THE TYRANNY OF GOD
THE BIBLE UNMASKED
VOLTAIRE: THE INCOMPARABLE INFIDEL
SPAIN: A LAND BLIGHTED BY RELIGION
BURBANK THE INFIDEL
THE BIBLE AND THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
FRANKLIN THE FREETHINKER
LINCOLN THE FREETHINKER
MEXICO AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
SOVIET RUSSIA AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
SHALL CHILDREN RECEIVE RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION?
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
THOMAS PAINE: AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY
THE TRAGIC PATRIOT
INSPIRATION AND WISDOM FROM THE WRITINGS OF THOMAS PAINE
AN ATHEIST MANIFESTO
INGERSOLL THE MAGNIFICENT
To Which Has Been Added
A Special Arrangement of
SOME GEMS FROM INGERSOLL
FOR INSPIRATION, WISDOM
THE FREETHOUGHT PRESS ASSOCIATION
New York 1, N. Y.
and in the 181st year
of American Independence,
by Joseph Lewis
|No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without the written
permission of the author, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief
passages in connection with a review for inclusion in magazine, newspaper
or radio broadcast.
The Text of Ingersoll's quotations is taken from
Printed in the United States of America
Notes on the HTML Edition, edited by Cliff Walker
This electronic edition was edited by Cliff Walker from the first edition of the work published by Freethought Press. The edition by American Atheists Press (AAP) has many, many errors, and also betrays AAP's one-time editorial policy of never capitalizing the word "god" even when used as a proper noun, and AAP's one-time policy of always calling the Catholic Church the "Roman Catholic Church" -- regardless of the wording of the original. For this reason, we never use AAP editions of anything as source material unless it is the only available.
This HTML edition, with the exception of minor spelling errors silently corrected, and one paragraph misplacement which was noted, is verbatim the original Freethought Press edition as Lewis published it. All text originally in Small Caps has been converted to Bold, and any ambiguities in capitalization have been referred back to the original work of Ingersoll as it reads in the Dresden Memorial Edition of Ingersoll's works.
-- Cliff Walker, editor
THE CREED OF
ROBERT G. INGERSOLL
To love justice, to long for the right, to love mercy, to pity the suffering, to assist the weak, to forget wrongs and remember benefits -- to love the truth, to be sincere, to utter honest words, to love liberty, to wage relentless war against slavery in all its forms, to love wife and child and friend, to make a happy home, to love the beautiful in art, in nature, to cultivate the mind, to be familiar with the mighty thoughts that genius has expressed, the noble deeds of all the world, to cultivate courage and cheerfulness, to make others happy, to fill life with the splendor of generous acts, the warmth of loving words, to discard error, to destroy prejudice, to receive new truths with gladness, to cultivate hope, to see the calm beyond the storm, the dawn beyond the night, to do the best that can be done and then to be resigned -- this is the religion of reason, the creed of science. This satisfies the heart and brain.
This book has been in preparation for some time; in fact, for many years, but I have hesitated to publish it. There are many reasons for this.
It was not an easy task to condense in one volume the mighty thoughts of Robert G. Ingersoll from the twelve massive volumes which contain the product of his brain. Even after I had made, what I considered, a rather exhaustive search for the best of Ingersoll's thoughts, I was, nevertheless, reluctant to put them together in a book for fear that I would leave out, what others might consider, thoughts and expressions superior to those which I had selected.
The purpose of this book was to put together in individual sections the most important and most pertinent thoughts which Ingersoll had expressed upon that particular subject.
For instance, I searched his entire works for his expressions on the Bible, and put them into one chapter. I did the same with his thoughts on Christianity, the church, and the New Testament. I did the same with his references to Great Men and the Gods. Other chapters contain his orations and tributes with his sentiments on family life; poetic utterances; philosophical dissertations and many vital subjects. I gathered these thoughts from his lectures, interviews, debates, special articles and personal correspondence.
It is because of the fact that I have taken extracts from different parts of his works, containing thoughts and sentiments expressed at different times and under different circumstances, but which deal with the same subject, that might account for somewhat of a lack of continuity, in some of the chapters. I have tried to obviate this minor fault by double spacing some paragraphs. And yet, I do not hesitate to say that there are many sparkling gems and many golden nuggets of wisdom still to be found in the pages of his works.
I culled page after page and was faced with the dilemma as to what to select that would represent what would be the best of Ingersoll's thoughts upon the particular subject. During my years of work, to find out what I considered Ingersoll's best, I took out extract after extract. I laid many aside for further consideration, and even after such a careful study, I put back many extracts which I had previously left out, and took out selections which I had previously selected. I added and eliminated, I eliminated and added, I shifted and shifted, until I felt that I had reduced to the very minimum the essence of his thoughts.
There was another obstacle I had to face. Ingersoll had the rare ability of expressing the same thought in different language -- each expressed as beautifully and as eloquently as the other. Which one was I to select? It was not an easy decision to make, but make it I must. I ask the reader's indulgence for this decision. If there are some who think I should have used the other expression, rather than the one I selected, I wish to apologize for it. However, do not doubt my sincerity nor the failure to give it due consideration. I assure you that I pondered long over each and every selection which required a decision of choice.
I know only too well the difficulty in trying to condense the writings of Robert G. Ingersoll, because no one knows better than myself that every word, every eloquent sentence, and every magnificent thought should be read as this great master wrote it.
Nevertheless, I felt that a book such as this was needed. I felt that many would read it who would not otherwise become acquainted with Ingersoll's writings.
While compiling this book, I was also troubled by Ingersoll's own statement regarding the danger involved in attempting to condense the thoughts of another. Here are his own words:
|"If I were to edit the great books of the world, I might leave out some lines and I might leave out the best. I have no right to make of my brain a sieve and say that only that which passes through belongs to the rest of the human race. I claim the right to choose. I give that right to all."|
Of course, Ingersoll is right; absolutely right. That is why I want it distinctly understood that this is not an attempt to "edit" Ingersoll's works.
Let me repeat, no one knows better than I do, that this cannot be done. Ingersoll's works cannot be edited or abridged.
My purpose in publishing this volume is to introduce to the reader some rare gems of Ingersoll, that they might stimulate him to become better acquainted with all of his works.
It was some thirty years ago, to be exact May 26, 1926, when I delivered a talk over radio station WBGS, New York City, on "Some Gems of Ingersoll." In the studio with me at that time was Ingersoll's youngest daughter, Maud R. Ingersoll Probasco. When I had concluded my talk, Mrs. Probasco told me that it was the first time that Ingersoll's words had gone over the air.
Some years later, Mrs. Probasco, to show her appreciation for what I had done for Ingersoll, sent me, as a gift, the original manuscript in Ingersoll's characteristic handwriting, of his lectures "Which Way," magnificently bound in genuine leather, with the title stamped in gold. It is now one of my prized possessions. With the manuscript came a letter, which I consider both a privilege and a compliment to quote here. I was both proud and honored to receive such a gift, and such a letter, from the daughter of the man who was responsible for my mental emancipation.
Here is the text of the letter:
|You know, I think, how I prize every word written by my dear father
so now you will know how deeply I appreciate what you have done to honor
his name when I give you this manuscript.
With every good wish, I am
May 12, 1934"
I wish that Maud Ingersoll Probasco was here that I might ask her approval of this book. Since that cannot be, I am asking you for your approval, firmly believing that no person can read the eloquent words and majestic thoughts of Robert G. Ingersoll without being the better for it.
For myself, I would have considered it one of the great losses of life, to have died, without having read Ingersoll.
Purdys, New York
August 11th, in the one hundred
and twenty-fourth year of the birth
of Ingersoll the Magnificent.