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These stories must be believed, or the work of regeneration can never be commenced. No matter how well you act your part, live as honestly as you may, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, divide your last farthing with the poor, and you are simply traveling the broad road that leads inevitably to eternal death, unless at the same time you implicitly believe the bible to be the inspired word of God.
Let me show you the result of unbelief. suppose, for a moment, that we are at the Day of Judgment, listening to the trial of souls as they arrive. The Recording Secretary, or whoever does the cross-examining, says to a soul :
Where are you from?
I am from the Earth.
What kind of a man were you?
Well, I don't like to talk about myself. I suppose you can tell by looking at your books.
No sir. You must tell what kind of a man you
Well, I was what you might call a first-rate fellow. I loved my wife and children. My home was my heaven. My fireside was a paradise to me. To sit there and see the lights
and shadows fall upon the faces of those I loved, was to me a perfect joy.
How did you treat your family?
I never said an unkind word. I never caused my wife, nor one of my children, a moment's pain. Did you pay your debts?
I did not owe a dollar when I died, and left enough to pay my funeral expenses, and to keep the fierce wolf of want from the door of those I loved. Did you belong to any church?
No sir. They were too narrow, pinched and bigoted for me, I never thought that I could be very happy if other folks were damned.
Did you believe in eternal punishment?
Well, no. I always thought that God could get his revenge in far less time.
Did believe the rib story?
Do you mean the Adam and Eve business?
Yes! Did you believe that?
To tell you the God's truth, that was just a little more than I could swallow.
Away with him to hell!
Where are you from?
I am from the world too.
Did you belong to any church?
Yes sir, and to the Young Men's Christian Association besides.
What was your business?
Cashier in a Savings Bank.
Did you ever run away with any money?
Where I came from, a witness could not be compelled to criminate himself.
The law is different here. Answer the question. Did you run away with any money?
I took my neighbor's wife—we sang together in the choir.
Did you have a wife and children of your own?
And you deserted them?
Yes sir, but such was my confidence in God that I believed he would take care of them.
Have you heard of them since?
Did you believe in the rib story?
Bless your soul, of course I did. A thousand times I regretted that there were no harder stories in the bible, so that I could have shown my wealth of faith.
Do you believe the rib story yet?
Yes, with all my heart.
Give him a harp!
Well, as I was saying, God made a woman from Adam's rib. Of course, I do not know exactly how this was done, but when he got the woman finished, he presented her to Adam. He liked her, and they commenced house-keeping in the celebrated garden of Eden.
Must we, in order to be good, gentle and loving in our lives, believe that the creation of woman was a second thought? That Jehovah really endeavored to induce Adam to take one of the lower animals as an helpmeet for him? After all, is it not possible to live honest and courageous lives without believing these fables? It is said that from Mount Sinai God gave, amid thunderings and lightnings, ten commandments for the guidance of mankind; and yet among them is not found—"Thou shalt believe the Bible."
N the first account we are told that God made man, male and female, and said to them "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it."
In the second account only the man is made, and he is put in a garden "to dress it and to keep it." He is not told to subdue the earth, but to dress and keep a garden.
In the first account man is given every herb bearing seed upon the face of the earth and the fruit of every tree for food, and in the second, he is given only the fruit of all the trees in the garden with the exception "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” which was a deadly poison.
There was issuing from this garden a river that was parted into four heads. The first of these, Pison, compassed the whole land of Havilah, the second, Gihon, that compassed the whole land of Ethiopia,