So, too, I find the following:
"We believe that the Providence of God, by which he executes his eternal purposes in the government of the world, is in and over all events."
Is God the governor of the world? Is this established by the history of nations? What evidence: can you find, if you are absolutely honest and not frightened, in the history of the world, that this universe is presided over by an infinitely wise and good God?
How do you account for Russia? How do you account for Siberia? How do you account for the fact that whole races of men toiled beneath the master's lash for ages without recompense and without reward? How do you account for the fact that babes were sold from the arms of mothers--arms that had been reached toward God in supplication? How do you account for it? How do you account for the existence of martyrs? How do you account for the fact that this God allows people to be burned simply for loving him? Is justice always done? Is innocence always acquitted? Do the good succeed? Are the honest fed? Are the charitable clothed? Are the virtuous shielded? How do you account for the fact that the world has been filled with pain, and grief, and tears? How do you account for the fact that people have been swallowed by earthquakes, overwhelmed by volcanoes, and swept from the earth by storms? Is it easy to account for famine, for pestilence and plague if there be above us all a Ruler infinitely good, powerful and wise?
I do not say there is none. I do not know. As I have said before, this is the only planet I was ever on. I live in one of the rural districts of the universe and do not know about these things as much as the clergy pretend to, but if they know no more about the other world than they do about this, it is not worth mentioning.
How do they answer all this? They say that God "permits" it. What would you say to me if I stood by and saw a ruffian beat out the brains of a child, when I had full and perfect power to prevent it? You would say truthfully that I was as bad as the murderer. Is it possible for this God to prevent it? Then, if he does not he is a fiend; he is no god. But they say he "permits" it. What for? So that we may have freedom of choice. What for? So that God may find, I suppose, who are good and who are bad. Did he not know that when he made us? Did he not know exactly just what he was making? Why should he make those whom he knew would be criminals? If I should make a machine that would walk your streets and take the lives of people you would hang me. And if God made a man whom he knew would commit murder, then God is guilty of that murder. If God made a man knowing that he would beat his wife, that he would starve his children, that he would strew on either side of his path of life the wrecks of ruined homes, then I say the being who knowingly called that wretch into existence is directly responsible. And yet we are to find the providence of God in the history of nations. What little I have read shows me that when man has been helped, man has done it; when the chains of slavery have been broken, they have been broken by man; when something bad has been done in the government of mankind, it is easy to trace it to man, and to fix the responsibility upon human beings. You need not look to the sky; you need throw neither praise nor blame upon gods; you can find the efficient causes nearer home--right here.