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2.

Where then, we ask, is our authoritative translation ? Neither the Catholic nor Protestant Church has furnished us with one.

Again, there were certain things written by the evangelists which raise a doubt as to their entire historical trustworthiness. Luke says: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was Governor of Syria.)”—Luke ii. 1, At this time Luke fixes the birth of Jesus, who was born under the reign of Herod. Now, it is a fact, as stated by Josephus (the Father's Christian convert) and admitted by Christian commentators, that Cyrenius was not Governor of Syria until twelve or fifteen years after Jesus was born, and at least ten years after the death of Herod, and after Archelaus, his successor, was deposed. No doubt the author of "the Gospel according to Luke” was honest; he only got names and dates a little mixed.

Lambert.—“The fact that there were four inspired Gospels written is sufficient evidence that there was a reason for four."

This is a begging of the whole question. Would it not be well for the Father to prove that there is at least one Gospel which claims inspiration before assuming that there are four which possess it?

The Father tells us that Matthew wrote his Gospel to convince the Jews that Christ was the Messiah: if so, he signally failed of his object; that Mark wrote his Gospel for the Gentile converts : Mark does not say so. That, which is at least probable, Luke wrote more particularly for Theophilus; and that John wrote his Gospel to refute the heresies of the Cerinthians, Ebionites, and Valentinians. And yet, of Cerinthus, Mosheim says: “The learned are not entirely agreed

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whether he belongs to the heretics of the first or the second century." The Ebionites, the same author considers, should be classed as of the second century. The Valentinians grew up, about the middle of the second century. Valentinus came to Rome in the reign of Antonius Pius, soon after 140 A. D. Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, says Valentinus went from Rome to Cyprus, and there first became an open enemy to the church and a founder of a heretical sect. No one claims that John could have written his Gospel after the close of the first century. His age and infirmity would have forbidden it, even

. had he lived to such an extreme old age. Commentators place his death at about 100 A. D., so that if the Gospel imputed to him was written to confute the Valentinians, it must have been written, as claimed by many scholars it was, by some one beside John, for he could not have written it in refutation of the doctrines of a sect which sprung up forty or fifty years after his death.

Let the Father beware lest he convince us that John, the apostle, was not the author of the fourth Gospel.

We have nothing to do with the Father's grand peroration, in which he refers to Voltaire, Gibbon, Ingersoll, and others as plagues that will appear from time to time to curse the moral world. Such splenetic elocution, such cheap declamation, would appear unseemly in a sophomore oration; much less becoming are they in the work of a grave logician and profound theologian. It may be unfortunate when we read vindictive drivel, that though we may be able to bridle our temper we cannot always smother our disgust.

CHAPTER XXI.

REPLY TO CHAPTER XX.

The Honest Infidel-Should Men be Punished for Honest Belief ?-Judas Iscar

iot - If Catholicity is the True Faith the Whole Protestant World will be Sent to Hell to Keep Company with the Infidel-Vicarious Suffering, etc., etc.

In Chapter XX. we are treated to a dissertation on the honesty (or dishonesty) of infidelity, and on the justice of God in condemning to endless torture those who honestly entertain what the church calls heretical beliefs.

Ingersoll.—“ For the honest infidel, according to the American evangelical pulpit, there is no heaven. For an upright atheist, there is nothing in another world but punishment. Mr. Black admits that lunatics and idiots are in no danger of hell. This being so, his God should have created only lunatics and idiots. Why should the fatal gift of brain be given to any human being, if such gift renders him liable to eternal hell? Better be a lunatic here and an angel there. Better be an idiot in this world if you can be a seraph in the next.”

How does the Father answer this point ? Not by affirming that honest belief or unbelief should or will be punished. Though he, as a Catholic, must hold the doctrine, it would be impolitic to avow it here, while he is aiming to conciliate Protestant sentiment. But, by covert insinuation, he denies the veracity of unbelief, and speaks ironically of honest skeptics as being the victims of " defective phrenal development."

Lambert.—“ Christianity teaches that God loves the honest man, and that he will never punish him for his honest convictions; it teaches that God, who is also infinitely wise, knows the difference between an honest man and a loquacious dema

gogue."

If this means anything, it implies that the skeptic is dishonest—that his words belie his real convictions. What, then, must we think of such men as Humboldt, Darwin, Tindall, Huxley, Spencer, Buckle, Draper, etc.—men no more gifted in mind than exemplary in morals—who in their social and domestic relations were and are models of honesty and of unswerving affection and fidelity; who have devoted lifetimes to the study of science in its relations to the intellectual, moral, and social development of the human race? Were and are they, the sons and suns of science, hypocritical pretenders, with the known fact before them that their feigned skepticism will damn them forever? But let such take comfort. They will be in good company; for, if Catholic teachings be true, the whole Protestant world will go with them to their drear abode. Milton will be there, with Bacon, Burke, Fox, Pitt, Washington, Longfellow, Lincoln, and Garfield. If misery love company, the companionship of such noble souls will somewhat assuage the anguish of those who, stumbling over dogma, fall into the bottomless pit.

The doctrine of "Invincible Ignorance,” according to which there may be a possibility of salvation for some, will not avail men of the genius and learning of those I have named.

We will not permit you to stop with the infidel. Carry your faith to its legitimate results. When you war with the skeptic you are thankful for allies from the Protestant camp. When not thus engaged, you sweep both infidel and Protestant into a common Hades. We are here reminded of Father Ignatius of St. Paul. “About the year '50 or '51, he was going

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about asking for prayers for ‘unity,' and was speaking to a room-full of Protestant clergynien on the subject; he made such an impression upon them, that they agreed to kneel down then and there and pray for unity, and asked Father Ignatius to join them, pressing him to do so on every side. On this he jumped with indignation, and said in a manner quite unusual to him: 'I'd rather be torn in pieces by forty thousand mad dogs than say a prayer with you.'” viewer remarks: “The amiability belonged to the man, the uncharitableness to the church."

This whole subject can be summed up in the answer to two questions: 1. Can an intelligent, honest man be a skeptic in regard to what are termed the fundamental facts of theology? 2. If so, should such skepticism be punished with endless torments ?

That honest men have doubted and do doubt those tenets which the Christian world holds sacred cannot admit of reasonable question. For to suppose otherwise is to affirm that men who are honest and wise in every other respect are dishonest and fools in regard to those things which the most nearly concern their interests, temporal and eternal.

The Father has answered the second question, for he says, God loves an lionest man, and will never punish a man for his honest convictions," ctc. We entirely agree with this statement, and will here lct the subject rest.

The story of the treachery of Judas is not to our taste; but it is at hand and must not be slighted.

Ingersoll.—“Suppose Judas had known of this plan—known that he was selected by Christ, for that very purpose, that Christ was depending on him.”

Lambert.—“Suppose he was not selected for this very purpose; that Christ was not depending on him. Where did you learn that Judas was selected for this very purpose, or that Christ depended on him?"

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