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something like a basis for his ideas; he travels not beyond that basis in search of ideal causes, but confines himself to that which he can demonstrate to his mind's eye. He resolves within himself not to borrow ideas from printed books or manuscripts, but explores the regions of matter itself, and comes to the conclusion, that it is self-existent, that it changes its form and appearance, but not its inherent properties. Such a man, I say is rational, when compared with the Christian, Jew, or Turk. Such a man rather deserves to be called a worshipper of the true God, than any of those sectarians I have mentioned, because he contemplates nature only, and cannot err, if he proceeds no further than is demonstrable to his mind and understanding. The Christian, Jew, or Turk, can paint the form of their God on paper, they, like the most uncultivated and uncivilized human beings, continue through ignorance to make their God the simile of themselves: they fancy that all their hopes, their fears, their pleasures, their pains, emanate from him, and the chief
aim of each of those visionaries is a peculiar protection, and a sensual idea, that they are punished in this life the better to adapt them to eternal and unspeakable bliss.
From those observations, I think I am justified in the inference, that there can be no such an act committed or contemplated, as blasphemy against God. Unless it can be proved, as clear as a mathematical demonstration, what God is, and in what particular form he exists; whether he occupies a portion of space, or extends through all space; every man is justifiable in forming his own opinions on the subject: and he who seeks to inflict punishment on another for differing with him or his party, however powerful that party might be, commits an unnatural crime and deserves to be banished from all society. Such a being is only, a fit companion for the beasts of the forest, who though not deemed rational, are far more rational than himself, and more worthy of social protection. It is the duty of man, living as a social being, to make nature his guide. He can only possess and exercise his superior faculty of reason, by confining himself to the study of nature; the moment he travels out of nature to fashion to himself ideal beings, he no longer continues rational, his reason quits him, and whether he be educated in the search of ideal beings, or voluntarily seeks after them, the end is the same: in the first instance, he is deprived of his reason by others, in the last, he deprives himself of it.
There is nothing in the book of Leviticus that is worthy of any further remark; the laws which it lays down are partly moral,
and partly absurd, and not only absurd, but one would imagine that they were calculated to raise filthy and groveling ideas in the mind, that would have never otherwise existed there. If the Jews ever required such laws as are here pointed out, they must have been a very different people to what they now appear. There is one evident trait in their character, and that is a want of honesty. Nothing can compensate the want of honesty in dealing between man and man. Al pretensions to religion or morality are defaced in that man, whom we find ready to take a mean and dirty advantage of another, either in robbing or cheating him.
In this book we have not the slightest proof that Moses was its author, it was evidently a collection and compilation of laws, just as an abstract of English law would be in the present day. In the days of Samuel, Saul, David, and Solomon, and even in the days of the Judges, it is evident, that the Jews formed but a small society, and were subject to absolute sway; a kind of military government, where the general was the judge. It has been called a Theocracy, but such an ideal form of government would not do for the present day, and the Jews never put much faith in it, unless they were flying before the enemy. When they were victorious they did not trouble themselves much about Jehovah, but when they were defeated they then stood in need of a Ġod. The book of Leviticus forms a code of laws, the basis of which was superstition and priestcraft, there are some very unnecessary and indecent regulations laid down, but it is evident, that it was a compilation and selection from the barbarous manners and customs of the people of Asia in that day, and a kind of attempt on the part of a few moral but superstitious men, such as I think Ezra and Nehemiah to have been, to establish a more moral code among the Israelites who had returned from the Babylonish captivity, than was practiced in those nations with whom they had been captives.
The first thing that strikes our notice in the book of Numbers, is the tenth verse of the third chapter: ' And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest's office: and the stranger that cometh near shall be
put to death. Why put to death, I would ask ? Is not this a specimen of priestcraft in all countries and all ages. He who attemps to pry into their characters and the propriety of their offices, is almost certain to suffer death, if their power be sufficient. But the Jewish priests made it death by law for any stranger to approach too bear to them ; which must
imply that their conduct should not be scrutinized. The better to impose on the stupid Jews, they represent Jehovah as the author of this inhibition.
In the fifth chapter we have a curious document, called the law of, or the trial, for jealousy: it is thus ;
“ And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them,
man's wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him; and a man lie with her carnally, and it be bid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her; neither she be taken with the manner; and the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wise, and she be defiled : or if the spirit of jeaJousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled : Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal ; and he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon ; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance. And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the Lord. And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust That is in the floor of the tabernacle, the priest shall take, and put it into the water. And the priest shall set the woman before the Lord, and uncover the woman's head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering : and the priest shall have in bis hand the bitler water that causeth the curse: and the priest shall charge her by ap oath, and say unto the woman, if no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse: but if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some mais have lain with tbee beside thine husband, then tlie priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, the Lord make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the Lord doth make thy thigh to rots and thy belly to swell. And this water that causeth the curse, shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot : and the woman shall say, amen, anien. And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water, And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse, shall enter into her, and become bitter. Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman's hand, and shall wave the offering before the Lord, and offer it upon the altar. And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterwards shall cause the woman to drink the water. And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against hier husband
that the water that causeth the curse siiall enter into her, and be. come bitter and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse amung her people. And if the woman bé not defiled, but be clean, then she shall be free, and conceive seed. This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled. Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon liim, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the Lord, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law, then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity."
This law of jealousy is almost too ridiculous for comment , it is a species of those barbarous and imposing laws called the trial by ordeal, where a man or woman could not be acquitted without feeing the priest well. Every step in the canon and ecclesiastical law has been adapted to the robbery of the people and the pampering of the priesthood. The English civil law is very little better, for justice will and must bend to the heaviest purse. What is called the ecclesiastical or spiritual law, is become almost'extinct in this country; it has fallen into disuse from the growing intelligence of the age. And all priestcraft must follow it.
The sixth chapter contains what is called the law of the Nazarites. These were a species of Jewish monks, and although we have here the law. laid down relating to them, there is not the slightest mention of, or allusion to, any such a sect in any other part of the old Testament; we have some slight mention of such a sect in the New Testament; but this forms the stronger proof, that this law of the Nazarites was not written, nor known, until after the Babylonish captivity. This law is headed like all the others, with the following words: And the
Lord spake unto Moses, saying.' I hold this law of the Nazarites to be a strong proof of the name of Moses being a fiction, and that the whole Pentateuch is a fiction with it. The first Nazarites or Anchorets, that are known in authentic history, are found in Egypt; and I consider what we find in the Pentateuch as the Jewish law, was collected from various countries into which the Jews had been carried captive, and that some of those who were carried to Babylon, did there learn the use of letters, and did there make a compilation of various laws, such as we find in the Pentateuch, for the use of their nation; after Cyrus had allowed them to return to Jerusalem and build their temple and city. And as the Jews, from their origin to the present moment, have assumed that they are the chosen people of a powerful God, they have ever con
tinued to fill all their writings with the most marvellous stories. The Targums of the various Jewish rabbies contain the most ridiculous and romantic tales that are to be found in print. Don Quixote and Mother Shipton are modest and rational when compared to some of the tales of these Jews, about their nation and their heroes and hero God.
The seventh chapter contains the particulars of a very splendid ceremony, or an offering from the chiefs of each tribe, to their God Jehovah. It consisted of immense silver chargers and bowls, large gold spoons, such as were never seen in Rome, in the heighth of her luxury and prosperity! Our approaching coronation must be poor and paltry, when compared with this dedication of the chiefs of the tribes of the children of Israel,
We pass on to the tenth chapter, without finding any thing worth notice, or but what hath been noticed. In this chapter Moses is ordered to make two silver trumpets ; one would imagine that the soil of this wilderness was composed of gold and silver, or that there were inexhaustible rocks and quarries of it. In the ninth verse of this chapter we have the following words: And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the Lord your God,
and ye shall be saved from your enemies.' That is as much as to say, if I, Jehovah, am asleep, your trumpets will awake me, and I will arise and assist you. The latter part of this chapter exhibits Moses himself as dubious of the ability of Jehovah to lead them through the wilderness, for after inviting and being refused by Hobab, his brother-in-law, and the son of Raguel, whom we heretofore found called Jethro; he says, in verse thirty-one, Leave us not, I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes.' This is a strange falling off in Moses to be sure; after witnessing what Jehovah had done for him and his followers! He is evidently distrustful, that Jehovah cannot bring them through the wildderness, of which we shall find further proofs in the ensuing chapter, i
We find the Israelites take a march in this chapter, but not a word followed whether Hobab accompanied them or not. The chapter concludes in the following words; And it came • to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up,
Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered ; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said,