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All well-read persons in the history of Pliny's time admit that a great variety of philosopbical and fanatical sects existed, particularly throughout the Grecian Provinces, Egypt and the Mediterranean Coast of Africa, Pliny's Christians were clearly one of those sects, and not such Christians as exist in the present day: All the various sects now call themselves Christians ; but each excludes the other from the right to the title. The Unitarians are not Christians, said the Chaplain of the Cold Bath Fields prison to me a few days ago. The Trinitarians are not Cbristians, say the Unitarians and Freethinking Christians; and thus the thing goes on.
We are either all Christians or there are no Christians. The title is only respectable and rational when applied to the allegorical sense of Christianity under the head of the persecution and triumph of the principle of reason.
MR. ROBERT GOURLAY.
This gentleman still lingers through an imprisonment which can only be terminated by one of two ways, by a relinquishment on the part of the Crown of the demand for bail as a security for his future behaviour, or by giving that bail which would be tantamount to an admission of his insanity.
The question resolves itself to this point :-Is a man, for having assaulted another, to be imprisoned for life, if he do not find bail, lest he assault again the same or some other person? Is there to be no definite imprisonment for a want of bail, or a refusal to give it in such a case ?
Mr. Gourlay's assault on Mr. Brougham was of the least offensive kind. It was not an assault that did a bodily injury to Mr. Brougham. And surely an imprisonment of years is atonement enough for an aggravated assault. It does not
that Mr. Gourlay meditates further assault upon Mr. Brougham, or that Mr. Brougham fears any thing of the kind ; there is therefore no ground to inflict imprisonment on the part of the Crown. The imputed insanity is a fiction. If such a man as Robert Gourlay is to be deemed insane, every eccentric or prominent character is involved in the imputation. What is insanity?
If the question were fully discussed, it would be found, in different degrees, to be universal, and that no human being.is strictly of sane mind. Sanity of mind is a human quality yet to be produced. Insanity, therefore, should not be held criminal until criminal acts have been committed, and such acts should be atoned for in the ratio of their criminality.
There is a morbidness of feeling about Mr. Peel in such cases as that of Gourlay and those of Campion, Perry, and Clarke, confined in the Compter. The Chaplain of the Cold Bath Fields' Prison has told mc, that, as soon as he got William Tunbridge to acknowledge the errors of his former opinions about Christianity, and that he had committed the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, giving him credit for sincere conversion, he wrote to Mr. Peel, and got him immediately liberated. A question presents itself on the subject-- Whether the liberation was owing to the change of opinion, or the idea of sufficient atonement for past offence. In either point of view, there is a morbidness of feeling apparent on the part of Mr. Peel. If the change of opinion produced the liberation, then the opinion was the offence; if the length of time that imprisonment was suffered, then the liberation depending on the interference of the Chaplain looks bad-and the continued confinement of those now confined for similar acts aggravates the symptoms. Mr. Peel should not forget, that the accnmulating injuries of such individuals will be likely eventually to burst upon him in a storm which he may not expect.
“A Deiss" has mistaken the tenour of the Rev. Mr. Taylor's advertisement in the “ Morning Herald.” The Reverend Orator's Oration for the Tuesday evening's discussion of this week was not that he would refute Deism--but that he would refute the “ Deism Refuted” of the Rev. Thomas Hartwell Horne.
We are about to publish a Third Volume of “ The Deist,". which is to consist of - Answer to Dr. Priestley's Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever; Free Enquirer ; Good Sense, or natural opposed to supernatural Ideas; Lord Chesterfield's Ears ; Analysis of the Influence of natural Religion on the temporal happiness of Mankind. The price will be 12s. in boards; and it will have the God of the Jews and Christians as a frontispiece.
Printed and Published by R. CARLILE, 62, Fleet Street.-All Correspone
dences for “ The Republican,” to be left at the place of publication,
No. 7. Vol. 14.] LONDON, Friday, Aug. 25, 1826. [Price 60.
TO WILLIAM ALLEN,
LECTURER ON EXPERIMENTAL PHILOSOPHY to the STUDENTS
at Guy's Hospital,
62, Fleet Street, August 23, 1826. Thou art a Member of the Society of Friends, and I address thee as one of them; because, on the score of title or address, I am all things to all men, or a member of each sect, seeking to divest the whole of error. Thus far only do I address thee as a Friend or Quaker.
You are celebrated as a chemist, as a philosophical Lecturer, and for many other good qualities; and I assure you, that, it is *with great pleasure, that I have found in print the substance of your" Address to the Students of Guy's Hospital,” in defence of Theism and in attack upon what is vulgarly called Atheism. Your pamphlet is worthy of notice, the author is worthy of notice, and I proceed to that notice with a conviction, that, in a knowledge of the minutiæ of all the phenomena of matter, you are my superior, and that I ought not to have presumed to enter upon a contest with you, had you not misapplied your knowledge in a defence of what is called religion or the worship of a God.
I present myself to you with all the humility which a confession of ignorance of some of the matters, of which you treat in your
Address &c., can confer, and I presume to seek instruction and explanation by a few questions upon points, where you appear to hold a conviction that warrants positive statement. The pivot of my questions, I confess, will be on the subject of what you call God, and I condense it at once, in the simple words, WHAT IS GOD?.
This is a question, the solution of which is of the first importance to mankind in their present state. It is a question upon which almost every man dogmatizes ; byt upon which few reason. It is a question upon which mankind are more ignorant than upon any other question or word that is current among them.
Printed and Published by R. Carlile, 62, Fleet-street.
It is less known and more talked of than any other word. The word or question is of that vast importance, that scepticism is the only true humility relating to it, until something demonstrative and convincing can be produced.
The rule hitherto has been, to set up the religious dogma as an idol, and to defend it even to martyrdom; instead of reasoning from what we know to what knowledge may be acquired, and of keeping ourselves within the bounds of acquired knowledge.
Since then the subject is of such vast importance to mankind, since so much dogmatism has passed among them, and since nothing has been proved, upon that subject, let William Allen or any person state a reason why I should not ask the question
WHAT IS GOD? “ In the beginning," for here is a beginning, I adopt my usual course of laying before my readers the arguments, if there be arguments, or the dogmatical conclusions of the opponent whose writings or sayings I review. I have numbered the paragraphs and shall proceed to question whatever I find questionable.
A man, in sincere search of truth, or knowledge of right and wrong, desires the most powerful opponents. Many attack, many calumniate my person, conduct, and principles, who have no fair claim to be noticed, and whom to notice would be to degrade one's self; but William Allen I respect, as I have ever respected Mrs. Fry, and so saying, introduce his Address to my readers :
The Substance of an ADDRESS to the Students at Guy's
HOSPITAL. “ In the course of lectures delivered on Experimental Philosophy at Guy's Hospital, the subject of astronomy comes last. When the solar system, and what is known respecting the stars had been described, the lecture concluded with the following observations:
“1. Whilst thus standing on the confines of our little system, and catching the glimmering lights that issue from the remote and unknown, let us lift up our hearts in reverence to that awful and infinitely perfect Being, who, operating in the immensity of space, and regulating the concerns of innumerable worlds, has yet condescended to create such an atom as man, and to endue that atom with the power of attaining unto the knowledge of bimself, the great Author and Supporter of all.
Seeing, then, that He who created the universe has condescended to employ his omnipotence in the small as well as in the great, and that we also are the workmanship of his hand, let us rejoice in the belief, that even we shall not escape his notice amoog the myriads of created beings; let us be thankful that he has endowed us with faculties
to comprehend a little of his wonderful works; and let us ever remember, that throughout these a provision for the happiness of his creatures is eminently conspicuous. It must, therefore, be consistent with his will that we should employ the powers which He has given us in diffusing as much comfort and happiness, in our respective circles, and throughout his creation, as our abilities and peculiar circumstances will permit.
"2. In the study of nature, which is but “ á name for an effect whose cause is God,” every ingenious mind must be deligbted with the discovery of general laws which will satisfactorily account for many important phenomena, but we also quickly discover that there are limits to human knowledge, and that it is in vain for finite beings to attempt to comprehend that which is infinite. We see that the wonderful effects taking place every moment, and upon which the whole frame and system of things depend, can only be referred to a great First Cause, infinite in all his attributes. The attribute of Omnipotence is no less displayed in the smallest than in the largest works of creation; it is equally manifest in the structure of the most minute animalcula, as in the precision with which the earth revolves upon its axis, carrying with it seas, mountains, kingdoms, conflicting elements, and bodies every where in motion; while the great purpose is completed with a degree of exactness which no time-piece can ever equal! The motions of the heavenly bodies are conducted with such admirable precision, that not one of them materially interferes with another; no one deviates from its appointed course; each steadily holds on its way in perfect obedience to Him, who spake, and they were created; who willed, and it was done!
“ 3. In the early part of our course, we considered the properties of matter, and the laws to which it is subject: we were convinced that it has no power to move itself, or when moved, by the application of external force, to stop, or even to alter the direction of that inotion. It was stated that every particle of matter appears to have a certain equal degree of attractive force, which it exerts upon every other particle of matter; and we have seen how this simple principle has accounted, not only for the fall of bodies, for the maintenance of the mechanical equilibrium, but also for the planetary motions and the multiplied phenomena of the universe: it is the attribute of Omnipotence to accomplish the greatest of purposes by the simplest of means. It is owing to a species of attraction that bodies preserve their form, and that the particles of some kinds of matter assume regular geometrical figures, as in the crystals of salts and earths: but here matter is entirely passive; every species has its peculiar and determinate form, which is invariable, and indicates a general law. Again, we see different species of matter variously acted upon by attracting energies, so as to form distinct bodies, which are the