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Chapter 12

Joseph Wheless

                15 page printout, page 216 - 230
                           CHAPTER XII

                 BIBLE THEOLOGY AND MODERN TRUTH

     BEFORE essaying frankly, for the sake of truth, to "search the
scriptures" of the New Testament, wherein, says the Christ, "ye
think ye have eternal life" (John v, 39), it is of prime importance
to consider briefly the relations of those scriptures to the Church
and to theological Christianity. Obviously, Bible and Church are
vitally related and inseparable; they stand or fall, live or die,
together. The inspiration and truth of the whole "Holy Bible, book
divine" is the first postulate of every Christian creed. The
"Apostles' Creed' enshrines for belief every "fundamental" of the
Christian Bible faith. Not to attempt to cite every Christian creed
in corroboration of this cardinal fact -- for all Christian sects
it is basic -- I quote only the highest and most ancient authority
in some of its most modern reaffirmations.

     The Vatican Council thus states the dogma of infallible truth
of scripture: "These books are sacred and canonical because they
contain revelation without error, and because, written by the
inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their Author."
More recently, Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical provid. Deus, thus
reaffirms the Christian belief in the plenary inspiration: "It will
never be lawful to restrict inspiration merely to certain parts of
the Holy Scriptures, or to grant that the sacred writers could have
made a mistake. ... They render in exact language, with infallible
truth, all that God commanded and nothing else; without that, God
would not be the Author of the Scripture in its entirety." Says the
Catholic Encyclopedia: "The Church, according to St. Paul's Epistle
to Timothy, is the pillar and ground of truth; the Apostles, and
consequently their successors, have the right to impose their
doctrine; whosoever refuses to believe them shall be condemned,
whosoever rejects anything is shipwrecked in the Faith. This
authority [called the magisterium, or teaching authority] is
therefore infallible" (Vol. XV, p. 8). That is the inspired
doctrine of the Church concerning the Bible and its "sacred deposit
of faith" or "tradition."

     This same dogmatic assertion of plenary inspiration and total
infallibility of scripture -- which sounds oddly assured after the
examination in the preceding chapters -- is more anciently
expressed in a couple of precious excerpts from the Fathers:
"Nothing is to be accepted save on the authority of scripture,
since greater is the authority of scripture than all the powers of
the human mind [major est Scripturce auctoritas quam omnis humani
ingenii capacitas," says St. Augustine in his work De Genesi.
Equally credible and more graphic is the assurance of the great
Church Father St. Ambrose: "Moses opened his mouth and poured forth
what God said to him."

     Credulous as may be all four of these dogmatic assertions,
their conclusions are of the highest logical validity and truth --
if their scriptural premises be true. This is orthodox faith; it is
essential Christian belief; and departure from it by one iota is
not only heretical in faith, but un-Christian in fact. "Whosoever
rejects anything is shipwrecked in the faith."

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     The modern "Liberalists" are sadly errant in their vaunted
liberalism. They hold to Jesus as son of Yahveh and to his mission
to "redeem mankind from the sin of Adam," while they deny that Adam
existed and repudiate the virgin birth and resurrection of Jesus
and throw hell into the discard. This is scriptural anarchy, and
its votaries cannot be Bible Christians, however good as citizens.

     An edifying instance of this straddling theology, which
strives to run with the hares and hunt with the hounds, is afforded
by an eminent metropolitan "divine" who conducts a daily column in
one of the newspapers. In a recent instalment (June 12, 1926) a
truth-seeker in the Bible Belt asks: "Do not chapters one and two
of Genesis give the only origin of the universe which can be
accepted by any one professing Christianity?" Instead of replying
boldly that the conflicting accounts are inspired Bible truth in
toto, or of frankly stating that both are fables, the "divine"
executes this specious bit of deceptive legerdemain: "The first
chapters of Genesis contain a poetical account of the origin of the
universe which any one who professes Christianity, or, for that
matter, Judaism, can accept as a noble and beautiful treatment of
the theme. But it is no more historic or scientific than Milton's
Paradise Lost or Shakespeare's Hamlet. Your persistency in allying
Christianity with the acceptance of the Genesis account can do
little, as I see it, except injure the cause. ... A Christian is a
follower of Jesus Christ who seeks to obey Him in all matters. ...
The Bible shows us the Divine Creator at work. Modern science
reveals His methods of creation. Why endeavor to confuse the
issue?" The great Dr. Conman's reply is, of course, a gem of
disingenuous ingenuity, illumining and solving, rather than
confusing, the issue -- and is a typical utterance of the trimmers
and reconciliationists of theological Modernism.

     These Modernists decry and deride what they term "medieval
theology"; but medieval theology is Bible theology and the only
orthodox and true theology -- if theology could be true at all.
"Modern" theology can repudiate medieval theology with no more
logical truth and reason than could medieval theology logically
accept Copernicus and Galileo, and the long brilliant line of God's
true prophets whom the inspired Church has persecuted and martyred
through the past ages of faith for daring to proclaim God's truths
which have impeached and destroyed its dogmas of the inspired truth
of Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

     Briefly, and inadequately, I am going to recall here a few of
the precious things of God "poured out through the mouth of Moses"
to which the Church, fatuously but with unimpeachable logic has
clung through the ages of faith, and with which the Church has
opposed every revelation of God in nature through the powers of the
human mind. These are only a few of the manifold phases of the
eternal and triumphant "conflict between science and religion" --
between knowledge and the outpourings of God through Moses. Huxley
puts it in an aphorism: "Every path of Natural Science is closed
with the sign: 'NO THOROUGHFARE, MOSES.'"

     Moses, inspired by Yahveh, declared that heaven and earth, and
all the fullness thereof, were created by Yahveh out of nothing in
six days (or in one); that Adam ate the forbidden fruit of 

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knowledge in Eden, whereby "sin and death entered into the world,"
and damned all humanity. Father Luther, with all the assurance of
an eye-witness, asserts: "Moses spoke properly and plainly, and
neither allegorically nor figuratively; and therefore the world
with all creatures was created in six days." The Westminster
Confession of Faith -- in full force and effect to-day -- specially
lays it down as "necessary to salvation to believe that all things
visible and invisible were created not only out of nothing but in
exactly six days." The Catholic Father Peter Martyr clinched the
whole matter by declaring, and with inexorable logic and truth: --
"So important is it to comprehend the work of creation that we see
the creed of the Church take this as its starting point. Were this
Article taken away, there would be no original sin; the promise of
Christ would become void, and all the vital force of our religion
would be destroyed."

     This is, indeed, the enormous fatal significance of the six
days and the Fall, emphasized and explained by the alarmed outcries
of the Church against the wonderful discoveries of the human mind
in the fields of astronomy, geology, anthropology, and natural
science, which wholly disproved their cherished dogmas of
revelation, and discredited forever the basic tenets of the whole
fabric of the Christian religion. Calvin, in his "Commentary on
Genesis," argues that the Genesis account of creation is literally
true, and warns those who dare to believe otherwise, and thus
"basely insult the Creator, to expect a Judge who will annihilate
them."

     But modern knowledge, science, has proved beyond all
contradiction of inspiration that these inspired truths out of the
"infallible annals of the Spirit of God" are contrary to the facts;
and makes it impossible for Adam and Eve and Eden to have ever
existed. So here alone, with one great crash, the whole Christian
plan of salvation, founded on the fable of Adam and the forbidden
fruit, collapses to utter ruin.

     Moses again, by inspiration of Yahveh, asserts this goodly
earth to be flat and square, with "four corners," and all its vari-
colored inhabitants to be directly descended from his first man,
Adam, through Noah and his three sons. The great pagan
philosophers, by the power of their genius of reason, happily
untrammelled by Hebrew revelation and Christian inspiration,
declared with true inspiration God's truth that the earth was
round, and that the antipodes could be and were inhabited by races
of men. Centuries before Christ and before Columbus, Pythagoras
taught the spherical form of the earth. Aristotle went further and
demonstrated the rotundity of the earth by his Three Arguments,
concluding: "So that from this it is manifest, not only that the
form of the earth is round, but also that it is part of not a very
large sphere" (De Caelo, 11, 14).

     Seneca, who died in 65 A.D., in his Naturales Questiones,,
asks how great a way it is from the furthest shores of Spain to
India, and answers that it is a space of a very few days if a fair
wind drives the ship, One of his great tragedies gives striking
expression to his prophecy:

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               "Venient annis, saecula seris,
                Quibus Oceanus vincula rerum
                Laxet, et ingens pateat tellus,
                Tethysque novos detegat orbes;
                Nec sit terris ultima Thule." (Medea, ii, 375.)

"There will come a time," he says, "in later years, when Oceans
shall loosen the bonds of things, and a huge land shall lie
revealed, and Tethys shall disclose new worlds, and Thule shall no
longer be at the end of the earth." This is one of the most notable
un-"inspired" prophecies on record. In a copy of the Tragedies of
Seneca, belonging to Ferdinand Columbus, now in the Biblioteca
Colombina, there is attached to these prophetic verses this
marginal note: "Haec prophetia expleta et per patrem meum
Cristoforo Colon, Almirante, anno 1492."

     But no, this is impious heresy, contradictory of Holy Moses,
and destructive of the Holy Church! "Scripture," avers the all-
knowing Father St. Augustine, "speaks of no such descendants of
Adam as the Antipodeans. Men could not be allowed by the Almighty
to live there, since if they did they could not see Christ at his
second coming descending through the air"; and, he says, the
supporters of this geographical heresy "give the lie direct to King
David and to St. Paul, and therefore to the Holy Ghost!" The
Antipodeans, argues Father Procopius, according to a text of Luke,
are theologically impossible. "If there be men on the other side of
the earth, Christ must have gone there and suffered a second time
to save them; and therefore there must have been, as necessary
preliminaries to his coming, a duplicate Adam, Eden, serpent, and
Deluge!" We see again, how the Christian "plan of salvation"
depends confessedly and utterly upon Adam, the garden, and the
talking snake!

     Father St. Boniface appealed to Yahveh's Vicar, Pope Zaebary,
to combat this heresy of the antipodes, of men who were beyond the
appointed means of salvation; and the Pope, inspired of the Holy
Ghost, issued his bull, embellished and fortified with passages
from Job and the apocryphal "Wisdom of Solomon," against the
heretical doctrine, declaring it "perverse, iniquitous, and against
the soul" of whoever maintained it. And the Holy Ghost, speaking
further through this bull, harshly condemned the good Saint
Vergilius, who heretically held the earth to be round; declaring
that such doctrine involved errors as to original sin and the
universality of redemption; for, averred the Holy Ghost, if there
were antipodes, the "other race of men" could not be descendants of
Adam and were not redeemed by Christ. In this conclusion I must
confess that the Holy Ghost and His Holiness are right for once.

     The holy Council of Salamanca solemnly decided against
Columbus's theory of the rotundity of the earth and the antipodes,
declaring that texts of Scripture and "the Fathers" were opposed to
such an idea; that, as Father St. Augustine said, "If there were
any antipodes, the Bible would have said so"; that the earth was
actually a flat disk with a dropping-off place; and that if the
world were round they would slide off! But Columbus persisted in
his heresy; and his epochal voyages, and the circumnavigation by
Magellan, proved once again that it is not safe to trust the 
Scriptures and the Fathers for inspired scientific knowledge.

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     Shortly after the return of Columbus from his first faith-
shattering voyage, the Holy Church set itself up as the self-
appointed dispenser of the New World which it had just declared
through the Holy Ghost never existed; and God's Vicar, Pope
Alexander VI, of savory memory, perpetrated his celebration bull
"Inter coetera Divinoe Majestati," in May, 1493, partitioning the
New World between Spain and Portugal. As this touches a highly
interesting event in American history, of far-reaching
consequences, I shall quote from the notable bull, quite fairly
turned into the vernacular from the original Latin, published in
Volume I of "American Charters, Constitutions, and Organic Laws,"
published by the United States government. From page 42 I translate
the papal grantor's inspired claim to divine power and
infallibility in making the partition:

     " ... Out of Our mere liberality, and of Our certain
knowledge, and the plenitude of Apostolic power ... and by the
authority of Omnipotent God to US in Blessed Peter granted, and the
Vicarship of Jesus Christ which we exercise on earth ---- "

by these plenipotentiary credentials and divine powers of attorney,
his Holiness granted to Spain all the new lands discovered and to
be discovered west of a line, dictated by the Holy Ghost, drawn one
hundred leagues west of the Azores and Cape Verde Islands. But
Portugal angrily protested and made threats, basing its protests
and claims not upon the geographical "certain knowledge" of the
Holy Ghost but upon sundry human discoveries in geography, which
demonstrated such a line to be impossible, as there are about ten
degrees of longitude difference between the two groups of islands.
So the two rival powers, by the Treaty of Tordesillas, amended the
inspired but impossible geography of the Holy Ghost, and
established the "Line of Demarcation" at 370 leagues west of the
Cape Verde Islands, a line corresponding to the 50th degree of
longitude west of Greenwich, and striking the mainland of South
America across the mouth of the Amazon River; thus making Brazil
Portuguese, while the remaining half of the continent, west of "the
Line" became Spanish, as they remain to this day.

     Even after Magellan's triumphant voyage of 1519 around the
globe had proved the errancy of Scripture, Fathers, and infallible
Church, such redoubtable churchmen as Luther, Melancthon, and
Calvin stuck to scriptural "revelation" and roundly denied
sphericity, as do the holy followers of "Elijah II" Dowie at Zion
City, Illinois, to-day. Another bit of geographical Bible lore may
be mentioned here. Calvin, in 1553, persecuted and burned to death
Serviettes because, among other things, in his edition of Ptolemy's
"Geography," he spoke of the Holy Land as not a "land flowing with
milk and honey," but mainly barren and inhospitable; Calvin
declared that such language "necessarily inculpated Moses, and
grievously outraged the Holy Ghost!"

     But "the infallible annals of the Spirit of God" were not only
discredited by geography and geology and the other sciences named;
the science of astronomy gave the Holy Ghost a blow under which it
has writhed for three centuries, and from which only the fatuous
faith which reasons not nor doubts enables it yet to sustain a
precarious credit among those who do not think adequately. The Holy

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Ghost, through a bull of Yahveh's Vicar, Pope Alexander III, in
1163, forbade to ecclesiastics "the study of physics or the laws of
the world," and decreed that any one violating this inspired
command of Yahveh "shall be avoided by all and excommunicated."

     There were immortal heroes of science who dared defy such
inspired ignorance. Copernicus, truer prophet of God than Moses or
pope, wrote his inspired revelation of God in the heavens, "The
Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies," which in terror of Yahveh's
Holy-Ghost-inspired Church he withheld from publication till the
day of his death, May 24, 1543. Then with his dying breath he gave
to the world the revelation that the sun is the center of the solar
system, and that the earth and other planets revolve around it; and
from the security of the border of the grave he defiantly dedicated
his immortal work to His Holiness the Pope.

     The inspired Roman Church quickly denounced the work as
heresy, and condemned it to suppression "until his statement should
be corrected" to conform to the Bible and to Ptolemy, who was a
pagan, but whose geography and astronomy were held almost inspired
by the Church. Luther screeched at Copernicus, calling him "an
upstart astrologer": "This fool wishes to reverse the entire
science of astronomy; but sacred scripture tells us that Joshua
commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth." Melanchthon,
another great luminary of reformed inspiration, declared: "It is a
want of honesty and decency to assert such notions publicly, and
the example is pernicious." Calvin, in his "Commentary on Genesis,"
condemned all who asserted that the earth is not the center of the
universe, and triumphantly appealed to Psalm xviii, 1: "The world
also is established, that it cannot be moved!" defiantly asking:
"Who will put the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy
Spirit?" The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, declared that these
new ideas "tend toward infidelity"; and a whole chorus of eminent
"divines" -- Melanchthon, Cardinal Bellarmine, Father Lecazre, and
a swarm of other luminaries of the Church, both "reformed" and
hopeless of reform -- launched their unanimous, bitter anathemas
against the impious new discovery. With acute logic they
demonstrated unanswerably how the dogmas of the Christian religion
must perish before this one stupendous revelation of God in
science.

          "His pretended discovery vitiates the whole Christian
     plan of salvation. It casts suspicion on the doctrine of the
     incarnation. It upsets the whole basis of theology. If the
     earth is a planet, and only one among several planets, it
     cannot be that any such great things have been done for it as
     the Christian doctrine teaches. If there are other planets,
     since God makes nothing in vain, they must be inhabited; but
     how can their inhabitants be descended from Adam? How can they
     trace their origin back to Noah's ark? How can they have been
     redeemed by the Savior?" [Andrew D. White, History of the
     Warfare of Science with Theology, (New York:  D. Appleton & 
     Co., 1925) Vol. I, p. 134. From this great treasures much of
     the material of this chapter is taken.]

     Upon what a string of "silly fancies" the whole "sacred
science of Christianity" and the so-called "Church of God" dangle!

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     In 1618 and 1619 God's prophet Kepler published his immortal
works "Epitome of the Copernican System" and "The Harmonies of the
World." He lived in a Protestant country, where the Roman Church
couldn't get at him. But the Protestant Consistory of Stuttgart
solemnly warned him "not to throw Christ's kingdom into confusion
with his silly fancies," and ordered him to "bring his theory of
the world into harmony with scripture" -- as if truth could be
harmonized with ignorant fables! A direr fate befell the
illustrious Giordano Bruno, an apostle of learning and of the
Copernican system. In the face of Holy Church he flung his immortal
satire ridiculing it, "Lo Spaccio della Bestia Trionfante" ("The
Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast"); and after he had been confined
seven years in its foul dungeons, the "Beast" threw his heroic but
heretic body and his books to the flames of its Holy Inquisition,
in Rome, 1600; but his soul and truth go marching on!

     All the world knows and blushes in shame at the ignominious
spectacle which the inspired Church made of the venerable, truly
inspired Galileo, haled before the Holy Inquisition, dressed in the
sackcloth robe of a repentant criminal, there forced upon his knees
before God's Vicar and his assembled cardinals, laying his hands
upon the "Holy Evangels," and invoking divine aid in "abjuring and
detesting the infamous doctrine of the earth's motion and the sun's
stability!" This Holy Inquisition, specially convoked by Yahveh's
Vicar, Pope Paul V, after a month's deliberations in solemn session
with the Holy Ghost, in 1616, rendered its inspired unanimous
decision: "The first proposition, that the sun is the center and
does not revolve around the earth, is foolish, absurd, false in
theology, and heretical, because expressly contrary to Holy
Scripture. The second proposition, that the earth is not the center
but revolves around the sun, is absurd, false in philosophy, and
from a theological point of view at least, opposed to the true
faith." Galileo was therefore commanded, "in the name of His
Holiness the Pope and the whole Congregation of the Holy Office
[i.e., the Inquisition], to relinquish altogether the opinion that
the sun is the center of the world and immovable, and that the
earth moves; and henceforth not to hold, teach, or defend it in any
way whatsoever, verbally or in writing." A couple of weeks later
the Congregation of the Index, at the instigation of the pope,
rendered its decree that "the doctrine of the double motion of the
earth about its axis and about the sun is false, and entirely
contrary to Holy Scripture," and must not be taught or advocated.
The decree condemned all the works of Copernicus and "all writings
which affirm the motion of the earth," and placed them, and those
of Kepler and Galileo, on the "Index of Prohibited Books," from
which they were removed only in 1835!

     In 1633 Galileo was again haled before the Inquisition, by
order of Pope Urban VIII, threatened with torture, and subjected to
imprisonment by order of the pope. He was forced to pronounce
publicly and on his knees this monstrous recantation:

          "I, Galileo Galilei, being in my seventieth year, being
     a prisoner and on my knees, and before you, most Eminent and
     Reverend Lord Cardinals, Inquisitors-General against heretical
     depravity, having before my eyes and touching with my hands 

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     the holy gospels -- swear that I have always believed, and do
     now believe, and by God's help will for the future believe,
     all that is held, preached, and taught by the Holy Catholic
     and Apostolic Roman Church. ... An injunction having been
     judiciously intimated to me by this Holy Office, to the effect
     that I must abandon the false opinion that the sun is the
     center of the world and immovable, and that the earth is not
     the center of the world, and moves, and that I must not hold,
     defend, or teach in any way whatsoever ... the said doctrine,
     after it had been notified to me that the said doctrine was
     contrary to the Holy Scripture. ... therefore. ... with
     sincere heart and unfeigned faith, I abjure, curse, and detest
     the aforesaid errors and heresies, and generally every other
     error and sect whatsoever contrary to the said Holy Church.
     ... So help me God, and his holy gospels, which I touch with
     my hands. ... And in witness of the truth thereof, I have with
     my own hand subscribed the present document of my abjuration,
     and recited it word for word at Rome, in the Convent of
     Minerva, this 22nd day of July, 1633." [The Library of
     Original Sources, Editor-in-chief, O.J. Thatcher; (Milwaukee:
     University Research Extension Co.), Vol. V, pp. 306-7.]

     From this cringing attitude to which he was forced by the
inspired vicar of Yahveh, the broken old prophet of the Architect
God rose in righteous rebellion of spirit, and muttered back at his
holy inquisitors the immortal "Ma pur' si muove!" ("But it does
move, for all that!") and tottered out to his hastening death. The
world knows, too, whether Holy Ghost or Galileo was right. In 1664,
Pope Alexander VII issued his inspired bull in which be "finally,
decisively, and infallibly" condemned "all books teaching the
movement of the earth and the stability of the sun"; all works in
which the arch heresy was taught or proposed were put upon the
Index of Prohibited Books, and true faith was again triumphant on
earth.

     It is a curious commentary on inspiration and infallibility
that the catalogue of the papal Index shows every single book
published during all the Dark Ages of faith in which the genius of
man sought to reveal God's true knowledge of himself through his
works of nature, and to enlighten the human mind and spirit steeped
in the dark superstitions of the Bible and the Church to have been
banned and burned by the dictates of the Holy Ghost, because,
forsooth, God's facts of nature contradicted and rendered
ridiculous the ancient tales of Yahveh and "revelation!" Besides
the epoch-making works of the great physicists and philosophers,
scores of others, such as those of the great modern naturalists, of
Linnaeus, of Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire, of Cuvier, of Lyell, of
Buffon, appear in that catalogue of inspired ignorance. Buffon,
just at the time of our Revolution for Independence, was forced by
the inspired Vicegerent of Yahveh to subscribe and swear to this
debasing formula of recantation: "I declare that I had no intention
to contradict the text of scripture; that I most firmly believe all
therein related about the creation, both as to order of time and
the matter of facts. I abandon everything in my book respecting the
formation of the earth, and generally all which may be contrary to
the narrative of Moses." And his monumental Histoire Naturelle of
forty-four volumes was put under the anathema of the Church in its 
Holy Index.

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     These unhappy instances of human ignorance are of no
importance as such, for every day we learn things which we were
ignorant of the day before, and thus we grow in knowledge. But the
awful significance of these instances and all their kind is that
the "Word of God" is the inspired source and fountain of all this
ignorance and teaches it as "revelation" of truth; and the "Church
of God," which claims to be daily taught and guided by the Spirit
of Yahveh, perpetuated humanity in this ignorance under the
pretense that the "Holy Ghost" advised it that all this mass of
ignorance was the very truth of God, to doubt or deny which meant
the terror of ecclesiastical curses and prison and rack and stake.
That Bible and Church have in every single instance of conflict
with science been defeated and proved in error, demonstrates that
the Church is mistaken in its claims to be possessed of infallible
scriptures and inspiration.

     The Bible throughout, Old and New Testaments, and particularly
the latter, teaches that sickness and disease are due directly to
devils and demoniacal possession; Christ and his disciples cast out
devils, and the sick were thereupon cured. There is never a word of
medicine or surgery in all the Bible, except the fig-poultice for
Hezekiah's boil, and the spit-salve in the blind man's eyes; and
never a hint of the prevention or rational cure of disease. The
divine prescription is: "Go, cast out devils in my name and heal
the sick." According to the Bible and the Church all plagues are
specifically sent by God in punishment of sin. Yes, sanitary sin!
against which there is not a single word in all Scripture, though
it abounds in incantations and exorcisms and "purifications." The
unwashed saints of Holy Church were very active agents of Yahveh in
invoking and propagating God-sent plagues. The canon law, given by
the Holy Ghost to its infallible Church, declared: "The precepts of
medicine are contrary to divine knowledge," for, says Holy Writ:
"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church;
and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of
the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord
shall raise him up" (James, v, 14, 15). And so declares Father St.
Ambrose: "The precepts of medicine are contrary to celestial
science, watching and prayer"; a maxim reiterated throughout the
ages of faith (id est, the dark ages).

     The great Father Origen thus instructs us in celestial
science: "It is demons which produce famine, unfruitfulness,
corruptions of the air, and pestilences; they hover concealed in
clouds in the lower atmosphere, and are attracted by the blood and
incense which the heathen offer to them as gods." God save the
mark! The quasi-divine Father St. Augustine adds for our faith in
celestial science: "All diseases of Christians are to be ascribed
to these demons; chiefly do they torment fresh-baptized Christians,
yea, even the guileless, new-born infants!" Father St. Bernard
warned his monks that "to seek relief from disease in medicine was
in harmony neither with religion nor with the honor and purity of
their order." The use of the crude pain-reducing anaesthetist of
the times was opposed by the inspired Church; especially their use
in childbirth was objected to as an attempt "to avoid one part of
the primeval curse on women"; and in 1591, Lady Macalyane was
burned alive on Castle Hill in Edinburgh for seeking aid for relief
of pain in the birth of her two sons! The "Apostles' Creed," 

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regarding resurrection of the body, discouraged anatomical study,
and the Church forbade surgery to monks. All dissection was
forbidden by decretal of Pope Boniface VIII, and excommunication
was threatened against all who presumed to practice it, though the
Christians tore millions of human bodies to bits on their infernal
racks, and burned hundreds of thousands to ashes, thus rendering
the bodily resurrection difficult if not precarious.

     An awful case of belly-ache suffered by a pious nun is
solemnly avowed by the Holy Father, Pope Gregory the Great, to have
been caused by her having swallowed a devil along with a piece of
lettuce which she was eating, she having omitted to make the sign
of the cross (which is potent magic as a scare-devil); and this
devil, when commanded by a holy monk to come out of her, derisively
replied: "How am I to blame? I was sitting on the lettuce, and this
woman, not having made the sign of the cross, ate me along with it"
(Dialogi, lib. i, c. 4)! This Gregory the Great, Yahveh's own
anointed Vicar on earth, full of the inspiration of truth, is the
same through whom the Holy Ghost made the formal revelation of
purgatory; the same who stopped a pestilence in Rome by marching at
the head of a procession of monks and priests, and saw Michael the
Archangel shooting fiery darts of death into the Holy City.

     All this is of a piece with the inspired bull in which Pope
Calixtus, moved by mortal fear and the Holy Ghost, is said to have
excommunicated Halley's comet. In 1618, "a comet caused an eruption
of Mount Vesuvius, which would have destroyed Naples had not the
blood of the Invincible St. Januarius withstood it" (see Cath.
Enc., Vol. VIII, p. 295). Thousands of like inspired narratives of
the Holy Ghost and Holy Church abound; it would take whole volumes
to contain them. Read the Catholic Encyclopedia.

                   WITCHCRAFT AND INSPIRATION

     One of the most piteous and murderous superstitions in all the
inspired "infallible annals of the Spirit of God," is the inspired
revelation of witches. Many times it is asserted in this "Word of
God poured forth by Moses" that witches, witchcraft, and sorcery
exist and have wrought wonders on earth; and that God himself
commanded that witches and sorcerers should be put to death without
mercy. All the world but a Bible Christian knows that the persons
who wrote that God told them by inspired revelation to state such
things were mistaken, and truth was not in what they wrote. This is
the alleged positive enactment of Yahveh on Sinai: "Thou shalt not
suffer a witch to live" (Ex. xxii, 17) -- "or a charmer, or a
consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer."

     Wesley, the founder of Methodism was so saturated in this
"inspired Word of God" that he declared, in substance, with all the
assurance of a credulous intellect: "Unless witchcraft is true,
nothing in the Bible is true" -- and I admit he told the truth,
though in a contrary sense. Time and again in his Journals he
voiced his abiding faith in witchcraft and ghosts. I quote a few
precious excerpts with the suggestion that one so credulous of such
hocus-pocus may not have been wholly illumined as to other matters.
Wesley records a case of "possession" which be witnessed
(apparently a young woman in an epileptic fit). Note his plaintive 
arguments and the typical clerical sneers at the scoffers:

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          "When old Dr. A--- R--- was asked what her disorder was,
     he answered 'It is what formerly they would have called being
     bewitched.' And why should they not call it so now? Because
     the infidels have hooted witchcraft out of the world; and the
     complaisant Christians, in large numbers, have joined them in
     the cry. I do not so much wonder at this -- that so many of
     these herein talk like infidels. But I have sometimes been
     inclined to wonder at the pert, saucy, indecent manner wherein
     some of those trample on men far wiser than themselves; at
     their speaking so dogmatically against what not only the whole
     world, heathen and Christian, believed in ages past, but
     thousands, learned as well as unlearned, firmly believe at
     this day, ... whose manner of speaking concerning witchcraft
     must be keenly offensive to every sensible man, who cannot
     give up his Bible!" [John Wesley, Journal, June 26, 1770;
     Works, Ed. John Emery (New York: Carlton Lenahan), Vol. IV, p.
     333.

     Again the great Methodist says: "I cannot give up to all the
deists in Great Britain the existence of witchcraft till I give up
the credit of all history, sacred and profane. At the present time
I have not only as strong, but stronger proofs of this, from eye
and ear witnesses, than I have of murder; so that I cannot
rationally doubt of one any more than the other" (Id., Journal, May
22, 1776; Vol. IV, pp. 451-5). "With my latest breath," he says,
"will I bear my testimony against giving up to infidels one great
proof of the invisible world; I mean that of witchcraft and
apparitions, confirmed by the testimony of all ages, ... against
which the unaccountableness of it is no objection to those who are
convinced of the littleness of their own knowledge" (Id., "Preface
to a True Relation of the Chief Things which an Evil Spirit Did and
Said at Mascon, in Burgundy"; Works, Vol. V, p. 366).

     The testimony of all history, sacred and profane, regarding
many other superstitions of faith, has been (and in some
particulars, among some classes of intelligence, yet is) as
persuasive as was the testimony regarding witches and ghosts to
Wesley; but witches have gone glimmering despite Bible and Church;
and the whole Broken-crew of devils, ghosts (Holy and otherwise),
and specters of Bible superstitions is fast trailing after them to
oblivion.

     Hear Wesley's natural history, spoken as if by full
inspiration, of primitive wild animals: "Before Adam's sin none of
these attempted to devour or in any wise hurt one another; the
spider was as harmless as the fly!" He had never heard what science
has of late revealed about this little filth-laden, disease-
disseminating imp of the devil. it is so -- for Luther is positive
that "Flies are the images of heretics and devils!" But to stick to
witchcraft for a moment -- not indeed that witches fly in an age of
electric light, but to illustrate the darkness of holy inspiration.

     It may be doubted whether Wesley was fully inspired. But the
Bible is admitted to be so; and Holy Church admits that itself is.
Several of its divinely inspired vicegerents of Yahveh, "by virtue
of the teaching power conferred by the Almighty, and under the
divine guidance against any possible error in the exercise of it" 

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(such is their holy formula), have from time to time during the
ages of faith emitted God-inspired fulminations against the unholy
practices of witchcraft and sorcery so often avowed as fact and
denounced as the work of the devil, in Old and New Testaments
alike. I shall mention but a few samples of the infallible
teachings of the Holy Ghost on this subject, by which we may judge
of other like inspired teachings on other subjects; remembering
"falsus in uno," etc.

     Yahveh's Vicar, Pope John XXII, in 1317, in his bull (it is
odd that Holy Church speaks, like the Irishman, always in bulls)
"Spondent Pariter," and others of like tenor, complains that both
he and his flock (i.e., of "sheep") are in danger of their lives by
the arts of sorcery and witchcraft; he declares that sorcerers can
send devils into mirrors and finger-rings, and kill men and women
by a magic word; that they have tried to kill him by piercing a
waxen image of him with needles in the name of the devil. He
therefore calls upon all rulers, secular and ecclesiastical, to
hunt down the miscreants who thus afflict the faithful, and he
especially increased the powers of the inquisitors in various parts
of Europe for this pious purpose. Yahveh's Vicar, Pope Eugene IV,
in 1437, in another bull exhorted the holy inquisitors of heresy
and witchcraft to use greater diligence against these human agents
of the Prince of darkness, and especially against such of them as
have the power to produce bad weather! Yahveh's Vicar, Pope
Innocent VIII, on December 7, 1484, perpetrated the famous bull
"Summis Desiderantes," inspired by the divine command "Thou shalt
not suffer a witch to live," exhorting the clergy to leave no means
untried to detect sorcerers, and especially those who "by evil
weather destroy vineyards" (he was evidently not a prohibitionist,
-- as have been none of his inspired successors, this being the
unique instance in ecclesiastical history in which these vicars of
Yahveh have ever pretended to champion "personal liberty" of
conduct or conscience). Armed with his manual "Malleus Maleficarum"
("Witch Hammer"), his witch-hunting inquisitors scoured Europe for
victims, extorting confessions by torture, and murdering millions
of victims of their fanaticism.

     Similar bulls were inspired by the Holy Ghost and issued by
Yahveh's Vicars, Pope Julius II in 1504, and Pope Adrian VI in
1523; tens of thousands of unhappy -- and innocent -- persons were
thus piously destroyed because of the inspired but ignorant belief
in witchcraft and sorcery. James I of England, "By the Grace of
God, King, Defender of the Faith" -- he who instigated the
"Authorized Versiore' of this old Jewish witch book, and to whom it
is dedicated in terms of most disgusting adulation -- wrote a
famous book of demonology, and used torture to get evidence of
witchcraft with which to adorn its veracious pages. On the occasion
of his august bride's being driven back by a storm at sea, Dr.
Fian, under torture, with his legs crushed in the "boots" and with
wedges driven under his finger-nails, confessed that several
hundred witches had gone to sea in a sieve from Leith and had
raised storms and tempests to drive back the princess! Sir Matthew
Hale, in burning two witches to death, judicially declared that he
based his judgment on the direct testimony of Holy Scripture! The
Church still clings to its puerile superstition: "In the face of
Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Fathers and theologians the

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abstract possibility of a pact with the Devil and of a diabolical
interference in human affairs can hardly be denied." (Cath. Encyc.,
Vol. XV, p. 677; art. Witchcraft.)

                  ANCIENT FAITH YET FULLY VALID

     Yet all the foregoing outpourings of Yahveh through Moses are
of the most essential "fundamentals" of the Christian religion.
They are Catholic and Protestant "truth" alike, and according to
the creeds of them all, "necessary to salvation," to be professed
and believed; they are Christianity. The truth is admirably, if
presumptuously, expressed by the great Father St. Augustine:
"Neither in the confusion of paganism, nor in the defilement of
heresy, nor in the lethargy of schism, nor yet in the blindness of
Judaism, is religion to be sought; but among those alone who are
called Catholic Christians, or the orthodox, that is, the
custodians of sound doctrine and followers of right teaching" (De
Vera Religione, Chap. v). The Athanasian Creed, reaffirmed by the
papal encyclical "Pascendi Dominici Gregis," in 1907, avers:
"Whoever will be saved, it is necessary above all else that he hold
to the Catholic Faith."

     Faith is the "substance of things hoped for, the evidence of
things not seen," as defined by the great dogmatist of the faith.
The preceding pages have shown much of this "substance" very
unreal, and as "evidence" of actuality to be less than nil. Some
progressive and "modernist" theologians, indeed, would wave all
this away as old stories, ignorant superstitions long since
abandoned and forgotten by Holy Church, shining but discarded
vagaries of "medieval theology." But truth is of all time; Bible
and Church, in all of truth they ever had, are -- if ever they were
-- as infallible, and hence as eternal, as truth -- the same
yesterday, to-day, and forever. The same "Holy Ghost" inspires the
Bible and presides over and inspires its infallible Church to-day
as in its beginning and through all the dark ages of faith.

     The Holy Ghost, unburdening itself through Pope Leo XIII, in
the encyclical AEterni Patris, of August 4, 1879, the purpose of
which was "the revival of scholastic philosophy, according to the
mind of St. Thomas Aquinas," begins with the humorous assurance,
that "the Church, although officially the teacher of revealed truth
only, has always been interested in the cultivation of every branch
of human knowledge"! It then demonstrates how such "philosophy
prepares the motives of credibility in matters of faith, and
explains and vindicates revealed truths. But the truths unfolded by
reason cannot contradict the truths revealed by God; hence,
although in the pursuit of natural knowledge philosophy may justly
[How condescending!] use its own methods, principles, and
arguments, yet not so as to withdraw from the authority of divine
revelation!" The encyclical next shows, by extracts from many
Fathers of the Church, "what reason helped by revelation" can do
for the progress of human knowledge! (Cath. Encyc., Vol. 1, p.
177.)

     As if fearful that these sacred truths might be discounted, if
not impiously laughed quite out of countenance in this modern age
of reason and of knowledge, the Holy Ghost has very recently and 

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repeatedly gone to much pains and suffered no little skeptical
ridicule, to reaffirm the eternal truth of all its dogmas, and its
own and its inspired Vicars' total infallibility in all matters of
faith or belief -- or credulity.

     In the year 1870, the sacred Vatican Council, convoked by Pope
Pius IX and presided over by the Holy Ghost itself, expressly
avowed the immutability -- the stagnation -- the fossilization --
of religious truth in all its ancient and hoary dogmas and beliefs,
which some threatened to reject as discredited superstition,
averring: "The doctrine of faith, which God [i.e., Yahveh] has
revealed, has not been proposed as a philosophical discovery to be
improved upon by human talent, but has been committed as a Divine
deposit to the spouse of Christ, to be faithfully guarded and
infallibly interpreted by her." It embalms its petrified "Sacred
Science of Christianity" as the eternal and unchangeable
revelations of Yahveh, asserting: "The Successors of St. Peter have
been promised the Holy Ghost, not for the promulgation of new
doctrines, but only for the preservation and interpretation of the
Revelations committed by the Apostles." All this was a sort of
Socratic leading-up to the climacteric formulation in writing of
the terms of the inspired mandate granted of old orally by the Holy
Ghost to its vicar-general on earth, and reiterating the venerable
dogma of its own infallibility:

     "Faithfully adhering, therefore, to the traditions inherited
from the beginning of the Christian faith, we, with the approbation
of the Sacred Council, for the Glory of God our Savior, for the
exaltation of the Catholic Religion, and the Salvation of Christian
peoples, teach and define, as a divinely-revealed dogma, that the
Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra -- that is, when he, in
the exercise of his supreme apostolic authority, decides that a
doctrine concerning faith and morals is to be held by the entire
Church -- he possesses, in consequence of the Divine Aid promised
him in St. Peter, that infallibility with which the Divine Savior
wished to have his Church furnished for the definition of doctrine
concerning faith and morals; and that such definitions of the Roman
Pontiff are of themselves, and not in consequence of the Church's
consent, irreformable."

     All this is as lucid of expression and inspiration as one
could reasonably expect; and it expressly and Solemnly, in A.D.
1870, puts the Great Seal of Yahveh on all the bulls and claims of
ecclesiastical inspiration and infallibility from the New Testament
and the witch bulls, to the celebrated encyclical "Pascendi
Dominici Gregis" ("Feeding the Lord's Flock") of Pope Pius X. Like
Gregory XVI, His Holiness finds his text in the horrified question
of Augustine: "What is more deadly to the soul than the liberty of
error?" and proceeds to place all liberty of thought under the
curse of Yahveh God.

     This monumental emanation of inspiration, put forth on
September 8, 1907, reiterates the axiom of Holy Church: "Faith has
for its object the unknowable"; and at great lengths proceeds to
aver its own infallible knowledge of all these unknowable things;
puts its inaffable anathema upon all the priceless truths of human
knowledge acquired through the ages in defiance of Holy Church, and

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upon the precious boon of liberty of thought and conscience
attained fearfully in spite of the Churches -- all of which the
popish encyclical sneering dubs "Modernism," asserting that this
"Modernism embraces every heresy against the inspired revelations
of Bible and Church" (which, indeed, is true). It concludes with a
sweeping formula of abjuration, to which all priests and clerical
persons "are obliged to swear, reprobating the principal Modernist
tenets" -- which, of course, include the utter denial of witches
and sorcery, possession by devils, the flatness and stability of
the earth, miracles, the inspiration of revelation, the virgin
birth and divinity of Jesus Christ, the validity and justice of the
plan of salvation, and a thousand like relics of ancient faith,
incompatible with modern knowledge of the truth.

     Thus in the twentieth century, the Holy Ghost itself, if Pius
X -- now about to be canonized by his Church for his own miracles
-- is to be credited with authentic knowledge of its true
sentiments, harks back with conscious pride through the Dark Ages
of Faith to its original fountains of inspired verity, and puts its
seal of approval on the classic formula of faith: "Illa sola
credenda est Veritas quae, in nullo ab Ecclesiastica et Apostolica
discordat Traditione" -- "That only must be believed as truth which
in nothing disaccords with the ecclesiastic and apostolic
tradition!"

          O, Fratres Ignorantiae!

                          ****     ****

                        IS IT GOD'S WORD?
                               by
                         Joseph Wheless
                              1926

                          ****     ****

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