Mr. ROBERTS: There are always two ways of looking at every case, and he pursues the best course who puts all the facts together harmoniously. I daresay I might appeal to the experience of every one as to mystery hanging over some particular incident, till one fact is ascertained which throws all the rest into beautiful harmony. So it is in this matter. Many things appear jumbled and inconsistent if they are looked at apart from the central fact. I don’t wonder that Mr. Bradlaugh does not understand the Bible because he ignores its backbone, so to speak. As I said in my opening address, take God from the Bible and you take reason and all that is intelligible away from it, and lay it open to all the harsh unfriendly sayings in which Mr. Bradlaugh indulges as to its principles, its ordinances, and its history. Recognise the book as it stands in its completeness and it appears in a totally different aspect. In fact its divinity appears from itself. This will be seen if you try to apply to it Mr. Bradlaugh’s hypothesis of its character. Mr. Bradlaugh’s judgment of the book is that it is a human production. Now if that judgment of it be right, then its internal peculiarities ought to agree with it. We ought on such a theory of it to see human principles at work, the same as in everything else of human evolution.
My argument is that there are facts in the case that defy explanation upon any human principles. I have rehearsed some of them. I show that some phases of the recorded attitude of Moses cannot be explained unless we accept the theory of his divine mission. On Moses, then, I propose to retain your attention during the short time at my disposal. It might please Mr. Bradlaugh better if I were to follow the assertions he has made this evening, but I must do my duty. I am here to affirm the truth of the Bible. To prove this affirmation requires argument and I would be precluded from entering upon this argument were I to do as Mr. Bradlaugh wishes, for it would take all the time at my disposal. But there is a way out of the dilemma. If Mr. Bradlaugh will affirm that the Bible is a myth, a human production, or undivine I will agree, as I have already said, to meet him for a similar period to this discussion, and it would then be my duty to follow him in all points and particulars, and to show that none of them were inconsistent with the fact that the book consists of reliable and authentic records of the proceedings of God in human affairs.
Mr. Bradlaugh referred as a matter of animadversion to the fact that Moses took the Israelites into a sterile part of the world. This is one of those points that, in my judgment, tell in support of the professions of the Bible; for such a proceeding is unintelligible, if Moses was not directed to do it by God, who had power to sustain them there. If God directed him to do it, the proceeding is a perfectly rational one. But if Moses acted out of his own head, what possible explanation could be given of his taking the people into a region where it was impossible they could obtain sustenance? Manna was given. That Mr. Bradlaugh treated as an invention. Upon that I have to say that, if the manna had been an invention, something better would have been invented than that. For what are the facts concerning this manna? That the people murmured about it; that they chode with Moses; they recalled to mind the leeks and garlics of Egypt, and wished themselves back again. The fact of their murmuring is recorded; and if the murmuring occurred, it is a proof the manna was given, and that God was working with Moses; for Moses could not bring down manna to feed so large an assembly. If the murmuring did not occur, what conceivable object could the inventor of the story have had in inventing the murmuring? It may be asked, why did not God provide the children of Israel with something better than manna? Why not roast beef and plum-pudding and wine? which certainly would have been the sort of thing invented if the story of Exodus was a Jewish invention for the glorification of the nation. They would then certainly have been represented as having received in the wilderness a plentiful supply of first-class articles. Instead of that, here is an article which the people did not relish and soon got tired of. What was the reason for feeding the people on this peculiar kind of food? Mark the reason! Dent. 8:16:–"Who (God) fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that He might humble thee, and that He might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end." You will judge for yourselves whether it is possible to admit that this could have been an invention. Invention is always for a purpose, and that purpose the glorification of the people concerned. In this case, no such purpose is served, but the contrary. The theory of invention has no reasonable standing ground; while, on the other hand, if it is not invention, but a record of what actually occurred, the occurrence and the record of it have a reasonable explanation, and in that case the divinity of the Bible is proved. Just listen to the context, and imagine whether the language is possibly that of an inventor, or a man seeking to use the Jews for his own glorification: "When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which He hath given thee. Beware that thou forget the Lord thy God in not keeping His commandments and His judgments and His statutes which I command thee this day. Lest when thou hast eaten and art full and hast built goodly houses and hast dwelt therein, and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, then thy heart be lifted up and thou forget the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage." You see Moses never takes the credit of the Egyptian deliverance to himself.–(Time called.)