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Lambert.-" I flatly deny the truth of your statement given above, etc. . . . If you study the 21st chapter of Deuteronomy, verses 10 to 14, you will learn that the soldier was obliged to make the captive his wife, or to respect her person and honor."
Why does the Father say " to " and not through the 14th verse? Without divining the motive it will be apparent that by so doing he would have disproved his own assertion and have justified Mr. Ingersoll's statement. I will quote from verse ro to 14 inclusive:
10. “When thou gocth forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive,
II. "And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;
12. “Then thou shalt bring her home to thy house; and she shall shave her head and pare her nails;
13. “And she shalt put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt
in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.
14. “And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her."
Certainly; a lady of the present day would, no doubt, feel sufficiently “humbled” by treatment like this. If not suited to the delicacy of capricious lust, she, humbled and defiled, is sent adrift, unwept and unloved. “You shall be her husband,” and she “thy wife." So in the plenitude of thy mercy sell her not, noble man! devoted husband! but with a wave of thy hand waft her to the uncertain waves of fortune less pitiless than the deity whose mandates you obey.
“ Rattle his bones, over the stones;
He is only a pauper whom nobody owns."
This, Father, is a proverb of mercy in compare with verse 14, to which you forgot to refer. But the proof is not exhausted. Read Numbers xxxi, 14 and you
will see that Moses was not sated with the wholesale slaughter of the Midianite soldiery, but was wroth because women and inale children were suffered to live. Listen to his command:
“Now, therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children that hath not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves." Female innocence to be offered a sacrifice on the altar of lust! Noble trophies of victory!
Lambert.—“God abhors lying spirits; false prophets, false philosophers; yet he permits them to exist because he can. not [What !] make them impossible without destroying free will or human liberty."
The good priest has at last confessed it. There be some things which even God cannot do. To the extent of his inability he is of course “limited.”
We now agree that somethings are impossible with God, even if we disagree as to what is and what is not impossible.
But did the God of the Hebrews, as the Father avers he did, abhor lying spirits ? A man might employ an agent, from policy, whom he abhors. But with God there is no scarcity of messengers to do his will.
i Kings xxii. 20 to 24. "And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ranioth-gilead? And one said on this manner and another said on that man
And there came forth a spirit and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him.
"And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith ? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him and prevail also; go forth and do so. Now, therefore, behold the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.” Would it not appear from this that the “ lying spirit” was on good terms with Deity when he volunteered his services to lie for him, which tender was accepted and approved ?
When will humanity exchange the swaddling-clothes of its infancy for garments becoming its mature manhood?
REPLY TO CHAPTER IX.
A Grand Fallacy— Witches, Ghosts and Demons—The Myths of Mythology
Religious Toleration, Free Thought and Treason”—Idolatries of King Solomon--" The Liberty to think Error."
ONE grand fallacy, giving birth in transitu to several lesser ones, pervades nearly the whole of Chapter IX. of the “Notes," which is devoted to the subjects: “Religious Toleration, Free Thought, and Treason.”
It is difficult for theology to cleanse its garments from the moths, the mould and mildew of the past. It started out in a blaze of the miraculous; it assumed, as a God-given privilege, the right to persecute, torture and slay. It peopled the world with wizards, witches and evil spirits innumerable, and now holds that they were verities of the past: the credulous few still believing that these horrid things were, and are, and, though more coy and retiring, still hover near us; their presence boding no good. But in some way the light of knowledge has melted into “thin air” these conceptions, born of ignorance and fear, and by enlightened minds they are classed with the myths of mythology, with the nymphs, naiads, and fairies of former times. Who believes in witches now? Who in demoniacal possessions? And how many among enlightened Christian sects believe in a personal devil ? We seldom hear witchcraft referred to in pulpit discourses. The subject is a sad reminder of times when sacerdotal robes and the judicial ermine were saturated with innocent blood, the fruit of delusions borrowed from Judaism, and honestly cherished, but which enlightened common sense has substantially banished from the civilized world. Science asks," where are the witches and demons of the past?” The answer is: relegated to their place among the myths of a barbarous antiquity.
So also of the cruelties inflicted on dissenters in opinion. Yet to maintain the doctrine of “plenary inspiration,” it is necessary to devise a justification for such abominations as peculiar to ancient times and unique circumstances. The question is, if right then, why wrong now? And thus we are brought to the main subject of the chapter at present under review.
Ingersoll.—“The religious intolerance of the Old Testament is justified upon the ground that 'blasphemy was a breach of political allegiance,' and that idolatry was an act of overt treason, and that “to worship the gods of the hostile heathen was deserting to the public enemy, and giving him aid and comfort.' According to Mr. Black, we should have liberty of conscience except when directly governed by God. In that country where God is King, liberty cannot exist.”
Lambert.—“If these positions of Mr. Black are well taken, it is difficult to see how you can escape their logical consequence. For you must admit that overt treason, breach of political allegiance, and giving aid and comfort to the enemy, are crimes that merit severe punishment. If you were a logician you would have known that to refute Mr. Black you should have shown that blasphemy and idolatry were not overt acts of treason.”
Let us, for the sake of argument, admit that idolatry and blasphemy were treason and merited death. In this view how stood Aaron the high priest, who made the golden calf?