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Charles Bradlaugh Roberts Bradlaugh Night6 6roberts2

The CHAIRMAN: We have only one hour left. Let us listen with the utmost quietness. Mr. Roberts now speaks for a quarter of an hour.

Mr. ROBERTS: I am surprised that Mr. Bradlaugh should insist on an English translation when the original is presented to him illustrative of a point referred to. When he asked me to be bound by the English version, I did not understand him to exclude the original from which it is made. I understood him to mean the English version and its original, as distinguished from the Septuagint and other versions which are different. A version is the same in all the languages it may be translated into: the original of course governs all. With regard to Mr. Bradlaugh’s remarks upon my opening speech, I am not quite sure whether I am right in giving him credit for sincerity in the disgust he expressed at the chapter I quoted. Not that I wish to dispute his sincerity in any offensive sense. I have no doubt that in measure he is sincere to his cause, but I cannot conceive any really thoughtful man objecting to Rev. 17, on the ground of delicacy; I cannot think of a better answer than the words of Paul, "to the pure all things are pure, but to the unbelieving, and defiled nothing is clean." The Bible deals with facts; and its unvarnished delineations of them is one evidence of its divinity. It is unhampered by human delicacies. If it has a bad thing to speak of, it speaks of it. If it has a bad thing to symbolise, it symbolises it in a character befitting it. Then Mr. Bradlaugh asks, why was not the book of Revelation written plainly? I should like to ask him if even all human compositions are plain? Are there not problems in Euclid, allegorical pictures, in paintings and hieroglyphs on stone? Are there not emblems connected with the various secret orders? All these might be considered as open to the same remarks, if Mr. Bradlaugh’s objection is reasonable. But in point of fact it is not reasonable. Advanced matters are treated in an advanced way. You would not speak to educated men as you would to those you wished to instruct. The book of Revelation was written for a particular class. They are described in the opening verses as "the servants of Jesus Christ." Now the servants of Jesus Christ are instructed in first principles, and the principles furnish the clue to an interpretation of this book which they have in their hands. To them the book is intelligible and interesting. The knowledge it communicates is valuable to them and accessible. Its symbolical character is a veil only to those for whom its contents were never intended. With regard to historical correspondences, I acknowledge that Mr. Bradlaugh is right when he says I have not done what I said I would do; I can only say my omission to do so is not from want of materials, but simply because it has been a matter of impossibility to introduce them during the time at our disposal. On some subsequent occasion I may take the opportunity of bringing them forward. To-night I have put forward some strong things, which so far Mr. Bradlaugh has entirely failed to answer. Perhaps, here, I may refer to his allusions to the discovery of human remains said to belong to times anterior to our own race. I would simply say that the discovery of such remains, even granting all that is claimed for them, would not be anything against the Bible because it is a teaching of the Bible that there was a race on the earth preceding the chaos which prevailed 6,000 years ago, at the time Adam appears on the scene. A disaster to the race occurred, probably resulting in the pre-Adamite chaos; and the remains found may go back to that time without invalidating the Bible account of our own race. Our own race cannot be carried farther back than the Bible puts it. It is a simple mathematical calculation. Population increases at a known rate. Reckon the rate backwards and you cannot carry the present farther back than the time of Noah.

With regard to prophecy, I have produced the case of the Jews, and the case of the corrupt ecclesiasticism of Europe. I now refer to Isaiah’s prediction of the downfall of Babylon (Isaiah 13:19); Ezekiel’s prediction of the downfall of Egypt (Ezekiel 29:12-15); also his prediction of the destruction of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:6-18), a power at that time occupying a great commercial position in the world, answering the position in the present day of Great Britain. Then I produce Daniel’s prophecy of the uprise of the four empires (Daniel 2 and 7). I cannot, in a quarter of an hour, elaborate these; I ask you to refer to them at home and see whether or not these predictions are there. One particular illustration I will refer to, though involving the symbols which brings the jeer to Mr. Bradlaugh’s lips. The date of the prophecy is B.C. 553, and the events to which it relates occurred about 300 years before Christ. Daniel saw in a vision a goat and ram with two horns, representing the empires of Persia and Greece, as the angel showing the vision told Daniel. The goat, representing Greece, had a great horn, which was broken in the encounter with the ram, and from the great horn there sprang up four smaller horns. This was explained to mean that, when the Greek empire should appear on the scene, its first ruler would die, and his empire be divided into four parts outside his family. Now, we well know that, after Persia was conquered by Alexander, he died without issue, and his empire was divided among his four generals–a fact referred to in the 11th chapter of Daniel, thus:–"A mighty king shall stand up that shall rule with great dominion and do according to his will. And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up even for others beside those." I dare say Mr. Bradlaugh, with his usual adroitness, will say that this is a forgery; but intelligent men are not to be scared away from truth by these reckless assertions. There are unquestionable matters of fact which lead logically to certain great conclusions, which may not possibly be apparent to everyone and which may be caricatured but which are still undeniably true. Even in science this is the case. Some scientific experiments are so refined as to be only understood by few; and yet, conducted in a calm and skilful manner, yield demonstrated truth upon which great public conveniences are founded. I might refer on the subject of prophecy to the history of Christ, in so far as it was unfolded during the thirty-three years and a half he sojourned on earth. The time of his appearing, the character of his ministry, and the nature of his death, were all foretold with a minuteness which cannot be accounted for on any other principle than that the prophets were guided by the Spirit of God.

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