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rights. The president having expressed to the deputation, the satisfaction of the convention, they were admitted to the honours of the setting, amidst the loudest applause. *
A comedian, dressed as a priest of the Illuminati, appeared publickly, and speaking of Almighty God, said, " NO! thou dost not exist !-If thou hast power over the thunderbolts, grasp them! aim them at the man who dares to set thee at defiance, in the face of thine altars !
But no, I blaspheme thee, and still I live! no, thou dost me not exist.”+ arse I tremble while I write this daring blasphemy-who nois is antichrist, but he who denieth the Father and the Son. met ons About this time bishop Messieu, one of the represenne to tatives of the army des Ardennes, being one of those 000 base spirits that had entered into the Gospel ministry for of the loaves and fishes, now seeing that his object was no
longer to be obtained by the cloak of hypocrisy, wrote
to the convention that he renounced his sacerdotal funcEste tion. si An immense number of letters from the departments
announced the resignation of priests, who, forgetting their sacred calling, and Judas like, listening to the voice
of fleshly reason, abandoned the cause of their master, lest le so they should suffer for his sake. Several of the Como the munes sent the silver utensils of their Churches, set felihat apart and expressly dedicated to sacred uses, to be dis
posed of for the wants of the low, wretched mobs, (who Colette no longer supported themselves by daily labour,) and chet those who presided over them.
The central committee of the popular societies and con la sections of Paris, petitioned for the suppression of all
* 3 Kett, p. 133.
† 3 vol. Baruel, p, 217.
salaries hitherto paid to the clergy, in whom the people (now let loose from every sacred obligation) no longer believed. Chabot thought all the Communes of the republic should follow the fine example of those of Paris, and that their petition should be inserted in the minutes, in order to prove how agreeable it was to the convention. This was immediately decreed.
Chaumette, in the council of Paris, informed that they were threatened—the women of the town were turning devotees—that they were paid by the priesthood-not daring to carry on openly their infamous trade, they go to the Churches to pray. He, therefore, moved the council to declare, that if any commotion should be stirred up in favour of fanaticism, all the clergy should be imprisoned. And considering that the people of Paris have declared, that they acknowledge no other worship than that of reason and truth, the council resolved-- 1st, that all the Churches and temples of the difia. ent religions and worship which are known to be in Paris, shall be instantly shut up. 2dly, that whatever troubles may arise in Paris, in consequence of religious motives, the priests and ministers, of the different religions, shall each be particularly responsible. 3dly, that every person requiring the opening of a Church, shall be put under arrest as a suspected person.
The section of Quin-vingt requested that an altar should be erected, on which a perpetual fire should be kept up by virgins ;-but this was refused.
In the convention Bossnet gave an account of his operations in the department of Ardoche-la-drome, du Guarde and Herault. “The south,” said he, “is res. tored to the republic-fanaticism is destroyed-Catholic and Protestant, forgetting former animosities, unite in
the same worship, that of liberty and the laws. The altars of Christianity are replaced by altars more holy. The whole people will soon assemble before them each decade, to render homage to liberty.
It was in this month of November that the famous Abbe Seyes, in a speech he made in the convention, said, “ We have long wished to see reason triumph over superstition and fanaticism. The day is at length arri. ved, and I rejoice at it, as one of the greatest blessings that could have happened to the French republic. Though I have, for many years laid aside the ecclesiastical character, let me, however, be permitted to de. clare at present, that I know no other worship than that of liberty and equality ; and no other religion than the love of mankind, and of my country. I have lived a victim of superstition, but I was never its instrument. No one can say that he was ever deceived by me; and many are indebted to me for the truth. At the moment my reason was disengaged from the fatal prejudices by which it was fettered, the energy of insurrection," (Judas like) “entered into my heart. Since that period I have been retained in my sacerdotal chains by the same force which retained other free souls in chains. These were all destroyed on the day of the revolution. I have been known only by my efforts for li. berty and equality. It was as a plebeian, a deputy of the people, not as a priest, for I was then no longer one, that I was called to the national assembly. I cannot, like many of my colleagues, deliver to you the papers or titles of my former state : for a long time they have not been in existence. I have no resignation to give in to you, because I have no ecclesiastical employment ; but I have still an offering to make my country, that of an
annuity of 10,000 livres, which the law gave me as an indemnification for my former benefices. Permit me to deposit, on your table, my formal renunciation of that pension.”
The constituted authorities of Paris came to the bar and invited the convention to repair, with them, to the cidevant church of Notre-Dame, now the temple of reason, to assist at worship much more respectable than that which Paris had abjured, to wit, the worship of Li. berty.
The convention immediately adjourned, in order to repair to this temple of reason.
Every instance of deviation from the path of rectitude, increased the violence of the members of the convention and the fury of the mob to subvert every thing that looked like religion, order, system, and piety.
In this same month of November, a member observed how inconsistent it was to pay bishops, rectors, and vicars, while the convention applauded the maxim, that priests were the greatest plague of a nation. Danton suddenly breaking forth, as it were, from the dark cloud, which had obscured him for two months past, declared that the opinion of the people was fixed; that national reason was at its heighth; that the reign of the priest. hood was at an end ; but that policy obliged them to be circumspect on this occasion. He observed, that the people, equally pure as enlightened, neither wished to protect an exclusive worship, nor to persecute any one, who was attached to any particular form. That Legislators should show themselves equally just and generous, as the people whom they represent. He concluded by voting in favour of salaries ; on which La Vasseur said he was convinced that by paying such of the clergy, who should abjure their sacred character, a very important
ates benés: service was rendered to humanity. Thus were the witman nesses left dead in the street, but not buried.
These repeated attacks on the clergy were not direct. ed against them, as guilty of introducing into the worship
of Almighty God false principles, or loading it with usePOR P less or pernicious ceremonies. They were not charged 5 meres
with preaching erroneous doctrines, contrary to the pure and simple doctrines of the Gospel, or that they counte. nanced error and superstition, contrary to their duty as
Gospel ministers, and, therefore, a reformation in both adjuuret
doctrine and practice was necessary to restore primitive
Christianity; and pure Gospel worship, in the national om the fact
establishment. But the public voice and councils aim. mbursai
ed at their utter destruction as ministers of the Gospel, ubvert er
and worshippers of one great and supreme Jehovah, through Jesus Christ, whom he had sent into the world.
In short, the whole Gospel system was the great sub. ay biszp. ject of aversion among the rulers of regenerated France ;
and universal atheism was the object of their hopes and wishes. The atheist La Quenet, boasted that he had employed both reason and the guillotine for the extirpation of prejudice, that is, the belief in God. He tells us that he found the guillotine a much more effectual instrument of conversion than reason. * It is, therefore, that we hear so much of national reason and truth-the god of nature--the worship of liberty and equality-a perpetual fire on their altars, to be kept up by virgins ; and such like heathenish epithets, to which, those who used them, seemed not to have annexed any precise ideas, but seem to have been left thus to worship the image of the dragon, or Pagan Rome, without knowing
auded the si
-, from that
e reign á:
= observed 4. neither i
* His Letters to the convention.