More Fun With Robert Ingersoll, The Talmagian Catechism

The Reverend De Witt Talmage, head of the Presbyterian Church in America, was so incensed by Ingersoll, that he devoted six sermons denouncing him as "The Great Blasphemer". Ingersoll answered these seriously; and then followed up by satirizing the teachings of the Reverend in what he called The Talmagian Catechism. Here is Part 2 of 3. Part 1 can be read here. Thanks to Julian Haydon for these excerpts!

The Talmagian Catechism by Robert Ingersoll

Question. Do you think that Samson's strength
depended on the length of his hair?

Answer. The Bible so states, and the Bible is true.
A physiologist might say that a man could not use
the muscle in his hair for lifting purposes, but these
same physiologists could not tell you how you move
a finger, nor how you lift a feather; still, actuated by
the pride of intellect, they insist that the length of a
man's hair could not determine his strength. God
says it did; the physiologist says that it did not; we
can not hesitate whom to believe. For the purpose
of avoiding eternal agony I am willing to believe
anything; I am willing to say that strength depends
upon the length of hair, or faith upon the length of
ears. I am perfectly willing to believe that a man
caught three hundred foxes, and put fire brands be-
tween their tails; that he slew thousands with a bone,
and that he made a bee hive out of a lion. I will
believe, if necessary, that when this man's hair was
short he hardly had strength enough to stand, and
that when it was long, he could carry away the gates
of a city, or overthrow a temple filled with people.
If the infidel is right, I will lose nothing by believing,
but if he is wrong, I shall gain an eternity of joy.
If God did not intend that we should believe these
stories, he never would have told them, and why
should a man put his soul in peril by trying to dis-
prove one of the statements of the Lord?

Question. Suppose it should turn out that some
of these miracles depend upon mistranslations of the
original Hebrew, should we still believe them?

Answer. The safe side is the best side. It is
far better to err on the side of belief, than on the
side of infidelity. God does not threaten anybody
with eternal punishment for believing too much.

Danger lies on the side of investigation, on the
side of thought. The perfectly idiotic are absolutely
safe. As they diverge from that point,—as they rise
in the intellectual scale, as the brain develops, as the
faculties enlarge, the danger increases. I know that
some biblical students now take the ground that
Samson caught no foxes,—that he only took sheaves
of wheat that had been already cut and bound, set
them on fire, and threw them into the grain still

If this is what he did, of course there is
nothing miraculous about it, and the value of the
story is lost. So, others contend that Elijah was not
fed by the ravens, but by the Arabs. They tell us
that the Hebrew word standing for "Arab" also
stands for "bird," and that the word really means
"migratory—going from place to place—homeless."

But I prefer the old version. It certainly will do no
harm to believe that ravens brought bread and flesh
to a prophet of God. Where they got their bread
and flesh is none of my business; how they knew
where the prophet was, and recognized him; or how
God talks to ravens, or how he gave them directions,
I have no right to inquire. I leave these questions
to the scientists, the blasphemers, and thinkers.

There are many people in the church anxious to
get the miracles out of the Bible, and thousands,
I have no doubt, would be greatly gratified to learn
that there is, in fact, nothing miraculous in Scripture;
but when you take away the miraculous, you take
away the supernatural; when you take away the
supernatural, you destroy the ministry; and when
you take away the ministry, hundreds of thousands
of men will be left without employment.

Question. Is it not wonderful that the Egyptians
were not converted by the miracles wrought in their

Answer. Yes, they all would have been, if God
had not purposely hardened their hearts to prevent
it. Jehovah always took great delight in furnishing
the evidence, and then hardening the man's heart so
that he would not believe it. After all the miracles
that had been performed in Egypt,—the most won-
derful that were ever done in any country, the
Egyptians were as unbelieving as at first; they pur-
sued the Israelites, knowing that they were protected
by an infinite God, and failing to overwhelm them,
came back and worshiped their own false gods just as
firmly as before. All of which shows the unreason-
ableness of a Pagan, and the natural depravity of
human nature.

Question. How did it happen that the Canaanites
were never convinced that the Jews were assisted by

Answer. They must have been an exceedingly
brave people to contend so many years with the
chosen people of God. Notwithstanding all their
cities were burned time and time again; notwith-
standing all the men, women and children were put
to the edge of the sword; notwithstanding the taking
of all their cattle and sheep, they went right on
fighting just as valiantly and desperately as ever.
Each one lost his life many times, and was just as
ready for the next conflict. My own opinion is, that
God kept them alive by raising them from the dead
after each battle, for the purpose of punishing the
Jews. God used his enemies as instruments for the
civilization of the Jewish people. He did not wish
to convert them, because they would give him much
more trouble as Jews than they did as Canaanites.
He had all the Jews he could conveniently take care
of. He found it much easier to kill a hundred
Canaanites than to civilize one Jew.

Question. How do you account for the fact that
the heathen were not surprised at the stopping of the
sun and moon?

Answer. They were so ignorant that they had
not the slightest conception of the real cause of
the phenomenon. Had they known the size of
the earth, and the relation it sustained to the other
heavenly bodies; had they known the magnitude of
the sun, and the motion of the moon, they would,
in all probability, have been as greatly astonished as
the Jews were; but being densely ignorant of as-
tronomy, it must have produced upon them not the
slightest impression. But we must remember that
the sun and moon were not stopped for the purpose
of converting these people, but to give Joshua more
time to kill them. As soon as we see clearly the
purpose of Jehovah, we instantly perceive how ad-
mirable were the means adopted.

Question. Do you not consider the treatment
of the Canaanites to have been cruel and ferocious?

Answer. To a totally depraved man, it does look
cruel; to a being without any good in him,—to one
who has inherited the rascality of many generations,
the murder of innocent women and little children
does seem horrible; to one who is "contaminated in
"all his parts," by original sin,—who was "conceived
"in sin, and brought forth in iniquity," the assassina-
tion of men, and the violation of captive maidens,
do not seem consistent with infinite goodness. But
when one has been "born again," when "the love
"of God has been shed abroad in his heart," when
he loves all mankind, when he "overcomes evil with
"good," when he "prays for those who despite-
"fully use him and persecute him,"—to such a man,
the extermination of the Canaanites, the violation
of women, the slaughter of babes, and the destruc-
tion of countless thousands, is the highest evidence
of the goodness, the mercy, and the long-suffering
of God.

When a man has been "born again," all
the passages of the Old Testament that appear so
horrible and so unjust to one in his natural state,
become the dearest, the most consoling, and the
most beautiful of truths. The real Christian reads
the accounts of these ancient battles with the greatest
possible satisfaction. To one who really loves his
enemies, the groans of men, the shrieks of women,
and the cries of babes, make music sweeter than the
zephyr's breath.

Question. In your judgment, why did God destroy
the Canaanites?

Answer. To prevent their contaminating his
chosen people. He knew that if the Jews were
allowed to live with such neighbors, they would
finally become as bad as the Canaanites themselves.
He wished to civilize his chosen people, and it was
therefore necessary for him to destroy the heathen.

Question. Did God succeed in civilizing the Jews
after he had "removed" the Canaanites?

Answer. Well, not entirely. He had to allow the
heathen he had not destroyed to overrun the whole
land and make captives of the Jews. This was done
for the good of his chosen people.

Question. Did he then succeed in civilizing them?

Answer. Not quite.

Question. Did he ever quite succeed in civilizing

Answer. Well, we must admit that the experi-
ment never was a conspicuous success. The Jews
were chosen by the Almighty 430 years before he
appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai. He was their
direct Governor. He attended personally to their
religion and politics, and gave up a great part of his
valuable time for about two thousand years, to the
management of their affairs; and yet, such was the
condition of the Jewish people, after they had had all
these advantages, that when there arose among them
a perfectly kind, just, generous and honest man, these
people, with whom God had been laboring for so
many centuries, deliberately put to death that good
and loving man.

Question. Do you think that God really endeav-
ored to civilize the Jews?

Answer. This is an exceedingly hard question.
If he had really tried to do it, of course he could
have done it. We must not think of limiting the
power of the infinite. But you must remember that
if he had succeeded in civilizing the Jews, if he had
educated them up to the plane of intellectual liberty,
and made them just and kind and merciful, like him-
self, they would not have crucified Christ, and you
can see at once the awful condition in which we
would all be to-day.

No atonement could have
been made; and if no atonement had been made,
then, according to the Christian system, the whole
world would have been lost. We must admit that
there was no time in the history of the Jews from
Sinai to Jerusalem, that they would not have put a
man like Christ to death.

Question. So you think that, after all, it was not
God's intention that the Jews should become civilized?

Answer. We do not know. We can only say
that "God's ways are not our ways." It may be
that God took them in his special charge, for the
purpose of keeping them bad enough to make the
necessary sacrifice. That may have been the divine
plan. In any event, it is safer to believe the explana-
tion that is the most unreasonable.

Question. Do you think that Christ knew the
Jews would crucify him?

Answer. Certainly.

Question. Do you think that when he chose
Judas he knew that he would betray him?

Answer. Certainly.

Question. Did he know when Judas went to the
chief priest and made the bargain for the delivery
of Christ?

Answer. Certainly.

Question. Why did he allow himself to be be-
trayed, if he knew the plot?

Answer. Infidelity is a very good doctrine to live
by, but you should read the last words of Paine and

Question. If Christ knew that Judas would betray
him, why did he choose him?

Answer. Nothing can exceed the atrocities of the
French Revolution—when they carried a woman
through the streets and worshiped her as the goddess
of Reason.

Question. Would not the mission of Christ have
been a failure had no one betrayed him?

Answer. Thomas Paine was a drunkard, and re-
canted on his death-bed, and died a blaspheming
infidel besides.

Question. Is it not clear that an atonement was
necessary; and is it not equally clear that the atone-
ment could not have been made unless somebody
had betrayed Christ; and unless the Jews had been
wicked and orthodox enough to crucify him?

Answer. Of course the atonement had to be
made. It was a part of the "divine plan" that Christ
should be betrayed, and that the Jews should be
wicked enough to kill him. Otherwise, the world
would have been lost.

Question. Suppose Judas had understood the
divine plan, what ought he to have done? Should
he have betrayed Christ, or let somebody else do it;
or should he have allowed the world to perish, in-
cluding his own soul?

Answer. If you take the Bible away from the
world, "how would it be possible to have witnesses
"sworn in courts;" how would it be possible to ad-
minister justice?

Question. If Christ had not been betrayed and
crucified, is it true that his own mother would be in
perdition to-day?

Answer. Most assuredly. There was but one
way by which she could be saved, and that was by
the death of her son—through the blood of the
atonement. She was totally depraved through the
sin of Adam, and deserved eternal death. Even her
love for the infant Christ was, in the sight of God,—
that is to say, of her babe,—wickedness. It can not
be repeated too often that there is only one way to
be saved, and that is, to believe in the Lord Jesus

Question. Could Christ have prevented the Jews
from crucifying him?

Answer. He could.

Question. If he could have saved his life and did
not, was he not guilty of suicide?

Answer. No one can understand these questions
who has not read the prophecies of Daniel, and has
not a clear conception of what is meant by "the full-
"ness of time."

Question. What became of all the Canaanites, the
Egyptians, the Hindus, the Greeks and Romans and
Chinese? What became of the billions who died
before the promise was made to Abraham; of the
billions and billions who never heard of the Bible,
who never heard the name, even, of Jesus Christ—
never knew of "the scheme of salvation"? What
became of the millions and billions who lived in this
hemisphere, and of whose existence Jehovah himself
seemed perfectly ignorant?

Answer. They were undoubtedly lost. God
having made them, had a right to do with them as
he pleased. They are probably all in hell to-day, and
the fact that they are damned, only adds to the joy
of the redeemed. It is by contrast that we are able
to perceive the infinite kindness with which God has
treated us.

Question. Is it not possible that something can
be done for a human soul in another world as well as
in this?

Answer. No; this is the only world in which
God even attempts to reform anybody. In the
other world, nothing is done for the purpose of
making anybody better. Here in this world, where
man lives but a few days, is the only opportunity
for moral improvement. A minister can do a thou-
sand times more for a soul than its creator; and this
country is much better adapted to moral growth than
heaven itself.

A person who lived on this earth a
few years, and died without having been converted,
has no hope in another world. The moment he arrives
at the judgment seat, nothing remains but to damn
him. Neither God, nor the Holy Ghost, nor Jesus
Christ, can have the least possible influence with
him there.

Question. When God created each human being,
did he know exactly what would be his eternal fate?

Answer. Most assuredly he did.

Question. Did he know that hundreds and millions
and billions would suffer eternal pain?

Answer. Certainly. But he gave them freedom
of choice between good and evil.

Question. Did he know exactly how they would
use that freedom?

Answer. Yes.

Question. Did he know that billions would use
it wrong?

Answer. Yes.

Question. Was it optional with him whether he
should make such people or not?

Answer. Certainly.

Question. Had these people any option as to
whether they would be made or not?

Answer, No.

Question. Would it not have been far better to
leave them unconscious dust?

Answer. These questions show how foolish it is
to judge God according to a human standard. What
to us seems just and merciful, God may regard in an
exactly opposite light; and we may hereafter be
developed to such a degree that we will regard the
agonies of the damned as the highest possible evi-
dence of the goodness and mercy of God.

Question. How do you account for the fact that
God did not make himself known except to Abra-
ham and his descendants? Why did he fail to
reveal himself to the other nations—nations that,
compared with the Jews, were learned, cultivated
and powerful? Would you regard a revelation now
made to the Esquimaux as intended for us; and
would it be a revelation of which we would be
obliged to take notice?

Answer. Of course, God could have revealed him-
self, not only to all the great nations, but to each
individual. He could have had the Ten Command-
ments engraved on every heart and brain; or he
could have raised up prophets in every land; but
he chose, rather, to allow countless millions of his
children to wander in the darkness and blackness of
Nature; chose, rather, that they should redden their
hands in each other's blood; chose, rather, that they
should live without light, and die without hope;
chose, rather, that they should suffer, not only in this
world, but forever in the next. Of course we have
no right to find fault with the choice of God.

Question. Now you can tell a sinner to "believe
"on the Lord Jesus Christ;" what could a sinner have
been told in Egypt, three thousand years ago; and
in what language would you have addressed a Hindu
in the days of Buddha—the "divine scheme" at that
time being a secret in the divine breast?

Answer. It is not for us to think upon these
questions. The moment we examine the Christian
system, we begin to doubt. In a little while, we shall
be infidels, and shall lose the respect of those who
refuse to think. It is better to go with the majority.
These doctrines are too sacred to be touched. You
should be satisfied with the religion of your father
and your mother. "You want some book on the
"centre-table," in the parlor; it is extremely handy
to have a Family Record; and what book, other than
the Bible, could a mother give a son as he leaves the
old homestead?

Question. Is it not wonderful that all the writers
of the four gospels do not give an account of the
ascension of Jesus Christ?

Answer. This question has been answered long
ago, time and time again.

Question. Perhaps it has, but would it not be
well enough to answer it once more? Some may
not have seen the answer?

Answer. Show me the hospitals that infidels
have built; show me the asylums that infidels
have founded.

Question. I know you have given the usual an-
swer; but after all, is it not singular that a miracle
so wonderful as the bodily ascension of a man, should
not have been mentioned by all the writers of that
man's life? Is it not wonderful that some of them
said that he did ascend, and others that he agreed to
stay with his disciples always?

Answer. People unacquainted with the Hebrew,
can have no conception of these things. A story
in plain English, does not sound as it does in Hebrew.
Miracles seem altogether more credible, when told in
a dead language.

Question. What, in your judgment, became of
the dead who were raised by Christ? Is it not
singular that they were never mentioned afterward?
Would not a man who had been raised from the
dead naturally be an object of considerable interest,
especially to his friends and acquaintances? And
is it not also wonderful that Christ, after having
wrought so many miracles, cured so many lame and
halt and blind, fed so many thousands miraculously,
and after having entered Jerusalem in triumph as a
conqueror and king, had to be pointed out by one
of his own disciples who was bribed for the purpose?

Answer. Of course, all these things are exceed-
ingly wonderful, and if found in any other book,
would be absolutely incredible; but we have no
right to apply the same kind of reasoning to the
Bible that we apply to the Koran or to the sacred
books of the Hindus. For the ordinary affairs of
this world, God has given us reason; but in the
examination of religious questions, we should de-
pend upon credulity and faith.

Question. If Christ came to offer himself a sacri-
fice, for the purpose of making atonement for the
sins of such as might believe on him, why did he
not make this fact known to all of his disciples?

Answer. He did. This was, and is, the gospel.

Question. How is it that Matthew says nothing
about "salvation by faith," but simply says that God
will be merciful to the merciful, that he will forgive
the forgiving, and says not one word about the
necessity of believing anything?

Answer. But you will remember that Mark says,
in the last chapter of his gospel, that "whoso be-
"lieveth not shall be damned."

Question. Do you admit that Matthew says
nothing on the subject?

Answer. Yes, I suppose I must.

Question. Is not that passage in Mark generally
admitted to be an interpolation?

Answer. Some biblical scholars say that it is.

Question. Is that portion of the last chapter of
Mark found in the Syriac version of the Bible?

Answer. It is not.

Question. If it was necessary to believe on Jesus
Christ, in order to be saved, how is it that Matthew
failed to say so?

Answer. "There are more copies of the Bible
"printed to-day, than of any other book in the world,
"and it is printed in more languages than any other

Question. Do you consider it necessary to be
"regenerated"—to be "born again"—in order to be

Answer. Certainly.

Question. Did Matthew say anything on the sub-
ject of "regeneration"?

Answer. No.

Question. Did Mark?

Answer. No.

Question. Did Luke?

Answer. No.

Question. Is Saint John the only one who speaks
of the necessity of being "born again"?

Answer. He is.

Question. Do you think that Matthew, Mark and
Luke knew anything about the necessity of "regen-

Answer. Of course they did.

Question. Why did they fail to speak of it?

Answer. There is no civilization without the Bible.
The moment you throw away the sacred Scriptures,
you are all at sea—you are without an anchor and
without a compass.

Question. You will remember that, according to
Mark, Christ said to his disciples: "Go ye into all
"the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Did he refer to the gospel set forth by Mark?

Answer. Of course he did.

Question. Well, in the gospel set forth by Mark,
there is not a word about "regeneration," and no
word about the necessity of believing anything—ex-
cept in an interpolated passage. Would it not seem
from this, that "regeneration" and a "belief in the
"Lord Jesus Christ," are no part of the gospel?

Answer. Nothing can exceed in horror the last
moments of the infidel; nothing can be more ter-
rible than the death of the doubter. When the
glories of this world fade from the vision; when am-
bition becomes an empty name; when wealth turns
to dust in the palsied hand of death, of what use is
philosophy then? Who cares then for the pride of
intellect? In that dread moment, man needs some-
thing to rely on, whether it is true or not.

Question. Would it not have been more con-
vincing if Christ, after his resurrection, had shown
himself to his enemies as well as to his friends?
Would it not have greatly strengthened the evidence
in the case, if he had visited Pilate; had presented
himself before Caiaphas, the high priest; if he had
again entered the temple, and again walked the
streets of Jerusalem?

Answer. If the evidence had been complete and
overwhelming, there would have been no praise-
worthiness in belief; even publicans and sinners
would have believed, if the evidence had been suffi-
cient. The amount of evidence required is the test
of the true Christian spirit.

Question. Would it not also have been better
had the ascension taken place in the presence of
unbelieving thousands; it seems such a pity to have
wasted such a demonstration upon those already

Answer. These questions are the natural fruit of
the carnal mind, and can be accounted for only by
the doctrine of total depravity. Nothing has given
the church more trouble than just such questions.
Unholy curiosity, a disposition to pry into the divine
mysteries, a desire to know, to investigate, to explain
—in short, to understand, are all evidences of a re-
probate mind.

Question. How can we account for the fact that
Matthew alone speaks of the wise men of the East
coming with gifts to the infant Christ; that he alone
speaks of the little babes being killed by Herod? Is
it possible that the other writers never heard of these

Answer. Nobody can get any good out of the
Bible by reading it in a critical spirit. The contra-
dictions and discrepancies are only apparent, and melt
away before the light of faith. That which in other
books would be absolute and palpable contradiction,
is, in the Bible, when spiritually discerned, a perfect
and beautiful harmony.

My own opinion is, that
seeming contradictions are in the Bible for the pur-
pose of testing and strengthening the faith of Chris-
tians, and for the further purpose of ensnaring infidels,
"that they might believe a lie and be damned."
Question. Is it possible that a good God would
take pains to deceive his children?

Answer. The Bible is filled with instances of that
kind, and all orthodox ministers now know that
fossil animals—that is, representations of animals in
stone, were placed in the rocks on purpose to mis-
lead men like Darwin and Humboldt, Huxley and
Tyndall. It is also now known that God, for the
purpose of misleading the so-called men of science,
had hairy elephants preserved in ice, made stomachs
for them, and allowed twigs of trees to be found in
these stomachs, when, as a matter of fact, no such
elephants ever lived or ever died.

These men whoare endeavoring to overturn the Scriptures with the
lever of science will find that they have been de-
ceived. Through all eternity they will regret their
philosophy. They will wish, in the next world, that
they had thrown away geology and physiology and
all other "ologies" except theology. The time is
coming when Jehovah will "mock at their fears and
"laugh at their calamity."

Question. If Joseph was not the father of Christ,
why was his genealogy given to show that Christ
was of the blood of David; why would not the
genealogy of any other Jew have done as well?

Answer. That objection was raised and answered
hundreds of years ago.

Question. If they wanted to show that Christ was of
the blood of David, why did they not give the gene-
alogy of his mother if Joseph was not his father?

Answer. That objection was answered hundreds
of years ago.

Question. How was it answered?

Answer. When Voltaire was dying, he sent for a

Question. How does it happen that the two gene-
alogies given do not agree?

Answer. Perhaps they were written by different

Question. Were both these persons inspired by
the same God?

Answer. Of course.

Question. Why were the miracles recorded in the
New Testament performed?

Answer. The miracles were the evidence relied
on to prove the supernatural origin and the divine
mission of Jesus Christ.

Question. Aside from the miracles, is there any
evidence to show the supernatural origin or character
of Jesus Christ?

Answer. Some have considered that his moral
precepts are sufficient, of themselves, to show that
he was divine.

Question. Had all of his moral precepts been
taught before he lived?

Answer. The same things had been said, but they
did not have the same meaning.

Question. Does the fact that Buddha taught the
same tend to show that he was of divine origin?

Answer. Certainly not. The rules of evidence
applicable to the Bible are not applicable to other
books. We examine other books in the light of
reason; the Bible is the only exception. So, we
should not judge of Christ as we do of any other

Question. Do you think that Christ wrought
many of his miracles because he was good, charitable,
and filled with pity?

Answer. Certainly

Question. Has he as much power now as he had
when on earth?

Answer. Most assuredly.

Question. Is he as charitable and pitiful now, as
he was then?

Answer. Yes.

Question. Why does he not now cure the lame
and the halt and the blind?

Answer. It is well known that, when Julian the
Apostate was dying, catching some of his own blood
in his hand and throwing it into the air he exclaimed:
"Galileean, thou hast conquered!"

Question. Do you consider it our duty to love our

Answer. Certainly.

Question. Is virtue the same in all worlds?

Answer. Most assuredly.

Question. Are we under obligation to render good
for evil, and to "pray for those who despitefully use us"?

Answer. Yes.

Question. Will Christians in heaven love their

Answer. Y es; if their neighbors are not in hell.

Question. Do good Christians pity sinners in this

Answer. Yes.

Question. Why?

Answer. Because they regard them as being in
great danger of the eternal wrath of God.

Question. After these sinners have died, and
been sent to hell, will the Christians in heaven then
pity them?

Answer. No. Angels have no pity.

Question. If we are under obligation to love our
enemies, is not God under obligation to love his?
If we forgive our enemies, ought not God to forgive
his? If we forgive those who injure us, ought not
God to forgive those who have not injured him?

Answer. God made us, and he has therefore the
right to do with us as he pleases. Justice demands
that he should damn all of us, and the few that he
will save will be saved through mercy and without
the slightest respect to anything they may have done
themselves. Such is the justice of God, that those
in hell will have no right to complain, and those in
heaven will have no right to be there. Hell is justice,
and salvation is charity.

Question. Do you consider it possible for a law to
be justly satisfied by the punishment of an innocent

Answer. Such is the scheme of the atonement.
As man is held responsible for the sin of Adam, so
he will be credited with the virtues of Christ; and
you can readily see that one is exactly as reasonable
as the other.

Question. Suppose a man honestly reads the New
Testament, and honestly concludes that it is not an
inspired book; suppose he honestly makes up his
mind that the miracles are not true; that the devil
never really carried Christ to the pinnacle of the
temple; that devils were really never cast out of a
man and allowed to take refuge in swine;—I say,
suppose that he is honestly convinced that these
things are not true, what ought he to say?

Answer. He ought to say nothing.

Question. Suppose that the same man should read
the Koran, and come to the conclusion that it is not
an inspired book; what ought he to say?

Answer. He ought to say that it is not inspired;
his fellow-men are entitled to his honest opinion, and
it is his duty to do what he can do to destroy a per-
nicious superstition.

Question. Suppose then, that a reader of the Bible,
having become convinced that it is not inspired—
honestly convinced—says nothing—keeps his con-
clusion absolutely to himself, and suppose he dies in
that belief, can he be saved?

Answer. Certainly not.

Question. Has the honesty of his belief anything
to do with his future condition?

Answer. Nothing whatever.,

Question. Suppose that he tried to believe, that
he hated to disagree with his friends, and with his
parents, but that in spite of himself he was forced to
the conclusion that the Bible is not the inspired word
of God, would he then deserve eternal punishment?

Answer. Certainly he would.

Question. Can a man control his belief?

Answer. He cannot—except as to the Bible.

Question. Do you consider it just in God to
create a man who cannot believe the Bible, and then
damn him because he does not?

Answer. Such is my belief.

Question. Is it your candid opinion that a man
who does not believe the Bible should keep his
belief a secret from his fellow-men?

Answer. It is.

Question. How do I know that you believe the
Bible? You have told me that if you did not be-
lieve it, you would not tell me?

Answer. There is no way for you to ascertain,
except by taking my word for it.

Question. What will be the fate of a man who
does not believe it, and yet pretends to believe it?

Answer. He will be damned.

Question. Then hypocrisy will not save him?

Answer. No.

Question. And if he does not believe it, and ad-
mits that he does not believe it, then his honesty will
not save him?

Answer. No. Honesty on the wrong side is no
better than hypocrisy on the right side.

Question. Do we know who wrote the gospels?

Answer. Yes; we do.

Question. Are we absolutely sure who wrote

Answer. Of course; we have the evidence as it
has come to us through the Catholic Church.

Question. Can we rely upon the Catholic Church

Answer. No; assuredly no! But we have the
testimony of Polycarp and Irenæus and Clement,
and others of the early fathers, together with that of
the Christian historian, Eusebius.

Question. What do we really know about Polycarp?

Answer. We know that he suffered martyrdom un-
der Marcus Aurelius, and that for quite a time the fire
refused to burn his body, the flames arching over him,
leaving him in a kind of fiery tent; and we also know
that from his body came a fragrance like frankincense,
and that the Pagans were so exasperated at seeing
the miracle, that one of them thrust a sword through
the body of Polycarp; that the blood flowed out and
extinguished the flames and that out of the wound
flew the soul of the martyr in the form of a dove.

Question. Is that all we know about Polycarp?

Answer. Yes, with the exception of a few more
like incidents.

Question. Do we know that Polycarp ever met
St. John?

Answer. Yes; Eusebius says so.

Question. Are we absolutely certain that he ever

Answer. Yes, or Eusebius could not have written
about him.

Question. Do we know anything of the character
of Eusebius?

Answer. Yes; we know that he was untruthful
only when he wished to do good. But God can use
even the dishonest. Other books have to be sub-
stantiated by truthful men, but such is the power of
God, that he can establish the inspiration of the Bible
by the most untruthful witnesses. If God's witnesses
were honest, anybody could believe, and what be-
comes of faith, one of the greatest virtues?

Next Issue: Final