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Testament; and all the accounts which we read of miracles were forgeries, and antedated; which measure has kept up a belief, because, beyond the writer's mind, they could not be detected. The tale about a Saviour, the son of a virgin who was betrothed to a carpenter, is much older in the East Indies than in Christendom: and at the time that the Jewish legends had created such a degree of fanaticism among that people, from their return from Babylon to the destruction of their second temple; it is not much to be wondered at, that they should have grafted this Indian tale on the Jewish Scriptures. Ten thousand fantasies existed among the Jews within that period, and after they suffered such horrible carnage, as the last destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple brought on them, such fantasies were not likely to be weakened or less deeply rooted in their bosoms in their distress. The immortality the soul had just become a new doctrine among them, in which they were nearly equally divided; and the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus, is still held, by those who reject all other parts of the Christian mystery, as a confirmation of the resurrection of the human race and their immortality, and as such the tale appears to me to have had its origin among the Jews. For, to prove the resurrection, it became necessary for the author of the romance to put the hero to a violent death; and thus originated Christianity!
I rejoice at the publication of the "Apocryphal New Tes tament," as another blow at Christianity. I am inclined to think that it will prove a more grievous blow than it has hi therto received in England, after the publication has been fairly elucidated. In addition to this list of holy books, I also rejoice to hear, that it is in the contemplation of a few gentlemen to form a society for the circulation of the Koran in this country, without note or comment, on the same plan as the Bible Society. The British public cannot have too much of what is HOLY.
Dorchester Gaol, August 6th, 1820.
Another incident seems to have occurred to interrupt the career of our royal persecutors. The death of the Duchess of York will most probably form an excuse for postponing the second reading of the Divorce Bill, and another ground of objection has arisen. The Duke of York is now fairly entitled to try what he can do with a young wife, and he will feel his interest of more consequence than before, in preventing a separation between the King and Queen. Several incidents are also congregating to favour his opposition. The Duke has always been a favourite with the soldiers, and the latter have grown so far discontented as to do just what they like. It is really astonishing to see the impotence of the government with respect to the foot-guards. The first regiment was lately ordered to Deptford, and at the time for marching, the officer in command sent to the commanding officer to say, that the men were so drunk that he could not command them. The commanding officer writes to the commander-in-chief, and relates the story without attempting to correct it. The latter remonstrates with him for such conduct, and orders him to quit the service! Things cannot go on long this way; it must lead to some change.
TO MR. CARLILE, ON READING THE SENTENCE OF THE COURT OF KING'S BENCH ON HIM, IN THE NEWSPAPER, Nov. 1819.
Is this the country, I exclaimed! which professes to be Christian, and to believe in the precepts and doctrines of Jesus Christ. Are these the enlightened men that will persecute a fellow man for his opinion, because it differs from their own, and over which he has no controul? But that opinion is contrary to the law of the land, and consequently he has no right to propagate it, he may think what he likes, but to publish what he thinks is a crime. What, I would ask, is Christianity but an opinion? and yet men propagate it, and are even well paid for it, and if so, one man has as much right to propagate his opinion as another. Oh, but Christianity is the established religion of the country, fenced in and amalgamated with the esta
blished law, consequently, to hold a different opinion from Christianity, is contrary to law, and the person so offending, by publishing, must be punished.
With these reflections I retired to rest, when falling asleep, I' dreamt that I had passed the revolutions of the human frame, and was restored to being in a fu'ure age, two centuries having elapsed, and that I again revisited this great city, which appeared in many parts to have been rebuilt, the houses were light and airy, the streets were open, spacious, and elegant, with shady walks on the banks of the river. I wandered about, hardly knowing the place again, till my attention was arrested by an old and dilapidated building, which, by its enormous dome, I instantly recognized to be St. Paul's cathedral, the doors of which being open and free to all, I immediately entered, and was quite struck with the different appearance it made. No war-worn banners, no marble monuments to commemorate the actions of men, for having gained great victories over their fellowmen; no service was now performed here (as heretofore) to the Christians God. What, I exclaimed, can all this mean, addressing myself to a young man, who seemed to eye me with curiosity. You seem strange, said he, perhaps you were never here before. I told him I had often been here in my former being. In your former being, exclaimed he. Yes, said I, I existed in the nineteenth century of the Christian era, being born in 1790, and can remember till 1820; but by some unaccountable circumstance, on my part, I am permitted to revisit this earth. This place, said I, in my time, was the principal temple of the established religion of my country. Here the mighty and princely processions came to return thanks to their God, for having slaughtered their fellow men. But where, said I, are the ragged banners, and marble monuments, intended to immortalize the memory and actions of men in my own time? Oh! said he, you lived in a barbarous age, when, as history informs us the country was overrun with religious enthusiasm. We profited by your example. Men, and society in general, have undergone a complete revolution. Christianity, with its attendants, superstition, fanaticism, and credulity has given place to deism, reason, and truth. Religion is no longer fenced in by law. Our country is no longer disgraced by the tythe sheaf. The flags, and marble monuments, which history informs us were wont to hang around these walls, have long since been taken down, and sunk into merited disgrace and oblivion,.. We admire the building as a fine piece of ancient architecture, but appropriate it to a different use--to that for which it was built these that you see around, are the monuments of virtuous men, those who have discovered something in the arts and sciences, tending to promote the amelioration and happiness of mankind. My guide now conducted me to the chair, and after showing me various things, and approaching the East end, making a full stop and pointing upwards, he said, with some emotion, do you see that wooden box elevated above the rest. That box was called pulpit by our ancestors, they were
common enough in your time, every little meeting house of every sect of Christians (the Free Thinking Christians excepted) were furnished with one of these boxes, and I am informed there were near 50 different sects of Christians, each founding his tenets and belief from the Bible. Generally the most artful and designing man of each sect was selected, and liberally paid for propagating the most absurd and disgusting doctrines, which their credulous hearers believed as their sure passports to heaven. These men passed their time in indolence and luxury, often in profligacy and debauchery. Colleges were erected for the studying the doctrine of the established church, whither they went to learn it as a trade, though when appointed to preach they pretended to the people they were wholly influenced by the Holy Ghost. Seminaries were erected by the different sects, from whence came men, pretending to be influenced by the same principle, while some, both male and female, pretended to be divinely inspired without any education at all, and all were the oracles of heaven. Tire doctrines of all were greedily swallowed by the credulous multitude, while they anathematized, and attacked each other's tenets and doctrines, with implacable hatred and unrelenting fury.
In spite of all this, truth, in the end, is sure to prevail. A few en lightened men, about your time, began to question the truth of this book, which was the foundation of the tenets of these different sects of Christians. National schools were erected, Bible Societies were instituted, the multitude became scholars, and consequently were com petent to read the Bible and to think for themselves. They discovered its true contents. Philosophy and reason expanded the mind of inan: the consequence was, the priesthood took the alarm; but it was too late. The people no longer wanted a mouthpiece; they would no longer be enslaved, sectarianism decreased, the established Christian religion tottered, was overthrown and annihilated, Deism triumphed in its turn.
By this time we had got to the door, and descending the steps, my guide conducted me through one of the principal streets of the city, when turning to the left, at the bottom of which was an old gothic fronted building, which I immediately recognized as Guildhall. Here, said I, in my time, men were tried for publishing their opinions to the world, which being opposite to established custom, the law called it libel, and for which they were often doomed to long imprisonment and heavy fines. It is reserved for the same purpose now, said my guide, a man named Paul Allfaith is to be tried here to day for propagating Christianity, which is contrary to our established religion, perhaps you would like to hear it. Above all things, exclaimed I. We then entered the court, the business had just commenced, the public prosecutor of the law arose, and stated the indictment to the following effect:
The jurors for our country, upon their oath present, that Pau! Allfaith, late of London, preacher, being an evil-disposed, and wicked person, and disregarding the laws and religion of this republic, and
wickedly and profanely intending to bring our religion into disbelief and contempt among all the citizens of this republic, did heretofore, to wit, on the 5th of March, in the 220 year of the Age of Reason, and of this republic, in London, unlawfully and wickedly publish, and cause to be published, a book, containing a certain scandalous, impious, blasphemous, and profane libel of, and concerning our religion and the true God of Nature, in parts thereof, according to the tenor and effect following, referring to the following parts of the book called the Bible:-Genesis, 1st and 2d chap.; 7th ditto, 20th and 21st verses; 9th ditto, 13th and 14th verses; 34th and 38th ditto; Exodus, 32d chap. 26th verse; Numbers, 31st chap. 13th verse; Deut. 3d chap. 6th verse; 7th chap. 2d verse; Joshuh, 10th chap. 12th and 13th verses; 2d Samuel, 12th chap. 29th verse; St. Mait. 27th chap. 35th verse; 28th chap. 19th verse; the Epistles of Paul, &c. &c. After stating the indictment, he then addressed the Court thus:--This man stands charged with publishing and preaching from this book, a book very much in vogue two centuries ago, and from which the established religion of this country was then taken, a book long since exploded, though not suppressed by law, because opinions founded on it, rests on a belief of its being divine truth, and there exists no law to suppress opinion. It is said to contain two revelations from the God Jehovah to his people, the Jews and Christians, viz. :-one to Moses, the Jewish lawgiver, and the Jewish prophets, and the other to Jesus, the founder of Christianity, and by some sects, affirmed to be God himself. Others allowed him to be only a man like ourselves. One great fault of this man's doctrine is, that they always confound their god Jehovah with the God of Nature! This book sets forth that there was a series of miracles, and divine interpositions, all of which are contrary to the immutability of the Deity. The first commandment in this man's creed is, "Thou shalt have no other god but me:"-he then immediately says, "There are three persons in this godhead, viz. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; yet, all are equal, and only One. It goes on to say, that in process of time, the world became so wicked, that God the Father determined to cut them off; but God the Son, who was equal and the same, immediately offered to come down from heaven, to earth, and become man, through the instrumentality of a virgin; one of his chosen people, the Jews, and passed though the womb, without the aid of man, to die for the sins of the people, thereby making an atonement, and appeasing the wrath of the Father; so that one god died to appease the wrath of another, or rather he died to appease his own wrath. But, however, it so happened, that after taking all this trouble, to die for these sinful Jews; they would not own him, but rejected him. The people who have from that time believed in this book, despise the Jews for rejecting him, and say there is no way of being saved but through
Vol. II. No. 15.