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worthy of record: he picks out for his disciples twelve illiterate and superstitious fishermen, who appear, from the record, to have been ready to believe any thing that their master told them. When the sceptical very properly ask him for a sign, he abuses them by calling them an evil and adulterous generation. Should a man perform all the miracles that Jesus is said to have performed, how many believers would he have now? not one-half of those who saw him do them. Circumstances favored the claim of Jesus, just as they favored Mohammed, and as they favored Gautama. Jesus was not the first, by a hundred, who had called himself the Christ, or was so considered by others; and, after his time, there were "Christs many." How could Gautama be the centre of attraction to thousands of millions (four hundred millions now living), if he was not what the Buddhists believe him to have been, a god, and the savior of mankind? How came such gods as Zeus, Jove, Hercules, Bacchus, and Esculapius, to be worshipped by the master-intellects of Greece and Rome for ages? beings that never existed at all, yet commanded the heart's adoration of thousands of millions of the wisest and best of their time. Do you, Protestant, suppose that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was any more than a dark-eyed, chatty Jewish maiden, who, going barefoot to the well at Nazareth, captivated the mechanic, Joseph, as he worked on the roof of a neighboring house? Yet read the Catholic prayer-book, and see the adoration paid to their queen of heaven, the mother of God, whom millions beg to intercede for them.

When a man asks me to accept Christianity because

of its widespread power and influence, I say to him, Why not turn Buddhist? Christianity numbers two hundred millions of believers; but Buddhism has a list of four hundred millions. If the fact contained in the first figures makes Christianity the true religion, and Jesus the Son of God, then Buddhism must be doubly true, and Gautama twice as much God's son.

Jesus was a man who taught many beautiful and excellent lessons; a man who sympathized with the poor, and denounced their tyrants, but at the same time taught many lessons that were neither true nor beautiful; a man who displayed overweening self-esteem, and who was much more desirous that men should believe in him than that they should be true to themselves. He is no more our master than George Fox, John Wesley, or Joseph Smith. We do not therefore exhort men to “stand up for Jesus," but to stand up for humanity that needs it. Man has been trampled upon, his reason denounced, his selfhood cast down, that an idol might be elevated upon it. Jesus is the Christian Juggernaut. In India, the devotees throw their bodies before the idol: in Christian countries, they prostrate their souls before theirs; and Jesus in his triumphal car, drawn by his blinded followers, encouraged by his priests, rides ever over them. Let a man offer his reasonable protest against this idolatry, and he is at once denounced as the vilest criminal; the orthodox bloodhounds are put upon his track, and their bayings tell how gladly they would hunt the heretic to death if they only had the power, as they had before intelligence muzzled them.

All these false, then is orthodoxy false. These churches of the living God, so called, are shams every

one; and the ceremonies performed in them the veriest child's play. What has the Soul of the universe to do with their pompous prayers, their silly rituals, their sprinklings, dippings, and port-wine sippings, called holy sacraments? what to do with their begging, beseeching, sometimes howling prayer-meetings? their mesmeric revivals, in which the hallucination of one is communicated to the many, and a foolish consistency leads men to cling to it for life? God has no more to do with all this than he has with the shoe-shops of Massachusetts, or the printing-offices; and it would be just as proper to call a ball-club the club of God as a hundred ignorant orthodox believers God's church. It is high time that the pretensions of the high priests of a no better than pagan mythology were scouted, and a true estimate made of their sanctity, knowledge, and power. Professing to know God, they are the most ignorant of him, for they do not study Nature by science, which alone reveals him; pretending to teach men the way to heaven, they close the door against the very angels who come to reveal it.

Spiritualism is to aid greatly in delivering us from orthodox tyranny and idolatrous man-worship, leading men to the God and Saviour within that each possesses, to the salvation that comes by the exercise of our own powers, and to the heaven for all, of which no Peter keeps the key, and to which the name of Jesus is no "Open, sesame. Think of the time and energy wasted in praising Jesus, praying to Jesus, preaching Jesus, and the labor and money squandered in spreading abroad fantastic statements concerning this man, over the world, instead of giving people a knowledge of themselves and the laws of the universe, knowledge that concerns us every day.


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But orthodoxy has seen its greatest triumphs; and its day of prosperity is over. Its feeble stars are paling in the light of the new morn that greets humanity. It is already ashamed of its hell, - a phantom conjured up in the days of ignorance by some undeveloped soul, who, in deep malignity, wished that those who had of fended him here might be infinitely tortured hereafter. The brimstone and the smoke are indeed gone; the Devil, the dusky jailer of the pit, is dead. And what becomes of orthodoxy then? Hell has been the fire whose heat created nine-tenths of the steam that ran the machinery. Take the fire of hell out of a revival, and then try to keep it up! You might as well think of running a locomotive by crowding the fire-box with ice-blocks. No fire, no steam; no steam, no motion; the orthodox train at a dead stand-still. How many missionaries would wander into foreign lands to preach the story of the cross, if Jesus does not save his believers from hell? How long would Christian churches be crowded to listen to dry-as-dust sermons, and nod over mile-long prayers, if the hearers did not imagine, that, in some way, this helps them "to escape the jaws of hell"?

Orthodoxy is doomed, and is powerless as its God to avert its doom. And why should we mourn? It scatters its hymn-books, pious tracts, and Bibles, but stands at the door of our public library, and refuses on its market-day (Sunday) to open, and admit the hungry souls; for that might diminish the attendance at its temples. It would thus stand at the door of heaven, if it had the power, and admit none but the bigots who can pronounce its shibboleth. It would "circumnavigate the globe to disturb the creed of a single beg

gar;" but it would not stir a step to break the chains of four million slaves, and cursed, in the name of Jehovah, all who did: but, when infidel abolitionists made antislavery popular, it joined in the cry for freedom, and now demands that all the credit of the slave's freedom shall be given to the "church of the Lord Jesus. Christ." It imprisoned Galileo; it murdered Bruno; it slandered and belied Thomas Paine, and still repeats its calumnies and lies; it burned Michael Servetus; it hung the Quakers, who were less orthodox than its creed; it imprisoned Abner Kneeland, and compels our children to listen daily to the reading of its Jewish story-book, that it claims contains the will of "God Most High." If its prayers had been of any avail, it would have murdered Theodore Parker: it did its best, and now sits, and gnashes its teeth at those it is no longer able to tear. It dooms Dickens to damnation, because his heart was too large, and his intellect too clear, to accept its dogmas, and by his presence there makes its hell so much more attractive than its heaven. He had his faults, who is without them? but none one-half as bad as the bigotry of the reverend Maw worms that anathematize him. "He was no Christian," say the bigots. Let us hope that he was not. He was something very much superior, a man of surpassing genius and world-wide humanity, whose name will be blessed when orthodoxy will be a by-word among all people.

What, then, have we to do with orthodoxy? Shall we give our money to raise its proud steeples? shall we send our children to its Sunday schools to have fetters fastened upon their limbs that it will take years to break? shall we pay for pews in its heathen temples,

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