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is a free agent, capable of comparing, of judging, and deciding; he is at liberty to adopt one mode of conduct in prefereuce to another, and is therefore 'accountable for his actions." By all that 'I perceive, man acts in the same 'uniform round with animals, and is no more of a free agent. All animals are capable of comparing, of judging, and deciding, in their various degrees, and are quite as accountable for their actions, human laws aside, as man.
The principle which you call instinct in animals is a phantom. The instinct is the reason of which you boast as the immortal principle in man. Every animal has more or less of it and owes it to the degree of its sensations. Sensation is the wholė foundation of mind or reason, as has been shewn by many, and is the action of the body, nothing separate from the body. When
tell us, that man can see more than any other ani. mal of the marks of contrivance and design, and of the adaptation of all the operations of nature to one beneficial result, I must beg leave to dissent and to say, that what man sees more is a seeing of too much. He has seen gods, angels, devils, spirits, fairies, witches flying in the air, or riding on broomsticks, which the healthy and well informed mind and other animals cannot see. The fault of man, in these matters is, that he sees too much, that he can fabricate forms and paint them on his mind, which have no other existence.
In your eighteenth paragraph, in speaking of the spread of knowledge, you observe :- Whenever we see attempts to put down'schools, and to prevent the circulation of the Bible, we may always be sure, that there is something wrong, something that will not bear the light.” Very true, and such is the case when we see attempts to put down what is called Deism and Atheism. All forcible putting down of this kind is mischievous, and done in a bad spirit. It is ignorance, the fear of knowledge, or the avarice of corruption, that stimulate to such ends.
There is a sentence in your nineteenth paragraph which must raise a smile. You say :-“ It is a humiliating consideration, that while all the classes of inferior animals are constantly found performing the will of God, the only exception is to be found in man!” You here support what I have advanced about human
Here you count hnman reason but as human dust. You every where perceive facts setting aside your theory and you resort to the best contradictory apology that you can fabricate. You threaten man with responsibility and punishment and then, to shut out enquiry, tell him, that god is merciful and will pardon all the frailties of poor erring human nature, of that immortal, divine, dust-like principle of reason, that makes man stray from the will of his Creator! To surmount the contradiction and difficulty, we have the philosophical lecturer introducing the whole machinery of the Christian mythology: we have the son of god in the flesh, the redeemer, and all the paraphernalia with which the
Christian abuses his reason, introduced as the necessary display in the farcical i religious drama. The only redeeming quality in man, the all that renders human reason ought but despicable, is " that philosophical pride which spurds at every thing beyond the comprehension of its limited capacity."
In the twentieth paragraph, in speaking of your invisible God, you say," he is constantly influencing our minds to all that is virtuous." Then, why does he not succeed with his omnipotence? Why are constant endeavours as, constantly. frustrated ? What an imbecile and miserable existence must be his! As well as to see too mucb, you say.too much, William Allen. You may now see, that you cannot say a word of sense, that will bear criticism, for the existence of your God.
You say, at the conclusion of this.paragraph, that there is no disposition in the divine will to hurt or destroy... Then what does hurt; or what destroys? Great destructions are constantly occurring, what or who is the operating power? WHAT IS YOUR GOD?
In the twenty-first paragraph, you complain of certain characters giving rash decisions upon the conduct of the Supreme Intelligence., I know of no characters, giving rash decisions, on the conduct of the Supreme Intelligence, but such characters as yourself. I decide nothing upon Supreme Intelligence, and ask you to decide every thing with proofs. There is a strange perversion of ideas in the religious man : he finds a mirror in his opponent, in which he sees his own faults, and wrongly attributes them to the mirror ; ;.
After a sort of religious rhapsody to the students, you exhort them in the twenty-seventh paragraph, in the following admirable words, truly admirable, had you thrown open the question of Deity to them, instead of dogmatizing upon it. “Let truth be your constant object: pursue it with noble simplicity, and you will disdain. cunning, for there will be nothing which you could wish to hide." I hope you will give me credit for the pursuit of truth with a noble simplicity. It is the characteristic which I study to acquire, and I allow neither God nor Devil to interrupt me, as too many do, and as you, in other respects, would do with the students at Guy's Hospital. There will be nọ honesty in science, until lecturers, perceive that it has no honest alliance with superstition. There can be no love of truth, where superstitious dogmas are imposed, and the examination forbidden. Your real love of truth, William Allen, will be put to the test by this pamphlet. . Will you reply to it? There can be no love of truth, but in the disposition for the most free discussion and enquiry.
Dare to do right, is another of your excellent precepts. I call upon you to act up to it, and not to fear the inost full examination of the question of Deity. Give not that in precept, which you do not give in example. Your sincerity is put to a trial,
This letter will spread throughout the earth, and the question will be asked, “ Did William Allen reply?” You have hitherto borne an excellent character, and if you trip it will be from that stumbling-stone at which so many have tripped-religion. 1 pray you to join me in examining it fairly. “ Dare to do right," and fear not.
In all that you say about education, I agree with you, with the exception as to its quality. You would educate mankind to be religious; I, believing, from the conviction of accurate perception, that religion is a vice, would not present it to the pupil in another shape, than in explanation of its bad foundation, and not even in that shape, as it became less predominant. Education, to be useful, must consist of well founded knowledge, a knowledge of things, and not in a jargon of supernatural or metaphysical words. If metaphysics be a proper study, it cannot be so in schools for youth and uneducated men.
it appears, that it can only be a proper subject of examination to educated and well informed minds. It would be difficult for such persons to keep themselves within bounds, while ignorance would run riotously into its mazes.
You, William Allen, have met many brilliant men, whom you have found to be what are called Infidels or Atheists. Did you ever question yourself upon the alternative, as to whether you or they were wrong? Did you ever say :- Can it be possible that I am wrong upon this question of intelligent God?" Remember, that no man denies that which is presented to him with evidence; that a conclusive argument is alike convincing to all men; that all men agree where clear evidence is exhibited ; and that where all do not agree, there is an absence of sufficient evidence, and no man under such a circumstance can have sufficient evidence ; for what is evidence to one man is evidence to another. In this question of an intelligent god, we are not called upon to believe the testimony or conclusions of other men, whether they be or be not Sir Isaac Newton, Boyle,' and Locke. You admit that the elements of matter are the same to you and to me as they were to these great men, and you must also admit, that our evidence is to be drawn from these elements of matter, and not from the opinions of any men. You would not have been what you now are, had you rested on all the opinions of Boyle as to the science of chemistry.
If it can be shewn, that Newton, Boyle, and Locke, very clever men in their times, were in error on many points of the subjects which they studied, is it not a fair inference, that they might have been in error also, on so metaphysical a subject as religion, or, so indefinite a subject as intelligent God? The whole theory of Newton's gravitation of bodies is combated and likely to be overthrown; but the circumstance does not detract one tittle from his merits or abilities. It would prove only that he approached
to accuracy upon prémises or principles that were not in themselves genuine. New discoveries may yet change the whole foundation of scientific attaioments, Boyle, could he return, with the knowledge possessed when he died, would be astonished at the progress and changes in the science of chemistry. And Locke, on mind, would find himself like the rude artist, who first made a piece of clock-work with his knife and pieces of wood, in relation to the present state of horology. Still they died great men, great, or, perhaps, greater, in the amount of acquired knowledge, than any now living.
You say, in your twenty-fourth paragraph—“ Our very existence is not more certain than that of an overruling, superintending Providence”. It is difficult, on my side, to define what you: mean by the words overruling, superintending Providence ; but, taking your pamphlet as a whole, I may justly consider it the ina telligent god so much spoken of. In another part of your pamphlet, you have described man, as a visible being, and God as an invisia ble being, while here, you assert, that there is the same certain evidence of the existence of an invisible being, which many wise men dispute, as of a visible being, which no man disputes, and concerning whose existence all alike agree, We must have better proofs than such certainties; before we answer to the questionWHAT IS GOD?
I see nothing further in your pamphlet that requires a minute answer: I have taken up, first, the whole: pamphlet, and next, every thing in the shape of an objection to the conclusion, that there is no such a God in existence as that of which you preached or lectured to the students at Guy's Hospital. My summing up, or peroration, must
be a sort of history of God. HISTORY OF GOD! What an excellent title for a book i I must have thé « HISTORY OF GOD," and the DIVINE BIO. GRAPHY, or LIVES OF ALL THE GODS, including the Devil and his Angels, I am about to publish A Biography of all the Writers against Superstition, and it will be a necessary corollary, to have « The History of God," and the “ Divine Biography, or Lives of all the Gods." They have lived only in superstitious brains; but there they have lived, revelled, and have done great mischief to mankind. I have a friend, who is fond of reading and writing biography, as excellent a theological and mythologicalscholar as Cambridge has turned out, and, for him, at his pleasure, this will be a most divine task. I shall content myself with sketching an outline of the
HISTORY OF ONE GOD.
Introduction. This history is to be confined to the one God of the Deists, of the Unitarians, or Christians generally; of the Mahometans; of the
Jews; of Plato and Socrates, and such Greeks as confined them-; selves to one God; of the American Indians; of the Chinese; and of every nation where one God has had a predominant worship. The Christians, and many others here included, have in reality, more than one God; but they speak of one as pre-eminent, and of that one we shall see what can be said.
Section 1. God is a word for which we have no prototype, or sign among the things which we see or know to exist. But, to this word, great, even the greatest, powers are attributed, and some inen have adopted it as a general cloak for their ignorance. : In dif-, ferent countries, it has existed under different names, such as. Deus, Zeus, Theos, Jupiter, Jove, Jehovah, Jahouh, Jao, Fot, Bel, Brama, Sommonocodom, Osiris, Thor, Thot, El, Elohim; Al, Allah, with a thousand others, and that we interpret as the Great. Spirit of the American, Indians. All-nations have meant one and the same thing, by their different words, and all have been idolators, or there have been no idolators. The common meaning of the word is the expression of all that does exist, the all, and it appears that the English word all is a correct expression of the name of the common deity, and very like in sound to El, Al, Allah. I am that I am; I am all that ever was or ever shall be, no mortal has yet dared to lift my veil;* I am alpha and omega; I am the beginning and the ending; Life; soul; spirit;:existence; nature; matter; are all names, or the best description that can be given of this common deity: and all express nothing more than the ignorance of all past 'mankind, of what we now.call matter or the elements of matter. They were not chemists. William Allen finds more of his God in his laboratory than elsewhere. It is there he obtains the most correct knowledge of Deity. His crucible forms his best Bible, and his best religion is his profession as a chemist.
Section II. Sun-worship, though simple Theism, must have been a prior worship to that of all matter, the great whole; as the worship of a specific powerful object, at a time, when other planetary bodies were rated as to importance according to their apparent size. It was comparatively the work of art, science, and civilization, to form an idea of a God embracing the powers of all matter. It appears common among the Chinesę, through all their records. It was evidently embraced throughout Asia, as far as we have records. In the earliest history of Egypt, and other parts of Africa, we have proofs that the then mind' of mankind was in those parts exercised upon the subject of a powerful Deity. Many sculptured
• I have dared and will dare to do it..