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not cavil; they are but two of the ordinary contradictions, with which all sacred and inspired writings abound; so we will proceed to the sermon.
There seems to have been no text taken from the Jewish Scriptures; so the mode of preaching from texts must be an invention of the Christian Priests. No prayer—no cushion thumping—no theatrical action and attitude—we are only told, that Jesus " opened his mouth," as if he could speak when it was shut as well as open. "He opened his mouth and taught them, saying, blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
. What can this mean? What means poor in spirit? Does it mean humility? Does it mean ignorance? Or what does it mean? And if a correct explanation can be given, pray Judge Bailey, where or what is the kingdom of heaven which they are to have? Is there to be a Court of King's Bench in that kingdom? Are you to be judge? Tell us something—pray tell us something about this kingdom of heaven. Are all the earthly kings to reign again there—or how are these matters of distinction to be settled ?" True it is and of verity" as Sir William Rae, his majesty's Scotch Advocate for his Majesty's Scotch interest, indites that the poor in spirit, or the ignorant, can alone enjoy this kingdom, The rich in spirit see that it is a delusion, through which the "poor in spirit" are robbed and kept poor. There may be something new in that first sentence, because truth is never new, it is nonsense only that has novelties; but surely, between you and me, Bailey, there is nothing in it of "peculiar wisdom"—nothing "to advance the happiness of man."
Second head.—" Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted."
This is a rare hit of nonsense. If they mourn for no cause, they are silly: if they have a cause for mourning, there can be no cause of comfort as a consequence. So there is not much of peculiar wisdom here! There can be nothing in mourning calculated to advance the happiness of mankind.
Third head: "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth,"
Your God, or your divine sermon preacher, should have told us when this was to be; for it has not been yet: every where, throughout all time past, we find, that the meek andthe ignorant have been the slaves of those who do inherit the earth. You will not say, that there is any meekness in our Christian aristocrats, who inherit the English earth? But, if you read history correctly, and look well about yoa, it may be seen, that every where, the earth has been inherited only by conquest. Can you associate meekness and conquest? If not, divine wisdom is the reverse of human wisdom—and your preacher, not a preacher of truth.
-Fourth Head. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be rilled."
I condescend to quote this as a moral precept; because, there is nothing false in it; but it is not in reality a moral. A man can neither hunger nor thirst after righteousness, it is a species of action, of which be has a constant opportunity to practice to the full, and never to be without it. To be filled with it, he must do it and not desire it. The word desire expresses a want or absence of righteous actions. I told Mr. George Harris, the Unitarian Preacher, that I could and would write a better moral code than the New Testament contains; and I am quite sure that I have done it, that I am now doing it, and that so long as I continue to write, I shall continue to do it. The Dundee Unitarian Preacher may here also see what the morals of his gospels, and the opinion of Buonaparte upon them are worth.
Fifth Head. "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." •
There is no proof of the inference here laid down, in human actions; or that a man will obtain mercy for being merciful. I have not found it so, in my dealings with Christians.
I never was unmerciful—I never was cruel—I never was dead to human feelings, either as a boy or as a man ; but on the other hand, rather tender in disposition—always preferring human pleasure to human pain; but what has been my reward from you and other Christians? Have I found mercy? Has my family found mercy? Has my little property been respected? and what is my crime? Why have I been so long a prisoner? Why so brutally treated in this prison? Has my crime been any thing more than the impeachment of really bad men—of immorality and crimes? To be merciful is to be moral, in one sense; but it is not to be % Christian:—nor does it follow, that the merciful ever did or ever will obtain mercy.
Justice is a better word than mercy. Mercy may be made immoral. But this I can say, that I have found nothing from you and other Christians but revenge: and if I look through the history of Christianity, I see nothing bat revenge perpetrated upon subdued or imprisoned opponents. The history of Christianity is a history of crime. So far, we find nothing of" peculiar wisdom," unless the peculiarity be made to express the word divine. Wisdom is a word that needs no adjective, to heighten its correct expression. There is no morality in hyperbole: no divinity in wisdom.
Sixth head,—" Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God."
This is not a moral, unless the purity be defined to be something relating to morality:—and the promise is false; for there is no God to be seen. It is also an exceeding great mistake, to suppose, that the heart is the seat of the passions. All its pulsations and agitationsare mere motions of the blood, and not from any nervous principle in the heart as a member of the body. The heart has some peculiarities of character; but it is not that of being the seat of any one passion. As the science of mind becomes more developed, we shall want a new series of Valentine Letters.
Seventh head—" Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
There is nothing objectionable in this head, beyond the use of that meaningless word God. To make peace is a good quality; but it would have been an impeachment of the, character of an intelligent God, were there such, that almost every animal is more or less pugnacious, and disposed to war and prey upon his weaker neighbours. In some instances, the very means of sustenance depend upon this bloody disposition; and if humanity, or mercy, or pleasure to animals, be moral, the creating power that educes animals is decidedly immoral, if the term may be figuratively applied to a non-intellectual power. Your God Is No PeaceMaker. All is war among animals—and he or it must have made it. The peaceable dispositions are all the result of moral education. Man, in an uneducated state, is a ferocious beast of prey; and, is correctly termed, by a correspondent of mine, (G. N.) The Hyena Of Bipeds!
Eighth head. "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all mauner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
This is & divine maxim! Say, Bailey, why your omnipotent and all-directing God allows the righteous to be perseculed. None are persecuted but the righteous—and this is one proof against the existence of an intelligent deity. If, on the other hand, we take this as a precept from a superhuman power, the countenance is a sanction for the persecution. The "kingdom of heaven" has been stormed and destroyed: so the persecuted righteous of this and the future time have no reward to look forward to, beyond their self-approving consciences. There never has been a succession of good government in any kingdom on the face of the earth; and it is altogether questionable, if there were a heaven, that so had a foundation would produce a better series of government. What prospect of reward can we then have, in having been persecuted for righteousness' sake? I feci an interest in this matter, and that 1 have a heavy claim upon future reward, in having been so persecuted by you and other Christians for righteousness' sake,: therefore, I would not lightly treat this divine and lying dictum, if I could rest a gleam of hope therenpon. So you see, we have found no peculiar wisdom yet, no evidence of correct principles yet.
How, again, a person can rejoice under persecution, I am at a loss to understand. Is pain a matter to excite joy? I have a sort of distant prospect, that my imprisonment will eventually produce great good, great happiness to self and others; but I cannot say, that 1 ever felt glad, that I was in a prison; though I have resolved to go through with my imprisonment with a uniform fortitude.
. This therefore exhihits another defect in your divine sermon preacher—we cannot be exceeding glad and rejoice, whilst we are persecuted and suffering pains.
The prophets might have deserved persecution, because they were impostors, and injured their fellows by the powers of superstition: and the early Christians, to whom this encouragement was written after they had begun to receive persecution, in some measure, deserved that persecution, because theirs were not righteous acts: they most mischievously planted a more odious superstition than had previously existed.
Ninth head. "Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."
This may be termed a figurative botch. Salt never loses its savour. This God of the Christians seems to have known nothing about the qualities of the contents of the world that he is said to have created! Not a spark of either physical or moral science did this "great teacher" communicate to mankind. Nothing new has Christianity taught. All that it has done has been to corrupt the mysteries of Paganism, and to check the rise of philosophy among mankind. Its physical defects are the best of all proofs, that it was not derived from a superhuman God: and I can never compare it with the progress of science, in the present day, without feeling astonishment and indignation at the servility of Scientific men, who can continue to bend the knee to this Baal, or to be afraid to speak their knowledge of it. Ignorant men find their excuse for such conduct in their ignorance; but for men of knowledge to make that knowledge subservient to all the purposes of ignorance and to all the vices of this great cheat upon mankind called religion, is a painful proof of the haseness of the human character even among educated men. There is nothing so hase in any other part of the animal world; and the proper distinction of man in the aggregate is, that though improveable, his whole history to -this time shows, that he is the hasest, the most corrupt of animals. He wants a saviour had enough from this state of things; but the preaching of Jesus Christ as such a saviour has but added to his depravity. Heis but little short of a villain, who does not speak his knowledge to the correction of the errors of those who surround him. His criminality consists in the encouragement of ignorance. He is unwise also; for he neglects to accumulate happiness lo his own store. To speak this knowledge to all persons, at all times, and upon all occasions that offer, is the sort of righteousness that should not dread persecution.
"Tenth head. "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid."
When that verse was written, gas-lights had not been discovered. These gas-lights and the Printing Press will put out the last remains of this boasted Christian light. They who started Chrjstianism as a new religion knew nothing of the gasiferous properties of matter, a knowledge of which destroys all notions of God and Devil, Heaven and Hell, and immortality of human identity. And further, my Judge Bailey, you shall see, by and by, when I come to an epitome of the Epistles of the New Testament, what sort of lights were these early Christians.
Eleventh head : " Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light to all that are in the house*."
* Yes, but the house must have but one chomher.