You may ask me if I deny that there was such a man as Jesus. I answer, No. I do not doubt there was, any more than I doubt that there was such a man as Washington. But I have doubts that Jesus was the author of the Christian religion or had anything to do with it. Its author lived in heathen ages and it has been modified as science developed itself. I believe it is a stain on the character of the man, Jesus. I will here give my ideas of Jesus and the introduction of Christ, which was Jesus' teacher or the God in Jesus, or God manifest in the flesh. At the crucifixion of Jesus, there was not much account of him. It is said Josephus speaks of him, though that is denied. Therefore, there could be but very little excitement about him at that time. All we hear from him is the account gathered some years after his death. Paul's conversion took place thirty years after his death and at that time, he was so unpopular that Paul was destroyed.
Everyone knows that religion has been a thing like politics, changing like the Democratic party. Yet, its disciples claim to be followers of Jesus as the democracy claim to be followers of Jefferson. Now there is not one single idea advocated by the parties of either Jesus or Jefferson that was ever thought of by these men, yet they claim to be followers of Christ. Go back to the Puritan fathers and you will find the Christians hanging the Quakers and burning the witches. Still later, you see these very Puritans fighting every sect differing from them. The true followers of Christ at this day are disciples of Wesley, Calvin, etc. Now their religion is a creed and nothing else and unless you subscribe to it, you are not a follower of Jesus. Jesus was the man who brought this true light or Christ to light, which the priests have crucified. It came to them first and they refused it. Then it turned to the Gentile or scientific world and has since then been working in the hearts of the wise, and will always, till priesthood and superstition have been blotted out of the natural man.
Return with me to the days of Jesus and see if I do not give his mission a higher character than what is claimed by the priests and all the religious wars made by the priests. Everyone who reads the history of Jesus will see that he never intended to get up a party on his own account, but tried to enlighten the people on such subjects as would be for their happiness. The people were groaning beneath the Roman yoke and led by priests who ruled them by a rod of iron, robbing the widow and fatherless by pretending to pardon their sins. In fact they were a complete engine of deception, playing upon the superstition of the masses without the least regard for the people's happiness. This was the state of the people at the birth of Jesus. Many groaning in their captivity were prophesying for someone to deliver them, but no one came. Now when this promise had so matured in the hearts of the people, it must come forth; a child must be born capable of receiving the science, just as it is in the discovery of any new knowledge, the discovery of America, for instance. The minds of the people must be excited so that a certain chemical change will produce a child that can receive this wisdom. So Columbus was born, not with a knowledge of his future life; but when the time came, it came forth, and the people called it America.
Franklin was also born after a certain change in the soil of the mind, preparatory to the production of a new idea or science. Eighteen-hundred years ago, the world had become so disturbed by their religion that a child was brought forth to all appearances like other children, with this peculiarity: his mind was preparing to receive this great truth called Christ. But the child Jesus was as ignorant of it as Franklin, Columbus or Fulton were of their future. All new sciences come when they are the least wanted by the wise, for they are disturbed in their position; therefore, they must expect to meet with opposition. This is as it should be, for there will arise false lights that will deceive, so there should be some way to test them.
When Jesus came of age, he was informed with regard to the religion of his day; and as John the Baptist was preaching, it was not unlikely that the young man would go to hear him. As he heard him telling of a truth that would strike at the roots of this heathen wilderness and every tree or theory that could not stand the test of such a blow must come down, he was excited then by the Holy Ghost or this truth and was carried up into a wilderness where he could see all their craft and hypocrisy. Like all men who get a new idea or truth into their heads, they want to make the most of it, but there is a point where selfishness gives way to sympathy for his fellow man. This was the case with Jesus. His wisdom knew no bounds and to cramp it would be to betray it into the hands of its enemies. To declare it would be to run the risk of his life. He came to the conclusion that it was his duty to listen to the voice of those poor sick ones bound down in prison by the priests and come out and separate himself by standing up and denouncing the political engine that was crushing the poor to death. His first act was to do good. So he started out and called on men who were fishing to follow him. Then he went preaching this science and proving it by his works. In this way he saw that the priests' opinion made the people sick and affected them in many ways. So he preached the truth by showing how they had been deceived. This the people gladly received and were healed. So he cured all manner of diseases by the word of his mouth.
Nov. 15, 1861