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fraudulent speculations. But, you know it well, Gentlemen and Ladies, such is not the motto of Doctor Evariste. No, no, he's a different man; and, as a proof of his disinterested honesty, hear my declaration. This salve, so wonderful in its effects, this salve, of which the discovery has cost me fifty years of labor and journeying, I now deliver up gratuitously and without charge to the public. Judge for yourselves, before you use it; for, without any sort of mystery, I am going to make you acquainted with all the elements which compose it, and give you full directions for its use.
"In the first place, A Jove principium, as Virgil says, — which may signify, Ladies, To cook a hare, first catch a hare,-I begin by hunting out, in the stagnant pools where they hatch, black serpents of all sizes, old and young and middle-aged, and even not yet hatched. When caught, I chop their heads off. That is to say, Gentlemen and Ladies, in Catholic Apostolic Roman language, I dig out infidelity wherever it has nested itself: I cut off its head, by taking its own objections against Christianity, of whatever kind they may be, past, present, future, old, new, flat, or horned, to the right or to the left, up or down: I gather them from the mouth of the beardless youth or the whiskered man, from the parlour and the workshop, from the head and tail of the philosophical army; objections in rhyme and prose, from every language and gibberish; objections from big books and little books, from huge folios covered with dust, and from perfumed pamphlets: I place them all in a mortar hermetically sealed, so that no part can evaporate, cessary precaution. The result produced by trituration is a greasy lump, which, being placed in the alembic, conveys into my receiver the quintessence of the whole, which I am going now to present
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"In its dogma, Christianity is but a tissue of myths, of fables, of inconsistencies revolting to our reason. It teaches that Jesus Christ is God: absurd! That he was born of a mother ever virgin : absurd! That there is but one God, and in this one nature three distinct persons: absurd! That this God foresees all things, and whatever he foresees happens infallibly; and yet man is a free agent absurd! That this God is all, and yet man is something: absurd! That for a sin of a single moment, this God, whom Christianity still calls good, punishes a frail creature with an eternity of torments: absurd! That all men are born with the guilt of a sin committed by their first parent: absurd! That the Son of God, coming into this world, was born in a stable; that he died upon a cross, between two thieves: absurd! That he and his Apostles performed miracles: absurd, too! since the laws of nature are immutable, and the Apostles were only stupid fools, the first Christians idiots who believed whatever they were told, without examining, without reasoning, carried away by a fanatic love of glory and of novelty. In fine, Christianity, viewed in its dogma, whether by parts or in a lump, is nothing but a long string of absurdities.
"You perceive, Gentlemen and Ladies, that my chemical operation has been quite successful; the ingredients have lost nothing of their strength; and all these black serpents' heads, or, theologically, all the objections of infidelity against the Christian dogma, when cut off, hacked, triturated, and distilled, furnish us with the quintessence of all the sophisms written, said, sung, or howled, from Celsus down to Voltaire and his latest posterity, born or to be born. Having proceeded thus far, I inscribe: DOGMA OF CHRISTIANITY, TOTAL ABSURDITY. And there's one point settled.
"Now for its morality. I hope to satisfy this amiable audience that my chemical process is equally perfect in this respect. It furnishes us with an elixir of the following nature.
"By its very first commandment, the moral code of Christianity obliges me to believe all the absurdities comprised in its dogma: impossible! It obliges me to forgive my enemies, and love them as myself: impossible! It obliges me to sacrifice the dearest, the strongest inclinations of my nature: impossible! It obliges me to confess my sins, however shameful, however secret, to a man like myself: impossible! It obliges me to practise virtues which degrade a man; humility, which makes him a poltroon; detachment, which makes him a bad citizen; the flight of the world, which makes him a misanthrope; the constant fear of hell, which makes him an idiot impossible! To all this it adds a long list of practices, observances, privations, which bind a man hand and foot: impossible! In one word, the moral code of Christianity bears no proportion to human weakness; that it should have come from a God infinitely wise and good is impossible. It is therefore false and tyrannical,-absurd!
"What have you to say, Gentlemen Chemists of the Imperial and Royal Academies of Paris, London, Vienna, Petersburg, and Pekin? Can you hope to arrive at results more complete, when you try by analysis to discover the component elements of bodies? You may hang yourself for spite, illustrious Orfila! never, even with Marsh's apparatus, will you be able to detect in a dead dog the arsenical parts half so completely as Doctor Evariste culls out, by his peculiar process, the last and most minute atom of the black serpent's venom. Deny it who can: I hold here in my receiver the whole essential acid of all the objections, past, present, or future, that can be made against the moral code of Christianity. I conclude, therefore: MORALITY OF CHRISTIANITY, TOTAL IMPOSSIAnd there's a second point settled.
"I terminate the whole process, Gentlemen and Ladies, by the objections against Catholic worship, and I obtain the salt which you are now going to see. The worship of Christianity is a heap of vain and ridiculous superstitions, fit only for old women and children at the most. Pour a few drops of water on the head of an infant, with certain words, and he is cleansed from sin, — made white as snow:
superstition! Rub his forehead with oil, and he becomes strong enough to vanquish the most formidable enemies: superstition! He takes a piece of bread over which the priest has pronounced a few words, and it is no longer bread, it is God in person: superstition! Is he sick? Anoint the organs of his senses, and his sins are forgiven him: superstition! And, then, all these genuflexions, these ceremonies which have neither rhyme nor reason, a real puppetshow that sets a fool a staring, but excites pity in a sensible man, what is all this but superstition, eternal superstition? And yet this is the whole form and substance of Catholic worship.
"I appeal to this honorable society, whether I have mitigated in any manner the venom of the black serpent, and whether, by my chemical operation, it has not even acquired a more intense degree of malignity. I say, therefore: WORSHIP OF CHRISTIANITY, TOTAL SUPERSTITION. And there's the third point settled.
"Gentlemen and Ladies, this is all; for Christianity is attackable only on these three points. Remember, now, what you have heard. All the objections which infidelity can possibly make, when ground up and distilled, give for result a composition fully expressed by these three terms, which have become technical: ABSURDITY, IMPOSSIBILITY, SUPERSTITION. Absurdity in the dogma; impossibility in the morality, superstition in the worship; here is the honorable label of Christianity.
"This is the compound of my admirable specific, which I divide into pills numbered 1, 2, 3, &c., as high as seven. The composi tion of this incomparable salve is therefore simple and easy, but at the same time in strict accordance with all chemical and pharmaceutic rules.
"VI. APPLICATION OF THE SALVE TO ENCEPHALIC WOUNDS. — PREPARATIVE MEASURES.
"Gentlemen and Ladies, the father of the medical art, the great Hippocrates, in his Aphorisms, recommends to all Doctors to approach their patients as a candidate for election does the voters of his district with head uncovered, brow serene, sweet and caressing forms of speech, and a smile on the lips, if possible. I do my best to follow this fundamental precept of the art. Do I meet with a victim of the black serpent? I manifest the greatest interest in him, and give signs of deep sympathy. I am perfectly accommodating, and suffer him to spit out whatever he may have in his throat, or elsewhere.
"But I cannot better instruct you, Gentlemen and Ladies, in the true method of applying this precious salve, than by relating to you exactly my own treatment of an illustrious patient, whose case
is recent. For, as the Roman orator says, Fabricando fit faber; or, as the Mantuan swan has sung, Ab uno disce omnes; which implies, Ladies, If you can work one slipper, you can work a thousand.
"To proceed; on my return from my last voyage to Rio de la Plata, in South America, I landed at Bordeaux, on the Garonne ; travelling thence to Paris, I stopped at Tours, in Touraine. I put up at the house of a friend, who informed me, with great consternation, that the most celebrated lawyer of the place had been bitten in the head by the black serpent. 'He has since bitten several others,' said my friend; and these, others still; so that the viperian contagion is likely to spread far and wide; and unless you come to our aid, Doctor, we are lost.'
"We are lost! What an impressive word, Gentlemen and Ladies, when spoken to the ear of a doctor! It was hardly uttered when I was up and doing. In twenty-two minutes and four seconds, I had visited the mayor at his office, and had announced in every part of the town, that a public meeting would be held that very evening, with permission of the constituted authorities, at which I would cure gratuitously, radically, instantaneously, and without pain, all encephalic wounds of the black serpent. The name of Doctor Evariste de Gypendole was soon in every mouth.
"When the assembly was convened, I drew near to my patient, who was seated in an arm-chair, taking care to follow exactly the rule of Hippocrates before quoted. At my approach, he manifested a slight convulsive motion, followed immediately by an inclination to expectorate. I encouraged him to it; and suddenly his lips flying open with the reverse of a steel-trap action, he flung this discharge full in my face: Yes, Sir, the dogma of Christianity is absurdity, three fourths at least!'
"This eructation, near as I stood, did not, however, disturb me or make me shrink; I have undergone many of the kind. On the contrary, I stepped a little nearer, and, holding this small box under the patient's nose, I made him inhale the perfume of my pills, saying, at the same time, Most excellent Sir, you are too moderate by far; say rather that the dogma of Christianity is a total absurdity, total as the eclipse of the moon on the 29th day of July, 1830. I grant you all.' Thereupon I felt his pulse, with a smile.
"An inclination to expectorate was again manifested, and he threw at my feet a new discharge: Yes, Sir, the morality of Christianity is an impossibility, a system of tyranny in most points.'
"I presented again my fragrant box to the olfactory nerves of the patient, accompanying the application with these words, in a caressing tone: Speak out freely; say it is such in every point; granted, granted.' I felt his pulse again; it was more regular ; the muscles of his face relaxed, and he half opened his eyes to look
at me. It is evident that he has confidence in his physician, the man is saved. The cure is already commenced. A last expectoration, occasioned by the simple odor of my salve, brought forth another discharge: Yes, Sir, the worship of Christianity is full of superstitions, idle, degrading, and immoral.'
"For the third time, I made him inhale the perfume of my wonderful box: Friend of my heart, speak out, speak out; don't say it's full, say it's superstition itself. Yes, from the Mass to the holywater pot, all is superstition in Catholic worship, absolutely all; granted again; there 's no exception.'
"This third concession, Gentlemen and Ladies, is an antispasmodic of the greatest efficacy. My patient rolled his eyes round twice; the students of the Chinese University could not have done it so well; he brought the muscles of the upper and lower lids to their full stretch, passed his hand over his forehead, and became gentle as a lamb, mild as might be a woman without a tongue. Fixing his eyes wide open upon me, the illustrious lawyer congratulated me on the progress of my reason; then, drawing off his glove, which was of the color of fresh butter, and stretching forth his hand, Take this,' said he; 'Doctor, we are friends; you belong to us; I shall at once inscribe your name on the honorable catalogue of philosophy.' Wait a moment,' I replied, with much modesty; an honor so extraordinary should be purchased, methinks, at a higher price; I have one to offer; please inform me if it be agreeable.'
"Then, to the astonishment of the distinguished assembly, I applied to the very root of his nose my pill No. 1, in the following manner. I have already granted you three assertions; I must yet add a fourth concession. I will admit all the objections of all the philosophers, heretics, miscreants, whether past, present, future, old or new; I pile them up, if you choose, one upon another; they form a mountain eighteen hundred times higher than the tops of Himalaya, or the peak of Chimboraço; or, in other words, Christianity, in its dogma, its morality, its worship, from head to foot, and from beginning to end, is an absurdity eighteen hundred times bigger than the highest known mountains of the earth. I can do no more; but is this enough?'
"Who could ask more of you, Doctor? You outstrip our most illustrious ancestors, from Celsus and Porphyry, down to Voltaire and his brilliant progeny of Jansenists, Eclectics, Idealists, Materialists, Saint-Simonians, Fourierists, Universitarians, Pantheists, and Humanitarians. I hardly know one of those honorable and learned philosophers who has not recognized in Christianity at least some small fragment of truth and goodness; were it only the belief in hell to punish their gainsayers, or the obligation for others to respect their small but honestly acquired fortune. But you, Doctor, bursting nobly the trammels of these still lurking prejudices, you recognize no more truth in its dogma than in the charter