When the Creator had finished thinking, He said, "I have thought.
He lifted His hand, and from it burst a fountain-spray of fire,
a million stupendous suns, which clove the blackness and soared, away and
away and away, diminishing in magnitude and intensity as they pierced the
far frontiers of Space, until at last they were but as diamond nailheads
sparkling under the domed vast roof of the universe.
At the end of an hour the Grand Council was dismissed.
They left the Presence impressed and thoughtful, and retired to a private
place, where they might talk with freedom. None of the three seemed to
want to begin, though all wanted somebody to do it. Each was burning to
discuss the great event, but would prefer not to commit himself till he
should know how the others regarded it. So there was some aimless and halting
conversation about matters of no consequence, and this dragged tediously
along, arriving nowhere, until at last the archangel Satan gathered his
courage together -- of which he had a very good supply -- and broke ground.
He said: "We know what we are here to talk about, my lords, and we
may as well put pretense aside, and begin. If this is the opinion of the
Council -- "
"It is, it is!" said Gabriel and Michael, gratefully interrupting.
"Very well, then, let us proceed. We have witnessed a wonderful
thing; as to that, we are necessarily agreed. As to the value of it --
if it has any -- that is a matter which does not personally concern us.
We can have as many opinions about it as we like, and that is our limit.
We have no vote. I think Space was well enough, just as it was, and useful,
too. Cold and dark -- a restful place, now and then, after a season of
the overdelicate climate and trying splendors of heaven. But these are
details of no considerable moment; the new feature, the immense feature,
is -- what, gentlemen?"
"The invention and introduction of automatic, unsupervised, self-regulating
law for the government of those myriads of whirling and racing suns
"That is it!" said Satan. "You perceive that it is a
stupendous idea. Nothing approaching it has been evolved from the Master
Intellect before. Law -- Automatic Law -- exact and unvarying Law
-- requiring no watching, no correcting, no readjusting while the eternities
endure! He said those countless vast bodies would plunge through the wastes
of Space ages and ages, at unimaginable speed, around stupendous orbits,
yet never collide, and never lengthen nor shorten their orbital periods
by so much as the hundredth part of a second in two thousand years! That
is the new miracle, and the greatest of all -- Automatic Law! And
He gave it a name -- the LAW OF NATURE -- and said Natural Law is the LAW
OF GOD -- interchangeable names for one and the same thing."
"Yes," said Michael, "and He said He would establish
Natural Law -- the Law of God -- throughout His dominions, and its authority
should be supreme and inviolable."
"Also," said Gabriel, "He said He would by and by create
animals, and place them, likewise, under the authority of that Law."
"Yes," said Satan, "I heard Him, but did not understand.
What is animals, Gabriel?"
"Ah, how should I know? How should any of us know? It is a new
[Interval of three centuries, celestial time -- the equivalent of
a hundred million years, earthly time. Enter a Messenger-Angel.]
"My lords, He is making animals. Will it please you to come and
They went, they saw, and were perplexed. Deeply perplexed -- and the
Creator noticed it, and said, "Ask. I will answer."
"Divine One," said Satan, making obeisance, "what are
"They are an experiment in Morals and Conduct. Observe them, and
There were thousands of them. They were full of activities. Busy, all
busy -- mainly in persecuting each other. Satan remarked -- after examining
one of them through a powerful microscope: "This large beast is killing
weaker animals, Divine One."
"The tiger -- yes. The law of his nature is ferocity. The law of
his nature is the Law of God. He cannot disobey it."
"Then in obeying it he commits no offense, Divine One?"
"No, he is blameless."
"This other creature, here, is timid, Divine One, and suffers death
"The rabbit -- yes. He is without courage. It is the law of his
nature -- the Law of God. He must obey it."
"Then he cannot honorably be required to go counter to his nature
and resist, Divine One?"
"No. No creature can be honorably required to go counter to the
law of his nature -- the Law of God."
After a long time and many questions, Satan said, "The spider kills
the fly, and eats it; the bird kills the spider and eats it; the wildcat
kills the goose; the -- well, they all kill each other. It is murder all
along the line. Here are countless multitudes of creatures, and they all
kill, kill, kill, they are all murderers. And they are not to blame, Divine
"They are not to blame. It is the law of their nature. And always
the law of nature is the Law of God. Now -- observe -- behold! A new creature
-- and the masterpiece -- Man!"
Men, women, children, they came swarming in flocks, in droves, in millions.
"What shall you do with them, Divine One?"
"Put into each individual, in differing shades and degrees, all
the various Moral Qualities, in mass, that have been distributed, a single
distinguishing characteristic at a time, among the nonspeaking animal world
-- courage, cowardice, ferocity, gentleness, fairness, justice, cunning,
treachery, magnanimity, cruelty, malice, malignity, lust, mercy, pity,
purity, selfishness, sweetness, honor, love, hate, baseness, nobility,
loyalty, falsity, veracity, untruthfulness -- each human being shall have
all of these in him, and they will constitute his nature. In some,
there will be high and fine characteristics which will submerge the evil
ones, and those will be called good men; in others the evil characteristics
will have dominion, and those will be called bad men. Observe -- behold
-- they vanish!"
"Whither are they gone, Divine One?"
"To the earth -- they and all their fellow animals."
"What is the earth?"
"A small globe I made, a time, two times and a half ago. You saw
it, but did not notice it in the explosion of worlds and suns that sprayed
from my hand. Man is an experiment, the other animals are another experiment.
Time will show whether they were worth the trouble. The exhibition is over;
you may take your leave, my lords."
Several days passed by.
This stands for a long stretch of (our) time, since in heaven a day
is as a thousand years.
Satan had been making admiring remarks about certain of the Creator's
sparkling industries -- remarks which, being read between the lines, were
sarcasms. He had made them confidentially to his safe friends the other
archangels, but they had been overheard by some ordinary angels and reported
He was ordered into banishment for a day -- the celestial day. It was
a punishment he was used to, on account of his too flexible tongue. Formerly
he had been deported into Space, there being nowhither else to send him,
and had flapped tediously around there in the eternal night and the Arctic
chill; but now it occurred to him to push on and hunt up the earth and
see how the Human-Race experiment was coming along.
By and by he wrote home -- very privately -- to St. Michael and St.
Gabriel about it.
This is a strange place, and extraordinary place, and interesting. There
is nothing resembling it at home. The people are all insane, the other
animals are all insane, the earth is insane, Nature itself is insane. Man
is a marvelous curiosity. When he is at his very very best he is a sort
of low grade nickel-plated angel; at is worst he is unspeakable, unimaginable;
and first and last and all the time he is a sarcasm. Yet he blandly and
in all sincerity calls himself the "noblest work of God." This
is the truth I am telling you. And this is not a new idea with him, he
has talked it through all the ages, and believed it. Believed it, and found
nobody among all his race to laugh at it.
Moreover -- if I may put another strain upon you -- he thinks he is
the Creator's pet. He believes the Creator is proud of him; he even believes
the Creator loves him; has a passion for him; sits up nights to admire
him; yes, and watch over him and keep him out of trouble. He prays to Him,
and thinks He listens. Isn't it a quaint idea? Fills his prayers with crude
and bald and florid flatteries of Him, and thinks He sits and purrs over
these extravagancies and enjoys them. He prays for help, and favor, and
protection, every day; and does it with hopefulness and confidence, too,
although no prayer of his has ever been answered. The daily affront, the
daily defeat, do not discourage him, he goes on praying just the same.
There is something almost fine about this perseverance. I must put one
more strain upon you: he thinks he is going to heaven!
He has salaried teachers who tell him that. They also tell him there
is a hell, of everlasting fire, and that he will go to it if he doesn't
keep the Commandments. What are Commandments? They are a curiosity. I will
tell you about them by and by.
"I have told you nothing about man that is not true." You
must pardon me if I repeat that remark now and then in these letters; I
want you to take seriously the things I am telling you, and I feel that
if I were in your place and you in mine, I should need that reminder from
time to time, to keep my credulity from flagging.
For there is nothing about man that is not strange to an immortal. He
looks at nothing as we look at it, his sense of proportion is quite different
from ours, and his sense of values is so widely divergent from ours, that
with all our large intellectual powers it is not likely that even the most
gifted among us would ever be quite able to understand it.
For instance, take this sample: he has imagined a heaven, and has left
entirely out of it the supremest of all his delights, the one ecstasy that
stands first and foremost in the heart of every individual of his race
-- and of ours -- sexual intercourse!
It is as if a lost and perishing person in a roasting desert should
be told by a rescuer he might choose and have all longed-for things
but one, and he should elect to leave out water!
His heaven is like himself: strange, interesting, astonishing, grotesque.
I give you my word, it has not a single feature in it that he actually
values. It consists -- utterly and entirely -- of diversions which
he cares next to nothing about, here in the earth, yet is quite sure he
will like them in heaven. Isn't it curious? Isn't it interesting? You must
not think I am exaggerating, for it is not so. I will give you details.
Most men do not sing, most men cannot sing, most men will not stay when
others are singing if it be continued more than two hours. Note that.
Only about two men in a hundred can play upon a musical instrument,
and not four in a hundred have any wish to learn how. Set that down.
Many men pray, not many of them like to do it. A few pray long, the
others make a short cut.
More men go to church than want to.
To forty-nine men in fifty the Sabbath Day is a dreary, dreary
Of all the men in a church on a Sunday, two-thirds are tired when
the service is half over, and the rest before it is finished.
The gladdest moment for all of them is when the preacher uplifts his
hands for the benediction. You can hear the soft rustle of relief that
sweeps the house, and you recognize that it is eloquent with gratitude.
All nations look down upon all other nations.
All nations dislike all other nations.
All white nations despise all colored nations, of whatever hue, and
oppress them when they can.
White men will not associate with "niggers," nor marry them.
They will not allow them in their schools and churches.
All the world hates the Jew, and will not endure him except when he
I ask you to note all those particulars.
Further. All sane people detest noise.
All people, sane or insane, like to have variety in their life. Monotony
quickly wearies them.
Every man, according to the mental equipment that has fallen to his
share, exercises his intellect constantly, ceaselessly, and this exercise
makes up a vast and valued and essential part of his life. The lowest intellect,
like the highest, possesses a skill of some kind and takes a keen pleasure
in testing it, proving it, perfecting it. The urchin who is his comrade's
superior in games is as diligent and as enthusiastic in his practice as
are the sculptor, the painter, the pianist, the mathematician and the rest.
Not one of them could be happy if his talent were put under an interdict.
Now then, you have the facts. You know what the human race enjoys, and
what it doesn't enjoy. It has invented a heaven out of its own head, all
by itself: guess what it is like! In fifteen hundred eternities you couldn't
do it. The ablest mind known to you or me in fifty million aeons couldn't
do it. Very well, I will tell you about it.
1. First of all, I recall to your attention the extraordinary fact with
which I began. To wit, that the human being, like the immortals, naturally
places sexual intercourse far and away above all other joys -- yet he has
left it out of his heaven! The very thought of it excites him; opportunity
sets him wild; in this state he will risk life, reputation, everything
-- even his queer heaven itself -- to make good that opportunity and ride
it to the overwhelming climax. From youth to middle age all men and all
women prize copulation above all other pleasures combined, yet it is actually
as I have said: it is not in their heaven; prayer takes its place.
They prize it thus highly; yet, like all their so-called "boons,"
it is a poor thing. At its very best and longest the act is brief beyond
imagination -- the imagination of an immortal, I mean. In the matter of
repetition the man is limited -- oh, quite beyond immortal conception.
We who continue the act and its supremest ecstasies unbroken and without
withdrawal for centuries, will never be able to understand or adequately
pity the awful poverty of these people in that rich gift which, possessed
as we possess it, makes all other possessions trivial and not worth the
trouble of invoicing.
2. In man's heaven everybody sings! The man who did not sing
on earth sings there; the man who could not sing on earth is able to do
it there. The universal singing is not casual, not occasional, not relieved
by intervals of quiet; it goes on, all day long, and every day, during
a stretch of twelve hours. And everybody stays; whereas in the earth
the place would be empty in two hours. The singing is of hymns alone. Nay,
it is of one hymn alone. The words are always the same, in number
they are only about a dozen, there is no rhyme, there is no poetry: "Hosannah,
hosannah, hosannah, Lord God of Sabaoth, 'rah! 'rah! 'rah! siss! -- boom!
3. Meantime, every person is playing on a harp -- those millions and
millions! -- whereas not more than twenty in the thousand of them could
play an instrument in the earth, or ever wanted to.
Consider the deafening hurricane of sound -- millions and millions of
voices screaming at once and millions and millions of harps gritting their
teeth at the same time! I ask you: is it hideous, is it odious, is it horrible?
Consider further: it is a praise service; a service of compliment,
of flattery, of adulation! Do you ask who it is that is willing to endure
this strange compliment, this insane compliment; and who not only endures
it, but likes it, enjoys it, requires if, commands it? Hold your
It is God! This race's god, I mean. He sits on his throne, attended
by his four and twenty elders and some other dignitaries pertaining to
his court, and looks out over his miles and miles of tempestuous worshipers,
and smiles, and purrs, and nods his satisfaction northward, eastward, southward;
as quaint and nave a spectacle as has yet been imagined in this universe,
I take it.
It is easy to see that the inventor of the heavens did not originate
the idea, but copied it from the show-ceremonies of some sorry little
sovereign State up in the back settlements of the Orient somewhere.
All sane white people hate noise; yet they have tranquilly accepted
this kind of heaven -- without thinking, without reflection, without examination
-- and they actually want to go to it! Profoundly devout old gray-headed
men put in a large part of their time dreaming of the happy day when they
will lay down the cares of this life and enter into the joys of that place.
Yet you can see how unreal it is to them, and how little it takes a grip
upon them as being fact, for they make no practical preparation for the
great change: you never see one of them with a harp, you never hear one
of them sing.
As you have seen, that singular show is a service of praise: praise
by hymn, praise by prostration. It takes the place of "church."
Now then, in the earth these people cannot stand much church -- an hour
and a quarter is the limit, and they draw the line at once a week. That
is to say, Sunday. One day in seven; and even then they do not look forward
to it with longing. And so -- consider what their heaven provides for them:
"church" that lasts forever, and a Sabbath that has no end! They
quickly weary of this brief hebdomadal Sabbath here, yet they long for
that eternal one; they dream of it, they talk about it, they think
they think they are going to enjoy it -- with all their simple hearts they
think they think they are going to be happy in it!
It is because they do not think at all; they only think they think.
Whereas they can't think; not two human beings in ten thousand have anything
to think with. And as to imagination -- oh, well, look at their heaven!
They accept it, they approve it, they admire it. That gives you their intellectual
4. The inventor of their heaven empties into it all the nations of the
earth, in one common jumble. All are on an equality absolute, no one of
them ranking another; they have to be "brothers"; they have to
mix together, pray together, harp together, hosannah together -- whites,
niggers, Jews, everybody -- there's no distinction. Here in the earth all
nations hate each other, and every one of them hates the Jew. Yet every
pious person adores that heaven and wants to get into it. He really does.
And when he is in a holy rapture he thinks he thinks that if he were only
there he would take all the populace to his heart, and hug, and hug, and
He is a marvel -- man is! I would I knew who invented him.
5. Every man in the earth possesses some share of intellect, large or
small; and be it large or be it small he takes pride in it. Also his heart
swells at mention of the names of the majestic intellectual chiefs of his
race, and he loves the tale of their splendid achievements. For he is of
their blood, and in honoring themselves they have honored him. Lo, what
the mind of man can do! he cries, and calls the roll of the illustrious
of all ages; and points to the imperishable literatures they have given
to the world, and the mechanical wonders they have invented, and the glories
wherewith they have clothed science and the arts; and to them he uncovers
as to kings, and gives to them the profoundest homage, and the sincerest,
his exultant heart can furnish -- thus exalting intellect above all things
else in the world, and enthroning it there under the arching skies in a
supremacy unapproachable. And then he contrived a heaven that hasn't a
rag of intellectuality in it anywhere!
Is it odd, is it curious, is it puzzling? It is exactly as I have said,
incredible as it may sound. This sincere adorer of intellect and prodigal
rewarder of its mighty services here in the earth has invented a religion
and a heaven which pay no compliments to intellect, offer it no distinctions,
fling it no largess: in fact, never even mention it.
By this time you will have noticed that the human being's heaven has
been thought out and constructed upon an absolute definite plan; and that
this plan is, that it shall contain, in labored detail, each and every
imaginable thing that is repulsive to a man, and not a single thing he
Very well, the further we proceed the more will this curious fact be
Make a note of it: in man's heaven there are no exercises for the intellect,
nothing for it to live upon. It would rot there in a year -- rot and stink.
Rot and stink -- and at that stage become holy. A blessed thing: for only
the holy can stand the joys of that bedlam.
You have noticed that the human being is a curiosity. In times past
he has had (and worn out and flung away) hundreds and hundreds of religions;
today he has hundreds and hundreds of religions, and launches not fewer
than three new ones every year. I could enlarge that number and still be
within the facts.
One of his principle religions is called the Christian. A sketch of
it will interest you. It sets forth in detail in a book containing two
million words, called the Old and New Testaments. Also it has another name
-- The Word of God. For the Christian thinks every word of it was dictated
by God -- the one I have been speaking of.
It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables;
and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth
of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies.
This Bible is built mainly out of the fragments of older Bibles that
had their day and crumbled to ruin. So it noticeably lacks in originality,
necessarily. Its three or four most imposing and impressive events all
happened in earlier Bibles; all its best precepts and rules of conduct
came also from those Bibles; there are only two new things in it: hell,
for one, and that singular heaven I have told you about.
What shall we do? If we believe, with these people, that their God invented
these cruel things, we slander him; if we believe that these people invented
them themselves, we slander them. It is an unpleasant dilemma in either
case, for neither of these parties has done us any harm.
For the sake of tranquility, let us take a side. Let us join forces
with the people and put the whole ungracious burden upon him --
heaven, hell, Bible and all. It does not seem right, it does not seem fair;
and yet when you consider that heaven, and how crushingly charged it is
with everything that is repulsive to a human being, how can we believe
a human being invented it? And when I come to tell you about hell, the
stain will be greater still, and you will be likely to say, No, a man would
not provide that place, for either himself or anybody else; he simply couldn't.
That innocent Bible tells about the Creation. Of what -- the universe?
Yes, the universe. In six days!
God did it. He did not call it the universe -- that name is modern.
His whole attention was upon this world. He constructed it in five days
-- and then? It took him only one day to make twenty million suns and eighty
What were they for -- according to this idea? To furnish light for this
little toy-world. That was his whole purpose; he had no other. One
of the twenty million suns (the smallest one) was to light it in the daytime,
the rest were to help one of the universe's countless moons modify the
darkness of its nights.
It is quite manifest that he believed his fresh-made
skies were diamond-sown with those myriads of twinkling stars the
moment his first-day's sun sank below the horizon; whereas, in fact,
not a single star winked in that black vault until three years and a half
after that memorable week's formidable industries had been completed.[**]
then one star appeared, all solitary and alone, and began to blink. Three
years later another one appeared. The two blinked together for more than
four years before a third joined them. At the end of the first hundred
years there were not yet twenty-five stars twinkling in the wide wastes
of those gloomy skies. At the end of a thousand years not enough stars
were yet visible to make a show. At the end of a million years only half
of the present array had sent their light over the telescopic frontiers,
and it took another million for the rest to follow suit, as the vulgar
phrase goes. There being at that time no telescope, their advent was not
For three hundred years, now, the Christian astronomer has known that
his Deity didn't make the stars in those tremendous six days; but the Christian
astronomer does not enlarge upon that detail. Neither does the priest.
In his Book, God is eloquent in his praises of his mighty works, and
calls them by the largest names he can find -- thus indicating that he
has a strong and just admiration of magnitudes; yet he made those millions
of prodigious suns to light this wee little orb, instead of appointing
this orb's little sun to dance attendance upon them. He mentions Arcturus
in his book -- you remember Arcturus; we went there once. It is one of
the earth's night lamps! -- that giant globe which is fifty thousand times
as large as the earth's sun, and compares with it as a melon compares with
However, the Sunday school still teaches the child that Arcturus was
created to help light this earth, and the child grows up and continues
to believe it long after he has found out that the probabilities are against
it being so.
According to the Book and its servants the universe is only six thousand
years old. It is only within the last hundred years that studious, inquiring
minds have found out that it is nearer a hundred million.
During the Six Days, God created man and the other animals.
He made a man and a woman and placed them in a pleasant garden, along
with the other creatures. they all lived together there in harmony and
contentment and blooming youth for some time; then trouble came. God had
warned the man and the woman that they must not eat of the fruit of a certain
tree. And he added a most strange remark: he said that if they ate of it
they should surely die. Strange, for the reason that inasmuch as they had
never seen a sample death they could not possibly know what he meant. Neither
would he nor any other god have been able to make those ignorant children
understand what was meant, without furnishing a sample. The mere word could
have no meaning for them, any more than it would have for an infant of
Presently a serpent sought them out privately, and came to them walking
upright, which was the way of serpents in those days. The serpent said
the forbidden fruit would store their vacant minds with knowledge. So they
ate it, which was quite natural, for man is so made that he eagerly wants
to know; whereas the priest, like God, whose imitator and representative
he is, has made it his business from the beginning to keep him from knowing
any useful thing.
Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, and at once a great light streamed
into their dim heads. They had acquired knowledge. What knowledge -- useful
knowledge? No -- merely knowledge that there was such a thing as good,
and such a thing as evil, and how to do evil. they couldn't do it before.
Therefore all their acts up to this time had been without stain, without
blame, without offense.
But now they could do evil -- and suffer for it; now they had acquired
what the Church calls an invaluable possession, the Moral Sense; that sense
which differentiates man from the beast and sets him above the beast. Instead
of below the beast -- where one would suppose his proper place would be,
since he is always foul-minded and guilty and the beast always clean-minded
and innocent. It is like valuing a watch that must go wrong, above a watch
The Church still prizes the Moral Sense as man's noblest asset today,
although the Church knows God had a distinctly poor opinion of it and did
what he could in his clumsy way to keep his happy Children of the Garden
from acquiring it.
Very well, Adam and Eve now knew what evil was, and how to do it. They
knew how to do various kinds of wrong things, and among them one principal
one -- the one God had his mind on principally. That one was the art and
mystery of sexual intercourse. To them it was a magnificent discovery,
and they stopped idling around and turned their entire attention to it,
poor exultant young things!
In the midst of one of these celebrations they heard God walking among
the bushes, which was an afternoon custom of his, and they were smitten
with fright. Why? Because they were naked. They had not known it before.
They had not minded it before; neither had God.
In that memorable moment immodesty was born; and some people have valued
it ever since, though it would certainly puzzle them to explain why.
Adam and Eve entered the world naked and unashamed -- naked and pure-minded;
and no descendant of theirs has ever entered it otherwise. All have entered
it naked, unashamed, and clean in mind. They have entered it modest. They
had to acquire immodesty and the soiled mind; there was no other way to
get it. A Christian mother's first duty is to soil her child's mind, and
she does not neglect it. Her lad grows up to be a missionary, and goes
to the innocent savage and to the civilized Japanese, and soils their minds.
Whereupon they adopt immodesty, they conceal their bodies, they stop bathing
The convention miscalled modesty has no standard, and cannot have one,
because it is opposed to nature and reason, and is therefore an artificiality
and subject to anybody's whim, anybody's diseased caprice. And so, in India
the refined lady covers her face and breasts and leaves her legs naked
from the hips down, while the refined European lady covers her legs and
exposes her face and her breasts. In lands inhabited by the innocent savage
the refined European lady soon gets used to full-grown native stark-nakedness,
and ceases to be offended by it. A highly cultivated French count and countess
-- unrelated to each other -- who were marooned in their nightclothes,
by shipwreck, upon an uninhabited island in the eighteenth century, were
soon naked. Also ashamed -- for a week. After that their nakedness did
not trouble them, and they soon ceased to think about it.
You have never seen a person with clothes on. Oh, well, you haven't
To proceed with the Biblical curiosities. Naturally you will think the
threat to punish Adam and Eve for disobeying was of course not carried
out, since they did not create themselves, nor their natures nor their
impulses nor their weaknesses, and hence were not properly subject to anyone's
commands, and not responsible to anybody for their acts. It will surprise
you to know that the threat was carried out. Adam and Eve were punished,
and that crime finds apologists unto this day. The sentence of death was
As you perceive, the only person responsible for the couple's offense
escaped; and not only escaped but became the executioner of the innocent.
In your country and mine we should have the privilege of making fun
of this kind of morality, but it would be unkind to do it here. Many of
these people have the reasoning faculty, but no one uses it in religious
The best minds will tell you that when a man has begotten a child he
is morally bound to tenderly care for it, protect it from hurt, shield
it from disease, clothe it, feed it, bear with its waywardness, lay no
hand upon it save in kindness and for its own good, and never in any case
inflict upon it a wanton cruelty. God's treatment of his earthly children,
every day and every night, is the exact opposite of all that, yet those
best minds warmly justify these crimes, condone them, excuse them, and
indignantly refuse to regard them as crimes at all, when he commits
them. Your country and mine is an interesting one, but there is nothing
there that is half so interesting as the human mind.
Very well, God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden, and eventually
assassinated them. All for disobeying a command which he had no right to
utter. But he did not stop there, as you will see. He has one code of morals
for himself, and quite another for his children. He requires his children
to deal justly -- and gently -- with offenders, and forgive them seventy-and-seven
times; whereas he deals neither justly nor gently with anyone, and he did
not forgive the ignorant and thoughtless first pair of juveniles even their
first small offense and say, "You may go free this time, and I will
give you another chance."
On the contrary! He elected to punish their children, all through
the ages to the end of time, for a trifling offense committed by others
before they were born. He is punishing them yet. In mild ways? No, in atrocious
You would not suppose that this kind of Being gets many compliments.
Undeceive yourself: the world calls him the All-Just, the All-Righteous,
the All-Good, the All-Merciful, the All-Forgiving, the All-Truthful,
the All-Loving, the Source of All Morality. These sarcasms are uttered
daily, all over the world. But not as conscious sarcasms. No, they are
meant seriously: they are uttered without a smile.
So the First Pair went forth from the Garden under a curse -- a permanent
one. They had lost every pleasure they had possessed before "The Fall";
and yet they were rich, for they had gained one worth all the rest: they
knew the Supreme Art.
They practiced it diligently and were filled with contentment. The Deity
ordered them to practice it. They obeyed, this time. But it was just as
well it was not forbidden, for they would have practiced it anyhow, if
a thousand Deities had forbidden it.
Results followed. By the name of Cain and Abel. And these had some sisters;
and knew what to do with them. And so there were some more results: Cain
and Abel begot some nephews and nieces. These, in their turn, begot some
second cousins. At this point classification of relationships began to
get difficult, and the attempt to keep it up was abandoned.
The pleasant labor of populating the world went on from age to age,
and with prime efficiency; for in those happy days the sexes were still
competent for the Supreme Art when by rights they ought to have been dead
eight hundred years. The sweeter sex, the dearer sex, the lovelier sex
was manifestly at its very best, then, for it was even able to attract
gods. Real gods. They came down out of heaven and had wonderful times with
those hot young blossoms. The Bible tells about it.
By help of those visiting foreigners the population grew and grew until
it numbered several millions. But it was a disappointment to the Deity.
He was dissatisfied with its morals; which in some respects were not any
better than his own. Indeed they were an unflatteringly close imitation
of his own. They were a very bad people, and as he knew of no way to reform
them, he wisely concluded to abolish them. This is the only really enlightened
and superior idea his Bible has credited him with, and it would have made
his reputation for all time if he could only have kept to it and carried
it out. But he was always unstable -- except in his advertisements -- and
his good resolution broke down. He took a pride in man; man was his finest
invention; man was his pet, after the housefly, and he could not bear to
lose him wholly; so he finally decided to save a sample of him and drown
Nothing could be more characteristic of him. He created all those infamous
people, and he alone was responsible for their conduct. Not one of them
deserved death, yet it was certainly good policy to extinguish them; especially
since in creating them the master crime had already been committed, and
to allow them to go on procreating would be a distinct addition to the
crime. But at the same time there could be no justice, no fairness, in
any favoritism -- all should be drowned or none.
No, he would not have it so; he would save half a dozen and try the
race over again. He was not able to foresee that it would go rotten again,
for he is only the Far-Sighted One in his advertisements.
He saved out Noah and his family, and arranged to exterminate the rest.
He planned an Ark, and Noah built it. Neither of them had ever built an
Ark before, nor knew anything about Arks; and so something out of the common
was to be expected. It happened. Noah was a farmer, and although he knew
what was required of the Ark he was quite incompetent to say whether this
one would be large enough to meet the requirements or not (which it wasn't),
so he ventured no advice. The Deity did not know it wasn't large enough,
but took the chances and made no adequate measurements. In the end the
ship fell far short of the necessities, and to this day the world still
suffers for it.
Noah built the Ark. He built it the best he could, but left out most
of the essentials. It had no rudder, it had no sails, it had no compass,
it had no pumps, it had no charts, no lead-lines, no anchors, no log,
no light, no ventilation, and as for cargo room -- which was the main thing
-- the less said about that the better. It was to be at sea eleven months,
and would need fresh water enough to fill two Arks of its size -- yet the
additional Ark was not provided. Water from outside could not be utilized:
half of it would be salt water, and men and land animals could not drink
For not only was a sample of man to be saved, but business samples of
the other animals, too. You must understand that when Adam ate the apple
in the Garden and learned how to multiply and replenish, the other animals
learned the Art, too, by watching Adam. It was cunning of them, it was
neat; for they got all that was worth having out of the apple without tasting
it and afflicting themselves with the disastrous Moral Sense, the parent
of all immoralities.
Noah began to collect animals. There was to be one couple of each and
every sort of creature that walked or crawled, or swam or flew, in the
world of animated nature. We have to guess at how long it took to collect
the creatures and how much it cost, for there is no record of these details.
When Symmachus made preparation to introduce his young son to grown-up
life in imperial Rome, he sent men to Asia, Africa and everywhere to collect
wild animals for the arena-fights. It took the men three years to
accumulate the animals and fetch them to Rome. Merely quadrupeds and alligators,
you understand -- no birds, no snakes, no frogs, no worms, no lice, no
rats, no fleas, no ticks, no caterpillars, no spiders, no houseflies, no
mosquitoes -- nothing but just plain simple quadrupeds and alligators:
and no quadrupeds except fighting ones. Yet it was as I have said: it took
three years to collect them, and the cost of animals and transportation
and the men's wages footed up $4,500,000.
How many animals? We do not know. But it was under five thousand, for
that was the largest number ever gathered for those Roman shows, and it
was Titus, not Symmachus, who made that collection. Those were mere baby
museums, compared to Noah's contract. Of birds and beasts and fresh-water
creatures he had to collect 146,000 kinds; and of insects upwards of two
Thousands and thousands of those things are very difficult to catch,
and if Noah had not given up and resigned, he would be on the job yet,
as Leviticus used to say. However, I do not mean that he withdrew. No,
he did not do that. He gathered as many creatures as he had room for, and
If he had known all the requirements in the beginning, he would have
been aware that what was needed was a fleet of Arks. But he did not know
how many kinds of creatures there were, neither did his Chief. So he had
no Kangaroo, and no 'possom, and no Gila monster, and no ornithorhynchus,
and lacked a multitude of other indispensable blessings which a loving
Creator had provided for man and forgotten about, they having long ago
wandered to a side of this world which he had never seen and with whose
affairs he was not acquainted. And so everyone of them came within a hair
of getting drowned.
They only escaped by an accident. There was not water enough to go around.
Only enough was provided to flood one small corner of the globe -- the
rest of the globe was not then known, and was supposed to be nonexistent.
However, the thing that really and finally and definitely determined
Noah to stop with enough species for purely business purposes and let the
rest become extinct, was an incident of the last days: an excited stranger
arrived with some most alarming news. He said he had been camping among
some mountains and valleys about six hundred miles away, and he had seen
a wonderful thing there: he stood upon a precipice overlooking a wide valley,
and up the valley he was a billowy black sea of strange animal life coming.
Presently the creatures passed by, struggling, fighting, scrambling, screeching,
snorting -- horrible vast masses of tumultuous flesh! Sloths as big as
an elephant; frogs as big as a cow; a megatherium and his harem huge beyond
belief; saurians and saurians and saurians, group after group, family after
family, species after species -- a hundred feet long, thirty feet high,
and twice as quarrelsome; one of them hit a perfectly blameless Durham
bull a thump with its tail and sent it whizzing three hundred feet into
the air and it fell at the man's feet with a sigh and was no more. The
man said that these prodigious animals had heard about the Ark and were
coming. Coming to get saved from the flood. And not coming in pairs, they
were all coming: they did not know the passengers were restricted
to pairs, the man said, and wouldn't care a rap for the regulations, anyway
-- they would sail in that Ark or know the reason why. The man said the
Ark would not hold the half of them; and moreover they were coming hungry,
and would eat up everything there was, including the menagerie and the
All these facts were suppressed, in the Biblical account. You find not
a hint of them there. The whole thing is hushed up. Not even the names
of those vast creatures are mentioned. It shows you that when people have
left a reproachful vacancy in a contract they can be as shady about it
in Bibles as elsewhere. Those powerful animals would be of inestimable
value to man now, when transportation is so hard pressed and expensive,
but they are all lost to him. All lost, and by Noah's fault. They all got
drowned. Some of them as much as eight million years ago.
Very well, the stranger told his tale, and Noah saw that he must get
away before the monsters arrived. He would have sailed at once, but the
upholsterers and decorators of the housefly's drawing room still had some
finishing touches to put on, and that lost him a day. Another day was lost
in getting the flies aboard, there being sixty-eight billions of them
and the Deity still afraid there might not be enough. Another day was lost
in stowing forty tons of selected filth for the flies' sustenance.
Then at last, Noah sailed; and none too soon, for the Ark was only just
sinking out of sight on the horizon when the monsters arrived, and added
their lamentations to those of the multitude of weeping fathers and mothers
and frightened little children who were clinging to the wave-washed
rocks in the pouring rain and lifting imploring prayers to an All-Just
and All-Forgiving and All-Pitying Being who had never answered
a prayer since those crags were builded, grain by grain, out of the sands,
and would still not have answered one when the ages should have crumbled
them to sand again.
On the third day, about noon, it was found that a fly and been left
behind. The return voyage turned out to be long and difficult, on account
of the lack of chart and compass, and because of the changed aspects of
all coasts, the steadily rising water having submerged some of the lower
landmarks and given to higher ones an unfamiliar look; but after sixteen
days of earnest and faithful seeking, the fly was found at last, and received
on board with hymns of praise and gratitude, the Family standing meanwhile
uncovered, our of reverence for its divine origin. It was weary and worn,
and had suffered somewhat from the weather, but was otherwise in good estate.
Men and their families had died of hunger on barren mountain tops, but
it had not lacked for food, the multitudinous corpses furnishing it in
rank and rotten richness. Thus was the sacred bird providentially preserved.
Providentially. That is the word. For the fly had not been left behind
by accident. No, the hand of Providence was in it. There are no accidents.
All things that happen, happen for a purpose. They are foreseen from the
beginning of time, they are ordained from the beginning of time. From the
dawn of Creation the Lord had foreseen that Noah, being alarmed and confused
by the invasion of the prodigious brevet fossils, would prematurely fly
to sea unprovided with a certain invaluable disease. He would have all
the other diseases, and could distribute them among the new races of men
as they appeared in the world, but he would lack one of the very best --
typhoid fever; a malady which, when the circumstances are especially favorable,
is able to utterly wreck a patient without killing him; for it can restore
him to his feet with a long life in him, and yet deaf, dumb, blind, crippled,
and idiotic. The housefly is its main disseminator, and is more competent
and more calamitously effective than all the other distributors of the
dreaded scourge put together. And so, by foreordination from the beginning
of time, this fly was left behind to seek out a typhoid corpse and feed
upon its corruptions and gaum its legs with germs and transmit them to
the re-peopled world for permanent business. From that one housefly,
in the ages that have since elapsed, billions of sickbeds have been stocked,
billions of wrecked bodies sent tottering about the earth, and billions
of cemeteries recruited with the dead.
It is most difficult to understand the disposition of the Bible God,
it is such a confusion of contradictions; of watery instabilities and iron
firmness; of goody-goody abstract morals made out of words, and concreted
hell-born ones made out of acts; of fleeting kindness repented of
in permanent malignities.
However, when after much puzzling you get at the key to his disposition,
you do at last arrive at a sort of understanding of it. With a most quaint
and juvenile and astonishing frankness he has furnished that key himself.
It is jealousy!
I expect that to take your breath away. You are aware -- for I have
already told you in an earlier letter -- that among human beings jealousy
ranks distinctly as a weakness; a trade-mark of small minds; a property
of all small minds, yet a property which even the smallest is ashamed
of; and when accused of its possession will lyingly deny it and resent
the accusation as an insult.
Jealousy. Do not forget it, keep it in mind. It is the key. With it
you will come to partly understand God as we go along; without it nobody
can understand him. As I have said, he has openly held up this treasonous
key himself, for all to see. He says, naïvely, outspokenly, and without
suggestion of embarrassment: "I the Lord thy God am a jealous God."
You see, it is only another way of saying, "I the Lord thy God
am a small God; a small God, and fretful about small things."
He was giving a warning: he could not bear the thought of any other
God getting some of the Sunday compliments of this comical little human
race -- he wanted all of them for himself. He valued them. To him they
were riches; just as tin money is to a Zulu.
But wait -- I am not fair; I am misrepresenting him; prejudice is beguiling
me into saying what is not true. He did not say he wanted all of the adulations;
he said nothing about not being willing to share them with his fellow gods;
what he said was, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
It is a quite different thing, and puts him in a much better light --
I confess it. There was an abundance of gods, the woods were full of them,
as the saying is, and all he demanded was that he should be ranked as high
as the others -- not above any of them, but not below any of them. He was
willing that they should fertilize earthly virgins, but not on any better
terms than he could have for himself in his turn. He wanted to be held
their equal. This he insisted upon, in the clearest language: he would
have no other gods before him. They could march abreast with him,
but none of them could head the procession, and he did not claim the right
to head it himself.
Do you think he was able to stick to that upright and creditable position?
No. He could keep to a bad resolution forever, but he couldn't keep to
a good one a month. By and by he threw aside and calmly claimed to be the
only God in the entire universe.
As I was saying, jealousy is the key; all through his history it is
present and prominent. It is the blood and bone of his disposition, it
is the basis of his character. How small a thing can wreck his composure
and disorder his judgement if it touches the raw of his jealousy! And nothing
warms up this trait so quickly and so surely and so exaggeratedly as a
suspicion that some competition with the god-Trust is impending. The
fear that if Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge they
would "be as gods" so fired his jealousy that his reason was
affected, and he could not treat those poor creatures either fairly or
charitably, or even refrain from dealing cruelly and criminally with their
To this day his reason has never recovered from that shock; a wild nightmare
of vengefulness has possessed him ever since, and he has almost bankrupted
his native ingenuities in inventing pains and miseries and humiliations
and heartbreaks wherewith to embitter the brief lives of Adam's descendants.
Think of the diseases he has contrived for them! They are multitudinous;
no book can name them all. And each one is a trap, set for an innocent
The human being is a machine. An automatic machine. It is composed of
thousands of complex and delicate mechanisms, which perform their functions
harmoniously and perfectly, in accordance with laws devised for their governance,
and over which the man himself has no authority, no mastership, no control.
For each one of these thousands of mechanisms the Creator has planned an
enemy, whose office is to harass it, pester it, persecute it, damage it,
afflict it with pains, and miseries, and ultimate destruction. Not one
has been overlooked.
From cradle to grave these enemies are always at work; they know no
rest, night or day. They are an army: an organized army; a besieging army;
an assaulting army; an army that is alert, watchful, eager, merciless;
an army that never relents, never grants a truce.
It moves by squad, by company, by battalion, by regiment, by brigade,
by division, by army corps; upon occasion it masses its parts and moves
upon mankind with its whole strength. It is the Creator's Grand Army, and
he is the Commander-in-Chief. Along its battlefront its grisly
banners wave their legends in the face of the sun: Disaster, Disease, and
Disease! That is the main force, the diligent force, the devastating
force! It attacks the infant the moment it is born; it furnishes it one
malady after another: croup, measles, mumps, bowel troubles, teething pains,
scarlet fever, and other childhood specialties. It chases the child into
youth and furnishes it some specialties for that time of life. It chases
the youth into maturity, maturity into age, age into the grave.
With these facts before you will you now try to guess man's chiefest
pet name for this ferocious Commander-in-Chief? I will save you
the trouble -- but you must not laugh. It is Our Father in Heaven!
It is curious -- the way the human mind works. The Christian begins
with this straight proposition, this definite proposition, this inflexible
and uncompromising proposition: God is all-knowing, and all-powerful.
This being the case, nothing can happen without his knowing beforehand
that it is going to happen; nothing happens without his permission; nothing
can happen that he chooses to prevent.
That is definite enough, isn't it? It makes the Creator distinctly responsible
for everything that happens, doesn't it?
The Christian concedes it in that italicized sentence. Concedes it with
feeling, with enthusiasm.
Then, having thus made the Creator responsible for all those pains and
diseases and miseries above enumerated, and which he could have prevented,
the gifted Christian blandly calls him Our Father!
It is as I tell you. He equips the Creator with every trait that goes
to the making of a fiend, and then arrives at the conclusion that a fiend
and a father are the same thing! Yet he would deny that a malevolent lunatic
and a Sunday school superintendent are essentially the same. What do you
think of the human mind? I mean, in case you think there is a human mind.
Noah and his family were saved -- if that could be called an advantage.
I throw in the if for the reason that there has never been an intelligent
person of the age of sixty who would consent to live his life over again.
His or anyone else's. The Family were saved, yes, but they were not comfortable,
for they were full of microbes. Full to the eyebrows; fat with them, obese
with them, distended like balloons. It was a disagreeable condition, but
it could not be helped, because enough microbes had to be saved to supply
the future races of men with desolating diseases, and there were but eight
persons on board to serve as hotels for them. The microbes were by far
the most important part of the Ark's cargo, and the part the Creator was
most anxious about and most infatuated with. They had to have good nourishment
and pleasant accommodations. There were typhoid germs, and cholera germs,
and hydrophobia germs, and lockjaw germs, and consumption germs, and black-plague
germs, and some hundreds of other aristocrats, specially precious creations,
golden bearers of God's love to man, blessed gifts of the infatuated Father
to his children -- all of which had to be sumptuously housed and richly
entertained; these were located in the choicest places the interiors of
the Family could furnish: in the lungs, in the heart, in the brain, in
the kidneys, in the blood, in the guts. In the guts particularly. The great
intestine was the favorite resort. There they gathered, by countless billions,
and worked, and fed, and squirmed, and sang hymns of praise and thanksgiving;
and at night when it was quiet you could hear the soft murmur of it. The
large intestine was in effect their heaven. They stuffed it solid; they
made it as rigid as a coil of gaspipe. They took pride in this. Their principal
hymn made gratified reference to it:
The discomforts furnished by the Ark were many and various. The family
had to live right in the presence of the multitudinous animals, and breathe
the distressing stench they make and be deafened day and night with the
thunder-crash of noise their roarings and screechings produced; and
in additions to these intolerable discomforts it was a peculiarly trying
place for the ladies, for they could look in no direction without seeing
some thousands of the creatures engaged in multiplying and replenishing.
And then, there were the flies. They swarmed everywhere, and persecuted
the Family all day long. They were the first animals up, in the morning,
and the last ones down, at night. But they must not be killed, they must
not be injured, they were sacred, their origin was divine, they were the
special pets of the Creator, his darlings.
By and by the other creatures would be distributed here and there about
the earth -- scattered: the tigers to India, the lions and the elephants
to the vacant desert and the secret places of the jungle, the birds to
the boundless regions of empty space, the insects to one or another climate,
according to nature and requirement; but the fly? He is of no nationality;
all the climates are his home, all the globe is his province, all creatures
that breathe are his prey, and unto them all he is a scourge and a hell.
To man he is a divine ambassador, a minister plenipotentiary, the Creator's
special representative. He infests him in his cradle; clings in bunches
to his gummy eyelids; buzzes and bites and harries him, robbing him of
his sleep and his weary mother of her strength in those long vigils which
she devotes to protecting her child from this pest's persecutions. The
fly harries the sick man in his home, in the hospital, even on his deathbed
at his last gasp. Pesters him at his meals; previously hunts up patients
suffering from loathsome and deadly diseases; wades in their sores, gaums
its legs with a million death-dealing germs; then comes to that healthy
man's table and wipes these things off on the butter and discharges a bowel-load
of typhoid germs and excrement on his batter-cakes. The housefly wrecks
more human constitutions and destroys more human lives than all God's multitude
of misery-messengers and death-agents put together.
Shem was full of hookworms. It is wonderful, the thorough and comprehensive
study which the Creator devoted to the great work of making man miserable.
I have said he devised a special affliction-agent for each and every
detail of man's structure, overlooking not a single one, and I said the
truth. Many poor people have to go barefoot, because they cannot afford
shoes. The Creator saw his opportunity. I will remark, in passing, that
he always has his eye on the poor. Nine-tenths of his disease-inventions
were intended for the poor, and they get them. The well-to-do
get only what is left over. Do not suspect me of speaking unheedfully,
for it is not so: the vast bulk of the Creator's affliction-inventions
are specially designed for the persecution of the poor. You could guess
this by the fact that one of the pulpit's finest and commonest names for
the Creator is "The Friend of the Poor." Under no circumstances
does the pulpit ever pay the Creator a compliment that has a vestige of
truth in it. The poor's most implacable and unwearying enemy is their Father
in Heaven. The poor's only real friend is their fellow man. He is sorry
for them, he pities them, and he shows it by his deeds. He does much to
relieve their distresses; and in every case their Father in Heaven gets
the credit of it.
Just so with diseases. If science exterminates a disease which has been
working for God, it is God that gets the credit, and all the pulpits break
into grateful advertising-raptures and call attention to how good
he is! Yes, he has done it. Perhaps he has waited a thousand years
before doing it. That is nothing; the pulpit says he was thinking about
it all the time. When exasperated men rise up and sweep away an age-long
tyranny and set a nation free, the first thing the delighted pulpit does
is to advertise it as God's work, and invite the people to get down on
their knees and pour out their thanks to him for it. And the pulpit says
with admiring emotion, "Let tyrants understand that the Eye that never
sleeps is upon them; and let them remember that the Lord our God will not
always be patient, but will loose the whirlwinds of his wrath upon them
in his appointed day."
They forget to mention that he is the slowest mover in the universe;
that his Eye that never sleeps, might as well, since it takes it a century
to see what any other eye would see in a week; that in all history there
is not an instance where he thought of a noble deed first, but always
thought of it just a little after somebody else had thought of it and done
it. He arrives then, and annexes the dividend.
Very well, six thousand years ago Shem was full of hookworms. Microscopic
in size, invisible to the unaided eye. All of the Creator's specially deadly
disease-producers are invisible. It is an ingenious idea. For thousands
of years it kept man from getting at the roots of his maladies, and defeated
his attempts to master them. It is only very recently that science has
succeeded in exposing some of these treacheries.
The very latest of these blessed triumphs of science is the discovery
and identification of the ambuscaded assassin which goes by the name of
the hookworm. Its special prey is the barefooted poor. It lies in wait
in warm regions and sandy places and digs its way into their unprotected
The hookworm was discovered two or three years ago by a physician, who
had been patiently studying its victims for a long time. The disease induced
by the hookworm had been doing its evil work here and there in the earth
ever since Shem landed on Ararat, but it was never suspected to be
a disease at all. The people who had it were merely supposed to be lazy,
and were therefore despised and made fun of, when they should have been
pitied. The hookworm is a peculiarly sneaking and underhanded invention,
and has done its surreptitious work unmolested for ages; but that physician
and his helpers will exterminate it now.
God is back of this. He has been thinking about it for six thousand
years, and making up his mind. The idea of exterminating the hookworm was
his. He came very near doing it before Dr. Charles Wardell Stiles did.
But he is in time to get the credit of it. He always is.
It is going to cost a million dollars. He was probably just in the act
of contributing that sum when a man pushed in ahead of him -- as usual.
Mr. Rockefeller. He furnishes the million, but the credit will go elsewhere
-- as usual. This morning's journal tells us something about the hookworm's
The hookworm parasites often so lower the vitality of those who are
affected as to retard their physical and mental development, render them
more susceptible to other diseases, make labor less efficient, and in the
sections where the malady is most prevalent greatly increase the death
rate from consumption, pneumonia, typhoid fever and malaria. It has been
shown that the lowered vitality of multitudes, long attributed to malaria
and climate and seriously affecting economic development, is in fact due
in some districts to this parasite. The disease is by no means confined
to any one class; it takes its toll of suffering and death from the highly
intelligent and well to do as well as from the less fortunate. It is a
conservative estimate that two millions of our people are affected by this
parasite. The disease is more common and more serious in children of school
age than in other persons.
Widespread and serious as the infection is, there is still a most encouraging
outlook. The disease can be easily recognized, readily and effectively
treated and by simple and proper sanitary precautions successfully prevented
[with God's help].
The poor children are under the Eye that never sleeps, you see. They
have had that ill luck in all the ages. They and "the Lord's poor"
-- as the sarcastic phrase goes -- have never been able to get away from
that Eye's attentions.
Yes, the poor, the humble, the ignorant -- they are the ones that catch
it. Take the "Sleeping Sickness," of Africa. This atrocious cruelty
has for its victims a race of ignorant and unoffending blacks whom God
placed in a remote wilderness, and bent his parental Eye upon them -- the
one that never sleeps when there is a chance to breed sorrow for somebody.
He arranged for these people before the Flood. The chosen agent was a fly,
related to the tsetse; the tsetse is a fly which has command of the Zambezi
country and stings cattle and horses to death, thus rendering that region
uninhabitable by man. The tsetse's awful relative deposits a microbe which
produces the Sleeping Sickness. Ham was full of these microbes, and when
the voyage was over he discharged them in Africa and the havoc began, never
to find amelioration until six thousand years should go by and science
should pry into the mystery and hunt out the cause of the disease. The
pious nations are now thanking God, and praising him for coming to the
rescue of his poor blacks. The pulpit says the praise is due to him. He
is surely a curious Being. He commits a fearful crime, continues that crime
unbroken for six thousand years, and is then entitled to praise because
he suggests to somebody else to modify its severities. He is called patient,
and he certainly must be patient, or he would have sunk the pulpit in perdition
ages ago for the ghastly compliments it pays him.
Science has this to say about the Sleeping Sickness, otherwise called
the Negro Lethargy:
It is characterized by periods of sleep recurring at intervals. The
disease lasts from four months to four years, and is always fatal. The
victim appears at first languid, weak, pallid, and stupid. His eyelids
become puffy, an eruption appears on his skin. He falls asleep while talking,
eating, or working. As the disease progresses he is fed with difficulty
and becomes much emaciated. The failure of nutrition and the appearance
of bedsores are followed by convulsions and death. Some patients become
It is he whom Church and people call Our Father in Heaven who has invented
the fly and sent him to inflict this dreary long misery and melancholy
and wretchedness, and decay of body and mind, upon a poor savage who has
done that Great Criminal no harm. There isn't a man in the world who doesn't
pity that poor black sufferer, and there isn't a man that wouldn't make
him whole if he could. To find the one person who has no pity for him you
must go to heaven; to find the one person who is able to heal him and couldn't
be persuaded to do it, you must go to the same place. There is only one
father cruel enough to afflict his child with that horrible disease --
only one. Not all the eternities can produce another one. Do you like reproachful
poetical indignations warmly expressed? Here is one, hot from the heart
of a slave:
I will tell you a pleasant tale which has in it a touch of pathos. A
man got religion, and asked the priest what he must do to be worthy of
his new estate. The priest said, "Imitate our Father in Heaven, learn
to be like him." The man studied his Bible diligently and thoroughly
and understandingly, and then with prayers for heavenly guidance instituted
his imitations. He tricked his wife into falling downstairs, and she broke
her back and became a paralytic for life; he betrayed his brother into
the hands of a sharper, who robbed him of his all and landed him in the
almshouse; he inoculated one son with hookworms, another with the sleeping
sickness, another with gonorrhea; he furnished one daughter with scarlet
fever and ushered her into her teens deaf, dumb, and blind for life; and
after helping a rascal seduce the remaining one, he closed his doors against
her and she died in a brothel cursing him. Then he reported to the priest,
who said that that was no way to imitate his Father in Heaven. The
convert asked wherein he had failed, but the priest changed the subject
and inquired what kind of weather he was having, up his way.
Man is without any doubt the most interesting fool there is. Also the
most eccentric. He hasn't a single written law, in his Bible or out of
it, which has any but just one purpose and intention -- to limit or
defeat the law of God.
He can seldom take a plain fact and get any but a wrong meaning out
of it. He cannot help this; it is the way the confusion he calls his mind
is constructed. Consider the things he concedes, and the curious conclusions
he draws from them.
For instance, he concedes that God made man. Made him without man's
desire of privity.
This seems to plainly and indisputably make God, and God alone, responsible
for man's acts. But man denies this.
He concedes that God has made the angels perfect, without blemish, and
immune from pain and death, and that he could have been similarly kind
to man if he had wanted to, but denies that he was under any moral obligation
to do it.
He concedes that man has no moral right to visit the child of his begetting
with wanton cruelties, painful diseases and death, but refuses to limit
God's privileges in this sort with the children of his begetting.
The Bible and man's statutes forbid murder, adultery, fornication, lying,
treachery, robbery, oppression and other crimes, but contend that God is
free of these laws and has a right to break them when he will.
He concedes that God gives to each man his temperament, his disposition,
at birth; he concedes that man cannot by any process change this temperament,
but must remain always under its dominion. Yet if it be full of dreadful
passions, in one man's case, and barren of them in another man's, it is
right and rational to punish the one for his crimes, and reward the other
for abstaining from crime.
There -- let us consider these curiosities.
Take two extremes of temperament -- the goat and the tortoise.
Neither of these creatures makes its own temperament, but is born with
it, like man, and can no more change it than can man.
Temperament is the law of God written in the heart of every creature
by God's own hand, and must be obeyed, and will be obeyed in spite
of all restricting or forbidding statutes, let them emanate whence they
Very well, lust is the dominant feature of the goat's temperament, the
law of God is in its heart, and it must obey it and will obey it
the whole day long in the rutting season, without stopping to eat or drink.
If the Bible said to the goat, "Thou shalt not fornicate, thou shalt
not commit adultery," even Man -- sap-headed man -- would recognize
the foolishness of the prohibition, and would grant that the goat ought
not to be punished for obeying the law of his Maker. Yet he thinks it right
and just that man should be put under the prohibition. All men. All alike.
On its face this is stupid, for, by temperament, which is the real
law of God, many men are goats and can't help committing adultery when
they get a chance; whereas there are numbers of men who, by temperament,
can keep their purity and let an opportunity go by if the woman lacks in
attractiveness. But the Bible doesn't allow adultery at all, whether a
person can help it or not. It allows no distinction between goat and tortoise
-- the excitable goat, the emotional goat, that has to have some adultery
every day or fade and die; and the tortoise, that cold calm puritan, that
takes a treat only once in two years and then goes to sleep in the midst
of it and doesn't wake up for sixty days. No lady goat is safe from criminal
assault, even on the Sabbath Day, when there is a gentleman goat within
three miles to leeward of her and nothing in the way but a fence fourteen
feet high, whereas neither the gentleman tortoise nor the lady tortoise
is ever hungry enough for solemn joys of fornication to be willing to break
the Sabbath to get them. Now according to man's curious reasoning, the
goat has earned punishment, and the tortoise praise.
"Thou shalt not commit adultery" is a command which makes
no distinction between the following persons. They are all required to
Children at birth.
Children in the cradle.
Youths and maidens.
Men and women of 40.
The command does not distribute its burden equally, and cannot.
It is not hard upon the three sets of children.
It is hard -- harder -- still harder upon the next three sets -- cruelly
It is blessedly softened to the next three sets.
It has now done all the damage it can, and might as well be put out
of commission. Yet with comical imbecility it is continued, and the four
remaining estates are put under its crushing ban. Poor old wrecks, they
couldn't disobey if they tried. And think -- because they holily refrain
from adulterating each other, they get praise for it! Which is nonsense;
for even the Bible knows enough to know that if the oldest veteran there
could get his lost heyday back again for an hour he would cast that commandment
to the winds and ruin the first woman he came across, even though she were
an entire stranger.
It is as I have said: every statute in the Bible and in the law-books
is an attempt to defeat a law of God -- in other words an unalterable and
indestructible law of nature. These people's God has shown them by a million
acts that he respects none of the Bible's statutes. He breaks every one
of the himself, adultery and all.
The law of God, as quite plainly expressed in woman's construction is
this: There shall be no limit put upon your intercourse with the other
sex sexually, at any time of life.
The law of God, as quite plainly expressed in man's construction is
this: During your entire life you shall be under inflexible limits and
During twenty-three days in every month (in absence of pregnancy)
from the time a woman is seven years old till she dies of old age, she
is ready for action, and competent. As competent as the candlestick
is to receive the candle. Competent every day, competent every night. Also
she wants that candle -- yearns for it, longs for it, hankers after
it, as commanded by the law of God in her heart.
But man is only briefly competent; and only then in the moderate measure
applicable to the word in his sex's case. He is competent from the
age of sixteen or seventeen thence-forward for thirty-five years.
After fifty his performance is of poor quality, the intervals between are
wide, and its satisfactions of no great value to either party; whereas
his great-grandmother is as good as new. There is nothing the matter
with her plant. Her candlestick is as firm as ever, whereas his candle
is increasingly softened and weakened by the weather of age, as the years
go by, until at last it can no longer stand, and is mournfully laid to
rest in the hope of a blessed resurrection which is never to come.
By the woman's make, her plant has to be out of service three days in
the month, and during a part of her pregnancy. These are times of discomfort,
often of suffering. For fair and just compensation she has the high privilege
of unlimited adultery all the other days of her life.
That is the law of God, as revealed in her
make. What becomes of this high privilege? Does she live in free enjoyment
of it? No. Nowhere in the whole world. She is robbed of it everywhere.
Who does this? Man. Man's statutes -- if the Bible is the Word of
Now there you have a sample of man's "reasoning powers," as
he calls them. He observes certain facts. For instance, that in all his
life he never sees the day that he can satisfy one woman; also, that no
woman ever sees the day that she can't overwork, and defeat, and put out
of commission any ten masculine plants that can be put to bed to her.[**]
He puts those strikingly suggestive and luminous facts together, and from
them draws this astonishing conclusion: The Creator intended the woman
to be restricted to one man.
So he concretes that singular conclusion into law, for good and
And he does it without consulting the woman, although she has a thousand
times more at stake in the matter than he has. His procreative competency
is limited to an average of a hundred exercises per year for fifty years,
hers is good for three thousand a year for that whole time -- and as many
years longer as she may live. Thus his life interest in the matter is five
thousand refreshments, while hers is a hundred and fifty thousand; yet
instead of fairly and honorably leaving the making of the law to the person
who has an overwhelming interest at stake in it, this immeasurable hog,
who has nothing at stake in it worth considering, makes it himself!
You have heretofore found out, by my teachings, that man is a fool;
you are now aware that woman is a damned fool.
Now if you or any other really intelligent person were arranging the
fairness and justices between man and woman, you would give the man one-fiftieth
interest in one woman, and the woman a harem. Now wouldn't you? Necessarily.
I give you my word, this creature with the decrepit candle has arranged
it exactly the other way. Solomon, who was one of the Deity's favorites,
had a copulation cabinet composed of seven hundred wives and three hundred
concubines. To save his life he could not have
kept two of these young creatures satisfactorily refreshed, even if he
had had fifteen experts to help him. Necessarily almost the entire thousand
had to go hungry years and years on a stretch. Conceive of a man hardhearted
enough to look daily upon all that suffering and not be moved to mitigate
it. He even wantonly added a sharp pang to that pathetic misery; for he
kept within those women's sight, always, stalwart watchmen whose splendid
masculine forms made the poor lassies' mouths water but who hadn't anything
to solace a candlestick with, these gentry being eunuchs. A eunuch is a
person whose candle has been put out. By art.[**]
From time to time, as I go along, I will take up a Biblical statute
and show you that it always violates a law of God, and then is imported
into the lawbooks of the nations, where it continues its violations. But
those things will keep; there is no hurry.
The Ark continued its voyage, drifting around here and there and yonder,
compassless and uncontrolled, the sport of the random winds and swirling
currents. And the rain, the rain, the rain! It kept falling, pouring, drenching,
flooding. No such rain had ever been seen before. Sixteen inches a day
had been heard of, but that was nothing to this. This was a hundred and
twenty inches a day -- ten feet! At this incredible rate it rained forty
days and forty nights, and submerged every hill that was four hundred feet
high. Then the heavens and even the angels went dry; no more water was
to be had.
As a Universal flood it was a disappointment, but there had been heaps
of Universal Floods before, as is witnessed by all the Bibles of all the
nations, and this was as good as the best one.
At last the Ark soared aloft and came to rest on top of Mount Ararat,
seventeen thousand feet above the valley, and its living freight got out
and went down the mountain.
Noah planted a vineyard, and drank the wine and was overcome.
This person had been selected from all the populations because he was
the best sample there was. He was to start the human race on a new basis.
This was the new basis. The promise was bad. To go further with the experiment
was to run a great and most unwise risk. Now was the time to do with these
people what had been so judiciously done with the others -- drown them.
Anybody but the Creator would have seen this. But he didn't see it. That
is, maybe he didn't.
It is claimed that from the beginning of time he foresaw everything
that would happen in the world. If that is true, he foresaw that Adam and
Eve would eat the apple; that their posterity would be unendurable and
have to be drowned; that Noah's posterity would in their turn be unendurable,
and that by and by he would have to leave his throne in heaven and come
down and be crucified to save that same tiresome human race again. The
whole of it? No! A part of it? Yes. Now much of it? In each generation,
for hundreds and hundreds of generations, a billion would die and all go
to perdition except perhaps ten thousand out of the billion. The ten thousand
would have to come from the little body of Christians, and only one in
the hundred of that little body would stand any chance. None of them at
all except such Roman Catholics as should have the luck to have a priest
handy to sandpaper their souls at the last gasp, and here and there a presbyterian.
No others savable. All the others damned. By the million.
Shall you grant that he foresaw all this? The pulpit grants it. It is
the same as granting that in the matter of intellect the Deity is the Head
Pauper of the Universe, and that in the matter of morals and character
he is away down on the level of David.
The two Testaments are interesting, each in its own way. The Old one
gives us a picture of these people's Deity as he was before he got religion,
the other one gives us a picture of him as he appeared afterward. The Old
Testament is interested mainly in blood and sensuality. The New one in
Salvation. Salvation by fire.
The first time the Deity came down to earth, he brought life and death;
when he came the second time, he brought hell.
Life was not a valuable gift, but death was. Life was a fever-dream
made up of joys embittered by sorrows, pleasure poisoned by pain, a dream
that was a nightmare-confusion of spasmodic and fleeting delights,
ecstasies, exultations, happinesses, interspersed with long-drawn
miseries, griefs, perils, horrors, disappointments, defeats, humiliations,
and despairs -- the heaviest curse devisable by divine ingenuity; but death
was sweet, death was gentle, death was kind; death healed the bruised spirit
and the broken heart, and gave them rest and forgetfulness; death was man's
best friend; when man could endure life no longer, death came and set him
In time, the Deity perceived that death was a mistake; a mistake, in
that it was insufficient; insufficient, for the reason that while it was
an admirable agent for the inflicting of misery upon the survivor, it allowed
the dead person himself to escape from all further persecution in the blessed
refuge of the grave. This was not satisfactory. A way must be conceived
to pursue the dead beyond the tomb.
The Deity pondered this matter during four thousand years unsuccessfully,
but as soon as he came down to earth and became a Christian his mind cleared
and he knew what to do. He invented hell, and proclaimed it.
Now here is a curious thing. It is believed by everybody that while
he was in heaven he was stern, hard, resentful, jealous, and cruel; but
that when he came down to earth and assumed the name Jesus Christ, he became
the opposite of what he was before: that is to say, he became sweet, and
gentle, merciful, forgiving, and all harshness disappeared from his nature
and a deep and yearning love for his poor human children took its place.
Whereas it was as Jesus Christ that he devised hell and proclaimed it!
Which is to say, that as the meek and gentle Savior he was a thousand
billion times crueler than ever he was in the Old Testament -- oh, incomparably
more atrocious than ever he was when he was at the very worst in those
Meek and gentle? By and by we will examine this popular sarcasm by the
light of the hell which he invented.
While it is true that the palm for malignity must be granted to Jesus,
the inventor of hell, he was hard and ungentle enough for all godlike purposes
even before he became a Christian. It does not appear that he ever stopped
to reflect that he was to blame when a man went wrong, inasmuch
as the man was merely acting in accordance with the disposition he had
afflicted him with. No, he punished the man, instead of punishing himself.
Moreover, the punishment usually oversized the offense. Often, too, it
fell, not upon the doer of a misdeed, but upon somebody else -- a chief
man, the head of a community, for instance.
And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom
with the daughters of Moab.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and
hang them up before the Lord against the Sun, that the fierce anger of
the Lord may be turned away from Israel.
Does that look fair to you? It does not appear that the "heads
of the people" got any of the adultery, yet it is they that are hanged,
instead of "the people."
If it was fair and right in that day it would be fair and right today,
for the pulpit maintains that God's justice is eternal and unchangeable;
also that he is the Fountain of Morals, and that his morals are eternal
and unchangeable. Very well, then, we must believe that if the people of
New York should begin to commit whoredom with the daughters of New Jersey,
it would be fair and right to set up a gallows in front of the city hall
and hang the mayor and the sheriff and the judges and the archbishop on
it, although they did not get any of it. It does not look right to me.
Moreover, you may be quite sure of one thing: it couldn't happen. These
people would not allow it. They are better than their Bible. Nothing
would happen here, except some lawsuits, for damages, if the incident couldn't
be hushed up; and even down South they would not proceed against persons
who did not get any of it; they would get a rope and hunt for the correspondents,
and if they couldn't find them they would lynch a nigger.
Things have greatly improved since the Almighty's time, let the pulpit
say what it may.
Will you examine the Deity's morals and disposition and conduct a little
further? And will you remember that in the Sunday school the little children
are urged to love the Almighty, and honor him, and praise him, and make
him their model and try to be as like him as they can? Read:
1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou
be gathered unto thy people....
7 And they warred against the Midianites, as the Lord commanded Moses;
and they slew all the males.
8 And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were
slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five
kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.
9 And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives,
and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all
their flocks, and all their goods.
10 And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly
castles, with fire.
11 And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and
12 And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil unto Moses,
and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel,
unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near
13 And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation,
went forth to meet them without the camp.
14 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains
over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.
15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of
Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and
there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord.
17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every
woman that hath known man by lying with him.
18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with
him, keep alive for yourselves.
19 And do ye abide without the camp seven days: whosoever hath killed any
person, and whosoever hath touched any slain, purify both yourselves
and your captives on the third day, and on the seventh day.
20 And purify all your raiment, and all that is made of skins, and
all work of goats' hair, and all things made of wood.
21 And Eleazar the priest said unto the men of war which went to the battle,
This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord commanded Moses....
25 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
26 Take the sum of the prey that was taken, both of man and of beast, thou,
and Eleazar the priest, and the chief fathers of the congregation:
27 And divide the prey into two parts; between them that took the war upon
them, who went out to battle, and between all the congregation:
28 And levy a tribute unto the Lord of the men of war which went out to
31 And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses.
32 And the booty, being the rest of the prey which the men of war
had caught, was six hundred thousand and seventy thousand and five thousand
33 And threescore and twelve thousand beeves,
34 And threescore and one thousand asses,
35 And thirty and two thousand persons in all, of woman that had not known
man by lying with him....
40 And the persons were sixteen thousand; of which the Lord's tribute
was thirty and two persons.
41 And Moses gave the tribute, which was the Lord's heave offering,
unto Eleazar the priest, as the Lord commanded Moses....
47 Even of the children of Israel's half, Moses took one portion of fifty,
both of man and of beast, and gave them unto the Levites, which
kept the charge of the tabernacle of the Lord; as the Lord commanded Moses.
10 When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim
peace unto it....
13 And when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt
smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:
14 But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is
in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself;
and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath
15 Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off
from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.
16 But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give
thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:
The Biblical law says: "Thou shalt not kill."
The law of God, planted in the heart of man at his birth, says: "Thou
The chapter I have quoted shows you that the book-statute is once
more a failure. It cannot set aside the more powerful law of nature.
According to the belief of these people, it was God himself who said:
"Thou shalt not kill."
Then it is plain that he cannot keep his own commandments.
He killed all those people -- every male.
They had offended the Deity in some way. We know what the offense was,
without looking; that is to say, we know it was a trifle; some small thing
that no one but a god would attach any importance to. It is more than likely
that a Midianite had been duplicating the conduct of one Onan, who was
commanded to "go into his brother's wife" -- which he did; but
instead of finishing, "he spilled it on the ground." The Lord
slew Onan for that, for the lord could never abide indelicacy. The Lord
slew Onan, and to this day the Christian world cannot understand why he
stopped with Onan, instead of slaying all the inhabitants for three hundred
miles around -- they being innocent of offense, and therefore the very
ones he would usually slay. For that had always been his idea of fair dealing.
If he had had a motto, it would have read, "Let no innocent person
escape." You remember what he did in the time of the flood. There
were multitudes and multitudes of tiny little children, and he knew they
had never done him any harm; but their relations had, and that was enough
for him: he saw the waters rise toward their screaming lips, he saw the
wild terror in their eyes, he saw that agony of appeal in the mothers'
faces which would have touched any heart but his, but he was after the
guiltless particularly, than he drowned those poor little chaps.
And you will remember that in the case of Adam's posterity all
the billions are innocent -- none of them had a share in his offense, but
the Deity holds them guilty to this day. None gets off, except by acknowledging
that guilt -- no cheaper lie will answer.
Some Midianite must have repeated Onan's act, and brought that dire
disaster upon his nation. If that was not the indelicacy that outraged
the feelings of the Deity, then I know what it was: some Midianite had
been pissing against the wall. I am sure of it, for that was an impropriety
which the Source of all Etiquette never could stand. A person could piss
against a tree, he could piss on his mother, he could piss on his own breeches,
and get off, but he must not piss against the wall -- that would be going
quite too far. The origin of the divine prejudice against this humble crime
is not stated; but we know that the prejudice was very strong -- so strong
that nothing but a wholesale massacre of the people inhabiting the region
where the wall was defiled could satisfy the Deity.
Take the case of Jeroboam. "I will cut off from Jeroboam him that
pisseth against the wall." It was done. And not only was the man that
did it cut off, but everybody else.
The same with the house of Baasha: everybody was exterminated, kinsfolks,
friends, and all, leaving "not one that pisseth against a wall."
In the case of Jeroboam you have a striking instance of the Deity's
custom of not limiting his punishments to the guilty; the innocent are
included. Even the "remnant" of that unhappy house was removed,
even "as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone." That includes
the women, the young maids, and the little girls. All innocent, for they
couldn't piss against a wall. Nobody of that sex can. None but members
of the other sex can achieve that feat.
A curious prejudice. And it still exists. Protestant parents still keep
the Bible handy in the house, so that the children can study it, and one
of the first things the little boys and girls learn is to be righteous
and holy and not piss against the wall. They study those passages more
than they study any others, except those which incite to masturbation.
Those they hunt out and study in private. No Protestant child exists who
does not masturbate. That art is the earliest accomplishment his religion
confers upon him. Also the earliest her religion confers upon her.
The Bible has this advantage over all other books that teach refinement
and good manners: that it goes to the child. It goes to the mind at its
most impressible and receptive age -- the others have to wait.
"Thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when
thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn
back and cover that which cometh from thee."
That rule was made in the old days because "The Lord thy God walketh
in the midst of thy camp."
It is probably not worthwhile to try to find out, for certain, why the
Midianites were exterminated. We can only be sure that it was for no large
offense; for the cases of Adam, and the Flood, and the defilers of the
wall teach us that much. A Midianite may have left his paddle at home and
thus brought on the trouble. However, it is no matter. The main thing is
the trouble itself, and the morals of one kind and another that it offers
for the instruction and elevation of the Christian of today.
God wrote upon the tables of stone: "Thou shalt not kill,"
Also: "Thou shalt not commit adultery."
Paul, speaking by the divine voice, advised against sexual intercourse
altogether. A great change from the divine view as it existed at
the time of the Midianite incident.
Human history in all ages is red with blood, and bitter with hate, and
stained with cruelties; but not since Biblical times have these features
been without a limit of some kind. Even the Church, which is credited with
having spilt more innocent blood, since the beginning of its supremacy,
than all the political wars put together have spilt, has observed a limit.
A sort of limit. But you notice that when the Lord God of Heaven and Earth,
adored Father of Man, goes to war, there is no limit. He is totally without
mercy -- he, who is called the Fountain of Mercy. He slays, slays, slays!
All the men, all the beasts, all the boys, all the babies; also all the
women and all the girls, except those that have not been deflowered.
He makes no distinction between innocent and guilty. The babies were
innocent, the beasts were innocent, many of the men, many of the women,
many of the boys, many of the girls were innocent, yet they had to suffer
with the guilty. What the insane Father required was blood and misery;
he was indifferent as to who furnished it.
The heaviest punishment of all was meted out to persons who could not
by any possibility have deserved so horrible a fate -- the 32,000 virgins.
Their naked privacies were probed, to make sure that they still possessed
the hymen unruptured; after this humiliation they were sent away from the
land that had been their home, to be sold into slavery; the worst of slaveries
and the shamefulest, the slavery of prostitution; bed-slavery, to
excite lust, and satisfy it with their bodies; slavery to any buyer, be
he gentleman or be he a coarse and filthy ruffian.
It was the Father that inflicted this ferocious and undeserved punishment
upon those bereaved and friendless virgins, whose parents and kindred he
had slaughtered before their eyes. And were they praying to him for pity
and rescue, meantime? Without a doubt of it.
These virgins were "spoil" plunder, booty. He claimed his
share and got it. What use had he for virgins? Examine his later
history and you will know.
His priests got a share of the virgins, too. What use could priests
make of virgins? The private history of the Roman Catholic confessional
can answer that question for you. The confessional's chief amusement has
been seduction -- in all the ages of the Church. Père Hyacinth testifies
that of a hundred priests confessed by him, ninety-nine had used the
confessional effectively for the seduction of married women and young girls.
One priest confessed that of nine hundred girls and women whom he had served
as father and confessor in his time, none had escaped his lecherous embrace
but he elderly and the homely. The official list of questions which the
priest is required to ask will overmasteringly excite any woman who is
not a paralytic.
There is nothing in either savage or civilized history that is more
utterly complete, more remorselessly sweeping than the Father of Mercy's
campaign among the Midianites. The official report does not furnish the
incidents, episodes, and minor details, it deals only in information in
masses: all the virgins, all the men, all the babies,
all "creatures that breathe," all houses,
all cities; it gives you just one vast picture, spread abroad here
and there and yonder, as far as eye can reach, of charred ruin and storm-swept
desolation; your imagination adds a brooding stillness, an awful hush --
the hush of death. But of course there were incidents. Where shall we get
Out of history of yesterday's date. Out of history made by the red Indian
of America. He has duplicated God's work, and done it in the very spirit
of God. In 1862 the Indians in Minnesota, having been deeply wronged and
treacherously treated by the government of the United States, rose against
the white settlers and massacred them; massacred all they could lay their
hands upon, sparing neither age nor sex. Consider this incident:
Twelve Indians broke into a farmhouse at daybreak and captured the family.
It consisted of the farmer and his wife and four daughters, the youngest
aged fourteen and the eldest eighteen. They crucified the parents; that
is to say, they stood them stark naked against the wall of the living room
and nailed their hands to the wall. Then they stripped the daughters bare,
stretched them upon the floor in front of their parents, and repeatedly
ravished them. Finally they crucified the girls against the wall opposite
this parents, and cut off their noses and their breasts. They also -- but
I will not go into that. There is a limit. There are indignities so atrocious
that the pen cannot write them. One member of that poor crucified family
-- the father -- was still alive when help came two days later.
Now you have one incident of the Minnesota massacre. I could give you
fifty. They would cover all the different kinds of cruelty the brutal human
talent has ever invented.
And now you know, by these sure indications, what happened under the
personal direction of the Father of Mercies in his Midianite campaign.
The Minnesota campaign was merely a duplicate of the Midianite raid. Nothing
happened in the one that didn't happen in the other.
No, that is not strictly true. The Indian was more merciful than was
the Father of Mercies. He sold no virgins into slavery to minister to the
lusts of the murderers of their kindred while their sad lives might last;
he raped them, then charitably made their subsequent sufferings brief,
ending them with the precious gift of death. He burned some of the houses,
but not all of them. He carried out innocent dumb brutes, but he took the
lives of none.
Would you expect this same conscienceless God, this moral bankrupt,
to become a teacher of morals; of gentleness; of meekness; of righteousness;
of purity? It looks impossible, extravagant; but listen to him. These are
his own words:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they
shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs
is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all
manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
The mouth that uttered these immense sarcasms, these giant hypocrisies,
is the very same that ordered the wholesale massacre of the Midianitish
men and babies and cattle; the wholesale destruction of house and city;
the wholesale banishment of the virgins into a filthy and unspeakable slavery.
This is the same person who brought upon the Midianites the fiendish cruelties
which were repeated by the red Indians, detail by detail, in Minnesota
eighteen centuries later. The Midianite episode filled him with joy. So
did the Minnesota one, or he would have prevented it.
The Beatitudes and the quoted chapters from Numbers and Deuteronomy
ought always to be read from the pulpit together; then the congregation
would get an all-round view of Our Father in Heaven. Yet not in a
single instance have I ever known a clergyman to do this.
*NOTE: It takes the light of the nearest star
(61 Cygni) three and a half years to come to the earth, traveling at the
rate of 186,000 miles per second. Arcturus had been shining 200 years before
it was visible from the earth. Remoter stars gradually became visible after
thousands and thousands of years. -- The Editor [M. T.] [Return
*NOTE: In the Sandwich Islands in 1866
a buxom royal princess died. Occupying a place of distinguished honor at
her funeral were thirty-six splendidly built young native men. In
a laudatory song which celebrated the various merits, achievements and
accomplishments of the late princess those thirty-six stallions were
called her harem, and the song said it had been her pride and boast
that she kept the whole of them busy, and that several times it had happened
that more than one of them had been able to charge overtime. [M.T.]
[Return to reference]
*NOTE: I purpose publishing these Letters
here in the world before I return to you. Two editions. One, unedited,
for Bible readers and their children; the other, expurgated, for persons
of refinement. [M.T.] [Return to reference]