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Talmagian Catechism

Robert Green Ingersoll

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

                              1882
                             _______

                      A SHORTER CATECHISM.

     QUESTION. Who made you?

     ANSWER. Jehovah, the original Presbyterian.

     QUESTION. What else did he make?

     ANSWER. He made the world and all things.

     QUESTION. Did he make the world out of nothing?

     ANSWER. No.

     QUESTION. What did he make it out of?

     ANSWER. Out of his "omnipotence." Many infidels have pretended
that if God made the universe, and if there was nothing until he
did make it, he had nothing to make it out of. Of course this is
perfectly absurd when we remember that he always had his
"omnipotence;" and that is, undoubtedly, the material used.

     QUESTION. Did he create his own "omnipotence"?

     ANSWER. Certainly not, he was always omnipotent.

     QUESTION. Then if he always had "omnipotence," he did not
"create" the material of which the universe is made; he simply took
a portion of his "omnipotence" and changed it to "universe"?

     ANSWER. Certainly, that is the way I understand it.

     QUESTION. Is he still omnipotent, and has he as much
"omnipotence" now as he ever had?

     ANSWER. Well, I suppose he has.

     QUESTION. How long did it take God to make the universe?

     ANSWER. Six "good-whiles."

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     QUESTION. How long is a "good-while"?

     ANSWER. That will depend upon the future discoveries of
geologists. "Good-whiles" are of such a nature that they can be
pulled out, or pushed up; and it is utterly impossible for any
infidel, or scientific geologist, to make any period that a
"good-while" won't fit.

     QUESTION. What do you understand by "the morning and evening"
of a "good-while"?

     ANSWER. Of course the words "morning and evening are used
figuratively, and mean simply the beginning and the ending, of each
"good-while."

     QUESTION. On what day did God make vegetation?

     ANSWER. On the third day.

     QUESTION. Was that before the sun was made?

     ANSWER. Yes; a "good-while" before.

     QUESTION. How did vegetation grow without sunlight?

     ANSWER. My own opinion is, that it was either "nourished by
the glare of volcanoes in the moon;" or "it may have gotten
sufficient light from rivers of molten granite;" or, "sufficient
light might have been emitted by the crystallization of rocks." It
has been suggested that light might have been furnished by
fire-flies and phosphorescent bugs and worms, but this I regard as
going too far.

     QUESTION. Do you think that light emitted by rocks would be
sufficient to produce trees?

     ANSWER. Yes, with the assistance of the "Aurora Borealis, or
even the "Aurora Australis;" but with both, most assuredly.

     QUESTION. If the light of which you speak was sufficient, why
was the sun made?

     ANSWER. To keep time with.

     QUESTION. What did God make man of?

     ANSWER. He made man of dust and "omnipotence.

     QUESTION. Did he make a woman at the same time that he made a
man?

     ANSWER. No; he thought at one time to avoid the necessity of
making a woman, and he caused all the animals to pass before Adam,
to see what he would call them, and to see whether a fit companion
could be found for him. Among them all, not one suited Adam, and
Jehovah immediately saw that he would have to make an help-meet on
purpose.

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     QUESTION. What was woman made of?

     ANSWER. She was made out of "man's side, out of his right
side," and some more "omnipotence." Infidels say that she was made
out of a rib, or a bone, but that is because they do not understand
Hebrew.

     QUESTION. What was the object of making woman out of man's
side?

     ANSWER. So that a young man would think more of a neighbor's
girl than of his own uncle or grandfather.

     QUESTION. What did God do with Adam and Eve after he got them
done?

     ANSWER. He put them into a garden to see what they would do.

     QUESTION. Do we know where the Garden of Eden was, and have we
ever found any place where a "river parted and became into four
heads"?

     ANSWER. We are not certain where this garden was, and the
river that parted into four heads cannot at present be found.
Infidels have had a great deal to say about these four rivers, but
they will wish they had even one, one of these days.

     QUESTION. What happened to Adam and Eve in the garden?

     ANSWER. They were tempted by a snake who was an exceedingly
good talker, and who probably came in walking on the end of his
tail. This supposition is based upon the fact that, as a
punishment, he was condemned to crawl on his belly. Before that
time, of course. he walked upright.

     QUESTION. What happened then?

     ANSWER. Our first parents gave way, ate of the forbidden
fruit, and in consequence, disease and death entered the world. Had
it not been for this, there would have been no death and no
disease. Suicide would have been impossible, and a man could have
been blown into a thousand atoms by dynamite, and the pieces would
immediately have come together again. Fire would have refused to
burn and water to drown; there could have been no hunger, no
thirst; all things would have been equally healthy.

     QUESTION. Do you mean to say that there would have been no
death in the world, either of animals, insects, or persons?

     ANSWER. Of course.

     QUESTION. Do you also think that all briers and thorns sprang
from the same source, and that had the apple not been eaten. no
bush in the world would have had a thorn, and brambles and thistles
would have been unknown?

     ANSWER. Certainly.

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     QUESTION. Would there have been no poisonous plants, no
poisonous reptiles?

     ANSWER. No, sir; there would have been none; there would have
been no evil in the world if Adam and Eve had not partaken of the
forbidden fruit.

     QUESTION. Was the snake who tempted them to eat, evil?

     ANSWER. Certainly.

     QUESTION. Was he in the world before the forbidden fruit was
eaten?

     ANSWER. Of course he was; he tempted them to eat it.

     QUESTION. How, then, do you account for the fact that, before
the forbidden fruit was eaten, an evil serpent was in the world?.

     ANSWER. Perhaps apples had been eaten in other worlds.

     QUESTION. Is it not wonderful that such awful consequences
flowed from so small an act?

     ANSWER. It is not for you to reason about it; you should
simply remember that God is omnipotent. There is but one way to
answer these things, and that is to admit their truth. Nothing so
puts the Infinite out of temper as to see a human being impudent
enough to rely upon his reason. The moment we rely upon our reason,
we abandon God, and try to take care of ourselves. Whoever relies
entirely upon God, has no need of reason, and reason has no need of
him.

     QUESTION. Were our first parents under the immediate
protection of an infinite God?

     ANSWER. They were.

     QUESTION. Why did he not protect them? Why did he not warn
them of this snake? Why did he not put them on their guard? Why did
he not make them so sharp, intellectually, that they could not be
deceived? Why did he not destroy that snake; or how did he come to
make him; what did he make him for?

     ANSWER. You must remember that, although God made Adam and Eve
perfectly good, still he was very anxious to test them. He also
gave them the power of choice, knowing at the same time exactly
what they would choose, and knowing that he had made them so that
they must choose in a certain way. A being of infinite wisdom tries
experiments. Knowing exactly what will happen, he wishes to see if
it will.

     QUESTION. What punishment did God inflict upon Adam and Eve
for the sin of having eaten the forbidden fruit?

     ANSWER. He pronounced a curse upon the woman, saying that in
sorrow she should bring forth children, and that her husband should

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

rule over her; that she, having tempted her husband, was made his
slave; and through her, all married women have been deprived of
their natural liberty. On account of the sin of Adam and Eve, God
cursed the ground, saying that it should bring forth thorns and
thistles, and that man should eat his bread in sorrow, and that he
should eat the herb of the held.

     QUESTION. Did he turn them out of the garden because of their
sin?

     ANSWER. No. The reason God gave for turning them out of the
garden was: "Behold the man is become as one of us, to know good
and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take of the tree
of life and eat and live forever, therefore, the Lord God sent him
forth from the Garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he was
taken."

     QUESTION. If the man had eaten of the tree of life, would he
have lived forever?

     ANSWER. Certainly.

     QUESTION. Was he turned out to prevent his eating?

     ANSWER. He was.

     QUESTION. Then the Old Testament tells us how we lost
immortality, not that we are immortal, does it?

     ANSWER. it tells us how we lost it.

     QUESTION. Was God afraid that Adam and Eve might get back into
the garden, and eat of the fruit of the tree of life?

     ANSWER. I suppose he was, as he placed "cherubim and a flaming
sword which turned every way to guard the tree of life."

     QUESTION. Has any one ever seen any of these cherubim?

     ANSWER. Not that I know of.

     QUESTION. Where is the flaming sword now?

     ANSWER. Some angel has it in heaven.

     QUESTION. Do you understand that God made coats of skins. and
clothed Adam and Eve when he turned them out of the garden?

     ANSWER. Yes sir.

     QUESTION. Do you really believe that the infinite God killed
some animals, took their skins from them, cut out and sewed up
clothes for Adam and Eve?

     ANSWER. The Bible says so; we know that he had patterns for
clothes, because he showed some to Moses on Mount Sinai.

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     QUESTION. About how long did God continue to pay particular
attention to his children in this world?

     ANSWER. For about fifteen hundred years; and some of the
people lived to be nearly a thousand years of age.

     QUESTION. Did this God establish any schools or institutions
of learning? Did he establish any church? Did he ordain any
ministers, or did he have any revivals?

     ANSWER. No; he allowed the world to go on pretty much in its
own way. He did not even keep his own boys at home. They came down
and made love to the daughters of men, and finally the world got
exceedingly bad.

     QUESTION. What did God do then?

     ANSWER. He made up his mind that he would drown them. you see
they were all totally depraved, -- in every joint and sinew of
their bodies, in every drop of their blood, and in every thought of
their brains.

     QUESTION. Did he drown them all?

     ANSWER. No, he saved eight, to start with again.

     QUESTION. Were these eight persons totally depraved?

     ANSWER. Yes.

     QUESTION. Why did he not kill them, and start over again with
a perfect pair? Would it not have been better to have had his flood
at first, before he made anybody, and drowned the snake?

     ANSWER. "God's way are not our ways;" and besides, you must
remember that "a thousand years are as one day" with God.

     QUESTION. How did God destroy the people?

     ANSWER. By water; it rained forty days and forty nights, and
"the fountains of the great deep were broken up."

     QUESTION. How deep was the water?

     ANSWER. About five miles.

     QUESTION. How much did it rain each day?

     ANSWER. About eight hundred feet; though the better opinion
now is, that it was a local flood. Infidels have raised objections
and pressed them to that degree that most orthodox people admit
that the flood was rather local.

     QUESTION. If it was a local flood, why did they put birds of
the air into the ark? Certainly, birds could have avoided a local
flood?

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     ANSWER. If you take this away from us, what do you propose to
give us in its place? Some of the best people of the world have
believed this story. Kind husbands, loving mothers, and earnest
patriots have believed it, and that is sufficient.

     QUESTION. At the time God made these people, did he know that
he would have to drown them all?

     ANSWER. Of course he did.

     QUESTION. Did he know when he made them that they would all be
failures?

     ANSWER. Of course.

     QUESTION. Why, then, did he make them?

     ANSWER. He made them for his own glory, and no man should
disgrace his parents by denying it.

     QUESTION. Were the people after the flood just as bad as they
were before?

     ANSWER. About the same.

     QUESTION. Did they try to circumvent God?

     ANSWER. They did.

     QUESTION. How?

     ANSWER. They got together for the purpose of building a tower,
the top of which should reach to heaven, so that they could laugh
at any future floods, and go to heaven at any time they desired.

     QUESTION. Did God hear about this?

     ANSWER. He did.

     QUESTION.. What did he say?

     ANSWER. He said: "Go to; let us go down," and see what the
people are doing; I am satisfied they will succeed.

     QUESTION. How were the people prevented from succeeding?

     ANSWER. God confounded their language, so that the mason on
top could not cry "mort'!" to the hod-carrier below; he could not
think of the word to use, to save his life, and the building
stopped.

     QUESTION. If it had not been for the confusion of tongues at
Babel, do you really think that all the people in the world would
have spoken just the same language, and would have pronounced every
word precisely the same?

     ANSWER. Of course.

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     QUESTION. If it had not been, then, for the confusion of
languages, spelling books, grammars and dictionaries would have
been useless?

     ANSWER. I suppose so.

     QUESTION. Do any two people in the whole world speak the same
language, now?

     ANSWER. Of course they don't, and this is one of the great
evidences that God introduced confusion into the languages. Every
error in grammar, every mistake in spelling, every blunder in
pronunciation, proves the truth of the Babel story.

     QUESTION. This being so, this miracle is the best attested of
all?

     ANSWER. I suppose it is.

     QUESTION. Do you not think that a confusion of tongues would
bring men together instead of separating them? Would not a man
unable to converse with his fellow feel weak instead of strong; and
would not people whose language had been confounded cling together
for mutual support?

     ANSWER. According to nature, yes; according to theology, no;
and these questions must be answered according to theology. And
right here, it may he well enough to state, that in theology the
unnatural is the probable, and the impossible is what has always
happened. If theology were simply natural, anybody could be a
theologian.

     QUESTION. Did God ever make any other special efforts to
convert the people, or to reform the world?

     ANSWER. Yes, he destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah
with a storm of fire and brimstone.

     QUESTION. Do you suppose it was really brimstone?

     ANSWER. Undoubtedly.

     QUESTION. Do you think this brimstone came from the clouds?

     ANSWER. Let me tell you that you have no right to examine the
Bible in the light of what people are pleased to call "science."
The natural has nothing to do with the supernatural. Naturally
there would he no brimstone in the clouds, but supernaturally there
might be. God could make brimstone out of his "omnipotence." We do
not know really what brimstone is, and nobody knows exactly how
brimstone is made. As a matter of fact, all the brimstone in the
world might have fallen at that time.

     QUESTION. Do you think that Lot's wife was changed into salt?

     ANSWER. Of course she was. A miracle was performed. A few
centuries ago, the statue of salt made by changing Lot's wife into
that article, was standing. Christian travelers have seen it.

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     QUESTION. Why do you think she was changed into salt?

     ANSWER. For the purpose of keeping the event fresh in the
minds of men.

     QUESTION. God having failed to keep people innocent in a
garden; having failed to govern them outside of a garden; having
failed to reform them by water; having failed to produce any good
result by a confusion of tongues; having failed to reform them with
fire and brimstone, what did he then do?

     ANSWER. He concluded that he had no time to waste on them all,
but that he would have to select one tribe, and turn his entire
attention to just a few folk.

     QUESTION. Whom did he select?

     ANSWER. A man by the name of Abram.

     QUESTION. What kind of man was Abram?

     ANSWER. If you wish to know, read the twelfth chapter of
Genesis; and if you still have any doubt. as to his character, read
the twentieth chapter of the same book, and you will see that he
was a man who made merchandise of his wife's body. He had had such
good fortune in Egypt, that he tried the experiment again on
Abimelech.

     QUESTION. Did Abraham show any gratitude?

     ANSWER. yes; he offered to sacrifice his son, to show his
confidence in Jehovah.

     QUESTION. What became of Abraham and his people?

     ANSWER. God took such care of them, that in about two hundred
and fifteen years they were all slaves in the land of Egypt.

     QUESTION. How long did they remain in slavery?

     ANSWER. Two hundred and fifteen years.

     QUESTION. Were they the same people that God had promised to
take care of?

     ANSWER. They were.

     QUESTION. Was God. at that time, in favor of slavery?

     ANSWER. Not at that time. He was angry at the Egyptians for
enslaving the Jews. but he afterwards authorized the Jews to
enslave other people.

     QUESTION. What means did he take to liberate the Jews?

     ANSWER. He sent his agents to Pharaoh, and demanded their
freedom; and upon Pharaoh's refusing, he afflicted the people. who

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

had nothing to do with it with various plagues, -- killed children,
and tormented and tortured beasts.

     QUESTION. Was such conduct Godlike?

     ANSWER. Certainly. If you have anything against your neighbor,
it is perfectly proper to torture his horse, or torment his dog.
Nothing can be nobler than this. You see it is much better to
injure his animals than to injure him. To punish animals for the
sins of their owners must be just, or God would not have done it.
Pharaoh insisted on keeping the people in slavery, and therefore
God covered the bodies of oxen and cows with boils. He also bruised
them to death with hailstones. From this we infer, that "the loving
kindness of God is over all his works."

     QUESTION. Do you consider such treatment of animals consistent
with divine mercy?

     ANSWER. Certainly. You know that under the Mosaic
dispensation, when a man did a wrong, he could settle with God by
killing an ox, or a sheep, or some doves. If the man failed to kill
them, of course God would kill them. It was upon this principle
that he destroyed the animals of the Egyptians. They had sinned,
and he merely took his pay.

     QUESTION. How was it possible, under the old dispensation, to
please a being of infinite kindness?

     ANSWER. All you had to do was to take an innocent animal,
bring it to the altar, cut its throat, and sprinkle the altar with
its blood. Certain parts of it were to be given to the butcher as
his share, and the rest was to be burnt on the altar. When God saw
an animal thus butchered, and smelt the warm blood mingled with the
odor of burning flesh, he was pacified, and the smile of
forgiveness shed its light upon his face. Of course, infidels laugh
at these things; but what can you expect of men who have not been
"born again"? "The carnal mind is enmity with God."

     QUESTION. What else did God do in order to induce Pharaoh to
liberate the Jews?

     ANSWER. He had his agents throw down a cane in the presence of
Pharaoh and thereupon Jehovah changed this cane into a serpent.

     QUESTION. Did this convince Pharaoh?

     ANSWER. No; he sent for his own magicians.

     QUESTION. What did they do?

     ANSWER. They threw down some canes and they also were changed
into serpents.

     QUESTION. Did Jehovah change the canes of the Egyptian
magicians into snakes?

     ANSWER. I suppose he did, as he is the only one capable of
performing such a miracle.

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     QUESTION. If the rod of Aaron was changed into a serpent in
order to convince Pharaoh that God had sent Aaron and Moses, why
did God change the sticks of the Egyptian magicians into serpents
-- why did he discredit his own agents, and render worthless their
only credentials?

     ANSWER. Well, we cannot explain the conduct of Jehovah; we are
perfectly satisfied that it was for the best. Even in this age of
the world God allows infidels to overwhelm his chosen people with
arguments; he allows them to discover facts that his ministers can
not answer, and yet we are satisfied that in the end God will give
the victory to us. All these things are tests of faith. It is upon
this principle that God allows geology to laugh at Genesis, that.
he permits astronomy apparently to contradict his holy word.

     QUESTION. What did God do with these people after Pharaoh
allowed them to go?

     ANSWER. Finding that they were not fit to settle a new
country, owing to the fact that when hungry they longed for food,
and sometimes when their lips were cracked with thirst insisted on
having water, God in his infinite mercy had them marched round and
round, back and forth, through a barren wilderness, until all, with
the exception of two persons, died.

     QUESTION. Why did he do this?

     ANSWER. Because he had promised these people that he would
take them "to a land flowing with milk and honey."

     QUESTION. Was God always patient and kind and merciful toward
his children while they were in the wilderness?

     ANSWER. Yes, he always was merciful and kind and patient.
Infidels have taken the ground that he visited them with plagues
and disease and famine; that he had them bitten by serpents, and
now and then allowed the ground to swallow a few thousands of them,
and in other ways saw to it that they were kept as comfortable and
happy as was consistent with good government; but all these things
were for their good. and the fact is, infidels hare no real sense
of justice.

     QUESTION. How did God happen to treat the Israelites in this
way, when he had promised Abraham that he would take care of his
progeny, and when he had promised the same to the poor wretches
while they were slaves in Egypt?

     ANSWER. Because God is unchangeable in his nature, and wished
to convince them that every being should be perfectly faithful to
his promise.

     QUESTION. Was God driven to madness by the conduct of his
chosen people?

     ANSWER. Almost.

     QUESTION. Did he know exactly what they would do when he chose
them?

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     ANSWER. Exactly.

     QUESTION. Were the Jews guilty of idolatry?

     ANSWER. They were. They worshiped other gods, gods made of
wood and stone.

     QUESTION. Is it not wonderful that they were not convinced of
the power of God, by the many miracles wrought in Egypt and in the
wilderness?

     ANSWER. Yes, it is very wonderful; but the Jews, who must have
seen bread rained from heaven; who saw water gush from the rocks
and follow them up hill and down; who noticed that their clothes
did not wear out, and did not even get shiny at the knees, while
the elbows defied the ravages of time, and their shoes remained
perfect for forty years; it is wonderful that when they saw the
ground open and swallow their comrades; when they saw God talking
face to face with Moses as a man talks with his friend; after they
saw the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, -- it is
absolutely astonishing that they had more faith in a golden calf
that they made themselves, than in Jehovah.

     QUESTION. How is it that the Jews had no confidence in these
miracles?

     ANSWER. Because they were there and saw them.

     QUESTION. Do you think that it is necessary for us to believe
all the miracles of the Old Testament in order to be saved?

     ANSWER. The Old Testament is the foundation of the New. If the
Old Testament is not inspired, then the New is of no value. If the
Old Testament is inspired, all the miracles are true, and we cannot
believe that God would allow any errors, or false statements, to
creep into an inspired volume, and to be perpetuated through all
these years.

     QUESTION. Should we believe the miracles, whether they are
reasonable or not?

     ANSWER. Certainly; if they were reasonable, they would not be
miracles. It is their unreasonableness that appeals to our
credulity and our faith.. It is impossible to have theological
faith in anything that can be demonstrated. It is the office of
faith to believe, not only without evidence, but in spite of
evidence. It is impossible for the carnal mind to believe that
Samson's muscle depended upon the length of his hair. "God has made
the wisdom of "this world foolishness." Neither can the unconverted
believe that Elijah stopped at a hotel kept by ravens. Neither can
they believe that a barrel would in and of itself produce meal, or
that an earthen pot could create oil. But to a Christian, in order
that a widow might feed a preacher, the truth of these stories is
perfectly apparent.

     QUESTION. How should we regard the wonderful stories of the
Old Testament?

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     ANSWER. They should be looked upon as "types" and "symbols."
They all have a spiritual significance. The reason I believe the
story of Jonah is, that Jonah is a type of Christ.

     QUESTION. Do you believe the story of Jonah to be a true
account of a literal fact?

     ANSWER. Certainly. You must remember that Jonah was not
swallowed by a whale. God "prepared a great fish" for that
occasion. Neither is it by any means certain that Jonah was in the
belly of this whale. "He probably stayed in his mouth." Even if he
was in his stomach, it was very easy for him to defy the ordinary
action of gastric juice by rapidly walking up and down.

     QUESTION. Do you think that Jonah was really in the whale's
stomach?

     ANSWER. My own opinion is that he stayed in his mouth. The
only objection to this theory is, that it is more reasonable than
the other and requires less faith. Nothing could be easier than for
God to make a fish large enough to furnish ample room for one
passenger in his mouth. I throw out this suggestion simply that you
may be able to answer the objections of infidels who are always
laughing at this story.

     QUESTION. Do you really believe that Elijah went to heaven in
a chariot of fire, drawn by horses of fire?

     ANSWER. Of course he did.

     QUESTION. What was this miracle performed for?

     ANSWER. To convince the people of the power of God.

     QUESTION. Who saw the miracle?

     ANSWER. Nobody but Elisha.

     QUESTION. Was he convinced before that time?

     ANSWER. Oh yes; he was one of God's prophets.

     QUESTION. Suppose that in these days two men should leave a
town together, and after a while one of them should come back
having on the clothes of the other, and should account for the fact
that he had his friend's clothes by saying that while they were
going along the road together a chariot of fire came down from
heaven drawn by fiery steeds, and thereupon his friend got into the
carnage, threw him his clothes, and departed, -- would you believe
it?

     ANSWER. Of course things like that don't happen in these days;
God does not have to rely on wonders now.

     QUESTION. Do you mean that he performs no miracles at the
present day?

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     ANSWER. We cannot say that he does not perform miracles now,
but we are not in position to call attention to any particular one.
Of course he supervises the affairs of nations and men and does
whatever in his judgment is necessary.

     QUESTION. Do you think that Samson's strength depended on the
length of his hair?

     ANSWER. The Bible so states, and the Bible is true. A
physiologist might say that a man could not use the muscle in his
hair for lifting purposes, but these same physiologists could not
tell you how you move a finger, nor how you lift a feather; still,
actuated by the pride of intellect, they insist that the length of
a man's hair could not determine his strength. God says it did; the
physiologist says that it did not; we can not hesitate whom to
believe. For the purpose of avoiding eternal agony I am willing to
believe anything; I am willing to say that strength depends upon
the length of hair, or faith upon the length of ears. I am
perfectly willing to believe that a man caught three hundred foxes,
and put fire brands between their tails; that he slew thousands
with a bone, and that he made a bee hive out of a lion. I will
believe, if necessary, that when this man's hair was short he
hardly had strength enough to stand, and that when it was long, he
could carry away the gates of a city, or overthrow a temple filled
with people. If the infidel is right, I will lose nothing by
believing, but if he is wrong, I shall gain an eternity of joy. If
God did not intend that we should believe these stories, he never
would have told them, and why should a man put his soul in peril by
trying to disprove one of the statements of the Lord?

     QUESTION. Suppose it should turn out that some of these
miracles depend upon mistranslation of the original Hebrew, should
we still believe them?

     ANSWER. The safe side is the best side. It is far better to
err on the side of belief, than on the side of infidelity. God does
not threaten anybody with eternal punishment for believing too
much. Danger lies on the side of investigation, on the side of
thought. The perfectly idiotic are absolutely safe. As they diverge
from that point, -- as they rise in the intellectual scale, as the
brain develops, as the faculties enlarge, the danger increases. I
know that some biblical students now take the ground that Samson
caught no foxes, -- that he only took sheaves of wheat that had
been already cut and bound, set them on fire, and threw them into
the grain still standing. If this is what he did, of course there
is nothing miraculous about it, and the value of the story is lost.
So, others contend that Elijah was not fed by the ravens, but by
the Arabs. They tell us that the Hebrew word standing for "Arab"
also stands for "bird," and that the word really means "migratory
-- going from place to place -- homeless." But I prefer the old
version. It certainly will do no harm to believe that ravens
brought bread and flesh to a prophet of God. Where they got their
bread and flesh, is none of my business; how they knew where the
prophet was, and recognized him; or how God talks to ravens, or how
he gave them directions, I have no right to inquire. I leave these
questions to the scientists. the blasphemers, and thinkers. There
are many people in the church anxious to get the miracles out of

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the Bible, and thousands, I have no doubt, would be greatly
gratified to learn that there is, in fact, nothing miraculous in
Scripture; but when you take away the miraculous, you take away the
supernatural; when you take away the supernatural, you destroy the
ministry; and when you take away the ministry, hundreds of
thousands of men will be left without employment.

     QUESTION. Is it not wonderful that the Egyptians were not
converted by the miracles wrought in their country?

     ANSWER. Yes, they all would have been, if God had not
purposely hardened their hearts to prevent it. Jehovah always took
great delight in furnishing the evidence, and then hardening the
man's heart so that he would not believe it. After all the miracles
that had been performed in Egypt, -- the most wonderful that were
ever done in any country, the Egyptians were as unbelieving as at
first; they pursued the Israelites, knowing that they were
protected by an infinite God, and failing to overwhelm them, came
back and worshiped their own false gods just as firmly as before.
All of which shows the unreasonableness of a Pagan, and the natural
depravity of human nature.

     QUESTION. How did it happen that the Canaanites were never
convinced that the Jews were assisted by Jehovah?

     ANSWER. They must have been an exceedingly brave people to
contend so many years with the chosen people of God.
Notwithstanding all their cities were burned time and time again;
notwithstanding all the men, women and children were put to the
edge of the sword; notwithstanding the taking of all their cattle
and sheep, they went right on fighting just as valiantly and
desperately as ever. Each one lost his life many times, and was
just as ready for the next conflict. My own opinion is, that God
kept them alive by raising them from the dead after each battle,
for the purpose of punishing the Jews. God used his enemies as
instruments for the civilization of the Jewish people. He did not
wish to convert them, because they would give him much more trouble
as Jews than they did as Canaanites. He had all the Jews he could
conveniently take care of. He found it much easier to kill a
hundred Canaanites than to civilize one Jew.

     QUESTION. How do you account for the fact that the heathen
were not surprised at the stopping of the sun and moon?

     ANSWER. They were so ignorant that they had not the slightest
conception of the real cause of the phenomenon. Had they known the
size of the earth, and the relation it sustained to the other
heavenly bodies; had they known the magnitude of the sun, and the
motion of the moon, they would, in all probability, have been as
greatly astonished as the Jews were; but being densely ignorant of
astronomy, it must have produced upon them not the slightest
impression. But we must remember that the sun and moon were not
stopped for the purpose of converting these people, but to give
Joshua more time to kill them. As soon as we see clearly the
purpose of Jehovah, we instantly perceive how admirable were the
means adopted.

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     QUESTION. Do you not consider the treatment of the Canaanites
to have been cruel and ferocious?

     ANSWER. To a totally depraved man, it does look cruel; to a
being without any good in him, -- to one who has inherited the
rascality of many generations, the murder of innocent women and
little children does seem horrible; to one who is "contaminated in
all his parts," by original sin, -- who was "conceived in sin, and
brought forth in iniquity," the assassination of men, and the
violation of captive maidens, do not seem consistent with infinite
goodness. But when one has been "born again," when "the love of God
has been shed abroad in his heart," when he loves all mankind, when
he "overcomes evil with good," when he "prays for those who
despitefully use him and persecute him," -- to such a man, the
extermination of the Canaanites, the violation of women, the
slaughter of babes, and the destruction of countless thousands, is
the highest evidence of the goodness, the mercy, and the long-
suffering of God. When a man has been "born again," all the
passages of the Old Testament that appear so horrible and so unjust
to one in his natural state, become the dearest, the most
consoling, and the most beautiful of truths. The real Christian
reads the accounts of these ancient battles with the greatest
possible satisfaction. To one who really loves his enemies, the
groans of men, the shrieks of women, and the cries of babes, make
music sweeter than the zephyr's breath.

     QUESTION. In your judgment, why did God destroy the
Canaanites?

     ANSWER. To prevent their contaminating his chosen people. He
knew that if the Jews were allowed to live with such neighbors,
they would finally become as bad as the Canaanites themselves. He
wished to civilize his chosen people, and it was therefore
necessary for him to destroy the heathen.

     QUESTION. Did God succeed in civilizing the Jews after he had
"removed" the Canaanites?

     ANSWER. Well, not entirely. He had to allow the heathen he had
not destroyed to overrun the whole land and make captives of the
Jews. This was done for the good of his chosen people.

     QUESTION. Did he then succeed in civilizing them?

     ANSWER. Not quite.

     QUESTION. Did he ever quite succeed in civilizing them?

     ANSWER. Well, we must admit that the experiment never was a
conspicuous success. The Jews were chosen by the Almighty 430 years
before he appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai. He was their direct
Governor. He attended personally to their religion and politics,
and gave up a great part of his valuable time for about two
thousand years, to the management of their affairs; and yet, such
was the condition of the Jewish people, after they had had all
these advantages. that when there arose among them a perfectly
kind, just, generous and honest man, these people, with whom God

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had been laboring for so many centuries, deliberately put to death
that good and loving man.

     QUESTION. Do you think that God really endeavored to civilize
the Jews?

     ANSWER. This is an exceedingly hard question. If he had really
tried to do it, of course he could have done it. We must not think
of limiting the power of the infinite. But you must remember that
if he had succeeded in civilizing the Jews, if he had educated them
up to the plane of intellectual liberty, and made them just and
kind and merciful, like himself, they would not have crucified
Christ, and you can see at once the awful condition in which we
would all be to-day. No atonement could have been made; and if no
atonement had been made, then, according to the Christian system,
the whole world would have been lost. We must admit that there was
no time in the history of the Jews from Sinai to Jerusalem, that
they would not have put a man like Christ to death.

     QUESTION. So you think that, after all. it was not God's
intention that the Jews should become civilized?

     ANSWER. We do not know. We can only say that "God's ways are
not our ways." It may he that God took them in his special charge,
for the purpose of keeping them bad enough to make the necessary
sacrifice. That may have been the divine plan. In any event, it is
safer to believe the explanation that is the most unreasonable.

     QUESTION. Do you think that Christ knew the Jews would crucify
him?

     ANSWER. Certainly.

     QUESTION. Do you think that when he chose Judas he knew that
he would betray him?

     ANSWER. Certainly.

     QUESTION. Did he know when Judas went to the chief priest and
made the bargain for the delivery of Christ?

     ANSWER. Certainly.

     QUESTION. Why did he allow himself to be betrayed, if he knew
the plot?

     ANSWER. Infidelity is a very good doctrine to live by, but you
should read the last words of Paine and Voltaire.

     QUESTION. If Christ knew that Judas would betray him, why did
he choose him?

     ANSWER. Nothing can exceed the atrocities of the French
Revolution -- when they carried a woman through the streets and
worshiped her as the goddess of Reason.

     QUESTION. Would not the mission of Christ have been a failure
had no one betrayed him?

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     ANSWER. Thomas Paine was a drunkard, and recanted on his
death-bed, and died a blaspheming infidel besides.

     QUESTION. Is it not clear that an atonement was necessary; and
is it not equally clear that the atonement could not have been made
unless somebody had betrayed Christ; and unless the Jews had been
wicked and orthodox enough to crucify him?

     ANSWER. Of course the atonement had to be made. It was a part
of the "divine plan" that Christ should be betrayed, and that the
Jews should be wicked enough to kill him. Otherwise, the world
would have been lost.

     QUESTION. Suppose Judas had understood the divine plan, what
ought he to have done? Should he have betrayed Christ, or let
somebody else do it; or should he have allowed the world to perish,
including his own soul?

     ANSWER. If you take the Bible away from the world. "how would
it be possible to have witnesses "sworn in courts;" how would it be
possible to administer justice?

     QUESTION. If Christ had not been betrayed and crucified, is it
true that his own mother would be in perdition to-day?

     ANSWER. Most assuredly. There was but one way by which she
could be saved, and that was by the death of her son -- through the
blood of the atonement. She was totally depraved through the sin of
Adam, and deserved eternal death. Even her love for the infant
Christ was, in the sight of God, -- that is to say, of her babe, --
wickedness. It can not be repeated too often that there is only one
way to be saved, and that is, to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

     QUESTION. Could Christ have prevented the Jews from crucifying
him?

     ANSWER. He could.

     QUESTION. If he could have saved his life and did not, was he
not guilty of suicide?

     ANSWER. No one can understand these questions who has not read
the prophecies of Daniel, and has not a clear conception of what is
meant by "the fullness of time."

     QUESTION. What became of all the Canaanites, the Egyptians,
the Hindus, the Greeks and Romans and Chinese? What became of the
billions who died before the promise was made to Abraham; of the
billions and billions who never heard of the Bible, who never heard
the name, even, of Jesus Christ -- never knew of "the scheme of
salvation"? What became of the millions and billions who lived in
this hemisphere, and of whose existence Jehovah himself seemed
perfectly ignorant?

     ANSWER. They were undoubtedly lost. God having made them. had
a right to do with them as he pleased. They are probably all in
hell to-day, and the fact that they are damned, only adds to the

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joy of the redeemed. It is by contrast that we are able to perceive
the infinite kindness with which God has treated us.

     QUESTION. Is it not possible that something can be done for a
human soul in another world as well as in this?

     ANSWER. No; this is the only world in which God even attempts
to reform anybody. In the other world, nothing is done for the
purpose of making anybody better. Here in this world, where man
lives but a few days, is the only opportunity for moral
improvement. A minister can do a thousand times more for a soul
than its creator; and this country is much better adapted to moral
growth than heaven itself. A person who lived on this earth a few
years, and died without having been converted, has no hope in
another world. The moment he arrives at the judgment seat, nothing
remains but to damn him. Neither God, nor the Holy Ghost, nor Jesus
Christ, can have the least possible influence with him there.

     QUESTION. When God created each human being, did he know
exactly what would be his eternal fate?

     ANSWER. Most assuredly he did.

     QUESTION. Did he know that hundreds and millions and billions
would suffer eternal pain?

     ANSWER. Certainly. But he gave them freedom of choice between
good and evil.

     QUESTION. Did he know exactly how they would use that freedom?

     ANSWER. Yes.

     QUESTION. Did he know that billions would use it wrong?

     ANSWER. Yes.

     QUESTION. Was it optional with him whether he should make such
people or not?

     ANSWER. Certainly.

     QUESTION. Had these people any option as to whether they would
be made or not?

     ANSWER. No.

     QUESTION. Would it not have been far better to leave them
unconscious dust?

     ANSWER. These questions show how foolish it is to judge God
according to a human standard. What to us seems just and merciful,
God may regard in an exactly opposite light; and we may hereafter
be developed to such a degree that we will regard the agonies of
the damned as the highest possible evidence of the goodness and
mercy of God.

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     QUESTION. How do you account for the fact that God did not
make himself known except to Abraham and his descendants? Why did
he fail to reveal himself to the other nations -- nations that,
compared with the Jews, were learned, cultivated and powerful?
Would you regard a revelation now made to the Esquimaux as intended
for us; and would it be a revelation of which we would be obliged
to take notice?

     ANSWER. Of course, God could have revealed himself, not only
to all the great nations, but to each individual. He could have had
the Ten Commandments engraved on every heart and brain; or he could
have raised up prophets in every land; but he chose, rather. to
allow countless millions of his children to wander in the darkness
and blackness of Nature; chose, rather, that they should redden
their hands in each other's blood; chose, rather, that they should
live without light, and die without hope; chose, rather, that they
should suffer, not only in this world, but forever in the next. Of
course we have no right to find fault with the choice of God.

     QUESTION. Now you can tell a sinner to "believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ;" what could a sinner have been told in Egypt, three
thousand years ago; and in what language would you have addressed
a Hindu in the days of Buddha -- the "divine scheme" at that time
being a secret in the divine breast?

     ANSWER. It is not for us to think upon these questions. The
moment we examine the Christian system. we begin to doubt. In a
little while, we shall be infidels, and shall lose the respect of
those who refuse to think. It is better to go with the majority.
These doctrines are too sacred to be touched. You should be
satisfied with the religion of your father and your mother. "You
want some book on the "center-table," in the parlor; it is
extremely handy to have a Family Record; and what book, other than
the Bible, could a mother give a son as he leaves the old
homestead?

     QUESTION. Is it not wonderful that all the writers of the four
gospels do not give an account of the ascension of Jesus Christ?

     ANSWER. This question has been answered long ago, time and
time again.

     QUESTION. Perhaps it has, but would it not be well enough to
answer it once more? Some may not have seen the answer?

     ANSWER. Show me the hospitals that infidels have built; show
me the asylums that infidels have founded.

     QUESTION. I know you have given the usual answer; but after
all, is it not singular that a miracle so wonderful as the bodily
ascension of a man, should not have been mentioned by all the
writers of that man's life? Is it not wonderful that some of them
said that he did ascend, and others that he agreed to stay with his
disciples always?

     ANSWER. People unacquainted with the Hebrew, can have no
conception of these things. A story in plain English, does not

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sound as it does in Hebrew. Miracles seem altogether more credible,
when told in a dead language.

     QUESTION. What, in your judgment, became of the dead who were
raised by Christ? Is it not singular that they were never mentioned
afterward? Would not a man who had been raised from the dead
naturally be an object of considerable interest, especially to his
friends and acquaintances? And is it not also wonderful that
Christ, after having wrought so many miracles, cured so many lame
and halt and blind, fed so many thousands miraculously, and after
having entered Jerusalem, in triumph as a conqueror and king, had
to be pointed out by one of his own disciples who was bribed for
the purpose?

     ANSWER. Of course, all these things are exceedingly wonderful,
and if found in any other book, would be absolutely incredible; but
we have no right to apply the same kind of reasoning to the Bible
that we apply to the Koran or to the sacred books of the Hindus.
For the ordinary affairs of this world, God has given us reason;
but in the examination of religious questions, we should depend
upon credulity and faith.

     QUESTION. If Christ came to offer himself a sacrifice, for the
purpose of making atonement for the sins of such as might believe
on him, why did he not make this fact known to all of his
disciples?

     ANSWER. He did. This was, and is, the gospel.

     QUESTION. How is it that Matthew says nothing about "salvation
by faith," but simply says that God will be merciful to the
merciful, that he will forgive the forgiving, and says not one word
about the necessity of believing anything?

     ANSWER. But you will remember that Mark says, in the last
chapter of his gospel, that "whoso believeth not shall be damned."

     QUESTION. Do you admit that Matthew says nothing on the
subject?

     ANSWER. yes, I suppose I must.

     QUESTION. Is not that passage in Mark generally admitted to be
an interpolation?

     ANSWER. Some biblical scholars say that it is.

     QUESTION. Is that portion of the last chapter of Mark found in
the Syriac version of the Bible?

     ANSWER. It is not.

     QUESTION. If it was necessary to believe on Jesus Christ, in
order to be saved, how is it that Matthew failed to say so?

     ANSWER. "There are more copies of the Bible printed to-day,
than of any other book in the world, and it is printed in more
languages than any other book."

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     QUESTION. Do you consider it necessary to be "regenerated" --
to be "born again" -- in order to be saved?

     ANSWER. Certainly.

     QUESTION. Did Matthew say anything on the subject of
"regeneration"?

     ANSWER. No.

     QUESTION. Did Mark?

     ANSWER. No.

     QUESTION. Did Luke?

     ANSWER. No.

     QUESTION. Is Saint John the only one who speaks of the
necessity of being "born again"?

     ANSWER. He is.

     QUESTION. Do you think that Matthew, Mark and Luke knew
anything about the necessity of "regeneration"?

     ANSWER. Of course they did.

     QUESTION. Why did they fail to speak of it?

     ANSWER. There is no civilization without the Bible. The moment
you throw away the sacred Scriptures, you are all at sea -- you are
without an anchor and without a compass.

     QUESTION. You will remember that, according to Mark, Christ
said to his disciples: "Go ye into all the world. and preach the
gospel to every creature." Did he refer to the gospel set forth by
Mark?

     ANSWER. Of course he did.

     QUESTION. Well, in the gospel set forth by Mark, there is not
a word about "regeneration," and no word about the necessity of
believing anything -- except in an interpolated passage. Would it
not seem from this, that "regeneration" and a "belief in the Lord
Jesus Christ," are no part of the gospel?

     ANSWER. Nothing can exceed in horror the last moments of the
infidel; nothing can he more terrible than the death of the
doubter. When the glories of this world fade from the vision; when
ambition becomes an empty name; when wealth turns to dust in the
palsied hand of death, of what use is philosophy then? Who cares
then for the pride of intellect? In that dread moment, man needs
something to rely on, whether it is true or not.

     QUESTION. Would it not have been more convincing if Christ,
after his resurrection, had shown himself to his enemies as well as

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to his friends? Would it not have greatly strengthened the evidence
in the case, if he had visited Pilate; had presented himself before
Caiaphas, the high priest; if he had again entered the temple, and
again walked the streets of Jerusalem?

     ANSWER. If the evidence had been complete and overwhelming,
there would have been no praiseworthiness in belief; even publicans
and sinners would have believed, if the evidence had been
sufficient. The amount of evidence required is the test of the true
Christian spirit.

     QUESTION. Would it not also have been better had the ascension
taken place in the presence of unbelieving thousands; it seems such
a pity to have wasted such a demonstration upon those already
convinced?

     ANSWER. These questions are the natural fruit of the carnal
mind, and can be accounted for only by the doctrine of total
depravity. Nothing has given the church more trouble than just such
questions. Unholy curiosity, a disposition to pry into the divine
mysteries, a desire to know, to investigate, to explain -- in
short, to understand, are all evidences of a reprobate mind.

     QUESTION. How can we account for the fact that Matthew alone
speaks of the wise men of the East coming with gifts to the infant
Christ; that he alone speaks of the little babes being killed by
Herod? Is it possible that the other writers never heard of these
things?

     ANSWER. Nobody can get any good out of the Bible by reading it
in a critical spirit. The contradictions and discrepancies are only
apparent, and melt away before the light of faith. That which in
other books would be absolute and palpable contradiction, is, in
the Bible, when spiritually discerned, a perfect and beautiful
harmony. My own opinion is, that seeming contradictions are in the
Bible for the purpose of testing and strengthening the faith of
Christians, and for the further purpose of ensnaring infidels,
"that they might believe a lie and be damned."

     QUESTION. Is it possible that a good God would take pains to
deceive his children?

     ANSWER. The Bible is filled with instances of that kind, and
all orthodox ministers now know that fossil animals -- that is,
representations of animals in stone, were placed in the rocks on
purpose to mislead men like Darwin and Humboldt, Huxley and
Tyndall. It is also now known that God, for the purpose of
misleading the so-called men of science, had hairy elephants
preserved in ice, made stomachs for them, and allowed twigs of
trees to be found in these stomachs, when, as a matter of fact, no
such elephants ever lived or ever died. These men who are
endeavoring to overturn the Scriptures with the lever of science
will find that they have been deceived. Through all eternity they
will regret their philosophy. They will wish, in the next world,
that they had thrown away geology and physiology and all other
"ologies" except theology. The time is coming when Jehovah will
"mock at their fears and laugh at their calamity."

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     QUESTION. If Joseph was not the father of Christ, why was his
genealogy given to show that Christ was of the blood of David; why
would not the genealogy of any other Jew have done as well?

     ANSWER. That objection was raised and answered hundreds of
years ago.

     QUESTION. If they wanted to show that Christ was of the blood
of David, why did they not give the genealogy of his mother if
Joseph was not his father?

     ANSWER. That objection was answered hundreds of years ago.

     QUESTION. How was it answered?

     ANSWER. When Voltaire was dying, he sent for a priest.

     QUESTION. How does it happen that the two genealogies given do
not agree?

     ANSWER. Perhaps they were written by different persons.

     QUESTION. Were both these persona inspired by the same God?

     ANSWER. Of course.

     QUESTION. Why were the miracles recorded in the New Testament
performed?

     ANSWER. The miracles were the evidence relied on to prove the
supernatural origin and the divine mission of Jesus Christ.

     QUESTION. Aside from the miracles, is there any evidence to
show the supernatural origin or character of Jesus Christ?

     ANSWER. Some have considered that his moral precepts are
sufficient, of themselves, to show that he was divine.

     QUESTION. Had all of his moral precepts been taught before he
lived?

     ANSWER. The same things had been said, but they did not have
the same meaning.

     QUESTION. Does the fact that Buddha taught the same tend to
show that he was of divine origin?

     ANSWER. Certainly not. The rules of evidence applicable to the
Bible are not applicable to other books. We examine other books in
the light of reason; the Bible is the only exception. So, we should
not judge of Christ as we do of any other man.

     QUESTION. Do you think that Christ wrought many of his
miracles because he was good, charitable, and filled with pity?

     ANSWER. Certainly.

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     QUESTION. Has he as much power now as he had when on earth?

     ANSWER. Most assuredly.

     QUESTION. Is he as charitable and pitiful now, as he was then?

     ANSWER. yes.

     QUESTION. Why does he not now cure the lame and the halt and
the blind?

     ANSWER. It is well known that, when Julian the Apostate was
dying, catching some of his own blood in his hand and throwing it
into the air he exclaimed: "Galilean, thou hast conquered!"

     QUESTION. Do you consider it our duty to love our neighbor?

     ANSWER. Certainly.

     QUESTION. Is virtue the same in all worlds?

     ANSWER. Most assuredly.

     QUESTION. Are we under obligation to render good for evil, and
to "pray for those who despitefully use us"?

     ANSWER. Yes.

     QUESTION. Will Christians in heaven love their neighbors?

     ANSWER. Yes; if their neighbors are not in hell.

     QUESTION. Do good Christians pity sinners in this world?

     ANSWER. Yes.

     QUESTION. Why?

     ANSWER. Because they regard them as being in great danger of
the eternal wrath of God.

     QUESTION. After these sinners have died, and been sent to
hell, will the Christians in heaven then pity them?

     ANSWER. No. Angels have no pity.

     QUESTION. If we are under obligation to love our enemies, is
not God under obligation to love his? If we forgive our enemies,
ought not God to forgive his? If we forgive those who injure us,
ought not God to forgive those who have not injured him?

     ANSWER. God made us, and he has therefore the right to do with
us as he pleases. Justice demands that he should damn all of us,
and the few that he will save will be saved through mercy and
without the slightest respect to anything they may have done
themselves. Such is the justice of God, that those in hell will
have no right to complain, and those in heaven will have no right
to be there. Hell is justice, and salvation is charity.

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     QUESTION. Do you consider it possible for a law to be Justly
satisfied by the punishment of an innocent person?

     ANSWER. Such is the scheme of the atonement. As man is held
responsible for the sin of Adam, so he will be credited with the
virtues of Christ; and you can readily see that one is exactly as
reasonable as the other.

     QUESTION. Suppose a man honestly reads the New Testament, and
honestly concludes that it is not an inspired book; suppose he
honestly makes up his mind that the miracles are not true; that the
devil never really carried Christ to the pinnacle of the temple;
that devils were really never cast out of a man and allowed to take
refuge in swine; -- I say, suppose that he is honestly convinced
that these things are not true, what ought he to say?

     ANSWER. He ought to say nothing.

     QUESTION. Suppose that the same man should read the Koran, and
come to the conclusion that it is not an inspired book; what ought
he to say?

     ANSWER. He ought to say that it is not inspired; his fellow-
men are entitled to his honest opinion, and it is his duty to do
what he can do to destroy a pernicious superstition.

     QUESTION. Suppose then, that a reader of the Bible, having
become convinced that it is not inspired -- honestly convinced --
says nothing -keeps his conclusion absolutely to himself, and
suppose he dies in that belief, can he be saved?

     ANSWER. Certainly not.

     QUESTION. Has the honesty of his belief anything to do with
his future condition?

     ANSWER. Nothing whatever.

     QUESTION. Suppose that he tried to believe, that he hated to
disagree with his friends, and with his parents, but that in spite
of himself he was forced to the conclusion that the Bible is not
the inspired word of God, would he then deserve eternal punishment?

     ANSWER. Certainly he would.

     QUESTION. Can a man control his belief?

     ANSWER. He cannot -- except as to the Bible.

     QUESTION. Do you consider it just in God to create a man who
cannot believe the Bible, and then damn him because he does not?

     ANSWER. Such is my belief.

     QUESTION. Is it your candid opinion that a man who does not
believe the Bible should keep his belief a secret from his
fellow-men?

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     ANSWER. It is.

     QUESTION. How do I know that you believe the Bible? You have
told me that if you did not believe it, you would not tell me?

     ANSWER. There is no way for you to ascertain, except by taking
my word for it.

     QUESTION. What will be the fate of a man who does not believe
it, and yet pretends to believe it?

     ANSWER. He will be damned.

     QUESTION. Then hypocrisy will not save him?

     ANSWER. No.

     QUESTION. And if he does not believe it, and admits that he
does not believe it, then his honesty will not save him?

     ANSWER. No. Honesty on the wrong side is no better than
hypocrisy on the right side.

     QUESTION. Do we know who wrote the gospels?

     ANSWER. Yes; we do.

     QUESTION. Are we absolutely sure who wrote them?

     ANSWER. Of course; we have the evidence as it has come to us
through the Catholic Church.

     QUESTION. Can we rely upon the Catholic Church now?

     ANSWER. No; assuredly no! But we have the testimony of
Polycarp and Irenaeus and Clement, and others of the early fathers,
together with that of the Christian historian, Eusebius.

     QUESTION. What do we really know about Polycarp?

     ANSWER. We know that he suffered martyrdom under Marcus
Aurelius, and that for quite a time the fire refused to burn his
body, the flames arching over him, leaving him in a kind of fiery
tent; and we also know that from his body came a fragrance like
frankincense, and that the Pagans were so exasperated at seeing the
miracle, that one of them thrust a sword through the body of
Polycarp; that the blood flowed out and extinguished the flames and
that out of the wound flew the soul of the martyr in the form of a
dove.

     QUESTION. Is that all we know about Polycarp?

     ANSWER. Yes, with the exception of a few more like incidents.

     QUESTION. Do we know that Polycarp ever met St. John?

     ANSWER. Yes; Eusebius says so.

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     QUESTION. Are we absolutely certain that he ever lived?

     ANSWER. Yes, or Eusebius could not have written about him.

     QUESTION. Do we know anything of the character of Eusebius?

     ANSWER. Yes; we know that he was untruthful only when he
wished to do good. But God can use even the dishonest. Other books
have to be substantiated by truthful men, but such is the power of
God, that he can establish the inspiration of the Bible by the most
untruthful witnesses. If God's witnesses were honest, anybody could
believe, and what becomes of faith, one of the greatest virtues?

     QUESTION. Is the New Testament now the same as it was in the
days of the early fathers?

     ANSWER. Certainly not. Many books now thrown out, and not
esteemed of divine origin, were esteemed divine by Polycarp and
Irenaeus and Clement and many of the early churches. These books
are now called "apocryphal."

     QUESTION. Have you not the same witnesses in favor of their
authenticity, that you have in favor of the gospels?

     ANSWER. Precisely the same. Except that they were thrown out.

     QUESTION. Why were they thrown out?

     ANSWER. Because the Catholic Church did not esteem them
inspired.

     QUESTION. Did the Catholics decide for us which are the true
gospels and which are the true episodes?

     ANSWER. The Catholic Church was then the only church, and
consequently must have been the true church.

     QUESTION. How did the Catholic Church select the true books?

     ANSWER. Councils were called, and votes were taken, very much
as we now pass resolutions in political meetings.

     QUESTION. Was the Catholic Church infallible then?

     ANSWER. It was then, but it is not now.

     QUESTION. If the Catholic Church at that time had thrown out
the book of Revelation, would it now be our duty to believe that
book to have been inspired?

     ANSWER. No, I suppose not.

     QUESTION. Is it not true that some of these books were adopted
by exceedingly small majorities?

     ANSWER. It is.

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     QUESTION. If the Epistle to the Hebrews and to the Romans, and
the book of Revelation had been thrown out, could a man now be
saved who honestly believes the rest of the books?

     ANSWER. This is doubtful.

     QUESTION. Were the men who picked out the inspired books
inspired?

     ANSWER. We cannot tell, but the probability is that they were.

     QUESTION. Do we know that they picked out the right ones?

     ANSWER. Well, not exactly, but we believe that they did.

     QUESTION. Are we certain that some of the books that were
thrown out were not inspired?

     ANSWER. Well, the only way to tell is to read them carefully.

     QUESTION. If upon reading these apocryphal books a man
concludes that they are not inspired, will he be damned for that
reason?

     ANSWER. No. Certainly not.

     QUESTION. If he concludes that some of them are inspired, and
believes them, will he then he damned for that belief?

     ANSWER. Oh, no! Nobody is ever damned for believing too much.

     QUESTION. Does the fact that the books now comprising the New
Testament were picked out by the Catholic Church prevent their
being examined now by an honest man, as they were examined at the
time they were picked out?

     ANSWER. No; not if the man comes to the conclusion that they
are inspired.

     QUESTION. Does the fact that the Catholic Church picked them
out and declared them to be inspired, render it a crime to examine
them precisely as you would examine the books that the Catholic
Church threw out and declared were not inspired?

     ANSWER. I think it does.

     QUESTION. At the time the council was held in which it was
determined which of the books of the New Testament are inspired, a
respectable minority voted against some that were finally decided
to be inspired. If they were honest in the vote they gave, and died
without changing their opinions, are they now in hell?

     ANSWER. Well, they ought to be.

     QUESTION. If those who voted to leave the book of Revelation
out of the canon, and the gospel of Saint John out of the canon,
believed honestly that these were not inspired books, how should
they have voted?

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     ANSWER. Well, I suppose a man ought to vote as he honestly
believes -- except in matters of religion.

     QUESTION. If the Catholic Church was not infallible, is the
question still open as to what books are, and what are not,
inspired?

     ANSWER. I suppose the question is still open -- hut it would
be dangerous to decide it.

     QUESTION. If then, I examine all the books again, and come to
the conclusion that some that were thrown out were inspired, and
some that were accepted were not inspired, ought I to say so?

     ANSWER. Not if it is contrary to the faith of your father, or
calculated to interfere with your own political prospects.

     QUESTION. Is it as great a sin to admit into the Bible books
that are uninspired as to reject those that are inspired?

     ANSWER. Well, it is a crime to reject an inspired book, no
matter how unsatisfactory the evidence is for its inspiration, but
it is not a crime to receive an uninspired book. God damns nobody
for believing too much. An excess of credulity is simply to err in
the direction of salvation.

     QUESTION. Suppose a man disbelieves in the inspiration of the
New Testament -- believes it to be entirely the work of uninspired
men; and suppose he also believes -- but not from any evidence
obtained in the New Testament -- that Jesus Christ was the son of
God, and that he made atonement for his soul, can he then be saved
without a belief in the inspiration of the Bible?

     ANSWER. This has not yet been decided by our church, and I do
not wish to venture an opinion.

     QUESTION. Suppose a man denies the inspiration of the
Scriptures; suppose that he also denies the divinity of Jesus
Christ; and suppose, further, that he acts precisely as Christ is
said to have acted; suppose he loves his enemies, prays for those
who despitefully use him, and does all the good he possibly can, is
it your opinion that such a man will be saved?

     ANSWER. No, sir. There is "none other name given under heaven
and among men," whereby a sinner can be saved but the name of
Christ.

     QUESTION. Then it is your opinion that God would save a
murderer who believed in Christ, and would damn another man,
exactly like Christ, who failed to believe in him?

     ANSWER. Yes; because we have the blessed promise that, out of
Christ, "our God is a consuming fire."

     QUESTION. Suppose a man read the Bible carefully and honestly,
and was not quite convinced that it was true, and that while
examining the subject, he died: what then?

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     ANSWER. I do not believe that God would allow him to examine
the matter in another world, or to make up his mind in heaven. Of
course, he would eternally perish.

     QUESTION. Could Christ now furnish evidence enough to convince
every human being of the truth of the Bible?

     ANSWER. Of course he could, because he is infinite.

     QUESTION. Are any miracles performed now?

     ANSWER. Oh, no!

     QUESTION. Have we any testimony, except human testimony, to
substantiate any miracle?

     ANSWER. Only human testimony.

     QUESTION. Do all men give the same force to the same evidence?

     ANSWER. By no means.

     QUESTION. Have all honest men who have examined the Bible
believed it to be inspired?

     ANSWER. Of course they have. Infidels are not honest.

     QUESTION. Could any additional evidence have been furnished?

     ANSWER. With perfect ease.

     QUESTION. Would God allow a soul to suffer eternal agony
rather than furnish evidence of the truth of his Bible?

     ANSWER. God has furnished plenty of evidence. and altogether
more than was really necessary. We should read the Bible in a
believing spirit.

     QUESTION. Are all parts of the inspired books equally true?

     ANSWER. Necessarily.

     QUESTION. According to Saint Matthew, God promises to forgive
all who will forgive others; not one word is said about believing
in Christ, or believing in the miracles, or in any Bible; did
Matthew tell the truth?

     ANSWER. The Bible must be taken as a whole; and if other
conditions are added somewhere else, then you must comply with
those other conditions. Matthew may not have stated all the
conditions.

     QUESTION. I find in another part of the New Testament, that a
young man came to Christ and asked him what was necessary for him
to do in order that he might inherit eternal life. Christ did not
tell him that he must believe the Bible, or that he must believe in
him, or that he must keep the Sabbath-day; was Christ honest with
that young man?

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     ANSWER. Well, I suppose he was.

     QUESTION. You will also recollect that Zaccheus said to
Christ, that where he had wronged any man he had made restitution,
and further, that half his goods he had given to the poor; and you
will remember that Christ said to Zaccheus: "This day hath
salvation come to thy house." Why did not Christ tell Zaccheus that
he "must be born again; that he must "believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ"?

     ANSWER. Of course there are mysteries in our holy religion
that only those who have been "born again" can understand. You must
remember that the carnal mind is enmity with God."

     QUESTION. Is it not strange that Christ, in his Sermon on the
Mount, did not speak of "regeneration," or of the "scheme of
salvation"?

     ANSWER. Well. it may be.

     QUESTION. Can a man be saved now by living exactly in
accordance with the Sermon on the Mount?

     ANSWER. He can not.

     QUESTION. Would then a man, by following the course of conduct
prescribed by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount, lose his soul?

     ANSWER. He most certainly would, because there is not one word
in the Sermon on the Mount about believing on the Lord Jesus
Christ; not one word about believing in the Bible; not one word
about the "atonement;" not one word about "regeneration." So that,
if the Presbyterian Church is right, it is absolutely certain that
a man might follow the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, and
live in accordance with its every word, and yet deserve and receive
the eternal condemnation of God. But we must remember that the
Sermon on the Mount was preached before Christianity existed.
Christ was talking to Jews.

     QUESTION. Did Christ write anything himself, in the New
Testament?

     ANSWER. Not a word.

     QUESTION. Did he tell any of his disciples to write any of his
words?

     ANSWER. There is no account of it, if he did.

     QUESTION. Do we know whether any of the disciples wrote
anything?

     ANSWER. Of course they did.

     QUESTION. How do you know?

     ANSWER. Because the gospels bear their names.

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     QUESTION. Are you satisfied that Christ was absolutely God?

     ANSWER. Of course he was. We believe that Christ and God and
the Holy Ghost are all the same, that the three form one, and that
each one is three.

     QUESTION. Was Christ the God of the universe at the time of
his birth?

     ANSWER. He certainly was.

     QUESTION. Was he the infinite God, creator and controller of
the entire universe, before he was born?

     ANSWER. Of course he was. This is the mystery of "God manifest
in the flesh." The infidels have pretended that he was like any
other child, and was in fact supported by Nature instead of being
the supporter of Nature. They have insisted that like other
children, he had to be cared for by his mother. Of course he
appeared to be cared for by his mother. It was a part of the plan
that in all respects he should appear to be like other children.

     QUESTION. Did he know just as much before he was born as
after?

     ANSWER. If he was God of course he did.

     QUESTION. How do you account for the fact that Saint Luke
tells us. in the last verse of the second chapter of his gospel,
that "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature"?

     ANSWER. That I presume is a figure of speech; because, if he
was God, he certainly could not have increased in wisdom. The
physical part of him could increase in stature, but the
intellectual part must have been infinite all the time.

     QUESTION. Do you think that Luke was mistaken?

     ANSWER. No; I believe what Luke said. If it appears untrue, or
impossible, then I know that it is figurative or symbolical.

     QUESTION. Did I understand you to say that Christ was actually
God?

     ANSWER. Of course he was.

     QUESTION. Then why did Luke say in the same verse of the same
chapter that "Jesus increased in favor with God"?

     ANSWER. I dare you to go into a room by yourself and read the
fourteenth chapter of Saint John!

     QUESTION. Is it necessary to understand the Bible in order to
be saved?

     ANSWER. Certainly not; it is only necessary that you believe
it.

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     QUESTION. Is it necessary to believe all the miracles?

     ANSWER. It may not be necessary, but as it is impossible to
tell which ones can safely be left out, you had better believe them
all.

     QUESTION. Then you regard belief as the safe way?

     ANSWER. Of course it is better to be fooled in this world than
to be damned in the next.

     QUESTION. Do you think that there are any cruelties on God's
part recorded in the Bible?

     ANSWER. At first flush, many things done by God himself, as
well as by his prophets, appear to be cruel; but if we examine them
closely, we will find them to be exactly the opposite.

     QUESTION. How do you explain the story of Elisha and the
children, -- where the two she-bears destroyed forty-two children
on account of their impudence?

     ANSWER. This miracle, in my judgment, establishes two things:
1. That children should be polite to ministers, and 2. That God is
kind to animals -- "giving them their meat in due season." These
bears have been great educators -- they are the foundation of the
respect entertained by the young for theologians. No child ever
sees a minister now without thinking of a bear.

     QUESTION. What do you think of the story of Daniel -- you no
doubt remember it? Some men told the king that Daniel was praying
contrary to law, and thereupon Daniel was cast into a den of lions;
hut the lions could not touch him, their mouths having been shut by
angels. The next morning, the king, finding that Daniel was still
intact, had him taken out; and then, for the purpose of gratifying
Daniel's God, the king had all the men who had made the complaint
against Daniel, and their wives and their little children, brought
and cast into the lions' den. According to the account, the lions
were so hungry that they caught these wives and children as they
dropped, and broke all their bones in pieces before they had even
touched the ground. Is it not wonderful that God failed to protect
these innocent wives and children?

     ANSWER. These wives and children were heathen; they were
totally depraved. And besides, they were used as witnesses. The
fact that they were devoured with such quickness shows that the
lions were hungry. Had it not been for this, infidels would have
accounted for the safety of Daniel by saying that the lions had
been fed.

     QUESTION. Do you believe that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
were cast "into a burning fiery furnace "heated one seven times
hotter than it was wont to be heated," and that they had on "their
coats, their hosen and their hats," and that when they came out not
a hair of their heads was singed, nor was the smell of fire upon
their garments"?

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     ANSWER. The evidence of this miracle is exceedingly
satisfactory. It resulted in the conversion of Nebuchadnezzar.

     QUESTION. How do you know he was converted?

     ANSWER. Because immediately after the miracle the king issued
a decree that "every people, nation and language that spoke
anything amiss against the God of Shadrach and Company, should be
cut in pieces." This decree shows that he had become a true
disciple and worshiper of Jehovah.

     QUESTION. If God in those days preserved from the fury of the
fire men who were true to him and would not deny his name, why is
it that he has failed to protect thousands of martyrs since that
time?

     ANSWER. This is one of the divine mysteries. God has in many
instances allowed his enemies to kill his friends. I suppose this
was allowed for the good of his enemies, that the heroism of the
martyrs might convert them.

     QUESTION. Do you believe all the miracles?

     ANSWER. I believe them all, because I believe the Bible to be
inspired.

     QUESTION. What makes you think it is inspired?

     ANSWER. I have never seen anybody who knew it was not:
besides, my father and mother believed it.

     QUESTION. Have you any other reason for believing it to be
inspired?

     ANSWER. Yes; there are more copies of the Bible printed than
of any other book; and it is printed in more languages. And
besides, it would be impossible to get along without it.

     QUESTION. Why could we not get along without it?

     ANSWER. We would have nothing to swear witnesses by; no book
in which to keep the family record; nothing for the center-table,
and nothing for a mother to give her son. No nation can be
civilized without the Bible.

     QUESTION. Did God always know that a Bible was necessary to
civilize a country?

     ANSWER. Certainly he did.

     QUESTION. Why did he not give a Bible to the Egyptians, the
Hindus. the Greeks and the Romans?

     ANSWER. It is astonishing what perfect fools infidels are.

     QUESTION. Why do you call infidels "fools"?

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     ANSWER. Because I find in the fifth chapter of the gospel
according to Matthew the following: "Whosoever shall say 'Thou
fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire."

     QUESTION. Have I the right to read the Bible?

     ANSWER. Yes. You not only have the right, but it is your duty.

     QUESTION. In reading the Bible the words make certain
impressions on my mind. These impressions depend upon my brain, --
upon my intelligence. Is not this true?

     ANSWER. Of course, when you read the Bible, impressions are
made upon your mind.

     QUESTION. Can I control these impressions?

     ANSWER. I do not think you can, as long as you remain in a
sinful state.

     QUESTION. How am I to get out of this sinful state?

     ANSWER. You must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you
must read the Bible in a prayerful spirit and with a believing
heart.

     QUESTION. Suppose that doubts force themselves upon my mind?

     ANSWER. Then you will know that you are a sinner, and that you
are depraved.

     QUESTION. If I have the right to read the Bible, have I the
right to try to understand it?

     ANSWER. Most assuredly.

     QUESTION. Do you admit that I have the right to reason about
it and to investigate it?

     ANSWER. Yes; I admit that. Of course you cannot help reasoning
about what you read.

     QUESTION. Does the right to read a book include the right to
give your opinion as to the truth of what the book contains?

     ANSWER. Of course, -- if the book is not inspired. Infidels
hate the Bible because it is inspired, and Christians know that it
is inspired because infidels say that it is not.

     QUESTION. Have I the right to decide for myself whether or not
the book is inspired?

     ANSWER. You have no right to deny the truth of God's Holy
Word.

     QUESTION. Is God the author of all books?

     ANSWER. Certainly not.

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     QUESTION. Have I the right to say that God did not write the
Koran?

     ANSWER. Yes.

     QUESTION. Why?

     ANSWER. Because the Koran was written by an impostor.

     QUESTION. How do you know?

     ANSWER. My reason tells me so.

     QUESTION. Have you the right to be guided by your reason?

     ANSWER. I must be.

     QUESTION. Have you the same right to follow your reason after
reading the Bible?

     ANSWER. No. The Bible is the standard of reason. The Bible is
not to be judged or corrected by your reason. Your reason is to be
weighed and measured by the Bible. The Bible is different from
other books and must not be read in the same critical spirit, nor
judged by the same standard.

     QUESTION. What did God give us reason for?

     ANSWER. So that we might investigate other religions, and
examine other so-called sacred books.

     QUESTION. If a man honestly thinks that the Bible is not
inspired, what should he say?

     ANSWER. He should admit that he is mistaken.

     QUESTION. When he thinks he is right?

     ANSWER. Yes. The Bible is different from other books. It is
the master of reason. You read the Bible, not to see if that is
wrong, but to see whether your reason is right. It is the only book
about which a man has no right to reason. He must believe. The
Bible is addressed. not to the reason, but to the ears: "He that
hath ears to hear, let him hear."

     QUESTION. Do you think we have the right to tell what the
bible means -- what ideas God intended to convey, or has conveyed
to us, through the medium of the Bible?

     ANSWER. Well, I suppose you have that right. Yes, that must be
your duty. You certainly ought to tell others what God has said to
you.

     QUESTION. Do all men get the same ideas from the Bible?

     ANSWER. No.

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                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     QUESTION. How do you account for that?

     ANSWER. Because all men are not alike; they differ in
intellect, in education, and in experience.

     QUESTION. Who has the right to decide as to the real ideas
that God intended to convey?

     ANSWER. I am a Protestant, and believe in the right of private
judgment. Whoever does not is a Catholic. Each man must be his own
judge, but God will hold him responsible.

     QUESTION. Does God believe in the right of private judgment?

     ANSWER. Of course he does.

     QUESTION. Is he willing that I should exercise my Judgment in
deciding whether the Bible is inspired or not?

     ANSWER. No. He believes in the exercise of private judgment
only in the examination and rejection of other books than the
Bible.

     QUESTION. Is he a Catholic?

     ANSWER. I cannot answer blasphemy! Let me tell you that God
will "laugh at your calamity, and will mock when your fear cometh."
You will be accursed.

     QUESTION. Why do you curse infidels?

     ANSWER. Because I am a Christian.

     QUESTION. Did not Christ say that we ought to "bless those who
curse us," and that we should "love our enemies"?

     ANSWER. but he cursed the Pharisees and called them
"hypocrites" and "vipers."

     QUESTION. How do you account for that?

     ANSWER. It simply shows the difference between theory and
practice.

     QUESTION. What do you consider the best way to answer
infidels.

     ANSWER. The old way is the best. You should say that their
arguments are ancient, and have been answered over and over again.
If this does not satisfy your hearers, then you should attack the
character of the infidel -- then that of his parents -- then that
of his children.

     QUESTION. Suppose that the infidel is a good man, how will you
answer him then?

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                               38

                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     ANSWER. But an infidel cannot be a good man. Even if he is, it
is better that he should lose his reputation, than that thousands
should lose their souls. We know that all infidels are vile and
infamous. We may not have the evidence. but we know that it exists.

     QUESTION. How should infidels be treated? Should Christians
try to convert them?

     ANSWER. Christians should have nothing to do with infidels. It
is not safe even to converse with them. They are always talking
about reason. and facts, and experience. They are filled with
sophistry and should be avoided.

     QUESTION. Should Christians pray for the conversion of
infidels?

     ANSWER. Yes; but such prayers should be made in public and the
name of the infidel should be given and his vile and hideous heart
portrayed so that the young may be warned.

     QUESTION. Whom do you regard as infidels?

     ANSWER. The scientists -- the geologists, the astronomers, the
naturalists, the philosophers. No one can overestimate the evil
that has been wrought by Laplace, Humboldt, Darwin, Huxley,
Haeckel, Renan, Emerson, Strauss, Buchner, Tyndall, and their
wretched followers. These men pretended to know more than Moses and
the prophets. They were "dogs baying at the moon." They were
"wolves" and "fools." They tried to "assassinate God," and worse
than all, they actually laughed at the clergy.

     QUESTION. Do you think they did, and are doing great harm?

     ANSWER. Certainly. Of what use are all the sciences, if you
lose your own soul? People in hell will care nothing about
education. The rich man said nothing about science, he wanted
water. Neither will they care about books and theories in heaven.
If a man is perfectly happy, it makes no difference how ignorant he
is.

     QUESTION. But how can he answer these scientists?

     ANSWER. Well, my advice is to let their arguments alone. Of
course, you will deny all their facts; but the most effective way
is to attack their character.

     QUESTION. But suppose they are good men, -- what then?

     ANSWER. The better they are, the worse they are. We cannot
admit that the infidel is really good. He may appear to be good,
and it is our duty to strip the mask of appearance from the face of
unbelief. If a man is not a Christian, he is totally depraved, and
why should we hesitate to make a misstatement about a man whom God
is going to make miserable forever?

     QUESTION. Are we not commanded to love our enemies?

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                               39

                    THE TALMAGIAN CATECHISM.

     ANSWER. Yes, but not the enemies of God.

     QUESTION. Do you fear the final triumph of infidelity?

     ANSWER. No. We have no fear. We believe that the Bible can be
revised often enough to agree with anything that may really be
necessary to the preservation of the church. We can always rely
upon revision. Let me tell you that the Bible is the most peculiar
of books. At the time God inspired his holy prophets to write it,
he knew exactly what the discoveries and demonstrations of the
future would be, and he wrote his Bible in such a way that the
words could always be interpreted in accordance with the
intelligence of each age, and so that the words used are capable of
several meanings, so that, no matter what may hereafter be
discovered, the Bible will be found to agree with it, -- for the
reason that the knowledge of Hebrew will grow in the exact
proportion that discoveries are made in other departments of
knowledge. -- You will therefore see, that all efforts of
infidelity to destroy the Bible will simply result in giving a
better translation.

     QUESTION. What do you consider is the strongest argument in
favor of the inspiration of the Scriptures?

     ANSWER. The dying words of Christians.

     QUESTION. What do you consider the strongest argument against
the truth of infidelity?

     ANSWER. The dying words of infidels. You know how terrible
were the death-bed scenes of Hume, Voltaire, Paine and Hobbes, as
described by hundreds of persons who were not present; while all
Christians have died with the utmost serenity, and with their last
words have testified to the sustaining power of faith in the
goodness of God.

     QUESTION. What were the last words of Jesus Christ?

     ANSWER. "My God, my God. why hast thou forsaken me?"
                          ****     ****

    Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.

   The Bank of Wisdom Inc. is a collection of the most thoughtful,
scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of
suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the
Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our
nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and
religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to
the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so
that America can again become what its Founders intended --

                 The Free Market-Place of Ideas.

   The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old,
hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts
and information for today. If you have such books please contact
us, we need to give them back to America.

                         Bank of Wisdom
                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                               40

Bank of Wisdom

The Bank of Wisdom is run by Emmett Fields out of his home in Kentucky. He painstakingly scanned in these works and put them on disks for others to have available. Mr. Fields makes these disks available for only the cost of the media.

Files made available from the Bank of Wisdom may be freely reproduced and given away, but may not be sold.

Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.

Bank of WisdomThe Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended --

The Free Market-Place of Ideas.

The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books please contact us, we need to give them back to America.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926
Louisville, KY 40201

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