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.q..n:. .....--.....--CHRISTIANITY…


.q..n:. CHRISTIANITY Atm PROGRESS. To the Editor, "Glamorgan Free Press." Sir. n your last issue Mr J. Lewis in charg- ing me with intolerance says: "Here is Mr Hammond candidly telling as that it is quite right to disqualify Freethinkers to hold property for propaganda purposes." If your readers will refer to my previous letter, they will find that I said nothing of the kind. What I did say was in reference to their periodicals, which I main- tain should be excluded from all public libraries. I must, therefore, ask Mr J. Lewis, to stick to the. truth in future. Infidels do not require the right to hold property, for there is very little reason to think they would back their opinions with their purses. Mr Lewis complains of the manner in which his letters have been treated. He Has conducted his side of the controversy in the most offensive manner, and yet he expects consideration from those opposed to him. I can only say that he has been treated better than he deserves; he commenced this correspondence by an attack upon Christianity, and ho must be prepared to defend himself. However, I might be permitted to say that as a private individual an unbeliever is of all men the most to be pitied. He is without faith in God, and without hope of a life hereafter; in fact, a future life is to him a thing to dread. The infidel is in tha position of Felix, of whom it is recorded that "as Paul reasoned of righteouanass), temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered "Go thy way for this time; when I have a con- venient season r will call for thee." That "con- venient season" never came; indeed, it never can come to an unbeliever unless he consent to bend his .stubborn will to that of God and put aside his pride of intellect. How appropriate is the grand hymn of Newman to a man in such a doubting frame of mind- Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, Lead Thou me on." I have spoken of the pity inspired in us to- wards an unbeliever as a private individual; but this does not apply to the man who attempts to pervert others. Your correspondent repudiates the Bible and a belief in God, and yet he asks, "Wha,t it was that the Titanic courage of Luther the learning and eloquence of Melancthon, and others, struggled for and won for us?" These are evidently men that your correspondent ad- mires; but they were not infidels, they were Christians, distinguished as reformers who fought for the right of the people to study the Bible-a book affected to be despised by infidels —instead of it being as hitherto only accessible to the monks who chose to chain it to their desks Mr Lewis claims "reason as the criterion of truth." There is nothing new in this proposi- tion ,for we are bidden in the Bible to "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Tlies- salonians, v. 21.), and "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind" (Romans xiv. 5.). A recent writer says; "Reason itself is not a guide, but it helps us to find out the best guide we can get. We must reason on something, and the reason of the great majority in this country tells them that Christianity is the best guide." But your correspondent forgets that om' there is something higher than reason, although not contrary to it. "There is Faith." A certain Bishop demonstrates faith in this manner. "When a little boy he was flying his kite, which became lost to view ,and he exclaimed, "Father I can- not see it." "No." said the father, "but you can feel ib pull." With regard to Slavery, which your corres- pondent bakes up so pointedly, Darwin says: "One morning t walked out an hour before day- light to admire the solemn stillness of the scene; at last the silence was broken by the morning hymn, raised on high by the whole body of blacks; and in this manner their daily work is generally begun. On such fazendas as these, 1 have no doubt the slaves pass happy and con- tented lives." These do not sound like the words of an unbeliever. Again, the says when speaking of slavery: "ft is a consolation to re- flect that we afc least have made a greater sac- rifice than ever made by any nation to expiate our sin." Your correspondent also appears to be unaware of the fact that at the jubilee, which was held under the Mosaic dispensation every fiftieth year, every Hebrew slave was set at liberty, and returned home. (Leviticus xxv. 10). So that the Bible does not sanction slavery in the sense that he would have us believe. It was due to Christian influence, Christian effort, and the money of Christians that the crusade against Slavery, pioneered by Grenville Sharp, Wilber- force, Towell Buxton, and others, was at length erowned with success. Does Mr Lewis maintain that the twenty millions of money voted by the British Parliament for compensation to the slave-owners was the property of infidels? Now, we will see what Darwin, the author ot the theory of evolution, thought about Christian- ity. Darwin had once maintained that all the pains bestowed upon the Fuegians would be thrown away, but Admiral Sullivan. referring to the missions to these people, found the trans- formation of character so great that he in- formed Darwin of the change in the natives, who had been under the influence of the mission. As an illustration, he said "that during eleven years the mission fowl-houses had remained unlocked, and not one egg had been stolen." Darwin replied that "he could not have believed that all the missionaries in the world could have made the Fuegians honest, but he now acknow- ledged his mistake, and became a regular sub- scriber to the funds of the South American Missionary Society." Professor Huxley, another scientist to whom Mr Lewis has referred, in speaking of the Bible, says: "By the study ot what other book could children be so much humanised and made to feel, that each figure in that vast historical precession fills, like them- selves, but a momentary space in the intervals between two eternities; and earns the blessings or the curses of all time according to its efforts to do good and hate evil, even as they also are earning their payment for their work?" Now, sir, I want to ask Mr Lewis a few ques- tions. Can he tell us where we can find any hospitals for the sick, infirm, aged, or the or- phan maintained by Infidels? Can he tell us where their schools are for the training of the ycung? Can he tell us how much a year, or how little is contributed by them towards their organisation? Do they ever visit the sick,feed and clothe the poor, or contribute by one act of kindness to minister to the spiritual wants of the dying? Let me quote the words of one who was ence an infidel, viz., Joseph Barker, who says with regard to a young woman who was taken ill and died in his house: "I attended her during the last sad night of her sufferings. I heardff her moanings as her life drew slowly towards a close. I wanted to comfort her, but I had not the power. I could once have spoken to her of a Father in heaven, and of a better world; but I could speak on those subjects 80 longer. I could once have kneeled by her side and prayed; but I could pray no more. I would neither comfort myself nor my dying charge. She passed away without a. word of oonsolation, or a whisper of hope to cheer her as she trod the dark valley of the shadow of death. I stood by, afflicted and comfortless, when her lifeless form was committed to its final resting place, unable to speak a word of hope or consolation to. the sorrowing minds that were gathered around her grave." Can Mr Lewis tell us of a single individual who on his dying bed regretted that he had been a Christ- ian? On the contrary, how many infidels have writhed in their agony of despair at the last moment, and have even caused their writings to be burned lest they should perpetuate their misery and their folly? Mr Lewis describes the force of Christianity as being like that of "an earthquake or a tor- nado." No doubt to an unbeliever its tremend- ous power would strike terror in his heart which he could not describe better than to say it appeared like an earthquake or tornado; for it entirely uproots the tree of infidelity and scatters its trunk and branches to the winds. As regards his statement that the church kept the world in utter intellectual darkness for over a thousand years, he ought to be thankful that notwithstanding their ignorance as compared with the present generation, the monks and their monasteries were almost tne soie repository of the knowledge which has been handed down to us. He is referring to the most barbarous ages in the history of civilised nations, and does not reflect that the religion a.t which he scoffs was the one that administered punishment to kings for their crimes, and was the only means, con- sidering the primitive state of the laws to keep the evil doer in check. He also appears to forget that the art of printing, to which we owe our present intelligence, was not discovered until 1471. I am not concerned in defending the atrocities committed in the dark ages, or at any other time, by men who supposed they wero advancing the cause of Christianity, but who really understood nothing more of Christ- ianity than the name. But there is a lesson to be learnt from these terrible persecutions which your correspondent has failed to gather from its record—namely, the fact that so many thousands of Christians died worthy of their profession, for the- would not abjure their faith to save their lives. However, I must again call attention to the gross inaceurraoy of Mr Lewis. He says that "in the Netherlands the Duke of Alva, at the behest of Christ's vicegerent, led out three, mil- lions of people of all ages to be ruthlessly mur- dered." I have consulted several histories, but can find no corroboration for this statement. Murray's Student's Hume Rives the following information: "Phillip determined to lav hold of the popular disorders as a pretence for en- tirely 'abolishing the privilege r r Ltsw CountriM; 1J fer ruling them _Jl 7.v„;i military and arbitrary authority. In the execu- tion of this violent design he employed the Duke of Alva, a proper instrument in the hands of such a tyrant. (1567). Multitudes of all ranks were thrown into confinement, and thence delivered over to the executioner." The number who died in this political warfare was thirty thousand, according to the "History of France." But your readers will see that it was not insti- gated by the Pope, and. further, they will ob- serve that Mr Lewis multiplied the number by one hundred to arrive at his figures. I doubt very much if the whole population of the Netherlands numbered three millions in 1857. I also find that "Foxe's Book of Martyrs" does not mention the name of tka Duke of Alva as a persecutor of Christians. Your correspondent said in his last letter that he was seeking after truth. I have en- deavoured to furnish him with soma, and I hope he will appreciate it.-I am., etc., Pntvpridd. JOSEPH HAMMOND 26th July. To the Editor. Sir,—Confusion and perplexity in writing are indeed without excuse, because any one may, if he pleases, know whether he understands and sees through what he is about and it is un- pardonable for a man to lay his thoughts before others when he is conscious that he himself does not know whereabouts he is, or how the mat- ter before him stands. It is coming abroad in disorder, which he ought to be ashamed to find himself in at home. Who would have thought that such an able logician, geologist, evolutionist, etc. et.c.. as Mr Lewis would have been in any way upset by the little personalities of a "quibbler?" My experience of so-called "Infidels" is, that they seem to think that ridi- cule is their monopoly, and nothing hurts their feelings more than to be treated to a dose of their specific. Notwithstanding the fact that Mr Lewis has joined the "Protestants" and his extreme sensitiveness, I am not to blame. Why? Because seems? that there was no "Crea- tion," and that an things came by evolution (according to Mr Lewis) then I am irresponsible because I am so evolved, I must be careful now how I proceed ,for if his future epistles contain as many changes of front as the one under con- sideration, our positions are apt to become re- versed. Hitherto, I have refrained from using the Bible, or anything pertaining to it, as an authority; but now, as Mr Lewis cannot uphold his case without so doing I shall, if need be, follow suit. So much by way of generalities. Equivocation and contradiction, again flourish abundantly, and will be his undoing. Com- mencing at the top, our "convulsions" over, we join the "Free Thinkers," and pass on to the "fires of Smithfield," calling to see "Calvin and Servitus" by the way; rejecting with scorn the "Catholics and Pope," Bible and "Protestants," we arrive at the Reformation (time too). Al- though intending to take "our stand on this principle," equivocation again impels us forward, demolishing in our progress "Divine authority for Scripture, Divine Church," etc., etc., we arrive at our destination, "crippled and disquali- fied by Act of Parliament. "What an Evolu- tion! Come now, Mr Lewis, and let us "quibble" together, and may revealed truth result from our so doing. With your permission, we will return to the two points arising in your previous chapter and continued in this one ,and there we stay until plain talk and facts take us fur- ther. First, that the Bible has a science; second, that Christianity is a force. Now, for a few minutes be man enough to stand by your text, and let us examine it a little. You said "Bible soience teaches that man fell," etc. This was perfectly true and definite. Then you say "Biblical science," which is indefinite, and define that science as "primitive ideas or guesses," which neutralises the whole. if you meant "ideas" why say "Bible science" If you meant "guesses" why say "Biblical science?" In writ- ing of rooks, would you say peacocks? As I mean that you are foolish, would I not be equally foolish in saying that you are wise? We are obliged to you for so clearly "demon- strating" "Bible science," which view I willingly endorse, at the same time reminding you that it is not a scientific book. Second, "Christianity a force." This state- ment you reiterate several times, proving that you are convinced of its correctness. Your definition of its being "the force of an earth- quake or tornado" I readily accept. Then you state that "the primary element in Christian civilisation to-day, after nineteen centuries of Christian cant, is force." Still the same "foroe," I presume. (How will we agree). But, how are we to reconcile these truisms, with your next silvery sentence, "And Christianity is as impo- tent and helpless as a tiny craft on the crest of a tidal wave?" However, let us make a brief analysis of your "force" definition as applied to Christianity. (1) It is irresistible in its opera- tions, (2) it is invisible in action, visible by re- sults, (3). its elements are always present.though not always active, (4) it totally defies human agencies to originate it, or to limit its extent, (5) it is rroportionate to, but always greater than, the opposition it meets. A better, clearer, broader definition of Christianity I have not seen, and if Mr Lewis is satisfied, surely I am. Schopenhauer's remark, if properly quoted, is obviously wrong. Naturalists, Darwin included, teach and prove that glow-worms do not require darkness to shine in, but that the shining is made visible to us through the medium of the darkness, and the more dense the darkness, the more intensely brilliant the light is seen. Even so with Christianity. In the ages to which you refer, when the "church" by its pandering to Materialism and Infidel immorality, brought about a darkness and depravity, morally and spiritually, the illimitable force of pure Christ- ianity was displayed, and the intense light of the "Sun of Righteousness" was seen in the Re. formation(by which you have promised to stand). overcoming all opposition, and dispelling all darkness. It seems strange that you should so lightly pass over the quotations from your own authorities. With regard to the use of the word "Creator" by Darwin, it does not in any material way affect the point at issue (your sar- casm is very amusing. Further, I am willing for you to substitute any other word you like, interpret science in any sense you .Ke, but of course, the justice of a reading public, Infidel or Christian, will allow me to do likewise. You say Darwin does not use the word "Creator" in a theological sense, nor in the orthodox sense; then there is no sense in his using the word at all, or anyone else. Apply your new rule to "Prof. Owen's remark: "Also, it will be well to bear in mind that by the word Creation, the zoologist means a process—he knows not what." Perfectly true and admissible. Creation does mean process or act, then Creator means one who conducts the process or acts. Again, ren- dering the foregoing quotation, according to your new ruling, we read: "Also, etc., by the word Creator the Evolutionist means a person- he knows not who." This is eating the oystei and the shell. I must correct another of your mis-statements, "Mr Baker says geology does not," etc. I said nothing of the kind. Dar- win, whose statement I quoted and here repeat, says "Geology gives no evidence in favour of Evolution breaks are incessantly occurring -n the organic chain there is scarcely a single point on which facts (not theories) cannot be adduced opposite to those to which I have arrived." ("Origin of Species" and "Descent of Man," vol. 2, pages 385-387.) Let me endorse and again quote one of my favourites: "Of all the senseless babble I have ever had occasion to read, the demonstrations of those philosophers who undertake to tell us all about the nature of God would be the worst, if they were not surpassed by the still greater absurdities of those philosophers who try to prove that there is no God." (Prof. Hux- leys, "Science and Culture," page 241). In con- clusion, I say that if you are going to find truth, whether by the "criterion of reason or research," you must cease equivocating, and not render synonymous the terms theory and fact, Church and Christ, Churchism and Christianity, Dar- win's Agnosticism, and Lewis' Gnocticism.— I am, etc., North Road, Porth. JAMES BAKER.

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