Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

reason.

independent of the body, surely afford incontrovertible evidence that the soul or intellectual principle is also of a different nature.

L. I confess I do not see the weight of that argument, for if the soul is of a different nature, and has nothing in common with the rest of matter, the known laws of bodies cannot be applied so as to determine its proporties, without we have something that resembles it, in asserting its existence we must fall into an assumption quite contrary to reason. It seems impossible to me to decide upon the existence, or not, of what is called the soul; to me it appears that the faculty of thinking is entirely dependent upon the body, since through the assistance of the body is it alone brought into action. K. Ah! stop I will not hear blasphemy under the cloke of

These are the ideas of Locke and the sect of madmen that I execrate and condemn. Such principles lead directly to deny the immortality of the soul.

L. Before we can decide upon the immortality of the soul, we must decide

upon what the soul is. We do not pronounce beforehand upon a clock that it will go eight days, or a month; no, we stop and examine its workmanship and construction, and when we have obtained evidence we pronounce with accuracy. Let us pursue the same method with the soul, it seems difficult to believe that a part exists in me, which will feel and think after I myself am no more. Before my birth no part of me had sensation or thought; (at least not to my knowledge, and therefore useless to all intents and purposes as far as it concerned me) and wherefore then should any thing remain after I am gone? From the analogy of vegetable and animal life that surround us, we can draw no inferences that will assist us in our inquiry. We hear no more the humming of the bee, when the bee is dead. We see no trace of vegetation when the plant is uprooted. Moreover, I find that I can increase my ideas to any extent, that they depend upon the circumstances in which I am placed; and that there are examples of idiots and madmen who are by no means wanting in ideas, but who have no regulating controul over them; and also of people whose ideas are very few and ill-arranged from their. never having been ed d.

K. I do not mean to discuss any of these points with you. I can no more explain these mysteries and phenomena than

you All that I know is, that it is highly necessary that a belief in the immortality of the soul, and the belief in its existence as a perfectly separate part from our bodies, should prevail. It is necessary to uphold good order and to prevent these theoretical wild revolutionists from overturning state and church, under the pretext of general intellectualization, and therefore as a minister of that holy establishment, I shall prevent to the utmost in my power the spreading of opinions so fraught with misery and ruin to the country which imbibes them.

can.

Do you

L. But you are establishing schools, and by taking the management of them into your own hands, you are lending your support to the system of teaching the poor. How do you reconcile this conduct with your contrary opinions?

K. You touch upon a tender string. It is because we are forced by these enemies of mankind to exert ourselves.

L, But as so many other people are willing to undertake the whole business of educating the poor, I see no reason for your imposing the trouble upon yourselves.

K. You have hit upon the reason for our so doing. think we intend to give up all wealth and power of the state to a set of demagogues ? No, far from it. We, with other good men, cannot contemplate with calmness, the church being deemed a supernumerary. To stop the present current of education is impossible, but we have wisely resolved to divert it into many channels, by taking the superintendance of parish schools. Thus we tear the sting from the venomous reptile, and allow it to pursue its course harmlessly. We impart that knowledge which assists in the prostration of the will and the understanding, so necessary to make a religious and good character, and none of that which is falsely termed education by the philosophers,

L. I was willing formerly to give you and your brethren some credit for the exertions you were making for the improvement of the poor. But upon this account of your intentions I must frankly own to you, I cannot but look upon you and your brethren as enemies to mankind in every sense, as upholders of ignorance and consequently of vice and misery, and I heartily hope your efforts for keeping the people in darkness will be frustrated, and your sinister conduct seen through.

K. Your hopes will not be fulfilled. Your demoniacal schemes for universal education and enlightenment as you fantastically call them, partake too much of Utopia and anarchy ever to succeed. And be sure, while our excellent Church establishment remains, and while good and holy men are willing to undertake the pains and trouble of disseminating the knowledge and fear of a true God and of the Holy Scriptures, all your efforts to rouse the people to reflection will be unavailing. Thank God that the holy servants of his church are supported by too good a military power to be overturned by the diseased philosophy and vulgar radicalism of modern times. Good day to you wretched infidel, and mad enthusiast.

L. Good day to you, professor of ignorance and propagator of misery. But stop, before we part let me request you to pardon this poor disciple of Locke. Moreover, my reverend professor, you must recollect that imprisonment and persecution now, only more widely diffuse the opinions that you find obnoxious, and that you assist their progress by severity.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

K. You are right, we must find some other means of imposing silence upon these upstart philosophers.

L. Nay, pardon me, but believe me, keep silence yourselves. Do not attempt to unite your doctrines with reason, since they will not endure its piercing glance. Become good men, be merciful, be just. Do not try to find evil where it is not, but endeavour to extinguish it from the face of the earth.

TEN REASONS WHY TYTHES SHOULD BE ABOLISHED. [Copied from a printed Paper sent from Beverly, in Yorkshire, by Mr. Dawson.]

I. BECAUSE there are three learned Professsions, two of which are left to seek subsistence and employ from their proper utility and industrious exertion; while the third, like a lazy drone, has an ample, yea, munificent recompense legally and effectually secured for little service, or for that which is much disregarded.

II. Because it is well known, that in France and in Scotland, tythes are abolished, and in these countries, it is equally known, that the people are more moral, less vicious, more prospercus, more industrious, and less oppressed than the people of England and Ireland, where the curse of tythes ex'ists.

III. Because Tythes are not warranted by the New Testament, on which the Church of England founds its doctrine and discipline.

IV. Because all classes of Dissenters in England and Ireland, at the same time they yield, compulsorily, Tythes to the Episcopalian Parson, are generally induced to contribute to the maintenance of the service of the Chapel they prefer to frequent: which is equal to paying double wages for a service, originally intended to be done for nothing.

V. Because piety towards God and conscientious discharge of duty to man, are the direct and immediate results of Natural Religion or philosophic contemplation, which cost nothing.

VI. Because no European Government trusts to moral principles as taught by Established Churches; but have compulsory laws to punish great and little crimes; which would generally be restrained, it education was directed on different principles than is generally practised.

VII. Because the Church Lands are equivalent to maintain its Clergy without encroaching on the Liberty and Industry of a most deserving people; who, by various means, have a legal right to avoid Tythes, to which the Parson has no Freehold Title.

VIII. Because, from the example of the United States of America, we know that an Established Church is not needful to the spiritual nor temporal welfare of a people.

IX. Because that from the Tythe Laws have sprung much suffering, persecution and ruin, among the people of England and Ireland : from which the people of France and Scotland are happily free.

X. Because, that from the discussion, enquiry and reasoning on the nature and origin of worship, which has taken place within the last thirty years, it appears that the word Toleration ought not to exist in our Law Books. That even the fundamental principles of what is called the Christian Dispensation are not grounded in Truth; and from its history, we have woeful experience that it has not produced the fruits inseparable from the Religion of Humanity. Moreover, from the increasing number of Dissenters and Unbelievers, it may naturally be inferred, that if the Church does not voluntarily give up Tythes, she will ultimately and must be extinguished.

TO MR. RICHARD CARLILE, 135, FLEET STREET, LONDON.

Sir, Permit an humble individual to congratulate you on your triumphant return to the Temple of Reason, Fleet Street. At the period of your conmittal to Dorchester Gaol, I was a sincere professor of Christianity and in common with most of my ardent brethren of the same persuasion, I rejoiced at your incarceration, and hoped that you might never more be doomed to breathe the air of liberty. An attentive course of reading, however, on the subjects at issue between you and your adversaries, determined me to enbrace that cause for which you have so courageously suffered, and esteem you as one of the most useful and important members of society that has appeared since the days of Paine and Franklin. It is a cause indeed which must still expect to meet with the most virulent opposition from the deluded followers of Moses and Jesus, and to which none but characters decidedly disinterested, and overflowing with philanthropy can at present openly adhere ; nor ought they to shrink or betray timidity in its support, when they behold the unexampled fortitude with which you have sustained an imprisonment of six years, and with no other recompense in view, but the satisfaction of promoting the great cause of truth and liberty. When Jesus and Peter were denounced as blaspliemers by the Jews, the one equivocated in his reply to the charge, and the other thrice denied his master with oaths; the protestant apostle too, Cranmer, openly retracted the principles which he condemned in his heart, but you, sir, have risen superior to these, fanatics, and have never more boldly proclaimed your principle than at ibe moment when perpetual imprisonment, worse than death itself, was the consequence which you might naturally have expected to be the result of

But, sir, your exertions were never more urgently required than at the present period. The bloody persecutions and furious animosities and dissensions which have followed in the train of Christianity ever since its commencement received a powerful check in the last century by the effects of the fraternity of philosopbers, and peace and unaninity appeared on the eve of being permanently established in Europe, but unfortunately the bayonets of Legitimacy were called into action, and by their means and under their protection the most ferocious sect of Christians, the Catholics, with their hordes of priests and monks, and their necessary attendants, the extinction of the Press and civil despotism, are overspreading the continent and making no inconsiderable progress even amongst ourselves. To check the

your conduct.

progress of this terrible foe to liberality and free discussion the Protestant Christians are deeply interested, as well as ourselves, but they vainly expect to effect this by converting the Catholics to their party, by railing at their superstitions, and deriding their doctrines of transubstantiation and absolution. The Catholics will remain immoveable, and will reply-Why do you Protestants object to us as absurd the above mentioned doctrines, when you believe others which, to the eye of reason, are equally so? You deride us for believing, that, by the words of consecration, our priests can change a morsel of bread into the flesh of our God, yet you assert as the foundation of our common Christianity that the eternal invisible God was converted into a bit of flesh in the womb of a Virgin! you speak with horror of our absolution of sinners, yet in your Liturgy, your clergy openly lay claims to the privilege of absolving the sick nran from all his sins,", by authority committed to him by Jesus Christ hiinself, (Visitation of Sick). Such will be the issue of all controversies of Protestants with Catholics. On Christian grounds, the latter must finally triumph, and once more reduce our fine country under the abominable dominion of the Pope and his satellites. But let the infidel who rejects the Scriptures, and relies on the arms of reason and common sense alone, enter the field against the Catholic superstitions, immediate exposure and conviction of their absurdity and folly are the inevitable

consequence, and the Catholic cause falls to the earth, and sinks into contempt. What Protestantism never could and never will effect, infidelity during the 18th century succeeded in, it almost extinguished Catholicism on the continent, and it only is able to extinguish that system, as a celebrated Divine of the Church of England has expressly acknowledged:* It is to the infidel also, that the Christian is indebted for his most powerful arguments against the Catholic superstition. “STICK TO COMMON SENSE AGAINST ALL THE WORLD," says Bishop Porteus in his Confutation of Popery, addressed to the diocese of Chester, and the free and unrestrained exercise of reason is boldly recommended by all protestant theologians when engaged in assaulting the Pope and his inysteries. Had the good bishop inade use of similar language when denouncing the Deists, it is very evident that the Christian Scriptures would long since have been classed in the same rank with the Fairy tales, the Koran and the Mass-book, and the bishop with his clerical brethren must have been compelled to resign their tithes, and equipages and lotty titles, and descend into the class of ordinary citizens to earn their livelihood by fair and honest exertions,,hence it is that when the Deists are to be attacked, nothing is heard from the Protestant advocates of Christianity, but the most virulent abuse of reason, and (to use a favourite expression of the present Bishop of London) the utter necessity of " prostrating our understandings” to the obedience of faith. Surely such scandalous double dealing, such palpable contradictions cannot be unknown to those learned Protestant Doctors, they must be conscious of their dishonesty in refusing to permit the Deists, to attack them with the same arms with which they triumph over the Catholics, and it can therefore be neither slander nor illiberality in us to assert that if they were truly conscientious and honourable characters, they would long since have imitated the example of their reverend brethren Bayle, Meslier, Tindal, Morgan, Palmer, Williams, Taylor, &c. and joined the ranks of the rationalists and philosophers. Such an ever.t would indeed be highly serviceable to the genuine interests of the human race, but is scarcely to be expected from so bigoted and worldly-minded a class as the present race of Christian clergy; who

* See two remarkable passages to this purpose in The Present State of Evangelical Religion, by the Rev. Dr. Haweis, Rector of Aldwinckle, &c. Published about the

year 1809,

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »