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when compared with the great mass of mankind ? Suppose Christianity were calculated to make all men happy; how utterly impossible would it be to bring all under its influence ? Millions of infants and idiots, die devoid of its influential power. Millions, in the atmosphere of its brightest regions, where no stone is left unturned to promote and propagate it, still neglect and despise it, and thousands treat it with contempt; centuries have rolled on since its votaries prophesied that it would "cover the earth even as the waters cover the sea;" and yet compared with the inhabitants of the globe, the numbers are as a drop in the ocean: and in these parts of Europe where it possesses all the power that political-authority can give it, what is it but a trade, a scene of controversy, contention and dissension? Scarcely a tenth deserve the name they profess.
And is this the work of a Deity? Is this' “ glory to God in the highest, peace on earth and good will to men?” is this the system of which it is triumphantly prophesied; “ the gates of hell shall not prevail against it?" By some, it is supported under authority, in wealth and grandeur, “overtopped by the lofty spire of archiepiscopal eminence; where sometimes to finish the resemblanee, has been seen only a vane, veering to every breeze of political direction. Truly, this complicated apparatus of Archbishops, Bishops, Deans, Chapters, Canons, Archdeacons, Prebendaries, Rectors, Vicars, Curates, &c., with their oaths, emoluments, titles, and subordination; from the poor stipendiary to those who rear their mitred fronts in courts and senates," is very imposing, but very unlike any thing in the master they profess, to follow.
! By others, it is distinguished by confession of faith and dippings, and again by love-feasts and imbecile distinctions and missionary efforts, and by some, who discard all this as carnal, distinguishing themselves by the form of their hat and coat, and thus is this “bond of unity" supported, each sect“ zealously contending for the faith once delivered to the saints!” What sums of money are expended to promote them! What legal efforts to punish all who oppose them! And what is the result? The Newgate Calendars, the licensed drunkards' retreats, the thousands of prostitutes, and their associates, and the vagrants of every large city and town prove its impotence: and the actions of all, from the dignified clergy down to the holder forth in conventicles, prove it “ Tekel,” weighed in the balance and found wanting.
But the simple question lies here: can there be any real advantage in being deceived ? The answer is obvious; the fanatic only would answer yes. Just as the drunkard would enjoy the pleasure of intoxication, so does the fanatic his reverie. In each case the faculty of reason is disordered, during the paroxysm. The latter of the two is the least dangerous; because the easier removed by rest and sleep. When the vapours fly off, the
senses recover their regular tone, the former awakes with the dreamer, continues its airy flight, and on some occasions has led its victim to a lunatic hospital. Reason is its only remedy; but priestcraft prohibits it. If eighteen centuries be not time enough to settle the disputes of Christians, what time is sufficient? This and the blood shed in its defence is a weighty consideration against it. The Christian priests have improved on the Jewish, they have provided a heaven for the obedient, and a hell * for the refractory; they have no tangible evidence of either-but as Moses received his divine communication upon the mount, near wbich the people dare not come on pain of death; so the modern priesthood receive theirs from on high; and he that calls it in question, or as Paul said, “preach any other doctrine, let bim be accufsed."
Tlais is laconie, emphatic, and Christian-like, bat how comes it that this extraordinary knowledge is communicated to the few, " without money and without price,” to make the many pay for it? It is a very unpleasant thing for the few to live like gentlemen, and amuse themselves and their hearers six or eight hours a week in a pulpit, at the expense of the many. They have the “bird ia hand," and their hearers may catch the “two in the bush," if they can, and if they should not have faith enough for it, “ be that believeth not shall be damned." In the pulpit, we are often told, that.“ God's providential earé extends to every living thing that breathes.” How this care applies to unoffending, diseased, and dying infants, and idiots, to say nothing of starying manufacturers, and their starving offspring, I am al a loss to imagine; but theologians have a salvo for all difficult eases, " be only wounds to cure and does not affict the children of men wilfully.” Is not this' a libel on his character? Is it consistent with wisdom, power, and benevolence, to create' imperfect creatures, and then torture them to rectify the defect? Are men that are born and die idiots any proof of such a doctrine ? What proof can be adduced otsimprovement, or what advantage can be derived from a miserable existence spent in insanity or madness! On what rational ground can we prove that a being, who creates unoffendiag infants and idiots, to languish and die in this world, would treat them any better in another? In reply to this, we shall,
Note by Editor. The Editor of a paper that struggles for life has got ap. a fine picture of hell, into which, he, as the Devil, is thrusting two persons, evidently meant to represent the Reverend Robert Taylor and myself. "If it be an insult, I despise; it. If a joke, I share it. But it proves to me, who know sonjething about pewspapers, that this paper and its editor is also sinking into hell, and this is a desperate effort to save himself by trying to please the fanatics. Here. is a note for him taken from the last week's Republican. " The man who has an idea of hell is a despicable being: but he' who talks aboat it is an idiot." To which I now add, that be who paints iv for the purpose of newspaper politics is a disgrace to this day of free discussion.
we may be told his ways are not as our ways, nor his thoughts as ours.”
Then, how comes it that theologians arrive at the knowledge of them? If we have not ideas to comprehend him, it is full proof, we are not in a capacity to think of him, that we are intermeddling with what is above our reach, when we soar beyond the precincts of nature. Theologians will tell us they are inspired to know; when they give us tangible proof of this, we will believe it: until that is done, we will not entertain such unworthy docions of him whom they call “ our Father," that he so partially dispenses his favours to a few of his children, “ without money and without price," to live a life of ease and pleasure at the expenee of the many.
Independendent of gospel evidence, they eloquently dwell on the beauty and regular order of the planetary system, as a correborating proof of the existence of the great Being, whom they say is the maker, supporter and director of it. " Impressed with the awful grandeur, order, and beauty of this magnificent scene, is it possible to doubt the existence of the great Being that created, governs and rules it ?”. All this sounds very imposing to those who have never had a doubt on the subject, but they either upintentionally or willingly forget, that the difficulty is increased by the introduction of this great Being, for if a great universe could not exist without a great Being to create it, and the cause iş admitted to be greater than the effect, we shall be under the neces, sity, on the same principle of reasoning, to invent another greater cause, to create this great Being!
Is it not more rational, more simple, more consistent with known facts, to imagine that the universe has ever existed in ceaseless and uniform motion, than to suppose it had a beginning, and was created by a self-existent being ? The utmost stretch of imagination can form no idea of such a being, and it is evident, from the foregoing statement, that it proves too much for the advocates of Deity; but this is not all, it not only requires the aid of a greater Being to create the lesser, but its abextors have to defend a non-entity. They have no tangible evidence of any such being, it is mere assumption; while the defenders of a self-existent universe have undeniable proof of the existence of the yni, verse without fear of contradiction.
I admit, it does not amount 10 full proof, but on the scale of probability, the latter is much more consistent and less liable to objections. Our difficulty in this proceeds from onr limited faculties, owing to our constant engagements with things that have both beginning and ending, not excepting oor very existence, Hence we are unable to form an adequate conception of that which had no beginning; but, on closer attention to the subject, we shall perceive that our difficulties are considerably diminisbed by the scheme of the eternity of the universe, far more so, than
by that of creation. What idea can we form of a Being creating worlds and systems by nothing? On this principle, we must suppose there was a tiine when nothing existed but God, and theology admits and asserts that he is “ ali and in all," and there cannot be more than all. What is this but saying God is the universe, or the universe is God? How this applies to his infernal majesty, who is a formidable personage in the Christian code, I leave to Christian priests to define. It is not my province to enter on such an abstruse subject.
It has been objected, by, some divine, that God created all things from nothing. In the Mosaic account of the creation it is said, “ the earth was without form and void,” and that creation implies giving it form* and motiou. To this I answer, that such a notion completely overthrows the maxim, that God is the creator of all things : for, on that principle, he could not have been the creator of matter; (by natter, I mean every substance in the universe) consequently those Christians who deny that God made all thing from nothing, deny the New Testament declaration, “ without him was not any thing made that was made;" and it is an undeniable inference, that, if God did not make all things from nothing, there must have been something prior, or at least coeval with his existence.
N. B. I have enclosed £l for those now in prison, who suffer because they cannot believe there is a Supreme Being that feeds and supports the abettors of fraud. Yours obediently,
E. R. D.
A lecture way lately delivered to the “ Society of Enquirers” by a gentleman, who is a well known artist, on the benefits of science, which gave great offence to a few fanatics who were members. I will quote the following, " with regard to the word form, it is quite certain, that whatever is material must bave form--form is an essential condition of being ; therefore, the expression in the first chapter of Genesis, which says, 'that in the beginning the earth was without form and void,' although poetically beautiful and unexceptionable in common language is not more true philosophically than saying, the • sun rises,' or the sun sets,' terms expres sive of phenomena, which cvery one knows are contrary to the real physical facts."
I have just re-published this excellent little drama, this best of all the Poet Laureate's works, this sublime Ode to Majesty, by Robert SOUTHEY, at the price of Threepence. I am so grateful to the Laureate, and his Patrons, as to remeober, that, the former extensive sale of this little work decided the success of sy attempt to become a Bookseller.-R. C.
EPITOME OF AN ANATOMICAL, PHYSIOLOGICAL,
AND NOOLOGICAL LECTURE, Delivered to a select Class, being the concluding or winding-up Lecture.
Taken from Notes and Recollections of one of the Audience.
GENTLEMEN, I am now come to that most difficult part of my course, namely, that wherein I must tell you something of the nature of life, that is, of the living principle of the animal machine. You know, Gentlemen, I have had occasion to state before, and I here repeat it, that the result of all anatomical and physiological researches into the structure and functions of the human body, have tended to establish it as certain, that vitality was something perfectly distinct from organization. I know there are persons in this town, who would have you to believe, and who say that they believe, that life and mind are only properties of the organs of the brain and nervous system; and that merely because these Noodles always find that organization, life, and mind, united together; and because they can see and feel an organization, and have not been in the habit of doing much more than seeing and feeling-so they hastily conclude that three things are one: instead of reasoning on the various proofs, aye, positive proofs, which physiology affords of the distinctness of these three princi, ples. You will say, “ What is life?”. Why now I answer, How do I move my arm or my leg? There is nothing in my organization capable of generating motion. But you will say, " There is a source of motion in the body, perhaps it may be in the brain." Well, then, I say, that this principle of motion is what I call vitality; and it is something added to, though perfectly distinct from, organization. In order the more clearly to demonstrate to your minds what is in my mind on this subject, I must be a little more prolix, and must detain you while I describe the component parts of the animal system. You know, then, that the body of a man is composed, like the rest of the material universe, of a substance called matter ; but this matter has, in the case of animal and human bodies, a peculiar organic arrangement. And this organic arrangement is called the animal system; and why, I ask, is it called animal system, why? Why because forsooth it is formed, nourished, and acted upon in all its various functions by a principle of vitality, a principle indeed of a much higher order than any chemical principles, and one which can overpower and resist the ordinary chemical-laws to which matter is subject. For we find, that the moment vital principle goes out of the body, that moment begins chemical action, and putrefaction then, and not till then, operates to the ultimate destruction of the animal