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Some Mistakes Of Moses

Robert Green Ingersoll

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                The Works of ROBERT G. INGERSOLL

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                             PREFACE

     For many years I have regarded the Pentateuch simply as a
record of a barbarous people, in which are found a great number of
the ceremonies of savagery, many absurd and unjust laws, and
thousands of ideas inconsistent with known and demonstrated facts.
To me it seemed almost a crime to teach that this record was
written by inspired men; that slavery, polygamy, wars of conquest
and extermination were right, and that there was a time when men
could win the approbation of infinite Intelligence, Justice, and
Mercy, by violating maidens and by butchering babes. To me it
seemed more reasonable that savage men had made these laws; and I
endeavored in a lecture, entitled "Some Mistakes of Moses," to
point out some of the errors, contradictions, and impossibilities
contained in the Pentateuch. The lecture was never written and
consequently never delivered twice the same. On several occasions
it was reported and published without consent, and without
revision. All these publications were grossly and glaringly
incorrect. As published, they have been answered several hundred
times, and many of the clergy are still engaged in the great work.
To keep these reverend gentlemen from wasting their talents on the
mistakes of reporters and printers, I concluded to publish the
principal points in all my lectures on this subject. And here, it
may be proper for one to say, that arguments cannot be answered by
personal abuse; that there is no logic in slander, and that
falsehood, in the long run, defeats itself, People who love their
enemies should, at least, tell the truth about their friends.
Should it turn out that I am the worst man in the whole world, the
story of the flood will remain just as improbable as before, and
the contradictions of the Pentateuch will still demand an
explanation.

     There was a time when a falsehood, fulminated from the pulpit,
smote like a sword; but, the supply having greatly exceeded the
demand, clerical misrepresentation has at last become almost an
innocent amusement. Remembering that only a few years ago men,
women, and even children, were imprisoned, tortured and burned, for
having expressed in an exceedingly mild and gentle way, the ideas
entertained by me, I congratulate myself that calumny is now the
pulpit's last resort. The old instruments of torture are kept only
to gratify curiosity; the chains are rusting away, and the
demolition of time has allowed even the dungeons of the Inquisition
to be visited by light. The church, impotent and malicious,
regrets, not the abuse, but the loss of her power, and seeks to
hold by falsehood what she gained by cruelty and force, by fire and
fear. Christianity cannot live in peace with any other form of

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

faith. If that religion be true, there is but one savior, one
inspired book, and but one little narrow grass-grown path that
leads to heaven. Such a religion is necessarily uncompromising,
unreasoning, aggressive and insolent. Christianity has held all
other creeds and forms in infinite contempt, divided the world into
enemies and friends, and verified the awful declaration of its
founder -- a declaration that wet with blood the sword he came to
bring, and made the horizon of a thousand years lurid with the
fagots' flames.

     Too great praise challenges attention, and often brings to
light a thousand faults that otherwise the general eye would never
see. Were we allowed to read the Bible as we do all other books, we
would admire its beauties, treasure its worthy thoughts, and
account for all its absurd, grotesque and cruel things, by saying
that its authors lived in rude, barbaric times. But we are told
that it was written by inspired men; that it contains the will of
God; that it is perfect, pure, and true in all its parts; the
source and standard of all moral and religious truth; that it is
the star and anchor of all human hope; the only guide for man, the
only torch in Nature's night. These claims are so at variance with
every known recorded fact, so palpably absurd, that every free,
unbiased soul is forced to raise the standard of revolt.

     We read the pagan sacred books with profit and delight. With
myth and fable we are ever charmed, and find a pleasure in the
endless repetition of the beautiful, poetic, and absurd. We find,
in all these records of the past, philosophies and dreams, and
efforts stained with tears, of great and tender souls who tried to
pierce the mystery of life and death, to answer the eternal
questions of the Whence and Whither, and vainly sought to make,
with bits of shattered glass, a mirror that would, in very truth,
reflect the face and form of Nature's perfect self.

     These myths were born of hopes, and fears, and tears, and
smiles, and they were touched and colored by all there is of joy
and grief between the rosy dawn of birth, and death's sad night.
They clothed even the stars with passion, and gave to gods the
faults and frailties of the sons of men. In them, the winds and
waves were music, and all the lakes, and streams, and springs, --
the mountains. woods and perfumed dells were haunted by a thousand
fairy forms. They thrilled the veins of Spring with tremulous
desire; made tawny Summer's billowed breast the throne and home of
love; filled Autumn's arms with sun-kissed grapes, and gathered
sheaves; and pictured Winter as a weak old king who felt, like Lear
upon his withered face, Cordelia's tears. These myths, though
false, are beautiful, and have for many ages and in countless ways,
enriched the heart and kindled thought. But if the world were
taught that all these things are true and all inspired of God, and
that eternal punishment will be the lot of him who dares deny or
doubt, the sweetest myth of all the Fable World would lose its
beauty, and become a scorned and hateful thing to every brave and
thoughtful man.

                                          Robert G. Ingersoll
     Washington, D.C.,
          Oct. 7th, 1879.
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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

                              1879

          HE WHO ENDEAVORS TO CONTROL THE MIND BY FORCE
             IS A TYRANT, HE WHO SUBMITS IS A SLAVE.

                                I

     I want to do what little I can to make my country truly free,
to broaden the intellectual horizon of our people, to destroy the
prejudices born of ignorance and fear, to do away with the blind
worship of the ignoble past, with the idea that all the great and
good are dead, that the living are totally depraved, that all
pleasures are sins, that sighs and groans are alone pleasing to
God, that thought is dangerous, that intellectual courage is a
crime, that cowardice is a virtue, that a certain belief is
necessary to secure salvation, that to carry a cross in this world
will give us a palm in the next, and that we must allow some priest
to be the pilot of our souls.

     Until every soul is freely permitted to investigate every
book, and creed, and dogma for itself, the world cannot be free.
Mankind will be enslaved until there is mental grandeur enough to
allow each man to have his thought and say. This earth will be a
paradise when men can, upon all these questions differ, and yet
grasp each other's hands as friends. It is amazing to me that a
difference of opinion upon subjects that we know nothing with
certainty about, should make us hate, persecute, and despise each
other. Why a difference of opinion upon predestination, or the
Trinity, should make people imprison and burn each other seems
beyond the comprehension of man; and yet in all countries where
Christians have existed, they have destroyed each other to the
exact extent of their power. Why should a believer in God hate an
atheist? Surely the atheist has not injured God, and surely he is
human, capable of joy and pain, and entitled to all the rights of
man. Would it not be far better to treat this atheist, at least, as
well as he treats us?

     Christians tell me that they love their enemies, and yet all
I ask is -- not that they love their enemies, not that they love
their friends even, but that they treat those who differ from them,
with simple fairness. We do not wish to be forgiven, but we wish
Christians to so act that we will not have to forgive them.

     If all will admit that all have an equal right to think, then
the question is forever solved; but as long as organized and
powerful churches, pretending to hold the keys of heaven and hell,
denounce every person as an outcast and criminal who thinks for
himself and denies their authority, the world will be filled with
hatred and suffering. To hate man and worship God seems to be the
sum of all the creeds.

     That which has happened in most countries has happened in
ours. When a religion is founded, the educated, the powerful --
that is to say, the priests and nobles, tell the ignorant and
superstitious -- that is to say, the people, that the religion of
their country was given to their fathers by God himself; that it is
the only true religion; that all others were conceived in falsehood

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

and brought forth in fraud, and that all who believe in the true
religion will be happy forever, while all others will burn in hell.
For the purpose of governing the people, that is to say, for the
purpose of being supported by the people, the priests and nobles
declare this religion to be sacred, and that whoever adds to, or
takes away from it, will be burned here by man, and hereafter by
God. The result of this is, that the priests and nobles will not
allow the people to change; and when, after a time, the priests,
having intellectually advanced, wish to take a step in the
direction of progress, the people will not allow them to change. At
first, the rabble are enslaved by the priests, and afterwards the
rabble become the masters.

     One of the first things I wish to do, is to free the orthodox
clergy. I am a great friend of theirs, and in spite of all they may
say against me, I am going to do them a great and lasting service.
Upon their necks are visible the marks of the collar, and upon
their backs those of the lash. They are not allowed to read and
think for themselves. They are taught like parrots, and the best
are those who repeat, with the fewest mistakes, the sentences they
have been taught. They sit like owls upon some dead limb of the
tree of knowledge, and hoot the same old hoots that have been
hooted for eighteen hundred years. Their congregations are not
grand enough, nor sufficiently civilized, to be willing that the
poor preachers shall think for themselves. They are not employed
for that purpose. Investigation is regarded as a dangerous
experiment, and the ministers are warned that none of that kind of
work will be tolerated. They are notified to stand by the old
creed, and to avoid all original thought, as a moral pestilence.
Every minister is employed like an attorney -- either for plaintiff
or defendant, -- and he is expected to be true to his client. If he
changes his mind, he is regarded as a deserter, and denounced,
hated, and slandered accordingly. Every orthodox clergyman agrees
not to change. He contracts not to find new facts, and makes a
bargain that he will deny them if he does. Such is the position of
a Protestant minister in this nineteenth century. His condition
excites my pity; and to better it, I am going to do what little I
can.

     Some of the clergy have the independence to break away, and
the intellect to maintain themselves as free men, but the most are
compelled to submit to the dictation of the orthodox, and the dead.
They are not employed to give their thoughts, but simply to repeat
the ideas of others. They are not expected to give even the doubts
that may suggest themselves, but are required to walk in the
narrow, verdureless path trodden by the ignorance of the past. The
forests and fields on either side are nothing to them. They must
not even look at the purple hills, nor pause to hear the babble of
the brooks. They must remain in the dusty road where the guide-
boards are. They must confine themselves to the "fall of man," "the
expulsion from the garden," the "scheme of salvation," the "second
birth," the atonement, the happiness of the redeemed, and the
misery of the lost. They must be careful not to express any new
ideas upon these great questions. It is much safer for them to
quote from the works of the dead. The more vividly they describe
the sufferings of the unregenerate, of those who attended theaters
and balls, and drank wine in summer gardens on the Sabbath-day, and

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

laughed at priests, the better ministers they are supposed to be.
They must show that misery fits the good for heaven, while
happiness prepares the bad for hell; that the wicked get all their
good things in this life, and the good all their evil; that in this
world God punishes the people he loves, and in the next, the ones
he hates; that happiness makes us bad here, but not in heaven; that
pain makes us good here, but not in hell. No matter how absurd
these things may appear to the carnal mind, they must be preached
and they must he believed. If they were reasonable, there would be
no virtue in believing. Even the publicans and sinners believe
reasonable things. To believe without evidence, or in spite of it,
is accounted as righteousness to the sincere and humble Christian.

     The ministers are in duty bound to denounce all intellectual
pride, and show that we are never quite so dear to God as when we
admit that we are poor, corrupt and idiotic worms; that we never
should have been born; that we ought to be damned without the least
delay; that we are so infamous that we like to enjoy ourselves;
that we love our wives and children better than our God; that we
are generous only because we are vile; that we are honest from the
meanest motives, and that sometimes we have fallen so low that we
have had doubts about the inspiration of the Jewish Scriptures. In
short, they are expected to denounce all pleasant paths and
rustling trees, to curse the grass and flowers, and glorify the
dust and weeds. They are expected to malign the wicked people in
the green and happy fields, who sit and laugh beside the gurgling
springs or climb the hills and wander as they will. They are
expected to point out the dangers of freedom, the safety of
implicit obedience, and to show the wickedness of philosophy, the
goodness of faith, the immorality of science and the purity of
ignorance.

     Now and then a few pious people discover some young man of a
religious turn of mind and a consumptive habit of holy, not quite
sickly enough to die, nor healthy enough to be wicked. The idea
occurs to them that he would make a good orthodox minister. They
take up a contribution, and send the young man to some theological
school where he can be taught to repeat a creed and despise reason.
Should it turn out that the young man had some mind of his own,
and, after graduating, should change his opinions and preach a
different doctrine from that taught in the school, every man who
contributed a dollar towards his education would feel that he had
been robbed, and would denounce him as a dishonest and ungrateful
wretch.

     The pulpit should not be a pillory. Congregations should allow
the minister a little liberty. They should, at least, permit him to
tell the truth.

     They have, in Massachusetts, at a place called Andover, a kind
of minister factory, where each professor takes an oath once in
five years -- that time being considered the life of an oath --
that he has not, during the last five years, and will not, during
the next five years, intellectually advance. There is probably no
oath that they could easier keep. Probably, since the foundation
stone of that institution was laid there has not been a single case
of perjury. The old creed is still taught. They still insist that

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

God is infinitely wise, powerful and good, and that all men are
totally depraved. They insist that the best man God ever made,
deserved to he damned the moment he was finished. Andover puts its
brand upon every minister it turns out, the same as Sheffield and
Birmingham brand their wares, and all who see the brand know
exactly what the minister believes, the books he has read, the
arguments he relies on, and just what he intellectually is. They
know just what he can be depended on to preach, and that he will
continue to shrink and shrivel, and grow solemnly stupid day by day
until he reaches the Andover of the grave and becomes truly
orthodox forever.

     I have not singled out the Andover factory because it is worse
than the others. They are all about the same. The professors, for
the most part, are ministers who failed in the pulpit and were
retired to the seminary on account of their deficiency in reason
and their excess of faith. As a rule, they know nothing of this
world, and far less of the next; but they have the power of stating
the most absurd propositions with faces solemn an stupidity touched
by fear.

     Something should be done for the liberation of these men. They
should be allowed to grow -- to have sunlight and air. They should
no longer be chained and tied to confessions of faith, to mouldy
books and musty creeds. Thousands of ministers are anxious to give
their honest thoughts. The hands of wives and babes now stop their
mouths. They must have bread, and so the husbands and fathers are
forced to preach a doctrine that they hold in scorn. For the sake
of shelter, food and clothes, they are obliged to defend the
childish miracles of the past, and denounce the sublime discoveries
of to-day. They are compelled to attack all modern thought, to
point out the dangers of science, the wickedness of investigation
and the corrupting influence of logic. It is for them to show that
virtue rests upon ignorance and faith, while vice impudently feeds
and fattens upon fact and demonstration. It is a part of their
business to malign and vilify the Voltaires, Humes, Paines,
Humboldts, Tyndalls, Haeckels, Darwins, Spencers, and Drapers, and
to bow with uncovered heads before the murderers, adulterers, and
persecutors of the world. They are, for the most part, engaged in
poisoning the minds of the young, prejudicing children against
science, teaching the astronomy and geology of the Bible, and
inducing all to desert the sublime standard of reason.

     These orthodox ministers do not add to the sum of knowledge.
They produce nothing. They live upon alms. They hate laughter and
joy. They officiate at weddings, sprinkle water upon babes, and
utter meaningless words and barren promises above the dead. They
laugh at the agony of unbelievers, mock at their tears, and of
their sorrows make a jest. There are some noble exceptions. Now and
then a pulpit holds a brave and honest man. Their congregations are
willing that they should think -- willing that their ministers
should have a little freedom.

     As we become civilized, more and more liberty will be accorded
to these men, until finally ministers will give their best and
highest thoughts. The congregations will finally get tired of
hearing about the patriarchs and saints, the miracles and wonders,

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

and will insist upon knowing something about the men and women of
our day, and the accomplishments and discoveries of our time. They
will finally insist upon knowing how to escape the evils of this
world instead of the next. They will ask light upon the enigmas of
this life. They will wish to know what we shall do with our
criminals instead of what God will do with his -- how we shall do
away with beggary and want -- with crime and misery -- with
prostitution, disease and famine, -- with tyranny in all its cruel
forms -- with prisons and scaffolds, and how we shall reward the
honest workers, and fill the world with happy homes! These are the
problems for the pulpits and congregations of an enlightened
future. If Science cannot finally answer these questions, it is a
vain and worthless thing.

     The clergy, however, will continue to answer them in the old
way, until their congregations are good enough to set them free.
They will still talk about believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, as
though that were the only remedy for all human ills. They will
still teach, that retrogression is the only path that leads to
light; that we must go back, that faith is the only sure guide, and
that reason is a delusive glare, lighting only the road to eternal
pain.

     Until the clergy are free they cannot be intellectually
honest. We can never tell what they really believe until they know
that they can safely speak. They console themselves now by a secret
resolution to be as liberal as they dare, with the hope that they
can finally educate their congregations to the point of allowing
them to think a little for themselves. They hardly know what they
ought to do. The best part of their lives has been wasted in
studying subjects of no possible value. Most of them are married,
have families, and know but one way of making their living. Some of
them say that if they do not preach these foolish dogmas, others
will, and that they may through fear, after all, restrain mankind.
Besides, they hate publicly to admit that they are mistaken, that
the whole thing is a delusion, that the "scheme of salvation" is
absurd, and that the Bible is no better than some other books, and
worse than most.

     You can hardly expect a bishop to leave his palace, or the
pope to vacate the Vatican. As long as people want popes, plenty of
hypocrites will be found to take the place. And as long as labor
fatigues, there will be found a good many men willing to preach
once a week, if other folks will work and give them bread. In other
words, while the demand lasts, the supply will never fail.

     If the people were a little more ignorant, astrology would
flourish -- if a little more enlightened, religion would perish!

                               II

                          FREE SCHOOLS.

     It is also my desire to free the schools. When a professor in
a college finds a fact, he should make it known, even if it is
inconsistent with something Moses said. Public opinion must not
compel the professor to hide a fact, and, "like the base Indian,

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

throw the pearl away." With the single exception of Cornell, there
is not a college in the United States where truth has ever been a
welcome guest. The moment one of the teachers denies the
inspiration of the Bible, he is discharged. If he discovers a fact
inconsistent with that book, so much the worse for the fact, and
especially for the discoverer of the fact. He must not corrupt the
minds of his pupils with demonstrations. He must beware of every
truth that cannot, in some way be made to harmonize with the
superstitions of the Jews. Science has nothing in common with
religion. Facts and miracles never did, and never will agree. They
are not in the least related. They are deadly foes. What has
religion to do with facts? Nothing. Can there be Methodist
mathematics, Catholic astronomy, Presbyterian geology, Baptist
biology, or Episcopal botany? Why, then, should a sectarian college
exist? Only that which somebody knows should be taught in our
schools. We should not collect taxes to pay people for guessing.
The common school is the bread of life for the people, and it
should not be touched by the withering hand of superstition.

     Our country will never be filled with great institutions of
learning until there is an absolute divorce between Church and
School. As long as the mutilated records of a barbarous people are
placed by priest and professor above the reason of mankind, we
shall reap but little benefit from church or school.

     Instead of dismissing professors for finding something out,
let us rather discharge those who do not. Let each teacher
understand that investigation is not dangerous for him; that his
bread is safe, no matter how much truth he may discover, and that
his salary will not be reduced, simply because he finds that the
ancient Jews did not know the entire history of the world.

     Besides, it is not fair to make the Catholic support a
Protestant school, nor is it just to collect taxes frown infidels
and atheists to support schools in which any system of religion is
taught.

     The sciences are not sectarian. People do not persecute each
other on account of disagreements in mathematics. Families are not
divided about botany, and astronomy does not even tend to make a
man hate his father and mother. It is what people do not know, that
they persecute each other about. Science will bring, not a sword'
but peace.

     Just as long as religion has control of the schools, science
will be an outcast. Let us free our institutions of learning. Let
us dedicate them to the science of eternal truth. Let us tell every
teacher to ascertain all the facts he can -- to give us light, to
follow Nature, no matter where she leads; to be infinitely true to
himself and us; to feel that he is without a chain, except the
obligation to be honest; that he is bound by no books, by no creed,
neither by the sayings of the dead nor of the living; that he is
asked to look with his own eyes, to reason for himself without
fear, to investigate in every possible direction, and to bring us
the fruit of all his work.

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

     At present, a good many men engaged in scientific pursuits,
and who have signally failed in gaining recognition among their
fellows, are endeavoring to make reputations among the churches by
delivering weak and vapid lectures upon the "harmony of Genesis and
Geology." Like all hypocrites, these men overstate the case to such
a degree, and so turn and pervert facts and words that they succeed
only in gaining the applause of other hypocrites like themselves.
Among the great scientists they are regarded as generals regard
settlers who trade with both armies.

     Surely the time must come when the wealth of the world will
not be wasted in the propagation of ignorant creeds and miraculous
mistakes. The time must come when churches and cathedrals will be
dedicated to the use of man; when minister and priest will deem the
discoveries of the living of more importance than the errors of the
dead; when the truths of Nature will outrank the "sacred"
falsehoods of the past, and when a single fact will outweigh all
the miracles of Holy Writ.

     Who can over estimate the progress of the world if all the
money wasted in superstition could be used to enlighten, elevate
and civilize mankind?

     When every church becomes a school, every cathedral a
university, every clergyman a teacher, and all their hearers brave
and honest thinkers, then, and not until then, will the dream of
poet, patriot, philanthropist and philosopher, become a real and
blessed truth.

                               III

                        THE POLITICIANS.

     I would like also to liberate the politician. At present, the
successful office-seeker is a good deal like the center of the
earth; he weighs nothing himself but draws everything else to him.
There are so many societies, so many churches, so many isms, that
it is almost impossible for an independent man to succeed in a
political career. Candidates are forced to pretend that they are
Catholics with Protestant proclivities, or Christians with liberal
tendencies, or temperance men who now and then take a glass of
wine, or, that although not members of any church their wives are,
and that they subscribe liberally to all. The result of all this is
that we reward hypocrisy and elect men entirely destitute of real
principle; and this will never change until the people become grand
enough to allow each other to do their own thinking.

     Our Government should be entirely and purely secular. The
religious views of a candidate should be kept entirely out of
sight. He should not be compelled to give his opinion as to the
inspiration of the Bible, the propriety of infant baptism, or the
immaculate conception. All these things are private and personal.
He should be allowed to settle such things for himself and should
he decide contrary to the law and will of God, let him settle the
matter with God. The people ought to be wise enough to select as
their officers men who know something of political affairs, who
comprehend the present greatness, and clearly perceive the future

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

grandeur of our country. If we were in a storm at sea, with deck
wave-washed and masts strained and bent with storm, and it was
necessary to reef the top sail, we certainly would not ask the
brave sailor who volunteered to go aloft, what his opinion was on
the five points of Calvinism. Our Government has nothing to do with
religion. It is neither Christian nor pagan; it is secular. But as
long as the people persist in voting for or against men on account
of their religious views, just so long will hypocrisy hold place
and power. Just so long will the candidates crawl in the dust --
hide their opinions, flatter those with whom they differ, pretend
to agree with those whom they despise; and just so long will honest
men be trampled under foot. Churches are becoming political
organizations. Nearly every Catholic is a Democrat; nearly every
Methodist in the North is a Republican.

     It probably will not be long until the churches will divide as
sharply upon political, as upon theological questions; and when
that day comes, if there are not liberals enough to hold the
balance of power, this Government will be destroyed. The liberty of
man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and
sword are in partnership, man is a slave.

     All laws for the purpose of making man worship God, are born
of the same spirit that kindled the fires of the auto da fe, and
lovingly built the dungeons of the Inquisition. All laws defining
and punishing blasphemy -- making it a crime to give your honest
ideas about the Bible, or to laugh at the ignorance of the ancient
Jews, or to enjoy yourself on the Sabbath, or to give your opinion
of Jehovah, were passed by impudent bigots, and should be at once
repealed by honest men. An infinite God ought to be able to protect
himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures.
Certainly he ought not so to act that laws become necessary to keep
him from being laughed at. No one thinks of protecting Shakespeare
from ridicule, by the threat of fine and imprisonment. It strikes
me that God might write a book that would not necessarily excite
the laughter of his children. In fact, I think it would be safe to
say that a real God could produce a work that would excite the
admiration of mankind. Surely politicians could be better employed
than in passing laws to protect the literary reputation of the
Jewish God.

                               IV

                         MAN AND WOMAN.

     Let us forget that we are Baptists, Methodists, Catholics,
Presbyterians, or Freethinkers, and remember only that we are men
and women. After all, man and woman are the highest possible
titles. All other names belittle us, and show that we have, to a
certain extent, given up our individuality, and have consented to
wear the collar of authority -- that we are followers. Throwing
away these names, let us examine these questions not as partisans,
but as human beings with hopes and fears in common.

     We know that our opinions depend, to a great degree, upon our
surroundings -- upon race, country, and education. We are all the
result of numberless conditions, and inherit vices and virtues,

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

truths and prejudices. If we had been born in England, surrounded
by wealth and clothed with power, most of us would have been
Episcopalians, and believed in church and state. We should have
insisted that the people needed a religion, and that not having
intellect enough to provide one for themselves, it was our duty to
make one for them, and then compel them to support it. We should
have believed it indecent to officiate in a pulpit without wearing
a gown, and that prayers should be read from a book. Had we
belonged to the lower classes, we might have been dissenters and
protested against the mummeries of the High Church. Had we been
born in Turkey, most of us would have been Mohammedans and believed
in the inspiration of the Koran. We should have believed that
Mohammed actually visited heaven and became acquainted with an
angel by the name of Gabriel, who was so broad between the eyes
that it required three hundred days for a very smart camel to
travel the distance. If some man had denied this story we should
probably have denounced him as a dangerous person, one who was
endeavoring to undermine the foundations of society, and to destroy
all distinction between virtue and vice. We should have said to
him, "What do you propose to give us in place of that angel? We
cannot afford to give up an angel of that size for nothing." We
would have insisted that the best and wisest men believed the
Koran. We would have quoted from the works and letters of
philosophers, generals and sultans, to show that the Koran was the
best of books, and that Turkey was indebted to that book and to
that alone for its greatness and prosperity. We would have asked
that man whether he knew more than all the great minds of his
country, whether he was so much wiser than his fathers? We would
have pointed out to him the fact that thousands had been consoled
in the hour of death by passages from the Koran; that they had died
with glazed eyes brightened by visions of the heavenly harem, and
gladly left this world of grief and tears. We would have regarded
Christians as the vilest of men, and on all occasions would have
repeated "There is but one God, and Mohammed is his prophet!"

     So, if we had been born in India, we should in all probability
have believed in the religion of that country. We should have
regarded the old records as true and sacred, and looked upon a
wandering priest as better than the men from whom he begged, and by
whose labor he lived. We should have believed in a god with three
heads instead of three gods with one head, as we do now.

     Now and then some one says that the religion of his father and
mother is good enough for him, and wonders why anybody should
desire a better. Surely we are not bound to follow our parents in
religion any more than in politics, science or art. China has been
petrified by the worship of ancestors. If our parents had been
satisfied with the religion of theirs, we would be still less
advanced than we are. If we are, in any way, bound by the belief of
our fathers, the doctrine will hold good back to the first people
who had a religion; and if this doctrine is true, we ought now to
be believers in that first religion. In other words, we would all
be barbarians. You cannot show real respect to your parents by
perpetuating their errors. Good fathers and mothers wish their
children to advance, to overcome obstacles which baffled them, and
to correct the errors of their education. If you wish to reflect
credit upon your parents, accomplish more than they did, solve

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

problems that they could not understand, and build better than they
knew. To sacrifice your manhood upon the grave of your father is an
honor to neither. Why should a son who has examined a subject,
throw away his reason and adopt the views of his mother? Is not
such a course dishonorable to both?

     We must remember that this "ancestor" argument is as old at
least as the second generation of men, that it has served no
purpose except to enslave mankind, and results mostly from the fact
that acquiescence is easier than investigation. This argument
pushed to its logical conclusion, would prevent the advance of all
people whose parents were not Freethinkers.

     It is hard for many people to give up the religion in which
they were born; to admit that their fathers were utterly mistaken,
and that the sacred records of their country are but collections of
myths and fables.

     But when we look for a moment at the world, we find that each
nation has its "sacred records" -- its religion, and its ideas of
worship. Certainly all cannot be right; and as it would require a
lifetime to investigate the claims of these various systems, it is
hardly fair to damn a man forever, simply because he happens to
believe the wrong one. All these religions were produced by
barbarians. Civilized nations have contented themselves with
changing the religions of their barbaric ancestors, but they have
made none. Nearly all these religions are intensely selfish. Each
one was made by some contemptible little nation that regarded
itself as of almost infinite importance, and looked upon the other
nations as beneath the notice of their god. In all these countries
it was a crime to deny the sacred records, to laugh at the priests,
to speak disrespectfully of the gods, to fail to divide your
substance with the lazy hypocrites who managed your affairs in the
next world upon condition that you would support them in this. In
the olden time these theological people who quartered themselves
upon the honest and industrious, were called soothsayers, seers,
charmers, prophets, enchanters, sorcerers, wizards, astrologers,
and impostors, but now, they are known as clergymen.

     We are no exception to the general rule, and consequently have
our sacred books as well as the rest. Of course, it is claimed by
many of our people that our books are the only true ones, the only
ones that the real God ever wrote, or had anything whatever to do
with. They insist that all other sacred books were written by
hypocrites and impostors; that the Jews were the only people that
God ever had any personal intercourse with, and that all other
prophets and seers were inspired only by impudence and mendacity.
True, it seems somewhat strange that God should have chosen a
barbarous and unknown people who had little or nothing to do with
the other nations of the earth, as his messengers to the rest of
mankind.

     It is not easy to account for an infinite God making people so
low in the scale of intellect as to require a revelation. Neither
is it easy to perceive why, if a revelation was necessary for all,
it was made only to a few. Of course, I know that it is extremely
wicked to suggest these thoughts, and that ignorance is the only

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

armor that can effectually protect you from the wrath of God. I am
aware that investigators with all their genius, never find the road
to heaven; that those who look where they are going are sure to
miss it, and that only those who voluntarily put out their eyes and
implicitly depend upon blindness can surely keep the narrow path.

     Whoever reads our sacred book is compelled to believe it or
suffer forever the torments of the lost. We are told that we have
the privilege of examining it for ourselves; but this privilege is
only extended to us on the condition that we believe it whether it
appears reasonable or not. We may disagree with others as much as
we please upon the meaning of all passages in the Bible, but we
must not deny the truth of a single word. We must believe that the
book is inspired. If we obey its every precept without believing in
its inspiration we will be damned just as certainly as though we
disobeyed its every word. We have no right to weigh it in the
scales of reason -- to test it by the laws of nature, or the facts
of observation and experience. To do this, we are told, is to put
ourselves above the word of God, and sit in judgment on the works
of our creator.

     For my part, I cannot admit that belief is a voluntary thing.
It seems to me that evidence, even in spite of ourselves, will have
its weight, and that whatever our wish may be, we are compelled to
stand with fairness by the scales, and give the exact result. It
will not do to say that we reject the Bible because we are wicked.
Our wickedness must be ascertained not from our belief but from our
acts.

     I am told by the clergy that I ought not to attack the Bible;
that I am leading thousands to perdition and rendering certain the
damnation of my own soul. They have had the kindness to advise me
that, if my object is to make converts, I am pursuing the wrong
course. They tell me to use gentler expressions, and more cunning
words. Do they really wish me to make more converts? If their
advice is honest, they are traitors to their trust. If their advice
is not honest, then they are unfair with me. Certainly they should
wish me to pursue the course that will make the fewest converts,
and yet they pretend to tell me how my influence could be
increased. It may be, that upon this principle John Bright advises
America to adopt free trade, so that our country can become a
successful rival of Great Britain. Sometimes I think that even
ministers are not entirely candid.

     Notwithstanding the advice of the clergy, I have concluded to
pursue my own course, to tell my honest thoughts, and to have my
freedom in this world whatever my fate may be in the next.

     The real oppressor, enslaver and corrupter of the people is
the Bible. That book is the chain that binds, the dungeon that
holds the clergy. That book spreads the pall of superstition over
the colleges and schools. That book puts out the eyes of science,
and makes honest investigation a crime. That book unmans the
politician and degrades the people. That book fills the world with
bigotry, hypocrisy and fear. It plays the same part in our country
that has been played by "sacred records" in all the nations of the
world.

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

     A little while ago I saw one of the Bibles of the Middle Ages.
It was about two feet in length, and one and a half in width. It
had immense oaken covers, with hasps, and clasps, and hinges large
enough almost for the doors of a penitentiary. It was covered with
pictures of winged angels and aureoled saints. In my imagination I
saw this book carried to the cathedral altar in solemn pomp --
heard the chant of robed and kneeling priests, felt the strange
tremor of the organ's peal; saw the colored light streaming through
windows stained and touched by blood and flame -- the swinging
censer with its perfumed incense rising to the mighty roof, dim
with height and rich with legend carved in stone, while on the
walls was hung, written in light, and shade, and all the colors
that can tell of joy and tears, the pictured history of the
martyred Christ. The people fell upon their knees. The book was
opened, and the priest read the messages from God to man. To the
multitude, the book itself was evidence enough that it was not the
work of human hands. How could those little marks and lines and
dots contain, like tombs, the thoughts of men, and how could they,
touched by a ray of light from human eyes, give up their dead? How
could these characters span the vast chasm dividing the present
from the past, and make it possible for the living still to hear
the voices of the dead?

                                V

                         THE PENTATEUCH.

     The first five books in our Bible are known as the Pentateuch.
For a long time it was supposed that Moses was the author, and
among the ignorant the supposition still prevails. As a matter of
fact, it seems to be well settled that Moses had nothing to do with
these books, and that they were not written until he had been dust
and ashes for hundreds of years. But, as all the churches still
insist that he was the author, that he wrote even an account of his
own death and burial, let us speak of him as though these books
were in fact written by him. As the Christians maintain that God
was the real author, it makes but little difference whom he
employed as his pen, or clerk.

     Nearly all authors of sacred books have given an account of
the creation of the universe, the origin of matter, and the destiny
of the human race. Nearly all have pointed out the obligation that
man is under to his creator for having placed him upon the earth,
and allowed him to live and suffer, and have taught that nothing
short of the most abject worship could possibly compensate God for
his trouble and labor suffered and done for the good of man. They
have nearly all insisted that we should thank God for all that is
good in life but they have not all informed us as to whom we should
hold responsible for the evils we endure.

     Moses differed from most of the makers of sacred books by his
failure to say anything of a future life, by failing to promise
heaven, and to threaten hell. Upon the subject of a future state,
there is not one word in the Pentateuch. Probably at that early day
God did not deem it important to make a revelation as to the
eternal destiny of man. He seems to have thought that he could
control the Jews, at least, by rewards and punishments in this

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

world, and so he kept the frightful realities of eternal joy and
torment a profound secret from the people of his choice. He thought
it far more important to tell the Jews their origin than to
enlighten them as to their destiny.

     We must remember that every tribe and nation has some way in
which the more striking phenomena of nature are accounted for.
These accounts are handed down by tradition, changed by numberless
narrators as intelligence increases, or to account for newly
discovered facts, or for the purpose of satisfying the appetite for
the marvelous.

     The way in which a tribe or nation accounts for day and night,
the change of seasons, the fall of snow and rain, the flight of
birds, the origin of the rainbow, the peculiarities of animals, the
dreams of sleep, the visions of the insane, the existence of
earthquakes, volcanoes, storms, lightning and the thousand things
that attract the attention and excite the wonder, fear or
admiration of mankind, may be called the philosophy of that tribe
or nation. And as all phenomena are, by savage and barbaric man
accounted for as the action of intelligent beings for the
accomplishment of certain objects, and as these beings were
supposed to have the power to assist or injure man, certain things
were supposed necessary for man to do in order to gain the
assistance, and avoid the anger of these gods. Out of this belief
grew certain ceremonies, and these ceremonies united with the
belief, formed religion; and consequently every religion has for
its foundation a misconception of the cause of phenomena.

     All worship is necessarily based upon the belief that some
being exists who can, if he will, change the natural order of
events. The savage prays to a stone that he calls a god, while the
Christian prays to a god that he calls a spirit, and the prayers of
both are equally useful. The savage and the Christian put behind
the Universe an intelligent cause, and this cause whether
represented by one god or many, has been, in all ages, the object
of all worship. To carry a fetich, to utter a prayer, to count
beads, to abstain from food, to sacrifice a lamb, a child or an
enemy, are simply different ways by which the accomplishment of the
same object is sought, and are all the offspring of the same error.

     Many systems of religion must have existed many ages before
the art of writing was discovered, and must have passed through
many changes before the stories, miracles, histories, prophecies
and mistakes became fixed and petrified in written words. After
that, change was possible only by giving new meanings to old words,
a process rendered necessary by the continual acquisition of facts
somewhat inconsistent with a literal interpretation of the "sacred
records." In this way an honest faith often prolongs its life by
dishonest methods; and in this way the Christians of to-day are
trying to harmonize the Mosaic account of creation with the
theories and discoveries of modern science.

     Admitting that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch, or that
he gave to the Jews a religion, the question arises as to where he
obtained his information. We are told by the theologians that he
received his knowledge from God, and that every word he wrote was

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

and is the exact truth. It is admitted at the same time that he was
an adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter, and enjoyed the rank and
privilege of a prince. Under such circumstances, he must have been
well acquainted with the literature, philosophy and religion of the
Egyptians, and must have known what they believed and taught as to
the creation of the world.

     Now, if the account of the origin of this earth as given by
Moses is substantially like that given by the Egyptians, then we
must conclude that he learned it from them. Should we imagine that
he was divinely inspired because he gave to the Jews what the
Egyptians had given him?

     The Egyptian priests taught first, that a god created the
"original matter" leaving it in a state of chaos; second, that a
god molded it into from; third, that the breath of a god moved upon
the face of the deep; fourth, that a god created simply by saying
"Let it be;" fifth, that a god created light before the sun
existed.

     Nothing can be clearer than that Moses received from the
Egyptians the principal parts of his narrative, making such changes
and additions as were necessary to satisfy the peculiar
superstitions of his own people.

     If some man at the present day should assert that he had
received from God the theories of evolution, the survival of the
fittest, and the law of heredity, and we should afterwards find
that he was not only an Englishman, but had lived in the family of
Charles Darwin, we certainly would account for his having these
theories in a natural way. So, if Darwin himself should pretend
that he was inspired, and had obtained his peculiar theories from
God, we should probably reply that his grandfather suggested the
same ideas, and that Lamarck published substantially the same
theories the same year that Mr. Darwin was born.

     Now, if we have sufficient courage, we will, by the same
course of reasoning, account for the story of creation found in the
Bible. We will say that it contains the belief of Moses, and that
he received his information from the Egyptians, and not from God.
If we take the account as the absolute truth and use it for the
purpose of determining the value of modern thought, scientific
advancement becomes impossible. And even if the account of the
creation as given by Moses should turn out to be true, and should
be so admitted by all the scientific world, the claim that he was
inspired would still be without the least particle of proof. We
would be forced to admit that he knew more than we had supposed. It
certainly is no proof that a man is inspired simply because he is
right.

     No one pretends that Shakespeare was inspired, and yet all the
writers of the books of the Old Testament put together, could not
have produced Hamlet.

     Why should we, looking upon some rough and awkward thing, or
god in stone, say that it must have been produced by some inspired
sculptor, and with the same breath pronounce the Venus de Milo to

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

be the work of man? Why should we, looking at some ancient daub of
angel, saint or virgin, say its painter must have been assisted by
a god?

     Let us account for all we see by the facts we know. If there
are things for which we cannot account, let us wait for light. To
account for anything by supernatural agencies is, in fact to say
that we do not know. Theology is not what we know about God, but
what we do not know about Nature. In order to increase our respect
for the Bible, it became necessary for the priests to exalt and
extol that book, and at the same time to decry and belittle the
reasoning powers of man. The whole power of the pulpit has been
used for hundreds of years to destroy the confidence of man in
himself -- to induce him to distrust his own powers of thought, to
believe that he was wholly unable to decide any question for
himself and that all human virtue consists in faith and obedience.
The church has said, "Believe, and obey! If you reason, you will
become an unbeliever, and unbelievers will be lost. If you disobey,
you will do so through vain pride and curiosity, and will, like
Adam and Eve, be thrust from Paradise forever.

     For my part I care nothing for what the church says, except in
so far as it accords with my reason; and the Bible is nothing to
me, only in so far as it agrees with what I think or know.

     All books should be examined in the same spirit, and truth
should be welcomed and falsehood exposed, no matter in what volume
they may be found.

     Let us in this spirit examine the Pentateuch; and if anything
appears unreasonable, contradictory or absurd, let us have the
honesty and courage to admit it. Certainly no good can result
either from deceiving ourselves or others. Many millions have
implicitly believed this book, and have just as implicitly believed
that polygamy was sanctioned by God. Millions have regarded this
book as the foundation of all human progress, and at the same time
looked upon slavery as a divine institution. Millions have declared
this book to have been infinitely holy, and to prove that they were
right, have imprisoned, robbed and burned their fellow-men. The
inspiration of this hook has been established by famine, sword and
fire, by dungeon, chain and whip, by dagger and by rack, by force
and fear and fraud, and generations have been frightened by threats
of hell, and bribed with promises of heaven.

     Let us examine a portion of this book, not in the darkness of
our fear, but in the light of reason.

     And first, let us examine the account given of the creation of
this world, commenced, according to the Bible, on Monday morning
about five thousand eight hundred and eighty-three years ago.

     Moses commences his story by telling us that in the beginning
God created the heaven and the earth.

     If this means anything, it means that God produced, caused to
exist, called into being, the heaven and the earth. It will not do
to say that he formed the heaven and the earth of previously

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

existing matter. Moses conveys, and intended to convey the idea
that the matter of which the heaven and the earth are composed, was
created.

     It is impossible for me to conceive of something being created
from nothing. Nothing, regarded in the light of a raw material, is
a decided failure. I cannot conceive of matter apart from force.
Neither is it possible to think of force disconnected with matter.
You cannot imagine matter going back to absolute nothing. Neither
can you imagine nothing being changed into something. You may be
eternally damned if you do not say that you can conceive these
things, but you cannot conceive them. Such is the constitution of
the human mind that it cannot even think of a commencement or an
end of matter, or farce.

     If God created the universe, there was a time when he
commenced to create. Back of that commencement there must have been
an eternity. In that eternity what was this God doing? He certainly
did not think. There was nothing to think about. He did not
remember. Nothing had ever happened. What did he do? Can you
imagine anything more absurd than an infinite intelligence in
infinite nothing wasting an eternity?

     I do not pretend to tell how all these things really are; but
I do insist that a statement that cannot possibly be comprehended
by any human being, and that appears utterly impossible, repugnant
to every fact of experience, and contrary to everything that we
really know, must be rejected by every honest man.

     We can conceive of eternity, because we cannot conceive of a
cessation of time. We can conceive of infinite space because we
cannot conceive of so much matter that our imagination will not
stand upon the farthest star, and see infinite space beyond. In
other words, we cannot conceive of a cessation of time; therefore
eternity is a necessity of the mind. Eternity sustains the same
relation to time that space does to matter.

     In the time of Moses, it was perfectly safe for him to write
an account of the creation of the world. He had simply to put in
form the crude notions of the people. At that time, no other Jew
could have written a better account. Upon that subject he felt at
liberty to give his imagination full play. There was no one who
could authoritatively contradict any thing he might say. lt was
substantially the same story that had been imprinted in curious
characters upon the clay records of Babylon, the gigantic
monuments, of Egypt, and the gloomy temples of India. In those days
there was an almost infinite difference between the educated and
ignorant. The people were controlled almost entirely by signs and
wonders. By the lever of fear, priests moved the world. The sacred
records were made and kept, and altered by them. The people could
not read, and looked upon one who could, as almost a god. In our
day it is hard to conceive of the influence of an educated class in
a barbarous age. It was only necessary to produce the "sacred
record," and ignorance fell upon its face. The people were taught
that the record was inspired, and therefore true. They were not
taught that it was true, and therefore inspired.

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

     After all, the real question is not whether the Bible is
inspired, but whether it is true. If it is true, it does not need
to be inspired. If it is true, it makes no difference whether it
was written by a man or a god. The multiplication table is just as
useful, just as true as though God had arranged the figures
himself. If the Bible is really true, the claim of inspiration need
not be urged; and if it is not true, its inspiration can hardly be
established. As a matter of fact, the truth does not need to be
inspired. Nothing needs inspiration except a falsehood or a
mistake. Where truth ends, where probability stops, inspiration
begins. A fact never went into partnership with a miracle. Truth
does not need the assistance of miracle. A fact will fit every
other fact in the Universe, because it is the product of all other
facts. A lie will fit nothing except another lie made for the
express purpose of fitting it. Alter a while the man gets tired of
lying, and then the last lie will not fit the next fact, and then
there is an opportunity to use a miracle. Just at that point, it is
necessary to have a little inspiration.

     It seems to me that reason is the highest attribute of man,
and that if there can be any communication from God to man, it must
be addressed to his reason. It does not seem possible that in order
to understand a message from God it is absolutely essential to
throw our reason away. How could God make known his will to any
being destitute of reason? How can any man accept as a revelation
from God that which is unreasonable to him? God cannot make a
revelation to another man for me. He must make it to me, and until
he convinces my reason that it is true, I cannot receive it.

     The statement that in the beginning God created the heaven and
the earth, I cannot accept. It is contrary to my reason, and I
cannot believe it. It appears reasonable to me that force has
existed from eternity. Force cannot, as it appears to me, exist
apart from matter. Force, in its nature, is forever active, and
without matter it could not act and so I think matter must have
existed forever. To conceive of matter without force, or of force
without matter, or of a time when neither existed, or of a being
who existed for an eternity without either, and who out of nothing
created both, is to me utterly impossible. I may be damned on this
account, but I cannot help it. In my judgment, Moses was mistaken.

     It will not do to say that Moses merely intended to tell what
God did, in making the heavens and the earth out of matter then in
existence. He distinctly states that in the beginning God created
them. If this account is true, we must believe that God, existing
in infinite space surrounded by eternal nothing, naught and void,
created, produced, called into being, willed into existence this
universe of countless stars, the next thing we are told by this
inspired gentleman is that God created light, and proceeded to
divide it from the darkness.

     Certainly, the person who wrote this believed that darkness
was a thing, an entity, a material that could get mixed and tangled
up with light, and that these entities, light and darkness, had to
be separated. In his imagination he probably saw God throwing
pieces and chunks of darkness on one side, and rays and beams of
light on the other. It is hard for a man who has been born but once

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

to understand these things. For my part, I cannot understand how
light can be separated from darkness. I had always supposed that
darkness was simply the absence of light, and that under no
circumstances could it be necessary to take the darkness away from
the light. It is certain, however, that Moses believed darkness to
be a form of matter, because I find that in another place he speaks
of a darkness that could be felt. They used to have on exhibition
at Rome a bottle of the darkness that overspread Egypt.

     You cannot divide light from darkness any more than you can
divide heat from cold. Cold is an absence of heat, and darkness is
an absence of light. I suppose that we have no conception of
absolute cold. We know only degrees of heat. Twenty degrees below
zero is just twenty degrees warmer than forty degrees below zero.
Neither cold nor darkness are entities, and these words express
simply either the absolute or partial absence of heat or light. I
cannot conceive how light can be divided from darkness, but I can
conceive how a barbarian several thousand years ago, writing upon
a subject about which he knew nothing, could make a mistake. The
creator of light could not have written in this way. If such a
being exists, he must have known the nature of that "mode of
motion" that paints the earth on every eye, and clothes in garments
sevenhued this universe of worlds. We are next informed by Moses
that "God said let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters
and let it divide the waters from the waters;" and that "God made
the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the
firmament from the waters which were above the firmament."

     What did the writer mean by the word firmament? Theologians
now tell us that he meant an "expanse." This will not do. How could
an expanse divide the waters from the waters, so that waters above
the expanse would not fall into and mingle with the waters below
the expanse? The truth is that Moses regarded the firmament as a
solid affair. It was where God lived, and where water was kept. It
was for this reason that they used to pray for rain. They supposed
that some angel could with a lever raise a gate and let out the
quantity of moisture desired. It was with the water from this
firmament that the world was drowned when the windows of heaven
were opened. It was in this firmament that the sons of God lived --
the sons who "saw the daughters of men that they were fair and took
them wives of all which they chose." The issue of such marriages
were giants, and "the same became mighty men which were of old, men
of renown."

     Nothing is clearer than that Moses regarded the firmament as
a vast material division that separated the waters of the world,
and upon whose floor God lived, surrounded by his sons. In no other
way could he account for rain. Where did the water come from? He
knew nothing about the laws of evaporation. He did not know that
the sun wooed with amorous kisses the waves of the sea, and that
they, clad in glorified mist rising to meet their lover, were, by
disappointment, changed to tears and fell as rain.

     The idea that the firmament was the abode of the Deity must
have been in the mind of Moses when he related the dream of Jacob.
"And he dreamed, and behold, a ladder set upon the earth and the

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending
and descending on it; and behold the Lord stood above it and said,
I am the Lord God."

     So, when the people were building the tower of Babel "the Lord
came down to see the city, and the tower which the children of men
builded. And the Lord said, Behold the people is one, and they have
all one language; and this they begin to do; and nothing will be
restrained from them which they imagined to do. Go to, let us go
down and confound their language that they may not understand one
another's speech."

     The man who wrote that absurd account must have believed that
God lived above the earth, in the firmament. The same idea was in
the mind of the Psalmist when he said that God "bowed the heavens
and came down."

     Of course, God could easily remove any person bodily to
heaven, as it was but a little way above the earth. "Enoch walked
with God" and he was not, for God took him." The accounts in the
Bible of the ascension of Elijah, Christ and St. Paul were born of
the belief that the firmament was the dwelling place of God. It
probably never occurred to these writers that if the firmament was
seven or eight miles away, Enoch and the rest would have been
frozen perfectly stiff long before the journey could have been
completed. Possibly Elijah might have made the voyage, as he was
carried to heaven in a chariot of fire "by a whirlwind."

     The truth is, that Moses was mistaken, and upon that mistake
the Christians located their heaven and their hell. The telescope
destroyed the firmament, did away with the heaven of the New
Testament, rendered the ascension of our Lord and the assumption of
his Mother infinitely absurd, crumbled to chaos the gates and
palaces of the New Jerusalem, and in their places gave to man a
wilderness of worlds.

     We are next informed by the historian of creation, that after
God had finished making the firmament and had succeeded in dividing
me waters by means of an "expanse" he proceeded "to gather the
waters on the earth together in seas, so that the dry land might
appear."

     Certainly the writer of this did not have any conception of
the real form of the earth. He could not have known anything of the
attraction of gravitation. He must have regarded the earth as flat
and supposed that it required considerable force and power to
induce the water to leave the mountains and collect in the valleys.
Just as soon as the water was forced to run down hill, the dry land
appeared, and the grass began to grow, and the mantles of green
were thrown over the shoulders of the hills, and the trees laughed
into bud and blossom, and the branches were laden with fruit. And
all this happened before a ray had left the quiver of the sun,
before a glittering beam had thrilled the bosom of a flower, and
before the Dawn with trembling hands had drawn aside the curtains
of the East and welcomed to her arms the eager god of Day.

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

     It does not seem to me that grass and trees could grow and
ripen into seed and fruit without the sun. According to the
account, this all happened on the third day. Now, if, as the
Christians say, Moses did not mean by the word day a period of
twenty-four hours, but an immense and almost measureless space of
time, and as God did not, according to this view make any animals
until the fifth day, that is, not for millions of years after he
made the grass and trees, for what purpose did he cause the trees
to bear fruit?

     Moses says that God said on the third day, "Let the earth
bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree
yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself upon the
earth; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass and herb
yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit whose
seed was in itself after his kind; and God saw that it was good,
and the evening and the morning were the third day."

     There was nothing to eat this fruit; not an insect with
painted wings sought the honey of the flowers; not a single living,
breathing thing upon the earth, plenty of grass, a great variety of
herbs, an abundance of fruit, but not a mouth in all the world. If
Moses is right, this state of things lasted only two days; but if
the modern theologians are correct, it continued for millions of
ages.

     It is now well known that the organic history of the earth can
be properly divided into five epochs -- the Primordial, Primary,
Secondary, Tertiary, and Quaternary. Each of these epochs is
characterized by animal and vegetable life peculiar to itself. In
the First will be found Algae and Skull-less Vertebrates, in the
Second, Ferns and Fishes, in the Third, Pine Forests and Reptiles,
in the Fourth, Foliaceous Forests and Mammals, and in the Fifth,
Man."

     How much more reasonable this is than the idea that the earth
was covered with grass, and herbs, and trees loaded with fruit for
millions of years before an animal existed.

     There is, in nature, an even balance forever kept between the
total amounts of animal and vegetable life. "In her wonderful
economy she must form and bountifully nourish her vegetable progeny
-- twin brother life to her, with that of animals. The perfect
balance between plant existences and animal existences must always
be maintained, while matter courses through the eternal circle,
becoming each in turn. If an animal be resolved into its ultimate
constituents in a period according to the surrounding
circumstances, say, of four hours, of four months, of four years,
or even of four thousand years, -- for it is impossible to deny
that there may be instances of all these periods during which the
process has continued -- those elements which assume the gaseous
form mingle at once with the atmosphere and are taken up from, it
without delay by the ever-open mouths of vegetable life. By a
thousand pores in every leaf the carbonic acid which renders the
atmosphere unfit for animal life is absorbed, the carbon being
separated, and assimilated to form the vegetable fibre, which, as
wood, makes and furnishes our houses and ships, is burned for our

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

warmth, or is stored up under pressure for coal. All this carbon
has played its part, and many parts in its time, as animal
existences from monad up to man. Our mahogany of to-day has been
many negroes in its turn, and before the African existed, was
integral portions of many a generation of extinct species."

     It seems treasonable to suppose that certain kinds of
vegetation and certain kinds of animals should exist together, and
that as the character of the vegetation changed, a corresponding
change would take place in the animal world. It may be that I am
led to these conclusions by "total depravity" or that I lack the
necessary humility of spirit to satisfactorily harmonize Haeckel
and Moses; or that I am carried by pride, blinded by reason, given
over to hardness of heart that I might be damned, but I never can
believe that the earth was covered with leaves, and buds, and
flowers, and fruits before the sun with glittering spear had driven
back the hosts of Night.

                               IX

                            THURSDAY.

     After the world was covered with vegetation, it occurred to
Moses that it was about time to make a sun and moon; and so we are
told that on the fourth day God said, "Let there be light in the
firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let
them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years; and let
them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light
upon the earth; and it was so. And God made two great lights; the
greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the
night; he made the stars also."

     Can we believe that the inspired writer had any idea of the
size of the sun? Draw a circle five inches in diameter, and by its
side thrust a pin through the paper. The hole made by the pin will
sustain about the same relation to the circle that the earth does
to the sun. Did he know that the sun was eight hundred and sixty
thousand miles in diameter; that it was enveloped in an ocean of
fire thousands of miles in depth, hotter even than the Christian's
hell. Over which sweep tempests of flame moving at the rate of one
hundred miles a second, compared with which the wildest storm that
ever wrecked the forests of this world was but a calm? Did he know
that the sun every moment of time throws out as much heat as could
be generated by the combustion of millions upon millions of tons of
coal? Did he know that the volume of the earth is less than one-
millionth of that of the sun? Did he know of the one hundred and
four planets belonging to our solar system, all children of the
sun? Did he know of Jupiter eighty five thousand miles in diameter,
hundreds of times as large as our earth, turning on his axis at the
rate of twenty-five thousand miles an hour accompanied by four
moons, making the tour of his orbit in fifty years, a distance of
three thousand million miles? Did he know anything about Saturn,
his rings and his eight moons? Did he have the faintest idea that
all these planets were once a part of the sun; that the vast
luminary was once thousands of millions of miles in diameter; that
Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars were all born before our
earth, and that by no possibility could this world have existed

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

three days, nor three periods, nor three "good whiles" before its
source, the sun? Moses supposed the sun to be about three or four
feet in diameter and the moon about half that size. Compared with
the earth they were but simple specks. This idea seems to have been
shared by all the "inspired" men. We find in the book of Joshua
that the sun stood still, and the moon stayed until the people had
avenged themselves upon their enemies. "So the sun stood still in
the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day."

     We are told that the sacred writer wrote in common speech as
we do when we talk about the rising and setting of the sun, and
that all he intended to say was that the earth ceased to turn on
its axis for about a whole day."

     My own opinion is that General Joshua knew no more about the
motions of the earth than he did about mercy and justice. If he had
known that the earth turned upon its axis at the rate of a thousand
miles an hour, and swept in its course about the sun at the rate of
sixty-eight thousand miles an hour, he would have doubled the
hailstones, spoken of in the same chapter, that the Lord cast down
from heaven, and allowed the sun and moon to rise and set in the
usual way.

     It is impossible to conceive of a more absurd story than this
about the stopping of the sun and moon, and yet nothing so excites
the malice of the orthodox preacher as to call its truth in
question. Some endeavor to account for the phenomenon by natural
causes, while others attempt to show that God could, by the
refraction of light have made the sun visible although actually
shining on the opposite side of the earth. The last hypothesis has
been seriously urged by ministers within the last few months. The
Rev. Henry M. Morey of South Bend, Indiana, says "that the
phenomenon was simply optical. The rotary motion of the earth was
not disturbed, but the light of the sun was prolonged by the same
laws of refraction and reflection by which the sun now appears to
be above the horizon when it is really below. The medium through
which the sun's rays passed may have been miraculously influenced
so as to have caused the sun to linger above the horizon long after
its usual time for disappearance."

     This is the latest and ripest product of Christian scholarship
upon this question no doubt, but still it is not entirely
satisfactory to me. According to the sacred account the sun did not
linger, merely, above the horizon. but stood still "in the midst of
heaven for about a whole day," that is to say. for about twelve
hours. If the air was miraculously changed, so that it would
refract the rays of the sun while the earth turned over as usual
for "about a whole day," then, at the end of that time the sun must
have been visible in the east, that is, it must by that time have
been the next morning. According to this, that most wonderful day
must have been at least thirty-six hours in length. We have first,
the twelve hours of natural light, then twelve hours of "refracted
and reflected" light. By that time it would again be morning, and
the sun would shine for twelve hours more in the natural way,
making thirty-six hours in all.

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

     If the Rev. Morey would depend a little less on "refraction"
and a little more on "reflection" he would conclude that the whole
story is simply a barbaric myth and fable.

     It hardly seems reasonable that God, if there is one, would
either stop the globe, change the constitution of the atmosphere or
the nature of light simply to afford Joshua an opportunity to kill
people on that day when he could just as easily have waited until
the next morning. It certainly cannot be very gratifying to God for
us to believe such childish things.

     It has been demonstrated that force is eternal; that it is
forever active, and eludes destruction by change of form. Motion is
a form of force, and all arrested motion changes instantly to heat.
The earth turns upon its axis at about one thousand miles an hour.
Let it be stopped and a force beyond our imagination is changed to
heat. It has been calculated that to stop the world would produce
as much heat as the burning of a solid piece of coal three times
the size of the earth. And yet we are asked to believe that this
was done in order that one barbarian might defeat another. Such
stories never would have been written, had not the belief been
general that the heavenly bodies were as nothing compared with the
earth.

     The view of Moses was acquiesced in by the Jewish people and
by the Christian world for thousands of years. It is supposed that
Moses lived about fifteen hundred years before Christ, and although
he was "inspired," and obtained his information directly from God,
he did not know as much about our solar system as the Chinese did
a thousand years before he was born. "The Emperor Chwenhio adopted
as an epoch, a conjunction of the planets Mercury, Mars, Jupiter
and Saturn, which has been shown by M. Bailly to have occurred no
less than 2449 years before Christ." The ancient Chinese knew not
only the motions of the planets, but they could calculate eclipses.
"In the reign of the Emperor Chow-Kang, the chief astronomers, Ho
and Hi were condemned to death for neglecting to announce a solar
eclipse which took place 2169 B.C., a clear proof that the
prediction of eclipses was a part of the duty of the imperial
astronomers."

     Is it not strange that a Chinaman should find out by his own
exertions more about the material universe than Moses could when
assisted by its Creator?

     About eight hundred years after God gave Moses the principal
facts about the creation of the "heaven and the earth" he performed
another miracle far more wonderful than stopping the world. On this
occasion he not only stopped the earth, but actually caused it to
turn the other way. A Jewish king was sick, and God, in order to
convince him that he would ultimately recover, offered to make the
shadow on the dial go forward, or backward ten degrees. The king
thought it was too easy a thing to make the shadow go forward, and
asked that it be turned back. Thereupon, "Isaiah the prophet cried
unto the Lord, and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward by
which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz." I hardly see how this
miracle could be accounted for even by "refraction" and
"reflection."

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

     It seems, from the account, that this stupendous miracle was
performed after the king had been cured. The account of the shadow
going backward is given in the eleventh verse of the twentieth
chapter of Second Kings, while the cure is given in the seventh
verse of the same chapter. "And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs.
And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered."

     Stopping the world and causing it to turn back ten degrees
after that, seems to have been, as the boil was already cured by
the figs, a useless display of power.

     The easiest way to account for all these wonders is to say
that the "inspired" writers were mistaken. In this way a fearful
burden is lifted from the credulity of man, and he is left free to
believe the evidences of his own senses, and the demonstrations of
science. In this way he can emancipate himself from the slavery of
superstition, the control of the barbaric dead, and the despotism
of the church.

     Only about a hundred years ago, Buffon, the naturalist, was
compelled by the faculty of theology of Paris to publicly renounce
fourteen "errors" in his work on Natural History because they were
at variance with the Mosaic account of creation. The Pentateuch is
still the scientific standard of the church, and ignorant priests,
armed with that, pronounce sentence upon the vast accomplishments
of modern thought.

                                X

                    "HE MADE THE STARS ALSO."

     Moses came very near forgetting about the stars and only gave
five words to all the hosts of heaven. Can it be possible that he
knew anything about the stars beyond the mere fact that he saw them
shining above him?

     Did he know that the nearest star, the one we ought to be best
acquainted with, is twenty-one billion of miles away, and that it
is a sun shining by its own light? Did he know of the next, that is
thirty-seven billion miles distant? Is it possible that he was
acquainted with Sirius, a sun two thousand six hundred and eighty-
eight times larger than our own, surrounded by a system of heavenly
bodies, several of which are already known, and distant from us
eighty-two billion miles? Did he know that the Polar star that
tells the mariner his course and guided slaves to liberty and joy,
is distant from this little world two hundred and ninety-two
billion miles, and that Capella wheels and shines one hundred and
thirty-three billion miles beyond? Did he know that it would
require about seventy-two years for light to reach us from this
star? Did he know that light travels one hundred and eighty-five
thousand miles a second? Did he know that some stars are so far
away in the infinite abysses that five millions of years are
required for their light to reach this globe?

     If this is true, and if as the Bible tells us, the stars were
made after the earth, then this world has been wheeling in its
orbit for at least five million years.

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

     It may be replied that it was not the intention of God to
teach geology and astronomy. Then why did he say anything upon
these subjects? and if he did say anything, why did he not give the
fact?

     According to the sacred records God created, on the first day,
the heaven and the earth, "moved upon the face of the waters," and
made the light. On the second day he made the firmament or the
"expanse" and divided the waters. On the third day he gathered the
waters into seas, let the dry land appear and caused the earth to
bring forth grass, herbs and fruit trees, and on the fourth day he
made the sun, moon and stars and set them in the firmament of
heaven to give light upon the earth. This division of labor is very
striking. The work of the other days is as nothing when compared
with that of the fourth. Is it possible that it required the same
time and labor to make the grass, herbs and fruit trees, that it
did to fill with countless constellations the infinite expanse of
space?

     We are then told that on the next day "God said, Let the
waters bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that hath life,
and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of
heaven. And God created great whales and every living creature
which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and
every winged fowl after his kind, and God saw that it was good. And
God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the
waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth."

     Is it true that while the dry land was covered with grass, and
herbs, and trees bearing fruit, the ocean was absolutely devoid of
life, and so remained for millions of years?

     If Moses meant twenty-four hours by the word day, then it
would make but little difference on which of the six days animals
were made; but if the word day was used to express millions of ages
during which life was slowly evolved from monad up to man, then the
account becomes infinitely absurd, puerile and foolish. There is
not a scientist of high standing who will say that in his judgment
the earth was covered with fruit-bearing trees before the moners"
the ancestors it may be of the human race, felt in Laurentian seas
the first faint throb of life. Nor is there one who will declare
that there was a single spire of grass before the sun had poured
upon the world his flood of gold.

     Why should men in the name of religion try to harmonize the
contradictions that exist between Nature and a book? Why should
philosophers be denounced for placing more reliance upon what they
know than upon what they have been told? If there is a God, it is
reasonably certain that he made the world, but it is by no means
certain that he is the author of the Bible. Why then should we not
place greater confidence in Nature than in a book? And even if this
God made not only the world but the book besides, it does not
follow that the book is the best part of creation, and the only
part that we will be eternally punished for denying. It seems to me
that it is quite as important to know something of the solar
system, something of the physical history of this globe, as it is
to know the adventures of Jonah or the diet of Ezekiel. For my
part, I would infinitely prefer to know all the results of

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

scientific investigation, than to be inspired as Moses was.
Supposing the Bible to be true; why is it any worse or more wicked
for Freethinkers to deny it, than for priests to deny the doctrine
of evolution, or the dynamic theory of heat? Why should we be
damned for laughing at Samson and his foxes, while others, holding
the Nebular Hypothesis in utter contempt, go straight to heaven? It
seems to me that a belief in the great truths of science are fully
as essential to salvation, as the creed of any church. We are
taught that a man may be perfectly acceptable to God even if he
denies the rotundity of the earth, the Copernican system, the three
laws of Kepler, the indestructibility of matter and the attraction
of gravitation. And we are also taught that a man may be right upon
all these questions, and yet, for failing to believe in the "scheme
of salvation," be eternally lost.

                               XII

                            SATURDAY.

     On this, the last day of creation, God said: "Let the earth
bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping
things and beast of the earth after his kind; and it was so. And
God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after
their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his
kind; and God saw that it was good."

     Now, is it true that the seas were filled with fish, the sky
with fowls, and the earth covered with grass, and herbs, and fruit
bearing trees, millions of ages before there was a creeping thing
in existence? Must we admit that plants and animals were the result
of the fiat of some incomprehensible intelligence independent of
the operation of what are known as natural causes? Why is a miracle
any more necessary to account for yesterday than for to-day or for
to-morrow? If there is an infinite Power, nothing can be more
certain than that this Power works in accordance with what we call
law, that is, by and through natural causes. If anything can be
found without a pedigree of natural antecedents, it will then be
time enough to talk about the fiat of creation. There must have
been a time when plants and animals did not exist upon this globe.
The question, and the only question is, whether they were naturally
produced. If the account given by Moses is true, then the vegetable
and animal existences are the result of certain special fiats of
creation entirely independent of the operation of natural causes.
This is so grossly improbable, so at variance with the experience
and observation of mankind, that it cannot be adopted without
abandoning forever the basis of scientific thought and action.

     It may be urged that we do not understand the sacred record
correctly. To this it may be replied that for thousands of years
the account of the creation has, by the Jewish and Christian world,
been regarded as literally true. If it was inspired, of course God
must have known just how it would be understood, and consequently
must have intended that it should be understood just as he knew it
would be. One man writing to another, may mean one thing, and yet
be understood as meaning something else. Now, if the writer knew

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

that he would be misunderstood, and also knew that he could use
other words that would convey his real meaning, but did not, we
would say that he used words on purpose to mislead, and was not an
honest man.

     If a being of infinite wisdom wrote the Bible, or caused it to
be written, he must have known exactly how his words would be
interpreted by all the world, and he must have intended to convey
the very meaning that was conveyed. He must have known that by
reading that book, man would form erroneous views as to the shape,
antiquity, and size of this world; that he would be misled as to
the time and order of creation; that he would have the most
childish and contemptible views of the creator; that the "sacred
word" would be used to support slavery and polygamy; that it would
build dungeons for the good, and light fagots to consume the brave,
and therefore he must have intended that these results should
follow. He also must have known that thousands and millions of men
and women never could believe his Bible, and that the number of
unbelievers would increase in the exact ratio of civilization, and
therefore, he must have intended that result.

     Let us understand this. An honest finite being uses the best
words, in his judgment, to convey his meaning. This is the best he
can do, because he cannot certainly know the exact effect of his
words on others. But an infinite being must know not only the real
meaning of the words, but the exact meaning they will convey to
every reader and hearer. He must know every meaning that they are
capable of conveying to every mind. He must also know what
explanations must be made to prevent misconception. If an infinite
being cannot, in making a revelation to man, use such words that
every person to whom a revelation is essential will understand
distinctly what that revelation is, then a revelation from God
through the instrumentality of language is impossible, or it is not
essential that all should understand it correctly. It may be urged
that millions have not the capacity to understand a revelation,
although expressed in the plainest words. To this it seems a
sufficient reply to ask, why a being of infinite power should
create men so devoid of intelligence, that he cannot by any means
make known to them his will? We are told that it is exceedingly
plain, and that a wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err
therein. This statement is refuted by the religious history of the
Christian world. Every sect is a certificate that God has not
plainly revealed his will to man. To each reader the Bible conveys
a different meaning. About the meaning of this book, called a
revelation, there have been ages of war, and centuries of sword and
flame. If written by an infinite God, he must have known that these
results must follow; and thus knowing, he must be responsible for
all.

     Is it not infinitely more reasonable to say that this book is
the work of man, that it is filled with mingled truth and error,
with mistakes and facts, and reflects, too faithfully perhaps, the
"very form and pressure of its time"?

     If there are mistakes in the Bible, certainly they were made
by man. If there is anything contrary to nature, it was written by
man. If there is anything immoral, cruel, heartless or infamous, it
certainly was never written by a being worthy of the adoration of
mankind.
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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

                              XIII

                        LET US MAKE MAN.

     We are next informed by the author of the Pentateuch that God
said "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness," and that
"God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he
him -- male and female created he them."

     If this account means anything, it means that man was created
in the physical image and likeness of God. Moses while he speaks of
man as having been made in the image of God, never speaks of God
except as having the form of a man. He speaks of God as "walking in
the garden in the cool of the day;" and that Adam and Eve "heard
his voice." He is constantly telling what God said, and in a
thousand passages he refers to him as not only having the human
form, but as performing actions, such as man performs. The God of
Moses was a God with hands, with feet, with the organs of speech.
A God of passion, of hatred, of revenge, of affection, of
repentance; a God who made mistakes: -- in other words, an immense
and powerful man.

     It will not do to say that Moses meant to convey the idea that
God made man in his mental or moral image. Some have insisted that
man was made in the moral image of God because he was made pure.
Purity cannot be manufactured. A moral character cannot be made for
man by a god. Every man must make his own moral character.
Consequently, if God is infinitely pure, Adam and Eve were not made
in his image in that respect. Others say that Adam and Eve were
made in the mental image of God. If it is meant by that, that they
were created with reasoning power like, but not to the extent of
those possessed by a god, then this may be admitted. But certainly
this idea was not in the mind of Moses. He regarded the human form
as being in the image of God, and for that reason always spoke of
God as having that form. No one can read the Pentateuch without
coming to the conclusion that the author supposed that man was
crated in the physical likeness of Deity. God said "Go to, let us
go down." "God smelled a sweet savor;" "God repented him that he
had made man;" "and God said;" and "walked;" and "talked;" and
"rested." All these expressions are inconsistent with any other
idea than that the person using them regarded God as having the
form of man.

     As a matter of fact, it is impossible for a man to conceive of
a personal God, other than as a being having the human form. No one
can think of an infinite being having the form of a horse, or of
bird, or of any animal beneath man. It is one of the necessities of
the mind to associate forms with intellectual capacities. The
highest form of which we have any conception is man's, and
consequently, his is the only form that we can find in imagination
to give to a personal God, because all other forms are, in our
minds, connected with lower intelligences.

     It is impossible to think of a personal God as a spirit
without form. We can use these words, but they do not convey to the
mind any real and tangible meaning. Every one who thinks of a
personal God at all, thinks of him as having the human form. Take

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

from God the idea of form; speak of him simply as an all pervading
spirit -- which means an all pervading something about which we
know nothing -- and Pantheism is the result.

     We are told that God made man; and the question naturally
arises, how was this done? Was it by a process of "evolution,"
"development;" the "transmission of acquired habits;" the "survival
of the fittest" or was the necessary amount of clay kneaded to the
proper consistency, and then by the hands of God molded into form?
Modern science tells that man has been evolved, through countless
epochs, from the lower forms; that he is the result of almost an
infinite number of actions, reactions, experiences, states, forms,
wants and adaptations. Did Moses intend to convey such a meaning,
or did he believe that God took a sufficient amount of dust, made
it the proper shape, and breathed into it the breath of life? Can
any believer in the Bible give any reasonable account of this
process of creation? Is it possible to imagine what was really
done? Is there any theologian who will contend that man was created
directly from the earth? Will he say that man was made
substantially as he now is, with all his muscles properly developed
for walking and speaking, and performing every variety of human
action? That all his bones were formed as they now are, and all the
relations of nerve, ligament, brain and motion as they are to-day?
Looking back over the history of animal life from the lowest to the
highest forms, we find that there has been a slow and gradual
development; a certain but constant relation between want and
production; between use and form. The Moner is said to be the
simplest form of animal life that has yet been found. It has been
described as "an organism without organs." It is a kind of
structureless structure; a little mass of transparent jelly that
can flatten itself out, and can expand and contract around its
food. It can feed without a mouth, digest without a stomach, walk
without feet, and reproduce itself by simple division. By taking
this Moner as the commencement of animal life, or rather as the
first animal, it is easy to follow the development of the organic
structure through all the forms of life to man himself. In this way
finally every muscle, bone and joint, every organ, form and
function may be accounted for. In this way, and in this way only,
can the existence of rudimentary organs be explained. Blot from the
human mind the ideas of evolution, heredity, adaptation, and "the
survival of the fittest," with which it has been enriched by
Lamarck, Goethe, Darwin, Haeckel and Spencer, and all the facts in
the history of animal life become utterly disconnected and
meaningless.

     Shall we throw away all that has been discovered with regard
to organic life, and in its place take the statements of one who
lived in the rude morning of a barbaric day? Will anybody now
contend that man was a direct and independent creation, and
sustains and bears no relation to the animals below him? Belief
upon this subject must be governed at last by evidence. Man cannot
believe as he pleases. He can control his speech, and can say that
he believes or disbelieves; but after all, his will cannot depress
or raise the scales with which his reason finds the worth and
weight of facts. If this is not so, investigation, evidence,
judgment and reason are but empty words.

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

     I ask again, how were Adam and Eve created? In one account
they are created male and female, and apparently at the same time.
In the next account, Adam is created first, and Eve a long time
afterwards, and from a part of the man. Did God simply by his
creative fiat cause a rib slowly to expand, grow and divide into
nerve, ligament, cartilage and flesh? How was the woman created
from a rib? How was man created simply from dust? For my part, I
cannot believe this statement. I may suffer for this in the world
to come; and may, millions of years hence, sincerely wish that I
had never investigated the subject, but had been content to take
the ideas of the dead. I do not believe that any deity works in
that way. So far as my experience goes, there is an unbroken
procession of cause and effect. Each thing is a necessary link in
an infinite chain; and I cannot conceive of this chain being broken
even for one instant. Back of the simplest moner there is a cause,
and back of that another, and so on, it seems to me, forever. In my
philosophy I postulate neither beginning nor ending.

     If the Mosaic account is true, we know how long man has been
upon this earth. If that account can be relied on, the first man
was made about five thousand eight hundred and eighty-three years
ago. Sixteen hundred and fifty-six years after the making of the
first man, the inhabitants of the world, with the exception of
eight people, were destroyed by a flood. This flood occurred only
about four thousand two hundred and twenty-seven years ago. If this
account is correct, at that time, only one kind of men existed.
Noah and his family were certainly of the same blood. It therefore
follows that all the differences we see between the various races
of men have been caused in about four thousand years. If the
account of the deluge is true, then since that event all the
ancient kingdoms of the earth were founded, and their inhabitants
passed through all the stages of savage, nomadic, barbaric and
semi-civilized life; through the epochs of Stone, Bronze and Iron;
established commerce, cultivated the arts, built cities, filled
them with palaces and temples, invented writing, produced a
literature and slowly fell to shapeless ruin. We must believe that
all this has happened within a period of four thousand years.

     From representations found upon Egyptian granite made more
than three thousand years ago, we know that the negro was as black,
his lips as full, and his hair as curled then as now. If we know
anything, we know that there was at that time substantially the
same difference between the Egyptian and the negro as now. If we
know anything, we know that magnificent statues were made in Egypt
four thousand years before our era -- that is to say, about six
thousand years ago. There was at the World's Exposition, in the
Egyptian department, a statue of king Cephren, known to have been
chiseled more than six thousand years ago. In other words, if the
Mosaic account must be believed, this statue was made before the
world. We also know, if we know anything, that men lived in Europe
with the hairy mammoth, the cave bear, the rhinoceros, and the
hyena. Among the bones of these animals have been found the stone
hatchets and flint arrows of our ancestors. In the caves where they
lived have been discovered the remains of these animals that had
been conquered, killed and devoured as food, hundreds of thousands
of years ago.

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

     If these facts are true, Moses was mistaken. For my part, I
have infinitely more confidence in the discoveries of to-day, than
in the records of a barbarous people. It will not now do to say
that man has existed upon this earth for only about six thousand
years. One can hardly compute in his imagination the time necessary
for man to emerge from the barbarous state, naked and helpless,
surrounded by animals far more powerful than he, to progress and
finally create the civilizations of India, Egypt and Athens. The
distance from savagery to Shakespeare must be measured not by
hundreds, but by millions of years.

                               XIV

                             SUNDAY.

     "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made,
and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had
made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it; because
that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and
made."

     The great work had been accomplished, the world, the sun, and
moon, and all the hosts of heaven were finished; the earth was
clothed in green, the seas were filled with life, the cattle
wandered by the brooks -- insects with painted wings were in the
happy air, Adam and Eve were making each other's acquaintance, and
God was resting from his work. He was contemplating the
accomplishments of a week.

     Because he rested on that day he sanctified it, and for that
reason and for that alone, it was by the Jews considered a holy
day. If he only rested on that day, there ought to be some account
of what he did the following Monday. Did he rest on that day? What
did he do after he got rested? Has he done anything in the way of
creation since Saturday evening of the first week?

     It is now claimed by the "scientific" Christians that the
"days" of creation were not ordinary days of twenty-four hours
each, but immensely long periods of time. If they are right, then
how long was the seventh day? Was that, too, a geologic period
covering thousands of ages? That cannot be, because Adam and Eve
were created the Saturday evening before, and according to the
Bible that was about five thousand eight hundred and eighty-three
years ago. I cannot state the time exactly, because there have been
as many as one hundred and forty different opinions given by
learned Biblical students as to the time between the creation of
the world and the birth of Christ. We are quite certain, however,
that, according to the Bible, it is not more than six thousand
years since the creation of Adam. From this it would appear that
the seventh day was not a geologic epoch, but was in fact a period
of less than six thousand years, and probably of only twenty-four
hours. The theologians who "answer" these things may take their
choice. If they take the ground that the "days" were periods of
twenty-four hours, then geology will force them to throw away the
whole account. If on the other hand, they admit that the days were
vast "periods" then the sacredness of the Sabbath must be given up.

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

     There is found in the Bible no intimation that there was the
least difference in the days. They are all spoken of in the same
way. It may be replied that our translation is incorrect. If this
is so, then only those who understand Hebrew, have had a revelation
from God, and all the rest have been deceived.

     How is it possible to sanctify a space of time? Is rest holier
than labor? If there is any difference between days, ought not that
to be considered best in which the most useful labor has been
performed?

     Of all the superstitions of mankind, this insanity about the
"sacred Sabbath" is the most absurd. The idea of feeling it a duty
to be solemn and sad one-seventh of the time! To think that we can
please an infinite being by staying in some dark and somber room,
instead of walking in the perfumed fields! Why should God hate to
see a man happy? Why should it excite his wrath to see a family in
the woods, by some babbling stream, talking, laughing and loving?
Nature works on that "sacred" day. The earth turns, the rivers run,
the trees grow, buds burst into flower, and birds fill the air with
song. Why should we look sad, and think about death, and hear about
hell? Why should that day be filled with gloom instead of joy?

     A poor mechanic, working all the week in dust and noise, needs
a day of rest and joy, a day to visit stream and wood -- a day to
live with wife and child; a day in which to laugh at care, and
gather hope and strength for toils to come. And his weary wife
needs a breath of sunny air, away from street and wall, amid the
hills or by the margin of the sea, where she can sit and prattle
with her babe, and fill with happy dreams the long, glad day.

     The "Sabbath" was born of asceticism, hatred of human joy,
fanaticism, ignorance, egotism of priests and the cowardice of the
people. This day, for thousands of years, has been dedicated to
superstition, to the dissemination of mistakes, and the
establishment of falsehoods. Every freethinker, as a matter of
duty, should violate this day. He should assert his independence,
and do all within his power to wrest the Sabbath from the gloomy
church and give it back to liberty and joy. Freethinkers should
make the Sabbath a day of mirth and music; a day to spend with wife
and child -- a day of games, and books, and dreams -- a day to put
fresh flowers above our sleeping dead -- a day of memory and hope,
of love and rest.

     Why should we in this age of the world be dominated by the
dead? Why should barbarian Jews who went down to death and dust
three thousand years ago, control the living world? Why should we
care for the superstition of men who began the Sabbath by paring
their nails, "beginning at the fourth finger, then going to the
second, then to the fifth, then to the third, and ending with the
thumb?" How pleasing to God this must have been. The Jews were very
careful of these nail parings. They who threw them upon the ground
were wicked, because Satan used them to work evil upon the earth.
They believed that upon the Sabbath, souls were allowed to leave
purgatory and cool their burning souls in water. Fires were neither
allowed to be kindled nor extinguished, and upon that day it was a
sin to bind up wounds. "The lame might use a staff, but the blind

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

could not." So strict was the Sabbath kept, that at one time "if a
Jew on a journey was overtaken by the "sacred day" in a wood, or on
the highway, no matter where, nor under what circumstances, he must
sit down "and there remain" until the day was gone. "If he fell
down in the dirt, there he was compelled to stay until the day was
done." For violating the Sabbath, the punishment was death, for
nothing short of the offender's blood could satisfy the wrath of
God. There are, in the Old Testament, two reasons given for
abstaining from labor on the Sabbath: -- the resting of God, and
the redemption of the Jews from the bondage of Egypt.

     Since the establishment of the Christian religion, the day has
been changed, and Christians do not regard the day as holy upon
which God actually rested, and which he sanctioned. The Christian
Sabbath, or the "Lord's day" was legally established by the
murderer Constantine, because upon that day Christ was supposed to
have risen from the dead.

     It is not easy to see where Christians got the right to
disregard the direct command of God, to labor on the day he
sanctified, and keep as sacred, a day upon which he commanded men
to labor. The Sabbath of God is Saturday, and if any day is to be
kept holy, that is the one, and not the Sunday of the Christian.

     Let us throw away these superstitions and take the higher,
nobler ground, that every day should be rendered sacred by some
loving act, by increasing the happiness of man, giving birth to
noble thoughts, putting in the path of toil some flower of joy,
helping the unfortunate, lifting the fallen, dispelling gloom,
destroying prejudice, defending the helpless and filling homes with
light and love.

     It must not be forgotten that there are two accounts of the
creation in Genesis. The first account stops with the third verse
of the second chapter. The chapters have been improperly divided.
In the original Hebrew the Pentateuch was neither divided into
chapters nor verses. There was not even any system of punctuation.
It was written wholly with consonants, without vowels, and without
any marks, dots, or lines to indicate them.

     These accounts are materially different, and both cannot be
true. Let us see wherein they differ.

     The second account of the creation begins with the fourth
verse of the second chapter, and is as follows"

     "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth
when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth
and the heavens. "And every plant of the field before it was in the
earth, and every herb of the field before it to grew; for the Lord
God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a
man to till the ground.

     "But there went up a mist from the earth and watered the whole
face of the ground.

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

     And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and
breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a
living soul.

     "And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there
he put the man whom he had formed.

     "And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree
that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life
also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good
and evil.

     "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from
thence it was parted and became into four heads.

     "The name of the first is Pison; that is it which compasseth
the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.

     "And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the
onyx stone.

     "And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it
that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.

     "And the name of the third river is Hiddekel; that is it which
goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the forth river is Euphrates.

     "And the Lord God took the man, and put him Into the Garden of
Eden to dress it and to keep it.

     "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of
the garden thou mayest freely eat; But of the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that
thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

     "And the Lord God said" It is not good that the man should be
alone; I will make him an helpmeet for him.

     "And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the
field, and every fowl of the air; and bought them unto Adam to see
what he would call them and whatsoever Adam called every living
creature, that was the name thereof.

     "And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the
air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not
found a helpmeet for him.

     "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and
he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh
instead thereof;

     "And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he
a woman and brought her unto the man.

     "And Adam said" This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my
flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

     "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and
shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.

     "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not
ashamed."

             ORDER OF CREATION IN THE FIRST ACCOUNT:

     1. The heaven and the earth, and light were made.

     2. The firmament was constructed and the waters divided.

     3. The waters gathered into seas -- and then came dry land,
grass, herbs and fruit trees.

     4. The sun and moon. He made the stars also.

     5. Fishes, fowls, and great whales.

     6. Beasts, cattle, every creeping thing, man and woman.

            ORDER OF CREATION IN THE SECOND ACCOUNT:

     1. The heavens and the earth.

     2. A mist went up from the earth, and watered the whole face
of the ground.

     3. Created a man out of dust, by the name of Adam.

     4. Planted a garden eastward in Eden, and put the man in it.

     5. Created the beasts and fowls.

     6. Created a woman out of one of the man's ribs.

     In the second account, man was made before the beasts and
fowls. If this is true, the first account is false. And if the
theologians of our time are correct in their view that the Mosaic
day means thousands of ages, then, according to the second account,
Adam existed millions of years before Eve was formed. He must have
lived one Mosaic day before there were any trees, and another
Mosaic day before the beasts and fowls were created. Will some kind
clergymen tell us upon what kind of food Adam subsisted during
these immense periods?

     In the second account a man is made, and the fact that he was
without a helpmeet did not occur to the Lord God until a couple "of
vast periods" afterwards. The Lord God suddenly coming to a
appreciation of the situation said, "It is not good that the man
should be alone. I will make him an helpmeet for him."

     Now, after concluding to make "an helpmeet" for Adam, what did
the Lord God do? Did he at once proceed to make a woman? No. What
did he do? He made the beasts, and tried to induce Adam to take one
of them for "an helpmeet." If I am incorrect, read the following
account, and tell me what it means;

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

     "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be
alone; I will make him an helpmeet for him.

     "And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the
field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see
what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living
creature, that was the name thereof.

     "And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the
air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not
found an helpmeet for him."

     Unless the Lord God was looking for an help meet for Adam, why
did he cause the animals to pass before him . And why did he, after
the menagerie had passed by, pathetically exclaim, "But for Adam
there was not found an helpmeet for him"?

     It seems that Adam saw nothing that struck his fancy. The
fairest ape, the sprightliest chimpanzee; the loveliest baboon, the
most bewitching orangoutang, the most fascinating gorilla failed to
touch with love's sweet pain, poor Adam's lonely heart. Let us
rejoice that this was so. Had he fallen in "love" then, there never
would have been a Freethinker in this world.

     Dr. Adam Clarke, speaking of this remarkable proceeding says:
-- "God caused the animals to pass before Adam to show him that no
creature yet formed could make him a suitable companion; that Adam
was convinced that none of these animals could be a suitable
companion for him, and that therefore he must continue in a state
that was not good (celibacy) unless he became a further debtor to
the bounty of his maker, for among all the animals which he had
formed, there was not a helpmeet for Adam."

     Upon this same subject, Dr. Scott informs us "that it was not
conducive to the happiness of the man to remain without the
consoling society, and endearment of tender friendship, nor
consistent with the end of his creation to be without marriage by
which the earth might be replenished and worshipers and servants
raised up to render him praise and glory. Adam seems to have been
vastly better acquainted by intuition or revelation with the
distinct properties of every creature than the most sagacious
observer since the fall of man.

     "Upon this review of the animals, not one was found in outward
form his counterpart, nor one suited to engage his affections,
participate in his enjoyments, or associate with him in the worship
of God."

     Dr. Matthew Henry admits that "God brought all the animals
together to see if there was a suitable match for Adam in any of
the numerous families of the inferior creatures, but there was
none. They were all looked over, but Adam could not be matched
among them all. Therefore God created a new thing to be a helpmeet
for him."

     Failing to satisfy Adam, with any of the inferior animals, the
Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall "upon him" and while in this

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

sleep took out one of Adam's ribs and "closed up the flesh instead
thereof." And out of this rib, the Lord God made a woman, and
brought her to the man.

     Was the Lord God compelled to take a part of the man because
he had used up all the original "nothing" out of which the universe
was made? Is it possible for any sane and intelligent man to
believe this story? Must a man be born a second time before this
account seems reasonable?

     Imagine the Lord God with a bone in his hand with which to
start a woman, trying to make up his mind whether to make a blonde
or a brunette!

     Just at this point it may be proper for me to warn all persons
from laughing at or making light of any stories found in the "Holy
Bible." When you come to die, every laugh will be a thorn in your
pillow. At that solemn moment, as you look back upon the records of
your life, no matter how many men you may have wrecked and ruined;
no matter how many women you have deceived and deserted, all that
can be forgiven; but if you remember then that you have laughed at
even one story in God's "sacred book" you will see though the
gathering shadows of death the forked tongues of devils, and the
leering eyes of fiends.

     These stories must be believed, or the work of regeneration
can never be commenced. No matter how well you act your part, live
as honestly as you may, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, divide
your last farthing with the poor, and you are simply traveling the
broad road that leads inevitably to eternal death, unless at the
same time you implicitly believe the Bible to be the inspired word
of God.

     Let me show you the result of unbelief. Let us suppose, for a
moment, that we are at the Day of Judgment, listening to the trial
of souls as they arrive. The Recording Secretary, or whoever does
the cross-examining, says to a soul:

     Where are you from?

     I am from the Earth.

     What kind of a man were you?

     Well, I don't like to talk about myself. I suppose you can
tell by looking at your books.

     No, sir. You must tell what kind of a man you were.

     Well, I was what you might call a first-rate fellow. I loved
my wife and children. My home was my heaven. My fireside was a
paradise to me. To sit there and see the lights and shadows fall
upon the faces of those I loved, was to me a perfect joy.

     How did you treat your family?

     I never said an unkind word. I never caused my wife, nor one
of my children, a moment's pain.

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

     Did you pay your debts?

     I did not owe a dollar when I died, and left enough to pay my
funeral expenses, and to keep the fierce wolf of want from the door
of those I loved.

     Did you belong to any church?

     No, sir. They were too narrow, pinched and bigoted for me, I
never thought that I could be very happy if other folks were
damned.

     Did you believe in eternal punishment?

     Well, no. I always thought that God could get his revenge in
far less time.

     Did you believe the rib story?

     Do you mean the Adam and Eve business?

     Yes! Did you believe that?

     To tell you the God's truth, that was just a little more than
I could swallow.

     Away with him to hell!

     Next!

     Where are you from?

     I am from the world too.

     Did you belong to any church?

     Yes, sir, and to the Young Men's Christian Association
besides.

     What was your business?

     Cashier in a Savings Bank.

     Did you ever run away with any money?

     Where I came from, a witness could not be compelled to
criminate himself.

     The law is different here. Answer the question. Did you run
away with any money?

     Yes, sir.

     How much?

     One hundred thousand dollars.

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

     Did you take anything else with you?

     Yes, sir.

     Well, what else?

     I took my neighbor's wife -- we sang together in the choir.

     Did you have a wife and children of your own?

     Yes, sir.

     And you deserted them?

     Yes, sir, but such was my confidence in God that I believed he
would take care of them.

     Have you heard of them since?

     No, sir.

     Did you believe in the rib story?

     Bless your soul, of course I did. A thousand times I regretted
that there were no harder stories in the Bible, so that I could
have shown my wealth of faith.

     Do you believe the rib story yet?

     Yes, with all my heart.

     Give him a harp!

     Well, as I was saying, God made a woman from Adam's rib. Of
course, I do not know exactly how this was done, but when he got
the woman finished, he presented her to Adam. He liked her, and
they commenced house-keeping in the celebrated Garden of Eden.

     Must we, in order to be good, gentle and loving in our lives,
believe that the creation of woman was a second thought? That
Jehovah really endeavored to induce Adam to take one of the lower
animals as an helpmeet for him? After all, is it not possible to
live honest and courageous lives without believing these fables? It
is said that from Mount Sinai God gave, amid thunderings and
lightnings, ten commandments for the guidance of mankind; and yet
among them is not found -- "Thou shalt believe the Bible."

                               XVI

                           THE GARDEN.

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Can any reason be given for not allowing man to eat of the
fruit of the tree of knowledge? What kind of tree was that? If it
is all an allegory, what truth is sought to be conveyed? Why should
God object to that fruit being eaten by man? Why did he put it in
the midst of the garden? There was certainly plenty of room
outside. If he wished to keep man and this tree apart, why did he

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

put them together? And why, after he had eaten, was he thrust out?
The only answer that we have a right to give, is the one given in
the Bible. "And the Lord God said, Behold the man has become as one
of us to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand
and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever:
Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden, to
till the ground from whence he was taken."

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

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

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

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

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

     Is it true that man was once perfectly pure and innocent, and
that he became degenerate by disobedience? No. The real truth is,
and the history of man shows, that he has advanced. Events, like

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

the pendulum of a clock have swung forward and backward, but after
all, man, like the hands, has gone steadily on. Man is growing
grander. He is not degenerating. Nations and individuals fail and
die, and make room for higher forms. The intellectual horizon of
the world widens as the centuries pass. Ideals grow grander and
purer; the difference between justice and mercy becomes less and
less; liberty enlarges, and love intensifies as the years sweep on.
The ages of force and fear, of cruelty and wrong, are behind us and
the real Eden is beyond. It is said that a desire for knowledge
lost us the Eden of the past; but whether that is true or not, it
will certainly give us the Eden of the future.

                              XVII

                            THE FALL.

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

to do it. Long observation of these animals enables me to state
these facts. For earnest, attentive watching, and for chattering
and babbling they (the ape) have no follows in the animal world.
Indeed, the ability and propensity to chatter, is all they have
left of their original gift of speech, of which they appear to have
been deprived at the fall as a part of their punishment."

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

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

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

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

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

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

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

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

                              XVIII

                            DAMPNESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

from Australia to Asia? Did the giraffe, hippopotamus, antelope and
orangoutang journey from Africa in search of the ark? Can
absurdities go farther than this?

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

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

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

     How long did it rain?

     Forty days.

     How deep did the water get?

     About five miles and a half"

     How much did it rain a day?

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

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

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

     Then, as now, Dhawalagiri lifted its crown of snow twenty-nine
thousand feet above the level of the sea, and on the cloudless
clefts of Chimborazo then, as now, sat the condor; and yet the
waters rising seven hundred and twenty-six feet a day, thirty feet
an hour, six inches a minute, -- rose over the hills, over the
volcanoes, filled the vast craters, extinguished all the fires,

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

rose above every mountain peak until the vast world was but one
shoreless sea covered with the innumerable dead.

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

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

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

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

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

     How could eight persons have distributed this food, even if
the ark had been large enough to hold it? How was the ark kept
clean? We know how it was ventilated; but what was done with the
filth? How were the animals watered? How were some portions of the
ark heated for animals from the tropics, and others kept cool for
the polar bears? How did the animals get back to their respective
countries? Some had to creep back about six thousand miles, and
they could only go a few feet a day. Some of the creeping things
must have started for the ark just as soon as they were made, and
kept up a steady jog for sixteen hundred years. Think of a couple
of the slowest snails leaving a point opposite the ark and starting
for the plains of Shinar, a distance of twelve thousand miles.
Going at the rate of a mile a month, it would take them a thousand
years. How did they get there? Polar bears must have gone several

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

thousand miles, and so sudden a change in climate must have been
exceedingly trying upon their health. How did they know the way to
go? Of course, all the polar bears did not go. Only two were
required. Who selected these?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     "Hitherto, man had been confined to feed only upon the
products of the earth, fruits, herbs and roots, and all sorts of
greens, and milk, which was the first grant; but the flood having

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

perhaps washed away much of the fruits of the earth, and rendered
them much less pleasant and nourishing, God enlarged the grant and
allowed him to eat flesh, which perhaps man never thought of until
now, that God directed him to it. Nor had he any more desire to it
than the sheep has to suck blood like the wolf. But now, man is
allowed to feed upon flesh as freely and safely as upon the green
herb."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

for the first time opened the window and took a breath of fresh
air. He then sent out a raven that did not return, then a dove that
returned. He then waited seven days and sent forth a dove that
returned not, From this he knew that the waters were abated. Is it
possible that he could not see whether the waters had gone? Is it
possible to conceive of a more perfectly childish way of
ascertaining whether the earth was dry?

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

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

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

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

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

                               XIX

                       BACCHUS AND BABEL.

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

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wonderful than the fact that no account is given of the death of
Adam or of Eve, nor of the place of their burial. This may all be
accounted for by the fact that the language of man was confounded
at the building of the tower of Babel, whereby all tradition may
have been lost, so that even the sons of Noah could not give an
account of their voyage in the ark; and, consequently, some one had
to be directly inspired to tell the story, after new languages had
been formed.

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

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

     According to the Bible, up to the time of the building of that
tower, the whole earth was of one language and of one speech, and
would have so remained until the present time had not an effort
been made to build a tower whose top should reach into heaven. Can
any one imagine what objection God would have to the building of

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

such a tower? And how could the confusion of tongues prevent its
construction? How could language be confounded? It could be
confounded only by the destruction of memory. Did God destroy the
memory of mankind at that time, and if so, how? Did he paralyze
that portion of the brain presiding over the organs of
articulation, so that they could not speak the words, although they
remembered them clearly, or did he so touch the brain that they
could not hear? Will some theologian, versed in the machinery of
the miraculous, tell us in what way God confounded the language of
mankind?

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

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

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

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

                               XX

                         FAITH IN FILTH.

     No light whatever is shed upon what passed in the world after
the confounding of language at Babel, until the birth of Abraham.
But, before speaking of the history of the Jewish people, it may be
proper for me to say that many things are recounted in Genesis, and
other books attributed to Moses, of which I do not wish to speak.
There are many pages of these books unfit to read, many stories not
calculated, in my judgment, to improve the morals of mankind. I do
not wish even to call the attention of my readers to these things,
except in a general way. It is to be hoped that the time will come
when such chapters and passages as cannot be read without leaving

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the blush of shame upon the cheek of modesty, will be left out, and
not published as a part of the Bible. If there is a God, it
certainly is blasphemous to attribute to him the authorship of
pages too obscene, beastly and vulgar to be read in the presence of
men and women.

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

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

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

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

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

                               XXI

                          THE HEBREWS.

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

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

     After receiving this communication from the Almighty, Abraham
went into the land of Canaan and again God appeared to him and told
him to take a heifer three years old, a goat of the same age, a
sheep of equal antiquity, a turtle dove and a young pigeon.
Whereupon Abraham killed the animals "and divided them in the
midst, and laid each piece one against another." And it came to
pass that when the sun went down and it was dark, behold a smoking
furnace and a burning lamp that passed between the raw and bleeding
meat. The killing of these animals was a preparation for receiving
a visit from God. Should an American missionary in Central Africa

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find a negro chief surrounded by a butchered heifer, a goat and a
sheep, with which to receive a communication from the infinite God,
my opinion is, that the missionary would regard the proceeding as
the direct result of savagery. And if the chief insisted that he
had seen a smoking furnace and a burning lamp going up and down
between the pieces of meat, the missionary would certainly conclude
that the chief was not altogether right in his mind.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                              XXII

                          THE PLAGUES.

     Three millions of people were in slavery. They were treated
with the utmost rigor, and so fearful were their masters that they
might, in time, increase in numbers sufficient to avenge
themselves. that they took from the arms of mothers all the male
children and destroyed them. If the account given is true, the
Egyptians were the most cruel, heartless and infamous people of
which history gives any record. God finally made up his mind to
free the Hebrews; and for the accomplishment of this purpose he
sent, as his agents, Moses and Aaron, to the king of Egypt. In
order that the king might know that these men had a divine mission,
God gave Moses the power of changing a stick into a serpent, and
water into blood. Moses and Aaron went before the king, stating
that the Lord God of Israel ordered the king of Egypt to let the
Hebrews go that they might hold a feast with God in the Wilderness.
Thereupon Pharaoh, the king, enquired who the Lord was, at the same
time stating that he had never made his acquaintance, and knew
nothing about him. To this they replied that the God of the Hebrews
had met with them, and they asked to go a three days journey into
the desert and sacrifice unto this God, fearing that if they did
not he would fall upon them with pestilence or the sword. This
interview seems to have hardened Pharaoh, for he ordered the tasks
of the children of Israel to be increased; so that the only effect
of the first appeal was to render still worse the condition of the
Hebrews. Thereupon, Moses returned unto the Lord and said, "Lord,

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wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? Why is it that
thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name
he hath done evil to this people: neither hast thou delivered thy
people at all."

     Apparently stung by this reproach, God answered: --

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

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

     Not one word was said by Moses or Aaron as to the wickedness
of depriving a human being of his liberty. Not a word was said in
favor of liberty. Not the slightest intimation that a human being
was justly entitled to the product of his own labor. Not a word
about the cruelty of masters who would destroy even the babes of
slave mothers. It seems to me wonderful that this God did not tell
the king of Egypt that no nation could enslave another, without
also enslaving itself; that it was impossible to put a chain around
the limbs of a slave, without putting manacles upon the brain of
the master. Why did he not tell him that a nation founded upon
slavery could not stand? Instead of declaring these things, instead
of appealing to justice, to mercy and to liberty, he resorted to

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feats of jugglery. Suppose we wished to make a treaty with a
barbarous nation, and the President should employ a slight-of-hand
performer as envoy extraordinary, and instruct him, that when he
came into the presence of the savage monarch, he should cast down
an umbrella or a walking stick, which would change into a lizard or
a turtle; what would we think? Would we not regard such a
performance as beneath the dignity even of a President? And what
would be our feelings if the savage king sent for his sorcerers and
had them perform the same feat? If such things would appear puerile
and foolish in the President of a great republic, what shall be
said when they were resorted to by the creator of all worlds? How
small, how contemptible such a God appears! Pharaoh, it seems, took
about this view of the matter, and he would not be persuaded that
such tricks were performed by an infinite being.

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the
land. The magicians of Egypt did the same, and with their
enchantments brought more frogs upon the land of Egypt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Again, God sent Moses and Aaron, instructing them to tell
Pharaoh that if he refused to let the people go, the face of the
earth would be covered with locusts, so that man would not be able
to see the ground, and that these locusts would eat the residue of
that which escaped from the hail; that they would eat every tree
out of the field; that they would fill the houses of Pharaoh and
the houses of all his servants, and the houses of all the
Egyptians. Moses delivered the message, and went out from Pharaoh.
Some of Pharaoh's servants entreated their master to let the
children of Israel go. Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron and asked
them, who wished to go into the wilderness to sacrifice. They
replied that they wished to go with the young and old; with their
sons and daughters, with flocks and herds. Pharaoh would not
consent to this, but agreed that the men might go. There upon
Pharaoh drove Moses and Aaron out of his sight. Then God told Moses
to stretch forth his hand upon the land of Egypt for the locusts,
that they might come up and eat every herb, even all that the hail
had left. "And Moses stretched out his rod over the land of Egypt,
and the Lord brought an east wind all that day and all that night;
and when it was morning the east wind brought the locusts; and they
came up over all the land of Egypt and rested upon all the coasts
covering the face of the whole earth, so that the land was

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

darkened; and they ate every herb and all the fruit of the trees
which the hail had left, and there remained not any green thing on
the trees or in the herbs of the field throughout the land of
Egypt." Pharaoh then called for Moses and Aaron in great haste,
admitted that he had sinned against the Lord their God and against
them, asked their forgiveness and requested them to intercede with
God that he might take away the locusts. They went out from his
presence and asked the Lord to drive the locusts away, "And the
Lord made a strong west wind which took away the locusts, and cast
them into the Red Sea so that there remained not one locust in all
the coasts of Egypt."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Do you also believe that God told Pharaoh, "If you do not let
these people go, I will fill all your houses and cover your country
with flies?" Do you believe God makes such threats as this?

     Of course God must have known that turning the waters into
blood, covering the country with frogs, infesting all flesh with
lice, and filling all houses with flies, would not accomplish his
object, and that all these plagues would have no effect whatever
upon he Egyptian king.

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

     Do you believe that, failing to effect anything by killing the
cattle, this same God then threatened to afflict all the people
with boils, including the magicians who had been rivaling him in
the matter of miracles; and failing to do anything by boils, that
he resorted to hail? Does this sound reasonable? The hail
experiment having accomplished nothing, do you believe that God

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

murdered the first-born of animals and men? Is it possible to
conceive of anything more utterly absurd, stupid, revolting, cruel
and senseless, than the miracles said to have been wrought by the
Almighty for the purpose of inducing Pharaoh to liberate the
children of Israel?

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

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

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

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

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

                              XXIII

                           THE FLIGHT.

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

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

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

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

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

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

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

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

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

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

that sometimes they fly so thick over the sea, that being weary
they fall into ships, sometimes in such numbers, that they sink
them with their weight.

     No wonder Mr. Cruden believed the Mosaic account.

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

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

     Speaking of these hornets, one of the good old commentators,
whose views have long been considered of great value by the
believers in the inspiration of the Bible, uses the following
language; -- "Hornets are a sort of strong flies, which the Lord
used as instruments to plague the enemies of his people. They are

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

of themselves very troublesome and mischievous, and those the Lord
made use of were, it is thought, of an extraordinary bigness and
perniciousness. It is said they live as the wasps, and that they
have a king or captain, and pestilent stings as bees, and that, if
twenty-seven of them sting man or beast, it is certain death to
either. Nor is it strange that such creatures did drive out the
Canaanites from their habitations; for many heathen writers give
instances of some people driven from their seats by frogs, others
by mice, others by bees and wasps. And it is said that a Christian
city, being besieged by Sapores, king of Persia, was delivered by
hornets; for the elephants and beasts being stung by them, waxed
unruly, and so the whole army fled."

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

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

     Can it be necessary to believe a story like this? Will men
make better husbands, fathers, neighbors, and citizens, simply by
giving credence to these childish and impossible things? Certainly
an infinite God could have transported the Jews to the Holy Land in
a moment, and could, as easily, have removed the Canaanites to some
other country. Surely there was no necessity for doing thousands
and thousands of petty miracles, day after day for forty years,
looking after the clothes of three millions of people, changing the
nature of wool and linen and leather, so that they would not "wax
old." Every step, every motion, would wear away some part of the
clothing, some part of the shoes. Were these parts, so worn away,

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

perpetually renewed, or was the nature of things so changed that
they could not wear away? We know that whenever matter comes in
contact with matter, certain atoms, by abrasion, are lost. Were
these atoms gathered up every night by angels, and replaced on the
soles of the shoes, on the elbows of coats, and on the knees of
pantaloons, so that the next morning they would be precisely in the
condition they were on the morning before? There must be a mistake
somewhere.

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

     "You must consecrate my priests as follows: -- You must kill
a bullock for a sin offering, and have Aaron and his sons lay their
hands upon the head of the bullock. Then you must take the blood
and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with your
finger, and pour some blood at the bottom of the altar to make a
reconciliation; and of the fat that is upon the inwards, the caul
above the liver and two kidneys, and their fat, and burn them upon
the altar. You must get a ram for a burnt offering, and Aaron and
his sons must lay their hands upon the head of the ram. Then you
must kill it and sprinkle the blood upon the altar, and cut the ram
into pieces, and burn the head, and the pieces, and the fat, and
wash the inwards and the lungs in water and then burn the whole ram
upon the altar for a sweet savor unto me. Then you must get another
ram, and have Aaron and his sons lay their hands upon the head of
that, then kill it and take of its blood, and put it on the top of
Aaron's right ear, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the
great toe of his right foot. And you must also put a little of the
blood upon the top of the right ears of Aaron's sons, and on the
thumbs of their right hands and on the great toes of their right
feet. And then you must take of the fat that is on the inwards, and
the caul above the liver and the two kidneys, and their fat, and

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

the right shoulder, and out of a basket of unleavened bread you
must take one unleavened cake and another of oil bread, and one
wafer, and put them on the fat of the right shoulder. And you must
take of the anointing oil, and of the blood, and sprinkle it on
Aaron, and on his garments, and on his sons' garments, and sanctify
them and all their clothes." -- Do you believe that he would have
even suspected that the creator of the universe was talking?

     Can any one now tell why God commanded the Jews, when they
were upon the desert of Sinai, to plant trees, telling them at the
same time that they must not eat any of the fruit of such trees
until after the fourth year? Trees could not have been planted in
that desert, and if they had been, they could not have lived. Why
did God tell Moses, while in the desert, to make curtains of fine
linen? Where could he have obtained his flax? There was no land
upon which it could have been produced. Why did he tell him to make
things of gold, and silver, and precious stones, when they could
not have been in possession of these things? There is but one
answer, and that is, the Pentateuch was written hundreds of years
after the Jews had settled in the Holy Land, and hundreds of years
after Moses was dust and ashes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     There is another account of the giving of the Ten Commandments
to Moses, in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of Exodus. In
this account not one word is said about the people having made a
golden calf, nor about the breaking of the tables of stone. In the
thirty-fourth chapter of Exodus, there is an account of the renewal
of the broken tables of the law, and the commandments are given,

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but they are not the same commandments mentioned in the twentieth
chapter. There are two accounts of the same transaction. Both of
these stories cannot be true, and yet both must be believed. Any
one who will take the trouble to read the nineteenth and twentieth
chapters, and the last verse of the thirty first chapter, the
thirty-second, thirty-third, and thirty-fourth chapters of Exodus,
will be compelled to admit that both accounts cannot be true.

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

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

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

     It is impossible for human beings to exist together, without
certain rules of conduct, certain ideas of the proper and improper,
of the right and wrong, growing out of the relation. Certain rules

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must be made, and must be enforced. This implies law, trial and
punishment. Whoever produces anything by weary labor, does not need
a revelation from heaven to teach him that he has a right to the
thing produced. Not one of the learned gentlemen who pretend that
the Mosaic laws are filled with justice and intelligence, would
live, for a moment, in any country where such laws were in force.

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

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

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

     When reading the history of the Jewish people, of their flight
from, slavery to death, of their exchange of tyrants, I must
confess that my sympathies are all aroused in their behalf. They
were cheated, deceived and abused. Their god was quick-tempered,
unreasonable, cruel, revengeful and dishonest. He was always
promising but never performed. He wasted time in ceremony and
childish detail, and in the exaggeration of what he had done. It is
impossible for me to conceive of a character more utterly
detestable than that of the Hebrew god. He had solemnly promised
the Jews that he would take them from Egypt to a land flowing with
milk and honey. He had led them to believe that in a little while
their troubles would be over, and that they would soon be in the
land of Canaan, surrounded by their wives and little ones, forget
the stripes and tears of Egypt. After promising the poor wanderers
again and again that he would lead them in safety to the promised
land of Joy and plenty, this God, forgetting every promise, said to
the wretches in his power: -- "Your carcasses shall fall in this
wilderness and your children shall wander until your carcasses be
wasted." This curse was the conclusion of the whole matter. Into
this dust of death and night faded all the promises of God. Into

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

this rottenness of wandering despair fell all the dreams of liberty
and home. Millions of corpses were left to rot in the desert, and
each one certified to the dishonesty of Jehovah. I cannot believe
these things. They are so cruel and heartless, that my blood is
chilled and my sense of justice shocked. A book that is equally
abhorrent to my head and heart, cannot be accepted as a revelation
from God.

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

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

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

                              XXIV

                       CONFESS AND AVOID.

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

     If the people of Europe had known as much of astronomy and
geology when the Bible was introduced among them, as they do now,
there never could have been one believer in the doctrine of
inspiration. If the writers of the various parts of the Bible had

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

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

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

                               XXV

                       "INSPIRED" SLAVERY.

     Perhaps the bible was inspired upon the subject of human
slavery. Is there, in the civilized world, to-day, a clergyman who
believes in the divinity of slavery? Docs the bible teach man to
enslave his brother? If it does, is it not blasphemous to say that
it is inspired of God? If you find the institution of slavery
upheld in a book said to have been written by God, what would you
expect to find in a book inspired by the devil? Would you expect to

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find that book in favor of liberty? Modern christians, ashamed of
the God of the Old Testament, endeavor now to show that slavery was
neither commanded nor opposed by Jehovah. Nothing can be plainer
than the following passages from the twenty-fifth chapter of
Leviticus. "Moreover of the children of the strangers that do
sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that
are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your
possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your
children after you, to inherit them for a possession, they shall be
your bond-men forever. Both thy bond-men, and thy bond-maids, which
thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you;
of them shall ye buy bond-men, and bond-maids."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                              XXVI

                      "INSPIRED" MARRIAGE.

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

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

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

                              XXVII

                         "INSPIRED" WAR.

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

                             XXVIII

                  "INSPIRED" RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

white bosom filled with love for you; and when you saw oozing from
the bruised lips of the death wound, the red current of her sweet
life -- think of looking up to heaven and receiving the
congratulations of the infinite fiend whose commandment you had
obeyed!

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

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

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

and crowned, laugh at the honest folks in hell? Will the agony of
the damned increase or decrease the happiness of God? Will there
be, in the universe, an eternal auto da fe?

                              XXIX

                           CONCLUSION.

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

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

     If the Pentateuch is inspired, the civilization of our day is
a mistake and crime. There should be no political liberty. Heresy
should be trodden out beneath the bigot's brutal feet. Husbands
should divorce their wives at will, and make the mothers of their
children houseless and weeping wanderers. Polygamy ought to be
practiced; women should become slaves; we should buy the sons and
daughters of the heathen and make them bondmen and bondwomen

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

forever. We should sell our own flesh and blood, and have the right
to kill our slaves. Men and women should be stoned to death for
laboring on the seventh day. "Mediums," such as have familiar
spirits, should be burned with fire. Every vestige of mental
liberty should be destroyed, and reason's holy torch extinguished
in the martyr's blood.

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

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

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                     SOME MISTAKES OF MOSES.

all be true; that God did not talk to Abraham as one man talks to
another; that angels were not in the habit of walking about the
earth eating veal dressed with milk and butter, and making bargains
about the destruction of cities; that God never turned himself into
a flame of fire, and lived in a bush; that he never met Moses in a
hotel and tried to kill him; that it was absurd to perform miracles
to induce a king to act in a certain way and then harden his heart
so that he would refuse; that God was not kept from killing the
Jews by the fear that the Egyptians would laugh at him; that he did
not secretly bury a man and then allow the corpse to write an
account of the funeral; that he never believed the firmament to be
solid; that he knew slavery was and always would be a frightful
crime; that polygamy is but stench and filth; that the brave
soldier will always spare an unarmed foe; that only cruel cowards
slay the conquered and the helpless; that no language can describe
the murderer of a smiling babe; that God did not want the blood of
doves and lambs; that he did not love the smell of burning flesh;
that he did not want his altars daubed with blood; that he did not
pretend that the sins of a people could be transferred to a goat;
that he did not believe in witches, wizards, spooks, and devils;
that he did not test the virtue of woman with dirty water; that he
did not suppose that rabbits chewed the cud; that he never thought
there were any four footed birds; that he did not boast for several
hundred years that he had vanquished an Egyptian king; that a dry
stick did not bud, blossom, and bear almonds in one night; that
manna did not shrink and swell, so that each man could gather only
just one omer; that it was never wrong to "countenance the poor man
in his cause;" that God never told a people not to live in peace
with their neighbors; that he did not spend forty days with Moses
on Mount Sinai giving him patterns for making clothes, tongs,
basins, and snuffers; that maternity is not a sin; that physical
deformity is not a crime; that an atonement cannot be made for the
soul by shedding innocent blood; that killing a dove over running
water will not make its blood a medicine; that a god who demands
love knows nothing of the human heart; that one who frightens
savages with loud noises is unworthy the love of civilized men;
that one who destroys children on account of the sins of their
fathers is a monster; that an infinite god never threatened to give
people the itch; that he never sent wild beasts to devour babes;
that he never ordered the violation of maidens; that he never
regarded patriotism as a crime; that he never ordered the
destruction of unborn children; that he never opened the earth and
swallowed wives and babes because husbands and fathers had
displeased him; that he never demanded that men should kill their
sons and brothers, for the purpose of sanctifying themselves; that
we cannot please God by believing the improbable; that credulity is
not a virtue; that investigation is not a crime; that every mind
should be free; that all religious persecution is infamous in God,
as well as man; that without liberty, virtue is impossible; that
without freedom, even love cannot exist; that every man should be
allowed to think and to express his thoughts; that woman is the
equal of man; that children should be governed by love and reason;
that the family relation is sacred; that war is a hideous crime;
that all intolerance is born of ignorance and hate; that the
freedom of to-day is the hope of to-morrow; that the enlightened
present ought not to fall upon its knees and blindly worship the
barbaric past; and that every free, brave and enlightened man
should publicly declare that all the ignorant, infamous, heartless,
hideous things recorded in the "inspired" Pentateuch are not the
words of God, but simply "Some Mistakes of Moses."

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