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ing? Besides, the town is full of sorrows. No work, no trade, is the common cry, and no hope until the festival of Saint Bartholomew has gone by. Then all begins to brighten, then the candles are lit in the evening, sorrows vanish as business goes cheerily on. and the lovers of festivals think of nothing but preparation for the Saturnalia of the Christians, or Christmas tide.
The Rev. Mr. Taylor is the only preacher in town that can boast of a crowded congregation of hearers at this season. He is the only clergyman who has need of a larger church. His Liturgy is of the blatherum skite* order, though novel, and will suit those well whom nothing but nonsense will amuse; but his pulpit discourses are alike novel, eloquent, and useful.
In addition to strange workmen, one has the sorrow of finding them-money, (or comfort when it can be found) when money is either scarce or closeted. This is not the least part of the evil attending this sultry season, and the music of Orpheus is necessary to me to make the multitude buy my books, while the brain is in such a state of lassitude from heat. My new shop comes up to all fair expectation; but it does not bring me in all the money that I want at this moment. I am secure for ten years ; but the first will be a year of pecuniary difficulties, in the redemption of the mortgage incurred. So, pray friends, come buy. Let the good which I have done, and purpose to do, be the music that shall charm you to the entrance of my shop. Buy now, if you do not read until the winter.
The Chaplain of the Cold Bath Fields' Prison says, that I shall not keep a shop open seven years, if I am allowed to proceed without molestation. He claims to be considered one of the prophets of the Lord ; but let us try if we cannot make him one of the Lord's lying prophets. These men can calculate nothing so well as tythes, and are at a loss to account for the success of persevering industry. Mr. Parkins, the late Sheriff, has had a conversion to Christianity, because nothing has succeeded with him since the time of my trial. On asking him and the Chaplain at different times how it was that I succeeded so well without the aid of their Divine Providence, each answered, that I had the permission of that Divine Power to succeed for a short time, ibat
mny fall may become the greater !
The page and half is filled, so, good reader, farewell, as the Reverend Mr. Taylor says to his audience at the close of his sermon--farewell ; but do not forget to buy some books in these money-wanting times.
* A flash word with this Reverend Gentleman, when describing the labours of his brethren in the vineyard of Christ.
It would be well, if they who have emancipated themselves from the superstition of the priest, would also emancipate themselves from the superstition of words. This latter superstition is a bar to knowledge and a source of endless, unintelligible disputes. No word should be used unless it conveys an intelligible and clear idea; or which, when joined with others in a sentence, conveys such an idea, or, in other words, produces such an idea ia whoever reads it, or hears it; I may add, produces the same idea in the reader or hearer as the writer or speaker himself had : if it do not, this is the word or sentence worse than useless, since, instead of imparting and propagating knowledge, it causes confusion or doubt, or both, and is an impediment to the acquisition of knowledge,
One of these general unmeaning words, which have no corresponding idea, and consequently can excite no corresponding idea, is to
eternity.” Numerous are the books, immense is the number of essays, in which this and other similar and unmeaning words have consumed the time, wasted the money, and prevented the progress of knowledge in the writers and readers. The “ Republican" contains many examples, and among them that of Thomas Turton, in the Number now before me. Mr. Turton might have used the words “ eternal” and “eternity" without having been open to the objections I am making, had he defined the meaning accurately in which he wished the words to be understood and had he used them in that sense and in no other from the beginning to the end of his essay: notwithstanding, it would have been much better not to have used words which in their common acceptation have no meaning whatever.
But Mr. Turton has not defined the word eternity, and in no part of his essay does it express a clear idea.
Dr. Watson, he remarks, has said, “ that the elements of matter never had a beginning, that they are eternal.”. Here, then, is Dr. Watson's definition of eternal-that which never had a beginning; but this is neither more nor less than making use of a number of words without expressing or conveying an idea. Can Dr. Watson, or Mr. Turton, or any body else conceive what the Doctor supposes he has conceived by the words “ never had a beginning ?” Surely not. If Mr. Turton will turn his thoughts to the no beginning, he will soon discover that he has no idea whatever to attach to the words, all he will ever discover will be his own ignorance in this respect; and he may probably be tempted to say, “ I know nothing, and the words are only a cover for my want of knowledge.” He need not be ashamed of coming
No. 6. Vol. XIV.
to this conclusion, for no man can truly say that he has any knowledge on the subject; the most he can have is a loose conjecture, carried as far back as he may be disposed to suppose, but he must stop at some period, at which he will be just as remote from his object as he was when he set out. But the “ elements of matter”-see how one absurdity leads to another; Dr. Watson was unwilling to admit, that what he called matter underwent no change, hence he assumed elements which did not, because they could not change.' But this assumption proved nothing, they only shewed that he was bewildered, yet upon this bewilderment he built his “ eternity ;” and every man who talks of eternity, and endeavours to shew that any thing is or can be eternal, must do it by some such illogical process, and of course from nothing,
Mr. Turton, however, adopts the definition of Dr. Watson, and argues thus-“ viewing matter as the eternal cause, and every identity one of its effects, may we not imagine every animal, vegetable, and mineral in existence as extinct, and the elements of matter remaining ?" That is, cannot we imagine the annihilation of matter, and yet that its elements are all in existence? I say, that these words have no meaning; and that any man who is capable of examining them, must come to the same conclusion, that they are words without meaning, as he must with respect to those which follow, namely, “ whatever is eternal must be independent of every other existence.”. Having no idea of “ eternal," because no man can have any such idea, Mr. Turton, like all those who use words so loosely, makes a bold and unintelligible assertion, and thinks he is reasoning to a purpose.
Has Mr. Turton ever asked himself what is matter? I suspect he has not, and I therefore recommend him to ask himself the question, and then to sit down and write a definition of the word which shall please himself, and leave him in no doubt as to the correctness of his definition.
Eternity-Chance-Accident-Nature-Truth-Justice-Virtue-Mind--Soul-Spirit-God-and many other words, except when limited and defined, have no meaning, as for instance, Eternity may be defined to mean a period of time of which we can form no idea, in any other sense it is absurd; and for this, it is better not to use the word, since it usually induces those who use it, and those who hear it, or read it, to think inaccurately. Chance and accident may be classed together.
Thev bave no meaning, except in relation to some particular circumstance, and then they are used improperly. A man has met with an accident; he has been run over by the wheel of a coach. Here the meaning is, that he did not intend to be run over, yet his being run over was as much the consequence of certain circumstances as any act of his life. As necessary as the most premeditated act, but the word accident is generally understood to imply, unceused, and thus absurdly to account for what might be reasonablt ac
counted for. · The word is also redundant, and therefore useless. A man accidentally fell under the wheel of a coach, and was run over-leave out the word “ accidentally" and the meaning will not be mistaken. The sentence will not be perfect, because it does not contain the words, “ fell, not intending to fall,” or words to that effect; but our language abounds in hiatuses, and yet we are not misled : but by using the word accident, we conjure up an occult cause for the man's misfortune, and this is superstition.
Chance is open to the same objections and to one more, you think that the world was made by chance ?". is a common expression among Christians and Deists, as if a word which unless used in the particular sense before mentioned has no meaning could make any thing.
Mr. Horne Tooke says that chance and accident both mean, “ falling," so that when a man says it fell by chance or accident, he in fact says it fell by falling.
Nature is another vagụe and generally unmeaning word, used also to express an occult' cause of which no one can form an idea. Like chance and accident, to be intelligible it must be specific-as for instance, it is the nature of a man to walk: even here it expresses no idea, and is wholly redundant; but let any one take a passage in which the word nature is used, and try if he cannot express the meaning better without the word than with it, and he will soon find it is useless. But nature, like chance and accident, is very frequently personified: thus nature does this and that. Nature causes a tree to grow, what can be more absurd ; nature is here used for an unknown power, and is yet made the known power. The known power which is un- . known is nature : can any thing be more absurd. Would it not be better to say that the tree grows-a fact which will not be disputed-than to pretend to account for its growth by the use of a word which conveys no idea. It is the nature of smoke to ascend. ' Of, what use is the word nature? None, whatever. Why not say smoke ascends, and cease to mislead, by the use of words, which are, after all, nothing but an affectation of knowledge which you do not possess.
TRUTH-justice- Virtue.—These words when not applied to some particular act have no meaning. There is no general or abstract truth, justice, or virtue, and yet nothing is more common than the use of those words, as of things per se, that is, as things in themselves. When a man says—what you tell me is true, or a truth, we know that he means, either that the relation is correct, or that, he is satisfied we do not wish to deceive him, and to those and such like meanings, and for particular and specific objects, the word may be used ; but when used in any other sense, it conveys. no idea whatever.
Joştice is liable to the same objection, and so is virtue.
nerally it misleads the hearer. Seldoın does the writer or speaker attach
distinct idea to it, Any one can soon satisfy himself of this. Let him take up any book in which the word is fre. quently used and he will not fail to find that it is used in several senses, and still more frequently without any definite meaning. Let him compare the senses in which it is used, and he will soon be ashamed of his author. Let him do the same by himself, and he will soon abstain from the use of the word.
Spirit is a word used without any intelligible meaning: no one can find any idea of spirit, it cannot be compared with any thing, and must always remain unintelligible.
God.—The same ohjections are applicable to this word, except when used in respect to some specific thing called an Idol, thus the word has a meaning. This block of wood, this stone is God, i. e. you are to believe that this wood, or this stone, has power to do you good or evil, and you are to praise or fear it accordinglý. So far as God is the name of the wood or stone it is intelligible; so far as it implies power to do either injury or service it is unintelligible, and can convey no clear idea, nor, indeed, any idea at all, unless fear, which in this, as in most cases, is the reverse of reason, can be called an intelligible idea, yet it may be observed, that fear is always a consequence of the absence of clear ideas.
These remarks are bastily sketched, for the consideration of those who, having divested themselves of a number of delusive and ingenious fallacies, yet cling to the fallacies which certain words, by the association of ideas, constantly produce.
ON THE PRESENT MARRIAGE SYSTEM.
A CONTINUAL dropping, says the old proverb, will wear away stones; and a continual attack on a mischievous system must have the same effect; must, in time, make an impression on the system attacked, and eventually work its destruction. That this may prove the fate of the present marriage system, must be the wish of every philanthropist who understands the matter ; and I, as one anxious to merit the above appellation, will war against it at all opportunities. That the present marriage system is the greatest pest, the greatest curse of social life, is an assertion that I fearlessly make and support whenever I have an opportunity, be the hearers who or what they may. The system itself is so absurd, and its bad effects so glaring, that arguments are never wanting
I may be told, that it is useless to war against a system so firmly supported by the priests, and by the prejudices of a large