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 hellfire and
seek to establish a spiritual monopoly in the world, when the
evidence in hand seems clearly to indicate that such a person never
“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.
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
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,
—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.”
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 be says:
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.
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.
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 a 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. On my way home from this terrible scene, I fell upon a procession of monks. They were carrying images and relies, and a banner upon which were inscribed these words:
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 two processions clashed, and a bloody encounter followed; in an instant images, relies 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.
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 baptistery 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.
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,
an killed, and his mangled body dragged through the streets and
rushed into a ditch.
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:
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!
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 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.
[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.]
The Christian ruler kept two fierce bears by his own chamber, to which those who did not bold the orthodox faith were thrown in his presence while he listened with delight to their groans.
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 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, shuck 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 Antibaptist 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.
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.
This is a fair question, and we may just as well meet it now as at any other time.
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?
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.
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!
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.
Think of refusing to believe as God has dictated to us! Think of saying no! to one’s Creator and Father in Heaven I 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?
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.
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:
And upon the imposing front of the national bank, I wrote:
If we followed these teachings, would not our industrial and social
life sink at once to the level of the stagnating Ascetics?
In plain words, the gospel condemns wealth, and cries, “Woe unto you
rick,” 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 modem in
spirit, when he ascribed the progress of man to the pursuit of truth
and the acquisition of wealth.
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.
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!
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!
And at the threshold of our investigation we must bear in mind that Paganism was born and grew into maturity in Europe, while Asia was the cradle of Christianity. It would be superfluous to undertake to prove that in politics, in government, in literature, in art, in science, in the general culture of the people, Europe was always in advance of Asia. Do we know of any good reason, when it comes to religion, why Asia should be incomparably superior to anything Europe has produced in that line?
Unless we believe in miracles, the natural inference would be that a people who were better educated in every way than the Ascetics should have also possessed the better religion. I admit that this is only inferential, or a-priori reasoning, and that it still remains to be shown by the recital of facts, that Europe not only ought to have produced a better religion than Asia, but that she did.
Nor has Asia been altogether barren; she has blossomed in Many spots, and she nursed the flame of civilization at a time when Europe was not yet even cradled.
To show the intellectual point of view of the Asiatic, let me quote a passage from the Book of Job, which certainly is an oriental composition, and one of the finest:
This, then, is the standpoint of the Oriental. He believes he is a poor little worm. His philosophy must necessarily trail in the dust. A worm cannot have the thoughts of an eagle; a worm cannot have the imagination of a Titan; a worm sees the world only as a worm may. This is the angle of vision of the Asiatic. He calls himself a worm, and naturally his view of life shrinks to the limits of his standpoint.
To be perfectly fair, however, we must admit there are passages in all the bibles of the Orient which are as daring as those found in any European book, but they represent only the strayings of the Oriental mind, not its normal pulse. The habitual accent of the Oriental is that man, calling a woman his mother, is a worm. In the Psalms of David, or whoever wrote the book, we read these words: “I am a worm, and not a man.”
What did the Oriental see in the worm, which, induced him to select it out of all things as the original, so to speak, of man? The worm crawls and creeps and writhes. Nothing is so distressing as to see its helpless wiggling—and its home is in the dust; dirt is its daily food. Moreover, it is in danger of being stamped or trampled into annihilation at any instant. A worm represents the minimum of worth, -- the dregs in the cup of existence; it is the scum or the froth of life, which one may blow into the air. It is impossible to descend lower than this in self-abasement.
Slavery has a fascination for the children of the east. The air of independence is too sharp for them. They crave a master, a Sultan or a Czar, who shall own them body and soul. Through long practice, they have acquired the art of servility and flattery, of salaams and prostrations—an art in which they have become so efficient that it would be to them like throwing away so much capital to abandon its practice. They expect to go to Heaven on their knees. This is not said to hurt the feelings of the races of the Orient.
We are explaining the influence of absolutism upon the products and tendencies of the human mind. The religion of the Orient, then, notwithstanding its many beautiful features like its polities, is a product of the suppressed mind, which finds in the creeping worm of the dust the measure of its own worth. How different is the European from the Asiatic in this respect! The latter crawls upon the stage of this magnificent universe with the timidity, hesitancy and tremblings of a worm.
True to his bringing up, be falls prostrate, overwhelmed by the marvelous immensities opening before him and the abysses yawning at his feet. He contracts and dwindles in size, imploring with outstretched hands to be spared because he is a poor worm. It is a part of his religion or philosophy that if he admits he is nothing but a worm, the dread powers will not consider him a rival or a rebel, but will look upon him as a confirmed subject, and permit him to live. This is his art, the strategy by which he hopes to secure his salvation.
Some of you in your earlier days must have sung that Methodist hymn which represents the world as a snare and a delusion:
Given! Think of believing that the world has been purposely given us to lead us astray. The thought staggers the mind. It suggests a terrible conspiracy against man. For his ruin, sun, moon and stars co-operate with the devil. Help! we cry, as we realize our inability to cope with the tremendous powers hurling themselves against us like billows of the raging sea, and taking our breath away. It suggests that we are placed in a world which has been made purposely beautiful, in order to tempt us into sin.
Think of such a belief! It is that of a slave. It is Asiatic; it is not European. Neither you nor I, in all our readings, have ever come across any such attitude toward nature in Pagan literature. The Greeks and the Romans loved nature and made lovely Gods out of every running brook, caressing zephyr, dancing wave, glistening dew, sailing cloud, beaming star, beautiful woman, or brave man.
The Oriental suspects nature and regards her smiles—the shining of the sun, the perfume of the meadows, the swell of the seal the fluttering of the branches tipped with blossoms, the emerald grass, the sapphire sky—looks upon all these as the seductive advances of a prostitute in whose embrace lurks death!
Inured to suffering, -- to the lash, to oppression’s crushing heel, -- he dare not dream of a painless future, of a quiet, peaceful sleep at life’s end, nor has he the divine audacity to invent a new world wherein the misery and slavery of his present existence will be impossible, -- where all his tyrants will be dead, where he shall taste of sweet freedom and become himself a God. In his timidity and shrinking submission, with the spring of his heartbroken, his spirit crushed, all independence strangled in his soul, -- he puts in the biggest corner of his heaven even, -- a hell!
Nor does he pause there, but, stinging his slave imagination once more, he declares that this future of torture and hell-fire is everlasting. He cannot improve upon that. Deeper in degradation he cannot descend. That is the darkest thought he can have, and, strange to say, he hugs it to his bosom as a mother would her child. The doctrine of hell is the thought of a slave and of a coward. No free-born man, no brave soul could ever have invented so abhorrent an idea.
Only under a regime of absolutism, only under an Oriental Sultan whose caprice is law, whose vengeance is terrible, whose favors are fickle whose power is crushing, whose greed is insatiable, whose torture instruments are without number, and whose dark dungeons always resound with the rattling of chains and the groans of martyrs—only under such a regime could man have invented an unending hell.
See it with its tiny arms about its mother’s neck. Mark its joy when it is kissed. What else in our human world is more beautiful, more divine? And yet, and yet, the slave creed of Asia has drawn into its burning net of damnation even the cradle. John Burroughs describes how in a Catholic cemetery near where he lives he was shown a neglected, unkept corner, used for the burial of unbaptized children. Consecrated ground is denied to them, and so their poor bodies are huddled together in this profane plot, unblessed and unsaved. I do not wish to live in a world where such absurdities are not only countenanced, but where they are exalted to the dignity of a religion!
Compare this Pagan tenderness for children with the Asiatic doctrine of infant damnation but recently thrown out of the Presbyterian creed. Yet, if St. Augustine is to be believed, it is a heresy to reject the damnation of unbaptized infants:
It is infinitely more religious to disagree with the apostles and the church, if that is their teaching. The Pagan view of children is the holier view. The doctrine of the damnation of children could only find lodgment in the brain of a slave or a madman. It is Asiatic and altogether foreign to the culture of Europe.
This is one of the texts upon which the doctrine of the fall of man is based.
We repeat that only under a religion of slavery, where one slave vies with another to abase himself before his lords and masters, could such an idea have been invented. There is not a man in all our sacred scriptures who could stand before the deity erect and unabashed, or who could speak in the accents of a Cicero who said,
Such independence was foreign to a race that believed itself fallen.
The Pagans, on the other hand, selected natural men, men like themselves, who had earned the admiration of their fellows. Let me quote to you Plutarch’s eloquent sentence relative to this subject:
The Westminster Catechism, which in its essentials is a resume of our Asiatic religion, emphasizes the doctrine of the fall of man, of which the Pagan world knew nothing, and refused to believe it until priests succeeded in dominating the mind of Europe:
Goodness! the oriental imagination, abused by slavery, cannot rid itself of the idea of being disinherited, turned out into the cold, orphaned and smitten with moral sores from head to foot. To the Pagan, such a description of man would have been the acme of absurdity. Again:
If this was comforting news to the Asiatic, the Pagan world would have rejected the idea as unworthy of men in their senses. Once more:
And this is the Gospel we have imported from Asia! is it not pathetic? Could slavery ever strike a deeper bottom than that? Standing before his owner, the Asiatic, of his own choice, hands himself over to be degraded, to be placed in chains and delivered up to the torments of hell forever. I despair of man. I would cry my heart out if I permitted myself to dwell upon the folly and stupidity and slavery of which man voluntarily makes himself the victim. Think of it!
A man and a woman, nobody knows where or when, are supposed to have tasted of the fruit of a tree; the Oriental mind, with its crouching imagination, pounces upon this flimsy, fanciful tale with the appetite of a carrion crow, and exalts it to the dignity of an excuse for the eternal damnation of a whole world. I am dazed! I can say no more!
Then the disease, finding no
more on this side of the grave to feed upon, leaps over the grave
and converts the beyond, the virgin worlds, into an inferno with
which to satiate its fear. Indeed frightful are the thoughts of a
Superstition is the disease of the mind. It will keep away from robust minds, as physical disease from a body in health. Now, the Asiatic mind, seared into silence and subjection, -- starved to a mere shadow of what it should be, falls an easy prey to all the maladies that mind is heir to. The European mind, on the other hand, with room and air to move and grow in, develops a vitality which offers resistance to all attacks of mental disease.
That explains why superstition thrives with ignorance and slavery, and expires when science and liberty gain the ascendancy. Sanitary precautions prevent physical disease; knowledge and liberty constitute the therapeutics of the mind. Why is the Oriental so prone or partial to miracle and mystery? His mind is sick. To believe is easier to him than to reason. He follows the line of the least resistance: he has invented faith that he may not have to think.
The mental cells in his brain are so starved, so devitalized, that they have to be whipped into movement. Only the bizarre, the monstrous, the supernatural, -- demons, ghosts, dream worlds, miracles and mysteries, -- can hold his attention. Not science, but metaphysics, barren speculation, -- is the product of the Oriental mind.
The philosopher Bacon describes the Asiatic when he speaks of men who,
Again: I sometimes think that if it be true that monotheism, the idea of one God, was first discovered in Asia, it must have been suggested to them by the regime of Absolutism, under which they lived. Unlike Asia, democratic Europe believed in a republic of Gods. Polytheism is more consonant with the republican idea, than monotheism. If we would let the American President rule the land without the aid of the two houses of congress or his cabinet ministers, his power would be infinitely more than it is now, but his gain would be the people’s loss.
His increased power would only represent so much more power taken away from the people, One God means not only more slaves, but more abject, more helpless ones. One God is a centralization which reduces man’s liberty to a minimum. With more Gods, and Gods at times disagreeing among themselves, and all bidding for man’s support, man would count for more,
The Greeks could not tolerate a Jehovah, or an Allah, before whom the Oriental rabble bent the knee. “Allah knows,” exclaims the Moslem; that is why the Mohammedans continue in ignorance. “Allah is great,” cries again the Turk. That is why he himself is small. The more powerful the sovereign, the smaller the subject.
In other words, the noblest of men cannot be saved by his own merits of character alone, for even when we have done our best, we are but unprofitable slaves,” quoting a Bible text. Only by the merits of Christ, or by the grace of God, can any man be saved. Have you ever paused to think of the purpose of this piece of Orientalism?
It wipes out every imaginable claim or right of man. Even when he is just and great and good, he has no rights, he is as vile as the vilest. Only the favor of the king can save, -- only the grace of God, who can save the thief on the cross if he so pleases. Is he not absolute? If he extends his scepter, you live; if he smiles you are spared; if he patronizes you, you are fortunate. He says, live! you live. He says, die I you die. This is the apotheosis of despotism exalted into a revelation.