תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

ries in his book. By this manner of reasoning any inconsistent, inconceivable nonsense that men have written may be made the word of God. Only let us have recourse to the mystery of the trinity for our proof, then we are safe.” This is producing one mysterious fable as an evidence for the truth of another fable. There is, however, in this admirable exploit of tormenting Job, as well as in many other similar stories in the Bible, no mystery; there is no difficulty. I see it quite plain, to be a stupid inconsistent tale, written nobody knows by whom; and impossible to be the work of a wise, just and benevolent God.

When proving the possibility of Angels appearing to Mary Magdalene and others, at the sepulchre, you observed, that you saw nothing extraordinary in this for Infidels to scoff at, that

with God nothing was impossible, that he could embody the spiErits of Angels, the same as he embodied our spirits, that we were E only embodied spirits ourselves, that Angels spake and ate with - Abraham, and that the word Angel merely signified a Messenger.

By this logic, you have plainly made Angels into Men. Of course we are all Angels. What a pity, that the Lord did not embody the spirits of the Devil and his angels; we should then have had some chance of evading their clutch; but on account of their invisibility, it is now impossible. This invisible Devil can come into us whenever be pleases and instigate us to all manner of wickedness. Even believers, whose bodies are said to be temples for the Holy Ghost to dwell in, cannot escape his attend

ance, although Christ came to destroy the works of the Devil. .. If there be such a thing as blasphemy, the Christians are surely E the only blasphemers, by attributing such ridiculous tales as are

told in the Bible to a confessedly incomprehensible power. In their controversial writings, they call upon God to assist them against their fellow Christians, and after being convinced that their pen is guided by God, they will request their readers to call upon God likewise to understand that which they consider both God and themselves have already made indisputably plain! The other assailant or assailants claim the same assistance and are also convinced of being directed by the same power! The one party abuses the other for not following what it calls the unerring standard of truth, which is revealed in the words dictated by this almighty power; the other party returns the same abuse; each taking the instruments from the words of this power to defeat their adversary. And we must be designated wicked, contumacious blasphemers; because we confess our ignorance of this power; because we will not act the bypocrite and enter into the list of these disputants and fight also. No, whatever interested cant may declaim and ignorant numbers alter, we must still remain blasphemers of fable and advocates of truth. If ever a religion had emanated from an unchangeable Almighty power, that religion would have been universal and unalterable, there would have

No. 21. Vol. XII.

been no' persecutions, all would have been harmony and peace, no almighty Devil to oppose and frustrate the designs of this almighty power, nor to corrupt the will of man and to make him an enemy to his almighty Creator. It is the height of absurdity to believe, that any power whatever can oppose an almighty power, Man may as well contend, that the revolution of the planets or the regular succession of day and night can be opposed or obstructed. I trust, that what I have written is with candour and honesty, and whatever you may think of this, I can assure you, that I am influenced neither by gain nor vanity.

JAMES SMITH. Fordmoss, July 30th, 1825.

MR. JAMES SMITH, FORDMOSS,

SIR,

I REFER you, for an answer to your letter, to the second Epistle of Peter, and second Chapter of that Epistle; and earnestly wish that the Almighty may give you grace to read it to your conviction of its truth, and that you may never experience the dreadful effects of making shipwreck of faith and of a good conscience. If any more of your letters be sent, written in the same spirit of the former one, they will be returned unopened.

I am yours, &c. Etal, August 12th, 1825.

D. AITKEN. Note.-James Smith may refer Preacher Aitken to Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, Book 3, Chap. 3, to read that, “ one epistle of Peter, that called his first, bas been owned, for some of the antients (Papias and Polycarpus) bave formerly quoted it, without calling it into question. But as for that called bis second epistle, we have it by the tradition of our predecessors, that it was never acknowledged as part of the New Testament.' Yet, because it seemed useful to the multitude! it was usually read (in the churches) with the other scriptures. But the book called The Acts of Peter, and The Gospel that goes under bis name, and the book entitled his preaching, and that styled his revelation, they are not accounted genuine, because no ecclesiastical writer bas made use of their authority.” Origen, Didymus, Jerome and many others may be quoted to the same effect An author of notes on a new translation of this epistle adds: " However, as the age grew darker, the Monks began to see clearer, the pocturnal bird will stoop to a mouse at mid: night, though it cannot distinguish a rat at mid-day. Canonical things are canonically discerned. The antient fathers were like the fathers of Trent, who did not make so many fine discoveries by their critical, but by their canonical taste: in both of which Jerome excelled.”

In future, I sball encourage, by their insertion, ail such correspondences as the foregoing, assured that they do much good in the neighbourhoods in which they originate, and shew that any man who reads my publications is more than a match for any priest. My readers will recollect that . James Smith is a collier at Fordmuss, a place on the border of Scotland.

R. c.

TO THE EDITORS OF THE NEWGATE MAGA

ZINE.

SIRS,

Dorchester Gaol, Nov. 14, 1825. AGREE ABLY to the request of Mr. Gourlay, you bave sent me bis letter to the Chaplain of Cold Bath Fields Prison, of October 17, that my observations may accompany it in print. Mr. Gourlay is not the man whom I would select for an opponent; but where an old man thrusts himself forward imprudently, it is well for a youth to take his conceit out of him. Though an old man, Mr. Gourlay is but a novice in the discussions which we carry on, and, in the matters or manner of these discussions, either of us stand, his senior. Either of you could sbew the same weakness or want of thought, in bim, which I am about to show.

As to which of us has been the greater sufferer from persecution, I will not contend. I know but little of his case and am entirely ignorant of bis resting on, or suffering for, any kind of good principles. He professes to be my opponent, and, in 1820, he denounced the principles of reform advocated by Messrs. Cobbett and Hunt. I certainly did understand, that, in Canada, bis aim was its independence of the British Government; but, I doubt, if he be sane enougb to confess this. If not, I cannot perceive, that he rests upon any kind of principle. What I said about his writing about nothing and being still incessantly writing is, I believe, true; for many are the newspapers, which pass my hand, from wbich I perceive bis correspondence to be rejected.

Mr. G. tells the Chaplain, that he (Mr. G.) night bare enriched himself with subscription money, if he bad been disposed to accept it. I doubt this point. I doubt if he had ever obtained a hundred pounds. No one, to my knowledge, ever offered him a sixpence for public services. When it was first published, that he was repairing the roads in Wiltshire, a sympathy for his fallen state was expressed by a few, and Mr. Hume began a subscription, wbich Mr. G. would not accept. Had any one offered me money, as a matter of charity, I, too, should have refused it. I rather think, too, that Mr. G. has mentioned the private assistance of some ladies. My subscription has been chiefly spontaneous, for myself, I can say, that I have neither used art or trick to promote it; and a visible good use has been made of that which has been given. I have not preserved a shilling of it; and I am not aware that I have received any personal benefit from it, that I should have otherwise wanted. And, pray, what battle is Mr. Gourlay fighting for the public ? He says, that, if he had taken subscription money, he should have lost the great battle! What great battle? I have heard of his battle with one of Mr. Vickery's fruit-trees, that rather obstructed his musings in the garden; but I know of no other public English battle that he has been fighting : his mock battle with Mr. Brougham except. ed. All his battles, that have come to my knowledge, have been quixotic, excepting any thing in his conduct in Canada, that might have tended to the independence of that province.

Mr. Gourlay has accused me of malevolence towards him. I can only answer that he is in error, and that I have neither felt nor exhibited any thing of the kind. Had I been malevolent, I should have been silent towards him, and have done as most other editors have done,

have rejected bis correspondence altogether. As a cor· respondent, he has exhibited nothing worth my notice;

and, but for his present situation, he would not bave obtained a notice from me. At any rate, I think bis present letter will not leave him free from the charge of malevolence towards me. I might have wounded his vanity and conceit, as I have done with many such men ; but never did I, nor do I now, feel the least malevolence towards bim. In any other respect, than his present situation, he is beneath my notice. I say this politically and not contemptuously. His general politics are not worth a public notice; at least, not my notice, who go so much farther than he has yet gone, and who am prepared to defend and explaiu tle wby and the wherefore before bim or any man.

His abusive observations on my introduction to his letters printed in The Republican are below my answer. I am willing to refer the matter, as it stands, to our readers. But, I would observe, where be taxes me with inconsistency, in talking of doing to Mr. Hume, what I blamed him for doing to Mr. Brougham, that my observations must have been read by every one but Mr. Gourlay as a burlesque or piece of irony on his conduct. I meant it to be such. Mr. Hume must have so taken it; for it has not changed bis endeavour to serve me in his way of doing it. If I were to meet Mr. Hume on any business, or by accident; for I never intrude myself into the company of any man ; I should say, what I said to a friend, who, I thought, would communicate it, on first reading his mixture of approbation and disapprobation of my conduct, that I most sincerely thank him for all the good done or intended to have been done, and, as to the evil, I will strive to repair it. I verily believe, that he has uniformly done what he considered bis best for me, and that the wrong arose from a mistaken view of my case, or from a fear of taking it up, as I consider, a bold and honest member of parliament should take it up: perhaps from an imper- . fect examination of the case.

I must also correct Mr. Gourlay, where he says, that Mr. Brougham followed Mr. Hume in imputing ribaldry to me. Mr. Hume distinctly applied the imputation to The Republican, on having read it. Mr. Brougham disclaimed a knowledge of the character of my publications and mentioned the subject of ribaldry as a matter of hearsay or mere supposition. Let Mr. Hume or Mr. Gourlay extract any paragraph that either considers ribald and I will pledge a full and triumphant desence of its propriety. Until this is done, I hold the imputation to be a piece of slander.

I come to the chief point of Mr. Gourlay's letter, the question of an intelligent being, superior to man, called God. Here I mean to tower over him : here I shall shew bim, that age is not wisdom, and that though I can readily allow him to be a better husbandman than myself, who am, perhaps. among the most ignorant of husbandry, I cannot allow him to be a better politician or theologian.

The ground-work of all the dispute is intelligence. I ask my chaplain if be personifies bis god. He says, no. Then I reply, that he has no more god than I have. All the difference is a difference of words and not of things. I tell him,

« הקודםהמשך »