« PreviousContinue »
The revolution of Naples has created more alarm among the surviving despots, than that of Spain. It has been so sudden and so well got up, that they are astonished at it, and already we hear, that Genoa, that Sicily, that Venice, and all the adjacent states are following the example. The despot of Austria is putting himself into motion to repress this feeling, and the despot of Russia has avowed his decided disapprobation of what has happened in Spain; therefore we shall by no means be surprised, if those fellows do not render these revolutions somewhat bloody; and that the next year will produce a campaign against liberty. It is fortunate that each of those revolutions have been effected without any kind of horror, and should any thing of the kind follow, it will be evidently from the instigation of foreign cabinets. It should be resounded throughout the world, that the chief horrors which attended the French revolution, were purchased by the British cabinet and with British taxes, and the people of this nation have to reflect, that the excessive taxation which has so much impoverished them, has been employed against their own interest and in destroying their own friends. The despot of Russia says, that nothing conservatory emanates but from the monarch, and whatever is established on the will of the people must be injurious to the public weal. This logic might do for the wilds of Russia, but will be laughed at in the South of Europe, and one would have thought, that this autocrat would have learnt better in his travels into France and England. Let him bring forward his hordes to repress the spirit of liberty, and he will be shewn that they have not the luxurious provinces of Rome to deal with.
We may expect to hear something of the Prussian constitution in a few days, as the Doll's birth-day has passed. We fear that the gout, or the vapours, or something more serious, will prevent its transpiring, and if so, look out Mr. Frederick William, you shall be humbled more than ever Buonaparte humbled you. Attempts are making both internally and externally to thwart the establishment of the constitution in Naples, and some bloodshed has taken place among the mili tary. It is evident that the nation has been unanimous in the demand for a constitution, but we fear the necessary precaution of keeping up a constitutional attitude has been neglected; if so, it will be worse than nothing, save the example.
The 17th August draws near, and public anxiety becomes excited to the highest pitch, but it has been rumoured, and rumours of that kind are generally well-grounded, that the
proceedings against the Queen are to be transacted with closed doors, and that no publications whatever to take place. We know that their Lordships are omnipotent (pro tem) but we cannot help thinking that it will be more from personal fear than a sense of duty or justice, if it be the case. We trust that the Queen will protest loudly against it, and hope that she herself will patronise the daily publication of the proceedings let what will be the consequence. We have seen that this course has been adopted ever since the trial of Dr. Watson, and it is evident that the handling which Castles, the spy, got from the publication of the proceedings before the close of the trial, in a great measure prepared the way for an acquittal, and why should it not?
TO THE PUBLIC.
Mr. Hone has just published a most important book, I say important, not so much for its brilliant contents or tendency to edification, but, because it is a book, above all others, calculated to open the eyes of the British public, to the imposition now practising upon them under the name of Christianity. He has termed it the "Apocryphal New Testament," a title that will gall the priest by far more than the " Age of Rea.""The Apocryphal New Testament!"Why the people of England will cry out, how is this possible? Buy Mr. Hone's "Apocryphal New Testament," and by the aid of that I will tell you all about it. You will there see several pieces of writing, the contents of which bear a strong similitude to the writings contained in the New Testament; you will also, at the end of the volume, see a list of all the different gospels and epistles which circulated among christians soon after the origin of their religion, but which are now supposed to be extinct. Now by the assistance of the "Apocryphal New Testament," I will tell you a plain tale. Between the year. 60 and 100 of the era by which we date, the name of Jesus Christ, as the son of a virgin, who was crucified and rose from the dead, was first heard of in Europe, and that part of Asia which is contiguous to Europe and the Mediterranean It is not now known at what year between those two
dates it was first promulgated; but it is evident from all existing testimony, that it was not before the year 60. The first disinterested person who is found in the Roman History to have publicly mentioned the christian religion is Pliny the younger, for the texts which are to be found in the works of Tacitus are too much suspected as interpolations to be adduced as an authority. Pliny the younger, being advanced high in the administration of the Roman government under Trajan, was journeying through different provinces, to inspect their internal management and correct such abuses as were necessary, and came to Bithynia, where he found accusations brought against those persons called christians,, for innovating on the established worship, It appears, that a person filling so high an office as Pliny held, superseded the authority of all provincial magistrates wherever he came, and in some 'respects, bears an analogy to our judges of assize, only carrying a far more extensive authority. Pliny, finding this case quite a novelty in the Roman jurisprudence, did not venture to sit in judgment on the christians, until he had written to Rome for the Emperor's advice. It should be observed, that Pliny was an advocate in the courts of justice, even from his youth, and had heard nothing before of the persons called christians. Pliny flourished in the beginning of the second century. His grandfather the historian, commonly called Pliny the elder, and Josephus the Jewish Historian, flourished at the close of the first century, and although, as historians, they must have been well acquainted with whatever had transpired or was transpiring in the Roman Empire; and although, we know that Josephuz visited all the Roman provinces from Palestine to the city of Rome, still neither of them have made the slightest mention of any new religion being then known in any of the Roman provinces. This is a damning fact to the truth of the story about Jesus and his disciples, for such was the peculiar situation of those two men, and such their discernment and ability, that they could not fail to have noticed such circumstances as are related in the New Testament, if they had occurred at the time specified, or even if such writings had been extant in their time. However, it is known that the christian religion began gradually to extend itself with the beginning of the second century, and it is not much to be wondered at, for so specious and dazzling are the promises held out by it, that it cannot fail to impress an ignorant mind, when he is assured of eternal life and beatific enjoyments; whilst under the heathen mythology, he had even no promises
of the kind. The metaphysical part of christianity must be admitted to be extremely alluring; and illusory as are its impressions, it cannot be wondered at, that weak and credulous minds should embrace them. The christian religion was so totally different to any thing taught before in those countries where it originated, that it might rather be wondered how it could occupy above two centuries in obtaining an establishment and being supported by authority, than that it did reach that climax within that time:
As soon as it began to take root, the traditionary tales on which it was founded were soon formed into written stories, and each writer pre-dated his production, and attached some name that might fix weight on it, as to its authorship or validity. Thus the thing went on, and as the christians became more numerous and divided into different sects, disagreeing on some topic of belief, they continued to increase their gospels, their epistles, their legends, and miraculous tales of all descriptions. Each sect possessing its own, and each differing from the other. Councils were held by delegation, to correct this abuse of increasing such a variety of tales, each contradicting the other, but this was all in vain, because they had no authority, and each sect, being independent of the other, adhered to its own tenets as described in its own gospel, and epistles, and legends. Thus the thing continued to spread, and thus the common evil of heresy (so called) spread with it, until Constantine, having a share in the Roman government, and perceiving, that those persons, who were denominated christians, were both formidable in numbers and from fanaticism, resolved to make an instrument of them for subjugating the whole of the Roman empire, and overthrowing his competitors and copartners in the government. Constantine had previously to this been guilty of the most diabolical conduct, towards those of his own family who might be supposed likely to arrive to any part of the government, by private assassinations and every species of domestic treachery, cloaked under the mask of friendship: and had rendered himself so justly odious to the nobility of the Roman empire, that he had nothing to trust to, but his own generalship and the support of the Christians, whose favour he obtained by promising to establish their religion. He became successful, and having established the Christian religion, he next turned his attention, at the instigation of certain bishops, to establish an uniformity in its mode of worship, and the contents of the Gospels. Several important councils had been previously held by the various bishops among themselves,.
particularly one at Antioch, and another at Laodicea, but produced no real good, no conclusion on any subject, and each returned to his own way, for want of a superior authority to controul him. Constantine, having acquired what was then considered universal empire, and strong, and even bloody disputes arising among different bishops as to tenets of religion, summoned a general council to meet at Nice; and here, after a great deal of violence, the New Testament, as it now stands, was compiled, and authority given to it; as Constantine himself was present and stampt it with the imperial authority. All those Gospels and Epistles which Mr. Hone has now published, were rejected at this council, and also those which are in his volume enumerated as lost. However, even this was not sufficient; for the various sects continued to give the preference to their favourite writings, and privately, and in some instances publicly, propagated them: and hence persecution raged in a more direful degree, from their contentions with each other, than existed under the directions of former Roman Emperors, who wished to crush the new sect, and to preserve the established worship of Jupiter, Mars, Bacchus, Apollo, Venus, and others. The whole of Christendom became deluged with blood and persecution, and the same thing might be said to have continued to this day. Christians have never been united unless attacked fundamentally as a body, when necessity has induced them to make common cause; and the smallest respite has been sure to find them cutting each others throats. The curtain appears very likely to drop upon them in just the same state as the first scene disclosed.
The reader, by comparing the "Apocryphal New Testament" with the New Testament," and taking into consideration all those gospels, epistles, &c. which are said to be lost, will naturally enquire by what authority the council of Nice could pronounce some of them authentic, and others spurious, at such an immense distance of time, as above three centuries after the circumstances were said to have taken place, on which all those tales were founded? The answer is simply this-the variety became so great, and the disputes about their authenticity so violent, that it required the powerful arm of the Roman monarch to keep the religion in existence, by stamping certain copies with his authority. This is a true state of the origin of the Christian religion and the New Testament, to which I both challenge and defy contradiction. I verily believe myself, that the first tale of Jesus was a fiction; I mean, that which retains the appearance of the present New