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Abbott

Robert Green Ingersoll

                         24 page printout

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                       UNPUBLISHED REPLIES

          Contents of this file                            page

     REPLY TO DR. LYMAN ABBOTT.                              1
     A REPLY TO ARCHDEACON FARRAR.                          12

                          ****     ****

          This file, its printout, or copies of either
          are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold.

          Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201

                The Works of ROBERT G. INGERSOLL

                          ****    ****

                   REPLY TO DR. LYMAN ABBOTT.

                              1890
                            ________

     This unfinished article was written as a reply to the Rev.
Lyman Abbott's article entitled, "Flaws in Ingersollism," which was
printed in the April 1890 number of the North American Review.
                            ________

     In your Open Letter to me, published in this Review, you
attack what you supposed to be my position, and ask several
questions to which you demand answers; but in the same letter, you
state that you wish no controversy with me. Is it possible that you
wrote the letter to prevent a controversy? Do you attack only those
with whom you wish to live in peace, and do you ask questions,
coupled with a request that they remain unanswered?

     In addition to this, you have taken pains to publish in your
own paper, that it was no part of your design in the article in the
North American Review, to point out errors in my statements, and
that this design was distinctly disavowed in the opening paragraph
of your article. You further say, that your simple object was to
answer the question "What is Christianity?" May I be permitted to
ask why you addressed the letter to me, and why do you now pretend
that, although you did address a letter to me, I was not in your
mind, and that you had no intention of pointing out any flaws in my
doctrines or theories? Can you afford to occupy this position?

     You also stated in your own paper, The Christian Union, that
the title of your article had been changed by the editor of the
Review, without your knowledge or consent; leaving it to be
inferred that the title given to the article by you was perfectly
consistent with your statement, that it was no part or your design
in the article in the North American Review, to point out errors in
my (Ingersoll's) statements; and that your simple object was to
answer the question, What is Christianity? And yet, the title which
you gave your own article was as follows: "To Robert G. Ingersoll:
A Reply."

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                                1

                   REPLY TO DR. LYMAN ABBOTT.

     First. We are told that only twelve crimes were punished by
death: idolatry, witchcraft, blasphemy, fraudulent prophesying,
Sabbath-breaking, rebellion against parents, resistance to judicial
officers, murder, homicide by negligence, adultery, incestuous
marriages, and kidnapping. We are then told that as late as the
year 1600 there were 263 crimes capital in England.

     Does not the world know that all the crimes or offenses
punishable by death in England could be divided in the same way?
For instance, treason. This covered a multitude of offenses, all
punishable by death. Larceny covered another multitude. Perjury --
trespass, covered many others. There might still be made a smaller
division, and one who had made up his mind to define the Criminal
Code of England might have said that there was only one offence
punishable by death -- wrong-doing.

     The facts with regard to the Criminal Code of england are,
that up to the reign of George I. there were 167 offenses
punishable by death. Between the accession of George I. and
termination of the reign of George III., there were added 56 new
crimes to which capital punishment was attached. So that when
George IV. became king, there were 223 offenses capital in England.

     John Bright, commenting upon this subject, says:

     "During all these years, so far as this question goes, our
Government was becoming more cruel and more barbarous, and we do
not find, and have not found, that in the great Church of England,
with its fifteen or twenty thousand ministers, and with its more
than score of Bishops in the House of Lords, there ever was a voice
raised, or an organization formed, in favor of a more merciful
code, or in condemnation of the enormous cruelties which our law
was continually inflicting. Was not Voltaire justified in saying
that the English were the only people who murdered by law?"

     As a matter of fact, taking into consideration the situation
of the people, the number of subjects covered by law, there were
far more offenses capital in the days of Moses, than in the reign
of George IV. Is it possible that a minister, a theologian of the
nineteenth century, imagines that he has substantiated the divine
origin of the Old Testament by endeavoring to show that the
government of God was not quite as bad as that of England?

     Mr. Abbott also informs us that the reason Moses killed so
many was, that banishment from the camp during the wandering in the
Wilderness was a punishment worse than death. If so, the poor
wretches should at least have been given their choice. Few, in my
judgment, would have chosen death, because the history shows that
a large majority were continually clamoring to be led back to
Egypt. It required all the cunning and power of God to keep the
fugitives from returning in a body. Many were killed by Jehovah,
simply because they wished to leave the camp -- because they longed
passionately for banishment, and thought with joy of the flesh-pots
of Egypt, preferring the slavery of Pharaoh to the liberty of
Jehovah. The memory of leeks and onions was enough to set their
faces toward the Nile.

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                                2

                   REPLY TO DR. LYMAN ABBOTT.

     Second. I am charged with saying that the Christian
missionaries say to the heathen: "You must examine your religion --
and not only so, but you must reject it; and unless you do reject
it, and in addition to such rejection, adopt ours, you will be
eternally damned." Mr, Abbott denies the truth of this statement.

     Let me ask him, If the religion of Jesus Christ is preached
clearly and distinctly to a heathen, and the heathen understands
it, and rejects it deliberately, unequivocally and finally, can he
be saved?

     This question is capable of a direct answer. The reverend
gentleman now admits that an acceptance of Christianity is not
essential to salvation. If the acceptance of Christianity is not
essential to the salvation of the heathen who has heard
Christianity preached -- knows what its claims are, and the
evidences that support those claims, is the acceptance of
Christianity essential to the salvation of an adult intelligent
citizen of the United States? Will the reverend gentleman tell us,
and without circumlocution, whether the acceptance of Christianity
is necessary to the salvation of anybody? If he says that it is,
then he admits that I was right in my statement concerning what is
said to the heathen. If he says that it is not, then I ask him,
What do you do with the following passages of Scripture:

     "There is none other name given under heaven or among men
whereby we must be saved."

     "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every
creature, and whosoever believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved;
and whosoever believeth not shall be damned"?

     I am delighted to know that millions of Pagans will be found
to have entered into eternal life without any knowledge of Christ
or his religion.

     Another question naturally arises: If a heathen can hear and
reject the Gospel, and yet be saved, what will become of the
heathen who never heard of the Gospel? Are they all to be saved? If
all who never heard are to be saved, is it not dangerous to
hear? -- Is it not cruel to preach? Why not stop preaching and let
the entire world become heathen, so that after this, no soul may be
lost?

     Third. You say that I desire to deprive mankind of their faith
in God, in Christ and in the Bible. I do not, and have not,
endeavored to destroy the faith of any man in a good, in a just, in
a merciful God, or in a reasonable, natural, human Christ, or in
any truth that the Bible may contain. I have endeavored -- and with
some degree of success -- to destroy the faith of man in the
Jehovah of the Jews, and in the idea that Christ was in fact the
God of this universe. I have also endeavored to show that there are
many things in the Bible ignorant and cruel -- that the book was
produced by barbarians and by savages, and that its influence on
the world has been bad.

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                                3

                   REPLY TO DR. LYMAN ABBOTT.

     And I do believe that life and property will be safer, that
liberty will be surer, that homes will be sweeter, and life will be
more joyous, and death less terrible, if the myth called Jehovah
can be destroyed from the human mind.

     It seems to me that the heart of the Christian ought to burst
into an efflorescence of joy when he becomes satisfied that the
Bible is only the work of man; that there is no such place as
perdition -- that there are no eternal flames -- that men's souls
are not to suffer everlasting pain -- that it is all insanity and
ignorance and fear and horror. I should think that every good and
tender soul would be delighted to know that there is no Christ who
can say to any human being -- to any father, mother, or child --
"Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and
his angels." I do believe that he will be far happier when the
Psalms of David are sung no more, and that he will be far better
when no one could sing the 109th Psalm without shuddering and
horror. These Psalms for the most part breathe the spirit of
hatred, of revenge, and of everything fiendish in the human heart.
There are some good lines, some lofty aspirations -- these should
be preserved; and to the extent that they do give voice to the
higher and holier emotions, they should be preserved.

     So I believe the world will be happier when the life of
Christ, as it is written now in the New Testament, is no longer
believed.

     Some of the Ten Commandments will fall into oblivion, and the
world will be far happier when they do. Most of these commandments
are universal. They were not discovered by Jehovah -- they were not
original with him. "Thou shalt not kill," is as old as life. And
for this reason a large majority of people in all countries have
objected to being murdered. "Thou shalt not steal," is as old as
industry. There never has been a human being who was willing to
work through the sun and rain and heat of summer, simply for the
purpose that some one who had lived in idleness might steal the
result of his labor. Consequently, in all countries where it has
been necessary to work, larceny has been a crime. "Thou shalt not
lie,' is as old as speech. Men have desired, as a rule, to know the
truth; and truth goes with courage and candor. "Thou shalt not
commit adultery," is as old as love. "Honor thy father and thy
mother," is as old as the family relation.

     All these commandments were known among all peoples thousands
and thousands of years before Moses was born. The new one, "Thou
shalt worship no other Gods but me," is a bad commandment --
because that God was not worthy of worship. "Thou shalt make no
graven image," -- a bad commandment. It was the death of art. "Thou
shalt do no work on the Sabbath-day," -- a bad commandment; the
object of that being, that one-seventh of the time should be given
to the worship of a monster, making a priesthood necessary, and
consequently burdening industry with the idle and useless.

     If Professor Clifford felt lonely at the loss of such a
companion as Jehovah, it is impossible for me to sympathize with
his feelings. No one wishes to destroy the hope of another life --
no one wishes to blot out any good that is or that is hoped for, or

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                                4

                   REPLY TO DR. LYMAN ABBOTT.

the hope of which gives consolation to the world. Neither do I
agree with this gentleman when he says, "Let us have the truth,
cost what it may." I say: Let us have happiness -- well-being. The
truth upon these matters is of but little importance compared with
the happiness of mankind, Whether there is, or is not, a God, is
absolutely unimportant, compared with the well-being of the race.
Whether the Bible is, or is not, inspired, is not of as much
consequence as human happiness.

     Of course, if the Old and New Testaments are true, then human
happiness becomes impossible, either in this world, or in the world
to come -- that is, impossible to all people who really believe
that these books are true. It is often necessary to know the truth,
in order to prepare ourselves to bear consequences; but in the
metaphysical world, truth is of no possible importance except as it
affects human happiness.

     If there be a God, he certainly will hold us to no stricter
responsibility about metaphysical truth than about scientific
truth. It ought to be just as dangerous to make a mistake in
Geology as in Theology -- in Astronomy as in the question of the
Atonement.

     I am not endeavoring to overthrow any faith in God, but the
faith in a bad God. And in order to accomplish this, I have
endeavored to show that the question of whether an Infinite God
exists, or not, is beyond the power of the human mind. Anything is
better than to believe in the God of the Bible.

     Fourth. Mr. Abbott, like the rest, appeals to names instead of
to arguments. He appeals to Socrates, and yet he does not agree
with Socrates. He appeals to Goethe, and yet Goethe was far from a
Christian. He appeals to Isaac Newton and to Mr. Gladstone -- and
after mentioning these names, says, that on his side is this faith
of the wisest, the best, the noblest of mankind.

     Was Socrates after all greater than Epicures -- had he a
subtler mind -- was he any nobler in his life? Was Isaac Newton so
much greater than Humboldt -- than Charles Darwin, who has
revolutionized the thought of the civilized world? Did he do the
one-hundredth part of the good for mankind that was done by
Voltaire -- was he as great a metaphysician as Spinoza?

     But why should we appeal to names?

     In a contest between Protestantism and Catholicism are you
willing to abide by the tests of names? In a contest between
Christianity and Paganism, in the first century, would you have
considered the question settled by names? Had Christianity then
produced the equals of the great Greeks and Romans? The new can
always be overwhelmed with names that were in favor of the old. Sir
Isaac Newton, in his day, could have been overwhelmed by the names
of the great who had preceded him. Christ was overwhelmed by this
same method -- Moses and the Prophets were appealed to as against
this Peasant of Palestine. This is the argument of the cemetery --
this is leaving the open field, and crawling behind gravestones.

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                                5

                   REPLY TO DR. LYMAN ABBOTT.

     Newton was understood to be, all his life, a believer in the
Trinity; but he dared not say what his real thought was. After his
death there was found among his papers an argument that he
published against the divinity of Christ. This had been published
in Holland, because he was afraid to have it published in England.
How do we really know what the great men of whom you speak
believed, or believe?

     I do not agree with you when you say that Gladstone is the
greatest statesman. He will not, in my judgment, for one moment
compare with Thomas Jefferson -- with Alexander Hamilton -- or, to
come down to later times, with Gambetta; and he is immeasurably
below such a man as Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was not a believer.
Gambetta was an atheist.

     And yet, these names prove nothing. Instead of citing a name,
and saying that this great man -- Sir Isaac Newton, for instance --
believed in our doctrine, it is far better to give the reasons that
Sir Isaac Newton had for his belief.

     Nearly all organizations are filled with snobbishness. each
church has a list of great names, and the members feel in duty
bound to stand by their great men.

     Why is idolatry the worst of sins? Is it not far better to
worship a God of stone than a God who threatens to punish in
eternal flames the most of his children? If you simply mean by
idolatry a false conception of God, you must admit that no finite
mind can have a true conception of God -- and you must admit that
no two men can have the same false conception of God, and that:, as
a consequence, no two men can worship identically the same Deity.
Consequently they are all idolaters.

     I do not think idolatry the worst of sins. Cruelty is the
worst of sins. It is far better to worship a false God, than to
injure your neighbor -- far better to bow before a monstrosity of
stone, than to enslave your fellow-men.

     Fifth. I am glad that you admit that a bad God is worse than
no God. If so, the atheist is far better than the believer in
Jehovah, and far better than the believer in the divinity of Jesus
Christ -- because I am perfectly satisfied that none but a bad God
would threaten to say to any human soul, "Depart, ye cursed, into
everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." So that,
before any Christian can he better than an atheist, he must reform
his God.

     The agnostic does not simply say, "I do not know." He goes
another step, and he says, with great emphasis that you do not
know. He insists that you are trading on the ignorance of others,
and on the fear of others. He is not satisfied with saying that you
do not know, -- he demonstrates that you do not know, and he drives
you from the field of fact -- he drives you from the realm of
reason -- he drives you from the light, into the darkness of
conjecture -- into the world of dreams and shadows, and he compels
you to say, at last, that your faith has no foundation in fact.

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                                6

                   REPLY TO DR. LYMAN ABBOTT.

     You say that religion tells us that "life is a battle with
temptation -- the result is eternal life to the victors."

     But what of the victims? Did your God create these victims,
knowing that they would be victims? Did he deliberately change the
clay into the man -- into a being with wants, surrounded by
difficulties and temptations -- and did he deliberately surmount
this being with temptations that he knew he could not withstand,
with obstacles that he knew he could not overcome, and whom he knew
at last would fall a victim upon the field of death? Is there no
hope for this victim? No remedy for this mistake of your God? Is he
to remain a victim forever? Is it not better to have no God than
such a God? Could the condition of this victim be rendered worse by
the death of God?

     Sixth. Of course I agree with you when you say that character
is worth more than condition -- that life is worth more than place.
But I do not agree with you when you say that being -- that simple
existence -- is better than happiness. If a man is not happy, it is
far better not to be. I utterly dissent from your philosophy of
life. From my standpoint, I do not understand you when you talk
about self-denial. I can imagine a being of such character, that
certain things he would do for the one he loved, would by others be
regarded as acts of self-denial, but they could not be so regarded
by him. In these acts of so-called self-denial, he would find his
highest joy.

     This pretence that to do right is to carry a cross, has done
an immense amount of injury to the world. Only those who do wrong
carry a cross. To do wrong is the only possible self-denial.

     The pulpit has always been saying that, although the virtuous
and good, the kind, the tender, and the loving, may have a very bad
time here, yet they will have their reward in heaven -- having
denied themselves the pleasures of sin, the ecstasies of crime,
they will be made happy in a world hereafter; but that the wicked,
who have enjoyed larceny, and rascality in all its forms, will be
punished hereafter.

     All this rests upon the idea that man should sacrifice
himself, not for his fellow-men, but for God -- that he should do
something for the Almighty -- that he should go hungry to increase
the happiness of heaven -- that he should make a journey to Our
Lady of Loretto, with dried peas in his shoes; that he should
refuse to eat meat on Friday; that he should say so many prayers
before retiring to rest; that he should do something that he hated
to do, in order that he might win the approbation of the heavenly
powers. For my part, I think it much better to feed the hungry,
than to starve yourself.

     You ask me, What is Christianity? You then proceed to
partially answer your own question, and you pick out what you
consider the best, and call that Christianity. But you have given
only one side, and that side not all of it good. Why did you not
give the other side of Christianity -- the side that talks of
eternal flames, of the worm that dieth not -- the side that
denounces the investigator and the thinker -- the side that

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                                7

                   REPLY TO DR. LYMAN ABBOTT.

promises an eternal reward for credulity -- the side that tells men
to take no thought for the morrow but to trust absolutely in a
Divine Providence?

     "Within thirty years after the crucifixion of Jesus, faith in
his resurrection had become the inspiration of the church." I ask
you, Was there a resurrection?

     What advance has been made in what you are pleased to call the
doctrine of the brotherhood of man, through the instrumentality of
the church? Was then as much dread of God among the Pagans as there
has been among Christians?

     I do not believe that the church is a conservator of
civilization. It sells crime on credit. I do not believe it is an
educator of good will, It has caused more war than all other
causes. Neither is it a school of a nobler reverence and faith. The
church has not turned the minds of men toward principles of
justice, mercy and truth -- it has destroyed the foundation of
justice. It does not minister comfort at the coffin -- it fills the
mourners with fear. It has never preached a gospel of "Peace on
Earth" -- it has never preached "Good Will toward men."

     For my part, I do not agree with you when you say that: "The
most stalwart anti-Romanist can hardly question that with the Roman
Catholic Church abolished by instantaneous decree, its priests
banished and its churches closed, the disaster to American
communities would be simply awful in its proportions, if not
irretrievable in its results."

     I may agree with you in this, that the most stalwart
anti-Romanist would not wish to have the Roman Catholic Church
abolished by tyranny, and its priests banished, and its churches
closed. But if the abolition of that church could be produced by
the development of the human mind; and if its priests, instead of
being banished, should become good and useful citizens, and were in
favor of absolute liberty of mind, then I say that there would be
no disaster, but a very wide and great and splendid blessing. The
church has been the Centaur -- not Theses; the church has not been
Hercules, but the serpent.

     So I believe that there is something far nobler than loyalty
to any particular man. Loyalty to the truth as we perceive it --
loyalty to our duty as we know it -- loyalty to the ideals of our
brain and heart -- is, to my mind, far greater and far nobler than
loyalty to the life of any particular man or God. There is a kind
of slavery -- a kind of abdication -- for any man to take any other
man as his absolute pattern and to hold him up as the perfection of
all life, and to feel that it is his duty to grovel in the dust in
his presence. It is better to feel that the springs of action are
within yourself -- that you are poised upon your own feet -- and
that you look at the world with your own eyes, and follow the path
that reason shows.

     I do not believe that the world could be re-organized upon the
simple but radical principles of the Sermon on the Mount. Neither
do I believe that this sermon was ever delivered by one man. It has

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                                8

                   REPLY TO DR. LYMAN ABBOTT.

in it many fragments that I imagine were dropped from many mouths.
It lacks coherence -- it lacks form. Some of the sayings are
beautiful, sublime and tender; and others seem to be weak,
contradictory and childish.

     Seventh. I do not say that I do not know whether this faith is
true, or not. I say distinctly and clearly, that I know it is not
true. I admit that I do not know whether there is any infinite
personality or not, because I do not know that my mind is an
absolute standard. But according to my mind, there is no such
personality; and according to my mind, it is an infinite absurdity
to suppose that there is such an infinite personality. But I do
know something of human nature; I do know a little of the history
of mankind; and I know enough to know that what is known as the
Christian faith, is not true. I am perfectly satisfied, beyond all
doubt and beyond all peradventure, that all miracles are
falsehoods. I know as well as I know that I live -- that others
live -- that what you call your faith, is not true.

     I am glad, however, that yon admit that the miracles of the
Old Testament, or the inspiration of the Old Testament, are not
essentials. I draw my conclusion from what you say: "I have not in
this paper discussed the miracles, or the inspiration of the Old
Testament; partly because those topics, in my opinion, occupy a
subordinate position in Christian faith, and I wish to consider
only essentials." At the same time, you tell us that, "On
historical evidence, and after a careful study of the arguments on
both sides, I regard as historical the events narrated in the four
Gospels, ordinarily regarded as miracles." At the same time, you
say that you fully agree with me that the order of nature has never
been violated or interrupted. In other words, you must believe that
all these so-called miracles were actually in accordance with the
laws, or facts rather, in nature.

     Eighth, You wonder that I could write the following: "To me
there is nothing of any particular value in the Pentateuch. There
is not, so far as I know, a line in the Book of Genesis calculated
to make a human being better." You then call my attention to "The
magnificent Psalm of Praise to the Creator with which Genesis
opens; to the beautiful legend of the first sin and its fateful
consequences; the inspiring story of Abraham -- the first self-
exile for conscience sake; the romantic story of Joseph the Peasant
boy becoming a Prince," which you say "would have attraction for
any one if he could have found a charm in, for example, the Legends
of the Round Table."

     The "magnificent Psalm of Praise to the Creator with which
Genesis opens" is filled with magnificent mistakes, and is utterly
absurd. "The beautiful legend of the first sin and its fateful
consequences" is probably the most contemptible story that was ever
written, and the treatment of the first pair by Jehovah is
unparalleled in the cruelty of despotic governments. According to
this infamous account, God cursed the mothers of the world, and
added to the agonies of maternity. Not only so, but he made woman
a slave, and man something, if possible, meaner -- a master.

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                                9

                   REPLY TO DR. LYMAN ABBOTT.

     I must confess that I have very little admiration for Abraham.
(Give reasons.)

     So far as Joseph is concerned, let me give you the history of
Joseph, -- how he conspired with Pharaoh to enslave the people of
Egypt.

     You seem to be astonished that I am not in love with the
character of Joseph, as pictured in the Bible. Let me tell you who
Joseph was.

     It seems, from the account, that Pharaoh had a dream. None of
his wise men could give its meaning. He applied to Joseph, and
Joseph, having been enlightened by Jehovah, gave the meaning of the
dream to Pharaoh. He told the king that there would be in Egypt
seven years of great plenty, and after these seven years of great
plenty, there would be seven years of famine, and that the famine
would consume the land. Thereupon Joseph gave to Pharaoh some
advice. First, he was to take up a fifth part of the land of Egypt,
in the seven plenteous years -- he was to gather all the food of
those good years. and lay up corn, and he was to keep this food in
the cities. This food was to be a store to the land against the
seven years of famine. And thereupon Pharaoh said unto Joseph,
"Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so
discreet and wise as thou art: thou shalt be over my house, and
according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the
throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph,
See I have set thee over all the land of Egypt."

     We are further informed by the holy writer, that in the seven
plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls, and that
Joseph gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in
the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities, and that he
gathered corn as the sand of the sea. This was done through the
seven plenteous years. Then commenced the years of dearth. Then the
people of Egypt became hungry, and they cried to Pharaoh for bread,
and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph. The famine
was over all the face of the earth, and Joseph opened the store-
houses, and sold unto the Egyptians, and the famine waxed sore in
the land of Egypt. There was no bread in the land, and Egypt
fainted by reason of the famine. And Joseph gathered up all the
money that was found in the land of Egypt, by the sale of corn, and
brought the money to Pharaoh's house. After a time the money failed
in the land of Egypt, and the Egyptians came unto Joseph and said,
"Give us bread; why should we die in thy presence? for the money
faileth." And Joseph said, "Give your cattle, and I will give you
for your cattle." And they brought their cattle unto Joseph, and he
gave them bread in exchange for horses and flocks and herds, and he
fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year. When the
year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said, "Our
money is spent, our cattle are gone, naught is left but our bodies
and our lands." And they said to Joseph, "Buy us, and our land, for
bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh; and give
us seed that we may live and not die, that the land be not
desolate." And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for
the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine
prevailed over them. So the land became Pharaoh's. Then Joseph said

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                               10

                   REPLY TO DR. LYMAN ABBOTT.

to the people, "I have bought you this day, and your land; lo, here
is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land." And thereupon the
people said, "Thou hast saved our lives; we will be Pharaoh's
servants." "And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto
this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part, except the land
of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh's."

     Yet I am asked, by a minister of the nineteenth century,
whether it is possible that I do not admire the character of
Joseph. This man received information from God -- and gave that
information to Pharaoh, to the end that he might impoverish and
enslave a nation. This man, by means of intelligence received from
Jehovah, took from the people what they had, and compelled them at
last to sell themselves, their wives and their children, and to
become in fact bondmen forever. Yet I am asked by the successor of
Henry Ward Beecher, if I do not admire the infamous wretch who was
guilty of the greatest crime recorded in the literature of the
world.

     So, it is difficult for me to understand why you speak of
Abraham as "a self-exile for conscience sake." If the king of
England had told one of his favorites that if he would go to North
America he would give him a territory hundreds of miles square, and
would defend him in its possession. and that he there might build
up an empire, and the favorite believed the king, and went, would
you call him "a self-exile for conscience sake"?

     According to the story in the Bible, the Lord promised Abraham
that if he would leave his country and kindred, he would make of
him a great nation, would bless him, and make his name great, that
he would bless them that blessed Abraham, and that he would curse
him whom Abraham cursed; and further, that in him all the families
of the earth should be blest. If this is true, would you call
Abraham "a self-exile for conscience sake"? If Abraham had only
known that the Lord was not to keep his promise, he probably would
have remained where he was -- the fact being, that every promise
made by the Lord to Abraham, was broken.

     Do you think that Abraham was "a self-exile for conscience
sake" when he told Sarah, his wife, to say that she was his sister
-- in consequence of which she was taken into Pharaoh's house, and
by reason of which Pharaoh made presents of sheep and oxen and man
servants and maid servants to Abraham? What would you call such a
proceeding now? What would you think of a man who was willing that
his wife should become the mistress of the king, provided the king
would make him presents?

     Was it for conscience sake that the same subterfuge was
adopted again, when Abraham said to Abimelech, the King of Gerar,
She is my sister -- in consequence of which Abimelech sent for
Sarah and took her?

     Mr. Ingersoll having been called to Montana, as counsel in a
long and important law suit, never finished this article.

                               END

Bank of Wisdom

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