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of Divine origin; but expose Mr. Barker's double shuffling. For the future he (Mr. Graạt) would first take the positive position, and then answer the remarks of his opponent. Įf Mr. Barker intended to maintain his proposition, he must treat the subject in such a manner as no other person ever did ; and if he did not intend to maintain his proposition, he should at once give up the discussion. The remark made by Mr. Barker, respecting the characters of Abraham, Noah, and other Scripture worthies, were as futile as the reflections of his own darkened mind. He had asserted that the Bible sanctioned polygamy, but he could not prove such assertions by quoting the case of Solomon or that of any other Scripture character. After all that his opponent had said (Mr. G.) would still maintain that there were more real liberty, equality, and morality taught in the first two chapters of Genesis, than could be found in any other two chapters, or books in the world. Mr Barker should be well prepared on this point, as he had alluded to it in strong terms on former evenings. If he discussed scientific truths upon the same principle as he discussed this subject, his ignorance would be exposed by every scientific man. The two first chapters of Genesis proved that God was the creator of the world, of man, and of woman: and that they were at the head of creation, and as far superior to the rest of the animal creation, as was the Bible to all human productions. He challenged Mr. Barker to produce a book, from amongst all infidel works, or the writings of the philosophers of Greece and Rome, so good as to bear comparison with the Bible. For Mr. Barker, or any one else to attempt such a thing, would only be to cover himself with shame. Mr. Grant concluded by reading a masterly paper on the doctrine of the liberty of man, according to the Scriptures, and the high tone of morality exhibited in the early chapters of Genesis.
MR. BARKER remarked that his opponent had affirmed that he was bound to produce all logical evidence against that of the divine origin of the Bible. Now that was impossible, because there was no evidence of the divine origin of the Bible. Mr. Grant had pledged himself to prove that there was such evidence, and seemed disposed to attempt to produce it, but they would see whether he redeemed his pledge. Was it possible that there could be proof of the Divine origin of the Bible, a bogk that contained grosa blasphemies, multitudes of contradictions, and dreadful, frightful immoralities ! There was perhaps some good in the Bible, but it was not entitled to be considered the best of books, in fact, it would not be difficult to produce far better books, written by the learned of Greece aud Rome. What did his opponent mean by charging him with gross slanders upon the characters of Abraham, David, and Čalvin ? Those slanders were not made by him (Mr. B.), they came from another quarter. He did not charge Mr. Grant with telling black lies, because telling black lies was against the teaching of Christianity, namely, that liars should be tumbled down into hell and eternally damned. If the Bible is what it professes to be a book of Divine authority, is should afford the best examples and teach the purest lessons. But that was not the case, and it was beyond the power of any one to find a single production of any Grecian or Roman philosopher, that does not contain matter much superior to the earlier chapters of the Bible. Mr. Grant had said that if I found the truths of the Bible were acted upori
, they would produce the best moral effects. How, then, could the case of Abrahana be explained ? He was, doubtless, acquainted with those truths, yet he was a most cruel and bad
man. In the Bible were to be found accounts of the worst of crimes, of the most horrible murders, all commited by men set up for our examples! But in the Bible could not be found one worthy character, one whose conduct was not immoral and reproachsul. Mr. Barker then pointed out numerous im; perfections in the lives of several 'Scripture worthies, men and women said to have lived almost blamelessly in the sight of God, though they were guilty
of the vilest acts. What was the effect of Noah's drunkenness? Not a warning to his sons not to take too much wine, but a curse upon Canaan. And the wickedness of Noah, as stated in the 9th chapter of Genesis, was not visited by any punishment by God, nor was he blamed for it. He then spoke of Abraham as a slave-holder and slave-breeder : of Jacob as a most deceitful character from first to last,-a man who had robbed his brother of his birth-right, and cheated his father of his last blessing ; of Moses as a murderer and deceiver, though a favourite of God; of Joshua as an extirpator of natious, and one who gloried in placing his feet on the necks of kings. Samson was said to have tied three hundred foxes tail to tail, in order to destroy them. That was not only improbable, but impossible, yet it was set down as a truth in the Bible. Then again, Samson was reported to have slain one thousand men with the jaw-bone of an ass, for no other reason than that he was thirsty. And after having lost his strength, he was represented as praying for a renewal of it, for no other purpose than to enable him to slay another multitude. Samuel, he considered, to be a better man than those he had named, yet he was addicted to many superstitions, and he was guilty of inany inhuman deeds. He concluded with a sketch of the course of David, designating him a complete villain, less worthy than almost any other Scripture character of being “God's especial favourite."
Mr. Grant said that they would all understand that Mr. Barker's speech was no reply to that of his opponent. He commenced by affirming that there was no evidence of the Divine origin of the Bible, but that was mere assertion without proof. He had also asserted that no work written by any pagan philosopher contained less wisdom than did the Bible, without, however, giving them any proof. He spoke of Abraham as being represented in the Seriptures as an individual worthy to be imitated in what he did : but again his argument was unsupported by any quotation. He condemned Noah for taking too much wing. In one of his works, he apologised for the drunkenness of Tom Paine, on the principle that it was then customary to get drunk. Mr. Barker was
also wrong with regard to David. David was never intended as a pattern for mankind to follow; for it was not his private life, but his kingly character that was chronicled. In David, God said, he had found a man after his own heart, and, as such, he crowned him King over his people. But perhaps it might be desirable to make this a little plainer in order that Mr. Barker might understand it. Supposing a certain lord was in want of a gardener, and, in course of time, he met with one, exactly to his mind. People, however, said that the man was a great drunkard, and that the Bible denounced drunkenness. But the lord found the gardener to his mind, and so God found David to his mind. Mr. Grant then abserved that all infidels were indebted to the Bible for their best ideas, as Tom Paine and Mr. Barker had been; the former, in his work, entitled the Rights of man," and the latter, in his numerous books in favour of and against Christianity: Mr. Grant concluded by reading a long extract from “ Christianity Triumphant,' one of Mr. Barker's theological works, delineating the condition of the people upon whom the light of the gospel had not yet shone, and showing how badly it contrastell with the condition of Christians.
Mr. BARKER observed that by the time they had got through their scripture readings, many of them would no doubt be inclined to think that the Bible was not the best, but the worst book that had ever been produced. The Christian part of the audience did not seem to be aware of the contents of the Bible—or, at least, of a great portion of the contents of the Bible, before this discussion commenced. Mr. Grant said Abraham was not spoken of in the Bible as an example to mankind, but the apostle Paul spoke of him as such, and as one who
had obtained a good report. What Mr. Grant had said about Paine was a foul slander, a wilful lie! He (Mr. B.) never attempted to excuse Paine's drunkenness, on the ground that to be drunk was more customary then, than now, or by saying he was more moderate than people generally at that time. (Mr. Grant here presented to Mr. Barker the book from which quoted his statement as to the drunkenness of Paine, but Mr. Barker refused to look at it.) Mr. Grant had said they must view the character of David given in the Bible as that of a king only, but where was the passage in proof of that? To talk as Mr. Grant had talked about David was ridiculous, because if a man's moral character was not good, he was told he deserved to go, where devils were supposed to dwell. The Bible had been represented by Mr. Grant to be as far superior to other books as is man to the lower animals, but, before the discussion was over, he (Mr. B.) would prove it to be one of the worst books in existence. Mr. Barker continued his review of the life of king David, dwelling upon the battles in which he engaged at the head of his people, and his intrigues to possess himself of Uriah's wife, &c., and maintaining that he was a wicked and immoral man, unworthy of the friendship of good men, much less of being the favourite of God.
MR. GRANT again wished to know where the scriptures taught that Abraham was an example to mankind. They might take Abraham's example of faith, but Christ was the only perfect example the Christians had. He then alluded to the morality of people not directly under the influence of religion, instancing the disgraceful conduct of Carlile in taking with him upon a platform an abandoned woman. If some Christian minister had taken such a character into the pulpit, Mr. Barker would not have kept such a fact silent, but he looked over that act, bad as it was, because it was the act of one of his friends. Referring to the Divine institution of marriage, Mr. Grant said, women had always held a high position wherever the Bible was received as a divine revelation, and that they were protected and respected under the laws of Moses, instead of being reduced to the condition of slaves, as Mr. Barker wished them to believe last evening.
MR. BARKER, in closing the evening's debate, said his opponent had yet failed to give them a single passage, in proof of the Divine origin of the Bible. As to Paine, Mr. Barker said what he had written respecting his drunkenness, was, that he appeared to be more moderate than his neighbours, and as to Carlile, that he did not know what his private character was, but he had never seen him in such company as that referred to by Mr. Grant. He again alluded to David and Solomon, quoting the 38th, 69th, and 109th Psalms, and other verses, as portions of scripture showing the wickedness of those kings.
The discussion was then adjourned until the following Tuesday.
A HAPPY CHANGE.
Liverpool, Jan. 31st, 1855. I wish with all my heart to congratulate you upon the launching of THE DEFENDER, upon the troubled waters of controversy, and I am sure it will be the means of guiding many a tempest-tossed mariner to a haven of rest. I have read the first four numbers, and I was so delighted with them, I purchased a few of each to present them to Infidels whom I know, and continually come in contact with. Many years ago I was myself a great infidel in heart, although I never turned against the Bible, and wholly rejected it as a divine revelaticii. But looking at it through the spectacles and creeds of other men,--my father amongst the rest— I well recollect, almost from a child turning from it wiih ah.
horrence, thinking the God of the Bible must be a dreadful tyrant; and when I came to years, to leave my father's roof, I felt very thankful Í had the chance of being my own master, not to have religion crammed down my throat. I went forward in every sin and crime, that almost could be mentioned. There never was a prodigal went greater lengths in sin. To Manchester, London, Birmingham, Worcester, and many other places in England, I went, seeking happiness, but could not find substantial happiness, for there was always a sting at the root—a guilty conscience. I went on in this way for many years, till I lost my character, and health, and sustenance itself. At the last cast
, I thought I would try to turn over a new leaf. I became a teetotaller ; I reformed outwardly almost in every thing, where I had been wrong, I attended many meetings, lectures &c., but could not find true happiness in these, as the guilt of the past, and the dread of the future haunted me. I bless and thank my God, and shall have to do so to all eternity, at that time I got hold of a tract, which stated that God loved me in spite of all my sins, and that Christ had died for all my sins, and that the Holy Spirit was waiting to change my heart through the belief of these glorious truths. There was passage after passage from the Bible to prove them. This was a remarkable epoch in my history. I began to examine and search the Bible for myself, and soon found pardon, peace, and life in Christ, “who loved me anci gave himself for me.” Since then, which is about 8 years ago, I have had much to encounter ; many enemies to fight against, but in spite of all, I am as happy as the day is long. God has given me the honour to circulate His word, and to stand up in its defence,-against Infidelity, Popery, and all other systems which the Bible condemns,--and if every minister in the world was to turn round like Barker to morrow, anð try to preach the Bible out of the world, that would not shake my confidence in it for a moment; because it meets all the wants of my sinful soul—which nothing else can--and if, as the Infidel says, it is a delusion, I say it is a most happy delusion, when it makes a man happier, better, and usefuller, even if it takes him no farther than the grave. I often get a few words with these gentlemen, and I shall advise them all to take a glance
at THE DEFENDER.
I COME to Thee to-night
Father of love and light.
Softly the moonbeams shine
Steal through the slumbering vine.
Thou gav'st the calm repose
Now at the bright day's close.
'Tis Nature's time for prayer;
To Heaven their breathings bear.
With them my soul would bend,
Thy sceptre to extend.
If I this day have striven
I pray to be forgiven.
heart has been An unforgiving thought, or word, or look, Though deep the malice which I'scarce could brook,
Wash me from this dark sin.
If I have turned away
Forgive me, Lord, I pray,
And teach me how to feel
My sinfulness to heal.
Father, my soul would be
So would I be to Thee.
Nor for myself alone,
Whom thou hast called Thine own.
And for my heart's best friends,
My warmest prayer ascends.
Should o'er their path decline
As they have long been mine.
And One-0 Father, guide
And keep him near Thy side.
Watch o'er his couch to-night,
Earth's withering cares and blight.
And now, O Father, take
E. L. E.