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as a redemption from slavery, if he fights to redeemi a people from servitude. Nor do the words, "which God had foretold by the mouths of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer,” aver that Christ died as a propitiatory offering. Many a righteous man suffers for others without becoming an expiatory sacrifice.
In refutation of the charge that the first three evangelists were ignorant of the "necessity of belief,” or that it was not taught them by Jesus, we are referred to Mark xvi. 16: "He that believeth not shall be damned.” And to Acts xvi. 31 : "Believe in the Lord Jesus: and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."
It should be remembered:
1. That neither Mark nor Luke was an apostle, and by Christian commentators it is believed that neither of them was of the seventy disciples, and, hence, that neither of them listened to the teachings of Jesus, nor witnessed the miracles which they record as having been wrought by him; and that Matthew, who was an apostle and an eye-witness of the acts of Jesus, does not insist on the necessity of belief as a doctrine taught by him.
2. That in the “Gospel according to Luke,” the author does not represent the doctrine in question as having been preached by Christ. But Luke did listen to Paul, and most likely imbibed the doctrine from him.
3. That the passage cited from Mark is not found in the two oldest Greek manuscripts, and by many Christian writers is regarded as spurious.
The Father avers that Matthew taught the doctrine of the “second birth,” because he reports Jesus as saying: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." In this passage we find no reference to a “second birth.” Bap
tism was practised among the heathen as well as among Jews and Christians. Nor in the passage in Mark: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved "-even admitting its genuineness. John is the only one of the evangelists who teaches it (John iii. 8). Yet this Gospel is believed by many Christian writers to have been written about A. D. 150.
In regard to the silence of contemporaneous literature respecting the words and works of Christ, Mr. Ingersoll says: “There is not in all the contemporaneous literature of the world a single word about Jesus and his apostles."
What do these words imply? Simply, that during the life of Christ history and other literature took no note of him and his apostles and of the miracles which the evangelists record.
Yet the Father takes issue with this statement, and refers to writers who make a mere passing reference to Jesus, and in one instance to his brother James; and every one of these writers was born after the death of Christ. Yet the Father calls their writings “contemporary literature.”
Here again arises the question of the genuineness of the disputed passage in Josephus.
While absent from home and libraries, I took occasion to write a letter of inquiry on this subject to Rev. Dr. Schlesinger, a learned rabbi, a profound scholar and author, of Albany, N. Y., who very kindly favored me with the followlowing letter:
“Dear Sir :-In reply to your favor of the 3d, I beg to state that the passage of Josephus you refer to is now so generally recognized as an interpolation, that it is hardly worth while spending a line in proving it again. The passage bears prima facie the stamp of an interpolation : (1.) Because it differs entirely from the usual style of Josephus, and (2) because it interrupts the narrative and has no connection with either the preceding or following; but if you take it out the parts fit nicely.
“ Before Eusebius, who is by no means the most ancient father of the church, no one mentions this passage; though in the numerous apologies of Christianity
during the second century, it would have been quoted if it had been in exist
On the contrary, Origen, who lived a century before Eusebius, and was the most learned father of the church, states distinctly (Contra Celsum i. 35) that Josephus was not a believer in Jesus. Hoping that this will satisfy you, I am, dear sir, yours truly,
“ DR. M. SCHLESINGER.” The late Albert Barnes (Presbyterian commentator) says: " Josephus, a Jewish historian, and a few, would not be likely to record anything that would appear to confirm the truth of Christianity" ("Notes on Matthew," p. 33). Surely, Tooley street tailors are becoming numerous.
Lambert.—“ The apostles witnessed the events in the life of Christ as others witnessed them. But unlike others, they were inspired to give a narrative of the events they witnessed."
How do you prove this ? The evangelists do not lay claim to inspiration. Catholic authority assures us that the Bible does not and cannot prove itself. On the same authority we are informed that: “With regard to the books of the New Testament which we now possess—these, for the most part, are the fruit of events, and of accidental circumstances-composed not so much for the benefit of the public, as for the consolation and instruction of private individuals" ("The Bible Question,” p. 49).
Again, as before quoted: "The Bible neither proclaims its own inspiration nor divine character; an appeal must be made to some testimony or evidence beyond, or outside of the holy volume.”
Please furnish us that testimony or evidence.
Mr. Ingersoll wonders at the meagre accounts the evangelists give of that most surprising event, the ascension. Matthew does not mention it. Mark and Luke (admitting the genuineness of that part of Mark's Gospel) dismiss the subject with a single sentence each. John does not refer to
it, the Father's statement to the contrary notwithstanding. Hence appears the startling fact that the only two evangelists who were apostles, and could have been witnesses of the ascension, say nothing about it.
Here we are astounded at the superficial manner in which the good priest treats the Scriptures.
Ingersoll.—“ John corroborates Matthew by saying nothing on the subject.”
Lambert.“ John corroborates St. Matthew by saying: ‘And no man hath ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven' (John iii. 13). This is saying something on the subject, is it not? Why did you overlook this text ? ”
We reply, this is not saying anything of the ascension. John in the passage quoted professes to report the words of Jesus spoken to Nicodemus which were said in the early part of Christ's ministry, and, of course, long before the crucifixion. So, whatever ascension " was here referred to it could not by possibility have been the one which is said to have occurred after Christ had risen from the dead. What must the Father's readers, who dare compare his statements with the facts, think of the reliability of a book where the plainest words of Scripture are so grossly perverted? But will the Father tell us how he reconciles the words of John : “And no man hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven,” with 2 Kings ii. 11: "And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."
It would seem that the Old and the New Testaments are at sad variance in regard to this particular. If Jesus was the only man that ever ascended into heaven, Elijah must have reined his fiery steeds in some other direction.
Of Mark xvi. from the eighth verse to the end, the Father says that it is found in “most of the ancient manuscripts and that the most ancient of the Fathers admitted it." The Father should have referred us to those manuscripts, and have quoted to us from the Fathers. If his averments regarding manuscripts and the Fathers are no more trustworthy than his references to Scripture, they cannot be relied on. But granting that the verses in question are found in certain manuscripts, we know that they are not found in others, the most ancient, while some make a different ending to the chapter. The ancient Fathers were a credulous, fanciful set, who recorded miracles as of their own day, such as raising the dead to life by means of the bones of saints! They were also believers in supernatural visions and dreams. We cannot rely on such authority. What are we to believe? Is doubt in such a case a crime, knowing as we do, from the highest authority, that the Scriptural writings have been tampered with and changed to such an extent that very few of either ancient or modern manuscripts agree with each other? I quote from “ Beliefs about the Bible,” by M. J. Savage, a work of rare perspicuity and power, pp. 128–9.
“Three hundred years had passed since the death of him of whom they (the Gospels) were a biography; and we do not know just when they came into the precise shape in which they are to-day. The names now attached to them we do not find until nearly the last quarter of the second century—that is, perhaps, one hundred and fifty years after the death of Jesus, although the earliest forms of the Gospels may have existed long before that.
“The first question, then, is, whether we have an accurate transcript of these four little books in substantially the same shape in which they were when they first took form. We are obliged to answer this question in the negative ; for the dif