"But," says the believer, again, as a last resort, "Jesus, whether real or mythical, has certainly saved the world, and is its only hope." If this assertion can be supported with facts, then surely it would matter very little whether Jesus really lived and taught, or whether he is a mere picture. Although even then it would be more truthful to say we have no satisfactory evidence that such a teacher as Jesus ever lived, than to affirm dogmatically his existence, as it is now done. Whatever Jesus may have done for the world, he has certainly not freed us from the obligation of telling the truth. I call special attention to this point. Because Jesus has saved the world, granting for the moment that he has, is no reason why we should be indifferent to the truth. Nay, it would show that Jesus has not saved the world, if we can go on and speak of him as an actual existence, born of a virgin and risen from the dead, and in his name persecute one another--oppose the advance of science, deny freedom of thought, terrorize children and women with pictures of hell-fire and seek to establish a spiritual monopoly in the world, when the evidence in hand seems clearly to indicate that such a person never existed. We shall quote a chapter from Christian history to give our readers an idea of how much the religion of Jesus, when implicitly believed in, can do for the world. We have gone to the earliest centuries for our examples of the influence exerted by Christianity upon the ambitions and passions of human nature, because it is generally supposed that Christianity was then at its best. Let us, then, present a picture of the world, strictly speaking, of the Roman Empire, during the first four or five hundred years after its conversion to Christianity. We select this specific period, because Christianity was at this time fifteen hundred years nearer to its source, and was more virile and aggressive than it has ever been since. Shakespeare speaks of the uses of adversity; but the uses of prosperity are even greater. The proverb says that "adversity tries a man." While there is considerable truth in this, the fact is that prosperity is a much surer criterion of character. It is impossible to tell, for instance, what a man will do who has neither the power nor the opportunity to do anything. "Opportunity," says a French writer, "is the cleverest devil." Both our good and bad qualities wait upon opportunity to show themselves. It is quite easy to be virtuous when the opportunity to do evil is lacking. Behind the prison bars, every criminal is a penitent, but the credit belongs to the iron bars and not to the criminal. To be good when one cannot be bad, is an indifferent virtue. It is with institutions and religions as with individuals--they should be judged not by what they pretend in their weakness, but by what they do when they are strong. Christianity, Mohammedanism and Judaism, the three kindred religions--we call them kindred because they are related in blood and are the offspring of the same soil and climate--these three kindred religions must be interpreted not by what they profess today, but by what they did when they had both the power and the opportunity to do as they wished. When Christianity, or Mohammedanism, was professed only by a small handful of men--twelve fishermen, or a dozen camel-drivers of the desert--neither party advocated persecution. The worst punishment which either religion held out was a distant and a future punishment; but as soon as Christianity converted an Emperor, or Mohammed became the victorious warrior,--that is to say, as soon as, springing forth, they picked up the sword and felt their grip sure upon its hilt, this future and distant punishment materialized into a present and persistent persecution of their opponents. Is not that suggestive? Then, again, when in the course of human evolution, both Christianity and Mohammedanism lost the secular support--the throne, the favor of the courts, the imperial treasury--they fell back once more upon future penalties as the sole menace against an unbelieving world. As religion grows, secularly speaking, weaker, and is more completely divorced from the temporal, even the future penalties, from being both literal and frightful, pale into harmless figures of speech. It was but a short time after the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, that the following edict was published throughout the provinces of the Roman Empire: "O ye enemies of truth, authors and counsellors of death--we enact by this law that none of you dare hereafter to meet at your conventicles...nor keep any meetings either in public buildings or private houses. We have commanded that all your places of meeting--your temples--be pulled down or confiscated to the Catholic Church." The man who affixed his signature to this edict was a monarch, that is to say, a man who had the power to do as he liked. The man and monarch, then, who affixed his imperial signature to this _first_ document of persecution in Europe--the first, because, as Renan has beautifully remarked, "We may search in vain the whole Roman law before Constantine for a single passage against freedom of thought, and the history of the imperial government furnishes no instance of a prosecution for entertaining an abstract doctrine,"--this is glory enough for the civilization 'which we call _Pagan_ and which was replaced by the Asiatic religion--the man and the monarch who fathered the first instrument of persecution in our Europe, who introduced into our midst the crazed hounds of religious wars, unknown either in Greece or Rome, Constantine, has been held up by Cardinal Newman as "a pattern to all succeeding monarchs." Only an Englishman, a European, infected with the malady of the East, could hold up the author of such an edict,--an edict which prostitutes the State to the service of a fad--as "a pattern." If we asked for a modern illustration of what a church will do when it has the power, there is the example of Russia. Russia is today centuries behind the other European nations. She is the most unfortunate, the most ignorant, the most poverty-pinched country, with the most orthodox type of Christianity. What is the difference between Greek Christianity, such as prevails in Russia, and American Christianity! Only this: The Christian Church in Russia has both the power and the opportunity to do things, while the Christian church in America or in France has not. We must judge Christianity as a religion by what it does in Russia, more than by what it does not do in France or America. There was a time when the church did in France and in England what it is doing now in Russia, which is a further confirmation of the fact that a religion must be judged not by what it pretends in its weakness, but by what it does when it can. In Russia, the priest can tie a man's hands and feet and deliver him up to the government; and it does so. In Protestant countries, the church, being deprived of all its badges and prerogatives, is more modest and humble. The poet Heine gives eloquent expression to this idea when he says: "Religion comes begging to us, when it can no longer burn us." There will be no revolution in Russia, nor even any radical improvement of existing conditions, so long as the Greek Church has the education of the masses in charge. To become politically free, men must first be intellectually emancipated. If a Russian is not permitted to choose his own religion, will he be permitted to choose his own form of government? If he will allow a priest to impose his religion upon him, why may he not permit the Czar to impose despotism upon him? If it is wrong for him to question the tenets of his religion, is it not equally wrong for him to discuss the laws of his government? If a slave of the church, why may he not be also a slave of the state? If there is room upon his neck for the yoke of the church, there will be room, also, for the yoke of the autocracy. If he is in the habit of bending his knees, what difference does it make to how many or to whom he bends them? Not until Russia has become religiously emancipated, will she conquer political freedom. She must first cast out of her mind the fear of the church, before she can enter into the glorious fellowship of the free. In Turkey, all the misery of the people will not so much as cause a ripple of discontent, because the Moslem has been brought up to submit to the Sultan as to the shadow on earth of Allah. Both in Russia and Turkey, the protestants are the heretics. The orthodox Turk and the orthodox Christian permit without a murmur both the priest and the king to impose upon them at the point of a bayonet, the one his religion, and the other his government. It is only by taking the education of the masses out of the hands of the clergy that either country can enjoy any prosperity. Orthodoxy and autocracy are twins. Let me now try to present to you a picture of the world under Christianity about the year 400 of the present era. Let us discuss this phase of the subject in a liberal spirit, extenuating nothing, nor setting down aught in malice. Please interpret what I say in the next few minutes metaphorically, and pardon me if my picture is a repellant one. We are in the year of our Lord, 400: I rose up early this morning to go to church. As I approached the building, I saw there a great multitude of people unable to secure admission into the edifice. The huge iron doors were closed, and upon them was affixed a notice from the authorities, to the effect that all who worshiped in this church would, by the authority of the state, be known and treated hereafter as "infamous heretics," and be exposed to the extreme penalty of the law if they persisted in holding services there. But the party to which I belonged heeded not the prohibition, but beat against the doors furiously and effected an entrance into the church. The excitement ran high; men and leaders shouted, gesticulated and came to blows. The Archbishop was urged to ascend his episcopal throne and officiate at the altar in spite of the formal interdiction against him. He consented. But he had not proceeded far when soldiers, with a wild rush, poured into the building and began to discharge arrows at the panic-stricken people. Instantly pandemonium was let loose. The officers commanding the soldiers demanded the head of the offending Archbishop. The worshipers made an attempt to resist; then blood was shed, the sight of which reeled people's heads, and, in an instant, the sanctuary was turned into a house of murder. Taking advantage of the uproar, the Archbishop, assisted by his secretaries, escaped through a secret door behind the altar. [Illustration: Engraving of XV Century Representing the Trinity.] On my way home from this terrible scene, I fell upon a procession of monks. They were carrying images and relics, and a banner upon which were inscribed these words: "The Virgin Mary, Mother of God." As they marched on, their number increased by new additions. But suddenly they encountered another band of monks, carrying a different banner, bearing the same words which were on the other party's banner, but instead of "The Virgin Mary, Mother of God," their banner read: "The Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ." The two processions clashed, and a bloody encounter followed; in an instant images, relics and banners were all in an indiscriminate heap. The troops were called out again, but such was the zeal of the conflicting parties that not until the majority of them were disabled and exhausted, was tranquility restored. Looking about me, I saw the spire of a neighboring church. My curiosity prompted me to wend my steps thither. As soon as I entered, I was recognized as belonging to the forbidden sect, and in an instant a hundred fists rained down blows upon my head. "He has polluted the sanctuary," they cried. "He has committed sacrilege." "No quarter to the enemies of the true church," cried others, and it was a miracle that, beaten, bruised, my clothes torn from my back, I regained the street. A few seconds later, looking up the streets, I saw another troop of soldiers, rushing down toward this church at full speed. It seems that while I was being beaten in the main auditorium, in the baptistry of the church they were killing, in cold blood, the Archbishop, who was suspected of a predilection for the opposite party, and who had refused to retract or resign from his office. The next day I heard that one hundred and thirty-seven bodies were taken out of this building. Seized with terror, I now began to run, but, alas, I had worse experiences in store for me. I was compelled to pass the principal square in the center of the city before I could reach a place of safety. When I reached this square, it had the appearance of a veritable battlefield. It was Sunday morning, and the partisans of rival bishops, differing in their interpretation of theological doctrines, were fighting each other like maddened, malignant creatures. One could hear, over the babel of discordant yells, scriptural phrases. The words, "The Son is equal to the Father," "The Father is greater than the Son," "He is begotten of the same substance as the Father," "He is of like substance, but not of the same substance," "You are a heretic," "You are an atheist," were invariably accompanied with blows, stabs and sword thrusts, until, as an eye- witness, I can take an oath that I saw the streets leading out of the square deluged with palpitating human blood. Suddenly the commander of the cavalry, Hermogenes, rode upon the scene of feud and bloodshed. He ordered the followers of the rival bishops to disperse, but instead of minding his authority, the zealots of both sides rushed upon his horse, tore the rider from the saddle and began to beat him with clubs and stones which they picked up from the street. He managed to escape into a house close by, but the religious rabble surrounded the house and set fire to it. Hermogenes appeared at the window, begging for his life. He was attacked again, and killed, and his mangled body dragged through the streets and rushed into a ditch. The spectacle inflamed me, being a sectarian myself. I felt ashamed that I was not showing an equal zeal for _my_ party. I, too, longed to fight, to kill, to be killed, for my religion. And, anon! the opportunity presented itself. I saw, looking up the street to my right, a group of my fellow-believers, who, like myself, shut out of their own church by the orthodox authorities, armed with whips loaded with lead and with clubs, were entering a house. I followed them. As we went in, we commanded the head of the family and his wife to appear. When they did, we asked them if it was true that in their prayers to Mary they had refrained from the use of the words, "The mother of God." They hesitated to give a direct answer, whereupon we used the club, and then, the scourge. Then they said they believed in and revered the blessed virgin, but would not, even if we killed them, say that she was the mother of God. This obstinacy exasperated us and we felt it to be our religious duty, for the honor of our divine Queen, to perpetrate such cruelties upon them as would shock your gentle ears to hear. We held them over slowly burning fires, flung lime into their eyes, applied roasted eggs and hot irons to the sensitive parts of their bodies, and even gagged them to force the sacrament into their mouths.....As we went from house to house, bent upon our mission, I remember an expression of one of the party who said to the poor woman who was begging for mercy: "What! shall I be guilty of defrauding the vengeance of God of its victims?" A sudden chill ran down my back. I felt my flesh creep. Like a drop of poison the thought embodied in those words perverted whatever of pity or humanity was left in me, and I felt that I was only helping to secure victims with which to feed the vengeance of God! [Illustration: Trinity in XIII Century.] I was willing to be a monster for the glory of God! The Christian sect to which I belonged was one of the oldest in Christendom. Our ancestors were called the Puritans of the fourth and fifth centuries. We believe that no one can be saved outside of our communion. When a Christian of another church joins us, we re-baptize him, for we do not believe in the validity of other baptisms. We are so particular that we deny our cemeteries to any other Christians than our own members. If we find that we have, by mistake, buried a member of another church in our cemetery, we dig up his bones, that he may not pollute the soil. When one of the churches of another denomination falls into our hands, we first fumigate the building, and with a sharp knife we scrape the wood off the altars upon which other Christian priests have offered prayers. We will, under no consideration, allow a brother Christian from another church to commune with us; if by stealth anyone does, we spare not his life. But we are persecuted just as severely as we persecute, ourselves. [Footnote: This sect (Donatist) and others, lasted for a long time, and made Asia and Africa a hornet's nest,--a blood-stained arena, of feud and riot and massacre, until Mohammedanism put an end, in these parts of the world, not only to these sects, but to Christianity itself.] As the sun was setting, fatigued with the holy Sabbath's religious duties, I started to go home. On my way back, I saw even wilder, bloodier scenes, between rival ecclesiastical factions, streets even redder with blood, if possible, yea, certain sections of the city seemed as if a storm of hail, or tongues of flame had swept over them. Churches were on fire, cowled monks attacking bishops' residences, rival prelates holding uproarious debates, which almost always terminated in bloodshed, and, to cap the day of many vicissitudes, I saw a bear on exhibition which had been given its freedom by the ruler, as a reward for his faithful services in devouring heretics. The Christian ruler kept two fierce bears by his own chamber, to which those who did not hold the orthodox faith were thrown in his presence while he listened with delight to their groans. When I reached home, I was panting for breath. I had lived through another Sabbath day. [Footnote: If the reader will take the pains to read Dean Milman's History of Christianity, and his History of Latin Christianity; also Gibbon's Downfall of the Roman Empire, and Mosheim's History of Christianity, he will see that we have exaggerated nothing. The Athanasian and the Arian, the Donatist and Sabellian, the Nestorian and Alexandrian factions converted the early centuries into a long reign of terror.] I feel like covering my face for telling you so grewsome a tale. But if this were the fourth or the fifth century, instead of the twentieth, and this were Constantinople, or Alexandria, or Antioch, instead of Chicago, I would have spent just such a Sunday as I have described to you. In giving you this concentrated view of human society in the great capitals of Christendom in the year 400, I have restrained, rather than spurred, my imagination. Remember, also, that I have confined my remarks to a specific and short period in history, and have excluded from my generalization all reference to the centuries of religious wars which tore Europe limb from limb,--the wholesale exterminations, the crusades, which represented one of the maddest spells of misguided and costly zeal which ever struck our earth, the persecution of the Huguenots, the extermination of the Albigenses and of the Waldenses,--the massacre of St. Bartholomew, the Inquisition with its red hand upon the intellect of Europe, the Anabaptist outrages in Germany, the Smithfield fires in England, the religious outrages in Scotland, the Puritan excesses in America,--the reign of witchcraft and superstition throughout the twenty centuries--I have not touched my picture with any colors borrowed from these terrible chapters in the history of our unfortunate earth. I have also left out all reference to Papal Rome, with its dungeons, its stakes, its massacres and its burnings. I have said nothing of Galileo, Vanini, Campanella or Bruno. I have passed over all this in silence. You can imagine, now, how much more repellant and appalling this representation of the Roman world under Christianity would have been had I stretched my canvas to include also these later centuries. But I tremble to be one-sided or unjust, and so I hasten to say that during the twenty centuries' reign of our religion, the world has also seen some of the fairest flowers spring out of the soil of our earth. During the past twenty centuries there have been men and women, calling themselves Christians, who have been as generous, as heroic and as deeply consecrated to high ideals as any the world has ever produced. Christianity has, in many instances, softened the manners of barbarians and elevated the moral tone of primitive peoples. It gives us more pleasure to speak of the good which religions have accomplished than to call attention to the evil they have caused. But this raises a very important question. "Why do you not confine yourself," we are often asked, "to the virtues you find in Christianity or Mohammedanism, instead of discussing so frequently their short-comings? Is it not better to praise than to blame, to recommend than to find fault?" This is a fair question, and we may just as well meet it now as at any other time. Such is the economy of nature that no man, or institution or religion, can be altogether evil. The poet spoke the truth when he said: "There is a soul of goodness in things evil." Evil, in a large sense, is the raw material of the good. All things contribute to the education of man. The question, then, whether an institution is helpful or hurtful, is a relative one. The character of an institution, as that of an individual, is determined by its ruling passion. Despotism, for instance, is generally considered to be an evil. And yet, a hundred good things can be said of despotism. The French people, over a hundred years ago, overthrew the monarchy. And yet the monarchy had rendered a thousand services to France. It was the monarchy that created France, that extended her territory, developed her commerce, built her great cities, defended her frontiers against foreign invasion, and gave her a place among the first-class nations of Europe. Was it just, then, to pull down an institution that had done so much for France? Why did the Americans overthrow British rule in this country? Had not England rendered innumerable services to the colony? Was she not one of the most progressive, most civilizing influences in the modern world? Was it just, then, that we should have beaten out of the land a government that had performed for us so many friendly acts? Referring once more to the case of Russia: Why do the awakened people in that country demand the overthrow of the autocracy? Is there nothing good to be said of Russian autocracy? Have not the Czars loved their country and fought for her prosperity? Have they not brought Russia up to her present size, population and political influence in Europe? Have they not beautified her cities and enacted laws for the protection of their subjects? Is it right, then, in spite of all these things that autocracy has done for Russia, to seek to overthrow it? Once more: Why do the missionaries go into India and China and Japan trying to replace the ancestral religion of these people with the Christian faith? Why does the missionary labor to overthrow the worship of Buddha, Confucius and Zoroaster? Have not these great teachers helped humanity? Have they not rendered any services to their countrymen? Are there no truths in their teachings? Are there no virtues in their lives? Is it right, then, that the missionary should criticise these ancient faiths? [Illustration: Conception of Trinity, Ninth Century.] Let us take an example from nearer home. We were talking some years ago with a gentleman who had just returned from Dowie's Zion. He was surprised to find there a clean, orderly and well-behaved people, apparently quite happy. He said that after his experiences there, he would rather do business with Dowie and his men than with the average member of other religious bodies. He found the Dowieites honest, reliable and peaceful. Now, all this may be true, and I hope it is; but what of it? Dowieism is an evil, notwithstanding this recital of its virtues. It is an evil, because it arrests the intellectual development of man, because it makes dwarfs of the people it converts, because it pinches the forehead of each convert into that of either a charlatan or an idiot. We regret to have to use these harsh terms. But Dowieism is denounced, because it brings up human beings as if they were sheep, because it robs them of the most glorious gift of life, the freedom to grow, Dowieism is an evil, because it makes the human race mediocre by contracting its intellect down to the measure of a creed. We would much rather that the Dowieites smoked and drank and swore, than that they should fear to think. There is hope for a bad man. There is no hope for the stupid. In the case of an institution or a religion, then, it is not by adding up the debit and credit columns and striking a balance sheet that the question whether it has helped or hurt mankind is to be determined. We cannot, for instance, place ninety-nine vices in one column, and a hundred virtues in another, and conclude therefrom that the institution or the religion should be preserved. Nor, conversely speaking, can we place a hundred vices against ninety-nine virtues, and, therefore, condemn, the institution. Even as a man is hanged for one act in his life, in spite of the thousand good acts which may be quoted against the one evil deed, so an institution or a religion is honored or condemned, as we said above, for its _ruling passion_. Mohammedanism, Judaism and Christianity have done much good, just as other religions have, but they are condemned today by modern thought, because they are a conspiracy against reason--because they combat progress, as if it were a crime! Another criticism frequently advanced against us is that we fail to realize that all the evil of which Christianity is said to have been the cause, is only the result of human ignorance and passion. When attention is called, for instance, to the intolerance and stubborn opposition to science, of Christianity, the answer given is, that this conduct is not only not inspired by the spirit of Christianity, but that it is in direct contradiction to its teachings. The Christians claim that all the luminous chapters in history have been inspired by their religion, all its sorrowful and black pages have been written by the passions of men. But this apology, which, we regret to say, is in every preacher's mouth, is not an honest one. In our opinion, both Mohammedanism and Christianity, as also Judaism, are responsible for the evil as well as the good they have accomplished in the world. They are responsible for the lives they have destroyed, as for the lives they have saved. They are responsible for the passions they have aroused,--for the hatred, the persecutions and the religious wars of the centuries, as for the piety and charity they have encouraged. The central idea in all the three religions mentioned above, is that God has revealed his will to man. There is, we say frankly, the root of all the evil which religion has inflicted upon our unfortunate earth. The poison is in both the flower and the fruit which that idea brings forth. If it be true that God has revealed his will, that he has told us, for instance, to believe in the Trinity, the atonement, the fall of man, and the dogma of eternal punishment, and we refuse to do so, will we not, then, be regarded as the most odious, the most heinous, the most rebellious, the most sacrilegious, the most stiff- necked, the most criminal people in the world? Think of refusing to believe as God has dictated to us! Think of saying _no!_ to one's Creator and Father in Heaven! Think of the consequences of differing with God, and tempting others to do the same! Is it at all strange that during the early centuries of Christianity, the people who hesitated to agree with the deity, or to believe as he wanted them to, were looked upon as incarnate fiends, as the accomplices of the devil and the enemies of the human race, and were treated accordingly? The doctrine of salvation by faith makes persecution inevitable. If to refuse to believe in the Trinity, or in the divinity of Christ, is a crime against God and will be punished by an eternity of hell in the next world, and if such a man endangers the eternal salvation of his fellows, is it not the duty of all religious people to endeavor to exterminate him and his race, now arid here? How can Christian people tolerate the rebel against their God, when God himself has pronounced sentence of death against him? Why not follow the example of the deity, as set forth in the persecutions of the Old Testament? When we have a God for a teacher, the highest and surest virtue is unconditional acquiescence. Judaism, Mohammedanism and Christianity, in giving us a God for a teacher, have taken away from us the liberty to think for ourselves. Each one of these three religions makes unconditional obedience the price of the salvation it offers, but do you know what other word in the English language unconditional obedience is a synonym of?--Silence! A dumb world, a tongue-tied humanity alone can be saved! The good man is the man on his knees with his mouth in the dust. But silence is sterility! Silence is slavery! Think, then, of the character of a religion which makes free speech, free thought, a crime--which hurls hell against the Protestant! There is a third question to be answered: It is true, they say to us, that there are many things in the Koran, the Old Testament and the New, which are really injurious, and which ought to be discarded, but there are also many beautiful principles, noble sentiments and high educational maxims in these scriptures. Why not, then, dwell upon these, and pass in silence over the objectionable teachings of these religions? It is not necessary to repeat again that in all so-called sacred scriptures, there are glorious truths. It could not have been otherwise. All literature, whether secular or religious, is the voice of man and sweeps the whole compass of human love and hope. We have no objection to quoting from the Veddas, the Avestas, the Koran or the Bible; nor do we hesitate to admire and enjoy and praise generously the ravishingly beautiful utterances of the poets and prophets of all times and climes. Nevertheless, it remains true that the modern world finds more practical help and inspiration in secular authors, in the books of science and philosophy, than in these so-called inspired scriptures. Jesus, who is popularly believed to have preached the Sermon on the Mount, has said little or nothing which can help the modern world as much as the scientific revelations of a student like Darwin, or of a philosopher like Herbert Spencer, or of a poet like Goethe or Shakespeare. We know this will sound like blasphemy to the believer, but a moment's honest and fearless reflection will convince everyone of the fact that neither Mohammed nor Jesus had in view modern conditions when they delivered their sermons. Jesus could have had no idea of a world outside of his little Palestine. The thought of the many races of the world mingling together in one country could never have occurred to him. His vision did not embrace the vista of two thousand years, nor did his mind rise to the level of the problems which today tax the brain and heart of man. Jesus believed implicitly that the world would speedily come to an end, that the sun and the moon would soon fall from the face of the sky, and that people living then in Palestine would not taste of death before they saw "the Son of Man return upon the clouds." Jesus had no idea of a progressive evolution of humanity. It was beyond him to conceive the consolidation of the nations into one fellowship, the new resources which science would tap, or the new energies which human industry would challenge. Jesus was in peaceful ignorance of the social and international problems which confront the world of today. The Sermon on the Mount, then, which is said to be the best in our gospels, can be of little help to us, for it could not have been meant for us. And it is very easy to show that the modern world ignores, not out of disrespect to Jesus, but by the force of circumstances and the evolution of society, the principles contained in that renowned sermon. I was waiting for transportation at the corner of one of the principal streets of Chicago, the other day, when, looking about me, I saw the tremendous buildings which commerce and wealth have reared in our midst. On one hand was a savings bank, on the other a colossal national bank, and up and down the street a thousand equally solid and substantial buildings, devoted to the interests of commerce and civilization. To bring out and emphasize the wide breach between the man who preached the Sermon on the Mount, and progressive and aggressive, busy and wealthy, modern Chicago, I took the words of Jesus and mentally inscribed them upon the walls of these buildings. Upon the savings bank--and a savings bank represents economy, frugality, self-sacrifice, self-restraint,--the desire of the people to provide for the uncertainties of the future, to lay by something for the education of their children, for the maintenance of their families when they themselves have ceased to live,--I printed upon the facade of this institution, figuratively speaking, these words of the Oriental Jesus: "Take no thought of the morrow, for the morrow will take care of itself." And upon the imposing front of the national bank, I wrote: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth." If we followed these teachings, would not our industrial and social life sink at once to the level of the stagnating Asiatics? Pursuing this comparison between Jesus and modern life, I inscribed upon the handsome churches whose pews bring enormous incomes, and on the palatial residences of Bishops, with salaries of from twenty-five to a hundred thousand dollars, these words: "How hardly shall a rich man enter into the kingdom of Heaven," and, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven." In plain words, the gospel condemns wealth, and cries, "Woe unto you rich," and "Sell all thou hast and give it to the poor," which, by the way, would only be shifting the temptation of wealth from one class to another. Buckle was nearer the truth, and more modern in spirit, when he ascribed the progress of man to the pursuit of truth and the acquisition of wealth. But let us apply the teachings of Jesus to still other phases of modern life. Some years ago our Cuban neighbors appealed to the United States for protection against the cruelty and tyranny of Spanish rule. We sent soldiers over to aid the oppressed and down-trodden people in the Island. Now, suppose, instead of sending iron-clads and admirals,--Schley, Sampson and Dewey,--we had advised the Cubans to "resist not evil," and to "_submit_ to the powers that be," or suppose the General of our army, or the Secretary of our navy, had counseled seriously our soldiers to remember the words of Jesus when fighting the Spaniards: "If a man smite thee on one cheek," etc. Write upon our halls of justice and courthouses and statute books, and on every lawyer's desk, these solemn words of Jesus: "He that taketh away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also." Introduce into our Constitution, the pride and bulwark of our liberties, guaranteeing religious freedom unto all,--these words of Paul: "If any man preach any other gospel than that which I have preached unto you, let him be accursed." Think of placing nearly fifty millions of our American population under a curse! Tell this to the workers in organized charities: "Give to every man that asketh of thee," which, if followed, would make a science of charity impossible. To the workingmen, or the oppressed seeking redress and protesting against evil, tell this: "Blessed are they that are persecuted," which is equivalent to encouraging them to submit to, rather than to resist, oppression. Or upon our colleges and universities, our libraries and laboratories consecrated to science, write the words: "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God," and "God has chosen the foolish to confound the wise." Ah, yes, the foolish of Asia, it is true, succeeded in confounding the philosophers of Europe. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Jesus, did replace Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Cicero, Caesar and the Antonines! But it was a trance, a spell, a delirium only, and it did not last,--it could not last. The charm is at last broken. Europe is forever free from the exorcism of Asia. I believe the health and sanity and virtue of our Europe would increase a hundred fold, if we could, from this day forth, cease to pretend professing by word of mouth what in our own hearts and lives we have completely outgrown. If we could be sincere and brave; if our leaders and teachers would only be honest with themselves and honest with the modern world, there would, indeed, be a new earth and a new humanity. But the past is past. It is for us to sow the seeds which in the day of their fruition shall emancipate humanity from the pressing yoke of a stubborn Asiatic superstition, and push the future even beyond the beauty and liberty of the old Pagan world!
[Illustration: Figures on a Phoenician Vase, Showing the Use of the Cross, Evidently in Some Ceremony of a Religious Nature.]