“God Spake all these Words”

By James H. Brookes

Chapter 5



It is quite the fashion with unbelievers to praise the Sermon on the Mount. Perhaps their admiration is sincere, but if so, it shows how ignorant they are of themselves. There is no part of Scripture that is more directly opposed to all the instincts of human nature, or that presents a standard of morality more unattainable by man’s unaided resources.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit”; “blessed are the meek”; “blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness”; “blessed are the pure in heart”; “blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake”; “blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” Let even earnest Christians tell how difficult it is to regard such persons as happy; and how easy it is to recoil from any such promised blessedness.

“Whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” “I say unto you, Swear not at all.” “Isay unto, you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at law, and take away thy coat, let him take thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shaft love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.” God never said, “Hate thine enemy,” but it proves how natural it is, since the Jewish authorities had added the clause. “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despite fully use you, and persecute you,” Matt. v.

Who lives up to these rules? Who practically approves them? Threaten to strike a man, or address to him some opprobious epithet, and see how quickly he will resent the insult. Count Tolstoi, who insists upon accepting these regulations as the real guide of life, is universally regarded as an impracticable visionary, and there is probably not one man in, a million fairly and consistently attempting to Conform to this strange standard of unnatural morality. You are not to strike back, you are to invite another blow T, you are not to resist the man who sues you, you are to give him more than he demands, you are to yield to him that asketh, you. are not to refuse the borrower, you are to love your enemies, and to bless them that curse you.

It may be said that such morality can be of no possible value; that it is like the being of God, “as high as heaven,” Job. xi. 8; that it is like the knowledge of God, “too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it,” Ps. cxxxix, 6. Granted; but what man ever conceived of such morality? Not the ancients, for those who have the least acquaintance with their Mythology at once recognize the immense difference. Not existing modern religions, for Prof. Max Muller dared not translate the Hindoo books literally, lest he should be arrested for circulating obscene literature; and Marion Crawford in The Century Magazine says of India, which he thoroughly knows t “The land is given over to the grosser worship of Vishnu and Siva.” But here is a morality that forbids a contemptuous remark under penalty of hell fire, that judges the unacted, unuttered look of lust to be adultery. Did man invent such morality?

“Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on,” Matt. vi. 25. “Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven,” Matt, xviii. 3. “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven,” Lu. vi. 22, 23.

“Sell that ye have, and give aims,” Lu. xii. 83; “For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God,” Lu. xviii. 25. Pronounce this unreasonable, if you wish, but the more unreasonable it is, the more certainly you pronounce that man never devised such a rule of life.

“Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate,” or as it is in the margin,

“Be contented with mean things. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves; but rather give place unto wrath.” Rom. xii. 9-19.

Such is the relation of Christians to one another and to all men, which the Bible requires; and their relation to civil government is set forth in the words, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves judgment,” Rom. xiii. 1, 2; ‘‘Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the King, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well,” 1 Pet. ii. 13, 14.

There is no such thing as patriotism enjoined in the New Testament. With the exception of love for his “kinsmen according to the flesh,” expressed by the apostle Paul, there is nothing said of the special love, which Christians are to cherish for their own country, nor is there any rule to direct them how they are to discharge the duties of political office, nor how to vote. Submission to rulers is all that is required. ‘‘Honor all mend Love the brotherhood. Pear God. Honor the King,” 1 Pet. ii. 17. How utterly opposed this is to the instincts of human nature is shown by the constant struggle for liberty and for the overthrow of governments. There is no desire at present to defend the teachings of the Bible, but only to show that man could not have written the Bible.

Then in the family relation it is written, “As the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for her,” Eph. v. 24, 25; “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children, lest they be discouraged. Slaves, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God, . . Masters, give unto your slaves that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven,” Col. iii. 20-22; iv. 1. The Scriptures never assail social order, nor natural relationships, while uplifting all by a divine principle.

Thousands have become infidels, because the Bible demands the subordination of women, and the obedience of slaves, and the duty of submission to government and contentment with our lot, indicating that these and other doctrines are thoroughly distasteful to mankind. Infidels are sharp enough to see that the attempt to explain away such statements, and force them to conform to the desires of human nature, is the merest evasion, and hence they throw overboard the entire Book. It is not the purpose to discuss whether these tenets are or are not right. It may be admitted for the present that they are not right; but surely an intelligent skeptic, who has any manliness, will concede that a morality so unnatural did not originate with man.