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Heinrich Heine called himself a soldier in the army of human liberation. It was a modest description of himself, for he was more; his position was that of a leader, and his sword was like the mystic Excalibur, flashing with the hues of his genius, and dealing death to the enemies of freedom.

Humbler fighters than Heine may count themselves as simple soldiers in that great army, whose leaders' names are graven deep in the history of modern Europe. I also venture to rank myself with them, and it is the summit of my ambition. To be indeed a soldier in that army, however low and obscure, is not to have lived in vain; to persevere, to fight to the end, is to live (if unknown) in the future of humanity.

In the course of my service to "the cause" I have wielded tongue and pen as weapons. The spoken word has gone, like spilt water, except as it may have made an impression on the listeners. The written word remains. Most of it, in truth, was only the week's work, done honestly, but under no special impulse. Some of the rest -- as I have been told, and as in a few cases I feel -- is of less doubtful value; having occasionally the merit of a free play of mind on subjects that are too often treated with ignorance, timidity, or hypocrisy.

This is my reason for publishing in a separate and durable form the articles in this collection. Whether it is a sufficient reason the reader will judge for himself.

No serious attempt has been made at classification. Here and there articles have been placed in intended proximity, though written at different intervals in the past ten years. Sometimes, for an obvious reason, the date of composition has been indicated. Otherwise there is no approach to systematic arrangement; and if this is a defect, the reader has on the other hand the benefit of variety.

The ambitious, and hardly excusable, thing about this collection is its title. But the selection of a label for such a miscellany was not an easy task, and I ask the reader's indulgence in consideration of the difficulty. The title I have chosen is at least a pretty one, and in a sense it is appropriate. These articles are flowers of my Freethought; the blossomings of my mind on particular occasions, after much investigation and pondering.

Wherever I have made a rash statement I shall be happy to be corrected; wherever I may have argued wrongly, I shall be happy to be set right. But I am less amenable to appeals on the ground of "taste." They are almost invariably made by those who wish failure to one's propaganda. A fair controversialist will refrain from personalities. I have done this, and I will do no more. I believe in free thought and honest speech. In the war of ideas there is neither treaty nor truce. To ask for quarter is to admit defeat; and to give it is treachery to Truth.

April, 1893.


Old Nick 1
Fire!!! 7
Sky Pilots 11
Devil Dodgers 15
Fighting Spooks 19
Damned Sinners 22
Where Is Hell? 27
Spurgeon And Hell 30
Is Spurgeon In Heaven? 34
God In Japan 38
Stanley On Providence 42
Gone To God 45
Thank God 49
Judgment Day 52
Shelley's Atheism 61
Long Faces 71
Our Father 77
Wait Till You Die 81
Dead Theology 84
Mr. Gladstone On Devils 94
Huxley's Mistake 97
The Gospel Of Freethought 101
On Ridicule 108
Who Are The Blasphemers? 112
Christianity And Common Sense 114
The Lord Of Lords 117
Consecrating The Colors 122
Christmas In Holloway Gaol 125
Who Killed Christ? 130
Did Jesus Ascend? 134
The Rising Son 137
St. Paul's Veracity 140
No Faith With Heretics 145
The Logic Of Persecution 147
Luther And The Devil 151
Bible English 157
Living By Faith 161
Victor Hugo 163
Desecrating A Church 166
Walt Whitman 169
Tennyson And The Bible 174
Christ's Old Coat 179
Christ's Coat, Number Two 183
Scotched, Not Slain 186
God-Making 189
God And The Weather 193
Miracles 196
A Real Miracle 200
Jesus On Women 204
Paul On Women 208
Mother's Religion 212