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sense to know whatever is for my benefit, I have no knowledge of a second self-existing being within me. We have no more proot of it than of deity. And before I believe in a God, I must see him, and at work too, making a world or two out of nothing. for the being of a soul, I know on what your idea rests and know" also that it is nothing more than the action of the body. Where is it in syncope, or in other suspended animation? These opinions and principles, so far from being afraid or ashamed to own, modestly confess, when occasion requires; I am proud of their superiority over all that I meet, and they contribute in no small degree to the happiness of
A SYNOPSIS OF THE JEW BOOKS AND OF
I WILL if I can, for the benefit of the tribes on the banks of the Winconsin, make a synopsis of the religion of these countries. It is difficult to separate their religion from their politics; for the just and upright judges of the land, most impudently and falsely, insist, that the religion which they call Christian, and which is a most absurd and incomprehensible mode of belief and worship, is part, or, as their great lawyers say, is part and parcel of the law of the land, and hence the law is eternally at variance with man, and continually punishing him for what they please to call erroneous modes of thinking. Whenever law becomes connected with religion, it is for the purpose of fraud. Religion and law are two distinct principles, and, therefore, ought to be carefully kept apart. Religion, as it would be understood, relates to God and man in spirit only. Law is a pact between man and man, is purely temporal, having nothing to do with divinity. This, I premise, that our idea may be clearly conceived on the subject. No man, therefore, can, by any justifiable means interfere with another's religious concerns, except in the way of rational discussion. Let every one worship his own idol, if he must have one, and much good may his absurd piety and stupid devotions do him. If he will but keep the priest out of the case, he will find his deity harmless.
To comprehend what can be understood of the religion of this country it is necessary to introduce a fair outline. Then we can think or speak of it with propriety.
Six thousand years ago, nearly it is said, that a great spirit of whom we have no knowledge, created this world out of nothing, and, in a certain part of it, planted a fine garden, made one man and one woman in his own likeness, hence we learn that the great spirit,is like a man, and he put them to live in this garden. But in the middle of it, he planted a fine fruit-tree, and told them, if
they ate any of the fruit which grew on it, he would kill them; because it would make them wise. We know not how long they lived in the garden without touching the fruit. But, at length by the advice of another great spirit, whom these people call Satan, the Serpent, or the Devil, the woman, who longed for the fruit or for wisdom, plucked an apple or two and persuaded the good man her husband to eat, highly commending what the civil gentleman, the Devil, had advised her to do. We may imagine, that the great spirit had made them blind; for, on eating the fruit, it is said, their eyes were opened. However that be, the great spirit was in a terrible pet, exceedingly angry about it, and turned them both out of his garden, like two vagrants sent to the tread-mill, thence to work like common people and live from day to day. on their daily labour. When their eyes were opened they began to enjoy each other, and the woman to conceive and bear children. The great spirit, seeing this, made them fig-leaved aprons, to cover the parts of generation, of which neither the great spirit of the Indians nor the Indians themselves are ashamed. And why should they be ashamed of that which is good? The two first children quarrelled and one named Cain, the eldest, killed his brother Abel, who seems to have been the first methodist preacher. The strife was about religious opinions, and the first blood shed was, we are here told, for religious tenets about this great spirit.
After the murder of his brother, Cain went into voluntary exile into a distant country, which they call, or called, the land of Nod* and there took to him a wife and built a city; but how the woman come there we are not told. The women of this country were all very handsome, so much so, that the angels fell in love with them and came and dwelt with them. They say that the great spirit set a mark on Cain; but they do not tell us what that mark was. I suppose that it must have been this divine personal beauty, which was sufficient to captivate the very angels of heaven. Then the Book says, that the great spirit grew very angry at his celestial people falling in love with the fair daughters of the Earth, or of Cain, and, out of spite, in the height of his passion, gathered two or three dozen oceans together, threw them slap dash on this world, and drowned every thing in it, fish and all, except an old man named Noah, his wife and family, in all only eight persons, with an assortment of the live stock then in the world. These he saved in a great ship, which he taught Noah to build. This happened, they say, about four thousand years ago, and, we should know nothing about it now, only the great spirit made a man whom they call Moses, write a history of it, about three thousand years since. This same Moses seems to be a very doubt
* The old adage of the land of Nod, where they feared no Devil and owned no God, seems to imply, that there was a nation of Atheists in the world six thousand years ago.
ful character, and whether he was a Jew, or only the bastard son of the king of Egypt's daughter, or whether he was some body else, or whether such a man existed, is a problem, which is becoming every day more difficult of solution. Nevertheless, they say, that the great spirit was sorry for having destroyed the world by water, and promised the men he never would drown them again. But that at the next time he got himself into a passion with them and the world, he would burn them and it to ashes and not leave a particle of it floating in existence.
They say, that the world went on as usual for a couple of thousand years, getting very bad, and the men so vexed and exasperated the great spirit, that he was determined to send them all to a new world, made somewhere underneath, called Hell, where, mens souls would remain burning to all eternity in fiery brimstone. This Hell, the Christian's say, is a large wide place with no bottom to it, and is filled or furnished with floating mountains, lakes and rivers, continents, oceans, rocks, shoals, and islands of solid burning rock brimstone, through which the souls of men must sail for ever in everlasting torment! And the only way to avoid this terrible destiny, for, there is, through the capricious mercy of the great spirit, a way to avoid it, is to believe, that a man, begotten by himself, on a woman, who was another man's wife, was God.
They tell a very curious story about this man-god of theirs. They say, that the great spirit was sorry to damn every body : because the man and the woman eat an apple five or six thousand years ago; but was most woefully put about, how to save people from his own wrath. By the way, though this great spirit, whom they call Jehovah, was always a devilish touchy fellow, no such thing as pleasing him long, the two modes of quieting his anger are something singular. In ancient times he was highly delighted with blood and carnage of beasts and men, and extremely gratified with smelling the stinking smoke of burning animals. In modern times, these men deprecate his boiling wrath, by praying to him on their knees, the poor performing that duty on the cold stones and in the dirt, the rich kneeling on velvet cushions stuffed with feathers, down, &c. this by the way.
We find, by the story, which they tell, that his wrath, at times, was very violent, and required nothing less than the destruction of the world to appease it, or else a worship of the man-god to get him to pray for them, and then he would only spare it for about two thousand years. Being put to his last shift through the wickedness of men, which he might have altered at any time he thought proper, being, as they all say, omnipotent, the great spirit, or Jehovah, had a son somehow, as old and as great as himself: this son, although as old and as great as himself, he begot again on the other man's wife, without carnal knowledge, by proxy, and in a truly ghostly and miraculous manner, without
injury to her immaculate virginity; though the virginity of a married woman has an odd sound, which, in eastern countries, is in itself wonderful, if not miraculous. Nevertheless, the married virgin was got with child, and seemed, by some of their accounts, to know nothing about it, until an angel came and informed her of it. The maid was delivered of a fine man-God-child the virginity still unimpaired! nay, do not laugh brethren!
As it became the only son of the great spirit, who was to be the sole redeemer of man, the prince of peace and King of Glory, and maker of heaven and earth, he was born in a stable, brought forth in the manger, where his mother-Yes, the mother of God was brought to bed of God himself, among cows and horses, mules and asses, pigs and poultry.
Now the scheme of this, they say, is the very best that could be devised, and, according to faith, runs thus ;-
The great spirit was about to send all mankind to this hell, because the man and woman ate the apple or other fruit in his garden, six thousand years ago, which shews, what a revengeful, unforgiving spirit he is. But his son, as old and as great as him-self, begged of his father, who was himself, to go down to the earth, be begotten and born'again, become a man, serve an apprenticeship to a carpenter, labour for his bread, until he was qualified to be a methodist preacher, suffer death on the cross for attempting to make men better, suffer three days damnation in Hell as a taste, and then come up again into heaven, if he would forgive mankind for the crime of one man and woman eating his favourite apples.
After some consideration, the great spirit consented to this, begat his son again on the other man's wife, and the son of the great spirit was born of a virgin, in a stable, among cows, horses, pigs and poultry, &c. We do not know why the great spirit chose such a place for the accouchement of his daughter, wife, mother! If he cared nothing about himself, as all places are alike to him, he ought to have had some concern for the feelings of the poor woman; and not have frightened the cattle and poul.. try. The cuckold, his reputed father, provided for the divine brat, and learned him his trade, which was that of a carpenter, although he gave him no other education, and we only hear of him once from his birth to his being thirty years of age. As was preordained, he grew tired of his trade and commenced methodist preacher, like Whitfield, Wesley, and the rest of the itinerant vagabonds, who like to hear themselves talk nonsense rather than to see and to feel themselves working at a trade. His doctrine, or that imputed to him, is remarkable for its meanness, prevarication, and inconsistency. He wishes to persuade people that he
It is, however, a disputed point among the sects, who was the reputed father of this divine birth, the great spirit or Joseph the carpenter. The case is doubtful. If the priests clear up the point, I will send you their solution.
No. 22, Vol. XII.
was the son of God, by perpetually calling himself the son of man. He told them to give their breeches and waistcoats, to a man who had taken away their coats, and, if any body gave them a slap on one cheek, to imprudently hold him up the other. That he did not come to bring them peace and unity, but hatred, and discord, sword, fire, and slaughter. This is most certainly the reason why his meek followers are always killing one another.
He went on preaching all manner of nonsense, telling a great number of foolish, unmeaning stories, about wailing, grinning, and gnashing of teeth in hell, and about floating in lakes of burning brimstone, body deathless, and fire quenchless. He performed, they say, all kinds of miracles.* He feasted five thousand people on a couple of red herrings, or two dried sprats, and a couple of penny rolls. This miracle being a good one, he was desired to repeat. He turned ten thousand devils out of one man, and sent them into a herd of swine, which was a comical miracle enough, as the bedevilled pigs ran into the sea and drowned themselves. This miracle is quite of a piece with Sampson and the three hundred foxes:-And, indeed, some unbelievers, hint a doubt of it, as, they say, that the Jews and Gentiles of Judea and the country adjacent never ate pork, that, consequently pigs were very scarce in the country. I think it a mock miracle, inserted in the divine book by some pagan wag, to display the ignorance of the Monks and the stupid credulity of the Christian believers.
He turned water into wine! This was his first and grand miracle, and, doubtless, produced a host of proselytes. The worst of it is, it was done at a feast, when all the people were already drunk. But I am commenting when I should only give the text. He restored to blind people their sight, and gave sight to some who were born blind. He made lame people walk, just the same as the divine Prince Hohenlohe has been lately doing in Ireland. He walked on the water, and raised the dead from the grave. He made the men catch fish on this side of the boat, when there were none on the other; and then leave off fishing and turn field-preachers, like the methodists. Last of all, to fulfil his mission, he got himself crucified, killed, buried, damned to hell, and, in three days, rose again, went about on earth, shewed himself to many, took his flight and went up into heaven without a balloon, assisted only by his own spiritual gas and material skin.
Notwithstanding his omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence nothing thrives that he takes in hand. Witness the Jews, and the Christian doctrine. We may naturally conclude, that there would be a great stir somewhere, when God was put to death. And so there was, as they write, or rather, as Mr. * All religions are founded on miracles, and all proselytes have been made by miracles. Every thing relating to religion is miraculous. Religion itself is a standing miracle.
What an idea! to put the almighty God to death! Fellow me that among the Indians or Pagans of Greece or Rome!