« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
you complain, and which you purpose to trace to the Reformation, lie much deeper, and are connected with the principle of religion itself, which, having no foundation in truth, and being a mere vehicle of lies and a cherisher of ignorance, is wholly vicious.
The Unitarians and free thinking Christians, talk about removing the corruptions of Christianity and about restoring a Church, pure as were the primitive Churches. But tbis is all trick of the Christian stamp. There never was a pure primitive Church. Nor was ever Christianity more pure, less obnoxious, than at present. A growing sense of its bad foundation has been the purifier of the Church of all the Catholics. I wish you, Mr. Cobbett, to see, that, there is no chance of setting up a new church, vor of restoring an old one, to be established by law. Pull down, pull down, as much as you please; but you must not be allowed to do mischief, ju re-erecting or in endeavouring to re-erect any thing of the kind.
There is another little error in your book, which has before appeared in your Register, as an unanswerable Catholic argument. With you, it has grown out of the larger error before mentioned; and with the Roman Catholic, as an argument, you will find that it was answerable.
In paragraph 17, in a sort of soliloquy addressed to Joshua Watson, the English Church banker, or principal begger, you say: “Oh! Joshua, what a shocking thing it is, that we Protestants should bave received this New TestaMENT, this real and genuine 'word of God;' these words of eternal life; this book that points out to us the means, and the only means, of salvation; what a shocking fact, that we should have received this book from that Pope and that CATHOLIC CHURCH, to make us believe that the first of whom is the whore of Babylon, and that the worship of the last is idolatrous and her doctrives damnable, you, Joshua, and
your Society for • Promoting Christian Knowledge,' are now, at this very moment, publishing and pushing into circulation do less than seventeen different books and tracts !”
Now, Sir, it is not true that we have received the New Testament from the Roman Catholic Church, other than in the order of succession; nor is it true, that the Roman Catholic Church bad any thing to do with constituting the contents of the New Testament as the canonical Gospels and Epistles, and rejecting others as apocrypbal. This was
wholly the work of the Greek Church, before there existed any Churcb under the name of the Roman Catholic Chureb. Christianity arose in Greece, or in the Grecian cities of Asia Minor, and the first Greek Churcb has presented its independence of all other Churches, with distinct powers, to this day. Your Roman Catholic Church is but a small concern in extent or antiquity, when compared with the Greek Catholic Church. And your great error bas been in looking at those two Churches as one which have ever been at variance, as much as have been the Roman Catholic and the Protestant Catholic Churches. The truth therefore is, that we have received the whole of the Gospels and Epistles from the Greek Catholic Church, and every one of them originally existed in the Greek Language. Neither the Jews, nor the Latins, bad any thing to do with the first establishment of Christianity. Nor bas the Roman Catholic Church added any thing to the history or writings of Christianity beyond the most outrageous legends.
The Roman Catholic Church did not assume any thing like an extensive authority, until the Mahometads had nearly overrun the whole territory of the Greek Church. It was then, that the Bishop of Rome rose in power, upon the fall of his predecessor and competitor the Bishop or Patriarch of Constantinople.
These facts must change your views of the work you have in hand, if your purpose be any thing more than to make a profit of the momentary excitement of the Catholics. And as you proceed in your history of the Reformation, I sball very anxiously look for proofs of that “ease and happiness and harmony and Christian Charity, enjoyed so abundantly, and for many ages, by our Catholic forefathers,” wbich I have not discovered in any history that has hitberto passed at my hands. And the past can only be present to us in history, very little of which, of that now existing, is a faithful picture of men and things.
I am, Sir, as far as ever you are disposed to be antichristian, your coadjutor ; as far as ever you are disposed to be Christian, whether Protestant or Roman your opponent,
Copy of a letter addressed as follows, and accompanied
with No. 23, Vol. X. of “ The Republican," inscribed To the King, with the Editor's good wishes for his person; but not for the continuance of his office as at present constituted.
TO THE KING, CARLTON PALACE, LONDON.
Dorchester Gaol, December 13, 1824. HAVING entered upon a sixth year of my imprisonment, because I cannot be a conscientious Christian and will not be a hypocritical one, I have the pleasure to inform you, that, in meditating upon the properties of matter, I have discovered, that intelligence is a result of animated animal matter, and that no animal, nor any other kind of matter, can be a result of intelligence. The infereuce of this discovery is, that all religion has a bad foundation; and all the expence and distraction now attending it may be well saved.
I am, Sir, your prisoner,
TO MRS. CARLILE.
Paris, December 1, 1824. The small piece of money herewith sent, will be little soulagement to your sufferings; but, may suffice for a token of sympathy for the sorrows you have suffered. You will perhaps be able to sell it to some amateur of coins, or to some bloody minded man, enamoured of war, and great military exploits, for its weight in gold, as a curious, though not scarce coin. If not scld before I come to England next summer, it is marked, and then I will give you its weight in gold for it.
The farther purport of this letter, is to advise Richard Carlile to select some unobjectionable pieces for cheap publication, as many well meaning and virtuous men think he has erred in that respect.
Give me leave to point out on this subject, sheet copies of Franklin's Poor Richard, Volney's Catechism of the Law of Nature, and a little tract by Dr. Letsom on sobriety, with a Thermometer of Health *.
That the poor are meant to read by authority, is pointed out by the patronage given to Bell and Lancaster systems, as well as by the activity of the Bible Societies. It signifies little what moral tracts they read; but it signifies much how they apply that reading, and that must be left to their own minds. Wishing you health, I am your obedient Servant,
P. S. You will tell Mr. Carlile, that an Octogenarian prophecies, that the Protestant States of Europe will in future be obliged to him, that the King of England, as head of the Church and the Clergy of England and Ireland, will be more obliged to him for the preservation of their Temporals, than to any man who has lived since the reformation, Thomas Paine excepted. By Temporals, I mean house and land; for tythes must and will be abolished.
Oh! how much evil would a Radical Reform in the Commons' House prevent!
TO MR. R. CARLILE.
London, December 7, 1824. I have read what the publisher of a small work, which I saw in your shop, calls an answer to a letter written by me, which you were pleased to publish in the fifteenth number of the Republican, Vol. 10; in which I expressed a wish, that some astrologer would describe in plain language, to be understood by men of common sense, by what means the planets operate upon the nervous fluid of human beings, to influence them to perform certain actions.
The writer of the said answer seems to mistake me, in supposing that I meant to charge “ the students" of his art with being “ either knaves or fools, and its professors impostors."
My words were, as he has quoted them, “ until some one can explain this so as to be understood by persons of common sense, astrologers and their disciples must excuse me, when I say, that
I believe, that the people of England have no deficiency of these and such like publications. This French Gentleman cannot bave seen the Moralist.
I shall consider the soothsaying of astrology like the prophecy of priests, to be all a delusion, which tends to keep the ignorant and credulous enslaved to knaves and despots." They are not enslaved to astrologers; therefore, I could not so
Had my answerer attended to the words tends, despots, enslaved, as used in the above paragraph, he must have understood, that I intended the onus of the censure to fall upon the priests; the astrologers possessing no exclusive privileges or power, which priests do, they are comparatively harmless, particularly as their art is so hard to be understood. But as the astrologers bave always made a trade of, or a profit by their art, in telling fortunes and in casting nativities; and as there really appears to me nothing truly useful in their science, I am not anxious to retract any expressions I have used, should the astrologers be desirous to apply them to themselves.
I hoped that any observations they wished to make, would have come through the Republican. It is scarcely fair to answer the remarks of a writer in one publication, in a cotemporary one, it is putting persons desirous to see the arguments on both sides, to double expence; but if we are to take the answer alluded to, as the answer of the professors of astrology in general, if you should have no objection, I will quote it and comment upon
such it as are necessary to convey a clear view of both sides of the subject.
Answers to the challenge given by Mr. James Watson to Astrolo
gers, in the fifteenth number of “ The Republican."
We have observed in the fifteenth number of the Republican, a letter to Mr. R. Carlile, signed, James Watson, in which the latter Gentleman expresses a wish “that some astrologer would explain in plain language, divested of technical terms, honestly explain by what means the planet Mercury, for instance, operates upon the nervous fluid of an infant through life to perform a nolens volens, certain actions.” He adds, “ until some one can explain this, so as to be understood by persons of common sense, Astrologers and their disciples must excuse me, when I say, that I consider the soothsaying of Astrology like the prophecy of priests, to be all a delusion, which tends to keep the ignorant and credulous enslaved to knaves and impostors;" he also hopes “Mr. R. Carlile will say something towards curing any of his friends of their hallucinations, that may chance to believe in astrology.” This latter gentleman, with more modesty than his correspondent, has omitted to say any thing of a science which he does not understand, and has not confirmed the sentence of Mr. James Watson,