Robert Green Ingersoll
24 page printout Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. UNPUBLISHED REPLIES Contents of this file page REPLY TO DR.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
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