KING AND BRADLAUGH DEBATE - PART 13
SIX NIGHTS' DISCUSSION
DAVID KING AND CHARLES BRADLAUGH
FROM "The Interpreter" 1909.
IS CHRISTIANITY OF DIVINE ORIGIN?
Friday, 30th September, 1870.
MR. BRADLAUGH'S OPENING ADDRESS
MR. BRADLAUGH: - Having for the last of these four nights to open the debate on the question "Is Christianity of Divine Origin?" I don't think I should do well to waste any of the half hour at my disposal by any other reference to what has fallen from the Umpire than this - I saw that gentleman for the first time in this debate. For my own part I am perfectly satisfied with the way in which he has fulfilled his unpleasant office, and I can only say that I should sincerely regret if any conduct of mine should even savour of want of respect to him.
The question whether Christianity is of Divine origin appears to me to be solvable by references to the New and Old Testaments, which it will be my duty to submit to you in the course of this speech, and my first objection is that it cannot be of Divine origin, because it evidently was not originally intended for the whole world. In Matt. 10:5-6, you find restriction on the preaching of it, the disciples being directed in these words: "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not;" and in chapter 15:24, you find Jesus himself saying: "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel;" in chapter 19:28, He carries that doctrine further because He says "Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." In Luke 19:9, you find this also brought out in the same way, where he speaks of salvation coming to a house. He says "This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is the son of Abraham."
I submit to you that the first scheme of Christianity, propounded by Jesus (if the Gospel contains a correct record), was a national scheme of salvation - a scheme limited to the Jews alone and not intended for all the world, and that the doctrine "Go and preach the Gospel to every creature" was, at least, an after-thought and, so far as we can judge from the Bible, an after-thought, consequent upon the rejection of the original doctrine by the Jews. In fact, the original doctrine alluded to the Jews, apparently with very slight exceptions, during the whole of His life time, and it was only after His death that He had wider and more liberal notions.
The second objection is this. Mr. King laid down the doctrine that all were equally saved from the consequences of Adam's sin, and this whether they believed in Jesus or not, but if you refer to Mark 16:16, John 3:18, John 5:24, John 6:29,40,47, John 11:26, John 20:23, etc., you will see expressed limitation of salvation to those who believed in Jesus' name; and I ask how that doctrine can be of Divine origin which preaches salvation alone through the name of Jesus, when God, if all wise, must have known as a fact, that even 1800 years after the doctrine is supposed to have been first preached there would be hundreds of millions in the world whom that doctrine had not reached, and millions and millions who have died in the interim without having heard of it at all. [Hear, hear]. I submit that it would show a want of conception, as to the wants of mankind, to issue a message of that kind.
Take again Matthew 21:18 to 20, Mark 11:20 to 24. I mean in the case of the fig tree. Jesus on a certain day was hungry, and he came to a fig tree in a season when it did not bear figs, and cursed it, and caused it to be withered, because figs were not there. Is it a Divine record which says that Jesus, the Divinely originated Redeemer of the world, went to the tree in the expectation of finding figs there, and then in a passion of being deceived withered it up because there was no fruit on it? I say if you wanted an illustration that it was not of Divine origin, you have it in such a case as that.
But go still further. Take the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke 16:19,31. This parable is interesting, because, as you may remember, Mr. King repudiated it, because I suppose he thought humanity a better religion, and I pay him a compliment for it. There is, however, the burning for ever, and I don't quite compliment him, because he says that people will be consciously tormented for ever, though he clearly denies the Biblical doctrine of people burning in flames for ever and ever. But you will find in the parable of Lazarus, that the one is not mentioned as having any virtues except that he was a beggar, and the other as not having any vices except that he was a rich man, and who in fact seems to have been tolerably benevolent, because Lazarus lay at his gate full of sores to be fed with the crumbs which fell from his table, which is more than some rich men would allow at the present day.
Yet we are told that the one went to heaven and the other to hell. The beggar was "carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom;" and Abraham was the man, you will remember, who turned his wife out into the desert. Lazarus is in Abraham's bosom, and the rich man is in hell, and now I must read you a word or two, "In hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." Mr. King of course says that this unquenchable fire does not mean everlasting torment, and probably he would tell you that when the man said he was "tormented in this flame," he did not mean it. He says, judge this as you would any other book, but whenever it is convenient, he says, you must not judge it as you would any other book.
But the text represents the rich man in hell, and does it please Lazarus in heaven to see and hear him in torment? Can that religion be of Divine origin which pictures even the possibility of a man being happy in heaven for ever, while he can see and hear unfortunate beings writhing in the agony of torment in hell. [A voice "Yes"]. Then the man who says such a thing is no man, and I'll prove it in a moment. [Applause]. I have a wife and children whom I love; I have daughters who have learnt to love me. Can you picture my daughters who love me happy in heaven for ever, while their father, whose slightest pain they sympathise with, is writhing in agony and crying out in bitter despair in their sight? A man who can be happy seeing another writhing in agony, is a fiend in human shape that I don't want to speak of. I urge, then, that a doctrine so inhuman cannot be of Divine origin.
I take next the parable of the unjust steward, as related in Luke 16:1. This is amusing stuff. "There was a certain rich man which had a steward and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods." And the rich man determined to dismiss and call him to account. The steward, calling his lord's debtors to him, said to the first "How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. And the lord commended the unjust steward because he had done wisely; for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations." I want to know what sort of doctrine Mr. King will deduce from that - whether it is not a recommendation to a man, when he has got a quiet chance of cheating, to do so to make his position safe. If it means anything else I shall be glad to hear what it means, but I submit that this is one of the teachings which show that this religion is not of Divine origin.
Next we refer you to Matt. 22. It is a picture of the kingdom of heaven under the guise of a marriage feast. The king having a son married invites a number of guests. Whether they knew the kind of reception they were to get or not I don't know, but certain it is they declined the invitation in all sorts of excuses. Some of them made light of the invitation, until at last he got wroth, and in the words of the text, "Then saith he to his servants, the wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good; and the wedding was furnished with guests."
There did not seem to have been any option left to the guests, in fact from a corresponding print of the same parable, they compelled them to go. All were gathered in, and then we are told that the king came found one man without a wedding garment, "and the man was speechless." What could he say? That the servants had collected them on the highways? "Then saith the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen." Now I ask, can a religion be of Divine origin when it says that many are called to heaven and few are chosen there; whose God peoples the world with human beings, having the intent to damn the most of them?
Follow it out further still, and I will take you to a Book which my opponent has taken you to once or twice, Rev. 4, professing to give a picture of God himself. I have refrained from attacking these things hitherto, but, challenged, let me call your attention to the picture drawn of God in heaven, and permit me to ask if it is within the region of possibility that God could have originated this picture of Himself. "I looked, and, behold! a door was opened in heaven, and the first voice which I heard was as if a trumpet was talking with me, which said: Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold! a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone; and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald." Now, I may be told that that is only a vision - that it does not represent any picture at all; but turn to Ex. 24:9-10 and you get that which is very analogous: "Then went up Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. And they saw the God of Israel; and there were under his feet, as it were, a paved work of a sapphire stone, and, as it were, the body of heaven in his clearness."
Now, I ask whether the book which represents an invisible deity as visible to sight -which represents God, who is not put as having body parts or passions - with feet, under which was a paved work of sapphire stone. But, further, we are told: "Round about the throne were four-and-twenty seats, and upon the seats four-and-twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment, and they had on their heads crowns of gold." Now, I ask if you read that in "The Arabian Nights," "Jack and the Bean Stalk," "Tales of Genii," or anywhere but in this book about which you are so credulous, the mere fact of finding such things in it would not be sufficient to stamp it as not being of Divine origin?
Next we are told that "in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within; and they rest not day or night, saying, 'Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.' And then those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever."
Now, I ask you whether you can imagine such a picture as that to be a picture originated by the God and Creator of the universe? That being the picture of God in heaven, now take a picture of God on earth! I refer you to Gen. 18, and I ask you to put the two pictures together and tell me if you can imagine them to be those of God? God is represented as appearing to Abraham on the plains of Mamre. I pass over the confusion as to whether God's feet were washed and he was a partaker of the food, and I take you to the 21st and 22nd verses, where God says: "Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous: I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not I will know."
Now, I ask you whether you believe the Divine origin of the story of God going from place to place to find out the truth of some story that had reached him? I ask if He is to be pictured as saying: "If it is not true, I'll go and find out what is." I ask you if it is conceivable that God could be pictured under such circumstances? But go further still, and let us see how God and the devil are painted in this book, and if you can make out from that its Divine origin? Turn to Job 1:6: "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also amongst them. And the Lord said unto Satan: Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." I ask you if you can imagine children coming before the Lord, and the devil coming among them? I ask, what you think of the picture of the All-wise asking Satan whence he came. Satan had been about in the world, and yet God had not seen him. Can a book containing such a story be a revelation from God to man?
Take now one of the teachings of the gospels. I will not read it, but I ask my opponent to say whether such a doctrine can in any wise be thought of Divine origin. Matt. 19:12.
Now, I have one text to which I would particularly direct my opponent's attention. Mark 16:16: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe. In my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover." I ask my opponent, if he be a true believer, why he has not fulfilled these texts? I ask, if it be impossible of fulfilment how it can be supposed that this book is of Divine origin? I ask my opponent, true believer as he is, I presume, for if not he has no right to come here to defend the faith without the text can be fulfilled by him.
I will go a little further now, and take one other instance which would be conclusive in itself against this book being of Divine origin. In Hebrews 11, you will find, among other people mentioned as worthy of notice for their faith, Jephthah. Who was Jephthah? He was a man who went out to fight against the children of Ammon and vowed a vow to the Lord, that if he would deliver the Ammonites into his hands that "Whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet us, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering." The first who came out to meet Jephthah was his daughter, and when he saw her he rent his clothes, and said, "Alas my daughter! Thou has brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me, for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back;" and he did what he had vowed. Can that book be of Divine origin which says, that in the case of Jephthah, God had not repudiated the barbarous practice of human sacrifice? My opponent may tell me that the Bible sanctioned it. He may refer you to Lev. 27:29: "None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death." But I urge that that cannot be of Divine origin which expressly sanctions human sacrifice as a burnt offering.
But now a brief moment and I will give the finishing touch to this argument. In the Old Testament God repeatedly spoke to Abraham. We read in Ex. 6:3: "And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them." If that means anything it means that God was not known to Abraham by the name of Jehovah. But in Gen. 22:14, you find Abraham calling a place Jehovah-jireh, "for in this place have I seen the Lord." Now, I ask you, how could Abraham call this place Jehovah-jireh if he did not know God by the name of Jehovah? And I believe my opponent, who professes to be a great scholar - and although he is not good enough to display it here, is a scholar by repute - will be able to tell you that the name, as the history progressed, occurs no less than 130 times in the book of Genesis. Then, I ask, had God forgotten that they knew the name, or did he tell a lie? If you say that he forgot, that cannot be, for God cannot forget; if it was a lie, and not the truth, that book cannot be of Divine origin which so represents it.
Finally, as to sacrifices, you read in Gen. 8:20-21 that Noah built an altar unto the Lord and took of every clean beast and fowl and offered burnt offerings on the altar, and whilst the world was covered with rotting corpses, with the dying and the dead, "The Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done." I ask if a God of love and generosity could be represented in such a brutal picture?
These are the grounds on which I preach the Divinity of the Bible, and these are the grounds on which I challenge Christianity. [Applause].
MR. KING'S FIRST REPLY
MR. KING: - We shall now resume our argument. On the evidence of Pliny we establish the vast early spread of Christianity, which cannot be accounted for without admitting the miracles. We cited Gibbon as placing that admission among the causes of so wonderful a progress. My opponent sought to break the force of this by insinuating that Pliny mistook some other people for the Christians, and then he retreated from his position so soon as I put a finger upon it. He also undertook to find instances of religious progress equal to that of the early Christians, and under circumstances which render them parallel. Mormonism came first, the progress of which, he implied, was thus equal. Then he refused to say it was so, and yet undertook to prove, that Mormonism had caused the churches and chapels of Great Britain to be deserted as the Pagan temples had been; and in proof cited the fact that the people of Wales had almost wholly forsaken the State-church temples and taken to worship in Nonconformist chapels, few of which belong to the Mormons. Then by way of proving that Mormonism had produced the change he insinuated that perhaps Secularism is the cause.
In taking himself off to Mohammedanism he fared no better. He affirms its like early progress and denied that its permissions ministered to the sensual appetite, calling upon me to read in my next speech passages from the Koran, just as though he supposed I had, in my carpet bag, that wonderful library of his, which he takes such special care to advertise in lectures and debates. But in reference to this point let me give you a few words from Bishop Porteus.
"Mohammed was a man of considerable rank in his own country; He was the grandson of one of the most powerful and honourable men in Mecca; and though not born to a great fortune, he soon acquired one by marriage. These circumstances would of themselves, without any supernatural assistance, greatly contribute to the success of his religion. A person considerable by his wealth, of high descent, and nearly allied to the chiefs of his country, taking upon himself the character of a religious teacher, in an age of ignorance and barbarism, could not fail of attracting attention and followers.
"Christ did not possess these advantages of rank and wealth, and powerful connections. He was born of parents in a very mean condition of life. His relations and friends were all in the same humble situation; he was bred up in poverty, and continued in it all His life, having frequently no place where he could lay his head. A man so circumstanced was not likely, by his own personal influence, to force a new religion, much less a false one, upon the world.
"Mohammed indulged himself in the grossest pleasures. He perpetually transgressed even those licentious rules, which he had prescribed to himself. He made use of the power which he had acquired to gratify his passions without control, and lay claim to a special permission from heaven to riot in the most unlimited sensuality.
"Jesus on the contrary, preserved through life the must unblemished purity and sanctity of manners. He did not sin, but was perfectly holy and undefiled. Not the least stain was ever thrown on His moral character by His bitterest enemies.
"Mohammed, during the first twelve years of his mission, made use only of argument and persuasion, and in consequence of that, gained very few converts. In three years he made only fourteen proselytes; and in seven only eighty-three men and eighteen women.
"In the same space of time, our Saviour and His apostles converted thousands and tens of thousands, and spread the Christian religion over a great part of Asia.
"Mohammed told the Jews, the Christians, and the Arabs, that he taught no other religion than that which was originally taught to their forefathers, by Abraham, Ishmael, Moses, and Jesus. This would naturally prejudice them in favour of his religion.
"Christ preached a religion which directly opposed the most favourite opinions and prejudices of the Jews, and subverted, from the foundation, the whole system of Pagan superstition.
"Mohammed paid court to the peculiar weaknesses and propensities of his disciples. In that warm climate where all the passions are ardent and violent, he allows them a liberal indulgence in sensual gratifications; no less than four wives to each of his followers, with liberty of divorcing them thrice.
"In the same climate, and among men of the same strong passions, Jesus most peremptorily restrained all his followers from adultery, fornication, every kind of impurity. he confined them to one wife, and forbade divorce except for adultery only. But what was still more, he required them to govern their eyes and their thoughts, and to check the very first rising of criminal desire in the soul.
"With the same view above mentioned of bribing men to embrace his religion, Mohammed promised to reward his followers with the delights of a most voluptuous paradise, where the objects of their affections were to be almost innumerable, and all of them gifted with transcendant beauty and eternal youth.
"Christ entirely precluded His disciples from all hopes of sensual indulgences hereafter, assuring them that in heaven they should neither marry nor be given in marriage, and promising them nothing but pure, celestial joys, such as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived.
"Besides the powerful attractions of sensual delights, Mohammed had another still more efficacious mode of producing conviction, and gaining proselytes; and that was force, violence, and arms. He propagated his religion by the sword, and, until he made use of that instrument of conversion, the number of his proselytes were a mere nothing. He was at once a prophet, a warrior, a general, and a conqueror. It was at the head of his armies that he preached the Koran. His religion and his conquests went on together; and the former never advanced one step without the latter. He commanded in person in eight general engagements, and undertook, by himself, and his lieutenants, fifty military enterprises. Death or conversion was the only choice offered to idolaters, and tribute or conversion to Jews and Christians."
So much from Bishop Porteous. Now, in what does a system like that answer to Christianity! It is perfectly absurd to set the progress of the one against the other.
Now let us hear a few words from Paley.
"The ordinary experiences of human affairs leaves us little to wonder at in any of these effects, and they were likewise each assisted by peculiar facilities. From all sides the roving Arabs crowded round the standard of religion and plunder, of freedom and victory, of arms and rapine. Besides the highly-painted joys of a carnal paradise, Mohammed rewarded his followers in this world with a liberal division of the spoils, and with the persons of the female captives ... That Mohammed's conquests should carry his religion along with them, will excite little surprise when we know the conditions which he proposed to the vanquished: death or conversion was the only choice offered to idolators. 'Strike off their heads! strike off all the ends of their fingers! kill the idolators, wheresoever ye shall find them.' To the Jews and Christians was left the somewhat milder alternative of subjection and tribute if they persisted in their own religion, or of an equal participation in the rights and liberties, the honours and privileges of the faithful if they embraced the religion of their conquerors. 'Ye Christian dogs, you know your option: the Koran, the tribute, or the sword.'"
Further pointed statements to the same effect, I have here from the "Faiths of the World," which show the complete absurdity of my opponent setting up the plea he has. Thus then his entire effort falls to the ground. Neither Joseph Smith nor Mohammed help him. Evidently he was trying to throw dust into your eyes, for with his many books he must have known the facts I have cited.
Failing here, he got savage with Daniel's beasts and horns. He raved and abused both the poor beasts and myself, which reminded me of the instruction given to a certain unprincipled legal leader - i.e., "We have no case - abuse the witnesses and browbeat the counsel on the other side." The whole argument was not worth his notice, but afterwards he seemed to think that he might raise the dust upon one or two points, thus showing himself willing to go into it had he been able. But he was not able, and, therefore, he represented me as setting forth that the persecuting power was necessarily to end with the 1260th year, and that it had continued four years longer, whereas I showed, not that it must end then, but that it must continue till then. A man's lease guarantees him possession of his premises for its full term, but it does not follow that in all cases he must be turned out at the moment of its expiration. The saints were given into his hands for that time, and for the full of that time they were under his power.
The New Testament prophecies were not so replete with horns, but still he was not comfortable in their presence. He turned round and growled at certain ultra protestants instead of answering the argument. He however did tell us that certain heresies were in existence before the time the Epistle was known to exist, but that would not serve the case, because it is not a question of certain early heresies, but one of latter fulfilment in a vast and formidable anti-Christian organisation, taking the place and name of the church and being in almost everything the opposite of that church.
At the onset he grew violent over a demand to be told what Papal territory Garibaldi handed over to Victor Emmanuel. Though given to understand that we did not say Papal territory in one of the senses in which the city of Rome was Papal territory, i.e., having the Pope for its actual King, but in that sense in which England was a Papal country when the Pope controlled it through its civil rulers, and as were those states or kingdoms transferred to Victor Emmanuel, in which the Pope consigned men to dungeons, by means of the secular power, for crimes against his laws, such as reading the Bible. Those sections, if not so in the primary use of the phrase Papal territory, were nevertheless completely so, so far as effects the thing under notice, that of Papal persecution of the saints. But it suited Mr. Bradlaugh to go over this ground again and again, because he desired to get away from the argument and to change the debate, as far as possible, into a personal squabble.
Then to keep at the utmost distance from the horns, he went back to a point duly settled the night before and talked again about damnation for Adam's sin and the relation of Christ's death thereto. I have only to repeat on that head -
1. That Christ's death saves all Adam's race from the grave, and thus removes the only penalty which came upon man through Adam's sin.
2. That the race, thus raised, will be judged according to their own acts, not at all for Adam's. Some will go away into everlasting life and others be subject to that eternal punishment which is awarded to the impenitent and unsaved.
3. That, according to Rom. 2, those who have not the law, or will of God, revealed to them, but who, by well doing, seek immortality (according to the light they have), shall attain to eternal life.
4. What then is the good of sending them the Gospel?
(a) Because it is right that men should come to know truth, and especially the truth relating to their Creator and destiny.
(b) Because that Gospel produces greater present happiness in those who believe and obey it than can be otherwise realized.
(c) Because though the faithful or the class referred to are saved from everlasting punishment, there is no intimation that they will ever attain to the highest state of bliss and glory, which is reserved for those who form the church and whose higher moral and spiritual natures (resulting from communion with God and Christ) fit them for that blessedness.
Thus then Mr. Bradlaugh's wretched burlesque of Christianity, so far as all human beings (save those who believe) being doomed to eternal burning is concerned, falls to the ground.
Then he represents me as arguing that wherever persons believe miracles to have been performed they must have been wrought according to that belief. But my argument is not thus universal. I speak of miracles believed to have been wrought as early after the time of their occurrence as is the case with those of the apostles and Christ, and sustained by the same criteria that apply to them, which is a widely different thing.
He said, in reference to prophecy, that certain moderns had foretold events as remarkable as those cited by me. But he only said so, and that goes for nothing, and only requires in answer that it is not so.
We need a further remark upon the standing trick of giving an opponent a peck measure and then seeking to compel him to put into it a bushel of Secularist rubbish, designated Scripture discrepancies - the design being to throw upon him more than double the amount his allotted time allows him to notice, even in the most brief manner; and for the further purpose of keeping out his affirmative matter. In a printed debate I had in hand today, page after page is thus filled. Just taking one page, - in forty lines there are seventeen distinct charges of discrepancy. In Mr. Bradlaugh's "What did Jesus teach?" in twenty lines I count about sixteen such instances. In one speech in this debate I count nearly twenty instances of alleged contradiction or absurdity, and then vehement declamation follows because they are not answered.
One of the number (three days and nights), being particularly urged upon me, I dealt with. But, of course, when you take up one there is a reply and a rejoinder. In this one instance I have had to spend upon it certainly not less than ten minutes, and there can be no doubt that upon an average, that length of time would be required. It thus follows that the twenty items thus thrown into one speech, could not have been taken up had I devoted every moment of the time allotted me during the two nights we debate the question on which that one speech was made. It then follows, that had I entirely passed everything else said by my opponent, and not offered one word of argument in favour of the proposition I affirm, that the whole of them could not have been attended to.
I leave, then, all I have left, because they could not be noticed in the time. There is no other difficulty in the matter, and for this reason, that almost the whole of them are answered (in a way I hold satisfactory), in printed debates I have with me here. But I could not have got them done in the time had I merely adopted what is there printed and read it to you. I, then, hereby protest against the mere farce of demanding that I shall put the contents of a bushel into a peck measure, and then frantically screaming out demands to have the whole duly handled, complaining, whichever point is taken, that some other has been passed over. I am glad to have this opportunity of exposing so contemptible a trick, which is only resorted to to cover conscious weakness and obstruct real investigation.
Now I think it needful, before resuming the line of evidence I was presenting, as I could not finish it in time, just to notice one or two of the points presented tonight. I will first refer to Mark 16, on which you have had several statements, and on which I think a very fair challenge has been thrown out. If we are the persons there referred to, I submit we ought to work miracles; if we cannot, we ought to admit that we are not the persons there referred to and give it up. [Hear, hear]. I accept that putting of it.
Now, let us see who are the persons referred to. I read in Mark. 16:9-20: "Now, when Jesus was risen, early the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them what had been done with him as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue; neither believed they them. Afterwards he appeared unto the eleven (here you have the ELEVEN APOSTLES) as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen. And he said unto THEM (to the apostles): Go YE into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," etc. Believeth who? Themselves, the apostles, who were the persons commanded to go forth and preach the gospel to every creature. Then is added - "And these signs shall follow them that believe." Believe who? Certainly those who were then commissioned - the apostles? "In my name shall they cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents: and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God." After the day of Pentecost the apostles, thus commissioned, "went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following."
Now, there was a peculiarity connected with the apostles (as you will find by reading the Acts), which points them out as standing, in a certain particular, in a position distinctly different from all other preachers. They were empowered to impart, by the laying on of their hands, the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit. Hence, then, when men believed their preaching, a result could, and did, follow which did not appertain to other preachers of that day. That result was, that those who believed their personal preaching were, by the laying on of their hands, empowered to work those miracles which constitute the signs promised to those who believe through the personal ministry of the apostles. There is no instance on record in the book of other persons than the apostles administering the Holy Spirit by laying-on of hands, and the apostle Paul teaches that wherever the Holy Spirit is thus received there is a miraculous manifestation - in the power of healing, prophecy, or other supernatural gift.
Reading the Acts of Apostles through you find that this special power appertained to the apostles, and that the promised signs did follow in the converts made by them. Take the case of the church in Jerusalem, which by persecution was, with the exception of the apostles, entirely scattered. The church thus dispersed went everywhere preaching the gospel. The preaching of this scattered multitude was successful - many believed and were baptised. Did the signs follow in the persons of those converts? Certainly not! Among the dispersed teachers there was not an apostle, and, therefore, no one who could impart the sign-power.
Was there a failure then, as to the promise? Not in the least. The promise was given only to the apostles, and in view of their sole possession of the function of administering the power; and it applies only to the persons who believed the gospel from their lips, and who, consequently, were to receive the Holy Spirit by the putting on of their hands. There is the case of Philip in complete illustration. Philip was not an apostle, but he was full of the Holy Spirit, and wrought mighty miracles. He went down to Samaria and preached Christ unto them (see Acts 8), and the people, hearing, believed and were baptized. But did the signs follow in them? Certainly not; for Philip, not being an apostle, could not impart the power, although he possessed and used it in working miracles.
But in the same chapter you learn that when the apostles, who were in Jerusalem, heard that the people of Samaria had believed, they sent down to them two of their number - two apostles - who, when they were come, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost, for as yet he had fallen on none of them. Then, upon the laying on of the hands of those apostles, the sign-power came upon the converts made by Philip. Thus the signs did follow in those believers who received power from the apostles.
My opponent then has blundered by applying to the converts of all preachers, what was said only in reference to converts in contact with the apostles. The thing, then, does not apply to us, and therefore, Mr. King, though a believer, is not called upon to exhibit the signs in question. Those to whom they were promised had them, and the chapter informs us of the fact by stating what these apostles did, and what results ensued. The last verse reads, "And THEY went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by signs following."
But it may be asked - If the sign promise is thus restricted to the apostles, what about the preaching and the salvation; are not they also restricted? Yes, equally restricted so far as that commission is concerned, and could we not find elsewhere authority for others to preach we should not be able to prove the right of any save the apostles to engage in that work, nor should we find authority to continue it after their death. But the apostles were, under Christ, the legislature for His church, and they taught and sanctioned the preaching of the gospel by all Christians; and, therefore, on their authority, which is also the authority of Christ, preaching is perpetuated. But as they have no successors (to the apostolic office) the impartation of the sign-power ceased when they departed this life. [Applause].
DAVID KING INDEX