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but all which will ever be invented ? 'Why did he not teach the then generation of the world, the use of steam, of constructing steam vessels, that all his apostles might have traversed the globe, and by showing all mankind miracles, such as no human being could perform, that he was a being of another world ? Why did he not teach us the art of making gas, the art of navigation, of mechanics, the science of botany, of painting, of sculpture, of agriculture ?
Why did he not? Because he was incapable of writing his own name, incapable of writing his own acts, his speeches, his doctrines, his miracles, and, therefore, through ignorance, leaving others almost as ignorant to do that which he himself could not do! and even his much vaunted miracles, and those of the Old Testament, fall very far short of those which are every day before our eyes.
The feeding ten thousand men with five barley loaves and two small fishes, is not more wonderful than that barley should be composed of dust. That Aaron's rod should be changed into a serpent, is not more wonderful than that a liquid should be converted into beings possessed of intelligence-that animated nature should be changed from dust into vegetables, and from vegetables into animals! Let the Bible be no longer revered on account of the miracles there recorded, the fact that thousands of animalcula can stand on the point of a needle," is more astonishing than any miracle throughout the whole range of sacred writings.
Let but the people, let but the reflecting portion of mankind, fully appreciate the wonders displayed by the microscope and the telescope, of which Christ was utterly ignorant; let them but be satisfied, that even before our own eyes, greater miracles are now working than any in the Bible--those of more use to us; then' will the whole work fall into forgetfulness, all but the two grand doctrines of “do unto others as ye would that others should do unto you,” and “love thy neighbour as tlıyself," these are well worth preserving; well would it have been for mankind, if no more had been preserved.
of wine being blood, or swipes,
To tan their hides with stripes.
In their pursuits through life ;
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No. 3. Vol. 2.)
LONDON, Friday, July 18, 1828. [PRICE 6d.
EMANCIPATION, CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANT;
CORPOREAL AND MENTAL.
, EMANCIPATION of every kind is my religious faith, as to a renrote future state, and my political hope for the speedy present. In the clamour for emancipation as in every other political or religious clamour, the art of the politician should consist in the endeavour to give it a right direction, that direction which shall increase the sum of human happiness. It is almost superfluous in me to repeat that I am an advocate for every kind of emancipation, save that from the restraint of good morals and good laws. I desire to see the Roman Catholic emancipated, not only from the shackles of bad Protestant laws; but from the shackles of his worse Catholic priesthood, to him by far the greater tyranny, by far the most injurious mancipation. What injury he sustains from bad Protestant laws is but as a feather in his scale of suffering ; his most galling chains, however to him invisible, are the chains with which he is bound by his religion, to be the unhappy man, the dissenting heighbour, husband, parent, or son, the wrangling fanatic, the slave of superstition, most industrious in his idolatry, and most robbed or most taxed in his veneration for the useless religion of his fathers. Emancipation will benefit him not, until it reach this point and dissipate the thraldom of his mental error, by developing to him the physical truths by which he is every where surrounded, but which are separated from his perception by the dark, coarse, and closely woven veil of his religious education. I would destroy the influence of the Protestantover the Catholic; but I would not do it in the way in which Mr. Cobbett seeks to do it, I would not justify the influence of the Catholic over the Protestant, I would not make it a contention for ascendancy or superiority; but seek to make it an emancipation of the English
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man, and the Irishman, and all other men, from both Catholic and Protestant religion. On the subject of religion, there cannot possibly be social or domestic peace, until we reach this more complete emancipation. It is the very nature of religion, where left to individual consideration, as it can never again cease to be, to be dissenting and hostile, to create bad feeling, to justify oppression and persecution, and hence to procure, protect, and preserve bad morals and bad laws.
The new excitement in Ireland, arising from the election of Mr. O'Connell, as the representative of the county of Clare, presenting a new political feature, has drawn my attention to this subject. I am one of those who rejoice at the election of Mr. O'Connell, thinking that it must accelerate the general enquiry that is to lead to the general emancipation. I desire to see Mr. O'Connell seated, speaking and voting in the House of Commons, and even if the oaths were enforced, and he could not take his seat and speak and vote without first speaking the oaths, I would submit to him, whether there be not a means of mental reservation, since these offensive oaths are not sought by him, but forced upon him, by which he may pass the ordeal and preserve his moral and his religious character. The great obstacle appears to be the pronunciation, that the Roman Catholic religion is idolatrous and damnable. Let this reasoning be applied to the offensive terms: that the Roman Catholic religion is certainly idolatrous, as is every other religion, under the consideration, that it is an object of veneration and attachment, idolatry meaning nothing more, etymologically, than an adhesion to something we admire, and on which we place our affections. We idolize a woman, we idolize a friend, in the very same sense in which the Roman Catholic most conscientiously idolizes his religion. In (this sense, then, the Roman Catholic religion is most conscientiously idolatrous.
It is asserted to be damnable, which, in more common phrase, means condemnable. It is condemnable, in the eye of the Protestant; not condemnable, in the eye of the Catholic; therefore, the admission, that it is condemnable or damnable, is not an admission on the part of the maker or taker of the oath, that he damns or condemns it, that it is damnable or condemnable in his view ; but, the true admission, that it is damnable or condemnable in the views of others. Heis not called upon to say, I hate damn, and condemn the Catholic religion ; but to admit that others hate, damn and condemn it. The question, as to whether it does merit that hatred, damnation, or condemnation, is another question, and distinct from this oath.
I am of opinion, that offensive oaths may be thus morally evaded, to the great advantage of all parties, and to the more speedy abrogation of such oaths. I have resolved that they shall never become an impediment to any of my purposes ; nor will I ever belie myself by making them. They must of necessity have an allegorical or hidden meaning, and every man may and ought to interpret them as best suits his purpose, always bearing in mind, that the practice of oath-making is vicious, not a principle to be properly respected, and that the evasion may be morally made.
I like not the superstition of Ireland ; but I like the spirit that row animates the Irish people to shake off some of their bonds. The spirit of liberty and independence is the same every where, it wants only, to make it useful, the proper direction. I wish for catholic emancipation from protestant power; because I am of opinion, that such an emancipation will be one of the first and best steps toward the decay of the catholic religion. It is now strengthened by persecution. I desire the annihilation as well as the emancipation of the catholic religion, and political experience teaches, that you cannot annihilate nor abate the spirit of a religion by persecution. Therefore, set it free, that we may the sooner be rid of it.
We are all of a mind, when we are free from superstition. There is then a bond of union. In this city of Bristol, I am now enjoying the hospitality of an emancipated Catholic. Such an emancipation as this gentleman bas made for himself, I recommend to every other Catholic. I see here a family without religion, and I see in that family every thing that is domestically and socially delightful. I find here the best of morals without a particle of religion, and I mark all the sweet affections which make a harmony of human nature. Such an example, this one specimen of the practice of that which I theoretically put forth in doctrine, is enough to convince me that I am right. I am in a family of intelligent countenances, where superstition has never put its baleful stamp mark, and where there is no mental disease. It is delightful: and I am the more encouraged to persevere, where I have persevered without encouragement. Here we have no idle and slavish prayers, no religious anguish of -mind, nor any noisy psalm-singing; but we have instructive conversations, moral reflections on mankind, and cheerfulness throughout the day, and from day to day, steadily pursuing the means to make each passing hour pleasant. Can this be wrong? Is any thing defective here, even with reference to future state ? I think not; and, in the religious view of the question, I do most sincerely maintain, that good morals, without that which is commonly called religion, constitute the very best religion. They are all that is good in the religion of all sects. Revenge not injuries, says Confucius; Forgive thine enemy, says the New Testament; Give hospitality to the stranger, says the Koran, and the spirit of Asia. These are kindred sentiments, and form no part of the superstition of mankind. Without the garnish of the moral precept, religion would be seen by mankind as a dish of poison, and
they would shrink from it; but with the garnish, it is still a poison, and the worse for being gilded with the moral precept ; because, the more durable When the word religion shall have its foundation in good morals, and when nought but moral precepts and physical truths shall be deemed to make a part of it ; when fable and fiction shall be scouted as disgraceful both to the teacher and the receiver, then will come the religion and the knowledge of the Lord, that is to cover the earth as the waters cover the sea,
At present, what is religion? Without exception, in Europe and America, it is a preaching of lies, an offence to nature, and the enomy of human happiness. It is an order of subtle and systematic lying. A book exists which is called the Bible. This book is not understood, other than in its moral precepts, either by priests or people. It is full of symbolical language, of which no man living retains an understanding, and because it is unintelligible, it is called the word of God; because the man of this day does not comprehend its phrases, it is considered a superhuman production. It abounds with the words God and Gods, which are words bidding defiance to all meaning and definition, and every man is left to be the guess-work-fabricator of his own superstition; and if he be a self-critic, he will work himself out of his superstition. Thus a system of religion is made out of and perpetuated upon the ignorance of mankind. There cannot be a sincerely religious and sensible man. The religion of every man is an insult to the experience of his senses.
For instance :-The Bible says the sun stood still upon Mount Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon. Minds awake to the allegorical system of the ancients would not dwell upon the literal meaning of the statement; but would seek its symbolical explanation: the more rude religionist takes it to be literal, in spite of the physical impossibilities which science has developed. The Bishop Watson in meeting Mr. Paine's objection, maintains a literal and not a symbolical meaning. A dissenting preacher, of this city, of the name of Thorpe, assuming a literal knowledge of the matter, lately made it the subject of a sermon. In a most presumptuous tone, he stated, that the “ignorant sceptics" objected to this miracle, on the ground of physical impossibility; but he would have them know, that neither sun, moon, nor earth ceased their motions; but that the Almighty God reserved the light long enough for his servant Joshua to accomplish the task assigned to him. There could be no difficulty in jumping to this conclusion. He who made light, or day and night, without the sun, could be supposed to bottle up a sufficiency of light for a few hours of over-work in the godlike business of human slaughter.
A Dr. Ladd has proposed to solve the difficulty by a new translation. He would have it thus :-" And Joshua spake to Aleim,