« הקודםהמשך »
Thou seest that thou hast brought duwn the yengcance of the room presentatives of the lowly Jesus upon thy editorial pate for disseminating thy principles. Englishmen, snail like, recoil at the sacerdotal touch, and, lienceforth, will never obtrude a horn, until the celestial dew of Christianity shall fall upon your shells.
As to the progress of infidelity and scepticism, I bave witnessed, in some degree, its rapid strides. I can scarcely enter a coffee house or tavern, but, before I have sitten half an hour, my ears are assailed with the most awsul discussions, calling in question the validity of that divine book the Bible. Soine (and those not a few) are hardy enough to doubt the divinity of our blessed Saviour, and many unblushingly assert, that such a person never existed ! Woe unto thee! for it is from the principles which you and your dark agents have disseminated, that these alarming inferences are drawn; and the dissenting multitude, not having looked with becoming pertinacity into the abstruse and complicated paths of the Christian Theology, are unable to refute ihy hardened followers, although they negative (with that priestlike gravity, malice, hatred and contempi, so bighly characteris:ic of all good followers and righteous supporters of our holy church, as by fire, sword, imprisonment, fines, &c. established), all that the infidels advance.
This, my friend, is a frighful epoch. Spiritualism and materialism are forming opposite factions, and scarcely an hour passes without an impression being made in some lethargic god-fearing breast, which calls all nature into action and stimulates inquiries little short of enthusiasm. I have frequent opportunities of wit nessing these direful innovations at a friendly society which I am in the habit of attending every Tuesday evening in the discussions held there, I merely act the part of a spectator, and mark the hitherto unshaken and uniformed on the theological topics, to see with what avidity they respire these dangerous conversations. I, though soundly orthodox, as if under satanic influence at the moment, have not either address or presence of mind to caution them against the impending danger. On the succeeding Tuesday evening, these hitherto children of grace have become travellers in the alluring but uncertain paths of Deism. This is generally their first step; but no sooner have they erected 'Temples for their Deity, dressed him up after something in nature and given him“ a local habitation and a name,” than he vanishes,
and, like the baseless fabric of a vision, leaves not a wreck behind.” Few of them stand the Artillery of thy Republican above another week! Not even an identity of God or bis holy word remains on their minds! Then do I mentally exclaim-0! Carlile! there stands anoiher of thy proselytes; but do not thou nor they think to escape me thus and cry victory, as ye triumphantly sweep down the side of public opinion : a case now
hangs upon the point of my pen, which shall set aside all thou hast writen, and all they have said about the non-existence of a God. Yes, Richard (excuse my familiarity, for I mean to be serious), I will prove, and that on the oath of iwelve honest men, that our God was in a house of ill fame, in London, not a fortnight ago. Thou mayst smile at his being in such company; but when he hath made sinners which he cannot reclaim, he sees it expedient to cut them off. The old procuress or duenna having suffocated herself with intoxicating liquors, a Jury was chosen 10 sit upon the body, and they unanimously decided that she had died by the visitation of God. Thou wilt not, surely, after this, have the hardihood to deny his existence, lest he visit thee in thy prison house; nor thy followers the temerity to question the correctness of the decision of these Jurors.
By way of illustration, I will recite to thee another case, to prove how far party spirit is engaged in this spiritual warfare. A semale of my acquaintance, who is a dress-maker, happening to be at work at a respectable house, a few weeks ago, the subject of Religion was started, when she thoughtlessly (though honestly) avowed her principles, not the most favourable to our holy religion. The consequence of which was, that an immediate coolnesstook place on the part of some of her employers, and had the dresses not been already cut, they, of course, would not have had them polluted by the hands of an unbeliever. A gloom o'ercast the scene during a whole week, when the suppressed storm burst with reiterated violence. One of the young ladies would not sit at table with my friend, and all but one manifested their abhorrence at her principles. At length, an explanation took place, and this bitherto unaccountable behaviour was accounted for. It was the avowal of principles not consonant with true orthodoxy, that called down ihe vengeance of a family of sound believers upon her head. The old lady was more liberal than sonie of her daughters, and confessed that she had read “ Tom Paine and found nothing immoral in him," and must confess, that she “ agreed with him in every thing but the principle of equality t. Two of the young ladies remained quite orthodox; but the third was wicked enough to declare herself privately to be entirely of thy opinion, and acknowledged, that the unfortunate wight, who first shook her faith, a son of St. Crispin, experienced the same treatment, that she the dress-naker had done, and by honestly declaring bis principles, lost the custom of the house. The young lady who became a convert to the persuasion of honest Crispin, declared, that she was much shocked at his first atheistical declaration; but now, that she had removed the veil of preju. dice, by reading and reflection, she had no hesitation in saying,
* See the Weekly Dispalch of Sanday, 12th June.
+ In this, Ihs old Lady had inisunderstood him; for Mr. Paine advocates no other equality but that of knowledge, law, and justice. R. C.
that this prior monster of a shoeun sker had regularly dwindled away into a inere man, and she belii red, she dorst now venture him to measure her even for a pair of boots. This, my first conmunication, which I am afraid is a really too long, thou mayest insert in thy Republican, if thou thinkes: it expedient. It may he interesting to some, inasmuch as it conveys some ideas regarding public feeling on religion, and also proves, on the veracity of twelve honest men, the exact number of the apostles, without the shadow of a Judas, and the ipse dixit of a coroner, the existence of a God.
COPY OF A LETER SENT TO THE KING, CARLTON
Dorchester Gaol, July 4, 1825. This being the anniversary of the establishment of ihe first step towards real Republicanism, in the declaration of the independence of the United States of America towards this country, or rather, its monarchical government, I was glad to see you making it a holiday fo: the rising generation of Lords and Ladies. It is a specimen of that wisdom, or cunning rather, which should always follow the circumstances it cannot controul.
The Republic of the United States of America, was but a shabby imitation of the form of government in this country, with au elective instead of a hereditary executive, and with smaller payments to public officers for more efficient duties; but it has the germ of improvement in its independence of hereditary rule, and all other fornis of government of the hereditary kind will fall before it. Though we may not have so much of individual splendour as the monarchical forin of government produces, there will not be one happy man or woman the less, but a great increase of happiness among the mass. Under this view of the change, a monarch or his family may well rejoice at it and mark its progress by a festival. I am, Sir, your Prisoner, for no offence and to no good purpose,
Printed and Published by R. CARLILX, 135, Fleet Street.-All Correspon
dences for the “ Republican" to bo lest at the place of publication,
No. 3, Vol. 12.] LONDON, Friday, July 22, 1825. [Price 6d.
TO WILLIAM WILLIAMS, ESQ., M. P., PROVINCIAL GRAND MASTER OF THE ASSOCIATION OF FREEMASONS FOR THE COUNTY OF DORSET.
Dorchester Gaol, July 14, Anno Tenebræ SIR,
1825, Anno Lucis (to masons) 1. THERE will of necessity be much of apparent repetition in my description of the three degrees of Masonry; but I cannot make that description complete without that repetition. The same frivolity is seen through every degree, and, with the exception of the oaths and the moral Lectures, we find nothing serious, nothing that arrests respect.
In the first degree, I have given quite enough of what is called the working part, to shew the spirit of it. Nothing has been omitted of which any mason can complain as an unfair withhold. ing. In the second degree, we shall find a smattering about science, which captivated me as I began to read; but I soon found, that it was all hollow, and that though it recommended the study of the old known sciences, it taught nothing relating to them. This is the ground of my complaint against Freemasonry; that its good is but theoretical, and that its evils or mischiefs are practical: that amidst a mass of evil in practice, it covers its designs with moral recommendations. This is the common characteristic of vice in all its grades. In proportion to its odiousness, it professes a regard for that which is good : it professes virtue as a cloak for the practice of vice. It is thus, that the most unprincipled characters among mankind are ever to be found among the most religious; religion passing with them as the chief nominal good. Masonry is at all points decked in this religious, I may add, meretricious garb, and alternately charms and poisons, poisons and charms : allures with its' tinsel, and cements by its common powers to prostrate reason and to degrade its members.
Printed and Published by R, Carlile, 135. Ficot-stract.
I proceed to develope the whole ceremony of a Fellow Craft's Lodge. The officers are nominally the same in the three degrees, for though an Entered Apprentice cannot remain in a Fellow Craft's or Master's Lodge, nor a Fellow Craft in a Master's Lodge; the Fellow Craft, as has been noticed, is properly a member of a Lodge for Entered Apprentices, and the Master for that of both.
OPENING OF A FELLOW CRAFT'S LODGE, OR THAT OF THE SE
COND DEGREE IN MASONRY. (The Master knocks and is answered by the two wardens as a call to order.)
W. M. Brethren, assist me to open the lodge in the second degree.-Brother Junior Warden, the first care of every Fellow Craft Mason?
J. W. To see the lodge properly tiled.
J. W. Brother Inner Guard, you will see the lodge properly tiled. (The Inner Guard gives three knocks on the inside of the door and the Tiler answers in the same manner on the outside, to announce that the lodge is close tiled. There is a distinction in these three knocks, in the three degrees, and as they are often repeated by the various officers, it may be well to explain them. The three knocks of an Entered Apprentice are three loud regular knocks, equi-distant as to time. The three knocks of the Fellow Craft are not equi-distant as to time, a pause being made after the first, and then the two last given quickly. The Master's three knocks have the pause before the last, and the two first given quickly. These changes make a clear distinction in the mode of knocking in the three degrees.)
I. G. Brother Junior Warden, (making the sign) the lodge is properly tiled.
J. W. (Giving the three knocks and making the sign) Worshipful Master, the lodge is properly tiled.
W. M. Brother Senior Warden, the next care?
S. W. To see the brethren appear to order as Fellow Craft Masons.
W. M. Brethren, to order as Masons in the second degree.Brother Junior, Warden, are you a Fellow Craft Freemason?
J. W. I am, try me, prove me.
J. W. An angle of ninety degrees forming the fourth part of a circle. W.M. Since you are so well informed yourself, you will
prove the brethren present to be Fellow Craft Freemasons, by three