannot continue to walk, he can- 
not continue to chop wood nor carry up coal, and equally 
impossible will it be for him to continue his mental labor. 
Our thoughts are just as much the result of the food we cat 
as is our muscular strength or any other function of our 
organization. Truly has it been said that the finest poems 



THB HUMPHBET-BSNNSTT DI8CUS8IOH, 457 

and dramas that have ever been written are simply well- 
digested and well-assimilated meat, bread, and potatoes. 
With a good organization and proper food, good thoughts 
can be produced, and without them they cannot be. There 
is no existing proof, I repeat, of any thoughts, any mind, 
any intellect, unless it is produced by an organization 
adapted to the purpose. A Great Central Intellect, a vast 
fountain of mind, is equally absurd as to talk about a great 
ocean of sight, a central fountain of hearing, a grand reser- 
voir of taste, or a general storehouse of muscular strength. 
All are alike the production of organization, and can exist 
in no other way. 

Intelligence is found in lesser or greater degree in every 
form of animal life, and always in proportion to the organi- 
zation which produces it; and possibly in a still more lim- 
ited degree in vegetable life. The Jelly-fish is a very low 
form of life, and it has a very low grade of intellect, but it is 
sufficient to serve its purpose in taking its food and in fill- 
ing its humble sphere of existence. The oyster leads a 
very secluded life. It has little brain or nervous system, 
and consequently has but little intellect, but it has some, 
and it is exactly in keeping with its organization, and as it 
is sufficient to lead it to take the food necessary to its sub- 
sistence and to close its castle-gate when danger approaches, 
it is sufficient to subserve its purpose. As we rise in the 
scale of animal life through the articulates, the vertebrata, 
the quadrupeds, the mammals, up to man, we find that the 
intellect increases as the organization is more perfect, and 
that the mind of the animal is always in exact proportion 
to the character of organization. We notice that bees, 
ants, rats, foxes, dogs, horses, elephants and many other 
animals have minds much better developed than have the 
cruder animals, and it is wholly because they have better 
brains and nervous organizations. They would all reason 
as well as men if their mental organizations were as per- 
fect, There is great difference in the intellect of different 



458 THE HTJMPHRET-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

men and women, but apart from culture and training, it is 
wholly the difference in organization tliat mades the differ- 
ence in the mind. A.S there are no two organizations just 
alike, so no two minds are ever found to be alike. If the 
mind is a mere spark from the great fountain of eternal 
mind, as the theologian supposes, it is probable there Vv'ould 
be far more similarity in the minds of men than we find to 
be the case. The organizations perpetually vary, and 
equally the minds must ever be unlike. 

I will also assume the responsibility of saying there is no 
proof in existence of any deity, god, power or force out- 
side of the Universe, and until such proof is found it ap- 
pears to be the height of absurdity for theologians to per- 
sist in asserting that there is such force or deity. It may 
be very true, that "the fool hath said in his heart, there is 
no God," but he is equally a fool when he asserts dogmatic- 
ally, with his lips or with his pen, that there is a Ood. All 
the substance, the powers and forces, I again repeat, that 
have an existence belong to the Universe and are parts of 
it, and there is n'ot the first particle of proof of any supei- 
natural power or of any force superior to, or outside of 
the Universe. All the powers and forces, I said, that exist . 
to-day have ever existed in some form, and there is no 
possibility of matter or force being spoken into existence 
by a power or a person outside of it, there is nothing above 
it, there is nothing below it. It embraces all substance, all 
force, all space and all existence, it is the all in all. A 
beginning of the Universe is utterly incomprehensible. The 
beginning of a god is far less absurd, for we know thou- 
sands of them have had beginnings and ends. 

You say, "It is self-evident that something must have 
existed from eternity," and I regard that as one of the most 
sensible utterances in your entire letter. It seems the most 
rational conclusion an intelligent being can come to. If it 
is true that something cannot come from nothing^ it is the 
only conclusion that can be arrived at. If, then, we have 



THE HTTMPHRHT B3NNETT DISCUSSION. 4.j9 

got SO far along as to understand that something must have 
existed from eternity, it is equally easy to comprehend 
that all matter or all something has existed from eternity. 
If you admit that anything has existed from eternity, it is 
but a step further — and a very reasonable one to take — to 
conclude that everything has existed from eternity. It is 
far easier for the mind to admit that everything has ever 
existed than to think that but a part of it, called God, has 
ever existed, and he or it made the remainder from nothing. 

You, as other theologians do, attach great importance to 
the design argument in proof of the existence of a God, and 
perhaps it is the best proof you have; but it really amounts 
to nothing, for, you know, The proposition that proves too 
much proves nothing. If the design that is shown, or is ap- 
parent, in the Universe proves that it was designed and 
created, it also proves that the designer, necessarily supe- 
rior to the Universe in every particular, and much fuller of 
design and wonderful adaptability — must likewise have 
had a designer ; and then you may imagine designers of 
designers and creators of creators, until your mind is bewil- 
dered and perfectly lost. Do you not see that when you 
start out with the proposition that whatever possesses 
adaptability, fitness, design, potency and power must have 
had a creator having all these qualities in a superior degree 
to the thing created, that that creator must also have had a 
creator ? And, reasoning in this way, where will you 
stop? You may go on forever getting up gods, creators of 
universes, and gods, creators of gods I 

There are some things, or qualities, which, as you can 
easily imagine, were never designed, were never invent- 
ed, never had a beginning. Among these may be men- 
tioned time, space, the fact that two units are twice as 
many as one, that between two hills there must be a valley, 
that a straight rod four feet long must have two ends, that 
a three-year-old child cannot become three years old in a 
minute. There are thousands of other similar truisms, 



460 THE HmrPHmET-BSITKETT DMCUSSIOW. 

which, you will readily admit, were never "designed." 
They necessarily have an eternal existence. So, in fact, 
it is with every truth, every principle, every fact in the 
Universe; they were never designed, they were never in- 
vented, they ever existed. You say, "the argument from 
design is absolutely conclusive." Nothing of the kind. It 
just proves nothing at all ; and the more the operations of 
the Universe are investigated, the more it will be under- 
stood, that the Universe works to no design, and operations 
and events are as they are, because they can be no other 
way. You flippantly use the word chance^ and insinuate 
that the Universe is a chance affair. Nothing is more ab- 
surd, and you ought to fully understand it. There is no 
chance in the operations of the Universe. Causes and 
effects are inevitable and unalterable. There is no chanct 
about it. It is your God who is a cZiawc6-God. By chance 
he took a notion to make the Universe after he had spent 
an eternity in inactivity; by chance he made man and 
woman so that they fell and spoiled his job at the very first 
temptation ; by chance he made a devil that has ever since 
circumvented him ; by chance he selected a race of people 
as his special favorites whom he could not control ; by 
chance he made men so sinful that he had to drown out the 
world ; by chance the world got so full of sin that he was 
obliged to to come down himself to earth and be crucified 
to appease his own anger, and by chance he has miserably 
managed all his complicated affairs ever since. Talk no 
more about chance, unless it is in connection with your 
own chance-God. 

If you can comprehend the truth that there are natural 
causes only, and that every event that has ever taken place 
was the result of a natural cause sufficient to produce it, 
you will be able to understand not only that no supernat- 
ural cause or causes are necessary, but that a design was 
also out of the question. 

You imagine you see in every form of life an intricate 



tSB SUMPHRBY-BENrHETT DISCUSSION. 461 

design, but it is in imagination only. Every production of 
the Universe, as I said, has been the result of natural causes 
and not of supernatural causes. Every organ and function 
of the animal kingdom has resulted from the forces of 
nature and the environments of the animal. Take' the 
organ of the eye for instance. It is an intricate piece of 
machinery, and probably shows as great a degree of design 
as anything in existence. But distinguished biologists tell 
us that the eye is wholly the result of natural causes, and 
was produced by the rays of the sun in connection with a 
perfect nervous system. All animals with comparatively 
perfect nervous systems and who live in the sunshine have 
eyes more or less perfectly developed. Such animals as 
have no nervous system or live permanently where there 
is no sunlight have no eyes. In the lower forms of animal 
life the eye was preceded by prehensiles or feelers which 
acted in part as eyes. In the evolution of animal life, and by 
the influence of the sun's rays, the prehensiles gradually 
shortened and perfected until a perfect eye was produced. 
It was the natural forces which produced this change, and 
not the superndkiwx^l. 

It is well known that if animals are kept permanently 
from the action of the sun's rays the nerves of the eye be- 
come atrophied, paralyzed, or useless, and the eye is 
destroyed, as in the case of the fishes taken from the Mam- 
moth Cave of Kentucky, where for generations they had 
existed in darkness. They had spots on the head that 
looked like eyes, but they were not eyes; the fish were as 
blind at one end as at the other. When those fish were 
exposed to the rays of the sun for an extended time the 
eye was gradually re-created and the sight reproduced. 
There was no superDatuml power here, no God; neither in 
the original production, the loss of the eye, nor its repro- 
duction. God had just as much to do with it in one case 
as in the other. 

You doubtless have read of the cases of the unfortunate 



463 THE HUMPHHEY-DKNNETr DISGtJSStoN. 

victims of religious persecution which Napoleon's aimj set 
at liberty from the Roman Inquisition. Some of them had 
been kept in dungeons and dark prisons for thirty or forty 
years, during which their organizations had slowly adapted 
themselves to surrounding conditions, and they could see a 
little in the darkness of their confinement, but when 
brought into the full light of the sun th 2 rays were too 
powerful and they were made utterly blind. Now, God 
had just as much to do with destroying their sight as he 
had with immuring them in the dungeons of the Inquisi- 
tion, and he had as much to do with that as he had with 
designing their eyes. Very much is laid to his charge that 
he is just as innocent of as are you and I. 

Nearly a century ago James Hutton of Scotland, a gen- 
tleman of deep reasoning, and a member, by the by, of the 
Presbyterian Church, gave much thought and attention to 
the secondary rocks. He was the first to advi^nce the the- 
ory that rocks were formed under the ocean where the great 
weight of the water prevented the volatile portions from 
escaping from the effects of the great heat which prevailed 
there, and that from the combined igneous and aqueous 
agencies the secondary rocks were prcduced, long before 
man existed on the earth. The theory startled Europe and 
it was soon discovered that Hutton had unwittingly dis- 
posed of God and made the Uiaiverse perform what had 
been attributed to God. The theory was so damaging to 
theology that Hutton was thrown into disgrace. His wife 
left him because he was an Atheist. The Church and his 
friends discarded him. Like a hero, however, he retained 
his views, but undoubtedly the severe frigidity with which 
he was treated shortened his days. But af ler his death, 
James Hall, a chemist, made a series of experiments with 
his crucible and retort and demonstrated beyond doubt 
that Hutton was correct. Though the rocks were subject- 
ed to ever so high a heat, if the gaseous parts were by 
pressure prevented from escaping, a new union would take 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 463 

place, with marble and other rocks as the result.' Hutton's 
speculations have ripened into a settled scientific theory, and 
his views are accepted by all the learned scientists of the 
day, though they entirely dispense with the services of a 
god in forming the rocks which compose the crust of the 
earth. The more scientists investigate these subjects, the 
more do they find natural causes equal to all emergencies, 
and that there is no room for a God in the Universe, and 
nothing for him to do. 

With Tyndall I believe the Universe— or matter— pos- 
sesses all the power and potencies to perform all the results 
that take place, and that no outside agency is necessary or 
possible. In this regard you wrong Tyndall and others. 
He believes in no supernatural God that is in opposition to 
the laws of the Universe, and operates outside of or above 
them. There is hardly a first-class scientist of the day 
who believes in a power, force or deity without the Uni- 
verse. They believe that the Universe contains all the 
substance and all the forces that have an existence. 

You speak some three different times about the ape being 
an Atheist, and assume that the nearer a man is to an ape 
the more likely he is to be an Atheist. As usual, you are 
entirely wrong. You know nothing about the ape being an 
Atheist. He probably neither believes in a God nor disbe- 
lieves in one. But this we do know, the farther back we 
trace man to his primitive condition, but a remove from 
the animal kingdom, the more we find he believed in gods. 
He located bad gods and good gods in every department of 
Nature — in the storm, in the lightning, in the winds, in the 
heat, in the cold, in light and in darkness, and in every 
element and condition, but as he has advanced in civiliza- 
tion and intelligence, his gods have grown fewer and thin- 
ner, and at length his God has become so attenuated and 
etherial that he is wholly intangible and impalpable, and 
the nearer he comes to nothing at all and nowhere the better 
it is for all concerned. When a superstitious man becomes 



464 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSIOK. 

wholly emancipated from supernatural gods, he will have 
more time and freedom to study the laws of the Universe 
and to learn vastly more from real facts than he can ever 
know from all the myths and invented gods that the world 
has ever been cursed with. Your talk about *' inquiring at 
the office," and the necessity of ** consulting the Divine 
Scriptures " if we would be admitted into the inner courts 
of nature, is mere theological twaddle. There is nothing 
in it whatever. 

It makes but little difference what men who have pre- 
ceded us have believed upon the subject of deity. Their light 
upon this subject was in proportion to their degree of intel- 
lectual development. Those who lived fifty and one hun- 
dred years ago were no guides for you and me to be gov- 
erned by. We must investigate and decide for ourselves, 
draw our own conclusions, and be guided by our own con- 
victions. Of one thing I feel fully assured; and that is, 
that no man who has lived in years that are passed, or is 
alive at the present time, has ever been able to find a sub- 
stance, a power or force outside or independent of the 
IJDiverse, and when they have thought that they believed in 
a god, amorphous or anthropomorphic, they have entered 
entirely into the field of conjecture and speculation. 

I am well aware that men have devised Brahma, Or- 
muzd, Fohi, Osiris, Mithra, Indra, Baal, Zeus, Jupiter, 
Odin, Thor, Jehovah, Allah, Mumbo Jumbo, and countless 
other gods of more or less reputation, but I believe them 
all to be figments of the human brain, having no existence 
in any other locality. I have about the same respect for 
any one as I have for the others and as much fear of one as 
of the others. There is just as much proof that the African 
Mumbo Jumbo was the author of the Universe as that the 
Asiatic Jehovah was. Every nation and every man has a 
right to get up a god of his own, and this right has been 
very extensively exercised ; and, as I said in my last reply, 
no two gods thus ix*anufactured agree in all particulars. 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 465 

In closing let me say, I revere the glorious Universe, 
with all its powers, potencies, and pos>ibilities, some parts 
of which we can all see, (and of which we are infinitesimal 
fractions,) far more than an ideal something or nothing 
which no man has ever seen, never can see, knows nothing 
about and never can know anything about. Yes, I venerate 
the grand, infinite, powerful, ever-prevalent Universe, far 
more than I do the old Jewish divinty who, as has been 
quaintly described, was "one who raised up enemies that 
he nught conquer them — made promises that he might 
break them — caused moral diseases that he might cure them 
— who permitted his favorite people to go after other gods 
that he might butcher them. A God who was before time 
was; cogitated before there was anything to cogitate about; 
who made the Universe before there was anything to make 
it of, and did before there was anything to do. A God 
who formed man in his own image, though his own image 
had no form; created an author of evil, though not himself 
the author of any evil; who caused his children to commit 
the most abominable crimes, and suffer the intensest ago- 
nies, though not himself the cause of either criminality or 
agony. A God who saw the work he had performed was 
very good, yet presently discovered that it was very bad; 
foreknew that man would sin, yet was indignantly aston- 
ished that he did sin ; iortknew that the forbidden fruit 
would be eaten, yet damned the whole human race because 
it was eaten. A God who, though always in all places, 
occasionally came down from heaven just to see how the 
world wagged; though always of the same opinion, occa- 
sionally changed his mind ; thouLrh in good temper fre- 
quently got into a towering passion; though always merci- 
ful to perfection, yet often murdered millions of innocent 
human beings; and though without parts, upon a particular 
occasion showed his hack parts, and on another occasion 
iii:-^ full fi4ure to some seventy-five men. 

A God so deceptive as to send upon his people "strong 



466 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

delusions " that they might believe a lie, so very silly as to 
suffer himself to be checkmated by the Devil, and so fero- 
ciously cruel that no human tyrant could ever equal him in 
monstrous severity and vengeance. A God whose presence 
would make a hell of heaven ; whose virtues are vices (Ex. 
XX, 5), whose reason would disgrace an idiot (Ex. xxi, 21), 
whose laws would shock a savage (Num. xv, 31-35), whose 
fickleness provokes derision (Jer. xv, 6), and whose whole 
character is a horrible compound, an "intense concentra- 
tion" of the worst vices which have stained the worst 
human natures (Ex. xxxii, 27 ; Ezek. xiv, 9 ; 1 Kings, xxii, 
21, 22). " He is the all-wise being who made man upright, 
but could not keep him so ; made the Devil, but could not 
control him ; made all things pure, yet could not preserve 
them from corruption ; who doomed countless millions for 
the innocent error of an individual ; destroyed by the Del- 
uge every living soul because of their wickedness, except 
three pair, who begat a second race as wicked as the first ; 
provided an eternal heaven for the fools who accept, and an 
eternal hell for the wise who reject his ' holy Gospel '; who 
after begetting himself upon somebody else, sent himself 
to be mediator between himself and everybody else ; after 
being derided, spurned, cursed, hated, laughed at, scourged, 
and nailed to the cross, got himself decently buried as pre- 
liminary to mounting once more to the right hand of him- 
self, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the 
dead, when there shall be neither quick nor dead. Whose 
history should be written in blood, for indeed it is a bloody 
history; whose name inspires disgust, for it is the name of 
an imaginary fiend, and whose religion should be univers- 
ally execrated, for it is the religion of horror." 

I have thus given a dim picture of the God. of the Jews, 
the God of the Christians, the God of the Rev. G. H. Hum- 
phrey; but not the God of D. M. Bennett. You deem it a 
great virtue to believe in your god and a great sin to believe 
in mine. Like thousands of other theologians, you heap 



tHE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 467 

odium upon me because I cannot believe in your vengeful 
personal God, a personal devil, a burning hell, and all the 
other miserable theological rubbish of which your system 
is composed, but I cannot help it. I must believe in that 
which seems reasonable and truthful to me, and can only 
wonder how you can accept that old Jewish monstrosity 
whose portrait is feebly portrayed above. I esteem my god, 
the Universe, as much superior, in every sense of the word, 
to the fickle tutelary god of the Jews as the glorious sun 
that illuminates the entire solar system is brighter that 
the tiny lightning-bug. You go on, if you choose, in still be- 
lieving your absurd superstitions, myths and fables. I can 
afford to wait patiently for the steady advance of truth 
and the further appreciation of the operations of the grand 
Universe. I am satisfied the time is surely coming when 
few sensible men will entertain the crude opinions you 
still persistently hug to your bosom, and when the truths 
of nature and reason will far transcend all belief in gods, 
devils, holy ghosts, virgin-mothers, fatherless sons, and 
every fable and myth of which theology is composed. 
Begging pardon for detaining you so long, I remain, 
Sincerely yours, D. M. Bennett. 



MR. HUMPHRBT. 

D. M. Bennett, Dear Sir : Your disquisition on Athe- 
ism is a mixed mixture of theoretical errors with his- 
torical blunders. You have epitomized Btichner pretty 
well ; but do you not know that Dr. Biichner is only 
a second-rate man among the thinkers of Germany ? 
He has done but little more for philosophy in that coun- 
try than Ingersoll has done for jurisprudence, science, 
emancipation, and Union in this. Perhaps "Dr." is as 
becoming a title for one who has added nothing to the sum- 



468 THE HUMPHRET-BENiTBTT DISCUSSION. 

total of scientific knowledge, as "Colonel "is for a man 
who was not heard of until after the War. You go out of 
your way to expatiate on Chance. Of course, you did not 
remember that this word was flr<t introduced into phi- 
losophy by the atheistic Democritus, the father of the atom- 
istic theory. You must have been speaking at random when 
you said that I '* wronged Tyndall and others." I am pre- 
pared to say that the "first-class scientists of the day" do 
" believe in a power, force, or deity without the Universe.*' 

The late Agassiz was a religious man. Perhaps you 
remember that he opened his School of natural history, on 
Penikese Island, with prayer. 

Principal Dawson, the leading geologist of Canada, 
believes in the Bible as firmly as in the white marble layers 
of the earth's crust. He has written several books to rec- 
oncile Scripture and science. 

Prof. James D. Dana, of Yale, accepts the records of 
Genesis as implicitly as those of Geology. 

Dr. Asa Gray, tj^e great botanist, concludes his Address 
before "The American Association for the Advancement 
of Science," 1872, as follows: ''Let us hope, and I confi- 
dently expect, that it is not to last ; that the religious faith 
which survived without a shock the notion of the fixedness 
of the earth itself, may equally outlast the notion of the 
absolute fixedness of the species which inhabit it ; that in 
the future, even more than in the past, faith in oi'der^ which 
is the basis of science, will not — as it cannot reasonably — 
be dissevered from faith in an Ordainer^ which is the basis 
of religion." 

Daniel Kirkwood, the eminent mathematical discoverer, 
believes in a personal God and in an exalted Christ. 

Prof. Marsh, whom Huxley complimented in his Chick- 
ering Hall Lectures, is a very firm believer in a living God. 

The Duke of Argyll, who is no mean scientist, is an 
orthodox Christian ^See his Reign of Law). 

Janet stands among the first philosophers of France; but 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 469 

he has written a book expressly to combat BUchner's teach- 
ings. 

Prof. Owen is perhaps the first comparative anatomist of 
the age ; but it is well known that he has no sympathy 
with atheistic materialism. 

Mivart is a thorough Theist, as his late work on Evolution 
shows. 

Sir Wm. Thomson says: " Overpowering proof of intel- 
ligence and benevolent design lie all around us, and if ever 
perplexities, whether metaphysical or scieiitific, turn us 
away from them for a time, they conie back to us with 
irresistible force, showing to us through nature the influ- 
ence of a free will, and teaching us that all living beings 
depend upon one ever- acting Creator and Ruler " (Address 
beioFe the British Association at its meeting in Edinburgh, 
18i?l). 

Dr. Wm. B. Carpenter has penned such sentiments as the 
following: " The Immutability of the Divine Nature is no- 
where more clearly manifested than in the continuance of the 
same mode of action— not merely through the limited period 
of Human experience, but, as we have now strong reason 
to believe (on Scientific grounds alone), from the commence- 
ment of the present system of the Universe — which enables 
us to discern somewhat of the Plan on which the Creator 
has acted, and is still acting." "A deeper scrutiny has 
shown us that the Man of Science cannot dispense with the 
notion of a Power always working throughout the Mechan- 
ism of the Universe; and that on scientific grounds alone, 
this Power may be regarded as the expression of Mind" 
(Mental Physiology, K Y., 1875, pp. 438, 691-708). 

R. A. Proctor is certainly no Atheist. His first series of 
Astronomical Lectures in this country was delivered under 
the auspices of the Young Men's Christian Association of 
New York. I find his works full of recognition of an 
Almighty God (See his Our Place among Infinities, N. 
Y., 1875, pp. 34, 38, 39, 43, 44, 312, etc.). In his last Lee- 



4^6 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

turo in Association Hall, New York, delivered Oct. 28, 
1873, he said: ** Inasmuch as the work is a study of sci- 
ence — that is to say, a knowledge of the works and 
ways of God — it cannot but lead to higher ideas of the 
wisdom and omniscience of the Almighty." 

If Tyndall is not a professed Theist, in the accepted 
sense of that word, neither is he an Atheist. His works 
betray a deeper belief in God than he is willing to avow in 
words. He nowhere asserts that Matter and only Matter 
exists, or that mere Force is sufficient to account for the 
existence and condition of the Universe. In answer to 
Napoleon's question, "Who made all these?" he says: 
"That question remains unanswered, and science makes 
no attempt to answer it. . . Science is mute in reply to 
these questions. But if the materialist is confounded and 
science rendered dumb, who else is prepared with a solu- 
tion? To whom has this arm of the Lord been revealed ? 
Let us lower our heads and acknowledge our ignorance, 
priest and philosopher, one and all. . . You never hear the 
really philosophical defenders of the doctrine of Uniformity 
speaking of impossibilities in Nature. They never say, what 
they are so constantly charged with saying, that it is impos- 
sible for the Builder of the universe to alter His work. . 
. . They have as little fellowship with the atheist who 
says there is no God, as with the theist who professes to 
know the will of God " (Fragments of Science, N. Y., 
1872, pp. 93, 121, 162). In his famous Belfast Address he 
implies that Matter had "a Creator"; asserts that *' physi- 
cal science cannot cover all the demands of his (man's) 
nature "; and declares that " the whole process of evolution 
is the manifestation of a Power absolutely inscrutable to 
the intellect of man. As little in our day as in the days 
of Job can man, by searching, find this Power out." 

J. Stuart Mill said in the " general result" of his discus- 
sion of Theism, that *' the indication given by such evi- 
dence as there is, points to the creation, not indeed of the 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. it! 

universe, but of the present order of it, hy an Intelligent 
Mind, whose power over the materials was not absolute, 
whose love for his creatures was not his sole actuating in- 
ducement, but who nevertheless desired their good" 
(Three Essays on Religion. N. Y., 1874, p. 242). 

Like Tyndal', Herbert Spencer stoutly contends that he 
is neither a Pantheist nor an Atheist. True, he would not 
call himself a Theist ; but he attributes the origin of the 
Universe to an ''Unknown Reality." He says that "if 
science and religion are to be reconciled, the basis of rec- 
onciliation must be this deepest, widest and most certain 
of all facts, — that the Power which the universe manifests 
is utterly inscrutable " (First Priucioles of a New System 
of Philosophy, K Y., 1869, p. 46). 

Mr. Darwin is not so vague or "inscrutable." He is in 
no sense an Atheist. He admits the agency of a First 
Cause in a personal Creator. In the conclusion of his 
" Origin of Species " he says : " I see no good reason why 
the views given in this volume should shock the religious 
feelings of any one. . . . Authors of the highest eminence 
seem to be fully satisfied with the view that each species 
has been independently created. To my mind it accords 
better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter 
hy the Creator, that the production and extinction of the 
past and present inhabitants of the world should have been 
due to secondary causes, like these determining the birth 
and death of the individual. . . . There is grandeur in 
this view of life, with its several powers, having been orig- 
inally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one'''' 
(N. Y., 1873, pp. 421428-9). 

I trust you wiil not misunderstand me. I do not say that 
these men all believe in God in the same sense that a 
Christian does. I only hold that none of them deny the 
existence of God; hence, they are not Atheists. 

It is true that little imitators have tried to deduce Athe- 
ism from their philosophy, and some Christians have 



472 TFB HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

charged it with that tendency. How prone men are to take 
an ell where they get an inch 1 In the same way Calvin- 
ism has been confounded with Fatalism, and Liberty with 
License. We are to judge of the opinions of these men 
only from their own words. 

Your notion of the Universe rests on an assumption, 
which, as the preceding extracts show, the " first-class sci- 
entists of the day" regard as utterly inadmissible. No theory 
that excludes contrivance and design from the world can 
possibly account for all its phenomena. Blind force 
could never contrive such wonderful compensations and cor- 
respondences as Nature exhibits. Mindless matter could 
not produce such prospectim arrangements as often meet 
our eyes. There is nothing in the condition of an unborn 
infant calculated to provide milk for it when born. There 
is nothing in the life-germ of an egg that could conceivably 
furnish itself beforehand with the yolk-food necessary to its 
nourishment previously to hatching. The same remark 
will apply to the seeds of plants. There is a pj'opJieiic ele- 
ment in Nature that can not be explained without refer- 
ence to a designing Mind. The words of the psalmist and 
the prophet are at once more sublime and more true than 
the dogmatic deliverances of atheistic Materialists : "The 
heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament 
showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttered speech, 
and night unto night showeth knowledge " (Ps, xix, 1, 3). 
" Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created 
these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he 
calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, 
for that he is strong in power; not one faileth" (Is. xl, 26). 

Your la!?t Reply bristles with distortions, garblings, half- 
truth<, and untruths. No Christian believes the Bible in 
the sense you attribute to it. 

You speak of all the Biblical writers as "unknown." 
They were not more unknown than other classic authors. 
This species of " criticism " has been applied to other than 



*HE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 473 

Scriptural writers. It has been maintained that there 
never was such a man as Homer, and that the Iliad is only 
a compilation of floating rhapsodies. It has been held that 
the histories of Herodotus are the work of a later hand. It 
has been argued that " Shakspeare " was none other than 
Lord Bacon. Some Catholic " critics " have ascribed the 
Eoman classics to the mouks of the Middle Ages. These 
notions are generally regarded only as erudite absurdities. 
It is the conviction of mankind that the ancient classics are 
really the compositions of the men to whom they have 
always been ascribed. On the same principle, it is believed 
that the books of the Bible were written by those whose 
names they have ever borne. 

As to those books that are anonymous, they are trust- 
worthy, because the Jewish nation, from the very first, 
received them as authentic, and because their historical 
contents are attested by collateral records, while their 
didactic portions carry their own recommendation. Such 
pastorals as Ruth and Esther, and such lyrics as the name- 
less Psalms could have no more intrinsic value from the 
names of their authors. Like Junius' Letters, or the 
"Nebular Hypothesis," they rest entirely on their own 
internal characler. Legal documents that have been ap- 
proved by the court, and duly filed, continue authentic 
forever, though the names of the clerks who wrote them 
may not be known. The tune of " Old Hundred " is not a 
whit less precious because its composer cannot be ascer- 
tained. 

You put the formation of the Canon entirely too late. 
Dr. Samuel Davidson is certainly Rationalistic and schol- 
arly enough to suit you. Some of his statements are 
extravagant, and, like all his later writings, Oermanolatrous» 
But he was compelled to admit that the ten words proceeded 
from Moses himself; that the song of Deborah, the Psalma 
of David, and the odes of Solomon, were genuine; that 
Ezra edited the Pentateuch; that the prophets were included 



474 TBE EUMPHRET-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

in the completed Canon; and that the New Testament was 
received as an infallible guide before the close of the second 
century (The Canon of the Bible, London, 1877, pp. 5, 9-11, 
85, etc.)- The Greek translation of the Old Testament, 
known as the Septuagint,- was made in the latter half of the 
third century before Christ. From this we see that the 
Jewish Scriptures were at that time already compiled and 
received by the nation. That the New Testament Canon 
was collected at an early date is proved by the fact that it 
contains no rudiments of the Romish corruptions that began 
to develop so soon, and are so manifest in the Apocryphal 
New Testament, such as Mariolatry, transubstantiation, 
pontifical supremacy, etc. When we remember that the 
books constituting the Canon were included in it because 
they had always been authoritative, we feel at once that there 
is no real difficulty in this matter (See art. "Canon," in 
Smith's Dictionary of the Bible). 

You seem to be possessed by the "strong delusion" that 
the ancient Jews offered human sacrifices. You mis- 
understand Lev. xxvii, 29. That verse only says that 
everything devoted of men shall not be redeemed; but shall 
surely be put to death. Moses certainly would not so stul- 
tify himself as to make a thing lawful in one place that he 
had prohibited elsewhere. Kitto says on this subject : ' 'It is 
under these circumstances (the prevalence of human sacri- 
fices) a striking fact that the Hebrew religion, even in its 
most rudimental condition, should be free from the con- 
tamination of human sacrifices. The case of Isaac and that 
of Jephthah's daughter cannot impair the general truth, that 
the offering of human beings is neither enjoined, allowed, 
nor practiced in the Biblical records. On the contrary, 
such an offering is strictly prohibited by Moses, as adverse 
to the will of God, and an abomination of the heathen " 
(Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature, article "Sacrifice, 
Human "). 

The Bible is not "an advocate and supporter " of tyrants. 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 476 

It is not its fault if interested men have so misconstrued it. 
Tlie Hebrews were taught to rebel against the inhuman 
Pharaoh. They were forbidden to "rule one over another 
with rigor" (Lev. xxv, 43, 46, 53). The Jewish kings 
were reproved for oppressing the people (2 Chron. xvi, 10). 
The Old Testament is so far from advocating the cause of 
monarchs — to say nothing of tyrants — that the Israelites 
were censured for demanding a king (1 Sam. viii.). Jahn 
describes the character of the Jewish Commonwealth as 
follows: '' From the circumstance, that the people possessed 
so much influence, as to render it necessriry to submit laws 
to them for ratification, and that they even took it on them- 
selves sometimes to propose laws, or to«resist those which 
were enacted; from the circumstance also, that the legis- 
lature of the nation had not the power of laying taxes, and 
that the civil code was regulated and enforced by God him- 
self, independently of the legislature, Lowman and John 
David Michaelis are in favor of considering the Hebrew 
government a Democracy. . . The Hebrew government, 
putting out of view its theocratic features, was of a mixed 
form, in some respects approaching to a democracy, in 
others assuming more of an aristocratical character " 
(Archaeology, Sect. 219). Thus, the Bible gives no color 
of sanction to tyranny. It enjoins submission to kings as 
the best course to pursue where those kings "rule in right- 
eousness." It says we had better sometimes bear the ills 
we have than fly to others that we know not of. It dis- 
courages riotousness and seditiousness. But it recognizes 
distinctly the right of the people in the affairs of govern- 
ment (See Ex. xix, 7-9; Num. xxxvi, 1-9; Sam. xi, 14, 15). 
The Bible has not done more toward degrading woman 
than any other influence in the world. What are the 
facts ? Is the Bible surrounded by more feminine abase- 
ment than any other " influence "? Are the Chinese, Hin- 
doo, Mohammedan, Hottentot, or the Indian women in a 
belter condition than those where the Word of God is 



476 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DtSCUSSION. 

known and respected ? Was woman dishonored among a 
people where a Miriam conducted the chorus of praise, and 
where a Deborah judged the nation and led its armies to vic- 
tory ? Is the doctrine — whether it be true or not is imma- 
terial to this point — that she was made the vehicle of the In- 
carnation degrading to woman ? Where is the book that 
reflects such honor on female purity and beauty as the 
Bible ? Are not the female seminaries and colleges of our 
land almost all under the auspices of religious denomina- 
tions ? Of course, the husband is the head of the wife. 
This is no less a dictum of nature and reason than 
of the Scriptures. Does Infidelity mean that a hen-pecked 
husband is the finishing-stroke of a perfected civilization ? 
The late M. Thiers was not "influenced " by the Bible. He 
"was always a skeptic." When a young man he seduced 
a stock-broker's wife, lived on terms of criminal intimacy 
with her until her deaths ind subsequently made his own 
bastard daughter his wife. — iV! F. Herald, Sept. 4, 1877. 
Would such be your ideal method of exalting the fair sex ? 
Is the " Free-Love" doctrine that woman is to be "kept" 
only until Lust is tired of her, more ennobling than the in- 
spired maxim, *' So ought men to love their wives as their 
own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For 
no man ever yet hated his own flesh ; but nourisheth and 
cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church" (Eph. v, 28, 29)? 
Neither did the Bible approve of polygamy. God created 
but one wife for one man. The bigamy of Lamech is men- 
tioned as a monstrosity. The Deluge swept these primeval 
Mormons from the earth. Noah and his family were 
monogamists. The Mosaic law did not commend, far less 
command polygamy. That law bore a relation to it simi- 
lar to that of the Constitution of the United States to 
Mormonism. Plural marriages were regulated where they 
could not be prevented. Their numerous wives were a 
reproach and a snare to those who had them. The Apos- 
tles were monogamists. Jesus says that only two are made 



THE HUMPHBET BENNETT DISCtTSSIOir. 477 

oac flesh by marriage (Mat. xix, 6). According to the New 
Testament, the husband is the head of the wife, not of 
wives (Eph. v, 23). Monogamy, then, is the Christian 
Law. 

The "various readings" of original copies, and the 
defects of translations do not modify the meaning of the 
Bible in any perceptible degree. Are Shakspeare's plays 
less magnificent because editions differ in some of their 
words and phrases? Is the Crystal Palace ruined by a 
flaw, or a particle of sand here and there in its mate- 
rials ? Do a few typographical errors materially affect any 
book? Certainly not. So the slight inaccuracies of manu- 
scripts and versions do not substantially change the doc- 
trines of the Bible. 

As has been said already, the Bible was not intended to 
be a text-book of natural philosophy. Its allusions to sci- 
ence are incidental, but always re pectful. It was designed 
from the Tery first to be a teacher of moral and spiritual 
truth. We are to expect only that from it. It has nothing 
to do with such disputed matters as the Giacial Period. 
When will men begin to realize that it is not a treatise on 
astronomy, geology, mathematics, navigation, fashion, den- 
tistry, or cookery ? When will they learn that it was only 
given to answer those questions, Whence am I ? What am 
I ? Whither am I going ? How may I be prepared to go ? 

You say there could be no vegetation before light. Very 
well ; Genesis says Light was about the first thing that was 
called forth (Gen. i, 3). We cannot know all about the 
order of the creation. Possibly the Light was at first dif- 
fused and illocal, and that the mention of the sun on the 
fourth day signified only the collection of the Light Into 
that central orb. In that case, the sun was not made ex- 
clusively the light-bearer until late in the evolution of the 
Universe (See Lange on Genesis, ch. i). 

The wonderful events recorded in the Bible do not nec- 
essarily make it suspicious. A book on geology will tell 



478 THB HUMPHREY-BENNETT DIftCUiSIOK. 

US of tilings "quite as startling and unusual. Dinotheria, 
megatheria, mastodons, hairy elephants, bats bigger than 
eagles, and forests of inconceivable luxuriance and density 
were miracles compared with the present products of the 
earth. If marvels that have ceased to be make the Bible 
iucredible, they do fully as much in the ?ame direction for 
geology. 

I had two objects in view when I arranged those self- 
contradictions of Thomas Paine: 1st. To show that you 
can half- worship some writings, though they contain dis- 
crepancies, which shows that the alleged "self-contradictions 
of the Bible " are not the real reasous of your enmity against 
it. All would be well had you such charity for the fail- 
ings of the patriarchs as you have shown to corrupt but im- 
penitent Infidels. All would be peaceable, if you came to the 
Bible with a tonth of the indulgence that you give to the 
blundering, outgrown writings of scoffers and doubters. 
Your prejudices are as inveterate against Christianity as they 
arc blind in favor of Infidelity. 2nd. I wanted to show that 
the ideas of any man could be made to appear self -contra- 
dictory, with a little garbling, disjointing, collocation, and 
then leaving them "without comment." You say I quoted 
Paine unfairly. I know I did in some instances ; but I did 
it in sci'upulowi imitation of your treatment of the Bible. 

The Bible tloes not exactly "teacU'that belief is a merit 
worlhy of eternal life and disbelief a crime deserving of 
eternal punishment." It is not the mere abstract belief or 
disbelief, that saves or condemns, but the inevitable out- 
come of those states of the .soul. These words are used in 
the Scriptures in a sense that comprehends man's entire 
character, inwardly and outwardly. Besides, the Bible 
does not say that there is savimr mer't even in Faith. Faith 
is only a condition of salvat'on. The Merit, on the ground 
of which the Divine Acceptance is accorded to the sinner, 
is vested in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

You fail to perceive that the Bible contains any doc- 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCtTSSION. 47d 

trines peculiar to itself. I liave specified several of them, 
which, it seems, you did not notice. Let me then recapit- 
ulate, and give you some of them. They will show the 
ori;j;inality of the Bible, and its superiority over all other 
venerated books. 

1. It teaches Monotheism. The Zend Avesta *' contains 
prayers to a multitude of deities" (Clarke's Ten Great Relig- 
ions p. 187). *'The religion of the Veda is Polytheism" 
(Miiller's Chips from a German Workshop vol. i, p. 27). 
Even Renau admits "that the Jewish race was the first of all 
the nations of the world to arrive at the knowledge of one God " 
(Ibid p. 344). The Monotheism of the Koran was borrowed 
from the Bible. 

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord " (Deut. 
vi, 14). Such was the Jew's confession of faith. El Shad- 
dai, Adonai, Jah, and Jehovah, were only different names 
for the same Being. It is true that the word Elohlm is in 
the plural number; but it is what Hebrew grammarians call 
the plural of majesty. It is always used with singular 
verbs. 

I repeat, then, that Monotheism distinguished the Jews 
from all ancient nations, and the Bible from all "sacred 
books." 

2. That God is eternal and infinite was a conception pecul- 
iar to the Jews. The Gentiles did not regard even the 
greatest of their gods as the "everlasting Father," and as 
"the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity" (Is. ix, 6; 
Ivii. 15). 

3. Spirituality in worship is a requirement of the Bible 
alone. The rites of Bacchus, Venus, and all other heathen 
gods and goddesses were at best but sensual orgies. 

4. The doctrine of Justification by Faith is not taught in 
any book but 'he Bible. 

5. The Idea of a divine Comforter is unknown outside of 
the New Testament. " I will pray the Father, and he shall 
give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you 



480 THE HTJMPHnET-BENNETT BISCTJSSIOir. 

forever, even the spirit of truth " (John xiv, 16, 17, 26). 
The Gentiles had their succoring anJ avenging gods ; but 
they conceived of none whose specific oflSce it was to con- 
sole and soothe the sorrowful children of men. It ha« 
never been said of but One: " God shall wipe away all tearg 
from their eyes " (Rev. xxi, 4). 

I am not now contending for the truth of these doctrines. 
I only claim that they are peculiar to the Bible. I might add 
many to their number ; but this will be sufficient for our 
purpose. 

We have touched on the slavery question under the first 
proposition. Instead of repeating, I will refer you to Let- 
ter V. 

The Bible does not encourage idleness. On the contrary, 
it says: "He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack 
hand ; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich " (Prov. x, 
4). "If any would not work, neither should he eat" (2 
Thes. iii, 10). "If any provide not for his own, and espe- 
cially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, 
and is worse than an infidel " (1 Tim. v, 8). 

You say "the Bible has retarded the progress of sci- 
ence." That is farther from the truth than the East is 
from the West. The grandest works of art, such as 
Rciphael's, Da Vitici's, and Angelo's, are traceable to its 
influence. Haydn, Mozart, Mendelss hn and Handel 
founded their master-pieces on its sublime conceptions. It 
was the suggester of Milton's Paradise Lost. The plays 
of Shakspeare are spangled with its words and expres- 
sions. The English version of it has done more than any 
other agency to establish the uniformity and preserve the 
purity of the English language. Christendom knows of 
no University where it was not read at its dedication. We 
have seen under the second proposition that believers in it 
have done incomparably more than unbelievers to promote 
learning and science. There is even at the Vatican — that 
uapitol of Roman Catholicism — such an immense collec- 



THfl HUMPHBflY-BENNETT DiaCUflSION. 481 

tion of art, science, and literature as would elicit an ever- 
lasting boast from Infidels if— yes, if—ihej had anything 
like it anywhere on the face of the earth. While the 
"Liberals" of New York are scolding everything, *' de- 
fending Communism," "apologizing for murder and invit- 
ing to adultery," that good old Presbyterian elder, Mr. Jas. 
Lenox, is putting some of his finishing touches on one of 
the finest Public Libraries in America. And so it has 
always been. The Christian, deriving his motive from the 
Bible, has done the work, while the peevish Infidel, inhal- 
ing his inspiration from " immortal hate," has stood by, 
with a magaifying and multiplying glass in his hand, to 
find faults. 

You say that any man of average intelligence could write 
another such a book as the Bible. How then has it hap- 
pened that no one has done it ? Why does somebody not 
try it ? There is plenty of ink and paper in the world. 
Let us see some one attempting it. Ah ! I am mocking the 
inability of man. He cannot state a moral principle, or 
lay down a moral precept, that was not anticipated by that 
Book. There is no room for another Bible, because the one 
that we have covers all the earthly duties of man. 

Your wholesale condemnation of the Bible is an insult to 
the intelligence of all Christendom. If it is the absurd, 
indecent, inconsistent, barbarous, injurious conglomerate 
that you represent it to be, the millions who read it must be 
either knaves or fools. They are fools, if all its alleged 
imperfections really exist, and they fail to see them. They 
are knaves, if they see them, and then decline to speak of 
them. You imply that only the few who are Infidels are 
acute and honest in regard to this matter. It would be dif- 
ficult to decide which is the greater in this case, the esteem 
of these few for their own intelligence and frankness, or 
their insulting disesteem of the intelligence and frankness 
of everybody else. 
Well, I must pass many of your misstatements by, anri 



482 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

draw tbe discussion to a close. I will say but little in gen- 
eral review, and will give no recapitulation. The reader will 
do liis own retrospecting and summing up. I wish, however, 
to mention McGuire's "Religious Opinions and Character 
of WashiDgton," New York, 1836. It is a solid work, dem- 
onstrating the correctness of my position. Paulding's 
"Life of Washington" is also worth reading. I have 
recently seen a volume with the title "The Domestic Life 
of Thomas Jefferson," by his great-grand-daughter, Sarah 
iST. Randolph. It pronounces Randall the " most faith- 
ful " of Jefferson's biographers. This implies the great 
grand-daughter's endorsement of what Mr. Randall ^ays 
about Jefferson's religious views. Let me also refer 
you to Carpenter's "Inner Life of Abiaham Lincflu"' 
(pp. 185-196), for more light on Lincoln's religious char- 
acter. 

This discussion has been pleasant to me. You have made 
no personal remarks calculated to wound my feelings. You 
have met me wiih uniform politeness. I can say the same 
of all the attaches of the office. Mr. Eugene Macdona d, 
the foreman of the printers, has always been kind, good- 
natured and obliging. I will remember you all not only 
with interest but esteem. The heat of the controversy may 
have made Uo at times a little tart, but our friend-hip, I 
trust, has not failed to grow. 

I am not unconscious of my deficiencies. I have omitted 
many strong points. I have given but hints, which I hope 
the reader will follow up. The "Evidences of Christi- 
anity " fill , jlumes. I have scarcely given the alphabet of 
them. Your Replies have been about twice as loDg as my 
Letters. But your task was twice as difficult. A mass 
of words, boiled up^ and containing endless repetitions, 
was probably better calculated than anything else, to give 
your cause some slight appearance of strength. It is 
when the advocate has a bad or doubtful client that he 
apeaks longest to the jury. For my part, I have endeavored 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 483 

to avoijj the cuttle-fish's style of conducting a combat. It 
has been my aim to be clear, and to the point. 

I wish to protest against the common insinuation that 
preachers are hampered. There are doubtless many instan- 
ces where the pew exerts too much influence over the pul- 
pit. But I do not think that there is a class of men more 
free to give expression to their minds than ministers. 
We all know how largely the press is given to time-serving. 
Politicians are always trying servilely to strike the vein of 
the popular humor. " Business is business ;" and policy has 
usurped the place of principle in trade and commerce. 
Should a clergyman become an Infidel, and begin to preach 
Infidelity, he would not miss his hearers much sooner than 
an Infidel editor would lose his subscribers, should he be- 
come a Christian. Look at the position of an Infidel pub- 
lisher and bookseller : it is not natural for him to encour- 
age a change of opinion, and, like the accient sorcerers, 
(Acts xix, 13,) forfeit his stock. There are no men in the 
world that are trying to use and manipulate their patrons so 
as to make money out of them, more persistently than 
''Liberal" publishers and lecturers. "Freethinkers" are 
restrained thinkers, as much as anybody. 

Permit me again to warn the reader that Infidel writers 
are not always reliable. John Adams was correct when he 
said that Bolingbroke was a "superficial, haughty, arro- 
gant, supercilious dogmatist." The American Cyclopedia 
says truly that Voltaire " was not a great thinker, not a 
great poet, not a great historian . . . not authentic." 
Chadwick, a "liberal" Unitarian, says Paine made "ap- 
palling blunders " (Lecture on Paine, p. 24). Bro. Emmett 
says on the strength of hearsay — which to the reader is 
"hearsay upon hearsay"— that Bismarck is a " decided skep- 
tic," if not an Atheist (Sages p. 876), whereas He>:ekiel, in 
his authentic "Life of Bismarck," says he is not only a 
theistbut a communicant (p. 453). Mr. Mendum, of Boston 
publishes a volume of Hume's Essays, without intimaJiug 



484 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUflSION. 

thut they are abridged and mutilated. He also continues to 
circulate Macnaught on Inspiration, after the author has 
reconsidered and repudiated the position maintained in that 
book. My authority for saying Mr. Macnaught has given 
up those views are Dr. H. E. Thomas, Pittsburgh, Pa., 
and Dr. Wm. M. Taylor, of New York— both formerly of 
Liverpool, near Everton, where Mr. Macnaught resided for 
many years. 

The Infidel, as well as the Christian, should go himself, 
as far as possible, to the original sources of knowledge. 
This is the world's great need. But, unfortunately. Infidels 
are very deficient in this respect. They read a skeptical 
work with implicit, or blind faith, while they do not read 
the other side at all' Paine's "Age of Reason " is issued 
again and again ; but "Watson's Reply is out of print. This 
is a reproach, not to Christians, who do not need it, but to 
Infidels, who point so often to the motto, " Hear both sides, 
and then decide." I have attended a great many "Liberal 
Club " meetings. I know exactly what they are. They pre- 
tend to be very generous. But nothing seems ever to be left 
unsaid that might hurt a Christian's feelings. Malignancy 
and flippancy are nearly always shown in the discussion of 
a religious subject. The speakers are given to going out of 
their way to make thrusts at Christianity. It is generally ob- 
servable that, while a really good argument may be quietly 
appreciated by a few, it is the coarse joke, the silly pun, or 
the mean insinuation that " brings down the house." It is 
very seldom that there are present any indications of sober 
thought, wide-ranging reading, or accurate investigation of 
any kind. Herein lies the danger of Infidelity: it keeps its 
victims ignorant of the facts and truths of Christianity. Where 
Infidels have gone to the trouble to examine thoroughly its 
' many infallible proofs" (Acts i, 3), a revolution of opin- 
ion has generally followed. When Thomas drew near, and 
touched the risen Lord, his doubts disappeared. When 
AtUenagoras proceeded to make careful inquiries into the 



THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION, 485 

nature and support of the Gospel system, he ceased to 
doubt it, and became a defender of it. When the "young 
Chalmers gave Butler's "Analogy" a serious consideration, 
he was compelled to conclude that the balance of probabili- 
ties was in favor of the Christian Religion. When Gilbert 
West proceeded to examine the proofs of the Resurrection 
of Christ, in order that he might the more completely dis- 
believe and disprove it, unexpectedly to himself, he was 
made to see that that Fact was more undeniable and cer- 
tain than anything in history. Lord Littleton started out 
to show the absurdity of Christianity, from the conversion 
of St. Paul ; but after studying that event in all its rela- 
tions, he came to the conclusion that it was an absolute 
demonstration of the truth of what he had intended to 
prove false. David Nelson has written a book on '* The 
Cause and Cure of Infidelity." Every Infidel in the 
world ought to read it. Mr. Nelson was himself a skeptic 
for many years. He had a wide experience with that class 
of men. He found them, as a rule, ignorant of the Bible. 
He observed that almost every one of them who gave the 
evidences of Religion a dispassionate and thorough exami- 
nation, ended by believing in it. Would to God that every 
skeptic would fcake the experiment ! I am confident that 
if the Infidel would give the works that I have mentioned 
in Letters viii and xii an unprejudiced, thorough, and 
thoughtful reading, he would give up his Infidelity. 

Many are deluded into the belief that Christianity is los- 
ing ground. It is a vain fear for the Christian, and a vain 
hope for the Infidel. The last five years have been remark- 
able for accessions to the churches. The world never had 
so many Bibles, churches, ministers, and genuine believers, 
as it has to-day. The Gospel is not losing its hold on the 
people. There are no churches so well attended in New 
York and vicinity, as those in which the simple Gospel is 
preached. The churches of Dr. Hall, Dr. Taylor, Dr. 
Bevan, Dr. Cuyler, Dr. Duryea, Dr. Armitage, Dr. Storrs, 



486 TSE SUMPHREY-BENNETT DTSCUSSIOIT. 

Dr. Hepworth, Dr. Deems, Dr. Tyng, Jr., etc., etc., are 
full every Sunday, Tvhile tlu congregations of Frothing- 
ham, Alger, Adler, etc., are never immense, after all the 
coaxing, beckoning, and drumming up of sensational ad- 
vertisements. The Bible Society is not bankrupt yet. Last 
year it issued 881,056 Testaments and Bibles. The songs 
of Sankey and the preaching of Moody have charms for 
the masses that Infidelity can never emulate. 

It has always been the wishful cry of its enemies that the 
Christian Religion is *' dying out." They thought so when 
Christ was crucified and buried ; but he arose, leading 
captivity captive. They thought so when the Apostles 
were dispersed from Jerusalem ; but that only spread it the 
faster. They thought so when the Roman Emperors put 
thousands of Christians to death ; but the blood of the 
martyrs was the seed of the Cburch. They thought so 
when Julian apostatized, and turned all his influence 
against it ; but Julian died exclaiming, *' O Galilean, thou 
hast conquered !" They thought so when the English Deists 
made their big boasts ; but Deism is out of fashion, and 
the Word of God is as quick and powerful as ever. They 
thought so when the French Atheists set up a Goddess of 
Reason, offered human sacrfjices to her, and aeclared Death 
to be an eternal sleep. But those Atheists have passed 
away ; and their memory is the red-liglit danger-signal of 
history, warnirg the world away from their footsteps. 
They thought so when the German Rationalists flooded the 
Fatherland with their "destructive criticisms"; but Ra- 
tionalism is on the wane, and giving place to Evangelical 
truth. Some think so now, when Materia;lism is vaunting 
it elf ; but Christianity has overcome that foe before, and 
it will vanquish him again. The gates of Hell shall not 
prevail against the Church of Christ 1 

I am about to lay my pen aside. Let us. Friend Bennett 
and dear readers, take a serious view of life. We all know 
that the world is not just as it ought to be. There is weep- 



tHE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 487 

ing and wailing and gnashing of teeth all around us. O 
the Niagara of souls that is plunging over the precipice of 
ruin, in our eight every day / 

O the havoc of sin! How shall we banish it from our own 
hearts and from the world ? is the question of questions. 
The possibilities of human nat. re are at once appalling and 
pleasing to contemplate. How much man is capable of 
suffering or ejojoyicg ! How a bad chracter keeps petrify- 
ing and becoming more and more unchangeable! How vast 
is the vista of Immortality, opening out before us ! Eter- 
nity should be the motive power in our lives. The fashion 
of this world passe:h away. The earth itself will run its 
course and die. The old clock of Time, whose ticks are 
centuries, will stop at last. Time shall be no more. Human 
schemes and theories will sink successively into oblivion, 
like a baby's dreams. But Ike Word of our God shall stand 
forever. Let us take unto ourselves the whole armor of God, 
that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and hav- 
ing done all to stand (Eph. vi, 10-18). Let us run no risks 
about everlasting things. Good bye, and God bless you, 
for Christ's sake. Yours in the bonds of friendship, 

G. H. Humphrey. 



MR. BBIVNBTT. 

Rev. G. H. Humphrey, Dear Sir: Once more, and for 
the last time, at present, it devolves upon me to correct some 
of the errors you seem so disposed to fall into, and to set 
you aright where you so easily get wrong. I have hoped 
you would come to see the truth as it is in Nature, and 
cease to be led aside by the myths and fallacies that have 
led so many millions astray. I still indulge the hope that 
your native good sense, with the information you have 
acquired by study, will ultimately lead you to discard the 



488 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

errors of ecclesiasticism and superstition which still hover 
over you. This hope I will continue to indulge. Many 
men with faith in the supernatural as strong as your own, 
who for a large portion of their lives saw dinaly and as 
through a heavy fog, have lived to see the mists cleared 
away, the clouds dispelled by the breezes of Nature, and the 
sun of truth and reason shine forth with permanent bright- 
ness and splendor. 

It is very easy for you to say that my '"disquisition on 
Atheism is a mixed mixture of theoretical errors and his- 
torical blunders." Instead of trying to set aside my 
remarks thus with a single effort, would it not have been 
better in you to have shown up the errors and pointed out the 
blunders ? Probably you took the course easiest for you. 
How easy, indeed, it is for you to be mistaken. You say I 
epitomized Btichner. To show how wildly you strike I must 
inform you— though I do it with a degree of shame — that 
I have never read Btichner, but I know enough of him to 
be satisfied that you wrong him by denouncing him as a 
second-rate man. He was a profound thinker, and Ger- 
many has produced few clearer and more penetrating 
minds. 

Your last vindictive fling at Ingersoll I will try to par- 
don ; and while it is not an indication 'of greatness of 
mind, it is to be hoped your gratuitous aspersions of him 
do you a certain amount of good and aff'ord you a degree 
of secret pleasure. 

I will admit that Agassiz retained considerable con- 
nection with orthodox dogmas ; that Prof. Dawson, of 
Montreal, does the same ; that Mivart is a theologian, and 
that he would denounce you as a heretic ; but most of the 
others you named are very far from holding the belief in a 
personal God, a persooal Devil, or a literal hell, with the 
many absurdities growing out of that belief. It is much 
like your trying to make a Christian of Jefferson to under- 
take to show that Darwin, Spencer, Tyndall, John Stuart 



THE HUMPHREY BENNETT DISCUSSION. 489 

Mill, Proctor, Carpenter, Sir Wm, Thomson, etc., enter- 
tain the faintest belief in a personal God in the shape of 
a man with violent passions and impulses, with the ability 
to fly into a rage upon the most trivial provocation and to 
send dire judgments and fierce destruction upon his own 
offspring. There is a great difference between being in- 
fluenced with the grandeur of the Universe and the myste- 
ries connected with its actual existences and accepting the 
very imperfect and childish views of deity as the source 
of all things as portrayed in the Jewish Scriptures. 

I am aware there are many shades of belief, and that 
tsdien of learning and science do not yet all arrive at the 
same conclusion respecting the Infinite, the eternal 
source of life and being. As for myself, I comprehend that 
it is contained within the Universe, and it is clear to my 
mind that the leading scientists and thinkers of our day 
know nothing of, and believe nothing of, a force, a power, 
outside of the Universe or disconnected from it. Early 
teachings and early impressions are very difficult to throw 
off, and the theological bias we receive in our childhood 
remains with us, to a certain degree, through life. 

I am aware, too, of the fact that certain minds, however 
intelligent and learned, have a strong tendency to hedge, 
to cater to and sustain, to a certain extent, the popular 
religious theories; and they feel a strong dislike to oppose 
the theolQgical notions which still prevail in this country 
and in Europe. It is even painful to witness the incentive 
there is offered to some scholars to bow to the supremacy 
of antique faiihs and mysticisms which for many centuries 
have dominated the world. It will require, however, a 
greater amount of ingenuity than even you possess to make 
it appear to intelligent minds that Darwin, Spencer, Hux- 
ley, Tyndall, Proctor, Helmholtz, Haeckel, Schmidt, and 
others of the brilliant and studious scientists of our time, 
have the least afllliation with the very imperfect theories 
founded upon the Jewish and Christian Bible. 



406 THE HtJMPHEET-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 

You would have it appear that Tyndall is not an Atheist, 
or that he believes in some kind of a God. I certainl}^ do 
not wish to formulate a belief for him, but will rather give 
his own words bearing upon the subject. In reply to his 
critics he fearlessly said: " 1 do not fear the charge of Athe- 
ism. Nor should I ever disavow it in reference to any 
definition of the Supreme which he or his order would be 
likely to frame." While he may not be an Atheist in the 
definition you give the term, he certainly recognizes no 
personal being or God who devised, builded, and governs 
the Universe. Upon this point he says: "As far as the 
eye of science has hitherto ranged through Nature, no in- 
trusion of purely creative power into any series of phe- 
nomena has ever been observed. The assumption of such 
a power to account for special phenomena has always 
proved a failure. It is opposed to the very spiril of 
science, and I therefore assumed the responsibility of hold- 
ing up in contrast with it that method of nature which it 
has been the vocation and triumph of science to disclose, 
and in the application of which he can alone hope for 
further light. Holding, then, that the nebular and all 
subsequent life stand to each other in the relation of ihe 
germ to the finished organism, I re-affirm here, not arro- 
gantly or defiantly, but without a shade of indistinctness, 
the position laid down in Belfast." 

The gist of that address, after reviewing the various 
theories and philosophies that had existed in the world, 
and after quoting and virtually accepting the position of 
Lucretius, that *' Nature is seen to do all things sponta- 
neously of herself without the assistance of the gods," and 
Bruno, that " Matter is not that mere empty capacity 
which philosophers have pictured her to be, but the Uni- 
versal Mother who brings forth all things as the fruit of 
her own womb," Tyndall boldly asserts that "the ques- 
tions here raised are inevitable. They are approaching us 
with accelerated speed, and it is not a matter of indiffer- 



*rHfi HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCUSSION. 491 

ence whether they are introduced with reverence or irrev- 
erence. Abandoning all disguise, the confession I feel 
bound to make before you is that I prolong the vision 
backward across the boundary of experimental evidence, 
and discern in that matter. which we in our ignorance, and 
notwithstanding our professed reverence for its Creator, 
have hitherto covered with opprobrium, the promise and 
potency of every form of life." It was this quotation, you 
will doubtless remember, which especially brought dow^n 
upon Tynd all's head the fiery and frantic denunciations of 
theologians all over Christendom. 

Herbert Spencer, as I understand, is no more a believer 
in a personal God as described in the Bible than is Tyndall. 
What he calls the "Unknowable" is nothing more than 
the " intricate powers of the Universe, too deep, too vast 
for man's comprehension." He does not believe the Uni- 
verse had a designer, or that it is so imperfect as to be un- 
able to run without a superintendent. The same of Dar- 
win. While he does not dogmatically or offensively wish to 
oppose the theoretical views of the majority of mankind, his 
entire philosophy and theories, based upon thousands of 
minute observations, show that he has never found a per- 
sonal God, and that he sees no place for or need of one in 
the operations of the Universe. 

You say my " notion of the Universe rests upon assump- 
tion." Indeed ! What does the existence of your God rest 
upon but assumption ? The great difference betw^een the 
two is that the Universe is a reality. We constantly come 
in contact with it and are parts of it. We can subject it 
to numerous testa which convince us that it is real and 
palpable. We can see it, feel it, weigh it, measure it, and 
prove thousands of times over that not an atom of it can 
be forced out of existence. But your God is wholly an 
assumption. No one has ever seen him. l^o man knows 
aught about him, and all they have who think they know is 
what one has told to another, and he to another, and so on 



493 THE HUMPHREY-BENNETT DISCtTSSlON. 

for thousands of year:^^^. There is not the first particle of 
proof that he has an existence save in the imaginations of 
men like yourself, whose position in society, whose succees 
in life, whose standing in the estimation of Mrs. Grundy & 
Co., whose ability to procure fine, fashionable garments, 
and whose very bread and butter depend upon holding up 
and sustaining the God or gods which were devised 
thousands of years ago, when man was more ignorant 
than now. The system of mythology, of which theology 
is a branch, is in the view of its supporters and defenders 
a great system. It has proved a rich mine to the millions 
who have assiduously worked it for several millenniums. 
It is, perhaps, not strange that a lode which has turned out 
such rich nuggets of wealth, comforts, reputation, venera- 
tion, with immunity from toil and hardship, should be 
retained with the utmost tenacity. We could not expect 
that men who are fond of a distinguished position in life, 
who like to secure all the good things of the world without 
toiling to produce them, who like to be venerated as almost 
gods themselves, or at least the immediate agents for the 
gods, would voluntarily tear down the idols they have 
built and which support them so munificently, and will- 
ingly throw away the myths and fallacies which have 
served them so good a turn. No ; they may be expected 
to cling to the gods and the myths so long as their service 
jjai/s. Not until the people become better informed and are 
able from increased intelligence to discard all the old myths 
and superstitions, thus impelling them to discontinue the 
support of the priests who make it their business to 
talk about the gods and dimly reveal their hidden attri- 
butes, can they be expected to discontinue the profitable 
calling ? There are, of course, some honorable exceptions. 
Considerable numbers of the clergy are coming to take an 
entirely different view of the theological field from that 
which they have hitherto held. The revelations of science 
are showing them the crude fallacies of the old system, and 



THE HUMPHKaY-BENNBTT DISCUSSION. 493 

they have the honesty to follow where truth leads. May 
many more do likewise. 

Of course there is much in the Universe that is wonder- 
ful, much that man is not fully able to comprehend. The 
process of reproduction in vegetable and animal life is a 
marvel; the intricacies of life are full of wonder. The 
mysteries of crystalization are not fully understood. The 
solution of a given substance when passing through the 
process of crystalization always produces precisely the 
same character of crystnl?, while the solution of another 
substance will form crystals of an entirely different con- 
struction — always foUowiDg unvarying laws. An expert 
can always determine the name of a substance by examin- 
ing its crystals. The formation of crystals in hundreds of 
forms and angles is nearly as curious as the various phases 
of life. Chemical affinity attd the numerous chemical 
combinations are equally marveJous. The motions of the 
heavenly bodies, the rotation and revolutions of suns and 
worlds, the balancing and commingling of the forces of 
the Universe, all, all are wonderful to comprehend; but 
everything moves in obedience to Nature's laws, and 
nothing by supernatural law; and those laws were never 
made, and there was never a time when they did not exist. 
It requires no supervision of a God to cause the germina- 
tion of a kernel of corn in the warm soil in the spring of 
the year, nor for the trees to put on their foliage, nor for 
the earth to perform its daily revolutions, causing day and 
night, nor to send it on its annual course around the sun, 
causing summer and winter. It is the same with the mill- 
ions of operations and changes that are constantly taking 
place in every part of the Universe. Every effect has a 
natural cause sufficient to produce it, and it has ever been 
so. No result has ever taken place that was not the pro- 
duct of natural causes and forces. This being so, the 
supernatural is never needed and is never present. The 
Universe is sufficient for every emergency, and the services 



494 TFE HU:vrPTTRF,T-BENNRTT DTSCtTSStON. 

of a God are not required, either ia the simplest operations 
that take place around us or in the most grand and gigan- 
tic that are constantly occurring throughout the vast