« הקודםהמשך »
as he is at present. How men can be so blinded by superstition, as to believe themselves, and every thing around them, to be the work of an all-wise, all-powerful, and all-beneficent God, is to me an insoluble enigma.
“ To speak of chance as the cause is absurd beyond measure." I allow it. Yet to speak of a God as the cause is equally, if not more absurd. With me both words are of about equal meaningequally descriptive of the ignorance of the person who makes use of them. “ Chance,” says, the Archbishop, “is merely a word to expose our own ignorance.” So say I, with the addition, that the word God is likewise merely a word to express, or a veil to cover our ignorance; and I challenge you, Sir, or any other person to prove that it is otherwise. It is the pride of man, which will not allow him to own his ignorance, that ever prompts him to the use of either.
“And accordingly the belief of a wise and mighty author of all hath been received in every age and nation; which clearly proves it to be founded on truth and written on the hearts of men.” If such a belief as the Bishop describes has been generally received, it does not warrant his deductions. That men have always lived in fear, and, that not knowing what they feared, they have personified it, is granted; but that does not prove that these are realities answering to these personifications. If this was admitted, we should have a numerous store of Gods, of all shapes, of all passions; in short, we should have Gods answering to almost every thing we have an idea of in nature. The first deifiers could not conceive an acting will without a body: consequently they ever conceived their Gods to have a bodily shape; and in this, so far as not believing in a mind separate from body, they were correct. Their giving a will or intelligence to nature, or parts of nature to which they found themselves subjected, arose from their attributing to the will powers which it does no possess: the great error has ever been, in attributing the active power to intelligence, instead of giving it where it is so evidently due, to nature, to the material world. But the priests, the metaphysicians of latter days, becoming conscious of the absurdities connected with their profession, to protect themselves and their craft from the inquisitive eye of some of their fellow-men, conceived the necessity of depriving their God of every thing material, that by these means they might escape detection: consequently they made him immaterial; they made him nothing. But thanks to the philosophy of the present day, in spite of all the efforts of priestcraft and power, the phantom begins to vanish. The veil which hath so long prevented men from detecting the imposture which hath been practised upon them--the veil which hath so long prevented them discerning the truth, is fast removing from the minds of an inquisitive and knowledge-seeking race.
The doctrine of the Gods, says the Archbishop, “God himself
taught our first parents in the beginning: he hath confirmed it since by miracles from time to time, and perpetuated the evidence of it in his holy word.” If this doctrine had been given to our first parents—had there been any innate idea of the divinity given to man-or, as I have before quoted, had it been written on the hearts of men, every man must have been possessed of it, and no two could have had different ideas on the subject. Had this been the case, there would have been no need of miracles, no need of his holy word, no need of priest to prcach him to the people. In the first place it is sufficicut to say, that man has no innate ideas-no knowledge, save what he obtains through the medium of his senses. To talk of miracles, as a means of convincing man. of the existence of a God, bears the mark of imposture on the very face of it. What! if there be an all-powerful God, can he not convince man of his existence, without bringing miracles to his aid—without digressing from the immutable laws established in nature? Was there such a God as the Theists describe, he could demonstrate his existence to our senses without such aid. But let me ask you, Sir, can you prove that there ever has been a miracle? There have happened, doubtless, many things which to the observer might have appeared strange, and he might have called them miracles; but it only proves that he was ignorant of the causes which could produce them. How many of the simple phenomena which surround us have been styled miracles by our forefathers; and how many are still so styled by the ignorant of the present day, for want of a better knowledge of nature! A phenomenon not to be accounted for, especially when they have felt themselves affected by it, has ever struck terror into the minds of ignorant men; and their more cunning brethren, the priests, have ever embraced the opportunity to subject the multitude to their sway. Thus we find, that wherever there has been an establishment in the shape of a priesthood, there have been miracles called into their aid—to aid the priest, and to mislead their ignorant and infatuated dupes. These pretended miracles have sometimes been natural effects, of the causes of which the generality of mankind were ignorant, but more often they have been fictitious, or the effects of pious fraud.
The evidence contained “ in his holy word” is almost too absurd to deserve notice. The “holy word,” i. e. the Bible, is, in my opinion, such a contemptible composition, such a combination of contradictions and absurdities, as not to be evidence, even historically, much less on matters of opinion. If I take a wrong view of it, I shall be obliged to any one who will set me right. Here is a God represented as being in the shape of man, with garments white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool, his throne the fiery flame, his wheels burning fire; and again he is represented as a being, to look upon, like a jasper and a sardine stone. This is too absurd either to deserve, or require comment. The qualities attributed to this phantom are likewise equally illsustained. Here is an all-powerful God stayed in his progress by a few chariots of iron; à God of mercy creating a world full of evil; a God of Justice punishing the son for the wickedness of the father; an immutable God continually changing; in short the Bible places a negative on every attribute the Theists have given their divinity.
Thus far, Sir, haye I proceeded with my remarks on your "excellent and admirable” loeture-not with any hopes of withdrawing that hypocritical veil with which yonr character is enveloped, if you are, as I presume you to be, a hypocrite--nor of convincing you of your error, if you are a sincere Christian. In either case an idle life and a good salary are temptations not to be easily withstood; and where such temptations exist, it is rare to find an honest man. No, it is not with the hope of staying the exertions of the impostor, but with the hope that it may help to dispel the gloomy darkness, with which he has surrounded the minds of his unsuspecting dupes. If the little I am capable of doing should in any way tend to this desirable end, I shall think myself well rewarded. I shall trouble you with one more letter, wherein I shall conclude my remarks on the lecture before me.
· RICHARD HASSELL.
TO MR. R. CARLILÉ.
Religion's a farce and all things shew it,
I thought different once, but now I know it. SIR, ALTHOUGH a total stranger to you, allow me to apprize you of the gratification I have for some time felt in the perusal of the Republican. The close historical examinations of the Bible, the philosophical reasonings, and the excellent moral precepts, with which that work abounds, are, or at least ought to be sufficient to make converts to Materialism all rational and unprejudiced minds. The late prosecutions of your noble-minded shopmen tend in a great measure to accelerate and enhance the cause for which they suffer. It explicates in a forcible manner, the thread-bare and Aimsy foundation of the Christian religion: for, what need have they to fear the attacks of “ Infidels," if their system, as they say, is “ founded on a rock”? Is it not raising a doubt as to Christianity itself? Certainly it is. Were it as firm as a rock, all the attempts to vilify it would be abortive; the more it was pryed into, the more glaring would be its purity. But we know this not to be the case nothing but murders, lies, debaueheries, onanism,
and beastly exposures, are the predominant characteristics of the
The Catholic believes in God the Father, yet incomprehensible..
The Catholic believes in God the Holy Ghost, yet incomprehensible.
The Protestant believes in God the Holy Ghost, yet incomprehensible.
The Catholic believes in a Soul, yet incomprehensible.
So if God is above you, must he not be above the antipodes
Your very humble Servant,
An enemy to dogmatism and nonsense, applauding the determined stand which Mr. Carlile is making in defence of free discussion, has the pleasure of contributing One Pound, in aid of his opposition to tyrants. Reduced, as his enemies are, to the subterfuge of enpporting Christianity by coercion, they exhibit most indisputable proofs of the tottering basis upon which their principles stand. .
Kidderminster, August, 1824.
Porcus of Worcester, 2s. 6d. Mrs. Jefferies, wife of Mr. Jefferies in Newgate, begs to acknow
ledge the receipt of the following favours through the hands of Dr. Watson.
O Mr. Wilkinson - Hall
4 0 - Stanley - Matland
2 0 - Millard Dr. Watson
10 0 - Brittain Mr. Moggridge
1 0 — Medler Mr. Ford
- Macdonald J. C., a Friend to Free Hibernicus of Bath Discussion
50 Mr. W. Palmer Mr. H.
10 The following names, as the subscribers of 15s. 6d., were omitted in the last acknowledgement from Leeds.
s. d. Joseph Hurtley 10 W. Dunwell
10 Thomas Steel 10 Matthew Sutliffe
10 John Smithson 5 0 George Sheard
2 0 R. W. Byerley
3 6 Joshua Eastwood 10
Just Published, Price 2s. 6d., The Reports of the Trials of William Campion, Thomas Jefferies, Richard Hassell, Joho Clarke, William Cochrane, William Haley and Thomas Riley Perry, for the publication of blasphemous libels in the shop of Richard Carlile.
Also, Price 1s., · No. 1, Newgate Monthly Magazine, or a Calender of Men, Things, and Opinions.
Printed and Published by R. CARLILE, 84, Fleet Street.-All Correspon
dences for “ The Republican" to be left at the place of publication.