FROM THE NOTE BOOK OF AN UNPOPULAR PHILOSOPHER
[Lucifer, Vol. I, No. 3, November, 1887, pp. 239-240]
I am sternly rebuked for some remarks made in the last number. My reflections with regard to the respective value of Mussulman and Christian pledges exchanged, as also on the doubtful propriety of zoological symbolism in the Churches—are pronounced wantonly wicked and
calculated to hurt the tender feelings of Christian readers—if any. Protestant England—it is solemnly urged—is full of truly good men and women, of sincere churchgoers, who “walk in the ways of the Lord.” No doubt there are such, and no doubt they do, or try to, which is a step in advance of those who do not. But then none of the “righteous” need recognize their faces in the mirror presented by the “Unpopular Philosopher” only to the unrighteous. And again—
“THE WAYS OF THE LORD . . . .” The ways of which Lord? Is the jealous Lord of Moses meant, the God who thundered amidst the lightnings of Sinai, or the meek “Lord” of the Mount of Olives and Calvary? Is it the stern God that saith “vengeance is mine,” and who must be “worshipped in fear,” or the “man-God” who commanded to love one’s neighbours as oneself, to forgive one’s enemies and bless those who revile us? For the ways of the two Lords are wide apart, and can never meet.
No one who has studied the Bible can deny for one single moment that a large proportion (if happily not all) of modern Christians walk indeed “in the ways of the Lord”—Number I. This one is the “Lord” who had respect unto Abel, because the meat of his sacrifice smelt sweet in his nostrils; the “Lord” who commanded the Israelites to spoil the Egyptians of their jewels of silver and gold; * also to “kill every male among the little ones,” as “every woman . . . . but all the women children [virgins] . . . . . to keep alive for yourselves” (Numb., xxxi, 17, et seq.); and to commit other actions too coarse to be repeated in any respectable publication.
Hence the modern warriors who achieve such feats (with the modern improvement occasionally, of shooting their enemies out of` the mouths of big guns) walk, most undeniably, “in the ways” of the Lord of the Jews, but never in the ways of Christ. So does the modern trader who keeps the Sabbath most rigorously, attending Divine
* And no doubt also the Anglo-Indians to spoil the King of Burmah of his?
Service thrice on that day, after treating during the whole week his hired clerks as the brood of Ham “who shall be their (Shem and Japhet’s) servants.”
So does, likewise, he who helps himself, David-like, to a Bath-Sheba, the wife of Uriah, without the least concern whether he simply robs or kills the Hittite husband. For he has every right to take for his sampler “a friend of God”—the God of the old covenant.
But will either of these pretend they walk in the ways of their Lord of the new Dispensation? Yet, he who raises his voice in a protest against the “ways” of the Mosaic God, therefore, in favour of those preached by the very antithesis of Jehovah—the meek and gentle “Man of Sorrow”—he is forthwith set up on the pillory and denounced to public opprobrium as an anti-Christian and an Atheist! This, in the face of the words: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven. . . . And every one that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand and . . . . great was the fall thereof”! [Matt., vii, 21, 26-27.]
THE “WILL OF MY FATHER”? Is this “Father” identical with the God of Mount Sinai and of the Commandments? Then what is the meaning of the whole Chapter V of Matthew, of the Sermon on the Mount, in which every one of these Commandments is virtually criticised and destroyed by the new amendments?
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
“But I say unto you that ye resist not evil,” etc. [Matt., v. 38-39.]
Glance at the big centres of our Christian civilizations. Look at the jails, the court and the prison-house, the tribunals, and the police; see the distress, with starvation and prostitution as its results. Look at the host of the men of law and of judges; and then see how far the words of Christ, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, Judge not that ye be not judged,” apply to the whole
structure of our modern civilised life, and how far we may be called Christians.
How well the commandment—“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” [John, viii, 7]—is now obeyed, may be seen by following day after day, the law reports for slander, calumny and defamation. Obedience to the injunction, and warning against the sin of` offending children, “these little ones,” of whom is the Kingdom of Heaven, is found in the brutal treatment of fatherless children on the streets by the Christian police, of other children by their parents, and finally, in the merciless flogging of wee bits of culprits driven to crime by their own parents and starvation. And is it those who denounce such an anti-Christian spirit in legislation, the Pharisaical church and society, who shall be branded for speaking the truth? The magistrate, who has sworn on the Bible—contrary to Christ’s express injunction—to administer justice; the pious defaulter, who swears falsely on it, but cannot be convicted; the sanctimonious millionaire who fattens on the blood and sweat of the poor; and the aristocratic “Jezebel” who casts mud from her carriage wheels on her “fallen” sister, on the street, a victim perchance, of one of the men of her own high caste—all these call themselves Christians. The anti-Christians are those who dare to look behind that veil of respectability .
The best answer to such paradoxical denunciation may be found in one of “Saladin’s” admirable editorials. The reader must turn to The Secular Review for October 22nd, 1887, and read some pertinent reflections on “The Bitter Cry of Outcast London,” and the “Child-thieves” flogging. Well may a “heathen Chinee” or a “mild Hindu” shudder in horror at the picture in it of` that “drawing of` blood” out of the baby-bodies of infant thieves. The process is executed by a Christian policeman acting under the orders and in the presence of a righteous Christian magistrate. Has either of the two ever given a thought during the “child-torture” to the words of their Christ: “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believes in me, it is better for him that a
millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea”? [Mark, ix, 42.]
Yes, they are walking “in the ways of the God of Israel”! For, as “it repenteth” the Lord that he had made man so wicked and so imperfect, that “Lord” drowned and destroyed him “from the face of the earth,” without more ado. Verily so, “both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air” [Gen., vi, 7], though the latter had neither sinned, nor were they “wicked.” And why shouldn’t the righteous men on Earth do likewise? It repents the Christian citizens of pious LUGDUNUM perchance also, that they create the starving little wretches, the foundlings abandoned to vice from the day of their birth? And the truly good Christian men, who would believe themselves damned to hell-fire were they to miss their Sabbath Service, forbidden by law to drown their creatures, resort to the next best thing they can; they “draw blood” from those little ones whom their “Saviour” and Master took under his special protection.
May the shadow of “Saladin” never grow less, for the fearless honest words of truth he writes:—
And whose blood was in the veins of these two boys? Whose blood reddened the twigs of the birch? Peradventure that of the magistrate himself, or of the chaplain of the prison. For mystical are the grinding of the wheels of the mill of misery. And God looks on and tolerates. And I am accounted a heretic, and my anti-Christian writings are produced against me in a Court of Justice to prevent my getting justice, because I fail to see in all this how Christianity “elevates” woman and casts a “halo of sacred innocence round the tender years of the child.” So be it. I have flung down my gauge of battle, and the force of bigotry may break me to death, but it shall never bend me to submission. Unsalaried and ill-supported, I fight as stubbornly as if the world flung at my feet its gold and laurels and huzzas; for the weak need a champion and the wronged an avenger. It is necessary that Sham find an opponent and Hypocrisy a foe: these they will find in me, be the consequences what they may.
* [Pseudonym of William Steward Ross. Vide Bio-Bibliogr. Index for Volume IX, s.v. Ross.—Compiler.]
JOHN WORRELL KEELY
Reproduced from Le Lotus, Vol. III, September, 1888.
This is the epitomized history of the “Unpopular Philosopher”; aye, the story of all those who, in the words of Lara, know that “Christianity will never save humanity, but humanity may save Christianity,” i. e, the ideal spirit of the Christos-Buddha—of THEOSOPHY.