תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

half would, in justice, require the same mode and power of argument to establish their faith, before they could become believers.*

The case is otherwise; there is no revelation: that which goes: under the name is evidently a fabrication, calculated by cunning to impose on ignorance. The daring assertion of one man and the unhesitating credulity of one hundred thousand produces .] proof. I can easily suppose men to be fools and knaves; but that the one can lie and the other say he believes, alters not the case: fools and rogues are very indifferent vouchers for divinity. The heavens declare nothing about God; and the earth must learn something more than it knows, before it can divulge the secret of omnipotence.

Coming to an ultimatum; all that I can say is, that I would believe, if I could. · But as I cannot conscientiously say that I believe: so I am not endued with the divine gift of lying to mis-' lead others. I want the special grace of misleading them for emolument.

Give me leave to insinuate an argument highly in favour of a just and omnipotent God. It is simply this, that the greatest villains and most detestably immoral monsters, that have cursed : and disgraced the world with their presence, have been the most pious and devout, and stood most out for the honour of God, not caring a farthing for their own. This must be allowed to be an excellent proof in favour of divinity.

“ The fool suys in his heart there is no God.” The Knave : says, from his teeth outwards, thare is one. They are both alike. The wise man will never trouble his head or heart with what is incomprehensible and incommunicable; and one thing is clear, mankind are no better for believing or for saying they believe in one, than if they denied the creed, and argued against the imposing non-entity.

Yet the injury which the bare word God has done to society, rouses the feelings and impels us to chase it through all its windings. The world is involved in the important problem, and the question will one day be decidedly, answered: it is already answered. But truth, sorry am I to say it, is slow of progress, and mankind, from the early prejudice of unnatural and inconsistent education, purposely instilled by designing authority, are led to believe any absurdity of wonder, miracle or improbability, in preference to the simplest and most satisfactory demonstration. God made the world. Who knows that? Who made God? Where is God? What is God? These are our proper questions.

It is easier for me to conceive that this world never had a beginning, than that nothing could create it out of nothing. For this simple but powerful reason : matter is equally uncreatable and indestructible; and

And this to every generation. Were there but one generation, the instrucion of all might ultimately be calculated upon ; but the succession of generations is fatal to all religious arguments, as the suecession of their religious opinious is fatal to the idea of a God intelligently overruling all,

R, C.

In this case,

ideal nothing cannot act upon substance. My learning informs me of A number of creeds, and almost an equal oumber of conjectural, 'cosmogonies. From the whole, I only learn the vaio propensity of curious man; to account for what is wholly unaccountable. One truth is deducible from philosophical experimeuts-that matter cannot be made out of nothing, and matter existing cannot be annihilated. Some of the godly declare this as a fact. We readily, allow that the world may be disorganized by some potent existing power. But will it? is again an insolvable pros blem. ; We have every reas. a to suppose, that nature will. guard against her own destruction and that the balance of her power is eternal : equal to all conţingencies, however vast and inconceivable by man. The ques. tion-How old is the world? will never be answered, more than that of our important problem- What is God?' Bot we may rest assured, that it is much older than any date that has ever been assigned to it. Every thing relating to its origin rests on conjecture, and in this case; the benefit of experience and decision of wisdom are lost in the fields of time and space.

the incoherent ravings of a bedlamite, or the plausible theory of a sage are of equal importance. Geologists have never yet, discovered one cubic foyt or inch of virgin earįh, in all their researches over the globe. The inference which follows is; that, in the great crucible of nature, every thing has been repeatedly dissolved, fused, amalgamated and convolved into new compounds, producing a residuum which has no claim to originality. Yet we know from historical and geographical records, that the present surface of the earth, is oow nearly wisat it was four thousand years ago. And such is the slowness of the innovating progress of sublinie nature, that millions of years must clapse before a visible change in the groe graphy of the globe takes place. That is, belore known mountains are levelled, vallies filled up and a new şurface formed. But this will never be effected, so as to produce a regular plain convexity. For, while mountains are wearing away on the dry earib, others are forining under the watérs, and are now shewing their heads in the questionable forms of islands in the wide wilderness of uvfathomable seas. Thus, when the rast

Atlantic becomes a continent, Teneriffe will be the renon ned Chimboraco, or known by some other name of a new world, and so of the other high islands. I here promise, with the permission of the Editor, to furnish the readers of the Republican with some interesting geological information, perhaps new to most of the readers of that intrepid, valuable and independant publication.

This is another digression; for which I claim the benevolent indulgence of my readers. And now, for our God again. That is our mark, on which shall descend the Tomahawk of Indian confidence, the forcible arrows of the magnanimous Materialists. Our weapon must be directed point blank to the centre of sacred nature; to the very bull's eye of ideniity. How comes it, that non-entity can govern eatity?' is a reasonable question, answer it who can, is it not fair ? I have said, I would believe sooner than any of the nominal believers, if I were only convinced. But until I am convinced, I will not say I believe. God is a word to which we cannot attach a single idea. Of the words almighty, omnipotent, omniscient, we form only a confused notion. But on examination they vanish into less than thin air. Because, they imply a power superior to our comprehension. If God, then, is and will keep bimself concealed from us, by his omnipotent power; we must absolutely conclude that he is not. In order to speak on the subject with propriety, we must not call ourselves worms, ignorant and vile beings; but sensible and well informed iner, intelligent creat tes, sprung op how we toow not, and is capable of

developing the mystery of our origin; but highly capable of receiving information respecting it, and capable of calling in question the vapid idol of the priest-God. This, I know, will be deemed the ne plus ultra of human arrogance. Surely, of all other hypocrisies, the worst is, to decry human nature in ourselves. It happens always, that those sanctified sons of humility, who decry human natnre and call mankind worins, are filled with ambition, pride and insolence and according to their powers of degrading the multitude, they exalt and enrich themselves. "Man here is beneath their pious concern: it is his precious soul they consider ! And while they convey him to heaven, they defraud him on earth and send bim to God to seek a recompence. By their doctrine, it appears, that this world is theirs; the next ours. Truth and experience show us their present happiness and our own nuisery. If, God ordains, or permits this, he is an unjust being! We put in if, to reconcile our argument to supposition; for we do not for a moment allow, what we neither can comprebend nor demonstrate. We fairly deny that there is a God. The routine of nature declares it impossible. But we prove, that, if there was or is one, be is a most unjust and malignant being. Now let him clear himself of the imputation. Our arguments to this point are decisive against the deity himself

. The world is our witness : we may go to law with the king! and cast him!!' observe that!!! If God is; and allow's bis sacred name to stand in favour of fraud, bloodslied, ruin and human misery, what is he? Who but a priest, or an ignorant fanatic made so by a priest, dare speak in favour of such a demon? For evil

' he must bé. The priest is the legible God of the world, and I bave no hesitation in saying, he is the worst being in it. Were there a God that we do pot know, and were we to judge of him by liis priest, whom we do know how should we estimate his character? Pride, arrogance, cruelty, beastly Just and avarice; fraud, duplicity, ambition, ingratitude and meanness. What items to form a God with! yet, these truly characterise' his priest, and of these and others worse,'the priest has formed his God, whom we must - adore or be damned, and whom, if we adore, we cannot rely on for a momeot and so deserve to be damned. I BELIEVE NOT IN God.

SHEBAGO.

Just Published.

APHORISMS, OPINIONS AND REFLECTIONS OF THOMAS PAINE, with a Sketch of his Life, by JUVENCUS. Price 2s. 6d.

This little compilation is intended as an auxiliary in the dissemination of the principles of Thomas Paine; and perhaps, it is better calculated for that purpose, than one of his works, or all of them together. This is a selection of his beauties, and though the compiler does not pretend that he has left no room for improvement; his pretensions are that he has made the collection from a high approbation of the author's writings and principles and not from any motive of pecuniary profit. It is a work, which,

[ocr errors]

from its perspicuity, simplicity and chasteness, may be put into any person's hand, even into the hand of a child, and is not an unfit school book, where sentiment is committed to memory.

R. C.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Of his pretended Omnipotence. God is not the Almighty, but the MIGHTY ALL.

What is called putting the cart before the horse in orthography, often does not alter the sense of a word; in other cases it totally changes its import, as is the case in the present instance. Your pages have repeatedly proved, and common reflection must convince us, that there can be no such existence as the ALL Miguty, or that being who shall be really. Omnipotent. JEHOVAH cannot make contradictions to be true. He cannot say,

" Yes, terday and its events shall never have existed,” and put the sentence in force! Nothing can abliterate and nullify what has once taken place, making it never to have been. No power can recal, as Horace says, quod fugiens semel hora vestit, And matter is an eternal necessity, (in this I agree with Plato) that presents a perpetual obstacle to the all-powerfulness of God. But though there be no All Mighty, there is a Mighty ALL; and the most philosophical of the Heathen Divinities was their Pan, or the Great All in All, comprehending the whole universe and its moving principle: in this sense, God is every where, and this is really all that was meant by the ubiquity and omnipotence of the Deity, by those ancient philosophers, who had an esoteric doctrine for themselves and an exoteric one for tbe swinish multitude.

When Robinson Crusoe's man, Friday, asked his master, Why God Almighty did not kill the Devil? he put a question to him that the most able defender of Omnipotence would be puzzled to answer !!!

I shall not say much of the pretended attribute of Omnipotence here, as it will be alluded to again in the consideration of Omnibeneficence, when I come to the detail of the evidence for the coexistence of these two powers. I trust I can throw some light on this question by a description of the lives of galley-slaves, posthorses, asses, and beasts of burthen in general, with that of almost every animal under the care of man, and of most that are in a wild

I shall then examine gaols, hospitals, penitentiary-houses, tread-mills, inquisitions, gaming-houses, and brothels. I shall exhibit to view the filth, raggedness, and disease produced by the civilization of the lowest classes, and drawing a comparison between men's- snfferings and animals, shall leave the reader to

judge for himself, whether, in the popular sense, God can be an omnipotent creator of such innumerable forms of misery?: The origin of these terms called Divine Attributes are nevertheless all explanable by a careful survey of the history of Deism, or the belief in God. And I hope to illustrate their origin as I go on, tracing the progress of deification, from the primeval worship of the elements, and the elementary powers personified, to that of the stars, of the sun, and of sun and stars collectively in the spirit of fire, to the soul of the world, or great moving principle, and lastly to the universe, or MIGHTY ALL, itself, whose various elementary parts, considered separately, have subsequently been called its attributes, and have been transferred to its chimerical creator, the preposterous Almighty God of the Jews, Christians, and Mohammedans. Nowl must here observe, that, in the order of enquiry, the attribute of Omnipresence must be the next to be considered, conformably to the order of human opinions. For the first thing considered in order is the Omnipotence, or the inference of a power adequate to the production of all the phenomena produced, and it arises in the human mind from the organ or faculty of cau. sation. Secondly, The phenomena every where present were said to have special causes every where present, and thus an Omnipresence was asserted : and: these phenomena being various, a variety was feigned to exist in their several causes," and thus the powers of nature being once superseded, were afterwards personified, and the Mighty All, or Pan, became split into Jupiter tonans, the Thunderer; Venus, the emblem of procreation; Flora, the source of germination ;; and all the other Gods and Goddesses of the Greek and Roman mythology. Thirdly, The attribute of Omni. beneficence came last, and implies a separation of the good from the harmful powers of nature; and this idea taken up in more modern times introduced the vague doctrine of a God of Grace, of partial and interfering Gods, mixing with men, and being the very reverse of the Mighty All, bickering and squabbling with men, and capable of being worried and opposed by their creatures, revengeful, silly, full of petty jealousies and private animosities, and after all, only on a par, at best, with a legion of Devils, or the Resisters of Grace, who divide with them the empire of the human heart. Now, both Jehovah, on the Jewish, and Jupiter, on the Pagán side, with all their tributary Gods and Angels, sunk down gradually as the Western Empire increased, into these partial Godheads, and fought the battles, protected the crops, and, in short, "prevented all the doings" of Greeks, Romans, and Christians, as we may read of in Homer, Virgil, and the later of the Jew Books, and in all the accounts of battles and victories froin the wars of Alexander, or of Cæsar, down to the latest dis patches of Lord Nelson. Now, as what is called the Polytheisti, cal Mythology, sprang out of the Omniprésence, it must be consi, dered forthwith, and will constitute the subject of my next num

« הקודםהמשך »