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John Knox. In the course of his Sunday evening's sermon, he expressed but one truth, that truth he expressed most einphatically. “I will tell you,” said he, one thing which -you do not know, and I tell it to you in charity, that you are all ignorant of the history of the church.” True, indeed, was the assertion ; for if the poor unhappy creatures, smothered with heat, and gospelled into mental distraction, did know the history of the church, they would, like me, go to hear him but once from curiosity or amusement, and like me also, fall asleep as soon as a seat could be procured. However, I kept awake long enough to get the substance of the sermon, I lost nothing but the mere fillings up of time. The pivot of the sermon was the second coming of Jesus Christ. He has not come once yet. We were told the old tale, the ten millionth time repeated story, that he might come that night, and that he would come like a thief in the night; on hearing wbich, I could not resist a soft though profane exclamation, that if he come like a thief, he should be received and treated as a thief. But this coming, like the millenium and day of judgment, is to be daily talked about and daily expected, but never to be nearer than the present time, never to come.
The worst of all heats and ferments, the worst of all sedition, is to be crowded with five hundred persons within the walls and roof of a Chapel on a hot summer's day. A seventh act should be added to the six passed by Castlereagh in 1819 to make all assemblages of more than one hundred persons, under, one roof, illegal in hot weather, or from the month of May to October. There is always a danger of Church and Chapel fevers breaking out as malignant or more malignant than any Gaol fever that ever killed judge, juryman, gaoler or prisoner, Irving's preaching, acting upon the inspirations, expirations, and perspirations of the congregation, produced an atmosphere that was intolerable to every thing but the habited and polluted inspiration of a gospelled Christian. Little do the young ladies think what havoc such frequently breathed atmospheres produce upon their health and beauty. Even the preaching of Deism will not purify one of these atmospheres. With a poisoned gospel, they feed on a poisoned air, and acquire at the same time a bodily and mental disease, that deteriorates mankind by the manifold destruction of individual health and happiness.
Irving has no eloquence. He has oddness; and oddness is ability in the eyes of many. His voice is not good, his dialect is bad, and his action is buffoonery. Added to which he is very ignorant. There can be no natural and graceful action in religious preaching, in the uttering of language which is unnatural, which is not felt to be true. This is the case with Mr. Irving. He is a preacher of Christianity in its highest state of mystification ; but rare does it seem, that a moral truth escapes from him. ·H knows nothing but the sacred scriptares and the writings of other
fanatics. He examines not himself as to what he does know. He questions others, who, be knows, are not to answer him; but he questions not himself: and a man cannot be wise until he learn how to question himself: not to give himself prepared answers, as they are found in catechisms; but to investigate the merit of things in searching for the definition and right application of his words and ideas.
This is notice sufficient of two clergymen whose hands I should much like to bring together; so, by way of introduction, I present to Mr. Irving the Manifesto issued by Mr. Taylor, with a hope, that they will seek instruction from each other, or from others, until they agree.
MANIFESTO OF THE CHRISTIAN EVIDENCE SOCIETY.
Established, November 12th, 1824.
To all Protestants and Members of Protestant Congregations. MEN AND BRETHREN, You are hereby invited to attend the Discussions of the Evidences of the Christian Religion, which are held every Tuesday evening, in the Society's Chapel, Founder's Hall, Lothbury, to which all respectable persons, upon observance of the necessary regulations, are admissible: and where all competent persons, upon a previous notification of their intentions, are allowed to deliver their sentiments upon the topic of discussion.
This Society aims only to promote the love of Truth, the practice of Virtue, and the influence of Universal Benevolence, as opposed to foolish and contradictory systems of religious faithderived from the ignorance of barbarous ages, and craftily imposed upon the many, for the aggrandisement of the power and influence of a few, who, aware of the suspicious origination of their pretended Divine Revelation, have shown themselves afraid and ashamed to maintain the same, where they might be answered by learned and able men, and might have their accuracy established, or their errors corrected.
Our Reverend Orator, a regular and canonically ordained Clergyman of the Established Church, hath publicly challenged all Ministers and Preachers (and hereby repeats the challenge) to come forward and show, if they can, the contrary of the FOUR GRAND PROPOSITIONS, which in the Society's Manifesto, “ To all Clergymen, Ministers, and Preachers of the Gospel," are declared to have been, as far as to us appeared, fully and unanswerably demonstrated.
The PROPOSITIONs are 1. That TIIE SCRIPTURES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, WERE NOT WRITTEN BY THE PERSONS WHOSE NAMES THEY BEAR.
II. THAT THEY DID NOT APPEAR IN THE TIMES TO WHICH THEY REFER.
III. THAT THE PERSONS, OF WHOM THEY TREAT, NEVER EXISTED.
IV, THAT THE EVENTS, WHICH THEY RELATE, Never IPPENED. -Of these Propositions,
The PROOFS are 1. That The SCRIPTURES OF THE N. T. WERE, &c.— Because, it cannot be shown by any evidence, that they were “ written by the persons whose names they bear;” and because it can be shewn by evidence both external and internal, that they were written by other persons,-By evidence external, In the formal acts and edicts of Christian Emperors, Bishops, and Councils, issued from time to time, for the general alteration, or total renovation of these Scriptures, according to their own caprice.* And in the admissions of the most learned Critics and Divines, as to the alterations which these Scriptures have from time to time undergone. --By evidence internal, In the immoral, vicious, and wicked tendency of many passages therein remaining, and by the insertion of others, whose only drift, is to enhance the power of Kings and Priests.
II. THAT THEY DID NOT APPEAR. IN THE TIMES TO WHICH THEY REFER; is demonstrable,--By evidence external, In the express admissions of Ecclesiastical Historians, of their utter in
Such were those of the Emperors Constantine and Theodosius, and this of the Emperor Anastasius. “ When Messala was consul (that is in the year of Christ, 506) at Constantinople, by order of the Emperor AnaSTASIUS, the Holy Gospels, as being written by illiterate Evangelists, are censured and corrected; Victor Tuniensis, an African Bishop quoted by Lardner, vol.ii. p. 67. See also an account of a general alteration of these Scriptores, “ to accommodate them to the faith of the orthodox," by LAN, FRANC, Archbishop of Canterbury, as recorded by Beausohre, Histoire de Manichee, vol. i. p. 343,
+ ADMISSIONS OF THE MOST LEARNED CRITICS-1st. “ There were in the MSS. of the N. T. ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY THOUSAND various readings.” Unitar. New Version, p., 22.—“ The Manuscripts from which the received text was taken were stolen by the librarian, and sold to a skyrocket maker, in the year 1749.” Herbert Marsh, Bishop of Peterborough, vol. i. p. 441.-3d. For the principal part of the book there was no original Greek at all, but “ Erasmus wrote it himself in Switzerland, in the year 1516.” Bishop Marsh, vol. i. p. 320.
| IMMORAL, &c. See Romans, iii: 7.-Epist. John, ii. 10.-Heb. xii. 29.-Heb. xii. 17.-Romans, xiii. --1 Peter, ii. 13.- Luke xiv. 26. &c. &e.
ability to shew when, or where, or BY WHOM, this collection of writings was first made.* And in the admissions of the most learned critica, as to the infinitely suspicious origination of the present Received Text.t-By evidence internal, In innumerable texts therein contained, betraying a comparatively modern cbaracter, referring to circumstances which did not exist till later ages, and quoting other Scriptures which had previously formed the faith of the first Christian Churches, but which, without any assignable reason, or alledged authority, have since been rejected. I
III. THAT THE PERSONS OF WHOM THEY TREAT, NEVER ESISTED; Because demoniacs, devils, ghosts, angels, hobgoblins, persons who had once been dead, who could walk on water, ride in the air, &c. such as Satan, and Jesus Christ, are the persons of whom these Scriptures treat; and that such persons never existed is demoostrable;-1st. From the utter incongruity of such figments with the immutable laws of sound reason.-2ndly. From the total absence of all historical reference to their existence. And 3rdly. From innumerable passages of these Scriptures themselves, which fully admit the mere visionary Hypostasis of their fabulous hero.11
IV. THAT THE EVENTS WHICH THEY RELATE, NEVER MAPPENED, is demonstrable (further than as a consequence of the preceding proposition), from the fact, that some, many, or all of these events, had been previously related of the gods and goddesses of Greece and Rome, and more especially of the Indian idol Chrishna, whose religion, with less alteration than time and translations have made in the Jewish Scriptures, may be traced in every dogma and every ceremony of the Evangelical Mythology.
See Mosheim's Eccles. Hist.-Jones on the Canon, &c. passim. + RECEIVED TEXT, &c. “ The Received Text rests on the authority of no more than twenty or thirty manuscripts, most of which are of little note.” Unitar. Version, Introd. 10. “It was completed by the Elzevir edition of 1624,"ib. Mark well! the retaining therein, and circulating, as the Word of God, with consent or connivance of all parties, several passages known and admitted by all, to be Forgeries and Lies. 1 John, v. 7.1 Tim. iii. 16.-Excellent Morality this !!
I COMPARATIVELY MODERN, &c. See 2 Epist. John, 9.—1 Tim. iii. 3.James, v. 14.—Matth. xviii. 17.—1 Corinth. xv. 7. 32.—1 Peter, iv. 6.
HOBGOBLINS. See Acts, xix. 15. i VisIONARY HYPOstasis. See Luke, ix. 29.-Mark, ix. 2.-Luke, xxiv. 31.-1 John, v. 6. and innumerable other passages, in perfect accordance with THE TRUE AND GENUINE GOSPELs of the most primitive Christians, which taught that he was ninety-eight miles tall, and twenty-four miles broad; that he was not crucified at all; that he was never born at all; that by faith only are we saved, &c. &c.; all equally indicative that Christianity had no evidence at all; but was a matter of mere conceit, fancy, or superstition, from first to last.
MEN AND BRETAREN, If these things can be denied or disproved-Your Ministers and Preachers are earnestly called on to do so. Your Missionaries, who boast their readiness to carry their Gospel to the remotest shores of the earth, are again and again entreated to becomes its advocates before assemblies of intelligent and learned men, here, in their native land; where, upon due notice of their intentions, and upon the condition of allowing themselves to be respectfully questioned, and learnedly replied to, they will be received with honour, and heard with attention.
By the assembled Society,
and Chaplain of the Society of Universal Benevolence. Christian Evidence Society,
London, Aug. 1826.
Tickets of Admission, Terms of Subscription, Seats in the Chapel, &c. upon application (post paid) to the Secretary, 17, Carey Street, Lincoln's , Inn, or at the Chapel of Universal Benevolence, immediately after the performance of Divine SERVICE.
Note.-If I do not insert the following article from Shebago, I shall meet the accusation of partiality between contending parties. I cannot concur in one tittle of Shebago's censure of Dr. Franklin, I have never before heard his character honestly impeached, and to this moment I have no knowledge, that, as a public man, he did a wrong thing. He was most faithful to his country in all the trying scenes through which be passed. His example and precepts were alike moral, and I cannot think the worse of him, because he acquired the respect of various characters. I fear Shebago has dipped his pen in gall on this occasion, and I had much rather that he than I should have drawn such a sketch of Dr. Franklin. Though I print, I by no means sanction, . nor do I fear that such ill-founded assertions will injure the same, of Dr. Franklin.
MR. THOMAS PAINE AND DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.
Some time ago, I was partoked to say something rather versus the celebrated Dr. Frank, r; but I only spoke then as I had thought before. I had taken the liberty of disagreeing with the Doctor, and differing from his admirers in many things relating to his character, conduct, and writings, long before Mr. Ř.T. C. E. S: blurted his sapient advice in my face, and consequently had no.