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whom they call Jesus Christ, and who, they say, was also hung on a cross for sedition and blasphemy. No dirty meannesses in trade, no underhand dealings, nu overreaching or monopolizing property for the benefit of one to the detriment of thousands. No substituting hypocrisy for honesty and counting all fair gain that does not lead direct to the gallows. No, all is fair, candid, and sincere, as God and his son Jesus Christ, who is as old as himself, would have it; who ordained all things, before they came to pass, from the beginning. 'Here, among devout Christians, there is no pride, ambition, or insatiable passion for money, power, or other gain. No exterininating, unjust and cruel wars, to rethrone expelled tyrannic monarchs: no horrid sieges and slaughtering battles, destroying thousands in a day. No singing Te Deums on both sides, for the slaying of myriads in the name of the Lord, the King, and Country! No ruinous and insupportable taxes to maintain ap hundred families and beggar and enslave an hundred thousand. No legal modes of enslaving mankind, and telling them that they enjoy perfect freedom, and are the glory of the world and the envy of surrounding nations. No desperate systems of politics, designed by the worst of men to ruin and degrade the best, to uphold evil and to destroy good. No state ministers cut off in the career of their designs against the people, nor any cutting their own throats from the horror of enormities committed. No kings, but what are prudent, wise and good. No princes, who are not just, temperate and benevolent.
Tam fond of dwelling on the beauty of this Christian picture, were all the virtues meet to render the portrait interesting and amiable and so like the lovely original. All the priests of this heavenly worsbip are holy, pious, learned, intelligent, bumble, moral aud chaste. Not touched nor rendered detestable by pride, avarice, cruelty, meauness and borrid crimes. None of them have been obliged to fly the country for the perpetration of offences repugnant to human nature and too abominable even to be named. Here are no thieves, no murderers, no fornicators, no adulterers, no duelling, no trials for crim. con. or breach of faith. No house-breakers,incendiaries, spies, informers or pick-pockets. No canting, babbling hypocrites, preaching what they know nothing about to idle ignorant vain fools. No gamblers, drunkards, highwaymen, no flatterers of the rich nor grioders of the poor. This must be the blessed effect of Christianity: no other thing could produce such an absence of crime and holiness of life. Is there any thing to look at in the Christian world that is contaminated with evil? Then is the Christian religion and ethics not perfect ? Now were it true, that the reverse of this was the case, or that the Christians were daily and bourly in the commission of all these crimes and many more; if the character of the Cbris. tian combined all these vices and we require no witnesses to prove the fact, I'would ask if Atheism, Deism, Dogism, or any other ism could stain society with blacker crimes or add one to tbe catalogue ? Indeed, the worst of it is, that the Atheists will have very great trouble and experience much difficulty in cleaning the Augean stable of Christianity. However, for the sake of suffering humavity, try it they must. But after all, we must praise and admire the generous tolerance of the Christian church or priesthood; for they give us leave to think, and we at least surmise, that, whether they say church, religion or God, it is priest they mean: And these priests will absolutely, I am astonished at the indulgence, give you leave to think; but can by no means extend the indulgence any farther.
Let us pause here and take a retrospective view of this mighty establishment. Let us trace the Christian creed and sturdy dogmas to their root, or as near the stump of the tree as we can. It is worth the time and trouble to run over & fair outline of church history, for the last fifteen or sixteen hundred years, provided, we make a proper use of the la. bour and experience. We must carefully note the difference between the extremes of this imposing compound reli. gion ; from its dubious beginning in the second century, to its gouty, bloated, crippled and corrupt existence, in the year of grace, 1825. Mark the first half mad, forlorn, ragged vagabonds, running about preaching to the ignorant poor, the inconsistent glad tidings of a happy equality ; decrying es. tablished laws, human reason and all known modes of worship; promulgating the novelty of an edifying, incomprehensible grace. Kicked out of one place for fools and impostors; permitted in another; considered by the wise as madmen; pitied by the good-natured; relieved by the cbaritable ; imprisoned by the laws; scourged by the magistrates; and, beheld by the honest and sober-minded, with suspicion or contempt. A devout, a lenient, or a fiery persecution, alike confirmed, or rather formed, their creed or belief; for, it is not easy to discover the original tenets of Mother Church. Their unformed religion was made and established by public notice, and by rash and untimely persecutions by fools, fanatics and tyrants of another order, which exalted them into consequence. From whence or at wbat particular period of time, they first sprung up, is very doubtful. The desultory doctrine, wbich they preacbed, was a crude compound of ancient mythology and mystic
morality, jumbled together by cunning, fraud aud ignorance. As such, it was calculated for the meridian of unskilfull credulity, and the illiterate mob, who swallowed as a whole and never chewed the mass. Its puerile absurdity and untangible nature rendered it insignificant and contemptible in the eyes of wisdom and learning. Hence it throve without merit and augmented with or without opposition. For while the herd of mankind were collecting dogmas, putting old traditions and new conceptions into a train, new forming a heaven for themselves and their friends and fabricating a bell for their enemies; while they were getting the lessons of designing bedge-preachers by heart, and laying the foundation of an amusing doctrine of spiritual worlds, the
fullness of grace and insinuating, a pleasing, though absurd - tale of human redemption; sages and philosophers looked on in silence, with the stupid, stall-fed indifference of a protestant prelate, until the cbeat became too general to brook contradiction, too proud and strong to submit to investigation, and the current of belief too powerful to be subdued by reason or argument. It is only the wise and the good who will bear to argue the point; ignorance will never condescend to be instructed, nor stoop to the humility of owning its errors. Hence stupid dogmas, founded by fraud and cunning, grafted on ignorance, shielded by folly and nourished by superstition, are invincible, merely from their inaccessible position in the buman mind. The desiguing preachers clothed themselves with a sanctified, imposing, external garb of humility and personal debasement; they put on a devout appearance, and, keeping a steady eye on this world, talked of nothing but the kingdom of heaven, spiritual beings and the world to come. Having made themselves masters of heaven, they, under the endearing name of Papa, Pope, or Father, made a bold push towards obtaining full possession of the earth, and in all humility endeavoured to reign paramount over kings and people. Such was the power which they usurped over men, and such their intolerable pride and mode of exereising it, that we look back on their transactions with wonder, contemplate them with terror and indignation, and tremble to think, that such terrible and degrading dramas may be again acted even in our own times.
This was the regular progress of the divine mission, nor has any thing been bettered by it. The good was nearly extirpated, the bad made worse, new evils were introduced, and such was the base equivocation of the church doctrine, or religious code, that the virtuous and innocent only suffered, that the wicked might act with impunity against reason, law, and even their own divinity. This was a difference, with a vengeance, to the mortified fathers of the primitive Christians. And now, behold the bloated, proud son of the church, too fat or too lazy to walk, rolling in his splendid chariot, surrounded with the choicest luxuries of the earth, wallowing in the hot-bed of voluptuousness, despising his fellow creature man, and scarcely deigning to thank his God for the good things which he receives in his name : for priests are become proverbially avaricious, cruel and ungrateful which speaks volumes for their creed and raises a high respect for their divine mission.
What a contrast between the half mad, ragged, run-about staff and wallet apostle of the first ages, the frowsy fat monk of the middle times, and the gorgeous bishop, round vicar, sleek prebend, and reverend priest of the nineteenth century! Every thing that brazen impudence could achieve, cunning invent, crueky perform, or skilful deception carry into practice, has been done by priestcraft, to keep the human race in bondage and fearful subjection. Every thing, which soaring ambition, daring pride, and importunate avarice could propose, has been tried to accomplish that end; and, among the rest, not the last, is the present mode of investing the priest with magisterial power. This was the case long before the church of Christ was thought of; but it was for a long time neglected in Christendom, and for an obvious reason was rendered unnecessary; because auricular confession was equal or superior to the power of the magistrate; now the sword and scales, added to the clerical gown, is fully equivalent to the confessor's chair; and a jail, penitentiary, and tread-mill, are penances equally restrictive aud terrifying to any thing in ancient use. As usual, they are invested by the rich for the beneft of the poor! Now, our priests, or the priests of the present dav, for the atheist or materialist has nothing to do with them, except to pay an unjust tax to support their impositions: our desiderate is truth, and he who seek's for truth will never go to a priest to find it; but the priests of the present day are nearly all magistrates: and, I will say, with the boldness of truth and with the spirit of freedom that they are the most unjust judges that ever sat on a bench, and wholly unfitted, from the accident of birth and prejudice of education, for deciding on a poor man's cause! Their injustice proceeds from a combination of events which must form the full cha racter of an unjust man, which is, perhaps, the worst epithet that our or any other language can apply to a human being. I shall mention some of the causes which lead to the point.
First, The pricsts of the established church, and such only, at magistrates--are the sons of a proud and depraved aristocracy Navy, arnıy and church, in this case, are similar. The power asi : profit of the state are in their hands. The aristocracy really inia.
gine the people made for their use and only fit to be their slaveg. This sentiment they derive from their Gothic ancestors. The precept is equal to the example; and, even in infancy, their childdren, who are to be the future priests and rulers of the people, are taught the one and experience makes them masters of the other. In their infancy, they are made to hate and dread the poor as bugaboos, and are frightened to sleep in the name of degraded poverty. “ The beggar man is coming!” In youth they are instructed to support a proud superiority over those under them, and consider it a disgrace to speak to their inferiors with common civility. They are separated, at an ea:ly age, from the people for whom they are intended to pray and then to rob. They are educated in seminaries decidedly hostile to the welfare of a people and their civil liberty. They see nothing but pride and arrogance at home, and at school have the lessons of their infancy repeated on a larger scale. Thus taught, by precept and example, to fear, hate and disdain the whole labouring part of society, steeled by prejudice against feeling or commiseration for the poor, armed by power and custon, and conscious of ready assistance, they are sent
forth from the schools, not to instruct the people; not to improve Es their minds, or open their understandings ; not to benefit the
poor, or to add to their felicity, nor to augment the happiness of their pretended cures; but to tyrannize over them, and to cringe to those in power, aid injustice, and enjoy their church or tax-begotten properties.
These undeniable reasons bear me out in my assertion, and clearly demonstrate the benefit to society of a Christian priest and magistrate. This is by no means an exaggered portrait of the Christian doctrine preacher. Then, who can deny its vast utility, and are its blessings not visible in every glebe-house in the kingdom? Are not its sainting and enslaving principles discernible at every turning, street, lane, hedge, and common, in this highly favoured country? People must be mad to oppose such a pure
spiritual religion, which leads to such rich materialities. We i have but little room to spare, and must be very laconic with our
second-part Atheism. Ć In the first place, we claim no novelty in our belief; for we are
fully convinced, that there was a time when Atheism was common, and the idea has been repeated from time to time. However
saints may stare, with their 1800 years of preaching about mira:cles, and prophecies and evidences of Christianity, and proofs of
a God, two-thirds of the present world are Atheists, and all are < latent sceptics ? for, whatever is undefinable and wholly incom
prehensible, if it causes any thing, it must be a doubt; and what
we doubt, we cannot say we believe. As for the bedlam ravings e of the methodists and their superlatively vain, vulgar, disgusting,
fanatic teachers, let them abide in their uncultivated wilderness of spiritual nonsense. Their time will be short, to abuse, lie,