384 THE LAW OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
the wicked? Knowing, as all must know who have followed his career and noted his sayings, his utter abhorrence of all wickedness; reading, as all may read, his sublime code of ethics and morals, together with the awful maledictions pronounced upon all violations of that code, and the punishments which he held before the world as a consequence of sin, it is simply impossible rationally to conceive the idea that he taught that all consequences of a life of sin could be avoided by belief. It is a self-evident proposition that a man may believe in Christ, may believe in immortality, and at the same time be steeped in all manner of wickedness and crime. No more devout believers can be found in all Christendom than those of an unfortunate race in America who are proverbial alike for their devoted piety and for their propensity to steal on their way home from prayer-meeting; unless we except the bandits of Italy, who are as noted for their strict observance of the forms of the Church as they are for the fact that they live by the perpetration of murder and robbery. Unfortunately, our illustrations cannot be drawn exclusively from any one race or nation. In every Christian society there are all too many devout believers who live in constant violation of every law, human and Divine. It is an insult to the intelligence of Christ and of humanity to hold the monstrous doctrine that the belief of these men can shield them from the punishment due to infamy, or that they can be adequately punished, "according to their deeds," by annihilation.
On the other hand, it is impossible to believe that Christ summarized all the virtues, human and Divine, in the one word belief, or that by the employment of that word he simply meant that all who live pure and virtuous lives before God and man will be entitled to the rewards of heaven. If this was all that he meant, he taught nothing new, either to the Jewish nation or to any other civilized nation then in existence ; for the Hebrews had been taught the doctrine of future rewards and punishments, of heaven and of hell, long before the appearance of the Messiah. It is true that Moses did not teach the Israelites any doctrine