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Charles Bradlaugh Roberts Bradlaugh Night2 2roberts3

Mr. ROBERTS: I was only asking the chairman that I might have a quarter of an hour for the conclusion of my argument, but it seems we are pledged to close at 10 o’clock, and, therefore, I must submit to the partition of the remaining time. I have, therefore, to say that Mr. Bradlaugh has either misunderstood or deliberately misrepresented my argument about the wide-spread reception. I did not refer to the wide-spread reception of the Christian tradition in the 19th century: I alluded to the wide-spread belief engendered in the mind of the Roman public in the first century, according to his own admission, in the face of all manner of pains and penalties. And what I ask him to do is to reconcile that undoubted historic phenomenon with any notion of Christ’s not having risen from the dead, and of the disciples expressly declaring what they believed to be– what they knew to be–not true. I will suppose a parallel case: I will suppose that the people of Leicester were to succeed in some way or another–not possible under our constitution, I admit–in apprehending Mr. Bradlaugh, and hanging him, and his dead body delivered upon under official attestation, and buried, and all the Secularists disheartened and squandered; and the Leicester Secularists are found a few weeks after holding public meetings in the Temperance Hall, Leicester, and saying, "Mr. Bradlaugh has risen from the dead"; and the magistrates say, "If you say that, you shall go to prison"; and they say, "Well, we shall go to prison; but we declare that to be true, for we have seen him; we are not speaking of a mere opinion of our own; we rest our declaration on personal experience". And suppose that, in spite of their imprisonment, in spite of their fining, in spite of the assassination of their leading members, these same Secularists go up and down the country, and proclaim that Mr. Bradlaugh has risen from the dead, and that thousands in this enlightened country believe their testimony, notwithstanding pains and penalties that Parliament should decree against the reception of their testimony; then I say that, in that case, you would afterwards have a great historical problem to solve upon some rational principle; and if the facts of the case were equal to the facts in this other case, there would be no rational explanation, apart from the fact that Mr. Bradlaugh had really risen. In fact, the case could not occur apart from the fact that Mr. Bradlaugh had really risen from the dead, and that his followers had seen and conversed with him for a sufficiently long time to make it quite sure that they were not labouring under some hallucination of the senses. And these are the undoubted facts of this case; for Mr. Bradlaugh has admitted the existence of this wide-spread community in the first century, in days when they were persecuted, and attempted to be destroyed by all manner of evil agencies; the central feature of whose contention was that Christ had risen from the dead. I quoted from their authenticated writings, and my argument is not completed, and I am not able to complete it within the six or seven minutes that fall to my lot. Mr. Bradlaugh says I am away from the subject. Surely Mr. Bradlaugh will admit that if I prove Christ’s resurrection, I prove him divine.


Mr. ROBERTS: And if I prove him divine, I prove that his endorsement of Moses and the prophets is, in itself, a conclusive evidence of the divinity of these documents, apart from all abstruse and difficult questions connected with localities in remote times in which it is difficult almost to identify any place, particularly in profane records, and particularly as affected other nations. With regard to the Jewish nation, with regard to Jewish localities, with regard to Jewish events, there is more abundant identification, and more definite and circumstantial evidence, than in the case of any nation under heaven.


Mr. ROBERTS: Well, of course, Mr. Bradlaugh thinks not; but I declare that to be a fact, which even Sir Isaac Newton alleged to be a fact, as the result of his acquaintance with general literature, that no book of similar antiquity, and no event in history, are so well authenticated, in accordance with all the rules of evidence, as the New Testament and the resurrection of Christ. Mr. Bradlaugh has attempted to represent that I am speaking irrelevantly to the issue, whereas, if the facts I am contending for–which I contended for last night, which I have been contending for to-night, and which I shall contend for in the nights to come–if these are all established, which I am sure they can be, then my case for the Bible is proved, and all Mr. Bradlaugh’s objections will be seen in the light of trifling minor and obscure issues, which fall in with and are governed by the incontestable body of evidence that proves the Scriptures to be "the authentic and reliable records of divine revelation."

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