AuthorTopic: THE BIBLE OF 27 BIBLES (1 christian with 2000 errors) 1879 -KERSEY GRAVES  (Read 1801 times)

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THE BIBLE OF BIBLES.

preaching. And Paul sets forth the same doctrine in Rom. xi.
5 when he speaks of a remnant being u saved by the election
of grace.” Here, then, are three roads to heaven, which so
multiply the chances of being saved that but few can be lost.

Such conflicting statements show that confusion and ambiguity
characterize the Bible, and render it impossible to learn any
thing definite from its statements.

Note.—How can Christians believe in the immortality of the soul after reading
Paul’s declaration that “ Grod alone hath life and immortality dwelling in the light”?
If so, then man is not an immortal being (see 1 Tim. vi. 16).

2. Character and Erroneous Doctrines of Peter.

In his practical life St. Peter was a singular and angular
being. He presents us with the opposite extremes of virtue
and vice. He appears to have been about as distinguished for
wickedness as for piety. He told the same falsehood repeat-
edly, and backed it up with an oath (Matt, xxvi.) : hence
ljfing, cursing, and swearing are laid to his charge. And then,
we are told, he was put in possession of the ke3's of the kingdom
of heaven (Matt. xvi. 19). How a man, guilty of such moral
derelictions, could have had a higher honor bestowed upon him
than was ever bestowed upon any other human being, or how
he could have been considered a safe custodian for such an im-
portant charge, it is difficult to see; and then it looks too
much like a bribe for immoral conduct. It weakens the incen-
tives to a virtuous life to reward the criminal, and shows
imperfection in the moral s}’stem which he was allowed to
represent. As for his doctrines, they are characterized by the
same moral and scientific errors and defects as those of St.
Paul, and embrace some of the same doctrines of heathen
mythology.

1.   lie speaks of the earth as “ standing out of the water and
in the water ” (2 Pet. iii. 5). Here is the old Hindoo tradition
which taught that the earth floated on a sea of water, traces of
which are also found in Genesis.

2.   He tells us, also, that the earth has been once destroyed
by water, and in the day of judgment will be destroyed by fire
(2 Pet. iii. G, 7). It has been from time immemorial a very
 CHABACTEB OF PETEB, AND HIS EOCTBINES. 419

prevalent tradition amongst the Oriental nations that the world
had been, and would be again, alternate^ destroyed.by water
and fire. Peter and Josephus also seem to indorse this tradi-
tion.

3.   Peter also indorses and teaches the absurd and unphilo-
sophical doctrine of fore-ordination (1 Pet. i. 20).

4.   He also enjoins “servants to be in subjection to their
masters,” not only the good, but the froward (1 Pet. ii. 18).
This is absolute tyranny. There is to be no resistance to the
bloody lash. The motto of Patrick Hemy is much better, —
“ Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.”

5.   "Wives are to be in subjection to their husbands (1 Pet.
iii. 1). even as Sarah obeyed Abraham (verse 6). There is
nothing said about husbands obeying wives, probably because,
as he says, woman is the weaker vessel (1 Pet. iii. 7). Won-
derful logic ! A sage conclusion for a Christian moralist. He
thus places Christian morality below that of the ancient Druids,
who placed women on a level with men in both Church and
State.

6.   Peter tells us, u Christ bore our sins in his own body on
the tree ” (1 Pet. ii. 24). This is the old Jewish idea of carry-
ing away sins by scapegoats, and the Oriental heathen doctrine
of putting innocent Gods to death as a punishment for the sins
of the people, — a doctrine which posterity will condemn as bar-
barous. (See “ The Sixteen Crucified Saviors,” Chapter xxi.)

7.   Peter says a u dumb ass spoke with man’s voice ” (2 Pet.
ii. 16). He thus indorses the story of Balaam’s ass becoming
endowed with human speech.

8.   Peter, like Paul and Christ, indorses the absurd story of
Noah and the flood (1 Pet. iii. 20).

9.   But space will not permit us to notice all the erroneous
doctrines set forth by Peter. He teaches the doctrine of a gen-
eral judgment (2 Pet. ii. 9)-, the doctrine of election and
reprobation (2 Pet. i. 10), the doctrine of a general conflagra-
tion of all things terrestrial (2 Pet. iii. 12).

10.   But the most remarkable incident in the life of Peter is
his connection with the fate of Ananias and Sapphira. We
find many logical absurdities and moral errors in this story re-
 420

THE BIBLE OF BIBLES.

corded in Acts v. 1. It is very strange that Peter, who denied
his Lord and master three times, and hence was repeatedly
guilty of telling positive falsehoods, should be the chosen in-
strument under Christ’s religion to pronounce sentence of death
upon Ananias and Sapphira for the same sin. 2. Why should
Ananias and Sapphira be punished with death for a crime that
Peter, Abraham, and Isaac were all guilty of several times?
3. Is it not strange that Jehovah should be considered as being
strongly opposed to lying, if he himself, as stated in 1 Kings
xxii., converted four hundred of his prophets into liars, and
then indorsed the lying Peter? 4. Is not the crime of Ananias
and Sapphira — that of attempting to withhold a little money
from the priests by tying — of less magnitude than that of ruin-
ing a whole nation by robbery, as we are told God’s holy people
did? The}’robbed and u spoiled the Egyptians ” (Exod. xii.
36).   5. Is it not probable they needed it more than the

priests did ? The moral law teaches that it is necessity, and not
might, that makes right. 6. Does it not look rather unreason-
able that Sapphira should repeat the same falsehood for which
her husband had just been struck dead, as it must have been
known to her? Who can believe it? 7. And can we suppose
that God would be so partial as to kill a man and woman for
the first offense of tying, and let Abraham, Isaac, and Peter,
and others, escape after committing the sin several times?
These considerations seriously damage the credibility of the
story.

CHAPTER LXIII.

IDOLATROUS VENERATION FOR BIBLES.

“ Should reason, science, and philosophic lore
Against my faith combine,

I’d clasp the Bible to my breast,

Believing still that it’s divine.

Here I am told how Christ hath died
To save my soul from hell:

Not all the books on earth beside
Such heavenly wonders tell.
 IDOLATROUS VENERATION FOR BIBLES.

421

This simple book I’d rather own
Than all the gold and gems
That e’er in monarch’s coffers shone,

Than all their diadems.

Nay, were the seas one chrysolite,

The earth a golden ball,

And diadems the stars of night,

This book were worth them all.”

A Christian writer, in attempting to portray the Protestant
view of the Bible, says, u It is a miraculous collection of mirac-
ulous books. Every word it contains was written by miraculous
inspiration from God, which was so full, complete, and infalli-
ble, that the authors delivered the truth, and nothing but the
truth. The Bible contains no false statements of doctrine or
faith, but sets forth all religious and moral truth which man
needs to know, or which it is possible for him to receive, and not
a particle of error ; and therefore the Bible is the only authorita-
tive rule of faith and practice.” These two pious effusions—one
in prose, the other in poetry— exhibit the views and feelings very
prevalent among the disciples of the Christian faith only a few
centuries ago; and they are cherished yet, to a considerable
extent, by a large portion of Christian professors. This blind,
idolatrous veneration is gradually giving way to the light of
science and general intelligence; and the thick mental gloom
and darkness of superstition out of which they grow is being
dispelled. When the intellectual mind becomes fully devel-
oped and enlightened, the Bible will find its true level, and will
command no more homage than other books. It will be read
and estimated, like other human productions, according to its
real merits. In this enlightened and scientific age, Bible devo-
tees never go to such extreme lengths in pouring fulsome adula-
tions upon the idolized book. They would be laughed at for
their ignorance and superstition if they should attempt it.
But the time has been when every religious nation which pos-
sessed a u Holy Book ” attached extreme sacredness and exalted
holiness to the book and all its contents, and often indulged in
the most extravagant language and the wildest rhapsodies in
their attempts to eulogize and idolize its virtues. In this re-
 422

THE BIBLE OF BIBLES.

spect there was but little difference between Jews, pagans, and
Christians: all idolized their Holy Books. A sacred regard
was shown not onty for the book, but often for every manu-
script, scrap of paper, or text which it contained, or which was
supposed to contain a message or revelation from God. But
few religious nations have existed, even in the remote past, who
have not possessed some kind of Bible or sacred record which
they treated with an enthusiastic veneration bordering on idol-
atry. The Hindoos, the Eg3Tptians, the Persians, the Chinese,
the Mahomedans, and the early Christians were all Bible idola-
ters. The Hindoos, like the Christians, were religiously en-
joined to read and study “the Holy Scriptures;” and the
priests, as those in Christian countries do now, made them a
stud}", and reduced the interpretation of them to an art. And,
like Christians in another respect, they were interdicted from
transcending in knowledge what was taught in their assumed-
to-be divinely illuminated pages. The disciple of the Hindoo
faith was not allowed to become “ wise above what was written ”
in the Yedas (see chapter vi.) ; and the same solemn prohibi-
tion, “ Add not to, or take not from, the word of God,” was
reverently obeyed b}T the devout disciple of the Yedas. The
Mahomedans believe the Koran has been received and trans-
mitted from generation to generation by the direct agency of
God. They claim that it is not only an infallible rule of faith
and practice, but “ God’s last will and testament to man,” and
that it is designed by God for the whole human family; and
the}r pray and hope for its universal extension and adoption.
One pious Mussulman (Sadak), on being asked whjr the Koran
appeared to be newer cveiy time it was read, replied, “ Because
God did not reveal it for any particular age or nation, but for
all mankind down to the Judgment Da}r.” Mahomedans tell
us that, “ such is the innate efficacy of the Koran, it removes
all pains of bodjT and all sorrows of mind. It annihilates what
is wrong in carnal desires, delivers us from the temptations of
Satan and from fears. It removes all doubts raised by satanic
influences, sanctifies the heart, imparts health to the soul, and
produces union with the Lord of holiness.” With the ancient
Persians the great test and touchstone of all faith and all
 IDOLATROUS VENERATION FOR BIBLES.

423

moral action was their “ Holy Word of God.” To know
whether a thing was right or wrong, they had only to inquire,
“ Is it taught, or is it forbidden, by the Zenda Avesta? ” The
Persians, like the Jews, had four days set apart in each month
for religious festivals, on which occasions, Mr. Hyde informs
us, “ they met in their temples, and read portions of their Holy
Books, and preached and inculcated morality and virtue ”
(chap, xxxviii. p. 352). But Bible exaltation and adoration ran
much higher than is here indicated in some countries. They
were not only believed to be “words ” or “ the word of God,”
but to have a portion of the spirit of God impressed into every
chapter, every verse, and every word ; and hence the}' received
a portion of that veneration and adoration usually ascribed to
Deity. And here we find both Jews and Christians have been
strict imitators of the heathen in the practical exhibition of this
species of book idolatry. We are told that the ancient Bud-
hists ascribed inherent sacredness and supernatural power to
the identical Sanscrit word of their scriptures. Hence it was
considered sacrilegious to make any alteration in the arrangement
of those words; and, for fear some alteration of this kind
might be made, they objected to the missionaries translating
“the Holy Book” into the English language. Mr. Hyde in-
forms us, they not only read their Bible in their temples, but at
their festivals and in their families; and, like the Jews and
primitive Christians and the Mahomedans, they carried them
in their travels, and slept with the Holy Book under their pil-
lows. Nearly all Bibles in that age were treated with this kind
of veneration. Brahmins, Persians, Jews, Mahomedans, and
Christians, in their earlier history, were in the habit of attaching
texts or detached portions of scripture to their clothes, or insert-
ing them into their hats or shoes, — an act prompted by the
belief that the}' would impart some supernatural charm; and
the Persians, Hindoos, and Mahomedans have been seen cov-
ered from head to foot with scripture texts. In the days of
St. Justin and St. Jerome such scenes were often witnessed
among Christians also. Even the handling of the Bible was
believed to impart a supernatural or miraculous power, mani-
fested in the cure of diseases, driving away devils, &c. Sev-
 424

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THE BIBLE OF BIBLES.

eral Bibles were thus deified. In some nations they were kept
under lock and key, or cloistered in a golden box, to prevent
unsanctified hands from opening them. The notion was preva-
lent with the devotees of several Bibles, that they should be
read differently, if not held differently, from other books.
Kissing the “ Holy Book” was also prevalent among the Hin-
doos, Mahomedans, and early Christians,—indeed, in nearly
all religious countries. Bible worship knew no bounds in the
days of ignorance and superstition, when people had more piety
than philosophy. Believing that the spirit of God permeated
their Bibles, nearly all the blessings of life were ascribed to their
influence. Such a belief, fostered from age to age, and trans-
mitted from parent to child, could but operate to blind the judg-
ment of all Bible believers so as to disqualify^ them for detecting
defects or perceiving their errors, though they may abound on
every page. And these Bibles have been read by millions
of their disciples with a kind of solemn awe or holy fervor,
which not only wholly incapacitates the mind for perceiving
its errors, but shuts out the possibility of a doubt of its truth.
Indeed, they glory in assuming it to be “ a perfect embodiment
of divine truth,” u without the shadow of a shade of error from
Genesis to Revelation,” to use the language of Dr. Cheviot with
respect to the Christian Bible. The reasoning faculties are put
to sleep, and the intellect bound fast in chains, before “ God’s
Holy Book ’ ’ is opened; and if the reasoning faculties should
by chance arouse, and rebel against such tyTannj’, and try to
assert their rights by permitting a doubt to spring up in the
mind that some statement or text is not true, the Bible devotee
becomes alarmed, and exclaims, with trembling fear, “ Lord, I
believe : help thou mine unbelief.” In this state of fearful and
prayerful mental strife against reason, doubt, and disbelief, he
again sinks into the “darkness of devotion,” determined still
longer to hug his canonized and idolized book to his bosom with
all its errors and immoralities. This has been virtually the
experience of thousands of Bible believers, to a greater or less
extent, in all ages and all countries in possession of “Holy
Books.” In this way Bibles have been an obstacle to the
progress of mind and the progress of society. An unchangea-
 SPIRITUAL OR IMPLIED SENSE OF BIBLES.   425

'   ble and infallible book must inevitably cramp the mind, and hold

it in chains. Hence a Bible-believing community can make no
progress in morals, science, or civilization, only so far as they
violate their own principles by transcending its teachings.
Society would remain for ever in an ignorant, uncultured state,
were there not some minds in it possessing a sufficient amount
of intellect to outgrow their Bibles ; and, but for the publication
and perusal of other books, society would make but little
progress. A mind which is religiously and conscientiously
bound to believe in a Bible is bound to all its errors and all its
ignorance, and hence can make no progress while it adheres
rigidly to its own principles or its own scruples; but, thanks
to the progressive genius of the age, the “Holy Books” which
j   embody the moral and religious errors of the past are nearly

i   outgrown, so that they are seldom read now even by their

professed admirers. People are assuming the liberty of becom-
i   ing “wise above what is written” in “God’s Holy Book.”

!   Even Christians themselves often assume this liberty: other-

|   wise we should have a community characterized by ignorance

{   and superstition; and our writers would be as liable to stum-

|   ble into errors and contradictions as the Bible writers when

the}T penned “God’s perfect revelation.” It requires the
acquisition of but little knowledge and intelligence to become
“ wise above that which was written” in that illiterate and ig-
norant age.

The practice seems to have been very early conceived and
adopted in various countries by the disciples of different Bibles,
which have been long extant in the world, of attaching to all
the offensive texts of their sacred books (which, when taken
literally, convey either a vulgar, immoral, or foolish sense)
a new and more acceptable meaning than earlier custom had

CHAPTER LXIV.

SPIRITUAL OR IMPLIED SENSE OE BIBLES.

I
 426

THE BIBLE OF BIBLES.

sanctioned, or more devout minds had ever thought of. As the
growing intelligence of the people was constantly disclosing
long-unnoticed and important errors in the Holy Book, this ex-
pedient was adopted to cover them up, or put them out of sight.
As Jesus, if not Paul, by virtue of the growth of the moral and
intellectual perceptions, was able to distinguish some errors
and moral defects in the first installment of Bible revelation as
found in the Jewish Old Testament, so the people in every
age since, in those countries where any cultivation has been
bestowed upon the mind, have been capable of bringing to light
numerous errors incorporated into the sacred books of past
ages ; and as some of those books called Bibles were claimed
by their disciples to be perfect, divinely inspired, and infallible,
and consequently free from error, some expedient had to be
devised to sustain this claim, and show that the man of science
was guilty of falsehood when he charged u God’s Holy Book ”
with containing errors. The expedient finally adopted was to
take the long-established signification of the words of the text
out, and put in a new meaning, coined by the prolific brain of
the devout defender of the Book for the occasion; and this new
sense was called “the spiritual sense.” It was presumed it
would be more acceptable to the intelligent minds of the age.
In this wa}", whenever a new scientific discovery has been an-
nounced, demonstrating some of the statements of the venerated
volume to be erroneous, the clerg}” have set themselves to work
with their clerical force-pumps to extract the meaning which
our standard dictionaries assign to the words of every text that
seemed to conflict with the newly discovered scientific truth,
and ingraft into it a new meaning of their own invention. This
practice finalty became, and has long been, an established prac-
tice and art in nearly every country where a Bible has been
known, whether Jewish, Pagan, or Christian. In fact, no
nation having a Bible has omitted to practice it.

No matter how vulgar, how disgusting, or how shocking to
the bettor feelings, or how immoral the literal reading of the
text, a hundred ways could be found to get rid of its offensive
signification ; a hundred spiritual interpretations could be thrust
under its verbal coverings. The most senseless, the most in-
 SPIRITUAL OR IMPLIED SENSE OF BIBLES. 427

decorous, and the most demoralizing verbiage could thus be
made to pass for great “spiritual truths.” The pagans and
the Jews practiced this art laboriously and extensively; and
the disciples of the Christian faith, in all ages of the Church,
have been their strict imitators. That it is a very ancient heathen
custom is evident from the declaration of “The Nineteenth
Century,” which quotes Plutarch as saying, “The spiritual or
allegorical mode of interpreting words and language was applied
to the poems of Orpheus, the Egyptian writers, and the Phry-
gian traditions ” (p. 337). Grote tells us that the plain and
literal meaning would not have been listened to, as it did not
suit the mental demands of the people. (See Grote’s “History
of Greece.”) He assigns this mode of interpreting sacred
books to ancient Egypt; and Mr. Wilson says the Christians
caught the passion for spiritualizing and allegorizing their Bible
at an early date, and of converting them on all occasions into
spiritual mysteries, from the later Platonists, the example of
Philo, and the Jewish rabbis. “ The Mahomedans,” Mr. Kant
informs us, “ gave a spiritual sense to the sensual descriptions
of their paradise,” and thus the Hindoos also interpreted their
Vedas. “The Mahomedans,” says another writer, “indulge
in glowing allegories concerning love and intoxication, which,
like some of the Hindoo devotional writings, seem sensual to
those who perceive only the external sense, while the initiated
find in them an interior meaning.” The Greeks and Romans,
according to the testimony of Mr. Kant, explained away some
of the silliest legends of their polytheism by spiritualizing
them, or giving them a mystical sense. Speaking in general
terms, Mr. Taylor says, “ An allegorical sense was the apology
offered for the manifest absurdities of paganism.” The Roman
Julian once remarked, that the poetic stories concerning the
Gods, though regarded as fables, he supposed contained a
spiritual treasury. Kant declares, in like manner, that the
ancient pagans “gave a mystical sense to the man}’ vicious
actions of their Gods, and to the wildest dreams of their poets,
in order to bring the popular faith into agreement with their
doctrines of morality;” that is, they resorted to a spiritual
interpretation in order to save them from being condemned as
 428

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THE BIBLE OF BIBLES.

popular intelligence advanced. “All the learned ancients,”
says Mr. Higgins, “gave their sacred writings two meanings,—
one literal, and the other spiritual.” Philo confessed that the
literal sense of the Old Testament is 4 4 shocking :9 9 hence 4 4 a
divine science, believed by intuition, is necessary to penetrate
the hidden meaning.” The Essenes declared, the literal sense
of their scriptures was devoid of all power. Origen, finding
Moses’ writings replete with error and immoralit}", got rid of
the difficulty by declaring, 44 It is all allegory.” He makes the
remarkable confession, that44 there were some things inserted in
the Bible as history which were never transacted : ’ ’ hence he
concludes they must be interpreted spiritually, or set down as
false. And St. Hillary declares, 44 There are man}7 historical
passages in the New Testament, which, if taken literally, are
contrary to sense and reason ; and therefore there is a necessity
for a mystical interpretation.” Not that we have any evidence
that such an interpretation was ever thought of by the writer;
but this new and forced interpretation is the onl}T alternative to
save the credit of the Book. Any senseless expedient or sub-
terfuge that could be invented was dragged in, rather than admit
the Holy Book contained errors ; for this would prove it to be
the work of man, and not of God. This has been the policy
from time immemorial of the votaries of all sacred books.
Origen — after declaring, 44 There is no literal truth in the story
of Christ driving out the money-changers ” — asserts that it is an
allegoiy, indicating that we are to cast out our evil propensities.
He says the early Christians seldom used the literal sense of the
scriptures, because it taught something objectionable ; and, ever
since the inauguration of this mode for concealing the errors and
defective moral teachings of the Bible, all kinds of ridiculous
interpretations of scripture have been resorted to ly orthodox
writers to make it teach what each one desired. Since they
arrogated to themselves the liberty to depart from the literal
meaning of the text, hundreds of meanings have been ingrafted
upon the same text by as many writers and readers; thus
launching all scripture import upon the quicksands of uncer-
tainty. The Rev. Mr. McNaught of England points to one
text in Galatians — on which, he says, two hundred and forty
 SPIRITUAL OR IMPLIED SENSE OF BIBLES. 429

meanings have been saddled by different Bible interpreters — as
a specimen of this land of license, that is, two hundred and
forty guesses at the meaning: thus making Bible interpretation,
and the s}'stem of salvation founded on it, an entire system of
guess-ivork ; and I would suggest, that, if we have thus to guess
our way to heaven, we can do so as well without the Bible as
with it. A God who is so ignorant of human language as to
give forth a revelation to the world couched in such unintelli-
gible and ambiguous terms that no two people can understand
it alike, it seems to us, should not have attempted it. All will
be chaos and confusion and wild guess-work with respect to
the meaning of a large portion of the Bible, while its readers
are allowed to depart from the established meaning of words as
defined by our dictionaries, and fabricate new meanings of their
own. As for example: St. Andrew tells us, that, when Christ
spoke of removing mountains, he meant the Devil; and, when
he spoke of selling two sparrows for a farthing, Bishop Hillary
says he meant “ sinners selling themselves to the Devil.” The
red heifer offered by Moses on the day of Pentecost was “ spir-
itualty Jesus Christ; ” thus identifying Gods with beasts. The
wool and hyssop used for sprinkling the-people, we are told,
means spiritualty, “ the cross of Christ.” Christ’s injunction
to hate father, mother, brother, and sister, &c., we are told,
means that we must love them; and many similar examples
of manufacturing new meanings for obnoxious texts might be
cited.

Now, we ask, of what practical value can the Bible be, when
there is no certain clew to its meaning, or when any of its read-
ers, on finding a word or text whose literal signification does not
suit their religious fancy, can assume the liberty to renounce
the dictionary, ignore the common and established acceptation
of words, and fabricate a new meaning contrary to, and in di-
rect conflict with, the common signification? To get rid of some
obvious error in the text, they bestow upon it an}' kind of fan-
ciful, and sometimes ridiculous, signification their imagination
can invent, and then insist with a godly zeal that it is the in-
tended meaning of the writer. If such lawless license in the
use of words is to be tolerated, as Bible believers are in the
 430

THE BIBLE OF BIBLES.

habit of assuming, in order to make it teach something which
they devoutly desire it should teach, then all rules with respect
to the employment of language and the use of words are at an
end: our dictionaries may be banished from the schoolroom.
We will no longer have use for them if words are no longer
the symbols of ideas, which must be the case if people are
allowed to attach any signification to them they please, or as-
sign them a meaning at variance with common custom; and a
person can learn as much by casting his eyes over the blank
pages of the book as by tracing its printed lines. And the art
and labor of printing, so far as he is concerned, is superseded;
for, as he fabricates his own meaning, this can be done as well
without type as with it. Mr. Ernstein, in his u Principles of
Biblical Interpretation” (p. 37), affirms that ua proposition
ma}r be strictty true which is not contained in the words of the
text; ” which is tantamount to saying, “ The meaning exists in-
dependent of the text, and is to be found outside of it:” so
the text is not needed, and is of no practical use ; for the sen-
timent of the text can be traced as well on the blank page.
The unwarrantable license which Bible adherents assume of
ingrafting new meanings into the words of a text when its
literal reading shocks their moral sense by its immodesty, its
falsity, or its puerility, would not be tolerated with respect to
an}T other book ; and, if it is just and warrantable in this case,
wh}r not adopt it for interpreting the pagan Bibles, and thus
spiritualize them into truth and harmony ? It would take every
objectionable statement out of them, and make them pure, un-
mixed truth. With this kind of license a book can be made to
teach any thing desired. Grant me the liberty that Christians
assume in deviating from the established use of language, and
coining a new meaning for words, and I will take all the infidel-
ity out of 44 Tom Paine’s writings,” and make them chime with
the smoothest and soundest orthodoxy.

It should be borne in mind that the custom of spiritualizing
the apparently immoral and obscene portions of the Bible is
something the common people know nothing about, but suppose
that Bible writers, in all cases, mean just what they say. Hence
it is evident the practice has been attended with no practical
 SPIRITUAL OR IMPLIED SENSE OF BIBLES.   431

benefit to society; and Infinite Wisdom should have foreseen
(and would if it had been his production) that the use of such
language would have a demoralizing effect upon the world, and
consequentty would have made use of better language. Bishop
Holbrook says that the notion of an inner sense to the Bible is
a mere creation of fancy, and will take the errors out of airy
book. And, as different writers differ in their mode of spirit-
ualizing the Bible, it proves it is a mere invention and forced
expedient to save the credit of the Book. The resort to a
spiritual sense for the Bible was simply an attempt to conceal
its bad sense,—its nonsense, its vulgarity, its immoral teach-
ings, and its numerous contradictions, which scientific and pro-
gressive minds are constantly bringing to light. But it is as
illusory and ineffectual as the ostrich hiding its head in the
sand to evade its pursuers. In both cases the danger is blinked
out of sight, but not removed.

Any sense of a text not clearly expressed or unequivocally
indicated by the language, we claim, is a slander and a deroga-
tion upon Infinite Wisdom, as it assumes he was too ignorant
of language to be able to say what he meant, thus placing him
lower in the scale of intelligence than a common schoolbo}^; and
assumes his priesthood are infinitely wiser, as they are able to
reveal his u Holy Book ” all over again, and thus make the nu-
merous blunders of Infinite Wisdom plain and intelligible to
common sense and the poorest understanding.

I can not conclude this chapter without bestowing my thanks
upon Emanuel Swedenborg for the service he has rendered the
cause of truth and theological reform by an improved system
of theology he has made out of the Bible, or rather out of his
own brain. Being a man of unusual intellect and moral aspira-
tions, and a man of considerable literary attainments, he could
not brook the absurd system of theology taught in the pulpits,
professedly drawn from the Bible. . And whether his system is
more conformable to the teachings of “ the Holy Book’’ is a
matter of no importance. It is in many respects a rational
and beautiful system, and is thus far very acceptable, and must
be very beneficial as a substitute for the irrational, and in some
respects immoral, system taught by the orthodox churches;
 432

THE BIBLE OF BIBLES.

and, were it universally adopted by Christian professors, it
would be a great improvement on the popular system, and a
step toward the attainment of a true and perfect system.

CHAPTER LXY.

WHAT SHALL WE SUBSTITUTE EOR THE BIBLE?

The disbelievers in Christianity in all past time, when object-
ing to it as being fraught with too many moral defects to consti-
tute a basis or guide for the religious opinions and moral actions
of men in an age more free from superstition, and much farther
advanced in a knowledge of the true science of morals and the
general principles of philosophy, have been met with the reply,
u Show us a better system before you pull down Christianity
and throw aside the Bible. Let us know what you are going to
substitute in their place.” Very well, good friend, we will
meet }Tour objection, and hope we can remove the difficulty.
We think that either of the following answers should prove
satisfactory, and, all taken together, more than satisfactory : —

1.   We do not propose or desire to destroy or supersede any
valuable truth, precept, principle, or doctrine taught in the
Bible, or to set aside an}T thing that can in any way prove to be
practicalty useful. We only propose to sift out the errors from
the truth, rejecting the former and retaining the latter, and to
employ as many of the old timbers in constructing the new
superstructure as are not rotten or otherwise defective.

2.   Truth can not be u pulled down” or destroyed, as it pos-
sesses an omnipotency of principle that is indestructible. Like
gold in the refiner’s crucible, it shines the brighter for every
effort to destroy it.

3.   It must be presumed, therefore, that whatever portion of
your religion is susceptible of destruction is false, and should
he destroyed.

4.   It is the nature of truth to spring up voluntarily the mo-
ment error is removed, as naturally as air or water rushes in to
 RELIGIOUS RECONSTRUCTION.

433

fill a vacuum. The instant the clouds are rifted, the sun darts
down its vivifying rays upon the earth. You want no substi-
tute for weeds when exterminated from your garden. When
eradicated, those plants which are more useful and beautiful, and
which they have been choking and repressing the growth of,
will then assume a more healthy appearance. You ask no sub-
stitute for sickness or disease, but desire it removed that you
may again enjoy the blessings of health. Moral health will
likewise ensue by the removal of noxious weeds from the mind.

And, finally, you can find a complete answer to this objection
in your own Bible : “ Cease to do evil, and (then) learn to do
well; ” that is, the moment you discover an error in your faith or
practice, abandon it, and you will soon “ learn ” what its proper
substitute is. Truth is always at hand as a substitute for error.
We may assume, then, that, if any of the erroneous doctrines
now propagated were abandoned, they would find their own
substitute immediately, as sickness finds its substitute in health.
But we will not leave the pious Christian in this negative condi-
tion, but will furnish him with a “ substitute ” which holds out
much better hopes and promises than he has anchored in his
idolized system, whether those hopes appertain to a virtuous and
happy life here, or to an ever-blessed eternity beyond the con-
fines of time. That substitute will be found fully explained in
Chapter XIV., under the head of “ The Infidel’s Bible.” Or,
if he desires a system in fuller detail, and one possessing great
beauty, let him examine the principles of “The Harmonial
Philosophy.”

CHAPTER LXVI.

RELIGIOUS RECONSTRUCTION; OR, TIE MORAL NECES-
SITY EOR A SCIENTIFIC BASIS FOR RELIGION.

A philosophical analysis of the human mind, viewed in con-
nection with the practical history of man from the early morn-
ing of his existence, fully demonstrates it as an important truth,
that individual happiness and the moral welfare of society de-
 434

THE BIBLE OF BIBLES.

pend essentially upon the uniform action and harmonious co-
operation of all the mental faculties; and that, on the other
hand, their individually excessive and inharmonious action con-
stitutes the primary source of nearly all the crime, miser}-, and
discord of society. And it may be well to note here, as another
important preliminary truth, that the progressive development
of the science of mental philosophy has settled the division of
the mental faculties into the following classification: viz.,

1.   The animal, which imparts energy and impulsive strength to
the whole character, mental and ph}Tsical. 2. The social, which
is the source of famil}r ties and the social and co-operative insti-
tutions of societ}^. 3. The moral, which makes us regardful
of the happiness and welfare of other beings than ourselves.
4. The intellectual, which is the great pilot-chamber or light-
house of the whole mind; though it is but recentty that dis-
coveries in mental philosophy have fully disclosed this as being
its natural and legitimate office. It has thus demonstrated it to
be the most important department of the mind. Its position in
the cerebrum — occupying, as it does, the superior frontal lobe
of the brain — might, however, have suggested this. Now this
is no fanciful delineation, no mere ideal mapping of the mind, but
has been demonstrated thousands of times, since the discoveries
of Gall, to be the true condition and classified analysis of the
mental faculties. The religious faculties constituting that de-
partment of the mind which often controls our actions and
conduct toward others, and being situated at the apex of the
brain,—the point where the most intensified feelings and im-
pulses are supposed to concentrate their misdirection or ab-
normal exercise, is consequently attended with more direful
consequences to societ}' than that of an}T other portion of the
mind. All history demonstrates this as a tragical fact; for
religion, more especially, is always born blind. This being a
tenable fact, and the religious faculties being awakened to ac-
tion at an early period of human societ}’, — before the intellectual
chambers of the mind were lighted up by the illuminating rays of
science, or supplied by a philosophical education and a thorough
and untrammeled stud}’ of nature's laws,—their natural inten-
sity of feeling, thus uncurbed and unenlightened, drove their
 RELIGIOUS RECONSTRUCTION.

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435

nonest but dark-minded possessors into the most senseless and
childish superstitions, the most absurd doctrines, the most re-
lentless intolerance of belief, and the most bloody and murder-
ous persecutions; thus proving that conscience unenlightened
is a very unsafe and a very dangerous moral and religious
guide. The popular Christian proverb, that “man can not be
too religious,” comprehends a very fatal error in moral ethics:
for the man who possesses more religion than intellect, or more
devotional piety than intellectual cultivation and philosophical
enlightenment, is sometimes a more dangerous man to society
than the highway robber or the midnight assassin; because,
always finding many accomplices to aid him in his direful deeds
of blood}" persecutions, and frequently being able, also, to in-
voke the strong arm of the law, his work of defamation and
spoliation, if not of open persecution and bloodshed, is wider
spread than that of the burglar or the stealthy assassin.

A review of history shows us : 1. That, up to the installation
of the era of science, which dates back less than three centuries
ago, the world—that is, the Christian world — was literally a vast
prison-house of chains, and a theater of butcher}" and blood, —the
result of a practical effort of men, devoutly pious, to “ promote
the glory of God,” and the establishment of a supposed-to-be-
true religion. 2. The perpetrators of those tragical deeds upon
men and women were, many of them, as religiously honest and
conscientious “ as ever breathed the breath of life; ” and they
verily believed they were doing God sendee in thus punishing
and exterminating dissenters and heretics. The very fact that
some of these pious persecutors perished themselves at the fiery
stake in the conscientious and unflinching maintenance of their
principles, shouting “ Hallelujah ” while the burning fagots con-
sumed their bodies, leaves no possible ground for doubt that
a deep religious conviction had actuated them in the work of
persecuting and punishing the enemies of their religion, and in
attempting to convert the world to its “ saving truth” by the
sword. Much is said about “ conscience,” “ the internal mon-
itor,” “ the still, small voice,” &c., as a guide for man’s moral
actions; but, if experience and history ever proved or can prove
any thing, they demonstrate most conclusively that conscience,
 436

THE BIBLE OF BIBLES.

unenlightened by the intellectual department of the mind, or a
conscience grown up amid the weeds of scientific ignorance, is
as dangerous a pilot upon the moral ocean as the helmsman of
a ship, in midnight darkness, surrounded by dangerous shoals
and resistless whirlpools. Conscience without science or phil-
osophy is a lamp without oil, which consequently*, being without
light, is more likely to lead us astray than to guide us to the
temple of truth. Science is the pilot-lamp by which we discern
our way on the pilgrim-voyage of life; while religion is the
feeling, the motive-power, which impels us onward. Hence the
latter should at all times be subservient to the former, and
should be checked and restrained from spontaneous develop-
ment and exercise until the former is duly installed upon the
mental throne as ruler of the moral empire. It is as dangerous
to cultivate and stimulate the religious feelings, until the fires
of science or practical philosophy have been kindled up in the
intellectual chambers to furnish the light necessaiy to guide them
in their impulsive course, as it would be to steam up the boilers
of a boat when approaching a precipice in the night, with the
pilot asleep upon his hammock, and all the lights extinguished
in his chamber. Neither religion nor conscience possesses pri-
mordialty any light of its own. Both are born blind; and all
the light they ever possess is by reflection from the intellectual
light-house. Prolific, indeed, of the proof of this statement,
are human nature, human experience, and universal history.
Let the polic}r, then, be, in all cases, to cultivate science before
religion. The intellectual mind, we repeat, should be thorough-
ly cultivated and enlightened before the religious feelings are
called into action.

Query. Reader, what do you now think of Dr. Cheviot’s
statement, “ The Bible does not contain the shadow of a shade
of error from Genesis to Revelation
 CONCLUSION.

437

CONCLUSION.

SEVERAL IMPORTANT POINTS.

1.   As this work was announced several }7ears ago, it seems
proper to explain the causes of the long delay in its pub-
lication. Want of health for completing it, and want of means
for publishing it, furnish the true explanation. But by the prac-
tical application of a remedy constituting a new and extraordi-
nary discovery in the healing art, the author’s health has so far
improved as to enable him to resume the work, and re-write
nearly the whole of it in a few weeks time. The work advei-
tised embraced but forty pages. The present volume comprises
nearly eleven times that number of pages, and includes only
two chapters of the original, except the small portion which has
been re-written.

2.   While u The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors ” was de-
signed principally to trace the doctrines, traditions, and miracu-
lous events of the Christian Bible to their primary pagan or
Oriental origin, the main object of u The Bible of Bibles ” is to
expose their logical absurdity, and the evils resulting from their
propagation and practical application.

3.   The objection is frequently raised in this work against
placing the Bible in the hands of children, and also in posses-
sion of the heathen. This would, of course, keep it out of our
common schools; and the author rejoices in knowing, that,
although the Bible was used as a regular school-book in his
youthful da}Ts, it has been banished as a text-book from nearly
every schoolroom throughout the country. This denotes prog-
ress.

4.   Christian professors regard it as a sufficient refutation of
all the arguments and facts designed to prove and demonstrate
the immoral influence of the Bible upon society, to assert that
 438

THE BIBLE OF BIBLES.

Christian countries are superior in morals to those not in posses-
sion of their Bible. But many facts cited in this work tend to
prove, that, if the assumption were correct, it could not with any
show of reason or sense be attributed to the influence of the
Bible. It is clearly, if not self-evidently, impossible that such
* moral or immoral lessons as are derived from the history of such
characters as the father and founder of the Jewish nation (Abra-
ham), who is represented as living up to all the commands, all
the statutes, and all the laws of God (see Gen. xxvi. 5), while
practicing the abominable crimes of treachery, deceit, falsehood,
incest or adulteiy, and potygam}", &c, — I say it is moralty impos-
sible for such examples and such lessons to exert other than a
demoralizing influence upon society; or that of David, pro-
nounced u the man after God's own heart,” while practicing a
long catalogue of the most shocking crimes (see chap. xxx).
Such cases blasphemously represent God as sanctioning the
most atrocious crimes and the most revolting deeds, which is a
virtual licence to the whole human race to practice them. If a
book containing such lessons does not exert an immoral influence
upon society, then human language, when employed in writing
Bibles, fails to make its ordinary impression upon the mind.
But we will here cite three cogent and incontrovertible historical
facts, which will settle the matter at once and for ever, bj^ proving
the truth of our oft-repeated proposition, that the Christian Bible,
notwithstanding the apparent improvement in morals of most
Christian countries in modern times, has, on the whole, tended
to demoralize every nation where it has been generally read, be-
lieved, and practiced. First, look at the moral condition of the
whole Christian world during the period known as u the Dark
Ages,” and 3011 will see the proof in overwhelming torrents.
During that long night of moral darkness and human depravity,
which lasted nearly a thousand years, all Christendom was reek-
ing with moral corruption, and practicing the most abominable
crimes. Ljdng, deceit, hypocrisy, moral treason, licentious-
ness, adultery, fornication, lighting, and drunkenness were the
order of the day among all classes, including the clerg}r and the
deacons, simply because the light of science had not reached
them, and the Bible was their sole guide in morals and religion.
 CONCLUSION.

439

This state of things continued until the introduction of Greek
literature dispelled the thick clouds of mental darkness, and ar-
rested the swift tide of moral corruption. Second, the Greeks
without our Bible were both morally and intellectually superior
to any Christian nation. Third, “ the Dark Ages ” were brought
to a close by the introduction of Greek learning and Greek mor-
als into Christian nations. This dates their first tendency to
rise out of the sloughs of heathen barbarism, and their first ap-
pearance of moral improvement. And thus the proposition is
proved and demonstrated by the facts of history that the Bible
continued to demoralize society till its influence was arrested by
the dawn of moral and physical science. In no nation has there
been an}’ marked improvement in morals with the use of the
Bible alone.

5.   It will doubtless be regarded as an extraordinary circum-
stance that so many thousand biblical errors as are disclosed in
this work should have passed from age to age unnoticed by the
millions of disciples of the Christian faith, and more especially
the startling fact that all the cardinal doctrines of the Christian
religion are founded in error. But it should be borne in mind
that it was regarded and taught as a religious duty to suppress
and conceal all such errors, and absolutely wicked, sinful, and
dangerous to admit the possibility that the Holy Book can con-
tain errors. And this negative policy alone was sufficient to
keep them concealed and out of sight.

6.   It is stated in chapter thirty that none of the Old Testa-
ment writers teach the doctrine of immortality or the doctrine of
future rewards and punishments. The proof and a full elucida-
tion of this subject will be found in u The Biography of Satan.”

7.   It is stated in chapter fifty-five that all human language
is more or less ambiguous and uncertain, and in chapter fifty-two
that skillful linguists of this age can construct language whose
meaning can not be misunderstood ; and hence God should
have been able to do so when the Bible was written. The first
statement refers to language as ordinarily used when the Bible
was written, and especially the imperfect Hebrew of the Bible.
The last statement implies that with the modern improvements
language can be so employed as to leave no doubt of its mean-
ing in any case. Both statements, then, are correct.
 440

THE BIBLE OF BIBLES.

8.   The author, in abridging citations from history and the
Bible, has in some cases deviated from custom in using quota-
tion-marks. This is especially true of chapter twenty-two (on
Bible contradictions).

9.   It is believed that no errors of any importance can be
found in this work, unless some mistakes have been committed
in making scriptural references.

10.   £@r”Each reader of this work is desired to examine care-
fully and critically the author’s exposition of “ The Twelve Car-
dinal Doctrines of the Christian Faith,” and report to him his
views .of that exposition. Those twelve leading doctrines are
embraced in the twelve chapters commencing at chapter 38 (on
revelation) and ending at chapter 44 (on a personal God).
 THE 'WORLD’S

SIXTEEN CRUCIFIED SAVIORS;

Or, Christianity Before Christ.

CONTAINING

New, Startling, and Extraordinary Revelations in Religious History
which disclose the Oriental origin of all the Doctrines, Principles,
Precepts and Miracles of the Christian New Testament, and
furnishing a hey for unloching many of its Sacred
Mysteries, besides comprising the History of
Sixteen Oriental Crucified Gods, etc,, etc,

BY KERSEY GRAVES,

Author of “The Biography of Satan,” and “The Bible of Bibles; or, Twenty-
Seven ‘Divine Revelations.* ”

This wonderful and exhaustive volume by Mr. Graves will, we are certain, take
high rank as a book of reference in the field which he has chosen for it. The
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 THE

Biography of Satan:

OR,

A HISTORICAL EXPOSITION

OF

THE DEVIL AND HIS FIERY DOMINION.

BY   IT GRAVES,

Author of “The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors,” “The Bible of Bibles; or,
Twenty-Seven ‘ Divine Revelations,* ” etc.

This work discloses the Oriental origin of the belief in a Devil and Future
Endless Punishment. Also, the Pagan origin of the Scriptural terms, Bottomless
Pit, Lake of Fire and Brimstone, Keys of Hell, Chains of Darkness, Casting out
Devils, Everlasting Punishment, The Worm that Never Dieth, etc., all explained.

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