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and political influence, bas ever been with them the summum bonum of their intentions. To keep in ignorance the ignorant; to oppress the weak and defenceless, and to disarm the strong, have always been understood maxims of priestcraft. Tyranny and servility; profligacy. and avarice; hypocrisy and vice, have ever been characteristic traits in the description of a priest. Can Christianity say that her professors are exempt from these polluting stains?' Can they be exculpated; can they be excused? Nothing can be pleaded for them in exculpation, and they must stand arrayed with the rest of the disturbers of the peace of mankind: The bright sun of Liberty will at last arise in all bis meridian splendour, and the misty vapours and heavy clouds which have forso many ages dimmed'the horizon of the intellectual world, will be dispelled and scattered by his beams, and
TO THE EDITOR OF THE REPUBLICAN.",
it Oj [TR**
Sir, I BELIEVE it is an observation of Bernardin St. Pierre, that
many of the sciences (particularly botany) surrounded by their systems, offer us nothing more than a dull and cold nomenclature, with divisions split into 'subdivisions, without meaning, and without end." The truth of this observation will, perhaps, more particularly apply to the science of metaphysics ; together with polemical and theological controversy, especially when treated upon by any of the advocates for ancient prejudices. Instead of entering into the subject in a plain rational manner, the reader is perpetually tortured by logical jargon and syllogistical sopbistry: terms 16 without meaning and without end" are employed as a talisman of disputation, which usurp the place of sound reason and true logical deduction.
These remarks will particularly apply to the article by Hono, inserted in No. 20 of the present vol. of The Republican, wherein the terms necessary 'existences and contingent existences, form the premises and conclusions of all his propositions ; from whence he deduces his consequent proofs (either necessary or contingent) of the existence of a God. It would be superfluous in me to attempt to analyze Homo's logic, because you have sufficiently
shewn, in your pithy reply, that "contingent existence is involved in necessary existence," and that consequently, the word contingent in the sense that Homo uses it, is unnecessary.
I confess I felt somewhat disappointed when I had read through Homo's article, for from the confident manner with which he set out, I concluded at least that we should have perceived some ingenious reasoning, if not satisfactory or couvincing; but Homo has not only proved nothing, as to the real question, but he has absolutely written nothing, but a string of upmeaning sentences, with certain conclusions drawn from them, whether trire or false, no one can determine, since no one has the means of ascertaining
The philosopher who first discovered the fact, that there could be no effect without'a cause, was an Atheist from necessity; but he who acknowledges an effect, and assigns the cause to an immaterial being and then affirms that this beiug was himself produced without a prior cause, the present state of physical knowledge proclaims a driveller.
Metaphysicians have hazarded many opinions concerning the doctrine of cause and effect to the success of which we are indebted for many of our boldest discoveries, all of which contribute to make us wonder that they should now stop short in their inquiries concerning the causes of the phenomena around us, and dogmatically assign them to immaterial and spiritual agencies. Natural philosophers have gone further still, for, by great attention to the course of nature, they have discovered many of her laws: and have very happily and successfully applied them, to investigate and elucidate many which had previously 'been involved in spiritual mystery. Whether mankind is ever to experience a universal knowledge as to the causes of all the phenomena in nature need not now trouble us ; certain it is we ought not to relax in our ardour at the sight of difficulties, or to repide in the gloom of reiterated disappointment. Had the pale spectre of disappointment appalled a Newton, a Locke, or a Linneus, in their first attempts at seeking the origin of light, of ideas, of ve? getable progeneration, how many bold and admirable efforts would have remained among mere possibilities a in spite of these bold discoveries, such is the effect of superstition, and such is the ind fluence of the priesthood of the present day, even in this Protestant country, that science is still obliged to truckle to hypocrisy, and many individuals who rank among the learned and enlightened of the age, appear so loath to part with their early prejudice, that we are compelled to look upon the man, who is honest enough to be bold, as an extraordinary instance of virtue and independance.
mi w ko nosit, Who could have expected that such a man as William Allen, a man of science, would have shrunk from the investigation of What is God ? in thé manner he has done ; but what is still
more surprising is, the priestly attempt at impressing yon with fear, for having dared to make the enquiry. Take heed,” says Mr. A.,* “ lest there might be such an animal,' for if he be not so kind as some of his best friends make him, he might, being angry, answer your profane question, convince you of his existence by acting on your ideas' and your sensations in a manner even less agreeable than by the being crushed in a storm." Such language is derogatory to, and unworthy of a man of science, it is foreign to the usual mild and benevolent doctrines of the Quakers: but it is exactly like the last resort--the strong hold-the knock-down arguments of a priest. How long science is to be clogged with such men as Wm. Allen, the difficulty of eradicating deep-rooted prejudices must determine.
The wisest, the best, and the most enlightened philosophers in all ages, have asserted that all our knowledge comes from experience; if this be a fact, they who pretend to so much knowledge of a God, must have had some experience of such a being: and this experience must have given them some means of satisfying or, at least, of answering the inquiries of those who pretend to no such knowledge. It is by enquiring of the wise, that the ignorant are taught knowledge : that is, if the wise condescend to answer the ignorant enquiries; but it appears that Mr. A.'s mind is not in this happy state of condescension, for he says " if it were possible to prove the existence of a Deity, it could not be shewn to one wholly destitute of the power of conducting or following an argument." He then proceeds to quibble upon the manner in which you have expressed yourself in treating the enquiry, by which quibbling, the reader is almost led to suspect, Mr. A. is a disciple of BISHOP BERKELEY, who argued, there was no such thing as matter in existence, or, in other words, that substances are nothing more than impressions of our ideas.
Shebago's Supplement to “ What is God,"is, in my opinion, an effective little article, and must do good, where it is read. My late respected and much valued friend, Richard Hassell, used to remark, that he was made an Atheist from the same source. was never,” said he, " what is called a Deist, but I embraced Atheism at once from haviog heard an old man who was a reputed Atheist, ask the simple questionWho Made Gop?" %
As Mr. Allen refuses to discuss this question—and as Homo has (at present) written to no purpose--and as I am one of those who profess to entertain similar notions with yourself on this question ;” and, also, as Homo's avowed object was, " to convinge such of the existence of a God;" these remarks are
Though the paper inserted in the last Number was printed precisely as it was sent to me, I aid not satisfied that it was the work of William Allen. I did not print it under that idea, and ought 90 to have informed the reader.-R. C.
submitted, to apprise him, that the question is still open as to
T. R. P.
honest enough to be bold.
CHRISTIAN EVIDENCE SOCIETY.
Tais Society has at length obtained possession of Salter's Hall Chopel and after fumigating it well, in consequence of its late occupation by Dr. Collyer, it will be applied to a much better purpose than that to which it has hitherto been applied. The Lord of Hosts, that is, the Bishop of the Diocese, will, by and bye, have to transfer, or to transform, St. Paul's and himself for the use of the preaching Deistical Atheists.
Some say that the times change; but we should rather that men change, of which we have a proof among the religious men of this country. Seveu years ago, they boasted of the strong arm of the law, and of a vigour beyond the law, for the putting down of infidelity; now they exclaim, we must not boast, we must not triumph, and if infidelity will go on and triumph, why e'en let it triumph-God's will be done! since nothing is done but that which God wills! God wills that the Reverend Robert Taylor should sacceed the Reverend Doctor Collyer in Salter's Hall Chapel and it would be wicked in us Christians to oppose that will.” Very convenient excuse !
The land is full of copies and contemners of the Bible. We have Bible Societies who make infidels and infidels who subscribe to the circulation of the Bible. Tis a strange jumble of contents; but it all works oue way-all works to the eradication of the vice, religion, and so all works well, as Mr. Canning said for the compounded corruptions of the parliament.
It is much to be desired, that in moving from Founder's Hall to Salter's Hall Chapel, the members of the Christian Evidence Society, and of the double named Society of Universal Benevolence, with their Reverend Chaplain, Irreverend Orator and his long tailed appendages, would not transplant any of that nonsense so objectionable to reasonable minds and to lovers of truth, simplicity and sincerity. Let Salter's Hall 'Chapel become a
school for philosophers where the most ignorant may find admission and take their degrees, and where the most wise may find no reasonable matter of objection. Let us hear no more nonsense about the sun being our father, the earth our mother, and the homage of one star to another ; no more apostrophes about Orion and Cassiopeida and the Pleiades and Aldebaran, things less interesting to us than the gnats that swarm in our atmosphere. Let us have words that have meaning and sentences only that are defensible as to their sense. Let us have omissions rather than idle words, and rather let us hear something about a dog than a God, for dogism is more defensible than Deism.
If devilism be not mingled with Deism, the allegory is incomplete, and does not apply to the state of things as they are perceptible to the human senses. The Jews and other Pagans or Deists had no devil; but to supply the place they made a monstrous God, sometimes good and sometimes evil, full of the most opposite qualities. Wherever the God is to be benevolent, such as that for the Society of Universal Benevolence, there must be à devil to complete the scheme, and as the Christians make their devil to be the God of other sects, so this new society may make a devil of the God of the Christians.
But let the members of this new society remember, that Deism, with or without devilism, is not a system to which a philosopher can attach himself, is not a school for a rational being. It is a contemptible emanation from the widely spread vice of religion, and, speaking as an individual; I should feel disgraced by giving it my countenance and support.
To his Excellency the Editor of "The Times."*
Why, sweet Scribe of the “ Leading Journal" => why
When bard's the loves of Jupiter relate ?